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A Year In The Life Of A Genie 2022

Here we are into the first week of February, and I haven’t even posted about my year as a genie in 2022. As they say, it’s better late than never.

I started 2022 semi retired, but by the end of the year, I was back working almost full time hours. Two weeks ago, I started a new full time position, with the same company. So much for retirement! Being semi retired for a short time, made me realise that I’m not yet ready for retirement, so I’m happy to be back in the work force full time, and feel very grateful to my employers for having faith in me to the job, at age 69.

The downside to working full time is that I will have less time for my family history. I’m going to have to carefully prioritise my time to ensure that I still get to do the fun things that I want to do.

Looking back to 2022

RootsTech 2023: Once again this conference was outstanding. Being virtual and free I was able to attend, and am still ocassionally watching sessions that I saved for later.

AFFHO Congress: The biggest highlight of 2022, was definitely the AFFHO Genealogy conference at Norfolk Island, in early August. I spent a week on the island, so managed to be a tourist as well as attend this really informative conference. After the conference, I spent a week at Noosa with my son and my three grandsons. I hadn’t seen them for almost three years due to the pandemic, so it was a special time.

Here’s a link to my post about my time at Norfolk Island: Norfolk Island

Historic Norfolk Island Cemetery

Scottish Indexes Conferences: The free Scottish Indexes conferences held on Zoom, continued in 2022. There were four conferences held in 2022, with all having sessions on very interesting topics. I learnt a huge amount from each one.

#ANZAncestryTime: The Twitter discussion that has been held monthly on Tuesday nights has been lots of fun. This discussion group started during covid, when many of us were in lockdown. Now that life is getting back to normal, we have decided to discontinue in 2023. I have enjoyed every moment that I’ve moderated and participated in, and have made many new friends in the world of genealogy.

Legacy Webinars: I have a subscription to access the Legacy Webinars. At just $50 for a year, I consider it very worthwhile, as there are a huge amount of webinars available on many topics. There are so many that I’m sure I would never have time to watch them all. These webinars are a great way to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of genealogy.

Blogging April AtoZ Challenge: I participated in this blogging challenge for the eighth time in 2022, with my theme, once again, being family stories. This challenge is to publish a post every day in April, except Sundays, from A-Z. I first joined this challenge in 2015, and enjoyed it so much that I’ve been back every year since. My theme in 2022 was family stories. I posted about the life of an ancestor every day except Sunday, increasing the number of family stories available here on the blog.

One Place Study: I’ve been doing my One Place Study of Axedale for a few years now. I have no family history in the area, but started my one place study due to the huge general interest I had in the area. Recently, we moved away from the Axedale area, which would have made studying this area, more difficult. Fortunately, I have found someone who will take on this One Place Study and also the blog Axedale Then and Now. I am very keen to start another OPS, this time in an area where my ancestors lived. I have a couple of ideas in mind, but haven’t decided as yet. I’m tossing up between a place of my family in Victoria, Australia and another in Scotland.

Connection: I have said many times that one of the joys of blogging is the connections that are made. I have met many cousins from around the world including Mary from England. During 2022, it has been a joy to collaborate with Mary on furthering the research of our Waters family line. Through her, I was able to re-connect with another family researcher, Graham, after many having lost contact many yers ago. I am indebted to Graham for sharing his very indepth research with me and for his continuing collaboration. With Graham’s permission, I am trying to post as much of his research as possible onto the blog, so that it is preserved. This blog is archived in the National Archives, enabling it to be available on line into the future. Collaboration with fellow family historian Graham, has also continued this year, on the Morison family.

Research: I’ve done more research in 2022 than in other recent years. the family stories published on the blog have required research to fill in the many gaps, and this was my research focus in 2022.

Transcribing: In 2021, I volunteered to transcribe records for Scottish Indexes. My main reason for doing this was as a thank you for the free conferences that they provide. I have occasionally also made a small monetary donation, as I would love these conferences to continue. I enjoyed transcribing the records which were a great learning experience. I became much better able to read 18th and 19th century writing, due to transcribing these documents.. When I broke my arm, I had to stop for a while and due to holidays and moving, wasn’t able to get back to it.

Looking forward to 2023

Conferences: In 2023, I will be attending RootsTech, once again virtually, from home. I’m not sure of other conferences yet, but I’m looking forward to hearing about any that are coming up. I will continue attending Society of Genealogist and Legacy Webinars.

