My 4 x great-grandparents, Joseph and Mary (Haynes) Holborow married on 18 June 1813 in Oldbury on the Hill, Gloucestershire. Six months later in December, their eldest child, Sarah, was baptised. Over the next 20 years, a further seven children were baptised to the couple, ending with Harriet in 1833. (Joseph being the subject of my research puzzle.)
Although having 8 children isn’t surprising for the time, Joseph and Mary managed a half-and-half split between boys and girls (one of the boys being my 3 x great-grandfather, Henry), but also in another way …
Before we start, a little Trigger Warning if anyone needs it regarding infanticide. Oh, and Spoiler alert.
So now I’ve teased you with murder and dead babies. And the lovely Alex Kingston. Maybe I should clarify that. Baby. Singular. Not multiple.
Cain and Abel. Romulus and Remus. Groucho and Zeppo. We all love a story about brothers (this isn’t one of them!). Although, presumably with fewer beatings. This post is about two such
brothers people – Daniel and James Holborow – who both left England and made two very different lives for themselves in Australia.
Warning: long read ahead!
UPDATE: Further evidence (here) has come to light that Daniel and James were not brothers, nor particularly closely related. This is the way of research. You think you have it right, do your checks but … nope – sometimes shit still goes wrong! Whilst James was the son of William Wraxall Holborow and Jane Greenman, Daniel was the son of William Holborow and Jane Day.
John Isaac Holborow: where did you come from?! This post has been a long time coming, and the subject of this post is probably the source behind the whole “Holborow in Australia” idea in the first place! He is certainly one of the earlier Holborows to arrive in Australia, and he and his wife had a number of children between 1845 and 1860 who go on to lead some interesting lives and leave their own legacies.
But his provenance back in the UK remains a mystery …
When you’re researching Australian family, there’s always the spectre of transportation, much like Massachusetts in the late 17th century. Back in 2007 it was reported that up to 22% of living Australians were descended from convicts (over 4 million people). There is also a one in 30 chance for us Brits.
I remember studying the topic of transportation when I was at primary school (er, about 30 years ago), but I thought that I could do with a bit of a refresher course – and its amazing to find what records are out there for individuals, alongside the social and political history that goes along with it.
And spoiler alert: I feel some degree of sympathy for our William …
One of my long-standing genealogical projects is to create a one-name study of the surname Holborow (variously Holbrow, Holborrow, Holb(o)rough and many transcription errors such as Holbron …). My first step in this has been to document every Holborow event documented in Australia. Why Australia? I couldn’t tell you. Because it’s less than the UK and more than the US? Possibly.
I soon found, thanks to Ancestry and the various state archives (special shout out to Libraries Tasmania, but we’ll get there), National Archives of Australia and the brilliant Trove website with its digitisation of newspapers, that there were only a handful of primary progenitors of historic Holborows in Australia. There are a few outliers, a few arrivals who didn’t leave much of a trace, but plenty of stories to tell: we’ve got mayors, we’ve got murder, we’ve got mystery (and, yes, we’ve got a convict…).
But first, we’ve got Wales …