Start at The End

Enjoyed this story?

Share this story on social media:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

I’ve already shared this in the facebook group. I am reposting it to practice using the new website


When Elizabeth Pearce died in Sydney in 1902 she was 87, described as our late beloved mother in writing and in stone and left behind seven of her nine children, most of her 45 grandchildren and a number of great grandchildren. Like many female ancestors, there are more questions than answers about her life.


Why did she stay behind in Bristol in 1858 with the five youngest children when her husband and eldest four emigrated to Australia in search of gold? Was she planning to follow them but then changed plans when her husband died of dysentery just five months after arriving in Australia? She’d lived all her life in Bristol, what prompted her at the age of 54 to move to London by 1871? Did she willingly emigrate to Australia in 1873 or did it take an in person plea & a promise to accompany her on the voyage from her son William to make the decision?


I wonder – did my Dad’s mantra “family is family” stem from her?


I’ve illustrated this story with Elizabeth’s headstone – my first ancestry graveyard visit and my first mystery unlocked by a grave visit – what happened to her daughter Jane. Also the stained glass window erected in the Grenfell C of E church by her sons George & Joseph in memory of their brother, William.

And do others have this problem too – I thought I’d better check my research on Elizabeth as most of it was done five years ago. Now I’ve realised there was a niece in 1871 census who I can find a birth record at the right time & location with Elizabeth’s maiden name – so more confirmation that household is ‘my’ Elizabeth Rich – but a new rabbit hole to follow through!

About the Author - Jenny Hart

I’m a Sydney girl born & bred.
My ancestors arrived in Australia from Scotland, England, Ireland & Wales as early as 1816, mainly around 1840-1860 with my grandmother bringing up the rear as a 7 year old in 1904.
I got seriously hooked into family history in 2015 but clearly had some level of interest as a young child & teenager. I remember doing a social studies project in 4th class and getting some photos made from slides of the house & garden where my Mum & her Mum grew up – beautiful roses in front of the house built in the early 1900’s. This was special too because photos were expensive in 1973! Just recently I found a family tree on a piece of fax paper in my grandfather’s writing which I know was for a book published in 1980. On the bottom written in pencil are additional family member names and a tiny bit of detail – definitely my handwriting.
I have written a blog about about my more recent family history experiences which can be read here
I think what keeps me interested is learning about the circumstances & events that shaped my family before me. I always enjoyed social studies at school.
I keep a fan chart from Family Search on my desk as a quick reference
My names & locations are:
Butchart – Dunnichen Scotland – Erskine & Smith- Brechin
Rich /Pearce – Bristol / Stawell/Grenfell/Sydney
Madden / Givnan – Co Galway, Ireland – 1820
Chilvers / Moule / Knights / Betts – Norfolk
Shellard / Beach – Monmouth – Wales & Forest of Dean
Newman – Bristol
Maguire – London?
Irving / Clark / Lawson – Edinburgh
Dobbie – Clackmannan
Adie/Eadie / Stalker – Fife
Cordeaux/Cordukes – Crambe, Yorkshire
Moore / Field – London – John Moore was Undersheriff of London leading up to his death in 1813. Why can’t a find a will????
Bell – Newry
Barnewall – Dublin
Of all these locations – the only one I have visited is London, so my research needs extra effort to imagine the places. I’ve slowly made my way to many of the places my ancestors lived in in NSW and Victoria which has really helped to build a picture.
I have a lot of facts, certificates, news clippings. My challenge is to turn that into something that the vaguely interested siblings, children, cousins might like to read.
My main tree is on as a public tree. I am on Twitter @JenniferIHart where I follow genealogy & Australian Politics – occasionally replying & even less frequently tweeting and I’m on LinkedIn.
When I’m not doing family history – I’m at work, tennis, walking, doing something with some sort of combination of my husband, kids, Mum, sisters, cousins & friends or doing all those boring things that have to be done.

Enjoyed this post?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Find More Stories by Curious Descendants

Write Your Stories

Want to share your ancestors' stories?

Discover how the Curious Descendants Club can help.

More Stories

Related Posts