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19 Jun 2022

Popular name: Week 24 - 52 Ancestors

 A family of Georges

George William Tucker (1856-1924)
Until the late 19th century when parents began using names they liked rather than names that were traditional, there was a regular naming pattern within Anglo-Saxon families.  The oldest son was named after their paternal grandfather, the next son after his father, the next after his maternal grandfather.  Some families also included the maiden surname of their mother or grandmother as a middle name.  As genealogists, we find these middle names very helpful indeed.

Not so helpful is the sparing use of middle names in families.  Cousins will often have the same name and they married women called Mary or Elizabeth or Sarah.  Very frustrating trying to sort out who was who.

In my ancestral lines, the name George appears time and time again, especially in my Tucker (paternal) tree.  From the early 18th century there is a William, then a George with a brother William, then a William with a brother George. The father-in-law was often a George as well.

I suppose the two names common in my family commenced as a tribute to William of Orange - William III - who succeeded to the throne together with his wife Mary of Orange in 1689 and George 1 who succeeded in 1714.  This probably explains the popularity of Mary and Elizabeth as common family names too.

My brother -  the only remaining male Tucker - has George as a third name.  My father was Robert Sydney George and Robert's father was Sydney George Tucker (1882-1919).  Robert's maternal grandfather was also Robert.  Sydney's brother Albert received William as his third name.

Beyond that, my Tucker ancestors did not have a second name - they were:
  • George Tucker (1832-1914) whose younger brother was William
  • George Tucker (1802-1881) whose oldest brother was William
  • William Tucker (1764-1833) whose oldest brother was George
  • William Tucker (1728-1784) who married Mary Goulding.   Her Goulding ancestors were also William and George.  His Tucker ancestors were William and William.  There was a George in the 1600s as well but whether he is a father or uncle, I do not know.
All I know is that I wish my ancestors in Wiltshire and Hampshire had more imagination!

8 Jun 2022

Mistake: Week 23 - 52 Ancestors

My dad didn't think my mum was a mistake

Freda in Dunedoo 

My mother’s birth was not planned.  In fact, she was a mistake, the result of two employees in a stockbroker’s house coming together maybe fleetingly, maybe not.

He was the butler in the Forbes’ household and she was the parlourmaid, both senior servants providing a comfortable lifestyle for a family of three.  The stockbroker died later that year and must have been an invalid because two nurses were also employed as well as three other servants.

The stockbroker’s wife was born and grew up in St Petersburg, Russia but was of Scottish and English heritage.  Their only son Nevill Forbes usually resided in Oxford as a Reader in Russian.  He had spent quite some time in Russia whilst recovering from tuberculosis at his uncle’s specialist medical centre on the Black Sea.  He was probably bilingual from an early age and later became the second Professor of Russian at Oxford.

Initially, I thought that Nevill was my mother’s birth father after my mother’s half-sister told me that her aunts in England described Freda’s father as the young man of the house.

So I made the mistake of going down that rabbit hole: it appeared to make sense, especially after a researcher in New Zealand told me he believed that Nevill was his grandfather.  DNA testing later proved that neither of us was correct.  I eventually found a close DNA link with an American resident who proved to be the great-granddaughter of the butler, Henry Edward Jones. Henry was a similar age to his master’s son Nevill but was very much a similar class to my birth grandmother, Kate Palmer.  However, he was a married man with a wife and two children living in the same village and in no position nor desire to acknowledge another servant’s baby.

It seemed a sensible solution- at least for the butler but maybe also for the wealthy employers to remove Kate (known as Kitty in Australia) from the village.  Someone - possibly her employers - provided her with a travel trunk with her initials inscribed and escorted her to Antwerp where she boarded a steamship to Sydney on Christmas Eve 1911.  She arrived in Sydney at the height of summer at the end of February but it must have been a cold reception since she knew no one.

My mother, born on 5 June 1912 was immediately promised to a farmer’s wife who had delivered a still-born son and was soon taken by train to Dunedoo in the central west of New South Wales.

Freda found out that she was "adopted" at the late age of 18 when her mother told her it was time she left home.  It was a shock and she had mixed feelings about it since she didn't have a great deal of respect for her adopted mother.  The latter 'ran around town' a bit too much for teenage Freda's liking and she felt badly for her adopted father, a kindly man.

Learning who her birth mother was, she spent a weekend meeting Kitty and her new family.  However, 
before leaving, Kitty told her that "it was nice meeting you dear but I don't think we should do it again."

So at age 18, Freda felt rejected twice over.  Nevertheless, in her local town, she was befriended by some warmhearted people, including the local Anglican rector and his family of girls.  When she married my father in her early 30s, this family hosted her wedding reception.

As I grew older, I realised that my mother sometimes had a "chip on her shoulder" but at the same time. having received kindness when she needed it, she handed it out in spades.  My childhood friends always remember her with fondness as do many of the neighbours' families.

1 Jun 2022

Conflict - Week 22: 52 Ancestors

John Rose of Southampton

My ancestor John Rose - my 3x great grandfather from Southampton invited conflict.  A proud working-class man, he believed that all working men should be enfranchised ie be able to vote. He also believed in education for all and access to newspapers, something the government of the day thought was dangerous as it might lead to revolution as it did in France in 1879.

