Are the Matthew Howie in these sources my Matthew Howie?

+3 votes

My 2x Great Grandfather Matthew Gordon Howie was born in Dundee, Angus, Scotland in abt. 1854. I can find him in the 1871 Scottish Census with his family, but I can not find him anywhere in the 1881 or 1891 Census. 

I know he was definitely living in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia by November 1894 as I have the marriage certificate for him and my 2x Great Grandmother. This Certificate states his occupation was Sailor. There is not much other info on the marriage certificate as the family story is that her parents disapproved and they eloped, but his death certificate states he was 34 at marriage and his age at death is 4 years younger than it should be. His death certificate only says was he was born in Scotland, it does not give the time in Australia (our death certificates normally do from that era). I next find them in Merinda, Queensland, Australia in 1898, when Matthew bought a property there. I know they lived on that property the remainder of his life. He was very well known and respected in the community being one of its earliest residents. I have lots of info on him after 1898 and was given information about him after this point from my nana before she passed that she was given by his children. There is a great big gap between 1871 and 1894 though, all I know for sure is he made it to Australia. I do know that his family moved to Glasgow between 1871 and 1873 and he always told people he was from Glasgow, so I think he must have left Scotland after that move. 

I am still working on his profile so most sources are not added yet but I can provide any needed and am working on writing up the full bio over the coming days.

Using the sailor clue I went looking at crew lists. I have found 93 entries for an M Howie (sometimes, Mat, MG, MY, MF, Mat G, Mat F, Mat T) in the arrivals to Sydney, NSW records from 1879 to 1896. I believe all these records are my ancestor but obviously crew lists alone are not overly reliable. The ages are a bit all over the place but sort of line up with the age he must has used from marriage onwards (4 to 5 years younger than he actually was)

I also found a passenger entry for a Matthew Howie from Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, NSW on 29 Jun 1876, there is a comment on this one that one transcription has as Lic. 29/06/1876. I am wondering if he left Glasgow and went to New Zealand first.

So my questions are 
1. Does any one know what the comment Lic. 29/06/1876
2. Does anyone know where I can find records on arrivals into New Zealand in the 1870's? I have tried Ancestry, FindMyPast, MyHeritage and FamilySearch. 
3. Does anyone know where I might be able to find outward bound records for Scotland in the 1870's, if they exist?
4. Does anyone know if the shipping companies in Australia had employment records that are available?
4. I would appreciate anyone willing to take a look over this spreadsheet I created with all the crew records (an NZ passenger record) and a link to the source (mainly FindMyPast but I have added free ones when I found them)

Really hope someone can help me as I would love to know at least how he got to Australia. 


WikiTree profile: Matthew Howie
in Genealogy Help by Maree Evans G2G2 (2.4k points)

1 Answer

+1 vote

I've only had quick look at the National Library of Australia's trove and found an article, March 1876, about ship's wreckage that had been found in New Zealand, and conjecture that it belonged to the schooner Blanche.  Matthew Howie is mentioned (at the end) as crew on the Blanche.  See:
1876 'AUCKLAND.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 28 March, p. 4., viewed 14 Sep 2021,

by Doreen Matters G2G1 (1.9k points)
Hey Doreen, thanks for that link. I have looked into all Blanche records I can find from that time and I can't find him on the crew. I will have to do some more research on this clue.

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