Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Travelling on the Sophocles to Australia in 1923

My grandparents emigrated to Australia from England in 1923 with their two young sons. They had great hopes of creating a new life for themselves on a farm in Victoria. They sailed from England on 12 September 1923 on the Sophocles.

Here are some of the passengers on board the ship.

Passengers on the Sophocles

The Sophocles at sea

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Irish Prison Registers help find my ancestor's birthplace

I've previously written about my Irish convict ancestor Eliza Nolan in Transported to Van Diemen's Land at fourteen years of age. I knew from her convict records that she had been imprisoned for another offence of stealing a bib prior to her transportation sentence, so I checked the Irish Prison Registers collection on to see if I could find her.

The online records  include the Grangegorman female prison in Dublin covering the years 1831 to 1897. I was able to find the entry for Eliza's committal to the prison in 1841 for three months, her offence being "Felony Child's Bib". The records include details of the place of birth and for Eliza this is recorded as Arless, Queens County. Her convict records had given her place of birth as Queens County, but later she said that she had been born in 'Dublin' when she married her second husband in Australia. This is the first time I have found the name of a specific place within the County. As she was baptised in Dublin I suspect that her family moved there shortly after she was born.

According to, the Irish Prison Registers collection covers the period 1790 to 1924 and comprises most surviving records for prisons in the Republic of Ireland. I think this is well worth checking and could be of particular value if trying to find the birthplace of people who came to Dublin from other areas.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Napper family wedding at Sale, Victoria

Seven of the children of James and Elizabeth Napper of Seavington and South Petherton in Somerset, England  emigrated to Australia as adults to start a new life. They were Charles, Enos, Edmund, George, William, Fanny (my great great grandmother) and Eliza. James Napper's brother, John, also emigrated to Australia with his family eventually settling in Sale, Victoria.

The Nappers liked to keep in touch, and when the marriage of one of the Sale Napper family took place in the early 1890s, two of Eliza's children, Lizzy and Gilbert Denman attended. I have a photo of people at this wedding. It includes Lizzy and Gilbert, but I don't know the identity of anyone else - they would include relatives of the bride and groom but could also include friends. Please have a look at this photo and let me know if you can identify anyone.