Tremayne and Crowan

Between Tremayne and Crowan

On my third day in Cornwall I avoided the usual tourist traps entirely, because I was in search of my ancestors' home: a tiny little place called Tremayne, which is towards Land's End, in the hundred of Penwith. To get there I caught a train to Camborne, then a bus to Praze-an-Beeble (no, really!), and then walked along a winding country lane with no footpath and some very high hedgerows. Luckily I didn't get run over, as that would rather have spoiled what was a beautiful day.


This is the turn-off into Tremayne. There's no actual sign saying 'Tremayne': I don't think it's big enough to warrant one! (It doesn't show up in Google Maps, but it is on the Ordinance Survey's ones, along with Tremayne Farm, North Tremayne and Carn Tremayne.)


The main street. In fact the only street.


Some of Tremayne's buildings look like they could have been there when my mob left.


And I don't know why they did leave. I know they go back to at least 1732 there, or near there, when James Holman was born, my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather (I think that's the right number of greats!) His grandson, John Holman, emigrated with his wife, Millicent (nee Hodge), and their eight children to the new colony of South Australia in 1839. Six other children had died in Cornwall, which suggests a grinding poverty. Their passage was assisted, so they certainly had few means at their disposal.


John Holman's application for assisted passage listed him as a farmer (Tremayne, incidentally, means 'farm by stones' in Cornish). And farming is what he did for the rest of his life, first in Prospect Village, then in Willunga.


South Australia was itself only founded in 1836; so we were there pretty early. It attracted many Cornish emigrants, not only for the economic opportunities (later, especially due to copper strikes) but because of its freedom. Firstly, it was not a penal colony, so it was free of the convict stain. Secondly, it had no state religion, and indeed welcomed Nonconformists. Cornwall was a Methodist stronghold, but the Church of England still had legal and financial privileges which non-Anglicans would have found offensive: landowners had to pay tithes to the (Anglican) parish church, which is also where banns of marriage had to be read, and so on. I'm not actually sure whether the Holmans in Cornwall were Methodists, but at least one was a Methodist lay preacher in South Australia, and John Holman's second wife was buried in a Methodist cemetery. So they may well have been.

Between Tremayne and Crowan

If they were Methodists, it looks like the nearest chapels were in Praze (though it depends on what denomination they were). But the parish church in nearby Crowan is where many Holmans from the district were baptised, married and buried. So from Tremayne I set off in search of Crowan.

Between Tremayne and Crowan

There was a public footpath, which I immediately managed to lose and trespass my way through a field and a barbed wire fence. But I did find this surprisingly sturdy bridge. I wonder why a simple crossroads wouldn't do? Maybe it was for mine traffic.


This is the church at Crowan, dedicated to Saint Crewenna. It was built in the 15th century but restored extensively in 1872.


Saint Crewenna was an obscure 5th century missionary from Ireland, a companion of Saint Breaca, who herself was a disciple of Saint Brigid.


The church was locked, so I looked around the churchyard instead.


Except for it not being dark and wreathed with fog, it's just what you want from a churchyard: lots of old tombstones, some broken and tumbledown.


I didn't find any ancestors, but I did find some probable relatives.


are deposited the mortal remains of
Jacob Holman
Tremayne in this parish
September 4, 1834 Aged 18 Years.
Oh! Fatal stroke that rent my heart
I little thought so soon to part,
But since tis so weep not for me
Hope in heaven to meet with thee.


So Jacob was a miner (probably copper) who died at work. Maria could have been his sister. Either way it's unclear what relation they are to John and Millicent, despite living in the same tiny place, Tremayne, at the same time: Jacob died less than five years before they emigrated. I do know the names of John and Millicent's children, and there are no Jacobs or Marias: however there a James and a Mary, both of whom died in Cornwall. These are cognate names: perhaps they were treated as interchangeable, or used as nicknames?


Who Died
March 6th 1891.
Died April 5th 1869.

Francis senior was a stonemason. At the time of the 1841 census he was living at Tremayne, with several siblings and his father, Jacob. Not the same Jacob as above, obviously, but the shared names and the Tremayne connection suggests that they're all part of the same bunch as me. (And John Holman's father, also named John, had a brother named James -- Jacob?)

I'm going to stop there before my brain melts!


After that it was back to Truro, via Tremayne, Praze and Camborne. I wish I'd been a bit better prepared -- if I had been, perhaps I would have known about the former Methodist chapel in Praze, or found the address of the Holmans (if not my Holmans) in Tremayne from the 1841 census. But it was still very evocative to see where some of my forebears came from. And I can always come back when I know more!

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94 thoughts on “Tremayne and Crowan

  1. Niall Baird

    My great-grandfather was born at Crowan & his father was vicar of Crowan for many years. I think one of the 'crosses' in your pictures is our family vault.

    I'm also in Melbourne and have some historical info you might be interested in.

  2. Jonathan Burne

    A bit off-topic but is it possible that the stone over bridge was a railway bridge? "There was formerly a railway line from Helston which met the main line at Gwinear Road (stations were at Praze and Nancegollan)." retrieved 13-Nov-2009.
    A bit of browsing on Google Earth clearly shows the route of the railway.

  3. Niall Baird

    I don't know the area, but around Cornwall and Devon, there are a lot of old viaducts which were constructed (originally) in Roman times, as aquaducts - a lot of them were later used as railway routes.

  4. Post author


    Thanks, I've got higher-res versions of those pics so I could probably make out the names if you tell me which one it is.


    You're right, at least in the sense of a bridge over a railway! Clicking along from your link, I found an old OS map which shows the route of the railway, and I'm pretty sure that's the path I was walking along when I took the picture. It's not very wide, but I did in fact climb up to the bridge and that's even narrower. So I think that was a road which led to Praze via Clowance. Mystery solved!

  5. Niall Baird

    Hi Brett,
    The family is deCerjat - unfortunately I'm at work and don't have a copy of the pic to hand. My family and the Molesworth-St.Aubyn's were joined by the marriage of my gt-gt-grandfather to Helen Flora Molesworth-St.Aubyn and I've just received the wedding pic of that marriage out the front of Clowance House in Crowan.
    Email me if you'd like me to forward it on.

  6. Niall Baird

    Silly me - the pic is tremayne-and-crowan-15, and I think its the cross/vault in the background (the second one from the front)

  7. Niall Baird

    Thanks Brett - its very similar to my family's one (from memory). I'll have to have a look tonight and see if I can post it somewhere.

  8. dorothy smith

    You were walking along the bed of the old railway track from Prazetowards Helston, and the bridge carried the path from Clowance estate to the church.

  9. David Holman

    Hi Brett,
    My brother has traced our Holman roots back to Crowan.In fact back to 1678. It is absolutely crazy but I was brought up in Four Lanes( 4 miles NE of Crowan but I do not recall my father ever mentioning that it was the Crowan area our family originated from.The only thing I recall is the local postman, who I used to cover for when I was a student, telling me the the smallholding he had at Black Rock(1 mile E of Crowan) had a connection with the Holman family. I suspect that as my grandfather died when he was 32 and my greatgrandfather disappeared approx 1891 leaving a wife, 7 children AND mother in law might explain why family details were not passed down.It was suspected that he emigrated to either the USA or Australia probably with the help of his immediate Holman family( another task for us)
    In developing our family tree my brother has listed every Holman that was born,christened,married and died in the Crowan Parish and Boyd Marriage Register since records began (1576). There are 23 pages. He used these as the basis to develope the family tree. He has solely developed the paternal line back only, to expand to look at the siblings and there were a lot of them would have simply driven him mad. He has so much info that it is mindboggling. I could send you a copy of the list noted above and my branch of the tree as without doubt there will be a link somewhere. If you want the list let me know in which format you want them and I will try to oblige.
    By the way re gravestone photo Jacob Holman was my great great great grandfathers brother and Maria his sister.

    Best Regards


  10. Niall Baird

    Hi again Dave,
    Have some photos you might be interested in.
    Not sure if this is Crowan or Eggbuckland, but its the 'family' plot containing my gt-gt grandfather, my gt-gt grandmother & my gt grandfather.

    The memorial plaque inside Crowan church

    Our memorial window

    A list of "The Incumbents of Saint Crewenna" (I believe this is all the vicars of Crowan parish)

    Hope you all find this as interesting as I do.

  11. Gillian Coote

    Thanks for your interesting post about Crowan Parish, Cornwall. Looking at a branch of my family tree, there is my grandmother, Millicent Ann Holman, who was born to John Holman, born l854 at Wilunga, SA, and Caroline Bach, b. l864. Perhaps we are distant cousins?

  12. Post author

    Indeed we are! Millicent Ann Holman's great-grandfather, John Holman (born Crowan 1795) is my 4th great grandfather, and so your 3rd great grandfather. If I've got that right I think that makes us 4th cousins, once removed?

