Saturday, July 19, 2014

The relationship between Miss A. Batley and Mrs.Margot Gaye

My previous post discussed the gift of the Worgan letter/journal to the State Library of New South Wales. The information as it existed is stated in that post, but fundamentally this is what is known: "Presented by Mrs Margot Gaye for her deceased aunt, Miss A. Batley, 1955. The relationship between Miss Batley and the journal has not been discovered"

Miss A. Batley

I believe I have now identified who A. Batley is and her relationship to 'Margot' Gaye.

I achieved this by reading the English National Probate Calendar, looking at all deaths for BATLEY females with the first initial A, from 1955 and working backwards. That process identified one entry where probate was to Louis Margaret Clayton Gaye widow. The middle name Margaret could be shortened to 'Margot'.

England Probate Indexes
BATLEY Agnes Emma of 52 Latymer-court Hammersmith London W6 spinster died 10 February 1953 Probate London 11 June to Louise Margaret Clayton Gaye widow. Effects 2947 pounds.

Death indexes for England reveal her death registration, supporting the probate index information, and a burial index at indicates she was buried at Seaborough, Dorset (it would be interesting to see the headstone):

Her death:
Name:     Agnes E Batley
Birth Date:     abt 1862
Date of Registration:     Mar 1953
Age at Death:     91
Registration district:     Hammersmith
Inferred County:     London
Volume:     5c
Page:     1139

Buried Seaborough, Dorset
14 Mar 1953, 91 years

Agnes was 91 when she died, making her born about 1862. Searching census records revealed Agnes E Batley living with her family in 1871, which I have summarized here:

1871 - Family in 7 Kensington Park Gardens, Kensington, London. John Batley, head, 47, arms and ammunition manufacturer, born Nolinforth, Yorkshire. Maria L Batley, wife, 37, born Lille north of France. Louisa M., dau, 17, born York, Leeds. Annette N., dau, 16, born York, Leeds. Edith B., dau, 13, born York, Leeds. Blanche M., dau, 11, born York, Leeds. Agnes E., dau, 9, born York, Leeds. Ralph C., dau, 8, born York, Leeds. Plus one visitor and five servants.

Agnes' father was John Batley, an 'arms and ammunition manufacturer', with French wife and a large number of children largely born in Leeds, though in 1871 they resided in Kensington, London. Among Agnes' sisters is an older sister Blance M., who will become relevant shortly in this discussion.

John Batley was a successful manufacturer. I presume that obituaries were published on his death but I have not yet found one, however there is information available on the web here and here. It is likely that there are archives holding Batley correspondence that may be instructive.

Margot Gaye

Agnes BATLEY's probate was granted to Louis Margaret Clayton GAYE widow, apparently called Margot. The SLNSW statement indicates she was a niece of Miss A. Batley. Her death registration was identified:

Death reg
Birth Date: abt 1890
Date of Registration: Sep 1968
Age at Death: 78
Registration district: Surrey South Western
Inferred County: Surrey
Volume: 5g
Page: 389

This means Margot was about 65 when she found Worgan's letter among her mother's possessions and donated it to the SLNSW, and she 78 when she died, so was born about 1890. We know Margot Gaye was married (Mrs), and the marriage indexes for England identified her marriage in 1914, and revealed her maiden name to be RUSSELL. Margot was widowed by 1953 according to the probate entry.

Marriage index 1914:
Russell      Louise M C      Gaye      Bedford      3b     742 
Gaye      Arthur D      Russell      Bedford      3b     742    

Based on the marriage and death entries, Margot's birth registration in 1890 could be found:

Births Sep 1890
Russell      Louise Margaret C            Bradford, Y.      9b     235
The district Bradford, Y. is an alternative name for Bradford and it spans the boundaries of the counties of West Riding of Yorkshire and West Yorkshire

To confirm the relationship of aunt/niece between Miss A. Batley and Mrs Margot Gaye, it was necessary to identify Margot's presence in the censuses in the hope of finding her parents. Presumably one of the parents would be a BATLEY sibling to Agnes.

1911 Census
1911 - Louise Margaret Russell (20, born Calverly), with family (parents John Clayton and Maude Morris RUSSELL and sister Sibyl. Living Bedford.
So Margot's parents were John Clayton and Maude Morris RUSSEL. There is only one possible match in the England marriage indexes, for 1882, and that is of John to Blance Morris BATLEY, Agnes' sister.

Marriages Mar 1882   (>99%)
Batley      Blanche Morris            Windsor      2c     608      
RUSSELL      John Clayton            Windsor      2c     608 

This work identifies who 'Miss A. Batley' was, and also confirms the relationship between her and 'Mrs. Margot Gaye'.

The next step for me is to investigate the BATLEY family to try and identify a possible connection to the WORGAN family, more specific than obvious factors such as London. It seems unlikely that the Worgan letter passed down through the BATLEY family, given that John BATLEY was from Yorkshire, but there is more to reveal, and more to do!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Where did the Worgan journal come from?

