Saturday, June 16, 2018

52 Ancestors - So Far Away

This week's #52ancestorsin52weeks is Father's Day - but of course, it's not Father's Day in Australia, so I'm going to do the theme we had a couple of weeks ago when I was away - So Far Away.

When you first start doing your family tree, it's exciting to see how "far back" you can go with your branches. Until last weekend, the furthest back on my direct line was Benjamin Broome, my 9th great-grandfather born in 1646 in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England (grandfather of John Broom in my carpet story), which I thought was a long way back!

Last weekend, I was searching back to see if I could see a link between the Freemans on my Dad's side and the Freemans on my Mum's side (spoiler alert - not yet). Anyway, I was having a search on Joseph Freeman (my 5th great-grandfather born in Gloucestershire, England in 1765) and his wife - Sarah Arkell (my 5th great-grandmother also from Gloucestershire, England, born in 1767). Well, I had her father John Arkell (born 1730 in Gloucestershire, England) and then I found his father Henry Arkell (born 1682, also in Gloucestershire) and his father Thomas Arkell (born 1639, also in Gloucestershire) and we are back to my 8th great-grandfather and the early 1600s!

Screenshot of the pedigree from Mary Ann Pegler (my maternal great, great grandmother) to Thomas Arkell

Well, things were starting to get a bit boring with all this Gloucestershire business, when up pops his father, Thomas Walraven van Arkel Heukelom - who was born in 1613 in Ammerzoden, Gelderland in the Netherlands! He must have migrated at some stage because he married Mary Willets in (you guessed it) Gloucestershire in 1638. I wonder what made him move?

Those Netherlands people keep good records because this opened up a HUGE branch of the family tree and links us back to medieval nobility because it turns out the van Arkels were a medieval noble family from Holland! Was I excited? You bet I was! I can trace the van Arkel paternal line back to good old Herbaren van Arkel II born around 1200, somewhere in the Netherlands. He is my 20th great-grandfather!

This post could get bigger than Ben Hur (and possibly I am related to him too), but it gets too confusing and too hard to keep track of everyone. So I'm just going to run through the most exciting branch (and there are lots more posts with other branches just waiting for their story to be told too).

Thomas Arkell through to Otto van Arkel Heukelom IV
I kept going back along the branches, amazed there was so much information going so far back. 

Johan van Arkel Heer van Heukelom en Lienden III through to Floris van Lynden II

My good friend Google informs me that the van Lynden's were nobility too, one of the oldest Dutch noble families!

As an aside, if you can see Lady Agnes van Herlaer in the diagram above (my 18th great-grandmother), she is also Princess Diana's 18th GG, Winston Churchill's 18th GG and some other royals who aren't as famous 18th and 19th GG!!! Me and Diana - blood relatives!

Anyway, I kept going, tracing, finding lots of coats of arms and counts and countesses...

Floris van Lynden II through to Thierry de Montbelliard von Pfirt Graf in Althkirch II
...and going, where lo and behold old paintings of Dukes start popping up and we start to get a French and German flavour happening:

Thierry II through to Kunigunde de Francs de l'Ouest

Kunigunde de Francs de l'Ouest (Cunigunda of France) was born in Aachen, Germany in 886. Her mother was Ermentrude of France was born in about 870. Her father was Louis the Stammerer, King of Aquitaine and later West Francia, born 1 November 846.

Louis the Stammerer

His father was Charles the Bald, King of West Francia, King of Italy AND Holy Roman Emperor, born 13 June 823. Guess I'm a good Catholic after all.

Charles the Bald

His father was Louis the Pious (also known as Louis the Fair and Louis the Debonair), King of Francs and also co-Emperor, born in 778. Debonair. Of course he was.

Louis the Pious

And for today, we come to the end of this line - he was the only surviving adult son of Karel I de Grote der Franken - otherwise known as Charles I or Charles the Great or simply Charlemagne, born 2 April 742. He was King of Franks, King of Lombards, and Holy Roman Emperor. He united much of western and central Europe in the early Middle Ages and was also known as the "Father of Europe". He is my 35th great-grandfather!