  13. Stephen Edwards

    Hi Brett, very interesting, I am related to you via Jane Holman my 3rd gg mother who married Thomas Williams, her parents were John Holman and Millicent. I notice in your article that Millicent died and John married again.
    When did these two events occur.

    Thanks Stephen

  14. Post author


    That's right, Millicent died on 12 March 1850, and John remarried 6 November 1850 (to Elizabeth Martin). That seems a little... soon... after the passing of his wife of 32 years.


    I recently came across this about Caroline Bach -- if you follow the links there's a lot of info there about her German forebears, which was all new to me.

  15. Scott Lawlor

    Thanks for the read I enjoyed it. I actually live in Tremayne. in fact the green peugeot in one of the pictures is my old car!
    That is indeed the old helston branch line bridge. My house is one of the oldest there so if you ever get an address for your ancestors let me know.

  16. peter dillon

    I think the HOLMAN descendants in this thread are gong to love this...please contact me at
    as I would like to be in touch with them and so would a recdent enquirer after HOLMAN.

    My grandfather Peter SINCLAIR's sister Maggie married Harry HOLMAN in New Zealand in 1908, had two daughters Jean & Ena and died 1911. I've corresponded with descendants of the daughters but they didn't know much about HOLMAN (Harry wasn't around to say anything) and it's not my line, but I did work out that Harry was born 1871 and baptised Crowan parish Cornwall to John HOLMAN and Jane RICHARDS who married Crowan 1853 and had a son William baptised Crowan 1854. It appeared that John & Jane emigrated to New Zealand and lived at Feilding in the Manawatu district of the North Island. I didn't go any further.

    The other day I was contacted by the mother-in-law of Cam HOLMAN who wanted to know if I had anything to help them find out about his HOLMAN ancestry. So I set to work, used the fabulous NZ website Papers Past and other standard websites to work out the family makeup then went to the Familysearch website to look for them in passenger lists, and found that the family emigrated in 1877 on the ship HURUNUI. By this time I'd found a fair bot of info and the volume of material regarding the trip is incredible especially regarding the ill fated 1877 voyage to NZ which had to turn back twice because disease developed on board and then it hit another ship which sank.

    Then I discovered the Cornwall OPC website and other wbsites which allowed me to determine from the marriage of John & Jane that John's father James HOLMAN, a tin miner. Looking at census records the best fit for John's family of origin is that of James & Elizabeth HOLMAN as follows.

    Census of England & Wales 06 Jun 1841
    Piece: HO107/136/3 Place: Kerrier -Cornwall Enumeration District: 6
    Civil Parish: Breage Ecclesiastical Parish: -
    Folio: 42 Page: 13
    Address: Trew
    Surname First name(s) Sex Age Occupation Where Born Remarks
    HOLMAN James M 40 Miner On Tin Cornwall
    HOLMAN Elizabeth F 40 Cornwall
    HOLMAN Elizabeth F 15 Tin Dresser Cornwall
    HOLMAN James M 15 Tin Dresser Cornwall
    HOLMAN William M 14 Tin Dresser Cornwall
    HOLMAN Mary F 12 Tin Dresser Cornwall
    HOLMAN John M 10 Cornwall
    HOLMAN Anna F 8 Cornwall
    HOLMAN Joanna F 5 Cornwall
    HOLMAN Susan F 3m Unknown
    Census of England & Wales 30 Mar 1851
    Piece: HO107/1913 Place: St Keverne -Cornwall Enumeration District: 1j
    Civil Parish: Crowan Ecclesiastical Parish: -
    Folio: 548 Page: 10 Schedule: 35
    Address: Polcrebo
    Surname First name(s) Rel Status Sex Age Occupation Where Born
    HOLMAN James Head M M 52 Small Farmer Of 21 Acres Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Elizth Wife M F 50 Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Elizth Dau U F 26 Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Mary Dau U F 22 Miner Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN John Son U M 20 Miner Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Nanny Dau U F 18 Miner Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Johannah Dau U F 14 Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Susan Dau U F 10 Scholar Cornwall - Breage
    HOLMAN Elizth Dau U F 8 Scholar Cornwall - Breage
    Census of England & Wales 07 Mar 1861
    Piece: RG9/1574 Place: Helston -Cornwall Enumeration District: 7
    Civil Parish: Breage Ecclesiastical Parish: -
    Folio: 85 Page: 13 Schedule: 79
    Address: Church Town
    Surname First name(s) Rel Status Sex Age Occupation Where Born
    HOLMAN James Head W M 61 Tin Miner Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Elizabeth Dau U F 36 House Keeper Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Ann Dau U F 26 Assistant Tin Dresser Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Eliza Dau U F 16 Dressmaker Cornwall - Breage

    Elizabeth the mother is gone by 1861 and I can't find James the father in 1871 so I think Elizabeth will be a burial at Breage in 1859 and James will be a burial at Breage in 1864, sompresumably they are buried in the churchyard cemetery at Breage.
    Cornwall OPC
    Date: 09 Aug 1864
    Parish Or Reg District: Breage
    James: HOLMAN
    Age: 67
    Residence: Church Town

    Deaths Sep 1864
    HOLMAN James, Helston 5c, 151
    Cornwall OPC
    Date: 17 Oct 1859
    Parish Or Reg District: Breage
    Elizabeth: HOLMAN
    Age: 60
    Residence: Ch Town

    Deaths Dec 1859
    HOLMAN Elizabeth, Helston 5c, 151

    The death certs for James or Elizabeth are unlikely to give the parents, unfortunately.

    A question now is what was Elizabeth the mother's surname? The IGI has patron data saying that a James HOLMAN married Elizabeth WILLIAMS in 1822 at Crowan but the OPC website has it that James HOLMAN married Elizabeth WILLIAMS in 1830 at Perranarworthal. The 1830 date is not good because James & Elizabeth's first child must have been born by 1826 going by the census information above.

    Who were the parents of James HOLMAN? I've seen databases on the web that claim his parents to be John HOLMAN & Susannah GEORGE and EUSTIS is another name bandied about. There seem to be other possibilities as well. It appears that it is thought by Australian descendants that their ancestor John who went to Australia was a son of John HOLMAN & Susannah GEORGE. Presumably the excellent details on Aussie death certs, i.e. Johns, will give them as parents.

    And the same databases generally give the Australian John's brother as James married to Elizabet whose son John HOLMAN married Jane RICHARDS, but they don't list descendants for John & Jane which is not surprising if they vanished to New Zealand.

    John & Jane had issue William 1854, Sarah 1856, Emmaline 1859, Elizabeth 1861, Margaret 1862, James 1868, Harry 1871, William 1873 (died 1971 WWI). William & HArry are in OPR but I can't find the others, however they can be found at FreeBMD. I am wondering if they went in for some more obscure religion for a while.

    I'm looking forward to hearing from everybody.

    Peter Dillon
    Christchurch, New Zealand

  17. Post author


    Indeed, Susannah George is my 5th great grandmother via John Holman. Unfortunately we don't have his death certificate (South Australian ones don't seem to be well indexed, and his isn't listed). We have the same census data as you for his brother James; I also see that we've plumped for him marrying Elizabeth Williams on 30 September 1822 at Crowan but with no source citation. Nothing on their son John apart from his christening and the 1841 census, so we can't help you there (though by the same token thanks for the new information!) I'm happy to provide more details if required.

  18. Peter Dillon

    Thanks Brett

    Since my previous message I've found scans of Crowan OPR pages online at
    Familysearch and discovered that James HOLMAN really did marry Elizabeth
    WILLIAMs in 1822 at Crowan parish, their first child Elizabeth being baptised at
    Crowan parish in Feb 1824. The couple of the same names who married in 1830
    have nothing to do with them.

    And I've seen further material which sets up a conundrum for the origins of
    James because it appears that there are two baptisms to choose from in
    1798, James the son of John HOLMAN & SUsannah GEORGE who married at Crowan
    in 1794 and the other the son of James HOLMAN & Mary RODDA who married at
    Crowan parish in 1795. The ancestries of John who married Susannah and the
    ancestry of James who married Mary iare not the same, so the conundrum
    cannot be bypassed on the way to earlier generations.

    Do you have any information that would allow me to work out which couple's
    son James baptised 1798 might be James HOLMAN who married Elizabeth

    James and Elizabeth had son John HOLMAN who married Jane RICHARDS in 1853
    and took his family to New Zealand in 1877.

