Where are you from?

In the weekend thread, we got into a discussion about our family history and we found out that scaper is descended from a musician and composer who was in favour of Nicholas of Russia!

Scaper has kindly allow me to post the certficate of service for his grandfather. These are amazing documents. I hope that scaper can fill us in more on his families history in the comments below. And here is the certificate (you can click on it to expand).

That got us thinking, do any other blogocrats have an interesting family history.

I guess mine is fairly standard for an Aussie. My mother’s family is from England, where her great grandfather was supposedly the fourth Hollond brother who, if memory serves me correctly, settled in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. And she is also related to the Goldspink clan of Tumbarumba.

On my father’s side we can trace back to the First Fleet. One of my cousins is also trying to prove or disprove that my great grandfather was aboriginal.

So, we ask – where are you from?

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37 Responses

  1. And you just so happen to have little old moi who has been a family historian from the 90’s. Ahh the good old days when research meant ploughing one’s way through the microfiche at a library 100kms away. Now most records are online or available on disc [costing mega!!].

    I have the Pioneers onwards for Victoria and South Australia and some WA records if anyone wants any lookups. Freebies to friends of course. NSW Pioneers onwards are online, but they are very very difficult records to understand (just ask me if anyone is having any problems).

    All family history is interesting. It helps one understand who one is and where one has come from.

    Sitting in my lounge room is a piano. It was my grandpa’s wedding present to my granny and it was hauled via bullock dray from Melbourne to Tungamah.

    My granny (an interesting, very proper English lady from Kingsthorpe, Northamptonshire had [shock, horror] a career..she trained as a Nursing Sister at Guy’s Hospital circa 1910 played piano, her brother played violin professionally.

    This then skipped 2 generations as I have the musical ability of a flea but all my crew are very musical including playing 2 instruments and being able to sing in tune (I kept saying..they must be throw-backs).

  2. Interesting! Not something I’ve really delved into before.
    It’s amazing how in the sliver of a couple of generations such roots are forgotten, or hidden?

    About all I know is that I’m predominantly German on three sides & the other is British. All from the Mannum area but wouldn’t have a clue where from or how prior to that. It would probably be intriguing to investigate out of pure curiosity.
    Personally I don’t really care as I see myself very much in the here & now without allegiance to state or geography in particular. However, tracing the origin & possible rationalisation that lead to my/my families eventualities is a tempting prospect.

    I predict that most of us came from out of the sewers somewhere in Europe, just a hunch. The only thing I base that on is my toilet fixation.

  3. My beloved scullion has long wanted to know about her ancestry. There is a strong suspicion that (particularly on her father’s side) things have been stifled, this of course makes one even more curious. Difficult though because she doesn’t have a functionig relationship with her parents.

    I wonder, how hard is it to follow your family tree if there is a complete lack of cooperation from one side of the family, or indeed active attempts to throw spanners into the cogs of truth?
    I guess you’re the one to ask min.

  4. I’ve mentioned before my clever cousin in the UK who has traced my father’s family (his surname is different to mine) back to 1515 in Sussex (South UK) and very probably Norman. Most of our ancestors were brewers or publicans – very appropriate we reckon – in the genes! My mother’s maiden name is also a well known Norman name but in Yorkshire (North UK) and once very rich and powerful (not her branch unfortunately!) and mentioned in the Doomsday Book as a large landowner and recorded as having fought at the Battle of Hastings. My old man’s ancestors probably polished his boots.

    One of the main problems tracing UK names (as I understand it) was the Great Fire of London in 1666 when many records held by churches were lost – 1665 is often as far as many people can get.

    The Minister hails from Friesland (Northern Holland) and her family on her mother’s side are related to the Fokkers – the one famous for airplanes not the movie! Her family has a website tracing her ancestors back to the early 1600’s.

  5. Dutch all through.

    Family have a long history of abject poverty, some of the stories have you shaking your head in wonder on how they survived. Just about the whole lot come from Eindhoven, with one part from Kerkdriel where there is an uncle still living.

    Mum was pregnant with me when dad decided to get out of the Dutch army and move to Australia. He had a medal for valour from Indonesia which I now have. Both my parents are dead, with mum dying a few years ago and dad dying three years after her.

