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Long read - Lincolnshire emigrants to New Zealand

1871-1881 29,000 people migrated from Lincolnshire; some within the UK but many to North America, Australia and New Zealand.[1] Unrest amongst the agricultural workers fuelled the migration and local unions, such as the Lincolnshire Labourers League (LLL), worked with emigration agents to encourage their members to emigrate.


William Banks, a local man and emigration agent established the LLL on 27 April 1872.[2]

The union campaigned for emigration for three reasons:

  • to give people the chance of a better life

  • to give those who had been victimised for union activity a fresh start

  • to make labour in England scarcer and therefore increase wages.[3]

William Bocock, a 21-year-old farm labourer, and his wife Betsy Ann, aged 20, sailed on the Halcione which left Gravesend for New Zealand on 28 May 1875, arriving 99 days later, on 3 September.[4]


The 'Halcione' under tow. c1895. Part of A.D. Edwardes Collection. State Library of South Australia PRG 1373/22/99 https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+1373/22/99

In 1871, William was a farm servant boarding with agricultural labourer William Borman in Irby upon Humber in Lincolnshire.[5] Betsy Ann was living with her widowed father, Thomas Smith in Binbrook.[6] On 28 June 1873, William married Betsy Ann at Binbrook parish church.[7]


Strike action in Lincolnshire in early 1874, called the ‘Revolt in the Field’, helped to fuel emigration. Betsy’s father worked for Cornelius Stovin, a farmer who had sworn not to employ any union members.[8] In his journal Stovin refers to Tom Smith several times but then on 28 January 1875 writes:


“It is several years since old Tom Smith commenced doing the work…Poor old Tom has found his mistake of joining the strike last year.”[9]


The only source available for the LLL are their newspapers. In 1874 Banks started The Labour League Examiner which in 1875 became The Labourer.[10] [11] The British Library has these on microfilm, there are no copies online.[12] [13] However, works on the Revolt and New Zealand emigration, particularly Russell’s Revolt in the Field in Lincolnshire, quote widely from these papers. Rollo Arnold, in The Farthest Promised Land, has a chapter on emigration from North Lincolnshire and he uses the union newspapers to good effect to compile a detailed description of some Lincolnshire emigrants, including some of the Halcione passengers.[14] The newspapers also reported on what happened to emigrants in New Zealand, although they obviously only reported on positive outcomes.


Advert for the Burton and White partnership[15]

Taranaki is on the west side of New Zealand’s North Island. The local newspapers, available on Papers Past, follow government discussions on their developing immigration plans in the early 1870s. One of the Immigration Agents appointed was a settler himself, William Mumford Burton, who had been farming in Taranaki for years.[16] William travelled to Lincolnshire where he linked up with John H White, an agent of the LLL.


Newspapers in Lincolnshire and Taranaki ran regular reports of the meetings that William Burton and John White held as they travelled around Lincolnshire talking about the benefits of emigrating to New Zealand, and Taranaki in particular.[17]


Extract from the Taranaki Herald, 5 June 1875 [18]

The partnership paid off and further reports described the large numbers of labourers emigrating to New Zealand under the auspices of the Labour League, the first reference to this appears on 10 April 1875, and relates to the first load of Burton’s recruits travelling on the Collingwood.[19] [20] Later there were reports that a special train had to be laid on to transport hundreds of workers from Lincolnshire to London to join the Halcione.[21]


Passenger lists are the main source for emigration events and images of Halcione’s passenger list are online in FamilySearch’s collection: New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973. These can be searched either by passenger name or by browsing the images to find the arrival year and vessel name.


William and Betsy Bocock on the passenger ship of the Halcione.[22]

The lists are full of information, including some interesting summaries of the data by trade and county. A limitation of the list is that it only confirms the county the passenger is from and not the village or town.


