Thursday, 24 October 2019

Don & Les in Australia - 2019

I love photographic memories, and not just my own. Some of you will know I’ve dabbled from time to time in family history and one of my hobbies is trying to keep ancestral memories alive on my Roebuck And Families Ancestry Website. I’ve collected a lot of family media from way back, starting in the 19th century, and I’m a great believer in publishing these photos and other media to a wider audience. I did pause briefly to ask myself if posts such as this are appropriate to my Family Ancestry blog…and convinced myself they were. Our photos today are tomorrow’s history and I feel a need to make sure my family and friends will have access to them long into the future.
I’ve strived to keep things simple by confining myself to Facebook and Google platforms, but the devil is in the detail which I won’t go into here. Suffice to say that I recently started a Facebook Group for this trip, only to discover that one or two interested Facebook friends, including my wife, couldn’t access the linked Google photo albums with their iPhones and iPads.
This post will hopefully solve that problem, providing easier, indexed access to the many photo albums covering our 2,500 mile road trip from Cairns down to Sydney. It is a significant undertaking and, with our eternal thanks, was skilfully planned and executed by our leaders from the International Caravanning Association (ICA), accompanied by some lucky members comprising 15 other motor homing couples, all from different countries and for a duration of 5 weeks.
International Caravanning Association
Following the road trip, we took a further week travelling independently to sightsee Sydney and then the stunning 2,700 mile, 4 day rail trip on the Indian Pacific railway via Adelaide and the Nullarbor Plain to Perth from where we eventually returned home.
Links and brief descriptions to the photo albums for our itinerary follow. It is mainly going to be photographic with comments from our side, but we would invite comments and questions, below the post, about anything related to this vast and wonderful country with all it's varying landscapes.

Click the photos below to go to the relevant album on Google Photos

Day 1 to 5 – Cairns

Day 5 to 6 - Around Tinaroo Lake, Fig Trees and Oz Tea

Day 7 to 8 - Mission Beach to Townsville

Day 13 - Rockhampton Botanic Gardens (incl. Zoo)

Day 14 - Brooklyn House and Howard

Day 14 to 16 - Hervey Bay & Whale Watching

Day 16 - Cotton Tree

Day 18 to 19 – Brisbane

Day 19 to 20 - Gold Coast

Day 21 to 22 - Byron Bay via Springbrook National Park

Day 23 - Evan's Head & Coffs Harbour

Day 24 - Port Macquarie

Day 25 to 26 - Nelson Bay & Tomaree Point

Day 25 to 26 - Nelson Bay & Tomaree Point

Day 27 to 28 - Hunter Valley Wineries

Day 27 to 28 - Hunter Valley Wineries

Day 29 to 30 - Umina Beach

Day 29 to 30 - Umina Beach

Day 31 - Australian Reptile Park

Day 31 to 34 - Blue Mountains

Day 31 to 34 - Blue Mountains

Day 35 to 36 - Sydney

Day 35 to 36 - Sydney

Day 37 to 40 - Indian Pacific Rail, Sydney to Perth

Day 40 to 42 - Perth

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Who Were my Grandparents?

With Mother's Day last Sunday came lots of memories of Mum, Cicely Hullock, and it seems appropriate to present the little we possess of her origins. Recent posts talked about the Ainsworth family and specifically my Great Grandfather, John Ainsworth and his first daughter Mary Alice, my Grandmother. I don’t want to repeat here the family tree explanation which is covered in the post linked above.

Ainsworth Family Portrait
(about 1903/4)

From the apparent ages on display here, and input from my late Mother and Aunt, this is thought to be Chorley Councillor John Ainsworth and family around 1903/4. My Grandmother, Mary Alice is back row, left, then L-R we think Thomas, John and finally Sarah Elizabeth.

Unfortunately, long before this photo was taken, John’s first wife, Sarah Alice, my Great Grandmother, died in 1890 and this would have put great strain on John who by the census of 1891 had 4 children much younger than they appear here, was caring for his Mother-in-Law and her daughter living in as boarders and had a Drapery store to run in Chorley.


