My Aunty Marg

This post is a combination of the eulogy at the funeral of my aunty Marg, my mother’s remembrances (Marg’s sister) and also my talks with aunty Marg.

Margaret Grace Phillips nee England

1928 – 2017

Margaret was born early in April 1928, the second daughter of Hannah and Henry England of Sandy Bay. Her older sister Iris died at the age of 9 when her younger sister Phyllis was only 3 weeks old.

Margaret and her older sister, Iris

Margaret and Iris (above), Margaret and Phyllis (below)

Margaret looks after her younger sister, Phyllis

Margaret was educated at Albuera Street Primary School and Ogilvie High School. This was not an enjoyable experience for her.

Her first job was for pocket money where she washed out pots for flowers at Chandler’s Nursery. Margaret’s grandmother was a Chandler and the nursery was over the back fence of their house in Sandy Bay.

Margaret joined the Brownies and Guides. She loved being outdoors especially going fishing with her Dad, Harry, down near Sandy Bay beach. Marg, though, did not like the water and this carried on throughout her whole life.

Margaret and Phyllis fishing with their dad, Henry

She was always very pleased when her cousin Eileen Davey came and lived with them as she now had someone her age to go to socials and dances with. Margaret was a member of both the junior and senior church choirs at Princess Street Methodist Church.

After leaving school, Marg’s first big job was at Tattersalls and then at the University of Tasmania where she worked in the Refectory from 1966 until 1989. Marg still kept in contact with her friends from Uni, attending monthly lunches at various pubs around Hobart.

Margaret and Norm's wedding with Henry and Hannah

Marg married Norm (Ken) Phillips from Sorell in 1949 and in 1950 they built a home in Lenah Valley. Whilst living here, their two children Bronwyn and Leigh were born. But unfortunately the floods of 1954 washed away their outer sheds. They did rebuild, but Norm’s health had suffered a shock, so they moved to a home in Duke Street, Sandy Bay.

In 1965 Margaret and her family travelled with Phyllis and her husband Bob, and children Suzanne and Philip. They drove through the eastern states of Australia as far north as Cairns, then across through outback Queensland and up to Darwin, down the centre to Alice Springs, Adelaide and back home to Tasmania. This was a trip of 4 months in a caravan towed by the trusty old FC Holden while Phyllis’s family were in a Kombi van and tent.

Margaret did volunteer work with several groups. She was a keen knitter, making rugs, scarves and jumpers for various organizations.

Margaret and Max

She stayed in Sandy Bay until the death of Norm in 1968 when she sold up and bought a unit in Davey Street, where she was very happy . After many years, she moved to Max Jones’s house in South Hobart when they became partners. They later bought a house together in West Moonah where they spent many happy years until Max’s death in 2009.

Marg’s daughter Bronwyn passed away suddenly in 2013.

Marg continued to live in West Moonah, however, due to an increase in health problems, it was decided she would move to a nursing home. After a period of respite, she moved into Queen Victoria Home at Lindisfarne for a period of 7 months prior to her passing. Although she would not admit it fully, she was very happy there and enjoyed not only the friends and company that she had, but also all the activities that were arranged.

Margaret’s much loved family included:

Bronwyn, Margaret and Leigh

2 children – Bronwyn and Leigh

A younger version of Kelli, Kaide and Shannon

5 grandchildren – Kelli, Shannon, Kaide, Chantel and Shawn

Four of the great grandchildren

9 great grandchildren – Jaxsen, Taylia, Kyah, Blake, Manon, Joseph, Hugo, Nate and Luke.

 

As part of my Oral History unit, I recorded aunty Marg talking about her father, Harry.

She also spoke about her mother Hannah, war and holidays.

Relatives:
If any of you have photos of Aunty Marg with the kids or just being herself that I could add to a slideshow and put on the blog, could you please send me a copy?

Readers:

What is a great memory you have with my Aunty Marg? If you didn’t know my Aunty Marg, what is a great memory you have with an aunty?

Bryant family

Been doing more research on the BRYANT family.

Caroline Bryant was my great great grandmother who married William Chandler my great great grandfather. What do I know about this family so far? Check out this post I have already written back in January this year.

But what new information have I found out?

I now know about J. Winter, the witness on the 1859 marriage certificate of Caroline and William.

J Winter is Caroline’s sister Julia.

London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Pancras Parish Church, Register of marriages, P90/PAN1, Item 104

When did Robert and Julia arrive in Tasmania?

They were sponsored out by Charlotte Bryant and arrived on the ship Woodcote in 1856 along with Robert’s parents.

 

Tasmania, Australia, Immigrant Lists, 1841-1884

Marriages of Summers or Somers

Still trying to find Thomas Somers, my fathers great grandfather. So decided to create family group sheets for every Summers or Somers marriage in Tasmania pre 1900. Luckily all these records are digitised and online at the LINC website via the Tasmanian Names Index.

