Tuesday, 1 March 2011

So many names, so many dates, so many relations!

Above: Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins

Not a lot has happened in terms of research but the process continues to plod along. One of the things I did a couple of months ago was to join the Devon Family History Society although I have not yet had time to do much research online myself.

They did however send a very nice note welcoming me and since then I have had the help of one of their researchers, who has a family connection, which may well bear fruit. I started out looking for Charlie Ross, my Greek great-grandfather, and I still have that research to do, but I have been distracted along the way tracing the family of Mary Atkins Ross, his wife. That is partly because it is much easier to trace family who came from England than it is to trace them from Ithaca ... I think I am going to have to spend time there to do that .... but also because I knew nothing about that side of the family, other than the 'family story' which has been tantalisingly difficult to prove.

Then again, when I began this I did not have a photograph of my great-grandmother let alone great-great-gran Elizabeth and now I have one of each. And I have one of great-great-grandfather Edward Atkins. The sad thing is I do not have one of Greek Charlie Ross and that would be quite an achievement. But, who knows? I never cease to be surprised at how things come out of the 'woodwork' in this process.

So, here we are, with the list of names, dates and details growing longer by the month.
Sandra wrote:

I too have a connection with the surname of Mashford - my father's maternal grandmother was Catherine Mashford, born 1849 in Newton Ferrers, near Plymouth. Incidentally that is also where my father was born! I can only trace my Mashford line back to a marriage of John Mashford at Kenton, near Exeter, in 1752. I have no leads as to where John was born, although I suspect that it was in the Coldridge (mid Devon) area.

I note that you also show your interest in the surname of Cann and from that I deduce that you descend from the marriage of John Mashford (son of John Mashford and his wife, Mary Labbatt) and Mary Cann. I am aware that several members of the family emigrated to Australia in the 1840's. John's nephew Joseph (only surviving son of John's brother Josiah) also married a Cann, namely Susan. Their daughter Ellen Jane Mashford married 1887 Charles Gove and emigrated to Queensland, Australia.

I am in intermittent contact with Fred Mashford of Whyall Norrie, South Australia and have been able to help him with his Mashford ancestors. His line backwards is the only one that poses few problems and is originally centred around Exbourne (mid/west Devon) and does not appear to tie in with those in the Coldridge area.

One of the problems with this sort of research is that weeks or months pass before any more work is done and names, dates and details disappear in a haze of different families, generations and events. I am thinking that I need to compile a name, date, event record as I go along. I have found that while the purpose of the blog was to record all of the research, and it does that, it is difficult to easily access records written in the past year or so.

Now, there is always a possibility that Fred Mashford is connected to our lot because Whyalla is in the mid-north, not far from Wirrabarra Forest, Gladstone and the Clare Valley. Sometimes the only way to make progress is to go off at a tanget and there are certainly a few tangents here. I sent a link to the blog which I am hoping will be forwarded to Fred Mashford just in case there are connections which are a little more concrete. The other course to pursue is the Queensland Canns, just in case they have information on Mary Cann Mashford.

Left: Edward Atkins

I replied:

Yes, my great-great-grandmother was Elizabeth Mashford, the daughter of Mary Cann and John Mashford. At least we think she is their daughter. A story has come down through our family that she was the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman and she came to Australia because of this.... the wife of the said nobleman, urging it.

John and Mary (Cann) did have a daughter called Elizabeth who fits our Elizabeth's time frame and she was in her 20's when she emigrated which makes the 'story' a bit hard to believe. In addition, she travelled to South Australia with her mother Mary and her brothers George, John and Josiah and her sisters Jane and Mary Ann which also makes the illegitimacy story, or rather, the reason for emigrating odd. We have the shipping records listing them all, arriving in Adelaide in 1847.

I have wondered if perhaps Elizabeth was not a daughter but a niece although there are no death records for the Elizabeth born to John and Mary Cann so this seems unlikely.

I am now wondering if the illegitimacy story related to Mary Cann Mashford given that we have had one other family story proved correct but about Elizabeth herself and not her daughter Mary's husband, Charlie Ross, about whom it was told. The family story said Charlie died of gangrene poisoning but death records reveal he died of a heart attack and Elizabeth Mashford (Lewis) Atkins died of gangrene poisoning. So this makes me wonder if the family story is true, but about the wrong person.

At this stage I am trying to find out more about Mary Cann. Her brother Stephen Cann signed her marriage certificate but I do not yet know Mary's mother's maiden name.
We have some guesses because her first born George has the middle name of May and given that John took Mary's maiden name and Joshua took the middle name of Labbatt or Labbett, there is a good chance that Mary Cann's mother was a May.

