A convict in the family?

I think we may have struck gold with our Dawson family history research.  Well, a little nugget.

John Hughes Dawson had a great uncle called Uncle Tom – or rather, Thomas Hughes.  He was JHD’s grandmother’s brother.  Well, Thomas married Mary Bax, and one of their children, named William, worked as an agricultural labourer in Kent, in the Isle of Thanet, in the long tradition of the Dawsons and no doubt the Hughes.

But of course, the late 18th and early 19th century saw the agricultural and industrial revolutions having their devastating effect on traditional farm life and cottage industries throughout rural England.  This was a major reason for the huge increase in crime, due to people being forced off the land due to changes in agricultural practices.  These changes produced more food, but provided less employment.  The out-of-workers then headed to the cities to try and find work in the new industrial developments, and many of them failed, and even those who succeeded were working in terrible conditions for little pay.  Just think ‘Oliver Twist’.

Kent suffered quite badly, and especially that isolated end bit, the Isle of Thanet.  Well, at one time in Thanet there was an uprising where a number of angry and disgruntled local workers attacked some of the new-fangled ‘threshing-machines’ used on the farms, part of the agricultural revolution.  These were an example of the type of machines putting agricultural labourers out of work.


Threshing Machine (via Wikipedia)

These uprisings were known as the ‘Swing Riots’ of 1830.  Many of those involved were convicted and transported to NSW.

And guess who was one of those convicts?  Our William Hughes, son of Thomas, nephew to Anne Hughes, and first cousin once removed to John Hughes Dawson.

So – an amazing event, someone with pure South Australian ancestry, has found a convict in her line.  OK, he is not direct, but he is there, and I will claim him!  Especially since he was convicted for such a noble cause, an early socialist- type, good work William!

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Robert Hughes (1729-1804) m. Sarah Pay (1734 – 1813)

Anne (1762 – 1846) m. Richard Dawson (c.1763 – 1837)
Child: Richard(1785 – 1834) m. Elizabeth Fox(1780 – 1838)
Child:  John Hughes Dawson (1815 – 1894)

Thomas (1772 – 1851) m. Mary Bax
ChildWilliam Hughes. (1810- ?)  Transported to NSW 1830.


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George West lived in Great Tichfield St, London

Those UK census records are such pieces of gold for genealogists.

In the 1841 Census, George Edmund West was recorded in the census, with his wife, Mary Ann (Allen) West and two children, Jane and George.

George was working as a carpenter.  His neighbours were working as painter, coachmaker and smith – all similar types of trades.

They lived in Great Tichfield Street, in London.  As far as I can work out from the unbelievably complicated British parishes and counties and boroughs and all that stuff – the street is now in Westminster but in 1841 was in St Marylebone.  If I am wrong, please, any of my English cousins, correct me!

It seems Wikipedia has an entry on Great Tichfield Street.  It says that in the mid 19th century – the very time of this census – this street was well known for

“dirty shops and dingy private dwellings…where children never washed” (quote from Pevsner and Cherry, 1991, London 3: North West).

Sounds like your typical Dickensian street.  It was part of the maddening changes that occurred in London and Britain due to the industrial revolution.

George later went onto the work as an engraver and ultimately took up the new art of photography.  He later moved down to Gosport in Hampshire.

His story illustrates the great changes that were occurring in people’s lives during the 19th century.

Here is an map Great Tichfield Street from 1827, made by Christopher and John Greenwood at the time.  The northern part of the street was named Cirencester Place in this map. [from Wikipedia].


[ Image: Christopher (1786-1855) and John Greenwood (1821-1840)http://iesr.ac.uk/collections/1258121865-2124.html ]


Here is what it looks like today:


[Photo by Oxyman, {from Wikipedia}]









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Alexander Barreau (II) and gold.

It appears Alexander may have headed to Victoria after gold during the 1850s, as did many South Australians.  The first gold to be found in Victoria was in 1851.


