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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Week 5 – So Far Away

January 29, 2020

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Professional genealogist and podcaster Amy Johnson Crow has put out the challenge to genealogists and family historians, to write stories about 52 of their ancestors in 52 weeks. I am happily taking up the challenge and look forward to writing stories that will collate many years of research results. Each week a prompt will be given as the theme for the week.

Week 5: So Far Away

JOHN TAYLOR and MARTHA LLOYD are my great great grandparents. They were both born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire Wales. John was employed as a servant at Sealyham’s, in the Parish of St. Dogwell’s, which is famous for breeding the first Sealyham terrier. Martha was employed as a servant at Hermon’s House on Hermon’s Hill, in the nearby parish of St. Thomas. Both houses are still standing today.

John was the son of JOHN TAYLOR and MARY DAVIES. Martha’s parents were JAMES LLOYD and DOROTHY THOMAS.

They were married on 25 August 1839 in the Parish of St. Thomas. After their marriage, they lived at City Road in Haverfordwest. About two years after their marriage with their two sons, James and John, they left Wales for Australia. Their third son, my great grandfather, was born in Australia in October 1842.

Unfortunately I have never been able to find their shipping information, so I don’t know the exact date of their arrival. I do know, however, that on arrival in Australia, they settled at Diamond Creek, where John was employed as a shepherd. White settlement began at Diamond Creek in about 1838, so they had come to a very new settlement.

I do think about the differences that John and Martha found, between the ancient market city they had left and the newly settled Diamond Creek. They would have been living in a tent with their quickly growing family which couldn’t have been easy. I’m sure Haverfordwest and the conditions they were living in at Diamond Creek, couldn’t be further apart. Perhaps they were so full of hope for the future of their family in a new land that living a more primitive life was acceptable to them, and even considered to be part of the adventure.

Martha gave birth to 12 children. Unusually, for the times, all children except one son and one daughter, lived past infant hood. The surviving children all lived long lives, except for Alice who died at age 35. Between 1848 and 1850, the family moved to Whittlesea where Taylor children were present at school for many years. John passed away in 1881 and is buried in the Yan Yean Cemetery. After her husband’s death, Martha moved to Bundalong, where she lived with her second son, John, a bachelor, until her death in 1891.

from ‘Yarrawonga Mercury’, October 8, 1891
DEATH AT BUNDALONG: On Thursday last, Mr. John Lloyd Taylor, of Bundalong, suffered bereavement in the loss of his mother, aged 76, the sad event transpiring at the residence of the deceased’s son. The deceased, who had been ailing for some time, was the relict of the late Mr. John Taylor of Whittlesea, and leaves a grown up family. The funeral took place on Friday, the place of interment being the Yarrawonga Cemetary. The Rev. A. Rivett officiated at the grave. (on hand)

TAYLOR: On 1st October, at the residence of her son , John Lloyd Taylor, Bundalong, Martha, relict of the late John Taylor, formerly of Whittlesea, aged 76 years.

At the time of their immigration, John and Martha would have known very little about the voyage they were taking or what life would be like in Australia. I can’t help thinking that the undertaking a move like that to such a far away country with a toddler and a baby, was so very brave. I have found no evidence that they had family here, or that family followed them here. It must have been a lonely life in this country, when they first arrived, with no extended family and knowing that they would probably never again see their family, back home in Wales. Australia must have seemed to them to be so far away from the country of their birth that they knew. With letters taking so long to go back and forth by ship, they must have felt very isolated from their family.

I’m so grateful to John and Martha for being brave and forward thinking enough to get on that boat and start a new life in the new land of Australia. This has given me the opportunity for the very privileged life I am living now, 180 years after that voyage.


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