Starlight Football Club in Corowa



I am totally going to cheat to fulfil this theme and reproduce one of my longer posts from 2020 about the involvement of my grandfather, Ray (1889-1928) HOUSE as a teenager as a player and administrator of the Starlight Football Club in the NSW town of Corowa.

I am so proud of the initiative Ray demonstrated when he was only in his mid teens. Please read on and I’d love to hear from anyone who can add more detail or images from that time. My email address is .

Starlight Football Club in Corowa

Posted on July 3, 2020 by Geniejen

This is a very short history of a very short lived junior football club in Corowa, NSW between 1905 and 1907 which my grandfather, Ray HOUSE was involved in.

While researching the life of my great grandmother, Pauline SANDMANN HOUSE in Corowa from 1899-1911 (see my earlier blog post Christmas Novelties, such as never before seen in Corowa); I found articles about my grandfather, Ray HOUSE’s involvement in the Starlight Football Club.  I never met him as he died well before I was born and my mother died when I was young so I don’t recall any stories about her father; these treasures from TROVE are greatly appreciated.  The club was obviously a stand alone club and I haven’t found anything yet that indicates it was part of a larger club or association.  I’ve only found articles about the club’s activities from reports in the Corowa Free Press, the Corowa Chronicle and the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express.

I wondered why I only found articles in May and June (and July in 1907) of each of the three years which seemed like a short season but recently found an article dated 25 May 1907[1] recounting a meeting of the Corowa and District Football Association in Howlong which was attended by representatives from Balldale, Howlong, Corowa and Wahgunyah. It reported that the group firstly, considered a motion to have a 3 match season but this was amended to hold a 4 match season in that year. So that explains why the reports were only for 2 or 3 months; I had no idea that seasons were so short in that time.

The first report I found was in the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express on Friday 26 May 1905[2]  which reported on the first match between the Starlights and the Albury Hopetouns.  The report talked about “boys” and not “men” which made me think it was a junior side and that was confirmed when I realised that Ray was only 15 at the time.  They seem to be an enterprising group of young men who had formally organised themselves into a football club. I also noted that a number of the surnames in the Starlight’s team were also listed in adult Corowa teams so either the teenagers were also playing for Corowa or their older brothers, cousins and fathers were. 

The Corowa Starlights eventually beat the Hopetouns 5 goals 2 behinds to 2 goals 1 behind in that first match.  Best players for Corowa were DUNNE, BROOKS, HUTTON, O’LEARY, ROSE and Reay HOUSE (I presume this is my grandfather, Ray HOUSE).  Interestingly for me, the match was umpired by a D. HAIG to the satisfaction of both sides[3] because Ray’s sister, Clarice married David HAIG, a saddler of Albury the next year – I wonder if the umpire was his brother in law to be?

1905 Ray among the best players

There is another mention of the Starlights in the Corowa Free Press Friday 16 June 1905 in the Football Notes[4] when it reported that the team to play a return match with Albury Hopetouns will be drawn from HUTTON (Capt.), GRIMMOND, ROSE, ROLAND, BROOKS, HOUSE, CAMPLIN, NOONAN (2), NUGENT, GALLAGHER, PARRY, FRANKLAND, ROACH, WRIGHT, O’LEARY, MORAN, O’HALLORAN, DUNN, WEBSTER, ROWBOTTOM, JONES, SQUIRES, HOYSTED.

1905 Ray playing for the Starlights v2

A week later, the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express reported that on 23 June 1905, that the Albury Hopetouns were defeated by Corowa Starlight’s at Corowa. The score was Starlights, 6 goals 7 behinds and Hopetouns, 2 goals 3 behinds.[5]

1905 Starlights beat the Hopetouns in Corowa v2

There is a mention of my great grandmother’s shop in the next article I found, this time in the Corowa Chronicle on Saturday 2 June 1906 in their Football column. This was a very long report of a team meeting in “Mrs HOUSE’s Fruit Shop” with 25 members to plan for their next game against the Albury Hopetouns.  The report stated that although they are only young in years, they must be complimented on the orderly manner in which they conducted their meeting.[6]  The paragraph that jumped out at me was this one.

Mr Ray HOUSE presented the members with travelling caps which were in unison with the club’s colours, red and black, the gift being greatly appreciated

He was only 16 at this stage. so I’m really impressed to read that my grandfather showed so much initiative. The club decided to leave Corowa on Sunday morning at 7 am, so players should try and be ready to leave punctually at the appointed time.

1906 June 2nd Ray HOUSE and Starlights Football Club

The following letter to the editor in the Corowa Free Press on the 8th June 1906 was an unusual tongue in cheek comment on the season opening match in the Corowa Starlight’s Football Club and the Albury Hopetouns.

1906 Letter to the Editor re match

On 3rd May 1907, there was a meeting notice in the Corowa Free Press[7] signed by my grandfather as the Honorary Secretary of the club. This notice reminded members that a meeting of the Starlight Football Club will be held on Thursday 2nd May at 7.30pm.

1907 May 3rd Ray puts in a notice re meeting of the Starlight Football clubv2

The Corowa Chronicle carried a report of this meeting on the 4th of May [8]– there were only 13 members present this time and Ray chaired the meeting. He was only 17 going on 18 at this time so I’m really impressed with his organising ability.  Office bearers were elected and the secretary was “instructed to write to the Hopetoun club at Albury to arrange matches between the 2 clubs.  It was decided that the team colours would be red and black (which I understand were and are the Corowa team colours).

1907 May 4th Ray HOUSE Chair of Starlight Football club

On the 18th May, the Corowa Chronicle[9] recorded that there had been a well attended meeting of members of the Starlight Football Club held again at Mrs HOUSE’s fruit shop which was in Sanger St (next to the School of Arts)[10].  The members elected J. GRIMMOND as the Captain and W. DUNN as the Vice captain. The selection group met after the meeting and selected – BROOK, HOYSTED, ROWLAND, GRIMMOND, DUNN, GALLAGHER (2), ROACH (2), O’HALLORAN, MCCORMACK, RIVERS, HOUSE, KILGOUR, NUGENT, CLANCY, BROWN, HUTCHINS, GIBBS, KNEEN, JOHNSON and NOONAN.

1907 May 18th Starlight FC meeting report

Later in the month, the Starlight team were thrashed by Howlong 10 goals 5 behinds to Nil!! [11] Can’t have been a very happy team on the journey home that night.

A few days later, the club met to select a team to play Albury (presumably the Hopetouns)[12].  Selected were WYER, BROOKS, KILGOUR, DUNN, PARRY, NOONAN (2), O’HALLORAN, GALLAGHER (2), ROACH (2), JONES, GRIMMOND, BREWER, HUTCHINGS, SEYMOUR, and HOUSE.  Emergencies : McCORMACK, Hoysted and Rivers.  The Club has engaged Crawford and Co’s drag to convey the team.

1907 May 29 Starlight Football club selected team to play the Hopetouns v2

At the end of May, a team was selected again to play against the Hopetouns at Albury [13] on Monday next (3rd June).  The team comprised GRIMMOND (Capt), DUNN, WYER, BROOKS, PARRY, KILGOUR, HOUSE, O’HALLORAN, NOONAN (2), GALLAGHER (2), ROACH (2), JONES, BREWER, HUTCHINGS, SEYMOUR.  Emergencies were HOYSTED, McCORMACK and RIVERS.  Importantly players were reminded that the drag will leave the Royal Hotel at 7am on Sunday.

1907 May 31 Starlights match against Hopetounv2

The last report I could find in the Corowa papers was dated 13 July 1097[14] when the Starlights played against a team of Howlong juniors in Corowa.  The previous time they played Howlong, they didn’t even score but this time the Corowaites………. were determined to turn the tables on their opponents when they got them on their own ground.  And they did! The final score was Corowa 2 goals 6 behinds, Howlong 2 goals.  Not an overwhelming win but a win nevertheless.  I presume the remark and nickname of the umpire Butcher O’Brien who is quite at home either as an umpire or a player, umpired the game in a masterly way and gave every satisfaction, applied to his trade/business not his playing attitude.

1907 July 13th Report of Starlight FC match against Howlong

I’m so grateful to the National Library of Australia for providing free digital access to many of our newspapers as they give such a great insight into our ancestors’ lives.  This website is called TROVE and available from anywhere in the world.

For information on the current Corowa Rutherglen Football club click on the link.  For history of the Corowa Football check out their Wikpedia entry.

I’d love to hear from anyone with further information and photos of the Starlight Football Club; please contact me at

[1] Corowa Chronicle, 25th May 1907, p5

[2] Albury Banner and Wodonga Express,26 May 1905, p19

[3] ibid

[4] Corowa Free Press, 16 June 1905, p3

[5] Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, 23 June 1905, p19

[6] Corowa Chronicle, 2 June 1906, p5

[7] Corowa Free Press, 3 May 1907, p6

[8] Corowa Chronicle,, 4 May 1907, p5

[9] Corowa Chronicle, 18 May 1907, p5

[10] Corowa Free Press, 23 Jan 1906, p1

[11] Corowa Chronicle, 25 May 1907, p5

[12] Corowa Chronicle, 29th May, 1907, p3

[13] Corowa Free Press, 31 May 1907, p7

[14] Corowa Chronicle, 13 July 1907,p5

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What’s in a name?