56004_10151168794474531_1330117653_oThe Ainsworth Drapery Store

Area known as 'Big Lamp', Chorley - my Great Grandfather, John Ainsworth's shop in clear view at No. 5 Bolton Street (now demolished). John's lifetime occupation was as a DRAPER, a dealer in fabrics, chiefly woollen and linen cloth, and sewing needs. Larger dealers also sold ready-made clothes. His first wife Sarah, my Great Grandmother was listed as a Draper too in the 1881 Census. He lived with his young family and with them ran this shop you see here in this very prominent central location of Chorley. T Whittle next door at No. 3 was a General Grocer & Provision store and further left No. 1 was an Umbrella Maker that year. This photo is probably from a later year, is currently undated and estimates run from early 1900s or before.


Not surprisingly, given the pressures of family and business described above, John Ainsworth quickly re-married and we see in the Family Portrait front row L-R, my Great Grandfather John seated, then his youngest son James and also son of my step Great Grandmother, Martha Anne Ainsworth nee Small (by John's second marriage in 1892). It is shown in the 1901 Census that the couple had adopted a daughter Ethel (then 8 months old) who for some reason is not included in this later family portrait.


It was about the time of the above Group Portrait that Mary married this next gentleman, my Grandfather William Hullock, Sept. 1906, at St.George's in Chorley.

William Hullock going to war!

(He enlisted 6 Dec 1915 around when this might have been taken.)

The above photo is the earliest I have of William taken almost 10 years into his marriage with Mary, living at 35 Geoffrey Street, Chorley, Lancashire, England, a Wood Sawyer and unfortunately for him and Mary, enlisting for the war effort on 6 Dec 1915. Mary would be 5-6 months pregnant with her second and last child, my Mum, Cicely. The couple had already produced their first child and daughter, Doris, on 9th May 1914

William Hullock was enlisted into the army and war effort on 6 Dec 1915 and started active service at Gosport on 3 Jun 1916 with the 101 Company of the RGA (Royal Regiment of Artillery). His subsequent tour of duty appears to have been in India for the duration of his military engagements.

William was the only Grandparent I met as the rest died before my time. He died around 1956 and I was only 5 then, so didn’t remember much of him, particularly as we lived over 100 miles away and family visits over those distances were few and far between in those days.

A celebratory studio portrait of Mary Alice Hullock (nee Ainsworth) with first daughter Doris and baby Cicely

- abt. June 1916

The photo above shows my Grandmother Mary holding baby Cicely and may have been taken on the occasion of Cicely’s Christening. She was born 29 Apr 1916. As William is not present the event might have been after he started active service in early June.

This second formal mother and baby photo is my mum, baby Cicely with her Mum Mary

About Aug 1916


Below are two more of the sisters taken later on that year

Cicely Hullock
Doris Hullock

Cicely Hullock

(est. Aug 1916)

Doris Hullock

(est. Oct 1916)


And now something of a puzzle…….

William Hullock with young family. His wife Mary has baby Cicely and Doris is standing. I find this intriguing as it seems to be a painting based on a photo almost. The appearance of Cicely suggests an age of about 8 months and that could correspond with a Christmas 1916 leave from the army for William, if that was possible. I think very unlikely and therefore my supposition is that it was produced by an artist from one or more photos as a composite with William still stationed in India. It is a large portrait and was elaborately mounted in a heavy frame with chain and probably had pride of place at some point. What a tough time for such a young family! There can't have been much father/daughter bonding, particularly for my mother who wouldn't have 'known' her father for quite some time.

William Hullock Family Portrait Painting

(est. Dec 1916)

William Hullock's wife Mary has baby Cicely on her lap and Doris is standing. I find this intriguing as it seems to be a painting based on a photo almost. The appearance of Cicely suggests an age of about 8 months and that could correspond with a Christmas 1916 leave from the army for William…..if that was possible. I think it is very unlikely and therefore my supposition is that it was produced by an artist from one or more photos as a composite with William still stationed in India.