    The other James appears to have married Grace UESTIS, so anyone descended
    from the latter couple trying to research their ancestry faces the same

    Is this her father subleasing to her husband James HOLMAN?
    [no title] RH/1/2353/1,2 2 April 1804
    These documents are held at Cornwall Record Office
    99 year lease, rent 14s [With counterpart] (no 65)
    (Lives of lessee, 32, Grace his wife, 30, Richard his son, 7)
    1) George William Frederick, Duke of Leeds
    2) Richard Eustis of Crowan, tinner
    Consideration: Lessee in two years to hedge and cultivate plot and build
    dwelling house of two ground rooms and two chambers.
    Two plots, part of Carzise Common, Crowan of three acres, to be divided by a
    road 30 foot broad leading from Gwinear to Helston, bounded on the west with
    the road from Helston to Hayle, on the north with the road separating Crowan
    and Gwinear parishes, on the east with John Eustis' enclosure and on the
    south with the road between the plot and that of William Eustis
    [Lease endorsed "Expired 1853" and "24th June 1825. The within named Richard
    Eustis Leased to James HOLMAN of Crowan a plot on which a Dwelling House is
    erected and a garden and town place for 70 yrs & interest of Reversion
    Reserved Rent 3/-"]


  19. Peter Dillon
    Crowan OPR - Marriage: page 98, No.293.
    James HOLMAN of the parish Bachelor and Elizabeth WILLIAMS of this parish Spinster, were married in his Church by Banns with Consent of this thirtieth Day of September in the Year One thousand eight hundred and twenty two By me John PETER Minister.
    This marriage was solemnized betwen us
    The sign of James HOLMAN
    The sign of Elizabeth WILLIAMS
    In the Presence of
    James WILLIAMS

  20. Peter Dillon

    I haven't investigated but James HOLMAN & Mary RODDA had a son John in 1795 who has desdendants in Wisconsin in the USA, according to researchers at the USA end. I don't know how good the data is that I've seen on the internet. But if it is possible for James & Mary to have a son John the same year as your unproven son John to John HOLMAN & Susannah GEORGE, then don't you have the same dilemma as I do with James who married Elizabeth? i.e. was your John born about 1795 a son of John HOLMAN & Susannah GEORGE or of James HOLMAN & Mary RODDA?


  21. Post author

    i.e. was your John born about 1795 a son of John HOLMAN & Susannah GEORGE or of James HOLMAN & Mary RODDA?

    I think we can confirm that it was the former, because the latter are also in our family tree! (Cue jokes about rural Cornwall…) Briefly, the John Holman who was the son of James Holman and Mary Rodda was the maternal uncle (by way of his sister, Jenefer [sic] Holman) of Thomas Williams (born Lelant, 1833), who married Jane Holman (born Crowan, 1828) in Willunga, South Australia, in 1850; and Jane Holman was the daughter of the other John Holman in question, my ancestor, the son of John Holman and Susannah George; so she is my 3rd great grand aunt. Of course it's conceivable that there's been a horrible mixup somewhere, sometimes the records do have these unresolvable ambiguities, but this seems pretty clear as we can trace most of the siblings on both sides, etc.

  22. That still doesn't answer my question. Put it this way - what is to stop John HOLMAN married to Millicent HODGE being the brother of Jenefer HOLMAN the daughter of James HOLMAN & Mary RODDA? It would make Jane HOLMAN & Thomas WILLIAMS first cousins when they married, i.e., John HOLMAN married to Millicent HODGE would be the maternal uncle of Thomas WILLIAMS.

    Or is there something that tells us that John married to Elizabeth POLLARD was definitely the brother of Jenefer?

  23. Post author

    Yes, I see what you mean. I'll have to pass your question on to my mother, who is the one who's doing our family history; I'm just going off what's in Ancestry, which doesn't necessarily have all the sources listed. (There is a marriage registration for John Holman and Millicent Hodge, but unfortunately the names of their parents is not on it, and the two witnesses are both relations of Millicent, so no help there.) I do know that this part of the family tree was actually what we started with, as we long ago acquired a copy of some research some unknown part of the family had done in the 1980s, it must have been. That doesn't make it any more likely to be right but we have been back and forth over this ground a few times. Check back in a few days.

  24. Post author

    So my mother has found evidence to suggest that the John Holman who married Millicent Hodge and came to South Australia was the son of John Holman and Susannah George, and not James Holman and Mary Rodda (whose son John therefore is the one who went to Wisconsin). The South Australian Register for 11 March 1848 carried the following item:

    On Saturday last, at Willunga, by the Rev. Mr Burnett, Mr John Vanstone, of that place to Miss Eliza Holman, late of Crowan, Cornwall, and sister to Mr J. Holman, yeoman, near Willunga.

    'J. Holman, yeoman, near Willunga' would be John Holman, who was a farmer near Willunga. He is described as such in a notice of his first wife's death in 1850, while in an official list of acreage declarations published in 1849 there is only one J. Holman, indeed only one Holman, listed for the Hundred of Willunga, which must be him (along with the Atkinson brothers, one of whose daughters Susanna married his son James, and the Vanstones, his sister and brother-in-law). So then Eliza Holman would be the daughter of John Holman and Susannah George baptised at Crowan on 28 May 1810; whereas James Holman and Mary Rodda didn't have a daughter named Eliza (or Elizabeth).

  25. peter dillon

    Yes that sounds really good Brett and I think it is likely to be the case given that there is definitely a baptism in 1810 for an Eliza to John & Susannah.

    A proviso is that it depends on Eliza being the daughter of John & Susannah, therefore it has to be established for sure that Eliza who married John VANSTONE is the daughter of John HOLMAN & Susannah GEORGE. Does her marriage or death or obituary give her parents and/or give an indication of when she was born?

    The absence of a baptism for an Eliza to James & Mary isn't conclusive because I don't think anyone has found a baptism for sons John to James & Mary and to John & Susannah either. In other words if John at Willunga hasn't had a baptism found for him so far, then the same can apply to a sister Eliza, and therefore Eliza who married John VANSTONE could still be a daughter of James & Mary.

    Data on the internet from the Wisconsin end gives a birth date 2 Aug 1795 for that John. I'm wondering how that was arrived at. Such a precise date could have come from an old bible or headstone or obituary or whatever. That date is only a couple of months after the marriage of James & Mary on 9 Jun 1795 which makes it a shotgun job (very common) unless John was baptised to John & Susannah instead who were married about ten months before on 26 Aug 1794.

    An 1860 census apparently says that John HOLMAN was 65 years old which makes him born about 1795. In combination with other data at the US end that might be what makes researchers over there look at the marriages of John & Susannah and James & Mary in Crowan parish. If they have further info saying that his father was called James then that points them to James & Mary as the best candidates to be the parents of their John which would be evidence that your John was not the son of James & Mary. Has anyone been in touch with US researchers (not the types who merely import family tree data and don't research it for themselves) to find out what they've actually got that points to Crowan?
    1860 Linden, Iowa, Wis. #674-667 $300-200
    John Holman - 65 England
    Elizabeth 62 England
    Matthew 23 England
    James 37 England
    Sandra Kent says will date is 18 July 1866

    I hope I'm not sounding picky, I'm just a neutral observer who has nothing to do with HOLMAN, but the question of which John was which is critical to your ancestry. You're almost there...but not quite.

  26. peter dillon

    Correction - sorry I made a mistake.

    The marriage of John & Susannah was on 7 Oct 1794, not 26 Aug 1794, and was therefore nearly 10 months before the birth date given for Wisconsin John on 2 Aug 1795.

  27. peter dillon

    there is definitely a baptism for a son John born and baptised to James and Mary HOLMAN at Crowan parish in September of 1795. It can be viewed at Familysearch here (scan 72):

    The register pages for 1785 are faint and hard to read especially the first couple. John was baptised in August but the actual birth date is unclear. It looks like 10 or 16 of August to me, not 2 August as others have it online, but maybe others have seen the original record rather than a scan to read it better. The baptismal date looks like 30 Do with the little o as a superscript. I think it is shorthand for Ditto, i.e. baptised the same month, but I am not sure. Could mean December if the little o is actually a little c. I think I am right about Ditto though, looking at other examples on the page.

    I can't see another John Holman baptised that year.

    James the son of John and Mary HOLMAN was not only baptised 18 March 1798, he was born 31 January.

    James the son of James & Susanah HOLLMAN was born 10 Aug and baptised 26 Do. 1798 [i.e. 26 Aug]

    Can't see anything else relevant in 1793, 1794, 1796 or 1797.


  28. Post author

    The absence of a baptism for an Eliza to James & Mary isn't conclusive because I don't think anyone has found a baptism for sons John to James & Mary and to John & Susannah either. In other words if John at Willunga hasn't had a baptism found for him so far, then the same can apply to a sister Eliza, and therefore Eliza who married John VANSTONE could still be a daughter of James & Mary.

