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461More about other Richards

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  • jamesteebee
    Nov 16, 2006
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      Hello Everett, Adele and all other forum readers,

      There was a brief flurry of activity a while back, which was nice. I
      understand that it is easy to get frustrated by lack of progress on
      one's own particular search, but names alone do not make a family
      tree and it is important to try to understand the social and
      cultural contexts our forebears lived in. Thus, I have read with
      interest most of the posts on this forum a couple of times, as well
      as the material made available on line.It would be nice, as another
      member wrote to pool the information we have in the form of a
      database, and make use of photos, links and files. I know, though,
      that some people may have proprietorial feelings regarding
      information they have garnered. I hope to consult LDS files soon,
      but that will not be before the new year. It would be nice to hear
      some stories of searches which were 'successful', especially if done
      at a distance - making the journey to SH is not something everyone
      can consider, in the short term, at least. It would also be nice to
      have some additional help with the history of the island, especially
      after 1834: the material on this site and on Dr Weaver's is mostly
      about the EIC period. Dr Schulenburg, can you make any of your
      papers available? I'd also like to ask you about your wife's
      knowledge of her family tree - I read that she is a descendant of
      Matthew Bazett, I believe, but is this information which has been
      handed down from generation to generation or something she had to
      research. The question I'm really asking is how much do Saints know
      about their own families? It's true that most people from the UK
      couldn't name their great-great grandparents at the drop of a hat,
      but they would feel quite confident of finding this information
      quite easily. On the other hand, given the small size of the
      population, I'd expect Saints to know more about their families
      than we do about ours.

      Everett, I, too, before learning of my grandfather's Saint Helena
      connection, thought that he probably had Portuguese blood, both
      because of his dark complexion and his melancholy. Of course, New
      Bedford, where your Elizabeth disembarked, has had a large
      Portuguese population going back to whaling days.

      Adele, mine are just questions and musings rather than insights,
      hence my requests for assistance from historians.

      Now to more specific questions regarding what I have read:

      1. Some of those recorded as having been born in SH in the 1881 UK
      census are described as being born British Subjects, while others
      not. What does this mean?

      2.My belief that most slaves received fanciful surnames rather than
      taking their masters' names is no longer as firm as it previously
      was. What happened as regards the freed African slaves who arrived
      on the island from the 1840s to 1860/70s - Meliss writing in 1875
      says they constituted one sixth of the population though, at that
      point, barely half a dozen had married 'yam stalks' (not sure how
      reliable his social insights were) What names did they receive and
      who from?

      3.While I do believe that many soldiers and sailors married Saints
      this is not backed up greatly by the marriage records of the Yons
      published on this site: by my calculations only seven of fifty-eight
      marriages of Yons between 1853 and 1901 were to servicemen. Am I
      wrong in thinking this is a low proportion?

      4.What was the composition of the indentured Chinese labourers?
      Entirely or largely male or 50/50? Had any thought been given to
      their physical and emotional needs?

      5.Following on from the previous question, was their prostitution on
      the island? After all, the presence of soldiers and sailors away
      from home used to go hand in hand with the oldest profession in the
      world.

      Enough questions for now.

      I have no firm leads regarding my ancestors from SH, but I have some
      more information - gathered from websites, and thus there for anyone
      to find - regarding what I believe are other people's Richards and
      perhaps related to Everett's family or Lavinia's.

      The first reference is to a Matilda Richards aged 18, a passenger on
      the Ocean Ranger from SH arriving in Natal on 5th May 1874 - 1874
      was a bumper year for Saints leaving for SA.There are no other
      details regarding her, but on board their were whole families and
      many bearing names typical of the island.

      A second and more interesting reference regards one Anne Marie
      Richards born SH c1887. She is described as being one of 10
      siblings, daughter of a British-born father, a blacksmith with the
      British Army, and a mixed-race Saint Helenian mother. The article
      relates how she won the appreciation of Boer POWs through her
      kindness towards them and she was presented with photographs signed
      by some prisoners. She became a teacher on the island, but left for
      S.Africa when her parents died. At first, she lived in Port
      Elizabeth with an Uncle and Aunt, then she went as a nursemaid to
      Jo'burg, after which she joined a cousin Henry Richards in Durban
      where she remained in service. She died in 1971 at the age of 84.
      Her last employer described her as being slightly coloured, as was
      one of her brothers, while the other siblings were white. It isn't
      clear whether this statement is based on observation or hearsay.
      What is curious to me is the presence of a cousin Richards in SA.
      Anne Louise's father was described as British, had he arrived in SH
      with a brother or had a brother gone to SA from the UK?

      The final references are ones which are available on this site,
      again from the Yon marriages listings: on 5th January 1914, Francis
      Robert Richards -age full- married Elizabeth Margaret Yon. while on
      1st December 1919, Francis Robert Richards and Selina Richards
      (sister?) were witnesses to the marriage of James Bazett Yon (25)
      and Florence Maud Phillips (21).

      Any tie-ins here?


      All from me for now.

      Regards

      James