Another Moncur bad boy

I probably need to get out more, but a few days ago, I ran my surname through querypic, looking to see if there were any reports relating to George or Thomas Moncur.

I didn’t turn up anything relating to them but I did turn up this notice about an absconding Moncur in 1828:

Annotation 2020-02-23 153653

As a notice it’s quite informative – it tells us that John Moncur, who was transported on the Minstrel – which sailed and arrived in 1825, and that when he absconded from the road gang he was 21 years old, making him seventeen or eighteen when he arrived in 1825.

Well our old friend the Scots Magazine with its record of court proceedings helps tie this down:

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but as you can see, it’s one of these cases where digitisation went a little askew.

A bit of hunting showed that there was also a report of court proceedings in the Scotsman, but the Scotsman digital archive wants to charge you eight quid for two days access, which I thought was a little excessive for a couple of column inches.

Fortunately the Scotsman is included in the State Library’s Proquest subscription, so after a few minutes scratching about to find my login details I had my report:

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The Scotsman described him as fifteen or sixteen, assume he was sixteen when convicted in December 1824, he could plausibly be seventeen when he arrived in August 1825.

Given that a lot of poorer classes – labourers, farmworkers etc, – in the Georgian era were a bit vague about their age and date of birth, it’s quite possible that he didn’t know his birthday and was judged to be sixteen.

So, he should have been easy to find. But he isn’t. No John Moncur shows up in the convict register.

It’s another good old transcription error – he’s listed as John Mancor

Annotation 2020-02-23 163610

on the convict records website, albeit with Moncure being given as an alias.

His conviction record ties in with the report in the Scotsman

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so we can be reasonably certain it’s him.

Unfortunately I can’t trace him beyond 1828 – none of the newspapers report him (as Moncur, Mancor, or Moncure) as being recaptured – it’s possible he’s in the convict records somewhere, but I havn’t looked very hard.

There’s a takeaway to this – be aware of aliases, different spellings and just plain old transcription errors, especially when searching old records …

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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1 Response to Another Moncur bad boy

  1. MyDreamSong says:

    I’ve been chasing my ancestor John Mancour who was born in 1807/1808 in Scotland and died in Michigan in the US in 1844. As close as I’ve come to finding him is the John Mancour sent to New South Wales in 1825 – when he was roughly 17 that puts him in the same birth year. He married Elizabeth Gilbert in 1836 in New York. What makes it interesting is there is an Elizabeth Gilbert sent to New South Wales in 1820 also on a convict ship. From what I could gather, life terms ended up being roughly 10 years which makes John a free man to travel to New York with Elizabeth in 1835 and marry in 1836.. and move to Atlas, Michigan…
    All theoretical, but the timelines are close. Not able to find records of their arrival in US, and Elizabeth appears to have been born in 1805, which might make her a bit young to be a convict. So the story gets a little shaky there.. Anyway, thought you might appreciate some of this info. My name is Mike Mancour

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