    Their WWII stories are fascinating and unbelievable. Their town was occupied by the Germans and the SS had set up a HQ there. They had no trouble with the German troops who were kind and helped them, but the SS were a different story. The liberating Americans in one week caused more damage and killed more people (collateral damage) than three years of German occupation. Maybe one day I’ll tell some of the stories, especially of mum who was a very beautiful 16 year old, and the most unbelievable of what happened when she was marked by an SS officer to be his concubine.

    Half the Dutch side of the family ended up following mum and dad out to Australia, but my parents had it really hard when they came here. The job dad was promised wasn’t there and they had to live in a cold quonset with mum due with me. The story of how they made it here is almost as fascinating as their time in Holland.

    Being hard working all their life and doing with so little for so long they appreciated everything they had. When Howard came onto the scene he represented everything they loathed, which is probably where I get my disdain of the man, plus from the times I met him. To show how deep this goes when mum fell ill it was one of her hopes that she would live to see Howard kicked out of office, a hope that sadly was not fulfilled.

    I believe if we go way back there is a French connection from a man who moved to Holland from France and married a Dutch woman. I don’t know exactly where they tie in as I’ve never chased up my genealogy, not really being that interested. I find the stories and history of my immediate family fascinating enough to fill up a lifetime of stories, plus as you go back the stories of the terrible poverty gets a little depressing after a while.

  6. Heavy story Adrian.

  7. Happy endings though. Dad went on to be successful in the building industry and the kids grew up not wanting. All my childhood memories are of a joyful house full of laughter and lots of people always visiting.

    The uncles/aunties and their partners who followed in dad’s footsteps in moving to Australia a couple of years later all did very well and a few are wealthy (all retired now).

    There is a lesson here for the greed we have seen lately. For example during the height of the Keating recession we had to have, the one the wingnuts like to bring up as doom and gloom, my family knuckled down, did without some luxuries and the kids got cheap Christmas presents, yet the mums stayed at home and not a single one lost their house. A couple of uncles lost their jobs but they just got piecemeal work wherever they could. It was always said not to worry as this was only for a few short years and things would be much better afterwards. They were right.

  8. Scotland.

    Born n bred. And then migrated to NZ (Auckland) then Sydney, then Tassie….

  9. My grandfather has a run in with Stalin over my grandmother and the families association with the tsar would result in certain death.

    My grandparents had three children, Alexander, Lexi and Tania.

    My father was born in Manchuria and his sisters in Korea, in all this time watching his back because the Bolsheviks were looking for him…all the rest of the family that did not escape were executed, man woman and child!

    They boarded a boat to Australia and landed at Townsville and they settled in Thangool.

    He had funds and bought a cotton farm of all things, he also taught music and the family used to put on shows at the Russian Club.

    Something happened and he sold up, moved to Sydney, made the family change their name and fled to the US under his real name…I believe he did this to throw someone off the trail.

    I just can’t imagine the sacrifice that he made to leave his family that he loved…he was murdered in Miami.

  10. That’s fascinating stuff scaper, and though tragic and horrible in aspects makes for a very interesting family history, a history I hope you pass down and don’t let die.

  11. Adrian,

    My father’s life was interesting, but not as interesting as my grandfather’s.

    I will most probably post it later as I’ve got the dreaded BAS to do now…the worst part of business, I should get my accountant to do it but he is not as creative.

  12. Adrian, Eindhoven was central to Market Garden (as I’m sure your know)

    My old man was in Holland D-Day +2 (RN Sigs) and said the place was a bloody mess (bodies floating in the harbour etc).

    Stories of WWII were very slim until I’d served and then they seemed a bit easier for him. My mum had an “interesting time” too, in the ATS, on ack ack batteries in London during the blitz – my parents met in a bomb shelter in the West End.

    The Minister and I went to Holland in in 2005 and I could “sense” what it must have been like – expected a Wermacht unit around every corner.

    BTW how did your dad win the medal in Indonesia?

