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James Hammond

December 13, 2010

I had a very exciting genealogy day yesterday.  The day before yesterday – or really, the evening before, I found RAOGK – Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.  They have volunteers in locations all over the world, who will do various things.  Some own copies of BDM cds or some will go out and photograph gravestones etc.

It just so happened that I wanted a gravestone picture, so I had a look and found a volunteer who would take gravestone pictures in Brighton Cemetery in Melbourne.  The first one I found, the email bounced, so after notifying the site I chose another volunteer further down the list and found a ‘Brighton Cemetorians‘ volunteer.  I sent off a request for a photo of the grave of Rosina (Lynch) Hammond, who I knew was buried there.  I was hoping to find some answers to some of my questions (perhaps first daughter, Marion’s surname?), and I was hopeful I might get a hint as to when Rosina’s husband, James Hammond, died.

The site pretty strictly states only one single request per volunteer per month, so I didnt want to push my luck, but after clearly stating my request for a photo of Rosina’s gravestone, I added that ONLY if the volunteer was actually going to the cemetery, would she mind taking a photo of any immediately nearby gravestones with the same surname.

I woke the next morning with an email from the volunteer that informed me that James Hammond was buried in the same grave 10 years earlier, a variety of other things I already knew about the family (births and marriages) and on locating a birth index for Rosina’s granddaughter, Ruth Hanna, the volunteer or her software added the note that she had died in a nearby Victorian cemetery with the surname Casey, and a date of death.

I knew Ruth had married Dan Casey and moved to Melbourne, but if I hadn’t this would have been a spectacular find, as the rest of the family were firmly based in Western Australia by then.  I didnt have a date of death for Ruth though, so it was nice to be able to add that to my records.

The big bonus of the whole email was the very first piece of information it contained – the burial register for James Hammond.  From having that information I was able to track down a death entry for him and purchase an image of the death register from the Victorian BDM register.

I sent a copy of Rosina’s and James’ death entries to the volunteer (she had requested Rosina’s to add to the Cemetorian’s records for future enquiries).  Both were images of the death register, so contained information of several other deaths, several of whom were also buried at Brighton Cemetery.

Then I sat down and had a look at the death entry.  I wasn’t expecting anything earth shattering – death certificates are often a bit of a disappointment.  But I was interested to see what information was recorded about James’ first marriage to Martha King.  They didn’t have any children, so I havent really followed up on that relationship.  Well the informant had the name wrong – Martha Bourke.  So I looked at the other information to see what looked accurate and what didn’t.  And that’s when I noticed the reference to 14 years in Tasmania!

As an aside, when I received James’ death entry, I noted his cause of death ‘Cerebral softening’ and ‘effusion’.  I wondered what this meant.  I found Antiquus Morbus – Rudy’s list of Archaic Medical Terms.  I’m still not certain, but it looks like James may have had a stroke.

I have looked everywhere I could think of for records of arrival for James Hammond.  I’ve checked the Victorian assisted and unassisted arrivals register and New South Wales arrivals and convict registers.  Nothing.  There were a couple of unnamed Mr Hammonds, I think, but nothing I could pin down as possibly ‘my’ James Hammond.  The earliest date I had for him in Victoria was his marriage to Martha King in Melbourne in 1847.

So I went straight to the Tasmanian Public Records and looked first for free arrivals, and found nothing.  Then I did a convicts search and found about five individual James Hammonds, two of whom looked like possible contenders.  So I did a search for digitised records for the two James Hammonds and read their conduct records.  Both conduct records were a mixture of invaluable information and completely illegible paragraphs.  Which made it frustrating and fascinating at the same time.

I dubbed the two James’ James Hammond 1 (arrived aboard ‘Neptune’ 1838) and James Hammond 2 (arrived aboard ‘Strathsfieldsay’ in 1831).

I learned that James Hammond 1 was 5’8″ tall, 28 years of age (making his dob c. 1809/10).  His trade was Ploughman, Milk (?dairy) and he was appropriated to Mr Kirkwood (I think). His sentence was 7 years – Kent Assizes 13 March 1837. He received Conditional Pardon No294 on 17 May 1843, was sent somewhere indiciperable and received a Free Certificate No 255 in 1844 (giving him plenty of time to get to Victoria to marry Martha). He was transported to Van Dieman’s Land  for stealing woolen cloth…something to do with a Goods Depot… more indeciperable… stealing shoes and looks like he might have received some punishment for being absent without leave at some stage.

James Hammond 2 Departed London 2 August 1831, Arrived 5 November 1831, was married with four children when he arrived, received 50 lashes at some stage and was 38 when he arrived making his dob c. 1793 – a bit old to be ‘my’ James Hammond.  He also received a Conditional Pardon and a Free Certificate and departed Tasmania aboard ‘Gazelle’ registered as ‘Free by servitude’ (steerage) (POL 220/1/2 p. 116) but died Oatlands Tasmania in 1855.  Not my James Hammond.

James Hammond 1 – who I’m increasingly sure IS ‘my’ James Hammond may have left Tasmania as crew aboard ‘Harvest’ on a whaling voyage on 24 January 1846 (C4536/1/260), and travelled to Port Phillip aboard ‘Shamrock’ 15 October 1846 (C5095/1/1 p 358).

James Hammond 1 appeared at the County Assizes, Kent aged 27 on 13 March 1837 and was sentenced to 7 years transportation for ‘Larceny, before convicted of felony’.  I found a few possible entries for the previous conviction/s as well as a couple of ‘acquitted’ and a ‘not guilty’ over a number of years.

I have saved records of all of these – if anyone reading this would like references or more information about any of the information presented here, please contact me.

James Hammond 1 was sent to the prison hulk ‘Fortitude’ moored at Chatham, from Maidstone.  He was single, literate (able to read AND write), a labourere.  Character bad – twice convicted before.  He was sent to Van Dieman’s Land aboard ‘Neptune’ 29 September 1837.

All of this led me to want to know more about Martha King.  Was she also a convict?  It appears that James Hammond travelled to Victoria a year or so before marrying Martha.  Did he know her before or meet her in Victoria?

So I returned to the marriage entry I have for more information and then did a search of death entries in Victoria.  James Hammond says on his marriage certificate to Rosina Lynch that his previous wife died ‘Decr 1857’ and as he was marrying Rosina on 13 March 1858, there wasnt much of a gap.  So I did a search of Martha King’s dying in 1857 and came up with nothing.  So before searching elsewhere, I broadened the timeframe a bit and searched 1855-1860.  And there she was.  Died 18 January 1858 (1858/599) at Collingwood of ‘inflamation of the stomach and bowel’, informant the Coroner, no burial entry, no marriage information, no parents names.  My first thought was ‘was she poisoned so that James could remarry?’.  So after a fruitless search of the Victorian Public Records, I’ve put in a new request with another volunteer at RAGK for a look-up of coroners inquests in Victoria.

James Hammond and ‘Elijah’ Ealden came from the same County in England, a few years apart.  I have also wondered if they knew each other before coming to Australia.  Rosina married ‘Elijah’ about 2 months after arriving in Victoria.  James married Rosina 2 months after the death of his first wife, and Rosina married James eight months after the death of ‘Elijah’.  Either rapid marriages were the way to go in those days, or James and Rosina had known each other for some time before they got married.  There was no apparent rush in terms of pregnancy, because their only child, Rosina was born in 1862.

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