Tag Archives: Oakley

Harman Housekeeping

It’s time to tie up the loose ends with my Harman research before I launch into writing a thesis on the Harmans of Byaduk (1852-1952) for a Diploma in Family Historical Studies.  That’s a daunting thought despite what you may think.  I write often about my family here, especially the Harmans, I have  research gathered over 20 years and I could ramble for 20,000 words about the Harmans if anyone would listen.  Putting the research together into one structured and organised piece is what I find daunting.

So daunted in fact,  I purchased Hazel Edward’s Writing a Non-Boring Family History and revisited a NLA podcast – “How to write history that people want to read” by Professor Ann Curthoys and Professor Ann McGrath.  Not that I’m worried about it being non-boring or uninteresting, I need tips on putting it all together

Structure aside, there are still some unanswered questions about the Harmans that need resolution.  The year the Harmans arrived in Port Fairy from N.S.W. is one question.   Looking for leads,  I contacted the  Port Fairy Historical Society (PFHS) hoping they may have something.  Robyn Bartlett, an archivist at PFHS got back with the news there was a lot of information particularly from a source I had forgotten as a possibility but was not unexpected.  Last week I received a nice thick parcel from the PFHS.  Thank you Robyn,  You provided a wonderful service.

After the dancing died down and I carefully examined the contents of the envelope, I knew If I got nothing else from the information Robyn sent (which I doubt will be true), I have had my Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA) moment.  You know that moment  when a celebrity finds a family member that helps defines them, explains their career path or personality traits.  It is different to the other WDYTYA moment when a celeb. visits the former home of an ancestor and feels some affinity.  I have had that moment too.

My WDYTYA moment came as I read several letters written by my 2nd cousin 3 x removed, Edna Harman, formerly of Wangaratta.  Distant cousin I know, but as I read the letters I could feel her passion for her family’s history and history in general .  It was like reading me.  Edna wrote six letters over a 20 year period from 1963 to the PFHS.  I knew she was an active member and one time research officer of the Wangaratta Historical Society and had also co-written a book,  Wangaratta: old tales and tours (1983) with Judy Bassett.  Edna’s grandfather George Hall Harman left Port Fairy for Byaduk with the other family members, but later returned to Port Fairy where he remained for the rest of his life.  That is how Edna came to have a Port Fairy connection.

LETTERS FROM EDNA

LETTERS FROM EDNA

Edna’s letters contain snippets of some wonderful family stories and as luck would have it, Edna put those stories. and others she had gathered from cousins, into a text book, complete with photos (yes, she used photo corners!).  There are pages and pages of history of the Harmans of Port Fairy and her family in Wangaratta including her father Herbert Harman, a long serving journalist with the Wangaratta Chronicle.  One of Herbert’s poems was in the package, and I had to smile because the subject  was the S.S.Casino.  The steamer was the subject of a recent Trove Tuesday post.  A story of Edna’s grandfather’s visits to Wangaratta resonated with me,  George Harman would take a bunch of boronia for his granddaughter.  That reminded me of my grandmother Mavis Riddiford telling me about grandpa Percy giving her bunches of boronia.

I am eternally grateful to the late Edna Harman, and I am sorry that I never met her.  I know I would have liked her.

I have also been buying a few certificates that I have need to help answer some questions, well at least try.

Reuben Harman died in 1883 at only 44,  less than half the age of most of his siblings.   I wanted to find the cause of his death,  and check his “length of time in the colony” status, to compare with the other family members.  Turns out Reuben died of hydatids, a condition on the increase in the Western District during the 1880s and was probably caught from his dogs or dirty drinking water.  This article from the Horsham Times of  March 16, 1883, warned of the dangers of hydatidis and its spread.  Reuben died weeks later on April 28.

hyd

The Horsham Times. (1883, March 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72872771

The Horsham Times. (1883, March 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72872771

I have also purchased the marriage certificate of Sarah Harman, sister of Reuben.  She married Walter Oakley in  1864 but married again to George Adams in 1885.  When I first wrote about Sarah and Walter I heard from  Brad,  a member of the Oakley family.  As the family story goes,  Walter disappeared while delivering horses to India, part of the active export trade during the later half of the 19th century.  I wanted to know how Walter’s “disappearance” was explained on Sarah’s second marriage certificate.  It said that Walter was “not seen or heard of or from for a period of nine years”.  That would make it around 1876 when he disappeared, leaving Sarah with four children aged six to eleven,

Finally, I  purchased the death certificate  of Charles Frederick Ward, son of Stephen Ward and Isabella Harman and grandson of James Harman.  Isabella died during child-birth and the Harman family raised Charles and from what I can gather, his aunt Henrietta played an integral part.  Charles died in 1928 at Ballarat aged just 42, presumably unmarried and childless.  It always appeared that something tragic had happened to Charles, but I had never found anything in the papers.   Now the story is much clearer.  Charles Ward died in the Ballarat Asylum, later known as the Lakeside Hospital, from “organic disease of the brain” and yes, confirmation he never married or had children.  Of course, this now leads me down the path of inquest and asylum records, but if I am to know the part that Harmans of Byaduk played in the life of Charles, particularly Henrietta, I do need more.

