genealogy

Introduction

This is the fourth day of travel en route by ship from Gibraltar to India. Joseph paints a picture of life aboard the troopship with details of bathing, meals, safety drills, and entertainment.

The Diary Entry

14.2.89

A bright morning, not so rough. Slept till six thirty. Got up, roll up my hammock & cleaned my boots & had a wash, which is a very hard thing to get on a Trooper, especially in fresh water as I had this morning.

Went in to see Pollie, she was up, & in wash-house, washing baby.

Sickness gone, had a got breakfast which both of us enjoyed, off ham, as we where thoughtful enough to bring a whole ham with us, which I cooked in the cook-house, & a whole Dutch cheese & some braion thanks to Pollies economy in house keeping.

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Introduction

The troopship carrying Joseph and his fellow soldiers continued to sail eastward through the Mediterranean Sea, with the north coast of Africa sighted. It was not a good day for Joseph, however. There was insubordination, snow, ongoing sea sickness, and to top it all off, a hammock mishap.

The Diary Entry

13.2.89

At 4 Am, a Petty Officers & called for the watch. Then I mustered them. There was about 40 of them out of the 100 which should have been there. I reported it to the Officer of the watch & he told me to tell the bugler to sound the watch call, but there was only a Sergt, a Corprl, & one or two turn out.

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Introduction

For those with a love of being on the water, today’s diary entry paints a picture of adventure, albeit it a small one. There is rough weather in the Alboran Sea, some sea sickness, and a thorough drenching.

The Diary Entry

12.2.89

Arose at 5 am, rolled up my hammock & went up on deck & had a wash as we are not allowed in the womans quarters till 7 am. Just as I was going in, I was told Pollie was on deck, so I went up on deck & their she sit the only woman on deck. It was a fine morning but rather rough, & Pollie would not go below, but remained on deck all day.

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Diary of JJ Rowe, 1889

In a previous post, I wrote about my great-granduncle, Joseph James Rowe, and his time with the British army in Gibraltar, India, and Rangoon, from 1883 until his death in 1923. After writing that post, I was contacted by Joseph’s great-granddaughter, Marion Bowles, who kindly provided me with a copy of a journal that Joseph had kept during the 5-week period from 10 February to 20 March 1889.

Joseph’s journal is a personal one, rather than a formal army diary, and through it, Joseph provides us with insights into army life, the perils of travelling by sail, what he saw en route to, and in, India.

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JJ Rowe Diary: 11 Feb 1889

Introduction

The first entry in Joseph Rowe’s 5-week diary was made on 11 February 1889. He had been stationed in Gibraltar with the British army for just over a year, and it was here that his first child, also named Joseph, was born in 1888.

The diary begins on the day that Joseph and his fellow soldiers departed Gibraltar for India, the site of their next posting. Also travelling with Joseph were his wife, Pollie, and his 4-month old son. It is a nostalgic entry, looking back at his time in Gibraltar and the friends that he and Pollie were leaving behind.

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Bridget Surdival: From Mayo to Brooklyn

When the White Star Line’s SS Germanic sailed out of Queenstown (now Cobh, Co. Cork), Ireland on 14 April 1898, there were many young Irish men and women aboard, including 19-year-old Bridget Surdival.  The ship was headed for the port of New York, and Bridget was going to join her older sister, Mary, who was living in Brooklyn.

SS_Germanic_c1890-1900 with caption

Bridget was born in 1876 in Balla, Co. Mayo, Ireland, to parents John Surdival and Bridget Reilly. She was the youngest sister of my great-grandfather Patrick Surdival (a.k.a. Patrick Sullivan). Although her name was registered as Biddy, she used the names Bridget, Beatrice, and Beattie.

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Was Your Ancestor a Kew Gardener?

FMNHave you discovered a gardener in your family? Perhaps, like me, you have come across one or more ancestors noted in the census records as gardeners, horticulturalists, or nurserymen. Some, like Thomas Gee, learned their trade by serving as apprentices. Others, like my father’s cousin Frank Clarke, may have trained at a horticultural school such as that at Kew Gardens on the outskirts of London, England. If they studied at Kew, there are resources available to help you learn more about their training and later employment. In some cases, you will be able to fill in the gaps between census enumerations.
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On This Day: 4 September 1932 - Death of Walter Clarke

CLARKE Walter with captionEighty-four years ago today, on 4 September 1932, great-uncle Walter Clarke died in Palgrave, Suffolk, England at the age of 71. He was a public-spirited man, and his death was therefore felt not only by family, but by his community as well. The Diss Express for 9 September 1932 carried a report of Uncle Walter’s death that included many details of his public service.

Walter was born in Palgrave in 1861 and trained as a printer-compositor. He worked for Francis Cupiss of Diss, Norfolk, a veterinarian medicines manufacturer who operated several printing presses to create, among other things, labels for his horse and cattle medications.

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Never on a Sunday

Have you ever wondered what day of the week your great-grandparents married on? Did our ancestors, like many of us nowadays, favour June weddings? I was curious, so I decided to take a look at the marriages in the parish of some of my ancestors to see what was popular a hundred years ago.

Baconsthorpe, Norfolk, England is a small parish in rural East Anglia. Between 1811 and 1901 its total population fluctuated between a low of 218 and a high of 333. During the time period from 1 January 1753 to 31 December 1900, there was a total of 272 marriages.

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Joseph Rowe: Service in Gibraltar and India

Joseph James Rowe was one of my great-grandfather’s younger brothers. He was born and baptised in Baconsthorpe, Norfolk, England, in 1863. By the time he was 18 years old, he was working as an agricultural labourer, still living at home with his family in Baconsthorpe.

Everything else that I know about Joseph comes from his military service records. He joined the Norfolk Regiment at Great Yarmouth on 10 April 1883, when he was about 20 years old, although his age was recorded on his service record at the time as 18 and a half years.

Norfolk Map

I don’t have any photographs of Joseph, but his records help paint a picture of his physical appearance.

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