Sunday, July 1, 2012

FlipPal and the Taits

Extract from Passenger List of Shenir 1883

This post is the attempt to structure thoughts about some recent research on my husband's side of the family ....and also to show some early efforts at scanning using my brand new FlipPal.

So...let me show you the FlipPal scanner ....

Here it is in it's bright purple carry case which for some reason looks blue in this photo.....

Here it is unveiled for the world to see....

So you can see that it is quite small and easy to carry...I don't know what it weighs...okay I'll go and weigh weighs 770g with the carry  case or nearly 2lbs.

 Here it is open and ready for business.....see that little screen on the right?

That's where you can see your image when you scan it...

The image gets recorded on the SD card just under the screen there...

And if your computer is old and clunky like mine and doesn't take SD cards, never fear, the FlipPal comes with a USB stick that you can stick it in the side of - putting all my prepositions the wrong way around in a most ungainly fashion but I'm sure you get the gist and I'm sorry for the over-exposure in the last photo.

I love my FlipPal scanner because it means I now have a scanner that is closer to me, portable and easier to operate than the one in my husband's study which always seems to take forever to scan and then save stuff to the wrong drive and take forever for me to find and then re-size.  I can take this one anywhere with me and scan stuff that people may not have copies of e.g. old photos.  I will report on how friendly places are with regards to scanning stuff from microfilm screens etc.  I bought mine from the lovely people at Gould and no, they are not paying me to write this blog.

Okay so back to family history.  An old contact emailed me this week and put me in touch with someone who is researching the Tait family.  He is descended from one line of the family and we are descended from the other and we are trying to stitch stories together.  His side of the family went down to Sydney.  Our mob stayed up he is interested in what they did between their arrival in Queensland in January 1883 and their departure to Sydney c 1920.

This is what I have found so far...

From the A.D. Edwardes collection at the State Library of South Australia

Shipping List - the Taits arrived on the Shenir in Maryborough January 1883.  Alex and Catherine aged 29 and 26 respectively with their four children, William aged 6, Catherine aged 3, Alex aged 2 and James aged 1.  The Shenir left Glasgow 21 September 1882 so the voyage took about 14 weeks.    
Newspaper Articles - Several articles found on Trove give some insight into the calibre of the immigrants, the voyage and their reception. 
The Queenslander
The Brisbane Courier Friday 12 January 1883

The Queenslander Saturday 10 March 1883

Historical Index of the Qld Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, shows that Alexander and Catherine welcomed another son into the world - John on 30 June 1884.  

The Queensland 13 March 1886
But another newspaper article indicates that not all is going well for Alexander Tait, now of Ipswich, who was adjudicated insolvent on 7 October 1885. Five months later he applied for the certificate of discharge which was granted by his Honour Sir Charles Lilley, Chief Justice in the Supreme Court.  

Meanwhile, more children are on their way - George on 25 April 1886, Mary on 5 May 1888 and Thomas Christopher on 28 April 1891.  Will I obtain their birth certificates?  Perhaps.

School records searchable through FindmyPast are a bit difficult to confirm as there are many Taits in Queensland.

However a search of the Orphanage and Reformatory indexes on the Queensland State Archives reveals the following:

On 17 May 1890 at the age of 10, Alexander the 2nd eldest son, standing 3 ft 11 inches and weighing 55lbs with a chest circumference of 23 & 1/2 inches with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair was tried at Ipswich and convicted of larceny.  He was sentenced to three years at what is now the infamous Westbrook Reformatory School for boys.  He was a Roman Catholic and his father Alex, a painter, lived at Mortimore Street in Ipswich.  So very very sad.  This paper is about the reform school located at Lytton but may give some idea of what life may have been like at Westbrook at the time.  This promotional film made in the 1950s gives a rosy picture of life there rather at odds with recent publications.
My first attempt at stitching on the FlipPal - Alex Tait's entry in the admission register

Then in 1894, George his younger brother, at the age of 8 was tried at Longreach, convicted of neglect and sentenced for four years.  It's a bit difficult to read the writing but it seems his father was away.

