Need a shipping expert - please

Fisherman, Merchant vessels, Emigrant ships etc.

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Jenyfer
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:55 pm

Need a shipping expert - please

Post by Jenyfer » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:14 pm

Hi,
For three years I've been trying to find out what happened to the Countess of Airlie, built Dundee 1831, owned by David Mackie, 168 ton Brigantine. Montrose was its port and in 1846/47 was doing runs to Riga. Her last known voyage was Riga to London carrying wheat.
On Nov 3rd 1847 (from the 'Montrose Review' but reported in an Aberdeen newspaper) "grave concern for the Countess of Airlie last seen 4th Oct off Elinsore " . After this nothing. I've run out of places to try, Montrose museum could not add to this, I've scanned (because nothing comes up on a search) all the weekly marine casualties reports from Lloyds Aug-Dec 1847, checked the shipping news in Scottish newspapers etc.. but nada! I know the seas were crazy busy and dangerous during this period and that there were many wrecks with huge loss of life however, there also appears to have been a concerted effort to report marine causalities.
Any help most welcome - even to say this ship could have been sunk with all hands lost and never been mentioned in the press again.
Jen

runmerry
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:52 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Need a shipping expert - please

Post by runmerry » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:27 pm

Hi Jen.
I'm by no means a shipping expert but I have traced a ship built in Speybay & originally registered in Inverness & then in Yarmouth in 1820 until it was wrecked off Cromar in 1849.
Have you got the registration documents for the "Countess of Airlie" sometimes survivors wrote to the place of registration to let them know of a shipwreck.
You could also try Lloyd's List it sometimes has mention of a ship being lost or wrecked.
Though the ship I traced was latterly registered in Yarmouth & sailing mostly to and from the continent I finally found the report of the wreck in the "Aberdeen Journal"
so you may have to trawl through the "Shipping Intelligence" in a lot of newspapers.
Have you traced the history of the ship through Lloyd's Shipping Registers. I found that I had to go right back to the beginning & trace all I could find about my ship
before I found out what happened to it. Even now I'm still finding bits and pieces.
I learned that a lot of ships disappeared without trace & it may be that what you have is all there is. I must say I gained a lot of respect for the sailors in those days & their
wives and families. Hard, fearful, work not knowing if they would survive a voyage & disappearing from their families for months & even years on end.

Regards

Jen

Currie
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Australia

Re: Need a shipping expert - please

Post by Currie » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:47 am

Hello Jen,

I’m no maritime expert either. I’ve been looking for my missing Master Mariner GGGF for nearly 30 years without success.

I haven’t been able to find anything more about your fellow. There are four Scottish newspapers in the database I’m using but the story only appears to be in the Aberdeen one and they found it in the Montrose Review newspaper.

It’s interesting to search for “montrose review” in the old newspapers. You’ll find their stories cropping up fairly regularly and all over the place. Funnily enough that search will find the 3 November article using my Library edition but not using, it seems, the British Newspaper Archive one.

From reading the Aberdeen paper it seems that they’ve been missing for about a month and you wouldn’t think there was much hope. But the Aberdeen Journal was only printed weekly and maybe the Montrose paper was the same. Makes you wonder how long they had been missing when that story was originally made up.

The Montrose, Arbroath & Brechin Review is on microfilm for that time period but there are missing issues. The Montrose Review, if that’s a different newspaper, is only in bound copies. Maybe you could ask someone at the Library to check as the story in the Aberdeen newspaper may be a cut-down version, and if it’s a weekly publication it mightn’t be too difficult. http://www.angus.gov.uk/history/librari ... oselib.htm

The ship is in 1847 Lloyd’s Register but the home port, voyage, and classification columns are blank. The Master shown there is R. Brand. In 1846 those empty columns were completed and the Master is again Brand. From the 1848 edition there’s no sign of it. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=gSU ... 0C&pg=PT96

Here’s a Bland, supposed to have jumped overboard in February, 1846. Maybe that was Brand? http://books.google.com.au/books?id=XDU ... 22&f=false

In Parliamentary Papers there’s a document of about 200 pages, laid out in date order, about sixty ships to a page, headed:
1851 (688) Collisions, &c. of vessels. Return to an order of the Honourable the House of Commons, dated 10 April 1851;--for, return"from Lloyd's books, of all collisions, accidents, and wrecks of vessels, distinguishing, in columns, the sailing from steam vessels, and specifying the nature of each collision, accident, or wreck, tonnage of each vessel, and the number of lives lost by each, in each year, since the 1st day of January 1847 up to the 31st day of December 1850."

The search with the document brings up Countess of Durham, Mar, Leicester, Annan, Lonsdale, Eglinton, Morley, Westmoreland, and Bective, no sign of an Airlie.


All the best,
Alan

Jenyfer
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:55 pm

Re: Need a shipping expert - please

Post by Jenyfer » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:50 am

Many thanks to you both for taking the time to reply and Alan for doing so much work! Sorry, I've only now activated 'notify me..' hence the tardy response. I'm also on holiday at the moment so don't have everything in front of me.
'Bland' is a breakthrough for me. This is a Robert Brand who is down as being the Captain of the Countess of Airlie from 1845 to 47 BUT in all the newspaper reporting from 1846 until it drops off the radar the Captain is listed as David Jolly (my GGGF). I have all his ships (and most registered journeys) from 1835 when he was mate on the Venus out of Montrose to when he sailed the Countess of Airlie out of Riga in August 1847. However, Montrose Museum have Brand listed for that period NOT my David. I've checked journeys for Brand at the national Archives but there is nothing after the end of 1845 listed. I'll check the 1851 census to see if I can find Brand's wife is down as a widow - I think she's living next to Alexander Brand, shipowner in the Angus 1847 directory. Down as Mrs R Brand in the directory.
The Montrose museum put this out to an expert who suggested the ship was near the end of its working life and may have been scrapped...the trouble with that is my David must have been scrapped with it as he never appears again.... So thank you Alan, along with the other info I have - Brand was not indeed the captain of this ship when it disappears as he was most likely dead.
Back to the Countess...she's reported leaving Riga end of August, I've got her passing Elinsore in September. In the September 23rd edition of the Caladonian Mercury - her trip is listed - nothing to suggest a problem. Last seen on the 4th of October...(I think I can recite all the ships lost between September and December in 1847!)

