NZ related BDMs and Burials at Sea

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British BDMs and Burials at Sea

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"Records of births, marriages and deaths of British nationals at sea, in foreign countries or while serving in HM Forces abroad are preserved at the Register Office of their country of origin, but may also be recorded at the Office of National Statistics in the 'Overseas' section. "Reference: BMD Records information leaflet PRO UK. Births and death events were recorded in the ship's log; the information was copied to Board of Trade Registrar of Births and Deaths and at year end and in NZ. New Zealand required registration of events at sea on arrival. So it is possible to find the event recorded in NZ and the UK with slightly different data. Info.  A study.

 UK Find my past
Pay per view, search the database for free from 1854 to 1890 Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths at Sea 1854 to 1890. Compiled from the ships logs and detailing events for many British and Foreign families at sea, including emigrants, passengers and soldiers. From 1854 to 1858 entries of births all of the information and headers are written by hand. In 1858 the The Registrar General for Shipping and Seamen introduced registers with pre-printed headers although. No births recorded in the registers after 1888. 

NZ BDMs is indexed from 1848 up. If the person you are looking for cannot be found and the event took place in the 1850s or earlier, it is possible that they are on the NSW Index instead even though the event took place in New Zealand.

Many births occurred at sea, and often the infant was named after the vessel, ship's surgeon, captain, arrival port, country or sea.
Contributions with an infant named after a vessel, doctor, port with a New Zealand connection welcome.
E-mail. Thanks.

Births at Sea

Evening Post, 2 June 1913, Page 7
The retraining members of Maggie Papakura's touring company of Maori entertainers, who went to England in 1910, were passengers to Wellington by the steamer Paparoa, which arrived from Hobart on Saturday night. The troupe, which early met with difficulties, made its first appearance at the Crystal Palace, but the village was condemned by the authorities and they had to leave. An engagement at the White City followed, but trouble arose over the wages to be paid, and it ended. Half the troupe returned in 1911, but the remainder twenty in number, decided to tour the South of England; but again failure met them. Finally application was made to the Dominion's High Commissioner, and the party were granted passages by the Paparoa. The Maoris went on to Rotorua this morning. When in England a child was born to Rua and Here Tawhai, and another one just before the Paparoa's arrival at Hobart. The latter baby has been named after the ship. During the voyage the Maoris gave several entertainments in aid of seamen's charities, and they were publicly thanked by the commander of the Paparoa, Captain Bower. Some people decline to doff their hats while the National Anthem is being either played or sung. [Sydney W. Tawhai birth registered March 1912. Mother: Insley. District: Fulham]

Not only infants were named after a vessel but many streets, businesses and farms took the name of vessels. Glentanner Station in the Mackenzie was named by Edward Dark who came out to Lyttelton in 1857 on the Glentanner.  Even grandchildren of passengers have taken on the name of an emigrant vessel. Some children are even named after coastal vessels. Family folklore said my great Aunt Hinemoa was named after the government steamer 'Hinemoa' that Captain John Fairchild commanded in the 1870s to the 1890s. 

Was Elizabeth Corona  DAWSON, folio #778 March 1866 born in Dunedin named after the vessel "Corona"? Dawson births

White Wings Vol. 1 by Brett page 263
Captain Gorn was master on the Waipa when he arrived in Auckland he was duly questioned for particulars, that would enable the shipping office to fill in the usual Board of Trade forms. Yes, there had been one birth, and when asked for a name he reeled off a list almost as long as the dinghy's painter. "Cyclone Four Bells Cape Dove Gorn Bendall Waipa ___" The name duly entered in the Board of trade return. The child was born in a cyclone at four bells off Cape Dove. Bendall was the ship's doctor.

The Times, Monday, Mar 16, 1840; pg. 5
The Adelaide, to New Zealand, put into Table Bay on the 19th December. All the passengers were in good health. Mrs Millar, the wife of one of the passengers, had given birth to an infant abut three weeks before. The Adelaide was to sail from Table Bay on or about the 29th of December. NZ Journal.

Lyttelton Times, 14 April 1864, Page 7
D'Oyly. March 31, on board ship Parisian, Lyttelton, the wife of Captain J. F. D'Oyly, of a daughter.

The Star, Friday October 17th 1873 pg 2
Birth at Sea. The ODT of Oct. 13th states that on the passage from Lyttelton a mare on board the Taranaki dropped a foal during the night, unknown to anyone. The first intimation of the fact was the foal running butt against one of the watch on deck, who got scared, and thought it was a huge dog, but knowing there was none on board, he wondered where the creature came from. On recovering his composure, he found it was only an innocent that had left its mother. The little animal was cared for, and with its mother safely landed.

