Monday, May 2, 2011



With Mr Mir in Gulmarg
It’s hard to believe that what started as a light hearted review of 50 years Travel Round the World has evolved into a lengthy account of Grandfather’s Quaker ancestry.

Looking back through the ‘Ancestor’ series, the stories about Grandfather, the mystery man from Indiana and Maggie my Fiji born Grandmother who managed to share 44 years of marriage without knocking him on the head, (I don’t think I could be so patient)... I look back on their stories and I’m amazed at just how real their lives have become.

Grandfather and Maggie - the year he died

When you start poking about in your ancestor’s history, you find it difficult closing their particular chapter, hard to bundle them up and shut the door.  Even now after I’ve finished with his life in Australia and I’m well into the Quaker background, I keep fighting the urge to Google up Grandpa’s name, the real one and the make believe, and see if maybe, hopefully someone has posted yet another  helpful clue, a signpost to his past.

If any readers in Indiana recognize the Brown family names, especially Grandpa, Bertie Everett Brown born 1877 to John W. Brown and Laura DeMoss, don’t hesitate to let me know.  I have a lot of unanswered questions about my Bert from Indiana, known in Australia as Charles Brown Parker.

Then there is the mystery about Maggie’s father, William McGowan the Scots sailor who turned up in Fiji in time to marry Geraldine Sweeny.  But what brought him to Fiji in the first place?  For that matter why did the dour Geraldine turn her back on her Sussex sisters to make her life on a tiny Pacific Island?

The town of Levuka on Ovalau Island
If you consider we live in extraordinary times, give a thought to your Great- Greats; they progressed from horseback and buggy, washing boards and home made soap to the telephone, washing machines and refrigerator, the aeroplane even;  I’m gobsmacked as I watch my grandchildren handle itsy bitsy little mobile phones that double as radios, computers and cameras.  Someone has invented all these items, and sometimes a practical and farseeing woman has been at the forefront of its invention.

Chasing back through the centuries can often toss up some fascinating stories.  When I post my next Quaker’s story  I’ll include some little known women who made a surprising difference in their time, way back in the 1700’s.

I’m pleased you’ve shown interest in my Journeys through the Past, I’m having a marvellous time writing about them.  And yes, there is still a lot more rattling about in my mind.

I’m sure you too have stories to tell, maybe some of you just need a little prod to get started. Why not now!

Like me you will soon come to realise just how brave these people of ours from other centuries were. They lived their lives to the drum beat of history, precariously and most times on a knife’s edge.  Their stories deserve to be told if only to provide inspiration and guidance for the generations to come.

Thank you for sharing my stories with me...



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