T for Tree (family)

IMG_8496As my daughter jokingly said, “the family that spits together stays together”.  We were gathered in my son’s apartment in Canberra.  My son, daughter and son-in-law were all valiantly trying to put enough saliva in the tube to reach the line after which a blue solution was  added and the whole thing sealed and posted to Ancestry.

Only a few week’s later I had two new matches on Ancestry.  They were correctly identified as my son and daughter.  I then checked with Denise and sure enough they had appeared on her matches as well.  That confirmed the fact that my match had not been a mistake.  My children also had a number of matches and DNA Circles on my husband’s side and after my recent discovery were pleased to see he was their father!

My father’s ancestry was from England and Northern Ireland.  Assuming that Ted is my biological father then it is interesting to find out where his ancestors originated.  Going back one generation his father and mother were both born in Victoria, Australia.  Ted’s paternal grandparents, William and Mary, both came from England and emigrated to Australia in 1864, one year after their marriage.  His maternal grandparents met and married in Portsea, Victoria in 1869 but they were both born in England and emigrated to Australia at different times.

If you examined my DNA map in A for Ancestry you would have noticed a dotted circular area marked in Southern England.  This indicates that I am genetically linked to this area through my DNA.  Let’s look at where Ted’s grandparents were born.

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 4.10.40 pm

William was born in St Marylebone, London.  His wife Mary was from Barking, Essex.  Ted’s maternal grandparents were John from Lambeth, London and Fanny from Portsea, Hampshire.  The map shows that they are all definitely from Southern England.  The only ones on my mother’s side who are out of the circle are the Robbie family from Aberdeen and Emma Moore from Bedworth, who is just outside.

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 5.15.00 pm
The red markers are Ted’s family.  The green markers are from my mother’s side.

There is a puzzle surrounding Ted’s grandfather William.  He and his younger brother were born after the death of the father of their brothers and sisters.  He and his brother may have been adopted or they may have had the same mother as the others and a different father.  It is quite possible that they were the children of a relative who died but as Mary already had a large family and was a widow an extra two mouths to feed would have been a difficult undertaking.  She died when William was 13 but he lived with older siblings before some or all of them emigrated to Australia.

Photo of the ironclad HMS Warrior (1860) with the tide in.

I have some more information on him. After he and his wife arrived in Hamilton in 1863 off the “Golden Land” he remained there the rest of his life except for a short visit to the Mt William Gold Rush.  In London he had been a shop hand, a sailor in the North Sea with a trawler fleet and an employee of the Victorian (London) dockyards where as a riveter he helped build the “Warrior”, the first iron ship in the Imperial Navy.  In Australia he was a blacksmith and carpenter.  His wife died 27 years before him and at the time of his death he was living with his son Thomas*, a bootmaker.  Thomas was Ted’s father.  

John, Ted’s maternal grandfather, arrived in Portland, Victoria with his family on the Athona in 1853, aged nine. Sixteen years later he married  Fanny.  He was a powerfully built man and  first occupation was pit-sawing with his father, cutting the timber for the construction of the old Portland jetty.  He moved on to wool-pressing and loading ships in Portland.  For the last 22 years of his life he lived in Hamilton and died at the age of 67.  His daughter Jane Eliza married Thomas and was Ted’s mother.

John’s wife Fanny came to Australia as part of a twelve month Servant Scheme supervised  by a Miss Rye. The vessel “Atalanta” departed London via Plymouth England 18th April, arriving at Portland Victoria 4th July 1867.  Each girl was placed as a general servant in separate homes.  Fanny was placed at Gawler Street, Portland.

Article from the Argus 5 July 1867

The Atalanta which arrived at the heads on Tuesday last, came up the Bay last evening and anchored off Sandridge. She has brought nearly 400 Government passengers and warrant passengers, a number of them having come out under the auspices of Miss Rye, and it is satisfactory to state that they arrived in satisfactory health praising doctor, captain and matron. The Atalanta left Plymouth April and has made a very favorable passage. In the channel very rough weather was met with and several days after. The ship crossed the equator on the 22nd day out.

I found some personal information about Ted’s father Thomas. He was very good at sport, particularly running and bike riding and this was blamed for his heart problems later in life.   However, with the wisdom of the 21st Century, this would seem unlikely.

Thomas was short, with pale blue eyes and blond hair.  His daughter said he was always quoting poetry and stories he had read and he was very proud of his children’s musical abilities. 

He was apprenticed as a boot-maker and his brother William, as a chemist. Thomas said he would like to have been a chemist, but he was not given a choice.  When the family moved to Mildura (following Ted), he bought a house on one of the blocks,but did not work the property himself, employing workmen to tend to it. His son Henry* eventually took over the block when his father died.  The house was divided into two, with Henry and his family living in one section and Jane Eliza in the other.  Thomas opened a shoe shop in Red Cliffs with a partner and sold it to him when he was ready to retire. He died of heart failure when he was in his early sixties after a long illness.

I was fortunate to be given some information by Jane* on the person who was my biological paternal grandmother.

Jane Eliza was born in 1869 in Portland, Victoria and  attended Mr Hill’s school in North Portland until she was 14, after which she went to “Greenmount” to work as a servant.   She visited Portland every year during the summer and so did we (Jane).

Greenmount in 1958?     Built in 1853      Victorian Heritage Database

 I remember as a child going to “Greenmount” a very imposing, but also scarey bluestone, dilapidated house , and she would tell us about the servant bells downstairs and what each room was used for, which fascinated me.   It had a long formal drive, wild gardens, convict quarters (convicts were there for a short time) and in 1957 was bulldozed to erect a Shell depot.   It stood on a hill across the swamp from the Portland Gardens, and the Shell depot was not an improvement.   Portland unfortunately let many of its beautiful old buildings go.

The family moved to Hamilton in Jane Eliza’s  later teenage years, living not far from the Turner family. Her brother William struck up a friendship with Thomas Turner and they became mates and best friends until William died aged 19.  During this time Thomas met Jane Eliza and they married in 1890, when he was 19 and she was 21.

She was short, under 5′ in height, with hazel eyes, brown with yellow specks and straight brown hair.   In her later years she needed a walking stick to get around but she was bright, cheerful and an inveterate talker.  She had seven children, ran a house, cooking all meals each day, plus working in Alf’s shoe shop, keeping the books and having a social life when she could.   Eventually she had two maids who did the housework, washing and sometimes looked after the children as well.   She was the image of a perfect grandmother, cardigan pockets stuffed with lollies to give to a good grandchild, embracing them to her ample bosum, jiggling them up and down on her knee singing nursery rhymes, songs and reciting poems. Her strong and lively personality is still remembered fondly by older members of her family.

  • Not their real names


14 thoughts on “T for Tree (family)

  1. When I was still working, I tried a small stint at researching my family tree from scratch. The task was daunting and endless (like falling down a rabbit hole). After merely scratching the surface, I put the task away until I retired. I have been retired for almost three years and have not dared to begin again.
    I applaud your hard work and perseverance in sticking to the task and uncovering so much. The detail that you have found is truly incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The work was done for me by “Jane”. It was a matter of picking out bits here and there for this blog. I did my own father’s family history in the A to Z last year before I knew I had another father.


  2. Wow. It’s great to not only be able to trace the names but the stories behind the names too. On our paternal sides, both my husband and I have relatives who’ve been building family trees. I look forward to finding out more from them.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So true. My great grandmother is still with us but i think I take it for granted that my grandmother and her sisters know the stories. I wish I could figure out just the right questions to ask.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. not I but someone on both sides of my family have tracked back – on dads fathers side we cant get past his grandparents in ireland because of a fire in the records office though they say there may well be surviving parish records. and on his mothers side it goes back to someone , a soldier perhaps ??? leaving france with william of orange and settling in ireland.
    I did not know about the licking test and amazed at the wealth of information you have uncovered. perhaps I have another project ahead of me….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Back again, Linda, while I’m watching Masterchef (or perhaps half watching). My husband’s Great something Grandfather, Richard Keep, was living in Lambeth where he had a mill. Indeed, it was the windmill. Richard was found guilty of stealing beas: On 5 August 1807 at the Surrey Assizes Richard Keep was found guilty of receiving stolen goods, namely eighty bushels of beans of the value of twenty pounds and nine sacks to the value of thirteen shillings and six pence. The beans were stolen by a Robert Benns at Queenhithe Wharf on the River Thames, from a Nathaniel Brickwood with force and arms.He was sentenced to be transported to Australia for a term of fourteen years.
    We were quite shocked by just how many beans that entailed. A great family story, which i haven’t mentioned on the blog and will have to rectify that soon.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

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