Brick Wall Solutions - Still Looking for James Henry Trevaskis (1839-?)
In previous Brick Wall Solutions blogs, I have written about my success stories. This time I am writing about a brick wall that has yet to crumble. I certainly hope that someone reading this blog has the answer or clues that I can follow up on. Other family members, as well as myself, have tried many times over the last thirty plus years to solve it but without success.
My gg grandfather was James Henry Trevaskis born in St Hilary Cornwall in 1839. He married Ann Semmens in 1859 in Perranuthnoe, Cornwall and they had three children James Henry Trevaskis (1859), Nicholas William (1861) and Annie (1863).
In 1864 they decided to emigrate to Australia and arrived in South Australia on 20 December 1864 on board the Rockcliff. They went to live in Moonta where James Henry found work in the copper mines. Less than three months later his wife Ann died in March 1865 leaving him with three young children.
Six months later he married Elizabeth Rosewarne in Wallaroo in September 1865. Their first child, Dorcas Trevaskis was born in Moonta in June 1866.
Some time after Dorcas' birth the family made the decision to move to the new copper mines in Queensland at the appropriately named Copperfield, near present day Clermont in central Queensland. Here their second child John Trevaskis was born in June 1868.
Financial reports of the Copperfield Committee of Works published in the Peak Downs Telegram, Clermont, Copperfield and Springsure Advertiser in October 1868 mention a contractor named Trevaskis employed sinking a well.
Assuming this is my James Henry, then these are the last references to him. Searches for his death certificate or a record of burial have been unsuccessful despite a number of descendants researching this family. No one has been able to confirm his death or explain his disappearance.
We assume his death between October 1868 and November 1873 because his wife Elizabeth remarried as a widow to George Guy in Copperfield in November 1873. So somewhere in that five year period James Henry Trevaskis died in Copperfield. The Copperfield cemetery records have no record of a James Henry Trevaskis being buried there and, as Elizabeth remarries in Copperfield, we assume that the family did not move from there during the five years in question.
Searches of post office directories, electoral rolls, probate and inquest records were also unsuccessful.
We don't believe that he simply left his wife and family and if that were the case, could Elizabeth have remarried as a widow without an inquiry into his disappearance.
With the release of the Queensland BDMs online, I tried again with all sorts of name and spelling variations but no luck.
A search of the World Vital Records Australasia database reveals one entry for him in the Queensland Government Gazette, confirming the work for the Clermont and Copperfield Municipality.
The answer is out there somewhere, but where?
Brick Wall Tips
- Check alternative spellings of given names and surnames
- Try middle or even first names as surnames
- Check all available sources
- Recheck as new resources become available
- Advertise your 'brick wall' just in case someone else knows the solution
- Don't give up - new resources and ways of searching online are being developed all the time.