I know we can go back at least another generation, but for now, I am happy to be related to this famous figure of history and to be back to 742 AD and 35 generations! That is So Far Away, I think!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

52 Ancestors - Going to the Chapel

This week's theme for #52ancestorsin52weeks is Going to the Chapel. Behind every good wedding is (should be?) a good love story. This week we are are close to home in terms of ancestors, but the Chapel certainly wasn't...

...Once upon a time, there was a young woman called Heather Hardwick. She was working at King George V Memorial Hospital at Camperdown, in Sydney, as medical record librarian. Mutual friends from the hospital invited Heather out of drink in a pub down at Circular Quay. It was here that she met Ted. They went out for a couple of dates, but it wasn't Ted that would walk her down the aisle!

A 21-year-old Heather

Ted was friends with Laurie Butler (or "Butts", as we know him). The boys were very excited because "Stiffy" was coming home on leave from New Guinea. Now I have it on good authority that Terry Sedgwick gained the name Stiffy at school from Butts because of his propensity for drawing skeletons. If you thought any different, get your mind out of the gutter!

Terry, Heather, Margaret (from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital) and Butts

Anyway, they all went over to Butts' place at Carlton, where Heather met Terry. They got on well and saw each other a few times until it was time for Terry to go back to work at the Post Master General's office in New Guinea. Heather wrote to Terry for over a year, until her holidays came up.

Terry asked Heather to come and visit her. "I can't go to New Guinea! I've never been out of Australia!" she protested. Terry must have worked his charms because next thing you know, Heather had met his mother Cora and then was being seen off at the airport to head off to the wilds of Rabaul in New Britain, Papua New Guinea (March 1963).

He was bit alright, wasn't he?

Things must have gone well up in New Guinea, because when it was time to go back home, Terry's friends up there implored Heather not to leave him alone, because "he needs you up here!" And so a wedding was planned!

Cora was a dressmaker and asked if Heather would like it if she made her wedding dress and Heather agreed. Cora made a toile mock-up of the dress from a pattern and sent it up to New Guinea, where adjustments were made and then it was sent back and the final dress sent back. Heather still has the pattern and a bit of the lace (side story - her kids wrecked the dress using it as dress-ups when they were little!).

Anyway, the big day arrived and the dress was ready. There were no relatives at St Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral at Rabaul on 18 May 1963, which, quite frankly, is an impressive 'chapel' for the back blocks of New Guinea in the 1960's!

Despite the lack of relations, the wedding party went off without a hitch and a good time was had by all.

Heather and Terry lived in Rabaul until October 1963 and then Port Moresby until they returned to Sydney in January1965 (when things started to deteriorate).

In a case of things travelling full-circle, I went to New Guinea on a cruise in May 2017 and we stopped in Rabaul. I got the tour bus we were on to detour to St Francis Xavier's and despite the time difference of almost exactly 54 years and the ravages of volcanic explosions that damaged much of Rabaul in 1994, the Cathedral still stands (albeit with new roof). It was surprisingly very emotional being in the exact spot Heather and Terry got married all those years ago:

Heather and Terry are my Mum and Dad (just in case you hadn't worked that out). I love their love story and you'll be glad to know they were happily married for 46 years before Terry died in 2009. They continued to be adventurous, living on a houseboat at Cammeray, a caravan in Coffs Harbour as well as Blacktown, Kogarah, Brighton-Le-Sands, Tasmania, Batemans Bay and Ulladulla! I think their love can give us all hope for love!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

52 Ancestors - Military

This week's theme in #52ancestorsin52weeks is Military (because it's Memorial Day in the US). Pretty sure I have no ancestors who fought in the American Civil War, so this week I'm going to explore my Step-Grandfather Wilfred "Bill" Norman Saunders, who fought for Australia in World War II.

Bill was born in Bingara on 16 December 1911 to Walter George Saunders and Ivy Pearl Harris.

