It’s so funny meeting people who know people you know, but who not so many people know anymore. Below, you’ll see the black and white photograph of my mum and my granny I showed to an older, family member I met at yesterday’s Rixon-Goodwin Family Reunion at Windsor in Sydney’s West. Both mum and granny died back in the 1980s, and there aren’t too many people around now who remember them.
We’re both descended from William Rixon and Ann Hoare, and before that from James Rixon and Amelia Goodwin, and John Hoare and Elizabeth Love, who were all early European settlers in Australia, being a combination of free and convict settlers.
Amy’s mother, Ruby, and my granny, Bertha were sisters, in a rather complex family story involves stories of illegitimacy, intermarriage, and a fair amount of hiding the truth.
Though Amy’s life was in Sydney, and our life was in Lismore, it was terrific to chat with her about the common stories we both shared. “Oh yes, I heard about the two brothers who got all the money”, I told her. “Is that mum?”, she said, when I showed her the photograph. “Oh no, that’s Bertha”, we told her, though noting the physical similarity between the two sisters.
We’re all convinced there’s a lot more to the story of our common ancestor, Ellen Laing, and no doubt, someday, we’ll find out more about the truth of the matter. But in the meantime, it remains a wonderful mystery, a wonderful detective story.
That, and catching up with my distant cousin, Barry (Gus) O’Brien who has done a tremendous amount of work tracing one of the many other sides of my own complex identity.
“Have you done the DNA test?”, both Barry, and another relative, Kerrie, asked me. “No I haven’t”, I told them, adding that it has been sitting on my desk at work for a few months. “I’m definitely going to do the test and submit it this week”, I told them, though noting it could possibly identify more questions than answers.