It’s Trove Tuesday again and I’m participating in the regular Trove Tuesday blog challenge. My aim is to do it at least once a month, so I’m getting in early and hopefully there will be more than one post this month.
Regular searches of Trove are essential as new newspaper titles are added from time to time. I tend to stay with my main family lines and today it occurred to me that I had not checked my GGG grandfather John Carnegie’s alias for some time. He did three months with hard labour in Brisbane Gaol in 1869 for assault. When he came out, he changed his name to John Stanley and moved to Grafton in northern New South Wales with his wife Helen and daughters Helen and Georgina.
It took me many years to unravel the story using BDM certificates and other records as each new clue was revealed. Briefly, his daughter Georgina died in Grafton in 1871 and a daughter Clara was born there in 1872. Both the death and the birth were registered under the name of Stanley. The only reason that I looked under the name of Stanley was that in later life, back in Queensland, Clara used the name Clara Stanley Carnegie.
Discovering someone’s alias or new name can be almost impossible if there is no clue to what it might be. In this instance I had the odd name of Stanley with no other instances of it in the family lines.
I have looked for references to the death/burial of Georgina Stanley and the birth of Clara Stanley in Trove before but it was a while ago. There are still no references to them but I did pick up a newspaper article referring to John Stanley and his wife Helen. The Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser published local court proceedings and on 15 Aug 1871 John and Helen Stanley appeared in the Grafton Court to accuse Mary Ann Callaghan of stealing a white mohair dress from them.
Mary Ann had been employed as a domestic servant in their shop in Prince Street, Grafton. While the article does not give a lot of genealogical information the address does tie in with one of the certificates. So now I know it was a shop of some kind. When Mary Ann was located by the police, they could not find the dress in her belongings. The Bench ordered her to be discharged from custody as there was no proof that she had taken the dress.
These little snippets of information provide insight into our ancestors daily lives. Why was the dress so important to John and Helen? Why did they take Mary Ann to court? How did they feel when the case was dismissed? What did Mary Ann Callaghan do next?
By 1877 John and Helen and their two daughters Helen and Clara had moved back to Queensland and settled at Toorbul again using the surname Carnegie. The only insight into their time as Stanley was that Clara continued to use it as her middle name. Without that clue I would never have found them during those missing years.
As Trove continues to add the smaller, regional newspapers we will find these wonderful snippets into our ancestors lives. But only if we do repeated searches. This applies to all databases that are added to on a regular basis. Sometimes I think I will spend the rest of my life on the computer, but then I think about all the excitement and joy that researching my family history has given me over the last 40 years. The technology and resources we have now, often in the comfort of our own homes, is fantastic. Thanks Trove for another great find!