Reading Log – Apr-Jun 2021

The release of the Shadow & Bone series on Netflix made me re-read Leigh Bardugo’s trilogy, which I originally enjoyed back in 2014. I still like it it. It’s a YA fantasy series, and the protagonist is a bit of a milksop, but I like the magic “small science” & the worldbuilding. Although, Russian speakers are apparently pissing themselves over the magic users being called Grisha – the baby name for Gregory. #gregverse

But more importantly, I finally read Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom, a duology set in the same world after the events of the trilogy, featuring a gang of dodgy teens out to make their fortunes with a dangerous heist. Lots of betrayal, angst, hilarity, and shenanigans. So good! Can’t believe I didn’t finish it first time I picked up SoC. Now I just need to get the other duology, King of Scars & Rule of Wolves.

Most of my choices this quarter have been fantasy… or romance, interestingly. You see, I joined TikTok & there’s a huge bookish community there, so I’ve had a lot more recommendations to trawl through. It’s very useful for diversifying my “To Be Read” list, and I particularly like that there’s a huge SFF following – I just don’t know many SFF in real life, so it’s awesome to have a safe space to nerd out.

Other notable mentions: The Priory of the Orange Tree, 848 pages of high fantasy featuring sapphic romance and dragons! So good! Sam Shannon is an A+ writer. Also, the Truthwitch series by Susan Dennard is hugely enjoyable. And the new murderbot novella was great fun, if too brief.

And yes, I read Ice Planet Barbarians – well, I listened to the audiobook from the library, actually. Not my fave smut, but entertaining enough.


Or What You Will by Jo Walton
Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland
The Grey King by Susan Cooper
Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
The Sinner’s Club by Kate Pearce
The Soprano Sorceress by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The Art of Taking It Easy by Brian King
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Winter’s Passage by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Summer’s Crossing by Julie Kagawa
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Hooking Up by Helena Hunting
Getting Down by Helena Hunting
Shacking Up by Helena Hunting
Making Up by Helena Hunting
Handle With Care by Helena Hunting
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Bridesmaid on a Budget by Sharon Naylor
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson


The Chain by Adrian McKinty
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Bone Crier’s Dawn by Kathryn Purdie
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Owned by Fate by Tessa Bailey
Five Children and It by E. Nesbit


Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
See You in September by Charity Norman
The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith 
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Windwitch by Susan Dennard 
Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
Circe by Madeleine Miller
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Rush by Maya Banks
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon
Cut Throat by Lyndon Stacey
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune 
Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
Pegasus in Flight by Anne McCaffrey
Pegasus in Space by Anne McCaffreyFlames of Chaos by Amelia Hutchins DNF

70 in total

Reading Log – Jan-Mar 2021

I finished a few excellent series’ this quarter. Firstly, the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, starting with Cinder, is an engaging Young Adult sci-fi/romance retelling of various fairytales, including Cinderella, Littler Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. I’m not sure I’ll re-read these, but I did enjoy them and suspect I’d have loved them when I was a teen. Secondly, the Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone, which I read pretty much in publication order, starting with Three Parts Dead. This is an adult fantasy series about religion, necromancy, law and finance. Honestly, that sounds terrible but they are SO GOOD and I’m mad at myself for not reading them earlier.

A bunch of re-reads made it onto my list, including a few children’s classics that I haven’t read since I was a kid. FYI, Peter Pan is a truly bizarre story that no movie has properly captured, and I ain’t mad about it.

Fewer non-fic books on this list because real life is exhausting and I need to escape.


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
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

52 in total

Reading Log – Oct-Dec 2020

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!

Brickwall Update: Edward Tansley

So, I asked for help in the Greater London Ancestry Facebook group, and an amazing lady delivered the goods!

Edward, Rebecca & Rebecca Mary were indexed under the surname STANLE in 1841.

Rebecca, Rebecca Mary, Henry & Frederick were indexed under the surname JANESKY in 1851.

The best part is that this extra info confirms I have the correct Rebecca MYALL & family, and gives me Edward’s birth as ~1801 in Middlesex, so I have a place to start looking for his family.

Hurray for friendly genies on FB!

Brickwall: Edward TANSLEY

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:

When: ~1794
Source: Civil Death Registration, Christ Church, MDX, ENG; London, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials 1813-2003

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

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

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

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)
Tausley (e.g. Frederick John’s birth cert)
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.

Reading Log – Jul-Sep 2020

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

75 in total.

Social Media

A while back, I started an Instagram for my family history, so that I could share neat photos easily:

More recently, I returned to Twitter because a group of lovely genealogy buffs are doing an ANZ Ancestry q&a/chat session on the 6th of Oct & I’m keen to participate:

I also use Facebook fairly regularly, although that’s more private. But I’m happy to add family members, so drop me an email to discuss.

A Family Update

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.

Marriage record for Thomas Vevin and Mary Ann Fuller
Marriage record for Thomas Bevin & Mary Ann Fuller

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.

Portrait of Mary Ann Fuller
Portrait of Mary Ann (Fuller) Bevin

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.

Photo of Harry and Elizabeth Bevin
Harry & Elizabeth Bevin – photo from our family collection
Photo of four Bevin men
Edward, Ivan, Harry Jr. and Jim Bevin – photo from our family collection

I colourised the above photos using MyHeritage’s Enhance & Colorize tool because I think it makes them spring to life!

Family tree of Harry Bevin
Harry Bevin’s ancestors and immediate descendants

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).

Snippet of Samuel May's Will
Snippet of Samuel May’s Will

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.

Reading Log – Apr-Jun 2020

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

57 in total.

My first Allen ancestor in NZ

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.