Mind you, literacy and enfranchisement of women was not a concept that men of any class considered at the time.

John Rose appeared to have no respect for the conservative press.  He once made a great point of saying he “objected to the authority adduced, as he (Rose) did not now patronise the Hampshire Advertiser” (reported in 1836 in notes of a public temperance meeting aimed at removing the inducement for the poor frequenting the public-house or beer-shop)[i].  He mocked the newspapers read by the gentry and the establishment, and it would appear that he had quite a following.  The same 1836 article about ale making reported John Rose as stating:

 “They could not hinder the rich from enjoying themselves in luxury and drunkenness, and why then try to shut up beer shops, where plenty of information was to be got, &c. &c. &c.”

It is probable that William Rose, the beer seller of East Street in 1836 was John Rose’s brother or another relative.[ii]

Beer shops and public-houses were places where working men and others gathered, especially since there would have been no room to entertain at home, and street corners would have been too cold and uncomfortable for socialising.  The public houses were centres for discussion and exchange of information.  As a politicised working man with strong opinions, John Rose would most likely have understood the hidden agendas of the men of standing in Southampton.

No wonder he often found himself at odds with the establishment.

In fact, John Rose was fined time and time again and was imprisoned at least twice – in 1834 and in 1841.  The first time was in a passing reference in an article about his wife Isabella Rose, giving his reaction to her being fined for selling unstamped newspapers[iii]:

“This decision was immediately conveyed to her husband, who in turn broke the windows of his prison-house.”

John Rose seemed to have been hot-headed indeed – was he manic?  He was fined on a number of occasions for assault or was involved in altercations, and even a knifing, which ended up before the Southampton Magistrates.  Other matters included libel (1839) and, like his wife Isabella, selling unstamped newspapers.

[i] Hampshire Advertiser, Saturday 7th May 1836:  Temperance Meeting at Southampton.

[ii] Kelly’s Directory, 1836

[iii] Hampshire Advertiser, Saturday 14th June 1834: Before the Mayor and Magistrates.

Yearbook: Week 21 - 52 Ancestors

My yearbook for 2019

 When I was at high school in the 1960s in New South Wales, Australia, there was no tradition of publishing a Year Book featuring remarks about individual students.  I doubt there is even today.

In 1963, my school - Macarthur Girls High School in Parramatta - began producing an annual magazine called Newlands, named after the original land grant on which the school had been built.  However, it was merely a collection of students' best stories and poems, school sporting teams, and the annual musical produced by teachers and students.

No way did I feature in any of the stories or activities.  Whilst mildly scholarly, I did not excel at poetry, story writing, sport, or singing.  I was not a member of the school leadership either.

So my contribution to this theme is merely my social media record for some years.  Facebook permits one to use photos to produce a printed record of a year or even specific dates within a year.  Using this feature, I commissioned a hard copy "yearbook" of my activities and shared articles in 2019.  That year, we did not undertake any major travel - we had that planned (and aborted) for 2020.  Nevertheless, I had enough shared photos and comments to fill quite a substantial book recording our activities and local and world events which occupied my attention at the time.

I don't always plan a year book, but one year - 2014 - I captured all the shared photos, posts and comments from our amazing five-month adventure in England and the USA.  That was the year we took a Cunard voyage to Southampton via Panama, hired a car for four weeks in England after spending a week in London, crossed the Atlantic to New York on the Queen Mary 11, crossed America from Boston to Seattle, took an Alaskan Cruise on Celebrity Solstice and flew back to Sydney from Vancouver.

Treasured social media memories in hard copy.

Textiles: Week 20 - 52 Ancestors

Sheep grazing

Simon Rose, a wool comber

My 4x great grandfather Simon Rose was a wool comber in Southampton in 1795.  We only know this because he took on an apprentice that year, his 8-year-old step-daughter Unity Hunt.

Wool combers were an indispensable trade within the woollen textile industry.  They were skilled labourers and undertook a seven-year apprenticeship before becoming a journeyman, taking up contracts wherever they could.  After gaining experience they could become a master wool comber. 

The wool combers' job was to disentangle the wool in preparation for weaving. It was a comparatively well-paid industry in the 18th and early nineteen centuries before being mechanised in the nineteenth century. It was a cottage industry in those days and was hot and dirty work. The hand combers first had to prepare the wool by washing, oiling and separating it into workable amounts, then heating the wool over coal or a woodstove prior to combing it. It was not until the 1840s that mechanisation was introduced and hand combing became redundant.

Simon was born in 1747 in Misterton, Somerset, a village very near the town of Crewkerne.  The area was known for sheep farming and cottage-based textile industries - wool combing and weaving.  Simon still lived there into adulthood because it was in Misterton that he married twice, the first to Susannah Burt and the second to Ann Hunt who outlived him.

It is unknown when he moved to Southampton or why.  Maybe there were more opportunities to extend his trade there. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, wool combers began to demand better working conditions and pay and it was probably at his father's feet that his son John Rose (1804-1884) became politically aware.

18 May 2022

Food & Drink - Week 19: 52 Ancestors

Margaret's Jubilee breakfast in Southampton 2012

Whilst most of our travelling is undertaken jointly, in 2012 I travelled alone to the USA and England, leaving John to the mercies of personal care workers for those many tasks he could do himself.  This meant that I did not have to take wheelchair accessibility into account and therefore was able to stay with friends and relatives in many places.

