Sunday, 31 August 2008

Reading, Writing and Ranting

Reading, Writing and Ranting


I had no idea that my there was Italian roots in my background, until my family research on my mother's side led to this discovery. Now with the older family members passed on, I may never know the details of why my grandfather, BENEDETTO GARGARO migrated to Wales.
It is known that in the mid 18th century, Italian rural society went through major changes. These were a growth in rural population outstripping resources, rising food prices and by the turn of the century the impact on the "stagnant rural life" of the occupation forces of Napoleon's revolutionary armies. Most commentators at that time thought that the increase in migration would be a short term phenomena. The North of Italy had started the process of industrialization which was supposed to absorb people from the land when times got hard. Many other factors also contributed and by the 1870's the main regional origins of Italian emigration to Britain were the valleys of Parma in the north, and the Liri Valley, half way between Rome and Naples. A railway network had been started by this time and this helped the people from the Liri valley to migrate to the North of Italy, and then onto Britain.
The people from Parma were predominately organ grinders, while the Neapolitans from the Liri Valley (now under Lazio) made ice cream.
(these details obtained from the web site of the Anglo-Italian Family History Society).

Benedetto's place of birth is not known, but may have been Naples. My only reason for thinking this is that he was an Ice Cream vendor for many years (as evidenced by the Census returns). His birth place on the returns is only shown as Italy (Italian Subject) - how much easier if a town had been noted as well).

I know from his marriage certificate that his father was Joseph Gargaro and that 2 of Benedetto's siblings also came to Wales. The 1901 Census shows that Domenico (aged 40) and Mary (aged 36) were with the family as that time.
Mary was married to Joseph DI COBELLIS, and they had a daughter Teresa (aged 5).

When and how Benedetto came to Wales is unknown at this stage. He was born about 1857, and on 29th Sept 1885, he married Mary Ann BARRY in Cardiff Wales.
Mary Ann was 15years old at the time. They had 9 children:

Johanna born 1903
Rosina born 7 June 1886 (my maternal gt. grandmother)
Joseph born 1888
Mary born 25 May 1890
Samuel born 1 Dec 1892
Richard James born 30 apr 1894
Ellen Mafeking born 1900
Catherine Antonia born 1906
Gelardo Alberto born 1897

Rosina married George Watson on the 26 December 1906 in Cardiff Wales, and after a few years discovered that George was already married. She must have been devasted as the family were devout Catholics, and this may have been the reason that she migrated to Australia, no doubt pregnant at the time. My grandfather, George Joseph Watson was born in Sydney 19th January 1911, and the birth certificate shows the father's name as George Watson, Labourer at the Fitzroy Docks Cardiff, supposedly 27 years of age and born in Dublin Ireland.

Rosina moved to Brisbane, when I don't know, because on the 4th April 1920 she married David Henry SMITH, using the name Rosina GARGARO, and having the occupation of Spinster. The marriage took place at the Mission Hall, Leichhardt Street, Fortitude Valley. When I showed the certificate to my mother, she couldn't understand why the marriage took place at the City Mission, but now that we are aware of more of the facts, can understand that Rosina felt that she could not be married in the Catholic church because of her first "marriage".
My grandfather was the only child born to Rosina, and never spoke of any family background till the day he died.
The life of Rosina came to an end on 27th November 1964.

Other siblings also migrated to Australia:

Ellen married Richard Hartley 27 Dec 1921 in Cardiff and they migrated to Australia in 1924 with their daughter Rosena Maria.

Richard James was the other sibling who came and his is another story in itself.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of Benedetto, but there is a small photo of Mary Ann with her son-in-law Bill Partridge (Joan's (Johanna) husband).
Having trouble uploading this, and will try in another post.

Friday, 29 August 2008


I am so glad that I decided to start inputting family details onto the Australian Ancestry site, as a contact that I had lost touch with has sent me an email.
The lady is a distant cousin, and maybe between the two of us we can delve further into our Cowley family background.
Both of us have not been able to locate a marriage for David and Catherine - maybe David used another christian name; or else they never married!!

David was the son of JOHN COWLEY and JANE ROBERTS, who were born in Ireland and migrated to England. All of their children were born in England, and from the Census records I believe the children were:

Jane born abt 1858 Liverpool
Elizabeth born abt 1859 Chorlton
John born abt 1861 Liverpool
Catherine born abt 1864 Liverpool
Alfred Henry born abt 1868 Chorlton (this is my link)
David born 1 Jan 1871 6 Broughton Street Manchester - died 4 May 1897 2 Corinth Street Harpurhey
Matthew bjorn abt 1874 Manchester (my distant cousin's link).

