Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sentimental Sunday

This photo is really me clutching at straws.

My family tree software program - Family Tree Maker - has this neat thing where I can see what anniversaries family history wise are coming up or have just been.

Friday was my grand-aunt's 120th birthday.

I had quite a few grand aunts on both sides of the family but I really only knew one - my paternal grandmother's sister Rene.

But this grand aunt - still on my paternal side - was one of my grandfather's sisters - Constance Nellie Morrison (nee Conner).

I don't know much about my father's aunts and we don't seem to have any photos of them - that I can find at any rate.  

The photo here is of their mother - Mrs Eleanor Conner with Mrs MacDougal (don't know who she was) and my grandparents, Ethel and Edwin Conner and John Morrison - Constance's son.  
I don't have any certificates for Constance or her sister Lillian.  The information I have has been gleaned from websites like Ancestry, Trove or the Ryerson Index.  

Constance was the eldest of the three children.  If I wanted to order her birth certificate I would just have to quote 2b 444 for Quarter 3 in 1893 from the GRO.  I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know how I've got the date as 26 July.  Maybe someone in the family knew her birthday.  

Anyway, in the 1901 Census, Constance is living at 32 Connaught Road Portsmouth with her mother, Eleanor Conner aged 26.  Constance is 7.  Her younger sister Lilian is 3 and her baby brother Edwin Arthur is 9 months old.  Edwin Senior is not listed as being there.  There is a boarder hower, an Irishman called Gerald McCombie - a liuetenant in the Royal Navy.

In the 1911 Census, Constance is listed as single, a music teacher aged 17 and is still living at home with her mother, her younger sister and brother who are both still at school.  Now there are two boarders - a William Lowes, aged 25 - an engine fitter from Newcastle and Thomas Miller - aged 27 - also an engine fitter from Shouth Shields.  They are living at 140 Chichester Road North End.

A couple of weeks ago I found Edwin Senior on the 1911 Census in China with the Royal Navy!

In 1912 the family emigrated to Melbourne, Australia.

They appear on the electoral roll as living at 26 Forster Street Williamstown.

Williamstown Chronicle Saturday 12 September 1914

Poor Eleanor, it seems ,got taken for a ride, as it were, by an enterprising scoundrel from Queensland who was purportedly looking for accommodation.  We learn from this article that her daughter had had appendicitis -  hence her empathy for the man who claimed to have recently suffered from the same complaint.  Which daughter I wonder?  We also learn that they had a dog.  She lost three sovereigns - I think that is equivalent to 3 pounds - which in those days was probably worth quite a bit.   

The following year, we read on 26 August in the Werribee Shire Banner that Miss Constance Conner (piano) and others including her sister Lilian and a certain Mr C.H. Morrison (mandoline) were to contribute to a programme for a "welcome home" to Sergeant Newland to be held at Laverton.  An article a couple of months before tells us that Sergeant Newland is "the eldest son of Mr W Newland of Laverton and the second son to receive injuries at the Dardenelles.  The wounded soldier is considered to be the most enthusiastic volunteer who has left these shores, his enthusiasm knew no bounds He was one of the first to volunteer on the outbreak of hostilities and left with the second contingent.  and he is the right man to make light of his wounds."  The paper was also pleased to report the installation of electric light at the Werribee Mechanics Institute which helped dancers trip "the light fantastic" that night.

What does a mandolin look like?

Like this!

Illustrated front cover from The Queenslander 10 January 1929 - copyright expired

Constance and Claude Henry Morrison - the mandoline player - were married in Victoria in 1918.  Claude lived in Williamstown North at 20 Rennie Street and was a dental mechanic.  I am guessing that Elizabeth and George Alfred who were living there too, were his parents.  And yes, when I check the birth records - this is the case.  Claude was born in Williamstown in 1892.  George, Claude's father,  was a striker.  I think that means Blacksmith's Assistant or harpoon man on a whaler according to this website here.  By the following year, Claude is a dentist and they are living at Lockhart Street, Caulfield.

The Conners and the Morrisons eventually move to Sydney.

The Morrisons live at Vaucluse for many years.

I think they had three children: Joyce, Jackie and John.  At least that is what my father can remember.  

I think Constance's sister may have married twice.  I thought she married a Clarrie Williams but I have also found her marrying a Thomas Frederick Webb.  in 1947 in the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

At some stage the Morrisons and the Webbs moved to the Blue Mountains, like Edwin Junior and his family.  I'm thinking that it was probably in the mid 1960s as they are on the electoral roll at Vaucluse up until 1963.

Edwin Junior, Constance and Lilian's younger brother and my grandfather,  died 30 May 1960 at Springwood aged 59.

According to the Ryerson Index, Claude, Constance's husband departed this mortal coil 16 August 1972 at Valley Heights, aged 80.  

Then Thomas, Lilian's husband, died 17 October 1974.

Lilian died 15 June 1983 at Springwood aged 86 and then finally Constance on 10 August 1987 at the grand old age of 94.  

Constance is described as "late of Wahroonga, formerly of Springwood and Vaucluse so she must have moved sometime after 1980 as she was still on the electoral roll in Springwood then.

So - no photos of the two sisters - just their mother and a son.  But a picture of sorts has been constructed using electoral rolls, newspapers and other indexes.


tony said...

I love the report in Williamstown Chronicle ! the first-person report paints a vivid picture that needs no photograph!

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Tony - I'm delighted to have found the story. I hadn't heard that one before. It's wonderful that they have quoted her "voice" as it were.