My fourth cousin Ange whom we'd first met in 2008 on our three-month road trip with a wheelchair-accessible motorhome invited me to use her place as my base.  Ange and Paul (another wheelchair user) live in Southampton where my father was born in 1914.  He had migrated with his mother to Australia in 1925, joining his Dr Barnardo sponsored older sisters.

Ange kindly showed me many places around Southampton where my ancestors had lived for over two hundred years.

During my time spent at their place, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee was celebrated.  One of the major initiatives was to encourage the British population to hold Jubilee breakfasts - almost like a Christmas or American Thanksgiving Day.  The idea was to invite neighbours or family to celebrate this special event, commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's sixty years on the throne whilst watching the pageant on TV.  Quite apt in 2022 when we have already started to celebrate the Queen's Platinum (70th) anniversary, don't you think? 

Check my post in 2012 at Diamond Jubilee Celebrations at Totten. You can safely say I didn't enjoy black pudding.  Nor did I finish my plate - I am not used to such big breakfasts.

Social: Week 18 - 52 Ancestors

Peter, Linda and me in Weymouth 2014

 Until Covid 19 hit us worldwide in 2020, my husband and I were avid overseas travellers, despite the complexity of such travel, given that John has lived with quadriplegia since 1970 and was 78 when we last  travelled. After two trips around Australia in 1995 and 2003, we started exploring the Northern Hemisphere in 2008 after John retired.  We flew to London that year and after a few days in London, we travelled to Derby where we picked up one of only two wheelchair accessible motor homes.  We hired it for 11 weeks and toured England and Ireland.

I had retired from full time work in 2002 and by 2005 was well into exploring our family history.  My grandparents all hailed from the south of England - Hampshire and Kent whilst John’s grandparents were all born in Australia with ancestors - some of them convicts - arriving between 1832 and 1867.  However his heritage is 70% Irish with the rest hailing from Yorkshire and counties north of London.

Linda, me and Ange in Dover, 2016
By 2007, both of us had made connections with cousins we had never heard of, let alone met.  The Internet and family history and surname societies had opened a whole new world.  We wanted to meet some of these cousins.  John and I travelled to Britain and America together initially in 2008 but later by ship, plane, train and rental car in 2014, 2016 and 2018. I also travelled solo to England and the USA after receiving an offer too good to turn down in 2009.  I did a further solo trip in 2012.  Each of these trips was for 5 weeks - quite long enough for us to be apart.

The towns, cities and countryside we explored were amazing - so different from much of Australia.  

Elizabeth and her children in Orange County, Florida

However, meeting so many cousins, Moxon connections (not all related), Facebook friends and in my case an English friend I’d last shared a house with in 1972 in Sydney was even better. Some we met for a meal whilst others came to visit us at our campsite or hotel.  When travelling together, we could not stay with anyone because only one house was wheelchair accessible.  Why?  Because my newly discovered fourth cousin Ange had a husband who also had quadriplegia, injured in 1973, three years after John had done so.

So really, meeting these cousins and friends was always the highlight of our travel adventures.  Many we have seen time and time again. I wrote a blog post about this in 2012.  Check it out at  Travelling solo.  We are active members of The Moxon Society and English, American and Canadian members - mostly not related to John - have been extremely generous with their time, showing us around and often shouting our meals.

Documents: Week 17 52 Ancestors

Annie Ashby’s marriage record 1888

After researching one’s ancestors for a couple of years, one learns to treat official records such as birth,  marriage, and death with a pinch of salt.  My maternal birth grandmother’s ancestry is a case in point.  Kate Elizabeth Palmer gave birth to my mother in 1912 with her father’s name left blank and never told her daughter who he was. Seventeen years after my mother’s death, I now know it was the butler in Kent where my grandmother was the parlourmaid.  I only found this through a close DNA match.

Kate herself was born illegitimate with the father’s name left blank although she was known as a Palmer.  It took me a long time to realise that she was registered at birth in 1881 with her mother’s maiden name of Annie Ashby, a field worker in Ightham, Kent.  My mother later told me that her mother Kitty Palmer Pocock’s father was a John Palmer and this appears to be verified by DNA records.  She didn’t know that John Palmer was her mother’s half nephew roughly the same age as Annie.

And Annie herself?  Yes, she too was illegitimate although, like her older full siblings, she had been baptised with Cornelius Palmer listed as her father. Her mother was Elizabeth Ashby, widower Cornelius Palmer’s servant listed in the 1841 census.  They were never married.  He had about 11 children with his first wife Eleanor who died in 1839.  By the 1851 census, Cornelius was 75 and on poor relief, but Elizabeth, now known as Elizabeth Palmer had four children by him and was to have two more!  A labourer, I can imagine that Cornelius was too mobility-impaired to work.  By 1861, the year he died, he was listed as an inmate of the West Malling Union Workhouse.  This was the defacto "nursing home" of the day.

In the 1861 census, Elizabeth and all her children were listed as Ashby.  Then in 1869, she did marry - this time to Reuben Hartrup whom she'd known since childhood.  In 1841 and 1851 he'd been living with her parents, Henry and Elizabeth Ashby.  He may have been regarded as an adopted son since in one census he was noted as Reuben Ashby.  The spellings of his surname were many, as I noted in a previous post.

