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  1. #1
    A fountain of knowledge
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    Default William Cooper in Scottish 1841 census?

    I have an ancestor who ended up settling in South Africa in 1850, but am trying to find out more about him prior to that date. The information I have, so far, is as follows:

    He was born c1814, in Scotland and served an apprenticeship as a shipwright in Aberdeen (presumably some time around the 1830s and possibly early 40s). Between May 1847 and July 1848, he was employed at the Dockyards in Deptford, Kent, and then served as a ship's carpenter on the 'Minerva' until 1850 when the ship sank off Port Natal, and he chose to remain there. His eldest son was named William MCPHAIL Cooper and I am wondering if that might be his mother or grandmother's maiden name, perhaps.

    I have searched the 1841 census for England and Wales but have had no joy in spotting him, so it may be that he was still in Scotland at that date. Could SKS see if they could locate him, as I desperately need to know roughly where in Scotland he was born, in order to go any further with my research. I'd be very grateful for any possible sightings!

  2. #2
    Bertie
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    Just a quick search showed up the following which may be worth a more detailed look:

    William COOPER chr. 16 Aug 1814, St. Nicholas, Aberdeen parents Williams and Isabel MILNE
    William COOPER married Isabel HENRY (?) St. Nicholas, Aberdeen 09 Dec 1813

    No other child at this parish to a William and Isabel.

    Was Isabel married before?

    Did you check to see if he is in Scotland in 1841?

    What name and employment of his FATHER does his marriage record give?

  3. #3
    Bertie
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    Have you tried getting hold of the crew list for the Minerva as that may give v. useful information on his birthplace. If you have, or find, the official number of the vessel, go to this site and check to see where the records are held for the period in question: http://www.mun.ca/mha/

  4. #4
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    Just a quick search of the Scottish census

    William Cooper, 25, b. Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Carpenter
    Parish: Aberdeen East; ED: 3; Page: 6 (crown copyright, care of GRO for Scotland)

    The problem is that there are a fair number of William Coopers of about his age in Scotand and the occupation is not always shown on the census.

  5. #5
    Bertie
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    Have you seen this on the incident? http://www.genealogyworld.net/rose/m...b_minerva.html

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    Bertie
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  7. #7
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    Did William Cooper died in South Africa? Have you located a Death Notice for him?
    Sometimes a notice contains information on parents and siblings.

  8. #8
    Bertie
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    More on the Minerva:

    Minerva. Wooden ship, 987 tons. Built at Bombay, 1812. Captain J. Moir. Bound for Australia with emigrants, parted her anchors while lying alongside the bar at Port Natal, South Africa, and drifted on to rocks at The Bluff, becoming a total wreck, 4 July 1850. There was no loss of life, but most passengers had their luggage destroyed.
    Bateson indicates that there is some, minor, doubt that the ship was bound for Port Natal, and thus had not intended to proceed on to Australia.

    If you can find the official number, that should lead you to the crew records

  9. #9
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    Hi Bertie and Olliecat
    My biggest difficulty is that South African marriage certificates give only the names and ages of the two individuals marrying, which is no help at all! Although I have been told that he served his apprenticeship in Aberdeen, I don't really know whether he was born there, but the baptism and marriage that you found, Bertie, look interesting. I was hoping against hope that something might pop up in the 1841 census, but as you mentioned, Olliecat, William Cooper is a fairly common name!

    I have seen the info on the 'Minerva' on the Genealogy World site before: it makes very interesting reading. As you'll have seen, William Cooper was required to give evidence during the investigation into the cause of the wreck. He ended up marrying one of the passengers on the 'Minerva,' a Cornish girl called Elizabeth Dunstan, who was quite a bit younger than him. I originally wondered if William had run away from a failed first marriage, but on reflection think he possibly stayed single as long as he did simply because of all the travelling he'd done. I have seen transcriptions of the passenger list, and in one instance, the crew's list, but the latter had no other info than the name of the individual and their rank/occupation on board the ship. The 'Minerva' was owned by Henry Templar at that point, he having bought her off the East India Company in Aug 1831, and that's about as much detail as I was able to find!

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