HEADSTONE OF CHARLES WARD AND HIS MOTHER ISABELLA HARMAN

HEADSTONE OF CHARLES WARD AND HIS MOTHER ISABELLA HARMAN

The next steps in my research will be a call to the Macarthur Historical Society,  a visit to the State Library of Victoria for some elusive Byaduk history books, PROV for land records and correspondence with living Harmans.  Just all the things I’ve put off for the past twenty years.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

While I’m here talking about corresponding with living Harmans, it is worth mentioning some of those descendents I’m keen on catching up with.

Descendants of:

Gershom HARMAN (1869-1940) and Elizabeth HILLIARD (1874-1931) of Byaduk

Related Names:

ADDINSALL (Wallacedale)

WHEELER (Branxholme)

Walter GREED (1870-1955) and Jessie HARMAN (1871-1949) of Hamilton

Related Name:

JONES (Mumbannar)

James HANKS (1871-1909) and Ellen May HARMAN (1881-1948) of Horsham

Related Name:

WOODS (Horsham & Kaniva)

Reuben Edward HARMAN (1894-1959) and Elizabeth Evaline HENRY (c1900-1979) of Preston.

Related Names:

KING (Thornbury)

SIMMONS (Mordialloc)

 

 

 

 

 


Trove Tuesday – Advertisements

Having been a media student, I do like to look at advertisements and some of the ads in the old newspapers at Trove are absolute treasures.  I came across this group of advertisements recently in the The Mercury, Hobart from May 21, 1917.  The were all found on Page 7, otherwise dominated by racing news.  Only one, a Havelock tobacco advertisement, was directed at the person in the house most likely to read that section of the paper.

Just as they do today, the advertisement play on the insecurities of consumers.  In these examples they include ‘Am I a good mother/housekeeper?”  and “Am I as attractive/fashionable as I can possibly be?”  Buying the featured products would miraculously take away those insecurities.  Or so the advertisers wanted consumers to believe and still do.

Online shopping was not available in 1917, but the same excitement could be experienced when a mail order parcel arrived in the mail box.  Aimed at the country lady (hence the necessity to ride to the mail box), this advertisement makes the reader feel they could be missing out on something if they did not buy from Andrew Mather & Co, with “thousands of satisfied customers.  Are you one?”

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

My post on Spring Fashion, explained the change of dress length during WW1.  This advertisement heralded a new era in ladies footwear.  No longer could shoes be hidden under a lady’s skirt.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

If it’s good enough for the washerwoman….This Robur advertisement targets both the well-to-do lady of the house and those struggling to make ends meet.  The washerwoman shamed the households that bought “cheap rubbish”” to serve to their staff, and maybe even their guests,  and reassured those on lower incomes that Robur worked out cheaper because it went further and even the finest grades were affordable.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

Buying Edmonds Baking Powder was a must for becoming a better home economist.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

What a great product Lane’s Emulsion must have been.  It cured Mrs Collison’s daughter of asthma!  All it took was six bottles…poor Ella.  Testimonials in advertisements where very common.  In fact, you may find that a relative gave a testimonial.  While researching Sarah Harman’s son, Alfred James Oakley, I found that he had given a testimonial for  Mr Lum the Chinese herbalist from Stawell.  Apparently Mr Lum’s herbal medicines returned Mrs Oakley to full health, something three months under the care of doctors in Melbourne could not do.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

An interesting choice of ads to place side by side.  Both  play on a housewife’s doubts about herself, with the ad on the left suggesting experienced housewives know Rex Lorraine Smoked Sausages are “good and fresh”.  Buy them and you too will be a success.  Just “pop the tin in boiling water”, so convenient and  no greasy pan to wash!  Trouble is they don’t sound very appetising.  If  the smoked sausages in jelly caused an outbreak of pimples, Cuticura was the answer.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

The pimple cream ad. and this one for Russian Hair Restorer, show us that women 100 years ago did care about their appearance.  All that was needed for beautiful hair was a Russian potion.  And what a potion it must have been, supposedly having the power to return grey or faded hair back to a natural colour while stimulating growth.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

So next time your browsing the Trove newspapers, check out the advertisements.   Learning about our ancestor’s  food, entertainment, dress and more can go a long way towards understanding their lives.


