George Duncalfe ? to 1679

Members of the State Navies of the world
Post Reply
DuncalfONS
Able Seaman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:51 pm

George Duncalfe ? to 1679

Post by DuncalfONS » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:14 pm

Hi, I have recently acquired the will of George Duncalfe dated 10 May 1679 who was "late of the ship the Unicorne rideing in Chatham River". He died at the house of his landlord and landlady, Robert Harbert and his wife Ann, in the parish of St Nicholas, Rochester where he had lain sick, and to whom he left the wages that were due to him. I had hoped that as he was a bachelor he may have named his parents, but he named no relatives at all.

I see that in 1679 the Unicorn was on Guard duty at Chatham and that it was a naval ship. I am now wondering if there are any documents, perhaps at Kew, that would help me find out more about him.

Navclio
Commander
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:40 pm

Re: George Duncalfe ? to 1679

Post by Navclio » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:54 am

Someone in England who has actually used the kind of records you would need might be able to provide more info. Absent that, if Mr. Duncalfe was a seaman, he would probably only be found in Unicorn's muster book, if it has survived and the National Archives staff can find it. I believe that men are listed in the order that they entered, so you would have to start at the beginning and examine each entry to find out when he entered the ship and when he was discharged. If he was "late" of Unicorn when the will was made out, then he wasn't "DD" [discharged dead, i.e., died aboard ship while still in service]. You could, I think, get his rating—ordinary seaman, able seaman (a more skilled level), a petty officer rating such as boatswain's or carpenter's mate, or even a warrant. There might be some description of him, such as height, hair color, and complexion—I don't know whether the muster books had that information that early. You might also be able to find out whether he could sign his own name (that doesn't prove he was literate; but if he could only make his mark, then he wasn't).

The National Archives Web site will tell you the record series—ADM and a number—for ships' muster rolls. I don't know whether there was a separate pay book for each ship, but if there was, you could look for that too. If Duncalfe was transferred into Unicorn from another ship, I think the muster book would say so, and then you could look for the muster book for that ship. If he was pressed on shore, in a port, or if he volunteered (England wasn't at war in 1679, as far as I know, so the press might not have been in use), the muster book might tell you that, and then you could look there to find out if it was his home. Sailors usually alternated between merchant voyages or navy enlistments and time at a home on shore. If the muster book indicates that Duncalfe was pressed directly out of a merchant ship, you could look in civil shipping records for information about that vessel.

You could also get the PDF of John Charnock, Biographia navalis, and search within volumes 1 (captains appointed 1660–1673) and 2 (captains appointed 1674–1690) for "Unicorn," to find out who the captain was. That could lead you to information about the activities of Unicorn while Duncalfe was on board. You could also look for Unicorn's captain's journal (ADM51; over 4,000 volumes but there is apparently an index in Kew) and master's log (ADM52; also over 4,000 volumes) to find out what the ship did on a daily basis while Duncalfe was on board. Some journals and logs were either never submitted to the Admiralty or have not survived, so it's not sure thing that you could find either one. (Each officer was supposed to keep two copies and submit one to the Admiralty, I think every six months.)

Cy
Admiral of the Fleet
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 1:10 pm

Re: George Duncalfe ? to 1679

Post by Cy » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:40 am

Hi

The Unicorn had three different captains during 1678 and 1679 (She was out of commission between 1673 and 1678). See https://threedecks.org/index.php?displa ... ship&id=62 for the details.

The national archives at Kew holds the Muster Books in the series ADM 39 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.u ... ls/r/C1748. But doesn't list one for the Unicorn for the period.

Pay books are kept separately in ADM 33, but again there doesn't appear to be one for the period (although there is one for 1673, ADM 33/113)

Also available is the captain's logbook for May to August 1678. ADM 51/4380 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.u ... r/C4462567
OK, it was me, probably!

DuncalfONS
Able Seaman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:51 pm

Re: George Duncalfe ? to 1679

Post by DuncalfONS » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:17 pm

Thanks very much for the comprehensive replies. I have a contact who I can ask to do a little research for me on his next visit. I have 3 more wills, PCC this time, for Duncalfs who were on ships in the 1740s. I will also investigate these.

I spent some time yesterday going through some Quarter Sessions records I have from Lincolnshire that mention ships, both privately owned and navy, and found several matches on your site. These are the examinations of people apprehended as rogues and vagabonds and who were examined as to their place of settlement (the place where they "belonged") so that they could be passed back there. As well as the name of the ship some give their occupation, the date they joined up and some were "prest". I wondered if this source would be of interest here. I have so far completed two of the three Quarter Sessions series from 1700 to the 1840s and can provide a PDF file of the Lindsey and Kesteven Quarter Sessions. The copyright of these belongs to the Trustees of the Lincolnshire Family History Society, but as the compiler I should be able to get permission to send one copy to an interested party. The third set of Quarter Sessions, for the Holland area of LIncolnshire, is in progress, but it will take me probably another 4 years to complete the project.

I have pasted a short example from the Kesteven Quarter Sessions below.

VAGRANCY PASS dated 3 August 1753 [two pages]. Oasbert WETHERELL was apprehended in the
Parish of Horbling as a Rogue and Vagabond, wandering and begging there, to be conveyed to
Billingford in the County of Norfolk.
SETTLEMENT EXAMINATION dated 3 August 1753. Oasbert Wetherell Mariner
……He was Born Billingford in the County of Norfolk and lived there till he was about ten Years
Old then went to serve on Board a Ship a Man of War Call’d the Royal Victory Commanded by Sr
Cloudsley SHAVELL That he served in Several other Ships But that the last ship he served in was
the Prince of Orange and was by her brought to England and set on shore at Plymouth on last
Month and hath begged about the Country since And further saith he never did anything to gain
him a Settlement since he left Billingford aforesaid. Oasbert Wetherell His Mark [KQS A/2/168/9]

I cannot, of course, testify to the truth of these examinations, and the spelling of some of the ship names leaves something to be desired.

Cy
Admiral of the Fleet
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 1:10 pm

Re: George Duncalfe ? to 1679

Post by Cy » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:44 pm

Thanks for the offer, but i already have enough unprocessed data to keep me going for about 100 years.

The example you quote is interesting, if only for it's errors. There is no vessel called the Royal Victory, the ship he refers to must be the Victory 100 gunner https://threedecks.org/index.php?displa ... ip&id=5047, which in 1696 was the flag ship of Admiral Sir Cloudisley Shovell (d.1707) https://threedecks.org/index.php?displa ... an&id=1739.

This would make Oasbert WETHERELL c.67 years old in 1753.

The Prince of Orange was a 70 gun ship of the line launched in 1734 https://threedecks.org/index.php?displa ... hip&id=239 but I have no record of her being in commission between 1746 and 1755.
OK, it was me, probably!

DuncalfONS
Able Seaman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:51 pm

Re: George Duncalfe ? to 1679

Post by DuncalfONS » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:56 pm

Understood. I do realise that the information given in these examinations is "iffy". However, I was able to match up one or two ships with the correct commander as named by the Examinant.

Post Reply