Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Collecting: Family letters (1)

All the collectable documents I have are from the paternal line.

Taken in the late-1880s, the first photograph shows Great-grandfather, Charles Wilkins Cole - seated with the beard - with his first two sons at his knee. My Great-aunt Olive was born in 1889 and she is not present. This was taken at Jamieson in Victoria and I have the original. In the back row, the older gentleman is Steven Cole who is Charles Wilkins' father. He migrated to Australia from England on 19th January 1860 aged 25 for the princely sum of 32 pounds.

This note passes for a birth registration/notice. It is written by Charles Wilkins Cole and announces the birth of my grandmother. Gilgunnia is a very small town in the centre of the state of New South Wales. Once again, I have the original.

This final photograph - I don't have the original - shows Charles Wilkins Cole (Pa) and his family in 1924. He died in 1934 aged not quite 80. His wife - Sarah Annie (Ma) is still seated next to him - and they are surrounded by their seven surviving children, two having died not long after birth. Overlooking the young girl in the background, my grandmother is standing second from the right.


altadenahiker said...

Oh, you have my number. I love it.

No one has handwriting like that anymore.

Charles Wilkins Cole looks like he did quite well for himself by the final photo -- very prosperous and proud.

Sorry about your postcard, but it will turn up.

kimbofo said...

Great pictures, Julie. I can see the family resemblance actually, particularly your grandmother and the chap standing next to her, on our left, has your smile.

Julie said...

Hah! You know, Kim, I had never thought of that. There are definitely two genetic strands in that set of siblings: the round faced and the aquiline nosed face, which continued on into my father (aquiline) and his brother (round). I had never thought that it categorised moi as well. But ... I think you are right, Kim.

Karin: CWC was a classic Ibsen character by the end. He did many things but it was shopkeeping that made him solid. He was a church Elder come his death in the inner city suburb of Drummoyne. Everywhere we drive, my father relates it to a story of visiting Ma & Pa in a sulky pulled by old Dick. Makes it into another age.

Angie said...

You are so lucky to have these photos, treasure them as i know you will.

Julie said...

Angie: Yes, I do treasure them. I had not thought of them as a collection until something that Karin wrote. I have original letters spanning six generations. And photographs to go with them. I must ensure that they are all catalogued whilst my father is still able to provide some colour to the bare facts.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I am the family historian in our family so know the pleasure of cataloguing all the bits and pieces for future generations. Six generations ... that's a long way back.

Love the 1920s styles in the bottom photo.

Julie said...

Must collect these all together is one spot.

I have letters from my daughter, my brother, my mother and my father, my grandmother, her sister and her father. And I have a letter from Charles Wilkins' mother, to her husband Steven, when she was in England and he out here. I have the envelope, too.

altadenahiker said...

More, when you get the chance.

Dutchcloggie said...

That is wonderful stuff to have. Maybe, in the future, you can collect so many letters and memories that you can write a song/poem about it.

My favourite folk song is based on letters the writer found from his grandfather to his father. Google for 'Kilkelly Peter Jones' and you'll see what I mean.
I can see you do something similar with such a wealth of information from your family's past!

Laurie said...

Fascinating photographs - sadly, my relatives emigrated from Australia in 1876 to England. Were they insane? Probably, and great grandfather caught a fever on the ship and died a couple of days after reaching port!

Your words are very wise.

Best wishes