So with Annie's varied surname history - born illegitimate but with a known father - and having already borne a child known in the village as Kate Elizabeth Palmer but registered as Palmer, what surname did she decide to use when she got married in 1888? Well Palmer was the most convenient.  And she had indeed been baptised in her home village by that surname even if she was registered by the government as Ashby in 1855.  It made sense.

But why didn't she give her father's name as Cornelius Palmer, actually the truth?  Instead, she created a new name for her step-father and named him as Reuben Palmer.  He'd never been known as that.  His name was Hartrup/Hartrop/Aleroupe/Altroup/Holtrop - take your pick.

No wonder family history research is so hard, although fascinating.  One can definitely not trust the officially records to be corrent.

21 Apr 2022

Negatives: Week 16 52 Ancestors


A negative Covid-19 rapid antigen test

Negative! The best state to be in these days, wouldn’t you say?  COVID-negative, that is.

Who would have thought, in late 2019 when eastern Australia was experiencing bushfires like never before, that 2020-2022 would be even worse years.

Thankfully, in 2022 we have the benefit of vaccines which, whilst not reducing the risk of infection, do at least reduce the likelihood of serious illness and death.

So far, my many Rapid Antigen Tests have proved negative, as have my PCR tests.  Can't say I expect that to continue forever.

However, getting back to family history research.

What are the negatives of diving deep into family history research?  Well, for one, not much housework gets done. Nor do I get much sleep - at least in the early days whilst staying up till midnight, 1:00am or later, trying to work out which George W. Tucker was my great grandfather or what was the maiden name of that 4x great grandmother called Mary.

Exploring our DNA can also be negative, especially when a promising match can't be bothered, or maybe doesn't see a message. Or a match with a tree shows just three names or six noted private or has no linked tree at all.

However, the joys of family history research far outweigh the negatives.  I doubt there would be many here who would disagree. And fortunately, my significant other is just as passionate about discovering his ancestry as I am.


13 Apr 2022

How do you spell that? Week 15 52 Ancestors

Census record 1891 Kate Palmer and grandparents

My birth grandmother, Kate Elizabeth Palmer (1881-1970) grew up in Ightham, Kent, England and her birth was unfortunate.  Her mother was Annie Ashby (1855-1935), herself born outside of marriage and it was some time before I discovered that Kate had been baptised in the name of Ashby with her mother named as a field worker and her father's name left blank.  However, Kate was always told her father was John Stephen Palmer whose records suggest he was Annie's half-nephew.  The Palmer and Ashby families in Ightham were intertwined with baptismal and census surnames being changed seemingly willy-nilly over the second half of the 19th century.

Annie Ashby's mother was Elizabeth Ashby who by age 14 in 1841 had become the housekeeper/servant to local widower Cornelius Palmer and bore him five children prior to his death in 1861 when he was described as a pauper. Annie was one of them.

In 1869, Elizabeth Ashby married Reuben Holtrop (baptised in Ightham in 1816 as Reuben Haltrup).  Reuben appears to have been part of the Ashby family for many years.  In 1841 and 1851, he was living with Elizabeth Ashby’s parents, Henry and Elizabeth Ashby and her siblings.  Elizabeth’s father was recorded as Henry Ashby, a labourer.

In 1891, my birth grandmother Kate Palmer, aged 10 was living with her grandmother Elizabeth and her step-grandfather Reuben on the Ightham Common.  They were probably squatting in one of the former mining employees' houses, deserted since the mining company pulled out years before.  Her mother Annie, newly married had moved to a neighbouring village, Seal and was establishing a growing family. No doubt Kate moved there later because she was close to her younger half-siblings.

On Kate's marriage certificate in Sydney in 1918, she states her mother's name as Annie Altroupe, obviously one of many corruptions of Reuben's surname.

 Reuben’s surname was recorded in many different forms throughout his life:

·      Haltrup – christening, 13 April, 1817 – son of Harriet Haltrup

·      Ashby – 1841 census boarding with the Ashbys (see below)

·      Holdrop – 1851 census (boarding with Henry & Elizabeth Ashby (senior) & family) – agricultural labourer

·      Alhoupe – 1861 census  (original image looks more like Altroupe) – soldier/ lodger – with Elizabeth Ashby (Henry & Elizabeth’s daughter)

·      Hartrup – marriage to Elizabeth Ashby on 15 January, 1869 at Ightham – father named as William Hartrup

·      Hartop – 1871 census (Ruebin)

·      Hartrop – 1881 census

·      Alerop – 1891 census (although more likely Altrop – wrongly transcribed)

·      Holtrop – death certificate 1891

 Certainly, Reuben must have been illiterate.  Neither he nor Elizabeth signed their marriage certificate in 1969 – it was left to the rector.

4 Apr 2022

Check it out: Week 14 52 Ancestors

Using a Genealogical Proof Argument

My ancestor Isabella Sievewright, mother to 15 and wife of John Rose (1804-1884) was a most irritating woman. Why did she have to die in 1850, leaving her only footprints at her marriage in Southampton in 1825 and her 1841 census record showing that no, she wasn't born in the County of Southampton (now Hampshire)? 

