For this post, week 9 in #52ancestors, I had to decide:
Will I research a relative named Will or William?
Will I look at a will from one of my relatives?
Or will I research a relative who was willing to do more than most?
My decision was to check out the wills of some of my relatives. We are very lucky here in Tasmania that the wills of many people are found online at the LINC Tasmanian names index.
What did I learn from these wills?
My grandmother Hannah ENGLAND had bequeathed 25 pound to each of her grandchildren when they attained the age of 16.
My grandfather Henry Lewis ENGLAND bequeathed his piano to me. I remember as a child learning and practicing those scales and even now, after many years of not using the piano, I can still play most of Fur Elise from memory.
It looks like my great great grandparents John and Annie DAVEY did not leave wills so the Supreme Court appointed some of their children to make an inventory and then to sell the goods and chattels and hand the money to the court to pay costs. I am not very good at reading all that legalese though so it might mean something else entirely.
My great great grandfather Francis COLGRAVE left everything to his two youngest sons, presumably as the older sons already had their own properties and the older sisters were all married with their own families.
I can’t find any more wills of my direct relatives but one of my indirect relatives (sister of my great great grandmother Caroline Chandler nee Bryant) named Esther Julia WINTER left many instructions on who was to receive what in her will.
Readers: What is the most interesting will you have read in your family or from collateral kin?
As the family historian, I am forever being given photos to look after. I will need to spend some time scanning and cataloging them over this coming year. So I have lots of favourite photos but very few have four generations in the one image. I have chosen this one for this week’s prompt for #52 ancestors.
The four people in this photo are my 1st cousin Bronwyn as a babe in arms, her mother Margaret Phillips nee England holding her, then Margaret’s mother Hannah England nee Davey and finally Hannah’s mother Martha Davey nee Colgrave. The picture was taken on 1 April 1951 on Bronwyn’s christening day.
Margaret died in 2017 and I have written about her in this post. But today I asked my mother (Margaret’s sister) to tell me something about their mother. Here is some info I was told and have also researched over the years.
Hannah England nee Davey was born in 1899 at Englishtown near Blessington in Tasmania. She was the 6th born out of 12 children.
Englishtown is near the mountains of the Ben Lomond National Park in north-eastern Tasmania and would have been extremely cold during winter. The closest town is Evandale about 22kms away. Life would have been very hard for this large family. Hannah’s father, George, was mentioned in local papers as tendering for works on the roads near their land, but otherwise was a farmer.
Hannah’s father died in November 1914, aged just 49 years. He died at the Launceston General Hospital and was interred in the Presbyterian Burial Ground in Evandale. Hannah’s youngest brother, Frederick, was born just one month before her father’s death so I am sure she would have been expected to help look after him when not at school.
By 1922, Hannah had moved to the big city of Hobart in southern Tasmania. She was working as a housekeeper to the Lord family in Sandy Bay. This was mentioned in the electoral roll of that year as being on the corner of Grosvenor and Lord Streets. Her future husband, Henry Lewis England, also lived in Grosvenor Street with his parents. This is probably how they met.
Hannah and Henry married on 9 May 1923 at the Methodist Church, Longford. The following article was in the Examiner dated 10 May 1923.
WEDDING BELLS: ENGLAND-DAVEY.
The marriage of Hannah, fourth daughter of Mrs. Davey, of Longford, and the late Mr. George Davey, late of Deddington, and Henry L., only son of Mr. HL. England, and the late Mrs. England, of Sandy Bay, Hobart, took place on Wednesday afternoon at the Longford Methodist Church. Rev. George Arthur, M.A., was the officiating minister. The church was charmingly decorated with white roses and chrysanthemums and autumnal leaves by Misses Gladys Wheeler, and Millie Lee. The bride was given away by her young brother (Mr. Bert Davey) in the unavoidable absence of her elder brother (Mr. W. G. Davey, of Hobart). She wore a pretty frock of white organdie muslin embroidered with beads, and a wreath of orange blossoms and veil, the latter being loaned by her cousin (Mrs. Arthur Sherwood). She carried a shower bouquet of choice white flowers, tied with satin streamers. Her only attendant was her sister (Miss Doris Davey, who wore a frock of white crepe merle trimmed with blue. She carried a posey of white blossoms tied with blue streamers, and wore a gold bangle, the gift of the bridegroom. The bride’s brother (Mr. George Davey) supported the bridegroom as best man. Mrs. Davey (mother of the bride) wore a costume of navy blue serge and a black hat. Miss Gould played the “Wedding March” during the signing of the register, and as the newly-wedded couple left the church, Mrs. Davey entertained the bridal party and immediate relatives at wedding tea at the conclusion of the ceremony. Mr. and Mrs. England left for Launceston, and later on the North East Coast. where the honeymoon will be spent. Mrs. England’s travelling dress was a smart navy blue costume, with cream crochet front and a navy blue and gold hat, with Oriental trimmings. She also wore the bridegroom’s gift – a handsome black fur. Her present to him was a pocket wallet and notebook.
Hannah and Henry had three daughters: Iris Alston 1924 – 1934, Margaret Grace 1928 – 2017 and Phyllis Joan born 1934 and still alive with stories to tell. Iris died one month after the birth of Phyllis, so my mum didn’t get to know her eldest sister. These are some memories my mum had about her mother and family life:
Hannah enjoyed crocheting and cooking especially fish.
She always helped on committees at Sandy Bay Methodist church.
We always went to Long Beach for picnics – caught the double decker tram at the bottom of King Street.
