No new posts for a while

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Sorry I haven’t written any new posts, including #52ancestors, on this blog for the last couple of months. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing family history research.

One of the students who had recently completed the Diploma of Family History offered to run some sessions on using WordPress for creating a family history website. I decided to have a go even though Edublogs also uses WordPress but I am using blocks rather than the visual editor I am used to in Edublogs.

I started a new blog that is dedicated just to biographies of my direct grandparents. So far I have written about:


Working on great grandmother Julia Charlotte Chandler at the moment


Will be finding it difficult to write on further paternal grandparents as little is known about them. Trying to connect with relatives through DNA who might be able to give me more information.

I might eventually extend this new blog to biographies of other relatives but I still have quite a few of my maternal ancestors to write about yet.

Readers: How do you share information about your ancestors with your relatives?

Visiting National Archives in England

Whenever I travel to England, I try to get a lot of family history research done as well as touring the counties of my ancestors.

So while at the National Archives UK at Kew in 2005, I made a great discovery. It was the first time I had visited the archives so wanted to make the best use of my time there.  I asked for anything about John ENGLAND from Yorkshire.  After a while I was sent downstairs to the large document area. Not sure if this is still there or not.

They had found a document from York Castle about my great great grandfather’s crime which had him sent to Van Diemens Land back in 1846. I have written about John in a few other posts here, here and here.

This was an extremely long parchment document. I knew I wouldn’t have time to transcribe it there and then, so asked permission to make a copy using my ipad. It took 23 images to get the complete document as I unrolled it very carefully. The document was about a metre wide. Every 60-90cm or every 2-3 feet I would take a photo. I had only had my ipad for a short time, so the images came out very dark. When I was back in Australia, I adjusted the brightness so I could read the document more easily and saved those new images as well.

Here is one of the pages and below is the beginning of the transcription:


… Yorkshire to wit: The Jurors for our Lady the Queen upon their oath present that hereby to wit on the nineteenth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty six at the Parish of Rotherham in the West Riding of the County of York John Fullarton Esquire then being one of the Justices of our Lady the Queen assigned to keep the peace of the said Lady the Queen within the said West Riding of the County of York …

My convict’s name is not mentioned until the eleventh line of the document. Imagine having to transcribe 23 pages of said language. I might eventually get around to it. Some pages of the document also has other writing crossed over the original as seen in this image. There is virtually no punctuation in the entire document.

Readers: What is the most difficult document you have had to try and read? How successful were you?

Passing names down the generations

I knew I had Francis Colgrave as a name passed down at least three generations as he is one of my direct ancestors.  But I had to check my home database to find out some statistics for this post to see if names passed down happened in other branches of my trees. I’ve only included those with three or more names the same.

BLYTH, Edwin Tabrum – born 1888, 1937, 1961

BOXHALL, Anne – born 1810, 1840, 1959

BOYD, Frederick – born 1855, 1861, 1880

BROWN, Adam – born 1846, 1890, 1894

CHANDLER, William Charles – born 1829, 1863, 1895, 1923

COLGRAVE, Francis – born 1770, 1806, 1843, 1866, 1903, 1925

COLGRAVE, Joshua – born 1859, 1883, 1986

COLGRAVE, Louisa – born 1863, 1881, 1914

COLGRAVE, Samuel – born 1804, 1829, 1847, 1867

COLGRAVE, Thomas – born 1602, 1640, 1663, 1694

DAVEY, George – born 1865, 1898, 1902, 1930

DAVEY, Harry – born 1878, 1908, 1941, 2012

ENGLAND, Elizabeth – born 1830, 1857, 1900

ENGLAND, Mary Ann – born 1805, 1825, 1861

KILPIN, Richard – born 1724, 1790, 1831

MARU, Eliza – born 1829, 1846, 1863

SMITH, William – born 1840, 1883, 1911

SWAIN, Clement – born 1810, 1825, 1831

SWAIN, John – born 1783, 1808, 1815

Any births from about 1840 onwards will probably be in Tasmania also known as Van Diemens Land. Those prior to 1840 would be mainly in England – the COLGRAVE name in Bedfordshire, the ENGLAND name in West Yorkshire around Rotherham, the KILPIN name in Bedfordshire and the SWAIN name in Kent.

Readers: What name has been passed down in your family? Were you named after an ancestor or close relative?

Regatta Day

As a child I can remember often being taken to the Hobart Regatta in February. We would hop on the tram at Glenorchy then walk to the regatta grounds.

As a family we would sit on the banks of the Domain and watch the boat racing, the slippery pole events, the rowing events and of course visit all the stalls and entertainment. We would eat our picnic lunch but also get a sausage on a stick and fairy floss. I loved going on the chairs that would swing wide out; maybe that’s why I also love rollercoasters.