It’s My 1st Blogiversary!

Happy 1st Blogiversary Western District Families.  I thought we would never make it, but 84 posts and 12 months later, here we are.

What a fun year it has been.  It really was worth the procrastinating about whether to blog or not to blog.  Over the time I have made some great online friends, met some previously unknown family members and found out so much more about my Western District family.  Western District Families even got a Google+ page!

I hope some of you have also found out something about your Western District family, where they lived and the things they did through posts such as In the News and the Pioneer Christmas series.  Maybe you have found an obituary of an ancestor at Passing of the Pioneers.

I have found that the act of writing out my family history has been so useful for my research. It has helped me sort out what information I have but more importantly, what I don’t have.  Also, lining up the lives and events of siblings, in the case of the Harmans for example, has given me a better understanding of the dynamics of the family (can you tell I was a Social Sciences student?).

So what have been the most popular of the past 84 posts?

1.  The Fastest Ship in the World

2. A Tragic Night – January 24, 1882

3. Histories of  South-West Towns

4. Witness for the Prosecution

5. Only Seven More Sleeps…

Which posts have been my favourite to share?  Well it was hard to narrow them down to just five but here they are:

1 Elizabeth Ann  Jelly

2. All Quiet By the Wannon

3. Halls Gap’s Cherub

4. From Stone Country to High Country

5. A Tragic Night – January 24, 1882

An Honourable Mention must go to  What the Dickens? and the follow up post Another ‘What the Dickens” Moment.  They were both interesting and fun to write.

Over the past year, I have had made contact with Gamble and Jelly cousins and members of the Condon, Adams and Oakley families.

I  also heard from Rosemary of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her great grandparents were married in the original St Stephens Church at Portland.

Plenty is planned for the next 12 months.  I thought I would run out of things to write about. Instead I am finding it difficult to keep up with all the subject ideas I have. There will be more Passing of the Pioneers and later in the year I will look at Christmas in the early part of the 20th century.  Of course, I will have more stories about my family.  I’ve barely touched on some of the stories I had planned when I started the blog as I keep finding more great stories in the meantime.

A big thank you must go to my fellow Australian geneabloggers.  Your support and encouragement have been fantastic and you have all inspired me to keep going.   What I have learnt from each of you has been invaluable.  It  was great to meet some of you at the Unlock the Past Victorian Expo at Geelong last year.  Also to the 29 followers of Western District Families, thank you for following and for your great comments.

I must also make a special mention of my maternal grandmother, Linda Gamble (nee Hadden).  Nana did not get to see my blog.  She passed away six days before I published my first post.  It was Nana that got me to this point.  Her love of  the past and her family inspired me almost 20 years ago to start researching our family tree simply to find out more about them for her.  What a wonderful family she gave me.

Nana & me


Alfred Winslow Harman – Stepping out of the Shadows

Imagine the family tree of the Harmans of Byaduk, with its long branches sweeping far and wide, lush and prosperous.  That is except for one.  Near the top of the tree sits a small, stunted branch, a mere twig.  It is the branch of Alfred Winslow Harman.

To me, Alfred Harman is like a shadowy figure standing at the rear of the imaginary Harman family photo.   I know little of him and there are no living descendants.

Born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1852, Alfred was  a baby when he sailed to Australia with his parents Joseph and Sarah, sister Sarah and brother Walter.  He was too young to remember life in England, the arduous journey and the early settlement of the family.

Alfred was seven years younger than Walter Harman, his immediate older sibling and 22 years younger than oldest brother James.  He probably had more in common with the elder children of his brothers than his brothers themselves.  For example, James Harman’s son Reuben James Harman, my gg grandfather was only two years younger than his Uncle Alfred.

In his 20s, Alfred headed north to the Wimmera.  It was there that he met Alice Jane Miller, daughter of Scots Joseph Bass Miller and Rose Jane Church of Warracknabeal, formerly of South Australia.  Alfred and Alice married in 1878 and their only son was born in 1879 at Murtoa.

Let’s stop right there…

If I keep going on like this, the post will be over in an other paragraph.  All I have to say further is  that Alfred went to Western Australia, suffered a loss, returned home and passed away! There must be more to add to this branch to give it some life.