I recently wrote a review of 'Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon', by George B. Worgan (1757-1838), surgeon on the 'Sirius'. The journal is in fact a long letter to his brother Richard, describing the journey and establishment of the settlement, in which George copied entries from his diary for the first six months and appended these to the letter. Worgan states in his letter that he is including these journal entries to sate the curiosity of family and acquaintances till Watkin Tench's work came into print in London.

The letter
That notion has really caught my interest, as has the origin of the letter held by the State Library of New South Wales. The original manuscript along with a full transcript can be viewed digitally at the State Library of New South Wales site.

The foreword to the published transcript 1978 states how the manuscript was acquired. It states that the letter was was donated to the Mitchell Library in 1955 by Mrs. Margot Gaye of Guildford, Surrey who found it amongst the possessions of her Aunt, Miss A. Batley, after her death. Nothing is known of the earlier history of this manuscript.

Curiously, the library catalog notes for the letter state "Presented by Mrs Margot Gaye for her deceased aunt, Miss A. Batley, 1955. The relationship between Miss Batley and the journal has not been discovered." It is surprising to me that the library did not speak to Mrs Gaye in 1955, or ascertain her relationship to her aunt.

Reading closely, it is also clear that Mrs. Gaye was of Guildford, Surrey, but the residence of Miss A. Batley is not stated.

In an attempt to clarify this, I wrote to the State library of New South Wales asking whether the library holds any information on Mrs Gaye's connection to A Batley from the initial gift, or whether any correspondence shows how the family came to decide to send it to the NSW State Library, and what the correspondence revealed about Mrs Batley.

I have received a response and it is a little confusing:

Response from State Library of NSW
There is no additional information regarding this relationship available. Miss Batley was not married and was considered to be Mrs Gaye's maiden aunt. Miss Batley did not have a husband and was therefore not a widow.
George Worgan had two sons and a daughter and each of them is recorded as having "no spouse".
Apparently the two sons migrated to Australia to live but there is no information available.

It would be extremely useful to know if Miss A. Batley was descended from the recipient of the letter Richard Worgan, George's brother. Worgan had 2 sons, both of whom emigrated to Australia, and one has to think that such a manuscript would have quickly surfaced there. As such, his daughter who remained in his village of Liskeard would presumably have retained the journals. If they weren't lost in a house-they may well be sitting unappreciated on a bookshelf somewhere in Cornwall or elsewhere in England right now! Who knows what insight they would throw onto early Sydney.

So a few simple things I'll say at this point:
- There are obviously many A. Batley deaths in England during and immediately prior to 1955, but i cannot find a likely Australian death.
- I can no reference to a Margot Gaye in any genealogy site that looks like it may have a bearing, except for an article in a Canadian newspaper (Quesnel Cariboo Observer) about a Margo Gaye living in Belcombe Court, Bradfor-upon-Avon, Wiltshire, England who died around 1973. Is this her? Her granddaughter Amanda Gillcash was based around Quesnel, Canada at the time. It is hard to know if this could be a lead.

I will summarize the Gaye and Batley leads in my next entry, and hope I can find a connection. Or at least a country to work with!

The journal
One implication of the letter is that a complete journal, covering a great time period, was created by George Worgan and may still exist somewhere. Worgan was born in London, the son of a prominent musician/organist, joined the Navy at 18 and trained to be surgeon, and joined the Sirius in 1786, sailing for Sydney with the First Fleet in 1787. After returning to Britain, he served in the Navy till about 1800, married and lived in Liskeard, Cornwall, and died in 1838. In theory, the journal returned to England, more specifcally Cornwall, with Worgan. That the journal existed is mentioned in the 1978 transcript foreword, with the statement that Worgan's son confirmed holding a 2-volume journal in the 1830s - but no reference was provided! I need to find this reference.

I'm not quite sure what I'm doing, but I am going to dig forward and backward in the Worgan family trees to try and understand where the journal may have moved in the immediate years after Worgan's death.

I am amazed at how little we actually know about where this journal came from.

Breakthrough reading through BATLEY probate indexes - note the connection to GAYE:

England Probate Indexes
BATLEY Agnes Emma of 52 Latymer-court Hammersmith London W6 spinster died 10 February 1953 Probate London 11 June to Louise Margaret Clayton Gaye widow. Effects 2947 pounds.

Her death: Name:     Agnes E Batley
Birth Date:     abt 1862
Date of Registration:     Mar 1953
Age at Death:     91
Registration district:     Hammersmith
Inferred County:     London
Volume:     5c
Page:     1139

Buried Seaborough, Dorset 14 Mar 1953, 91 years

'Margot' was widowed by 1953, but her marriage was in 1914: Russell      Louise M C      Gaye      Bedford      3b     742
Gaye      Arthur D      Russell      Bedford      3b     742  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: Boswell and the Girl from Botany Bay by Frederick A. Pottle

Boswell and the Girl from Botany Bay by Frederick A. Pottle appears to be the first published narrative of the story of Mary BRYANT nee BROAD and her cohorts (including her two infant children), who escaped the penal colony at Sydney Cove on 28 March 1791 in a small boat and sailed about 5,000 kilometres to the island of Timor. A summary appears in several places including here.