    Very interesting thread for only 11 posts and I include yours particularly, scaper – detail is what makes the difference – my history is traced way back but the information on people is pretty limited…

    As for “riches” my paternal grandmother had nothing after WWI, husband back from the war, five kids – she raised some capital bought a boarding house in Eastbourne (south coast of England) and went from there – over her lifetime she bought, renovated and sold 2/3rds of all the hotels in the town – made a tidy sum – split between the kids – 10000 quid to my old man (lot of money in 1959) – new car and a few pubs and my parents came to Oz, in 1961 with 1000 quid, no job, no where to live…we survived…

  13. Human Dividend | October 25, 2008 at 6:27 pm. Hello HD, family cooperation is useful but it’s not impossible to trace one’s family tree minus this.

    If the beloved scullion has her grandparents’ names, depending on which State, then it is likely that she can trace her family history.

    As I’ve already mentioned, I am happy to do lookups. It’s similar to doing a jigsaw puzzle, interesting and frustrating, but eventually the pieces all fit together. It’s min_kelpie@yahoo.com.au or write to joni for my home address.

    I haven’t anything nearly as interesting as scaper. My Lucas side of the family came to Oz as Indentured Servants/farm laborers. My Garner side were marriage runaways (the LOVE side had the Queen Adelaide pub in Kingsthorpe Northamptonshire renown for drawing the best beer in England) . My Jenkins side (Dad’s side) were from Pontnewyndd/Pontypool Monmouthshire Wales and a cousin is Terry Cobner who according to a research rellie in Wales is ‘a god’ re rugby.

    And this is just a part of ‘my side’. Jeff’s side is far more interesting..Italian, German and Irish.

  14. My sister has the formal letter of the award, and it’s not a medal per se but a badge.

    Dad was an adjutant whose secondary duty was as a stretcher bearer for the medics. They normally picked up the wounded and dead just a little way back from the fighting (there was no real front line, mostly jungle stuff, which the Dutch were understandably woeful at). Dad went to the pickup point with another adjutant and they were about to take a dead soldier back to a clearing area when dad heard someone groan and say “hulp”, so dad knew he was a Dutchy. Dad went forward into the thick of the fighting to pick up a wounded Dutch soldier laying in the underbrush. Bullets were ripping the bushes to pieces all around him but he got the soldier back to the clearing area. It turned out the soldier dad saved was the son of a senior officer back in Holland, thus the award for valour.

    Interesting thing dad tells about is their ignominious march out of Indonesia. He said the worse thing in the world was to be on the losing side of a war. Most soldiers are just ordinary people following orders but they get the brunt of the scorn and derision. Dad’s mob were marched down the main street that led to the docks where the transport ships were to take them back to Holland. On the entire route from the top of the town to the docks they were spat upon, had rotten fruit and veggies thrown at them and the occasional stone or small rock.

  15. I am finding it interesting that most on the blog seem to be WW1+(20th century) immigrants and from Dutch/German/Austrian/Swiss origins and very few ‘typical’ migrants – that is 1850’s (as per my crew) escaping the famines in Ireland and the west countries of England.

    TB Queensland | October 25, 2008 at 7:20 pm
    TB, Sussex records are good (my Sussex crew includes the surname Mayhead mainly around Hastings).

    The story is that Civil Registration was brought in about 1837 (from thereon) but records are iffy until at least the 1860’s.

    Prior to..church records as in the parish priest or minister writing down in his church ledger who had been married, who had died and which baby had been brought to church to be baptised. As one can imagine, even under normal circumstances there might be a few records missing.

    And it does get even more complicated such as Catholic priests refusing to hand over their ledgers to the English.

    And so, we do in Australia have reasonable records post 1860’s re bdms but it depends upon which State. Prior to, iffy because they are not civil registrations but what are called Bishop’s Transcripts (the parish priest sent a summary of bdms to the Bishop).

    However what we don’t have is a copy of any Census. Remember that one. How we had a referrendum a few years ago to keep a copy of the census and the answer was Yes whereas all previous answers to keeping a copy was NO.

    Earlier, Census from colonial times were destroyed as an agreement of government mostly to with the fact that several wealthy people of influence were of Convict origins. A shameful thing in it’s day..compared with these days where almost all researchers would ‘kill for’ a convict ancestor.

    Anyway…must stop waffling. If anyone is interested in tracing their family tree I am offering freebie lookups for Vic and free tutorials.

  16. I go back to the first fleet on my mothers side and around the 1830’s on my father. Mum’s decendants were convicts, my father’s: free settlers.

