The Queen’s Gambit by Jessie Mihalik The Queen’s Advantage by Jessie Mihalik Cinder by Marissa Meyer Murder Comes to Call by Jessica Ellicott Animal Farm by George Orwell Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie The Burning God by R.F. Kuang Renegades by Marissa Meyer A Priceless Wedding by Sara Cotner To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee The Queen’s Gambit by Jessie Mihalik Scarlet by Marissa Meyer A Shiver of Light by Laurell K. Hamilton Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone Last First Snow by Max Gladstone Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi
Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone Cress by Melissa Meyer The Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone Winter by Marissa Meyer A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene 1001 Wedding Ideas by Tricia Spencer The Queen’s Triumph by Jessie Mihalik Grimspace by Ann Aguirre A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguirre Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre Killbox by Ann Aguirre The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix The Midnight Library by Matt Haig Aftermath by Ann Aguirre Endgame by Ann Aguirre Archenemies by Marissa Meyer Stars Above by Marissa Meyer Middlegame by Seanan McGuire An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig Graceling by Kristin Cashore Supernova by Marissa Meyer Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie
Somehow, I managed to finish 99 books in this quarter, bringing my total for the year to 268! A few of them were even audiobooks – I had eye surgery on December 14th and couldn’t manage to read, so audiobooks were the next best option. I picked books that I’d already read before, so that it wasn’t a big deal if I zoned out here & there. Even at 1.5 speed, narrators can’t read as fast as my brain does, and it often becomes unintelligible at a greater speed than that. So as you can imagine, I’m not usually an audiobook fan.
As for genres, I still leaned heavily into fiction, particularly escapist sci-fi/fantasy/speculative types. In the Year of COVID, real life holds little appeal. I did squeeze in some thrillers, however, particularly by marathoning some Patricia Cornwell while visiting my mum. I used to love the Scarpetta series… but this re-read did not endear me. I felt very strongly the generational gap between the character of Kay Scarpetta/the writer Patricia Cornwell and myself.
I found a romance writer that I enjoy – Jessie Mihalik. Her books are sci-fi romances, and they felt real & engaging. I also finally purchased four of Ben Aaronovitch’s “Peter Grant” series that begins with Rivers of London, and loved them. I finished the year with a cute cozy murder mystery series by Jessica Ellicott set in an English village in the 1920s & it had a strong Agatha Christie vibe (in a good way). All things considered, I’m pretty happy with my diversity and depth of reading, and have enjoyed getting out of my head (in a legal & safe way!) via escapist fiction.
Midnight’s Twins by Holly Race The Butcher Shop by Jean Devanny Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley The Siren Depths by Martha Wells The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells Killing Gravity by Corey J. White The Last Family in England by Matt Haig Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman Honor Lost by Rachel Caine Network Effect by Martha Wells The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel A Pale Light in the Black by K. B. Wagers The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker Void Black Shadow by Corey J. White Static Ruin by Corey J. White The Turn of the Screw by Henry James I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett Zodiac by Romina Russell The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts The Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport Tracing Your London Ancestors by Jonathan Oates Middlesex Murders by Linda Stratmann London: A Travel Guide Through Time by Matthew Green Compete by Vera Nazarian Piranesi by Susanna Clarke Priestess by Julie Parker The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang 2010 by Arthur C. Clarke Wandering Star by Romina Russell Black Moon by Romina Russell Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell Letters From Berlin by Tania Blanchard
Umbrella Academy Vol. 2 by Gerard Way Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell From Potter’s Field by Patricia Cornwell Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell She Has Her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell Reverie by Ryan La Sala The Harbours of the Sun by Martha Wells Coraline by Neil Gaiman The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay The Wandering Fire by Guy Gavriel Kay The Darkest Road by Guy Gavriel Kay Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay The Boundless by Peter Newman Win by Vera Nazarian Survive by Vera Nazarian The Coroner by M. R. Hall The Tally Stick by Carl Nixon The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White The Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce The Celtic Goddess by Trevor Greenfield A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton Seduced by Moonlight by Laurell K. Hamilton A Stroke of Midnight by Laurell K. Hamilton Mistral’s Kiss by Laurell K. Hamilton
The Shadow Effect by Deepak Chopra Shakti Rising by Kavitha M. Chinnaiyan Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint Under My Hat by Jonathan Strahan Locke & Key: Small World by Joe Hill Locke & Key: Heaven & Earth by Joe Hill Locke & Key: Dog Days by Joe Hill The Spinoff Book by Toby Manhire The Hollow Ones by Guillermo Del Toro Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton Swallowing Darkness by Laurell K. Hamilton Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab Greenwitch by Susan Cooper Soul Music by Terry Pratchett The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch A Country House Christmas by Phyllis Elinor Sandeman Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik Divine Misdemeanors by Laurell K. Hamilton Murder in an English Village by Jessica Ellicott Murder Flies the Coop by Jessica Ellicott Murder Cuts the Mustard by Jessica Ellicott
99 in total for the quarter; 268 in total for the year!