Ploughing at Westbrook State Farm, 1896
On 25 August 1899 Thomas Tait, at the age of 8, was tried at Roma and convicted of larceny and sentenced for seven years.  His father was listed as a painter living at Roma.

A month later his older brother, William Macdonald Tait at the age of 24, a saddler of Oxley married Mary Anna Cathcart (nee Grieve) a widow from Walloon aged 27.  These are my husband's great-grandparents.

In 1900 William's youngest sister Mary was admitted to the Industrial School for Girls in Toowoomba aged 12 and released in 1903.  

William Macdonald and Mary Anna had Sydney McDonald in 1900, Pearly Gladys in 1902 (who died a year later) and then Elsie Coralene (my husband's grandmother) in July 1906. William was listed as a picture framer in the Qld Commonealth Electoral Roll living at Hampton Street Woolloongabba.  On Elsie's birth certificate he is listed as living in Baines Street Kangaroo Point.

Hawthorne Street Woolloongabba 1900 with bubonic plague quarantine fencing
In September of 1908 Mary Anna died of double pneumonia.  At that time the family were still living at Kangaroo Point.  She was buried at Ipswich Cemetery.  We have yet to find the grave.  I should call the Sexton tomorrow - no luck with the online indexes so far.  I have checked Anglican, Pioneer, Presbyterian and General.  

We know Elsie was sent to live with the Linnings who lived at Walloon.  We're not sure what happened to Sydney.  Elsie is listed as attending Jondaryan State School in 1918.  You can find out more about Jondaryan here.

Elsie Tait

William re-married in 1909 to Elise Louise Emma Mengel.  They had two daughters - Thelma Maria Margreta and then Katherine Emma in 1912.  

By the 1913 Qld Commonwealth Electoral Roll William's father Alexander is still listed as a house painter but now living in Crown Street Brisbane South.  William is listed as a fancy goods dealer in Logan Road Woolloongabba.  

In 1914 William is listed as living in both Bourbong Street Bundaberg as an auctioneer and then in August with his wife Emma in Gympie as an auctioneer and shopkeeper in Gympie.  Kathleen Emma Tait is listed as attending the One Mile State School in Gympie in 1919.  The photo below was taken a few years earlier but gives a sense of the size of the school.

One Mile State School 1912

In 1920 Kathleen Emma's grandfather and William's father Alexander died, according to the Historical Index.  So there's a death certificate for me to get.  

According to the Historical index of the Qld BDM, William died in 1944.  His parents are listed incorrectly as Edward Mcdonald and his mother's surname as Molloy when I understood it to be Catherine Munay.  This could be an error however as the copy of the marriage certificate has been transcribed so who could even be Murray.  I must order this certificate even though it probably contains some inaccuracies.  It would be nice to know where he is buried.

I have found some Taits buried at Toowong cemetery but it is difficult to know if they are ours.

So this has been a long and turgid post, for which I apologise.  But it is an attempt to record research and its sources on the run as it were.  Have you any suggestions as to further research I could conduct?


Jill Ball said...

So pleased you like your new toy. As a fledgling salesperson I worry that people might form a positive relationship with their purchases.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Jill

You are an excellent fledgling salesperson and your enthusiasm is infectious. I just hope I don't muck up my toy too much with my enthusiasm.


Judy Webster said...

I love my Flip-Pal too, though I have not had much time to play with it yet. As for suggestions for further research... I can think of some potentially useful sources at Qld State Archives. They are described in my book Tips for Queensland Research, which is in lots of libraries. Be sure to use the most recent edition (2008).

Alex Daw said...

Dear Judy

Thanks for this. I will definitely follow up that recommendation.


Boobook said...

I've just acquired a Flip-Pal and it's taken over my life!

Alex Daw said...

This is a very good thing indeed. Of course my house has gone to rack and ruin now - vacuuming and such is but a distant memory. Such is the price one pays for recording history.