Sunday, June 12, 2011

Breaking Down the Brick Wall

Tracing the family is fascinating but much of it is simply copying the fruits of other people' labours from connections on Ancestry and there are always those dead ends which leave one wondering where to look next. They call it the brick wall and this week I discovered the thrill of knocking down a few bricks after months of searching.
Sarah Ann Stanton/Jarvis c 1905

Sarah Ann Stanton - 1855 - 1931

Sarah Ann is my great-grandmother (Nana Jean Richardson's maternal grandmother) . I have the brooch she is wearing in the photograph , I know from her age at death that she was born about 1855 and I know she met and married Arthur Kerrison Jarvis in the Kaituna Valley , Nelson in 1873 but nothing else.

So I centred my search in the Marlborough area - big mistake! Never assume anything!
I sent away for her marriage certificate which are usually mines of information , a total waste of money as it told me nothing that wasn't on the BMD index....... which is most unusual.

But I continue to google and suddenly bingo! - a clue. From Papers Past - the Marlborough Express, a marriage announcement.

On Nov 27th, at Mr T Loom's, Kaituna Valley, by  Rev.G. S. Harper, Mr Arthur K. Jarvis, of Kaituna Valley, to Miss Sarah Ann Stanton, late of Kaiapoi, Canterbury.

Late of Kaiapoi? Off I go and find that Kaiapoi is heavily populated with Stantons of all description but no Sarah Anns so who does she belong to...........and then a small reference. 

'Joseph Stanton and his wife Anna/Hannah (nee Looms)'. Looms is an unusual name so perhaps she is related to Mr T Looms. Sarah Ann would also call her eldest child (my grandmother) Edith Hannah Caroline.
I decide to put them into Ancestry as Sarah Ann's parents and see what happens. I find Joseph and Hannah in the 1851 census along with their 9 month old son, Ben John, living with Hannah's parents . The date of the census was March 30th , Joseph and Hannah married in the last quarter (Oct/Nov/Dec) of 1850 so it looks as though Ben John was born before the marriage. I check out the three connections but they offer nothing new until I spot at the bottom of the page a comment with all the information I could hope for.

Joseph and Hannah Stanton and their children sailed for New Zealand on the ship 'Cashmere' arriving in Lyttleton on the 23rd October, 1855. Their children are Benjamin John, William and a little girl called Sarah Ann who was christened and presumably born in March of 1855. That journey of 3 - 4 months must have been a nightmare with two boys under 5 and a tiny baby and at the end the hard slog over the Bridle Path to Ferrymead. Like many other of the Cashmere's passengers they would soon head to the area around the Waimakariri River and these families would become the founders of towns like Kaiapoi, Rangiora, Clarkville, Woodend and Fernside. 

Kaiapoi developed in the 1850's on Kaiapoi Island, between the south and north branches of the Waimakariri River. Subsequent river works have channeled the river south of the town.


A busy port developed at Kaiapoi ,at the mouth of the Kaiapoi River, after the town was established in the 1850's. Until its demise in the 1960s it would be one of the busiest coastal ports in the country, with vessels carrying passengers and cargo to and from other parts of NZ.

In the electoral rolls Joseph is described as a farmer of Kaipoi Island - the young agricultural labourer from Bedfordshire has come a long way. He and Hannah will have several more children and spend the rest of their lives as respected members of this North Canterbury community . In 1883 Joseph will stand for election to the Kaiapoi Borough Council. Joseph and Hannah are both buried at The Woodend Methodist Cemetery.

So pleased to have at last found Sarah Ann's family and two more great-great grandparents. I can now go and explore the England they came from.


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