Category: France

The sinking of the White Ship.

Several of my children’s ancestors were among the hundreds who perished in the sinking of the White Ship off Barfleur, France in 1120.
The sinking of the White Ship

Depiction of the sinking of the White Ship.

During my years of researching the medieval ancestry of Mark and our children, I’ve noticed a recurring theme. Several of the ancestors were casualties of the disastrous shipwreck of the “White Ship”. Although there were actually closer to 300 passengers aboard, I was only able to locate a list of twenty of the casualties. It is well known though that the ship was loaded with nobles and contemporaries of King Henry I, of England.

Henry I, King of England

Henry I, King of England

The “White Ship” was a new, state of the art vessel under command of Thomas FitzStephen. His father had been Stephen FitzAirard, captain of the ship “Mora” under William the Conqueror during his invasion of England in 1066. Captain FitzStephen offered transport to England on his ship to Henry I for his return to England, but since the King had already made other arrangements, he declined. King Henry did, however, arrange for his son, William “Aetheling” Adelin and two of his illegitimate children to sail on the ship.

The familiar account of the events leading up to the sinking as delivered by the known sole survivor state that all aboard had been drinking and partying liberally and by the time they set sail, most on board were very drunk. It is interesting to note that there are conflicting accounts of survivors. Based upon the “Orderic Vitalis”, some believe there were two survivors, the butcher and Geoffrey de l’Aigle.

Amidst the drunken revelry described by the survivor, a challenge was issued to the Captain to overtake the King’s own ship, which had set sail earlier. Upon setting off, the White Ship struck a hidden rock in the shallow waters of the channel, quickly capsizing and sinking.

Etienne de Blois

Stephen of Blois, King of England

Those on shore saw what was occurring and sent a boat out to get William “Aetheling” Adelin, the King’s son, who was on his way back to shore when he heard his half-sister Matilda du Perche cry out for help and had the boat return to assist. Unfortunately, there were several scrambling to get on board the small boat, causing it to be swamped and to sink. William drowned right along with his half-sister and all the other unfortunate passengers. The common belief through the centuries has been that the Captain, Thomas FitzStephen, upon hearing of William Adelin’s drowning, just surrendered to the waters and drowned rather than take such terrible news back to the King.

As a result of Prince William’s death, King Henry named his only remaining legitimate child, his daughter Matilda, to be heiress to the throne. He forced the noblemen to swear to support Matilda, who was unpopular because she was married to Geoffrey V, Comte d’Anjou who had been an enemy of the Norman nobility. When the noblemen refused to support Matilda after the death of King Henry I, they turned to the King’s nephew, Etienne de Blois and named him King. Etienne de Blois had originally planned to travel on the “White Ship” as well and had even boarded her, but had to leave before the ship’s departure because he became ill with diarrhea.

Mathilde and her husband initiated war against Etienne and his followers to gain the English throne, as her father had wished. This period of civil war known as “The Anarchy” spanned almost two decades from 1135 to 1153 and became a pivotal time in the history of England, resulting in the end of Norman rule.

The closest ancestor to my children who played a part in the story of the “White Ship” disaster was:

  • Etienne de Blois, King of England. He was the 31st great grandfather to my children.

The known casualties from among the approximately 300 on board, listed in order of the closeness of relationship to our children (if any) include:

  • William the Atheling, son of King Henry I and heir to the English throne – 26th great granduncle to my children.
  • Mathilde du Perche, Countess of Perche, illegitimate daughter of King Henry I – 26th great grandaunt.
  • Richard of Lincoln, illegitimate son of King Henry I – 26th great granduncle.
  • Godfrey de l’Aigle, knight. – 28th great granduncle (brother to Engenulf)
  • Engenulf de l’Aigle, brother to Godfrey – 28th great granduncle
  • Mathilde de Blois, sister to Stephen de Blois, King of England and wife of Richard d’Avranches – 31st great grandaunt
  • Robert Mauduit, nobleman. – 31st great granduncle
  • Richard d’Avranches, 2nd Earl of Chester, nobleman. – 1st cousin 31 times removed
  • Outher d’Avranches, brother of Richard, Earl of Chester. – 1st cousin, 31 times removed
  • Geoffrey Riddell, Lord of the Judiciary, nobleman.  – 2nd cousin 30 times removed
  • Ottuel, Illegitimate half brother of the 2nd Earl of Chester.
  • Hugh of Moulins, nobleman.
  • Walter of Everci, nobleman.
  • Lucia Mahout, wife of the 2nd Earl of Chester.
  • Othver, Prince William’s tutor.
  • William Pirou, the king’s steward.
  • Geoffrey, Archdeacon of Hereford.
  • Richard Anskill, son and heir of a Berkshire landowner.
  • Captain Thomas FitzStephen, ship’s captain.
  • William Grandmesnil, nobleman.

