Saturday, March 10, 2012

Amy Jones, a "Fearless Female".

March is Women's History Month and last year I wrote a number of articles about Fearless Females.  Auntie Amy is one I missed.

Amy Jones was about the same age as the twins, Thomas and Alice Crockett and they undoubtedly knew each other as children.  In 1901 the Jones family lived on Dudley Road and the Crockett family lived on High Street in the city of Stourbridge.  Amy was a twenty-year-old dressmaker living with her family when her fiance, Tom Crockett emigrated to Canada in April 1912.  It would be another three years before Amy embarked from Liverpool on the White Star liner, Arabic on August 18, 1915.  She was twenty-four years old, but the newspaper articles still referred to her as a girl.

The Arabic was one of the first passenger ships to be sunk by German submarines in World War I; it only took twenty minutes for the ship to go down with the loss of six passengers and twenty-six crew members.  The following article appeared in the September 14 issue of the Edmonton Daily Bulletin where Amy gave an account of her experience.

Letter From Young English Girl on Way to Edmonton on the Arabic

Although there were no Edmontonians on the White Star liner Arabic, when she was sunk off the south coast of Ireland on the morning of the 19th of August, there was one young lady passenger who was on her way here.  She is Miss Amy Jones, of Stourbridge, England, fiance of Mr. Thomas Crockett, transfer clerk at the Hudson's Bay stores.  She was among those that were saved, and in a letter she gives a graphic account of her terrible experiences.

"We set sail in the best of spirits; the passengers were so friendly and no one seemed to give a thought to the dangers which might be lurking ahead.  I made friends with a young Irish girl in the same cabin as myself and we quite enjoyed our first night aboard.

Next morning as soon as breakfast was over--it would be about nine o'clock--we went up on deck and were chatting with a few other passengers when out attention was drawn to another ship ahead, which appeared to be sinking.  We little dreamed it had been torpedoed and I did not in the least feel afraid.

We had been watching the Dunsley for some time when suddenly someone near us cried "Look out; submarine" and the vessel was struck in a second.  The explosion was terrible and we were thrown from one side of the vessel to the other, my friend and I being parted in the excitement.  I simply rolled in the water on the deck and the fumes from the torpedo seemed to take my senses away.  I was left lying on the deck; they evidently thought I was done for.  When I opened my eyes I tried to get to my feet but could hardly manage it as I was in so much water.  I couldn't see a woman anywhere, only a few men.  Of course those below, poor souls, had been blown to pieces.  A lifebelt lay near me, into which I tried to get, but the tapes were broken off, so that I couldn't fasten it to me.  Just then I spotted a boat full of men at the side and I rolled off into the middle of them.  It was a case of help yourself and had I not done so I would not be here now.

We had just got away from the Arabic when she disappeared and I felt so sorry, for it was a lovely boat. After being in the lifeboat long enough to get stiff with cold, as I was wet through, we were picked up by a destroyer, and I cried for joy.  I tried not to break down, but I really couldn't help it for I felt half dead.  We must have presented a strange sight, for most were only half dressed.  I had no coat or hat and I even lost my shoes.  I managed to have some of my money, for I had it fastened round my neck, and although the notes were wet they dried out alright and I was able to purchase new clothes in Queenstown when we were landed.  We were taken to the Queen's Hotel, Queenstown, and here I met my Irish friend again.  We were delighted to see each other again, for each thought the other had been lost.  It appears she got away on one of the first boats.

Everything except what I stood up in was lost--presents, jewelry, and all other belongings.  I retained my watch and one ring, but the watch is useless for it stopped when the boat was struck and had refused to work since.  Still, I suppose I should not think of any loss I have had, but thank God for being saved from such an awful death.

Some poor souls suffered far worse than I did.  It made my heart ache to see the poor children who had lost their mothers and I was filled with hatred of those inhuman wretches who could make innocent people suffer so.

We left Queenstown at 4 p.m. Friday and traveled by train to Dublin.  From there we sailed by midnight mail boat to Hollyhead and then by train to Liverpool.  I reached home safely at 9 p.m. Saturday evening little worse for the awful experience which I had undergone"

Undaunted, Amy set sail again to be with her Tom.  She sailed aboard the Corsican less than two months after the disaster with the Arabic and arrived in Quebec on October 25, 1915.  The following appeared in the Morning Bulletin on Friday, December 17, 1915 in the column entitled CUPID'S COURT:
A happy event was solemnized yesterday afternoon at St. Faith's church when Miss Amy Jones of Stourbridge, England and Mr. Thomas A Crockett of Edmonton, were united in matrimony by the Rev. Mr. Whittaker.  The bride looked charming in a white satin dress with veil, and wreath of orange blossoms, she was given away by Mr. E. Ball, and her bridesmaid was Miss A. James.  The groom was supported by his cousin, Pte. C. Arnold, of the 51st Battalion, as best man.  After the ceremony, luncheon was served at the home of Mr. and Mrs. B. Arnold, 11824 91st Street.  Mr. Crockett has a large circle of young friends and about fifty guests gathered at the house after the ceremony and showered their congratulations upon the happy pair.
Mrs. Crockett is the plucky English girl who was among the rescued when the Arabic was torpedoed by a German submarine.  A full account of her experiences was published in the Bulletin shortly after that tragic even took place.  Although having lost all she had on her first short trip, she was undaunted, and as soon as she recovered from the ordeal she had undergone, and re-equipped herself, she came to meet her fiance--now her husband.  The happy couple were recipients of numerous lovely presents, including one from a number of Mr. Crockett's fellow employees at the Hudson's Bay store.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wales parish registers available at last

The parish registers for Wales are becoming available on Find my Past including images.

