My Channel Island Ancestry

My family history in the Channel Islands and beyond!


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Matilda Davey – born 19th March 1863

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According to my records my great great grandfather Isaac’s younger sister was born, Matilda Davey. A child of nine to the parents Isaac William Davey and Ann ‘Nancy’ Le Breton.

Any family historian will tell you that tracing our female ancestors can be tricky because once they have married they can disappear if you do not know the surname of their new spouse.

I have created the following timeline of what I beleive is Matilda’s life, but there is always the sneeking fear that you may have got it wrong and matched your female up with the wrong husband, especially when their name is as common as Davey.

1863 – Matilda is born on the 19th March very likely at 14 Lempriere Street (once The Eagle Tavern), St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, UK.

1863 – On the 5th April Matilda is baptised in a town church of St. Helier. Her godparents were Philip Le Breton and Mary Leath. It is likely that Philip is the mother Ann’s brother. Ann came from a huge family with 11 brothers and sisters! (Source: Jersey Heritage Archive Catalogue)

1871 – In the Census, Matilda aged 7, is a scholar and is living with her father Isaac: a Shipwright, mother Ann: Tavern Keeper, and siblings: Isaac W: Shipwright (aged 19), William: Mason’s Labourer, Ann E: Apprentice Tailoress, Mary and Esther: Scholars and Selina aged 1. I would love to know more about the life of women Tavern Keepers, it can’t have been easy with such a large family where your children’s age range from 19 to 1 years old.

1881 – In the Census, Matilda is 18 and is still a ‘Scholar.’ This seems quite old to still be at school.

The Elementary Education Act 1880 insisted on compulsory attendance from 5–10 years.      (Source:Wikipedia. Lincolnshire School Resources Genuki.org.uk)

She lives with her father Isaac, now a Victualler. Her mother is no longer a Tavern Keeper. Her older brother Isaac lives with them with his wife and kids. 

1885 – Matilda, aged 22 married Arveld George Winter Bishop.

1891 – Matilda is 28 and is living at 12 Goucester Street with her husband Arveld, a Stationary Engine Driver and their 2 month old son Arveld.

1899 – Matilda, aged 36, gives birth to a daughter, Lilian Beatrice Bishop, eight years after her son. This is quite a lengthy time between children, it may be that Matilda lost some to miscarriage in between.

1901 – In the Census taken on the 31st March, Matilda is living at 17 Seaton Place, St. Helier, Jersey with her husband Arveld – an Engine/Crane Driver and their children Arveld (10) and Lilian (2).

This is the year that tragedy strikes matilda’s life. She loses her 10 year old son Arveld to Tuberculosis. Having a 10 year old son myself, I can not even begin to understand how unbearable it must have been to experience this.

Tuberculosis infects the lungs and causes breathing difficulties which would have been very distressing to watch in a child.

In large cities the poor had high rates of tuberculosis. Public-health physicians and politicians typically blamed both the poor themselves and their ramshackle tenement houses (conventillos) for the spread of the dreaded disease. People ignored public-health campaigns to limit the spread of contagious diseases, such as the prohibition of spitting on the streets, the strict guidelines to care for infants and young children, and quarantines that separated families from ill loved ones.                                                                     (Wikipedia – Source: Diego Armus, The Ailing City: Health, Tuberculosis, and Culture in Buenos Aires, 1870–1950 (2011)

1903 – Aged 40, Matilda has another daughter, Muriel Evelyn Bishop.

1911 – Aged 48, Matilda is living at 29 Windsor Road with her husband Arveld, now working as a Ships Stoker and daughters lilian and Muriel who are both attending school. A ships Stoker was hard work, shovelling coal into the ships engine. I wonder why he changed jobs?

1924 - At the age of 60, Matilda writes her Will & Testament. It appears she has separated from Arveld as she beqeathes her property and possessions to her daughters.

1941 – Matilda dies at the grand age of 78. I do not know where she is buried.

***

If Matilda is in your family tree and you can confirm some details above, that’s great I’d love to hear from you or maybe you ar related to her husband, let me know.

Hope you enjoyed reading this timeline, until next time, bye for now.


