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Title: G - Geonealogy
Tags: History
Blog Entry: G – Geonealogy----- As far back as I can remember I have always been interested in the lives of my ancestors on both sides of the family plus local History and especially of the early Polish settlers to this area.  I am a direct descendant of these early settlers…My Maternal G. G.  Grandfather along with his wife and two children, migrated here from Poland in 1848 being amongst the first early settlers to this colony. Then in 1855 and 1856, three of my Paternal G. Great uncles also migrated to South Australia from Poland to settle here in the Valley in an area known as ‘Polish Hill River’ (PHR). The Poles that settled in PHR were the largest group to migrate to Australia during the 1880’s. During my research I discovered that most of these Poles came from the same area in Poland and were related in some way which continued to occur after they settled here. It was comforting to learn of this relationship to Poland as it meant that they were not coming to a strange unknown world alone but would be with people that they already knew, could speak the same language and had the same customs. During the Years as the families of these Poles increased and the boys/men grew older and they themselves married there was not enough available land for all of them to purchase so many went North and settled there as although the land was not as productive they could purchase it more cheaply thus being able to buy larger holdings. My Paternal Grandparents Migrated in 1878. Gran was the niece of the three brothers who migrated in 1855-56.    I have through old Newspapers traced the route of the Barque/ship that they came out on. The journey from Hamburg to Port Adelaide took just on 4 months and on their arrival it was placed in quarantine over two weeks because several of the passengers had Diphtheria and passengers were not allowed on shore until everyone was cleared of the disease. From there they had to make the journey of close on 80 miles overland to reach their destination. The story is told that a few of the local Poles went by wagons to Port Adelaide to collect all the polish migrants that were aboard and bring them back to the Valley. One can imagine how rough, long and awe inspiring this journey must have been to these people, travelling on rough rutted country tracks through scrubland. They would have had to sleep out for several nights before reaching the Valley. Gran’s father remained in Poland. I have no idea if she ever had contact with her Father or siblings after she migrated although I have a vague memory of once hearing her talk about a sister…After researching both her and Grandfather’s history I discovered that Gran’s Mother died when she was 5 years old and her father remarried and had more children which means that I would have relations living in Poland today.    It was my dream to visit Poland but alas not meant to be so will never get to meet them.  Gran and Grandfather had 11 children all born here. There were six boys and five girls.   My father was the 7 th in the family.  Sadly four of their sons died all before the age of 20 years. Two at a very young age (5 weeks and 7 years)….The other two died at the ages of 17 and 19 years after contracting Typhoid Fever whilst working in the Mines at Broken Hill in New South Wales. This left just two boys in the family. My Father, and his older brother.   My Uncle although Married, had no children however my father produced seven of which I am the youngest. Although we know that my mother’s maternal side of the family came from Poland and we have all their history, very little is known about her father who she said came from Glasgow in Scotland.  Mum’s Mother died when she was 7 years old and her father died from an accident when she was 15 years. She had a younger sister and one older brother. After the death of her mother, both my mother and Auntie were cared for by the Sister’s at the Convent in the town where they then lived…Another brother died as an infant hence reason why little is known about her father. He had a common Scottish name and no records can be found although it’s quite possible with such a common name the records are there but to define which is his is extremely difficult. I have treasured memories of my Paternal Grandmother who had a wicked sense of humour. A classic example was in her last few years she came to live with us on the farm and this particular day her eldest daughter and family from Broken Hill were visiting us and Gran and I were sitting on the ‘Miners Couch’ on the front Veranda.  Gran run off a sentence in polish and told me to repeat it.   This I did until she was satisfied I could say it fluently then she told me to go and see Auntie Toni and repeat the sentence to her. Not knowing the language or knowing what it was I was saying I went into the kitchen where my Auntie was, and repeated the sentence that Gran had told me….. Auntie Toni shook her head and said….. Do you know what you have just said?    I replied no…. She said who told you to say this?  I told her it was Gran…She gave me a Hug and laughingly said ‘You have just told me that ‘I’m a silly old goat” !!!!. ..At that time I was about 10 years old….Gran was 84 years when I was born but was a very fit lady as most of those Polish women were. Her mind was brilliant. Each Sunday we would go to visit her in the nearby Village where she lived. (Grandfather died from an accident in 1913 ) Often on these visits,  Gran would take me by the hand and we would go into her bedroom where she had a miniature chest on her Dressing Table and in it she kept pretty Handkerchiefs that were given to her. She would pick one out and give it to me. Not sure why she did this as I was the only child that she gave anything too.  Each Easter My Auntie’s would give her large Chocolate shaped Rabbits or Chickens that she never opened but placed them on shelves in her Dining Room. Whenever we visited her all of us kids when walking through the room and thinking no-one was looking would peel back a little of the wrapping and break a very small amount off. It was only when I was in my 40’s that an Aunt told me they knew we were doing this but never chastised us as we were so careful not to do too much damage. Gran lived until the grand old age of 97 years. I only wish that when she was alive I was older and could have asked her all about her life in Poland before she migrated and of her early years in this new land which became her home.