I thought it would be fun to look at my RootsMagic database and see how many people shared the same first name and surname. I was actually surprised how many there were, way more than I expected to find. I have only included those with 3 or more the same. I was amazed to find that one, James LENNON name was shared 20 times!

On my Paternal side there were :-

BAMFORD’s from Rocester in Staffordshire, Bollington and Macclesfield in Cheshire and Australia

4 Charles Bamford

4 William Bamford

5 James Bamford

7 John Bamford (including one Johannes – the parish registers were written in Latin in the 1600’s)

HEANEY’s from Manchester, Macclesfield and Canada (and I’m guessing Ireland but I can’t find any proof or any sign of the family before my gg grandparents, John HEANEY and Sarah BARLOW married in Manchester Collegiate Cathedral in 1848)

3 Frederick Heaney

4 Frank/Francis Heaney

7 John Heaney


3 John Penniston

3 Thomas Stonehewer/ Stonier

3 Elijah Worthy

3 William Harrison

On my Maternal side there were :-

HOUSE’s from Drayton in Somerset; four siblings and their families moved to Aust in the 1850’s and lived in many different states

3 Ann House

3 Jane House

4 Charles House

5 Thomas House

5 William House

6 James House

7 Mary House

10 John House

3 Walter Sainsbury (they married into the HOUSE family)

2 Marmaduke Scott ( one of them was my 3x great grandmother, Anne Salway’s grandfather)

4 Henry Scott

3 Maria Schultz (descendants married into the HOUSE family)

2 David Haig (married into the HOUSE family in Corowa, NSW)

LENNON, MAGEE and MASON’s were from Portaferry in Northern Ireland and some moved to Australia and New Zealand

3 Edward Lennon

4 Ann/ Anne/ Annie Lennon

4 Charles Lennon

4 Letitia Lennon

4 Robert Lennon

4 Marianne Lennon

5 Hannah Lennon

5 Richard Lennon

6 Rose Lennon

7 Hugh Lennon

7 Sarah Lennon

8 Henry Lennon

10 John Lennon

11 Thomas Lennon

12 Patrick Lennon

13 Margaret Lennon

14 William Lennon

18 Mary/ Mary Ann Lennon

20 James Lennon

3 James Magee

5 Margaret Magee

3 Hugh Mason

3 Mary Mason

4 William Mason

4 John Mason

5 Thomas Mason

3 Thomas Gilmore (married into the MAGEE family)

3 James Gilmore

3 Henry McGrath

3 John McGrath

3 Elsie Hall (descendant of my Prendergast family from Ardrahan in Co Galway and lived in Melbourne and Sydney)

In Mr GenieJen’s Paternal family I found :-

3 Sarah Gay

4 Ann/ Anne Gay

4 Barnard/ Barnett/ Bernard Gay

4 Betty Gay

5 Walter Gay

5 Richard Gay

5 Thomas Gay

7 Mary/ Mary Anne Gay

8 Eliza/ Elizabeth Gay

8 John Gay

12 George Gay

13 James Gay

3 William Legg

5 William Pitman

In Mr GenieJen’s Maternal family:-

3 George Noble

3 Thomas Noble

3 William Noble

4 Robert Noble

6 John Noble

3 Thomas Machin

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Charles HOUSE



During a TROVE search of the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express a few years ago, I found this wonderfully illuminating letter written by my 3 X great grandfather, Charles (1804-1884) HOUSE. He was obviously very disgruntled about the loss of his position as the Sexton at St Mathew’s Church of England in Albury. It sounds to me that this might have been the only means of support that he and his wife, Ann (nee Salway) had. My grandfather, James (1857-1889) HOUSE was a compositor on the paper at the time and I wonder if he helped his grandfather to write it and get it published.

For further reading, check out the posts I put up about the HOUSE family in the A-Z Blogging Challenge in April 2020.

What delicious clues there are in Charles’ letter,; it’s better than a biography as it is in his words and tells his own story. Obviously, he had a great delight in singing in a church choir as did his father, James (1778-1821) HOUSE, my 4 x great grandfather; something I would never have known about them otherwise. Charles would have only been 17 years when his father died in 1821 but he kept up with his connection to the church in Drayton and in 1830 became Parish Clerk till the family left for Australia in 1855. It was such a thrill some years ago to walk around the graveyard of his church in Somerset.

St Catherine’s in Drayton, Somerset
I have transcribed it to make it easy to read.



SIR,—Having resigned my office as sexton at St. Matthew’s Church, and as the majority of the congregation seems to be ignorant of the causes which led me to take that step, I beg a small space in your columns to place the whole matter before them. It is many years ago when it was my desire and delight, if I could, to be something out of the common in the Church.

In 1816 I was twelve years old. My father being one of the choir in the Church, I was taken in as a member of the choir, being at the time the youngest member; in 1854 I was the oldest in the choir. In 1830 I was chosen clerk in the Church, which office I held until 1854, when we left old England for Australia. In that Church I have acted as clerk under six Alfords, the late Dean of Canterbury being one of the number.

We landed at Sydney, and went six or seven miles up in the bush, where there was a Church of England, I got to be one of the little choir. After a while we left that part, and came to Gundagai. There was no church there then; a schoolhouse was built, which served for a church, and I gave £5 towards the building of it. There I got to be one of the singers.

From Gundagai we came to Wodonga. There we undertook to clean the Courthouse on Saturdays for church on Sundays. The new church was building at the time, and I gave £5 towards it. From Wodonga we came to Albury, and undertook to clean and do the work in the Presbyterian Church, to help get an honest living. After a little time the Rev. Mr. Brownrigg and Mr. Elliott got us to do the work in St. Matthew’s Church; I was to undertake the office of sexton, which office I held for over ten years, resigning on the 30th of June, 1874.

For the first eight years we were treated with kindness and respect, and did our work cheerfully; but since then everything has been quite the reverse. I suppose I am getting too old for some of them, and my room is more desired than my company. That has been the cause of my resignation; but I have known many an old clerk and old sexton at home, in different towns and parishes, that have held the office till their death, with the help of some kind friend to assist them when required, and that friend was generally the person to succeed them. After having the easy part of my work in the Church taken from me, I gave up the whole, but I still acknowledge myself a member of the Church of England. Apologising for occupying so much of your valuable space, I remain, Sir, yours &c., CHARLES HOUSE

Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (NSW : 1871 – 1938), Saturday 18 July 1874, page 9

In 1879, this short article, also in the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express implies that he and Ann had fallen on hard times and 17 pounds was collected to assist them.

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New members of our family

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

#27 Extended Family

Well, somehow I’ve arrived at the half way point of this interesting challenge which I’m very proud of. I realise that I’m a couple of weeks behind but I’ll catch up soon.

As a result of nearly 4 decades of research, I’ve extended our family and in doing so, we have met some wonderful new family who are now friends. My family have enjoyed meeting many of them both here and overseas. What wonderful people they are and our lives are all the richer for knowing them.

I always knew I had first cousins on my father’s BAMFORD side living in Cheshire as they were mentioned often in my grandfather’s letters during my childhood but frankly, I never expected to meet them. Travelling to England in the first several decades of my life was about as possible as flying to the moon.

We didn’t meet any of them till the early 70’s when one uncle and family emigrated to Adelaide. Another 1st cousin visited Australia in the early 2000’s. In 2004, we made our first trip to England and met most of my first cousins and some of Mr GenieJen’s too. We went again in 2015 and one 1st cousin has been to out to stay with us 3 times. Having grown up as the original nuclear family in the 50’s, it’s so nice to have and now know my cousins.

At the time, I was a member of the Family History Society of Cheshire and they kept a list of Member’s Surname Interests up on their website which led to another BAMFORD cousin, this time a 3rd cousin. He was a young keen genealogist completely unknown to me and I received his email with great excitement. We were able to visit his family and now we keep in touch.

Around the same time, I had another contact thru the above mentioned list. This time it was a HEANEY cousin again on my father’s side and from Canada. I had no idea that one of my great grandfather, Peter HEANEY’s sisters, Eliza was sent out to Canada in the 1890’s as a Domestic servant. We have had the great pleasure of having my cousin to stay and meet the family here. We shared an apartment in Belfast and toured Macclesfield together for a few days. We keep in contact via Zoom and email and share our research and our family histories as we write them. A brilliant cousin and so well loved by all of us

In 2015, I wrote to every LENNON and MAGEE person I could find in the UK White Pages who lived in Portaferry where my family emigrated from in 1870. To my joy, a couple of cousins made contact before we left Aust. We then had the very great pleasure of spending a few days in Portaferry with them which is such a beautiful place. They were very generous with their time and even arranged a visit to our ancestors’ original home on the townland they had lived on since 1796. So very special and such a wonderful visit. We remain good friends and keep in contact.