We had no car and no phone and only once dad had built the new laundry and bathroom did we get hot running water.
Hannah chopped off the top of her thumb helping with the new building.
We walked everywhere or caught the trams.
Hannah’s mum lived with us for six months of the year and the other half with Hannah’s sister Lizzie who lived in Lenah Valley.
We grew a lot of our own food and dad had a great peach tree in the backyard.
We used to have lots of visitors and cousins (who were back from the war) who would stay with us – Eileen (mentioned in Margaret’s post) stayed for four years while doing her high school study.
On Sunday, dad would cook the roast on the fuel stove while we went to church and Sunday School.
For tea every Sunday we would have sponge cake and scones and eat at the dining room table rather than the kitchen table. It was a special event.
A few other pictures of Hannah and the family:
Henry Lewis England died in March 1963 aged 74. Nearly four years to the day Hannah died March 1967 aged 67.
Readers:What memories do you have of your grandmother? Or maybe you have a relative called Hannah?
The theme for Week 1 in the #52ancestors challenge is “Start”
I can’t remember how old I was when I first got interested in family history and mine in particular. We are a very close knit family – my parents and a younger brother.
Mum’s parents were still alive while I was a child but had died by the time I was 10. I can remember visiting them at their house and having meals there. The main thing I remember is their toilet was outside. Pa England had lots of birds and loved growing fruit trees while Nanna England kept the house tidy and it was always warm and welcoming.
The photo shows my mum, her sister Margaret and her parents Henry and Hannah England. Probably taken in the early 1950s.
Dad’s parentswere different. His mum was still alive until the 1980s but his father had left the family when dad was 2 years old. His mum married again, just before I was born, to a Polish repatriated soldier who came here to work on the Hydro dams. For most of his life, though, dad lived with his foster family – the Avery family.
These two photos show dad’s mum and stepfather and his foster mother with her dog Monty.
At high school in the 1960s, as part of the social sciences subject, we had to create a family tree. If I were to look at that same tree now after 40+ years of researching, there would be many errors especially on dad’s side since I have started delving into his DNA.
Readers: How did you get started with your family history research?
As part of the Oral History course, I interviewed my Aunty Margaret, my mother’s sister. I recorded on my iPad then edited using the Wavepad program on my PC.
We had to submit a three minute recording with a transcript – I received a score of 88% but was mentioned I should use more ellipses … when the voice trails off in the recording.
Here is the actual edited recording and the transcript.
Interviewee: Margaret Phillips [MP]
Interviewer: Suzanne Wyatt [SW]
Date: November 16, 2016
Place: Her lounge room in West Moonah.
As Margaret is nearly blind, I read the information and consent forms to her. The interview is solely for family history purposes.
This starts at 16 seconds in on the audio file.
SW: Marg, do you give verbal consent for me to interview and record your responses?
MP: I do.
SW: What’s your full name, your date
SW: of birth and your present address?
MP: Margaret Grace Phillips or do would you want England?
SW: No, that’s OK.
MP: 7/4/28 I was born. Unit 3/17 Sawyer Avenue, West Moonah.
Three minute interview starts here 00:31
SW: So how would you best describe your father? I’ve got some photos here in front of you. One here, they’re in a running race, and
(Both speaking at the same time)
MP: that was the city
SW: there are some birds
MP: That was the City Council, they the City Council had a picnic day once a year and this was down at Long Beach, just round about where the uh roundabout is [pause] I think the roundabout down there now isn’t there? Well that’s where it was, round about that area.
SW: So how did he go in the races? Was he a good runner?
MP: Yes, he was.
(Both speaking at the same time)
MP: He won that if I’m not mistaken.
SW: Oh right.
MP: He got, he got some little thing.
SW: Oh it might be mentioned in the newspaper. I’ll be able to look it up.
MP: He uh always wore his watch with the chain on it, the fob watch. He always had that on where every where you wore a collar and tie.
SW: And some of these these other photos, he’s there with some birds. Is that in your back yard at
MP: Yes we had pigeon, pigeon loft and dad’d get the pigeons out and I would run up to Fitzroy Gardens and stand in a special place. I’ve let the pigeons go and dad would see who got home first, me or the pigeons. That was re about a weekly [pause] weekly um thing that he did. Yep.
SW: Oh right. And there’s another one there of. It looks like you and my mum and your dad in a rowboat.
MP: This one?
MP: That’s dad and yeah Phyllis is in the middle and me on the end. That’ll be, I reckon, about the first time I went out in it.
SW: So did your dad go out rowing often?
MP: Oh, every weekend he went down to Sandy Bay baths to fish. And he had a little fish, he had a little uh what do you call’em now? Over the boat’s um [long pause] He was known. When you went to Long Beach on the trams, us kids would all go upstairs on the double decker tram and when we got to Wrest Point, “There’s Uncle Harry out there!” Everybody knew dad.
MP: And um he used to tell us. I was only telling someone the other day. He always took a little bottle of water. He couldn’t swim and he never had a life jacket or anything in the boat. He took a little bottle of water with him every time and when the fish started to bite, he’d go round like that [fading voice as she turns to the side] to some …[inaudible] to come back, he’d just put, “I’ve just put the oil of catchem in the water,” he said. And that’s how they caught their fish. But dad with his oil of catchem. They never ever woke up to it. When we went on the trams down they’d say, “Uncle Harry, Uncle Harry!” and everybody would wave. He was well known in Sandy Bay.
Readers: Have you ever formally interviewed a relative? What was the most difficult part of the interview?