Saturday, July 28, 2007

He muster done somefink wrong

"You see! If I let you leave the house right now, you'd be in prison, fighting whores for cigarettes." says Prudy Pringleton to daughter Penny in Hairspray. As it turns out, my mother's ancestry seems to be riddled with convicts, transported to Australia between 1790 and 1840.

As a follow up to the recent Old Bailey post, I located the ship's convict register for the Neptune of the Second Fleet. This shows my 4x great-grandfather, Tom Golledge/College in the right-hand column. The Neptune's journey was a horrific experience for these convicts, as recounted here.

Another of my maternal ancestors, James Wales, is getting his past fleshed out with new information on the convicts. The convict musters of early NSW are now online care of, and provide the closest thing to a census for that period.

His NSW marriage certificate indicated he was born in Yarmouth, but I had not located any Wales family on the Isle of Wight. I suspected he may have been from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, and that is indeed where the convict records place him. Convicted in Norfolk in 1835, he was sentenced to 14 years transportation, and landed in the colonies in 1837.

I'm now on the track of John Cox, born in NSW in 1830, he appears to be the son of two convicts, William Cox (of Hampshire?) and Mary Welsh. William Cox was under a death sentence initially, so between that and Tom Golledge's Neptune voyage it's a wonder I'm here at all.

I saw the film-of-the-musical-of-the-film Hairspray last night. I was a little apprehensive, as I loved John Water's original film in 1988, and the musical adaptation in 2002. I was lucky enough to have been living in Seattle when that had its world premiere, and got to hear Harvey Fierstein's famous 4-note range in his turn as Edna Turnblad. This time John (Grease) Travolta played that role, up against Michele (Grease II) Pfeiffer's arch-bitch Velma Von Tussle. Unfortunately I missed the opening 2-3 songs as the Crewe cinemaplex box office had but a single ticket seller on a Friday night and the long line dragged and dragged. Lots of young girls dressed a la mode de Paris Hilton. Both script and Marc Shaiman's clever yet joyous songs seemed to go way over the head of most of the audience.

Finished Kyril Bonfiglioli's pre-prequel to the Mortdecai thrillers, All the Tea in China. It's an amusing enough tale of a young adventurer seeking his fortune in mid-19th century China, but tends to get bogged down in minutiae and Bonfiglioli's obsession with food.

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