Who do you think you are?

Have you seen this TV programme?

They make it seem so easy to find your ancestors. Mind you they do have two hundred professional people to help them.

The reason I ask, is after looking in a hidden box of memorabelia, I found a hand written letter. It was from a family member who emigrated to Australia and was writing to his family in the UK.

Nothing unusual in that after all most emigrants wrote to their families. But this letter was dated 1861.

James O’ Donnell was born in Ireland in 1833 and left for Australia probably around 1860. He lived in George Street, Sydney and worked in the biscuit factory. His son was killed in Kalgoorlie whilst gold prospecting.

Not a lot of information remains about the family. A sister emigrated to New Zealand and also wrote to her family in the UK .

Ancestors from Dublin and rural Ireland were difficult to trace after the famine in the early and mid 19th century. Still, it was a glimpse of the past, and very interesting.

How did they get on? Did they survive? Did they go back to the UK or Ireland?

I do know he was related to my grandmother on my mother’s side. More than that is…well, just history.

I and my family live in WA, one hundred and fifty years after James emigrated to Australia.

Who do you think you are?

by TOG


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