Thursday, May 12, 2011

Research update May 2011

PAINTING Stannus_Sketch-on-the-Cornish-coast Anthony Carey Stannus
“Sketch on the Cornish coast” oil on canvas - Arthur Carey Stannus

Slowly but surely, I’m making headway in my research. Last weekend I managed a quick research outing. I only had two item to look up, but the complication was that they were at different locations.

Bennett death
One of the annoying missing details in my tree is the death of my gg-grandfather James Bennett 1831-???. I recently confirmed that James Bennett was the son of Michael Job Bennett and Mary Ann Barnes but I still don’t know when or where he died.

The first item on my to-do list last weekend was to check The Avoca Mail newspaper to see if I could find a death notice for James’ wife, who died in 1896. Not all editions of the newspaper are filmed and the paper didn’t have birth, death and marriage columns with entries neatly listed by bolded surname. I was in luck - I found a mention of her death a few days after the event halfway down a dense column of text.

“Another old resident of the district passed away on Friday evening in the person of Mrs Bennett, wife of Mr Jas. Bennett, of Avoca. The deceased lady had been ailing for some time, so that her end was not altogether unexpected. The remains were interred in the Avoca cemetery on Saturday afternoon.”

The Avoca Mail [microform], 11 February 1896, evening edition, no page number, col 4.

This sounds to me as though James Bennett was still alive when his wife died. That being the case, it cuts 13 years off the time period I need to search for his death as I last have him alive in 1883. This gave me the confidence to later download a Victorian death certificate I’d had my eye on, but unfortunately it was not him. Goodbye $17.50. I’ll look for more clues before I try again.

Stannus marriage
The second item on my very short to-do list was to view the marriage certificate of my ggg-grandparents William Ephraim Stannus and Catherine Mack. I had previously seen their marriage information in an unpublished research manuscript that has circulated around the family. More recently, I had seen the information transcribed in the FamilySearch historical records. The film had been waiting for me for a few weeks so I had to get in to see it before it was sent back again.

I confirmed William and Catherine’s marriage details (Belfast, 22 August 1848) and also learned that Catherine’s father, Robert Mack, was a Merchant Taylor. I know very little about the Mack family – no doubt Robert’s occupation will be a big help when I decide to look for more.

I also learned that the witnesses to the marriage were Anthony Stannus and Eliza Mack. Anthony Stannus was most probably Anthony Carey Stannus, brother of the groom and a well-known artist. An example of his work is above. Eliza Mack was most probably Catherine’s sister Eliza.

All in all, a very satisfactory afternoon!

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