Connections to Jersey, Channel Islands
Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, which are located in the English Channel just 30 kilometres from the French coast. It is small Island, just 118 square kilometres; however descendants of the sea faring islanders can be found all around the world.
Australian gold rush
Many Jersey residents took advantage of the Australian gold rush of the 1850s and it is estimated that as many as 6,000 people may have left the Channel Islands for Australia between 1852 and 1855. Jersey men and women, travelled from the Island in search of new lives, land to farm and opportunities to bring back trade and goods to their families.
In the 1850s a number of advertisements for ships leaving for Australia appear in the local newspapers. These include an advert from Esnouf and Mauger ship owners who wish to let readers know that the brig ‘Charles’ from Jersey was leaving the island on 2nd April and sailing for Melbourne and the gold regions of Australia.
The Online Catalogue
In March 2015 Jersey Heritage, the organisation responsible for the Island’s National Record Office, Jersey Archive, re-launched its Online Catalogue to enable people to view or download a vast array of documents. These documents were previously only available when visiting Jersey and can now be accessed online for a small annual subscription fee or on a pay-per-view basis.
The new catalogue includes over 500,000 images from collections such as the Church of England marriage and baptism registers, Superintendent Registrar’s indexes for Births, Marriages and Deaths from 1842, copies of the Channel Islands Family History Society’s transcriptions of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials from the 1540s to 1842, Wills and Testaments from 1660 – 1948 and Undertakers’ records from the 19th and 20th Centuries.
To view the online catalogue please visit: www.jerseyheritage.org/aco.
An Island Story
George and Ann’s first child, Anna Magdalen is recorded as being born in Prahran, Melbourne, Victoria in 1855 with siblings arriving a regular intervals until the couple’s last and tenth child, Dolbel Romeril was born in 1872, also in Prahran.
With 10 children George and Ann, in common with many of those who left Jersey for Australia in the 19th Century, must have descendants still alive in Australia who are keen to discover more about their Jersey roots.
Searching the online catalogue allows us to find out more about George and Ann’s ancestors. George’s mother Magdalen Romeril is included in our funeral director’s records collection and by searching on the online catalogue we can download her entry from the register.
This tells us that Magdalen’s maiden name is Babot and that she died in 1868 at the age of 74. The entry tells us Magdalen’s place of burial and that she is buried with her husband Charles who was a master ironmonger.
Through the online catalogue we can also find a record of the marriage of Magdalen and Charles in 1818. All marriages, baptisms and burials in the Island from the 1540s to 1842 are now available to search through the Channel Islands Family History Society transcriptions.
These types of records can help you to find out more about your ancestors who, like George and Ann, left Jersey and made the long voyage to Australia.