Oh, Edward. You may be my 4x great-grandfather, but right now you’re mostly a pain in the backside. Why can’t I find you or your family on the 1841 census? Why can’t I find them on the 1851 census after your death & before their migration to NZ? Where did you come from?
Here’s what I have:
Birth When: ~1794 Source: Civil Death Registration, Christ Church, MDX, ENG; London, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials 1813-2003
Marriage Spouse: Rebecca MYALL When: 10 May 1829 Where: St. Pancras Camden, Middlesex, England Witnesses: Ann Myall, William Myall Notes: Surname transcribed variously as Tansley / Tonsley / Jonsley Source: England, Pallot’s Marriage Index 1780-1937; London, England, Church of England Marriages & Banns 1754-1932, England Marriages 1538-1973
Children Daughter: Rebecca Mary Baptized: 12 Jun 1836, St. John’s, Paddington, MDX, ENG Abode: Windsor Cottage, Paddington Father’s Occupation: Carpenter Source: London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms 1813-1917
Son: Henry Edward Born: 23 Nov 1844, St Marylebone Christ Church, MDX, ENG Baptized: 29 Dec 1844, St. John’s, Paddington, MDX, ENG Abode: 22 Milton Street, Dorset Square Father’s Occupation: Carpenter Source: Birth Certificate; London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms 1813-1917
Son: Frederick John Born: 5 Jan 1850, St George Hanover Square Belgrave, MDX, ENG Baptized: 27 Jan 1850, St Michael’s, Pimlico, MDX, ENG Abode: 32 Eccleston Place Father’s Occupation: Carpenter Notes: Father is deceased by time of birth. Source: Birth Certificate; Westminster, London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms 1813-1919
Death When: 22 Jun 1849 Where: 4 Hill Street, Dorset Square, St Marylebone Christ Church, MDX, ENG Age: 55 years Occupation: Porter C.O.D.: Injuries to his Body caused by falling off a Van Informant: T. Wakley, Coroner for Middlesex, 1 Bedford Street, Strand When Registered: 26 Jul 1849 Notes: Surname spelled Tennley Source: Civil Death Registration, St Marylebone Christ Church, MDX, ENG
Burial When: 27 Jun 1849 Where: All Souls’ Cemetery, Kensal Green, MDX, ENG Abode: 4 Hill Street, Dorset Square, St. Marylebone Age: 55 Source: London, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials 1813-2003
Alternative Surname Spellings Tonsley (e.g. Pallot’s Marriage Index record) Jonsley (e.g. Pallot’s Marriage Index record) Tinsley Tensley Tausley (e.g. Frederick John’s birth cert) Tandley Tennley (e.g. Edward’s death cert) Vansley (e.g. transcription of Henry Thomas Tansley in 1851 census)
Hill Street, St. Marylebone 1. Edward’s final address is listed as 4 Hill Street, St. Marylebone. 2. Edward’s daughter Rebecca married Benjamin David HIBBARD in 1856 at the Trinity Church in St. Marylebone. In the 1841 & 1851 Censuses, Benjamin Hibbard was living with his family at 20 Hill Street, St. Marylebone. So possibly, at some point the Tansleys & the Hibbards were neighbours, and that’s how Ben & Rebecca met. 3. In the 1851 Census, 4 Hill Street is occupied by a Henry Thomas TANSLEY, his wife Harriet & their four sons; William Henry, Samuel George, Richard & Thomas. Could Henry Thomas Tansley be related to Edward? If so, I don’t know how.
