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This question is related to Finding New York City/State records relating to Sellars family (British subjects) births/deaths mid 19th century?.

I have a Scottish ancestor, Robert Sellars born 1830, who with wife Margaret Clacher, had a fourth son John born in New Grenada (now country of Colombia), Panama, South America in about 1863.

More details on John:

1871 Scottish Census

Age: 8
Residence: Glasgow Maxwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Name: John Sellars 
Age: 8 
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1863 
Relationship: Nephew 
Gender: Male 
Where born: South America Br S, Panama

1881 Scottish Census

Age: 18
Residence: Glasgow Kinning Park, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Name: John Sellars 
Age: 18 
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1863 
Relationship: Nephew-in-law 
Gender: Male 
Where born: Panann, State of New Grenada

I had overlooked the "State of Grenada" bit and from Wikipedia have just learned that "Nueva Granada later became the Republic of Colombia".

I have no direct record of Robert after the 1855 New York State Census (see Finding New York City/State records relating to Sellars family (British subjects) births/deaths mid 19th century?).

However the children he later fathered, and his wife's Death Certificate from 5 Nov 1867 in Tradeston, Glasgow (in a relative's hands) apparently has her husband's job as "Railway Company Ship Building Manager". indicate that he was probably still alive in 1867.

I am keen to learn where to find Colombia/Panama birth and death records from the late 1850s and 1860s in order to verify the:

  1. Birth of John there in about 1863
  2. The probable death of Robert there at age about 37 or older, in about 1867 or later.

It is interesting to read about this Civil War ship at FamilySearch:

Warren. Class: Sailing ship; wood. Sold at auction, January 1, 1863, at Panama, for $3,900. Went out of commission and turned over to Panama Railway Co., January 2, 1863. Commission for sale was $195.

I think this is an event that Robert as the "Railway Company Ship Building Manager" who was in Panama that year would have had to have had some involvement.

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    What is your source for the son's birth information? You say you've been unable to find birth records for them, so how accurate is this other source likely to be? Maybe it's misleading? – Rob Hoare Oct 19 '12 at 2:36
  • Thanks @RobHoare - you prompted me to re-examine the Scottish Census records and as a result I maybe should be looking for him/them in Colombia rather than Panama - see UPDATE in Question. – PolyGeo Oct 19 '12 at 3:17
  • The "British Subject" bit reminded me that the British Nationals Born Overseas at Findmypast findmypast.co.uk/search/overseas/births would normally be a place to look. But only if they're the sort that can be bothered to find a consulate to do all the paperwork at! I doubt these would have time. – Rob Hoare Oct 19 '12 at 3:50
  • Have been reading various history clips about the area around the time of John's birth. Fascinating. +1 for spinning them into two questions. I might have missed the focus. – GeneJ Oct 19 '12 at 23:04
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    The search of William Sellars in Panama/Columbia? With the given information, I reached a quick theory. Ship carpenter, in the census. Search of crew list yielded, Glasgow, Scotland, Crew Lists, 1863 - 1901 Record for W J Sellars digital.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/20877 The link above is a Broadside ballad entitled 'The Ship Carpenter's Wife' The life of a ship carpenter may be the investigative resource you should delve into, so you can get a clear picture of the life in general. – Ezri Rediker Oct 22 '12 at 13:46
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The National Archives holds the Foreign Office records for New Grenada/Colombia in the FO (Foreign Office) series. Specifically, FO 736 covers "...a roster of British subjects and registers of births and deaths from the British consulates in Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia (formerly Greater Colombia) respectively." Go to the Discovery section of the site at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/ and search for FO 736. You may also want to search for "New Grenada" to see other related results. Granted, Consular birth/marriage/death registrations should appear on FindMyPast, but there may be other records at The National Archives that could help. Note that the archives refers to the country as "United States of Grenada." You may also want to try British Newspaper Archive at http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

  • Many thanks Kathy - if only I was still living in England and could visit Kew to look through FO 736 - newspaper archive just turned up possible father to Robert Sellars, called Hugh (same as his eldest son), also a ship's carpenter and also from Glasgow. – PolyGeo Oct 22 '12 at 23:15

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