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How odd. 
4th-Jan-2009 10:20 pm
Genealogically speaking, this has been quite a strange weekend.

I got a chance to look at some documents from the Melbourne Orphans Asylum from around 1862. My great great great grandfather (John Jennings) had died early, and his wife had died in childbirth a few years earlier, so my great great grandfather (Francis Naylor Jennings) and 3 of his siblings had been put in the orphanage (or orphanarium as I accidentally said to someone - damn you Futurama!).

So, apart from a description of Francis as "none too sharp", one of the more interesing bits was a history of John. Oh.. apparently he wasn't born in Scotland as previously recorded, but in Demerara, British Guiana (now Guyana). Okay, that's moderately odd. So when I get home, I did some poking online and found a likely candidate amidst someone else's research - matches place and time, and a couple of other family details like names that got reused later on - with a bunch of extra info. So, looking through that I find:

From Annals of Antigua, 1815, John P Jennings, owner of a sugar estate on St Martin, in the District of Marigot.
Source: Will dated November 1823, proved 1827, names wife Tomlise, sister Ann Jennings Murray, brother-in-law John Murray, brother Joseph Clayton Jennings, children John and Eliza,
and children's mother, Betsy.

... wait, what. His wife is not the same person as the mother of his children. I dunno about you, but the first conclusion I jump to when I see a mistress of a plantation owner in 1820 is that she might well have been one of the African slaves... what. the. hell. :) I haven't found any way to confirm or deny who Betsey was (or Tomlise either), but the possibility amuses me greatly.

So, in the meantime I start chasing some of the other folks around, and find that spelling things Jennyns finds a few more references around the web... including discovering that Lady Margaret Brooke, queen-consort of the second White Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Anthony Johnson Brooke was Francis's second cousin (making her my second cousin, four times removed :)). That particular branch appears to have been adventurers, soldiers and policiticians, whereas most of folks on this side have been fairly low key.

So I've been fairly amused all weekend. :)
4th-Jan-2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
I'd love to be able to find stuff on my genealogy. Unfortunately, we're based in Croatia and before that seem to have come from Sweden (our name was bastardised, apparently) so records are hard to come by.

I only have what my mother told me her father found about my dad's side (or something, not sure exactly).
4th-Jan-2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
You'd be surprised what's out there - folks might believe the internet is for porn, but its genealogy info that fills a lot of the bandwidth. Folks crawl through old parish records and put up what they can.
5th-Jan-2009 01:26 am (UTC)
Well, it turns out that my grandfather's half-siblings were prolific breeders :-p there are a lot of people with my last name in America, and we know that his parents left him in Croatia and moved to America. We also know how rare our family name always has been...
5th-Jan-2009 04:12 am (UTC)
I have no idea! I'll take a look. All I was able to find when I searched online was that someone with the name got married in a small town where we used to have a holiday house.

My google-fu is weak :-(

9th-Feb-2009 04:16 pm (UTC) - Brooke Geneaology
Hi, I am trying to research my family history, Charles John Brooke, b. 1869 in London, England was my great grandfather. He emigrated to USA in 1886, married Annie Dean Scovel and became an architect in the Camden, NJ area, do you have any info on the Brookes from London or Yarmouth. Thank you. Cheryl Cramer Briard
9th-Feb-2009 09:56 pm (UTC) - Re: Brooke Geneaology
Hi cheryl,

I'm afraid I don't have any info on that family, but a quick google search for Annie gave me:

On www.familysearch.org there's this 1881 census return for Camden:
which includes a Annie D Scovel

10th-Feb-2009 02:23 am (UTC) - Re: Brooke Geneaology
Had a quick look at FreeBMD: http://www.freebmd.org.uk

Births Jun 1869 (>99%)
BROOKE Charles John Croydon 2a 177

That would be enough of a reference to get a birthcertificate from the GRO...
31st-May-2009 01:30 am (UTC) - Re: Brooke Geneaology
Hi, I did send away for the birth certificate, and he was born March 6, 1869 in Croydon Surrey. I thought he had been an orphan, but his father was listed as John Brooke and his mother as Susan Fisher Price Brooke. I also found out from the genealogist in Gorleston UK that his mother died four months after having given birth (probably typhoid) and John Brooke died a few years after that. His maternal grandmother, Martha FISHER then took him in.
Thank goodness for family! Thanks for all your help, I am now trying to find out why Charles John Brooke had a picture of the Garnham Koolunga Hill House in his possession and why he named his 2nd daughter with the Garnham middle name. Thanks for the US Census on Annie Dean, it is absolutely correct! Cheryl Briard
1st-Jun-2009 02:03 am (UTC) - Re: Brooke Geneaology
Glad I could help :)
25th-Feb-2009 12:21 am (UTC) - John P Jennings
Your conclusions are correct - Eliza & John Jennings were the children of John Packwood Jennings & his (mulatto?) slave, Betsy. Betsy apparently died before 1827 (when John P Jenning's will was proved) as Jenning's will freed Margaret (presumeably his current mistress), but not Betsy.
25th-Feb-2009 12:22 am (UTC) - Re: John P Jennings
Wargh! Please email me about this- eccles@arsimagica.net :-)
9th-Jun-2012 10:54 am (UTC) - Re: John P Jennings
Hi Anonymous and aeduna.

I wonder if you check this any more. I am actually looking up the history of my family and I am a descendant of Eliza (daughter of Betsey and John Jennings) who ended up being sent to Scotland, marrying a scottish man and moving to Australia. If you have any more information it would be greatly appreciated! It's interesting also that John Jennings died the same year of the Rebellion of Demerra (1823)

10th-Jun-2012 01:51 am (UTC) - Re: John P Jennings
Hi Annabel,

Definitely still checking, and definitely interested - if you want to email me at aeduna@gmail.com or eccles@arsimagica.net. William & Eliza's descendants abound, and I can pass more info along.

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