    It's an interesting philosophical question. Missing records are a given for this period (except for the best-attested families, such as the nobility), because registration of births was not compulsory in England until 1875, and before 1837 it was in the hands of the parishes rather than civil servants (and most people in Cornwall were chapel, not church, including the Holmans, I think; though I've never been clear on how that affected registrations). So we can either take an absolute approach and say if there is no definitive record then we cannot assume anything about this person's ancestry; or we can take a probabilistic one and use circumstantial evidence to come to a tentative conclusion. The problem with the latter is that tentative conclusions tend to become taken for granted if not challenged (as here); the problem with the former is that it can be incredibly frustrating not to be able to progress further when you're pretty sure you've got it right.

    In this case I'm not too uncomfortable in concluding that James Holman and Mary Rodda did not have a daughter Eliza; there is no other evidence (eg marriage certificates) that they did and we clearly have most of their children, ten births between 1795 and 1813, by which time poor Mary was 40 (though admittedly there are gaps of up to 3 years where there could be another birth). There's no reason to suspect they had a daughter named Eliza, whereas we know an Eliza Holman was born in Crowan in 1810 to John Holman and Susannah.

    Put it another way, how do we know there isn't a whole other Holman family in Crowan (it was a common name there) from this period with a John and an Eliza who both happen to have missed out on having their births registered? That way lies madness... this is one reason why I'm a historian, not a genealogist!

    All of that said, the origins of our John Holman are frustratingly elusive and do bear further scrutiny. Maybe the way forward would be to get Eliza Vanstone nee Holman's death certificate and see what it says about her parents? Maybe her marriage certificate too, though that may be less useful.

  29. peter dillon

    How do you arrive at the approximate birth year 1875 for your John and how do you arrive at his birth or baptism place being in Crowan?

    The fly in the ointment is that there is no baptism for a John at the period in question in Crowan registers to John & Susannah. You're not just trying to decide between John & Susannah or James & Mary as to which couple might be the father of your John, you're also wanting to eliminate possible parents in other parishes as well...but not if one of them is in fact the correct couple.

    Searching for HOLMAN grooms in marriages at Cornwall OPC throws up 42 HOLMAN grooms for all of Cornwall in the period 1780 to 1800 and 9 John HOLMAN baptisms. Maybe there are more from registers not transcribed yet. Quite a few are pretty near Crowan. One marriage at Crowan between Stephen HOLMAN and Nora MOIL was in 1789. That's getting pretty close to your period of interest.

    And there was definitely a son John baptised at Wendron parish on 25 Mar 1792 to Stephen & Jane HOLMAN. That's getting pretty close to 1895 so why can't they be the parents of your John especially since that's where John and Millicent married in 1818?

    John & Mary had a son John at Wendron in 1787.

    Other Johns were baptised at Kenwyn (close to Truro) in 1788, 1790 and 1795.
    Another was baptised at Cambourne in 1797.

  30. peter dillon

    The web pages below say that Eliza HOLMAN died 16 Mar 1879.

    They also say her husband John was born 1803 and died 23 Sep 1886, and give the family of a son Simon. They also give a previous marriage by John to Mary Ann VEAR plus family.

    At Trove a gentleman who died at a great age 105 has to be John 's father, also called John VANSTONE. Search for John VANSTONE at Trove and the reference to the old boy before he died and when he died will drive you nuts if you are looking for his son instead.

    The reference below says that John senior arrived at Port Adelaide 1847 which ties in with the passenger list of La Belle Alliance reference sent previously.
    South Australian Register (Adelaide) - Wednesday 7 July 1847
    La Belle Alliance, reported in our last, brought the following Government emigrants...
    ...Eliza HOLMAN...John VANSTONE, sen., and two children, John VANSTONE, jun., Jas. VANSTONE...
    The Courier-Mail (Brisbane) - Thursday 26 October 1933
    Centenarian's Death.
    ADELAIDE, October 25.
    Mr. John Vanstone died at Wandearah East today at the age of 105 years. He was born in a Devonshire village in 1828, and lived during the reign of King William IV, Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, and the present King. He arrived at Port Adelaide in March, 1847, and took part in the Victorian gold rush.

  31. peter dillon

    Eliza HOLMAN's cemetery info says she was 69 when she was died in 1879, i.e. born about 1810. That makes the baptism to John & Susannah in 1810 look really good.
    South Australia Cemeteries
    Brentwood Cemetery, Memorial Inscription, VANSTONE Eliza, 69y, 1879.
    Brentwood Cemetery, Memorial Inscription, VANSTONE John, 83y, 1886.
    Death Index
    1879, 94/3, VANSTONE Eliza, John VANSTONE (Husband), Daly

    John in Willunga & Eliza who married John VANSTONE were brother and sister according to Eliza's marriage.

    There are various John HOLMAN in various parishes who could be her husband John, and there are various Eliza/Elizabeth HOLMAN in various parishes who could be Eliza especially the 180 baptism, but I'm unable to come up with a John/Eliza brother/sister combo in Cornwall registers, so for final prof you really do need to see the register details of Eliza HOLMANs marriage to John VANSTONE in 1848 or her death in 1879 and hope that her parents get a mention. Her burial/headstone information at Brentwood is unlikely to have information about parents.

    Can you find someone researching her who already has the details?

  32. Post author

    And there was definitely a son John baptised at Wendron parish on 25 Mar 1792 to Stephen & Jane HOLMAN. That's getting pretty close to 1895 so why can't they be the parents of your John especially since that's where John and Millicent married in 1818?

    It's a possibility. We have a Stephen Holman who married a Jane Holman (possibly 1st cousins -- I've already made this joke so won't again) at Crowan on 30 January 1785. As we've only found two children for them, Stephen Holman, born at Crowan 25 October 1785 and Francis Holman, born at Crowan 24 August 1797, there's plenty of room in there for another child or several (but I doubt Eliza could be slotted in as well, as Jane Holman was born in 1756 and would have been well past child-bearing age by 1810). If so it would resolve one problem, at least, since Stephen Holman was the brother of the John Holman who married Susannah George anyway and so the paternal line is preserved.

    Have you seen this? It's an Eliza HOLMAN plus a John VANSTONE senior with two sons John and Jas on the same ship arrived at Adelaide in 1847, La Belle Alliance. Could it be how Eliza and John got to know each other?

    Yes, that's what we suspect. Especially since he was from Devon -- close enough to Cornwall for a cultural affinity, perhaps, but far enough away for it to make it unlikely they could have met before the voyage.

    There are various John HOLMAN in various parishes who could be her husband John, and there are various Eliza/Elizabeth HOLMAN in various parishes who could be Eliza especially the 180 baptism, but I'm unable to come up with a John/Eliza brother/sister combo in Cornwall registers, so for final prof you really do need to see the register details of Eliza HOLMANs marriage to John VANSTONE in 1848 or her death in 1879 and hope that her parents get a mention. Her burial/headstone information at Brentwood is unlikely to have information about parents.

    Unfortunately, I think Eliza is going to be a dead end, at least as far as marriage and death certificates go. This helpful site lists the information recorded on South Australian birth, marriage and death certificates by year. As she was married in 1848, her marriage certificate won't include any information about her parents or her place of birth. Nor will it give her birthdate, though it will have her age. Her death certificate would tell us much the same, ie her age. There might be some hints from witnesses/informants but again it's unlikely to be anything we don't already know.

    We may need to look for other sources on John Holman of Willunga. There are some we know exist but haven't looked at it: his assisted passage application, his 1841 South Australian census return (surprisingly these still exist), land records; searching here suggests some others though this probably relate to the children. These probably won't help either but... you never know. Also, as an early settler of South Australia (Adelaide was founded in 1836, Willunga in 1839 -- he arrived in 1839), maybe there is something in early pioneer histories, etc. When I get a chance I might go in to the State Library here to see if there is anything here; there are still a lot of resources which aren't online.

  33. peter dillon

    I got it the wrong way around about the VANSTONEs on the ship La Belle Alliance. I think the extreme age of the old boy who died age 105 got to me.

    If one of them on the ship married Eliza HOLMAN then it will be John VANSTONE senior, not John junior, so that John junior will be the old boy born 1828 at Devon who died age 105. John junior will be John senior's son from his first marriage to Mary Ann VEAR.

    Are you saying that a South Australian death cert even as late as 1879 will not give the parents? I'm used to the really good details in Victorian civil BDM registers in the same period of interest.

    What about ecclesiastical records? Are the church marriage registers for John HOLMAN & ELizabeth MARTIN nee PEARCE or Eliza HOLMAN & John VANSTONE likely to have details of parents?

    Another possibility is civil and ecclesiastical registers for children of the couples above. For example my great grandparents Thomas Harford DILLON & Mary FARNEY had thirteen children and some of their children's civil birth register entries especially later ones give good clues about the parents' origins. They are in NZ registers though, not Australian ones.

