A fifth-generation New Zealander and MyHeritage user, Carol Marriott is working on a few mysteries of history involving her family, which arrived in 1842.
The Martha Ridgway was the sixth immigrant ship sent by the New Zealand Company.
Its second voyage left Liverpool on November 6, 1841, and arrived behind Boulder Bank in Nelson Haven on April 7, 1842.
Among the steerage class married couples were Charles, 30, and Sarah Inkersell, 32, who had registered with a New Zealand company agent in Burton-on-Trent, and Eli and Ellen Cropper, with their 3-month-old daughter Mary Ann, who had registered in Halifax.
In the overcrowded shared deck space surrounded by deaths, births, terrible storms and extreme temperatures, the two couples would have come to know each other well.
Our mystery is Sarah Inkersell. She went missing about 1845, when she discovered her husband was having an affair. Did she move to the Canterbury region to be with relatives, as assumed, or did she die? And when Charles remarried, did he divorce Sarah? ... Was he a bigamist? So far, none of our research has located her.
Carol has tried to cover both her paternal and maternal lines of her grandparents’ family trees – the early pioneers. Her grandfather is a descendant of Charles Inkersell’s son, Samuel. Her grandmother is a descendant of Fanny Cochrane Smith – the last of the Tasmanians. Her great-great-grandmother was Sarah Tanganutarra, mother of Fanny Cochrane and Mary Ann.
Carol has been working on the family tree for more than 12 years, and took over the task from her aunt, who worked on it for more than 30 years. What really made Carol happy was MyHeritage:
In the last five months, my research accelerated when I gained access to the internet and the MyHeritage website.
Her aunt aided the Tasmanian Government to compile the family tree of Fanny Cochrane Smith, while Carol located a website (now defunct) created by the Victoria Government, which related to her aunt’s research.
Finding a distant cousin on the MyHeritage site greatly moved my Inkersell research, forward, along with their great software. I now know of nine distant cousins who are researching their branches and our website has grown.
MyHeritage even saved her family history from being lost, when a virus hit her computer, claiming her family tree information.
Thanks to MyHeritage’s backups, I was easily able to restore my work. The technical support was wonderful and the manual was self-explanatory. The consistency checker is a fantastic reinforcement tool, helping to correct and identify errors in records, in addition to Smart Matching and photo albums makes for a great package.
According to Carol:
No genealogist could be without Family Tree Builder. It makes hunting for family treasure all the more easier, unlike some other sites I have come across.
The many online resources available to genealogists increase daily and, writes Carol, “it is the dawning of a new age for genealogy.”
For me, the research into history is a journey into life, which is never-ending. Each of us contains a part of this epic story of creation, which we live in.
For those interested in ship history, Carol provides more on the Martha Ridgeway, built 1840 with attention to passenger comfort. It weighed 621 tons, was 135 feet long with a 29-foot beam. By 1841, it had already sailed to Port Nicholson and back.
On the voyage her ancestors sailed on, there were 16 relatively comfortable cabin passengers, 120 adults in steerage and 99 children.
The ship seems to have followed the normal plan for such vessels with steerage accommodation for single men in the bow, single women in the stern and married couples and children crammed into the space in between. There were 21 deaths over the five-month journey - seven from dysentery - and seven births.
We look forward to reading your stories.