A long line of Mothers

This first group are on my father’s side. Sarah Hukgulstone was born in London about 1804. She had a long happy marriage that produced eight children. Her youngest son, a pianoforte maker, was my ancestor. Here he is with his wife Sophia Banham, who was born in Buckinghamshire in 1846. Sophia and Alfred had nine children, including two sons who were keen cyclists. They all immigrated to Australia in 1911, except for the eldest daughter. One of those sons was my grandfather Alfred, who brought his English wife Annie and two young sons with him. Annie, born in Hatton Garden in 1882 had lost her mother to TB before she was two, so she had been reared by her older sisters. Sadly she never did return to England to see them or her father. The youngest of her five sons became my father.

Next, (all the rest are on my mother’s side) is an ancestor I have written a book about, Mary Harris. Mary was born in Bedfordshire in 1829. Her mother died when she was four years old, and her father remarried. When she was only seventeen Mary travelled to Australia as a servant to a Irish couple, and made her life here. Those were the days of convicts, bushrangers and pioneers, so with her three husbands Mary led an exciting and productive life. Her son Thomas was my great-grandfather, pictured here with his large family.

More women ancestors. A brave young woman, Elizabeth Booth from Yorkshire who founded a dynasty here in Australia, where she came with her husband as sponsored immigrant farmers. Amelia Solomon from Cornwall with her husband Robert Rice, and their daughter Polly, another of my great-grandmothers.

My mother descended from the Wren and Mulligan families. You can see this huge family gathering in 1902. People did have a lot of children in those days. Frances Venables was born in Sydney in 1843, daughter of a stonemason who came from England to build the soldiers barracks.  Her daughter Caroline Wren was born in the Central West, where the family were successful pioneers. Caroline also had a large family, including my grandmother Kate Mulligan. And of course Kate had a daughter too, my mother Gillian!

Thanks Jake, for the chance to think about mothers today!

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28 thoughts on “A long line of Mothers

  1. Fantastic that you’ve been able to trace so many of your female ancestors back back back, Christine! A lovely tribute to so many of these settler women who were the backbone of the colony that became a nation. 🙂

    • yes gilly, about three times, and no doubt we will be back again one day … we have been to exeter too … but spent most time in the little seaside villages further south 🙂

  2. It’s fascinating stuff, and so fortunate that you have photos to put faces to names. To commemorate the 40 anniversary of my mother’s death, I researched her side which was interesting as I didn’t know them well & I found Prussian ancestors, and it led me to research the G.O.’s grandmother’s side where I found 3 convicts plus one wife who came out on the early Fleet ships.
    A brilliant way to celebrate Mother’s Day 🙂

    • you do have some interesting ancestors … i tend to feel a little disappointed that we only managed one convict between us (he married Mary Harris when he was older, but died after the fifth child was born, hence the other two husbands) … and that all our ancestors were from the British Isles … one of our sons married someone with Norwegian g’parents and another with a Polish g’father … so perhaps that will help with hybrid vigour! Have you had trouble finding photos of yours?

      • Oh yes, I was excited to find the Prussians, the only variation in my solid English heritage, and a German ancestor on the G.O.’s side to break up the Scottish/English.
        I found a couple via the web, the same way I did the research. It’s unlikely we’d ever be in contact with family members for those sides who would have early photos. I have a lot more work to do… It was nice though to get a taste of what information is available, and when I have more time to devote I plan to join a couple of geneology sites, where no doubt more material including photos are available. We also want to travel to those locations the research shows as signicicant… I believe on Mum’s side the Glen Innes Museum has quite a bit on the family.
        I love family history… anyone’s, and have been enjoying watching the current series of Who Do You Think You Are.

  3. How beautiful to read such a lovely story of strong women! The photos are stunning! I just love your mother’s warm and open expression of joy! This is a very special tribute, Christine!

    • that is a precious photo of my mother … we were holidaying in darwin together, she was so happy about it all … showing us around … looking at war history and so on 🙂

  4. A very special post Christine, and how wonderful to celebrate all these strong women, it’s hard to imagine how tough it must have been moving from small English towns and counties, crossing the world and seeing the complete unknown (to them) and then setting out and building their lives and those of their families. Enjoyed this post very much. Thank you x

  5. HOW SACRED I VIEW HISTORICAL PHOTOS of our FEMININE ANCESTORY. Yours speaks volumes. Don’t you just get lost in their faces and poses. I see you shining through your mother’s eyes and face. Blessings for this post, Christine. Your own camera is the most sacred of objects. Your eyes and heart, the soul of God.

    • i love to look at those women, and realise their courage and tenacity, their sorrows and joys, it helps me understand who i am in this world, i feel their strength 🙂

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