    Have you noticed items on the internet about the murder of his wife Philippa PARKIN by James HOLMAN of Crowan for which he was hung in 1854? I've been wondering if he fits into any of the family trees we've been discussing. From his age 31 at death he was born about 1823. There are a number of James HOLMAN baptised at Crowan parish:

    James HOLMAN baptised 1823 at Crowan to John & Elizabeth HOLMAN [POLLARD?]
    (US researchers have him deceased 1883 in the US)

    James HOLMAN baptised 1824 at Crowan to John and Millicent HOLMAN [HODGE?]
    James baptised 1827 at Crowan to John & Millicent HOLMAN [HODGE?]
    (presumably the first James born to John & Millicent died young, and if the second James born to John & Millicent married Susannah ATKINSON, then he can't be the murderer either).

    James baptised 1825 at Crowan to James & Grace HOLMAN [EUSTIS?]
    (someone on the net has him married to Elizabeth OATS)

    James baptised 1825 at Crowan to James & Elizabeth CROWAN [WILLIAMS?]
    (not quite old enough to be described as 31 in 1854?)

    Of course the murderer couold have been born outside the parish and moved into it later, in which case there are a couple of candidates born at Cambourne and a couple born at Perranzabuloe.

    James and Philippa were married 1847 at Gwinear parish. information about record 823766 in the Marriages database
    Date: 20 Nov 1847
    Parish: Gwinear
    Groom: James HOLMAN, full age, bachelor, farmer
    Groom Residence: Cathebedom
    Groom Father Name: John
    Groom Father Rank Profession: miner
    Bride Philippa PARKIN, full age, spinster
    Bride Residence Cathebedom
    Bride Signed / Marked (S/M): M
    Bride Father Name: John
    Bride Father Rank Profession: yeoman
    Banns / Licence (B/L): B

    30 Mar 1851 Census of England & Wales
    @ How Downs Gwinear, Cornwall
    HOLMAN Philipa Head M F 22 Labours Wife Abroad, b. Cornwall - Camborne
    HOLMAN Margretta Dau U F 2 b. Cornwall - Sithney
    HOLMAN Thomas Son U M 10m

    James was elsewhere for the 1851 census.

    Executions in Cornwall

    There are articles about the murder in newspapers at the British Library's online newspaper collections. Most libraries have access to the collection (remote access with a library pin is allowed).

  34. peter dillon

    Another puzzle

    This webpage gives an 1846 death date for Mary Ann VEAR the first wife of John VANSTONE, the year before we find John and two sons and an Elizas HOLMAN on the ship La Belle Alliance.

    But this webpage makes it looks like Eliza HOLMAN might have known the VANSTONEs because they were at Willunga before his first wife Mary Ann died?
    "I also have another family line who lived in Burra dugouts and lost everything in the floods. I understand they were only there for a couple of years and moved on after the floods. They are the VANSTONE family. John VANSTONE and wife Mary Ann with sons John, James, William and Phillip I think were in Burra together in the dugouts when the floods hit and they lost everything. They moved back to Willunga."

    I can't tell if the writer knows that the whole family was together or has assumed a possible makeup of the family from other records.

  35. peter dillon

    Uh oh. I've just discovered why you don't hold much hope for what might be in the marriage & death certs for John HOLMAN and Eliza HOLMAN regarding their origins. Details of parents or birth places are not recorded in deaths 1842-1907 or marriages 1842-1856 for South Australia, i.e.,

    That just leaves their children's BDM info, the register entries in which the father is listed. Is the birth place of the father likely to be recorded? I don't think the descriptions of the certs at the webpage above of what is on the certs provides for a father's birthplace but I'm wondering if a registrar might sometimes append the birth place of the father beside the father's name.

    If we assume that John really was the brother of Eliza born 1810, the daughter of John HOLMAN & Susannah GEORGE, then it is a head scratcher as to why we can't find John's baptism in the Crowan register especially as John & Susannah seem to have stayed in the parish after marriage for the baptisms of their other children. Baptism was a serious thing in those days and you have the reality of John's existence, so he's got to be recorded somewhere, and so I think you must take the stance that he is and not be satisfied that his baptism has somehow fallen through the cracks. If he definitely wasn't recorded as the son of John and Susannah, then the obvious explanation, if he is to be a brother to their daughter Eliza, is that he is the son of only one of them. Another explanation is that he wasn't a son to either of them but was brought up as their own.

    Keep in mind that having a family over a long period in Crowan doesn't make him born in Crowan.

    I think you have to start looking at a second marriage possibility. It could be that your John in Willunga was born to father John in a previous marriage or to mother Susannah in a previous marriage, or even as an illegitimate birth to either John or to Susannah prior to marriage. It could be that John was left an orphan or an illegitimate child by a relative and was taken in by John & Susannah as their own, even adopted. I think it has to be one of those possibilities because otherwise we'd have found him by now.

    I don't think it can be the common scenario whereby an elder daughter has an illegitimate child and the grandparents bring it up as their youngest child, because John is too old for that given that he maried in 1818.

    The only Susan/Susanna/Susannah GEORGE to be found in baptisms at cornwall opc is Susanna baptised 25 Jan 1773 to John GEORGE. She would be about 21 if she married John HOLMAN in 1794, so that doesn't give a lot of time for a prior marriage, but a shortlived one makes sense, just enough time to be left a widow with a young child. However Cornwall opc doesn't have another suitable marriage before 1794 and the Susanna GEORGE baptised at Mullion in 1773 could well be Susannah GEORGE married to Peter THOMAS at Mullion in 1806.

    How do you get 1795 as the birth date for John HOLMAN. Can he be quite a bit older? What if he is John HOLMAN baptised seven years earlier in 1787 to John & Mary HOLMAN at Wendron parish, then mother Mary died and father John remarried to Susannah GEORGE by which time he had moved to Crowan? Don't forget that John HOLMAN married Millicent HODGE at Wendron parish in 1818 - he may have known her when younger. It is noticeable at Cornwall opc that John & Mary had only the one child at Wendron and indeed there is only one other realistic possibility for another child to this john & Mary, at Cambourne 2 years earlier. A Mary HOLMAN was buried at Crowan in 1791 and another was buried at Crowan in 1793. At Cornwall opc I can't see a Mary baptised at Crowan parish until 1818, so the two Mary's buried at Crowan possibly did not have HOLMAN as their maiden name.

    Of course it is one thing to speculate on the above and another to prove it and maybe it is something that can't be proved or disproved.

    There are other John HOLMAN born to John HOLMAN in other parishes not too far away between 1787 and 1795.

    Your John's age should be in the 1850 register for his second marriage to Elizabeth MARTIN nee PEARCE (have you seen it?) , but one has to keep in mind that it wasn't unusual for a marriage partner to lower his or her age if getting on a bit. My greatgrandfather Sam FURNESS baptised 1836 said he was 42 on his 1886 marriage register entry when he was really 50. That didn't stop him fathering 9 children by the time he fell off the twig in 1902! His wife Annie MAHONY was only 25 at marriage.

  36. peter dillon

    Sandra KENT who is descended from John HOLMAN of Wisconsin has seen the index abstract of the 1864 probate of James HOLMAN which can be viewed at in the ENGLAND & WALES, NATIONAL PROBATE CALENDAR (Index of Will and Administrations) 1858-1966. James is the chap who was buried at Breage in 1864 as was his wife Elizabeth [WILLIAMS] in 1859. The executor was his brother Simon HOLMAN in Helston who should be Simon the son baptised 1807 to John & Susannah HOLMAN at Crowan.

    " The Will of James HOLMAN late of the Parish of Breage in the County of Cornwall, Miner deceased who died 05 August 1864 at Breage aforesaid was proved at the Principal Registry by the oath of Simon HOLMAN of Helston in the said County Drill Sergeant of the 7th Duke of Cornwall's Rifle Volunteers the Brother the sole Executor. (Effects under 200 pounds). "

  37. Post author

    Are you saying that a South Australian death cert even as late as 1879 will not give the parents?

    I'm not saying that, it's Barry Leadbeater of the Family History South Australia site who is: see here. He has tables showing what birth, marriage and death certificates showed and how this changed over time.

    What about ecclesiastical records? Are the church marriage registers for John HOLMAN & ELizabeth MARTIN nee PEARCE or Eliza HOLMAN & John VANSTONE likely to have details of parents?

    I don't know what information they hold, but judging from this, John Holman and Elizabeth Martin's marriage at Gawler Place Chapel should be in the Adelaide Pirie Street (Wesleyan) registers which begins in 1850 (Pirie Street succeeded Gawler Place, but it opened for business in 1851 so it must have Gawler Place records as well). These are held in the State Library of South Australia as SRG 4/25/66. This would require a trip to Adelaide, I think. The only information I can see for John Vanstone and Eliza Holman's marriage is that it was at a 'Place of Public Worship' at Willunga (not sure where this is from).

