Friday, June 27, 2014

How do you spell that?

This post may not really be of much interest to anyone.  It's such a common story in family history but it bears repeating.  And this is more of a note to self than anything else but if you get something out of it too, all to the good.

I'm a bit excited because next week Caspar and I are going on a holiday to Tasmania.  As a family historian going somewhere automatically becomes a question of "What research should I be doing while I'm there?"  I haven't been to Tassie for a long time - maybe a decade??  Last time I was there it was for work, so a very snatched visit with little time to do any prolonged resesarch.  This trip will probably be a bit the same.  I don't want to bore Cas too much. However....

The Forfar family have led me and my cousins a merry dance over the years and their first born child (I think) was born in Hobart - Queen Street East Sandy Bay to be precise.  So I'd like to go back there and have another go at finding the house.  But I'd also like to get into the Archives and see if I can dig up any more dirt   information on them while I'm there.  

Walter William and Kate said they were married in Perth, W.A.   We've never been able to prove that.  We suspect they never did marry.  Particularly as Kate was already married to someone else - ahem.  Anyway,.....there is a Perth in Tassie too.  And there is another Forfar family in Tassie too at the time...sort of.  And I know you're not meant to do this in family history...and it's a long bow to draw...but I'm trying to find out what took them to Tasmania and I thought to myself, well, maybe there were some cousins there or something.  Anyway.  

So, I looked up the Tasmanian federation index [cdrom] : births 1900-1919 ; deaths and marriages 1900-1930 published by Macbeth Genealogical Services : Archives Office of Tasmania, 2006. To quote the blurb on the CD cover it:  contains over 221,000 records of births, deaths, marriages registered in Tasmania and war deaths (WW1) of those who enrolled in Tasmania to serve with the Australian Imperial Forces and who died in service. The index was compiled by volunteers of the Tasmanian Family History Society Inc. The births include 1900-1919, marriages and deaths 1900 to 1930 and WW1 deaths.

This confirmed what I already knew: that Ernest Henry FORFAR was born 2 December 1900 at Queen St East Sandy Bay.  Reg. No. 254  His mother Kate's maiden name was shown as Sinclair.

Then I thought I'd go hunting for the other FORFAR that I found in Tasmania - Janet.  I looked up the Tasmanian pioneer index 1803-1899 [cdrom] - also published by Macbeth Genealogical Services ; Archives Office of Tasmania, 2003.described as A database indexing all births, deaths and marriages for the period 1803-1899 recorded by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages and now held by the Archives Office of Tasmania.

I found that Janet FORFAR or SMITH (great!) married Henry TURNER 22 March 1858 at the age of 26 in Longford 629/1858 Reg. No.  Henry was 27 years old.  Good!  I thought to myself.  "Now let's look for children".  Now these CD-ROMS take a bit of patience.  Someone much smarter than me would have a technical term for the kind of searching you do on them but it's basically a narrowing down of common results.  To explain in layman's terms, you enter a search term and the computer scans the disc for results and you eventually narrow it down by a series of steps e.g. enter Surname many hundreds or thousands of results, enter Christian name of Father, narrow results down to hundreds, enter surname of mother, narrow results down to hopefully the ancestors you're looking for - if that makes sense.  I really need a screen shot here don't I?  

Anyway - I didn't get any results for Henry and Janet.  "Oh" I thought to myself "They could have been childless I suppose.  I'll look for her death."  Found it.  Janet Turner died 8 August 1892 aged 61 at Longford Reg. 381/1892.

There were however 109 results for people with the surname FORFAR and Father Henry.  "I'd better look at them I thought".  Just as well I did.

Here's how you can spell Janet....


Want to know how to spell FORFAR?


Just saying.....

So I found that Henry and Janet had the following children:

Henry 21 Jan 1859 (mother listed as Janett TORFER)
Jane 5 April 1860 1413/1860 (mother listed as Jannet)
Mary Anne 11 July 1862 951/1862 (mother listed as Jannet FORTHARER)
Maria 18 Sept 1864 1154/1864 (mother's surname listed as FERFAR)
Edward 2 December 1868 791/1869

How do you spell your name again? 

Oh and any tips or suggestions for what Caspar and I should do while we're in Tassie?  Apart from wearing lots of warms clothes!


Jill Ball said...

I always cringe when people insist when researchers won't accept that their literate ancestors only had one spelling for tbeir names.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Jill....yes.....hmmmm....I reckon I'm pretty literate and I still spell people's names incorrectly.

Anne Young said...

We definitely have to be creative in trying to find our relatives but thinking of different permutations to search helps a lot. Aren't the indexes marvellous though?! You might have to be creative with your searches but you can uncover a lot of family history quite fast. I thought I would look in Trove for your Forfar forebears too. I found Janet's arrival on the "Forest Monarch" in 1857 - you might already have found that though.


Alex Daw said...

Thank you Anne. Unfortunately we ran out of time in Tasmania and I didn't get to do any family history research but we had a great time nevertheless. And yes...indexes are marvellous!