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
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
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.