    Another possibility is civil and ecclesiastical registers for children of the couples above.

    The children's birth civil birth records won't be any more helpful -- they didn't record the birthplace of their parents or even their age until 1907.

    Have you noticed items on the internet about the murder of his wife Philippa PARKIN by James HOLMAN of Crowan for which he was hung in 1854? I've been wondering if he fits into any of the family trees we've been discussing.

    Yes, we have. We don't know where he fits in, if anywhere. As a Crowan Holman it seems like there should be some connection (it's not a big place at all) but as you say, he could have moved in from outside the parish.

    There are articles about the murder in newspapers at the British Library's online newspaper collections. Most libraries have access to the collection (remote access with a library pin is allowed).

    Thanks, I'm already somewhat familiar with online newspaper archives :) (I'm a PhD historian; the family history stuff here is just for fun.)

    I can't tell if the writer knows that the whole family was together or has assumed a possible makeup of the family from other records.

    Pretty sure it's just their assumption, they don't sound very sure ('I think', 'I understand'). FreeBMD has a Mary Vanstone dying at Plympton St Mary (their children were born in the adjacent Bickleigh parish, the 1841 census also places them there) aged 46 in 1846 (the year before the Vanstones emigrated); and perhaps more importantly the passenger list for La Belle Alliance does not have her listed. It's extremely unlikely that they would have emigrated without her.

    Baptism was a serious thing in those days and you have the reality of John's existence, so he's got to be recorded somewhere, and so I think you must take the stance that he is and not be satisfied that his baptism has somehow fallen through the cracks. If he definitely wasn't recorded as the son of John and Susannah, then the obvious explanation, if he is to be a brother to their daughter Eliza, is that he is the son of only one of them. Another explanation is that he wasn't a son to either of them but was brought up as their own.

    Again, these are possibilities but I disagree that they are the obvious explanations. You are assuming that the parish registers are more complete than they are, and ditto for the online databases. For example, the Cornwall OPC site only has Crowan baptisms from 1813, and marriages before 1813 and after 1847. The parish registers are literally fragmentary and there are transcription errors, both on the part of the original scribe and more recently This date of 1795 for John Holman's birth; if he was born a year earlier then the 1783 Stamp Duties Act was still in force, which meant that his parents would have had to pay 3d to get his birth registered. If you were classed as a pauper you didn't have to pay; but some people evaded paying by the simple expedient of not having their child baptised. You're right that baptism was an important religious rite, but as Methodists they might have been satisfied to have their child baptised on the sly at the chapel rather than the church. Their later children do all have their baptisms recorded, but this was after the Stamp Act was revoked due to its unpopularity. And so on. We can't assume anything from John Holman's missing baptism record.

    I think it's better to work backwards from what we do know than go chasing all over Cornwall for John Holmans who could possibly be him. At least it help will narrow down the possibilities. As I said, there are resources at the State Library of Victoria which we hadn't checked before; I've looked at some of them now and, while I haven't found anything conclusive, there is some interesting stuff (see following comment).

    Your John's age should be in the 1850 register for his second marriage to Elizabeth MARTIN nee PEARCE (have you seen it?)

    I haven't seen the original, only the indexed information on microfilm (see following comment), but apparently it doesn't have the age! It should, according to Barry Leadbeater's site, but as he also notes sometimes some information is omitted.

    " The Will of James HOLMAN late of the Parish of Breage in the County of Cornwall, Miner deceased who died 05 August 1864 at Breage aforesaid was proved at the Principal Registry by the oath of Simon HOLMAN of Helston in the said County Drill Sergeant of the 7th Duke of Cornwall's Rifle Volunteers the Brother the sole Executor. (Effects under 200 pounds). "

    That's interesting, thanks. We've found out a little about Simon Holman's military career; he joined the 43 Regiment of Light Infantry at age 18 and retired at age 44 to become a Chelsea out-pensioner. Sounds like he must have served in the Volunteers thereafter. His first daughter was named Eliza, the same as his next youngest sibling (the Eliza Holman who married John Vanstone in Willunga); her only son was named Simon. So we think they were close.

  38. Post author

    This is actually online, not from the SLV: the voter list for Crowan in 1832 (there weren't many voters then, but the Reform Act of that year extended voting to many poorer men, eg if they held medium-term leases on land worth £50 etc, long-term leases on land worth £10, etc). This list has 4 Holmans, 3 of them from Tremayn (no e on the end), the other is Francis from Porthleaven, Sithney at Trethannas. They all qualified for the vote as leaseholders, ie they rented and did not own property. There's Jacob Holman of Tremayn; John Holman of Tremayn North; and John Holman of Tremayn (and there were only 2 other voters from Tremayne/Tremayn, William Richards and John Thomas). So this is consistent with the John Holman who emigrated to Willunga being a farmer at Tremayne, and the other John Holman there being his father (and we have him there in the 1841 census, though described as a miner -- at age 81!)

    From the SLV. The most informative thing I found is the record of the Holmans' application for assisted passage, in the Register of emigrant labourers applying for a free passage to South Australia (which I think is PRO CO 386/149/151). It's not their application itself (I don't think these have survived, which is a shame because the forms had a lot more information), just a register with summaries.

    Nos. 3228 to 3231 are ours, these are the certificate numbers; there are also embarkation numbers too, 2087 through 2090. I also I found another Colonial Office list which just had the names and numbers. Oddly, on this other list there was another Holman (without a first name) squeezed in as embarkation no. 2091 and certificate no. 3234, looks like whoever wrote it forgot to put it in and had to go back and insert it later. But the corresponding certificate number in the register isn't a Holman at all, so it's bit mysterious. (I think this is John Holman's eldest son, John; see below.)

    The emigration agent who took their applications was Mr A. B. Duckham, who was based at Falmouth. The date of their application was 12 October 1838. Since they arrived in Australia in June 1839, they had to wait a few months before setting sail. The place of residence was Crowan (so this is at least evidence that they came from there.)

    Certificate number 3228 is for 'Holman John' whose occupation is given as 'Farmer'. Included in his entry are his wife and children under 15 (if they were 15 or over they were considered adults and had their own entry). So unfortunately there is no first name given for these dependents, just sex and age. Interestingly, John's age is given as 36, which would suggest he was born in 1802 (not 1795). But his wife's age is also given as 36, and we know Millicent Hodge was baptised on 19 January 1794, so she took nearly 10 years off her age and he probably did too. Even after lying about their age they were among the oldest applicants on their page of the register; and even above what one site says was the maximum age of 30.

    Of the children, there are three sons under 15 and 2 daughters. But one of the sons has been crossed out and it looks like 'new Certificate' has been written underneath, probably because his age is given as 15 and so was treated as an adult. That would explain the error in the other list though not why his certificate number is wrong (the embarkation number corresponding to 3234 doesn't match with the embarkation number of the Holmans either, so they weren't on the same ship). So this one (it would be his son John Holman jr) must be listed somewhere else (I've found certificate numbers for John Holmans at 2732 and 3734 but haven't looked at the originals; the numbers seem wrong anyway). The ages for the other two sons are 11 and 8 (so James and William) and for the daughters 14 and 10 (so Susanna maybe, but she would have been 12, and Jane).

    Certificate number 3229 is 'Holman Mary', a 'Dairy Maid', single, age 16. 3230 is 'Holman Eliz.h' (it looks like a superscript h, suggesting Elizabeth, but she was called Eliza; her brother Simon had daughters named Eliza and Elizabeth suggesting they were seen as distinct names), 'Dairy Maid', single, age 17. 3231 is 'Holman Philippa', 'Dairy Maid', single, age 19. If they all worked on the family farm that suggests they were dairy farmers, but maybe that's just what girls who worked on farms were called.

    I checked for John Holman's death but couldn't find it in any SA records. I did find a record of his marriage (summary, not the original) to Elizabeth Martin at the Wesleyan Chapel on Gawler Place in Adelaide on 7 November 1850 (the newspaper record we have on Ancestry says 6 November, same difference). Unfortunately it does not record their ages (it looks like it's not in the original record either).

    I had a look in lists of probates and letters of administration, he should appear in here whether he had a will or not. There are two John Holmans listed in the files covering his presumed death date, but there is no year given, just a place name (one is Adelaide, the other Williamstown) and index numbers which we can use to apply for copies of the will etc (12-180 and 18-386 respectively). Williamstown is north of Adelaide, the other side from Willunga, so I would guess that's less likely to be him.

    The 1841 SA census -- we have the index sheets written by the census takers themselves, they don't have much information though. I found only one J. Holman in it, living at Currie Street in Adelaide. Living in this household was 1 male under 35 (presumably J. Holman), 3 females under 7, 1 female under 35. This doesn't match John and Millicent's family, and actually I think this is another apparently unrelated John Holman we have found who was a mason, because the Adelaide directories (like a phone book but without the phone numbers) also have a mason of that name with his premises in Currie Street.

