Finding a Fortune Down Under

Finding a Fortune Down Under

Exploring Captain Flint’s bounty and finding a Fortune on the other side of the world...

Nick Thorne, Writer at TheGenealogist

Nick Thorne

Writer at TheGenealogist

In this article we look at William Fortune and his young wife who set out for a new life in New South Wales, departing from London on the 13th February 1841 on board the ship the Jane Gifford.

The detailed records confirm the departure date, the ship’s name and much more. For example we are able to discover that William was from Newbridge, that he was a labourer aged 28 and a Roman Catholic. We can see that he was heading for Sydney, Australia and that William had been engaged by one Captain Flint at a wage of £19 a year.

Presumably William’s prospective employer, Captain Flint, was not the template for Robert Louis Stevenson’s piratical character of the same name, who would appear in print forty years later. As the shipping records also reveals to us, William Fortune could neither read nor write this fictional person with the same name as his boss may well have passed him by in the years to come.

An extremely powerful feature of searching the passenger lists on TheGenealogist’s website is the ability to look for a family travelling together. One click on the family group icon next to William’s results returns potential family members. We can see that his 19 year old wife, Susan, was also travelling with him. Her occupation is noted as a House Maid and she too was a Roman Catholic from Newbridge.

Access Over a Billion Records

Try a four-month Diamond subscription and we’ll apply a lifetime discount making it just £44.95 (standard price £64.95). You’ll gain access to all of our exclusive record collections and unique search tools (Along with Censuses, BMDs, Wills and more), providing you with the best resources online to discover your family history story.

We’ll also give you a free 12-month subscription to Discover Your Ancestors online magazine (worth £24.99), so you can read more great Family History research articles like this!

View Offer Details

William Fortune in the Emigration Records at TheGenealogist
William Fortune in the Emigration Records at TheGenealogist

Making a Fortune

Another charming nugget of family history information revealed by the ‘Potential Family Members’ search is that on the voyage William and Susan were delivered of a baby girl. Their child, Jane Fortune, was born at sea with her native place being prosaically listed simply as “Sea” on the passenger list. Jane is recorded as being aged 2 months and has then been pedantically noted in the records as being “under age”.

The passenger lists available on TheGenealogist can reveal a significant amount of information about ancestors that have emigrated to New South Wales in the 19th century. As we can see from the example above, the unique ability to search for relatives travelling together is a compelling reason to use TheGenealogist to research immigrants down under.

Jane Fortune in the Emigration Records at TheGenealogist
Jane Fortune in the Emigration Records at TheGenealogist

These records are part of 190,000 newly released Emigration records, which have been added to our growing immigration and emigration record set. Access these records and much more with a Diamond Subscription to TheGenealogist! For a limited time we are offering £50 cashback! Click here to sign up today!

All articles are Copyright © of the author and TheGenealogist. These may not be reproduced in whole or part without prior permission.