Last updated 10 September 2020


Amelia Truscott


The Truscott family enters the story in 1870 with the marriage of Amelia Truscott and John Barker ...


11 October 1870 marriage John Barker (bachelor of Castletown House, Carne, Wexford, coachman; father Robert Barker, shepherd) and Amelia Truscott (spinster of New Bay, parish of Wexford; father George Truscott, pensioner, Royal Navy) in St Selskar's Church, County Wexford. [Record]


Castletown House and St Selskar's Church are both now ruins.


The exact date and place of Amelia's birth is not known but we can surmise it was about 1852 in or near Curracloe coast guard station in Wexford. She claimed to be age 19 in the 1871 census and her father was a boatman in the coast guard at Curracloe at that time. "Since men were posted at least 20 miles from their home in order to prevent possible collusive efforts with friends and relatives, and local people were not keen on housing them, the coast guard built special watch-houses and cottages for their employees."

Ruins of St. Selskar's Church


George Truscott


Amelia's father was George Truscott, a mariner. Very conveniently, a register containing George Truscott's navy service record has been digitised and can be found on the Web [3] ...


                          ship               rank [1]     no.

19 Jly 1833 to 31 Oct 1835  Conway             B2C           14  age 15

29 Mch 1836 to 30 Aug 1836  Cornwallis         B1C            1

31 Aug 1836 to 14 Feb 1837  Cornwallis         Ordy         352 [North America & West Indies]

15 Feb 1837 to 18 Jly 1838  Trinculo           AB            32

19 Jly 1838 to 02 Mch 1841  Trinculo           AB            32  age 20

03 Mch 1841 to 02 Apr 1841  Trinculo           Ordy          32

03 Apr 1841 to 29 May 1841  Trinculo           AB            32 [Lisbon?] [90]

09 Sep 1841 to 16 Oct 1841  Bellesisle         AB           704

18 Oct 1841 to 19 Oct 1841  Caledonia          AB          1415

27 Dec 1841 to 03 Jly 1844  Vindictive         AB           345

04 Jly 1844 to 06 Aug 1844  Vindictive         Geo. Signals 345

09 Sep 1844 to 21 Jan 1845  Devonport D'yard   Seam rigger

09 Feb 1845 to 30 Jun 1845  Ranger             AB            41

01 Jun 1845 to 03 May 1948  Ranger             Musician      41

25 Jly 1848 to 13 Dec 1849  Devonport D'yard   Extra rigger

28 Dec 1849 to 10 Feb 1854  Coast guard        Boatman

11 Feb 1854 to 09 May 1856  Duke of Well'ton [see]

10 May 1856 to 11 May 1858  Coast guard        Boatman

12 May 1858 to 11 Aug 1869  Coast guard        Commissioned Boatman

12 Aug 1869 to 15 Oct 1869  Coast guard        Chief Boatman

28 Oct 1869 W


A coast guard record [2] mentions that George was born 21 July 1818 St Stephens, Saltash, Cornwall, a nice match with ...


02 August 1818 George Truscot baptised in Saltash, Cornwall, father Frances Truscot, mother Mary [Findmypast]


At the age of fifteen, he embarked on HMS Conway. Conway was a wooden, full-rigged, 26 gun ship of 652 tons, 125 ft long with a beam of 34 ft 5 in. Her full complement was 175 men and boys. From 1833 to 1835, George was one of the boys.


HMS Conway


HMS Conway took him to South America. Not all the journey is recorded but in late June 1835 the Conway departed Valparaiso, Chile for England. George was there at the same time as Charles Darwin. Darwin wrote to a friend on 12 July 1835: "In a few days time the Beagle will sail for the Galapagos Islands ... I sent by H.M.S. Conway two large boxes of Specimens. The Conway sailed the latter end of June ..."


George next joined HMS Cornwallis and on 31 August 1836 (age 18) he became an ordinary seaman. The Cornwallis was a larger ship: a 74-gun third rate ship of the line, launched on 12 May 1813 at Bombay; built of teak; 1809 tons; length 176 ft and beam 47 ft 6 in; crew 600. There is not much information about her voyages but while George was onboard she was "at Plymouth and off Lisbon" [4].