Henry Thomas TANSLEY Born: 1811, Walworth, Surrey, ENG. Baptized: 7 Jul 1811, St Mary Newington, Southwark, SRY, ENG. Parents: Joseph & Hannah (BATES) TANSLEY Sibling: Hannah Rebecca (1806-1812) Married: 1838, St Albans, HRT, ENG to Harriet ROE Died: 1864, Kensington, LDN, ENG Notes: Henry’s parents were married in 1804, and I cannot find a baptismal record for any other children.
I have a few books to recommend this quarter: Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, which was recommended to me by my brother & a very enjoyable read; The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold, a thoroughly researched and well written refutation of the idea that all of the Ripper’s victims were prostitutes; Recursion by Blake Crouch, scifi at it’s best; The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, blurring the lines between poetry & prose in an absolutely beautiful, dreamy way; and The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are by Libby Copeland for a look at some of the realities of taking a DNA test.
I also finally read something by Piers Anthony – the first Xanth novel. Anthony was a prolific scifi/fantasy writer & often features on recommended lists… but he won’t be appearing on mine. Hard pass! Sexist AF, and super creepy to boot. After finishing the book, I googled him and turns out he has published some truly horrific stuff, basically pedophilia. So, um, yeah. No thanks. And the Xanth novels are supposed to be funny fantasy, but they really aren’t. Give your kids/teens something by Terry Pratchett instead, please.
Diggers, Hatters & Whores by Stevan Eldred-Grigg Saint Odd by Dean Koontz Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox All Systems Red by Martha Wells Artificial Condition by Martha Wells Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells Exit Strategy by Martha Wells A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin The Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert How to Be an Antiracist by Ibran X. Kendi The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo Tracing Your Canal Ancestors by Sue Wilkes Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy ed. by Marie Hodgkinson The Deathless by Peter Newman The Radleys by Matt Haig The Five by Hallie Rubenhold Is 5 by e.e. cummings Recursion by Blake Crouch Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi The Black God’s Drums by P. Djeli Clark The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern Oats in the North, Wheat from the South by Rgula Ysewijn Qualify by Vera Nazarian Untamed by Glennon Doyle Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab Paging the Dead by Brynn Bonner Dead in a Flash by Brynn Bonner Picture Them Dead by Brynn Bonner Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows When She Reigns by Jodi Meadows
The Ruthless by Peter Newman All His Pretty Girls by Charly Cox The Asylum by Nathan Dylan Goodwin What Lies Beneath by Elspeth Sandys Three Women by Lisa Taddeo You Are Destined to Be Together Forever by Dean Koontz The Dutch House by Ann Patchett The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre Honor Bound by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre The Disasters by M. K. England A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke Meet Me in the Future by Kameron Hurley Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce Umbrella Academy Vol. 1 by Gerard Way Stop Surviving Start Fighting by Jazz Thornton The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte Who Do You Think You Are? Encyclopedia of Genealogy by Nick Barratt Getting Started: Who Do You Think You Are by Laura Berry Creating Sanctuary by Jessi Bloom Captain Marvel Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick Bitch Planet Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick The Lost Family by Libby Copeland The Stranger in My Genes by Bill Griffeth Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
After starting to scan the family photos in June, I have poked around a bit at the May-Bevin side of the family. I still haven’t managed to get my hands on cousin Sharee Berry’s book about the Bevin family but have asked around. It’s called The Journey from Kent 1879: The Family History of Thomas Daniel Bevin & Mary Ann Fuller. Here’s what I know of the Bevin (also occasionally spelled Bevan and Beavan) line.
