Last week I shared a blog post with you, written by my cousin John Herbert, about our connection with the Federal Hotel in Fremantle and the reunion of our first cousins for the very first time. Here’s a story of how that come about?
Family history (genealogy) is a wonderful thing, although it can sometimes take a long time to make family connections, then when they do happen, they’re all the more special.
Although, those who know me, know that I have been doing my family history for well over 30 years and have been involved with many reunions on my father’s side, the Cripps’.
My mother’s brother, my Uncle Ray had started the Herbert research many many years ago and now his son John has taken up the challenge. It was Uncle Ray who got me interested in knowing more about his mother, my grandmother’s family the Caddy’s, Carson’s and Hollingworth’s.
However, for one reason or another, we have not had any reunions on my mother’s side of the family. Probably too, because she died nearly 30 years ago a long time before any of her older brother’s.
There was a large age gap between my mother, Dulcie Patricia Herbert, known as Patsy, and her eldest brothers, Jim and Newton. They were 15 and 17 years older, while the youngest, Raymond is 3 years younger. Why the big gap? Well, we don’t know and there’s no one to ask.
Our grandparents were married in Perth, in 1910. Grandfather, James Herbert was in the railways and was stationed at Mokine and Beverly in the south east of Western Australia where he most probably met our grandmother, Constance Annie Caddy as she was living in Northam at this time. James was transferred to Albany where the eldest son, Jim was born, followed by Newton two years later.
The Daily News newspaper, dated 17 November 1915, wrote of our grandparents move from Albany to the city then on 11 September 1932, The Sunday Times had written in their social column that Mr and Mrs Herbert had left for Geraldton the previous week.
During that time from 1915 to 1932, the family lived in Princess Road, Claremont, a suburb of Perth, where my mother and Uncle Ray were born. We found out recently, that the hospital where my mother was born, on Goldsmith Street, Claremont, is the same street Uncle Newton and his family lived after he was married.
By the time my mother was born in 1928, Jim and Newton had gone off to Guildford Grammar College and later, university.
When the family moved to Geraldton, Patsy would have been 4 and Raymond 2. They grew up in Geraldton, living first near the railway station on Eleanor Street, then when grandfather passed away in 1943, our grandmother bought into a shop on the same street and lived behind it. You can read a sad story about that time here. Eventually moving to 30 Snowden Street. Patsy and Ray were the best of friends and I’m sure when Ray joined the Navy in 1948, he would have been sorely missed. He was on a ship and was heading home on the troop train, coming across the Nullarbor, that took 7 days to make the crossing, he could not make it home in time for Patsy and Charlie Cripps’ wedding on July 4, 1949. Mum’s eldest brother Jim, gave her away.
Our family did keep in contact with each of the brothers over the years, but never together at the same time. I have memories of visiting Uncle Jim and Aunty Flo in Fremantle and to Uncle Newton and Mollie’s home in Claremont and in later years, Bob and I visited Uncle Ray and Aunty Elwyn in Mandurah.
Two of my cousins belong to the family history site My Heritage, while I have mine mostly on Ancestry and some on Find My Past and Family Search. I do have a small tree on My Heritage with about 500 people in it. However, MH contacted me and said it was over the limit for the free account and I’d have to subscribe. Rather than subscribe to another family history site, I decided to take my tree down and delete my account. I’m a firm believer in having a tree on these sites, as they are a great way to make family connections. Many don’t have them made public, but I can’t see the problem with that as they’re not just my family, my cousins belong to them too!
Right about the time when I was deleting the My Heritage account, was when I found out that two of my cousins had found each other through their trees on the site! Oh my!
So it came as a surprise at the recent reunion, that none of my cousins had met each other before, although I had met them all at different times. It was great to make those connections again and some of us share the love of our family history and have been swapping photographs and information ever since. As my cousin John said, it’s like we’ve all known each other forever as everyone just clicked and got on so well. No one was a stranger.
So thankfully, through the family tree on My Heritage, Uncle Ray and Uncle Newton’s families made a connection and arranged to meet and organised the get together at the Federal Hotel in Fremantle, which was built for our great grandfather, James Albert Herbert.
We have promised not to let time get so far away in future and to meet up at least once a year.