Monday, 27 December 2010

Maritime Monday: Keeping it in the family

Throughout the previous generations, the BALL family were agricultural labourers.  Then they made the shift from the land to the sea - and by the time the generations reach my uncle, to the air as well.
circa 1807

John BALL, christened 2 May 1819 died 21 December 1890, started off working the land like his father before him and his father before that.  Then, in his late thirties, he transferred to the sea and was listed as a Mariner in all the censuses from 1851 onwards.  But it didn't end there - he was not the only one.

His stepson, Thomas Damerell ELLIOTT, became a sailor in his early twenties, then became a bargeman in his fifties, and a merchant seaman in his sixties.

circa 1840
Another of John's sons, Benjamin, started at ten years old as a shipwright's errand boy, then is described as a shipwright's apprentice in the 1871 census.  His brother, Charles, was also a shipwright's apprentice, and youngest brother William was a "shipwright's labourer" in the 1881 census, working in the port of Southampton.  There he met my great-grandmother, Bertha DAMERELL, herself the daughter of a merchant seaman who later became a steamship stoker.

The two World Wars managed to interrupt this 'family business', until John's grandson married a woman descended from coastguards, and his great-great-granddaughter married a man descended from shipwrights.

And I have always loved the sea...

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