San Josef, Plymouth

Discussion in 'History' started by afcbsimon, Jun 5, 2011.

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  1. Hi All,

    I have a copy of the marriage certificate of a relative of mine, JOHN GRAHAM, that states his rank and profession as 'SEAMAN' 'SAN JOSEF'. The certificate is dated May 1844 and notes he was married at Devonport, Plymouth aged 20.

    John Graham had a son born in 1856 and on the birth certificate it states his fathers profession as Seaman but that he was deceased.

    I have looked online and discovered that the San Josef was a gunnery training ship at Plymouth at this time.

    My questions are what job could John Graham have been doing on board the San Josef and how could John Graham have died? Will there be a record of service somewhere that will give me this information?

  2. Simon

    I can see someone called John Graham listed in the Parish of Stoke Damerel, Devonport in the 1841 Census.

    I can't decipher what is given as his Trade or Employment but his father, George, seems to be a Sailmaster (or is that Sailmaker ... the script is a bit tricky).

    Just to add that normally I would pick up Service Records from the mid-19th century onwards via the National Archive but Service Records as such only exist from 1853.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  3. I've found him now. He was a Sail Maker.

    From the 1851 Census:

    John Graham


    10 Pym Street

    Stoke Damerel



    Plymouth, Devon

    Age: 27

    Gender: Male

    Relationship: Head

    Marriage Status: Married

    Occupation: Sail Maker

    Sadly, I can now also see an entry in Deaths for the Plymouth area in the first quarter of 1856 for a John Graham. The cause of death will most likely be given on the Death Certificate, which you can order from here:

    HMS San Josef:
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  4. Hi Soleil,

    Thank you for your responses however I believe you have the wrong man.

    The John Graham I am looking for information on died in 1845/46 and his fathers name was James Graham (Cabinet Maker).

  5. Oh no! I'm sorry about that. Everything matched, as well.

    I shall have another look.
  6. Forgive me for being slow, it's a side-effect of the flu, but I can't match up these two facts:

    "John Graham had a son born in 1856 and on the birth certificate it states his fathers profession as Seaman but that he was deceased."

    "The John Graham I am looking for information on died in 1845/46."
  7. Hi Soleil,

    Apologies, 1856 was a typo. Sorry for wasting your time on that.

    The correct date(s) of death for John Graham are 1845/46. He married Elizabeth Sedgeman in May 1844. John Graham then died whilst she was pregnant as the birth certificate of their child dated 1846 states father (John Graham) is deceased.

    Sorry again.

  8. Thanks Sweetpea.

    I guess a trip to Kew is in order.

  9. I'm going to be at Kew this month, Simon. If getting there means a long journey for you, I'm happy to look this up.

    May I ask, by the way, what you have as an address for John Graham and also for his father? I had a hell of job tracing them on the 1841 census.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  10. Hi Soleil,

    That would be great if you could check on this when you are at Kew. I'm wondering if John Graham died whilst in service as he must have died in 1845 aged 21/22ish.

    I could not find James or John on the census either but John's marriage cert states he was resident in (looks like) MARLBOROUGH STREET if that helps at all.

  11. Simon

    I have found a suitable household in the 1841 Census - a father called James Graham and a son called John Graham. John Graham is exactly the right age; unfortunately, James Graham isn't a Cabinet Maker at this point, but a Cotton Spinner; I see no reason why he couldn't have changed jobs between 1841 and 1844 though. John is also a Cotton Spinner at this point.

    I posit that something happened to the family's jobs in the cotton industry in the period 1841-1844. James turned to Cabinet Making; John left for Devonport and the Navy, leading to his marriage in Devonport in 1844.

    I have done a short timeline based on your information and my guesswork.

    1841 Carlisle - St Cuthbert (Census)

    James Graham aged 39
    Ann Graham aged 39
    John Graham aged 17

    1841 Perranzabuloe - Porth (Census)

    Elizabeth Sedgeman aged 25

    1844 Devonport - Marriage of John Graham aged 20 to Elizabeth Sedgeman. John’s father is given as James Graham, Cabinet Maker. John is resident in Marlborough Street at the time of his marriage.

    Marlborough Street in Devonport:

    Plymouth, Roads and Streets* |* Marlborough Street, Devonport

    1845 (prior to September 30th) Death of John Graham at the age of 21/22. In service?

    1845 (September 30th) Birth of John Graham’s son (Birth Certificate gives profession of
    Father (Deceased) as Seaman)
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  12. The view of Marlborough Street as I remember it from the late 40s til the 60s was virtually the same as the one shown in the article. Grew up in nearby Cannon Street, next to Morice Yard.
  13. Interesting information on Marlborough Street, thanks.

    I can confirm that John Graham must have died in 1845 prior to September as that is when his son was born.

    I think the best way to confirm the Carlisle link is to get hold of John Graham's death cert (if possible) and that should have his place of birth on it hopefully.

  14. When was his son born, Simon?
  15. James John Graham was born on 13th or 30th (difficult to read) September 1845 at 24 Geeks Alley, Devonport.
    Father - John Graham (deceased)
    Mother - Elizabeth Ann Graham (formerly Sedgeman)
    Fathers profession - Seaman
    Informant details - The Mark X of Elizabeth Graham - Mother - 24 Geeks Alley, Devonport
    Birth registered 3rd October 1845
  16. Thanks, Simon. In that case, under normal circumstances, we can assume that John Graham died in the period February - September 1845.

    Suggest that his son was born on the 30th and his birth registered a few days later, as is the norm.
  17. Agreed.

    I just checked on the cotton industry in Carlisle and the 1840's seemed to be a boom period with the industry only declining in that area in the 1860's a;though that doesnt stop people changing jobs however what is interesting is there are a couple of John Graham's who died in Jan and July 1845 in Carlisle.
  18. Yes, I just spotted that about the John Grahams dying in Carlisle in the quarter to March and the quarter to September 1845.

    Strangely, I can see no John Grahams dying in Devon in that year.

    The Carlisle thing came about because I searched for any John Grahams on the 1841 Census. There were only 3 and they all lived in places with memorable names.

    I then searched the Census for James Grahams of whom there were far more and ran my eye down their addresses until I saw one which matched one of the three for John. There was only one James Graham which matched, the one in Carlisle.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  19. It would be strange for someone to leave their bride of one year especially a pregnant one unless he was just going home for a visit i guess but that would have been expensive.

    If he was still in the Navy when he died would there be a record of his death with them rather than it being registered in Devon?

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