Damico, John - how did he get to New Zealand :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
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Damico, John - how did he get to New Zealand

Journal by Meury73

John Damico married my great grandmother in Dunedin, New Zealand. The marriage took place in a Roman Catholic Chapel 29 December 1863. He was 24 years old, and a miner. She was Mary Sarah Jamieson, aged 18 years. They travelled from Dunedin to the goldfields of Central Otago by dray. They slept under it at night. That is the last record of him until Mary Sarah married again in the eighties. There was a statement on her marriage certificate that she was a widow, as from 7 April 1877. I do not know why this would appear on a certificate, especially so exactly, unless perhaps there was a wait of seven years, or something, for him to be declared dead. Has anyone else ever seen that on a marriage document? Mary Sarah ended up in Waikaia, Southland, New Zealand. My grandmother appears to have been her first child. Edited 2016 to say that a child, Joseph, was born in 1864 to Mary and John Domico. (Note different spelling) The baby died a few weeks later. The marriage broke down quite soon afterwards.

I would like to know how John Damico got to New Zealand or if he left here. The name Damico could be Italian, where, I am told that it is as common as 'Smith'. Or this name could be Portuguese. I say this because there is a vague connection with Portugal.

The witnesses to John Damico's wedding in 1863 were Joseph P. Cesere, and Ann/Tom Kemp (I cannot read the name clearly) Edited 2016 to say the name is probably Tom Kemp. There was a Thomas Kemp aboard the Aldinga from Australia in 1862/63.

Mary Sarah Jamieson (born c1845) came to New Zealand in her teens with her mother Sarah Jamieson, nee Macdonald, so it could have been as late as 1863 that they travelled to NZ, possibly through Australia. I have wondered if they were all on the same ship. Joseph Cesere was listed as the Master of the Aldinga (or a word like that) and then there is the word 'Restaurant', but I wonder if that is related to the other witness. Mary could write and so could Joseph, but Tom could barely manage, and John used a cross for his siganture.

I have wondered if John Damico was a member of the crew of a ship. Where can I get information about that?

I know that there was a ship named Aldinga, one of two, that plied the waters beteen Australia and New Zealand frequently, with our post. Edited 2016 to state there was a place in Australia called Aldinga about 45 miles from Adelaide. In New Zealand there is a place called Aldinga in the Old Man Range.

One aunt, born in the 1880s, said, 'Oh that'll be the Jamaican.' Nothing else. Subsequent research shows that that connection probably applied somewhere else though.

The name Damico is quite common in the USA, but the entries that I have seen are all too late for our John.

Any suggestions welcome. I've been in front of this brick wall for forty years.

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by Meury73 Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2014-08-22 04:23:07

Meury73 has been a Family Tree Circles member since Jun 2013.

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by ngairedith on 2014-08-22 06:07:34

I think it possible that the name was D'Amico

by ngairedith on 2014-08-22 07:40:18

Aldinga is a suburb in the (now city) of Onkaparinga, South Australia

The screw-steamer 'Aldinga', intended to ply between the Australian colonies, was launched on the Clyde in July 1860

The steamers, 'Ladybird', 'Airedale', 'Aldinga', & 'City of Hobart' arrived in Port Chalmers within 24 hours of each other and, along with the sailing vessels 'Don Pedro' & 'Aurifera' in Sep 1861 brought at least 750 people
The Aldinga, with Captain J. McLean (carrying about 150 of those passengers) reached Port Chalmers in the remarkably short time of 5 days. She returned to Melbourne from Port Chalmers with 2,400ozs of gold

The Aldinga returned the following month, on the 4th Oct, from Melbourne into Port Chalmers with about another 200 passengers

She returned 23 Nov with another 132 passengers (and took back 40,103oz gold) and continued to do this every month, becoming the fastest vessel of its day doing the trip in 4 days 22 hours (under the command of Captain john McLean)
* In the 1860s the Aldinga was known as the flyer, especially when 'Hell Fire Jack' McLean was on the bridge
* In the 1860?s and 1870?s she brought wool from the top of St Vincent?s Gulf to the wool carriers waiting in Adelaide. Master: Captain H. Boyle
* After use as a passenger vessel, considerably modified to a collier. From Wollomgong to South Bulli, struck Bellambi Reef, off Sydney heads, in the dark, wrecked , 20th January 1896. Crew saved

In Dec 1861 the Aldinga brought the largest amount of mail that ever came from Melbourne, nearly 5000 letters

Between the Aldinga and the Alhambra they brought thousands of hopeful gold diggers across the Tasman
However, I cannot find a Joseph Cesare as ever being the Master of the Aldinga

The Aldinga: 423 gross tons, 291 net. Iron steamship 2 funnels rigged as a 3 masted barque and built 1860 by Scott of Greenoch for this company as McMeckan, Blackwood & Co in partnership with S White of Aldinga, Adelaide and J Darwent also of Adelaide. Modified 1862 Lbd: 202'6" x 24'6" x 13'4" with tonnage increased to 446 gross. Worked the Tasman run and Otago. 1871 fully owned by McMeckan, Blackwood & Co. Altered during 1887 with with passenger accomodation removed as well as one funnel and and two masts. Sold August 1877 to Adelaide steamship Co. Laid up until 1883 then placed on collier run when purchased by E Vickery who traded as the Mount Kembla Coal Co., of Sydney. Wrecked Bellambi reef January 23rd 1896

by Meury73 on 2014-08-22 09:23:01

Thank you for the wonderful detail about the Aldinga. I wonder if any of the pasenger lists were recorded anywhere? I have hunted for them at this end but have found nothing.

