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Archive for October, 2007

The convict records have at last arrived, delayed no doubt by Royal Mail’s industrial action. They were worth the wait though as I now know that Caroline was indeed from my family. Caroline Gant was my Great Great Aunt, the younger sister of my Great Grandfather William Gant.  The convict records give her age as 19, but I think she may have been nearer 16 judging by the entries on the 1841 and 1851 censuses.

She was convicted at Ipswich Quarter Sessions in January 1852, sentenced to 10 years hard labour, and transported to Tasmania. Her crime – “Stealing a Petticoat and a Jacket from a Little Boy”. Just under 3 months previously, her younger sister Emma had died at eight years of age of a “continued fever”. Caroline’s father William was probably ill and unable to work at the time (he died in April 1852 of asthma and infirmity, aged 51, a month after Caroline was transported).

Her conduct on the ship was described as “fair”, all the others on the page were “good”. She was sentenced to an additional 4 months hard labour for “insolence”, and she absconded at least once while in Tasmania, earning her another 3 months hard labour and a spell in the House of Correction in Launceston. Unfortunately that wasn’t the end of her life of crime as she was convicted of “Larceny under £5” in 1861, and sentenced to another 9 months hard labour.

While in Tasmania, Caroline married John Smith (alias Samuel or Solomon Crawcour) and gave birth to two sons, Samuel Smith (1854) and William Robert Henry Smith (1856). She also had two known children by William Harris – Mary Ann Margaret (1861) and Anna Maria (1866), and at least three children by John Stanley – John Alexander Stanley (1868), Harriett Isabella Stanley (1870) and Eliza Ann Emily Jane Stanley (1873). 

Caroline died in Tasmania in 1908 as Mrs Coffey, while living with her daughter Mrs William Smedley (Harriet Isabella Stanley). The family were apparently well known in the area.

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Many thanks to Sandra, a member of the Guild of One Name Studies who has completed a Guild Marriage Challenge for Cosford Registration District. I have received through the post 62 (yes, sixty two!) faux marriage certificates for Gant marriages taking place in Cosford between 1837 and 1911. There’s a huge amount of information on these certificates which has all been added to my database.

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