Sources:

photo credit: Wikipedia.org

 

FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Additions and Updates – 29 Sep 2014

The following is the list of FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Additions and Updates to date, September 29, 2014.

FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Additions and Updates

FamilySearch.org Additions and Updates

Belgium

China

Finland

France

Czechoslovakia

India

Indonesia

Italy

Korea

Nicaragua

Portugal

Spain

Ukraine

United Kingdom

United States

Ancestry.com Additions and Updates

Canada

England

photo credit: WA State Library via photopin cc

Remains of four WWI Canadian soldiers have been identified.

Of the recovered remains of eight Canadian soldiers of the 78th who were MIA during the Battle of Amiens in France in August 1918, four of the WWI Canadian soldiers have been identified to date by the Canadian Department of National Defence.
WWI soldiers' remains identified.

Remains of four WWI Canadian soldiers have been identified.

Those identified include:

Pte William Simms of Russell, Manitoba was one of two brothers who died in the first world war.

Lance Sgt John Lindell, born in Sweden, immigrated to Canada and settled in Winnipeg in about 1904.

Pte Lachlan McKinnon was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada in 1913. Pte McKinnon had previously been seriously wounded during the Battle of the Somme.

Lt Clifford Neelands, born in Barrie, Ontario, moved to Winnipeg with his family where he worked in real estate.

More details about these four men and the four remaining who have yet to be identified can be found in the CBC’s article “WWI Canadian soldiers’ remains identified.

I have previously written about my two relatives – one reported MIA during the Battle of Courcelette and the second MIA from Vimy Ridge during advance preparation and hostilities.

I would like nothing more than to have one, or ideally both of my relatives found and identified. My family’s military and war history means so much to me.

The links below are to my posts about my own relatives.

photo credit: momaraman via photopin cc

Joan, Fair Maid of Kent

Joan, Countess of Kent was Princess of Wales and was also known as Joan, Fair Maid of Kent. Her other titles included Princess of Aquitaine, Countess of Salisbury and Baroness Wake of Liddell. She was also the 26th great grandmother to my children.
Joan, Fair Maid of Kent and Edward of Angoulême

Joan, Fair Maid of Kent and Edward of Angoulême.

Joan at one time was described by French historian Jean Froissart as “the most beautiful woman in all the realm of England, and the most loving.”

Joan was born September 29, 1328. Her father was Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent (1301-1330), half-brother to Edward II, King of England and son of Edward I, and her mother was Margaret, Baroness Wake (1300-1349), daughter of Philip III, King of France. It was her father Edmund who supported Edward II in conflict with Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March and his lover Isabella of France, resulting in Edmund’s execution.

In the spring of 1340 at the age of eleven, Joan was married in secret, without royal consent, to Sir Thomas de Holand (    – 1360), Knight of the Garter, of Broughton, Buckinghamshire, son of Sir Robert de Holand and Matilda la Zouche.

In 1352, she succeeded her brother as Countess of Kent, Baroness Wake and Baroness Woodstock.

While Thomas was overseas, her family forced her into a marriage with William de Montagu (1328-1397) before February 10, 1341. She decided not to disclose the earlier marriage for fear Sir Thomas would be executed for treason. William was the son of William de Montagu, Lord Montagu and Earl of Salisbury and Katharine de Grandson and succeeded as Earl of Salisbury in 1344. Joan and William had one son, Sir William de Montagu (1341-    ).

The marriage of Joan and William was annulled in November 17, 1349 after Sir Thomas de Holand proved that he had married Joan in 1339. Thomas was made Lord Holand in 1353/4 and succeeded as Earl of Kent, dying in the winter of 1360. He was buried at the Church of the Grey Friars in Stamford, England.