Yes, you are right that it could be D'amico.

Since John Damico could not write his name, I think that whoever wrote it down took a guess. At first I had only a handwritten note of the marriage, and for ages I wondered if Damico was just a transliteration of Jamieson. It looked a bit like that. It could be minus the D as well and have different vowels. John could have been a translation of Giovanni, or even a nickname given because no-one could say/spell Giovanni.

Having said all of this, the fact is that Mary could write and Joseph could too. You would think that they would try to get it right.

I have found a Joseph P Cesere, born 1810 in Jamaica, but have no access to more detailed information. He may have described himself as the Master of the Aldinga Restaurant in Dunedin after all, but I have not heard that said of a restaurant before.

I have found a Giovanni Domenico who was refused the vote in 1876 in Goldsborough, Westland, because he was an alien. The name is a possible version of what I am looking for. He lived at the abode of Wm Wilson.

Then, after that, I found a death near Goldsborough of Domenico Borserini, assumed to have been killed in 1877 because that is when his dwelling was burned and he had disappeared. His body was found in a well nearby in 1882. Reports in newspapers of this discovery had several variations of his name.

This all seems to fit. Mary Sarah married again in 1882. Perhaps there are no official records of the death because he was an 'alien', but someone knew because the date of his death is so exact.

I keep hoping.

I have tried to find official records of the inquest held, bu have had noluck as yet.

by ngairedith on 2014-08-22 09:42:56

who did Mary Sarah remarry in 1882?

by ngairedith on 2014-08-22 10:04:27

adding this here Meury so I don't lose it :) and can refer to it as needed

Otago Daily Times, 14 February 1882
On Thursday last it was reported to the Goldsborough police by a miner named Joseph Grossi that while working with his three mates they found the skeleton of a man at the bottom of a shaft 15 feet deep and until recently full of water. The shaft is situated at Fox's. From inquiries made by the police it is believed the remains are those of a miner named Domenico Borserini, whose hut was situated about 30 yards from the shaft where the bones were discovered. Mr Muller, storekeeper at Fox's, states that on September 18th, 1877, Borserini paid him some money. On the evening of that day Borserini's hut, together with all its contents, was destroyed by fire. Since the date just mentioned the man had disappeared. Mr Muller states that he held a mortgage over Borserini's claim for L100, and he imagined that Borserini had gone away in order to escape payment of the money he owed. The shinbones were in a pair of knee-boots, which have been identified as his make by a bootmaker named Michael Fitzgibbon, living at Goldsborough. The remains have been removed to the Helvetia Hotel, Goldsborough, where an inquest will be held. The police are now engaged in prosecuting further inquiries.

by ngairedith on 2014-08-22 10:16:20

trouble with Domenico is he was last seen alive on 18 Sep 1877
Mary Sarah said she was a widow as from 7 April 1877

by Meury73 on 2014-08-22 23:13:47

Yes, what you say is true from this report. I should have said that the year was the same, rather than 'exact'. Sorry it was very late in NZ. I still have to accept this death as a possibility because the dead man's name is different in many of the reports of this incident in other NZ papers as well. That's why I considered this person in the first place - because the names varied so much.

It is just possible that, when remembering back five years, Mr Muller said September, but later that date was corrected for official records?? That is why I would like to track down the papers recording the inquest that was held in the Helvetia Hotel in Goldsborough. Maybe Mary Sarah made a mistake, or dated it back to when she last saw him or heard from him? He could be the wrong person entirely.

I don't really want this murdered man to be the one I am looking for, but I can find nothing else remotely possible at this stage. I will keep on looking.

Mary Sarah married Peter Radford

by Meury73 on 2014-08-23 00:18:42

I have, also, a strange little note, dated 1876, which could refer to the alien I mentioned before.

Loss Domenico left the colony. His abode was with Peter Zohrab. This name 'Loss' could have been digitally read and corrupted from John.
Therefore we get the name John Damenico. This gets closer, but where did this one go?

I could be clutching of straws though.