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Boxing Day marriage of Mary De France and William Davy – 1804

Davey marriage

On Boxing Day in 1804 my great great great great grandparents were married. The above image says the following:

‘William Davy, the son of John Davy of the Parish of West Coker in the County of Somerset, & Mary De France, the daughter of Thomas De France, of this Parish (Guernsey), were married together on the 26th of December 1804.’

In this day and age, Boxing Day seems an odd date to marry but there was method in their madness. In the 1800′s, Christmas Day and Boxing Day were official holidays which was quite a big deal in a time when most people were working 6 days a week and more than likely going to church on the 7th day.

Times were hard and with families saving up for the big Christmas celebrations and with the rare opportunity of a few days off many couples took the opportunity of getting married. Family and friends would be gathering together so they could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

William and Mary didn’t stay  in Guernsey, as they were in Jersey by 1813 when their daughter Rachel Mary was born. They went on to have 6 children, that I am aware of and both lived till a grand old age.

Questions:

  • Why was William in Guernsey? This was at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. William came from West Coker, a town  which had a long history of growing hemp and flax for sailcloth manufacture, which made “Coker Canvas” highly prized by naval captains. (Thank you Kelly for this info.)
  • Why did they move to Jersey? Jersey had it’s own rope walks. Was there a shortage of ropemakers in the islands?

If you know the answer to either of these questions or you are related to William or Mary I would love to hear from you.

Happy Boxing Day and if you are getting married today, ‘Congratulations!’


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William Davy – died 19th November 1832

William Davey, my 4x great grandfther died on the 19th November 1832.

I have come across William’s surname spelt in a few different variations:

DAVY is recorded in his own marriage to Mary De France in 1804

DAVIS is recorded in his Will & Testament in 1832

DAVEY is recorded in the marriage certificate of his son Isaac to Ann Le Breton in 1850.

It is the latter spelling which stuck and is still used today with William’s descendants and myself.

Here is William’s timeline as far as I know so far:

1780 – William Davy is born about 1780 in West Coker, Somerset. The exact date is unknown. His father was John Davy, his mother is unknown.

1804 – William, aged 24 marries Mary De France, age 22 and born in Guernsey, daughter of Thomas De France, on 26th December, Boxing Day.

Davey marriage

1813 – William’s daughter Rachel Mary  is baptised in St. Helier on the 7 August. The family have now moved to Jersey from Guernsey. Was this for work? In the marriage certificate of his daughter Mary Ann to George Le Breton, William’s proffession is recorded as a CARTER. This is a job of low earnings.

1816 – Birth of  son William George.

1819 - Birth of daughter – Mary ann

1821 - Birth of son Isaac William on the 24th July. Isaac is my 3x great grandfather.

1832 – A cholera epidemic swept through St. Helier and some of the outlyinf parts of the island. Special centres were established to cope with the level of illness. 

1832 – On the 15th November William, aged 52, writes his Will & Testament – “my desire is to be buried at the discretion of Mary De France, my dear wife.”

mark X of William Davis

mark X of William Davis

1832 – On the 19th November, only 4 days after writing his Will & Testament, Willaim dies. UPDATE: He was buried Green Street Cemetery.

Cemetery plot 230 - Green Street Graveyard, Jersey

Cemetery plot 230 – Green Street Graveyard, Jersey

Although I do not have firm evidence of where William lived, I can presume that it was in St. Helier where  his children were born. It may be that William became one out of the 348 vicitms of cholera in Jersey.

To find out more about the history of cholera in Jersey click on the following link: (http://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/1832_cholera_epidemic)

If you think you are a descendant of William Davey than I would love to hear from you!


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Alfred H. W. Gallienne – died 21st October 1919

Today is the anniversary of the death of my great great great grandfather Alfred Henry William Gallienne. This ancestor has been quite tricky to trace. For many years he was known to me as Alfred W. Gallienne, as I thought Alfred H. Gallienne was a different person with a different wife. But recently during my visit to Guernsey in July 2013, I made a few break throughs with my Gallienne family tree and discovered that they were one and the same person. These things take time to clarify and you don’t want to add things to your tree that are incorrect, especially on a place like Ancestry.com where incorrect details are often shared or passed on.

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A spontaneous visit to the Priaulx Library resulted in my mother and myself finding Alfred’s death in the local paper, as you can see in the photo below.

