Friday, April 15, 2016

M is for Malta (and Musters)

M is for Malta (and Musters)

Image taken from page 237 of 'John Cassell's Illustrated History of England. The text, to the Reign of Edward I., by J. F. Smith; and from that period by W. Howitt' from the British Library on Flickr

My great-great-grandfather Edward Conner served in Malta - or at least I'm pretty sure he did because the eldest of his children was born there - Edward G Conner in about 1856/7.

According to The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, (borrowed from my father's library this week during a visit to Sydney), Malta is:

a strategically placed island in the central Mediterranean Sea commanding the relatively narrow channel between the southern extremity of Europe and the northern extremity of was the main base of the British Mediterranean Fleet.   
(pp. 514-515)

ADM 338/51 and ADM 338/52 have records of Baptisms 1845-1959 (Malta, dockyard) and 1924-77 (Malta (Bighi), Royal Naval Hosptial and church).   ADM 304/21-24 has the patients' register of the Bighi Hospital from 1804-1840. ADM 304/25 has a post-mortem register for the same hospital from 1829-1838.  (Pappalardo, pp.115 and 143).

To date, I have only been able to verify Edward G Conner's birthdate and place from Census records so looking at ADM338/51 would have to be a must at some stage.  There is a very interesting website here called Malta Family History but I haven't found anything on that just yet.

The Wiki page about Malta on Family Search here has some more informative links.  I do hope you use the Wiki page on Family Search.  It is always very useful I find.  It referred to this informative article on researching Maltese ancestors by HV Wyatt.

I also came across this site which seems interesting but hasn't been updated since 2009 so should be used with caution.  

If I wanted to find out more about Edward Conner Senior, it would probably be worth my while checking out the Musters. Pappalardo says:

"if you are trying to track down information about a rating, the importance of these records cannot be stressed highly enough."

(Pappalardo, p. 99)

Do we all remember what a rating is?  They are the people below the commissioned and warrant officers.  In the 1861 census Edward Conner described himself as an Engine Fitter so I think that is a rating rather than Warrant Officer status.  

Ships' musters can be found from 1667-1878 in ADM 36, ADM 37, ADM 38, ADM 39 and ADM 41. You need to know the name of the ship your ancestor served on and when to find the correct records.  

ADM 102 has hospital musters from 1740-1860. As there are 922 volumes you will need to narrow down your search by looking for the place name or name of the hospital e.g. Malta or Bighi or Haslar depending on your ancestor's whereabouts.  

Pappalardo provides an invaluable list of terms and abbreviations used in musters on page 103 of Tracing Your Naval Ancestors.   

Will I be able to muster the strength to keep going with the fabulous Blogging from A-Z challenge? Perhaps with the aid of some Maltesers!  Thank you everyone for all your lovely comments.  I apologise for the silence my end.  I was down in Sydney visiting my father and doing yet more family research - but more of that later.  In the meantime I will try and catch up with everyone else's hard work.

From Sid on Flickr.  Creative Commons licence is here.


Wendy said...

HA HA - you've been staring at the computer too long. I love "Maltesers" but I know them as either Whoppers or Malted Milk Balls. As for muster rolls, I'm more familiar with them when searching for ancestors who served in the Civil War (1860-65). I believe later musters are available but just have not used them.

Suzanne McClendon said...

I didn't know about the FamilySearch Wiki page. Thank you for that information. I will definitely check it out.

I hope that your daddy is doing well and that you had a fun visit.

Have a blessed day!

Jill Ball said...

I have fond memories of sailing through those heads. Malta is a fascinating place with an interesting history.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Wendy, Suzanne and Jill. Thank you as always for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Wendy isn't it funny how we have different names for the same things? Suzanne I am so pleased you have discovered the FamilySearch Wiki page - it has helped me when those brick walls pop up as they inevitably do. My Daddy is doing well, all things considered, and it is always a joy to be in his company. Jill I am deeply envious of your travels. Malta is definitely on my bucket list !

Dianne said...

MMMMMMMMMMalted Milk Balls!!!! My favourite thing next to blackballs when I was growing up. The Easter Bunny used to leave me some every year.
When I get as far as I can in my current research, I will have to get to the muster rolls and other military records. I have a few that I know (and maybe a few that I don't?) that were in the navy in the UK.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Dianne - the Easter bunny was very thoughtful in your house that's for sure. There's always something else to do in family history research isn't there?