The HMS Cornwallis allotment book shows him allocating his pay to his "mother Elizabeth Venning" [5]. I haven't sorted out what this means. His mother was recorded as Mary in 1818, and a Mary Truscott died in Saltash in 1826:


27 October 1826 Mary Truscott age 39 (b. 1787) buried in St Stephens by Saltash, Cornwall [Findmypast]


This suggests that Elizabeth Venning was some sort of foster mother. George clearly trusted her with his money. George was just twelve then, so was perhaps put into the care of the Vennings, who may or may not have been relatives. I cannot find a Truscott/Venning marriage anywhere in England. If his father remarried, to Elizabeth, she should have been Elizabeth Truscott. Mysterious.


On 15 Feb 1837 George Truscott joined HMS Trinculo as an able seaman. This was a smaller ship, an 18 gun brig-sloop. He was with the ship for four years, all of that time apparently shuttling between Lisbon, Cadiz and Gibralter, or perhaps running mail and passengers from England to those places. On 29 May 1841 Trinculo "paid off" at Plymouth and George was transferred to the Bellesisle and then to the Caledonia for short periods.


Remarkably, Trinculo made it onto an English postage stamp, albeit only a four-penny one. Ascension Island is a reference to her earlier duties combating the slave trade.


HMS Trinculo (1809-1841)


On 27 Dec 1841 George joined HMS Vindictive, a wooden, full-rigged, 74-gun third-rate ship of the line. Vindictive was launched on 30 November 1813 at Portsmouth but by then the Napoleonic War was winding up, she was not required for active service and so was immediately placed "in ordinary" [6]. She was finally commissioned in September 1841 soon before George joined her. On 26 January 1842, she ran aground on The Dean, in the English Channel off the Isle of Wight and was refloated the next day. From then until 1844 she was in the East Indies. I can find no detail of her voyage while George was onboard, other than that she was in Hong Kong [7] in August 1842 and visited Sydney [8] early in 1843. He was probably the first member of the family to set foot in Australia.


On returning to England on 6 August 1844 he spent four months in the Devonport dockyard as a seam rigger [9], then joined HMS Ranger on 9 February 1845. The next three years, until paying off in Chatham on 3 May 1848, was spent off the coast of West Africa. For most of the trip he was listed as a musician [10]. On the return of the Ranger, the Times newspaper reported:

After this voyage, George began to settle down. Until 13 Dec 1849 he worked in the Devonport Dockyard as an Extra rigger. During this time he married Mary Ann Farrell ...


13 Aug 1848 marriage George Truscott (bach of full age, mariner on "Ranger", father Francis Truscott, mariner)

and Mary Ann Farrell (spin of full age of St Andrew Street, father John Farrell, mariner) in St Andrew, Plymouth, Devon [Record]


On 7 December 1849 George was transferred from "HMS Ranger" to the coast guards, as a boatman at Curracloe station in Wexford, Ireland. 5th October 1853 saw the outbreak of the Crimean War and on 28th March 1854 Britain and France declared war on Russia. As part of the naval reserve, George was called back into service and on 11 February 1854 he was transferred to HMS Duke of Wellington as Petty Officer 2nd Class. During his four years in Wexford, (at least) two children were born, but we only know because of the 1871 English census. They were daughters Amelia, born about 1852 and Frances, born about 1854. Irish records for Wexford are very deficient, many having been destroyed by a fire in the Irish archives in 1922.


HMS Duke of wellington in Portsmouth

The Duke of Wellington was the pride of the fleet. Launched on 14 September 1852, she was a wooden, full-rigged ship converted to screw propulsion, 241 ft long with 131 guns and a crew of 1100. At the time, she was said to be the most powerful warship afloat. From 19 February 1855 until 04 April 1857 she was the flagship of the British fleet in the Baltic during the Russian War. So far as I can see, though, she took no part in any of the naval battles.