He had 3 sisters and 5 brothers and grew up in Bingara and lived there until at least 1936 (from the Electoral Rolls).

He enlisted in the Australian Army on 29 May 1940 age 28. He was listed as being single and was sent as part of the 2/1st Pioneer Battalion, which was comprised of men mostly from New South Wales.

In June 1940, the battalion went to the army camp at Greta, then Dubbo. At the end of September, it joined a convoy to the Middle East, reaching the Suez on 2 November. They travelled by train to Palestine.

2/1st Battalion on parade in Palestine
In January 1941, they moved to Tobruk, where they helped restore the port, repair roads, and reclaim engineering material. For the next five months, the Battalion helped defend the "fortress" by manning various posts and fighting as infantry. In May it was involved in fighting in the Salient, with 37 men killed in action and seven mortally wounded. Nine became prisoners of war while another 68 were wounded. The Battalion was evacuated from Tobruk in September 1941.

After a time in Palestine, the Battalion left the Middle East in early March 1942 and returned to Australia, to conduct engineering tasks in Brisbane At the end of August 1942, the Battalion went to Papua, arriving on 5 September.

After two days in Port Moresby, A, B and C Companies moved to the base of the Kokoda Trail and up the track through Uberi to Ioribaiwa. The Battalion patrolled and manned defensive positions along the Imita Ridge. It also helped the 14th Field Regiment move their 25-pounder guns up the track to the foot of Imita Ridge.

Moving 25-pounder guns

In November 1942, they moved to 9-mile Quarry and for the next seven months, they worked as miners and labourers to produce crushed metal used to surface airfields and roads.

9 Mile Quarry

Bill was promoted to Corporal on 10 April 1943 and the Batallion returned to Australia in October 1943 for leave. They spent time on the Atherton Tablelands doing Infantry training.

Perhaps during this time, he met my Grandmother, Martha Pearl Martin, because they were married on 9 February 1944 (she was divorced from my Grandfather, George Arthur Hardwick on 11 January 1943).

Also at some stage, they had a child, William, born in 1944, who sadly was stillborn. They never had another child, and my mother only found out about this after their deaths.

Towards the end of the war, operations aimed to reoccupy areas of the Netherlands East Indies, and the 2/1st came ashore at Balikpapan, Borneo on 1 July, the first day of the battle. They consolidated the beachhead and then defended Balikpapan Harbour. Bill was injured at some stage during this battle and this artist sketch is found in the Australian War Memorial archives.

Japan surrendered on 15 August and the war ended. The men was discharged or transferred. Bill embarked Balikpapan on 11 October 1945 and was discharged from the Army on 9 April 1946.

My Great-Grandmother Elizabeth Jennings, my Mum, Pearl (Martha) Martin, and Bill

Bill and Pearl lived in Sefton, in southwestern Sydney until their retirement, where they lived in Gorokan on the Central Coast then back to Bingara.

My Aunty Yvonne, my Dad Terry, my Mum, Bill and Pearl on Mum and Dad's houseboat, the Cooma

Bill was always my "Poppy". I never knew my biological grandfather, George Hardwick, but Poppy was always there. He was the kindest, gentlest man, who had a lovely collection of ditties at the ready ("I like bananas, because they have no bones").

Sunday, May 20, 2018

52 Ancestors - Another Language

This week's theme in #52ancestorsin52weeks is Another Language.

My paternal great-grandmother Cecelia Morley was born in County Mayo, Ireland; my paternal great-grandfather Charles Parsons was born in Papanui, New Zealand, but his father was from Dorset England. Susannah Freeman (paternal), Fred Martin (maternal) and Elizabeth Jennings (maternal) were all born in the Tamworth area in Australia. Arthur Hardwick and Emma Morton were both born in Manly, Sydney. So all very Australian/Irish/English and certainly all English-speaking.

There is one exception to the English-speaking great-grandparents is my father's father's father - Gaspar Sedgwick.

