Thursday, 23 October 2008

Eliza Cruse from London to Sydney

I have been busy sorting through another batch of information which was sent to me in the post by David Cruse. His latest collection relates mostly to the various London Cruse lines. Amongst David's files was some correspondence from the Archives Office of New South Wales dating from 1988 concerning an Eliza Cruse who emigrated to Australia in 1872. David had initially written to New South Wales enquiring about a Mary Cruse who was listed in the indexes to the 'Assisted immigrants arriving in Sydney, 1860-79'. However when the archivist checked the records it transpired that the records related not to Mary Cruse but to Eliza Cruse. The online indexes have not been corrected so if anyone has been looking for Eliza they will probably not have been able to find her emigration records.

The papers supplied by the NSW Archives show that Eliza Cruse sailed from London to Australia on the Canning, arriving at Moreton Bay, Sydney, on 8th January 1873. Eliza was described as a housemaid aged 23. Her native place was St. Pancras, London, and her parents were William and Sarah. Her mother was living in Bloomsbury, London. She was a member of the Church of England and could read and write. She had no relations in the Colony, and she was of good 'bodily health'. I had no record of Eliza in my database but with a little help from the censuses and other sources and I was soon able to reconstruct her family.

Eliza was one of ten children born to William Murdock Cruse and Sarah Caster. She was born on 31st July 1849 in St Pancras, London, and was baptised on 7th April 1850 at Old Church, St Pancras. Unfortunately William and Sarah married prior to the beginning of civil registration and I do not currently have any record of their marriage. The family have a variety of interesting occupations. Eliza's father, William, was a bookseller. Her eldest brother George William Cruse (born c. 1837) was a policeman in the Metropolitan Police. Her brother John (born c. 1838) was an attendant at the South Kensington Museum, which I presume is the old name for the Natural History Museum. Her brother Walter (born c. 1840) moved to Gravesend in Kent and became a bookstore clerk. Another brother Edward (born 1845) joined the Royal Navy. The London Cruses all have an uncanny knack of living in unindexed London parishes which are not on the IGI and this family is no exception as they lived for many years in the genealogical black hole of St George's Hanover Square before moving to Brompton in about 1845, and then St Pancras by 1849. In the 1851 census they were living at 12 Greenland Grove, St Pancras. I can find no trace of the family in the 1861 census, and suspect that St Pancras is another one of the London districts which has a number of missing pages. I have also been unable to locate Eliza in the 1871 census. Her mother Sarah can however be found living at 7 Gee Street, Somers Town, St Pancras. She was now widowed, and was described as a retired bookseller. Two of her children seem to have been recruited to carry on the family business: William, 23, was a bookseller's assistant, and Harriet, 19, was a stationer's assistant.

Coincidentally I have recently been working on another London Cruse line with connections to St George's Hanover Square. The George Cruse who married Mary Dickson (see my earlier posting) was born c. 1814 in St George's Hanover Square. We know from his marriage certificate that he was the son of Charles Cruse, a bookbinder. Eliza's father William Cruse was born c. 1811 in St George's Hanover Square, and could well be the brother of George Cruse, especially with the book trade links.

Is there anyone researching the family of William Murdock Cruse and Sarah Caster? Does anyone know what became of Eliza after she emigrated to Australia?


angie_cruse said...

I have just traced William and Sarah to be my great great great great grandfather, father of Walter and found your research on my family to be so helpful. I will certainly be in touch again very soon as I have only come accross this information 10 mins ago and very excited. Thank you so much, Angela Cruse
8th Sept 1975

Debbie Kennett said...

Hi Angela

Do get in touch. I'm now in contact with two people who are descended from the line of William Murdock Cruse and Sarah Caster, one in Scotland and one in Canada. I will be able to put you all in touch with each other.