My dinner party

#52ancestors theme for week 4 is ‘Invite to dinner’  I knew exactly who was coming to my dinner party.

William Chandler and his wife Caroline Chandler nee Bryant and John England and his wife Rebecca England nee Jackson are my great great grandparents on my mother’s paternal line.

I have already written some posts about William and Caroline as well as others on John and Rebecca.

But the reason I want to ask them to dinner is I have a lot of questions to ask them. I have settled for three questions per person.


  • Where exactly were you born and when?
  • Who are your parents?
  • Did you know Caroline and her family before you came to Tasmania in 1855?


  • Who was your father and what was your mother’s maiden name?
  • What happened to Charles before you and your mother came out to Tasmania?
  • Did you know William back in England and did he ask for you to emigrate to Tasmania?


  • Do you think your life in Tasmania was an improvement over life in Yorkshire?
  • Who were your parents?
  • How did you get to know Rebecca once you were both in Tasmania?


  • I know your father was William but what was your mother’s full name?
  • How is Sarah (Jane) Steele related to you?
  • What relation was Ann Jackson to you?

This would be an interesting dinner party as William and Caroline were free arrivals to Tasmania while John and Rebecca came at their majesty’s request (convicts). I wonder if this would make any difference to the conversation.  William’s family were into gardening while John was an iron moulder. The Chandler family lived in Sandy Bay while the England family were around Molle St, Barrack St and Goulburn St in South Hobart.

William and Caroline’s daughter Julia married John and Rebecca’s son Henry in 1885. I wonder how the two met. Maybe a local church?

15 thoughts on “My dinner party

    • Hi

      While my ancestors came to Armidale in NSW I think on balance I could find a couple of similar ancestors. On the convict side John Hopkinson a tradesman from Nottinghamshire (who I wrote about last week) transported in 1838 and his London “wife” Sarah Carroll in 1840 (both for Larceny). And for free settlers John Turner and wife Elizabeth Herman – from a small farming community in Berkshire bought their small family on the steamship ‘Cambodia’ in 1884 joining his sister Rebecca (who made the trip in 1857. Each ‘side’ giving rise in the first decade of the 1900s to my paternal grandparents.

      So I think the 4 families would have enough experiences in common for me to learn quite a lot about the social conditions and culture of the their times – even if we aren’t related.

  1. Interesting Presentation idea Sue, wow. Wouldn’t it be fun to get dressed up and attend this party. Best regards Marg

  2. Question for William: what did you plant in the gardens. Was the Tasmanian climate comparable to England. Was it necessary to focus on food crops or could you also design new formal gardens. What was the Tassie soil like for growing things. What plants did you choose?

  3. Can I come too and ask them if they knew Alfred and Louisa Brandt who lived probably around Launceston in 1869?

  4. Great thanks for the inspiration, this subject had me stumped, my list of invitees was just 1, but that didn’t seem much like a dinner party. Now I think I might have to hire a venue, as our home is tiny.

  5. I love this post. What a wonderful dinner party it would be. And how exciting to find out that, I am sure, much sought after information.
    PS I love that you have links to all the #52ancestors blogs. I notice you have mine there but not that I am from Australia. Better make that more obvious on my blog. Thanks

  6. I wish I could join the dinner party. I’d like to ask William what he remembers about the other settlers in the Campbell Town. My husband’s ancestors James Reid and Hugh Murray had early land grants along the Macquarie River and were neighbours of the Leake family.

  7. Your dinner party reminded me that I need to keep asking my ancestors how the husbands and wives met. Many probably did meet in a religious setting, as you speculated about Henry and Julia. I know my Hungarian-born grandma met my Hungarian-born grandpa in the Lower East Side of New York City, the immigrant neighborhood, while they were standing in line at — of course! — a Hungarian delicatessen.

  8. haha – very similar questions to those I have for my pesky brickwall 2xG grandfather this week. We will find theanswers one day – I am sure.

    • Hi Kate,
      Caroline arrived on the La Hogue which was a steamer, then on the Tasmania finally arriving in Hobart Jan 19th 1856. She came with her mother Charlotte. Also on the ship list was Charles but he had been crossed off, so not sure yet if he died before getting on board or perhaps died while on the journey. Charlotte later sponsored her other daughter and her husband to come to Tasmania as well.

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