One of my favourite things about researching family history is getting to the bottom of a mystery – even if the mystery comes from a find in a record that initially just makes you sit up and go “Mmm?”.
Such as it was when I came across a census entry for a family enumerated as Holbrow-Burgess. A double-barrelled Holborow?! What?! I had never come across this before. Of course, several female-line Holborow families have used it as a middle name, but was this what was happening here?
I assembled my detectoring kit in a bid to find out – and discovered more than I had bargained for …
It’s been 3 and a half years since I last wrote about George Marsh Halliday, and the one thing that always remained in the back of my mind was that I couldn’t kill him.
I won’t be mad if you quietly sing the Captain Scarlet theme under your breath (but only if you robotically say “and the Mysterons” out loud). Or even Captain Planet, if you’re gonna take pollution down to zero. But I digress. Sometimes you come across people who appear fully-formed in a set of records, whisked into existence as if by magic, because somehow they are where they are, but seem to have been nowhere before this. I suppose you could call this a brick-wall. However, today’s shining example of this isn’t an ancestor of mine – nor I suspect related to me at all – but his story was too extraordinary not to share – in fact, it made the annals of Australian maritime history!
Do you ever watch programmes like WDYTYA? and silently curse the good fortune of those who say “My sister has all this information collected by our great-aunt Lydia who sadly went a bit doolally and put bricks down the loo and had to go into a home” and it turns out to be all these old scrapbooks of letters and clippings and notes and things? Me too.
My 4 x great-grandparents, Joseph and Mary (Haynes) Holborow married on 18 June 1813 in Oldbury on the Hill, Gloucestershire. Six months later in December, their eldest child, Sarah, was baptised. Over the next 20 years, a further seven children were baptised to the couple, ending with Harriet in 1833. (Joseph being the subject of my research puzzle.)
Although having 8 children isn’t surprising for the time, Joseph and Mary managed a half-and-half split between boys and girls (one of the boys being my 3 x great-grandfather, Henry), but also in another way …
Before we start, a little Trigger Warning if anyone needs it regarding infanticide. Oh, and Spoiler alert.
So now I’ve teased you with murder and dead babies. And the lovely Alex Kingston. Maybe I should clarify that. Baby. Singular. Not multiple.
Cain and Abel. Romulus and Remus. Groucho and Zeppo. We all love a story about brothers (this isn’t one of them!). Although, presumably with fewer beatings. This post is about two such
brothers people – Daniel and James Holborow – who both left England and made two very different lives for themselves in Australia.
Warning: long read ahead!
UPDATE: Further evidence (here) has come to light that Daniel and James were not brothers, nor particularly closely related. This is the way of research. You think you have it right, do your checks but … nope – sometimes shit still goes wrong! Whilst James was the son of William Wraxall Holborow and Jane Greenman, Daniel was the son of William Holborow and Jane Day.
I mentioned a couple of months ago, as part of my Ethelbert Collection, that Ethelbert Holborow, cheesemonger of Clare Street, London, suffered the egregious loss of 2 shillings worth of bacon from his shop in September 1827. The culprits were 12 year-old Samuel Griffiths and 14-year old William Cropley.
But I wanted to know what happened to them after this incident … I was surprised at what I found but not entirely disappointed.
John Isaac Holborow: where did you come from?! This post has been a long time coming, and the subject of this post is probably the source behind the whole “Holborow in Australia” idea in the first place! He is certainly one of the earlier Holborows to arrive in Australia, and he and his wife had a number of children between 1845 and 1860 who go on to lead some interesting lives and leave their own legacies.
But his provenance back in the UK remains a mystery …
When you’re researching Australian family, there’s always the spectre of transportation, much like Massachusetts in the late 17th century. Back in 2007 it was reported that up to 22% of living Australians were descended from convicts (over 4 million people). There is also a one in 30 chance for us Brits.
I remember studying the topic of transportation when I was at primary school (er, about 30 years ago), but I thought that I could do with a bit of a refresher course – and its amazing to find what records are out there for individuals, alongside the social and political history that goes along with it.
And spoiler alert: I feel some degree of sympathy for our William …