I know the Montrose Review my Dad used to get it sent to him when we lived in the USA - it was just a tiny wee newspaper then - presumably back in the 1800s it was a more substantial paper. I think I have a few options left - there's a shipping reporter for the Dundee Courier who kept extensive notes on shipping movements and there's the Montrose Review bound copies...both mean a trip back to Scotland. Also, I believe there are boxes of papers at the National Archives with information on the ships registered in Montrose (that could be a lifetime's work!).
Thanks
Jen

Currie
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Australia

Re: Need a shipping expert - please

Post by Currie » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:30 am

Hello Jen,

Glad I could help.

Here’s a transcription of the Brand suicide report from the Cork Examiner, February 16 1846. http://www.newspaperabstracts.com/link. ... ail&id=377

This is the list of 1847-1850 shipping losses I referred to in my last post. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=npZ ... 22&f=false

And here’s an 1851 article partly about that report. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=1t0 ... 22&f=false

From an 1840 publication:
“it is well known that many vessels and lives are lost by wreck or foundering at sea, of which no entry is made in Lloyd's books, and of which, as no record is kept, no return can be produced.” http://books.google.com.au/books?id=4j4 ... 22&f=false

Maybe a begging letter to the Librarian at Montrose Library could produce a result, especially seeing you’re not in Scotland.. If it’s a weekly newspaper of maybe only a half dozen pages it wouldn’t take very long to find any relevant articles.


All the best,
Alan

Jenyfer
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:55 pm

Re: Need a shipping expert - please

Post by Jenyfer » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:00 pm

Hi Alan,
This is such sad reading is it not. It is almost impossible to appreciate the hardship these men must have endured. My GGGF was mate on the Jane out of Montrose - that was wrecked at sea but not on his watch and then we have to assume he went down with the Countess of Airlie in 1847 a ship he's taken over after the suicide of Brand. I suppose a microcosm of life at sea in the mid 1800s...to say nothing of those left behind. I've been reading about how men were pressed ganged off their boats around the Kincardineshire coast to fight in the Napoleonic wars with the boys brings the ships back to port - we don't know we're born do we.

I think maybe I've read all there is on shipping incidents in 1847 and can find no trace/mention of the Countess of Airlie after the Nov 3rd story. I am going to write the Montrose library a begging letter (again - I've tried them once before but this time I can be more specific) to see if there was a) a longer version of what was quoted in he Aberdeen press b) where there was any follow-up story.

Maybe you could answer one more question. We have a picture of the Minerva (the first ship he was captain of in 1840) - caption " brig Minerva entering Marseilles Bay 1840". Now I'm pretty sure he only did a run to Riga on this ship any idea why Marseilles Bay might have been mentioned. I suppose he could have done that run but I've not been able to find it. Do you think this picture would have been painted in celebration of his first captaincy or in memorial?

Thanks again this has been truly brilliant!
Jen
Jen

Currie
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Australia

Re: Need a shipping expert - please

Post by Currie » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:42 pm

SHIP NEWS .
The Morning Post (London, England), Tuesday, August 25, 1840; Issue 21710. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II.

CUSTOM HOUSE, Aug. 24.
ENTERED INWARDS.--
Minerva, Jolly, from Marseilles;

(about halfway through that section)

Fumbling with an iPad,
Alan

Jenyfer
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:55 pm

Re: Need a shipping expert - please

Post by Jenyfer » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:09 pm

You are a whizz Alan! I'll use some credits on FMP to get the article...just been told to get off the computer and get on with my holiday!
Many thanks
Jen

Jenyfer
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:55 pm

Re: Need a shipping expert - please

Post by Jenyfer » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:27 am

Hi Alan,
I've downloaded the Morning Post so now have that to add to my ever increasing documentation of my Captain's sailing life. I see he sailed off to Petersburg about a week later - busy chappie...

One thing I've learned is that the captain's listed in Lloyd's can be taken with a pinch of salt. Brand dead since the beginning of 1846 still showing up in the 1848 listing and Ferguson showing as the Captain of the Minerva. I had assumed (WRONGLY) that my gggf only did a short stint on the Minerva as he is never listed in Lloyd's as the captain. I realise now he may have been sailing her for upwards of three years. Not sure why in 1843 he's back as mate on the Jane then captain again in 44/45 on the Victory (he was with her when she was put up for sale in Newcastle and he is listed in Lloyd's as her captain). Then Brand goes and dies and he takes on the fated Countess...

I'll try and get a letter off to Montrose library this week - I'll let you know the outcome.
Once again many thanks - I've learned loads from this posting.
Jen
PS - why is your GGGF being so evasive?

Currie
Posts: 3702
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Australia

Re: Need a shipping expert - please

Post by Currie » Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:43 pm

Nice going Jen,

Would a begging email be as good as?

Unfortunately my fellow had a very common name among Master Mariners, Based on age at marriage there are hundreds of possibilities. I don’t know where he was born, or even any certainty of when he went off the radar. I don’t even know the name of any of his ships. I was hoping to find something in the newspapers of the town in Australia where he lived but no luck so far. They are still in the process of digitizing them so maybe later.

All the best,
Alan

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