16 February 2012

The Turnbulls

A new Turnbull relative, Fay, contacted me recently. She's descended from William Turnbull's (father of George Valentine Turnbull) sister, Margaret.

I have researched William Turnbull, but there's not really a lot to find, it would seem.

William (1819-1896) and Elizabeth Turnbull née Martin (1822-1881) emigrated from England to Australia on the Persia in 1863. Both originally from Scotland, they married in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1839. Three children were born in Rutherglen (Robert, Agnes and Andrew Martin) before the family left Scotland and moved to Liverpool, Lancashire, England where six more children were born (William, Elizabeth, Orson, Janet Stevens, John and George Valentine). It is thought that children Robert and Andrew died in Scotland, and it is likely that Agnes died in Liverpool.

On the 9 February 1863 the family left Plymouth for Sydney, emigrating as assisted immigrants, arriving on May 10 1863. Youngest daughter Marian Persia was born on the voyage. The family settled in Balmain. William worked as a labourer, in Scotland, England and Australia. William and Elizabeth were both buried in Balmain Cemetery.

William was the son of Robert and Janet Turnbull née Stevens. They had at least four children: Robert (1824-1876), Margaret (1825-1898), William, and Agnes (1830-?). Robert, Margaret and William and their families all emigrated to Australia. Robert was the first to emigrate, and sponsored William and Margaret to come out.

Margaret was married to Hugh McFadyen and they had seven children. According to Fay, Hugh was a waterman, rowing people to and from boats in Sydney Harbour, and Margaret was a midwife. Fay related to me a family story: Margaret was called to deliver a baby on Fort Denison (a little island fort in the middle of Sydney Harbour, see picture below), so she rowed, with her youngest daughter Mary, all the way from where they lived in Pyrmont to Fort Denison. After the baby was safely delivered she rowed back, leaving 14 year old Mary to stay and help the mother and baby.

Fay and I did some digging and eventually came up with the following: Minnie Jane W Stobo was born on December 26, 1879, at Fort Denison, Port Jackson, to Thomas and Harriet Susan Stobo. Harriet was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Ann Wren, Thomas Wren being the lightkeeper on Fort Denison. Who knows what time of day Minnie was born, but hopefully Margaret had eaten a good sized Christmas Day dinner in order to stock up on energy for the next day's events!

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