Monday, November 25, 2013

Townsend 1820 Settlers Algoa Bay Port Elizabeth

The Immigration Ship


Bound for: Table Bay
Departed UK: 25 Apr 1864
Date of arrival South Africa: 14 Jul 1864

No deaths on board
No births on board

Esme’ Bull – Ships Log 

Great Great Grand parents

Thomas Townsend     of Lapith Birmingham England b ABT. 1822
Married Mary Bushell

Thomas Townsend, "England Marriages, 1538–1973 "
Thomas Townsend
Birth Date:
Spouse's Name:
Spouse's Birth Date:
Spouse's Birthplace:
Spouse's Age:
Event Date:
10 Apr 1817
Event Place:
Clifton Upon Dunsmore,Warwick,England
Father's Name:
Mother's Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number:
System Origin:
GS Film number:
0548387, 0576942
Reference ID:

Could this be your great great grand parents? Possible if they had more than one child. If this is the family then they had six to seven children. This is the closest I could come to the dates. It also means that Mary was born ABT. 1797 and Thomas ABT, 1794. They would have moved from Warwickshire to Birmingham not too far away. This is the same area where Dr Slater was recruiting immigrants to South Africa for the British government.

Great Grandparents

Thomas Townsend   Born Lapith Birmingham England  b 1837

Married? Anne Maria Brooks

Thomas boarded the barque “Relief” 12 July 1864 for Algoa Bay. He had with him two Bushell children bound John Bushell in Queenstown  In the Eastern Cape. These two children may have been the nephews and nieces of Mary Townsend from a failed marriage, but this is speculation. However they were related. The sole purpose of Thomas coming to South Africa may have been to deliver the children to their father John Bushell, brother of Mary Bushell?

The ship log does not say whether Thomas Townsend brought a wife with him, but he appears to have married a widow “Annie” Davy at a later date. She is said to have hailed from Plymouth in England. She died on the 26 November 1896 in the Kimberly Hospital. Thomas was a miner (see death certificate) so this fits in with the general picture of his life.  Thomas died eight years later in 1904, in Queenstown. Thomas probably retired there after moving around the country where he died in John Bushell’s residence at the age of seventy years.

We also know he stayed in Port Elizabeth but do not know for how long but was the town where his son Thomas Townsend was born in 1884. Anne Brooks’  religious affiliation is suggested by other genealogists to be Roman Catholic, born out too by the fact that her middle name was Maria.

“I think we could assumed Annie was Catholic as evidenced by it being carried on down the family line. Not sure about Thomas TOWNSEND…”

However Thomas Townsend was buried in the Wesleyan cemetery in Queenstown but his son Frederick was affiliated to the Methodist Church in East London. Affiliations are not something to get hung up about because many families changed churches when the one they belonged to was not available in the area they lived, or for other personal reasons.

Thomas of Birmingham is listed as unmarried which in all likelihood means he never married but if he was married and his wife died in 1896 as indicated it may mean died unmarried as his wife had passed away. “Annie”, which we presume is Anne Maria Brooks  of Port Elizabeth was born in 1858 in  Plymouth and must have come to South Africa with her parents. Personally I think she was born in South Africa but her parents may have come from the UK. She was married in 1883 age 25, and Thomas Townsend was 46 years of age, a difference of 21 years.

Birthplace of Deceased: Plymouth, England
Age: 38 years
Occupation: Housewife
Married or other: Married
Date of Decease: 26/11/1896
Place of Death: Kimberley Hospital
Children: Left blank
Other info: Left blank

It  must also be remembered that “married” can have many different connotations. Personally I think that even though it looks as if he was in a covenant the facts are speaking quite differently.

Genealogists, in the case of Thomas Townsend, have assumed him to have died at the age of forty. This is because they have assumed him to be plus minus two years older than his wife, whose date of birth they know. This is common amongst genealogists, to calculate a husbands age anything between 1-5 years  older than the wife in the absence of documents, but in this case the error was wide. 

I assume that Annie stayed in Kimberly as she would most probably had children living there from her first marriage to Mr. Davy, which is why she dies there. Thomas Townsend dies in Queenstown where his family, the Bushell’s lived. 

> This is installment #13 of the continuation of Port Elizabeth Methodist
> Records. Dates follow American convention of MMDDYY. Some of the
> handwriting was very difficult to decipher, so entries with a ? denote my
> best guess.

> > Microfilm# 1560873
> > Methodist Parish Records
> > Port Elizabeth Christenings: 1883-1906
> > Item 7
> > Entry #36
> > Child: Frederick William TOWNSEND
> > Parents: Thomas and Anne Maria Brook
> > Born: 5/31/1884
> > Baptized: 6/3/1884
From the above we can clearly see Thomas was a Methodist but his wife was Catholic as her second name suggests. The areas that he was familiar with in his life appears to be Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, Queenstown, Kimberly.