I know that John Cowley married Mary LEYLAND 24 Aug 1884 at Christ Church, Bradford/Beswick Lancaster (Mary born abt 1864 and her father was William Leyland).

From the Census they had 3 children:

John W born abt 1885 Pendleton Manchester
Florence born abt 1888 Harpurhey Manchester
Helena born abt 1890 Harpurhey

Alfred Henry(my gt. grandfather) married Elizabeth Ann SHAWCROSS 16 august 1891 at St Edmunds Church, Newton Prestwich Manchester.

Their children were:

Alfred born 2 Jan 1893 Swinton Manchester (my paternal grandfather)
(Ann)Agnes born abt 1895 Manchester
James born 14 July 1899 92 Carisbrook Street Harpurhey.

Matthew Cowley married Maria Fielding (born abt 1875 Blackrod Lancashire)

The 1901 Census shows Matthew, Maria and daughter Elizabeth living at West Derby Lancashire. Elizabeth was 2 years old and Matthew's occupation is shown as Steam Engine Fitter. The family went to live in Montreal Canada, and I wonder if other children were born in Canada?

Friday, 22 August 2008

Medieval Challenge: challenge update

Medieval Challenge: challenge update


This book is also known as TO SHIELD THE QUEEN
Rating 4
Set in England (era of Elizabeth 1 and Robert Dudley)

After reading The Proud Villeins by Valerie Annand, I knew that I would not be disappointed in this story, as Valerie also writes under the name of Fiona Buckley.

Our main character, Ursula Blanchard, is an impoverished young widow, who comes to court as one of the Queens Ladies, and gets caught up in the politics and intrigue of the court - especially when rumours abound of Robert Dudley trying to do away with his wife, Amy Robsart. Ursula is then asked to go and stay with Amy, to guarantee her safety.
Ultimately, Amy is found dead, lying at the bottom of the staircase of her home, with a broken neck, and Ursula is then set on a course to find out the truth, especially after her trusted servant, John Wilton is found murdered.

A great read, and once again, I come across William Cecil in the characters, as he was the Secretary of State in the reign of Elizabeth 1.
Cecil also features in another book I have read - The Firemasters Mistress, by Christie Dickason.

I have now ordered another book from my library, to follow on with the tale of Ursuala.(A Doublet Affair). A list of books as follows:

The Doublet Affair
Queens Ransom
To Ruin a Queen
Queen of Ambition
A Pawn for the Queen
the Fugitive Queen
The Siren Queen

I have to say, that once again, I would recommend this author.


Monday, 18 August 2008


Rating - 4
Set in - Holland

Another first time for this author and would definitely read other books that she has written, such as:

Banners of Silk (about Charles Worth)
Gilded Splendour (Thomas Chippendale)
Jewelled Path (Faberge)
Tree of Gold (Silk Industry)

The story set in the 17th century, is of Francesca Visser, eldest daughter of a struggling artist (who I might add loves playing cards and frequenting the taverns), and her dream is to become a Master Painter.
Francesca is apprenticed to Jan Vermeer, and goes to Delft, but her apprenticeship etc. is going to be controlled by Ludolf Van Deventer, who wants to have Francesca as his mistress, or better still his next wife (he has murdered his 2 previous wives).
But Pieter Van Dorne (the tulip grower) captures the heart of Francesca - throw into this, conspiracy on the part of Ludolf as he is involved in spying for France.

A rich historical romance story - lovely details of the artists Rembrandt and Vermeer and the painting techniques used.
Very interesting to learn of the symbolism used in painting - eg.

Love between a man and woman symbolised in a picture by a rose held, or pleasingly arranged - whereas a fallen one on the ground depicts either the pain of love or unchaste love, according to the subject of the painting.

Rosebuds in still life could be interpreted as the dawning of romantic love.

Nautilus represents wealth, exotic shells of all kind being costly

The fan was a symbol of extravagance

The hourglass warned of the passing of time and the foolishness of piling up riches on earth.

Pewter plate, poised precariously, told how easily life could be cut off.

The grapes and the wine symbolised Holy Communion and Christ, with the hope of resurrection.

Francesca's 2 sisters have their own stories as well, which do not detract from the story, as can sometimes be the case with sub-plots within a book.

Would recommend this story to anyone who is a lover of historical fiction/romance.

Reading, Writing and Ranting: About Me

Reading, Writing and Ranting: About Me

Reading, Writing and Ranting: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Reading, Writing and Ranting: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Sunday, 17 August 2008


THE DARK IS RISING by Susan Cooper

I have been lucky enough to be given the other books in the series to read and am hooked!! Only one more to go and already I am feeling that I could sit down and read them againi.
A twist also is that being set in Buckinghamshire, the place names are familiar to me and my husband, as this is his place of birth. In fact his ancestors have been in Bucks. since the 1700's (so far anyway in my research).
The characters are wonderful and there are snippets in the other books as well that reach into your mind and you smile and agree with the author on her take of the situation - especially in relation to the present day ethos of greed and power.