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The GAYs in Uplyme, Bristol, Isle of Wight, Romsey and Stoborough were Coopers



The Gays came to Uplyme in the 1710’s from nearby Whitchurch Canonicorum over the border in Dorset.

A number of them were Coopers which was a very important trade as they provided barrels and buckets for householders, agriculture and business. Prior to the 20th century, pretty much everything was stored or shipped in wooden barrels made by Coopers. The Cooper also made buckets to put outside the back door to catch water for the household.

Wooden buckets and tubs, which are made the same way as barrels but without fitted lids, were at one time used for all kinds of day-to-day tasks, from carrying milk to washing cloths. The fishing industry used barrels for shipping pickled and dried fish. Farmers used them for storing grains, butter and putting up cider. Merchants used them for storing hardware and dried goods of every kind. The whaling industry used barrels to store tools and provisions, and of course whale oil. Wikipedia

Coopers divided their work into three basic categories: “Dry” cooperage – barrels to hold dry goods like nails, tobacco, fruits, and vegetables. “Drytight” cooperage – barrels that kept moisture out of goods like like flour or gun powder; and “liquids of any kind”. Wikipedia

I always like to illustrate my posts and in this case, I found a great video from the Sydney Living Museums in which a cooper demonstrates how he makes a bucket. I’m impressed by the strength, patience and skill needed to produce a bucket or barrel.

The earliest cooper I can prove in our GAY family was John (1795-1869) who was married to Elizabeth (1793-1857) SHINER and living in Uplyme. He was a father of 11 with 7 sons and 4 daughters. In the 1841 census, he lived in Yawl, Uplyme and gave his occupation as a Cooper. Given that he was 46 years by this census, I imagine that he’d been doing it for a long time. At this stage, I’m not aware of any pre 1841 records that will show the occupations of the previous generations of the GAY family. John is our great, great, great grandfather and was listed as a Cooper in the 1841 to 1861 censuses.

1861 Widowed cooper, John GAY living still in Holley Cottage with 2 sons

When I decided to use Coopers as my topic for the theme of Identity, I thought there were a few Coopers in the GAY line but after re checking and extending my research, I’ve found several more.

John’s second son, George (1824-1897) was named as a seaman when he married Hannah MARSHALL in 1848 in Uplyme but from the 1851 census thru to the 1891 census; he stated that his occupation was a Cooper. He and Hannah moved to Bedminster in Bristol on the other side of Devon after their marriage and remained there till their deaths in 1885 and 1897. When Hannah died, her estate was valued at 200 pounds which I would have thought was unusual for a woman at that time to have a reasonable sum of money in her own name. Sadly, the census records only recorded her occupation as home duties or some variation of that title. George remarried in 1886 to his second wife, Elizabeth Bull, still in Bristol before dying in 1897. Interestingly, he left a smaller estate than his wife.

John’s 6th child, James Shiner (1828-1908) GAY was also a Cooper – he also moved north from Uplyme over to Bedminster, part of Bristol in 1851. Somehow, he’s registered in both Yawl and Bristol in that 1851 census so I presume he moved during that year. Both entries list his occupation as being a Cooper and it’s also where he married his wife, Emily Dianne Maltin ASCOTT in 1853.

James Shiner GAY (1890’s)

From the 1851 census thru to the 1891 census, James Shiner GAY was recorded as working as a Cooper but he moved a lot at that stage of his life. By the 1861 census, he was recorded as a Cooper in Tavistock, Devon and by the 1871 census, he was living in Romsey Infra near Southampton and stated he was a Brewer’s Cooper. This job was probably with Strong Brothers in Southampton as he was there in 1881 and because in his youngest son, George’s obituary in 1963, it stated that his father had joined Strong Brothers in 1862.

While, in the 1901 census only 7 years before he died, he stated that he was a Retired Cooper. So like his father, he had a long career as a Cooper.

I assume this obituary is from 1963 when George GAY died This wonderful obit brought back by a family member from England after spending time with Cousin Doris who knew an amazing amount after the GAY family history. I don’t know which paper it came from but it’s just such a mine of information.

The 3rd son to follow his father at least briefly was, Mickle also spelt Michel, Michael Sweetland (1834- ) GAY, ninth child, of John GAY and Elizabeth SHINER who started off his working life as an agricultural labourer in Uplyme as recorded in the 1861 census but in 1871 census he was working in his father’s trade as a Cooper.

Have a read of George Gay’s obituary – it’s a genealogist’s dream find. So many interesting facts, not only about him but his father and brothers, Frank and Sidney.

I’m pretty sure that Pop took this photo at Cousin Doris’ house during his 1991. I was told that it was made by young George (1876-1963) GAY – See his story below

James Shiner GAY’s first child was our great grandfather, James Henry (1859-1938) GAY, whose occupations from the 1881 census to the 1921 census were as a coachman, contractor foreman, house painter, house decorator and foreman painter. So he didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps.

I don’t know the date of this photograph but it’s probably in the 1920’s or 1930’s. Note Pop’s explanation about who the people are and he made this note back in 1990 which is a great help. I do love the explanation of how he decided who was who based on the shape of their shirt collar.

So from the left, our great grandfather, James Henry GAY (as above), our grandfather, Walter ( Pop’s father) and Pop’s Uncle Frank Gay (see below)

Three of James Shiner’s other sons became Coopers; they were Frank (1869- ), Sidney (1874- ) and the youngest of the 7 children, George (1876-1963).

The following photos were obtained from family members during 4 separate trips made to our UK family and we are very fortunate to have them. However, if you are part of our English family and can see a mistake OR you have more information and photos to share; please contact me at I’d love to hear from you.

Frank (1869- ) GAY was listed as a Cooper in the 1891 census and we learn that he was at Strong Brother’s too in Southampton. In 1901 he and the family moved to Lowestoft in Suffolk, so a few counties north of Hampshire and he’s worked as a Brewer’s Cooper. In the 1911 census he’s still there doing the same job.

In the last census available now -1921, he self describes as a Cooper working for E & G Morse, Brewers & Maltsters in Crown St., Lowestoft. They also lived in Crown Street so he didn’t have far to go to work. Interestingly, his son, Christopher was also working there as a Clerk. There wasn’t an English census in 1941 as the government did something similar just before WW2 broke out and called it the 1939 Register which has been available now for a few years. In this one, Frank said he was a General Shopkeeper.

George (1876-1963), Walter (1861- ) and Sidney (1874- )

Sidney (1874- ) Gay, was the second to last son and he also worked as a Cooper. In the 1891 census, he was working in Romsey in Hampshire and in the 1901 census, he was still working as a Cooper but he was now on the Isle of Wight. He must have changed professions during the first decade of the century as by 1911, he was listed as being a self employed Baker and Greengrocer in Stoborough, Dorset. He had married Elizabeth in 1902. In the 1921 census, Sidney and Elizabeth are in business together running a bakery and grocery from their home in Stoborough. In the 1939 Register, he described himself as a Master Grocer.

I love all the notations that have been done on the back of this photograph by Pop and his daughter
Sidney Gay and his wife, Elizabeth with his mother, Emily D.M. ASCOTT GAY and Biss (I don’t know who this is – let me know, if you do). Emily died in 1924 so the photo was taken before that.
George (1876-1963) was the last of James and Emily DM’s children and I love this photo that one of the family brought back to Australia many years ago.

I believe the photo above is of James Shiner GAY and his youngest son, George probably about 1896 when George was 20 years and newly a cooper. His father, James still had another 12 years ahead of him. How proud he looks.

I love this photo; I believe it is the young George Gay, obviously very proud of his trade. I wonder is it is the family letter box? Or is is advertising the cooperage, that George’s obituary mentions the father and sons had in Waller st?

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Who were Johann Frangott SANDMANN’s parents and where was he born?

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

#25 Broken Branch

We have 2 broken branches in our family tree.

The first is not knowing who was the father of my great grandfather, James HOUSE – I wrote about in April 2020 in J is for James HOUSE’s father . Thru DNA matching and the assistance of another researcher, she has concluded which Sydney family the father came from.

The second is not knowing anything about where my great great grandfather, Johann Frangott (c.1826-1860) SANDMANN was born and who his parents were. All I know is that he was presumably married before he left Prussia (as per the Dockenden passenger list and his death certificate) in 1849 with his wife, Maria SCHULTZ who had their first child on the ship to Melbourne and that he fathered 4 more children in Melbourne including my great grandmother, Pauline.

When he died in 1860, his brother in law, Ernst (1835-1914) SCHULTZ was the informant on his death registration and stated that he didn’t know when or where his brother in law was born or who his parents were. To me, it seems an odd thing not to know those details about a man that’s been part of your family for 12 years unless he was an orphan and didn’t know his family background. So it’s difficult to imagine I will ever solve that puzzle. There are 3 My Heritage trees which include him but none have any more information than I have.