The question remains as to whether he was there at all? Why a painting and not a photo? Would they really allow him leave from India so soon after posting? My understanding is leave was rare and granted maybe if there was a death in the family or some very compassionate circumstance. It's certainly not based on any photo I have (unless it's hiding somewhere)

It is a large portrait and was elaborately mounted in a heavy frame with chain and probably had pride of place at some point. What a tough time for such a young family! There can't have been much father/daughter bonding, particularly for my mother who wouldn't have 'known' her father for quite some time.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Ainsworth Family Weavers

To take up the story from the previous post, John Ainsworth’s mother, Sarah Ainsworth was a ‘Singlewoman’ by the time of John’s first marriage in 1876 and we knew he was born around 1852.
Having checked the Census for 1861, we discover John living with his family. However, they are not Ainsworths, they are Langtons.
The 1861 Census
The ‘Head of the Household’ is one Aaron Langton, aged 34, a Joiner by trade and his wife Sarah, aged 29, a Hand Loom Weaver. The couple have 3 children, all Scholars, James Langton, William Langton and John Ainsworth. This raises the question of whether Aaron was John’s biological father as he appears to have been born out of wedlock. At some point the birth certificate for John Ainsworth may provide further enlightenment.
Meanwhile, the Birth Registers show a John Ainsworth registered birth in Chorley district in the 3rd Quarter, Jul-Aug-Sep of 1852, almost certainly our John. He is baptised 15 Aug 1852 as per the Parish Register for Leyland, St Andrew below.

At this stage, Sarah Ainsworth is a ‘Singlewoman’ of Ulnes Walton, near Leyland and there is no indication of John’s Father’s identity from this record. Then in the second Quarter, Apr-May-Jun, 1853, Aaron Langton marries Sarah Ainsworth according to the freely available registers of marriage.
To follow back the Ainsworth line from Sarah, the 1851 Census was next consulted for Sarah and shows her living with her Mum and Dad, Mary and Edward and young brother William, at 35 Maltkiln Fold, Ulnes Walton. Wikipedia and other sites such as the extremely useful GENUKI provide further relevant background to this interesting old hamlet and the Maltkiln Fold, now established (2014) as a leisure route for walking, cycling, horseriding, etc. by the side of the Lostock River.
1851 Census

Note that they are all Hand Loom Weavers (Cotton). This lovely elderly gentleman gives us the benefit of history and experience for this occupation as typically established in hundreds of family units of this 19th century revolution.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

If You Want to Get Ahead, Get a Hat

Unfortunately, I never met 3 of my Grandparents as they died before I was born. I only fleetingly remember the 4th., my Grandfather HULLOCK, before he too died when I was no more than about 5 years of age, (more about him another time). So I haven’t experienced the ‘Nanny and Granpa’ thing……it was more an Auntie and Uncle thing for me.

This post makes a start to relate the history about my maternal Grandmother’s family, the AINSWORTHs of Chorley, England. Hopefully the topic will also be of particular interest to the present day families descended from them.
To begin then, with some orientation, my Grandmother on the maternal side was Mary Alice AINSWORTH.
Stated to be Mary Alice AINSWORTH - est. between 1895 and 1905 which would put her between 18 & 28 years old. Looks the younger end of that to me. - see’s Mary…and that’s what you call a hat! The title of this post was in fact prompted by my wife’s reaction on first seeing this photo.

The estimated date taken, based on fashion, is maybe somewhere between 1895 and 1905, which would put her between 18 & 28 years old. Looks the younger end of that to me….but I’m no expert in these things. see HERE

My Family Tree website shows our current ancestral line back through Mary to her father, John AINSWORTH. (you will need to register to view details of living individuals), where evidence first suggested that he was born in Leyland, near Chorley, Lancashire in Sept. 1852.

