Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Anne.

Anne Tichbourne became a WikiTreer back in 2011.  She loves creating free-space pages to bring people together and is active in our Australia Project as Project Coordinator for the Kangaroo Island Early Settlers and Indigenous Australians projects.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Cornish miners named Blight who migrated to South Australia (see Cornish Blights in South Australia).

Murdochs on Yorke Peninsula, South Australia. My great-grandfather started as a blacksmith, then took up farming. Also their ancestors in Argyllshire, Scotland.

Clarkes who were whalers in the early days of Australian colonisation and then settled on Kangaroo Island. I’m about to write a discussion paper for the Kangaroo Island Pioneers Association that contains new information about a prominent family’s origins.

Woollards of Kangaroo Island and Brighton, South Australia. I have a feeling my great-great-grandfather, who married a Woollard was actually the father of her out-of-wedlock children, but only DNA can tell.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Mostly Australia. Our history is a lot different from the official colonial version we were taught at school and you find that out by tracing the stories of individuals and families.

Kangaroo Island, South Australia. I inherited a connection to this place from my father but didn’t understand why until I discovered my forebears who lived there. Also I adore islands and lighthouses. I’m running a little WikiTree project on the Island. My interest in its early whaling and sealing history led to explorations of the areas known in those days as “The Straits” off the southern coast of Australia, from Tasmania through Kangaroo Island to King George Sound and beyond. (See my blog: https://ozforebears.blogspot.com.)

Other places in South Australia – I have connections to Mount Barker, and to the copper mining district called the “Copper Triangle” in South Australia, also Mount Torrens, where a great-grandfather “selected” land and called his property “Rawcliffe Grange” after his place of origin in Yorkshire, England. Encounter Bay (better known as Victor Harbor today) because it was a whaling station and because, later, my great-grandfather had a business there as a painter and decorator.

Since 3 of my forebears were convicts transported to serve their sentences in the colony of Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) I’m interested in the early days of “Hobart Town” (now Hobart). And my interest in whalers and sealers inevitably led to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) because they recruited (sometimes abducted) indigenous women (sometimes men) from there because of the benefit their unique skills and knowledge brought to their enterprise. Many of the Indigenous Tasmanians who survived the Black Wars did so because they were scattered on islands or at sea along the Straits.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

I think through watching the TV series “Who Do You Think You Are?” I realised my parents had told me almost nothing about my forebears, so I became curious. I particularly wanted to know why generations of my Scottish forebears, whose surname was Murdoch, regarded themselves as members of Clan Campbell. For generations there had been sons named Colin or Campbell, or Colin Campbell. Why? I had such fun cracking the mystery I couldn’t resist investigating other forebears. My niece and a cousin are also members of WikiTree and it’s been terrific having each other for encouragement and for sharing what we’ve discovered.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

This is a hard one. Based on profiles I’ve enjoyed doing, I’d have to say the Black Sheep of the family, “Dr” Jack Blantyre Gowlland, confabulator and impostor; hard drinker, hard smoker, pugilist and wife beater. Son of a convict transported to Tasmania, he was a boxing enthusiast and commentator with a gift for the spoken word, especially for making himself seem more than he actually was. He did not complete his medical degree, yet practised as a doctor in Australia, doing a runner as soon as things got tricky. He lied outright about his parentage, added an extra “l” to his name, Gowland, and hinted that he was related to the well-to-do Sydney Gowllands.

It all came undone when an astute newspaper reporter asked him awkward questions. Then it was necessary for him to flee to New Zealand where he destroyed his career by going on a drunken binge, setting fire to a house, and terrorising his wife and child, all of which was reported in detail in the papers. He died in England, still writing letters home about how he was living it up, being feted by his many friends, while in fact he was in an invalid home, fading rapidly.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

I mentioned the Murdoch/Campbell question above. A sticking point along the way was a baffling Obituary on the death of my great grandfather, James Campbell Murdoch.

PERSONAL. James Campbell Murdoch passed away at his residence. Prospect, on October 7 at the age of 73. Mr. Murdoch was the eldest son of the late Mr. Colin Murdoch, of Edinborough. and a grandson of the late Capt. Alexander Murdoch (92nd High landers), of Yarton, Cuba County, and of York place. Edinborough.
Source: South Australian Mail 12 October 1914.

The brick wall was the information in bold, above, probably conveyed  to the Australian reporter in a broad Scottish accent. A long search began for places that might have been “Yarton, Cuba County” and an Alexander Murdoch in the British military, which led to this man:

MURDOCH: James C. – Ensign, 18th June 1806; Lieutenant 28th May 1807; Captain, 29th November 1810. Was present at Waterloo [The 91st were on standby but were not called on to fight]. To half-pay 1819.
Source: Full text of “Historical records of the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders, now the 1st Battalion Princess Louisa’s Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, containing an account of the Regiment in 1794, and of its subsequent services to 1881” (Google) (archive.org)

I noted in my blog that if his name had been Alexander, he would have done very nicely. Lo and behold, it turned out the father of Colin Campbell Murdoch was indeed Capt James C.  Alexander was a myth. No wonder he was so hard to find. My niece Kirrily had located a transcription from an obelisk in Kilmadock, Scotland, that marked the burial of James Campbell, Captain, 91st Regiment of Foot [aka 91st Highlanders; 91st Argyll/Argyllshire Highlanders]. Erected by his sister, Sarah of Gartincaber. So Yarton, Cuba County was Gartincaber, County Down in Perthshire! I predicted that his middle “C” would stand for “Campbell” and it did. He was our man.