There is an unclaimed letter addressed to Alexander Barreau which was ‘lying at the Post Office at Forest Creek’, according to the Victorian Government Gazette, June, 1852, p.874.  Forest Creek is modern day Castlemaine.


He must not have stayed for too long as his wife (Elizabeth Hamilton) another child in June 1853.


Government Gazette, Victoria. Online Archive, 1836 – 1997, State Library of Victoria, http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/, June 1852, Gazette 33, p. 874.



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Cold Case within the Barreau clan

From the Adelaide Advertiser:

Cold case: Police offer $1m reward for information on Rhianna Barreau’s disappearance on October 7, 1992


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Wedding Anniversary

Today is a big day for all you Dawsons and connected families. It is the wedding anniversary of our great grandparents. On this day in 1896, Edward Dawson and Maria Louisa West married in Gosport, Hampshire, England. They emigrated to Australia in 1905. Their son, Cyril, married Clara Bertha Barreau and established a farm near Lock, SA.

Edward Dawson in Tumby Bay council

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Anniversary – Mary Ann Johnson Allen (West)

Today is the anniversary of the death of Mary Ann Johnson West (born Allen).

She was born in 1818, I believe in London, and died in 1860, aged only 41.

She married George West in 1838.  They lived in Hampshire, and had 9 children, including Maria Louisa West.  Maria married Edward Dawson in 1886. In 1905 Maria and Edward immigrated to South Australia. By about 1918 their son Cyril had taken up land in the Lock area in South Australia.


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Today is the birthday of John Holmes Barreau, son of Alexander Barreau and Elizabeth Hamilton.  Born 1863.


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John Hughes Dawson – Butler

Thanks to the census records we know who is was that John Hughes Dawson worked for.

In 1881 John Hughes Dawson was working as a butler at No 16 Cecily Hill, Cirencester.  The owner of house was Mr Charles AR Hoare, banker aged 33.  John Hughes was aged 66.

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Error on Richard Dawson (III) page

On looking through my website here I noticed some errors I had made for Richard Dawson III, where I said he had married Elizabeth Shumacher.  Elizabeth was his mother!  Eeek!  Sorry great x 5 grand-dad.  


So I have corrected that on his page.

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Elijah Dawson, long lost cousin.

My father would always tell me about how his father came to South Australia from the UK in the early 20th century.  He had married into an old line of settlers in SA so he was mockingly proud of his recent UK ancestry but also felt like the new kid on the block.

All my life I knew of this recent immigration, and knew just how many families in Australia carried the Dawson surname and would be related to me, and it was not many – it could be counted on one hand.  So if anyone came up with the name and suggested, ‘maybe you are related,’ I would know straight away if they were or not, and usually they were not.

But all that was to change just a couple of years ago, via internet connections.  I found that there had been an earlier branch of the Dawson clan that had arrived in Western Australia way back in deep colonial days, in 1830.  That is at the very beginning of that colony.  I was stunned, and very excited.  So, my Dawson family is not alone in Australia.

The Dawson who came to WA in 1830 was ELIJAH Dawson (great name, eh?  He was a son of Richard Dawson (IV) and Anne Hughes , younger brother to Richard (V).  That makes him John Hughes (II) Dawson’s uncle.  That is, he is uncle to MY John Hughes, of course Elijah had a brother called John Hughes too.  Whew, this constant repetition of names can be confusing – however, it can also be useful in research, as the repeated name means a family link.  Which makes me wonder why they came up with the name ‘Elijah’?  Maybe they were running out of names, as Elijah was, I believe, the eighth son of Richard and Anne.

Elijah had been in the Napoleonic wars.  (Maybe he fought along side the Prussian Kaiser Alexander Grenadier regiment, with my other ancestor, Carl Schaeche.)

There are a number of researchers into this much larger branch of the Dawson clan in Australia.  I have added some of their information to my website, you can go to this page to find that info and links to the researchers involved.

So, this just shows the benefit of family history research in re-connecting disparate family branches.  I am very happy to get to know my many distant cousins in WA.

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