As we grow up our parents tell us not to talk to strangers, and although when we are children this is an important safety measure. I believe this is not a trait we should keep into adulthood. You can have truly amazing moments in life if you open the doors and let people enter your life, they may start out strangers but then as you get to know them things change and you may have an incredible experience like the one I had the pleasure of recently, and find out they aren’t really strangers at all!
I was lucky enough to have had the amazing experience of meeting a sweet and kind old lady by the name of Eileen (I don’t want to give her full name for privacy, family contact me personally for details). In general conversation she found out my family were local to the area and we got talking about who they were. I told her who my grandparents were and she asked enquiringly “Did he have a brother by the name of Rex and a sisters named Dawn and Betty?” I replied a little shocked “Yes!”. We continued to chat and we confirmed that we were talking about the same person! She revealed she used to babysit my grandfather when he was a toddler! I had met my grandfathers babysitter! This was truly a very emotional experience which bought me to tears 11 years after his passing.
My grandfather, Neil Crouch was one of the most amazing, kind, caring and inspiring men I had ever known. So when he passed away in 2002 when i was only 17 , I was absolutely devastated, as was our entire family. The overwhelming out-poor of love and support received from his many friends and extended family, from across the whole of Australia was so very appreciated, and it serves as a testament of how loved he was. So you can imagine my emotional state while talking to Eileen about my grandfather who had passed away from cancer many years ago.
Eileen proceeded to tell me about how adorable he was as a baby, and how she used to get excited when she saw his mum coming down the road on their horse and cart (they both lived on farms outside a small regional town in New South Wales, but relatively close to each other). Her eyes lit up as she explained how huge the mare they had was, and how it was almost put down because none of the horse handlers could keep her under control, and everyone kept clear of her stall in the stables. However apparently his mother, my great grandmother Kathleen Crouch who was the tiniest woman around had complete control of her, and with her the huge mare was extremely well behaved and was very loyal to it’s family. She said my great grandmother although she was a very small lady in size, she was a very strong and proud woman, who easily handled this “uncontrollable” mare as well as 4 young children everyday. She went on telling me many stories of him, his siblings and mother when he was merely a baby & toddler!
This was such a rewarding experience, and when I got home I immediately called my mum (Bev, our Ancestry Researcher) about what I had just heard about her father. She immediately broke down in tears and thanked me. Finding out these kinds of family stories are more emotional than you expect them to be, you just need to watch an episode or two of “who do you think you are?” to realise the potential for finding out some fantastic details about your family’s history, and it’s absolutely worth it!
Open those doors and be kind! It will get you further in life than being secluded and withdrawn, life will be so much more fulfilling!
You never know who you may meet, or what you might find out about others or even yourself or your family, you never know when strangers aren’t really strangers at all!
We have created a unique FREE help section for those of you looking to do your own genealogy research! We will add to this section on a regular basis getting more in depth as time goes on. See our menu marked Free Help! marked above or get straight to our first post we have just completed on getting started!
I myself recently found out that I am a descendant of many lords and ladies, and a King of Scotland!
Now isn’t that a great story to tell at any social function or family gathering!?
What family stories will you have to tell?
Anyway, signing off for now,
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So apparently mum is so wrapped up in her researching she says i should write the twins story for her lol! But she did put together a couple of pictures for it 🙂 I’m sorry i don’t tell it as well as mum does but here goes…
It begins sadly with a young man by the name of Daniel Bernard Matthews born May 17 1842 (my great great great great uncle), was the 5th of 9 children, but around the time Daniel turned 10 years old, his dad passed away. Only one year later his mother remarried, soon after this the new husband claimed the three youngest children and raised them as his own, but all of the older children were apparently kicked out of their home and forced to make their own way in life. Including Daniel who would have been in his very early teens at this stage. Daniel fell in with a bad crowd and was traveling with a known criminal bush ranger by the name of Laurence Cummins, and Daniel went by then went by the name “Flash Dan”. These 2 got themselves into a lot of trouble over a lot of years. Theft of famous racehorses and shoot-outs with local law 😦 As always they were eventually captured and were sentenced to 15 years in prison.
After his early release he met Susannah Buckman (shown left) and her twin sister Mary Buckman. Mary already had a child to another man and was apparently divorced, but he chose to marry Mary out of the twins anyway. But this didn’t stop him! Now maybe the twins were identical, looked similar or it was just he loved them both, whichever the case may be in early 1874 both of the twin sisters gave birth to a little girl each to Daniel and they even both named their daughters Mary. Popular name back then obviously lol. Anyway he continued to father another 16 children with the twin sisters! That’s a whooooole lot of kids right there! They had 2 old wooden shacks side by side in the Abercrombie River area in central NSW Australia, (We have a pic somewhere ill add it when we find it) so Daniel apparently provided for both families! That would have been a bloody hard task I’d say! WOW! He died in 1897 at age 54. 4 years later Susannah married anther man but Mary never did. Check out this pic below of the kids and their birth dates! He was one busy man!
A quick disclaimer here…The above information has been gained from official records, publications on bush rangers, and family folklore. An earlier record of Daniel’s history by Judith Matthews of Golspie is acknowledged as a source, as is Max Matthews compilation written in 1997, and my mum Beverley Bourke. The accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed, and no malice or hurt to any person, living or dead, is intended.
So there you have it! Apparently the sisters were into right into sharing… but they shared everything! Including their husband! Who said polygamy wasn’t practiced in Australia! Ohhh goodness….. You can’t say history isn’t interesting, right? hahahahahaha
Plenty more family stories like this however!
Anyway, signing off for now,
WOW! Finally have our website and blog up and running! For years I’ve been hearing about my mum’s many discoveries during her research of our family history and some of them would absolutely shock you! Trust me! Well you won’t need to just trust me, I’ll be telling you about them on this blog over time, it’s definitely worth the read for the entertainment value alone!
As time went on she loved it so much, you can see it in her face and hear it in her voice when she starts talking about her finds! So she started searching her friends family trees and then their friends family trees and helping them discover their family stories, but she had been doing it for free! That’s how much she loves it! She’s spent so much time over the years not only teaching herself how to do this kind of research and looking up everything freely available but that wasn’t enough so she is signing up to undertake her Diploma in Family Historical Studies and intends to join the AAGRA (Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents Inc) and SAG (Society of Australian Genealogists). But enough of the boring stuff. I convinced her that she should look into starting her own business and here we are, starting a family business together! Along with my beautiful and very intelligent little sister Katrina who is a Graduate Accountant from the University of Wollongong, who will be doing all of the finance stuff. I’ll be handling all the techie stuff and Mum will be able to do what she loves the most! Ancestry research!