I’m still researching John’s origins and family line going further back. However, we are very fortunate that we still have the Family Bible started by John when he married and this has many entries for the first family that he started in the second half of the 19th century.

Together with photos handed down, I can have a good stab at reconstructing the lives of this past generation from at least his family forward.
Before describing John’s family and descendants in later posts, I first wanted to delve deeper into his ancestors.
(CLICK on the cover to view the Family Pages in the Bible)

To get back further from John, a first clue was the Marriage Banns for his marriage in 1876
These specifically occurred on 6th July 1876 with John claiming age 24. If my maths is right, this would indicate a birth date prior to 6th July 1852.
By that date, the Industrial revolution was well under way with this area sporting industries such as coal mining, cotton mills and brickworks to name just three. As with many families from the area, we can see ours worked as weavers in the cotton trade. John’s mother we learn was Sarah, a ‘single woman’ as defined by the census ‘occupation’.

Postscript Edit:-

Well you live and learn! – in the section below, I describe John’s address as John Street, Coppull (near Chorley). It turns out this was erroneous, thanks to a very diligent fellow researcher, who pointed out there was a John St. in Chorley itself, and this was the correct address. It had in fact been demolished and wasn’t showing up on Google searches.

Here is a clip showing the present day road map for the area concerned in Chorley, superimposed with the old map on which John Street appeared.

And below, the Google Earth view of the same area, with now a furnishing store where the street used to be.

The information below is still local to the area and worthy of keeping.

At the time of his marriage, John is living appropriately enough at 21, John Street, a row of collier’s cottages in Coppull, near Chorley – CLICK for Brief History for more background CLICK here.
These properties, known as 'back to back' houses, are situated in Darlington Street and John Street – (Source: Facebook Group  "Chorley Then And Now")
Heritage Photo Archive & Heritage Image Register: Coppull &emdash; HRS 3679 Coppul, Coilliers' cottages John Street 1975
Collier’s Cottages – John Street, Coppull
According to one writer, “…By 1830 Coppull was a rather unimportant agricultural area of a few cottages, houses and farms, and a small chapel to the east…….”






When John was born in 1852, significant changes were already underway. The single track railway was established from Wigan to Preston in 1838, workers were flooding in and housing was needed.

These are Mill Stone Platt cottages, Chapel Lane, Coppull, c1900. The Printers' Arms pub on Chapel Lane was the local for handloom weavers who worked at Mill Stone Platt cottages – (Source: Facebook Group "Chorley Then And Now")




Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Can’t believe I did this….

So we had booked a nice break for a few days in our motorhome. We had arranged to visit Chatsworth House in Derbyshire for their Christmas ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed display.
Chatsworth was lovely and put us in festive mood.
For accommodation we chose to stay on a nice little farm site in a small village called Old Brampton near Chesterfield.
The next day the sun was out and we decided on a circular 5 mile loop walk, visiting the picturesque village church of St.Peter’s.
This was ‘en route’ to the adjacent Linacre Valley and our perambulations through the peaceful wooded surrounds of the 3 Linacre reservoirs. Just beautiful and rounded off our stay nicely.
Next day we returned home and you might be wondering if this was going to be a post about family history…and you’d be right!
During the weekend that followed, I sorted the photos from our trip and did a bit of re-filing on my large collection of family related documents and photos.
I picked up a few document snippets from my dear late Aunt Cynthia, and was marvelling with Les at the neatness and work that had gone into her family history records and I’m sure you will agree from the clips below. (Oooh….’Middleton’ – wonder if we’re connected!)
IMG_0006IMG_0005Have you spotted it already? When we looked a bit harder we were gob smacked! Not only was Chesterfield plastered across them, but Old Brampton jumped out of the page.
We had literally been walking in my ancestors footsteps, not a care in the world, and hadn’t realised it! We had walked in the grounds of St.Peters, Old Brampton where my 2 x great grandmother had been baptised in 1826, completely un-aware.
Well I studied the documents and photos from our walk with renewed interest. It was like Cynthia had led us to her documents and rapped me across the knuckles for not paying attention. A return visit must be made!
Below is a small typewritten extract of Cynthia’s report about this part of the tree.image I was greatly interested to read again about the origin of Obadiah Roebuck’s name and yes….the methodist connections which play nicely on the recent and continuing series of posts about methodism and our ancestor, the Reverend Thomas Holliday.
Of course all this is on the modern web version of our family tree, but due homage must be paid to the work of our great, late family historian.
Cynthia Clare – Genealogist (1922 – 1999)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Violet Howard Update

