How do I re­search the New Zealand ship­wreck my grand­fa­ther sur­vived?

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QWhen he was 12, my grand­fa­ther, Arthur Fryer, was a cabin boy aboard a ship that left Lon­don and later sank off the New Zealand coast in 1881. He was born in Aldgate in Lon­don on 25 June 1869.

I am in­ter­ested in find­ing out the ship’s name and any other de­tails. Arthur ran away to sea – we think he may have been liv­ing in a workhouse.

In New Zealand, he was taken in by a fam­ily of sheep farm­ers and spent many years with them be­fore even­tu­ally re­turn­ing to Eng­land. Irene Beryl Bis­pham (nee Fryer), by email

APeo­ple who sur­vived ship­wrecks are of­ten harder to trace than those who died. I would start by look­ing through New Zealand news­pa­pers to see what you can find. For­tu­nately, they are avail­able free on­line pa­perspast.natlib.govt.nz.

My quick search yielded only one wreck that fits the bill – the sail­ing bar­que

Eng­land’s Glory (Cap­tain Wil­liam Knight), which sailed from Lon­don and sank near In­ver­cargill on 7 Novem­ber 1881. Is this the area of New Zealand where Arthur stayed with a fam­ily? There’s an eye­wit­ness ac­count of

Eng­land’s Glory’s last voy­age ( nzetc.vic­to­ria.ac.nz/tm/schol­arly/tei-Bre01Whit-t1­body-d187.html) and there was an of­fi­cial in­quiry into the wreck as well ( www. plim­soll.org/Wreck­sAndAc­ci­dents/wreck­re­ports). All the in­quiries into Bri­tish ship­wrecks that took place in 1881 are listed here, so you could look through them in­di­vid­u­ally to see if any oth­ers took place off New Zealand.

The crew list de­scrib­ing ev­ery­one on board Eng­land’s Glory is avail­able on­line www.mun.ca/mha/1881/on­view.php?Record_ID=171383&pagev=1. Un­for­tu­nately, there was no Fryer listed on board. The only ju­nior crew­man recorded was Wil­liam Trice, shown as ship’s ap­pren­tice, who joined the ves­sel in Lon­don at the last minute on 25 April 1881 (see page 4). How­ever, boys who ran away to sea some­times gave false names or were stow­aways who worked their pas­sage, and in these sit­u­a­tions their names do not ap­pear in of­fi­cial records. Arthur is also miss­ing from a data­base of crew­men serv­ing on Bri­tish ships in 1881 at www.mun.ca/mha/1881/

crews1881.php, but this list is in­com­plete. Ship­wreck sur­vivors would at­tract the at­ten­tion of the Bri­tish Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice so you could look through the colo­nial of­fice pa­pers and cor­re­spon­dence for New Zealand at The Na­tional Ar­chives (se­ries CO 209/240). The Na­tional Li­brary of New Zealand has a com­pre­hen­sive list of fam­ily his­tory re­sources, and you could also con­tact the ar­chiv­ists there for ad­vice ( natlib.govt. nz/re­searchers/guides/fam­ily-his­tory). Si­mon Wills

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