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?

Jane Austen because she would be a very witty conversationalist, full of ironic observations about people we both knew. I would offer to proof-read her manuscripts.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Not sure if history writing is “outside of genealogy” but I just completed my first paid history writing commission. I love my hens, my cats and my little garden (little because the hens have taken over most of the available space). I paint and I also do digital artwork and design. Now that I’ve retired I  have time to design and sew my own clothes. Apart from that, politics is a constant source of entertainment.

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

Joined WikiTree in 2011, so seven years. Most of my time is spent trawling through search results for little snippets of information on, for example, Trove, which is the Australian digital newspapers archive. It requires great patience. Inevitably there is a ship with the same name as the person you’re researching, or if I’m researching my maiden name, Turner, I get results for turn, turned, turning and so on. Other than that my time is fairly evenly spread among the interests mentioned above.

If you’re  involved in a project(s), tell us about how you participate in it.

For the Australia Project I will tackle just about any Australian profile that needs attention. I adore a mystery and if I see something on G2G that’s within my area of expertise, I’ll try and help by searching out sourced information. I’m coordinator of the Kangaroo Island Early Settlers Project, which is about putting all the early settlers on WikiTree and painting a picture of their lives. I very recently accepted the Co-ordinator role for the Indigenous Australians Project, where my aim is to make Indigenous People visible in Australian history and tell the truth about the impact of colonisation on their lives.

I had fun doing a free space page on a shipwreck for the Kangaroo Island project and World Disasters liked it so much they gave it its own category and gave me the project badge which goes to show you can become a member of a project without even having to ask.

A little mini project I started recently is The Green and Gold Cookery Book.  This recipe book is legend in Australia. About half the recipes were sent in by contributors whose names and sometimes addresses are given and it’s fun to see if you can work out who they are and find out something about them. Also, there may be WikiTreers who know of relatives who contributed. So it’s a fun thing that, for a change, focuses on women.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

I had a bad experience with a paid family tree website. My bank kindly replaced my credit card so the offenders couldn’t help themselves to any more of my money. I thought I’d look at free family tree sites and I liked the idea of everyone contributing to one, world tree. So, WikiTree.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree, or which feature(s) do you like the most?

That everyone is so wonderfully helpful and I guess this is because of the Honor Code and the principle of collaboration. Also, the concept of Projects got me quite excited because in this way you can connect people to each other and to historic events. It’s a really interesting way to explore history and make it come alive. I’ve done about 12-13 space pages that connect people together and I could just go on doing those forever.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

Just a teensy bit more in the way of design options for biographies. I’ve been very good and stuck to the approved WikiTree guidelines but I do wish for a little more colour and for table formatting to be a little easier.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?

WikiTree is constantly helping me with genealogy because the G2G Forum is a wellspring of knowledge. How else would I have discovered that the Scottish place “Inverchaggernay” was Inverhaggernie in Perthshire? Have I helped genealogy with WikiTree? I hope that everything I’ve done has been pretty solid, in the sense that it’s researched, it’s objective and doesn’t assume anything. One of my strengths is the ability to write lucid prose and I hope I’ve been the cause of some very readable biographies.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

If this is your first experience of building a family tree, you will be very excited to discover your relatives and add more and more people. At some point a kindly WikiTreer will appear and say in the nicest possible way  “Do you have any sources to support this information?” and you will be a little irritated and think, do I really have to do this?

Learn about sources. Learn where to find them, how to interpret them and how to quote them. Then everything you put your time and effort into will be worth something. It will be a legacy to the next generation.

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  4 Responses to “Meet our Members: Anne Tichbourne”

  1. Hi Anne, I enjoyed reading your story. As one South Aussie to another. Well done, & you’re doing an amazing job. You are an inspiration & thank you. Eileen

  2. Congratulations Anne! Well deserved award.

  3. Hi Anne, Congrats on being “WikiTree Member of the Week”. We are 24 degrees of separation. We may have a closer connection. On my more extensive tree on Ancestry, my 12th grandparents are Sir Francis “The Recusant” Yates and his wife, Lady Jane Tichborne born 1550 & died 1581 both in Lyford, Berkshire, Eng. Sir Francis was executed in 1588 in the Tower of London for his religious beliefs. https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/36584972/person/29350427910/facts

    Plenty of opportunity for major errors going that far back. In fact my y-DNA results suggest that I may be an Elliott. I have more y-DNA matches named Elliott than I have Yates matches.

    When I read this historical account of “The Capture of Saint Edmund Campion at Lyford Grange”, it was easy to imagine a plausible explanation of why one or more of Lady Jane’s children *may* have been sired by the dastardly George Elliot, often described as a rapist, murderer, and con-artist. Sir Francis was confined to prison for some time before he was executed.
    Best regards,
    Jim Yates

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