Last time I wrote about Violet we had some confusion about the date she died.

Well I received a call from her younger brother Tony the other day and he put me straight that 1941 was definitely wrong. He remembers being told it was about 6 weeks before he was born and also that Violet’s tragic death started his mum off with an early delivery (Tony was born 16 Dec 1940). He believes she was standing sheltering in an alley way when the bomb struck.

When we spoke he reckoned it was 14 Nov 1940. 6 weeks prior to his birth would put it at 4 Nov 1940.

The two websites I quoted in the earlier article have sourced Violet’s death as 5 Nov 1940. Ancestry carries a death index record for Violet ‘Greensel’ (we will get the correct spelling one of these days) in the last quarter of 1940, which is consistent. The question still remains for the family, why the nice new headstone (see photo in earlier article) gives her death as 1941.

I guess at some point we can order a copy of the actual death certificate to finally nail it. Meanwhile, I’m tending towards the Coventry websites having drawn their accurate descriptions about the mass killings caused by the blitz, and the circumstances of Violet’s death, from a pretty reliable source in Coventry civic records. So for now, I’m personally going with 5 Nov 1940.

It’s amazing what happens when you start shaking the tree! Also much to my delight and surprise, Les pulled out a set of photos including more of Violet…see below.


  • The lovely portrait on the left has obviously been hand tinted.
  • The middle one is a puzzle. Who is the baby Violet is holding…it can’t be Tony or Trevor as they were both born some weeks after Violet died, Tony 16 Dec 1940 and Trevor 27 Feb 1941. Any idea from the family?
  • The right hand photo looks to have the same ladies (possibly friends) that appeared in the previous post about Violet.

Has anyone else got any stories or photos of Violet?

Saturday, 29 November 2014

My 'Primitive' Ancestor - Part 3

Part 1 of this series about my ‘Holliday’ ancestral line provided an overview of Thomas Holliday, my 3 x great grandfather and Primitive Methodist preacher.

Part 2 gave a short overview of how Methodism started and developed under John Wesley, who died in 1791.

This third part now focuses on Thomas Holliday and concerns itself with his formative years up to approx.1820, his conversion to the faith and early attempts at preaching. In parallel we will review the on-going developments in Methodism as Thomas was growing up.

1797 – Thomas Holliday - His Early Years

It was into the previously described religious backdrop, 6 years post Wesley that my 3 x Great Grandfather, Thomas HOLLIDAY was born, Labour-in-Vain, Rufford, Nottinghamshire on 5 Sep 1797. I have searched for historical details of this area and found the following two snippets from 2001 :-

“The Labour-in-vain in Bilsthorpe was the name of a farm. The houses
pinpointed……adjacent to the A614, were originally farm workers
cottages. One of my ancestors (Stephen Broome) once lived and worked at that
farm (mid 19th century).The farm was still there at the end of the 19th
century but had disappeared in all but name by the mid 20th century. – (Dennis Farmery)”


Adding to that there are two (or were last time I went there) farms on the
stretch of Mickledale lane I know as Labour-in-vain. One is owned by a guy
called Strawson and is a big concern in the area. The other which is
possibly gone now (I think Strawsons bought it up) is/was owned by a guy
called Chris Storer. – (
Craig Kerry)”

On further searching I discovered a row of cottages called ‘Labour-in-vain’ at this Google Maps/Streetview location.

