Moving right along to catch up on the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. The week 7 challenge is Valentine. I really struggled to come up with a topic for this challenge. Do I find the longest marriage? The tragic early death of a spouse? There are no “love” letters in my genealogy documents and I don’t recall ever seeing any. I don’t recall hearing any true love stories over the years. What was I going to do?
Week 7 – Valentine
I finally decided to focus on a couple whom I have written about on this blog before, my third great-grandparents, George Brand and Isabella Duncan.
George and Isabella Brand
George Brand was born about 1820 in Culross, Perthshire, Scotland.1 Isabella Duncan was born in Multhill, Perthshire, Scotland about 1820.1 They married on 10 January 1840 in Denny, Stirlingshire, Scotland.2 A mere six months later my great-great-grandfather, David Brand was born on 1 July 1840 in Denny.3 Clearly, Isabella was about three months pregnant when they married – I would say a bit of a scandal in 1840 Scotland. Three more children were to follow in the coming years – Isabella born 13 January 1842, Andrew born 20 January 1844, and George born 3 December 1842.4,5,6
Life as they know it changes
However, life for the family was soon to drastically change – George (senior) had decided to turn to a life of crime. He was sentenced to four months in Stirling Prison in August 1849 for theft from his employer, The Scottish Railway Company.7 However, this first trip to prison didn’t stop his penchant for taking other people’s belongings and on 1 March 1852 he was sentenced by the Edinburgh Court of Justiciary to 14 years transportation.8 You can read further about George and his crimes in the series on this blog “George Brand: A Convict Success Story“.
How must Isabella (senior) have felt knowing that her husband was being sent to Australia leaving her with four young children to support – David 11 years, Isabella 10 years, Andrew 8 years, and George just 5 years? I can just imagine her despairing as to what would become of them. Did she stay put or did she follow him? How was she to support them all?
George arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia on 25 May 1855, and fortunately, he used his punishment to turn his life around.9 Just ten months after his arrival in Fremantle he was granted his Ticket of Leave on 2 April 1846 and was employed by Charles Crowther in the Greenough region.10
Soon his good behaviour allowed him to bring his family over – they arrived aboard the “Hamilla Mitchell” on 6 April 1859.10,11 Isabella now 39, David 18, Isabella 17, Andrew 15, and George 11 immediately joined him in Greenough, Western Australia.10 I would think there would have been a lot of love there for Isabella to join George seven years later. Especially given her two older sons were capable of supporting her. She could have so easily not made the journey and continued to support her family as she clearly had done in the preceding years.
Greenough, Western Australia
On 2 September 1861 they welcomed their son John into the family, the first Australian born child for this family.12 George worked as a small farmer at “Mt Pleasant” in Dongara before he applied for land at Bootenal Reserve in 1864 acquiring a further 90 acres in 1867.13 He built the family home “Ironbarks” in 1861, which still stands today.14
Sadly, this happily ever after came to a tragic end when George (senior) was killed in a buggy accident.15 He was travelling with Isabella and John to an event at Woodland’s Hotel when the buggy hit some stones and he was thrown from the vehicle.15 George succumbed to his injuries a couple of days later on 3 September 1872 at 52 years of age.15 Fortunately, Isabella and John survived with only superficial injuries.15
To date, I have been unable to find a burial location for him. Isabella died 27 July 1883, aged 63 years, at “Bonniefield” aged 64 years and is buried at Dongara Cemetery with her headstone inscribed:
BRAND, Isabella, nee Duncan, pioneer of Lynton and Greenough, arrived in WA 1859, died at Bonniefield, 1883 aged 64 years – great gran of George L Waldeck.16
Further writings about George and Isabella
The Sentence – a fictional story from George’s perspective based on records available
The Journey – a fictional story from Isperspectiversecptive
Upside Down – a fictional story from George juniors perspective
Do you have a convict family in your tree? Head over to Findmypast to explore their collection of convict records by clicking the image below.
- Scotlands People, Census Record for George, Isabella, Andrew, David, Isabella Brand, ‘1851 Census England, Wales & Scotland, Larbert Village, Larbert, Stirlingshire, Scotland’, Accessed 30 March 2015.
- Scotlands People, Marriage Certificate of George Brand and Isabella Duncan, 476/30 514 Denny, Page 514 of 658, National Registers of Scotland, Accessed 15 March 2015.
- Scotlands People, Baptism of David Brand, Old Parish Registers Births 476/30 215 Denny, Page 215 of 658, National Records of Scotland, Accessed 15 March 2015.
- Findmypast, Baptism Index for Isabella Brand, Scotland Births & Baptisms 1564-1950, Denny, Stirling, Scotland, Accessed 15 March 2015.
- Findmypast, Baptism Index for Andrew Brand, Scotland Births & Baptisms 1564-1950, Denny, Stirlingshire, Scotland, Accessed 15 March 2015.
- Findmypast, Baptism Index for George Brand, Scotland Births & Baptisms 1564-1950, Falkirk, Stirling, Scotland, Accessed 15 March 2015.
- Nrsscotland.gov.uk. National Records of Scotland. Source Information: Country Code: GB, Repository code: 234, Reference: AD14/52/373. https://catalogue.nrscotland.gov.uk/nrsonlinecatalogue/details.aspx?reference=AD14%2f52%2f373&st=1&tc=y&tl=n&tn=n&tp=n&k=George+Brand&ko=a&r. Accessed 15 May 2016.
- Nrsscotland.gov.uk. National Records of Scotland. Source Information: Country Code: GB, Repository code: 234, Reference: JC26/1852/398. https://catalogue.nrscotland.gov.uk/nrsonlinecatalogue/details.aspx?reference=JC26%2f1852%2f398&st=1&tc=y&tl=n&tn=n&tp=n&k=George+Brand&ko=a&r. Accessed 15 May 2016.
- Findmypast.com.au. England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935. Piece Number 357, Series PCOM2, Portland Prison, Dorset: governor’s journals, page 245. https://search.findmypast.com.au/record?id=tna%2fccc%2f2b%2fpcom2%2f01241410, Accessed 5 June 2016.
- Erickson, Rica. The Brand on his Coat: Biographies of some Western Australian Convicts. Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press, 1983.
- Ancestry.com. Western Australia, Australia, Crew and Passenger Lists, 1852-1930 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Source Citation: SRO of Western Australia; Albany Passenger list of Assisted Emigrants showing names of emigrants and from which countries selected; Accession: 115; Roll: 214. Accessed 5 June 2016.
- Western Australia Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Birth Index of John Brand, 1861/6111 Victoria District, Western Australia, Accessed 15 March 2015.
- Erickson, Rica, ‘The Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians: Pre-1829-1888’, Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press, 1987.
- Best Western, ‘Ironbarks Old Forge’, http://www.geraldton.wa.hospitalityinns.com.au/ironbarks, Accessed 30 March 2016.
- Trove. ‘Herald’. (1879, September 21). Fremantle, Western Australia (Fremantle, WA: 1867 – 1886), p.3. https://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114441153. Accessed 31 May 2016.
- Ozburials.com, ‘Dongara Cemetery’, http://www.ozburials.com/CemsWA/Dongara/dongara.htm, Accessed 20 March 2015.