The pope ordered the re-establishment of the first marriage to Sir Thomas de Holad on November 17, 1349. It was later confirmed by another Papal Bull that the Earl of Salisbury acquiesced and married another woman who remained his wife. Joan returned to her first husband and had the following children:

  • Sir Thomas de Holand II, Earl of Kent (1350-1397)
  • John de Holand, Duke of Exeter (1350-1400)
  • Edmund de Holand, Duchess of Brittany (    –    )
  • Matilda de Holand, Countess of Ligny (    –    )

Joan’s third marriage was by Papal dispensation September 10, 1361 to Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales (1330-1376), son of Edward III, King of England and Philippa de Hainaut. Edward was also known as “The Black Prince”. Joan and Edward had two sons:

  • Edward of Angoulême (1365-1372)
  • Richard II, King of England (1367- murdered in 1400)

Around 1365, Edward went to war on behalf of King Peter of Castile. After his return and by 1372, Edward was no longer able to perform his duties as Prince of Aquitaine and he returned to England, when the plaque has rampant. Joan became the Dowager Princess of Wales upon the succession of her son Richard, her elder son having died in 1372.

Sources:

  1. Royal Genealogies Website; http://ftp.cac.psu.edu/~saw/royal/royalgen.html.
  2. Britain’s Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy; Pimlico; Rev Ed edition (13 Jun 2002); London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999.
  3. Kings and Queens of England – The Plantagenets, The Royal Family online; http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page58.asp, accessed.
  4. Foundation for Medieval Genealogy online; http://fmg.ac/, accessed.
  5. Charles Mosley, Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 106th Edition (: 1999,).
  6. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdon, Extant, Extinct or Dormant (G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I.).
  7. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came To America Before 1700, 8th Edition (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 2004).
  8. George Smith, Dictionary of National Biography, Vols. 1-21 (: Oxford Press, 1885-1990).
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Th.D., The Magna Carta Sureties, 1215, (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.), 5th Ed., c1999.
  10. Wikipedia.org; http://www.wikipedia.org.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.org

My ‘must have’ list of top 10 genealogy websites.

This list of top 10 genealogy websites is a bit different than others because I have evaluated them based on the sheer quantity of data and sources I have found for my own personal research, regardless whether they are paid or free.
will of Richard Chatterton found on the UK Archives site.

17th century will of Richard Chatterton found on the UK Archives site, #9 on my top 10 genealogy websites list.

I will only subscribe to a site if I’m sure it’s worth it as I can usually find most other information on free sites with some effort.

It just so happens though, that my favorite site to conduct research is a paid site, while all the rest except one are free.

Ancestry ($)

Although this site requires a paid subscription, it is the one and only site I do pay for as I find I truly do get my money’s worth. No matter what location, type of record, or time period, I can usually find something of value on this site. The search feature is rather confusing and cumbersome. Just keep in mind it’s better to be as specific as possible and use the filters appropriately and you will get fairly accurate results.

Family Search

Over the past few years, Family Search has been quickly catching up to Ancestry because of the sheer quantity of transcriptions, images, and collections they continue to make available online. They have a very accurate and intuitive search.

Library and Archives Canada

I am Canadian, with roots in both French Canada (Quebec) and Acadia (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia). Anytime I am researching a Canadian line, this is the first site I go to – even before Ancestry and Family Search.

Nova Scotia Archives

My Acadian ancestors form a rather specialized area of research, and the Nova Scotia Archives genealogy research site is the first place I go. Original records are available for a per unit price, but I’m quite happy just printing the transcribed records for the most part.

Internet Archive

My husband’s Welsh Quaker, British, royal and new world ancestors are the largest part of my research and this is the one site I go to when I’m unable to find original records or even transcriptions of records elsewhere. I’ve found numerous genealogy studies, articles, and books; history books, etc. that have provided detailed information. It is important to remember, however, that errors were not uncommon in these publications, and I do continue to try to find more concrete sources.

Foundation for Medieval Genealogy

I am fascinated by my husband’s medieval and royal ancestry and this site is a well-researched site. Any suspect information is clearly identified and there is a clear explanation of why. Original medieval sources are cited in detail, supporting all facts and conclusions.

University of Hull Royal Database

This is also a very well researched site providing invaluable information about the royal lineages of Britain and Europe. I usually consult this site in tandem with the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy site above. This helps to confirm some information to a certain degree.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

About 1750, my husband’s Welsh and British ancestors started arriving in the new world and the branches that took root there flourished to impact all areas of American life. Next to Ancestry, I find this site valuable for actual military files and numerous other archived documents. All requests, however, must be done by snail mail, in which case I try to avoid this site a lot. I’m definitely an instant gratification kind of person. Hopefully one day they’ll set up online access, even if it is paid. I’d certainly subscribe to this one.