I have since looked into my somewhat incoherent files and realised that Luke Scane Harris had some information on Mary Ann Mashford as follows:

At some stage, Maryann Mashford moved to Victoria and married a William Mollison Strachan on the 14th July 1855 aged 24 years . She had four known children whose names are as follows :-

• Josephina Stranchan, Born Richmond 1856 .

• William Donald Stranchan, Born Richmond 1859 .

• Donald Stranchan Born, Richmond 1860 .

• James Stranchan, Born Richmond 1863 .

There is a record of a death of a Maryann Strachan in 1897 in Carlton Victoria .
He also lists Josiah Mashford's children although this does not include a Joseph Mashford so either he is not listed, or the record has not been found, or names have been mixed up. Yes, it does get confusing.
Josiah Labbett Mashford had four children, as far as we know, probably with Fanny Heyward whom he married in Adelaide in 1852, although not necessarily because  when he married Bridget O'Neil, on June 15, 1885 at St Ignatius Church, Richmond, Victoria, he lists himself as a widower, but wasn't and states on the marriage certificate that he had two children:.
The four names we have so far are:
• Mary Maria Mashford ,Born Maldon 1854 .

• Henry Charles Mashford, Born Coch? 1862 .

• George Herbert Mashford, Born Bealiba 1870 .

• Isabella Mashford, Born Bealiba 1872 .

Above: Mary Atkins Ross (left), Edward Atkins and Elizabeth Atkins Cox.

And today I had a reply:

Sorry for the delay in letting you know that I did get to the Record Office last Thursday but was unable to check Chawleigh registers as all the readers were booked. Will keep trying!

Devon Family History Society has spent several years indexing all Devon marriages from 1754 to 1837, baptisms from 1813 to 1837 and burials also from 1813 to 1837. There is a very small proportion not covered as the registers are still at their respective churches but all our hard work has now been made available on Findmypast and I have a full subscription so can access these records at home. Nymet Rowland is one of the more unusual parishes in that burials have been taken for a wider period - hence the knowledge of the Stephen burial above.

In 1841 census Mary Mashford, nee Cann is shown as age 48 - do you have anything that might corroborate/refute this age? Also do you know if any of the Cann clan also emigrated?

Hmm, so the Stephen and Mary Cann birth records I found may not be our lot. Then again, they may be. The dates and place are close enough to be right.

My reply was:

According to our research, John Mashford married Mary Cann on May 29, 1818 in Coldridge, Devon. John died some 18 years later at the age of 39 and was buried on May 5, a few weeks before their wedding anniversary, in 1836 in Coldridge, Devon in the parish of Coleridge. Within eight months their youngest child Emma would be dead. One-year-old Emma was buried on January 25, 1837 in Coldridge, Devon.

Mary Cann Mashford was a widow with six surviving children: Elizabeth, aged 16; John Cann, aged 13; George May, aged 10; Josiah Labbett, aged 8; Mary Ann, aged 5 and Jane, aged 3.

She is next recorded as a publican so perhaps there was some money left when John died for this. Her son Josiah also became a publican in Australia so this is a link which suggests it is our Mary.

However, as we have found and I am sure you know, ages change frequently on marriage records at least and no doubt on census records. And they may well be wrong on death records but we have done better in our tracking birth dates by using age at death.

The next information we have is a report of passengers arriving in South Australia in 1847 on the Princess Royal:

This lists Mary Mashford and child (Jane, who remained in Australia and married and later moved to New Zealand)

Mary Ann Mashford (who also remained and married) Jane and Mary Ann sailed for Melbourne in 1848, returned briefly the following year and then returned to Victoria.)

Elizabeth Mashford (my great-great grandmother who married Peter Lewis in 1848 and Edward Atkins, my great-great grandfather in 1857)

George May Mashford (who died in Adelaide in 1855) NB. Later found to be September 14, 1850.
John Cann Mashford (who died in Adelaide in 1849.
Josiah Labbett Mashford (moved to Victoria, married twice, ran a hotel, went bankrupt, was cited for bigamy, died in Melbourne at an advanced age.)

We have found no record of Mary Cann Mashford's death in Australia although even as I write this I am thinking that we have not checked New Zealand where Jane moved in the 1870's or so. NB: Mary Cann Mashford died Adelaide, November 14, 1850.

So now it is a matter of waiting to see what else comes out of the research woodwork.

No comments:

Post a Comment