Young Will is the hero of the saga and what a task he has been set - on his 11th birthday he is made aware that he is one of the Old Ones (of the Light) and his quest is set before him.
I don't want to give too much away, but would recommend that all of the books be read - eventhough this one, the Dark is Rising could be read on its own, but you wouldn't get the full enjoyment I believe.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


Here is a list of the books that have been awarded the Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor for childrens literature:

The Black Cauldron - LLoyd Alexander
The Black Pearl - Scott O'Dell
Calico Bush - Rachel Field
The Cricket in Times Square - George Selden
The Door in the Wall - Marguerite de Angeli
The Egypt Game - Zilpha Keatley Snyder
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler - E L Konigsburg
The Headless cupid - Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The High King - Lloyd Alexander
Hitty: Her first Hundred Years - Rachel Field
Homesick - My own Story - Jean Fritz
Island of the Blue Dolphins - Scott O'Dell
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth - E L Konigsburg
Johnny Tremain - Esther Forbes
Missing May - Cynthia Rylant
Number the Stars - Lois Lowry
On my Honor - Marion Dane Bauer
One-Eyed Cat - Paula Fox
Philip Hall likes me. I reckon maybe; - Bette Greene
A Ring of Endless Light - Madeleine L-Engle
Shiloh - Phyllis reynolds Naylor
The Sign of the Beaver - Elizabeth George Speare
Sing Down the Moon - Scott O'Dell
The Slave Dancer - Paula Fox
Thimble Summer - Elizabeth Enright
The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle - Hugh Loftiing
The Winter Room - Gary Paulsen
The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare
The Witches of Worm - Zilpha Keatley Snyder
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze - Elizabeth Foreman Lewis


I have chosen Book 2 of the sequence - The Dark is Rising as one of the reads in The Daring Book Challenge.
Had just started reading, when a friend of mine came along with the other books in the series. So I have had to put aside what I had started, and commence with the first book Over Sea, Under Stone.
the other books in sequence are:

The Grey King
Silver on the Tree

Was interested to read the background of the author, as Susan Cooper was born in Buckinghamshire England, the same county as my husband, and all of his ancestors. My research so far has found them there since the 1700's.

A Daring Book Challenge

A Daring Book Challenge

Elizabeth George Speare

Elizabeth George Speare



I have finally made a start on my list (my only excuse being that I have been reading other books!!).
Anyway I was able to get a copy of this book from the BOOKMOOCH site - my local library did not have a copy. I knew little of the author, and enjoyed the book so much that I finished within a few hours.
Also I was not aware of the Newberry Medal and Newberry Honor Books Award (of which this book was a winner) - Joh Newberry, a famous 18th century publisher and seller of childrens books in England. The awards were first given in 1921 and have come to represent the best in childrens literature.

Anyway the tale is of Kit, a young teenage girl, who leaves Barbados after the death of her grandfather, and arrives unannounced at the home of her aunt & uncle in Connecticut. She does not fit in at first, especially with the strict Puritan values and can ony dream of returning to the warmth of Barbados.
Time changes her outlook, as she settles into the family routine, and she meets Hannah, who is a Quaker, and known as The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
Lots of suspiciou abounds in the community and Kit is also accused of witchcraft.
The charge does not eventuate, when the truth comes to light, of her friendshipi with a small girl, Prudence, who has comes to Kit to learn to read and write.

All ends well and I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading Young Adult novels.

Thursday, 7 August 2008


My latest challenge!!
I am comfortable with the crochet that I have been doing, so for a change, this is my new project. Have started on an easy design, just using wool at the moment and have managed to obtain a few books from EBay, plus one from my local library.
Compared to cross stitch and needlepoint, the work builds up quickly.

As yet, I haven't found many sites on the new for Bargello - will try for some blogs as well.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


I attended the second session of a writing class today (which I am enjoying tremendously). Besides having an assignment to do for each lesson, we have been writing paragraphs for a short story.
Our mentor started this exercise last month, where each of us had to write the first paragraph of a story - could be as short as one sentence or a good sized paragraph.

After reading our paragraphs to the group, you then passed the page to the next person, who wrote the next section (or paragraph).
It proved that we have good imaginations!!

Today followed the same theme, and we are nearing the end of the story. Only the final paragraph to be written.

From there, we will be talked through the editing process.

Whilst searching the net for publishing blogs etc. I came across the site called INSIDE DOG, that is listed for children/younger readers, and there is a wonderful list called LIFE AFTER HARRY; 100 BOOKS TO KEEP YOU GOING.