George was released from the Duke of Wellington on 09 May 1856 and returned to coast guard duties in Wexford. [ADM-175-19_1.pdf 54of68] lists him at Curracloe station, Wexford, until his promotion (to commissioned boatman) to Carnsore station, Wexford on 12 May 1858. He remained at Carnsore and was promoted to Chief Boatman there on 12 Aug 1869 before retiring on 15 October 1869.


For some reason, the family moved to England and were in Liverpool in 1871. It may have been for a land-based job as a customs officer. Mary Ann's death certificate records her as "widow of a customs officer". At least six more children had been born by then and were mentioned in the census but we only have more details about four of them:


Q4 1855 Louisa Truscott birth registered, mother's maiden name Farrell [Stoke Damerel 5B 269] Devon, while George was in the Baltic


08 Jan 1865 William Truscote born in Broadway, County Wexford, Ireland, father George Truscote, mother Mary Anne Farrell



14 Nov 1866 Edward James Truscott born in Broadway, County Wexford, Ireland (Carnsore Station, Broadway), father George Truscott, mother Mary Anne Farrell



Q4 1870 Elizabeth Ann Truscott birth registered, mother's maiden name Farrell [Liverpool 8b 6]


02 Apr 1871 England, Wales & Scotland Census

address: Dublin Street, Liverpool, Lancashire

Household Members              Marital status   Age   Born    Birth place          Occupation

George     Truscott   Lodger   Married          52    1819    Saltash, Cornwall    Naval pensioner

Mary Ann   Truscott   Wife     Married          44    1827    Devonport, Devon

Amelia     Barker     Dghtr    Married          19    1852    Ireland

Francis E  Truscott   Dghtr    Single           17    1854    Ireland              Domestic servant

Louisa     Truscott   Dghtr    Single           15    1856    Devonport, Devon     Domestic servant

Francis    Truscott   Son      Single           11    1860    Ireland

Blanch     Truscott   Dghtr    Single            8    1863    Ireland

William    Truscott   Son      Single            6    1865    Ireland

Edward     Truscott   Son      Single            4    1867    Ireland

Elizabeth  Truscott   Dghtr    Single           8mths 1870    Liverpool, Lancashire


Disaster followed shortly after the census. Within three months both parents had died, leaving the older daughters to look after some very young children.


09 Jun 1871 George Truscott, age 53, died in 24 Dublin Street, Liverpool [Certificate]

17 Jly 1871 Mary Ann Truscott, age 45, died of a fever in 24 Dublin Street, Liverpool [Certificate]


Kirkdale Industrial School

In the turmoil after Mary Ann's death, some of the children were placed in the Liverpool Board Of Guardians Workhouse.


19 Jly 1871 Louisa Truscott admitted with a fever to Liverpool Board Of Guardians Workhouse; discharged 8 Aug 1871.

26 Jly 1871 Francis Truscott admitted to Liverpool Board Of Guardians Workhouse; transferred 1 Aug 1871 to Kirkdale.

26 Jly 1871 Blanche Truscott admitted to Liverpool Board Of Guardians Workhouse; transferred 11 Aug 1871 to Kirkdale.

26 Jly 1871 William Truscott admitted to Liverpool Board Of Guardians Workhouse; transferred 1 Aug 1871 to Kirkdale.

26 Jly 1871 Edward Truscott admitted to Liverpool Board Of Guardians Workhouse; transferred 11 Aug 1871 to Kirkdale.


Louisa had been ill with a fever and was treated there. Presumably she was able to return to domestic service when discharged. The younger children were moved on to Kirkdale Industrial School, in Liverpool. This was probably not such a bad outcome. The School was a state-run institution for the teaching of 'pauper' children. It opened in 1845 and was considered an attractive building at the time. The children were taught reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as religious instruction and useful trades like carpentry, shoemaking and needlework. It seems to have been sufficiently well regarded that some parents who were not paupers tried to get their children into the school.


Thereafter, the family vanishes. So far as I can see, none of the children died in Lancashire up until December 1881. Presumably the elder daughters carried on with their domestic service jobs and found a way to look after one year old Elizabeth. The younger children would have grown up in Kirkdale School. It seems there are records of admissions and discharges for the school, but on microfilm and not digitised [11].


