Research trip to KZN

I’ve just returned from a family history research trip to KwaZulu-Natal.

Actually we went down last Friday — Val, Jethro and I — leaving after Val finished work, and went straight down the toll road, arriving at midnight at Val’s sister Elaine’s place in Pinetown, and crashed on the floor. Next morning we went in to Durban to buy a second-hand Subaru station wagon to replace our stolen Toyota Venture. Val and Jethro returned the next day, but I stayed a few days to visit friends and family and do some research.

I spent a day in the Durban archives, looking almost exclusively at family divorce records. These usually give details of minor children, so was able to add a few to the family tree.

Then I spent a couple of days in Pietermaritzburg archives, mainly looking up deceased estates. I had a list of things to look up that was 27 pages long, and managed to get through 8 of those pages, so another research trip is needed!

I visited Arthur and Ann Reynolds in Merrivale, near Howck. Ann Reynolds (nee Stayt) is my second cousin on the Vause/Cottam side of the family. Her grandmother Ruby Stayt was sister of my grandmother Lily Hayes (nee Vause). They are now retired, and living in a cottage on their son Brian’s farm.

I got home yesterday, and will probably spend a couple of days sorting and entering the new information.

Charles William Pearson — Wikipedia article

Well, I’ve created the Wikipedia article for Charles William Pearson, so have a look at it and edit it or improve it, or make comments ab out it in the comments sections below.

Pearson decendants in Canada

We’ve just had a couple of e-mails from Ken Joyal in Canada, whose wife Lesley is descended from Charles William Pearson (brother to Val’s great-grandfather Daniel William Pearson).

Lesley is descended from Olive Lois Pearson, daughter of Charles William Pearson, and there is some mystery about her date of death, and the circumstances of her death. Ken wondered if it could have been an accident. We have a note that she was dead before 1928, but I’m not sure where we got that information — will need to check on it.

Olive Lois also had a brother Francis Muncaster (Frank) Pearson, who was a journalist in Canada, but we haven’t been able to find out much about him.

Charles William Pearson is another one who probably deserves a Wikipedia article. He was a pioneer Anglican missionary in Uganda, but returned to England because of ill-health. He got to Uganda by sailing up the Nile, which was quite an adventurous journey in those days. Actually if you look at my Blogger profile here you will see that one of my favourite films is Sammy going south, which is based on a novel of the same name, about a boy whose parents were killed in the Anglo-French bombing of Egypt in 1956, and makes a journey over more or less the same route, and makes it possible to picture C.W. Pearson’s journey 70 years earlier, though I’m not sure if it was all filmed on location in Sudan.

Another of the Pearson brothers also had an interesting life and an obscure death. That was John Johnson Pearson, who was a British Israelite, and travelled to India at one point, and around the “prophetic earth” — the Near and Middle East. Mad Uncle Anthony told us he lived in Paris with a harem of Sikh ladies, but I think that needs to be taken with several sacks of salt.

I suppose the best way of finding out what happened to Olive would be to search for her death certificate, but it’s an awkward period. The FreeBMD indexes only go up to 1910 or thereabouts, and while indexes after about 1970 are available easily, 1923-28 falls in between.

More Green family Wikipedia articles

After starting the Wikipedia on Frederick Thomas Green (which is still not finished), I have now also started one on his older brother Henry Green.

I’m intending to add ones on some of the other members of the family, unless someone else does so first.

Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, one obviously cannot simply add biographies of every member of one’s family. They need to have played a sufficiently significant role in history to make them worthy of inclusion. Fred, Arthur, Henry and Edward Lister Green all made it into the Dictionary of South African biography, so i reckon that gives gives them a claim to inclusion in Wikipedia as well. Apart from anything else, the Wikipedia articles can correct some of the inaccuracies of the DASB ones.

I think Charles Alexander Green might also warrant inclusion, though most of what is known about him is actually included in Fred’s biography.

Another who might be worth including is Margaret Agnes Ann Thwaites, formerly Francis, formerly Wilson, born Green, alias Glasgow, alias Elliot. Her claim to inclusion is probably her pioneering work in education in Queanbeyan, New South Wales. Perhaps Bob cowley could write that one, since he is not only descended from her, but has done a lot of the work already.

Any comments? Please click on one of other of the Comments sections below, and have your say!

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Wikipedia article: Frederick Thomas Green

For the last ten days or so I’ve spent a lot of time on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

It started when someone sent me an e-mail out of the blue, asking me to check, and if possible add to, an article he had written on Colin Winter, a former Anglican bishop of Namibia. I had worked with bishop Winter, and so was able to add something to the article, but first had to check the background links, and before long I’d spent a whole day editing and adding to Wikipedia pages on Namibia, and linking pages on Christianity in Africa, and created a new category of Namibian biography, and having done that, decided to add Val’s great great grandfather, Frederick Thomas Green.

I haven’t finished yet, and of course anyone who knows anything about a topic can add to it on Wikipedia. But still, relations on the Green/Greene side of the family may find it interesting, and some others too. So click here to see the article, and see if you can add to it. And if you go to the bottom of the article, you will see Categories, and if you click on the “Namibian biography” category, you will see the article on Colin winter as well, if it interests you.

Fred Green came to southern Africa with his father and brothers from Canada in about 1847, and he and three of his brothers made it into the Dioctionary of South African biography, so they probably all deserve at least a mention in Wikipedia, so I may start articles on them too, and encourage others to add to them.

Of the brothers, Henry was British Resident of the Orange River Sovereignty, Arthur was a pioneer Cape photographer, and Edward was a soldier. One who isn’t mentioend is Charles, who died young. Actually he was the bold explorer, and Fred was his kid brother who tagged along. It’s not quite clear what happened to Charles in the end, but apparently it was a boating accident. He is said to have drowned in the Okavango River when his boat was upset by a hippo.

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