UK Archives ($)

I have found some of the more interesting documents on this site, including numerous scans of original wills from the 16th to the 19th century. There is something about the old English script that I find very beautiful and it’s a suitable challenge for my puzzle oriented mind to transcribe them. There is a per unit price to download documents, but the price is very reasonable and I have no problem paying it, considering the high quality of the document scans.

World GenWeb

No one individual GenWeb site in this network is used all that much in my research, but if you consider all research found on any of the GenWeb sites, it definitely warrants a top ten position. I have listed the main World GenWeb site, which links through to the full network of other sites from other locations. By using the links, it is possible to drill down from the global and country levels to county and indeed township sites in some cases.

 

Transcription – War Diary of the 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion for the Vimy Ridge Disaster of March 1-3, 1917.

War Diary of the 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion

War diary of the 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion at Vimy Ridge.

The following is my full transcription of photocopies of the handwritten pages of the war diary of the 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion for the Vimy Ridge Disaster of March 1-3, 1917, during which my great uncle Joseph Philias Albert Emery went missing in action.

1917

Vol. VIII, Page I

  • March 1st

Battalion in the lines on its regular frontage.
At 12.05 AM code message was received from the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade to the effect that the Gas Attack and consequent Infantry Attack, which had been postponed for several days, would take place that morning. This was immediately communicated to the Companies also in code, and preparation for the assembly commenced. At 2.00 am Battalion Headquarters moved to Advanced Battalion Headquarters off UHLAN C.T. where comunication was established with Advanced Brigade Headquarters, and with both points of assembly. “B” and “D” Companies moved up from ARRAS ALLEY and asembled in dugouts in LIME STREET, dugouts on TUNNELLERS RIDGE, and in COBURG NO I TUNNEL, Major Brown 2nd in Command, being in charge of these two Companies which occupied the left half of the Battalion frontage. “A” and “C” Companies, forming the right half of the attack, moved out of the front line to the right where they assembled in BLUE BULL TUNNEL, Major H [P] Stanley being in charge of these two Companies for assembly. The dispositions for the attack were as follows :-
Right Half 1st Wave “A” Coy under Captain B. Simpson and Lieut D. H. Farnori.
Left Half 1st Wave “B” Coy under Captain H H Patch, and Lieuts G.H.H. Eadie and P.G. Hawkins.

VOL VIII, Page II

  • March 1st

2nd Wave, “C” Coy under Lieut G. S. McLennan, Major Munroe and Lieut J. Norsworthy.

No. 1 Patrol, 1 Platoon of “D” Coy under Lieut. Griffiths.
No. 2 Patrol, 1 Platoon of “D” Coy under Lieut. Lester.
No. 3 Patrol, 1 Platoon of “B” Coy under Lieut Hutchinson.

At 2.55 a.m. messages were received from all Companies that they were in position.
At 3 am the first gas cloud, known as the “White Star Gas” was released. Within a few minutes after the release of the gas very heavy rifles and machine gun fires opened upo from the German front and support lines, and the sky was lit upo by hundreds of flares sent up by the Boche; this fire and the sending up of the flares continued for 36 minutes, showing that the gas was not effective. At about 3.06 am the Germans opened heavy Artillery fire across our whole front, which continued tunil 4.00 am at which time it died down and shortly afterwards the situation became almost normal. Soon after 4 o’clock the direction of the wind commenced to change, and by 5 am, which was the time for liberation of the 2nd Gas Wave, it was coming from almost due [North], so that it was decided

VOL VIII, Page III

  • March 1st

that the gas could not be let off. The Infantry Attack was to commence at 5.40 AM. About 5.20 a message was received from Advanced Brigade Headquarters to the effect that there remained considerable gas in our front line trench for a distance extending 300 yard north of [C]RANBY C.T. This interfered with the assembly of our right attacking parties and instructions were immediately sent to Major Stanley to have “A” and “C” Companies assemble in front and behind the front line trench, and to proceed overland instead of assembling in the trench; this complicated the assembly of these two Companies very much, but the situation was admirably handled by Major Stanley. At 5.32 a.m. while the assembly across our whole front was in progress, heavy artillery fire was opened on our front and support lines and on ZOUAVE VALLEY by the Germans. It transpired that the Brigade on our right had commenced to get out over the parapet and form a line in front of our wire at 5.30 instead of waiting for our barrage which was to commence at 5.40 am; this was noticed by the Germans, who immediately sent up their “S.O.S.” with the foregoing result. This meant that the last 5 minutes of the assembly of our parties had to be completed under fire, and a number of casualties occurred before our men got out of our own trenches. On the righ casualties began to come into BLUE BULL

