The question of the week about Australian family made me think of this.
My great grandmother, Ethel (Winch) Erickson, was born in 1896 in Boston, Massachusetts. Her parents were both from Hertfordshire, England. I have a letter that she wrote in 1984 to her cousins in Hertfordshire. It's full of her memories of two trips to England in 1900 and 1907. She mentioned many relatives, all of which I've been able to find records of, except for two. Here is what she wrote about her father's brother:
"Will, who went to Australia, married there, and had one little girl. He developed typhoid fever, which left him crippled on one side, at which his wife left him, taking the child. Father sent for him before I was born, and he lived with us until he died in 1917. He took care of the horse, and drove the wagon which Father used in his business."
A scan of the entire letter is linked to the profiles of everyone mentioned in it, including Will.
I've been unable to find any record of Will in Australia or figure out who the wife and child are. On an index card showing Ethel's father's family, the name Eva is written with a question mark below William, so I think that was her uncertain recollection of her cousin's name. I've searched in the records at FamilySearch and found several William Winchs in Australia but none of them seemed like a match. Most appeared to still be there after 1895 when Ethel's uncle Will came to the US. I haven't found anyone named Eva Winch in Australia.
I've just (as I type this) found a passenger record of a William Winch coming from Liverpool to Boston in December, 1894 to stay with his brother. His prior residence was listed as Welwyn, which is near where Will and Fred (Ethel's father) grew up. The passenger William is listed as in good health and not deformed or crippled, as well as having paid his own way. That conflicts with the story as my great grandmother remembered it, but perhaps he went back to England first, and was able to pass off his typhoid injuries as temporary in nature. Either way, Will arrived in Boston before Ethel was born, and died 68 years before she wrote the letter, so it's understandable if some details are off.
Here is the passenger record: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:236S-JKC
I wonder if someone more familiar with Australian records could take a shot at finding Will there? He's listed in the 1881 census in Hertfordshire, and the 1900 and 1910 US censuses say he immigrated to the US in 1895, so there's the window. Given the passenger record I just found, I guess it might be useful to look for him in England as well. I tried to find him in the 1891 English census but had no luck.
Thanks for any leads!