    There's an index of letters received by the Colonial Secretary in London, the Governor and other government officials (and Supreme Court officials too) -- the letters themselves will be in the SA archives. This lists a letter from a John Holman in 1842 who 'Seeks appointment as poundkeeper at Willunga'. I think a poundkeeper levied charges on the farmers for grazing on common land etc. It seems like he didn't get the job because an 1843 directory lists somebody else in that job at Willunga. It might be interesting to have a look at this letter as he might give some information about his background (e.g. 'back in Crowan I was poundkeeper for 5 years').

    There's also an index of letters to the Advocate General, nothing there.

    I didn't find anything in lists of inquests or sudden deaths, so that suggests he died of natural causes.

    Abbott's Index of BDM notices in SA newspapers: this only has the ones we already have (i.e. Millicent's death and John's remarriage). So it's unlikely that we will find a death notice for him in the newspapers.

    About those directories. There were a number of competing ones, John definitely shows in up a number of them and possibly in a few others. It's a bit odd how he's in some editions and not others but I guess information was hard to come by. The abbreviations here are those used by the Mortlock Library which was the source of the microfilmed directories.

    1841 (Bennett) has John Holman as a resident and as a mason on Currie Street.

    1843 (Cotter) and 1843 (MacDougall) have a 'J. Holman' as living outside Adelaide.

    1844 (Cotter) has John Holman as having the following acreage under cultivation at 'Section 255, Cranver': 10 wheat, 1.5 barley, 0.25 maize, 1 garden.

    1846 (Murray) has 'Holman & Bastion, Tremaine and Bellinga' in the 'District of Willunga'. This is an interesting one. Who is Bastion? Probably Sampson Bastian, another emigrant (1840) from Crowan, who married Philippa Holman, daughter of Stephen Holman and Lenora/Nora Moyle, born Crowan 1797. We don't know how or if she was related to John Holman. But in Willunga, in 1845 one of their sons married a daughter of John Holman, and one of their nieces married a son, in 1851. So this maybe suggests the two families were farming together at this point. Presumably Tremaine is the name of the farm or house, and also presumably is named after Tremayne. So this is circumstantial evidence tying the Holmans to Tremayne in Crowan.

    1847 (Murray) has John Holman as a mason at Cowandilla.

    1847 (Stephens) has 'Holman, John, stockowner, near Willunga'.

    1849 (Allen) has a list of acreages for each district, and J. Holman is listed as having 160 acres at Willunga. But he's not in the separate directory listing (there's a G. Hollman (two ls) near Willunga though.

    1850 (Murray) has a John Holman at Willunga.

    1851 (Platts) has a John Holman, farmer, at Willunga. It also has a John Holman, farmer, at Twickenham -- I can't find where this was but maybe the other John Holman had given up masonry for farming?

    1851 (Murray) has both John Holmans at Willunga and Twickenham (no occupation listed).

    The next directory was either 1853 or 1854 and I couldn't find John Holman of Willunga there which is consistent which him dying in 1853 (though, then where's John Jr?)

    Finally, I looked in a few of the books in the genealogy centre and found John Holman and family in one called Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885, published 1986. This does say some of the things we are trying to confirm, eg his birth year is given as 1795, born Crowan, his parents John Holman and Susannah George, died 12 August 1853 in SA. But it doesn't give sources for each entry (the book is 4 volumes as it is), and it says in the introduction that they also used private submissions as a source (i.e. from family historians). They do say that they cross-checked most of these, but it's possible that their source was the same mysterious person who gave us the 1795 date for John Holman's birth in the place, on what basis we don't know. It could be from a family bible, as we know some information about another part of the family came from one of those.

  39. peter dillon

    So, only the emigration record gives us an age for John HOLMAN so far, but it does sound like his and Millicent's age was lowered heaps to get under an age limit for assisted emigration.

    Taking a few years off to get under an emigration age limit for an assisted emigration scheme happened with NZ emigration schemes too. One of my great grandfathers did it to get to NZ and maintained the pretence when he married a few years later by saying he was 42 when he was really 50, although that might instead have had something to with him being twice the age of the bride (she was 25). It didn't stop him fathering 9 children from 1886 to 1902 when he finally fell off the twig!

    I've done an awful lot of genealogy over many years and my gut feeling is that your John HOLMAN will turn out to be a son to a previous short lived marriage by his father John. I'm not saying it IS that but it is a pretty good possibility. The John born 1787 at Wendron parish which is contiguous to Crowan parish looks tasty considering that I can't see more children to that couple at Crowan and that John & Millicent married at Wendron parish. A problem is that birth in 1787 would make him 52 in 1839 which is getting tough in terms of looking like a believable 36-year-old.

    Cornwall opc have lot of gaps for Crowan OPR but that's only because the transcriptions of Cornwall parish registers are nowhere near finished yet. The gaps are filled by the online scans of the register pages at Familysearch which are currently the source of their transcriptions, so you can view the missing marriages there.

    Here's the link to the online Cornwall registers at Familysearch

    And here's the links to the various Crowan registers including the marriage years that Cornwall opc doesn't yet cover. They aren't indexed so that you have to browse the images.

    This next link is Crowan baptisms, marriages and burial 1843-1812. There's definitely no John HOLMAN baptised to John & Susannah between 1794 and 1800. There are baps for 1807 on scan 1 followed by baps 1743-1794 to scan 65, then marriages 1743-54 scans 66-70, then baps 1795-1806 scans 71-92, then burials 1743-1812 scans 93-121, then baps 1807-1812 scans 122-130. Some of the pages are hard on the eyes because they are hard to read. It's easiest to concentrate on the first name of each entry which is the name of the child baptised. There is a facility on each page to save the image and I suggest that you may as well do so for any page you view to speed things up if you need to view it again.

    The old boy you found in the 1841 census at Crowan age 81 - he is probably John HOLMAN who was buried at Crowan in 1842 age 82. Here's the link to the scan of the register page at Familysearch

    The burials to choose from at Crowan, for John married to Susannah (assuming that he died at Crowan), are the chap buried 1829 age 60 who would be born about 1760, and the chap buried 1842 age 82. He can’t be the 1809 burial because John and Susannah had their last child Philippa in 1814 and, in any case, if he was the 1809 one then he’d be born about 1744 about 28 years older than Susannah which is unlikely. He can’t be John buried 1815 age 23, John buried 1830 age 1, or John buried 1833 an infant.

    The fact that Simon HOLMAN was the brother of James HOLMAN who was buried at Breage in 1864 pretty much confirms that James, who was married to Elizabeth WILLIAMS who was buried at Breage in 1859, is the son of John & Susannah. Simon is easily found in census records with his details pointing to him being baptised to John & Susannah in 1807 and his military record at the National Archives states that he was born at Crowan in 1807. The indexes there point one towards Find My Past to view scans of the original docments

    Have a go at the family tree databases at Worldconnect
    and you'll find a few people giving descendants for Simon with some giving details such that someone has gone to the trouble of viewing Simon's documents either at Kew or at Find My Past.

    Simon married twice and died in 1875. For some reason which I can't work out his 1865 marriage to Amelia RISDEN is registered twice about three months apart (FreeBMD). It's not an accident because the scans are definitely different in each case both for Simon and for Amelia and the transcriptions at FreeBMD are not in error.

    I'm a wee bit worried about the supposed two issue to Simon. On the one hand we have his daughter Elizabeth with him in the 1851 census age 20 born at Gibraltar and on the other hand there is the baptism below of Elizabeth Ann at Crowan parish. Elizabeth's name is difficult to decipher in the baptism but it is definitely not Eliza. Simon's occupation is given as miner in the actual scan of the entry.

    name: Elizabeth Ann HOLMAN
    gender: Female
    baptism/christening date: 20 Dec 1835
    baptism/christening place: CROWAN,CORNWALL,ENGLAND
    father's name: Simon HOLMAN
    mother's name: Margaret
    indexing project (batch) number: C02226-1
    system origin: England-ODM
    source film number: 246797, 246798

    Here's the scan:

    30 Mar 1851 Census of Eng;and & Wales
    Piece: HO107/1913 Place: St Keverne -Cornwall Enumeration District: 1c
    Civil Parish: Crowan Ecclesiastical Parish: -
    Folio: 453 Page: 3 Schedule: 7
    Address: Crenver
    HOLMAN Simon Head W M 43 Out Pensioner Chelsea, b. Cornwall - B Seaman
    HOLMAN Elizth Dau U F 20 House Keeper b. Overseas - British - Gibraltar
    BIGMORE Richd Visitr M 9 Scholar b. Overseas - British – Canada

    07 Apr 1861 Census of England & Wales
    Piece: RG9/1575 Place: Helston -Cornwall Enumeration District: 3
    Civil Parish: Crowan Ecclesiastical Parish: -
    Folio: 30 Page: 4 Schedule: 15
    Address: Crenver
    HOLMAN Simon, Head, W, M, 54, Out Pensioner From Chelsea, b. Cornwall – Crowan

    02 Apr 1871 Census of England & Wales
    Piece: RG10/2303 Place: Helston -Cornwall Enumeration District: 3
    Civil Parish: Helston Ecclesiastical Parish: -
    Folio: 58 Page: 9 Schedule: 49
    Address: Church Street
    HOLMAN Simon Head M M 64 Pensioner 43rd Reg Of Foot b. Cornwall
    HOLMAN Amelia Wife M F 56 b. Cornwall - Helston
    HAWTON Mary Jane Grndau U F 12 Scholar b. Cornwall - Crowan

    I haven't seen a scan of the census page above, just the transcription at FreeCEN, so I am wondering if Eliza has been misinterpreted as Elizth as often happens. A couple of online databases have her as Eliza. One daughter married HAWTON which we know for sure because of the 1871 census data above and the other is said to have married CARTER. The name of a son was George Holman CARTER which is promising.