Mum would often go when she was a child as her father Henry Lewis England was very interested in the boats.

I used to catch a tram with my dad from Sandy Bay to near the city hall and then walk to the regatta ground. Mum and Margaret used to come later after mum had cooked something for lunch, scones, cakes etc. We sat at the same spot every regatta day so relatives would come and leave their baskets of food and go and look at the stalls. There were plenty of side shows like the motorcycles in cages and boxing stalls as well as roundabouts, wave riders, lots of boats etc on the river, grease on bars at the river front, swimming from Rosny to the ground.

Mum’s oldest sister Iris would also go when she was alive and before mum was born. So it was definitely a family occasion.

Henry, Hannah, Iris and Margaret at Hobart Regatta about 1929



Henry, Hannah, Margaret and Phyllis about 1938

I notice everyone is wearing hats when they go out to the regatta. No slip, slop, slap then just normal commonsense.

Talking to dad he remembers

I went to the regatta by tram to the bottom of Liverpool St and then walked over to the ground. I remember going on the Ocean Wave which was a large circular seat and you were told to keep your legs out straight. Then they pushed the seat around and up and down. There was an old man that sharpened knives and scissors usually near the railway station. I went with Mum. I think I got some Fairy Floss but nothing else. Mum used to take me to lunch at the CWA tent, scones, jam and cream.

These memories are very different from what happened at early regattas.

History of regattas in Hobart

Being a city on the Derwent River, there have always been lots of boat races from the time of settlement in 1803.

  • 1824 – two ships racing over a period of time – who won the most races?
  • 1825 – letter to the editor about having regattas now and then in Launceston (north/south rivalry started early)
  • 1827 – a great Marine Assembly but not one inhabitant invited
  • 1831 – February – Great race between 11 boats mentioned in the Mercury – trouble at the start – was the keel of the winner longer than allowed?
  • 1831 – Kings birthday on 22 August – big yacht race and regatta – fantastic description of crowds and events
  • 1832 – prisoners on public works allowed a holyday for the Queen’s birthday and  regatta but not those on the chain gangs, great description of the boats, winners and arguments about money for winners
  • 1834 – a regatta dinner was held and many toasts given including to the Whale Fishery – the great source of our National Wealth
  • 1838 – 1 December – Sir John Franklin, Governor of Van Diemens Land, gives up a portion of the Government Domain near the gardens which is jutting out into the Derwent River so the public can participate more in the future regattas.  VDL resident writing about the regatta to a friend in England. Special date for this regatta.

The Centenary Regatta February 1938

Mum and her family attended this as shown by the second image above, but there were many memorable events at this regatta all mentioned in the local papers.

Readers: Do you and/or your family go to any big regattas or big events in your local town? How long have they been going? What do you enjoy most about them?

Let’s dance! Square dance that is!

With my parents now heading to their late eighties, I have been looking back at some of the influences of their lives together. This photo represents one of those – square dancing.

Mum and dad met while square dancing.

Before they were married, mum represented Tasmania in 1951 at the Australian championships. She was one of the couples from Swan St Club.


The average age of the winners was 16 – mum was actually 17 at this time. Mum’s father, Henry Lewis England, nearly fell over the balcony at City Hall when mum and her team won the Women’s Weekly competition in Tasmania.

This image is of them being congratulated on their win. Click on the image to find out more about the second and third prize winners in Tasmania – A National Fitness Council team and the Elizabeth Street School teachers team.


The Tasmanian team enjoyed time out at the Sydney Botanic Gardens while at the championships. Joe Lewis, a caller from America, was the judge and he gave points for showmanship, spirit of happiness, timing, precision, gracefulness and impromptu calls. Click on the image to read about the Square Dance contest in Sydney. The Tasmanian team came second.


Now back to mum and dad. They met at St Peters Hall in Harrington Street Hobart on 12 September 1952 when dad was 20 and mum 18. A group of dancers had gone to Collinsvale to do an exhibition square dance on that date but mum and dad were at the hall.  Dad was part of the Bar 8 square dance group hence the number eight with the line through it on his shirt above.

According to mum, when I was about 6 months old, they took me to a square dance at Claremont Hall and the other dancers were amazed that I slept through the music and other noises. I can remember as a small child being taken to square dancing evenings at a hall in Lindisfarne and enjoying the music. This also influenced my life as I too joined a square dancing club in Hobart but also learnt how to teach Round Dancing – a variation of ballroom dancing done in between square dance brackets.


Image 1 – personal collection

Image 2 – Mercury Hobart 18 Jul 1951

Readers: Did you or your parents ever take part in square dancing? Where and when? Or maybe ballroom dancing was more their style. Where and when?