Now, of course, I am wondering if Zohrab has been translated from another name also.

by ngairedith on 2014-08-23 00:26:13

well... to me the fact that Mary Sarah married Peter Radford on 28 Sep 1882 under her MAIDEN name should tell us heaps!!

by ngairedith on 2014-08-23 00:37:23

so, Peter Radford was a brother of Dinah Radford who married William James Griffin/Moffitt

by Meury73 on 2014-08-23 01:29:33

No it tells me nothing. I know pretty much all I need about this marriage. The actual marriage certificate states that Mary was a widow, and gives the name John Damico and the date you found earlier for his death. I've seen the original entry, have a copy of the handwritten entry, and also a modern typed copy. BDM plays ducks and drakes with some records when they don't know what to put in such narrow fields. I have written to them, but they opted for the maiden name in this case, but not in others. It makes things difficult for researchers.

Similarly I have the marriage certificate of MarySarah's Sarah's marriage to John Damico as above. So, BDM should have her Damico name.

It was difficult to both get a divorce, and to get married in the remotest part of New Zealand at that time. As I said, Mary and John split up fairly quickly after the marriage, and then Mary and Peter got together, marrying as soon as they could. Dinah was their daughter.

by Meury73 on 2014-08-23 01:31:37

It's the information about John Damico that I lack. I want to focus on that.

by Meury73 on 2014-09-05 03:08:52

A cousin has found him! Just some details, in 1864 and in 1871, but it is a start for us to find out what happened to him.
Still looking for movements and his death. We now know that his name IS spelt different ways.

Just shows - never give up!

by Meury73 on 2016-07-15 01:45:18

Hello NgaireEdith

Genealogy takes time.

It turns out the the name was recorded as Domico at times. Mary and John Domico had a child in 1864, Joseph, who died within weeks. The couple split up almost immediately. The birth record has only recently appeared in BDM records because I did search earlier using every possible vowel arrangement. It pays for everyone to keep looking at BDM, and especially in Papers Past with additions occurring regularly.

We have found some records with his name as Domico, including one in 1871 (details elude me right now), one that I mentioned above about a 'John', Loss Domenico leaving the country in 1876, but I have another lead with a man called Giovanni (John) Domenico. This name has appeared in 1876 as being refused the vote in Goldsborough, Westland, because he was an 'alien'. Then we have the name John Domico in Archives as having applied for naturalisation papers in 1878. (We will access this document to see if they could be the same man. It will be interesting to see if the naturalisation papers were completed.)

This is because that man down the well near Goldsbotough, Westland keeps recurring in my searches. One of the many names that apply to him is Domenico, but with Borserini added. His assumed date of death was 1877, and there it is, in between the date of the refusal of the vote for the alien, and the date of the application for naturalisation. A lot will depend on that document.

It is perhaps unwise to 'play hunches' but I tend to do so if they keep cropping up. The place Goldsborough appears in relation to both men called Domenico albeit with first name becoming a surname) A witness to John Damico's marriage was Joseph Cesere. (A friend of the couple?) The child born in 1864 was called Joseph. (After a friend of the couple? Not usual but possible).

Foreign names clearly gave reporters trouble in early New Zealand, and if you add the curly handwriting style of the day, what happens to a name like Cesere? (Just look at the many variations of the dead man's name in newspapers all over NZ. It's a bit like Chinese Whispers)The name of the man who found the body down the mine was Joseph Grossi. It does not take too much effort of the imagination to make a connection here. Firstly we have 'Joseph'. Then what about Grossi? The C of Cesere would have been pronounced Ch. We have to ask if Cesere could become Grossi. I think yes it could, but did it? Was the man who found the body, Joseph Cesere?

How did the men find a body down a 15 foot well? Why had the well in a remote place been drained? To use for sluicing in a gold claim? What made them study the base of a well that deep?

I am looking for help to prove John Domico was alive after 1877. Then I won't have to worry about the man down the well any more. I am sure that I have read about people of this name in Australia, but any notes I kept appear to have been lost. Our man was born c1839.

Another area to look is at electoral rolls of that early period after the Naturalisation.

I should know about the application for naturalisation in a couple of weeks.

by Meury73 on 2016-07-16 03:47:27

Please ignore my comment about Loss Domenico. His name appeared in some places like this but it should have been Domenico Loss. I found the correct version in NZ Papers Past 'West Coast Times' 6 May 1876 where there was a long list of men whose right to vote had been challenged for a number of reasons. The name Giovanni Domenico was there as an 'alien' as well. I think that this could be translated to John Domenico, and so it is of interest.

Joseph Grossi, mentioned earlier also appears in other places as Joseph Grosset, and strangely as Orossi. The combination of hearing a foreign name and handwriting seems to have provided names which are getting closer to Cesere???

3 advertisements show is that John Domico (alternative spelling) could not sign his name in 1866, at which time he virtually announced that his marriage was over.

On 5 June 1871, John Domico signed the nomination form for politician Peter Dungan at Maori Creek, New River. He was able to write.

by Meury73 on 2018-05-24 09:04:13

Found a John Domico in England at the end of the century with a young wife and children. He appears to have been born at the 'right' time, and have a relevant trade. Needs more research.

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