For the purpose of this post, I decided to search for Alfred again at Trove.  With newly digitised papers added regularly, it is  worth checking back.  This time I directed my search to the surname “Harman” and the places I knew Alfred lived.  Starting with “Harman Murtoa”, as I gathered leads I moved to “Harman Rupanyup” and then “Harman Hopetoun”.  I searched the decades 1870s, 1880s and 1890s.

I then turned my attention to Western Australia where I knew Alfred had lived.  I tried “Harman Gwalia”, “Harman Perth”, “Harman Malcolm Street”, “Harman The Crescent” between the years 1900-1930.

Thanks to a  number of other leads on Alfred and his wife Alice, the story of Alfred Winslow Harman is looking  better.

Let’s pick up the story again in 1878 with Alfred’s marriage to Alice.

Alice Jane Miller was born at Pancharpoo, South Australia in 1859.  The Millers moved to Warracknabeal sometime after 1868.  Alice’s father, Joseph Bass Miller, was an upstanding citizen and the local Justice of the Peace. I have found that while Joseph spelt his name as Miller, some of his children spelt it Millar. In case you are wondering further on in the post.

After Alfred and Alice married in 1878, they soon started their family.  Herbert Winslow Harman was born at Murtoa in 1879.  I am not sure if they were living  there or at Rupanyup as newspaper articles found refer to them at both places.  There is only 16 kilometres between the two towns.

The first newspaper reference I have for the Harmans is from 1883 in a “Horsham Times” report of the Rupanyup and Dunmunkle Society Show.   Alice won Best Ironed Gent’s Shirt and Collar.

Subsequent articles show Alfred had something of a talent for rifle shooting.  Alfred entered many competitions and was a member of the Rupanyup Company of Rangers.  In 1886, he and four team mates secured the coveted Sargood Shield, so prized a banquet was held in their honour.

COMPLIMENTARY BANQUET TO THE WINNERS OF THE SARGOOD SHIELD. (1886, December 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72957471

The team went on to repeat their success in the following two years, as remembered at a dinner at Horsham in 1913.  Samuel Miller, Alice’s brother, also a member of the famous Rupanyup team, was present on the night

The Rifle. (1913, March 7). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73134863

.

In 1890, the team competed at Mount Gambier, hometown of the Miller boys.  It was there they suffered one of their few defeats.

RIFLE MATCH. (1890, August 30). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77491178

By 1897, Alfred Harman was shooting with the Hopetoun club, over 100 kilometres north of Rupanyup.  The Hopetoun Rifle club were more than happy with their new acquisition,

RIFLE SHOOTING. (1897, February 9). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73118794

Alfred and his family could not have stayed at Hopetoun long, as I found him on the 1903  Electoral Roll at Gwalia, Western Australia. Gwalia was a gold mining town situated over 800 kilometres east of Perth and north of Kalgoorlie.  Gold was first mined there in 1897, so the town was in its beginnings when Alfred was there.

Today, Gwalia is described as a ghost town but has been preserved so the town’s history is not lost.  The Gwalia & Hoover House Historic Precinct website has some great photos of some of the buildings in the town

How the Harmans came to be in Western Australia, especially in the middle of nowhere at Gwalia, I can only guess.  Two of Alice’s brothers, Joseph and Josiah Miller also turned up in Western Australia, so there may have been some motivation there.

In both 1903 and 1906 on the Gwalia Electoral Roll, Alfred listed his occupation as agent, however in 1906, he is also on the electoral roll for Midland Junction, Perth (commercial traveller) and Francis Street, Perth (traveller).  Who knows where he and Alice were actually living at the time?  Especially Alice, as she was on the 1903 Electoral Roll at Warracknabeal, the home town of her parents.  Did Alfred go ahead or did Alice just fail to change her details?

When Alfred and Alice went to the West, their son Herbert, who also went along,  was around 20.  After only a few years he was working as the manager of the Canada Cycle and Motor Company at Kalgoorlie.  In November 1904, tragedy struck when Herbert (Bert) was stricken with Typhoid fever.  He passed away in the Perth Hospital on November 20.  Alfred and Alice had lost their only child.

Family Notices. (1904, November 29). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 - 1916), p. 16. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32744043

I noted Warracknabeal was given as the home of Alfred and Alice. As mentioned, Alice’s address was Warracknabeal in 1903, but did Alfred also live there at some time?.

The death of Bert also hit the Miller side of the family hard.

Family Notices. (1904, November 22). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25367642

Joseph Bass Miller Jnr, Alice’s brother was a Health Inspector in Perth. The funeral left his home at The Crescent, Midland Junction.  This is just one of the addresses Alfred is listed at on the 1906 Electoral Roll.

