A wonderful gathering of the Alley Clan

Yesterday, at The Kings Arms, a lovely old pub in Swindon, there was a gathering of more than 30 descendants of Frederick ALLEY and Elizabeth ALLEY née GOULD, my great great grandparents and their spouses. Many thanks to my second cousin, Wendy BURROWS and third cousin, Christine PRICE and Fran BEVAN, a wonderful genealogist who linked me into the ALLEY family when I first started my journey to see where I came from after discovering that I was adopted. These three ladies organised the day for us.

Who are all these people & where do they fit in our tree?

The room was a buzz of noise. Everyone was very busy chatting, catching up with old friends or making new connections and establishing how we were related. I have to admit that I cannot remember the names of all those people or place them in the tree. Thank goodness we will meet with Wendy in Swindon later in the week and she will sort us out.

My grandparents were Frederick Ernest ALLEY and Rose YORK. They had 5 children and descendants of three out of the five were here. William Frederick was the eldest and Kay PROSSER is his granddaughter. George was the second son and Colin McMurdy is his grandson. Their third child was Louisa and as far as we know she never married or had children. Then came my father, Sidney Herbert who is Georgina’s grandfather as her Dad George was my big brother. Last was Grace but Kirsty JUDD, her great granddaughter was unable to be with us.

Christine PRICE, David EDELMAN and Colin MCMURDY

After lunch, we went to the Radnor Street Cemetery where Frederick ALLEY, Elizabeth GOULD and their son Edgar Gould ALLEY are buried in the one plot, Section C, number 3526. Fran had researched and prepared her tour well, of course, as she writes a wonderful blog about the cemetery, nearly every day. The cemetery was created for the non-conformists and as Frederick and his family were very involved in the Baptist Church, this was where they were buried. Andy BINKS joined us to show us the on-site chapel where the services took place.

Frederick and Elizabeth had 18 children. Sadly 7 of them died as babies and three are buried in this cemetery. There are no records of where they were buried so Fran suggests that they would have been in a massed grave. So sad! How would you cope with that?

The plot where Frederick, Elizabeth & Edgar are buried. Wendy had placed flowers on it on Friday.

Frederick’s brother, George Richman ALLEY, had seven daughters and one son. Those ALLEY women were all amazing women, living to great ages and achieving much. Fran is particularly excited by the story of Emma Louise HULL née ALLEY who was a suffragette campaigning for the right for women to vote. She had three short spells in jail, even though she was not a militant campaigner.

Emma Louisa HULL née ALLEY
The chapel and its bell tower. The bell would have been rung for funerals
The grave of George Richman ALLEY

We all had a wonderful day, a simple dinner at home and I was early to bed. I’d like my body clock to adjust a bit better so I could stay up later and sleep past 4:30. Maybe tonight?

Beautiful Bath

Our second day here in Freshford began with bacon & eggs for breakfast. These had been left for us by our landlords. That depleted our food stores so it was off to the beautiful farm shop run by volunteers, Galleries Shop & Cafe, about 3 miles away. Poor Ben had to cope with a few back seat drivers whilst driving down really narrow lanes in an unfamiliar 7 seater Suzuki with clunky gears. He managed very well! I was very happy that I was not the driver.

We stocked up on necessities and lovely fresh fruit & veg. I can’t wait to get into the strawberries at breakfast.

We decided we’d like to go into Bath so we caught the train. The station is only a couple of hundred metres down hill so it was an easy walk & a 10 min ride into town. I have been having trouble with the roaming on my phone so David and I hurried off to the Apple store where 2 genii checked it over. I had it set up properly but they couldn’t find out why I’m not receiving texts or emails when I’m out and about. Very annoying! So we’re having to rely on Messenger to keep in touch and arrange meeting points. I’ve also been having trouble with sore gums where my dentures were rubbing ( my dentist at home interfered with them during my recent check-up). Luckily I found a lovely dentist who fixed them for me.

Guess who was happy to meet up with everyone after the dentist! I really enjoyed my first pint of the trip.

Bath is a beautiful city. David and I spent a few days exploring it in 2007 on our first trip to the UK so I wasn’t too upset that I spent my time at Apple and the dentist. Here’s a few pics

Beautiful butterfly decorations just near the station.

At home, we had a relaxing time chatting and then George cooked us up a lovely dinner with our fresh vegetables which was a fitting end to a good day.

Each day we have ridden on a Great Western Railway (GWR) train which has been quite special. My great grandfather, Frederick ALLEY and his wife, Elizabeth GOULD, moved to Swindon about 1870 and Frederick worked at GWR. Many of their sons did apprenticeships at GWR.

I guess that’s where this trip began!

Travelling again

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged and even longer since we’ve been out of Australia but over the last couple of days we have safely, but wearily, travelled to the UK and we are now very comfortably settled into our home for the week in Freshford, a beautiful little village in Somerset. It’s just over the border from Wiltshire; which is why we are here.

Also with us are my Canadian cousin Kay & her husband Ben and my niece, Georgina (George as she likes to be called) and her husband Graeme from Geelong in Australia. They are all from a ‘Victoria’, just not the same one.

So why are we here? We three women are all descendants of Frederick Ernest ALLEY and Rose YORK and we have traced the ALLEY and YORK families back to somewhere around 1750 in Wiltshire. We are on a pilgrimage to go back in time and to visit the places where they lived and died. More of that in the following days.