Gaspar is variously recorded as "Gasper", "Jasper" and "Jaspar" - goes to show how they rarely wrote their own name and the person recording it just wrote down what they thought they heard.

Gaspar married in Australia twice. The first time was in 1882 to Catherine (Kate) Morley (or Marley, depending on the document), when he was 27.

The certificate lists Gasper Segwick as being as Seaman from Austria, his parents were Jacob and Mary Sedgwick and Jacob was a Shipwright.

My mum has this photo - we are assuming it's Gaspar on a ship. It's undated.

After having 8 children, Kate died in 1894. He then married her sister Cecelia, who came out from Ireland with her brothers, sponsored by Kate, in 1896. Apparently, they needed special permission from the Catholic Church to get married, but we haven't been able to get any records of that (yet). By then, he was working as a fireman.

Ann Cecelia (Celie), Gasper and Cecelia Sedgwick

For years, I assumed that he was born in current-day Austria and I imagined myself as having Sound of Music genetics and swirling around the snow-capped mountains singing Edelweiss! 

Gaspar was naturalised in 1900 and the certificate also states he was from Austria, and that he came out on the Lady Belmore in 1874 when he was 25.

I have searched extensively, but have been unable to find a record of a Gaspar Sedgwick (or anything remotely close) coming out in 1874 or in any year on the Lady Belmore.

Now, a Sedgwick relative was able to find out that he was from Cherso, Austria, which turns out to be the Italian pronounciation of Cres, an island in Croatia (and there goes my dreams of the hills being alive).

It was known as Istria at the time and actually was ruled by Austria, but has also been in French, Italian and Yugoslav rule. In the 1850s, many Croatians came to Australia as seaman, but jumped ship for the goldfields of Victoria. They were recorded as being "Austrian" because it was part of the Habsburg empire. I still haven't been able to find a record of him arriving in Australia, but I will keep trying!

My brother took this photo of Cres when he visited in 2007
But this information makes searching further back a bit easier! Because the Croatian church records have been digitised and you can search through them. You can't "search" them, because they haven't been indexed, but you can read through them, page by page. Which brings us to "another language" because at first, they are in Latin, then as you go further back, they are in Italian. Fun times for this family researcher, because I can read neither! But - there is Google translate! What did we do before the internet? I would have to travel to Croatia (wouldn't that be a shame)

Estimating his birth date of being 27 in 1882, brings us to 1855, his parents were Jacob and Mary and I guessed that he was Catholic from his marriages as well. So I started reading pages of records and finally found this:

Gasparus Aloysius Sigovich was born on 24 February, 1855 to Jacobus Sigovich and Maria Bolmarcich in Cres, Croatia. Aloysius is a Latinised name for Leo or Louis and Gasper and Kate's son Gasper Leo, reflects this.

I was then able to work back and find Jacobus and Maria's marriage on 24 November, 1844:

Jacob is listed as being a "navium magister" which translates to Master Navigator, so the seafaring tradition is quite strong. We are also able to find their parents on this record - Joannes Sigovich and Jacoba Duncova, and Antonius Bolmarcich and Andreana Coglievina.

I have been able to find Antonio and Andreana's marriage record - we are now back to 21 October 1812! The records aren't as neat and easy to decipher:

I had to call in the big guns for this one! There is a fabulous Facebook group that translates documents from other languages. This one came back as:

"21 October 1812 After 3 wedding proclamations prescribed by the Holy Council of Trento, first at 1st October, 2nd at 8th October, 3rd at 15 October and having discovered no impediments, D.Francesco Mons. with my license D.Giuseppe Bolmarcich has interrogated Andrea Coglievina son of the deceased Mattia and Antonia daughter of the living Bolmarcich son of Antonio, living in this town and having obtained their consent I married them according to the rites of the Holy Catholic Roman Church"

So, I am able to trace back our "Sedgwick" part of the family tree to Croatia in the early 1800s. It will take quite a bit of reading through Italian parts of Croatian church records to go further back, but when I have a spare few hours, I will keep going.