This is the first time that the complete Welsh parish baptism, marriage and death records have been published online and is fantastic news for anyone with Welsh ancestors.
The records cover Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Glamorganshire. Further details are as follows:
Baptisms: 1,418,921 records covering 1538-1911
Marriages: 950,254 records covering 1539-1926
Banns: 340,002 records covering 1701-1926
Burials: 1,169,685 records covering 1539-2007
Coming soon are records for the following counties: Anglesey, Brecknockshire, Caernarvonshire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire and Radnorshire.

More doors are opening!  Have found christening for Jane Bradshaw in Bangor, Wales and will expand on what I find in a later blog.

John Bellamy, mariner

The Bellamy side of the family has been my greatest challenge in the family tree.  My grandfather, John Samuel Bellamy aka John Stanhope Bellamy was an enigma and parts of his life are still unknown to me.  See John Bellamy - A research challenge. I still wonder about the circumstances of my great-grandparents, John Henry Bellamy and Elizabeth Rason's emigration to Canada; but my brick wall has been John Henry Bellamy's father, John Bellamy.

John Bellamy married Mary Frances Parker in Boston, Lincolnshire 25 December 1951.  On the marriage entry John was listed as a mariner of full age, son of John Bellamy a labourer.  The marriage took place after the 1851 census and Mary Frances Bellamy was listed as a widow with three children aged 8, 5, and John Henry Bellamy aged 3.  John Henry Bellamy was born in Boston 31 March 1858, his father was John Bellamy, a mariner in the coasting trade. The mother, Mary Frances Bellamy, formerly Parker, registered the birth 7 May 1858.  Mary Frances could write, John Bellamy could not and signed his marriage with an X.  Those were the only facts I could go on until last week when Find My Past finally offered the Merchant Navy records.

I believe my g.g.grandfather is:
John Bellamy born at Hareby, Lincolnshire 11 December 1824.  Ticket number 131076 was issued at Boston, Lincolnshire 10 January 1845, his capacity or rank was "boy". He was 5' 5" tall with fair complexion, light hair, and blue eyes.  He first went to sea as boy in 1843 (aged 19).  He could not write and when not at sea, he was resident of Boston.

Knowing that, I looked for John Bellamy from Hareby and found the following at Family Search:

name: John Bellamy
gender: Male
baptism/christening date: 12 Dec 1824
baptism/christening place: HAREBY,LINCOLN,ENGLAND
father's name: John Bellamy
mother's name: Sarah
indexing project (batch) number: C02893-1
system origin: England-ODM
source film number: 507824
 Two other children were listed on the same batch born to John and Sarah: William christened 1 Oct 1820 and Mary christened 15 Sep 1822.

Unfortunately, the 1841 census for England does not provide relationships, marital status, or place of birth and the ages of people over 15 are rounded down to the nearest 5.  I found the following family living on George Street in Boston, Lincolnshire:

Name Age
Sarah Bellamy 40
Mary Bellamy 15
Thomas Bellamy 14
Samuel Bellamy 12
George Bellamy 10
Sarah Bellamy 8
Elizabeth Bellamy 6
It appears that the father, John Bellamy has died before the census was taken in March 1841 and the son, John, had left the family to go to work by this time.  There are a number of John Bellamys working as labourers or servants aged 15 in and around Lincolnshire in 1841 but I cannot prove any of them are my John Bellamy.

Family Search is a free genealogy site with a lot of information and another free site specifically for Lincolnshire is Lincs to the Past.  When I typed Bellamy Hareby into the search box, I got the following result:

Removal Order
Reference Name BOLINGBROKE PAR CO/6/7/23
John Bellamy, labourer, Sarah his wife and their child Susanna aged about 1½, from Bolingbroke to Hareby.
Date: 15 November1819
Repository: Lincolnshire Archives [057]
Removal orders and Settlement Orders were sometimes required to move from one Poor Laws Union to another.  From this little tidbit I found that the father, John Bellamy, was a labourer and that the lived in Bolingbroke before November 1819.  I went back to Family Search and found Susannah who was christened 15 January 1818 in Bolingbroke.  She was the only child of John and Sarah listed.  I then searched for a marriage in Bolingbroke and there were none for John and Sarah.

Now I have lots to work on, but at least I have a starting place with more branches to my ever-increasing family tree.