Evening Post, 25 February 1891, Page 2
Melbourne, 24th February. During the voyage of the Hauroto from New Zealand an unmarried woman, who was a passenger, gave birth to a child. The Customs Department endeavoured to compel the captain to enter into a bond providing against the infant becoming a burden on the colony. He declined, add it has now been decided that the Customs and Immigration Department has no power to prevent the woman being landed.

Evening Post, 12 July 1910
Mrs. Kiernan, wife of Mr. Frederick Kiernan, member of the Onslow Borough Council, died last evening' at her residence, "Te Kainga," Kaiwarra. The deceased lady was born at sea on the ship British Crown during her voyage from London to Lyttelton in 1863. She leaves a family of five, the eldest of whom is Mr. F. Kiernan, of Napier. Mrs. W. Corbett, of Upper Hutt, is a daughter.

Grey River Argus, 11 February 1887, Page 2
POPULATION OF THE COLONY. The total population, according to last census, was 578,482 (exclusive of Maoris), whose birth places are as follows :  New Zealand, 300,190; Australian colonies, 17,245; United Kingdom, 233,856 ; other British possessions, 3953 ; foreign countries, 19,885 ; at sea, 1324 ; unspecified, 2029. Of the above 560,598 are British subjects, while 17,884 are foreign subjects.

Penne wrote in 2013 - I have a great aunt, who was saddled with Dominion Fleeta. She had the luck to be born the week the Dominion Fleet arrived in Auckland, and oral history says her mother could see if from her hospital bed. She was known as Fleeta. Not born at sea, but surely named after a number of ships..

Jenny wrote in 2013 - My Great Aunt was born on the "Mary Shephard" named Mary after the ship and Caroline after Captain Caroline, my notes say "On Surgeons report, first of
five children born on "Mary Shephard"."

I don't think there was a hard and fast rule for it but certainly nearest land often crops up, as does the name of the ship, the masters surname etc. I wonder the reasons for the 32 events where people have Australia as a forename in the GRO indexes on freebmd and one Timaru.

Have you looked for church records of a baptism?

The surgeon's report would list births and those that died on the voyage. Archives have shipping papers (passenger lists, surgeon's reports, stores etc). The surgeon's report might be found in the arrival port's newspaper sometimes a couple of weeks after the vessels arrival and at archives.  Infant mortality was high on these three month voyages out to New Zealand.  Infants born shortly after arrival in the colony were sometimes named after the vessel.

The official registration system was established in New Zealand, by the Registration Ordinance 1847, it was possible for "the birth of any child, although born at sea, or out of the colony, of parents whose ordinary place of abode is within the colony" to be registered in New Zealand and I suspect this would have extended to include the birth of children to parents who intended to make New Zealand their  "ordinary place of abode".  Registrar-General Office of NZ.  New Zealand registered birth certificate says 'born at sea' and the child is considered a New Zealander.

Register of births at sea of British nationals, 1875-1891, microfilm copy of original records are at the Public Record Office in Kew. The registers contain name of ship, ship's official number, date of arrival; date of birth; name (if any); sex, name and surname of father; rank, profession or occupation of father; name and surname of mother; maiden surname of mother; nationality, last place of abode of father and mother. "Foreign Register of Births, Marriages & Deaths on Ships", between 1854 and 1890 may sometimes be found in BT153-160 PRO at Kew. Board of Trade Registers contain only a percentage of Births and Deaths at sea that occurred.

Dilemma of Stateless Persons, Geneva. March 24 1959, The Times
Contradictions between legal systems of States adhering to the principle of jus sanguinis (the law of descent) under which a child takes its parents' nationality regardless of where it is born. Jus soli (the law of the soil) - foundlings, who when place of birth is unknown, will be presumed to have been born in the country in which they are found. Children born at sea, their birth will be considered to have taken place in the territory of the State whose flag the ship flies or in the territory of the State whose flag the ship flies.

 New Zealand Official Yearbook - Page 105 by New Zealand Dept. of Statistics - New Zealand Yearbooks - 1897
1322 persons were returned as born at sea.

Waikato Times, 7 November 1885, Page 1

Next of Kin.

Native land hadst thou not,
Born out at sea ;
Named for the rocking ship,
Cradle to thee.

