G’day from WA…

This being my first post, I guess I should say a little about my tree and background.

There are two lines that I obsess over the most, my paternal (surname) line and my paternal grandmothers fathers line, probably because it has Italian roots and my dark features are a little unexplained, plus I like having something a little different to the usual Anglo roots. The other lines I’ve researched, but probably with not as much passion as these two.

Although in the past few years I’ve focussed a bit more on my maternal grandfathers line but it’s something I deem a little bit different as it delves in DNA genealogy, but I’ll write more about him later…it’s very interesting and a massive learning curve!
All up I’m English, Scottish, Polish, Austro-Italian, Kiwi, Irish and a little bit of unknown…if I were a dog, you could certainly say I am a mutt.

The majority of my tree arrived in Australia before 1900 with the earliest landing in Down Under being my pioneer 3x Great Grandfather, John Foss Tonkin in 1830, just a few months after the Swan River Colony in Western Australia was declared for Britain.  Prior to this he’d been living for a few years with his parents and siblings in Hackney, London, but previously had lived and was born in Plymouth, Devon. This particular line stops with his father who I just cannot get past! It’s very frustrating as there are plenty of Tonkin lines in the area, especially in nearby Cornwall and I would just love to be able to finally link up with one of them. John Foss’ mother I have going a few generations before, but I think it’s always the surname line you sort of identify most with and want to crack.

Switching over to the other half of my paternal side we find a plucky young adventurer who leaves his home in the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy around 1870 and travels all over the world, eventually settling in New Zealand and starting a family. Davide Domenico Mochen then takes off again to the goldfields of Western Australia to try his luck, strikes it rich, loses an eye, before he and his family end up living in the port city of Fremantle.

My direct maternal line goes back to the late 1700s with my Polish ancestor serving with the Prussian Army at Waterloo before he and his family hop on a ship to South Australia to avoid religious persecution as Lutherans. They eventually mix with a Scottish family,  the Fergusons originally from the Outer Hebrides isle of North Uist, before my great grandparents separately head over to WA with the parents and siblings, meet each other, marry and first settle down south in Bunbury before moving to Perth.

Then we have my last Grandparent, my Pop, who is the only one not born in Australia. He was born in England at the end of World War I and adopted out to a childless couple who ended up moving to Western Australia. It wasn’t until his 60’s that he found his birth mother and a tearful, happy reunion took place over in England, she still being thankfully alive at the age of 87. So all her family come from the Norfolk area of England, but she couldn’t tell us much about my Pop’s father, except for a name and that he was a soldier in the Australian army in WWI. With a lack of clues on this fella, I’ve had to resort to DNA genealogy to figure him out. More on this in a post, but his fathers line is all Scottish who immigrated to Victoria, Australia in the 1850’s.

So that’s my tree…I won’t give too much away yet, there’s some good stories to be told and some things I’ve learnt that I can pass on along the way, but I hope whoever ends up reading this blog finds it funny, interesting and informative…

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