With 15 children, the slight majority living to adulthood, it is not surprising that many family historians were keen to find out who she was and where she came from. I had been puzzling for 12 years and others for even longer. When I finally worked it out, I attempted to add it to Wikitree and received a very rude response from a man who had added a different Isabella's baptismal record and ascribed her to different parents. I complained to the administrators and they followed it through and deleted his public response but left the tree as it was, so I was unable to take her tree further back. 

Therefore, I decided to write a "genealogical proof argument" to see if I could persuade the administrators to take me seriously. I had learned how to write these through watching a webinar last year. It was presented by Cyndi of CyndiList fame. 

 Here it is: 

I do not believe that Isabella Sievewright who married John Rose in Southampton in 1825 was the daughter of Robt. and Mary Sievewright of St Botolph without Algate, as recorded on the tree above. I have developed a Genealogical Proof Argument to state my case as below: 

Genealogical proof argument

Isabella Sievewright (1806-1850) 


Who was Isabella Sievewright, where and when was she born and who were her parents? 


Since Sievewright is a Scottish name and far less common in England, she could have been born in Scotland or be of Scottish heritage. 


Isabella Sievewright, born in 1806 at St Luke, Finsbury, London was the daughter of Alexander Sievewright and his wife Isabella Watson. They were both born in Dundee, Scotland and had two other children, Margaret and Alexander, also both born in Dundee. The baptismal record was badly transcribed as Swewright. Isabella Sievewright married John Rose in Southampton in 1825 and bore him 15 children. This conclusion differs from Isabella’s parentage shown on Wiki Tree at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Sievewright-35

The problem 

Since Isabella died in 1850, she appears in only one census, that of 1841. The census states that she was not born in the County of Southampton (later called Hampshire). The marriage certificate includes no other information apart from their names and suggests they were both of full age. No parentage is listed for her.

Her age is recorded inconsistently on her death certificate and the 1841 census. 


Some of Isabella and John Rose’s children were baptised with middle names which looked like surnames. These included Watson, Thane, Martin and Sievewright. Could these middle names have been ancestors of either John or Isabella? These children were: 
  • James Martin Rose (1826-1857) 
  • Alexander Thane Rose (1830-1848) 
  • David Martin Rose (1831-1833) 
  • Charles Watson Rose (1834-1904) 
  • Francis Watson Rose (1834-1899)
  • Samuel Saint Rose (1835-1905) 
  • Isabella Sievewright Rose (1840-1881) 
The author is a descendant of George Henry Rose, the second son of Isabella Sievewright and John Rose. Additionally, a granddaughter of Isabella Sievewright, Alice Rose (1857-1935) b. Southampton, daughter of George Henry Rose married (in Southampton) Francis Watson Young of Dundee in 1877, and established her marital home in Dundee, Scotland . 

Could this be a clue? This hint was reinforced when David Young’s heritage was researched. His mother was Margaret Ann Sievewright (1817-1998), born in Dundee to Alexander Sievewright and Isabella Watson. Margaret Ann Sievewright’s paternal grandmother was Christian Thain (1752-1788). In other words, three of the names which appeared as middle names in John Rose and Isabella Sievewright’s family. Could Margaret Ann Sievewright, born in Dundee to an Alexander Sievewright and Isabella Watson have been Isabella Sievewright’s sister? There was also another sibling, a son Alexander born in Dundee to the same couple in 1813. 

Alexander Sievewright and Isabella Watson’s marriage could not be found in Scotland. However, Alexander Sievewright was recorded as living in Poplar, London in 1812 with his occupation being recorded as commander of the ship Fame. Eventually, their marriage was found at St Luke, Finsbury, London on 27 December 1805. 

Could Isabella have been baptised at the same church? This was another stumbling block since no researchers have been able to find a baptism. However, after searching for an Isabella, born to an Alexander and Isabella at St Luke, Finsbury without a surname, eventually her baptism was found. The surname had been very badly transcribed by Ancestry as “Swewright”. The original record of baptism shows that the surname was Sievewight. The record records Isabella’s birth as 6 November 1806 and her baptism as 4 January 1807. 

DNA evidence 

As well as the conclusions reached due to the marriage between my 2x great aunt Alice and her first cousin once removed (1CR1) Francis Watson Young, there are common DNA matches between the author, Margaret Elizabeth Tucker (1947-) who is Isabella Sievewright’s 3x great granddaughter and another descendant of David Watson (1737-1808) and Isabell Matthew (1745-1828) who are Isabella Sievewright’s paternal grandparents. This match is also a 5x great-grandson of David Watson and Isabell Matthew. 


The WikiTree administrators have noted that the original baptismal information was Contested, have made me the manager of Isabella Sievewright's ID and I can now add her ancestors.

So it pays to Check It Out.

31 Mar 2022

Sisters: Week 13 52 Ancestors

Reed family, about 1891

The Reed sisters

My paternal grandmother, Granny Tucker was one of six daughters of Robert Henry Reed (1858-1915) who was born in Plymouth, Devon but grew up in Southampton where he moved with his mother and siblings in the 1860s. After marrying Harriett Rose (1859-1924), he became an ambitious master baker with three bakeries and a tearoom.  The family, although large like many Victorian families, was quite comfortable in the 1880s, 90s and pre-WW1.

