Hiatus and beyond ..

Well, that was exhausting .. moving that is.

I have relocated from Maryborough to Gympie but have remained in Queensland.

It was all a bit sudden really, and blindsided me completely.  One moment I am safely ensconced in Maryborough and the next day I’m packing, throwing out, recycling stuff in preparation for the uplift.

The result was that I could no nothing on the site, which I was in the process of revamping before the ‘move’.   But all is good now which, in hindsight, was rather fortuitous given the spread of COVid-19 and the stay at home rule.  Apart from focusing my attention of ancestry searching I am feeding butcher birds and magpies .. beautiful sounds in the morning.

Thank you to all those who helped through the move.  Your efforts were really appreciated.

Some worrying trends for Genealogists

There are some worrying trends that should alert not just those who wish to trace their ancestors, but everyone.

In an age where we, the general public, are continually advise to guard our privacy there is a concerted effort by statutory authorities and aggressive internet companies to snare your data.  The popular internet site Ancestry is the just the first to feel the effect by police who want your information, particularly your DNA.

Techcrunch.dom has this to say;

DNA profiling company Ancestry.com has narrowly avoided complying with a search warrant in Pennsylvania after a search warrant was rejected on technical grounds, a move that is likely to help law enforcement refine their efforts to obtain user information despite the company’s efforts to keep the data private.

Little is known about the demands of the search warrant, only that a court in Pennsylvania approved law enforcement to “seek access” to Utah-based Ancestry.com’s database of more than 15 million DNA profiles.

The full text can be found here.

Of course this is just the start, other ancestry site will be targeted in future.

One has to acknowledge that this ‘seek access’ claim will be modified as the matter progresses and any number of court cases will no doubt follow.  Regardless of the outcome of any legal battle, the result will lead inevitable to the DNA testing of every new born baby, the profile to kept by some police department.

The general response by police and legislators to any objection to the collection of DNA will be ‘if you have nothing to hide where’s the problem’?  It all sounds rather familiar.

For those who pop into this site you may be assured that I have not undergone any DNA testing, well at lest not to my knowledge.

Then there is this from the New York Times back in 2007;

On November 26, 2007, the FBI served a National Security Letter (NSL) on the Internet Archive, a digital library. The letter sought personal information about one of the Archive’s users, including the individual’s name, address, and any electronic communication transactional records pertaining to the user. The NSL also included a gag order, prohibiting the Archive and its counsel from revealing the existence of the letter.

There is an activity on the internet which bears the generic term ‘open access text archive’ which is essentially the digitising all textual material like books and research papers which have, until recently been freely available on the web.  The site Internet Archive may be found here.

The object of the Internet Archive is to preserve books that have hitherto been freely available on the web but many of which have now be grabbed by Google, and other like minded profit generating companies, and can only be accessed through their ancillary sites and then only on their term and conditions.  The Internet Archives makes all book freely available and downloadable.  Authors and writers are encouraged to up load their materials to them website where it is made available to public, unrestricted and with no change involved.

This perhaps is scary stuff for governments and their interested parties as noted in the article by the NY Times.

The point of interest is the general trend that allows governments to know more and more about us while hiding behind a barrage of secrecy and protection themselves.




Surrounded as it was by the expanse of the Clyde estuary Cumbrae was perhaps the most logical place to station a revenue cutter early in the 18th century.  Although the island did not boast a particularly safe anchorage, something which was later rectified, the island was central to the activity of smuggling.  The island was however a sentinel guarded the passage into the Western heart of the Scottish mainland.

The island’s centrality eventually lead to the stationing of the Royal George revenue cutter on the island in the latter part of the 18th century where it remain until 1820 when it sailed away never to be replace.

There is no real evidence suggesting that Cumbrae was the heart of smuggling activities across the Clyde, although, given the times, those with a fishing boat may well have indulged.  Rather, as far as Samual Ford was concerned, the sudden influx of a large revenue crew worked in his favour in a rather unexpected way.

The influx of a large crew needed to sail the Royal George resulted in turn a demand for house.  The solution, which appears to have only happened only on Cumbrae, was a distribution of land to those connected with the Royal George.

When the government initiated what was called the ‘preventative service’, it effectively sold the rights to investors, most of whom were farmers simply because farmers had the finance needed for such a large investment.  The deal proved beneficial to the investors and the number of preventative cutters, later called revenue cutters, increased as did the famers, and the governments, coffers.

But the benefits did not end there.  The crew of the revenue fleet, called mariners rather than seaman, could expect to double their wages through the distribution of the proceeds from seized contraband and impounded vessels.  The result was, for the island of Cumbrae, a distribution of those proceeds across the island.

The question i have addressed in my latest posts has been the issue of initial problem, namely smuggling which you can find here.



Samuel Ford and Margaret Wright

I have added a page outlining the basic primary records for Samuel Ford and his wife, Margaret Wright.

‘Grandma’ Wright/Ford curtesy Lyn Heading

While there is documented data concerning both Samuel and Margaret Ford the fact is that as far as Samuel is concerned that evidence is only found with reference to him family.  There is no known sources that have him recorded elsewhere as far as I can ascertain.

Why Immigrate to NZ

I have rewritten sections of James Ford: New Zealand page.

I have rethought several matters and tidied up a number of others.

The important addition to the research is the significance that the evangelism of the recently formed (1843) Free Church of Scotland had on a young James Ford.  The claustrophobic conditions created by the industrialisation of labour around the Glasgow area of Scotland could only have served the visionary gentlemen of the Free Church to promote far away places as places of refuge.

Millport Then and Now

Kames Bay, Millport. (daimadan)

In my research, I have literally stumbled across the website daimadan dot com and found it loaded with photographs of areas around the Clyde.  I suspect the images are contained somewhere else, (Scottish National Archives perhaps) but cannot find any reference to their location through the daimadan website.

The collection looks to have taken about 1860 through to 1880 and I have added them to the page Millport Than and Now.


The Wright Inheritance

In writing a historical story one is continually confronted with the changing nature of the material accessed.  As a result of new information being accessed the story itself must change.  Following my recent purchase of the publication by J.R.D. Campbell, Clyde Coast Smuggling, I have found it necessary to review any number of historical facts concerning James Ford’s father, Samuel Ford.

The information provided by Campbell has alerted me to readjust the location of Margaret Ford’s residence at the time of the 1841 Census.  Not only have I had to rethink my previous assumptions, but the valuable information concerning the distribution of the ‘feu plan’ of 1781/2 confirms what I had hitherto suspected, that Samuel Ford’s marriage to Margaret Wright had important social and economic implications.

For instance, the fact that the ‘feu plan’ confirms that One Thomas Hunter was given a plot of land along Stuart Street which tallies with the record of the 1841 census where Hunter, now aged 79 is still in residence, supports my readjustment of the Ford’s residence on Stuart Street.

Further, Campbell’s publication confirms that the residence occupied by the now widowed Margaret Ford and her family was initially granted to Alexander Wright, grandfather of Margaret Ford.  Remembering that Margaret Ford’s father, Robert Wright was the son of Alexander Ford and a mariner on the revenue cutter the Royal George, it appears and is probably true, that Alexander Wright bequested the property to Samuel Ford on his marriage to his son’s sister, Margaret Wright.

Such benevolence would explain why an otherwise unknown quarry labourer came to be known a feuar, an owner of property in Millport.

The full details can be found on the page The Wright Inheritance.