Saturday, 15 August 2015

My earliest Australian ancestors

We’re halfway through National Family History Month for genealogists researching in Australia and New Zealand. I’m based in the UK, so the only way I can join in is online. But that’s OK – we’re Worldwide Genealogists here!

Tree growing over an old brick wall, Arminghall, © Copyright Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.
© Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
So I decided to do something I haven’t yet done. It's about time! 

I’m going to mark NFHM by putting together a list of the first of each branch of my ancestors who arrived in Australia. They all came from the British Isles. Well, as far as I know – there are brick walls in my tree, of course. In fact sometimes I think my family tree grows out of an old brick wall, like the one in this photo.

I’m going to do this by starting with the earliest, first on my grandfather’s side, then on my grandmother’s.

Grandfather’s side:

Nicholas DELANEY (Ahnentafel no 48), arrived 30.10.1802 on Atlas II. Convict and Irish rebel, from Carnew, Co Wicklow in Ireland. Married to:
Elizabeth BAYLY (A49), arrived 3.4.1807 on Brothers. Came free. May have been from Kent. A brick wall. Their son Thomas married Lucy, the daughter of:
John SIMPSON (A50), arrived 10.1.1818 on Ocean II. Convict, born in Yarm, Yorkshire, arrested in Derbyshire. A tailor. Married/lived as married with:
Sarah MARSHALL (A51), arrived 14.1.1818 on Friendship II. Convict, from Salford or Manchester.

(Thomas) Robert Sandon WILSON (A26), called ‘the Man of Mystery’ because we know nothing much about him. English, possibly a bigamist. Certainly a brick wall. Married to:
Sarah Emma HENLEY (or DICKS?) (A27). Arrived before 1854. From Sussex. Their daughter Mary Maude married Lucy and Thomas’s son Tom.

Grandmother’s side:

James Thomas RICHARDS (A30), arrived 12.12.1835 on Royal Sovereign. Convict, from Deptford, Kent. A Thames waterman. Married to:
Rebecca HARRINGTON (A31), arrived between 1857 and 1873. Probably assisted immigrant (meaning that she didn’t pay for her own voyage). May have come with her father, Thomas Harrington (A62), a dock labourer, or he may’ve joined her later with his wife Julia (A63), nee Gamin, or Cannell, or even Gemmell, from somewhere in Ireland. Yes, Julia’s a brick wall. Rebecca and Thomas were from Hackney in East London.
James and Rebecca’s daughter Eleanor Ann Edith (Minnie) married Thomas Henry, the son of:

John WINTER (A28), arrived 9.2.1857 on Parsee. Assisted immigrant from Tebay, Westmorland (Tebay’s now best known as a service station on the M6 motorway). Married to:
Ann GRAHAM (A29), arrived 23.7.1857 on Alfred. Assisted immigrant from Butterknowle, Co Durham. She came with her parents:
Thomas Rume, Rumneys or Ramneys GRAHAM (A58), a quarryman born in Gaitsgill, Cumberland, and his wife:
Elizabeth BELL (A59), from Bishop Middleham, Co Durham.


Looking back over my earliest Australians, I can see three big brick walls. Interestingly, none of them are convicts. OK, so three of my naughty ancestors have so far resisted my attempts to track down their parents, but at least because the legal system kept tracks on them they’re fairly well documented. That’s one reason I like having convict ancestors – they leave traces. And they’re cool.

Two of my branches are from Ireland and the rest are from what’s now London or from the north of England. A nice mixed bag. No Scots yet – but who knows where those Grahams came from before they turned up in Cumberland? All my Welsh ancestors are on the other side of my family.

As far as I know. And that’s one of the reasons I love genealogy. There’s always something new to discover. It’s a bit like being a time-travelling sleuth. I’ve got quite fond of some of them. Others I could spank for being so secretive. But in the end, they give me hours of fun, days of frustration, and a lifetime’s work. 

If you recognise any of the names or other information - places, ships and so on - that I've mentioned, please get in touch. I'd love to hear from you.

NFHM 2015 logo
Thanks to everyone involved in NFHM, get well soon Shauna Hicks, and a big G'day to my Aussie geniemates!


  1. I have many cousins in Australia that I didn't know about until DNA testing. Most were from Ireland.

  2. A great post Frances! You may not be here but you're one of the Aussie genimates. Revisiting our lines, their origins and our brick walls is something we should all do from time to time.

    1. Thanks, Pauleen! To be an Aussie genimate is a great honour!

  3. An interesting line of research. Good luck with breaking down your brick walls.

    Family History Fun


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