family tree

Joseph & Edith May Holborow

I’m slightly surprised that I haven’t written a post dedicated to my mother’s maternal grandparents here yet. Why am I surprised? Partly because my great-grandmother, Edith, was the oldest person I ever knew as a child. Or at least that I remember knowing.

She also had the most amazing puff of white hair that I’d ever seen.

But who was she, and what about her husband, Joe, who died two years before I was born?

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Holborow in Australia 1: From Wales with Love

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 …

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Eddie Taplin, His First Wife & Her First Husband …

It’s funny what becomes the root cause of a post of mine. Sometimes it’s a new piece of research that solves an old mystery, maybe a new record set becomes available shedding new light on a family – or sometimes it can be something a bit more unexpected.

For example, this one. A few days into the New Year my mum messaged me saying that my father (who has never really been hugely interested in the family history) had asked about Grampy Eddie’s first wife and did I know anything about her. Of course I did, I swiftly replied, and sent her what I knew. Only, it turned out that what I knew wasn’t exactly the truth …

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Of Hicks and Half-Truths

Lately I’ve been going over my old research and either adding to it, solving the odd mystery or just plain correcting mistakes. Some of those mistakes were mine to make, but some were inherited – although the onus is still on me (and all of us) to check the veracity of this borrowed information. One such mistake has been my focus this week, up in the Wiltshire / Gloucestershire borders.

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George Marsh Halliday

A long, long time ago (or at least that’s what it seems like to me) I mentioned in passing one George Marsh Halliday, the (half) brother of my 3 x great-grandfather, Thomas Halliday Hurcombe. I know I’ve talked about Thomas and George’s mother, Ann Adams otherwise Hurcombe formerly Halliday before now (on more than one occasion, I’m sure!), but George has remained a footnote … until now …

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Mr. DNA Brings New Surprises; or My Mother’s DNA Results!

A little over a year ago I shared the results of my Ancestry DNA test and how it laid to rest one of the family legends my mother had grown up with. As time has marched on and Ancestry gathered more and more participants (recently surpassing the 2 million mark), the amount of matches I was able to access grew and grew. The vast majority of these were in America – but without a full view of the American ancestry of each of my parents it wasn’t always possible to gain a sense of which side the matches were. Consequently, when an offer reducing the price of the costs to only £60 each (instead of the standard £80) came online a week or so before my parents were due to spend time back in the UK, I decided to take advantage of the coincidence and hopefully find some clarity on these results.

Despite being posted at the same time, my mother’s saliva sample arrived at the lab and was processed about a week ahead of my father’s … and today I received her results …

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Yorkshire Puddephatts, or The Surname Conundrum

It’s no big surprise that on one side of my mother’s family there’s a surname that I’m more concerned with than any other. That is, my grandmother’s maiden name: Holborow. Part of the reason for this – I’m not going to say obsession – bias is that it’s a pretty rare surname. It’s no Smith, Jones or Taylor. Consequently when I come across another surname that seems … striking in some way it causes my inner onomatologist to sit up and take notice. Therefore when I started working with someone with a distinct last name I was intrigued …

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My DNA Test

About a week ago, the lovely Alex over at Root To Tip blogged about the results of her DNA test performed via Ancestry, and it got me thinking as earlier in the year at the end of last year I also spat in a tube and sent it back to Utah (all via a family member in the States as Ancestry had not yet started testing via the UK), but had never publicised the results. (In case you’re worried I’m going to get all science-y and talk about haplogroups, haplotypes, single nucleotide polymorphism or allele frequencies – I’m not.)

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Generations

Do you ever find a family line that has a mix of occupations – and you wonder how much the behaviour of one generation has affected the subsequent ones? I came across one such line recently.

A cousin of mine (7th cousin once removed but, hey, who’s counting?) recently shared a link to an online digital archive of American newspapers, as part of the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America collection. As I always do when faced with a ‘new’ searchable database, the first name I type in is ‘Holborow’. As its such a unique surname I’m always pretty sure that any results have a link back to my family – and I came across some fantastic articles in this archive.

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More Australian Shenanigans!

In my previous post about Australian migration, I mentioned a lady who had (possibly/probably) married her (possibly/probably) deceased first husband’s (half) uncle. I don’t want to leave you thinking that this kind of thing was present in only one side of my family. Oh no. My father’s side has an interesting tale to tell too …

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