    The First Fleeter was James Freeman, the colony’s first hangman. About a month after getting here, he and another convict stole from the colony’s stores. They were sentenced to be hung along with a couple of other people (accounts differ on who and how many). Phillip offered Freeman a pardon on account that he become the Colony’s hangman – an offer he readily accepted. So he hung his mates and served out the rest of his term as the hangman (but free).

    My Father’s Great Grandparents were some of the first settlers in the Dungog Area and started a fair sized vineyard around the same time as the Wyndams in the Hunter. My Great Great Grandfather was one of the founding members of the Hunter vignerons association. However, religion got in the way and following a culmination of events, My GG Grandfather became a Methodist and gave up the drink and pulled up all the vines. My Great Grandfather didn’t change religion, objected to the vines being pulled up and was subsequently disinherited! My family could have been wine magnates but for bloody religion 🙄

  17. So D55… you’re a HunterValley boy – just like me!

  18. Yep – I didn’t grow up here though but it seems I have returned to the homeland.

    I wish I knew more about my Grandfather – he evidently lived a pretty wild youth travelling all over Aus. Unfortunately, he made a promise to my Grandmother not to tell the kids any stories about his pre marriage days, probably in case they got any ideas 😉

    Dad and my uncles have snippets of information about things he did from little stories but they don’t have a full picture. He was a big bloke (6’2″) and signed up for WW1 in 1914, even though he was only 15 at the time. His father dragged him out of the army though until he was old enough and the war was over by then. He evidently played for one of the VFL teams after the War and then knocked about for ages – there are reports of a bloke of a similar name to him being one of the biggest brawlers in Qld!. What he did though until he met my Grandmother though is a bit of a mystery although he told my dad that the worst job he ever had was belting the horns off cattle when they got stuck in the race being loaded onto ships.
    Somehow, a 5’0 lady stole his heart and tamed him and he ran a dairy in what is now Berowra until he sold up and moved north. I wish I knew what he did in those years before he was married though – I reckon there would be some good stories.

  19. I am the opposite D55, I grew up there (Rutherford) but now live and work in the big smoke.

  20. I lived in Rutherford when I first moved up here a few years ago – the place has really boomed over the past 4 years – it nearly makes the Rouse Hill area look tame in comparison (Nearly 😉 )

  21. When I grew up in Rutherford, we used to ride our bikes, build dams and create mischief in the Aberglassyn area of Rudfud…. ah, good memories.

  22. Both my parents are lebanese(bit of germanshepard, dad was kinky i think).
    Mother moved to australia in the 60’s divorced from my father whom was overseas as the presidants right hand man.

    My mother only spoke english in the house as to learn quickly and she was never schooled.

    8 years ago i travelled the middle east on my own and not understanding the language it was a long year and a half untill i got back to OZ.

    Ok you can wake up now, i’m finished.

  23. Scaper thanks for that

  24. Hi Hexx,

    Lebanese eh…Mrs scaper is quarter, the cutie.

    Did you live in Sydney?

  25. I forgot to put in that my ancestors all all English – increasingly rare to have such straight pedigree in Australia me thinks.

  26. Hey Scaper,
    Nuh, Qld Nth brisbane in Caboolture. But i did live in sydney(greenacre) for 20years then mudgee(country NSW).

  27. Wow…I lived in Oatley and bought a farm sixty clicks from Mudgee at Turill…I was building at Ulan coal mine and thought I would Buy a block of dirt and develop it…actually my father’s idea.

    It was eight hundred acres fenced on the boundary…I built two houses, dug eleven large dams, fenced it, sunk a bore and made the place droughtproof.

    I sold it as a Poll Hereford stud concern…practice.

  28. Ulan, i was in gulgong but say mudgee as its more known to people. I did so much dam work fixing pipes out there i also did cave diving in the old mines that work was for the council.
    The recovery out of some of the mines was:
    skeleton handcuffed(nice old cuffs), spears, stone tools.

    I bet you made a nice profit from that land , the prices went nuts out there.

  29. Hexx, not a great profit for my efforts…this all happened in !980-1983…I moved to Brisbane to escape my family that was going into meltdown.

    I’ve said earlier that I will post relating to my father…I have never put my feelings about him in print…maybe when I do I will get closure.