The six girls had an older brother - George Henry Reed - born in 1877.  The photo on the left includes my only photo of him.  He was learning the bakery trade but married and moved to Canada in 1913. It is unknown whether he ever visited England again.

The first girl, Harriett Sophia Reed was born very soon after her brother but she died within a few months.  Her middle name was that of her eldest aunt and she was named for her mother and grandmother, both called Harriett.

Harriet Reed Yeoman's house in Southampton

Harriett Peirce Reed, the oldest surviving sister was born in 1878, again named after her mother, Harriet Rose Reed.  She became a schoolteacher in Southampton and did not marry until 1932.  Her husband, a widower was a master grocer.  Harriet survived him by a number of years, dying in 1953.  In about 1960, my father received a solicitor's letter stating she had left most of her property to him and his surviving sister Cecily Mary Tucker in Australia.  Again, I have no other photo of Harriet. Her middle name was her maternal grandmother's surname although it is usually spelt Pearse. She is the girl sitting with the stick on her lap.

Alice Reed Bayford & son Norman

The second daughter Alice Rose Reed was born in 1881. Alice is standing beside her father in the photo above. She married her first cousin James Bayford in 1910 and moved to Hammersmith in London.  James was the son of Sophia Pearse Reed, Robert Henry Reed's older sister.  She had one son, Norman Bayford.  

Unfortunately, her husband James Bayford died of malaria whilst serving in Thessalonika in Greece in 1918. He was an insurance agent before the war and Alice continued to run the business until her retirement, possibly in the 1940s.  She appeared to be a very practical woman and was the executor of her mother's will in 1924.  Additionally, she assisted her mother and two of her sisters trading out of debt left behind after their father's demise in 1915.

Minnie Reed Irvine/Young on right
Minnie Kate Reed was the third daughter, born in 1882.  She is sitting in the front middle of the photo. My father told me she "married poorly".  She was the first of the sisters to marry, doing so in 1905 in Southampton.  She married William Henry Irvine (1877-1944) in 1905.  Her oldest child Kathleen Minnie Irvine was born in 1906.  By 1910 at the latest, Minnie left her husband and Kathleen appeared to be left mostly with her aunts.  Minnie partnered with a Tom Young of Twyford, Hampshire, a bricklayer and had a child by him named Kate Young in 1910 in Maidenhead, Berkshire. After 1911, no further trace of Kate can be found. Two more children were born in Brentford, London in 1912 (Tom Stamford Young) and 1913 (Elsie Young).  Minnie appears on an electoral roll in 1921 still living with Tom Young, taking his name. Family lore suggests at least one of the children was sent to Canada as a British Home child.  Minnie kept in touch with her sisters but appeared to be a lost soul in her later life.  In 1949, Elsie's birth certificate was amended by Minnie, and witnessed by her sister Alice to remove Tom Young as her father.  However, no other father was stated.  Minnie is shown in photos in later life holidaying with her sisters, but she lived in London for the remainder of her life, dying in 1957.  Her oldest child Kathleen preceded her in death, dying of kidney disease in 1942.  William Henry Irvine remained in Southampton, with his occupation being a night watchman on his 1944 death certificate.

Edith Reed Tucker & son Bob

My grandmother Edith Annie (1884-1973) was the fourth surviving daughter. She was musical and started courting my grandfather Sydney George Tucker, the son of a prosperous music dealer aged sixteen.  They were engaged when she was 21 and married at 23 at Bovey Tracy in Devon.  Her uncle gave her away.  This appears strange.  Did her father not approve of her marriage?  Whatever the reason, they were very happily married, with daughters Jessie Agnes and Cecily Mary born in 1908 and 1910, followed by my father (pictured) in 1914.  Syd signed up as an aircraft gunner but suffered serious wounds, both physical and mental and died of his own hand in 1919, whilst in hospital.  My grandmother had a tough life thereafter since her father was deceased and her father-in-law had remarried a much younger woman who convinced him to change his will.  My grandmother was forced to send her daughters to Dr Barnardo's Homes whilst she worked in the confectioners' tearooms.

Tucker family in April 1917

In 1923, Dr Barnardo's Homes proposed sending one of the sisters to Canada and one to Australia, both as domestic servants.  The girls, just 13 and 15 insisted on going together and their mother supported them to do so if they were happy to. In January 1924 they were sent to Sydney, NSW and their mother and brother were facilitated by Barnardos to join them in 1925.  Whilst the children were happy, Edith never felt settled, had to take up domestic work to survive but never saw England again.  She remained a widow with my father supporting her by purchasing a house from his war savings.  She died in 1973, having spent long stretches dealing with and being treated for depression.

Kate Rose Reed was born on Christmas Day, 1885.  She married Sidney Bellenger, a printer with whom she worked in 1909.  The couple had no children but together with her oldest sister, teacher Harriett supported Edith's children in practical ways such as warm clothing and shoes after Edith became widowed. My dad and other family members called the couple Steak and Kidney, behind their backs presumably.  Kate often wrote to her sister Edith and to my parents in Australia. She died in 1971.

A son was born in 1887 and named after his father, but died within 12 months.

