Our first eBook is finally available!
This year has seen a lot of “firsts” – setting up the ‘St Helena Community’ blog, finding new stories, including original sketches of nature on the island and finally discovering new historical research focussed on the St Helena Island prison. I’m excited to constantly explore new means of recording and sharing information, and this week it’s no exception.
On this website under the ‘Free ebooks’ tab you’ll find a new eBook – ‘The St Helena Island Warders’ children’s cemetery.’ Since I first came to St Helena Island in 1997, the tour guides have been telling the same stories about the Warder’s children’s cemetery – excepting one story about Eleanor Fetherstonhaugh dying from flying off a horse which later became tuberculosis. But ultimately our historical knowledge has stayed stationary for too long.
The sign above was written by myself with the full knowledge available to me at the time – that being that we have seven burials here in the cemetery:
George Holloway – aged 8 years
Frank Holloway – aged 3 months
Eleanor Fetherstonhaugh – aged 19 years
Charlotte Hore – aged 5 months
Anne McKenzie – aged 1 year
The St Helena Island Warders’ children’s cemetery eBook is a small .pdf containing big, new information that has changed what we know about the social history of the warder’s families living on the island as part of the St Helena Penal Establishment from 1867 to the late 1920’s. Our knowledge of exactly which families lived on the island in the prison married quarters has always been piecemeal, with known gaps in the depth and breadth of our knowledge. History has not focussed on the wives and children and archival prison records only recall sporadic details about families.
I can now reveal that I have discovered 8 new children’s deaths and 6 new burials on St Helena Island. The children’s cemetery has nearly doubled! Take a look at the video below recorded in July 2018 (by my 12 year old son who didn’t mind chopping off my head occasionally!) regarding the new St Helena Warders’ Children’s cemetery research:
This information has been pieced together by myself from a wide variety of official records and private research, allowing me to narrow down which families to focus on. My final, definitive source has been the death certificates – gold to researchers like myself – as they contain specific, everyday details in people’s lives that are detailed, cover a range of information and importantly are verified by official representatives. These certificates have proven my suspicions that not only had these families lived on St Helena Island , but some had died and were buried on St Helena Island also.
There’s another advantage too – some certificates reveal that the child was born on the island. That’s a new path for me, and an exciting one. To date we have known only a handful of children born on the island. You’ll have to come back another time when I’ve finalised what I suspect to be a long list of births on St Helena Island!
The new St Helena Island cemetery research has also changed the physical, built structures, as we now realise that the island’s children’s cemetery is bigger than first realise. Potentially this will change the management of the site, as well as our interpretation, both oral and written, of the cemetery and family details. Our sign is now out of date and our tour guides have new stories to share. The interpretation of history is not stagnant – it involves delving deeper to find new perspectives that challenge our current ways of thinking. I’m excited to be part of that process.
Please make your way to the Free eBooks tab on this site and fill in the opt in form to receive your free eBook via an email link. I will occasionally send updates regarding new information and events to your email address, but will never share your details with others.
Also, please feel free to tell others to come and download a book so we can all update and appreciate the detailed information about the people in St Helena Island’s prison history.