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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Going on a research trip

My research trip happened a little sooner than expected...

National Library of Australia
My apologies for the poor quality of the photo. I only had my mobile phone with me. The roadworks didn't help much either!

There had been a few changes since I was last there. The most surprising change was the appearance of a little sandwich kiosk in the space outside the newspaper and microform, and maps rooms. The most welcome change was the ability to scan directly from the microform readers and email the image to yourself, all at no cost. This could save me a fortune in photocopy charges!

Actually I didn't email the images to myself, I uploaded them directly to my Dropbox account so they would be waiting for me on my desktop computer when I got home, sitting in the correct folder, with no further effort on my part. Nice. Very, very nice.

So what did I find? Well, my main aim was to see the passenger list for Richard ROBOTHAM. I recently wrote about how I found him in the passenger list index. The ship was the "Red Jacket", travelling from Liverpool to Melbourne from January to April 1860. Onboard were 338 adult passengers and 49 children. From a quick scan of the list, Richard ROBOTHAM was one of the oldest passengers, at the advanced age of 41. Most were in their 20s.

I was hoping for some detail that would let me know if this Richard ROBOTHAM was "mine". Sadly for me, there was no additional telling detail beyond the basic demographics they recorded for unassisted passengers (ie those who were paying their own way).

On the other hand, there were some minor inconsistencies with what I know of "my" Richard ROBOTHAM. The Richard in the passenger list was listed as single but my Richard was married. However, as he was travelling on his own I don't expect that they took down that information very carefully. He was also listed as travelling to Auckland, but it seems feasible to me that he could have changed his mind during the 3 month voyage, and decided to stay in Melboune.

What a pity there's just nothing to tell me for sure that I've got the right man. I'll just have to put it down as a maybe for now.

I did a few more quick searches before I went home, where I found an unexpected visitor waiting for me...

He listened patiently while I told him about my research trip, then wandered off again.

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