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My mum helping me search through the old newspapers

A visit to the Priaulx Library is a ‘must do’ on your list of things to visit when in Guernsey on a family tree hunt. Not just purely for the records but because the building inside is a wonderful step back in time and  everyone there is so helpful.

1841 – Alfred H. W. Gallienne and his twin sister Matildh Sophie were born sometime in 1841 in Catel, Guernsey. Possibly the son of Sophie Pipet.

Screen shot of Gallienne family in 1841 census

1851 – Alfred, age 10, is now living at The Catel, Guernsey, where he is listed as an ‘inmate’ along with Nicholas Gallienne, aged 66,  John Gallienne, aged 16 and Thomas, aged 14. The Catel was once a poorhouse and hospital.

1867 – Alfred, aged 26,  marries Louise Brehaut in St. Pierre Du Bois, Guernsey

1871 – Alfred, aged 30, is aboard the ship “FASHION’ – rank: able seaman. His wife Louisa is in the 1871 census at home with her father Thomas Brehaut and their sons: Alfred and Albert.

1881 – Alfred, aged 40, is head of household and is living with Louisa his wife, now a CHARWOMAN and their sons Alfred, Albert and daughter Louisa. He is recorded as working as an Agricultural Labourer.

1884 – Alfred’s wife Louisa dies at the age of 43, reason unknown.

1891 – Alfred, aged 50, is now living in Planque, Guernsey, with his new wife Rosalie Brehaut. Is this a sister of his first wife Louisa Brehaut. It is possible as this was common practice in those days. Living with Alfred and Rosalie are their sons Alfred (22), Albert (21), daughter Louisa (20), and Edwin (8) and John (4).

1901 – Alfred, aged 60, is still living in Planque, with Rosalie, Edwin Brehaut (stepson), John (14) and Alice (8).

1911 – Alfred, aged 70, is living at La Planque, with his wife Rosalie, daughter Alice Mary (18)  and is working as a general farm labourer.

1919 – Alfred dies at home. There is a discrepency with his age. The newspaper clipping says he dies in his 70th year which makes his birth date 1849, but in the 1851 census his age is 10, which makes him born in 1841.

Death notice in newspaper

Death notice in newspaper

This newspaper clipping gave us useful information:

  • the date of his death
  • place of death
  • address in his final year
  • where his final resting place is, although we were unable to find it.

It is always so satisfying being able to complete an ancestors timeline.

If you have Alfred in your family tree and have more information to share I would love to hear from you! :-)


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Do you know about TROVE?

Hello again everyone,

It’s been a while since I have posted but I am glad to say that I am back from my 4 weeks holiday back in Jersey, Channel Islands.  I had a fantastic time catching up with so many family and friends every day. I also managed to do quite a bit of family research, visiting of cemeteries and a two day trip to Guernsey with my mum. So I have plenty of new stuff to blog about and share with you. The first thing I would like to share with you is an Australian resource called TROVE. I went to listen to a speaker at the local library this morning, who explained to us how TROVE works and what it provides. I have dabbled with it a few times and found useful and interesting snippets of information. What is it? It is a collection of Australian newspapers that have been digitised for your  use. Not only is it free but you can use it without signing up.

So for those of you that have ancestors that may have been to Australia in the past this may be of some use to you. Here are some quick facts to help you:

  • it includes Australian Newspapers generally up to the end of 1954
  • it includes the first 50 years of The Australian Women’s Weekly
  • it includes photos, books, journals, maps
  • it includes archived websites (Pandora)

I typed in the surname Rabet as I know that my great grandfather travelled to Australia in 1929. This is what I came across:

Monday 3 May 1948Next issue

The Daily News – Perth WA –                          Monday 3 May 1948 Next issue

I don’t know yet if this John Rabet is related but the good thing is that now I know about him and I have another mystery to solve. But I did discover his age, which meant he was born in 1928 and the fact that he was in the R.A.N. The Royal Australian Navy.

The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929)

This image above is of another example where I have found John Rabet in the old digitised newspapers. (Don’t know yet if it is the same guy). I have taken a screenshot of how the search looks. On the left is the text which you are allowed to correct. The green section is a bit where I corrected the spellings. As the articles are so old and use old font the computer can interpret the words incorrectly.