Voyage thine verily
Over life 'a wave,
Owing earth barely for
Tiniest grave. ...

James T. McKay.  In the Century.


Extract from the shipboard diary of Alfred Osborne Knight, the surgeon aboard the sailing ship "Ashmore" during its voyage to Auckland.  Left Gravesend 18th May 1882 - 1st September 1882. The diary was written in ink pencil on 40 leaves of paper about A4 size. Page 30. Held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. 

pg 30. Tuesday, Aug 15 
I had nearly finished dinner when I was hastily summoned below to the ward & when I arrived found there had been an addition in the population.  A fine boy had been born. I have expected it for sometime, as I wanted him to make up for the loss I had at the start.

Page 33. Monday August 28th
Just 100 days from the dock disturbed this morning.... This afternoon was held a Grand Christening of the babe born 14 days ago. The Captain, Husband and the mother ------- still weak but getting on well. A few friends were invited & parson gave all good advice. I felt greatly honoured by the parents asking me to give it one of my names, so I gave them Alfred & the Captain gave them James they gave it George Henry now came the name of the ship.
James Alfred George Henry Ashmore Curtis.

1992 IGI Y0055 - World Miscellaneous  Births at Sea 1650-1903  1 fiche, LDS 
Mainly Atlantic Ocean births but the odd one from Indian and Pacific Oceans, some have name of ship. e.g.

WHYTE, Jessie Yates Oamaru
Parents:  David S. Whyte / Agnes Main
Female: Birth 28 May 1877 Pacific Ocean, off coast of NZ

BILLMAN, Ruby Delphicina
Parents: William David BILLMAN /Alexina Brown
21 Oct 1901 Pacific Ocean, between Eng. and NZ
Her birth was registered in NZ.

Evening Post, 21 November 1901, Page 6
The Shaw Savill, and Albion Company's steamer Delphic arrived from London, Capetown, and Hobart, shortly after 6 o'clock this morning. She left London on 20th September, and arrived at Teneriffe on 4th October; sailed again same day, and reached Capetown on the 22nd. From there to Hobart, which was reached on the 14th November, strong winds and high seas were met with. The following are the Wellington passengers :   Billman.

FERGUSON, Ellen Thompson
Parents: John Ferguson /Agnes Thompson
31 Aug 1876 Atlantic Ocean, on route to NZ

McCARTHY, Charles Faustina
Parents: Joseph McCarthy/Mary Ann Burling
16 Feb 1842 Atlantic Ocean, on ship London

McGINLEY, Margaret Mary Josephine
Parents: John McGinley/Mary Ann Goucher
1843 Pacific Ocean, Ship Jane Gifford

PRIEST, Eliza Travencore
Parents: Francis Priest/Margaret Williams
13 Mar 1851 Pacific Ocean

SMITH, Maria Draper Bronte
Parents: Charles Smith/Rachel LaPage
14 May 1851 Pacific Ocean

The GRO Marine Registers record births and deaths at sea on ships registered in Great Britain or Ireland from 1 July 1837, available through LDS libraries. Sometimes you can find a notation in the UK census to place of birth: e.g. On the sea, at sea, on the high sea, axsea, on board ship, on the Atlantic Ocean.

1880 Federal Census Winchendon, Worcester, Massachusetts 
The 1880 census began on 1 June 1880 and was completed within two weeks.
Name:         		George F. Brown
Age: 			10
Estimated birth year: 	1870
Birthplace: 		On Atlantic Ocean on English Ship 
Occupation: 		At School   Race: White 
Relationship to head-of-household: Son 
Father's name: 		Abel A. Brown  birthplace: MA
Mother's name:	 	Jessie Brown  birthplace: New Zealand 
Roll: T9_566; 		Pg: 476.4000; ED: 872 
1881 Census England -  taken on the night of 3 April 1881.
Thomas Elliott 		abt 1844 b. Colne, Wiltshire, England Head of Household Foreman Railway Wagon Works 
Hannah Elliott 		abt 1850 b. London City Of, Middlesex, England Wife 69 Belmont St, St Pancras, London, ENG 
Susan F.M. Elliott 	abt 1873 b. Paddington, Middlesex, England Daughter 
Zebulon J. Elliott 	abt 1871 b. Paddington, Middlesex, England Son 
Percy W. Elliott 	abt 1875 b. Paddington, Middlesex, England Son 6
Florence W. Elliott 	Age in 1881: 5, abt 1876 On Board Ship Between London & New Zealand
Source information: 	RG11/0214    ED 17 Folio: 15 Page: 24 
Registration district: 	Kentish Town, Pancras 
1891 census for England 
Mandell, Margaret Anna abt 1864 New Zealand   London 
Manell, Maude J abt 1880 Off Coast of New Zealand, New Zealand   London

