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George Griffith is one of my few ancestors who stand out from the crowd of agricultural labourers in my family tree. He described himself as a Professor of Music, and was able to play complex orchestral and liturgical pieces. He played and taught violin and piano, but was not above leading a goldfields “N****r Band” when the circus came to town.
He was very consistent in giving his native place as Liverpool, and his birth year of 1824. He was very inconsistent in giving a date and place of his marriage to my great great grandmother, Susan Rochester, from which I was forced to conclude that they had never married. I also concluded there was a fair chance he had been married before. Susan was just a girl off the boat from England, and there are no indications she was already married.
Because George and Susan never married, the occasion never arose where George stated his parents’ names. When he died his daughter could not name her Griffith grandparents, but made a stab at her grandfather’s occupation as bootmaker.
While George might have been born in Liverpool (and there are several christenings that might be him), there is no certainty that he stayed in Liverpool - but I don’t really have much to go on if he spent his youth elsewhere. A musician would have to be fairly mobile to make a living.
I have not identified with any certainty what ship he arrived on, though I have selected the George Griffith, 28, clerk, who arrived on the Panama from London in October 1852 as the most likely candidate. (And yet, why not direct from Liverpool?)
I went fairly exhaustively through census records years ago when they were only on microfilm, going through all the printed indexes without coming to a conclusion, but I will now go through them again on Ancestry and compare them with later censuses and marriage records to figure out whom I can eliminate.
I have purchased marriage certificates to compare signatures with documents signed by George - eliminated them.
There is always the possibility that George gave his native place as Liverpool while in Australia in the same way I might give my native place as Melbourne if I was in England – but in fact I wouldn’t appear in any Melbourne records – I would appear in suburban records.
But here is the big news George. I have had my DNA tested and I am coming to get you.