Ann, the lady who presented the talk explained that she can spend as much as 50 to 60 hours per week on correcting the text. This is as a volunteer. I think this is wonderful and this reminds me of all the family historians I have met that are generous with their time and knowledge.

I hope you find Trove useful too and have fun scrolling thorough the digitised newspapers and more!


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Town Petition from Merchants

Illustration from Historical and Topographical Description of the Channel Islands (1840) by Robert Mudie – “St. Helier’s, Jersey”

On the 29th March in 1871 a petition was rased in Jersey, Channel Islands. The crowd gathered in the streets of St. Helier (the Capital main town) and the harbour. On that day 343 signatures were collected on behalf of the merchants and seafaring men. The cause was a much needed harbour development in St. Helier.

In 1871 I had the following ancestors around at the time:

Isaac William Davey – age 49 – Shipwright

Isaac William Davey jr (son of above) – age 20 – Shipwright

William Davey (son of above) – age 18 – Shipwright

I do not see any of my ancestors names on the list of the petition. Does it not concern them? Are they happy with the size of the harbour as it is? Or have they been warned by their employees not to get involved maybe at the jeopardy of their jobs?

Maybe your ancestor is on the list, you can check it out here:

http://members.societe-jersiaise.org/lepivert/petition.htm

It is a great list and shows you a variety of people and their different professions that were involved including blacksmiths, drapers, merchants, ship builders and solicitors, etc.

Tip: The list is not in alphabetical order, bu tif you want to search for  a particular name hold down ‘command’ and ‘F’ on your Mac computer and a box will open up on the right handside at the top of your screen. Type in the surname and it will tell you how many there are on that page.

As a result of this petition a break water was built. I’m sure the event caused quite a stir in town on the day!


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More mystery photos – set 2

A while ago a reader contacted me to say that he had purchased a photo album which contained photographs of unknown people in the 1930′s. He believed that some, if not all the photos may have been taken in Jersey. He was correct as you can read here in a previous post: Mystery family holiday photos from reader.

Today I am uploading the second batch from his collection, which are fabulous. It is hard to say if they are in Jersey or not, but hopefully one of my lovely readers may recognise something.

richard - lady in cloche

A beautiful portrait photo of a young lady in a cloche hat.

Do you recognise this young lady or the interesting broach she is wearing?

richard - lady with dog

Who is this rather fashionable lady with her pet dog? Interesting style of hat too.

richard - mature couple by church

A well dressed couple at a special occasion

Do you recognise which church this may be? The window shape and the paving on the floor may be a clue.

richard - old lady in chacked dress

A very smart woman standing infront of her vegetable patch.

Do you recognise this woman and are they rhubarb plants behind her? I wonder too if the granite wall and stone borders have been painted white as is often seen in Jersey?

If you recognise any of these photos I would love to hear from you.

Many thanks to Richard for sharing his wonderful photos!


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Were your Breton ancestors from Nobility?

I subscribe to a great blog called The French Genealogy Blog. Today their post is about The Beleaguered Nobility of Brittany. In short, it describes how Louis XIV wanted to establish who in his realm was truly of the nobility and who was not. Apparently, nobility did not pay many forms of taxes, which meant that there was obviously a financial incentive for many to become what were known as “false nobles”. This problem was particularly severe in Bretagne. I was unaware of this until now.

Within the post, other links to very useful websites are provided which may or may not help you with your research into your Breton ancestors, but they are never-the-less all worth a look at.

Tudchentil - which has pages on 18 Breton Knights in a Tournament in 1238 or An Armorial Breton

 

Ploeuc Genealogy - which is about the history, genealogy and heritage to ploeuc and its surroundings, including Notaries of Ploeuc from 1739 – 1907

 

I doubt I have any nobility in my Breton ancestors, the Rabet’s. So far their statuses have been:

Laboureur – which has a variety of meanings including ploughman/ peasant or small tenant farmer rich enough to own their own plough (p228 – Soldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture, 1766-1870)

Cowman – herder of cows

 

Agricultural Labourer - a person who tills the soil for a living.

laboureur image

 

 


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Ann Marcellaine Mahaut – born 10 January 1854

St. Lawrence Church - I wonder if this was where Ann was born?

