Saturday, May 1, 2010

Surname Saturday: French - Channel Islands to Victoria, Australia

Surname Saturday is a daily blogging theme suggested on the geneabloggers site. I intend to use my Surname Saturday posts to highlight, briefly, each of my male great-great-grandparents and their families. All information presented here should be considered a work in progress, requiring further research and verification.

James William FRENCH

My great-great-grandfather, James William French (1824 to 1896), son of mariner James Henry French and Elizabeth Adelaide De La Roche, was born in England. At some point the family moved to the Channel Islands, where James William French married Ann Spence in 1845.

James and Ann travelled to Victoria Australia in 1848 as assisted immigrants on board the ship, Mahomed Shah.

The move to Australia may have been driven by financial difficulties. In 1848, while James William French was en-route to Australia, bankruptcy proceedings against a man by the name of James William French were being undertaken in the Jersey Court. He did not make an appearance in court. I have not yet taken the (daunting) step into Channel Island research to determine if it was indeed the same man and to seek further information.

James and Ann had the following children:
1.  Matilda Sarah Ann French (1847-1919)
2.  James Henry French (1849-1915)
3.  George Walter French (1852-1854)
4.  Helen Catherine French (1844-1931)
5.  Annie Jane French (1858-1862)
6.  Catherine Hope Fremch (1860-1862)
7.  Louisa Jane French (1866-1939)

All but Matilda were born in Victoria Australia.

James William French lived in Collingwood and worked as a painter, before making his way to the goldfield area of Lamplough, near Avoca, where he worked as a miner and later a farmer. He died in 1896 and was buried in Avoca.

Please get in touch with me if you are connected to this family!

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