Thomas Daniel Bevin was born in 1839 in Ightham, Kent, England to James & Sarah (née Cousins/Cussins) Bevin. He had seven siblings. Like his father, Thomas worked as agricultural labourer.
From 1861, the Bevin family lived on the same street as Samuel Levett, another agricultural labourer, and his second wife Emily (nee Fuller). Samuel & Emily had a daughter, born out of wedlock circa 1853 in Sittingbourne, named Mary Ann.
On July 15th 1871, Mary Ann Fuller and Thomas Daniel Bevin were married in the Ightham Parish Church.
Thomas and Mary Ann’s first child was born on March 28th, 1872, but died a few days later. He was baptised Thomas Daniel (junior). A daughter, Ellen, was born a year later in 1873, followed by Harry on July 18 1875, then another son, Frank, in 1877 and another daughter, Sarah Ann, in 1878.
On the 15th of Feb 1879, the family boarded the “Stad Haarlem”, bound for NZ from Plymouth in Devon. The ship made port in Lyttelton on April 14th.
Thomas & Mary Ann had two more children in NZ: Daisy, born 1880 in Palmerston, Otago, and Horace, born and died in 1882 in Dunedin. Devastatingly, Thomas passed away the same year, on November 3rd, aged only 43.
Mary Ann remarried in 1886 in Dunedin, to Austin William Holbrook, another English immigrant, with whom she had a further four children, although only two survived infancy.
Mary Ann died on 29th October 1918 after suffering from acute bronchitis for over a week, resulting in heart failure. The image above is a portrait of Mary Ann owned by Sharee Berry.
I uploaded some newspaper clippings that I found in our family photo box to a Whanganui history Facebook group, and was subsequently contacted by a cousin, Paul Bevin, the son of James Simpson Bevin. Paul has been helping me identify some of the photos, and clarified the names of Harry Bevin’s children.
As mentioned above, Harry Bevin was born in 1875, in Malling, Kent. After his family emigrated to New Zealand, he met and married Bridget Mena Crawford in 1900 in Invercargill. They had two sons: Thomas Henry James, a.k.a. Harry Junior, born in 1901, and Francis Crawford, a.k.a. Frank, born in 1904.
Bridget died giving birth to Frank, and in 1906, Harry remarried: this time to my great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Tansley, on June 27th in Winton.
Elizabeth had been born on January 28th, 1882, in Tokomairiro, now known as Milton, to Henry Edward & Mary Ann (nee Tough) Tansley. She had three brothers & three sisters, one of whom she may have been living with in Winton in 1905/6.
Elizabeth & Harry’s first child was Mavis Mary, born in 1907 in Winton. Mavis died shortly before her 14th birthday, and her funeral card is in the family photo box. My great-grandmother Doreen Alice was the second-born, on September 14 1908 in Westport. Ivan Arthur followed in 1910 in Granity, a small mining town near Westport, then Edward Roland in 1913, James Simpson in 1915, and Leoni Mabel in 1917.
Some time between 1928 & 1935, Harry & Elizabeth moved to Whanganui, as did Doreen & Bill May after their wedding on 7 February 1929, and the birth of their daughter Bronwen in November that year. In 1935, Frank was in Otago and Ivan in Wellington, but Harry Jr, Edward, Jim and Mabel all moved to Whanganui too. I’d love to know when & why they all moved!
Harry was a baker, but that’s all I know about his occupation. He was also a talented musician, a cornet player. He died on May 15th, 1946 of a stomach carcinoma. Elizabeth died June 12th, 1952.
I’ve also been looking into the May lines of our tree, and found the will of my great-great-grandfather, Samuel May, in Archives NZ. Reading it gave me a surprise! He left his estate divided equally between his son, William James May, and his foster son, Arnold Cox. Some digging has revealed that Arnold was the nephew of Samuel through his wife Sarah (nee Probert).