  30. Hope the closure works buddy.

    Forget the profit, hope your still proud of the hard work you did.

  31. Sorry to spoil the love, but personally I don’t think there’s any such thing as “closure”. It’s an over-used term which seeks to promise a lot more than it delivers.

    I think the only “closure” we get is when we finally snuff it.

  32. Boring English, Scottish and Irish, me. Both sides migrated in the early part of the 20th century, my father’s Scottish (from the Gorbals) and Irish parents pre WW1, my mother’s very English (from Kent) parents in the twenties. My mother was conceived in England and just made it in time to be born in Adelaide.
    There appears to be a bit of a scandal re my mum and her parents. Apparently, my grandfather was married when he met my grandmother, the inevitable happened and they took off for Australia in a hurry. There doesn’t seem to have been a divorce, which would have been very difficult at the time, so we don’t know whether they ever married. Meh and I was hoping for a pirate.
    My English cousin has been researching his paternal family tree for 35+ years and thinks he may have traced it back to a murdered deacon in the 15th century. I’m sure there’s some Viking in the mix on account of the red hair in the family.
    There was also quite a bit of migration to Australia on this side of the family in the mid 19th century and as they were very good breeders, NSW seems to be swarming with distant rellies. Apparently, they also produced some champion shearers.
    Don’t know a great deal about my father’s family. His Scottish mother migrated with her mother and 2 sisters pre WW1 and she met my grandfather on the boat. They married in Australia and had 2 children before the war. He volunteered for the AIF, went overseas and after he came home’ they had 2 more children one of whom was my father.
    Unfortunately for Grandma, he met someone in England, which was the death knell for the marriage and they had a rather bitter divorce after WW2.
    Unhappy marriages seemed to run in Grandma’s family. They migrated to get away from her father, an appalling drunk who used to hang around on street corners in the Gorbals propositioning brokes (prostitutes). He even propostioned Grandma one evening when she’d been sent to find him for dinner. Despite this, she was rather fond of Wee Jimmy, who managed to track them down in Whyalla, much to Isabel’s chagrin.
    His legacy to his 3 grandsons was a fondness for the drink.

  33. Thanx min, I’ll get onto it when I get some time. On nightshift this week & it’s not very conducive to anything other than superficial mental activity.

    Cool thread everybody.

    I find it interesting that every persons life is a unique story; all so different and yet sharing such similarities.

  34. I will define what I mean when I use closure.

    To me it is accepting a tragedy and moving on, an example when a person you love dies you grieve but get on with life.

    In my father’s case we did not agree with each other on many fronts but had the highest respect for each other…he had a stroke about five years before his death and this resulted in the only contact being by mail.

    I sent him letters that was supposed to be read to him…I never expected or recieved a response, they were mostly about my business and life in general and when scapette was born I sent him down the photos.

    I remember writing for the first time in many years to my aunt telling her that I was coming down to Sydney to see her and make my peace with my father in December, 2004.

    She rang me on xmas morning to tell me my father had died a week before the 2000 olympics!!!

    My Siberlings as I call them, with-held all my letters and told my father that I had disappeared, he always wanted me to produce a grandchild and never knew…the saddest part is that only one of those c***s visited him on his deathbed and they are now sitting on his millions!

    Father knew that I never wanted anything from him, I was the apple of his eye and I’ve made my own life while the rest have sat on the fence like vultures…I remember several times in my childhood sitting watching the sunset with him relating how he got be where he was and saw tears stream down his cheeks as he recounted hard times and seeing him on the piano singing my grandfather’s songs.

    What he taught me about life and business is worth more than all the millions that he left and for that I’m greatful…I’m going down there in winter on the way to the snow to confront the lot of them…hopefully that will be my closure.

  35. Scaper, careful with confrontation as its you starting the sitiution by going there if things go bad. I feel Reb is riight in this situation, not only will you not get closure but things might end up worse if there the type of people you discribe.

    I really dont know what to say as this is beyond anything i have encountered. Seeing you know them better i hope things go well for you buddy.

  36. Hexx, they have a lot to explain and I will get answers…it will be civil, besides…I know about “The Fraud!”

  37. What a bunch of slugs, Scaper! I doubt you’ll stir their consciences, but it can only be good for you to confront them and let them know what contempt you feel for them. Let them have it!

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