The passenger list starts with a helpful index of passengers organised alphabetically by surname. Passengers are listed in separate sections: families, single men and single women. Children aged 14 and over whose names are listed amongst the families are crossed through and re-entered as single men and women. After this section the next part looks like another passenger list but in a different format and the names of those who did not travel crossed out perhaps due to a change of heart or not passing the medical. One such family was George and Elizabeth Brown and their seven children, who eventually emigrated to Quebec in 1883.[23]


The heritage collection of the New Plymouth Museum and Archive called Puke Ariki, can be searched online and they have the following items relating to the Halcione’s journey:


Items in Puke Ariki relating to Halcione.[24]

Yesteryears New Zealand is a useful site for transcriptions of emigrant’s diaries including one written by Emily Summerhays, a cabin passenger on the Halcione.[25]

William Bocock also kept a diary which is now held by Puke Ariki and they have published some extracts online:


30 May: Got into the Bay of Biscay. Some beautiful waves as high as our ship. Saw some sea pigs. Going 9 knots an hour. Ship rolls very much. A few sick. Wife very bad. Another pig dead. Lost 3 or 4 of our pigs. The tins and raisins, butter and all sorts of things rolling all over the ship. We cannot stand by ourselves unless falling.[26]

As a private diary it is a useful source of information on the conditions on board and two months in, he was having a rough time:


26 July: Had another fight. We are tired of being prisoners. We should all like to be on land. It is a tiring job being at sea you may depend. You have no idea at all what there is to put up with. Only them knows that it has to do with. It's rough there's no mistake.[27]

Some migrants kept journals with the intention of publishing and so these are less reliable. John King produced one such during his voyage on the Chile which arrived a few weeks after the Halcione. White and Burton had his diary published and so it is much more sanitised; it can be read online.[28]


August 5th – Some people might imagine that the time would hang heavily on our hands, but this is not the case, for it is surprising how quick it passes, the more sea the merrier, for it is always cause for a laugh, when a sea comes and damps a lot of us down.[29]

There were eight deaths on board the Halcione. The Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths at Sea, 1844-1890 are available on Ancestry which usefully allows searches by vessel name, unlike on Familysearch.


Deaths on board Halcione.[30]

The birth registers, which usefully includes the mother’s maiden name, show there were three births during the voyage.


Births on Halcione[31]

Local newspapers report the arrival of immigrant ships and the Halcione’s arrival was announced in the Taranaki Herald. The report included the names, ages and home county of the immigrants as well as a brief description of the voyage.[32]


William and Betsy Bocock on the immigrant list in the Taranaki Herald 4 September 1875[33]





Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives also known as AtoJ’s include Immigration Officer reports on conditions of the passengers and on-board ship on arrival as well as any health-related events during the voyage and as such can provide an insight into the voyage either in addition to, or in place of, passenger’s diaries. The Halcione report states that all the immigrants’ living compartments were clean and orderly. He recommended that poor babies are not subjected to such long voyages and: “no passengers should be carried on board immigrant ships but the immigrants themselves, thus obviating the difficulty experienced by many surgeons and captains in keeping saloon passengers and the single women apart.”[34] Perhaps the captain’s log or surgeon’s journal will explain what prompted these comments.


The New Zealand Birth Marriage and Death website is very helpful when searching for births as it provides the first names of the father and mother. This makes it straightforward to learn that William and Betsy Ann had seven children:

Robert William 1875 [35]

Fanny Ann 1877 [36]

Thomas Alford 1879 [37]

Frank Ernest 1881 [38]

George Edward 1881 [39]

James Henry 1883 [40]

Ivy Eva 1887 [41]


The website does not however confirm where the birth was registered. A similar search on Ancestry shows that all the births were registered in New Plymouth.[42]


Puke Ariki’s article on William’s diary also includes details about their life on arrival.[43] The archive also holds the following items relating to the Bococks:


Puke Ariki catalogue items relating to Bococks[44]

Amongst the archive’s collection of photographs from a New Plymouth photograph studio there are 36 photographs of Bocock family members.[45]


Local newspapers include reports of land purchases, births, marriages, deaths, court cases and businesses allowing a picture of immigrants’ lives to be constructed. Birth announcements of some of the Bococks appear in the newspaper as well as a notice about the death of their daughter, Ivy in 1920.[47] The Taranaki Herald often printed obituaries following the deaths of some of the early settlers, sadly not for the Bococks though.


William died on 1 November 1926 and was buried in Te Henui, the oldest public cemetery in New Plymouth. [48] [49]



Transcriptions of the monumental inscriptions for Te Henui are available on Ancestry in their New Zealand, Cemetery Records, 1800-2007 collection. A search for William brings up two results: one for the index entry and the second for the inscription. It is worth navigating to the first page of the document on Te Henui cemetery (image 948 of 4397) where there is a description of the cemetery and a hand drawn map, useful if planning a visit.




