My friend GB asked me last week how many sailor ancestors I had as I seemed to be talking about them a lot at the moment. In Family Historian you can create diagrams with selected branches or individuals hidden, so I produced the image below to illustrate one branch of my mariner ancestors.
|An edited version of my Hutton tree showing sailors in BLUE (other children have been hidden)|
The little flags show that I have records for various census returns and some BMDs for people.
In just the one family, the Huttons (my maternal grandfather's line) from Sunderland I have nine 19th century sailors. The patriarch, Robert Hutton was a Ropemaker, a maritime related trade of course, as was his son Frederick Elstob Hutton, who deserted his family probably leading to most if not all of his sons going to sea. I have already written the story of Thomas Mordey Hutton (1834-1858). John Reuben Hutton was a solicitor, but both his surviving sons went to sea. Robert Elstob Hutton has seven sons, but only two appear to go to sea. There are other sailors in related branches, for example the Elstobs, the Nesbitts and the Douglas families. It is interesting to note that as yet I have found no members of the later generations of these families still at sea. My grandfather's sister marries into a family of sailors in the 20th century but that, as they say, is another story.
At the beginning of January I wrote the first part of a story about my 2x Great Grandfather William Satchell Hutton (1838-1887). I am attempting to link together the multiplicity of resources I have found for him into a coherent account of his life both at sea and with his family.
I had reached the birth of his first daughter Annie in 1862 which co-incided with a nearly three year stretch of service on a sailing ship in the Mediterranean trade. Based on the newspaper reports of his ship, the Lebanon, it seems to take around two and a half months to get from the UK to Constantinople, so in the course of his service on her he must have sailed back and forth quite a few times.
William submitted his claim for a Master Mariner's certificate in April 1865. The applicant has to submit a list of the ships he has sailed on with supporting documentation in the form of testimonials.
|Part of William Satchell Hutton's 1865 submission for a Master's Certificate (from Ancestry)|
|Ships called Lebanon in Lloyd's Register of Shipping for 1863 (from Google Books)|
William notes that he was the Master of the Margaret in 1860 for a month, but there are so many ships of that name that it is impossible to pick out which ship this might have been.
Referring back to my notes from the Lloyd's Captains' register I see that William's next ship was the Clarinda another snow (two masted sailing ship) which was in the Baltic trade. Then he swapped to the Juliana, a coaster operating from Newquay. This voyage may have been an attempt to get back to Sunderland as he then took up a longer post on the Mount Carmel from 1865 to 1867. The Mount Carmel was a barque (a three masted ship) which appears to have sailed from the Clyde to similar ports the Mediterranean as he visited on the Lebanon, such as Constantinople, Alexandria and the Black Sea.
We can only hope that he was in Sunderland in time for the birth of his first son, Thomas in December 1865. Ann, his wife, would have needed his support as little Thomas died almost immediately and was buried three days after his birth in Sunderland Cemetery.
In 1868 William changed ships again, serving first on the Hallyards, a coaster from Whiby before joining the Leader, another barque, sailing from Sunderland to the West Indies. I don't know when he joined the Leader as the records are very sparse for the period from 1865 to 1870, but there is a newspaper report of the ship arriving in Ipswich in October of 1868 carrying cotton seed from Alexandria. This seems like a logical cargo to carry to the West Indies so maybe this is the point that William joined this ship. His second daughter Jane was born in the fourth quarter of 1868 so he may have served on the coaster knowing that would mean he would be nearby when the new baby was due. We can only assume that he takes the longer post after she has safely arrived.
The Leader is reported at Deal on the way to Cape de Verde (islands off West Africa) on the 2nd January 1869, and seen heading inwards to Bristol from Trinidad on 18th June, six months later. The Lloyd's Captains' becomes more specific at this point and shows him leaving the Leader in June, only to rejoin on 9th July. A report in the Shields Daily Gazette notes that the Leader, master Parsons, leaves Cardiff for Malta on Tuesday 13th July. That doesn't really leave him much time to get back to Sunderland to see the family, maybe three weeks at the most, although there were trains and it's only a bit over 300 miles. Otherwise I suppose Ann may have read that his ship was back in the papers and hoped for a letter or telegram to confirm that he was safe. He must have had some way of getting money to her, remember she's in Sunderland (or so we suppose) with two little girls to look after so she couldn't have been earning her own keep.
|Shields Daily Gazette Saturday 2 Jan 1869|
|Western Daily Press Friday 18 June 1869|
|Shields Daily Gazette Thursday 15 July 1869|
(all the above from Find My Past - Newspaper Collection)
This is quite hard ... how do you put yourself in the shoes of a 19th century sailor and his family? What did Ann do whilst he was away? Did he write? Did she sit and stare at his photo wondering when he'd be home? What support did she have from her family? William had no-one close left in Sunderland, some middling aunts and uncles but would they have looked out for a poor relative's wife? Most of own family were in Walker, up in Northumberland, although a married sister lived in Monkwearmouth until 1873 at least and that wasn't far away.
As I said last time, this could go on for a while, but I must finish for this evening, I've got the tea dishes to wash!