Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget, you can never re-tell – Louisa May Alcott
And there are some of them there is no memorial who are perished as if they had never been, and are become as if they had never been born, and their children with them. But there were men of mercy whose goodly deeds have not failed. Good things continue with their seed. Their posterity are a holy inheritance and their seed have stood in the covenants. And their children for their sakes remain forever. Their bodies are buried in peace and their name liveth into generation and generation…
I’ve been addicted to this family tree gambit for over twenty five years. It’s a nuisance when life gets in the way and I have to be sidetracked to do other things. (Like raising a family, going to work, studying and my husband does like it if I cook a meal from time to time.) I tend to think of myself more as a student of social history. Social history I think is a much better term than family historian which I think implies far more talent than I am possessed with.
Social history is like picking up a wonderful novel and being cast back in time to intrigue, romance, desperation and loss. Fashion, dastardly dealings and heroes taller than mountains. It’s imagining the struggles and the triumphs and bringing to life all those little things that happen each day in our lives that over the fullness of time drift into the pages of history. It’s also being able to travel to places near and far. The traveler within is fed with satisfaction and awe when you are finally looking at some much anticipated bucket list item. The beaten patina of an old door, peering in the grubby windows of a rusty and knocked about building. The ruins of a long forgotten piece of farm equipment. An old gnarled tree that stands where once people lived and breathed. For me a busy street corner with flashy shops and neon signs disappears and becomes again the dusty street with horses and carriages and young raggedy children darting in and out of alleys. When I’m working on one of ‘my stories’ as the family call them, I imagine I am talking to the family members I am ‘visiting’ and asking them to share their life with us. I try to do this as respectfully and with dignity the same as I would with anyone I was sharing a cuppa and a chat with. I’ve always said about myself, I’m an open book, if you want to know something just ask.
Over the years I’ve had some people get really precious about ‘all this digging’, ‘boring old hat’, etc. To them I wish the best of good luck and ask cordially, ‘move on out of my way’, I’m sure there is something else they could be doing with their time and the world is full of things to criticise, knock yourself out.
Sometimes in the absence of concrete facts we have to look at what else was happening in the same places at these times and draw similarities to our own families histories. Thus fleshing out and making the stories richer and less about dry dates and dusty facts such as when we are born and when we died. Facts but nonetheless, hardly interesting.
Having said that, what started out as me collecting a few bits and bobs on butchers paper in my grandmothers kitchen has now grown into this enormous, well family tree is an understatement. I’m inclined to go with forest!
Here is the disclosure bit: Am I an expert at this? Absolutely not. If you are looking for 100 % accuracy and a finished tree? I will disappoint you. I’m only one of the leaves on this tree and it’s constantly changing and being added, edited and updated. Whilst I do try and spell-check, I sometimes miss things and I appreciate this being pointed out when I have made a typo. I check facts as much as I can, I listen to family stories and then try and connect them. Sadly I can’t afford to purchase every certificate available but that’s life. I trawl the net with more aplomb than a tuna boat! I’ve been on many road trips (I usually drag my gorgeous mother along and more recently my long suffering daughter also.) I’ve gone giddy and cross-eyed going through hour upon hour of records and newspaper articles. Libraries are my crack den. I financially fund this website independently and my Ancestry.com account.
Please contact me if you want to be acknowledged on the site for any of your information, photographs etc or if you are seeking further contacts etc. Sometimes things get missed and it is important to bring this to my attention. I don’t have the answers for every question and I apologise in advance for that. If you are asking me about a distant relative I may be able to assist and will do my best with what I have available.
There are three ‘pages’ I have open at all times when I am researching and writing. One is my Ancestry.com account, one is the page I am working on and one is my Acknowledgements/References page. I strongly encourage you to look at this page it is a treasure-chest of information that you may find very useful in your own search. With my ancestry page remember this is my ‘shoe-box’. It’s where I’m storing bits of information that I am working on. Always helpful to remember that validating your own work is key in making sure you have grabbed the right leaf. Having said that we are a world-family and I love reading about other peoples stories even if they are not in any way connected to me. Best of all are the many kind family members near and far who provide me with that best of all resource, their knowledge and generous spirit in sharing.
It is my own personal opinion that we don’t ‘own’ our family histories. I believe they are meant to be shared respectfully and with goodwill for all generations. We are only custodians unfurling our own leaf on the tree which like all others will eventually fall and make way for the new leaves.
One of my favourite things to do as a child was sitting around my Nana and Pawa Moss’s kitchen table and ask to be told stories about the ‘old people’, their families and memories. Thankfully they were two of the most divine human beings you could ever hope to meet and indulged my curiosity. Both I am thrilled to be able to say were natural storytellers. ( I put this down to their Irish roots). I try to incorporate as much fact as possible, however dear reader you may have to forgive my tendency to wonder aloud as to how, why, where and ‘how fabulous’ or ‘how sad’. I am after all hopelessly and irrevocably sentimental.
If you find errors or omissions? And it is highly likely that you may, please contact me and let me know. If you can help me through a brick wall I will be extremely grateful.
I am a sound believer in knowing that where we came from, and acknowledging this and our ancestors, the people who came before ours – is vitally important in understanding who we are. I thank those forbears for their sacrifices and their efforts. Because of their lives mine is so much richer. If they made mistakes then I hope they will forgive the many that I have also made. If they had successes then I hope they would be pleased to see mine.
So what families am I looking for …. and their physical journey in relation to me.
Whitehead -Isle of Thanet, Kent, England, New Zealand, New South Wales, Australia.
Kingshott – England, Tasmania, New South Wales, Australia
Mitchell – England, Richmond, New South Wales, Australia
Helmrich – Germany, Scotland, New South Wales, Australia
London – Ireland, England, New South Wales, Australia
Riley – Richmond, New South Wales, Australia
Latimore – Warwickshire, Richmond, New South Wales, Australia
Glendinning – England, Barbados, New South Wales, Australia
Gay – Rotherhithe, England, Barbados, New South Wales, Australia
Brereton – England, Barbados, New South Wales, Australia
Hay – England, Tasmania, Australia
Sharley/Shirley – England, New Zealand,
Moss – England, South Africa, Daylesford & Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Varcoe – Daylesford & Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Cornwall, England
Mohan- Drogheda, Ireland, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Duffy – Drogheda, Ireland
Fowles – Ballan & Ferndale, Victoria, Australia, Lambeth & Banstead, Surrey, England,
Lorkin Victoria, Ballan & Ferndale (Australia), Larkin – Ferbane, (Ireland),
Donovan, Ballan, Victoria, Australia, Cork, Ireland
O’Keefe, Cork, Ireland,
More to be added as found…….