Thanks to the careful preservation of historical documents and with special thanks to the Englesea Brook Chapel & Museum who have been extremely helpful, we can peruse these extracts from Thomas Holliday’s personal diary about his early years and family (apologies for the poor readability in parts).

Extract from Thomas Holliday's journal - 1821

Extract from Thomas Holliday's journal - 1821 - Part 2

The above provides much needed insight and information about Thomas and his immediate family. For example, this tells us about their move to Aughton, near Rotherham when Thomas was young and also confirms his mother died when he was a boy. I can’t find a record of her death or burial as yet. Joseph, born 1802, is the last child of Mary and John Holliday that we currently have on record. She presumably died not long after leaving a large, grieving family who it seems all pulled together in their faith.

It is also interesting to note Thomas’ father worked for a John Vessey both in Rufford and in Aughton. He seems to have been an important landowner of the period…a name for further research!

Further, Thomas confirms he has 4 brothers and 4 sisters and mentions “…eleven of them in the way to heaven” at the time of writing (1821), although we only have 2 sisters confirmed at present (see family tree). Further research of other family members would be most welcome.

1799 - Hugh Bourne – ‘Father’ of Primitive Methodism

To backtrack to 1799, two years following on from Thomas’ birth, the Methodist movement was in some turmoil and this was the year a young 27 year old English, north Staffordshire wheelwright, Hugh BOURNE, began on his path of gospel preaching. Hugh’s destiny would see him as a prime driver and ‘Father’ of the Primitive Methodist movement for the next 50 years.

Methodist_camp_meeting_(1819_engraving) (1)The start of the century saw an American religious revival sweeping the country. ‘Camp’ meetings were held lasting several days with preachers making highly charged, emotional expressions of faith. Some of these preachers were highly celebrated and perhaps one of the more famous ones was Lorenzo ‘Crazy’ Dow.

He also came to England to promote his style of religious fervour and in so doing met Hugh Bourne.

1807 – The First English ‘Camp’ Style Meeting at Mow Cop

imageThe seed of Camp meetings had been sown and grew in Bourne’s mind as a powerful technique and the first one held at Mow Cop in 1807. Although a low key, one day affair compared to the big American style meetings, it was sufficient to upset and was ‘the last straw’ for the established Wesleyan Methodists who by now were the main Methodist movement in England. They saw the leaders of these meetings and their followers as renegade religious ‘Zealots’ and sought to disentangle themselves by denouncing and forcibly expelling members sympathetic to that style. They even tried to prevent the meeting branding it as ‘highly improper for England’.

These rejected groups formed different Methodist denominations, Hugh Bourne a key leader amongst them. They all had in common the feeling that the Wesleyan Methodists were now too establishment and respectable, not representing the wider, working classes of society and they thus formed the ‘Primitive Methodist Connexion’ which would encourage the old fire of the early revivalist years and reach out into the community. They were also to be widely known by the terms ‘Camp Meeting Methodists’ and latterly as ‘Ranters’ because of their fervent preaching.

(see )

1808 – William Clowes (1780-1851)

imageAt this point we must introduce William CLOWES, a potter by trade who had entered the Wesleyan Church as a new convert in 1805, after a rather colourful, mis-spent youth. He began preaching from 1808. He took up with Bourne and others to emerge as a founding member of the Primitive Methodists and a charismatic and successful preacher, especially in the north of England where his following were known as ‘Clowesites’. His journals are valuable social history material.

(see also


1810 – William Clowes expelled from the Wesleyan Methodists

However, by attending the Mow Cop and other camp meetings and fraternising too much it seems with Hugh Bourne and Co., he was promptly removed from membership of the Wesleyans in 1810 for much the same reasons as Bourne's exclusion.

1812 – The Primitive Methodists are formed

On February 12, 1812, the Camp Meeting Methodists and the Clowesites coalesced into one body, taking the name Primitive Methodists. Emphasis on the camp meeting as a channel of evangelism was unquestioned.

(To be continued in Part 4…)