My word what a journey
this has been – it all began several years ago in 1996, when in a vision,
I met a man I knew was my many times,
I was very taken with this
man he was a Boatswain on a ship many many years ago he wore a soft white shirt
and leather apron, smelled of ships and was kindly and calm and knew his place
in the world and I felt very safe with him.
I do not know how he fits
into my family tree but as I had a feeling that he was somewhere back in my
BENNETT line, the line of my father William John BENNETT, I began the search for
him there in 1996.
I began with my Dad’s
father Robert BENNETT and little did I know the merry dance that he was about to
lead me off on.
It seems he was a very
interesting man, he came to New Zealand after the Anglo/Boer war in 1904 and
married my grandmother Mabel Edith Emma TONKS in 1908. The TONKS family were
most important settlers of New Zealand’s capital city Wellington, and hence a
wealthy and influential family.
The marriage had been
forbidden because he would not tell my great grandfather William TONKS anything
about himself, but fortunately Mabel married him anyway tho for her ‘sin’ she
was disowned until just before her fathers death.
Now Robert had said in several of his documents that he was born in Burnley Lancashire UK in 1879 to John BENNETT a Veterinary Surgeon and Lydia BALL but I have never been able to establish this but what I did find out after 3 ˝ years of research was that the family was well settled in South Africa and that John & Lydia had married there in 1864. I found that Robert had been baptized aged 8 weeks in Cape Town and that he was one of 8 children – no one in New Zealand knew that and to my amazement and absolute delight, I have found many living cousins there.
With perseverance my research has now led me to East Anglia researching John BENNETT's line and to Bakewell Derbyshire and Kingston on Hull in Yorkshire researching Lydia BALL's line, both circa early 1700's and late 1600's. That research is here on my home pages for you to view.
There is a strong connection
with Southampton in the BENNETT family - they lived in a home called Southampton
Villa in Cape Town and the area just keeps popping up in a tantalizing way -
staying just out of my understanding.
Now seriously bitten
with the research bug I have followed up on the rest of my family tree I have my
entire TONKS, PINKER and HULLETT trees courtesy of relations and the internet
and my own research of course.
At the moment I am looking at the line of my great great grandmother Emma STREET, wife of Alfred PINKER, Stonemason, died 25/3/1867 aged 38 - cause - Syncope Consumption at Durham House, Hove UK.
Alfred came out to New Zealand as a missionary school teacher and built a school at Maketu just south of Tauranga, the house he built has been removed and placed at the settlers village at Tauranga.
I am doing very well in
the embryonic stages of my GOLDSMITH research, starting to get a picture of a
lowly family living in the East End of London in the 1800’s. My grandfather George GOLDSMITH said “It
was very hard in London”. As I have learned about what it was like in Victorian
London then, I have so much empathy for him – he served as a cabin lad on a ship
and when he came to New Zealand he jumped ship to stay here in this green and
pleasant land. It was always a joke
with him when I was small that if we saw a policeman – granddad would say ‘Quick let’s hide, they are still looking for
However my BENNETT and BALL research continues to be my main focus.
In the last few weeks to my absolute delight, I have been 'found' by my Canadian family. I have searched for the family of my great grandmother Clara Ann Elizabeth DAVIS, but as the only thing I knew about her was that she was born in Canada, I did not have much to go on and then suddenly one email from a DAVIS researcher and it is all unfolding and now I know about a big family in Canada.
Once again I am amazed at the way these people got around the globe.
My Welsh great great grandfather Herbert Bowen DAVIS left Cardiff with his family to live in Birmingham, from there they went to Canada. Herbert then went back to the UK married, then came out to New Zealand to live - I haven't traveled that far in a JET PLANE!!!
Now it seems that Herbert's father Edward, decided to bring the family out to New Zealand to live, so whilst he came out here to get a home ready my gg grandmother Anne DAVIS nee BOYLE took the children - 8 from memory, to Canada to stay with one of her daughters. Anne was then to bring the family to NZ to be reunited with Edward but tragically, shortly after Edward arrived here he was drowned and so Anne stayed in Canada.
Very interesting and exciting stuff.
Sooo - Whilst I still cannot find Grandfer I have traced my BENNETT family to East Anglia and found right back to my gggg grandparents Joseph and Amy BENNETT nee BALDRY in the Clopton, Burgh, Grundisburgh and Otley area circa mid 1700's.
With finding my BALL line in
Kingston on Hull and knowing now that my ggg grandfather William BALL worked on
the docks, I think that that is a very likely place for a Boatswain to have
lived so I feel I am getting closer to finding my beloved Grandfer.
I still have not unraveled the Southampton connection
So - Watch this space.
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