Scottish Indexes held their first conference for 2023 in January, and the next is scheduled for 15 April 2023.

Blogging April AtoZ Challenge: I am hoping to participate in the Challenge in 2023. I have begun drafting posts but I’m very much behind where I’d like to be. If I’m not able to catch up and be ready by April 1, I may have to give it a miss this year. I haven’t decided about this yet.


Any research done during this year has been done so that family stories can be written. Most of my research time has been used to fill in the gaps of research done previously. At the beginning of 2022, I promised myself that a focus of research would be DNA, I knew that to be able to do that, I would need to learn more about DNA and that was my plan. Unfortunately that well intentioned plan just didn’t happen This will still appear on the list of things to do in 2023.

©2023 copyright. All rights reserved

A Christmas Poem Australia 1859

This is a repost from last Christmas.

My ancestors JOHN TAYLOR and MARTHA LLOYD came to Australia from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales in 1841. As I’ve been to Wales  and seen the beautiful countryside that it is,  I often wonder what it must have been like for them to leave the rolling green hills of Wales and come to hot dusty Australia.  I just cannot imagine how they must have felt as they said goodbye to their family and friends, knowing that they probably would never see them again.  What did they thing of Christmas in Australia? Surely they must have yearned for the northern hemisphere at Christmas time. This poem that I came across on Trove helps to answer some of those questions.

from The Launceston Examiner, Thursday 14 July 1859


(Written on Christmas Day 1858)
Twas  noon and brightly shone the summer sky; Sol’s burning rays struck scorching on the plain;

Christmas, upon that scorching plain, how drear; How sadly changed from home’s domestic hearth,

Where friends collect to bless the coming year, And each contributes to that season’s mirth.

Beneath a gum tree’s shade a traveller lay,  With listless weary eye he gazed around;

One gushing sigh his longing thoughts betray,  ‘Twas home he thought on “home” that magic sound.

He thought of childhood’s days of peace and joy,  Of scenes of boyish pleasures far away,

When a mother’s hand caressed her darling boy,  And in holy accents taught him first to pray.

Oh, home, cried he, dear home, what happy years,  What hours of innocence I’ve spent in thee,

E’re sorrow marked my brow or woke my fears,  The future then was bright and fair to me

My spirit now released to roam at will,  Back to those scenes of peace and love it flies,

Where in death’s sleep upon that sunny hill , The sacred ashes of my father lies.

He was a father kind in every sense;  He was a christian good as he was kind;

He served his God, and when he called him hence, He died, nor left another such behind.

Sadly the wind blows over his cold, cold bed , Silent he sleeps, nor heeds it’s passing swell;

For coldly pillowed lies his honored head, Unconscious now of those he loved so well.

A child he watched me with a fathers care, A boy he blessed me in my joyous mirth,

A youth he left me for a better sphere, E’re manhood’s years could comprehend his worth.

Oh what is life, or what is wealth, or power, Those toys we strive so much for here below?

Oh what is life, or what is wealth, or power, Those toys we strive so much for here below?

Our’s today, they’re gone in one short hour, Snatched from our grasp by death’s unerring blow.

And Christmas, happy days of joys bygone, Thy presence now but aggravates despair;

For lost to gladness, you but lead us on, To brood over what we are and what we were.

Thus far the traveller had wandered on, Where bright old Sol, his power now on the wave,

Reminds him that the scorching heat has gone, Then sinks in state behind a golden screen.

He now calls back his fancy from those scenes, Of fairy visions fled, for ever gone;

Six miles are yet the town and him between,  And stern reality must urge him on.

Sadly he rises from the gum tree’s shade, Takes up his gun and sway and then – what then?

Why soon in far famed Melbourne he has made. A unit in that crowd of busy men


7th July 1859

(Tas. : 1842 – 1899) 14 July 1859: 3 (AFTERNOON).
Web. 13 Dec 2022 <;.   


©2022 copyright. All rights reserved

My Research Interests

Today I’m having a rare full day of research. It’s quite a while since I’ve had more than a fleeting go at researching, mainly due to woking and other time issues. My aim for today is together up to date information on family members who I intend to include in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2023. I haven’t decided exactly what the theme will be yet, but of course, it will be family history related.

