Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's all In the Numbers


I am quite late in responding to Alona from the LoneTester HQ Blog  with her  'It's all in the Numbers'.  geneameme. As the old saying goes.. better late than never so I am putting pen to paper... well fingers to keyboard in fact, although that doesn't sound quite as enchanting! The challenge offered by Alona was to chose ten or more numbers which have some meaning personally, because of the way in which they relate to our own family history research. Thankyou Alona for your creative meme which has made me think somewhat outside the family box!

1. Fifteen is the largest number of generations I have on a branch of my family tree, beginning with myself.  Fifteen generations takes me back to my maternal 12th great grandfather and grandmother  in Switzerland. Xander Ryser was born in 1546 in Affoltern, Emmenthal, Bern, Switzerland and died there in 1614. Xander Ryser's wife Trini Gruetter was my 12th great grandmother. Another line of Swiss ancestors goes back 14 generations to Christian Häberling who was born in Ottenbach, Zurich in 1527, and although born earlier, he is an 11th great grandfather, making 14 generations of family including myself.

2. Leading on from the number above, is Twelve, the most number of greats I have before a grandfather and grandmother. 

3. Three is the most number of name changes one ancestor has made deliberately, which means, not through spelling mistakes or change due to immigration and language difficulties or illiteracy. 

I have a number of ancestors whose names changed after migrating to new countries. The German  surname NERGER became NARGER, Häberling became phonetically spelled Heberling. In Scotland Farrins became Farren, Fearns, and Ferns, most likely because of mistakes made by clerks filling out records. My great uncle Rex Morley Hoyes, however, led a 'colourful' life and changed his name legally three times to hide from MI5, the British Press, the Law and possibly four or more wives! Rex was born Rex Morley (his middle name being his mother's maiden surname) HOYES, in 1902 in Auckland, New Zealand. He left new Zealand in 1933 with his first wife Muriel Bates, bound for the more prosperous shores of England. By 1935 Rex had divorced Muriel and married Lady Margaret Patricia Waleran (Blackadder). He purchased a large estate called Marwell Hall, in Hampshire, once owned by King Henry VIII. As the CEO of an aircraft company, Cunliffe-Owen Pty Ltd in Eastleigh, at the commencement of World War 11, Rex acquired  government contracts to convert Seafire aircraft to Spitfires and to repair aircraft damaged in battle. With a secret airfield constructed on his Marwell Estate, and a team of women pilots, this contributed considerably to the war effort. MI5 then developed a serious interest in him and he was charged with bribery and corruption, although later acquitted. After the war, my great uncle changed his name to Rex Morley-Hoyes. There was speculation that Rex was also a spy with extensive air travel during the war years and exotic addresses such as Majorca, Formentor, Balearic Isles and others. Around the time he married his third wife Irene Arbib, and following a spot of illegal gun running to Hyderabad in conjunction with Australian pilot Sidney Cotton in 1948, Rex once more changed his surname, this time to Rex Morley-Morley. I found him in Kelly's Blue Handbook of Landed and Titled persons under this name. After a fourth marriage and another arrest this time at the King George V Hotel in Paris for failing to pay his bill, ( and indications that he had not been paid for his gun running activities by the world's richest man, the Nizam of Hyderabad) I finally found his death recorded under the most colourful name of all....Viscompt Fessenden Charles Rex Morley-Morley de Borenden! If nothing else , he had a vivid imagination! 

4.  Five is the most generations I have had living at one time (that I know of). When I was aged 10 months old, a photograph was taken at my great great grandmother's 88th birthday party held in Maryborough, Queensland. The photograph celebrated five generations of mothers and daughters. Pictured were myself, my mother Alwynne Jean MacDade (Reece-Hoyes), her mother ( my grandmother) Hilda Lillian Green ( Reece-Hoyes nee Weston), her mother ( my great grandmother) Lillie Herminnie Weston (Nargar) and her mother ( my great great grandmother) Barbara Lena Nargar (Häberling). 

Five is also the fewest number of generations I have on any branch of my family tree beginning with myself. On my father's mother's Irish side of the family I have been unable to trace family back further than my great great grandfather William White of Brookend, County Tyrone. 
Five seems to be a significant number for me also, as I have five convict ancestors.

5 & 6. I have Twenty Two people on my family tree with the name John. If I add Seventeen ancestors named the Swiss equivilent of John, which is Johan or Johannes and another Thirteen who used the abbreviated form of the name John, being Hans...  in two languages and spread over England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Switzerland I have a total of Fifty Two ancestors named John in one variation or another.

7. Eleven appears to be the most number of children born into any of my ancestors' families. My MORRISON great great grandparents from Aberdeen Scotland and Nottinghamshire and who immigrated to Australia in 1868 had 11 children, comprising 8 daughters and 3 sons.

8. Eight is the number which crops up the most number of times on my family tree as the number of children ancestors had. The following forebears are some of my ancestors who had eight children.

CUPPLES, Alexander and Agnes. Five times great grandparents. (Ireland). Between 1775 and 1793 they had six sons and two daughters.
MCDADE, John and Elizabeth (Scotland to Australia). Between 1896 and 1911 my grandparents had five sons and three daughters.
HÄBERLING, Jacob and Anna (Switzerland to Australia). My great great great grandparents had two sons and six daughters between 1850 and 1868.

9. 1303 is the number of people currently on my family tree. 

10.  1484 is the number of  records I have collected to date to support my family history research... possibly more....

1 comment:

  1. This was fabulous! What an excellent post here. I can see that relatives might get interested in hearing the 'numbers game' details, too - rather than the usual glazed eyes. I really enjoyed this post.