Saturday, 31 March 2007

Samuel Steer Cruwys

A number of people seem to disappear from the English records and it is often difficult to establish if they have gone overseas or are simply in hiding under a previously unconsidered mis-spelling of the Cruwys surname. Samuel Steer Cruwys was for a long time on my list of missing persons. He disappeared after the 1871 census and there was no record of his death in the GRO indexes. I have now finally managed to track him down in Australia.

Samuel was born in 1850 in Halberton, Devon. He was the youngest of six children born to Sarah Steer and Robert Cruwys from the prolific Mariansleigh Cruwys family. After a short spell as a publican at the Stuckley Inn in West Worlington Samuel's father became a farmer. The family lived at Alstree Farm in Halberton, which is probably the present-day Alstree House in the Lower Town. By 1871 Samuel had left home and found employment as a wine merchant's assistant working for William Bartlett, a wine merchant and town councillor living in Fore Street, Tiverton. We know that Samuel married in 1873, either to Sarah Ellis or to Marion Helen Jamieson. It was probably around this time that Samuel set himself up in business as a tobacconist and ale, wine and spirit merchant in Bideford. His business did not prosper and Samuel's final appearance in the English records is in 1878 in the London Gazette when his business goes into liquidation. We next find Samuel's name in the indexes to wills in the Queensland State Archives in Australia

I have been unable to find out anything further about Samuel's life in Australia. There are, however, seven people with the surname Cruwys living in Queensland who are listed in the current telephone directory who might well be Samuel's descendants.


Unknown said...

Hi, I am looking for a De.Cruwys (or other variant of the name). Apparently he died on the ly-ee-moon ship wreck, but his name was not on the passenger list. He was a french merchant who settled in Australia, so I was thinking of Samuel? Do you have much information on him?

Unknown said...

I forgot to click the email box. If you reply, please reply to this comment :)

Debbie Kennett said...

Hi Katrina

Sorry for the delay in replying but we've been away on holiday. Your e-mail did come through but I thought I would reply here for the record too.

I think you really need to purchase Henry's marriage and death certificates. Australian death certificates are very informative and include the names and occupations of both the mother and father, if known. I don't know where the 76 years has come from. It may be that the age at death got placed in the wrong column. If so, this would place Henry's year of birth at around 1875. The marriage certificate will give you Henry's age at marriage and his place of birth. If you at least know when and where he was born you will know which country's records to search to find his birth certificate.

I think it's unlikely that Henry has anything to do with Samuel Steer Cruwys. Samuel married Marion Jamieson in 1873 in Tiverton, Devon, England. There is no record of them having any children in England or Australia. Samuel was declared bankrupt and I think he fled England and escaped to Australia to escape the stigma of bankruptcy. I think Marion stayed behind as there is an entry in the English marriage indexes for a marriage of a Marion Cruwys but I don't have the certificate. Samuel left a will which is in the Queensland Archives:

I haven't seen a copy of the will. It would cost A$17.65 to order a copy, but I would suggest your money would be better spent for now on getting Henry's marriage and death certificates.

Ideally we could do with a male De Crewis to take a DNA test but I understand that there are unfortunately no willing candidates.