About Me

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NSW, Australia
I'm made it past 50! married for over half my life, have 3 kids all grown and I'm loving this part of my life.I was a nurse in my younger days but an unhealthy dose of rheumatoid arthritis put a damper on my career,so I'm at home with the internet.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

roots and branches

I'm descended from convicts!
My earliest ancestor to Australia was Eleanor Davis born in 1769 in Covent Garden England.
I think Eleanor was a bit of a rebel in her day.
She was meant to be childminding for a day for a fee of sixpence but while there stole various items including a man's coat, a waistcoat, 2 pairs satin breeches, a body vest, 1 shirt, 12 plates, a dish, 4 salt shakers, a mustard pot and sundry other things. Total value of 23 shillings and three pence. She went straight to the pawnshop and got 18 pence for them . She also received 7 years transportation when found guilty of the charge.
Silly girl spent her 18pence on grog and a carriage ride and was caught riding up and down the main street intoxicated.The little girl she was minding told her parents exactly where Nelly had got to.I think she had the little girl with her at the pawn shop!!!
She spent some time aboard one of the dreadful prison hulks then was transported to Australia on the 3rd fleet.
In Australia they were waiting anxiously and impatiently for the 3rd fleet as major flooding had drowned the crops and there was famine.
She arrived in port Jackson Sydney in 1791, the journey took 143 days...imagine that! It wasn't an uneventful trip for her as she arrived pregnant!
A few months after she arrived she married a lifer Alexander Seaton, he had stolen cattle.The ship board pregnancy was full term and Mary Anne(the name of the ship) was born, but it is thought that she died as there are no other records of her.She had a daughter Martha with Alex in 1794.
Her marriage to Alexander hit a snag in 1795 and she moved in with Jacob Russell. They had daughter, Elizabeth, a year later.
This photo is Elizabeth. Many moons later.
Alexander moved to Tasmania with his daughter Martha where he remarried even though he was still married to Eleanor. He was shot and killed in a pub brawl by a soldier,in argument over a woman in 1817.
So that left Eleanor free to marry and she promptly married Jacob.
Jacob had been convicted for house burglary and spent 4 YEARS in the hulks before being transported to Australia in the 3rd fleet.He had been assigned to the superintendent of convicts, working on cultivation of crops and only 3 years later he was granted his certificate of freedom(he had to remain in the area).He recieved a 30 acre land grant from the Leut Governor and a further 30 acres granted a few years later. Jacob and Eleanor became respected settlers.

Unfortunately as many women did in the harsh conditions,Eleanor continued to drink heavily and died suddenly in 1824 "srangled in liquor" at 55yrs old.
Elizabeth in the photo married Robert Sherringham when she was 15 years old....he was 30!!!
Robert had been an apprentice cordwainer...this is a shoemaker...I did not know that, so there you go! He stole shoemaking or cordwaining? items from his employer and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation.He was eventually given his certificate of emancipation(like a pardon but had to stay in the area) and 3 land grants.
Elizabeth and Robert had 12 children.
In 1828 he is listed in the muster as having 17 acres of cleared and cultivated land 4 horses,16 cattle and a govt. servant(convict) Andrew Mahon.
In 1834 Andrew received his conditional Pardon, left Robert and took Elizabeth with him!!! By this time Elizabeth was 38 and Andrew 37.There must have been some issue with Robert as at this time her father Jacob went to court and gave her a parcel of land, very unusual in that day and age.

Elizabeth had 5 more children with Andrew! 17 children in total.If I still had my uterus it would be aching in protest.
She died in 1878 age 82 and Andrew died aged 92.
One of their children was Catherine born in 1837 when Elizabeth was 41(she had 2 more after this one).Catherine was married twice. Her 2nd partner was Joseph Shelton ,She already had one child to her first hubby. It appears they split up but he didn't die and they didn't divorce so they had their family of 8 children and then married in 1911, when she was 72!!!Better late than never!
Now we are getting closer to me.
Their daughter Ester Ann was one of 8 children born to them.She was born in 1868 and married Francis Riley Gavin (Garry)in 1889 and that couple are my great grandparents.

Ester had 11 children,she died in 1909 when my grandfather Willim Charles (Charlie) was only 3 yrs old.
She also had a new baby when she died.She was 41.