Molly and Jean Kennedy before parting in 1927

The youngest daughter, Jessie was born on 24th June 1989.  She married a professional cricketer, Alexander Stuart Kennedy in April 1910 and their older daughter Mary (Molly) Stuart Kennedy was born later that year. I was told that Jessie perfected her cake decorating skills whilst working with her mother and sisters post-WW1.  Alex represented England in five test matches against South Africa and in the early 20s, the family migrated to Cape Town, South Africa where Alex became a cricket coach. Another daughter Jean was born in 1923 but the marriage was already in jeopardy.  

Jessie Reed Kennedy/Davies

Alex initiated divorce proceedings on the grounds of adultery, finalising the case in 1925 and by 1927, Molly Kennedy accompanied her father back to England, leaving baby Jean with her mother.  Jessie then married Charles Davies in Cape Town and had three more children by him.  The family later migrated to Rhodesia where Jessie died of cancer in 1957. 

Jessie and my grandmother Edith corresponded for the rest of their lives. My father remembers meeting the family with his mother in Cape Town in 1925 on his way to Australia.

Descendants of the four sisters who had children are now scattered over four continents: England, Australia (including some from South Africa and Zimbabwe), South Africa and America (Florida). Since 2008, I have met three out of four cousins in England, seven in Florida and two in Australia (both born in Africa).

My father particularly remembers being surrounded by kindly aunts in England and later receiving care packages and letters from them during his WW2 service in New Guinea and Bougainville.

19 Mar 2022

Joined together - Week 12: 52 Ancestors


Bob, Freda & Margaret in 1949

As one of the first baby boomers (born in 1947), I was a product of a post-war marriage.  My parents had re-met (long story) during one of my dad's army leave's in 1943-44.  He had been fighting the Japanese on the Kokoda Track with the 2nd/14th Australian Infantry Battalion.

Many marriages were performed in Australia in 1946, as they probably were in the UK and America, Canada and New Zealand as allied troops returned from Bougainville (where my dad completed his service) and overseas and were slowly demobilised.

This resulted in a huge enrollment in school classes by 1952.

Bob & Freda Tucker 23 March 1946

Many weddings were austere in those early post-war years with a shortage of materials and wedding frippery.  I imagine many brides with a talent for dressmaking refashioned their mother's wedding dress if it had been saved.  My mother wore a frock and hat she could wear again. 

My sister and I followed in her footsteps - my sister in 1975 and me in 1983 and 2006.  Neither of us could see ourselves in white with a veil.

Apart from my mother's biological and foster mothers, I have no photos of any of my other ancestor's weddings.  This does seem a bit strange.  I wonder if there were no cameras at the wedding or the photos were sadly thrown out.  I shall likely never know.

14 Mar 2022

Flowers - Week 11: 52 Ancestors


Grevillea - one of many
A few years ago, after I retired from full-time work and became passionate about genealogy I undertook the UK based Family History Skills and Strategies (Intermediate) course with Pharos Tutoring.  I finished it in 2014 and almost immediately began the Diploma of Family History at the University of Tasmania.

I was particularly interested in the Pharos Tutors courses because although I was born in Australia to an Australian mother and an English father, all four of my biological grandparents were English from the south of England.

I loved both courses equally and I could undertake each of them online.

In 2010, my husband John and I sold our four-bedroom house in Western Sydney and moved into a three-bedroom unit in a retirement village nearby.  It is a large village and each complex is a cluster of units set in beautiful gardens. Most of the complexes are named after flowering plants, mostly Australian natives.  Our 49-unit complex is called Grevillea.

Grevilleas, of which there are many varieties and colours are found Australia wide.  They grow nicely in Australian gardens, as shrubs or groundcovers.

So it seemed natural to me to call my little hobby/business Grevillea Genealogy.  I have a website with a linked Google Blog, a Facebook page and an associated email address linked to my Gmail account.  I do not charge for labour - that's the hobby part.  I charge enough to cover my other costs such as database subscriptions.

I've been undertaking family history research since 2014 for friends and acquaintances, particularly residents in our retirement village.  The projects have been quite varied.  One resident wished to find the truth about their inlaws' tales of a coachbuilding business, another about what her English father did in World War 1 and yet another about whether two families with the same surname were connected.  Some were amazed to find convicts in their families, another was surprised that she was a distant cousin of one of our recent prime ministers.  Many simply wanted to extend their family trees back as far as they could, or to discover when their ancestors came to Australia.

I am not undertaking nearly as much research now since my husband, spinal cord injured since 1970,  has recently damaged his shoulder badly and is much less independent than he'd like to be.  A former amateur racing-car driver, he cannot drive at the moment.

So here I am, undertaking a blog challenge for Amy Johnson Crow's  Generations Cafe. To kickstart my weekly blogging challenge, I signed up with Stickk.com, a behaviour changing campaign.  It worked!  I had to report weekly whether I had uploaded a blog post and my husband had to verify it.  I linked it to an "anti-charity", an organisation for which I had no time.  My chosen "anti-charity" was the National Firearms Association.  It was one of a dozen choices, mostly American.  There was no way I wanted my money to go to the NRA.

7 Mar 2022

Worship - Week 10: 52 Ancestors

St Mary's Church, Southampton

None of my grandparents - all born in England - nor their parents and grandparents in the 19th century appeared particularly religious.  They were certainly protestant and generally used the Church of England for their hatch, match and despatch customs. However, this was common practice because during most of the Victorian era and earlier the Church of England parishes throughout England carried out these functions in the absence of civil registration, certainly prior to 1837.

