In 1881 my great grandmother Mabel Butler was 5 years old and an orphan. Her father Ephraim Butler appears to have died in 1879 when Mabel was only 3, and what happened to her mother is uncertain. Mabel was born in South Africa, but I … Continue reading The Butlers of Summerhill House, Bristol
It is a cold, windy summer day in Dalarna, Sweden as I write, 19 July 2013. I have been reading a little about my great grandfather, Charles John Holdorf, born 1869 in Sydney. His parents were German migrants to Australia and he grew up in … Continue reading Major Charles Holdorf at Fromelles
Orient Line brochure 1927 The Orient Line, which was later acquired by P&O, was perhaps the main carrier of migrants to Australia from England in the first half of the twentieth century. In October 1923 George Simmonds, my grandfather, boarded the Orient ship, Ormonde, in … Continue reading Orient Line to Australia
Years ago I remember reading a quote which struck a chord as I reflected on the journey of my own life. I don't remember who wrote it originally, but his (or her) observation was that in a mobile world our lives are defined as much by … Continue reading Journeys and other defining events
When the First World War broke out it became unpopular in England or Australia to have a German name. Germans were seen as the enemy. But it had not always been so. Up until then the English got on pretty well with the Germans, not … Continue reading What’s in a name?