A Tribute To My Grandfather

One of the biggest achievements of my life was being able to tell my 93 year old Grandfather, George Lockett, who his biological father was.

George sadly passed away on 15 June 2013, aged 94 and 1 month, after developing pneumonia. Having survived the infection the previous year, this time his frail body just couldn’t recover.

Since his death, I’ve been filled not with sadness, but with a sense of celebration. I was starting to feel a little guilty about it until I realised that I wasn’t the only one grappling with this conundrum. Of course I will miss him, and I am sad that I won’t see him again, but he had such a great and fulfilling life surrounded by such a loving family that my mind decided to remember the life lived instead of the life lost.
*Although when the Bugler played the Last Post at his funeral, I bawled my eyes out. But who doesn’t cry upon hearing that?!

George didn’t believe in the afterlife, but he always said he hoped to be proven wrong, and in completing a little family deal we have going on regarding its existence, I could actually feel his hand stroking my hair during the moment of reflection in the middle of the service. After a few seconds of contemplating what it was, I understood and smiled.
My Uncle, a firm non-believer later recalled that he got a tap on the shoulder when there was no one around him.
Actually prior to this, he’d been on a plane flying to Perth for the funeral when a woman seated near him lent over and said “You’ve lost someone close to you, but they say they’re ok, they’re happy and they’re in a better place.”
Creepy!

The funeral was mentioned by many to be the best they’ve ever been to. I’d created a media presentation to be played during it and I was a little embarrassed when it received a very loud round of applause. I’m sure anyone outside would have been wondering what on earth was going on in there!

So for posterity, I uploaded it onto YouTube. If you watch it, I hope you enjoy it and make sure to turn the volume on! Makes it much more worthwhile!

Where’s My Crown!? – Related to Royalty

Last week I was working on a distant line in my tree that centred around a notable figure, Rowland Taylor. Now Rowland himself is an interesting man. He was born in Northumberland in 1510, growing up under the reign of Henry VIII who separated from Rome forming the Church of England (only so he could divorce his wife and marry another).

Rowland went into the Ministry and became quite a popular pastor who tended the poor and believed in strong family foundations. But when Henry VIII’s successor, son Edward died young, the crown ended up in the hands of Queen Mary who quickly reverted the country back to Catholicism.

This was not good for Rowland… Continue reading

Trove’s Newest Digital Newspaper Additions

Yesterday I decided to check out the latest newspapers that have been added to the Trove website – one of my favourite site’s for researching Australian Family History, to find a massive 54 newspapers have been added, mostly for New South Wales and Victoria but the sole newspaper added for Western Australia is one that I’ve always hoped to search through.

The Herald, which is a still a current day newspaper for Fremantle, is now available on Trove, thanks to the City of Fremantle Library, with editions from 1867-1886 currently available.

After a quick search I found a great article about a Great-Grand Uncle, Luke Tonkin, who allegedly had been involved in an assault on another man.

I was hoping to find something on my GGGreat Grandfather, John Foss Tonkin, but couldn’t find anything substantial, I’m hoping later editions will turn up something for him.

But for now I get to know Uncle Luke a little bit better…

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My Pop, The ANZAC

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George Lockett

George Lockett, my Mum’s father, my Pop, was born in 1919 in Edmonton, England being the result of a short lived WWI tryst between his mother Eva-Rose, who was working as a nurse at a British Forces military camp, and an Australian Soldier, John (Jack) Scott. That story in itself is an interesting read!

Eva-Rose’s father made her put George up for adoption and a then childless couple adopted him before  eventually moving to Australia under the Government Group Settlement Scheme.