St. Lawrence Church, Jersey, Channel Islands – I wonder if this was where Ann was born?

Ann Marcellaine (Marcelin) Mahaut was my great great great grandmother. I am amazed and delighted that I have been able to go back this far. Our DNA is practically the same. When I got my DNA test results for my MATERNAL LINEAGE’ it says our ancient ancestors (known as the Travelers) come from the maternal haplogroup U. According to wikipedia, the possible time of origin is 55.000 BP and possible place of origin is Western Asia. There are 8 subgroups in the U group and therefore I need to discover more about which of the 8 I may be in and therefore more specifically where my ancient ancestors come from.

As far as I know, Ann wasn’t from anywhere as far as Asia, for she was born in Jersey, Channel Islands.

Here is her timeline:

1854 – Ann Marcellaine Mahaut is the second  child born to Jean Aimable Mahaut (c. 1819) and Anne Henriette Quenault (c.1819). Place of birth was St. Lawrence, Jersey. She has an older sister Lydie born in 1843, nearly 11 years earlier.

1861 – In the Census of 1861, Ann is living at the Farm House, St. Lawrence with just her parents. Lydie had proably left home by now as she would have been 18 years old.

1870 – Opening of the railway from St. Helier to St. Aubins.

1871 – In the census a decade later, Ann  (17) is now living with her parents at the Bake House in Vingtaine of the Valley, St. Laurence. Her father is now a Sailor and her mother a Baker. Ann is now also a Baker and is obviously helping her mother. I wonder if it was their own business. I know there was an old bakehouse in St. Lawrence. Times have changed. During this year the Channel Islands Exhibition was held in Victoria College Grounds.

At some point in time Ann meets Philip James Hamon (he is 18 years older than her and this is possibly his second marriage). I have yet to discover the marriage date and details, although according to the website Family Treemaker, it states that she got married in 1875. Click on the following link to see details: Familytree maker

1875 – Ann gives birth to a daughter Anna Eveline Hamon with her husband Philip J. Hamon.

1877 – Ann and Philip have their second child, Philip James Hamon jr.

1879 – Ann and Philip have their 3rd chilld George Hamon.

1881 – Ann (27) and Philip have their 4th child Charles Hamon. The details at Charles’s baptism are as follows: father’s occupation – Mariner. Godparents – John Charles Quenault (maybe Ann’s relation) and Mary Ann Denise. Ann is now living  along St. Aubin’s Road.

1882 – Ann and Philip have their 5th child, Walter Hamon.

1883 – ON the 5th December, Ann and Philip have their 6th child, Florence Sophia Hamon (my great great grandmother). They are now all living at No.4 Newgate Street, St. Helier in town near the local prison, which would have had a very different environment to the countryside of St. Lawrence.

1891 – Ann (aged 37) is still living at 4 Newgate Street with her husband and children: Philip, George, Charles, Florence, Priscilla, Edith and a boarder Florence H. Le Gros. Her husband Philip is still a Seaman, while her son Philip is a Carpenter’s apprentice and the other children are scholars, apart from Edith who is too young for school aged 5.

1899 – On the 30th March 1899 the London and South Western steamer, the ‘Stella’ sank on it’s way to Guernsey and Jersey. It hit the rocks off Alderney’s coast and sank within 15 minutes. 86 passengers and 19 crew died.

1901 – Ann (47) has moved to No.5 Patriotic Place with her Husband Philip, now a news vendor at the age of 66. Her son Philip is no longer a Carpenter’s apprentice but a Sailor. Her son George is a Labourer at Saws Mill? (Hard to read). Florence and Edith are still at home too.

1911 – The final Census available at this current time states that Ann (57) is living with her husband Philip and they are both now working as News Vendors from home. Their son Philip (aged 34) is still living with them and is working as a Seaman still.

My research ends there as I have not been able to find out anymore. I do not know when Ann died or where she or her husband are buried. The Familytree maker website says she dies in Guernsey.

Researching my female ancestors is always a joy to me. I like to discover what their everyday lives might have been like and compare it to mine.

If you know more about Ann and her family I would love to hear from you.

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