Happy Australia Day from snowy Canada!
In honour of Australia Day – January 26 for those non-Australians – Shelley at Twigs of Yore recently invited all genealogy bloggers with Australian ancestry to find the earliest piece of documentation they have about an ancestor in Australia. Those of use without Australian ancestors were to choose the earliest piece of documentation for a relative in Australia.
On Australia Day we were to post our answers to these questions:
- What is the document?
- Do you remember the research process that lead you to it? How and where did you find it?
- Tell us the story(ies) of the document. You may like to consider the nature of the document, the people mentioned, the place and the time. Be as long or short, broad or narrow in your story telling as you like!
I don’t have any Australian ancestors. I don’t really have any connection to Australia at all. Well, no connection besides a desire to visit! But when I saw Shelley’s challenge for some reason I really wished I could participate. I didn’t see how that would be possible as I had no Australian documentation of any sort on any ancestor.
Then, just a couple of weeks ago, it suddenly became possible. It’s a very tenuous connection, but I’m going to make the most of it and I hope no one minds me crashing the party!
I just recently discovered that my Ansted ancestors were fruit brokers based in London, England, from the late 1700s until the early 1900s. They were the Ansted part of Clark, Ansted & Co. The brokerage dealt in dried fruit – much better to make long ocean-going voyages than fresh, one would think.
The Australian documentation I recently discovered relates to this business. I had had some luck in tracking down newspaper clippings on the company in the Times of London. For some reason, I decided I would see whether they ever had any business dealings in Australia.
And, wouldn’t you know it, they did. It’s not much to work with but in a few issues of The Southern Australian Advertiser (Adelaide) from 1858 and 1860, Clark, Ansted & Co. is mentioned (amongst others such as Colman and Co. and Lea and Perrin’s!) as having fruit for auction. I have no evidence any of the Ansteds ever actually made the trek to Australia – but their fruit apparently did.
From The Southern Australian Advertiser, November 1, 1858:
So, it’s possible that some of the ancestors of other genealogy bloggers writing today ate the raisins and currants that my ancestors’ company sent to Australia!
Thanks for letting me join the party!