So, I'm not really a Sedgwick, I'm a Sigovich from Cres, Croatia (and also a Morleys from Ireland, Parsons from England, the Freemans from probably England or Ireland, the Hardwicks from England, the Mortons from Scotland, the Martins from England, and the Jennings from England).

We think Gaspar probably anglicised his surname to better fit in his new country and maybe to be much more acceptable to the Morley family as he married their daughter. Imagine coming from a Mediterranean island to Australia, learning a new language, gaining new employment and almost re-creating your identity. 

I find myself actually quite fascinated by Gaspar more than any of the other grandparents, maybe because it is all so foreign. One day I hope I can post more about that branch of the family tree (in fact, Cres has been inhabited since paleo-lithic times, so maybe I do have a lot of work to do!). My DNA results say I'm 10% European East, so it will be interesting to go further back.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

52 Ancestors - Mothers

The theme this week for #52ancestors in 52 weeks is Mothers, so I am going to show you my maternal direct line as far back as I can. Maternal lines can be a bit difficult to research because they gave up their maiden when they got married and often that isn't recorded on things like birth certificates of children. Anyway, here is what have found so far.

This is me, Ingrid Elizabeth Sedgwick, born 7 July 1969 in Camperdown, NSW, Australia. I married Andrew McCarthy in 1995 and we have two children.

This is my mum, Heather Jeannine Hardwick, born 1 July 1939, in Manly, NSW. She married Terence (Terry) Sedgwick in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, in 1963. They had three children.

This is her mum, my grandmother, Martha Pearl Martin (known as Pearl), born 7 June 1917, in Tingha, NSW. She married George Hardwick in 1938 when she was 21 and they divorced in 1943. She then married Bill Saunders in 1944, who I always knew as my "poppy". They had a little boy who died at birth. She died on 16 December 1991 in Bingara. 

This is her mum, my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Jennings (whom I'm named after), born 21 September 1896, in Bingara, NSW. She married Fred Martin in 1913 and had four children. She died 3 May 1969 (a couple of months before I was born) in Sefton in Sydney, NSW.

Heather, Pearl and Elizabeth

Her mother, my great-great-grandmother, was Mary Ann Pegler, born in 1867 in Bingara. She married Edward Morris in 1885 and had two children with him before he died and then she married John Jennings in 1896 and had a further three children with him. She died 15 July 1944 also in Bingara. She is the first generation I don't have a photo for.

(As an aside, and a little twist to the tale, I do have a photo of her Aunt was also Mary Ann Peglar (born 1857 in Warialda, near Bingara) who married George Nay who then married Mary Melba Martin, who was Elizabeth Jennings daughter and Martha Pearl's sister. Just to confuse you - you can imagine my confusion trying to work out THAT bit of the tree!).

Mary Ann Peglar and George Nay

Anyway, Mary Ann Pegler's (my great-great grandmother, not my great great great aunt), mother, my 3rd great-grandmother, was Sarah Freeman, born 12 February 1832, in Painswick in Gloucestershire, England. She married David Pegler in 1852 and had eight children. She came to Australia on 4 October 1859 on the Caribou. She died on 2 September 1902 in Bingara. 

(Another side note - I'm almost sure that she may be related to the Freemans on my dad's side of the family, but that's another post and research for another day!)

Her mother, my 4th great-grandmother, was Sarah Warner, born on 2 January 1790, in Hilcote, Gloucestershire, England. She married Joseph Freeman in 1815 and had 12 children! She died (probably of exhaustion) in July 1851 in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England.

And then her mother, my 5th great-grandmother, was Sarah. That's all I know about her and brings us to my (current) dead-end on that branch of the family tree.

A strong line of mothers and from the photographic evidence, quite a bit of genetic resemblance! Happy Mother's Day!

52 Ancestors - Unusual Name

In this week's post, we have been asked to look behind an "unusual name" and I've chosen my great-aunt's husband, Fred...