1891 England Census 
Name 			Est. Birth Year Birthplace  		Civil parish County 
Anderson, Jane P 	abt 1877 Ocean, South Pacific  		Lancashire 
Depree, Charles F 	abt 1870 South Pacific Ocean  		Lancashire 
Dickens, Frederick 	abt 1854 Tuan Fernandez, Pacific Oesan  London 
Dugdale, Cara 		abt 1875 On Ship in Pacific B S  	Hampshire 
Dyson, Margaret S 	abt 1863 Pacific Ocean  		Hampshire 
Ellis, Edward T 	abt 1875 On English Ship in Pacific 	Leeds  Lancashire 
Fishwick, Clara M 	abt 1868 Pacific Ocean  		Durham 
Fitzsimmons, Daniel 	abt 1830 South Pacific Ocean  		Durham 
Greet, Reginald T 	abt 1876 S Pacific, Tabite  		London 
Kelly, John 		abt 1873 Pacific Ocean  		Staffordshire 
Lamb, Elizabeth M 	abt 1848 Pacific Ocean  		Lancashire 
Lawes, George A 	abt 1872 South Pacific  		Hampshire 
Pearse, Albert J 	abt 1875 S Pacific, Raiatea  		London 
Pearse, Arthur E 	abt 1876 S Pacific, Raiake  		London 
Saville, Lillie E V 	abt 1869 Huakins South Pacific  	Sussex 
Thorman, Frederick P 	abt 1888 Ireland, South Pacific  	Norfolk, England  Kent 
Thorman, Robert C 	abt 1889 Ireland, South Pacific 	Norfolk, England  Kent 
Warren, Sidney 		abt 1864 Pacific Ocean  		London 
1901 Wales Census - taken on the night of 31 March 1901. 
Isabella Rowe 		Age in 1901: 38 b. abt 1863 Scotland Head of household, Canton, Glamorgan 
Eaphemia Rowe 		Age in 1901:  9 b. abt 1892 At sea Off New Zealand, New Zealand Daughter Canton Glamorgan 
Selberhorn Rowe 	Age in 1901:  8 b. abt 1893 At sea Off New Zealand, Australia Son Canton Glamorgan 
Gladys Rowe 		                   abt 1896 Scotland Daughter Canton Glamorgan 
Ecclesiatical parish: 	Canton St John the Divine 
County/Island: 		Glamorgan Wales 
Source information: 	RG13/4985 
Registration district: 	West Cardiff,  Cardiff 
ED: 			11 
Folio: 177 		Page: 38 Household schedule number: 237 
1901 England Census 		Where born:				Census place:
Silberhorn Rowe 	age 8 	At Sea Off New Zealand Australia 	Glamorganshire Canton
John Mainland 		age 12  At Sea Off New Zealand   		Cheshire Liscard

Otago Daily Times
7 January 1874 Page 2 Birth
On the 14th December, 1873, on board the ship City of Dunedin, during her passage from Glasgow to Otago, Mrs James Macassey, of a son.

North Otago Times 18 May 1912, Page 4
What, then, of those who were born at sea? Their only parish was the ocean, and if stranded on shore they were veritable outcasts. For this reason all persons born at sea were domiciled in the parish of Stepney. As the old East End rhyme puts it-
He who sails on the wide sea
Is a parishioner of Stepney.
The Bishop of Stepney, it is interesting to note, was godfather to all children born on board English vessels on the high seas. Marriages which took place on such vessels were recorded, and are still recorded, in the diocese of London. The Bishop of Stepney had also the power to appoint naval chaplains; and so it came about that all English ships, man-of-war or otherwise, were classed as belonging to Stepney parish, In the case of the Admiralty, this is not only curious "fiction" which exists. There are "ships" of the Royal Navy which were never built, never launched, and never floated. They are simply islands. Whale Island, Portsmouth, which is used as a gunnery school, is a case in point. It is rated as H.M.S. Excellent. H.M.S. Ascension is the island of that name, of which we took possession in 1815, and which remains to this day a "ship" of the Royal Navy. 

