Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kidnapped Children - China 1909

Last week I wrote a post about a photo I had found in amongst a collection from one of my mother's cousins. I had tried to read the writing on the back of the photo but couldn't make out the first word. I had made an assumption that the children may have been orphans but thanks to the Facebook group Australian Genealogy I now have an answer. The first word was crucial.

Sharon Brennan Personal Archive.

KIDNAPPED! This word quickly came in a reply to my posting a link to the blog post on the Facebook group. I looked carefully at the word and yes it appears to be kidnapped.

One of the next comments then gave me a link to a newspaper article from The Straits Times, titled Kidnapping Children dated 24th May 1909, p. 10. It appears that trafficking in children was rife at this time.

I have not copied the article as there were various copyright notices before I could access the article but it can be read online and I urge you to do so.

Complaints are fairly rife among the Chinese of the Colony, says the Honkong Daily Press, that kidnapping has become unusually prevalent of late, and though the matter is, as usual, engaging the attention of the police, there seems to be little redress or solace for the bereaved parents. It my be said of course, that with such a large proportion of Chinese within our borders it is impossible to expect to be free from many of the offences and crimes peculiar to China, and that kidnapping is one of them.....
The matter is one for the police, who are faced with a difficult task in attempting to track those malefactors and restore the stolen children to their distraught parents.

One can only hope that the Shanghai Military Police were successful in returning these children to their parents.

Uncle Ernie must certainly have had many stories to tell of his time in Shanghai. Fortunately, this photo which was sent to his brother Peter (Cyril) Dawson, gave me enough clues to discover some of the work he may have been involved in.

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm finally 4

4th birthday card from my grandparents, Jim and Esme Moore.
Time certainly flies. Four years ago today I started my genealogy blog.

Like my second and third blogiversary I have rummaged through my archive (read boxes of stuff) and found my childhood birthday cards. There was an initial panic as I couldn't find the bag from a Fijian trip in 1971 which contained the cards. I had my husband looking in the roof only to later find the said bag inside a box in my study (where they should have been).

This one was from my grandparents Jim and Esme Moore.

The only things that ring true about this card are that I love red and have curly hair.

I have never been as close to a dog as the little girl in the card!

Looking for the cards has once again reminded me that this year I need to:

  •  concentrate on sorting and scanning my research instead of collecting more. (I still have boxes of information to sift through)
  • finally make a decision about how I am going to organise my photos and actually do something about it

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mystery Photo - Chinese orphans? 1909

Yesterday I was checking out some folders in my genealogy cupboard when I came across a bag with some photos that came from my great uncles Peter Dawson's house. There were many that I had previously seen, some that I knew about and ones that were a complete surprise. This photo was one of the latter. 

Sharon Brennan collection from Peter and Pauline Dawson.

Before I looked at the back of the photo, I wrote down what I could ascertain from the photo.

  1. The children in the photo are Chinese.
  2. There are 2 westerners in the photo.
  3. One of the men has a queue (plait). 
  4. According to Wikipedia it was compulsory for the men to wear a queue until the 1910's.
  5. I'm unsure about what is in the sack. Initially I thought it may have been food for the children, but I'm not sure.
  6. On second thoughts the sack may in fact be part of the clothing of the woman? whose hand is outstretched.
  7. Some of the children appear to be wearing a name tag.

The writing on the back gives some clues as to who the children were.

Keavefsford children -  all over China
brought back from Swalow South China
in baskets from the hold of Ship
20 in all

I'm not sure if I have transcribed this correctly.

My great uncle Ernie worked in Shanghai as a police officer from 1907 until 1912. He would have sent this photo to his brother Peter in Australia.

If there is anyone who knows who Keavefsford? children were I'd love to know. One wonders what happened to them.