The episode itself has subsequently been covered several times in published books - I first came across the story in a book I purchased and was extremely disappointed to discover was a fictionalized account - a romaticized novel based on the facts, rather than an accurate discussion of details. Frustrated, I turned to the earliest title I could identify on the story, by Frederick Pottle, a Boswell expert at Yale University.

Pottle's account is outstanding in its focus and simplicity. It is in fact the published form (Viking Press, NY 1937) of a Presidential Address given at the Elizabethan Club of Yale University by Pottle in 1932. The first print run was of only 500 (numbered), giving some sense of the relatively minor read interest in the topic, presumably partly because it was published in the United States. The book is structured into three parts, the first introducing Boswell and citing his mysterious support of a woman named Mary Broad in Cornwall, the second explaining to the American 1930s audience the settlement of Australia by the British and the journey of the First Fleet, and the third outlining Boswell's correspondence and diary entries relating to Mary.

James Boswell was a Scottish lawyer and diarist, living in London in the early 1790s. Pottle explains that when Boswell's correspondence was being transcribed, a letter written in 1794 shortly before Boswell's death outlines some financial instructions, including "…and put into the Banking Shop of Mr Devaynes & Co five pounds from me to the account of the Rev. Mr. Baron at Lestwithiel, Cornwall, and write to him that you have done so. He takes charge of paying the gratuity to Mary Broad". Transcribed in the 1920s, it was not known then who Mary was, or why Boswell would be supporting her financially. Pottle examined Boswell's records to show Mary was one of the escaped convicts from Botany Bay, and that Boswell advocated for the survivors arrested at at Timor and brought back to England. Ultimately the escaped convicts were granted clemency.

Pottle's description of the establishment of New South Wales is given (with an apology to Australians and Britons who might be more familiar with that tale), and he then turns to the escape of the convicts.

Pottle states that he had two sources to draw on when recounting the escape and journey. First, an account published in a newspaper by a reporter over a year later (cited are the London Chronicle, June 30 - July 3, 1792, published at the time the absconders were examined in court on their delivery in England). The second is the published journal of Watkin Tench, who had been to Botany Bay with the First Fleet on the same ship as Broad/Bryant, and was returning on England on the 'Gorgon' which picked up the Mary and the other survivors and carried them to England. Tench's journal recounts some details he obtained from the survivors. Pottle quotes directly from these sources in order to avoid the 'temptation to sentimentalize the story'.

What Pottle (in Connecticut) could not know is that a third source existed for the journey. In the archives of University College London was and is a folder entitled 'Journal (original) of J. Martin who in company with 12 others escaped from Botany Bay—on 20th March, 1791'. The document, commonly called 'Martin's Memorandoms', after the convict James Martin who identifies himself at the beginning of the text, describes the escape up to the point when the absconders arrived in England. Bentham had acquired the document, presumably as part of his opposition to the penal colony system. The memorandums were first published in the same year as Pottle's work (C. Blount, Memorandoms by James Martin, Cambridge, 1937), and have recently been re-transcribed with an excellent and lengthy foreword by Tim Causer (Memorandoms by James Martin, The Bentham Project, University College London, 2014).

Pottle makes the interesting point that three open-ocean voyages of such a vast distance  were made at that time: Bligh had arrived in Timor in the same manner two years earlier, and Edwards arrived shortly after Broad's party. Bligh (Bounty) and Edwards (Pandora) received great praise for their virtuous (and legal) journeys, whereas Broad's party achieved the same feat with little nautical training and two infants aboard the boat, to little modern recognition. Pottle suggests this disparity of recognition is due to the ability of the naval leaders to submit and publish their story in written form, whereas he asserts it is unlikely that any of the absconders could write.

While little to nothing is known of Mary BROAD and the other convicts following their release, Pottle shows that Boswell was forwarding money to Mary via the parish priest at her home village in Cornwall. It is remarkable that Pottle's research has not been greatly added to, insofar as facts related to the absconders and their fate is concerned. That Pottle was thorough is clear - he had  Vicars at a number of parishes in Cornwall search the registers for any sign of Mary after 1793.

Mary's fate is still unknown, and the work leaves mysteries that still remain unanswered. For example, Pottle notes that at their final farewell, Boswell wrote two pages of Mary's account of her escape, and these sheets had not yet been identified by Boswellian researchers. Included in the book is a picture of 'Leaves from Botany Bay used as tea' discovered in Boswell's collection as part of the search for documents relating to the escape. Two of these were later donated to an Australian collection.

Partly by being the first, partly because the work was first delivered in speech form, and partly by being outside the sphere of influence of Australian historical circles, Pottle's work is clear, well-structured, and gives an excellent factual summary of the events as they relate to Mary BROAD and Boswell's assistance in gaining her freedom. Pottle cleared a path than many of others have followed without greatly adding to.