Timaru Herald, 9 June 1886, Page 2
Port Chambers, June 8. Arrived Doric, S.S., Captain Jennings, from Plymouth, via Teneriffe, Capetown, and Hobart. She brings 2000 tons of cargo, 475 tons for Dunedin and the rest for Northern ports. One death, a steerage passenger named George Thompson, occurred on May 27th, from cerebral inflammation, and Mrs M. Forden, a steerage passenger, gave birth to a daughter on May 18th. Throughout the voyage the passengers have enjoyed excellent health. The Doric left Plymouth on April 23rd.

Otago Witness, 19 September 1874, Page 3 DEATHS ON BOARD THE OTAGO.
A correspondent sends us the following list of births and deaths on board the ship Otago, which arrived here on the 28th of last month. It appears that a small newspaper was published on board called the Otago Gazette, and in this the following births and deaths were published as they occurred :
16th July Mrs Healy, formerly of County Galway, Ireland, of a son.
17th August Mrs Welsh, late of East Hendred, Berkshire, England, of a daughter.
17th. August  Mrs Blagdon, formerly of Plymouth, Devonshire, England, of a son.
25th June Oliver Latham, aged 20 years, formerly teacher, son of James Latham, schoolmaster, Glenworthy, County Cork, Ireland.
6th July Elizabeth Charlotte, aged 1 year 9 months, daughter of John Fryer, formerly of Cork City, Ireland.
7th July  Helen, aged 4 years 4 months, daughter of Laurence Murphy, formerly of Mount Mellory, County Waterford, Ireland.
7th July  Adah, aged 1 year, daughter of Silas Brooks, formerly of Rochester, County of Kent, England.
11th July  Clara Lydia, aged 1 year, daughter of William Beazley, formerly of Spennington, Oxfordshire, England.
13th July  Eosanna, aged 1 year 7 months, daughter of William John Bush, formerly of Rurnford, County of Essex, England.
13th July  John Francis, aged 1 year 1 month, son of James Jimlin, formerly of Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland.
4th August Charles, aged 1 year 10 months, son of Charles Brewer, formerly of Eumford, County of Essex, England.
4th August John, aged 2 years 6 months, son of Patrick Healy, formerly of County Galway, Ireland.
8th August Elizabeth, aged 4 years, daughter of Silas Brooks, formerly of Rochester, County of Kent, England,
18th August Kate, aged 1 year 3 months, daughter of Charles Randall, formerly of Crookhaven, Hampshire. England.
27th August Patrick, aged 1 year 7 months, son of Laurence Murphy, formerly of Mount Mellory, County Waterford, Ireland.

Daily Southern Cross 24 October 1856 Page 3 Original Poetry by E. Bowring.
It is not often that we give insertion to compositions which, under the designation of original poetry, are supplied to us in profusion. But we view as an exception the following� written on board the ship 'Gipsy' by one of the female passengers� not so much on account of their intrinsic merit, as on account of the interesting circumstances under which they were penned. The first is on the occasion of the writer becoming a mother ; the second on the occasion of the ship approaching the New Zealand coast.

Sweet babe, my ocean-born,
How dear thou art to me;
May blessings be richly poured upon
God�s gift upon the sea.

Heaven smiled upon thee at thy birth,
The troubled waves were still,
The winds were hush�d when thou wert given
A mother�s love to fill.

So may thy life be smooth�d for thee,
Is thy parents� anxious prayer,
If God should in his mercy please
My little boy to spare.

E. Bowring
With many sincere thanks to Capt. Bolton for his kindness.
[The poem included two further verses referring to the parents� hopes for their baby�s future. Bowring was an enthusiastic poet destined to have many more of her works published: she made a large donation to war funds from the sale of her patriotic verses. Elizabeth Bowring died Feb. 1923 age 90. See �Death of Old Colonist�, New Zealand Herald, 8 February 1923.]

Hurrah, hurrah, I see the land !
The anxious emigrant cries ;
As with glass upraised, on deck he stands, �
And the long looked for shore he spies.

The cry is heard above and below ;
All hasten to join the shout ;
And hearts and hopes begin to glow
As they look for the chosen spot,

The father is there with his lovely boys,
'T is for them he hopes to find�
'Midst those distant hills � more lasting joys
Than on Britain's shores he leaves behind.

And mingling with the throng are some
Who when they strain their gaze,
Think faithfully of some loved one,
And for her welfare prays.
The Captain feels his task is o'er,
His step is light-and free ;
He has brought his living cargo safe
Across the foaming sea.

We thank Thee, O Almighty God!
That Thou, who rul'st the waves,
Hast spared from chastening with thy rod
Thy humbled, thankful slaves.