The document also shows that William now lies amongst family; on one side his youngest daughter: Ivy Eva[52] and on the other his eldest son Robert William and his wife Rachel.[53]


William’s will and probate paperwork are available in Familysearch’s collection: New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Probate Records, 1843-1998. The will is dated 13 September 1922 and in it he makes his wife Betsy, his son Robert and his daughter Fanny executors and leaves everything to Betsy, with provision for her to live in their house until her death, with an additional proviso that Fanny can live there until she marries. Notice of probate being granted was issued on 24 November 1926 and confirmed by the Supreme Court on 4th December. From this source the genealogist can learn: the address of his property: 1353 Molesworth Street, that Fanny was unmarried and that two of his children had died: Thomas and Ivy Eva, but that they had both left children. The executor’s affidavit reveals that his estate was worth less than £4,000 and that he was born in Lincolnshire. The executors’ declarations confirm that Betsy was also born in Lincolnshire while Fanny and Robert were born in Taranaki.[54] This would be valuable information when working backwards from this document to trace where they all came from.


William and Betsy travelled to New Zealand following unrest in Lincolnshire. They took advantage of the assisted passage offered by Taranaki in partnership with the Labour League to become just two of the 2,000-plus emigrants that John H White recruited between 1874 and 1879. [55] They made their home there, William transforming from agricultural labourer to respectable farmer. The sources reveal their journey, some of these, such as the passenger lists, are obvious. Others like the AtoJs are less so but entwined throughout the story are newspapers supplying details about recruitment, departure, arrival and life in New Zealand.


Footnotes


[1] Beastall, Tom William (1978) Agricultural Revolution in Lincolnshire. Lincoln: History of Lincolnshire Committee. p234


[2] Russell, Rex C (1956) The Revolt of the Field in Lincolnshire Lincoln: The Lincolnshire County Committee: National Union of Agricultural Workers p32


[3] ibid. p50


[4] Passenger list for Halcione departing Gravesend for Taranaki. Passenger lists, IM-15-11-215, Halcione (Ship), May 27-Sept. 2, 1875, Taranaki-arrival port. Collection: New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XC4W-M83?cc=1609792&wc=MP71-W3D%3A119243701%2C119083102%2C119124701. Accessed 4 March 2019


[5] Census records. England. Irby, Lincolnshire. 2 April 1871. BORMAN, William [head]. PN

RG10/3416. FL 62. ED 31. p. 10. www.ancestry.co.uk. Accessed 7 March 2019.


[6] Census records. England. Binbrook, Lincolnshire. 2 April 1871. SMITH, Thomas [head]. PN

RG10/3405. FL 51. ED 4. p. 12. www.ancestry.co.uk. Accessed 7 March 2019.


[7] Marriages (PR). England, Lincolnshire, Binbrook. BOCOCK, William and SMITH, Betsy Ann. 26 June 1873. Collection: Lincolnshire Marriages. www.findmypast.co.uk Accessed 7 March 2019.


[8] ibid. p53


[9] Stovin, Jean (ed) (1982) Journals of a Methodist Farmer 1871-1875 London: Croom Helm Ltd. p185


[10] Russell, op cit. p50


[11] ibid p79


[12] The Labour League Examiner: The organ of the amalgamated Labour League of Lincoln, Norfolk, Suffolk, Leicester, Derby, Notts, etc. (1874) Catalogue entry only. UIN: BLL01013897033. British Library, London. www.bl.uk Accessed 6 March 2019


[13] The Labourer. (1875) Catalogue entry only. UIN: BLL01013923244. British Library, London. www.bl.uk Accessed 6 March 2019


[14] Arnold, Rollo (1981) The Farthest Promised Land. Wellington: Victoria University Press. p160-1


[15] King, John H (1875) Log book of Mr. John King of Grimsby, kept when going to New Zealand. Grimsby: H Watson. http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-52796668/view?partId=nla.obj-94979982#page/n4/mode/1up Accessed 25 March 2019


[16] Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1874 Session I, D-01a. The Hon. J. Vogel to the Agent-General. 2 July. p17. https://atojs.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/atojs?a=d&d=AJHR1874-I.1.548&cl=search&srpos=2&e=-------10--1--1874+I----0burton-- . Accessed 28 March 2019.


