Tuesday, 16 June 2009

In memory of George

In my family tree all my dad's side were Welsh, on my mum's side they came over from Ireland 150 years ago at the time of the potato famine. With the exception of my great-grandfather George, who came from East Prussia, in fact, so far east that it's now in Lithuania. This summer I'm toying with the idea of visiting the Baltic countries, including Lithuania, and I've found a tour that takes in two nights at the town where we believe George came from. It was called Memel then, but now it's called Klaipeda. I made enquiries today about the tour, and I'm waiting for the details to be emailed to me. As I'm very familiar with the places where my father's ancestors came from in Wales, and have been to the ones my mother's people came from in Ireland, I think it would be good to just visit the missing link in my group of "ancestral homes"...

George evenually drowned in Cardiff Docks, and this is the report from the Cardiff Times of 24th December 1881. Patrick O'Brien, George's brother-in-law, was still alive when my mother was a girl. He was a fiery character already in 1881, as you can see from the report. Good for him! I always think of great-grandfather George when going past County Hall.

"DROWNED IN DOCKS – INQUEST - Mr Grover, the deputy coroner, held an inquest on Tuesday afternoon in the Town-Hall touching the death of George Goodwin, a rigger, 40 yrs. of age, of 19 Herbert Street, who was drowned in the docks on Saturday afternoon. The evidence of a man named MacQueen, who was on board the barque, Governor Langdon, of Liverpool, at the time of the occurrence, was to the effect that deceased was employed mooring the barque, which was 40 or 50 yards away, to the south buoy in the East Dock, and for this purpose he was in a small boat near the spot named. A steamer, described by MacQueen as the Amazonas, of Sunderland, broke away from her moorings – a violent gale blowing at the time – and ran over the small boat and buoy. Deceased was drowned, and the jury, after hearing the evidence, returned a verdict that his death was the result of an accident. A brother –in-law of the deceased, named Patrick O’Brien, who had given evidence of identification, protested that this was not justice, but the coroner explained that if he wished to bring an action against anyone, he must do so in another court. "

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