Mystery novel with a genealogical theme

The Chimney Sweeper's Boy The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy by Barbara Vine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve just finished reading this book for the second time. I first read it about 10 years ago, and realised i could not remember a great deal about the plot, though I could remember particular scenes and places mentioned in the book.

It’s a mystery novel, but not not a murder mystery. The daughter of a well-known author is asked to write a memoir or biography of her father after his death, but in spite of having enjoyed a close relationship with him as a child, she finds she knows very little about him, and when she tries to learn more, finds that she knew less that she thought she did — he doesn’t seem to be who he claimed to be at all.

In that sense it’s a mystery novel linked to family history and genealogy, because her search is really a genealogical one, to find who her father really was, and who his family were. So it’s the kind of novel that might appeal to family historians.

View all my reviews >>

Germans in the Eastern Cape

There’s a new website on Germans in the Eastern Cape. Or perhaps I should rather say that it is an old site that has been revamped and moved to a new address.

Two groups of German settlers came to the Eastern Cape (well, the part of it then called British Kaffraria) in 1858/59. The first to arrive were the military settlers of the British German Legion, who had been recruited to fight in the Crimean War, but the war ended before they could be deployed, so it was decided to send them to the Eastern Cape instead. The civilian settlers followed about a year or two later. The web site explains the background to the emigration of both groups, and gives quite detailed information on the military settlers.

Val’s grandmother, Emma le Sueur (formerly Greene, formerly Chelin, born Decker) descended from both groups. Her Decker ancestors were among the military settlers, being Carl August Decker, who married Mary Nevard Morton in Colchester just before leaving (the British Germaon Legion was trained at Colchester in Essex). The civilian settlers included the Falkenberg and Schultz families from the Ueckermark in Brandenberg. The Schultz family were of French Huguenot descent, and they are the ones we know most about in the earlier generations, but practically nothing since they arrived in South Africa.

We’ve also discovered other links, not direct ancestors, but people who married into other branches of the family. Another of the military settlers was Captain Carl Arthur von Lilienstein. He was a customs official in Holstein 1839-1848, then joined the British German Legion and led a party of 100 military settlers to Berlin in British Kaffraria in 1857. He was also a Count (Graf). His daughter Ida married Henry Green, brother of Val’s great great grandfather Frederick Thomas Green.

The Falkenberg and Schultz families came on the Wilhelmsburg, which sailed from Hamburg on 19 October 1858, and arrived in East London on 13 January 1859. According to the web site, 64 children and one adult died on the voyage. We know that one of the children who died was a member of the Schultz family, three-year-old Wilhelmine Caroline Schultz, because she was on the embarkation list at Hamburg, but not on the disembarkation list at East London. The web site does not give details of the children who travelled, just the parents, though perhaps one day it may be possible to include the complete passenger lists for both ends of the voyage.

A quite recent discovery we have made is that a Devantier family on board the Wilhelmsburg was related to the Schultz family. It is possible that several other families who emigrated may have been related as well. And ironically, though we have been able to trace the Schultz ancestry furthest back, to Calais and Flanders in the mid-17th century, once they reached South Africa they all vanished without trace, all, that is except for Justine (nicknamed Jessie), nine years old on the voyage out, who married Christian Falkenberg after his first wife died, though we haven’t been able to find a record of that marriage either. So if anyone sees anything possibly related to this Schultz family, please contact us!

Family Group Record for Martin Schultz


Husband Martin Schultz-[26]


           Born: 11 Aug 1822 - Wendemark, , , Germany
       Baptised:
           Died:
         Buried:

         Father: Martin Schultz-[25] (Abt 1781-          )
         Mother: Marie Payard-[23] (1785-          )

       Marriage: 9 Jun 1844 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia [MRIN:13]

Events


1. Emigration, on Wilhelmsburg, 19 Oct 1858 – Hamburg, Germany


Wife Justine Holtzendorff-[37]


            AKA: Justine Holzendorf
           Born: 16 Dec 1825 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died:  - Cape Colony
         Buried:

         Father: Friedrich Holtzendorff-[36] (Abt 1788-1846)
         Mother: Dorothea Kaeding-[35] (1796-          )

Events


1. Emigration, Ship Wilhelmsburg, 19 Oct 1858 – Hamburg, Germany


Children


1 F Wilhelmine Luise Schultz-[38]


           Born: 3 Sep 1844 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died: 14 Nov 1850 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
         Buried:

2 M Wilhelm Friedrich Schultz-[39]


           Born: 3 Aug 1847 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died:
         Buried:

3 F Justine Wilhelmine Schultz-[40]


            AKA: Jessie Schultz
           Born: 22 Jun 1849 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died: 21 Apr 1927 - East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa
         Buried:
         Spouse: Michael John Christian Falkenberg-[44] (1827-1882)
           Marr:  [MRIN:20]
         Spouse: Charles John Koch-[336] (          -1940)
           Marr: Mar 1883 [MRIN:19]

4 F Marie Luise Schultz-[41]


           Born: 22 Jun 1852 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died:
         Buried:

5 F Wilhelmine Caroline Schultz-[42]


           Born: 9 May 1855 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died: Abt 1858 - At Sea
         Buried:

6 M Karl Wilhelm August Schulz-[43]


            AKA: August Schultz
           Born: 2 Jan 1858 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died:
         Buried:


General Notes (Husband)


Knecht und Tagelõhner in Meichiow, emigrated to the Cape Colony with his family in 1858.
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2008

There’s more on the Falkenberg family here and here, and more about the Decker family here.

More on connecting Sandercock families

Did you know that Daniel Sandercock is one of the top ten Twitterers in Thailand?

I didn’t, until I read this: Top 10 Twitter Users With Max. Number of Followers From Different Countries though I did a double-take when I discovered that it scored Scotland and the United Kingdom separately. Obviously Scotland’s early release of the guy convicted of the Lockerbie plane bombing seems to have made a bigger impact than anyone suspected.

My concern is slightly different, however — I’m not so much interested in how many people follw Dan Sandercock on Twitter as in how many Sandercocks and people from Sandercock-related families communicate with each other.

I checked through some of my old Sandercock crorrespondence, and found that mail to a lot of people was bouncing. Research web sites that had been set up in the past no longer exist, and it all seems to be sliding into entropy, or oblivion, or something.

So I took the plunge and set up another forum cum website for people from Sandercock and Saundercock and other related families to communicate with each other, and I hope they will. That’s quite a lot of people. All my Growden and Growdon relations, for example, are descended from William Sandercock and Mary Verran of Cardinham in Cornwall. There are lots of Growdens who are not related to Sandercocks, of course, but all my lot are.

So if you have Sandercock (or Saundercock) family links have a look at the new Sandercock family forum, and start communicating. In order to join in fully you will need to explain your Sandercock links — you need to be descended from one, or married to one, or married to a descendant.

Connecting the Sandercock families

I looked at some old files and found a copy of a New Zealand marriage certificate that had been sent by Harvey and Jan Saundercock. It was for William Thomas Sandercock and Elizabeth Harker, who were married in the Wesleyan Church in Pitt Street, Auckland on 12 May 1887. William’s parents were listed as Thomas Sandercock and Elizabeth Smale.

I checked in the records I had recently entered, to see if I could find their family in England, and it seemed that the parents were actually Thomas Sandercock and Ellen (not Elizabeth) Smale of Egloskerry, and managed to get several generations of the family linked. The Egloskerry Sandercocks don’t seem to be related to us, but at least that eliminates their family members from our search. The William Thomas Sandercock in New Zealand had a son Raymond, and if we can find them, his descendants may be interested, so if this is your branch of the Sandercocks, please leave a comment, and I can send you what I have managed to link so far.

Most of the Sandercocks seem to come from north-Eastern Cornwall. There’s quite a big bunch from the St Gennys-Poundstock area, and another from Tintagel. The ones I was looking at today were from Egloskerry. Ours are from Cardinham, with their earliest ancestors being William Sandercock and Mary Verran. There’s a picture of their gravestone in an earlier post in this blog. Several people have been trying to collect them and sort them out into families, including Alan Sandercott in Canada. Maybe in the end we’ll find links between these different groups.

Childhood memories: Ingogo 1948

Randy Seaver challenges people to post their most vivid childhood memories Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – A Childhood Memory.

INGOGO – APRIL-MAY 1948

I lived in Westville, near Durban, until I was nearly 7. Then my father got a new job in Germiston, and the house in Westville was sold. My father went to Johannesburg to find a place to live, while my mother and I stayed at a hotel at Ingogo for a couple of months in April and May 1948. Ingogo was a small village in northern Natal, about halfway between Durban and Johannesburg.

The hotel, Valley Inn, was a mile from the main road between Newcastle and Volksrust. and was owned by my father’s cousins, Win and Sheila Bradbury, though my parents had not known that when they first arranged for our stay there. The Bradburys had two children, Michael, who was 12, and Gillian, who was about my age (there was a third child,  Winona, the eldest, but I have no recollection of her at all).