E. Bowring

Marriages at Sea

Marriages at sea were quite uncommon.

Ian Nicholson in Logs of Logs Vol. 2 wrote: "Weddings were usually performed by a clergyman amongst the passengers, since marriages ceremonies by ship masters were declared illegal about 1850.  Marriages were recorded in the official log books and any logs with such entries may still be preserved in the record office, Cardiff, Wales, together with those noting deaths and births?"

Otago Witness June 15 1861 page 5
Marriage on the High Seas - From the Dublin Morning News. "The Court of Queen's Bench recently decided the important marriage question whether a form of marriage celebrated on the high seas by the captain of a ship was valid so far as to invalidate a later marriage contracted with all proper religious observances, and with the intervention of a clergyman in holy orders. The court was unanimous in holding that a marriage on board ship, under the circumstances, can only be looked upon as a contract per verba de precent, or a consentual marriage, and that its ratification by a religious ceremony was indispensable."

Shipboard life seemed conducive to romance during the three months at sea between passengers and crew and passengers e.g. 'Opawa'. William Palmer was a crew member on the 'Isabella Hercus' and that is where he met an assisted immigrant, Ellen Bennett. William was discharged at Lyttelton and they were married three months later in Christchurch.

Otago Witness Saturday 3rd January 1884 page 15 column 5
On the 30th December, 1879, at Knox Church, by the Rev. D.M. Sturart, D.D., Hans August Paul Bemeister, commander of the barque Marie, to Louisa Wilhelmina Augusta Kock, daughter of Captain H.C. Kock, commander of pilots, Tonning, North Germany.

Christchurch   January 19, 1910

"Alice is married she said she was the pet of the ship when she came out and was engaged to one of the employees of the vessel and was going to be married at once I told her Mr. Sutton nor myself did not think very much of it a man she had only known a few weeks and very likely a married man there are plenty of girls get taken in that way by these stewards on the vessel and when they arrive here they marry live with then for a few days then leave them so she said she didn't care took a situation as a cook but however he never turned up after arrival she got 1 pound a week she is very industrious and makes the most of every minute of time with her needle I think she will make a good wife, then she got a situation up country and then married the rouseabout"  wrote Mary Beach. Excerpt courtesy of Rob Beach. Posted 15 Oct. 2000

Quarantine Stations in New Zealand

The 1852 Passenger Act was instigated to improve the conditions aboard for emigrants and a qualified surgeon, Surgeon Superintendent, was appointed.  He was to submit a report on arrival to the Port Health Officer. This report often included the names of those who died and any births, details of schooling and religious services on board.  Sometimes vessels also had an assistant surgeon. On arrival the 'Port Health Officer' would come out to the vessel along with newspaper reporters and inspect the vessel, logs and interview a few passengers and the ship's surgeon.  A yellow flag would be raised as a signal for quarantine if necessary.  Quarantine stations made reports.

The Times, Tuesday, Nov 17, 1863; pg. 9
Very great alarm has been occasioned throughout the colony by the arrival of several vessels from England with smallpox aboard. The first ship which brought the disease was the Victory, from Glasgow, which arrived at Port Chalmers on the 12th July. The passengers were put in quarantine, the larger proportion of them being placed on a small island appropriated to the purposes of a quarantine station in the harbour of Port Chalmers. Four deaths in all have occurred among the passengers by the Victory, and 13 cases. After a stay of several weeks at the quarantine station, the whole of the passengers have been released, with the exception of a few convalescent patients whose term of probation had hardly expired. The next infected ship was the New Great Britain, from the Clyde to Bluff Harbour. This vessel had five deaths during the passage from smallpox and 15 cases. The ship has recently been admitted to pratique, and the passengers cleared. The Mataura, arrived from the Clyde at Port Chalmers on the 15tgh of September, had 10 deaths during the passage, and sic passengers were ill on her arrival. The deaths had not all occurred from smallpox, only one having resulted from that disorder. 13 cases of smallpox occurred during the passage, and one patient died. Scarlet fever also prevailed. The most recent case is that of the ship Tyburnia, which arrived at Auckland on the 4th of September. Smallpox broke out ten days from England, and during the passage nine serious cases and 26 mild cases of the epidemic occurred. There was only one death from smallpox. A Vaccination Bill is now in course of discussion by the Otago Provincial Council.

Somes Island, Wellington, April 2014

 Somes Island.
Somes Island.