George, Graeme, David & I travelled by train from Paddington to Bath Spa on the Bristol line on the Great Western Line through Swindon which was very relevant to our current search. There we met up with Kay & Ben and since our hire car wasn’t ready we caught taxis to our home for the week.

We have a delightful 6 bed home in Freshford and the whole area is so pretty. Here are the Victorians chatting (the men about football and the women sharing family pics) meanwhile David was catching up on the news from home

This is “The Freshford Inn” where we had a refreshing ale and a delcious dinner last night. David and I were very weary so we came home to bed (only 200m or so but very steep) and left the others to party.

It promises to be a wonderful week and we are all looking forward to tomorrow when we meet some of our relatives who still live in England. What fun!

The COUCH family from Port Isaac

It’s taken me months and months to write the story of my Port Isaac family because I’ve been sidetracked by so many deviations. It has been a lot of fun and has kept me occupied through Covid but I was determined to complete the story in 2020. The family connections are quite complicated but I’ve loved discovering and documenting so much information about the COUCH family. There is much more that I have not included here. I could have written a whole book, I reckon but I’ve focussed on the occupations of this intrepid family of seafarers. I hope you find it interesting!

It is now July 4 and I have made a couple of corrections to my story, thanks to my cousin Beryl and to Geoff Provis so I will attach the updated document.

So here it is:

“The Things We Cannot Say”

I’ve been very lax with my blogging lately but I’ve just read this great novel by Kelly Rimmer, an Australian author & I want to spread the word about what a great read it was. The story begins with childhood sweethearts, Alina & Tomasz, in rural Poland just before WWII. We then meet Alice, in America in 2019. Alice & her husband have two children, Pascale, a brilliant 10 year old, & Eddie who is on the Autism Spectrum.. Alice loves her grandmother, Hanna, a great deal but Hannah is not expected to live long.

This is a mystery, a love story, a family history story……. it was just a great read. I didn’t want to put it down and I won’t tell you anymore as I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Another book I’ve really enjoyed lately was “Foreign Correspondence” by Geraldine Brooks, another Australian author. This is a memoir and begins with Geraldine sharing the joy she received from having international pen friends when she was young. I know just what she means as I corresponded with teenagers in England, Brazil, South Africa and Vietnam & I loved receiving those letters. Geraldine then went on to become a foreign correspondent and the memoir lets us see what life was like. It was a very enjoyable read.

I’ve been busy for some time now researching my Couch ancestors from Port Isaac in Cornwall so I can write their stories. My GG Grandparents, Elizabeth Couch & her husband, Isaac Hawker migrated to Melbourne Australia in 1862. It’s an interesting journey I’m on. I think I’m related to nearly every one of the original families from Port Isaac, at least by marriage. I’ve read a couple of books as part of my research & they include photos of and stories about my relatives. Both of these books are by Geoff Provis (I’m even related to Geoff by marriage). The books are “The Fishermen of Port Isaac” and “The Seafarers of Port Isaac”.

It’s a very strange world at the moment. I’m very lucky that I can fill my days with reading wonderful stories, researching the story of my family and playing bridge online. It was very difficult when we couldn’t see the grandkids but the easing of restrictions has made life more pleasant.

My grandfather and his brother

It has been a long time since I’ve published a post but I’ve been working very hard researching and writing the story of my grandfather, Seymour John Harrison, and his big brother, Edward. At times I’ve stalled and had to take a break but being isolated at home has meant I’ve had no excuse so here is their story. I really wrote it for me as I needed to understand more about my family but I hope you enjoy reading it too. If you do, that will be a bonus for me.

Enjoy!

Telstra and the NBN

If you’re in Australia, you will probably understand my frustration at the moment. The government decided to install a wonderful new National Broadband Network which would give us the most wonderful fast internet across the country.

It has cost the country a fortune and has been nothing but a headache to anyone who has been forced to instal it.

Our telecommunications provider is Telstra. The NBN technician came on time on the 9th October as organised previously and he was very helpful. He stayed while we set up the new modem which Telstra had previously sent us and then we tried to connect. Surprise! Surprise! Nothing happened. We have no internet.

I rang the Telstra support number as I have done at least 7 times since, each time reaching a call centre in India. Each time I have been told that it would be fixed within 24 to 48 hours and that they would add data to my mobile phone so that I could access the internet that way. It certainly hasn’t been fixed (today is 18th October) and I haven’t had extra data put on my phone as they said. They have updated my monthly allowance considerably, at least. So we have been hotspotting our iPads and the laptop but I can’t seem to work out how to use my printer and the AppleTV.

I have been asking to speak to the supervisor but they are always busy. Today I was told that they would call me back in an hour but that hasn’t happened. I am told that we have a case manager and I have asked to speak to them but I’m told that they won’t talk to me. I’ve asked for an update and am told that the advice that it would be fixed in 24 or 48 hours is the update. When I ask why it takes so long I am told something has gone missing. What has gone missing? Can they replace the missing thing? Do we need a new modem? What is going on?

It is so annoying. We are long time customers of Telstra. We even have shares in Telstra!

Come on Telstra. Lift your game. This is not good enough. At least talk to us and tell us what the issues are.