[17] Stamford Mercury (1875) Barton upon Humber: Emigration Meeting Stamford Mercury. 2 April. p5a. www.findmypast.co.uk. Accessed 6 March 2019.


[18] Taranaki Herald (1875) Saturday June 5, 1875. Taranaki Herald. 5 June. Volume XXIII, Issue 2312 https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TH18750605.2.9 Accessed 2 April 2019


[19] Grantham Journal (1875) Miscellaneous News. Grantham Journal. 10 April. p7f. www.findmypast.co.uk. Accessed 3 April 2019.


[20] Arnold op cit p299


[21] Stamford Mercury (1875). Boston. Stamford Mercury. 28 May. p4e. www.findmypast.co.uk. Accessed 3 April 2019.


[22] Passenger list for Halcione departing Gravesend for Taranaki. Passenger lists, IM-15-11-215, Halcione (Ship), May 27-Sept. 2, 1875, Taranaki-arrival port. Collection: New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XC4W-M83?cc=1609792&wc=MP71-W3D%3A119243701%2C119083102%2C119124701. Accessed 4 March 2019


[23] Passenger list for Dominion departing Liverpool for Quebec, Canada. BROWN, George (birth year 1835). 02 August 1883. Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Series: RG 76-C; Roll: C-4533. Collection: Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935. www.ancestry.co.uk. Accessed 26 March 2019.


[24] Puke Ariki. Collection. https://collection.pukeariki.com Accessed 28 March 2019.


[25] New Zealand Yesteryears http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/diaries/halcione1875.html Accessed 2 April 2019


[26] Hoskin, Sorrel To the land of milk and honey – William and Betsy Ann Bocock. http://pukeariki.com/Learning-Research/Taranaki-Research-Centre/Taranaki-Stories/Taranaki-Story/id/535/title/to-the-land-of-milk-and-honey-william-and-betsy-ann-bocock Accessed 9 March 2019. William Bocock's diary is in Puke Ariki Cat No: 2002-522. Puke Ariki, New Plymouth, Taranaki.


[27] Hoskin, Sorrel To the land of milk and honey – William and Betsy Ann Bocock. http://pukeariki.com/Learning-Research/Taranaki-Research-Centre/Taranaki-Stories/Taranaki-Story/id/535/title/to-the-land-of-milk-and-honey-william-and-betsy-ann-bocock Accessed 9 March 2019. William Bocock's diary is in Puke Ariki Cat No: 2002-522. Puke Ariki, New Plymouth, Taranaki.


[28] King, John H (1875) Log book of Mr. John King of Grimsby, kept when going to New Zealand. Grimsby: H Watson. http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-52796668/view?partId=nla.obj-94979982#page/n4/mode/1up Accessed 25 March 2019


[29] ibid, p9


[30] Board of Trade. Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages; Class: BT 158; Piece: 4. Halcione 25 May – 5 September 1875. Collection: UK, Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths at Sea, 1844-1890 www.ancestry.co.uk Accessed 18 March 2019


[31] Board of Trade. Registers of Births at Sea of British Nationals; Class: BT 160; Piece: 1. Halcione 25 May – 5 September 1875. Collection: UK, Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths at Sea, 1844-1890 www.ancestry.co.uk Accessed 26 March 2019


[32] Taranaki Herald (1875) Arrival of the Ship Halcione with Immigrants. Taranaki Herald. 4 September. Volume XXIII, Issue 2338. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TH18750904.2.11. Accessed 14 March 2019.


[33] Taranaki Herald (1875) Arrival of the Ship Halcione with Immigrants. Taranaki Herald. 4 September. Volume XXIII, Issue 2338. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TH18750904.2.11. Accessed 14 March 2019.


[34] Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives. Immigration to New Zealand: Letters to the Agent-General transmitting reports upon Immigrant Ships 1876 Session I, D-03. p12. https://atojs.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/atojs?a=d&cl=search&d=AJHR1876-I.2.1.5.3&srpos=1&e=-------10--1------0halcione--1876 . accessed 28 March 2019.


