Just adding the last two short stories I wrote during my Writing family history course, then I have one more left, the main essay I am about to hand up. the next two short stories are both about my Bisdee family, my 2 x great grandfather Edgar and my great grandfather George John.
Crouching down in the field a quarter mile from home, Edgar’s father silently motioned for Edgar to creep forward and then pounce on the sheep that had strayed from the flock. This would feed the hungry family for days. If only Edgar had the foresight to think the 17 chickens that had already been stolen over the last few days were enough.
Halting at the thievery of just a few chickens, Edgar and James could have gotten away with it. Going out that luckless last night and not having a clue that Old George was on his way home from the publican or that he would later be able to identify the Bisdee father and son on Thomas Castle’s property was where the luck did run out.
If Edgar had any notion that he would be caught, charged, judged and committed for the crimes of grand larceny, would he have still stolen the animals that feed his starving family? Would knowing that he would be spending two years on a leaky old decommissioned ship with the other ill-fated convicts who would soon be sailing across the waters be a deterrent? And then spending another 3 years as an Australian convict before meeting his soon to be bride with no chance of ever returning home?
The times were hard, families were hungry, and the jobs were far and few in-between. Edgar and James did what they had to do to keep their loved ones alive but unfortunately ended up paying with their futures.
George John Bisdee
George Bisdee was 30 years old in 1908 and was unknowingly 3 years from marrying his girl Daisy. George really needed to save money so he can show John Younger, he was worthy of marrying his daughter and keeping a family.
George was also hoping that Mr Younger had not seen the newspapers detailing his woes. Seven years he had evaded debtors, but it seems to have caught up with him. Being arrested on his way to work on Thursday, January 2nd and appearing in court on Wednesday 14th of January would surely have guaranteed he had lost his job at the farm in Midland Junction.
It wasn’t easy being a son and grandson of convicts. You were looked down on, treated like second class citizens. Life was tough, the work when he was able to get it was rough.
George had many different jobs over the years, from working at the rail tracks to building the infamous Kalgoorlie pipeline, although he was known as Williams there. Was it his fault the Ganger called him Williams, and he had to sign for his pay as “Williams”?
From job to job, quitting one, being sacked from another it was pure chance that he moved around and couldn’t be tracked down for the police to serve his warrant.
George was to obey the order set out by the court and attend court when summoned, on the guarantee he would follow the orders et, he would be released from custody and not go to jail. If, however, he did not comply with the orders, he would be served another warrant of arrest.
So be on the look out for the next story, it is on my 2 x great grandfather David Hepburn Shearer
Edgar Bisdee was born 13 May 1827 in Banwell, a small parish town in the district of Somerset in England. Edgar was the third child of six born to parents James and Harriet Bisdee. Both Edgar and James were listed as an agricultural labourer on the 1841 census, the last census they both appear on in England.
A screenshot of the baptism records for Banwell 1827.
Edgar and his father James then found themselves in some serious trouble when they appear in court and convicted on March 28th 1848, Edgar 20 years old and James 47 years old. At the time they were living in Yatton as listed on the records. They had also got William (Edgar's older brother) into a little bit of trouble with feloniously harbouring felons but was acquitted. James and Edgar were convicted to transportation of 10 years each.
The next information that has been found is an admission in to the Wilton Gaol in Taunton Somerset, 2nd April 1848. The father son duo stayed there until January the 3rd 1849, when they were transferred to the York Hulk in Gosport.
A hulk is a ship that is afloat, but incapable of going to sea, whereas convict ships are seaworthy vessels whose purpose was to transport convicted felons from their place of conviction to their place of transportation. The HMS York 1820-1852 York was a 74-gun Third-rate launched in 1807 at Rotherhithe. She was converted to a prison hulk in 1819 and served as a prison hulk at Gosport and London from 1820 until 1848 when a serious rebellion broke out. Typically she confined about 500 convicts. She was taken out of service and broken up in 1854. Hulks were re-banned in England. - Wikipedia
Newspaper article in the Bath Chronicle 6 April 1848 under the Somerset Spring Sessions heading states: James Bisdee and Edgar Bisdee, for stealing thirteen fowls, the property of Joseph Hewlett: also, four fowl’s of Eliza Lawrence: also a sheep of Thomas Castle.
James and Edgar were transported on the 16 Jul 1851 on board the convict ship the Minden, arriving on the 14th of October 1851
This 916 ton ship was built at Sunderland in 1848. It was employed as a convict transport and left Plymouth, England on July 21, 1851 bound for the Swan River Colony. She carried the fifth of 37 shipments of male convicts destined for Western Australia. The voyage took 85 days and the Minden arrived in Fremantle on October 14, 1851 with 115 passengers and 301 convicts [Erickson]. Robert Dawson Crawford and John Gibson were the captain and surgeon respectively. Of the 115 passengers mentioned above, all 115 were pensioner guards and their families, the number being made up of 40 pensioner guards, 26 wives, 26 sons and 23 daughters. http://members.iinet.net.au/~perthdps/convicts/con-wa4.html
Edgar received his conditional pardon in February of 1854; a conditional pardon means Edgar was free but is not allowed to return home to England. James received his pardon 2 months prior in November 1853. James might have stayed around for a little while, but the next record I have found for him has him marrying an Emily Jane Cruse in Victoria (where he states he is 20 years younger than he is on the marriage certificate) February 1855. Though I am not sure if he had his marriage to Harriet in England annulled, she remarried in 1857.
