Saturday, 1 February 2014

Who, What, When, Where and Why

For this month I am swapping days with Julie Goucher so here is the post for February 1.

Pondering on what to post next on this blog I thought of the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where and Why which will guide me in this and subsequent posts.

I told you a little about Who in my first post when I talked about myself. In this link ridden post I will talk about my ancestors and refer you to my family site and blog posts I have previously written about them.

My maternal grandparents were Ethel Jane Pusell and Frank Duncan  who met and married in Cobar NSW. Ethel's first ancestors to arrive in Australia were all convicts and Frank had quite a few as well as an Irish Famine Orphan.

Frank and Ethel 1948

My paternal grandparents Mary Tierney and Thomas William Curry whose ancestry was 100% Irish met and married in Canowindra NSW. My first Curry ancestor to arrive in Australia, Patrick Curry, was also a convict as was his wife Ellen/Eleanor Moore, the remainder came as free settlers under assisted passage schemes.

Mary and Tom 1948

There were no jumbo jets around when my ancestors came from England, Ireland and Scotland so they all had to endure long and challenging journeys by sea to reach the colonies. I have found reading the journals from the surgeons on of some of my ancestors' journeys most illuminating. I read about Patrick Curry's bouts of scurvy on his voyage on the Hooghley and of another ancestor's flogging. Holding these precious resources in my hands and reading their yellowed pages at the National Archives in the UK has been a highlight of my research.

Patrick Curry outlined in 1846 The Advantages of Immigration:
ADVANTAGES OF EMIGRATION. — StatementNo. 33. — Paddy CurryLimerick- — NewSouth Wales, January 6, 1846.— I left mynative home in 1823, arrived in this country in1825. I was assigned to Messrs. James andWilliam Macarthur, and was five years beforeI got my liberty, then I married ; and whenthe youngsters gathered about me, Mr. Macar-thur gave me to cultivate 30 acres of land. Henever charged me any rent ; he made a sort ofa memorandum, but he never took a shillingfrom me. I take a load to Sydney now andthen— shear for him — job now and again ;well, when I was getting on well, my wifetakes sick, and really the Macarthurs behavedlike Christians to me. Mrs. Macarthur usedto come in her carriage to her, and eased hermind by telling her that it was nothing thechildren should want, and it's a true-wordedwoman she proved. Well, my wife died ofher fifth child, and after three years I marriedagain, and then Mr. Macarthur gave me a se-cond farm, and so I hold two, and it's not abetter farm he has on his estate. I get 30bushels of wheat to the acre— the weight isfrom 60 to 64 lbs. the bushel. I get about 50bushels of Indian corn to the acre— have had60. I have now in my barn 400 bushels ofwheat— plenty of corn— have above about 60head of cattle, 3 horses, 2 mares, 2 drays, acart, 1 plough, a new house, 36 feet by 16 ; se-veral out-buildings as you see — poultry inabundance. We consume one chest and a halfof tea in the year, 4 lbs. of sugar a day— nostint; I kill four bullocks in the year at thevery least, mostly five, besides pigs. I keeptwo men, pay them £18 a year, and theirboard, lodging, and tobacco. In the harvesttime I pay 5s. a day. I have reared a largefamily in comfort, want for nothing. Now,what I have say of the Macarthurs is this—there is no gentleman at home or abroad thatcould behave better: for twenty years I canspeak of them as masters and landlords— therecannot be better found ; their words are to betaken—you need not touch paper with them ;they seem to like me to get on; they ridethrough my farm, and are always willing toaccommodate me with a bullock or grain. Forthe two farms I pay 15s. an acre, on a 21 years'lease; it's five years getting to the 15s., atwhich it keeps. I had to clear it; but it is acheap farm, because the land is good—it is,you see, upon the banks of the river. Theyare Protestant gentlemen, but they are kind totheir Catholic servants and tenants. Indeed,when they had a good lot of government men,they kept a clerk that they allowed to readprayers for us ; indeed, I could not describe toyou the goodness of these gentlemen." —Douglas Jerrold's Paper.1848 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 8 June, p. 3, viewed 1 February, 2014,

As far as I can ascertain I am the first in my direct family lines to have left Australian shores since my ancestors arrived between 1812 and 1877. I think that they were pleased with conditions in The Lucky Country.

When I look at the charts above it seems as though I haven't done much work on my family tree but over the past 25 years or so I have connected with many distant cousins and discovered lots of stories about my ancestors and their families. And yet I have miles to go before I sleep as I continue to hunt for the Who, What, When, Where and Why of my family history.


  1. Lovely post Jill? What an amazing find that is...who wouldn't give their eye teeth for something similar. And only a few years ago, without trove as it is today! you'd have had Buckley's chance (ie none) of finding it. God bless Trove, the national Library and all those wise people who decided to fund it!! I was quote taken aback by your comment that you were the first to leave the Lucky Country at all....I'd love to chat about this. If we're not talking long-term absences I think I'm the second (after my grandad) in my KUNKEL for thought.

  2. I actually found it in pre Trove days from a passing mention in a book about Camden. It took a lot of scrolling and squizzing through microfilms to find it. Now I have a better copy - thanks to Trove.

  3. What an interesting theme, and funnily enough I was pondering on doing something similar - honestly it has not just come to me! I look forward to your posts on future questions.

  4. What a fabulous set of resources. The tidbits we find so enhance our research, and our understanding of our ancestors.

  5. Great post Jill! The link to the Surgeons at sea - Royal Navy Medical officers' journals sounds fascinating but will have to wait till after the cruise.

  6. What I find! I love being able to connect my ancestors to contemporaneous (or near) writings about their world and the environment around them. You certainly started the year off with a bang.

  7. Great post Jill, I need to look at those surgeons records. I spot the name Gleeson which is not a very common name. Have you spoke with Maurice Gleeson? He is a member of the Guild for One-Name Studies, and although he has registered another surname he may be worth contacting - is his Guild email address.

  8. I enjoyed your post Jill! The personal narrative was excellent...I would love to find something of the sort. I think you have done well with you lines...

  9. Wonderful post. I love all the mediums you use to find and tell your ancestors' story. Australia has such a full past. I love learning about people and why they ended up where they did. :)

  10. Thanks everyone for your encouraging and positive comments. As I have been off geneacruising with some of our group (incl.commenters Pauleen and Maureen) I haven't been able to keep up with your comments.

    Julie, I have joined the Society for One-Place Studies (Kirsty is a great arm twister) and will try to find a few more quid to join one-name studies as well. Thanks fro the gleeson tip.

  11. Great post Jill, so detailed and organized!! I enjoyed reading.


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