The hotel itself was built of stone, and had only four guest rooms. My mother and I stayed in the biggest one, on the corner of the veranda. It had an old-fashioned washstand, with a stone top, and a large enamel jug and basin; there was no running water in the bedrooms.
There was a hill behind the hotel, up which wound a deep rutted track which had been the main road from Newcastle to the north. There was a wood and iron general store over the road where this track joined the road from the station. The road from the station turned to the left at the store, and passed in front of the hotel, and after passing through some wattle trees crossed the Hart and Ingogo rivers, which joined quite close to the hotel. There were lots of doves around, and every day the place was filled with the sound of their cooing. Since then, whenever I hear doves cooing, I am reminded of that autumn in Ingogo. Ingogo was overlooked by three hills, Majuba, Inkwelo and Mount Prospect, and amajuba means doves in Zulu, an appropriate name.

I used to play with Gillian a lot while we stayed there. We would sometimes walk to the railway station, a mile down the road, and look at the signal cabin, with its big red levers. Or we would walk the other way, down to the river, and play there. We once found an old corrugated iron canoe, which didn’t float, however. We salvaged it from the bottom of the river with a great effort, but it was quite useless. We swam in the river, and went for rides on ox wagons that came past laden with fire wood. We went riding on donkeys a couple of times, but not very far. They were stubborn beasts, and had to be led and chased.

Gillian Bradbury & Stephen Hayes, Ingogo, 1948

Gillian Bradbury & Stephen Hayes, Ingogo, 1948

Once we went into Michael’s room, and found a bottle of Vaseline hair oil which he used, and Gillian and I used about half of it in experiments. The hair oil was lovely and greasy, but Michael wasn’t pleased when he found out that it was gone. The wrath of big brother was to be feared, but Michael was also admired for his knowledge and worldly wisdom and experience. He added several swear words to my vocabulary, whose meanings I only discovered later.
Michael also taught me to play marbles, though I was never very good at it. We dug a hole in the ground, and had to shoot each other’s marbles out of it.
One day Michael trapped and killed a dove and Gillian and I watched fascinated while he took its guts out — looking like red and blue spaghetti, and then cooked it. We tasted that, but there was not much meat on a dove. He caught doves by setting a trap, using an old builders sieve which he propped up on a stick with a piece of string attached to it. He would sprinkle seeds on the ground under the sieve, and then hide away, and when doves came to eat the seeds he pulled the string, and the sieve fell, trapping one or more of the doves underneath it.

Gillian Bradbury, Stephen Hayes and Michael Bradbury. Ingogo 1948

Gillian Bradbury, Stephen Hayes and Michael Bradbury. Ingogo 1948

Most of the business of the hotel came from neighbouring farmers who dropped in for evening drinks. It was the social centre of the neighbourhood and they would sit in the bar, or on the verandah, talking about their farms, politics, the weather — anything. We children weren’t allowed in the bar, or at least not when it was open to the public, but we went into it when it was empty and saw the high wooden stools and the counter that was as high as we were.

One of the farmers who came from far away said he had crossed baboons with dogs. One day we went to his farm to have a look at these creatures. He had an old coupe, and we went for miles and miles along the gravel road. Eventually we left the road altogether and drove across the veld, very close to the Free State border. There was a quarry next to his ramshackle old farmhouse, where these strange savage dogs were living. They had hump backs and deep chests, and did look a little bit like baboons.

We also went to see another farm, and had to cross a drift (ford) to get there. It was a weekend when my father had come down from Johannesburg to see us, and we went in our new Wolseley 8. The had a milk separator which rang a bell every time you turned the handle. It was the first time I had seen a milk separator, and it fascinated me. My father said that on his journey down the Wolseley had gone at 50 miles an hour for the first time. In those days new cars had to be run in for a long time, and for the first thousand miles one was not supposed to drive them at more than 30 miles an hour.

One day everyone went to the station to vote. It was the 1948 general election, when the Nats got in. The grown-ups said that one  good thing about the election was that we would be able to get white bread again. We couldn’t get white bread during the war, and the Nats had promised that they would bring back white bread if they were elected. During the war my mother used to buy brown flour and sifted it to make white bread.

There was a school for black children a little way beyond rivers, and Gillian and I went there a few times and sat in the lessons. The school was in a corrugated iron church building and the children played netball outside in the breaks. The teacher was very nice; she was the nicest teacher I knew. She treated us like people and not like children who must be seen and not heard. Perhaps that was because she was black and we were white, and maybe she didn’t treat her regular pupils like that; but whatever the reason, we enjoyed going to the school. Thirty years later, when we lived in Utrecht, I was called upon to be manager of several farm schools like that one.

