I have decided that today is Time Travel Tuesday. I had wanted to blog about the definitions applied to the Anglo Indians in British India but it is rather statistical and official and definitely needs more research. So whilst pondering for a theme for today, I took to the idea that if one could time travel (preferably with David Tennant's Dr Who, sorry Peter Capaldi!), which ancestor would I most like to go and visit.
I have been to London a couple of times quite recently and was amazed at the changes in places that I had not visited since leaving in 2003. I have always wanted to experience London in another age. Pre Blitz, with all the little alleyways and courts and so on - so few of which remain today. So I think I will ask the lovely David to take the Tardis to eighteenth century London.
Joseph Shaller Sr was apprenticed to Benjamin Pickering, a brandy merchant by his father Edward. The indenture was paid on 18 April 1753. The original document for this can be seen on Ancestry. From the records I have found online for their parish church in Shoreditch, it appears that Benjamin Pickering was known to Edward Shaller personally. They served together on parish committees. [This was another example of how googling/fiddling about/ whatever you want to call it can produce unexpected results. I tried Edward Shaller's name with the baptism church's name and managed to find references to the Shaller family (this site is a great place for such research too http://www.british-history.ac.uk). I was of course helped by the unusual surname!
I would love to know the family's circumstances. They would seem at first glance to have been reasonably well off and Joseph Sr was able to marry as soon as his apprenticeship was finished, going on to have six children with his wife Susanna Slade. However, I have not as yet managed to find any reference to property so it is highly possible that although they had reasonable livelihoods and supported families, they did not actually own any "bricks and mortar".
Would I recognise anything about these Shallers or their personalities? Could any characteristics have made their way this far down the family tree? What did they wear, for surely that would have been an indication of their place in society? Well to do? Or just keeping their heads above water? Would an apprentice brandy merchant have been taught to read and write? There were four sons and two daughters. Joseph Jr was not required to sign the surviving muster list which recorded his joining up with the army in 1804 so I don't know if he could write either. According to the muster, though, Joseph Jr was a staymaker (a profession looked at during Mary Berry's Who Do You Think You Are? last week, as it happens - corset making!).
The difference in father and son professions raises endless questions. Did Joseph Sr leave the booze trade?! Did he and his eldest son have a falling out? More importantly, how did Joseph Jr end up in the army? I have a suspicion that my whole paternal line stems either from someone escaping justice or someone who got drunk with the press gang and woke up the next morning in uniform! Carole Divall, who has done a huge amount of work on the history of the 30th Regiment of Foot (where Joseph found himself!), has told me that London was not a usual recruiting area for that regiment.
So from the Tardis, I will need to visit 1778 when Joseph Jr was born and then periodically wander into their lives until 1804. And David Tennant will be helping me! Must not get distracted. I suppose a basic survey would be very useful, if they could be persuaded.... questions like dates, birthplaces, ancestors and relations would be brilliant for checking my research so far! Yes, time travel is definitely the answer for genealogists. The possibilities would be endless.