Timaru Herald 13 March 1872
Yesterday, another child died on board the ship England, making fourteen dead children and three dead adults. The Board of health has decided that the disease is small-pox. The ship is quarantined, and the passengers have been landed on Soames' island. The disease first appeared amongst the Scandinavian children. During the passage complaints were made as to the fitness of the doctor. The ship's doctor has been placed under arrest. Dr Bulmer was sent on board by the authorities. Rubiola and variola are complicated on board. The Board has decided to erect two buildings at opposite ends of Soames' Island, one for the sick, the other for the convalescent. Thirty workmen commence at daylight tomorrow.

Otago Witness
June 22 1872
Smallpox introduced by the Scandinavian passengers to Wellington, who came by the England, has not been thoroughly eradicated and has again broken out.

The Star
8th March 1880
Passengers in Quarantine - Mr Mar-- the Immigration officer, informs us that the single women by the Westland will be released from Quarantine to-day, together with the following families: Carpenter, Cooper, Davie, Donn, Dunlop, H. Howard, J. Howard, Jewell, Leahs, Low, Moore, Patterson, Richards, Roberts, Rogers, Skinner, Witte. It is requested that any friends of the above people will meet them on the arrival of the 3.15 p.m. train from Lyttelton. None of the single women will be open for engagement though the Immigration Department, as they are all nominated.

New Zealand Herald 9 March, 1880, col. 2 page 5
Earl Granville departed London and Plymouth 21 November 1879. Arrived Auckland, NZ. Thursday, 4 March 1880.
We regret to record that the very discouraging news was receive yesterday from Motuihi, namely, that of the death of Dr. Fox, the medical superintendent of the passengers by the infected barque "Earl Granville". Beyond the mere fact of his death there is no further information. Dr. Fox, on the arrival of the vessel, was laid up with low fever, caught it is supposed, by his attention to other passengers. He was in a very weak state, but it was thought that the change from close confinement of the vessel to the more spacious quarters at the quarantine station would have restored him to health, but on the contrary he succumbed to the disease.

Press, 18 January 1882, Page 2
Typhus Fever at Loburn. It is to be regretted that typhus fever has broken out at North Loburn, in a family named Moorhouse, which recently arrived in Lyttelton by the ship Helen Scott. On Sunday one of the members of the family was buried, and two are reported to be ill from the fever. The vessel has been in harbor about eight or nine days. Steps have been taken to isolate the family in question as much as possible, and the holidays for the school in the district have been given a month earlier than usual in consequence.

Poverty Bay Herald, 19 January 1882, Page 2
Typhoid fever has broken out at Loburn, North Canterbury, in a family just arrived by the Helen Scott. The patients have been isolated, and the district school has been closed.

Evening Post, 10 October 1907, Page 7
LAXITY IN ENGLAND. With reference to a telegram from Auckland which appeared in last night's issue of the Post, regarding laxity of medical examination in England of intending immigrants, the port Health Officer for Wellington agrees that examinations in England of passengers intending to go abroad are not as comprehensive as they might be. This was proved by the recent experience of Captain Jaggard, who had had some previous knowledge of passengers being refused admission at Wellington, when suffering from tuberculosis. Captain Jaggard asked the Board of Trade Health Officer at London to stop any cases of tuberculosis from coming on board the Ruapehu, but the doctor answered that he was - only concerned with infectious cases, and as tuberculosis was not a notifiable disease in England he could take no action. Captain Jaggard, however, determined to act for himself, and with the assistance of the ship's medical officer, stood at the gangway and examined all the passengers coming on board, with the result that two were refused passages. Pressure was subsequently brought to bear on the captain to induce him to remove his bar, but as he knew that these people would be refused permission to land in Wellington, he stood firm in his resolve and they were left in England.

Few of the ill-fated voyages to New Zealand

1842 Fifeshire to Nelson 16 dying of fever
1842 Lloyds to Nelson. 65 children died 
1856 Josephine Willis had a collision in the English Channel, 70 lives lost
1859 Cashmire to Lyttelton - 16 passengers died
1863 Lancanshire Witch to Timaru, 26 deaths
1863 Brothers Pride to Lyttelton, 44 died
1864 Countess of Seafield 10 men lost in hurricane
1869 Matoaka lost with all hands - posted missing
1873 "Punjaub"  to Lyttelton 37 deaths
1872 England London to Wellington. 17 deaths - smallpox.
1874 Cospatrick 429 passengers and 44 crew (out of 473, 3 survived)
1874 Atrato to Otago, 762 immigrants, 32 children and 1 adult died
1876 Bebington to Auckland 16 deaths from fever    
1877 Avalanche lost off Portland, England 60 passengers and plus crew (3 survived)