The funeral of Bert was large with many members of the Miller family in attendance.

NEWS AND NOTES. (1904, November 24). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25367801

What interested me in this report was the coffin…”a massive polished jarrah casket, mounted with silver-plated handles and plates”.  Either Alfred’s job as a travelling salesman was doing well or the Miller family chipped in.  Bert himself had done alright for a 25-year-old, with an estate to the value of £212.00.

NEWS AND NOTES. (1905, January 13). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25371654

In 1905, Alice’s mother Rose Church passed away at Warracknabeal and her then 81-year-old father moved to Perth.  He passed away in 1908.

Family Notices. (1908, August 22). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954), p. 31. Retrieved March 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37577065

If I ever wanted to find out where Alfred was living, Electoral Rolls were not going to help.  I use Electoral Rolls a lot and I have never seen anyone with multiple entries like Alfred.  From 1910 to 1916, Alfred is listed at 71 Malcolm Street, West Perth.  That is the only period  where Alfred did not have multiple entries.  In 1910, Alfred was a collector and in 1916 he was a clerk.  In 13 years, he has been an agent, commercial traveller, traveller, an agent again, collector and clerk.

After the 1903 Electoral Roll,  Alice did not show up again until 1916, living at 71 Malcolm Street, West Perth with Alfred. However, from my search at Trove of “Harman Malcolm Street”, I know Alice was at 71 Malcolm Street in 1914.  How?  Thanks to this interesting snippet from The Western Australian.

PERSONAL. (1914, October 7). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28570146

It is a little difficult to read, but what is that about Miss E. Stafford Millar, of Chicago visiting her sister Mrs Harman, of Malcolm Street, Perth?  I checked back on the Miller family tree and Elinor Stafford Millar was the sister of Alice.  But what about Chicago?  Any excuse to get side tracked, I turned to Trove again.  A search on Elinor revealed all.  Who needs Google?

PERSONAL. (1914, September 22). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28568583

In fact, I found so many articles on Elinor, I have decided she deserves her own post in the future.  She was after all born at Mount Gambier, almost Western Victoria!  I found that she was an amazing woman, well-travelled and known in the U.S. as the “Australian Evangelist”

I had seen a photo of Elinor on the family tree of Rachel Boatwright at Ancestry.com.au (one of Rachel’s photos of Alice’s brother William Miller is on  January Passing of the Pioneers). I was taken in by the difference between her photo and those of her siblings.  Now I know she led a very different life at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.   I found another photo of her in the The Advertiser, Adelaide from 1937.

South Australian-Born Woman Evangelist. (1937, December 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36394976

Alfred’s next Electoral Roll appearance was in 1925 at 105 Stirling Street, North Perth.  But wait, he is also listed at Dumbleyung in Western Australia’s wheat belt, a long way from Perth.  At his Perth address he was a clerk, while at Dumbleyung he was retired.  No mention of Alice at either address.  That was because in 1924, she was on the electoral at 593 Burke Road, Camberwell, Victoria!

Further investigation found that this was the address of Alice’s brother Alexander.  She is also listed at 27 Aroona Road,  Elsternwick on the  Electoral Roll from the same year.  I don’t know whose house that was!  I sometimes wish the Electoral Rolls were like a census, listed by household and not surname.  It would make it so much easier to find out who was living with who.

Alice appears on the Electoral Roll again in 1931, this time at 15 Torrington Street, Canterbury. But where was Alfred?  He was listed over at 50 Downshire Road, Elsternwick of course!.  Now why does that address sound familiar?  It just happened to be the address of Alfred’s niece, Susan Oakley, daughter of Alfred’s sister Sarah Harman.  And that is where it all ended for Alfred, at 50 Downshire Road, Elsternwick on March 22, 1933.  He was buried at the Box Hill Cemetery.

Family Notices. (1933, March 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4725647

The link to Susan Oakley, explains why Susan and her husband Robert Cruikshank are mentioned in the family notice.  There was only 13 years difference in age between uncle and niece and Susan was living in the Wimmera, including Rupanyup,  at the same time as Alfred, which may explain their close relationship.  I like to find these links as it gives me some idea of the family dynamic.

So what became of Alice?  According to the Electoral Roll of 1936, she had moved to the house next door at 17 Torrington Street, Canterbury.  She passed away on May 21, 1940 and was buried with Alfred at the Box Hill Cemetery.

Family Notices. (1940, May 23). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12463508

Thanks to Trove and the digitised newspapers, I was able to take the information I had from Electoral Rolls and obituaries to discover so much more about Alfred’s life. I also found a lot more about the Millers/Millars and that helped work out who was where and when.

