A Ship Has Been Sighted: The Story of Samuel Ford

I have decided to publish the material I have collected over the previous fourteen years concerning the Ford/Wright genealogy.

As things turned out the Ford heritage is very much tied to Margaret Wright who married Samuel Ford on Cumbrae sometime in 1815.

The new addition to the site, including an appropriate change of name, is downloadable on the proviso that the material is used for educational or family history purposes only and that it is not used for any commercial purpose.

The Story of Samuel Ford may be found here.

Australia Day or Invasion Day

Australia Day, 26 January, is celebrated in remembrance of the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788.  Today, in Australia, the date is often associated with invasion and is quite often referred to as Invasion Day.  But is this a fair assessment of the events of 1788 or more a reflection of what Australians now see as Australian history?  See article here.

 

 

What exactly is a Feuar?

Samuel Ford was known as a feuar, but what exactly is a feuar?

If you look for a definition of a ‘feuar’ in the 1800s in Scotland you will find a reference along the lines; someone, a male, who had control over the land on which he lived and on paying a ‘feu duty’ to a ‘superior’  could pass on that property to his eldest male heir.  Peculiarly to Scotland, these ‘feuars’ arose as a class of people who, unlike tenants, who could only ‘rent’ land and dwellings, effectively had some security over the property on which they lived.

I have added a page giving an account of feuars which may be found here.

Change of name

I have, after much thought, decided to change the name of the website. While the name James Ford Ancestors reflected my initial research my study has now expanded well past James Ford and his family. Cumbrae was a small island situated in the middle of the Firth of Clyde in Scotland which witnessed the increasing volume of sea traffic that sailed forth beyond the estuary and over the horizon taking people and goods to parts of the world which had only been discovered a few decades earlier.

As a result my own investigations have undergone something similar. Not that I have discovered any new continent, rather, I found that the lives of my ancestors hold more than simply names that can be attached to family tree. Their lives are far more interesting and in this respect, far more challenging for the researcher. What propelled them to buy a ticket for a four month voyage to a far away land on a sailing ship that had every chance of not reaching its destination? One such list identified 775 shipwrecks on the Australian run. What possessed my ancestors to undertake such a perilous undertaking? And, once arriving in Australia, what then? There was no social security system in place, little in the way of medical care, and the land was roamed by gangs of ex-convicts preying on the weak and vulnerable.

My research has therefore expanded as my interest rose. It has therefore seem good to reconsider the name of the website in relation to my renewed interest.

As I only recently changed the name to The Wright Inheritance why change again to A Community of Feuars.

When Samuel Ford married Margaret Wright on the island of Cumbrea it seems that the marriage not only bought some security and prestige to the family, the union also linked the family with a community of like minded people, the feuars. And it was this community of feuars that forms a narrative thread that runs through the generations down to the present day.

I have also found that in the process of writing and publishing my own book on the ancestry of Samuel Ford I needed to register an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). In order to obtain an ISBN I then had to register the name thinking that the title A Community of Feuars: Heritage of Samuel Ford best reflected my research at that time. In the interim it appears that Google Books has found my registration and published the information on their Books website again proving how quick the internet can retrieve information.

However, in order to circumvent enthusiastic search engines and their algorithms the title of the forthcoming book will remain In Company of Feuars: Heritage of Samuel Ford.  A preview of the cover appears below.

Australia Day, Captain Cook and Australian ‘Invasion’

With Australia Day (January 26) fast approaching there is the distinct probability that any number of anti-European activities will take place.  It seems that the day celebrating the First Fleet landing in New South Wales and the beginnings of what was to become Australia has become the battleground over the ideological meaning of the event.

These events now bring into question meanings about the discovery of Australia and the immigrants that made Australia the place it is today.

The unfortunate aspect is that most Australians do not know the history of their own country and apparently gleefully grab at anything that appears in the media as truth and fact.  In writing about my own family, who arrived in Australia during 1850 to 1860 as did some seven million other immigrants, problematic.  Were my ancestors ‘settlers’, ‘explorers’, or, as popular opinion suggests, ‘invaders’?

For some reason Captain James Cook gets caught up in this battle concerning facts and fiction.  For this reason I am following up on something I had written previously which seems timely. which can be found here.