I have a few family lines that I haven’t had time to trace yet, so they will be a priority of today and the next few weeks. I did post my research interests a couple of years ago, but I thought, now that they have expanded slightly, I should post a more complete list. I’m not necessarily researching every name on the list, right at this moment, but they are all important to me.

Following are my main research interests, listed in alphabetical order, not in order of importance.

Donegal, Ireland.
Violet Town, Victoria, Australia

Kilkenny, Ireland
Violet Town Victoria, Australia

Steeple Ashton and Bath, Wiltshire, England
Heathcote, Victoria, Australia

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

London, England
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Violet Town, Victoria, Australia

Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Old Monkland, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, England
Heathcote, Victoria, Australia

Sleat, Inverness, Scotland

Trelawny, Cornwall, Jamaica
Launceston, Tasmania
Collingwood and Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia

Glenshiel, Ross & Cromarty, Scotland
Heathcote, Victoria, Australia
Echuca, Victoria, Australia

Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Diamond Creek and Whittlesea, Victoria
Bundalong and Yarrawonga, Victoria, Australia

Dunton, Bedfordshire, England
Kyneton, Victoria, Australia
Rochester, Victoria, Australia
Echuca, Victoria, Australia
Shepparton, Victoria, Australia

Bradford On Avon, Wiltshire, England,
Heathcote, Victoria, Australia

If you see your family name and place on the above list, I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or by email. I’m more than happy to collaborate.

©2022 copyright. All rights reserved

McLeod Clan

My house is just a short walk from the Bendigo Botanic Gardens, so most days I end my walk with a quick stroll through these beautiful gardens. Perhaps I’m more focused on the plants when I visit, but this week I saw the cairn (below) and was really surprised that I hadn’t seen it previously. The cairn is a memorial to the Clan MacLeod Reunion which was held in Bendigo in 1999.

I have MacLeods in my family tree, but they are very distantly related, and as yet I haven’t done any research on them. This connection made me keen to stop and read the plaque. Without that connection I still would have found the cairn interesting, so I hope that anyone reading this shares my interest.

The Clan MacLeod
Friendship Cairn

The upper section of this cairn
contains stones from all over the world,
brought by clanfolk who attended the
’99 Clan MacLeod World Reunion,
held in Bendigo from April 28th to May 2nd 1999.
This cairn is a lasting memorial to
the first international gathering of
Clan McLeod in the Southern Hemisphere

For further information on Clan MacLeod – The Associated Clan MacLeod Societies

@2022 copyright. All rights reserved

Using Timelines In Genealogy

Timelines are an excellent research tool for genealogists, which I have been using for years. They have become part of my process of writing family stories. Before writing a family story to be published, I will always create a timeline first, so I have an overall view of the person’s life. This helps to give me guidance, as to the direction I’d like to take, and ensures I have time periods in the correct order. Depending on the project in mind, a timeline could be written about a family member’s entire life, or just a period in their life. For example, you may wish to write about your family members’ teenage years, or perhaps their life after 50.

A timeline can be designed as a graph, or on a line across the page, or whichever way suits you best to display the information. For me, a timeline works best when it is done as a list. Because of the way my brain works, I find it easier to read and keep track of the information in a list. I call my timelines “Research Timelines” as they are never complete, and can always be referred to while researching, and added to when new information is received. If I was going to publish my timeline in a book or an official document of a life story, I would choose a more elaborate timeline for publication. It’s entirely your choice. As long as the timeline works for you, that’s all that matters.

What Is A Timeline?

A timeline, as it is used for genealogy, shows a list of events that happened in the life of a person, and the date that they occurred. As family historians, we collect information and documents relating to our family, often over many years. Entering that information into a timeline will give more clarity, and and will put it into date order.

Even if the information is entered into a family history program, a timeline is still beneficial. The timeline gives the outline, and the family history software tells the story around the information in the timeline. Many family history programs produce timelines, which is a bonus, as that means that the information only needs to be entered once, and the software creates the timeline.

Historical information such as the dates of wars, or other historical events, can be added to the timeline to give context to your ancestor’s life. You will be able to see your ancestors’ life very clearly as it relates to historical events.

Timelines can be as basic, or as complicated and decorative, as you prefer. Mine are usually very basic, usually due to my skill level being fairly basic. You can create a basic timeline in a Word or Excel Document. There are also many apps available that will create an impressive timeline quite easily.