However, questions still stand, such as exactly where did Alfred and Alice live and what was with all the Electoral Roll entries?  I also want to know what Alfred was selling, especially during his time in Gwalia.  I will keep checking the newspapers.

Alfred’s branch is now looking a little healthier.  It will never grow but I think I can see some blossom now.


Sarah Harman – From Country to City

I knew all about the brothers of Sarah Harman before I knew anything of her other than she travelled to Sydney with her parents Joseph and Sarah Harman aboard the “Queen of England” in 1855.  Finally I decided the time had come to find out more about Sarah.

I quickly discovered she had married George Adams in 1885 and they had one daughter in 1886.  For some time I thought that was Sarah’s story.  It was while searching the Victorian Pioneer Index 1836-1888 using only “Harman” in the “Mother’s name” field,  that I realised there was more to Sarah than I first thought. I have found this method of searching to be very successful over the years and has unearthed many unknown children and marriages of  the females on my tree.

In the index I found children born at Byaduk to Sarah Harman and a Walter Oakley.  I then found the marriage of Sarah to Walter Oakley in 1864.  Suddenly, Sarah had five children and not one and another spouse.  Sarah’s story had become very different.

Sarah Harman was the only daughter of Joseph and Sarah Harman to come to Australia and she was eldest of the children to travel with them.  Sarah was born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1843 and was 12 when she immigrated on the “Queen of England“.

The Harman family arrived in Byaduk around 1863 and by then Sarah would have been 20.  The following year she married Walter Oakley, son of  Henry Oakley and Susan Bullock.  Walter had family links to Port Fairy and Sarah may well have met him during the time the Harmans spent in the town.

The children of Sarah and Walter were:

SUSAN – Born 1865, Byaduk; Marriage Robert Warwick Cruikshank, Birchip 1892; Death 1949, Wangaratta, Victoria

JOSEPH HARMAN – Born 1867, Byaduk;  Marriage Annie Margaret Simpson, 1891; Death 1957,  Blackburn.

HENRY – Born  1868, Yambuk

ALFRED JAMES – Born 1870; Marriage Kathleen Maud Hodgson, 1910; Death 1951,  Stawell.

To this point it would seem that Sarah was going to live life similar to her older brothers, living in Byaduk and raising a family.  However for Sarah there was a turning point.  Sometime between the birth of Alfred in 1870 and 1884, something happened to Walter Oakley.  What, I am not sure.  I have never found a death record.  He just seemed to disappear.

One of the great things about writing a blog, is you get to meet people with similar research interests.  After my post A Small find at the Vic Expo, I heard from Brad who is a Oakley descendant.  He told me of the family story that Walter had disappeared while on a trip delivering live horses to India.  While this a family story, it is not outside the realm of possibility.

Thousands of horses left Australian shores for India during the mid half of the 19th century and naturally there were perils.  This is an incredibly interesting part of our history which led to Australia’s own breed of  horse, the Waler.  The story of live horse export in Victoria is worthy of  its own post at another time.  I like the idea that this is how Walter met is demise, a tragic but romantic end.  Whatever happened, he was gone and Sarah was alone.

Have you found the marriage record of a family member and wondered how on earth did he/she meet that girl/guy?  Sarah’s marriage to George Adams, is one such occasion.  How did Sarah from Byaduk, meet George from Melbourne, 12 years her senior, in the 1880s.  Certainly not online dating!

In the last day or so since I started writing this post, I have added Kerryn Taylor to my circles at Google+.  She is a descendant of  George Adams and Catherine Barry and  told me George’s father Edward was living in Cambridgeshire when the Harmans were still in Melbourn.  The 1851 England Census lists him living at Bassingbourn, just down the road.  Maybe this link to the old country is the reason why George was in Byaduk and in the life of Sarah Harman.

Who was George Adams?  He was born in Essex, England in 1831 and immigrated to Western Australia  around 1852.  He married Irish girl, Catherine Barry in 1853 in Western Australia.  After the birth of one child, they headed east for Melbourne, where a further six children were born.  Two more children were born in Western Australia in 1868 and 1870.

I pick them up next in 1884.  Catherine passed away in Parkville on May 4.  George is listed as a builder and contractor.

Family Notices. (1884, May 14). Illustrated Australian News (Melbourne, Vic. : 1876 - 1889), p. 78. Retrieved January 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63184969

The next record of George is the following year, 1885, with his marriage to Sarah Harman.   Not a lot of time elapsed between the death of Catherine and his remarriage, but that was not that unusual.

One child was born from the marriage of George and Sarah.  Sarah was around 42 at the time of the birth.