Arnold was born in Wales to Nellie (Probert) and Alexander Cox in 1915. His father was killed 10 months later in France during WWII. In 1922, seven year old Arnold was put on a ship alone, bound for Wellington, where Sam & Sarah took him in. He seems to have done pretty well, working as a clerk, then manager, then storekeeper in various places around NZ. He was married in 1939, and then divorced in 1974. Arnold died in 1997. I wonder how much he kept in touch with the family?
Speaking of the Proberts, I want to share a sweet story that I heard from cousin Sue Thomas. She says that Sarah’s parents had an epic love story. Her mother, Martha Ann Davies, came from a wealthy farming family in Montgomery, Wales, and hired as a gardener one James Probert. Martha was three years older than James, but they fell in love, and her family were horrified, so the young couple eloped in 1884 to get married, and then moved to Glamorgan because there was plenty of work in the mines for James to support a family. They went on to have five children; William James, Sarah Elizabeth, Mary Jane, Nellie, and Margaretta May.
The last couple of updates are in regards to my Dunbar lines. Cousin John Dunbar sent me records for my great-aunt Norah – it includes her father Robert’s handwritten application to have her admitted to a psychiatric hospital as well as her admission & medical notes. Interesting, if sad reading. It’s a hard image to shake: two months after the death of her mother, six year old Norah is sent to Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital, and she dies five years later from tuberculosis and is buried in a mass grave at the hospital. I can’t help but wonder how much her siblings knew! Even with Hannah Ferguson living with them, and Peggy & Nancy being aged 14 & 12 or so, Robert still decided Norah was too hard to look after, as is made clear in the file.
Speaking of Robert Dunbar, I’ve poked around at the Dunbar line again but can’t seem to trace it back much further than I’ve got:
David Dunbar (about 1775-about 1851) married Alison Mill or Milne (1773-1841)
John Dunbar (1812-1866) m. Mary Paterson (1804-1878)
David Dunbar (1841-1874) m. Isabella Flockhart (1848-1928)
John Dunbar (1869-1933) m. Victoria Elsie Lawrence (1868-1936)
Robert Walter Marshall Dunbar (1896-1971) m. Hilda May Ferguson (1896-1937)
I suspect that the David at the top of that list was born in 1777 in Glamis, Angus, Scotland but I can’t quite prove it (yet). David was a crofter, or farmer of a small steading owned by someone else. He appears in the 1841 Scotland Census in Menmuir, Angus, as an Ag. Lab. (or, agricultural labourer), aged 66. David and Alison had 10 children in total, as far as I can find, and my direct ancestor, John, was his second born but first son.
Unfortunately, I don’t yet know enough about early Scottish resources other than the usual births, marriages & deaths records (these are taken from Church registers up until 1855 when civil registration became a thing). Ideally, I’d like to do a Y-DNA test on a Dunbar male so that I can try & trace the line, but they’re frickin’ expensive tests, so hard to justify. Cousin Ian has a Dunbar tree that suggests a different wife for David, but I’m not sold on his hypothesis, so for now, I’ve filed this as a brickwall.
I read a lot of fantasy & horror this quarter, matched only by the amount of non-fic history that I also consumed. After watching Locke & Key on Netflix, I decided to revisit the graphic novels, and enjoyed them even more. With regards to history, I particularly enjoyed England’s Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton by Kate Williams and Bedlam: London’s Hospital for the Mad by Paul Chambers. On a Kiwi note, Madeleine Chapman’s biography Jacinda Ardern was an excellent, balanced read about a very relevant politician right now.
