Vause, Harris & Ellis families

While I was in KZN a couple of weeks ago I managed to get quite a lot of additional information on the Vause, Harris and Ellis families in the Durban and Pietermaritzburg archives, and within a few days of getting back I had a phone call from Don McArthur who had been researching the same families. That was quite exciting, but it was also rather frustrating, as the e-mails I tried to send him seemed to disappear into a black hole in cyberspace, and for the last 10 days I’ve been trying to send him a file with family information. His mail has reached me, but mine has not reached him. Sometimes snail mail is faster! Then to top it all, my phone line went on the blink, and I couldn’t get e-mail or phone calls from anybody. It seems to be working again this morning, however.

My great grandfather’s sister, Eleanor FrancesVause, married William de Montmorency Harris and they had two sons, William Vause Harris and Wyatt Vause Harris. Their having the same initials caused great confusion for family history researchers.

I’ve managed to trace many of the descendants of William Vause Harris (who was apparently known as Bill), and Don McArthur has managed to find a few more, but nothing at all about Wyatt Vause Harris, who was in Bulawayo in 1938, when his mother died, but what happened to him after that is a mystery (to me, at any rate).

So a note to Don McArthur, if he sees this — please respon in the comment fields, as that may be a bit more reliable than e-mail at the moment.

Henry Green

More on Henry Green, British Resident of the Orange River Sovereignty.

Ione Evans of New Zealand told me about a book Some dreams come true, which had a picture of Henry Green, and now that we have replaced our stolen car I was able to find a copy in the University library, and I’ve been reading that and The microcosm by Thelma Gutsche, a history of Colesberg.

Between them they give a fairly full picture of the life of Henry Green, though there are still a couple of gaps.

One is what happened between the end of the Orange River Sovereignty in 1854 and his coming to Colesberg as Magistrate in 1860? We know he married his cousin Margaret Aitchison in 1856, and they had two sons, and that his wife and sons died shortly before he arrived in Colesberg. But where was he?

After thinking about it, I thought I’d check for the marriage in England — could have have gone to England to marry his cousin? It seems unlikely that she would be at the Cape.

So I checked FreeBMD and found a possible, nay, probable, marriage:

If anyone wants the reference to apply for the certificate, I’ll be glad to give it. Otherwise, I’ll apply.

So watch this space.

Henry’s father, William John Green, had recently retred and was living in Kensington around that time, which makes the Chelsea registration district given in Free BMD seem likely. So it seems he spent at least some of the missing years in the UK.

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.

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!

Wikipedia link:

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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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Some dreams come true — Henry Green

Ione Evans writes from New Zealand:

Amanda our daughter in England has found the book Some Dreams Come True for me and is posting it. Will be interesting to read for the history apart from it having a picture of Henry Green in it. Will scan pic and send when it arrives. Exciting! Hope you are with transport again. How do you fare insurance wise in SA? Having lovely sunny days even if am temperatures are COLD!

The great mystery with Henry Green is the identity of his wife’s parents, or at least his wife’s mother — we know her father was Capt Carl Arthur von Lilienstein, who was a border gaurd between Prussia and Denmark before coming to South Africa with the 1858 German military settlers. These were part of the British German Legion, who were recruited to fight in the Crimean War, but the war ended before they could go there, so they came to settle in British Kaffraria (now part of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, around East London) instead, and act as border guards there. Cattle rustling across the border was common, and it was hoped that military settlers would be able to prevent it, and thus save the British taxpayers some money. It didn’t work.

At about that time Henry Green’s brother Edward was in the Cape Mounted Rifles, but transferred to a regiment stationed in India, sending his wife Emily and children to England, and eventually the family ended up in New Zealand. Edward was the ancestor of the Nation, Mocine, and Blum branches of the family.

Back to Henry: his wife was sometimes referred to as “Countess”, and some have inferred from this that her father was a Count, but this is apparently not so. So there is also the mystery of where the “Countess” came from. Maybe the book Some dreams coem true will throw some light on the mystery!

Oh, and for the last couple of weeks out night time temperatures have been around 8 degrees C, and the daytime ones about 25, which hardly seems like winter at all! The insurance assessor visited lately, so we hope they will pay out for our stolen car.

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Bits and pieces

Just a few notes to update. Our puppy Mardigan didn’t make it after being poisoned by thieves — details and picture at my personal blog.

Last Thursday I spent a few hours at the Family History Centre in Johannesburg, looking at the marriage registers for St John the Baptist Church, Bedminster, from 1900-1944. The church was bombed during the second world war, so that is perhaps as far as the records go. I found some Hayes and Purnell marriages, some of them related, though most that were related we already knew of from other sources.

I recorded these in the Inmagic database program, and the last couple of days I’ve been preparing to transfer other marriage records I’ve recorded over the years from the askSam program to Inmagic, so we can have an index of them all in one place.

Car stolen, dogs poisoned

Last night our Toyota Venture was stolen

Tthieves broke in the back gate, poisoned our puppy Mardigan, and took the car out. They were apparently able to disable the alarm and the gearlock. Now our other dog, Ariel, has been looking ill, so our sons Simon and Jethro have taken her to the vet as well.

The loss of the Venture will cause problems for our mission work, as we used it to take people to church and to church gatherings.

We have a few family history messages to reply to and things we’ve promised to check for people, but these problems may cause delays.

Earlier in the year we lost two dogs to biliary. First our little bonsai Alsatian Alexa (the one you can see me holding in the photo) started coughing and hyperventilating at about 3:00 in the morning, and died within an hour when we were still trying to find an after hours vet. We had no idea what had caused it. The other dog, Ariel, was very unhappy, so we got Ralf, an Alsatian puppy who ate his way into our hearts, but died within 12 days. We got him to the vet, where he died on the examination table, and the vet said it was biliary. There seem to have been a lot more ticks around last summer, because there was hardly any winter last year.

Ariel moped again, and so we got yet another Alasatian puppy, Mardigan, and we are not sure whether he will make it.

Green family in England, and Gray family in Canada

I’ve recentl;y had e-mails from Dennis and Penny Allen in England, who live in a house formerly owned by William Green, photographer, of Northumberland, son of William George Green. William George Green was the eldest son of William Goodall Green and Margaret Gray.

In the house are some photographs, and a book that William Green wrote to try to prove the alleged royal descent of William Goodall Green — that he was the son of Edward, Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria’s father.

Dennis and Penny are not related, but have very kindly sent copies of some of the material they have. We hope that it may help us to add some missing links to the Green family tree.

One of the things they sent was a reproduction of a picture of Alexander Gray, described as Attorney General. All we know of him is that his daughters changed their surname to Hamilton when their mother remarried after his death.

Does anyone know anything about the Hamilyon connection? If you do, please click on one of the places where it says “Comments” below, and enter your comments there.