Julia PARRY - COLLINS nee JENKINS 1849-1932 Ruspidge (General)

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Tuesday, April 02, 2019, 01:05 (1940 days ago) @ CINDERFORD PARRY/COLLINS

As said before, these names are far from unusual, so it's very difficult to be certain of more facts beyond what we've all found as you've listed.

Indeed, just because his wife's Julia's declared herself a widow, and remarried, this in itself doesn't prove that Thomas has actually died. He may just be living elsewhere, possibly America - this forum's seen plenty of examples where couples have separated in this way, gone their separate ways, and then started afresh. Don't forget in those days there was no Social Security databases etc which might catch-out fibs such as this. Similarly Julia may have believed Thomas was dead, when he may not have been, they were literally worlds apart in 1881.

The various searches we've done, and presumably you as well, shows just how many Thomas Collins' were born in the "Bristol" area c1850 - you almost need to trace ALL these different men, and their lives, before you can discount them as possibly our man.

And then again, so he's apparently from Bristol ? - which in those days was still a busy international port, despite falling behind the likes of Liverpool by the mid 1800s. But without any more evidence than his word, is this fact ?. This MAY mean he wasn't actually born there, but just claims to be "from" there, perhaps it was his port of arrival as an immigrant from Ireland - his name is "very" Irish. And at that time Irish immigrants often tried to hide their background, as they were often seen to be "trouble"... This may explain his apparent desire to stay "under the radar" and avoiding the 1851 & 1861 Census' etc - or maybe he was in Ireland at that time ?

So many unknowns, so many possibles ??


Perhaps he spent his early years in the Army, and this FamilySearch record is his ?
Somerset was an important mining area at this time, with the output going via Bristol docks. If he was born into the Army, that might explain the problems trying to find his birth record.

Name Thomas Collins
Event Type Pension
Event Year Range 1760-1913
Event Place United Kingdom
Birthplace Somerset
Birth Year (Estimated) 1851

"United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records, 1760-1913," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V5CQ-MWV : 10 December 2017)

Re the British Army in the 1850s and 1860s;

"the late 1850s mark the highpoint of British power. That was the period when Britain was able to fight and win wars in Russia, China and India at almost the same time (admittedly with the help of allies), and the country was at the peak of its wealth and relative influence. Britain alone — not counting its empire — accounted for about 10% of the world's GDP during this period.
In 1854, the British Army had a total strength of 140,043 men. Of that number 39,750 were stationed in the colonies, 29,208 in India, and the remaining 71,085 in the British Isles. Around 30,000 troops would be sent to the Crimea. It was an all-volunteer, professional force.
The forces of the British East India Company should also be mentioned. In 1857 the company maintained a private army of 357,000 men — more than twice as large as the official British Army! Around 46,000 of those troops were Europeans, the other 311,000 were locally-recruited Indians."

So it's not impossible to believe that Thomas may have been born into the Army, where his father was serving oversees...



If he did indeed die in the USA c1881, maybe this is him ?
Maybe he kept moving on west thro' the railroad town of Elko Nevada and was in Colma (San Francisco) on the west coast a few months later ??
Frisco was born on the Gold Rush - it was a small settlement of about 200 residents in 1846, but after the gold was discovered it was a boomtown of about 36,000 by 1852 !. This growth continued for some years, altho' admittedly by 1880 it was on the downturn again.

Name Thomas Collins
Event Type Burial
Event Date 1881
Event Place Colma, San Mateo, California, United States of America
Photograph Included N
Death Date 05 Sep 1881
Affiliate Record Identifier 105005330
Cemetery Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery


NB: the otherwise small town of Colma has a massive number of large cemeteries !


Ref his funding his journey to America, in 1880 the cheapest (steerage) class fares were at a very low price indeed compared to just a few years earlier, so perhaps not a problem to a hard-working miner ? The shipping companies were very keen to fill their ships and promoted them heavily.

Maybe this is him, again from FamilySearch, but please be reminded their records show several "Thomas Collins".

Name Thomas Collins
Event Type Immigration
Event Date 1880
Event Place New York City, New York, United States
Gender Male
Age 25
Birth Year (Estimated) 1855
Birthplace England
Ship Name City Of Montreal

Here is an image of that actual passenger list - as you can see they didn't take extensive details !

This next page shows how intensive was the business of shipping migrants across the Atlantic; click on any ship on this long list, and you'll find each ship making dozens of crossings with many thousands of passengers. The "City of Montreal" is one of the ships listed. And this example is all in just one short month of one year, 1880.


Alternatively, perhaps he managed to find a ship needing crewmen, and he could work his fare. Indeed, as a young lad "from" Bristol he might even have been a sailor in those early years, and another good way of dodging (inadvertantly or otherwise) the census records.



But again, given the sheer number of records available that MAY be your Thomas, who really knows for sure ??

I think the fact is that because his name is not at all rare (even when combined with his date of birth), I think we may never know the answer to some of your questions. I also believe you're lucky to have an ancestor with a really interesting story, Thomas was clearly something of a "character" who led an "interesting" life which should be celebrated.
I do hope you find more answers.

atb J

Complete thread:

 RSS Feed of thread

powered by my little forum