An example of a decorative timeline

Why Use Timelines

  • Information can be seen at a glance
  • Shows any gaps that may be in your research.
  • Errors in research become more obvious
  • The next area to be researched can become clear
  • Conflicting information is more easily identified
  • Helps to breakdown brickwalls
  • It’s possible to see the movements of your ancestor at a glance

The above are just a few advantages of using a timeline, and the main reasons that I use this research tool.. I’m sure you can think of many more.

Watch out for my series of timelines coming soon. These will be Research Timelines, that will make it clear to me, the direction that my research needs to take in future. Do you use timelines in your family history research? If so, do you find them beneficial?


@2022 copyright. All rights reserved

Life Of A Genie Update

There has been quite a bit happening, which has resulted in very few new posts appearing. It’s hard to believe that my last Life of a Genie Update was 14 weeks ago, in mid July. I wouldn’t say that I lost my blogging mojo. I’ve constantly had the blog in my mind, as I mentally made plans for future posts. Time just seemed to be in short supply to actually write those posts, which I know is a constant complaint of genies. It’s obvious that I need to get myself a bit better organised, so this doesn’t happen again. I’m taking on this challenge to post more regularly, until the end of the year and then into 2023.

Norfolk Island

Just two weeks after the last update, I headed to Norfolk Island for the AFFHO History In Paradise Australasian Conference. This was a wonderful experience that I posted about shortly after arriving home. I learnt more than I ever expected by attending, and by visiting this beautiful island with it’s beauty and it’s brutal history.

Link to my post about Norfolk Island

After The Conference

After arriving home, there was no time to rest, recuperate and reminisce about the wonderful time I had. The day after I arrived home, was the day that the move into my house in town began. The plan was that, as I was still on holidays, I would move all of the boxes by car and we would get the moving van just for the furniture. This worked well, but it meant there wasn’t a spare moment for over a week, as I drove the 60k round trip over and over and over…… Thinking about it later, it would probably have cost less and been less stressful to send everything in the moving van.

Once the move was complete, my office and all my genie papers, boxes etc had to be unpacked and set up. I’m still surrounded by a few boxes and the paperwork hasn’t all been sorted for easy access yet, but it’s getting there. To make matters worse, I decided to replace my dying computer so have had to spoend precious time that I don’t really have transferring everything over. But these are only first world problems and not worth worrying about. It will all get done eventually.

National Family History Month

August was National Family History Month, and Alex from Family Tree Frog blog created a blogging challenge to celebrate the month, which involved publishing a post on each Sunday of the month. Loving a blogging challenge, I put my hand up very quickly, without giving any thought at all to how busy August was going to be. I’m feeling quite ashamed to admit that I only managed to do three NFHM posts, with only the first post being on time. I was chasing my tail for the entire month to get the posts up in time, and intended to write the final post when I arrived home from Norfolk Island – in between packing and moving. I should have realised that that was never going to happen. My apologies to Alex.

National Family History Month Week 1
NationalFamilyHistoryMonth Week 2
National Family History Month Week 3

Queen Elizabeth

Since then, much to my shame, I have published once only. That post appeared shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth. The sadness of her death, inspired me to post about the time that The Day Queen Elizabeth Visited My Home Town. I was only a few weeks old, so thought I’d visit our much loved TROVE to read all about it. I had never heard anyone in the family mention it, so thought perhaps it was a low key visit. How wrong I was.


#ANZAncestryTime is a genealogy/familyhistory discussion session, which is held on Twitter. I’m very happy to be one of the moderators, and look forward to our sessions, on the third Tuesday night each month. As daylight savings has recently started in Australia, check below for the times in your area.

We’ve had interesting topics since my last update that generated quite a bit of interest. I always learn something in these discussions, and there are always a few laughs to be had along the way.

July: Genealogy Books
Aug: London
Sep: Non-Convict Crime
Oct: Open Mic – open discussion and questions

How has your life as a genie been lately? I’d love to hear about it and promise to reply to all comments.

@2022 copyright. All rights reserved

The Day Queen Elizabeth Visited My Home Town

I was shocked when I heard that Queen Elizabeth had died, even though it had become clear that she was becoming very frail. Since then, I’ve been glued to the television into the early hours of the morning following all the traditions and pomp and ceremony.