1860 Death certificate of my great great grandfather, Johann Frangott SANDMANN

Johann was ridiculously young to die of heart problems at 34 years only 11 years after coming to Melbourne. His 4th child, my great grandmother, Pauline was only 5 years old when her father died. This death started a cascade of early deaths. Pauline lost her own husband, James HOUSE (see above) when he was only 32 and she was pregnant with her fifth child, my grand father, Ray HOUSE. Ray also died young at 39 when my mother was only 10 years old and she died too young at 48. No wonder, I’m very aware of how fragile life can be.

The red teardrop marks the small town of Kalkallo which is 33 km north of the city of Melbourne where Johann died
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Was Bill Poster Uncle Will’s father?

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

#23 Mistake

This post is delayed not because I’ve never made a mistake in 30 years of research but I couldn’t remember enough to write about. I made one spectacular mistake with the family of my grandfather, Ray HOUSE’s sister, Mildred and it was some years before I realised that I had followed the wrong person.

However, after much thought; I remembered the following mistake which I made some decades ago and in retrospective, I thought it was funny so I am sharing it with you.

Back in the early 80’s when the children were young, we spent a few days in Melbourne and were able to look at the Marriage Register for St Brigid’s Catholic church in North Fitzroy which was the parish church for a few generations of my LENNON and PRENDERGAST families.

One of us noted the marriage in 1914 of my great aunt Mary LENNON to Uncle Will HUGO. Decades later when TROVE came online, I found this Approaching Marriages notice in Table Talk, a Melbourne newspaper.

Table Talk, 5 Feb 1914 (TROVE)

It was the transcription that led me astray as it said – Parents – John Hugo/ Bill Poster & Brigid Matthews.

I made the erroneous assumption for several years that Will’s father was John HUGO and that his stepfather was Bill Poster. I had no idea that there was such an occupation as a Bill Poster. Another member of this household just told me that he remembers when a child seeing signs on the fences around building sites saying “No Bill Posters etc”.

This error would not have occurred if I had bought the actual marriage certificate but they were expensive in those days and money was tight. How many times do we read that researchers should go to the original source? Certainly, should have done in this case.

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Most popular name

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

#24 Most Popular Name

Ah, this should be an easy one which is something I need so I can catch up and get back on track. I’m really keen to get to the halfway point at #26.

I’m pretty sure that Mary LENNON is the most popular one in my RootsMagic database although the 13 James GAY’s or the 12 George GAY’s would give that a run for my money.

Our LENNON family were on the townland of Craigaroddan in Portaferry, County Down in Northern Ireland from at least 1796 (as evidenced by the earliest record I have found) but there were other LENNON families on adjacent townlands around the town of Portaferry as well. So far, I haven’t been able to confirm how they are all related, if indeed they are.

There were several Mary LENNON’s born over the centuries in Portaferry.

All the Mary LENNON’s in my RootsMagic database

But what brings the number up is that many of the male LENNON’s in Portaferry and in Australia married a Mary.

All the LENNON men from Portaferry who married a Mary.

William* (1747-1833) LENNON and Mary (1748-1824) were married (unknown date). Mary was born about 1748 in Tara, Portaferry

James ( -1863) LENNON, married Mary (1781-1865) LENNON

Bernard (1797-1881) LENNON married Mary (1800-1872)

Christy (1818-1892) LENNON and Mary (1823-1889) MCWHINNEY were married on 26 Oct 1845 in St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ballyphillip

John LENNON, married Mary EDMONDE in 1862, St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ballyphillip, Portaferry

Henry (1844-1933) LENNON of Craigaroddan married Mary Ann (1854-1933) FALLOONA, 3 Jun 1873, St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ballyphillip,

John (1854-1891) LENNON and Mary Anne (1853-1948) WHELAN OR WHEALEN were married on 9 Apr 1891 in St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ballyphillip, Portaferry

Thomas (1861-1923) LENNON, born Craigaroddan, Portaferry married Bridget Mary (also known as Mary Therese (1855-1942) PRENDERGAST, 4 Jan 1888, St. Brigid’s, North Fitzroy, Victoria

James (1857-1933) LENNON, born Ballynickle, Portaferry married Mary Ann (1861-1931) MASON, 2 Jun 1891, Ballygalget RC Parish, Portaferry,

Richard (1869-1954) LENNON, born Killydressy, Portaferry married (1) Margaret MCKEATING, Feb 1910 and married (2) Mary Ann (1889-1974) CRANGLE, 20 Nov 1913, St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ballyphillip, Portaferry

I’m sure that in the 1860’s, if you were on Shore St in Portaferry and called out “Mary Lennon”; several women would turn around to answer.

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Norman HAUTALA and Marjorie HEANEY

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

#22 Conflict

The theme of Conflict for last week led me to think about family who served in our world wars and I decided to write about someone I hadn’t featured before – Marjorie HEANEY and Norman HAUTALA. My Canadian cousin and I were fascinated to follow their story as her HEANEY grandmother was living in Canada in Marjorie’s later years and as far as she knows, didn’t realise one of her brother’s daughters was living in Michigan.

One of the most unusual birthplaces I have in my database is Finland which I was not expecting to find in my HEANEY family. My first cousin twice removed, Marjorie (also known as Margaret) (1920-1957) HEANEY was born in Manchester in 1920 to one of the brother’s of my great grandfather, Peter (1849-1913) HEANEY. Marjorie was one of 2 children born to Frank and Agnes, Frank’s second wife. He had 11 children with his first wife, Ellen ROGERSON before her death in 1912.

1921 English census showing baby Marjorie living with her parents and some of her half siblings

During WW2, Marjorie must have met US soldier, Norman HAUTALA as they married in mid 1945 in Manchester and she emigrated to the US on a “bride ship” in April 1946 with other war brides.

1946 Marjorie (Margaret) HEANEY HAUTALA on her way to the US to meet up with her husband after WW2

Norman was born in 1914 in Michigan to a Finnish couple, Andrew HAUTALA and Anna KOSKI and was the 7th of their 9 children.

1930 US Census Andrew HAUTALA and Anna KOSKI with their family in Erwin Township in Gogebic County, Michigan

Norman and Marjorie had 3 children, a boy, Andrew Dale and 2 daughters – I won’t put their details online as they may still be alive. Tragically in 1957, the family were on holiday and the parents and son were killed leaving behind the 2 young daughters who appear to have been brought up by family or friends. So sad.

Compared to most of my HEANEY families who are barely mentioned in online family trees, this family is included in 17 family trees on Ancestry, so you can check them out for yourself.

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1960’s School Annuals

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

#21 Yearbook

The topic for this week is YEARBOOKS; in my day, we used the term SCHOOL ANNUALS. Somehow I have managed to hang on to them for several decades. The photos in this post are of very poor quality as I’ve taken them from the annuals.

I attended a Catholic girls’ college for my secondary education. It was staffed only by Mercy nuns who were strong women, university educated and very competent. Not a man insight! I didn’t realise till much later in life what great role models they were. There were only 1 or 2 lay teachers on staff till the last years and there were no secretaries, bursars or grounds people, the Principal was on her own.

As was the custom both at home and out in society, the rules were very strict. We weren’t to talk to boys while we were wearing our school uniform – pretty hard for a teenager. My friend and I got into serious trouble one morning as someone reported back to the principal that we had been talking to boys from another school at the bus stop. I wonder now if the boys’ schools had the reverse of that rule.

Our hair had to be plaited or if loose, had to hang clear of the blazer collar; you’ll notice that in the later years, I was growing my hair but I had to curl it up so it didn’t touch my collar. My parents had always kept my hair short during my primary years so didn’t get the opportunity to grow my hair long till I finished school. At that stage, secondary school was for 5 years although you matriculated (Uni entrance mark) but most students were too young to attend Uni so did the 5th year. Odd situation, I realise now as I look back.

Ist Year High school
2nd Year High school
3rd Year High school
Also 4th Year of High school
4th Year of High school
Last and 5th Year of High school I was appointed as one of the prefects
Captain of St Anne’s

In the last year of school, I was also appointed as one of 5 Sports Captains for Sports Day. This was an unexpected honor as I while I played tennis and basketball, I wasn’t in the top teams and I hadn’t even been in that team for the first 4 years. Here I am wearing our sports uniform which was a lavender box pleated light weight tunic. If you’re wondering why it is so long, the rule was that it had to be one inch from the ground when you were kneeling.

I’ve just realised that all the class and group photos were taken in winter. In summer, we wore a mauve, white and yellow check shirt waister dresser with a very full skirt. Another rule! In summer, we wore a straw hat, the top button of the dress had to be done up (why?) and we wore 60 denier (you’d call them “opaques” now) brown stockings, brown shoes and gloves. Winter changed to the brown box pleated tunic with a shirt and jumper but the blazer had to be worn once we left the school grounds. I guessing that because we were a city school and the students spread out across the city streets to get their bus, train or tram home that we were highly visible and the nuns wanted us to leave a good impression.

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My great grandfather, John PENNISTONE was a Framework Knitter in Bonsall

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


My father’s family has a long history of working with textiles in Macclesfield in Cheshire, in Manchester and in Bonsall and Wirksworth in Derbyshire. They worked with cotton and with silk. They worked in a range of jobs in the home and in the cotton and silk mills where they were spinners, piecers, dyers, knitters, cotton workers, cotton card grinders, reelers and one made it to the position of Overlooker of the Card room. On Census forms and BMD certificates, they were often alos given the generic term “Cotton Operative” or “Cotton Worker” which doesn’t help decide what they actually did in the home or mill.

The Dictionary of Old Occupations is an excellent resource for understanding occupations our ancestors had – so you can look up any of the above. After checking, I can now tell you that an Overlooker is a person working in a textile industry where she or he supervised work in a textile mill.

Map of England showing the counties of Derbyshire and Cheshire

Framework knitters made stockings, smoking caps, scarves, ties, shirts and underwear. Some owned or rented their own machines and worked in their own homes and still others worked with others in workshops. Framework knitters were mainly working in the Midlands of England and in Bonsall where my PENNISTON/PENNINSTONE and WORTHY families worked till the mid 1840’s.

In Bonsall in the 1841 census, there were 140 Framework knitters (8% of the population) including my great great grandfather, John (1814-1873) PENNISTON and his sister, Ann (1820-1844).

1841 John age 25 and his 21 yr old sister, Ann are listed as Framework Knitters while their father is a Cotton Spinner as is 17 year old Eliza. Note there is a John WORTHY age 35 living with the family who is also a Framework Knitter. The maiden name of Hannah, John and Ann’s mother was WORTHY so he must be a relative but I don’t have him in my database yet.

The Framework Knitting Machine was a very complex machine with over 3,500 components and required both hands and feet to operate which sounds exhausting to me, both physically and mentally. In the book, Bonsall at Work by Peter Fellows, he suggested that it took around 6 months to become a proficient user. I note that some of the operations were similar (in a very modified way!) to my knitting machine from the 1970’s and 80’s.

Here is a video of a Framework machine in action. This short film was made by Pudding Bag Productions at the request of Hinckley and District Museum. It explains how the knitting frame works and features Paul Knight of Wigston Framework Knitters’ Museum and Martin Green, a Leicestershire framework knitter.

According to Peter Fellows, the knitters used oil lamps that had a round glass globe filled with water to spread the light to illuminate the machine.

I wonder (without any evidence) if this was a family operation where the father and daughter spun the cotton to provide cotton thread for John and Ann to knit into stockings etc. Sadly, Ann died in 1844 in Bonsall before the family moved across to Bollington; only 2 years in 1842, before her 16 year old brother, William was also buried in Bonsall.

There were great concerns in the 1840’s as evidenced by the fact that the govt held 2 Royal Commissions into the occupation. According to Fellows, in 1840, a government commission advised framework knitters “to flee from the trade and to beware of leading their children into it”. This website from a nearby county, Leicestershire tells the story of the problems in the industry.

Again from Fellows, “A Royal Commission of 1845 concluded that there were too many knitters for the available demand and that the industry could only survive by the reduction in numbers.

My family obviously decided they had to move to a busier town for better work opportunities and moved between the 1841 and 1851 census to Bollington in Cheshire. Bollington is on the other side of the Peak District National Park from Bonsall so quite a difficult trip in those days, I would have thought.

A lot happened to the family after the 1841 census; their son, William died in 1842, daughter, Ann died in 1844 and the only daughter of the 4 daughters to marry married John WRIGHT in Jan 1846, all in Bonsall. So perhaps it was after Jan 1846 that they moved over to Bollington, near Macclesfield.

That fits with my next bit of evidence as my great grandfather, John jnr. is in Bollington near Macclesfield marrying Sarah (1812-1879) DAVIES in 1848. By the 1851 census, John and Sarah are listed in Bollington with my great grandmother, Clara who was nearly a year old. My great great grandparents, John snr and Hannah (1791-1857) were also listed in Bollington with their daughters, Mary (1828-1893) and Amy (1832-1863). Sadly, Amy, their youngest child died in 1863 in Bollington.

I’ve just noticed that not many of the children of this family married so I won’t be finding many matches on my DNA results. From the census and BMD certificates I have obtained over the decades, I can see that John jnr. never worked again as a Framework Knitter but, he worked in the cotton mills probably till his death. In the 1871 census, he’s given his occupation as Cotton Mill Hand and he died only 2 years later.


Bonsall: A village and it’s history 2018, 2nd ed., Bonsall History Project, Bonsall

Fellows, Peter 2000, Bonsall at work, Bonsall History Project, Bonsall

Framework Knitting and other industries of Bonsall: One of six history trails around Bonsall, Bonsall History Project, Bonsall

Knitting Together: The heritage of the East Midlands knitting industry

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In the Kitchen

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

#19 Food and Drink

During my lifetime, I have seen many changes in the food that Australians consume . Growing up our food was very British, i.e. is meat and 3 veg, fish and chips (only bought) and puddings and fruit cake. Desserts were simple – jelly, junket, rice pudding and other types of puddings.

The changes in food offerings are due to the different waves of migration starting with the post WW2 migrants from the UK and Europe. My first clear memory of something different was in the late 60’s when we bought our first pizza, it was so tasty and a great treat, we went onto try lasagne and gnocchi.

That led me to think about what the kitchen looked like in the 50’s and 60’s and I’ve remembered the following items that my mother and I used.

My family used an ice chest in my early years and again in the late 60’s, when our rental house didn’t have a fridge. The ice chest kept food cool but wasn’t able to be used for ice cream, ice blocks or frozen foods – not that they were part of my childhood any way. The ice man delivered a very large block of ice at regular intervals – once or twice a week, I think. The ice went into the top compartment and gradually, the ice melted with the water being caught in a tray underneath which had to be emptied regularly or it overflowed. Our ice chests were always made of polished dark wood and I believe they were lined with lead to aid the cooling process.

An ice chest similar to the ones we used

Toast along with WeetBix or Porridge in Winter were our usual breakfastas a child. We made toast in 2 ways, the most common utilised a toaster which had a central heating element and 2 doors – one on each side. You heated up the toaster and then placed one piece of bread in each door and closed them up. When you thought the toast was done on that side, you opened it up, turned the bread around and toasted the other side. No timed toasting or popping up.

As a treat, perhaps on a weekend in winter when the small wood fire was lit in the lounge, we had a long stainless steel contraption that clamped a piece of bread in it’s claws and you carefully held this over the fire to toast your bread. Yummy! Sadly, I can’t find a picture to show you what it looked like.

Mixing cakes was done manually with a beater – think of a single beater from your mixer with a handle at the top and and you rotated a handle on the side until you got the right consistency in your cake batter. Could be quite tiring too so you’d have a short rest and perhaps continue using the other hand.

Hand beater like the one we used to make cakes

If Mum wanted to mince some meat either to use up the Sunday roast or mince some fresh meat, she would get out the mincer. Yes, we had the traditional Roast on Sunday – mum would put it on before we left for Mass and serve it after our return home. I now wonder if Dad checked on it while we were away. She had this metal mincer that she clamped to the kitchen table and we would feed the meat in at the top and wind the handle to push it through the screw and collect the meat in a bowl. It always needed a good wash afterwards.

Mincer just like the one we owned and used. It was probably made from cast iron.
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Larry and the Warrnambool RSL



For this post, I thought I would write about my father’s involvement with the Warrnambool RSL in the years after WW2. Dad enlisted in Nov 1939 in Brisbane in the RAAF, Marine section and in the early 40’s was posted to Pt Cook in the now outer suburbs of Melbourne. I presume it was out in the country in those days. I don’t know how he and Mum met but I imagine it was probably thru friends or at a dance as dances were the main way for young people to meet.

They married in Melbourne in June 1944 and a few months later, he and 5 other RAAF personnel were sent on a small boat to sail from Melbourne up the East coast ending up 11 months months later in Papua. It was another few months before he was brought back to Melbourne and another few months after that till he was demobbed.

By 1946 or ’47, he had found work at Leahy Electrical in Warrnambool and so Mum and Dad left Melbourne to start their life together. Mum and Dad attended Warrnambool’s Centenary ball in March 1947 so they must have been there a while for them to have decided to attend.

I was born in February 1948 and from my birth certificate, it looks like they were living in a beach shack at that stage. They bought land in Monash Ave, a new estate and built a house at 8 Monash Ave. thru a War Service Loan Judging from my baby photos, we must have moved into a new house on the edge of Warrnambool in late 1948.

Dad was involved with the local RSL till we left for Melbourne in 1956. Surprisingly, I don’t have any memory of going to the War Memorial. However, I do have a booklet produced for the commemoration of the WW2 addition to the War Memorial which was engraved with the names of the Warrnambool men and women who lost their lives in WW2. On the back is a list of the committee and Dad is listed as Secretary.

1954 Envelope addressed to Dad as Secretary

We had the opportunity to attend the Warrnambool RSL’s Dawn service in 2005. The War Memorial is on a hill a couple of streets up from the main street and on the other side, the land drops away sharply into the beautiful lake area.

The exservice men and women must have assembled down in the main street and they marched up the hill and emerged thru the gloom onto the road where the War Memorial was. It was a very special magical experience as I thought that they were doing what my father must have done for the 9 years we were in Warrnambool.

I regard myself as a “joiner” which is something I’ve done since high school days but I don’t know where this involvement comes from. For Dad being an active member of the RSL was not typical of him for the rest of his life as, I don’t recall him joining anything else ever. The only thing I remember is him participating in working bees at my secondary school (there was no such thing as a groundsman or handyman in those days).

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66 hours work a week for apprentice, John Stuart NOBLE

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

#17 Document

John Stuart NOBLE
(There isn’t a date on this photo and I’ve colourised the original image)

John Stewart (1882-1949) NOBLE was Nana’s father and here is a scanned copy of his Apprenticeship Indenture papers from 1896 when he was 14 years and apprenticed as a Lithographic Printer for 6 years in London. The original document which is held by a family member consists of 3 pages and you can see my transcription after the images.

If like me, you’re not familiar with Lithographic Printing, here is a video demo from National Museums Liverpool.

1894 Cover of John’s Indenture
1894 Page 1 of John’s Indenture
1894 Page 2 of John’s Indenture

Here is my transcription of John’s Indenture :-


John Noble of 15 G. Block, Dufferin Street, St Luke’s in the County of Middlesex of his own free will and accord and by and with the consent and approbation of his Father, Thomas Noble testified by his executing ……….. presents Doth put …………. Apprentice to John James Baddeley of Chapel Works, Moor Lane, EC in the City of London to learn the Art, Trade or Business of general lithographic Printing and to be with him after the manner of an Apprentice from the First day of May, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Ninety-Six until the full end and term of Six Years from thence next following, and fully to be complete and ended; during which time the said Apprentice his Master faithfully shall serve, his secrets keep and his lawful commands obey; he shall do no damage to his said Master or his goods nor suffer it to be done by others but shall forthwith give notice to his said Master of the same when necessary, he shall not waste the said Goods, nor lend them unlawfully, nor shall he do any act whereby his said Master may sustain any loss with his own Goods or others during the said term; he shall not buy or sell during his Apprenticeship, nor absent himself from his Master’s service unlawfully but in all things as a faithful Apprentice shall behave himself towards his said Master and others, and shall faithfully keep and conform to all rules and regulations in force in his said Master’s establishment during the said term.

And the said, John James Baddeley his said Apprentice in the Art, Trade or Business of general lithographic Printing by the best means in his power shall teach and instruct or cause to be taught and instructed, and shall pay unto the said Apprentice the sum of Six Shillings per week for the first and Second Years. Eight Shillings per week for the Third Year. Ten Shillings per week for the Fourth Year, Twelve Shilling per week for the Fifth Year and Thirteen Shillings per week for and during the term of the Sixth and Last Year of such service but it is agreed that the aforesaid John James Baddeley shall not be bound to pay such sums if the aforesaid Apprentice absent himself from work from any cause and it is further agreed that the hours of such service on Five days in each week shall be from Eight o’clock in the morning until eight o’clock in the evening, and on Saturdays from Eight o’clock in the Morning until Two o’clock in the afternoon with the usual intervals for meals.

And for the true performance of all and every of the said covenants and agreements the said parties, and themselves by these presents IN WITNESS whereof they have to this Indenture interchangeable set their hands and seals the 4th day of May in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Ninety-Six.


By the within-named

John Noble

John James Baddeley

and Thomas Noble

in the presence of

M. Baddeley

The signatures of the 3 men involved are clearly visible at the end of the Indenture

His Master as written in the Indenture, was John James BADDELEY of Chapel Works in Moor Lane, London and I thought that John was probably a small businessman but thanks to my daughter’s research, I found out he was actually an important man in London at that time and later too, when he became Lord Mayor of London in the early 1920’s. He certainly wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth as he was the eldest of 13 children and started his own apprenticeship at what we now consider an early age.

Here is an 1893 advertisement for Baddeley Brothers from the year before John NOBLE joined the firm as an apprentice.

1888 The Baddeley Brothers building in Moor Lane with around 300 employees

Moor Lane in London where the business was in the 1890’s is still a street today.

I’ve found records online to indicate that John maintained his membership of the Amalgamated Society of Lithographic Printers from at least 1902 thru to 1932.

Useful sites about the Baddeley Brothers businesses

And the business is still going today after 160 years!

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#52 Ancestors

#16 Negatives

I’m always surprised at the deep sense of loss when I receive a certificate that contains sad news for that person’s family. In the olden days, in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s, you had to apply by post for a certificate and then wait for it to arrive. For me, it was all so exciting to see the brown A5 envelope in the letterbox while I waited to see what it’s contents would tell me. Would it add to my knowledge of that person’s family or not?

Here is an example when my great great grandfather, Johann Frangott SANDMANN died at only 34 years of age in Melbourne in 1860 only 11 years after emigrating to Melbourne.

My great great grandparents, Maria Dorothea (1826-1913) SCHULTZ and Johann Frangott (1826-1860) SANDMAN emigrated to Melbourne in Australia in 1849 on the ship, Dockenden with Maria’s parents. So my great great great grandparents, Johann Gottlob (1788-1875) SCHULTZ and Maria (1790-1875) KLUGE and Maria’s younger brother, Gottlieb Ernst (1835-1914).

Maria gave birth to her first child, Herman on board the ship; her 4th child, Pauline (my great great grandmother) was born in Melbourne in 1854. When Pauline was 6 years old, her father died as you can see from the Death certificate above. It must have been such a difficult time for Maria to support her 5 children under 11 years with the youngest only 1 year old. There was no social security in that era.

I found it so sad that Frangott and Maria had come out, presumably with hopes of a better life for their family and then to die at 34 which is so very young. I’m surprised that in Column 5 the informant who looks to me to be Maria’s brother, Ernst who was a teenager on the ship, but by 1860 in his mid 20’s but he didn’t know the names of Johann Frangott’s parents? Maria and Frangott both gave Wellersdorf as their birthplace so they grew up in the same place. I suppose Frangott could have been brought up in an orphanage and didn’t know who his parents were?

Thankfully, Maria had her siblings and her parents nearby, so hopefully they supported her. Maria was naturalized a year later, presumably so she could get land in her own name. Two years after Frangott’s death, she married Johann Friedrich TOPP and produced another four children.

My great grandmother, Pauline had much tragedy to cope with in her life apart from losing her father at a young age. In 1889, she lost her own husband, James (Jim) HOUSE when he was only 32 years and she was pregnant with their 5th child, my grandfather, Ray HOUSE.

By the time, she died herself in 1930, she had buried 3 of her children, Hilda in 1885 at 1 year, Millicent by suicide in 1923 age 42 years and my grandfather, Ray in 1928 at age 38. This run of early deaths continued with my mother’s (Ray and Alma’s only child) death at age 48.

At the same time, I admire her a lot for being a businesswoman in the 1890’s thru to around 1911 in Corowa, NSW. Christmas Novelties, such as have never before been seen in Corowa tells of the time she and her children spent in Corowa.

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Townlands of my LENNON, MAGEE and MASON ancestors in Portaferry in County Down



The spelling of townland and family names is very problematic around Portaferry where our ancestors came from. Most written Townland names were recorded as the writer heard them from the person whose record they were writing up.

I have this wonderful reference book Place-Names of Northern Ireland, Vol. Two, County Down 11, The Ards which is a really well researched book tracing where and when the townland names were used in historical documents. I highly recommend borrowing or buying the appropriate volume for your own research in Northern Ireland.

Our LENNON ANCESTORS were living on the townland of Craigaroddan in Portaferry at least from 1798 (the earliest record I’ve found). See my previous post Q is for Catholic Qualification Rolls as part of my A-Z posts on the LENNON, MAGEE and MASON families in 2021, Have a look at the following page from the book and you can see how many different spellings there have been over the centuries. All this means that when searching records you have to try some of the spellings of the last 3 centuries.

This is how the name is spelled in the 21st century

Envelope given to me on visit to Portaferry by my cousin. It was addressed to one of his uncles in the early 1900’s and I understand that the address is typed in Gaelic. Interesting spelling of Craigaroddan too.

My great great grandmother was Margaret (1837-1880) MAGEE LENNON who brought her 6 children from Portaferry to Melbourne to meet up with her husband, William, her father, James MAGEE and sister, Susan in 1870. When she and William married in Portaferry Catholic church in ………………, there was only one townland recorded as was the usual custom in the Catholic Parish Registers of the time and it was “Derry” which was a townland near Craigaroddan. Knowing that William came from Craigaroddan has led me to assume that Derry was Margaret’s townland. There was a James MAGEE living on Derry according to the 1964 Griffith’s Valuation so I feel happy with that assumption.

My great great great grandmother, Rose (1798-1888) MASON came from the nearby townland of Tara when she married William (1825-1907) LENNON in 1822. And why do we know? Because my Great great great grandfather, William (1788-1867) kindly recorded it in his Catholic missal. You can see his entry in T is for Tara townland.

There is a 15 page bibliography at the back of the book that is the key to understanding the records referred to in the middle column. I’m happy to share that with anyone who wants to email me at

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The GAY’s in Whitchurch Canonicorum and Uplyme

52 Ancestors


The earliest record I have found of our GAY line is from a small village called Whitchurch Canonicorum near the border of the English counties of Dorset and Devon and only 7 miles from Uplyme in Devon where they spent considerable time. See the map of where they moved to over the centuries before emigrating.

We had the opportunity to pass thru this village some years ago now. the roads were edged by high hedges which made driving quite scary as the roads were very narrow.

We briefly visited the church grounds but didn’t find any GAY graves.

Church of St Candida and the Holy Cross in Whitchurch Canonicorum

We stayed at the Talbot Arms in Uplyme which was named for the largest landowner in the area, Sir John Talbot. Presumably, some of our GAY, DARE, SHINER, HORE/HOAR, GAIGE, MARSH and WASH ancestors met their friends here for a drink.

The church of St Peter and Paul was on one side of the valley that Uplyme was in and had a great view across to the hills. Again didn’t find any GAY graves but from the parish registers I know that the family was buried there.

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#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


This is another favourite photo – it shows Nana with her only sister, Florence (known as Florrie) with their husbands in about 1936 in Hayes, London. Why they are sitting in the open window upstairs is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it was the only way to get some sunshine that day – the reflection in the window shows lots of clouds. Or perhaps they lived on the top floor? Any ideas?

1936 I’ve always understood that this is taken at Hayes when Nana was pregnant with Molly. So from left is I presume, Wally DILLY, Auntie Florrie NOBLE DILLY, Pop, Wally GAY and Nana, May NOBLE GAY.
We drove down that street in 2015 and the house is still there.

Pop GAY’s mother, Grace PITMAN was also one of 9 children and 5 of those were sisters. I believe that the following photos of Grace and her sister, Florence were taken in the 1920’s judging by the dropwaisted dresses and short permed hair. Pop often told the story of how upset his father was when his wife had her long hair cut. But could you blame her? Imagine trying to get it dry in London in a small flat? Plus she had 4 daughters who also had to dry their hair. As you can see from photos of Grace around 1910 on the previous post, she had a lot of hair.

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Weddings in our families

52 Ancestors in 52 weeks

#12 Joined Together

I thought the best way for me to deal with this theme was to look for wedding photos from both sides of our family.


The earliest photo I have on my side is my grandmother, Lily HEANEY BAMFORD who married my grandfather, Samuel BAMFORD in 1909 in Macclesfield, England. I don’t know for sure if this is a wedding photo or just an early photo of her. I don’t have a photo of Lily and Sam together at this early stage of their marriage.

1909 Marriage certificate of my grandparents, Sam and Lily.

The witness, Thomas HEANEY was one of Lily’s younger brothers and Gertrude ROWSON was his wife to be.

The earliest BAMFORD marriage I have proof of is the 1832 Marriage of my gg grandparents, James BAMFORD and Jane HARRISON in Macclesfield. I do have transcriptions of BAMFORD marriages going back to Rocester, Staffordshire in the late 1600’s but I don’t have copies yet of the marriage registers to confirm the transcriptions.

The earliest HEANEY marriage I have is in 1848 for the marriage of my great great grandparents, John HEANEY and Sarah BARLOW in the Collegiate Chapel of the Manchester Cathedral; which was the main place to marry for many miles around Manchester till 1850. Despite decades of research by my Canadian cousin and myself, it seems the HEANEY family came to earth from space. They married in 1848, so they and their families should have been found in the 1841 census but we haven’t found them. We can’t find any trace of their fathers or the births of John or Sarah. Their residential addresses are for streets very near the Cathedral but I haven’t found them there in the 1841 census. As usual, I would love to hear from other researchers who may have been more successful than we have been.

This is the 1923 photo of the wedding day of Gladys BAMFORD and her husband, Harry HOWARTH. Gladys was the eldest daughter of Sam’s eldest brother, Alfred and niece to my grandfather, Sam.

Again no proof, but I believe this to be the 1927 wedding of my grandfather, Sam (1888- ) BAMFORD (by now, he had lost 2 wives including my grandmother to illness) and Winifred BROUGH. By the time, this wedding took place, my father, Sam’s eldest son was on his way to Australia and would never see his father again or meet his stepmother. The children in this photo are Sam’s 2nd son and only daughter at this stage, my Auntie Lily.

This photo shows my parents on their wedding day in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne in June 1944. The woman on the left is probably my Nana, Alma LENNON HOUSE and probably the man on the right was my Great Uncle Will HUGO who gave Mum away at the altar. Uncle Will was married to one of Nana’s sisters, Mary. He was also the only man left in the LENNON/HOUSE/HUGO household of 5.

Dad is wearing his RAAF uniform as it was wartime. I understand that the wedding was rushed as they only had short notice that he could have a few days leave before being sent to another part of Australia. In that era, I’ve been told in the early ’90’s by a priest in the cathedral, that as Dad wasn’t a Catholic, they would have been married at one of the side altars as you could only get married in front of the main altar if both people were Catholic. By the time we married in ’69, this was no longer the case. Dad probably had to promise that we would be taken to Mass and educated in Catholic schools which we were.

I was fortunate on one wild and windy night (I kid you not!) in Feb 1990 to meet for the first time, my mother’s bridesmaid, Dorothy GILLESPIE JOHNSON in Nelson, Victoria where she and her husband were managing the caravan park. Somehow, I had located her thru my mother’s best friend, Sr Ursula Slattery who had kept in contact with Dorothy. Mum’s was Dorothy’s bridesmaid and I wrote about the friendship of these 3 women in this earlier post.

The Johnson’s had spent several years in Nauru after the war and by the time they came back to Australia we were in Adelaide and then mum died only 9 years later. Interstate travel was expensive by train or bus and there was no spare cash in our family for holidays. Mum and Dad believed education was a priority.

This is St Brigid’s Catholic Church in North Fitzroy in Melbourne (taken c. 2012)

Many of our LENNON/HOUSE family were baptised and married in this church starting in 1888 when my great grandparents, Thomas LENNON and Mary PRENDERGAST married there. My mother was also baptised there and Nana’s marriage took place there too.

Thomas and Mary had 4 daughters. Ive only found the baptism of my great aunt Elsie LENNON at St Brigid’s on 23 Sept 1894 when Elsie would have been 3, it’s a month after Alma’s birth but her name isn’t in the register. I went quickly thru the registers one day on a visit to Melbourne 10 years ago but I wasn’t made welcome and felt pressured to stay as short a time as possible. So I will have to try another time when Covid allows us to travel again.


Again I don’t have proof but wonder if this is the 1910 photo of Pop’s parents, Grace Nellie PITMAN and Walter GAY? It has the style of a wedding photo of that era.

May and Walt were married in 1935.

May is with her father, John Stewart NOBLE
Love this pre wedding photo! Though why there is a lawn roller in the picture, I don’t know. Wally is pictured here with his father and father in law to be.
From left, John S NOBLE, Walter GAY and the groom, Walter Leonard GAY
Sadly, this is the best photo of May and Wally’s wedding day.

From left, May’s father, unknown bridesmaid (perhaps one of Wally’s 4 sisters), Grace GAY, Wally and May, I suspect that the maid of honour was May’s sister, Florrie NOBLE, then Walter GAY, Florrie MACHIN NOBLE and another unknown bridesmaid.

The little boy at the front was a nephew of Wally’s and son of his sister, Barbara.

I don’t know where Nana’s dress is now but she brought it out to Australia; I remember seeing it in the 1980’s.

I see that the witnesses were both their parents – don’t see that very often

The earliest GAY marriage that I have is from 1688 when John GAY married Judith WASH in Whitchurch Canonicorum in Dorset. John is Pop Gay’s 6 X great grandfather.

The earliest NOBLE certificate I have so far is the 1814 Marriage of Nana’s great grand parents’s Marriage in Bressingham in Norfolk
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Gardening and Flowers

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

#11 Flowers

When I saw this week’s topic, I looked out at the garden and thought it was going to be difficult as very little is in flower, it being summer. However, I looked at the pictures of our garden that I’ve taken over the years and here are some of my favourite photos for you to enjoy. Gardening is another of my passions after genealogy.

In my teens, I remember helping my parents garden in our rental house; I particularly remember the roses across the front, the large Cotoneaster and and even larger Geraldton Wax. I would love to have the last one but I don’t need any more trees. Today, I love to prune and see how I am gradually improving the shapes of my shrubs. The garden is mostly Australian natives but there are also plants such as lavender, rosemary and bulbs in winter.

