Monday, 17 May 2010

Sunday in my City - Homage to those who went before


Until two weeks ago, Grandma Faull was but a black-lead scribble in a tattered exercise book: 'Gma Faull - 3 husbands - fell off bridge'. That was careless of her, thought I.

Then, a cousin emailed me the above photograph. There were only two people I could not immediately identify. The old lady bottom front and the young gentleman up the back. However, my heart quickened as I took a guess.

Two days later my hopes were confirmed. Meet Gma Faull. I knew she was the mother of the next oldest lady in the photo, Sarah Annie Evans. Using Ancestry .com enabled me to cross off another scribble in the exercise book. Yonks ago my father had me write down two names: Sarah Crans and Ann Howell. They came out of his deep, dark recesses and he had no idea where they fitted in.

Meet Gma Faull, born Ann Howell in 1845 in Gloucestershire UK, died 1929 in Drummoyne, Australia. Meet Gma Faull, my great-great-grandmother.


Last week her death certificate arrived. So much more information. Here was a living, breathing person. Well ... you know what I mean.

So, I hopped a train at Central and out to Rookwood I travelled. Using the search function on the Rookwood site, I had already determined that she rested in Section T Grave 010103. The helpful folk at the office gave me this plan and two other more detailed grids, and a 'thataway'. Luckily, her resting place lay along Haslems Drive and midway along Block C1. However, we are not a wealthy family and I did not expect a headstone.


I knew Block C1 started with grave 66, and plots were 'yay' wide. So, off I stepped, counting out loud. Sorry folks. Plot 78 was numbered. Way to go! I took a punt at 103 and scribbled the names of the closest headstones. Yes, in the same trusty exercise book. Grave 101 was the resting place of Elsie Louisa Torrens who passed away in 1913. Grave 108 was the resting place of Betty Ada May parsons who was interred in a family area in 1989. Bingo.


Ann Howell rests, headstone-less, beneath this flowering palm in Section T, Block C1, Grave 103 at Rookwood Necropolis, Sydney, Australia. She emigrated, alone aged not quite 19, to Brisbane and in 1864 married Evans, who fell off a bridge. In 1867 she married Finch. In 1887 she married Faull. In total, she gave birth to 10 children, five of whom did not reach adulthood. Her first child was Sarah Annie Evans (Ma Cole), the mother of my cherished grandmother, Sylvia.

Ma Cole is standing on the left. Sylvia is standing, second from the right.


Rookwood is the largest of many many cemeteries in Sydney. It was established along Haslems Creek in the 1860s and now covers over 700 acres.

With close to one million people having been interred at Rookwood, it is easy to overlook that they each were once living, loving people.

This has been the story of one of them.

A member of the Sunday in my City community.

28 comments:

Dina said...

How exciting that your search bore fruit! And that you have that photo.
And that your ancestors are buried in the same country where you live.

A brave girl she was, to get on the boat alone at that age.

jabblog said...

It's wonderful that you have been able to track down more of your family. I find graves very humbling.

Miguel Martinez said...

wonderful photo

In Real Life said...

What a neat and interesting story, she sounds like a remarkable person.

When did I become my Mom said...

Very touching. I'm glad you were able to put a face and attach a little more detail to your great great gran.

Here from SIMC.

Clytie said...

I often wonder, when visiting a cemetery ... how many stories there are. As many as there are graves, I know ... I wish I knew these stories. I'm so glad you were able to find the stories of your own!

Joanna Jenkins said...

What an amazing story. It's wonderful when you can fill in the blanks of your family's history. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your story.
Happy SIMC from Los Angeles,
jj

MACsWIFERia said...

its wonderful you can find out more about your family history than you knew before. its always so interesting. ive been working on my family tree for quite sometime now.. isnt is a good feeling to be able to fill in some of the blanks ?
stopping by from simc.
http://uktotheusa.blogspot.com/

Ineke said...

what a story!

Birdman said...

What a wonderful story and search... to know where we're going it helps to know where we've been. Salute!

Nancy C said...

ancestry.com is an amazing site. Thanks for sharing your journey. The stories are everywhere, when we start digging.

Mary Ann said...

I love cemeteries. Beautiful photos.

Dimple said...

It is fun to finally fill in a blank and learn more about one's heritage, congratulations! And thanks for sharing your story with us!

May said...

Truly an interesting and inspiring story!!! It is so exciting to know about our ancestors...The pictures of the graveyard are very beautiful!!

Bill said...

It is fun researching your ancestors. I was lucky with mine as a relative in the US was able to date ours back to ca.1500.

Life with Kaishon said...

Wow Julie! That is so exciting to learn about your relatives and the past in such a hands on way. Very fascinating stuff!

Joan Elizabeth said...

Yes I can feel the excitement of the discovery. The death certificates are such treasures ... I've had trouble deciphering some though because the occupations are all rather strange ... pencil makers and such.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

That's a great old photo. You have got over the excitement of JW quickly.

Woody said...

Way to go! I know the thrill of the chase, so I was on the edge of my seat during the story. Thanks for sharing because you may give inspiration to someone who's hit a dead-end.

Ann said...

Wow.

brattcat said...

Wonderful work, Julie. It's good to make these connections, to keep these stories alive, to remember the value and contribution of all those who came before us.

J Bar said...

This is great Julie. It's fantastic that you can trace ancestors and find their grave stones. Brilliant autumn colours in that last shot too.

Peter said...

weel done with the research, love the autumnal colours at rookwood.

diane said...

What a gem of a photo with your close relatives of yesteryear. The story is fascinating. It is one of those things I have started but haven't looked at it for years.

Lois said...

Amazing Julie! I love hearing about this. My sister and I went on a search for our grandparents' graves at an old cemetery a few years ago and came up fruitless. I have now gotten a map and more information and we do plan to go back soon.

Unknown Mami said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! What a wonderful discovery. Amazing piece of your family history.

freefalling said...

Last month, Dad went to find the grave of my great-great grandfather in the Toowoomba cemetery - he discovered he was buried in the "aliens" section!

Julie said...

I have emailed you about this, Letty.