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Recent Articles

The Society publishes a variety of articles in its journal Generation each quarter. This page contains a selection of the most recent, as a representative sample of our members research.

December 2013

This story was an entrant in the 2013 Joan Reese Memorial Short Story Competition and is published in the December issue of Generation.


William and Sarah’s story begins in the 1790s. This was the era of constant conflict between Napoleonic France and Britain and repeated threats of invasion of England and Ireland by France. Also France was trying to enforce a total ban on all British exports into Europe. This, with the mechanizing of industries and farming, meant that many people were earning less or were unemployed and desperately searching for ways to earn enough to keep themselves and their families fed.

After the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 18151, everything was much improved by the time William Arkinstall, now a carpenter, married Sarah Rhodes on 15 February 1816 at St Peter and St Paul’s Church Ashton, Warwickshire.2

William and Sarah’s six children were christened at St Phillips Birmingham3. Both of the two elder sons were carpenters like their father and the eldest son had married Sarah Eccleshall on 5 August 18384. Their son George was born in Birmingham 23 May 18395. He was William and Sarah’s first grandchild.


September 2013

The Winner of the Joan Reese Memorial Short Story Competition for 2013 was Geraldine Lee. Enjoy reading her winning entry below.




Readers of Generation familiar with previously published stories about Sam Foo may remember the unfolding mystery surrounding Sam’s marriage to Hannah Lock, Hannah’s death seven months after the marriage and Sam’s deception in his application for Australian citizenship that they were living together in December 1885, a month after her death. The Aliens Act (Queensland)1867 required petitioners for naturalisation to be married and to have resided in the colony for a period of three years. The wife of the petitioner also had to be living in Queensland. Sam was obviously determined to become a British citizen ... he took liberties with the truth. 

Several years down the track, Sam met Kate Lyons. They were partners for three decades, but the nature of their relationship was shrouded in mystery. No evidence of a marriage could be found; the births of their children were registered separately under each of their names, and the family narrative surrounding the fabric of their lives was so thin as to be almost non-existent.  


June 2013


In the last Generation, mention was made of convict John Knatchbull and his involvement in the 1834 attempted mutiny at Norfolk Island. Ten years later, in 1844, this same gentleman was hanged for murdering Mrs Jamieson, a Sydney shop owner.  

I became interested in Mr Knatchbull (transported with the alias of John Fitch) when indexing names of prisoners held on the hulk Phoenix in Sydney harbour. The hulk was used as an extension of the old Sydney Gaol which was situated in the Rocks area – before Darlinghurst Gaol was operational. While on the hulk, Mr Knatchbull wrote a letter complaining about conditions on board. It was a well written letter by an obviously well-educated man, and the Superintendent of the Hulk no doubt regretted giving the man pen and paper. Who was this man who had the audacity to complain about the hulk and its Superintendent? Another microfilm I was indexing contained depositions of those involved in the Norfolk incident – and there was Mr Knatchbull (also known as John Fitch or Fitz) once again! 


March 2013


Has it ever struck you that, in doing family history research, someone else always seems to have the more interesting stuff happening in their family lines, rather than your own? That the grass is, after all, always greener on the other side of the genealogical fence? After watching the seemingly endless array of Who Do You Think You Are? episodes now available, I am more than ever convinced that all the exciting family history really does happen to someone else, not me. It is all rather depressing. I have no convicts, murderers, embezzlers, thieves, adventurers, explorers, celebrities, politicians or military heroes in my family lines – just dull, ordinary people. So I have resolved this problem – I now research other people's more interesting families!

This was not a deliberate decision on my part however, but one that was arrived at quite by accident. Also, I do not specifically select a particular family for my extra-curricular research activities – they have always come to me via other research I have been engaged in at the time. Let me explain with three examples ...


December 2012


In researching the family of my maternal grandmother, Eva Kate Burge (née Parish), I was delighted to discover Charles Samuel Pollock Parish whose father, Henry, was an older brother of my great-greatgrandfather, George Thomas Parish.

Charles Samuel Pollock Parish, the second son of Henry and Sarah (née Stowers) Parish, was born on 26 January 1822 in Dum Dum, North of Calcutta [Kolkata], India, where his father was serving as a Chaplain in the Honourable East India Company.


More Articles...

  1. September 2012