As my friends irl know, I have been involved in chasing up my ancestors for a few years. On one side my mum’s forebears have been thoroughly researched by others because they were the first Australian First Fleeters to come ashore at the founding of our country in 1788. Legend has it that my GGG Grandfather, convict Henry Kable (also spelled Cable, Cabel, Cabell and Cavell), and another guy named Green carried Governor Arthur Phillip ashore through the shallow water left after the landing craft was rowed in. They placed him on the sand in Sydney Cove and there he raised the British flag and founded the new penal colony of New South Wales at Port Jackson, later renamed Sydney.
My father’s family were, in contrast, extremely difficult to trace, not least because Walker is an extremely common surname, especially where his family originated in Midlands Britain. I didn’t even know the names of dad’s parents and only vaguely knew some of his brothers and a sister. It took me two years to locate records for the correct father for my father whose name was William Walker although his mum, Gertrude Lawrence was much easier to trace. I remembered at some stage that my grandmother had the same name as a singer from way back and that’s how I knew who to look for in the Births Deaths and Marriages, otherwise I was clueless.
How I discovered the rest of my Walker ancestors back to 1810 is a long story, peppered with false leads and a stack of logic tables, so I’ll save that for another time. Meanwhile I came across a twisted little tale with some 20th century descendants of my GG Grandmother, Eliza Cadby (born 4 May 1812 in Birmingham, Manchester, England; died Jan 1878 Dudley, Worcestershire).
This little tale started when I had a lot of trouble tracing what had happened to a descendant named Frederick Norman Cadby who was born in 1892. He married Alice Mary Ashlee in 1916 and she bore him a son in 1916 F N William Cadby. After some searching I found another son, James Leonard born in 1923, but no more children. As I had no idea of Fred the father’s job, since he hadn’t been an adult during the 1911 Census, I had a look in the Electoral Registers but couldn’t find him anywhere! Perhaps he had joined the Army and got killed in World War I? So I consulted the Deaths section of the BMD and discovered the poor guy had died in 1916, one month after his marriage! He was killed on a trawler that got torpedoed by a German U-boat and his body never recovered. He left his wife with a new baby to care for and the course of her life changed forever. But, hey!, where did the son come from who was registered in 1923, seven years after his apparent father’s death?
Then I discovered that Alice Mary had remarried to a Charles Victor Cox in 1921 and had a further 4 children, including the one named in the BMD as James Leonard Cadby. Had Alice met one of Fred’s brothers later, or what exactly was going on here? It took a contact through that big American genealogical company to reveal the hidden twists and turns of Alice Mary’s life and I will leave that for tomorrow’s blog post. See if you can work it out!