Let me introduce you to the families of my granddaughter, my half sister and my cousin.

Madison is, on some branches of her family, a 6th and 7th generation Australian. Not bad, considering we have only had a little over 200 years to achieve that. In at least 2 branches she has convicts and in others she has the soldiers who were their keepers.

I use the term 'keepers' loosely. All of my reading tells me that, overall, the convicts had a better life after being banished than they could ever have hoped for in Britain. Unless they committed further crimes here, they were not locked up. Mind you, what constituted a crime here was left totally in the control of the soldiers, and the only real difference between them and the convicts was the colour of their clothes.

This is where my interest lies. I am constantly ferreting away, trying to get a better handle on what it really was like in the good old colonial days.

My half sister Susan shares all my maternal family with me, the Blakes of Norfolk and Suffolk. Her paternal line is Beales from Norfolk and Patterson from everywhere. The Pattersons are the most productive in terms of twigs on the tree. They REALLY believed in large families. Our current holders of the record for the most children are Eliza KNIGHTS and Matthew PATTERSON. They married in 1851 and had their first child 3 days later. Over the next 25 years they had 18 more children. Eliza states on the 1911 census form that she had had 19 children, with 14 still alive. She was 80 at the time.  Matthew died aged 77 and Eliza died when she was 89.

My Cousin Shirley also shares the same maternal line with Susan and me, and her paternal line is Eastoe from Norfolk.

My paternal line is Jackson - no, wait a minute Johnson - from Norfolk and Russell from Fife. You will need to explore the tree to get an understanding of the change from Jackson to Johnson. Luckily for me a JACKSON cousin has found me via this web site, and we are now going to collaborate in finding out out some of the answers. You will see some of the photo's he has sent to me. Precious memories, I can tell you.


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