Sunday, May 8, 2011

And the wall came tumbling down....

One wouldn't think that George Izzard was a common name in 19th century NSW but I've had trouble trying to work out which of three possible Georges my great-grandmother, Catherine Molloy,  married after the death of my great-grandfather, Thomas  Curry. A son from this marriaage died in infancy and one daughter, Millie, survived.  My great-grandmother died in 1904 after only a few years of marriage to George and  he subsequently remarried and had more children. George and his new wife raised Millie and my grandfather and his siblings lost contact with Millie and her new family.

Fast forward to the 1950s when my mother was working in Farmer's Department Store in Sydney. A customer noticed that Mum's name was Curry; they got talking and discovered that the customer was Dad's Aunty Millie. There were then a few family get-togethers held irregularly over the nest twenty years or so. At this time  I wasn't into family history.

From their marriage certificate and the death certificate of their son I had deduced that George was born near Mittagong, NSW around 1863. Because I am a skniflint I did not want to purchase more certificates on the offchance they would identify George. Without his parents names I could not be sure which was my George in the NSW BDM indexes.

I was virtuously scanning a pile of docs at my new scanning station yesterday when I came across a letter from one of George and Catherine's descendants to my mother.  I put it aside because I had resolved to concentrate on scanning.

A few hours later when I was preparing dinner I looked at the letter again. It gave the names of two of George's descendants from his second marriage.

After dinner the hunt was on... I opened a few of my favourite sites in separate tabs on my browser. I firstly checked the NSW BDM Indexes  and then dropped into the The Ryerson index for any possible deaths. then I found one of the names, Lynn Izzard, in the Australian Electoral rolls on Ancestry in 1933, this told me that this person must have been born before 1912 (enough time for George to remarry and have offspring). She was living on a farm in Mittagong, NSW. Interestingly there was a George Izard listed above her in the list but on another farm. In a subsequent electoral roll she was living with a George Izard and a George Thomas Izard! 

Trove to the rescue: a search for Izard and Mittagong brought up George's death notice in the Sydney Morning Herald and that confirmed that he was our George via the list of children's names including Millie. It also threw up a link to George's next wife's death notice. By dropping a z from the surname I was able to find their marriage in the NSW BDM indexes.

With a bit more jumping around from resource to resource I found George Izzard's (two z's) birth in 1865. A search on Google found a well-researched site that listed George's ancestry back to a convict from the second fleet ship Juliana and beyond to the Mother Country. I now have a big job checking the sources given on this site. I will upload the Izard/Izzard details to my family site before I check all the sources so that cousins can find me but I promise to go back and source everything.

I was elated when I finally identified old George and communicated my joy to Mr Geniaus (who isn't too interested in family history). He replied "I don't know why you are excited, he wasn't a blood relative", was his reply. I reminded him that this was my great-grandmother's husband.

I did a solo Genealogy Happy Dance when that wall came tumbling down.


Shelley Crawford said...

I'll do a little genealogy happy dance for you, so you're not dancing alone! He may not be a blood relative but he was important to your blood relatives and you can't tell their stories without at least some of his. Who he was mattered.

Joan Miller (Luxegen) said...

What fun! This is partially why we do it isn't it? I'm dancing with you :)


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