Was only a short time later when Edgar married my 2 x great grandmother Louisa Whittington on the 14th of June 1854. Looking at the birth date of their first child Ellen, it looks like they had no choice but to marry. Ellen was born in August 1854. Edgar and Louisa had 13 children in total, with my great grandfather George John being second last. Edgar stayed in the Swan/Guildford area throughout these years, I have looked through newspapers and the police gazettes and found some more information regarding to Edgar; March James Bisdee died in Victoria, November 1881 saw Edgar spend 14 days in Fremantle Gaol for beating and abusing his wife, Louisa.
More in the police gazette, in April 1885, Edgar was committed for trial at the Perth Supreme Court and admitted for bail. 1st of July 1885, Edgar was tried at the Supreme Court for Wounding, & c, with intent to do bodily harm or resist arrest, he plead guilty and was recommended to mercy, he was sentenced to two years.
I have collected many convict records, most are of similar information, I do not have any other information except for Edgar died at the age of 80 at the Claremont home for old men in 1907 and was buried at the Karrakatta cemetery just outside the historical area, unfortunately his grave has already been renewed and his headstone no longer stands. Edgar Bisdee was my 2 x great grandfather.
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served".Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, and Tonga, and previously was a national holiday in Papua New Guinea and Samoa
I have found several people who had enlisted and also fought for Australia in my family tree. Close to Home, My grandfather Charles Henry was a Rank Signalman WW2 Posting at Discharge SIGS 3 AUST DIV The 3rd Division was deployed to New Guinea in early 1943.
Charles Brother in Law George Millendon Bisdee ( My great Uncle) served for almost a year in the Korean war from 1952 to 1953 in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.
Charles Uncle Augustus Hahnel ( My second great Uncle) served in WW1 a Sergent in the 51st Battalion leaving for France/England/Egypt on 03 August 1915 and returning to Australia 28 February 1919. ( I have found Gus complete military records, with medical (even includes dental) and transfer notes and statements of service in a 20 page document.) Serving in the next war, WW2 is Gus' youngest brother Charles Richard ( My second great Uncle), he served for 3 years as 3 Aust Landing Craft Workshop Sec.
To the saddest find I have found in the family military history is my great aunt Lily's first husband, Kenneth Kroenert, was aged 22 on the enlistment form at the time of enlisting the 9th of November 1939 in the 2/11 Australian Infantry Battalion Rank Private, marrying my aunt on the 1st of December 1939, son Howard was conceived before being deployed o/s. He was a POW in Stalag VIIIB when he died after a short high fever. He was accorded a military funeral by his German captors, never to meet his only child. Lily must have been distraught and maybe not mentally coping, as she had given her child to Kenneth's NSW family to bring up as their own child.
Then on my fathers side, I have found my 2 x great Uncle Albert Russell Emerson who enlisted at the age of 20 years, although I was able to find a attestation form, I have no further information. Although I am sure that many more have served, I have not yet come across any more records .and with that,
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them
My 3 x great grandfather James Bisdee came to the Swan Colony in Western Australia in 1851 as a convict on the convict ship the Minden with his son, Edgar. They were charged, imprisoned and then transported for sheep and chicken stealing in Somerset 1848. I had found a fair bit of information on Edgar, his marriage, his children, his shenanigans and his death, however there was no other information I had for James after his conditional pardon in 1853. When he was transported, he left his wife and 5 other children behind in England. I knew the date everyone in ancestry had for his death was wrong. They had him dying in Hutton Somerset in 1891.
Part of James' condition for his ticket of leave was he was not allowed to leave Australia. I am not sure if that was just for the remainder of his sentence, or if it was forever. However his wife in England remarried in 1857, since James was still alive ( however been transported) I have done just a touch of reading of divorce and found that:
"If one party to a marriage disappeared for seven years it was, by the eighteenth century, generally assumed that the deserted one could marry again, though if the errant one returned, the first marriage took priority Desertion and bigamy were not infrequent, but prosecutions were rare." and "Bigamy having become a quite frequent crime (2,555 cases were tried between 1805 and 1861), commissioners were appointed in 1850 to inquire into the law of divorce and, in 1857, the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act put an end to actions for criminal conversation and took away the authority of the church courts in divorce matters, placing them under a court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, presided over by three judges.".
Considering James was incarcerated in 1848, Harriet (also known as Henrietta) would have grounds on desertion.
James would have travelled to Victoria between 1853 and 1855 as a marriage banns record states he was married to a Emily Jane Cruse on the 26th of February 1855. This is where it got tricky. This marriage record states James as 38 years of age ( he would have been 54 years) That he was a widow in 1850 (Harriet/Henrietta was still alive and well in England) and that 2 of his 3 children were alive ( he had left 5 of them in England, and 1 in Western Australia). The marriage record also has his mother and father as James Bisdee and Jane Fry of Worle, which are his parents ( I have found baptism records for James and some of his siblings). I have no doubt this is the same James, I am a little shocked that he was able to shave 17 years of his age!
1858 has more records! There are more marriage records for James ( I have no idea what happened to Emily Jane) he married another widower Phillis Newbould nee Cowper and so far through my search I have found they had 3 children together, James was in his early 60s.
On the 12th March 1881, at his residence, Dandenong Road, Prahran, James Bisdee of Somersetshire England, died after a long and painful illness, believed to be buried in St Kilda cemetery.
I have found both Edgar and James conditional pardons. James was pardoned Dec 1853 and Edgar Feb 1854. This means that their 10 year sentence each, they only served a max of 3 years! I was looking up what conditional meant and I found this:
My name is Davina and I have been researching my family history since 2011. I started with almost nothing but ended up with a wealth of information and I needed an outlet to show and display all the information I have found.