HMS Duke of wellington



1. Navy ranks: these definitions refer to more recent times but probably reflect the situation in the 1830's, before there were training ships ...


* B2C: Boy 2nd class - a boy aged 15 to 17 rated as such on entry to a training ship of the Royal Navy. Such entry was conditional on a boy's adequate physical height, weight and medical fitness and evidence of being of 'good character'.


* B1C: Boy 1st class - a boy aged 16 to 18 under training, who had previously served for between 9 months and 18 months rated as "boy 2nd class", shown sufficient proficiency in seamanship and accumulated at least one good conduct badge (the requirements varied between training ships). His rate of pay was increased on being promoted.


* Ordy: On a boy's 18th birthday he automatically became rated as an ordinary seaman.


* AB: Able Seaman


* Geo. Signals: no idea


* Petty officer 2nd class


* Landsman: In the Royal Navy in the mid-18th century, the term "landsman" referred to a seaman with less than a year's experience at sea. After a year, a landsman was usually rated as an ordinary seaman. Most were acquired by impressment (a common method of recruitment from c. 1700-1815). Landsmen were usually between the ages of 16 to 35.


2. [ADM-175-69_1.pdf 53of69] born 21 Jly 1818 St Stephens, Saltash, Cornwall; earning 1s/9d a day;

from "Duke of Wellington" 29 Apr 1856; to "Fred Wm" 24 Mch 1865.


3. The National Archives Series/Piece ADM 29/078 [FindMyPast]


4. HMS Cornwallis (1813) Logbook kept while at Plymouth and off Lisbon, 1836-37 [Yale University Libraries: Sterling Memorial Library, Ref: Robert Neeser Coll, Mss 366 (not available at The National Archives)]


5. 1836 HMS Cornwallis allotment numbers 28995-29001, year of allotment 1836

George Truscott Ship's name: HMS Cornwallis; Pay book number: SB 352;

[] [Reference: ADM 27/50/76, Folios 212-213]


6. In ordinary: A reserve fleet is a collection of naval vessels of all types that are fully equipped for service but are not currently needed, and are partially or fully decommissioned. A reserve fleet is informally said to be "in mothballs" or "mothballed". In earlier times these ships were said to be laid up in ordinary. However, a few warships, called guard ships, were kept in full commission but with reduced crews of RN officers and ratings. They lay at major ports and acted as the headquarters of the Coast guard districts. Annual sea training was undertaken with a full complement of coastguardmen. In an emergency they could be readied to sail in 24-48 hours.


7. Hong Kong: Medical journal of the Naval Hospital at Macao, China, from 4 July to 27 May 1843 by James Allan, Acting Surgeon, includes Henry Wells, aged 21, Able Seaman belonged to HMS Vindictive; taken ill at Hong Kong; put on sick list 27 August 1842 [] [ADM 101/108/1B]


8. Sydney: Medical journal of HMS Earl of Durham for 5 April to 15 September 1843 by John William Bowler, Surgeon. Surgeon's general remarks, on the 24th April 1843 the invalided seamen and marines late of HMS Hazard embarked on board the Earl of Durham from the Colonial Hospital Sydney for passage to England ... with three patients belonging to HMS Vindictive. [] [ADM 101/21/1/2]


9. Seam rigger: I can't find this trade in the dictionaries of the time (Pantologia 1819; Encyclopedia Britannica 1823). It suggests sewing bits of sail together. ("Seams, in Sail-Making: Sails have a double flat seam, that is, the edges or selvages of the canvas are lapped one over the other an inch or more, and both edges firmly sewed down." [Rees, The Cyclopaedia, 1819, vol 32 SCO-SIN]


10. musician: I can't find a formal definition of musician as a naval rank. Perhaps it meant he played the pipes?


11. Kirkdale industrial schools registers, 1869-1904


Admissions and discharges (boys) 1869-1881 Admissions and discharges (girls) 1869-1881 Admissions and discharges (boys A-T) 1881-1887 FHL BRITISH Film 1655288 Items 2-4