Spark Joy by Marie Kondo England’s Mistress by Kate Williams Driven: My Story by Hayden Paddon Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent Domes of Fire by David Eddings The Shining Ones by David Eddings The Hidden City by David Eddings Regina’s Song by David Eddings Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery The Magician’s Guild by Trudi Canavan Things Could Be Worse by Lily Brett The Novice by Trudi Canavan The High Lord by Trudi Canavan Young Logan Campbell by R.C.J. Stone Bedlam by Paul Chambers Writing Your Family History by Deborah Cass Locke & Key Vol. 1 by Joe Hill Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake The Lord Bishop’s Clerk by Sarah Hawkswood One Dark, Two Light by Ruth Mancini House on Fire by Joseph Finder Locke & Key Vol. 2 by Joe Hill Locke & Key Vol. 3 by Joe Hill
CBT Made Simple by Nina Josefowitz CBT Skills Workbook by Barry Gregory In Therapy by Susie Orbach What Went Right by Eileen Bailey Jacinda Ardern by Madeleine Chapman Locke & Key Vol. 4 by Joe Hill Locke & Key Vol. 5 by Joe Hill A Viking in the Family by Keith Gregson Poldark’s Cornwall by Winston Graham Tracing Your West Country Ancestors by Kirsty Gray Inheritance by Dani Shapiro Dunedin by Christine Johnston Unfortunate Folk by Barbara Brookes Behold the Moon by Peter Entwhistle
The Archives by V.E. Schwab The Unbound by V.E. Schwab Stepping Into Ourselves by Anne Key Locke & Key Vol. 6 by Joe Hill Interworld by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir Mortmain Hall by Martin Edwards Sinless by Sarah Tarkoff Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz Forever Odd by Dean Koontz Brother Odd by Dean Koontz Odd Hours by Dean Koontz Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz The Silver Dream by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves Eternity’s Wheel by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier Wanderers by Chuck Wendig Dream On by Kerstin Gier Just Dreaming by Kerstin Gier
Robert Allen was born on June 16, 1836, in Neath, Glamorgan, Wales, to Robert and Margaret (née Jenkins) Allen. He was the eldest of six children born to the couple, although after his mother died in 1849, his father remarried and had a further five children to his second wife. The family lived in a town called Briton Ferry, on the mouth of the River Neath, where Robert Senior ran a successful shoemaking business. Robert Junior followed his father’s trade after finishing his schooling at age 12.
On 3 September 1860, he married Alice Williams in the town of Merthyr Tydfil, where she worked piling iron bars for a local smith.
Alice had been born on May 24, 1831, in Cadoxton-juxta-Neath, to William Williams, a carpenter, and his wife Jane (née Hopkin). Alice had nine siblings. Her family lived in Llantwit-juxta-Neath, in the Neath Canal Lock House, as her father was the canal engineer and in charge of running the lock.
In July 1861, Robert and Alice, with their six-month-old first child Margaret, boarded the “Derwent Water” in London, a ship bound for New Zealand. They arrived in Otago five months later after an arduous voyage.
The family initially joined the gold rush, settling in Clyde at the Dunstan Diggings, before moving on to Switzers, now known as Wakaia. Robert continued his family trade, repairing and selling boots to the hordes of miners.
The couple had four more children in New Zealand; three daughters and one son, William Henry, born in Dunedin in 1866. By 1877, the family was living in Caversham, where Robert ran a successful shoe business until 1907. He also maintained interests in Wakaia, and with his son William, entered an agreement with a miner named Arthur Sidey to form the Mystery Flat Gold Mining Company to dredge two claim areas at Mystery Flat in Wakaia.
In 1907, Alice died on August 31st while visiting with their daughter Janet in Wellington, and by October, Robert had decided to sell up and move to Warepa in Clutha, where his eldest daughter Margaret was living with her husband, John Christie, and seven children. Robert died on the 1st of September 1922, after 10 years of declining health, at his daughter’s Warepa home.
While going through a family box of photos & ephemera a few weekends ago, I discovered that my grandmother had a third brother. Noel James MAY, son of William James & Doreen Alice (née BEVIN) MAY died in 1947, aged two, of a strangulated bowel. If I hadn’t gone through that box with Mum & my Aunty, I’d never have known about little Noel.
We also discovered that Doreen had a sister who died young; Mavis Mary Bevin died in 1921 shortly before her 14th birthday. A funeral card was in the family box, but without it we’d never have thought to look for another sibling!
I’ve also been in touch with one of Mum’s cousins, John, whose father Brian had a twin sister who died young. I’ll make a separate post about poor little Norah another time, but to sum up – she died aged 11, in 1941, from tuberculosis.
This feels like an appropriate place to show the other side of Mavis’ funeral card: