I do love the genealogy online community. People help one another, collaborate, chat and set up memes and challenges.
The geneameme comes in two parts: one to test whether your family is ridgey-didge and the second to show us how Australia runs in your veins.
Well, if you’re a regular visitor here (thank you!) you’ll know the first part is a doddle, but the second is a true challenge! Why? Read on and you’ll see. And if you stick around to the end there’s a special Australia Day announcement. Here we go:
CLIMBING YOUR FAMILY’S GUM TREE
My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was: Nicholas Delaney, an Irish rebel from the Wicklow/Wexford borders, convicted for murder in the Rebellion of 1798. He arrived in Port Jackson in 1802 on the Atlas II.
I have Australian Royalty: I’ve found four convicts so far: as well as Nicholas Delaney, my 3x great grandfather, there were Sarah Marshall (Friendship) and John Simpson (Ocean II), who arrived in 1818, and James Thomas Richards, whose voyage on the Royal Sovereign ended in 1836.
I’m an Aussie mongrel, my ancestors came to Oz from: England and Ireland, as far as I know. There are a few mysteries like Elizabeth Bayly and (Thomas) Robert Sandon Wilson. Thomas’s name could be Scottish or English, and Elizabeth could have come from anywhere in these islands.
Did any of your ancestors arrive under their own financial steam? As far as I know, most of them either got a free one-way ticket (ahem) or were assisted immigrants. The only two who might have paid their passage were Elizabeth and Thomas/Robert, my mystery ancestors. I’d love to know how they arrived.
How many ancestors came as singles? Seven: Nicholas and Elizabeth, John and Sarah, James Thomas and his wife Rebecca Harrington. The elusive Thomas/Robert is so slippery I have no idea.
How many came as couples? None.
How many came as family groups? Sarah Emma Henley, old mystery man’s wife, came with her family. John Winter, from Westmorland, and Ann Graham, from County Durham, who later married each other, did too.
Did one person lead the way and others follow? There may be a link between the Winters and the Grahams but it’s very speculative so I’ll say no.
What’s the longest journey they took to get here? That depends. In terms of distance, Nicholas’s voyage from Wicklow to Cork, then via Rio de Janeiro to Sydney Cove, is probably the greatest. But for time, it has to be Sarah Marshall’s journey on the Friendship, which took 195 days. I’ll be writing a lot more about the trip on this mis-named ship soon. Stay tuned!
Did anyone make a two-step emigration via another place? No, just the usual stops for food and water on the way.
Which state(s)/colony did your ancestors arrive? All New South Wales
Did they settle and remain in one state/colony? Yes, they stuck to NSW.
Did they stay in one town or move around? The Delaney/Simpson side moved further west. My Delaneys crossed the Blue Mountains to settle near Little Hartley. The Richards and Winters stayed around Sydney.
Do you have any First Australians in your tree? No.
Were any self-employed? Many of them were.
What occupations or industries did your earliest ancestors work in? Farming, roadbuilding, running a ferry and a pub. There was a tailor, a gold inspector, servants, miners and watermen. And a heck of a lot of housework and looking after large families – well, that’s work, too.
Does anyone in the family still follow that occupation? Only the housework. But much less of it, thank goodness.
Did any of your ancestors leave Australia and go “home”? Yes, my grandparents. That’s why the next part of the challenge is going to be a bit thin…
NOW IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU
What’s your State of Origin? Er, well, London. The UK one. It’s almost a state on its own.
Do you still live there? Yes, though I’ve lived in other places, too.
Where was your favourite Aussie holiday place as a child? I always wanted to go to Sydney. It sounded so exciting.
Any special place you like to holiday now? If only!
Share your favourite spot in Oz: Moyne Farm, near Little Hartley, is dearest to my heart because it was the family home for a century.
Any great Aussie adventure you’ve had? Mine is all in books and online. I think that finding my ancestors, writing this blog and getting to know lots of great Aussie genealogists and historians has been a wonderful adventure.
What’s on your Australian holiday bucket list? Can I say everywhere? Oh, OK. Well, Sydney is a must. Not just because it’s Sydney – it’s got family ties for me, and all those museums and records to look at. Hartley Vale, because of Moyne, and the Blue Mountains. Anywhere my rellies are. And I’d love to meet some of my genealogy pals as well.
How do you celebrate Australia Day? Writing Australia Day challenges. They’re always a joy. Thanks again, Pauleen, for this year’s!
Here are my previous Australia Day posts:
- 2011: The trial of Nicholas Delaney (earliest document)
- 2012: Wealth for Toil (work one of our ancestors did)
- 2013: My first Australian ancestor
PS: I promised you some Australia Day news. First, Ancestry is offering free access to its Australian records until Monday 27th.
The second is more bittersweet. You may have heard that Lesley Uebel, much loved and respected creator of the Claim a Convict site and administrator of the Port Jackson convicts and Hawkesbury mailing lists, died on Monday, 20 January.
Her work lives on, though. Michelle Nichols has taken on the herding-cats job of keeping the PJ listers in order, and she and Jonathan Auld have worked long and hard to refresh and relaunch Claim a Convict, which opened at its new home on Australia Day. It’s looking good.
Fitting tributes to a splendid woman. Thank you, Jonathan and Michelle, and Colin and Coralie too. And most of all, thank you, Lesley.