He enlisted in World War II with the Australian Army in May 1940 and did initial training at Swanbourne Barracks in Perth before being posted to Rottnest Island to dig trenches.
In late 1941 he headed to Darwin to protect Australia from the Japanese who were steadily heading south. George was listed as a Gunner with the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Battery, aka ‘The Ack-Ack‘ who had the job of shooting at the Japanese planes from giant guns positioned in the ground. Continue reading

Honouring My ANZAC Family

The 25th April is pretty significant in Australia and across the water to our brothers, New Zealand. If you’re not from these parts you may wonder about all this ‘Lest We Forget’ stuff bombarding your social feeds.
Today is ANZAC Day. (Australian & New Zealand Army Corps), ANZAC was initially the name given to any soldier who served under these countries in World War 1, but later encompassed any soldier who fought in any conflict under these nations flags.
The date marks the day that ANZAC forces stormed the beaches of Gallipoli in Turkey, their first major battle in World War 1.
There were over 35,000 ANZACs wounded with over 11,000 of those, killed in action.
Keeping in mind that Australia had only come together as a federation only 14 years earlier, it is said that the country’s true psychological independence and patriotism was achieved through this baptism of fire at Gallipoli.

This post commemorates the Morton brothers; my Great-Grandfather Wilfred and two Great Grand-Uncles. All three enlisted in World War 1, fighting in separate divisions but all in Field Ambulance units. The FA was a highly mobile unit whose role was the rapid collection of the sick and wounded, the rendering of essential first aid treatment to casualties, their preparation and classification for further disposal and completion of documentation. They had no surgical capacity and in many dangerous situations their only main protection was a Red Cross on their arm, donkey or truck.

These are their stories… Continue reading

Just How Much of Me is Scottish/English etc?

It’s one thing to wonder where you got your nose or eyes from and it’s pretty amazing seeing them in 100 year old photos of ancestors, but have you ever wondered where all these body parts originated?
Is my dark hair from the Italian side or is it Black Scotch?
I’ve always wondered where my dark hair and light olive skin came from. At first I thought it was the Italian in me, but my mother has the same colouring’s and from what we knew there was no Mediterranean blood on her side.

With the recent discoveries I can confirm this and have come to the conclusion that it must be Black Scotch, but it made me wonder just how much of me is English, Scottish, Italian etc, so I applied a little bit of maths to figure this out in percentages.

Of course with DNA testing, you can only figure out the exact percentage of DNA inherited by testing each generation, but you can still make a good go of it.
You could also take the sex chromosome route which means males are 50% whatever their direct paternal line is and 50% whatever the direct maternal line is. For females, who only inherit their chromosomes from their mothers, you would be 100% whatever your direct maternal line is. So in that case I’m 100% Polish but my brother is 50% Polish and 50% English (Cornish). Continue reading

Adoption Mystery Solved after 94 Years!

If you’ve been following my previous blog posts, then you’ll know all about my search for my Great Grandfather, so as you may have gathered from the title, I found him!

But for others I’ll recap.
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My Grandfather George was born at the end of World War 1 in 1919, being the result of a short lived romance between an English WAAC nurse, named Eva-Rose,  and an Australian soldier.
His mother desperately wanted to keep him but her family soon after, forced her into signing the adoption papers.

George’s new family immigrated to Australia where they eventually settled in Perth. He went on to marry a local girl and have four children of his own.

Having always known he was adopted, it wasn’t until he was in his 60’s that he decided to try and look for his birth mother.

Fortunately his mother’s name and address at the time of his birth were on his birth certificate and so they wrote to a local newspaper in the town, asking if anyone knew her to contact them.

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Eva-Rose saw the paper and wrote a letter to him and eventually they were reunited the following year when George and his wife flew to England. It was a very happy occasion and George always seemed to have a spring in his step from that moment on.

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George with his Mum and half-sister, 1986

But what of his father? Eva-Rose could only give us a name, ‘Jack Scott’ and said that he was in the Australian Army and came from Melbourne.
*Actually, when the story was relayed to me I was only told that he was from somewhere on the East Coast,  let this be a lesson not to trust the memories of older people! (Seriously, this small piece could have saved me 100’s of hours of research!)

Fast forward years and years of trawling army records and collating information in spreadsheets, when I decided to do a DNA test with 23andme.com as they provided a Relative Finder search. I figured this would be my only hope. Continue reading