VOL VIII, Page IV

  • March 1st

TUNNEL before much more than half of our attacking parties were out of the Tunnels. A few men were affected by gas on this front. Promptly at 5.40 AM our barrage opened up, and our attacking parties got over the parapet and went forward. On our extreme left our barrage was short, and some casualties were caused to our men by our own fire particularly among the party going out by way of Sap B6. A full account of the action of all attacking paties and the results obtained is attached hereto. Casualties soon began to come back to our lines, about 6.20 Lieut. Eadie reached Advanced Battalion Headquarters and about 6.50 Captain Patch also returned, both wounded slightly. Wounded came in steadily but it was a considerable time before it was possible to even approximately check up casualties. By 8 a.m. the situation had quieted down, except that several of our wounded accompanied by Lieut Hutchison were still out in shellholes beyond Sap B6. The artillery was called upon for a barrage on the German front line to enable these men to be got in, their fire however was short, and word was sent to have it stopped. During this fire Battalion Headquarters moved to the normal position in ZOUAVE VALEY and our own shells lit jut behind the personnel of Battalion Headquarters while moving down UHLAN C.T. It was for a time thought the Germans would counter attack, and this impression was increased by the fact that a German

VOL VIII Page V

  • March 1st

aeroplane made several flights along our line net over 100 yards in the air, evidently observing the number of men in our line and their movements; all precautions were taken to beat off a counter attack, and it did not develope. During the day there continued a certain amount of enemy artillery activity, which, however, did not do any particular harm. That night it was decided to keep the whole Battalion on the eastern side of ZOUAVE VALLEY in case of attack, and the men of the Support Companies were accomodated in tunnels and dugouts on the Wester slope of the Ridge. The night, however, passed quietly. Many individual cases of outstanding bravery were noted during the action, especially Sgt. Millar and Sgt Holmden. During the attack 22 prisoners were taken by this Battalion, 19 of them being taken by Sgt Hannaford and Pte McLachlan. Officers and men without exception fought magnificently. Casualties during the action were as follow :-

Lieuts H P MacGregor, J W Lester, D A Farnori and [P] G Hawkins, Missing
Lieut J W. Griffiths – Died of Wounds
Capt. B Simpson, Capt. H H Patch and Lieuts G H H Eadie and G S McLennan – Wounded
26 OR Killed, 99 OR Wounded 27 OR Missing Total Casualties 161.

As a result of the operation two Officers were recommended for the D.S.O. four Officers for the M.C.

VOL VIII Page VI

  • March 1st

…four OR’s for the D.C.M. and twelve OR’s for the M.M.
Notice received from Brigade that Lieuts. H [S] MacGregor and J H Christie ahd been awarded the Military Cross for their work in connection with the previous raid.

  • March 2nd

During the night a number of parties were sent out into “NO MAN’S LAND” to bring in dead and wounded, and a number of bodies were recovered, these were all sent out and buried in VILLERS and BOIS Cemetery.
The day was fairly quiet, only the usual artillery and trench mortor activity. Large parties of men were employed carrying out empty gas cylinders, as well as those full ones which had not been let off on the 1st Mar. A great deal of work was also necessary, and was sone on those trenches which had been damaged by the enemy’s fire on the 1st. In the afternoon word was received that Hunt Griffiths had died of his wounds, and arrangements were made for representatives of the Battalion to attend his funeral on the 3rd.

  • March 3rd

The early hours of the morning passed fairly quietly, but at 3 am the enemy opened up a heavy artillery and trench mortar fire on our front and support lines, doiing considerable damage. Our artillery retaliation was both slow and ineffective. The German fire caused no casualties, on OR Killed and one OR Wounded by our own Artillery.

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More posts about WWI.

WWI War Stories
What We Don’t Hear About Vimy Ridge
UK National Archives treasures: WWI war diaries now online

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