My paternal grandfather, Percy Hayes, died while we were there, and we drove to Paulpietersburg for his funeral. We drove through Utrecht and Vryheid, and the journey was hot and dusty. We stopped at Vryheid for tea or lunch at a hotel. I was not allowed to go to the funeral, but had to sit in the car. We collected some things from my grandfather’s cottage, including a sailor hat that my father had worn when he was young. We drove back late in the afternoon, westwards into the setting sun over bumpy and dusty roads, and reached Ingogo after it had got dark. I had never seen my grandfather, Percy Wynn Hayes. He was manager of the Dumbe coal mine in Paulpietersburg, and before that he was a stockbroker in Johannesburg. When he died his Afrikaans friends all dug his grave because they liked him. My mother told me that my father didn’t want to see him because he was afraid that he would cadge money off him. My father and his younger sister Doreen wanted nothing to do with him while he was alive, but the older sister Vera cared for him.

Once we had discovered that we were cousins, Gillian Bradbury and I tried to work out what our relationship was, but it never became clear to me until after i had grown up and brgan researching the family history. I had assumed that we were related on the Hayes side because Gillians father was Win Bradbury, and my father’s middle name was Wynn, and so was mine. It tuned out, however, that her father’s full name was Harry Winston Churchill Bradbury, and he was born in Ladysmith during the Anglo-Boer War, around the time of the siege. Winston Churchill was captured by the Boer forces nearby, and perhaps his name recalls that event.

BradShe1It was actually through Gillian’s mother that we were related. Sheila Bradbury was born Sheila Bagot Cottam, and though she was only a few months older than my father, they were actually a generation apart, as her father, Richard Herbart Cottam (who had died only a few months before we stayed there) was actually my father’s great uncle.

After we had lived in the Transvaal for a couple of years my mother and I went to Durban on holiday, and spent a night at the Valley Inn on the way, and we once again saw the Bradburys.

Gillian Bradbury, 1984

Gillian Tiquin, born Bradbury, 1984

On a later journey, however, we found they had moved away and we lost touch with them. It was many years before I saw them again, though I did write to Sheila Bradbury a few times about the family history. When I did finally meet Sheila and Gillian again, when they were living in Oribi, Pietermaritzburg, after nearly 35 years, Gillian did not remember me at all, though Sheila did, and said that I was the only one from the Cottam side of the family who had kept in touch. She died a couple of years later.

We were at Ingogo for less than two months, but I remember more about that time than I remember of most of the time before I was twelve years old, probably because I liked it and was happy there. I suppose that for Gillian we were just two of many visitors to the hotel who came and went over the years, whereas for me it was new and different, and so my memories are much more vivid.

Is it worth it?

About 18 months ago I started a Family Wiki. It seemed a good way of doing collaborative genealogy, and sharing family stories and information. A blog like this is quite a good way of recording progress, but current posts soon pass into history and are more difficult to find. A Wiki accumulates information as people add to information correct it and discuss it.

But so far only one other person has contributed anything to our family Wiki. Over the last month it has had about 15 visitors a day, with about 25 page views, but hardly anyone, other than me, has contributed anything, or even commented on what is there, or said whether they have found it useful.

Page Views
home 109
Green_family 40
Sandercock Family 29
GreenMAA935 27
Growdon_Family 27
Index_of_People 26
Family index 24
Ahnentafel 23
GreenawayR2405 22
GreeneFT144 22
space.discussion.GreenAW1194 22
Beningfield_Family 21
Brathwaite_Family 20

The Beningfield, Brathwaite, Green, Greenaway, Growden and Sandercock pages all got 20 or more visits during September, but nothing in the way of comments or contributions.

As a result of this, I’ve stopped trying to add to these Wiki pages — there just doesn’t seem to be much point. I occasionally post a small correction to what is already there, but it doesn’t seem to be worth the effort to add much.

What I hoped might happen is that at least some people related in any of these family lines might contribute information on the people they were related to, and possibly start their own family wikis for other branches of their families not related to ours, so that we could then have links between common relations, and contribute to each other’s stories. But it seems that few are interested in such collaboration. And unfortunately there are too many who just grab what information they can from any source, but aren’t willing to give anything in return. As a result I’ve become a little reluctant to give family history information to others unless they show that they are willing to share what they know as well.

Of course it’s possible that most of the people who look at the Wiki pages are not related — most visitors seem to be from the USA, whereas most of our families are in South Africa, the UK, Australia and Canada.

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