[35] Births index (CR) New Zealand, Taranaki, New Plymouth. 1875. BOCOCK, Robert William. Registration number 1875/13526 www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz Accessed 18 March 2019.


[36] Births index (CR) New Zealand, Taranaki, New Plymouth. 1877. BOCOCK, Fanny Ann. Registration number 1877/17130 www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz Accessed 18 March 2019.


[37] Births index (CR) New Zealand, Taranaki, New Plymouth. 1879. BOCOCK, Thomas Alford. Registration number 1879/1019 www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz Accessed 18 March 2019.


[38] Births index (CR) New Zealand, Taranaki, New Plymouth. 1881. BOCOCK, Frank Ernest. Registration number 1881/6478 www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz Accessed 18 March 2019


[39] Births index (CR) New Zealand, Taranaki, New Plymouth. 1881. BOCOCK, George Edward. Registration number 1881/6479 www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz Accessed 18 March 2019


[40] Births index (CR) New Zealand, Taranaki, New Plymouth. 1883. BOCOCK, James Henry. Registration number 1883/10571 www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz Accessed 18 March 2019


[41] Births index (CR) New Zealand, Taranaki, New Plymouth. 1887. BOCOCK, Ivy Eva. Registration number 1887/15067www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz Accessed 18 March 2019


[42] Birth index (CR) New Zealand, Birth Index, 1840-1950. www.ancestry.co.uk. Accessed 18 March 2019


[43] Hoskin, Sorrel To the land of milk and honey – William and Betsy Ann Bocock. http://pukeariki.com/Learning-Research/Taranaki-Research-Centre/Taranaki-Stories/Taranaki-Story/id/535/title/to-the-land-of-milk-and-honey-william-and-betsy-ann-bocock Accessed 9 March 2019


[44] Puke Ariki. Collection. https://collection.pukeariki.com Accessed 28 March 2019.


[45] Puke Ariki. Collection. https://collection.pukeariki.com Accessed 28 March 2019.


[46] Images. Photograph. William Bocock and family. July 1925. Swainson Studios, New Plymouth. Swainson/Woods Collection. SW1923-1930.03245. Puke Ariki. New Plymouth, New Zealand. https://collection.pukeariki.com/objects/72690 Accessed 18 March 2019.


[47] Death announcement (1920) Taranaki Herald. 9 August. Volume LXVIII, Issue 16810 https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TH19200807.2.4 Accessed 18 March 2019


[48] Monumental inscriptions. New Zealand. Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, Taranaki. 1 November 1926. BOCOCK, William. Collection: New Zealand, Cemetery Records, 1800-2007 www.ancestry.co.uk. Accessed 7 March 2019.


[49] Wikipedia. Te Henui Cemetery. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te_Henui_Cemetery Accessed 28 March 2019


[50] Monumental inscriptions. New Zealand. Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, Taranaki. 1 November 1926. BOCOCK, William. Photo added by Maria Borrill. Find A Grave Memorial: 111369850. www.findagrave.com : accessed 7 March 2019.


[51] Monumental inscriptions. New Zealand. Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, Taranaki. 1 November 1926. BOCOCK, William. Collection: New Zealand, Cemetery Records, 1800-2007 www.ancestry.co.uk. Accessed 7 March 2019.


[52] Monumental inscriptions. New Zealand. Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, Taranaki. 7 August 1920. BENNETT, Ivy Eva. Collection: New Zealand, Cemetery Records, 1800-2007 www.ancestry.co.uk. Accessed 7 March 2019


[53] Monumental inscriptions. New Zealand. Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, Taranaki. 25 March 1959. BOCOCK, Robert William. Collection: New Zealand, Cemetery Records, 1800-2007 www.ancestry.co.uk. Accessed 7 March 2019


[54] Testamentary Records. New Zealand. 4 December 1926. BOCOCK, William. Will and Probate. Collection: New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Probate Records, 1843-1998. FamilySearch New Plymouth probate files, 1867-1981, record number 3635, Archives New Zealand, Auckland Regional Office; FamilySearch digital folder 007388818. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2VCD-15K. Accessed 21 February 2019.


[55] Arnold, op cit. p135

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