In preparation for a research trip to UK next year, I am going back through my information to confirm the details held. Over the years, additional information is now available online.
I have always wondered why my Great Great Grandfather Donald Scott came to Australia to be a poor farmer, when his family, who remained in Scotland, were wealthy compared to most. His father, Adam Bisset Scott, was a tailor and owned at least 3 properties in Leith, with one of these properties being 3 units.
Everyone (including myself) had determined from the Public Record Office website that Donald had arrived at Port Phillip (Victoria, Australia) aboard the Sappho in 1852.
|Unassisted Passenger Detail - Source http://prov.vic.gov.au/|
Donald married later in life, at age 48, and his wife Mary Ann (Polly) was 25 years younger. I wondered if he had deliberately changed his year of birth so he didn't seem quite as old as he really was?
Today when checking details, the original passenger list is now available on Ancestry, which is how I realised that I (and everyone else on Ancestry) had made an error! We had incorrectly "assumed" that we had the correct Donald Scott as he was the only one listed!
|Sappho Passenger Manifest 1852|
So back to the immigration records I went! So many years later, I now know from a letter that his wife wrote, that he was known as "Dan" (the same as his grandfather) so did not limit my searching to "Donald" this time.
There were now 7 different potential immigration records so I went back over my research again to look for "clues"
- The death certificate indicates that Donald had been in the Australian colony for 40 years (so arrived in 1852) but it is also showed "England" as place of birth rather than "Scotland". How could family members make such a mistake? Hypothesis: Maybe he had moved to England prior to coming to Australia?
- 1841 Scottish Census showed that he resided with his family in Scotland but no occupation (so no help)
- 1851 Census (looking for an occupation or something to link to immigration records) - After hours of searching all UK census records and discounting many potential people, I have been unable to local Donald/Daniel Scott. Hypothesis: Maybe he had left UK prior to 1851 census?
I got quite excited when I found convict Daniel Scott (age 19), who had been transported to Australia for a 10 year sentence in 1848. All the dates seemed to fit. Our Donald/Daniel Scott disappears between 1842-1877 so maybe this is the reason why?
Although I have narrowed down to 3 potential immigration records, I cannot confirm or prove them so Donald Scott is now one of three ancestors, who I cannot confirm how and when they arrived in Australia. Hopefully I can locate additional information when I visit Scotland!
NEVER ASSUME! ALWAYS CONFIRM!
|Mary Ann (Polly) and Donald (Dan) Scott with their children -|
Tom, Jane, Eliza, Elsie, Christian and William1890
You can also read more about Donald Scott here.