The news made me think about when the Queen and Prince Phillip, came to my hometown of Shepparton on 4 March 1954. I have no memory of her visit, as I was born just a few weeks earlier.

According to reports in the local paper, it was a beautiful autumn day and large crowds lined the streets, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Royal couple. The Queen’s Coronation had only been nine months earlier, which I’m sure would have added to the excitement.

Over 9000 schoolchildren waving flags lined the streets along with members of the 59th Battalion and school cadets. After driving through the streets and happily waving to the crowds, the Royal entourage drove to the Deakin Reserve, the local sports ground to greet more locals, school children and dignitaries.

Words from The Queen “My beloved late father and my mother had been looking forward with great interest to visiting the Goulburn Valley, the products of which are so well known in England … To those of you who are present and to all those who have not been able to come here today, I send my warmest good wishes,”

The following description of the Queen’s outfit appeared in the Shepparton News:
“Her Majesty wore a Hartnell green paper shantung coat, over an orchid pink floral frock patterned with a deep blue convolvulus flower design. The coat featured soft revers and elbow-length sleeves with a knife-pleated skirt”.

A rose garden was created and cairn erected in Monash Park, Welsford Street Shepparton, commemorate The Royal visit.

The Visit of Her Most Gracious Majesty

Queen Elizabeth II

On 5-3-1954

Is Commemorated By This

Rose Garden

The Gift Of The

Women Of Shepparton

Shepparton News, 5 March 1954, Page 1

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National Family History Month Week 3 #NFHM2022

Alexander Daw from Family Tree Frog blog has challenged bloggers to participate in a bloggers challenge to celebrate National Family History Month. Alex provided prompts that have been very thought provoking.

Week 3

The prompt for week 3 is to share your tips for smashing your brick walls. I’m very late with my week 3 post but, I suppose it’s better late than never, as the saying goes.

Brick Walls

A brick wall occurs when you can’t find any further information about an ancestor that you have been researching. Brick walls are very frustrating, but they don’t have to mean that you will never find further information about your family member. I am no expert at smashing through brick walls but listed below are a few steps I take when faced with a brick wall.

Review all information collected about the person who is your brick wall. Re-read your certificates and documents. It’s possible that you missed a snippet of information that will open up your research. This has happened to me quite a few times.

Information about your ancestor may have been unavailable when you were researching, due to privacy reasons. As the years go by, you may find the information is released.

Check F.A.Ns -friends and neighbours of your ancestor. You may be surprised at what you will find by doing this. For example: if your ancestor isn’t with their family at the time of the census, the first thing to do would be to check if there has been a death. If not, perhaps they are staying with a family member, friend or neighbour.

Perhaps there have been books written about the area where your ancestor lived, which would give context to the life of your family.

The local family history society for the area of your ancestor may have further information. Even if they don’t have information about your ancestor, it’s possible they will have information about the area that will provide a better understanding of the life your family lived.

I have to say that the above suggestions don’t always produce the desired result. I published a post a while ago, about my family members who seem destined to be my permanent brick walls. Click here if you would like to read about them.

I’d love to hear about your brick walls and your successes breaking through them. Leave me a comment and I promise to reply.

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#NationalFamilyHistoryMonth Week 2: Norfolk Island

Alexander Daw from Family Tree Frog blog has challenged bloggers to participate in a bloggers challenge to celebrate National Family History Month. As I can’t resist a challenge, and even though August is a busy month for me, I have decided to dive in and have a go.

I managed to get my post up for week 1, just one day late. Unfortunately I haven’t been so organised for week 2. We are in the middle of moving house and have been distracted. I am writing this post on my iPhone, in my lounge room, surrounded by boxes, as I wait for the furniture removalist. Todays is our official moving day.

The challenge is to post on a family history theme, each week in August. Alex has suggested four weekly topics which I intend to follow.

Week 2: Travel

This topic is certainly appropriate for me, for Family History Month. On July 31, I arrived on Norfolk Island to attend the AFFHO 2022 Congress, beginning in 1 August. This was a perfect way to kick off Family History Month.


I have no family history at all on Norfolk Island, but I have always wanted to visit, as I have long been fascinated in the islands history. The opportunity to attend congress in this place of incredible history was too good to pass up.