The eldest of the girls,Elizabeth(Lizzie) promised her mother she would look after the children and she did this her whole life, living 2 doors from Charlie even in her late years. She never married.She was 17 years old when her mother died.A remarkable girl.There were 7 children younger than her to look after, the eldest 15 and the youngest not yet 2.She was very old when I was a child and I liken her to Aunt Clara in Bewitched.

These photos are of Aunt Liz's home and Charlie my grandfathers home,where my mum grew up.It was a slab hut constructrion and I loved going here for visits.

Charlies place is still standing but it now has no walls and is pretty much a car port. Aunt Liz's was pulled down about 20 years ago and Mc Mansion is in it's place.

This is Charlie my grandfather and my grandmother Emily.She died when I was 3 years old so I only have one memory of her. I was helping wipe up the dishes and dropped a cup.Her father was a Scotsman. Most of her grandchildren and great grandchildren have her round face and have trouble with their weight. Thanks grandma!

Emily and Charlie had 7 children the youngest stillborn. There are only 2 still living. My mums not one of them. RIP mum.

This is my mum and dad at their engagement party in about 1960. I came along in 1963.

And there is more... Francis Rileys grandparents were convicts too.......but I will let you off, if you've read this far you deserve mercy .


  1. wow!!! Very impressive and very very interesting :)

  2. thanks lydny took me a while to put it together and I didn't know if anyone would find it interesting lol

  3. How awesome!! Thank you for going to the effort of putting it all together to share with us. What a family too.

  4. Very interesting and exciting family history. I'm impressed that you were able to find all that stuff!! I tried doing some genealogy, and didn't get very far.

  5. Hi Dina my mum and I statrted on it way back in the 80's when no one else was we had to dig thru a lot of archives. Now its mch easier with online things being searchable etc
    try go to worldconnect link and type in some names you will be surprised. I am lucky having gone so far back there are many people searching the same tree and sharing the info these days. also a lot of this family are still in the Hawksbury area, not far from where the original families settled.In fact the whole of the Hawksbury bowl was interconnected in some way( as most of the convicts got land grants there) right up until about 1970 when families became more mobile and started moving further out and interstate etc if you email me some names and dates I'll see what I can do to help.

  6. twiglight, youre welcome I enjoyed it:)

    bunch of ragtags huh ? lol

  7. It is really interesting. You are so fortunate to know so much about your family. Thank you for the history and a peek at the pictures!

  8. I thought it was fascinating, too.

    I love stuff like that.

  9. I find that real life trumphs soap operas every time.

    love this! -J

  10. I thought it was a fascinating post. It gave me a new perspective on my Aussie friends.

  11. This is very cool! My mom's family arrived in the United States on the second ship, seriously, back in the late 1600's or so. Makes me wonder why he wanted to get out of England on a ship in those conditions. Maybe he was a horse thief!

  12. My family history is that they lost the family fortune by investing in car flag signals instead of car blinkers. I could have been rich.

  13. anji...knew you'd like the pics :)

    ami...thanks, i've always enjoyed history its fascinating to me what other people did...but..I'm just nosy haha

    juliana...i know and if you bleive the tv and movies we are brought up to think they were so straighlaced and formal lol

    cube..ha haha interesting perspective, your friends will kill me lol and funnily enough before say 1980ish NOBODY would admit to a convict background now you're almost not aussie if you dont have one........ohh the poor Adelaidiens lol

    Portia.... true? your'e royalty over there then?? oh wait... that's the first ship? i have always heard that saying in movies" my folks came over on the mayflower"

    Mrs Tuna...bahahaha .....sorry

  14. I LOVED reading this. I am fascinated by geneology and am very impressed you have so much information on your family. It's a great thing to pass on to you kids.

  15. Wow...That was very resourceful...
    Did you know William Charles had a sister named Minnie Doreen born in 1901...
    Minnie Doreen is my great grandmother. She died in 2006 at the age of 106. I have the certificate and the badge in my possession
    If your interested I would like to talk to you about the Gavins

  16. Shelly, all my kids at one time or another have expressed interest, came in handy when they did school projects on family trees too.

    Lizzie...Hey cuz :) I remember Aunt Minnie, she was at various cousins weddings along with Aunt Sadie, including my own. Aunt Lizzie had died well before all the immediate cousins got married, but I remember her visiting my mums sister Rita, she reminded me of the aunt in Bewitched lol I looked at your profile to contact you but you have no email listed. you can email me at would love to share stories :)


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