The link is on the previous blog.

Booklist: Life After Harry: 100 Books to Keep You Going,

Booklist: Life After Harry: 100 Books to Keep You Going,

Monday, 4 August 2008


Labourer, Father, Soldier and my Great,Great,Great Grandfather on my mother's side.

Frederick was born around 1829 in Cockfield Suffolk England. His parents were Francis DUTTON and Frances TAYLOR and from what I have researched so far, the Duttons had lived in this area from the 1700's.

As Frederick was growing up, changes were occurring in England:

The Metropolitan Police Force was established by Robert PEEL around the era of time of Frederick's birth.
There was the first major cholera epidemic in Britain 1830-1832.

The impact of industrialisation, which was to have a huge impact in Britain, could have had its beginnings in 1831, with the SWING RIOTS in the rural areas, against the mechanization of agricultural activities. I wonder whether this in later years, led to Frederick becoming a soldier.

1831 also saw the opening of the New London Bridge over the River Thomas, with another sweeping change in 1833 - the abolition of Slavery throughout the British Empire.

Come 1850 and Frederick marries Emma BAILEY, who was born in the village of Shimplingthorne in Suffolk. Not long after the marriage, their first child, Mary Ann was born, followed in 1851 by the birth of Diane in Chatham Kent.

Frederick enlisted in the Army at Bury St Edmonds on the 19th February 1981, at the age of 17 1/2 years, so both Fredrick & Emma were young by today's standards, but in that era, would have been seen as commom practice.

The Regiment that Frederick was accepted into was the 12th Foot East Suffolk Regiment, and maybe he was lucky, as in 1854 the Crimean War began, and on the 3rd November 1854, Frederick and his family arrived in Melbourne on the ship Empress Eugenie, as part of the Regiment.

Some members of the Regiment were despatched to Ballarat, and Frederick and his family were stationed there for 2 years. It seems highly probable that he participated in the Eureka Stockade rebellion (Sovereigh Hill, Ballarat) on Sunday 3rd December 1854 and its aftermath.

At this time, the first telegraph line was established linking Melbourne and Williamstown, and the first steam railway was opened in Melbourne.
The following year, 1855, James Harrison took out a patent for his ice-making machine, which ws the world's first mechanical refrigeration plant.

The Dutton family were then posted to Tasmania, as records show that Anna Maria was born in Tasmania 8th August 1856, and Frances Jane and Reuben (twins) were born 23 August 1857.

Following Frederick's posting in Tasmania,he was then transferred to New South Wales, as in June 1860, Frances Jane was born in Victoria Barracks, Sydney.

Brisbane was the next posting for Frederick, where he served from January 1861 to March 1862. During this period,a son, Richard Henry was born (6th August).

Frederick's short life ended in 1862 in Brisbane on the 4th March. He was buried in the Church of England Burial Ground Brisbane, and his grave has not been found and may have been "removed" when the Qld. Government built its Hale Street bypass some years ago.
Frederick was given a Military Funeral and the notice in the newspaper read:

March 6 1862 Military Funeral - The Funeral of Sgt. Dutton, late of the detachment of the 12th Regiment stationed here, took place here yesterday afternoon.

The deceased, who was 33 years of age, had been suffering for some time from a complaint of the lungs, and his death, which took place on Tuesday evening, last, was somewhat sudden.
The funeral was the first of the kind, which has taken place here, and hence attracted much attention, a large number of the inhabitants accompanying the cortege to the cemetery. The procession left the barracks about five o'clock, and consisted of the officers and men of the detachment, the Volunteer Band, a few members of the Volunteer Force and a number of the police.

The female relatives and friends of the deceased were also present.
The funeral service was read by the Rev. G. Bliss and procession formed afterwards in the following order:

The comrades of the deceased came first, in double file, with arms reversed;
Next followed the Volunteer Band playing "Dead March in Saul";
Then the volunteers and police, and lastly the hearse.
In this order, the procession moved towards the burial ground, accompanied by a large number of citizens, the band playing at intervals through the route. At the grave, and at the conclusion of the burial service, three volleys were fired over the deceased by his comrades. The scene was solemn and imposing throughout.

So ended the life of Frederick DUTTON.

Since undertaking my family research, I often ponder on where and who I would have been, had not my ancestors came to Australia - my mother maternal ancestors were convicts, but that;s another story to write.


Fans of the BBC show TOP GEAR will recognise this name - Richard is one of the presenters and in 2006, crashed a high speed racing car and sustained serious brain injury.
This is a very moving story of how it happened and his road to recovery.
Both Michael and I shed a few tears as we were reading through this story.

To watch the show now, you would not think that he sustained the injuries that he did.