Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The main family lines.

The sensible thing to do would be to choose one or two main lines of the family, and invest all my efforts into researching those. Well, that's not how I've gone about my tree. I follow where it takes me, chasing the paths of least resistance first and working my way around to the more difficult stuff. I'm glad I took this approach because I've learned things along the way that have made the trickier bits come together more easily. However, rather than jump in at the deep end, I thought I'd start here with the four main lines of interest in my family tree.

My two main branches are my parents family lines, Turner and Wilton.

Turner - Yorkshire, England and Victoria, Australia

My father's great grandfather was William Turner. Born around 1813 and originally from Maltby near Rotherham, Yorkshire, he came to Australia in the Army and served in Sydney under Captain Lonsdale. After resigning his commission, reportedly in protest at the harsh sentences given for trivial offences, he settled in the fledgling colony of Melbourne. He opened the first tailors shop in Elizabeth Street, and outside his corner store a large tree grew and a creek flowed by.

William Turner married Margaret Killean and they had 10 children. They were among the earliest European settlers in what is now Melbourne's eastern suburbs, around the foothills of the Dandenongs. Their son Joshua was the first child of European descent to be born at The Basin, Victoria. William Turner is credited with founding Croydon, and has living descendants in the area to this day.

After the death of his first wife, William remarried to Harlettee Louisa Groombridge. She had been born in Tasmania, the daughter of a convict, and at 38 years of age was still 33 years William's junior. Having married approximately twice before, she had up to 10 children though many had died young. William and Harlettee had 3 children: Sydney Groombridge Turner, born 1883, Claribell Victoria Turner, born 1886 and Myrtle Elsie Adelaide Turner, born 1889. William died in 1893.

I am descended from Sydney Groombridge Turner, through his third son, Douglas, who married Jessie Rose Oborne (nee Hanniver)

Wilton - Cornwall, England and Victoria, Australia

Following the death of his first wife, Mary Best Chudleigh, Thomas Wilton emigrated from Cornwall to Australia and in 1851 he married his second wife, Maria Thomas. They had ten children and I am descended from the fourth one, William Thomas Wilton. He married Sarah Ann Constable and had seven children, and once again I am descended from the fourth child, Thomas Percival Wilton. Thomas Percival married Gertrude Frances Battersby. In the early days of their marriage they lived in St Arnaud, Victoria, but later moved to Ouyen up near the border. They had eleven children, and my Grandfather, Ellis George Wilton, was their seventh child.

Thomas Wilton and Maria Thomas were as far back as I'd traced the tree until 2000, when I stumbled across the website of a man named John C. Wilton who had recorded an enormous wealth of information on the Wiltons of Cornwall. In turn, huge portions of his data had come from Robert Wilton, a Canadian who had moved to Cornwall and conducted a one name study on the family. The Wilton family tree originates in the 1470s in Lanreath, where four sons with the surname Wilton are born to a man whose first name is unknown. Calling him "Prima", Robert Wilton charted his descendants over the next 500 plus years as they spread out across the world. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to both John C Wilton and Robert Wilton for the incredible amount of work they did, and for sharing their efforts online.

The other two main lines I'm following now are from Dave's side of the family. His parents' family names are Oxley and Steele.

Oxley - Essex, England

The Oxley tree starts with a family legend. Two Lumley sisters, Margaret and Jane, married two Oxley brothers, William and John. The Oxley boys were the sons of William Oxley and Dorcas Evered who lived in Hornchurch, Essex, but the legend says the Lumley girls were of noble blood. Letters written by Alfred Oxley in the 1880s say that he was told by an elderly aunt of his that Margaret and Jane Lumley were connected to THE Lumley family - that they were, in fact, cousins of the then-present Earl of Scarborough. The seat of the Lumley family was in Yorkshire, but the legend says that Margaret and Jane had taken a liking to the "commoner" Oxley boys and their families sent them to stay with friends in Essex to end their association. Young people in love being young people in love, William and John followed Margaret and Jane, found them and married them. The girls were disinherited, though their father and brother continued to visit them after their marriages.

I would love to prove the truth in this story and I've looked very hard for corroborating evidence, but to date I have had no success. Alfred Oxley provided pages and pages of documentation of the noble Lumley line, but did not include the link that would put Margaret and Jane into that tree. I shall continue to search!

The direct ancestors in Dave's known Oxley line include Tyler, Burge, Holmes, Starling, Mason, Lumley, and Evered in the female lines.

Steele - Donegal, Ireland

The Steeles are an Irish family but William Neville Curtis Steele was in Penang, Malaysia (or Malaya as it was at the time) when he met Iris Violet Lamb. Her family had lived there for a couple of generations - she was descended from David Brown, one of the early European settlers of Malaysia. Neville and Iris were Dave's grandparents. Neville Steele's birthplace was in Donegal, Ireland and he is a direct descendant of the Kilbride, Legge and Quadling families.


Post a Comment