Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The facts so far on Charlie Ross

The ancestry research to find Charlie Ross has not gotten far at all but the Greek side of things was always going to be difficult.

We have come a long way in tracing his wife, Mary (Polly) Atkins Ross's family, but the absolute facts about Charlie Ross are still few.

1. He was born in Greece in 1849. He went to sea as a young man or boy,  sometime between the ages of 11 and 23. The earliest date would be 1860 as young boys often did join ships, or were commandeered to do so.

2. He became a sailor and spent some years at sea 'roving' and having adventures - minimum of five, maximum of twelve.

3. He settled in Port Pirie after arriving in Australia. The earliest date would be 1871 and the latest, circa: 1877, for enough years to be 'remembered.' 

4. He moved to Gladstone circa. 1886 and worked there as a fishmonger as he had in Port Pirie.

5. He married Mary Atkins in 1888. He gave his father's name as Christie on the marriage certificate. This is most likely Christos or Chrysantheus.

6. He had five children to each of whom he gave at least one Greek name.

7. He anglicised his Greek name or adopted an English name after arriving in Australia or the Port Pirie report would have included another name for 'old Pirieans to recognise.

8. The Greek names he chose for his children, Constantinus, Anastasia, Vangelios, Chrysantheous, Christus and Spiro are likely to have family connections.

9. He died in 1907 and was buried in an Anglican cemetery.

10. His grand-daughter Flora RossSwincer was said to be the spitting image of him.

11. He had a very strong accent given the poor phonetic spelling of some of his children's names on birth records.

12. He was obviously an amiable and personable character, as stated in his obituary, given the fact that the death notice was reprinted in the Port Pirie newspaper more than twenty years after he had left the town, for the benefit of those who had known and remembered him fondly.

13. There is no record of him ever taking up citizenship. (Perhaps evidence that he did jump ship.)

Photo: Charles Vangelios Ross, Charlie's second son, in his First World War uniform. Charles looks to be a mix of both parents with the 'shape' from the Atkins side and other features from his father, if his daughter Flora was truly the 'spitting image' of her Greek grandfather and we have no reason to believe she was not.

Other possible facts drawn from family history are:

1. He was born on Ithaca, one of the Ionian Islands.
2. He 'jumped ship' at Port Germein and so entered Australia illegally.
3. He came out on his 'uncle's ship.'
4. He spoke a number of languages.

Photo: Charles Vangelios Ross in his fifties looking more like the Greek side of the family but with the Atkins shape face from his grandfather, Edward. Elizabeth Mashford also had a 'long' face.

So the questions which still need to be answered are:

1. What was his Greek Christian name and surname?
2. Was he born on Ithaca? If so where?
3. Is his English name an anglicisation of his Greek name or something he adopted?
4. On what date and just how did he arrive in Australia.

The answers are still out there and may remain so but efforts will continue to find what we can.

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