Captain John Gray of the SS Great Britain
Last week at my local monthly genealogy group, I gave another presentation (the first one
was a few months ago). This time my presentation was about John Gray, Captain of the SS Great Britain.
I’ve written a little about Captain John Gray before, and that post formed the basis of my presentation.
I added some of the quotes from the Bristol Museum webpage from various travellers who went on the SS Great Britain to Australia under the captain’s command. These quotes paint a picture of the man that you don’t normally have as a genealogist.
“Mr Gray is a very fine fellow with the most athletic proportions, a voice that can be heard above the storm and the most untiring energy”.
“the only fault I have to find with him is that he has such a strong hand with which he squeezes peoples fingers like a pair of pincers if that can be called a vice”
I also found that the first all-England cricket team to tour Australia travelled on the SS Great Britain in 1861 under John Gray’s command. Wikipedia even has a picture of them before they set off.
English cricket team of 1861 just prior to departure for Australia.
It was a fun presentation to do, and the group seemed to really enjoy the various quotes.
August is Family History month at my local library. After giving a presentation to my local genealogy group, a couple of the ladies there volunteered me to repeat the presentation during the Family History month event at the library. Today was the day that I gave the presentation.
I extended it a little from the first run, making it into three distinct sections.
- My Unst Family History project
A short introduction to where Unst is, and the reasons why I’m trying to make a complete Unst family tree – some of the same things I wrote about in A family tree and more
- Knitting is Women’s Work?
The story of James Moar the knitter that I’ve written about on here a number of times before. This acted as a worked example showing how the various different types of records could be used.
- Using Scottish Records
I added a final section to recap the Census records, the statutory records versus the Old Parish Records and how to get hold of them.
It was a pleasantly informal event, with the projector and screen set up in the middle of the library in an area that is usually a small conversation area with some comfortable chairs (see photo below). There were a few questions at the end, and everyone seemed genuinely interested. One lady brought me a present of a Shetland dialect story book, “Da Peesterleeties an da Curse o da Njuggle” by Valerie Watt which was a lovely gesture.
A photo from another event showing where I was presenting in among the books
Photo courtesy of ARTbop
On Saturday 5th March 2016, Shetland Museum and Archives hosted a study day on the topic of Authenticity in Culturally-based Knitting.
One of the speakers on the day was our very own Rhoda Hughson (my mum). In her presentation she talks about the box of knitwear found in the Uyeasound shop (which is what kicked off my research on James Moar) and how they got replicas made to display in the Unst Heritage Center.
James is getting quite some air time, with both mum and me giving presentations that include him, in the space of a few days!
She also talks about the traditions of knitting, and passing down the skills to the next generation, and mentions the Unst Peerie Knitters that she wrote about on this blog. Watch her whole presentation in the video below – she is the first of three speakers in that video.
She’s mentioned in a couple of tweets on the day too.
You can read more about this event at:-
I joined a local genealogy group, and today I gave a small presentation about James Moar, the man who turned to knitting when he do no other task to support himself. I’ve written about him in a number of blog posts before.
I created the presentation from the material I had in the above blog posts, using some of the photographs as illustrations as I talked. I also used old maps to show where they lived, and showed the various census records and birth and death records that I had discovered when researching James’ life. I also talked about getting his Death record updated so that he was finally recorded correctly, which seemed to be met with great approval.
Aberdeen Show Newspaper Cutting, from Dundee Courier, Wednesday, July 25th 1894
I had one new piece of information in the presentation that is not in any of the previous blog posts. As you’ll know if you’ve read the others, James turned to knitting when he was invalided, and while he had a slow start, he did clearly get better. In the 1901 and 1911 census he is listed as a Shetland Lace Knitter, which shows a certain skill as that is a complex and delicate knitting style. Well he, must have been quite good because he won first prize in the Aberdeen Highland show (held on Tuesday, July 24th 1894) for a Fine White Shetland Shawl, beating another lady from the same village, Uyeasound, into second place.
I brought along my copy of the Unst Heritage Lace book for the group members to look at as well, since James is also mentioned in there.
I think the presentation was well received, and I hope to maybe do another subject at a future meeting.