As I am looking for a surname of Somers or Summers, I only created them for males and single females who gave birth to sons named Thomas or given name not recorded.

So far, there are 56 marriages. There are 7 Thomas as the father and 11 sons with Thomas as first or middle name. There are also 7 unnamed males.

The marriages are from east coast of Tasmania, Hobart, Launceston, Emu Bay (Burnie) and Cressy/Longford area.

I have also added children, marriages and deaths gathered from the Index.

Next step is to create a family tree linking together the many from Emu Bay, Cressy/Longford etc.

I also checked if there is a one name study for these surnames, but no such luck. With this work I am doing, I will be putting copies of the family group charts in folders to give to the archives if they want them.

Letter Z challenge

Throughout this diploma course, I have had to zigzag across oceans, around countries and within states to find information for my assignments.

We had the chance to zigzag through the library databases at UTAS, whether it was using Ancestry Library edition or the British Newspapers or finding scholarly articles for our assignments.

We were lucky with the fantastic lectures and resources given to us by the organizers of each unit within the diploma. We learnt about the value of primary and secondary sources as well as referencing even though this was updated for each unit.

I thought I knew a lot about researching family history when I started this diploma but my eyes have been opened to the value of doing more than just names, dates and places in my software database.

So it is now time for a sleep (maybe a short nap only) before I start updating my resources list on this blog and organizing my research both online and in folders or filing cabinets.

Thank you all for participating in this challenge over the last couple of years.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with Z that relates to your family history or your research.

letter Z

Letter Y challenge

Excellent letter for nearing the end of the challenge and for those finishing their diploma. I want to ask:

Why?

  1. can’t I find my father’s father’s birth?
  2. can’t I find Rebecca Jackson’s mother?
  3. is it easier to find records in Tasmania than in England?
  4. is it difficult to understand DNA?
  5. can’t I date photos very well?
  6. is there no Polynesian ethnicity in my father when his grandfather is supposedly half Samoan?
  7. can’t I find which of 7 John Davey’s in Devon is mine?

I am hoping understanding DNA more might help me answer some of these questions.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with Y that relates to your family history or your research.

letter Y

Letter X challenge

The letter X usually marks the spot on a treasure map. For genealogists X usually marks the place where all the resources can be found when researching your ancestors.

So now that I have finished my subjects for the Diploma of Family History, I am going to take the time to update my list of resources in the page above the header of this blog.

I will have the basic “Introduction to family history” resources on one page, then a separate page for “Convict resources” and another for “Military resources”. Are there any other specific sections you think I should have as separate pages?

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with X that relates to your family history or your research.

letter X

Final essay for diploma of family history

After 3 years of online study, I have now completed the 8 units required for the Diploma of Family History at the University of Tasmania. Here is my final essay as part of the Families at War unit.

My feedback included that I had not used enough scholarly secondary sources, that a thesis statement was not mentioned and there were some errors with the footnotes. I agree with most of the feedback. I received a score of 30/50 giving me an overall score of 74/100 for the whole unit including the quizzes.

I would like to thank all those students who have been on this journey with me over the last three years and hopefully I will meet you in person at the August or December graduation in Hobart.

Letter W challenge

As many of you know, my father’s side of the tree is holding me back. I am trying to find proof using DNA matches but it is hard to do unless they are a first or second cousin. As I don’t know surnames going back more generations, it is very tricky to prove.

What’s in a name?

My paternal grandfather is either William Alan WYATT or Alan William WYATT. Born between 1900 and 1905 in either England or Sydney or Georges Bay, Tasmania. I have no sources to prove the actual birth. It is believed he married 3 times; twice in Tasmania and again in NSW where we think he died.

My paternal great grandmother on my grandmother’s side is registered at birth as Nellie SOMERS in 1889. I have also found other siblings being born with the surname SOMERS but no father mentioned on the registrations. Using FamilySearch I have found baptisms where the surname is now CLARK(E).

1889 – Nellie Somers – daughter of Thomas Somers and Alice O’Keefe – Georges Bay

1893 – Kate Clarke – daughter of West Clarke and Alice Somers formerly O’Keefe – Gould’s Country

1895 – William Henry – son of Alice Somers – Lottah – no father mentioned on birth reg.

1897 – Jessie May – daughter of Alice Somers – no father mentioned on birth reg. – baptised Clark in St Helens

1898 – Joseph Edward – son of Alice Somers – Lottah – no father mentioned on birth reg. – baptised Clark in St Helens

1899 – Charles Archibald – son of Alice Somers – Campbell Town – no father mentioned on birth reg.

Someone on FamilySearch says Alice O’Keefe married Thomas Somers in 1882 and had 4 children before she then married Wes. Clark and had six more children. I still don’t have proof of marriages as they are not mentioned on the Tasmanian Names Index. Looks like I need to visit the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office to check out the baptisms in St Helens which is Georges Bay area.

