Friday, 16 May 2008

Geoffs Genealogy Update 16 May 2008

These blog entries seem to be getting less frequent. This is not evidence of a declining interest in the blog, or in Geoff's Genealogy. Rather, it is evidence of how busy I've been lately. Anyway, here goes with the latest update.

A number of noteworthy developments have occurred in my treeing since my last blog entry. I've continued my correspondence with Ronnie, relating to the Collyer and Clements families, and Ronnie has very kindly sent me some of his lovely family photos, plus details of his line of descent from a sibling of Emily Jeans Clements, the young girl who married Robert Hanham Collyer (RHC) in London in 1864. In return I've sent him some information about RHC. Goodness knows, there is plenty of that.

Ronnie has kindly sent me a a couple of US census entries for the son of RHC and Emily - Robert L Collyer. Evidently he migrated to the US in the 1880s, and by 1910 was living in San Francisco. He was also there in 1920.

As well as the census entries, Ronnie found Robert on a couple of San Francisco voters lists. It seems, from what we know, that Robert L Collyer did not marry. The records that Ronnie found show him as a single man, living as a boarder. We do not know why he went to the US, and who may have travelled with him. The obvious thought is that he may have joined his father - and may even have travelled across the Atlantic with RHC, but I haven't yet found the relevant ship's passenger list.

There is much more to learn about all this. Ronnie is keeping an eye open for more records relating to RHC. The thing I'd love to find is the record of his death, which was said to have occurred c1890 in the New Orleans area. Apparently there is no trace of this in the New Orleans records.

The Drayton family appears in the Bankes pedigree in 1830, when George Box Drayton (GBD) (1784-1857) married a Bankes descendant - Martha Hunt (1796-1875). Martha was a daughter of Rev Thomas Hunt (1762-1844) and Maria Edwards (bef 1774-1848), who feature prominently on the Geoff's Genealogy website, Thomas being a Baptist minister.

GBD was a surgeon, born in Gloucester. He spent quite a lot of his life in London, and was buried in the capital, at Abney Park Cemetery. Over the years I have traced quite a bit of information about the Draytons in the form of census entries. It seems clear that they were a prosperous family, and as far as I have been able to trace, the children of George & Martha seem to have done well for themselves.

A while ago, whilst surfing around the net, I came across the website of the McGill University, Montreal, Canada, from which I learned that the university's Osler Library of Medicine holds a short written account of GBD's life, written in the early twentieth century by one of his grandsons. I readily paid the appropriate fee, and duly received the article, plus copies of two notices advertising lectures given on medical subjects by GBD in 1840, and copies of printouts which give considerable information about some of GBD's family.

What a treasure trove this is!

The piece about GBD contains some wonderful information about the life of a surgeon at the beginning of the nineteenth century - his training as an apprentice and his practice as a doctor - and pretty gory it is, too! There are quotations from the notes that GBD kept, describing his everyday experiences, and the author also drew on family correspondence in describing family events and portraying the character of some members of the Drayton family. The text is only six A4 pages long, but there is so much in those six pages!

Some members of the Drayton family became missionaries. George Drayton, son of GBD and Martha, apparently died in Tanzania in November 1867, and his wife of 17 months died in the same month, also in Tanzania. Caroline Box Drayton (1823-1902) was a daughter of GBD by his first wife - Louisa Butt. She became a missionary in the Caribbean and married George Ralph Henderson in Jamaica in 1843, a union that (I am told) produced ten children.

The two notices are quite revealing as well. I particularly liked the following line, which says a lot about class attitudes in the society of the 1840s:

The Lectures will not be Medical but as plain as the Lecturer can make them, and adapted to all Classes of Society

That's all for now.