Evening Post, 12 July 1875, Page 2 (20 deaths)
The following is the list of the deaths on board the Collingwood:
April 26 Bessie Cartwright, six years, of enteric fever.
May 5  David Waters, one and a half years, supposed scarlatina
7th - Fanny Barker, three years, scarlet fever
9th  Charlotte Marshall, four years, scarlatina
30th  Alfred Button, twenty-six years, suicide
June 4th  George Petch, seven years; enteric fever
7 th  George Toplis, one year, marasmas
9 th  Lily Skeets, eight years, enteric fever
11th  Ellen Wright twenty one years, typhoid fever
13th  Harriett Button, one year, congestion of lungs
15th  George Cain, one year, congestion of lungs;
18th  Robert Hodson, one and a quarter years, marasmas
18th  Joseph Petch, three years, enteric fever
19th  Henry Sparks, four months, congestion of lungs
21st  Robert Marshall, two years, mumps after measles
23rd  George Cox, one and three quarter years, pneumonia
July 1  William Sparks, fourteen years, typhoid fever
2nd - Mary Petch, four years, ship fever
6th - Charles Cartwright, three years, congestion of lungs
8th  Landham C. H. Boxall, two months bronchitis.

The Galveston Daily News, (TX) September 05, 1875
The immigrant steamer, Cottonwood arrived at Auckland from London with fever. Twenty had died and fifty were placed in the hospital.

Loss of the Emigrant Ship Josephine Willis is reported in the Otago Witness May 31 1856. Page 2. Full account online.  The collision took place in the Channel, off Folkestone, on Sunday evening, between the Josephine Willis, Capt. Canney, one of the London and New Zealand line of packet ships, and an twin screw steamer called the Mangerton, bound to the Thames from Limerick. The Josephine Willis was a first-class ship of 1,00 tons burden. She belonged to Messrs. Willis and Co. who ran regular monthly line of packets to New Zealand. for a voyage to Auckland. She cleared out from At. Katherine Docks on Friday laden 10 first-class cabin passengers, among them Mr and Mrs Ray and a brother, relatives of the owners, about 60 steerage passengers, a crew, officers and men of some 35 in number. The Josephine Willis was a new ship and had only been one voyage. Her cargo is largely insured.

New Zealand Resources

Australian Resources


If a place of death is listed as MARINE > VIC you probably won't it find it on a map. Probably means the death occurred at sea, and the death was registered when the ship arrived at port.

Victorian BDMs site, AUD 99cents for a page of up to 20 results, a download record record for about AUD $17
Go to Registry of BDMs
Then: Search Family History Indexes
Then: Search
Then: Historical Indexes or Marine Indexes
 (6,200 BDM entries in the Marine Index on board international and coastal ships coming to Victoria between 1853 and 1920)

Marine Births, Deaths & Marriages. Victoria 1853-1920 CD-ROM: Index contains over 6200 records of BDMs on board international and coastal ships bound for Victoria between 1853 and 1920 accompanied by over 3380 digital images of the original Marine Registers. There are 1350 ships that can be searched using the ship's name. Some records include previously unreleased information such as an inventory of the deceased's belongings or personal papers. Held: State Library of Victoria, National Library of Australia, State Library of South Australia, National Library of NZ etc. Official registration started in Victoria from 1st July 1853, ships were then required to record the above events, if they were bound for Victoria. Prior to that it should have the death may have been recorded at the end of the passenger list.

WA Registry Indexes available for free online searching. 
Surname 	Given Names 		Father 			Mother 		Reg. 	Yr POB 	Age Reg.  
Weldon 		Sydney Gabo 		Thomas Edward Whittle 	Elizabeth Annie 1899 	at sea 	4Mon.  
Williams 	Hampshire 		unknown unknown 			1887 	at sea HAM 1Day 
Williams 	Leslie Wooranga 	Hugh Edgar 		Leslie Victoria 1897 	at sea 	1Mon. 

Births at Sea
Tait         	Herbert Beatie Abing 	William 		Smith Catherine ABI 		25065 1884 
Wilkinson    	Royal Paroo 		Peter 			Beavis Jane 		at sea PAR 2276 1903 
Williams	Hampshire 		Charles Beasley 	Beftons Agnes Annie 	at sea 131 1887

A child of the sea -- A harbour bouy.