Members Family History's


Collier Family - Pearl Collins (1010)

My father said the events of the COLLIER side of his family all happened in Hartlepoole, County Durham. As he was 12 years old when his father died and I was 17 when my father died, there obviously was little time for events within the family to be questioned and interpreted. It would seem that everything happened other than at Hartlepoole!

The story as researched so far starts at St. Cuthbert's Parish, Darlington. William 14:22 7/01/04 BULMER/BULMAN was born on 11 May (and baptised on 11 June) 1806/1807, the first son of John BULMER, chaise driver and native of Smeaton, Yorkshire, and his wife Ann CUNDELL of Croft, Yorkshire. Next we believe William BULMER exchanged vows with Ann WETHERELL on 10th July 1831 at Walworth Castle, Heighington. William's occupation was a weaver. They had a daughter Jane whom they brought to the Chapelry of Brompton by Northallerton in Yorkshire for baptism on 16th January 1832.

We next find Jane as an adult exchanging vows on Christmas Day 1855 with John COLLIER, a resident of Crook, County Durham. John's father is Joseph and gives his occupation as labourer, whilst John himself is a shoemaker. Two sons were born to the marriage, the elder William in the September quarter of 1856 at Aukland, Durham and his brother Joseph in the March quarter of 1858.

In the 1881 census of Durham we find William and Joseph both unmarried and aged 25 and 23 years respectively. William, born in Darlington and Joseph, born in Aycliffe, staying with their mother's parents William, 74, and Mary Ann BULMAN, 70, who were themselves born in Darlington and Aycliffe. You will note that at this time their name is BULMAN.

We do have bits of several letters written by Joseph COLLIER and his wife Mary, dated 1880's, to brother William COLLIER in Australia. Joseph and Mary had a daughter born on the 2nd August 1889 at Framwellgate. Other addresses are Steel Yard, Low Chair, Chester le Street and Newcastle-on-Tyne.

To most Australians BULMER/BULMAN/BALMER are uncommon names but it seems a most common name around County Durham! More's the pity! Probably the most frustrating thing to me is not knowing the geography of the's difficult to picture how far towns are from one another by looking at an atlas, or which town interacts with which.

All the other detail I can recall my father sharing has been absolutely accurate. I would love to find just one person who is related to any of the above families!

Sandland - Pearl Collins (1010)

As a child I had always wanted to know more of the events surrounding the death of my maternal grandmother Mary SANDLAND. She had died in childbirth in 1908. Resource material in the form of hundreds of letters saved by her single sister Emma STAVELY not only provided details of the circumstances but proved to be a commentary on life from the period when their father David STAVELY left Northern Ireland in 1853 to Emma's death in 1951 in Maryborough, Central Victorian Goldfields. Relatives in Canada, New Zealand, all around Victoria, Australia, and Emma's life long friend Nell TROON wrote copiously and all letters were stored in shoe boxes, still in their envelopes with the stamps removed. Every item in three sea chests from the last century found it's place in the jigsaw. Bankruptcy documents, an uncashed cheque for three hundred pounds, dozens of newspaper clippings, green stone from New Zealand, wedding and Christening gowns, photos - many unlabeled - and paintings on tin plates contributed to the picture.

I found that Emma's sisters in law had run the hotel "Granite Rock" at Caralulup in the Victorian goldfields with a licence from 1880 until 1940. I also found that my parents had gone to Ballarat for their honeymoon in 1924 and visited Emma on the return trip to Melbourne. But the best find? The letter grandfather wrote to Emma on the death of his beloved wife Mary, which answered my childhood question! Mary had died of TB complicated by childbirth.

Two of the most valuable tools of research were reinforced, that is, newspapers and being a member of a group. Newspapers of the day often provided the commentary to enhance the story, with members of the Echuca - Moama Family History Group suggesting where next to look and or the significance of a piece of the jigsaw. Memories are often distorted and so some valuable lessons learned during this research included dating everything I wrote a note about, and labelling photos with names and dates. Not like the photo I found labelled "No need to say who this is" !

A bonus of Emma's hoarding was that I found previously unknown (to me) STAVELY cousins and lots of possible holiday locations! Emma once said "No one, but no one will forget the STAVELY family!"

"Dear Aunt Emma", 212 pages A4, was published in 1993 and is available at Aus$20 plus postage. The book weighs just under 1 kilogram.


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