Shane, Sarndra and Alex.
I'm so proud of Shane and Sarndra, they're both hard workers, they're active and interested in so many things, and they're wonderful parents to Alex. And now another baby. My heart is so full I can hardy express my feelings, and to think we have to wait until next April before we can welcome another little life into our family. I'm crossing my fingers for 15 April (my birthday). :- )
Before my own sons were born in 1980 and 1981, I'd never really thought much about my family. I'd met assorted cousins, aunties and uncles, my mother's mother and father and my mother's sister and brother. My father's family lived in Brisbane when we lived in Sydney so I only met my Swedish grandma once, when I was two, just before she died. I knew most of my extended family only through old grainy black and white photos. But when Shane and Kerry where born, it was like a switch had been turned on and I just had to find out more about who I was and where I came from. I think this is a common thing among Australians - all of us, except our aboriginal friends, came from somewhere else. In 1982, I wanted to know where somewhere else was and I started looking.
I knew we'd been in Australia for a long time. When I was born the prime minister was Ben Chifley, the monarch was Kind George VI and the population of Australia was 7.7 million. I knew my father's family had come out from Ireland during the potato famine in the mid-1800s and I certainly did confirm that when I started my research. I looked into my family history for a few years, but then life took over and I had no time for genealogy. When I returned to it, technology had made things much easier. Instead of searching microfiche at the local library and sending letters of inquiry to the archives office and waiting weeks for an answer, I could join ancestry.com and geni. com and not only get answers immediately, but also link up with other people in my family who I'd never heard of but who happened to be researching a different branch of our family. The early online family trees I found were so interesting!
The most endearing part of my research was discovering that on my mother's side, I am a seventh generation Australian, descended from convicts William (Lumpy) Dean and Elizabeth Hollingsworth, who arrived here in 1797. They married at Parramatta and when they served their time, they were granted leave, and started working in the very young town of Sydney. They were given a land grant out on the road to Parramatta, and they operated the government toll on that road as well as a pub called the Corporation Inn, where they lived with their eight children. That area is now know as Eastern Creek. When Lumpy died, aged 78, he was a wealthy man and an advocate of good education for the poor. It was said he could dance the hornpipe as well as any man half his age. (LOL) Below is a photo of the Corporation Inn which was the house Lumpy and Elizabeth lived in until they died. It was situated on Parramatta Road but was demolished to widen the highway in the 1960s. There is now a suburb and school in Sydney named after him.
The most surprising discovery was finding some American relatives. I thought we all came from Europe, but my ninth great grandfather, John Winthrope, is related to me by blood through my mother's family. John Winthrope (born 1588) was the founder of Boston and the first governor of Massachusetts. He sailed from Suffolk with first major group of Puritans. His third wife and my great grandmother (x 9), Margaret (right), had her portrait painted and imagine my shock when I saw it for the first time - she looks like my mum! It is through John Winthrope and Margaret Tyndal Winthrope, that I'm related to the American politician, John Kerry. We share John and Margaret as great grandparents, John Kerry's eighth and my ninth, so I guess we're cousins, many times removed.
Family is such an important part of us. These are the people we share not only our genes with but also our history. I'm very lucky to have been born into my family. Sure there have been ups and downs - we have convicts and politicians, but we're an interesting family and I like that. And soon our family will have a new member. I'm looking forward to meeting my new grand child and then adding their name to our family tree. One more link in our family's strong chain. ♥︎
If you've never done any research into your own family roots, I encourage you to do it. It's fascinating and sometimes surprising. I started on ancestry.com.au but there are other websites too. My American family is better served by using geni.com If you have some time, go exploring. It will give you a good idea of where you fit into your family.