ReadersPlease leave a comment about my post or something beginning with W that relates to your family history or your research.

letter W

Story 7 – So far from home

Many people wanted to know more about Ann Jackson. So while I was in Ireland, I tried to find proof if she was my great great great grandmother (mother of Rebecca). Unfortunately I still don’t have proof, but for my major assignment in Writing my Family History, I used information I had gathered from various repositories and books. Hope you like the story even though it is still very factual.

………………………………………

“Excuse me, can I have some water please, a drop will do? Just to wet my lips.”

As I lie on the wooden boards that have been set upon the ground as hospital beds, I look at the other people nearby, moving around and moaning. Has it only been a week since our ship Superior arrived in the river near this quarantine station? We had to wait in line with about 15 other Irish ships, for doctors to come aboard and check passengers for signs of contagious diseases.

Eighteen Irishmen, women and children had died while on our  51 day voyage from Londonderry. Not that it was a rough voyage. Many of us were thin and starving before boarding the ship. This was due to potato blight and our English landlords selling all the corn and other vegetables we had grown. There was nothing left for us, the tenant farmers, to eat. We had to provide our own supplies for part of the voyage but we had so little. Food and water supplied by the captain didn’t last long. Some passengers ate too much too quickly. Very soon the hold where we all slept held a foul smelling stench.

The ship wasn’t large enough for all of us to live comfortably. Diseases were passed between the steerage passengers as we were sharing bunks with three other adults. Many of my fellow passengers ended up with dysentery. My children and I slept in our clothes even though they were wet and smelly from fluids dripping down from bunks above us. We tried to keep warm by huddling together on the same bunk.

“Thank you. Can you check this man lying next to me? He hasn’t moved over the last few hours.”

I am worried what might happen to my children, Mary Ann and Robert, once I am dead. I hear the doctors talking about typhus and the thousands of Irish immigrants who have died from it this year on Grosse Ile.

Luckily my children kept going up on deck in the fresh air so they haven’t been afflicted. Until the doctor checked me out, I thought I was also well. But when I mentioned I had a headache and often felt cold, he decided to send me to the hospital area on the island. Because the children had shared my bunk, but weren’t showing signs of contagion, they were sent to the emigrant shed instead. Maybe they will survive but I worry what will happen to them in this new land without a mother to guide them.

Since getting off the ship, I noticed I have a rash over my body and it is feeling itchy. Listening to the doctors, I know this means I have, at most, a couple of weeks to live as the rash will keep spreading, then I will go into a delirium, maybe a coma and die.

Two men have just taken away the man who was lying next to me. I think he succumbed to the typhus during the night. His body had been thrashing around and he had been talking about ridiculous things. I have seen the same two men digging huge trenches about 200 yards away from where I am lying. Every couple of hours I see them putting bodies into the trench. That will be me soon.

“Is there any gruel or bread that I could have, please?”

Perhaps we would have been better off if we stayed in Ireland.  But ever since the patriarch of the family William senior and his daughter, Rebecca, and son William junior had been sentenced to transportation, I have been harassed and threatened.  The remainder of the Jackson families in my townland didn’t think it was right that I had reported William and his gang to the constable but I hadn’t been punished. You see, I had also been part of the group stealing from houses around Carrigans in Donegal.

Since the trial, I have been terrified for both myself and my children. After begging the magistrate, Mr McClintock to do something, he wrote a letter to someone in Dublin asking if we could be sent to one of the colonies at Government expense. We were told we could go to Quebec and there would be five pounds for us to use when we got there. Just to ask the Emigration Agent. I thought we would be able to start a new, safe life here but …

“Nurse, nurse. Can you find my children Mary Ann and Robert? I need to hug them once more before I depart this earth.”

Have I done the right thing in bringing Mary Ann and Robert to this new country so far from their homeland in Ireland? What will be their future? Have they been infected like me or will they end up in an orphanage? Maybe they will find a nice family who will look after them, feed them well and allow them to develop into a strong woman and man within this colony. Perhaps they will find their way back to Mother Ireland and visit the haunts of their childhood around Carrigans.

I need to sleep. I’ll just close my eyes for a while till the children come.

“Bob, Jim, can you please move this body to the grave area?”

 

Bibliography

Irish Genealogy Toolkit, Coffin Ships, http://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/coffin-ships.html

National Archives of Ireland, Donegal Outrage Papers 1847, relating to Ann Jackson, digital copies held by author http://suewyatt.edublogs.org/2015/05/30/donegal-outrage-papers/

O Laighin, Padraic, The Irish in Canada: The Untold Story, excerpt online http://gail25.tripod.com/grosse.htm

UPDATE  UPDATE

Just thought I would mention I received 80/100 for this assignment. Feedback included great research showed throughout the narrative, emotion and tragedy of the piece shine through. Improvements could be integrate sources more smoothly eg 18 Irishmen etc and some dialogue is outside the narrator’s voice.

Overall I am very pleased with this piece of work as I know I am not a very good narrative writer, more a factual researcher.