Parishes were also responsible for many other functions now carried out by the UK government.  These included welfare subsidies for the poor and tithes instead of taxation to pay for road maintenance and other public functions.

My favourite ancestor is my 3 x great grandfather John Rose 1804-1884 of Southampton. Through researching various family trees, 

I made contact with a fourth cousin Moira, who I later met in Dorchester in 2012.

In 1836 England introduced the Tithe Commutation Act which replaced the ancient system of payment of tithes in kind (for example, produce) with monetary payments.  So the issue of the fairness or otherwise of tithes was a significant issue in 1839 when this incident took place.

By 1839, John Rose had sired ten sons by his wife Isabella, and no daughters.  Only one had died in early childhood.  He named his 10th son, baptised on 9th September 1838 at St Mary's Church: Guilford North Rose, after the church rector, Francis North, 6th Earl of Guilford.

The rector, Francis North was the formal rector of a number of churches in Hampshire and was in the habit of giving an annual sermon once a year, where he collected the tithes due to him.  For the rest of the year, the church was left in the hands of a curate who was paid a pittance.

On the appointed day, John Rose approached the rector with his tenth son in his arms, handed him to the Earl and suggested he take the child as John Rose's tithe.  The Earl had been fussing over the babe, but upon hearing John Rose's request, promptly handed him back.

John Rose later wrote a poem, which he sold very successfully as a pamphlet.  Here it is:

A letter to the Hon. And Rev. the Earl of Guil(d)ford (sic), Wiltshire Park, Dover

I’m certain your Lordship would hardly suppose
You’d receive an Epistle in verse from JOHN ROSE
Well-known in Southampton, while courting the muse,
As Father of Children and Vendor of News.

Ah, hinc illoe Lachrymoe! One thing is sure.
Though in young ones I’m rich, in the pocket I’m poor.

Sad drawback it is on connubial joys
Ten bantlings to rear – and the whole of them boys,
Everyone of them hearty, my Lord, and no question
With appetites keen and unfailing digestion;
And who, as to eating, though not over-nice,
Would make a sirloin disappear in a trice.
Your feelings, my Lord, I had no wish to shock
When I offered you lately a TITHE OF MY FLOCK –
A fine chubby lad which, as flower of the crew.
Guildford North I have christened him, in honour of you.

And I fervently hope, though the last of the race,
That – much honoured name he will never disgrace.
Now, My Lord, it would make my paternal heart glad
If you’d kindly consent to provide for the lad,
And to the rich bower, where your lordship reposes,
Would transplant this fair sample, the Flower of the ROSES.

But your Lordship may say: “Now my feelings you touch,
And truly John Rose, you are asking too much.
Were I to provide for each brat that is born,
Every ROSE in the lot would be turned to a thorn,
And the whole of the wealth of the County of Hants,
Would be quite insufficient to cover their wants.

Please note that the punctuation and spelling were John Rose's.  As a larger than life and very opinionated working man, he had his own printing press and immediately published and sold the verse in pamphlet format throughout Southampton.

The doggerel and covering story were provided to the Southern Daily Echo by Mrs Frederick (Amy) Walbridge, a daughter of Guil(d)ford North Rose 1838-1900 in the 1930s.  She well remembered her grandfather John Rose and her father having a chuckle about this story, especially when a discussion of tithes arose.                         

When my Southampton friend and distant cousin Ange took me to visit the church in 2012, we were astonished that this church was not completely destroyed in the 1940 blitz of Southampton.  It is surrounded by buildings dating from the 1960s, a sure sign of the extensive bombing in that area. In fact, the church was badly damaged and restored.

John Rose's father Simon Rose who died in the Southampton Workhouse was buried in the churchyard in 1820, but no graves could be found.

22 Feb 2022

Courting - Week 8: 52 Ancestors

Family photo taken to France

A few years ago, the widow of my only first cousin on my dad's side, Philip Davis (1948-2007) sent me a packet of photos, some of which I'd never seen before. 

Imagine my delight when I found one well-handled photo postcard which was fully inscribed, unlike the other copy of the same photo I already possessed.

I soon realised this photo must have been taken to the Northern Front by my grandfather Sydney George Tucker who had died of war injuries just three days after being demobbed in 1919.

In my granny Tucker's handwriting, the card is fully inscribed with important family anniversaries and I can see exactly how old each child was at the time. Previously I was simply guessing that it was taken in 1915 when he first enlisted after years in the volunteer forces.

However, it was taken on 22 April 1917, just before he was sent to France.  He had undertaken significant training in the new craft of aircraft artillery, based in the south of England, as well as coastal guard duties.  Being a family man, I guess he was reluctant to join up in 1914, especially since the war was likely to be over by Christmas.  Or so they thought.

Family birthdates, courting and marriage dates
Here is the back of the postcard.  It shows that my father Bob was just two years and 10 months old at the time.

His sister Jessie was eight and sister Cecily was seven.

Edith Annie Tucker's wish was not granted.  Yes, he came home after being hospitalised for 15 months to heal his physical injuries, but his psychological injuries were too much to bear.

On 31 March 1919, he was granted a temporary disability pension for 12 months.  He was in the Southampton War Hospital at the time, having fallen off the Southampton Walls and injured himself.

Three days later, still in hospital, he committed suicide.