There were so many highlights that I could go on for ever about my time on Norfolk Island, and possibly bore you to tears. However I’ve chosen just a few highlights, with perhaps more to come later.

Norfolk Island Museum

Norfolk Island has an amazing museum and our guide, a descendant of a Pitcairn Island settler, was incredibly knowledgeable about the island and it’s history. The museum is located in the World Heritage listed area of Kingston, where there are also ruins of early buildings to be seen.

Norfolk Island Museum in the old Pier Store

Our tour of the museum gave us information about the Polynesians who were the original settlers, the convict history, and the Bounty Mutineers who arrived in 1856. The museum houses many displays of early island life and its history.

Ruins of the gaol at Norfolk Island. The New Gaol housed convicts who resisted the penal colony’s harsh discipline, and who were sentenced to working on chain gangs, to solitary confinement, or to death. Other prisoners were housed in the Prisoners’ Barracks.
Ruins at Kingston


The Norfolk Island cemetery, situated on a hill, looking out to sea, contains graves that are over 200 years old. Wandering through the cemetery on a wet, windy day was very atmospheric, as I read the gravestones of settlers and military from so long ago. As part of congress we were given a tour of the cemetery, highlighting particular graves which gave a great understanding of life on Norfolk Island since settlement.

There are also graves of the Bounty mutineers who moved from Pitcairn Island to Norfolk Island in 1856.

Looking out to sea from the Norfolk Island Cemetery

Many of the headstones feature a huge amount of detail include causes of death such as drownings, accidents and executions, giving an insight into the brutal days of convict settlement, The grave below toll my eye with its interesting embellishments.


It’s impossible to talk about Norfolk Island without mentioning it’s beautiful coastline with its pristine beaches.

There will be more coming about the sessions attended

For more information on the history of Norfolk Island: and

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National Family History Month Week 1 #NFHM2022

Alexander Daw from Family Tree Frog blog has challenged bloggers to participate in a bloggers challenge to celebrate National Family History Month. As I can’t resist a challenge, and even though August is a busy month for me, I have decided to dive in and have a go.

The challenge is to post on a family history theme, each week in August. Alex has suggested four weekly topics which I intend to follow.

Week 1

The theme for the first week is August, which can also mean respected or impressive. Who do you think is the most respected or impressive member of your family tree and why?

Many of the people in my family, though mostly very ordinary people, are impressive to me, but for different reasons

John TAYLOR and Martha LLOYD – left their life in Haverfordwest, Wales, and made the long voyage across the seas, not knowing what their life would be like. To add to the complications of their voyage, they had a toddler and a baby travelling with them. Their courage has given me, and my family, the opportunity to have awesome lives in Australia

Previous posts that I have written about John and Martha:
John Taylor and Martha Lloyd
Children of John Taylor and Martha Lloyd

Thomas WATERS, my 2x great grandfather faced many challenges in trying to make a new life for himself and his family in Australia. At the time of his marriage, in 1857, to Elizabeth Ann COX/COCK, he was living in South Australia.

In 1859 the couple decided to travel to Melbourne to make a new start. When Thomas wasn’t able to leave his work as expected, arrangements were made for his wife to go on ahead with the children, and another couple.

The second child George Burton, was just nine months old. The couple arranged to meet in Melbourne when Thomas arrived. When he arrived at the station, he found his wife in distress, with baby George, dangerously ill, and with no money, after spending the last of it, on consulting a doctor.

The child died, and Thomas used the last of his money to bury him and to purchase a ticket for his wife and son to travel by coach to Kyneton. He found someone to pay his wife’s coach fare, but he himself had to walk to Kyneton.

After arrival in Kyneton, the struggles continued, as Thomas tried to find work to earn enough money to feed and clothe his children. Thomas wrote a Letter to his family in Bedfordshire, England outlining his difficulties in more detail.

I can only feel total respect and admiration for Thomas as he faced life’s difficulties head on. Thomas wrote a series of letters home, where it was obvious that he was also feeling extremely homesick and sad, at being away from his family.

These stories are just two stories from my family history. I feel a that I owe a huge debt to those who made the decision to leave their homes and families, on the other side of the world, in the search for a better life. They made that decision, not knowing what the long journey would be like, and also not knowing what was waiting for them in the new land. For that I owe them a huge thank you on behalf of myself and my family. The priveleged and happy lives that we live today are due to the sacrifices that they made.

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