SARAH SELINA (“Sadie”) – Born 1886 at Kensington;  Marriage Harold Charles STONE, 1915; Death 1977 at Kew.

While it seems that George and Sarah returned to the city, in 1888, George had a listing at Byaduk in that year’s Victorian Post Office Directory, his occupation listed as builder.   He may have kept his work options open. It may also be why George was in the Byaduk area to start with, to build something.

In 1921, George passed away.  He was  91.  The first family notice to appear was from Sarah and “Sadie”.

Family Notices. (1921, January 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733023

The following day a notice appeared from the children of George’s first marriage to Catherine Barry.

Family Notices. (1921, January 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733152

Then three days later another, more detailed family notice  presumably again from George and Catherine’s children, but unlike the first it gives the instructions to copy to the Hamilton papers as in the first notice from Sarah and “Sadie”

Family Notices. (1921, January 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 11. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733627

Are we beginning to see some tension between Sarah and her step children?

George’s Will gives some sign that his children from his first marriage may not have played a big part in his life during his second marriage.  Firstly, Sarah’s son Joseph Harman Oakley and son-in-law, Harold Stone, husband of “Sadie” were executors of the Will.  Sarah was to receive all the household furniture, ornaments and the like as well as all George’s property in his estate.  Upon Sarah’s death, everything was to be sold and distributed as George had nominated.  Aside from his oldest son Edward who was to receive £75, all of his living children from his first marriage were to receive only £20 each.   On the other hand, “Sadie” was to receive the balance of the estate, which sounded as though it would be quiet a considerable sum.

Sarah passed away 10 years later in 1931.  She was 87.  Or was she?  According to her death notice she was in her 90th year.  Her cemetery record lists her as 89.  Her birth record on the England and Wales, Free BMD Birth Index lists her birth in 1843.  The 1851 census has her at seven and as her birth was registered in the last quarter of 1843, this would mean she was turning eight in the year of her census.  The Assisted Immigrants Index lists her age as 12 in 1855, which again fits.  In A Life Cut Short, I posted an article from September 1929 which has Sarah’s age at 85.  Again, if Sarah’s birthday was in the last quarter, this also fits.  I would assume the information for the article came from her brothers.  With 1843 looking like the correct birth year, Sarah should have been 87 at the time of her death, her 88th year, almost 89th but certainly not 90th.  Poor Sarah, what woman would want two years added to her age!

Family Notices. (1931, July 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 15. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4406027

Both Sarah and George are buried at the Fawkner cemetery.

There is something about Sarah’s story that attracted my attention.  Her address at 5 Brixton Street, Flemington. My first thoughts of Flemington are, of course, of the famous racecourse but having driven through the area several times, it also the historic feel of the suburb that comes to mind.  Also, not far away were the Newmarket Saleyards, the City Abbatoir and the Melbourne Showgrounds.  Racing stables were in back lanes and cattle would be herded through the streets en route to the saleyards.  Sarah would only have to step out onto Brixton street for a reminder of country life, horses being led to the track, cattle mooing, drovers’ dogs barking and the smell, well it was bad.

DUST, FLIES, SMELLS, AND NOISES. (1935, August 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 3. Retrieved February 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11756155

The Australian Electoral Roll (1903-1980) shows George and Sarah living at 5 Brixton Street in Flemington in 1903.  George died in the house and Sarah lived there after his death.  I like that when Sadie married Harold Stone, they moved into 7 Brixton Street next door and some stage Sarah, in her later years, moved in with “Sadie”.  In the same year as Sarah’s death, her son Joseph Oakley is listed at 5 Brixton Street in the Australian Electoral Rolls (1903-1980).

Google Street View, points to the painted terrace with the fence as 5 Brixton street.  I’m always a bit wary of where the place the marker lands. If only I could see the street numbers.  I have not been to the house myself but it is on my “to do” list.  Only a couple of months ago I was only about one kilometre away, but with a grumpy driver and child from a day out in the city, I didn’t think they would have appreciated being dragged off course to look at yet another house.  Also the grumpy driver thinks one day we will be arrested  photographing strangers’ houses.  Back to Street View, if you pan around the street, you will see what I mean about the ambiance of the suburb.

Having read George’s Will, it reveals he did own a number of properties, so he may have owned 7 Brixton street, Sadie’s house, also.  In fact he may have owned the entire terrace.  Being a builder, he may have even built the terrace.  As this extract shows, in 1885 land was being offered for sale in Brixton Street.