This is what you see as you arrive at our house. There is a marvellous display of purple and white daisies in September and October. In summer, its green leaves everywhere but does suffer when we have several days of over 40 deg. Thankfully, it bounces back once we get some winter rains. It’s hard to believe that it started from 3 cuttings back in 1986.

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


I was brought up in the Catholic Church and attended Catholic schools in Warrnambool, Chadstone and Sandringham in Melbourne and Henley Beach and Adelaide in S.A.

In the Catholic Church, there are several important events called Sacraments The first one was Baptism and here is a photo of baby me with my parents and Nana HOUSE.

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Women in our family

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

#9 Females

Sadly, we don’t have a lot of pictures of our female Bamford ancestors but enjoy these few.

My grandmother, Lily (1882-1926) HEANEY BAMFORD probably on her wedding day in 1909 and perhaps in her Salvos bonnet
1909 perhaps Here she is again sans bonnet with either her mother or mother in law as they were both alive at this point.

I suspect it’s my great grandmother Clara (1850-1928) PENNISTONE BAMFORD (but I’m only guessing). How exquisite are their dresses? At the time, Lily’s husband was a Silk Dyer which presumably explains the beautiful fabric but someone was also an amazing dressmaker.

Grandfather BAMFORD’s only sister, known as Aunt Ginny

Aunt Ginny was an elusive ancestor to find in the early days; I had a photo of her in the early ’50’s with a cousin and my aunt so I knew she was alive till then. Because she was always referred to as Aunt Ginny, I thought I was looking for a Virginia BAMFORD but I couldn’t find a census, birth or marriage record.

It was only in 2004 when I finally got to visit Macclesfield, my father’s birthplace that I mentioned it to the cousin who was the baby in the early 50’s photo and she rang her mother (also in that photo) and asked her what Aunt Ginny’s names were and down came the phone line, “Sarah Jane”!!! It was truly a red letter day. It all fitted in as in 1891, Sarah Jane was listed with her 4 brothers and at 14 was a Silk Piecer.

Cousins knew her as Aunt Ginny McCormack but I’ve not yet found her marriage but her 1965 Death certificate has her with that surname. I know it is the correct certificate as the informant was my grandfather, her youngest brother, Samuel.

About 1914 Grandmother Lily with my father, Laurence (Larry) and his baby brother
This is a colourised version of the first photo which hangs in one of my cousin’s houses in England.

It is a glorious and large print and was so wonderful to see, it took my breath away when I stepped into the room. I’m told it always hung in grandad’s house even during his 3rd and 4th marriages. This photo doesn’t do it justice, the glass kept reflecting no matter where I stood. Can’t have been easy seeing your predecessor every day.

1927 This was a very small black and white photo that Dad brought to Australia and is a photo of the above coloured photo.

For years, I couldn’t work out what the fan at the top of her dress was till in 2004 I had so much trouble photographing the same picture that I realised it was a reflection of a light fitting in Grandad’s house in Macclesfield.

There was also this photo of his little sister, Lily (named after their mother).

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From First date to Marriage

#52 Ancestors in 52 weeks


We didn’t use the word “courting” in our day, we used the phrase “going out.”

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The GAY family migrates to sunny Australia

52 Ancestors in 52 weeks


The family was what Australian’s described as Ten Pound Poms- that is, they were assisted migrants. After WW2, Australia was keen to increase their population and their were many displaced (refugees) people in Europe who took up the offer to restart their lives in Australia and the country is much richer for that. The adults paid £10 each and paid £5 for each child and we have the receipts. 

Nana’s 1951 Film Star diary recording this momentous year for the family

A few years after WW2 ended and Pop had returned from serving in Egypt, Nana and Pop decided to leave London with the family and start a new life in Australia.  It must have been a terribly hard decision for Nana as she had hardly left London all her life while Pop had the experience of several of the war years in Egypt. Nana was also leaving behind her siblings but not her parents as they had died in the 1940’s. She and her youngest child had survived the bombings, 2 evacuations to the country and rationing during the war.


The only way to migrate from London at that time was by ship and the family travelled out on the Orient Line’s Ranchi with Pop sleeping in the men’s area and Nana with the children in another area. 

From the postcards below which they must have bought on the ship, it looks like it would have been quite a luxurious holiday particularly after the privations and terror of the war.

The first stop for the GAY family in Australia was Fremantle on the 10 March where they went thru Australian customs.

The ship went on to Melbourne and Sydney arriving in Sydney on the 20 March 1951 where they disembarked. The next day, they travelled to the Bathurst Reception and Training Centre in New South Wales.

I haven’t come across any photos that the family took in Bathurst but this one I found online gives you and an idea of the centre

According to Nana’s diary, they transferred from Bathurst to Melbourne where they stayed in 2 suburban hostels. Firstly, one in the suburb of Coburg and 5 days later, they were in the Brooklyn Hostel.

At some stage after arriving in Australia, Pop responded to an advertisement for a job with Ansett Motors in Hamilton, Vic. They were in Hamilton by April 21 as Nana recorded their new and first address in Hamilton in Hamilton on that date.

I found this March 1st 1951 advertisement in “Labor Call” on TROVE recently and presume it was the kind of ad that Pop answered

As most of you know, Hamilton is a very cold, wet place in winter and it must have been very unpleasant for this family for those first winter months as it is obvious from Nana’s diary that they started without furniture. Every fortnight, she recorded what they purchased to furnish their first Australian home.

Mon 23 April – Mattresses, Pillows, Kitchen table and chairs

Fri 27 April – Bed

Fri 4 May – Beds for kids

Fri 8 June – Radio

Sat 23 June – Curtains for kitchen and bedrooms

Fri 6 July – Three piece suite

Fri 27 July – Carpet, Dining Suite, Buffet and Ice chest

Fir 10 Aug – Wood delivered, Electric fire (I wonder what they were using for heating during May, June and July)

I would dearly love to hear from other family members who have other memories of this “landing” which they are happy to share.

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From Dorset to London – the Gay family moves around the south of England. 1679 – 1940’s

52 Ancestors


I love using maps in my blog posts as I feel they are a visual demonstration of where events took place and provide context to you, my readers.

When I saw Amy Johnson Crows’ theme for this week, I immediately thought of highlighting my rough map of the townland, Craigaroddan that my LENNON ancestors farmed in Portaferry for at least a couple of centuries. I used the Griffith’s Valuation list of landowners and tenants to name each section. However, a few days later, I realised that I had already used it in this blog in C is for Craigaroddan .

A few more days of thinking and I decided to make a map showing the movement of our GAY family from the earliest records we have found. It all took place in the south of England and finished in London till our branch migrated to Australia after WW2.

I want to give credit here to my wonderful but late sister in law who started this GAY research (also in the mid ’80’s like me) in the days when you had to write a lot of letters or visit archives, genealogical societies, Mormon family history libraries etc. I didn’t do any GAY research until a few years after her death and have built on her research since. I wish she had lived to see the resources available to genealogists now; it is so different to those early days. Often you waited weeks for certificates to arrive from the UK. I miss her so much as we would always ring each other to share our latest finds; she got my excitement and vice versa.

We started with the knowledge that Pop was born in London and that he’d spent time with relatives in Southampton and on the Isle of Wight. Further research showed us that his grandfather, James Henry (1859-1938) GAY was born in Tavistock in Devon in 1859 (red marker), that his great grandparents, James Shiner (1828-1908) GAY and Emily Diana Maltin (1835-1924) ASCOTT married in Bristol (purple marker) in Somerset.

My first clue was the recording in Uplyme’s Burial register of the burial of a Judith GAY of Whitchurch Canonicorum (green marker) in 1831; this village is only 7 miles from Uplyme.

My research showed that James Shiner GAY was born in 1859 in Uplyme (yellow marker) in Devon (we had the pleasure of staying in the village some years ago). The family goes back a few generations in Uplyme after they came over the border from Dorset.

The next clue was the notation in Uplyme’s Marriage register in 1718 when James (1718-1787?) GAY, Pop’s 5x Great grandfather was baptised that his father, John (-1722) GAY was from Whitchurch Croniconi which I believe to be a misspelling of Whitchurch Canonicorum just over the border in the county of Dorset.

When John GAY and Elizabeth MASON married on the 14 Feb 1715 in Whitchurch Canonicorum, the cleric noted that John was from Whitchurch Canonicorum and that Elizabeth was from “Uplime” (sic). So the fact that Elizabeth was from Uplyme probably explains why they moved to Uplyme and the family stayed there for the next 1 1/2 centuries.

Naturally, I researched and found the Whitchurch Canonicorum Parish registers online at Ancestry and found the marriage of John (- 1722) Gay and Elizabeth MARSH on the 15 Feb 1715. I haven’t been able to find their son’s baptism but found a marriage for another John (1668- ) GAY and Judith ( -1731) WASH in that village whom I assume were his parents as Judith died in Uplyme in 1831 (see above).

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