Wednesday 2 January 2013

The Master Mariner's travels

A couple of days ago I wrote about a relative who had a short but adventurous live at sea.  Thomas Mordey Hutton was involved in not one but two shipwrecks and unfortunately lost his life in the second.  His brother, my own 2x Great Grandfather, William Satchell Hutton (b.1836) was more fortunate.  I have found records of him serving on at least 21 different ships, some for only a few months others for several years. 

Possibly a photo of William S Hutton (b.1836)
The photo above is from an album that belonged to my great, great aunt Jane Bormond Moses (nee Hutton) William's daughter.  Some of the pictures have names written beneath them, but not all.  I think that it is a likely identification as this picture was taken abroad (the back of the card gives details of an Italian photographer) and William was a sailor.  I have been unable to find any information on the photographer on the internet - the firm appears to have been established after 1874 (look in the wreath at the upper right) and the style of photo is a carte de visite with square corners, dating it to the late 1870s / early 1880s.  The oval of the image is raised.  These dates would make William in his late 30s to early 40s, I'm tending towards the latter although the beard may be making him look older.  The album itself may date to the 1860s as it is small and plain, resembling a leather bound bible with a brass fastener.  (See this website for help on dating photos.) 

William and his wife Ann had five children, although one son died in infancy.  Neither of his two surviving sons followed him to sea, possibly because they were fairly young when he died and probably because he left them comfortably off in a complete contrast to the previous generation.  William died in 1887 at the age of 48 from cancer of the stomach, Ann survived him living until she was 88 years old.  The only sign that she had to take up work to support the family is in the 1901 census when she is listed as a Monthly nurse. 

Joseph (b.1873) my own great grandfather was only 13 when William snr died.  By 1871 he was a Grocer's apprentice aged 17 and his brother, another William (b. 1872) who was 15 when his father died worked his way up on the railways from messenger to fireman.  The girls also worked, Annie (b. 1863) as a dressmaker and Jane (b.1868 and owner of the photo album) as a school teacher.

We always knew that William snr had been a sailor because my grandmother had a framed copy of his Master Mariner's certificate on the wall of her spare bedroom.  My uncle has this now, but copies were recently released on Ancestry in the Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927 collection.
William S Hutton's Master Mariner's certificate (from Ancestry)
On the reverse of the certificate were his seaman's number and the number of his master's certificate.  His seaman's number is 578285 (although I have him with a different number when he first went to sea which is annotated "Cancelled when wrecked"!) and his certificate number is 18653. 

Reverse of William S Hutton's Master Mariner's certificate (from Ancestry)

These enabled me to look his records in the Guildhall in London in August 1997 (such a long time ago!) quite easily. They used to keep the Lloyd's Captains Registers there, but I believe they have been moved to the London Metropolitan Archives. There is a partial index to the records online now but the letter H is not included. You would still need to go to London to consult the actual registers.

The records listed each ship he sailed on, the official number of the ship, when he served on it (details vary, sometimes just the year, sometimes full dates of engagement and discharge) and an abbreviation for the proposed destination of the ship.  For example, FPS for France, Portugal, Spain and the Azores or B for Baltic, Norway, White Sea, and Gulf of Finland.

Here's an example of an entry for William:

1870 Leader 53122 M Jan 3 (in red ink) Feb 5 (in black ink) WI June 21 (red ink)

The ship's name "Leader" underlined means he was the Mate, and on 3rd Jan 1870 he returned from the Mediterranean, red ink indicates a discharge.  On 5th Feb 1870 he was re-engaged for a voyage to the West Indies, from which he returned on 21st June.  

Yesterday I was trying to fit all his periods of service into the family tree in order - I was curious as to how much time William snr was able to spend at home with his family and whether I could find out if he was at home when his children were born.

I recently purchased some timeline software that works with family tree Gedcom files - Genelines and I hoped that by entering all the data into my tree the timeline would show how events fitted together. 

William S Hutton's Timeline (created with Genelines) Click to enlarge
Well, there's a little gap around the time he married Ann on 16th December 1861 - checking back on his claim for a Master Mariner's certificate I see he took a break from 20th November 1861 to the 19th Februrary 1862.  So that was his honeymoon! He married Ann in Walker, Northumberland, which is where her family lived at the time.  However he may have met her in Sunderland as in the 1861 census she is a servant in Bishopwearmouth which merges into Sunderland to the west. 

William appears to be at sea during the time of his eldest child, Annie's birth.  The large block from 1862 to 1865 represents his service on the Lebanon, a snow (a two masted square rigged type of ship) in the Mediterranean trade.  I think I've picked out a couple of mentions of the correct ship from the Shipping & Maritime Intelligence pages of the 19th Century Newspapers online (free online from Newcastle Library and others), Alexandria is mentioned and Constantinople.  He was probably backwards and forwards on a regular basis. 

From the Glasgow Herald, 26 Jun 1863. 
The Lebanon, master Hutchinon, set sail from Troon to Constantinople on 22nd.
(from 19th Century British Library Newspapers)
Despite Annie stating her place of birth is Sunderland on later census returns I can't find a registration of her birth there - however there are two possible births in 1862 in the Tynemouth district, which includes Walker, so maybe Ann stayed with her parents for the birth as William was away so much.

This topic could grow and grow so I'll end it here for now and sort out some more information for another day.


SP said...

Quite educative. Thanks.

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thank you for reading.