UNDER THE HAMMER. (1885, February 20). North Melbourne Advertiser (Vic. : 1873 - 1894), p. 3. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66154356

The Will states that Sarah was to receive “the rents and income which may arise and be derived from my lands and tenements and from all property in my estate…”.  Also if  “she shall so desire to permit her to reside in any of my messauges or tenements”.  Electoral rolls also listed George has having lived by “Independent means”, so he must have lived off the rent of his properties.  Secretly I used to hope that it meant he was an SP bookie, living so close to the track and all!

So ends Sarah Harman’s story.  A woman who looked set for a life like that of her sister in-laws, a farming wife in a small country town, surrounded by her family including her brothers, nieces and nephews.  A twist of fate would see her live 50 years of her life in the growing city of Melbourne, away from her brothers, but I’m sure never far from their hearts and minds.

If anyone is interested in more information on George Adams, I have found a website with a very good story of him at Adams Generations.


A Small Find at the Vic Expo

It has taken me a little longer than expected to report back on the Unlock the Past Victorian Expo.  After two days of great talks with plenty of tips, I’ve been busy applying them to my research, with some success.  Along with two fine days ideal for the garden, I’ve had plenty keeping me occupied.

The Vic Expo was great.  I enjoyed each of the eleven talks I attended over the two days and there was plenty to see amongst the exhibitors.  I did several laps of the exhibiton hall each day and I was still finding new things late on the second day.  A stand that I did not get to until Day two was that of the Birchip Historical Society.

They had several of their own publications available including birth, death and marriage notices from the Birchip “Advertiser”.  I had checked my tree for connections to Birchip and I found that Susan Oakley, granddaughter of Joseph Harman had lived there from the early 1890s to early 1900s.  She married Robert Cruikshank from Birchip in 1892.  As there were several books and I had limited time, I simply chose the top book,  Weddings 1891-1899.  There on page four were the details of the marriage of Susan Oakley to Robert Cruikshank.

It read:

Mr Robert W. Cruikshank to Miss Susan Oakley

The marriage of Mr Robert W. Cruikshank and Miss Susan Oakley was finalized at Bendigo on the 3rd inst., by the Rev. F. Elliott, Presbyterian minister, of Birchip.  The bride looked very pretty in a dress of sea green cashmere and was attended by three bridesmaids, Miss Simpson and Misses Smyth, the former dressed in flowered delaine and the latter (two charming children) dressed in white muslin with pale blue sashes.  Mr Henry Oakley acted as best man on the occasion.  Mr Joseph Oakley, brother of the bride, and Mrs Oakley, had prepared a sumptuous wedding feast at which the usual toasts were honoured and much indulgement enjoyed.  The bride and groom left by the next mornings train amid showers of rice and good wishes from their friends, to enjoy their honeymoon around Hamilton, Port Fairy and the metropolis.  (Weddings 1891-1899, Birchip Historical Society, p4.)

And so began a marriage of over 50 years and 11 children. I would love to see a photo of Susan’s sea green cashmere dress.  The bridesmaids too would have looked lovely in their flowered delaine dresses.  Looking through the other marriage notices in the book shows that cashmere, delaine (a light wool fabric) and muslin were popular fabrics of the time. Nun’s veil, which was not used for Susan’s dresses, was another fabric mentioned in many of the marriage notices

Joseph Oakley, Susan’s brother was in charge of the wedding breakfast along with Mrs Oakley who I would assume was Joseph’s wife Annie Simpson.  By the time of the wedding, Susan’s mother Sarah Harman was known as Mrs Adams, the name of her second husband George.  Her first husband and Susan’s father,  Walter Oakley, had presumably died around 10 years earlier.

While Joseph is acknowledged as the brother of Susan, best man Henry Oakley is not.  Susan had a brother Henry and beyond his birth record of 1869, I have not found another thing.  Could this be brother Henry?  Susan’s grandfather was also Henry Oakley and was alive at the time of the wedding but hardly would have been a 75 year old best man.

The couple’s honeymoon no doubt included visits to Harman and Oakley cousins in Port Fairy, cousins around Hamilton, and Susan’s mother in the metropolis.  Flemington to be precise.

This was a totally unexpected find which demonstrates the value of publications by historical and family history societies.  I have found so much information because dedicated volunteers have indexed the likes of the “Hamilton Spectator” BDMs or have recorded historic buildings in a town for example or in this case the indexing of the Birchip “Advertiser” marriages.

It was fantastic that the Birchip Historical Society made the long trip to Geelong and I am sure many people went away a greater awareness of the town and its history.  If you are interested in the work of the Birchip Historical Society, the ACMI website has a video of the museum and the wonderful people preserving history in the town.


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