    Here's the marriage of Eliza HOLMAN to Joseph HAWTON.

    Marriages 3Q 1856
    BOADEN Edwin Trounson Helston 5c, 390
    HAWTON Joseph Helston 5c, 390
    HOLMAN Eliza Helston 5c, 390
    SKEWIS Mary Helston 5c, 390

    Why would Simon name a child Elizabeth Ann in 1835 if he already had a child Elizabeth unless the first one died? And if the first one died then why isn't the second one age 16 and not 20 in the census, and born Crowan rather than Gibralter? (an extremely late baptism at Crowan of Elizabeth born a few years earlier at Gibraltar?). And why is Simon called a miner at a time when he was a soldier? He enlisted in 1826 and was discharged in 1847 age 40. I'm thinking that Elizth in the 1851 census must be a misinterpretation of Eliza.

    There is no problem with having both an Eliza and an Elizabeth in a family, I've seen plenty of examples of that in those days including an ancestor DILLON family of mine at Bath, England and an ancestor WRIGHT family in Sussex.

    The mother in the 1835 baptism is Margaret who presumably is Simon's first wife. When you look for a marriage for a Simon HOLMAN and a Margaret in the IGI the only one that comes up is to Margaret FLANIGAN on 11 Apr 1831 at Winwick which is in Cheshire. Pay records for Simon have him at Gibralter in Dec 1831 but another pay record a few months earlier might hint at him being near Manchester. The timing of the marriage is good. If you hunt for any Simon HOLMAN in births marriages and deaths at FreeBMD you will come up with nothing prior to his second marriage, so Simon HOLMANs were extremely thin on the ground.

    In fact I am confident that all the Simon HOLMAN entries at FreeBMD are just two Simon HOLMAN and the second one is his nephew. The second one married in 1888 and died 1907. I think his father William HOLMAN who was married to Mary in Crowan census data in 1841 and 1851 will be Simon's brother and therefore brother to John at Willunga, to John's sister Eliza and to James married to Elizabeth WILLIAMS who has to be Simon's brother going by the 1864 probate. William is the right age 47 in 1851 to be William born to John & Susannah in 1804. His age may have been rounded down to 35 in the 1841 census as per the instructions given to the enumerators.

    Notice below that in 1841 William has a son Simon HOLMAN age 15 and that the family lived at Crinver / Crenver. That's where Simon HOLMAN the soldier lived in 1851.

    06 Jun 1841 Census of England & Wales
    Piece: HO107/141/6 Place: Penwith -Cornwall Enumeration District: 3
    Civil Parish: Crowan Ecclesiastical Parish: -
    Folio: 34 Page: 4
    Address: Crinver
    HOLMAN William M 35 Miner Cornwall
    HOLMAN Mary F 35 Cornwall
    HOLMAN Simon M 15 Cornwall
    HOLMAN Mary F 10 Cornwall
    HOLMAN Caroline F 07 Miner Cornwall
    HOLMAN William M 05 Cornwall
    HOLMAN Elizabeth F 01 Cornwall

    30 Mar 1851 Census of England & Wales
    Piece: HO107/1913 Place: St Keverne -Cornwall Enumeration District: 1c
    Civil Parish: Crowan Ecclesiastical Parish: -
    Folio: 452 Page: 1 Schedule: 3
    Address: Crenver
    HOLMAN Wm Head M M 47 Agriculture And Copper Miner Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN M T A Wife M F 44 House Wife b. Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN M T Dau U F 19 At The Mine b. Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Caroline Dau U F 16 At The Mine b. Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Wm Son U M 14 At The Mine b. Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Jane Dau U F 10 At The Mine b. Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN John Son U M 9 At The Mine b. Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Martha Dau U F 7 b.Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Jas Son U M 6 b. Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Grace Dau F 4 b. Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Maria L Dau F 2 b.Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Thomas Son M 1m b. Cornwall - Crowan

    I think the following is the younger Simon HOLMAN in 1891.

    05 Apr 1891 Census of England & Wales
    Piece: RG12/1839 Place: Helston -Cornwall Enumeration District: 22
    Civil Parish: Sithney Ecclesiastical Parish: Sithney
    Folio: 207 Page: 1 Schedule: 4
    Address: Higher Prospidnick
    HOLMAN Simon Head M M 64 Living On Own Means(Notem) b. Cornwall - Crowan
    HOLMAN Elizabeth J. Wife M F 50 b. Cornwall - Wendron

    I think that John & Susannah's daughter Ann married John IVEY at Crowan on 12 Apr 1821.

    International Genealogical Index (IGI)
    groom's name: John IVEY
    bride's name: Ann HOLMAN
    marriage date: 12 Apr 1821
    marriage place: Crowan,Cornwall,England
    indexing project (batch) number: M02226-2
    system origin: England-ODM
    source film number: 246797, 246799, 246800, 90243

    This could be her burial As Anne IVEY at Crowan age 39 on 18 Mar 1839 in the scan below.

    There is in fact a third Simon born at Crowan with Holman as part of his name. He was Simon Holman IVEY and was born at Crowan in 1828. He had issue in New South Wales, California and Oregon before settling in Canada and is reputed to have gone to Australia with family of his mother after his mother died. I can't for the life of me find William and the rest of his large family in the census after 1851, except maybe for a couple of possible daughters of the right age in 1861, so I wonder if he took most of his family to New South Wales and Simon Holman IVEY as well? Then again if Ann IVEY really was his mother and died 1839 then that's the year that John HOLMAN & Millicent HODGE and family were all aboard for South Australia, so he could have gone with them then made his way to New South Wales. It appears he didn't have issue till the mid 1870s

    Here's the scan of his baptism as Simon Holman IVEY to John & Ann IVEY at Crowan on 13 Jul 1828, his father a miner.

    Check this webpage out regarding Simon Holman IVEY. There is an email address for the contributor who might be your relation!

    This next web page has Philippa, the youngest daughter of John HOLMAN & Susannah GEORGE, deceased in 1856 in South Australia but maybe instead she might be the eldest daughter of John HOLMAN & Millicent HODGE.
    Philippa HOLMAN
    Death 12 August 1856 ? Sandy Creek, South Australia, Australia

    Aunt Philippa was baptised 1814 and niece Philippa was baptised 1819, just a 5 year gap, so either one of them could be the bride in this marriage:
    PETERSON John, Philippa HOLMAN married on 1839-10-28
    1846, 1/163, PETERSON Phillipi, John PETERSON, Phillipi HOLMAN, Adelaide.
    1846 1/45 PETERSON Phillipine John PETERSON (F) Adelaide
    PETERSON Phillipina died 1846-02-10 aged 10 m at Pt Adelaide; buried Adelaide West Terrace Cemetery
    1855, 5/177, PETERSON Edward, John PETERSON, Phillipa HOLMAN, Adelaide
    1856, 6/22, PETERSON Philippee, ---, Barossa

  40. peter dillon


    Sorry I got mixed up with all the typing.

    John HOLMAN buried 1829 age 60 at Crowan will of course have been born about 1769 [not 1860]. It's John buried 1842 at Crowan age 82 who would have been bor about 1760.

  41. peter dillon

    I see I still managed another typo above with 1860 instead of 1760 (groan).

    I had a look at the reference you gave for the marriage of John HOLMAN & Elizabeth MARTIN and saw that enquiries can be made by email but only so many free enquiries can be made per year. I don't know how I'll get on from overseas butI sent an enquir re the marriage. See how it goes.

    There are restrictions date-wise on the material but dates that early are ok.

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