I am sure there are a number of genealogists out there pondering how zoology could be linked to genealogy. I was curious too.
One of my Butcher ancestors, migrated from Surrey in 1814, selling the family home and most of the assets and migrated to Tasmania. My initial question was, what was the catalyst that drove that huge move? What inspired the family?
I decided to focus on what I did not know, and turned my attention to the various gaps that were in my genealogical database. The first gap related to the wife of this particular ancestor.
John Hunt Butcher married Sarah Burchell in London in 1808. I clearly had John’s wife, but I had not, at that point established her parents. When I did, I could clearly see the driving force. I then spotted that John’s sister, Suskey married Sarah’s brother, George Matthew Burchell in 1810.
Sarah and George Matthew Burchell were the two youngest siblings of a family of 9. The oldest, William John Burchell (born in 1781) was known as an explorer and botanist. He had been working at Kew Gardens before embarking on his expedition in 1805.
I have undertaken quite a bit of research on the family. William maintained quite a collection of exhibits he had collected, he wrote journals, papers and was a talented painter, especially in watercolours. Several of his siblings migrated to South Africa in addition to his sister Sarah and her husband going to Tasmania.
So, the link to Zoology?
Well, there is a Zebra named Burchell’s Zebra which has been featured on stamps, this one is from Botswana. I also have a post card. I figure they are cheaper than buying a zebra to illustrate my genealogical research!