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Proformat News
No: 57
November 2010
November Seminars
21: Finding SA families in newspapers West Torrens Library 1:30 to 3:00pm

December Seminars
5: Coming to grips with FamilySearch WEA Centre Adelaide10:00am to 1:00pm

January Seminars
No program

See the seminar program for more details and bookings.

Trove SA newspaper update
The wonderful web site operated by the National Library of Australia, Trove, has added more SA newspapers online. We now have the Burra Record 1878–1954. Now available and searchable are: The Advertiser 1889–1931 (few small gaps); The Advertiser 1931–49 (significant gaps); Advertiser and Register 1931; The South Australian Advertiser 1858–1889 (gaps in 1889); South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register 1836–39 (significant gaps); South Australian Register 1839–46 (gaps) 1850–53 (gaps);1862–66; 1883 (Apr, May, Jun)

TNA introduces Domesday Map
Using the latest technology users can now see places in England mentioned in the Domesday Book. The feature is part of the labs section of the TNA web site previously announced.

South Australian Scottish ancestors
A significant group of people to emigrate to early South Australia were the Scots. In the period 1840 to 1850, a number of ad hoc landlord sponsored schemes were in place. Under Scottish law the laird was obliged to support his tenants in times of hardship and in an era of growing farm mechanisation coupled with the trend towards sheep rather than crops, many estates had an oversupply of tenants and not much potential for employment. To relieve the burden of supplementing poor tenants with food and/or to allow for estate clearances it was cheaper for the laird to give his tenant and the family a one-way ticket to a distant place with a prospect of finding streets paved with gold! Of course South Australia was not the only recipient of these folk, but the number was sufficient to create several Scottish enclaves such as Strathalbyn in the young colony. As an example, Gordon of Cluny sponsored 1700 of his tenants and their families in 1851 to leave his estates for Canada and Australia. James Matheson, the owner of Lewis (an island in the Hebrides) sponsored 3200 people in 1851–53 to relocate to Canada and Australia.

In this issue:
November seminars
December seminars
January seminars
Trove SA newspaper update
TNA introduces Domesday Map

Feature article
South Australian Scottish ancestors


Graham Jaunay
Adelaide Proformat

Glandore SA 5037

Tel: +61 8 8371 4465

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These programs were formalised in 1851 with the Emigration Advances Act, which allowed landlords to borrow from public funds to pay the cost of emigration of their tenants.

At the same time a number of emigration societies were established to relieve overpopulation in isolated regions with no industry and infertile land and inner city slums. Probably the most well-known societies were the Glasgow Emigration Society, the Skye Emigration Society established in 1851 and the Highland & Island Emigration Society established in 1852.

These societies were completely funded by subscription and public donations. The latter organisation benefiting from £300 from HM Queen as the Prince Albert was patron. After the initial funding these societies were designed to become self-sufficient in that they provided intending emigrants with interest free means tested loans to be repaid after twelve months in the new country. The repayments often were never forthcoming! Fifteen ships arrived in Adelaide, Sydney, Portland and Geelong over the period June and July 1852.

Highland & Island Emigration Society passengers for Adelaide
(† National Archives of Scotland HD4/5)
Departure port
28 Oct 1851
St Anns Cape Breton
HMS Hercules
26 Dec 1852
380 inc transits
7 Jun 1853
63 ex-Hercules
30 Jul 1853
25 ex-Hercules
James Fernie
18 Aug 1854
Royal Albert
15 Aug 1855
16 Jun 1855

For more information and details of these projects see, Eric Richards; A history of the Highland Clearances Vol2: Emigration, Protest, Reasons, 1985 pp249–283 and WB Clarke; Emigration from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, undated.

The trauma of the Hercules voyage itself is worthy of a newsletter article in its own right.

The Scottish Archive Network [SCAN] maintains a web site listing passengers in the Highland & Island Emigration Society. This database covers arrivals under the scheme for all Australian colonies. The page also has other interesting information about the scheme itself and how it operated including a copy of the Society's rules for 1851 and a map showing the areas the Society focused its attention. The web site called Scotlands family maintains a number of links to online passenger lists that may prove useful.

While we have good records of those passengers who came out under the Highland & Island Emigration Society and know the vessels engaged, it is not the same for the emigrants assisted by their lairds, the lesser emigration societies, those who sought assisted passage through the usual channels, nor those who paid their own way or received fare assistance from a third party. There was never a central emigration register kept in Scotland of the many Scots who left the country. Often the only record we have is the the shipping manifest, which usually listed all passengers, travelled with the ship and was lodged at the overseas port of entry. Some of these manifests were subsequently handed in to archives or libraries, while others were simply lost. In the case of South Australia, many were simply turned into papier mâché by the high tides entering the storage basement of the Port Adelaide Harbour Master's offices!

Prior to 1838 Scottish emigration to Australia was only a trickle with the bulk opting for North America. For example in 1836, the total number of emigrants sailing for Australia was only 114.

The turning-point came in 1837, when 1254 persons left Scottish ports for eastern Australia. It is likely that the new bounty systems in sponsored by the UK and NSW governments were diverting emigrants towards Australia rather than Canada and the United States. This may also have been helped by the political disturbances in the Canadas, and a financial panic in the United States.

In 1838 the flow to Australia increased and nine ships with 2161 government sponsored emigrants were cleared from Scottish ports for Australia. In addition, 1054 privately assisted emigrants and unassisted emigrants took passage from Scotland, making a total of 3215 for the year. In 1839, the total number embarking in Scotland was 2238—a seventh of the total number embarking in Britain for all the Australian settlements, including Van Diemen’s Land, Port Philip, South Australia, and Western Australia.This trend was largely over by 1846 as a result of the improvement in business conditions in Scotland due mainly to large-scale railway building. In 1848 the Land Board reported that it had experienced great difficulty in selecting suitable emigrants for Australia in Scotland because of the demand for labour for railway construction.

Pictured: Star of India built 1864 brought emigrants to Australia.

Unfortunately for South Australia, the boom in Scottish emigration just happened to correspond with a down turn in the financial status of life in the colony and the assisted passenger program to South Australia did not operate from 1841 to 1846 meaning that the vast bulk of emigration was enjoyed by the other Australian colonies. With no government involvement in this period, the only arrivals into South Australia were those who paid their own way or received financial assistance from another source. No doubt many Scots did come to South Australia during that interval, but because the colonial government was not involved, no records exist apart from the occasional list in a newspaper report and very few of these state the origins of the passengers. Even those passengers arriving in times when the colonial government had an interest in emigration can only be distinguished as Scottish by a mark in the column headed Scottish in the manifests!

There are very few records in The National Archives of Scotland (NAS) which list names of emigrants. The Colonial Office, based in London, was responsible for emigration in the nineteenth century and its records are held by The National Archives in London (TNA). They also hold the surviving outward passenger lists from 1890. All the records predating 1890 have been destroyed.

Even for many Scots, Liverpool was a major departure port for much of the nineteenth century. The Merseyside Maritime Museum holds significant information on sources of emigration with a library of emigration sources in published form, including copies of the indexes of assisted emigrants to Australia. They also hold an extensive collection of narrative accounts of emigrant voyages. Detailed information sheets can be found on their web site.

The useful link site operated by Cora Num maintains a whole collection of links relating to emigration shipping into Australia and some of these links relate to Scottish migration to Australia. You can also find some transcribed SA passenger lists at The Ships List.
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