During 1996 I heard about the 'Gold Coast & Albert Genealogical Society' and thought to myself 'that would be worth joining'! Well boy was it ever, it opened up a gold mine for us. No more dabbling at the family research, I hit it with gusto and then my mother Peggy jumped on the band wagon, she turned out to be worse than me!! AND that is saying something.
Mum wrote this article below and it was published in the Gold Coast & Albert Genealogical Societies Journal "Rootes" in Dec 1997, Issue 47.
She has given her permission for me to publish it on this site to share with others who may be searching for their birth families in the hope of giving them some encouragement!
By Peggy Lucas
Who said it's impossible?, you won't get very far in family research when you have been adopted and starting from no where!. Well FORGET that! I am here to tell you that they are wrong and I am the living proof that it can be done.
I was born in 1943 at Coffs Harbour and privately adopted three weeks later. In my teens I would ask my mother why I was so different from my brothers, sisters & cousins, her answer was always the same "you just are" & then walk away. You see I was a white baby adopted by an aboriginal woman who was widowed the year before. She went on to have 3 boys and 2 girls My mother died in 1992 & what little she told me turned out to be mostly lies.
When the adoption act was changed allowing you to apply for your natural birth certificate, my youngest daughter gave me the original for my birthday in 1991. With mixed feelings over the next few years we applied for my birth parents marriage & birth certificates, from these I was both excited & saddened to learn that I had an older sister & an aunt, they also gave me my grandparents names. For the first time in my life I felt as though I belonged to somebody. "That's the end of the story", I thought, WRONG!!
Last year when my daughter, Rhonda, heard about the Gold Coast Genealogical Society she decided to join and research her father's family tree. While she was at the society rooms I would baby sit my grand daughter. Now I have the patience of a saint, but when she came home jumping up and down yelling "guess what I found out today" l finally caught on that she was gathering information not only for her father's family but to my surprise my natural family too. My saint hood crumbled when she told me my maternal great grandmother's name was Zenobia Mundy, I jumped on the bandwagon too and haven't stopped since. Between the two of us and many hours of research we have succeeded in tracing Zenobia Mundy's family as far back as the 1600's in Cornwall and to the birth of my maternal g g grandfather George Robert Miller in London, but alas not his arrival in Australia. My father's branch of Cummins' has been difficult and we have not been able to go beyond his father's birth in Victoria, but we have not given up hope yet.
I must admit I have been absolutely fascinated by the family I never knew I had and yes I have found a couple of convicts with physical descriptions, 'isn't that fabulous?'. Rhonda has managed to go extremely wide on the tree including all our ancestor's related families. Through this method we have managed to make contact with 6 cousins throughout different branches of the tree and have met 2 of them so far, both living in Brisbane, and they have both welcomed us with open arms.
The grandson of my paternal g grandmother's eldest sister has opened his home and shared his family, photo's and stories with such loving warmth, he has warmed our hearts & made me feel connected, I finally belong to someone!. Mere words could never describe this wonderful person or my feelings for him. After our first visit to his home he sent me a letter and he said, "I am sending you an Irish scarf as a welcome gift to our family", if you can find the words to describe him please let me know. With the help of these relatives we have extended our tree even further, although we still haven't had any success in finding out what happened to my birth mother beyond 1946. I do know that my father died in 1966.
We have had success after success, along with the setbacks we all have from time to time. Never give up because we now have a copy of a half great aunt's birthday book entries of many family events, it was given to her by her aunt sometime in the late 1880's. We found the present owner of the book after scouring the journals from other societies. My daughter noticed an article written in 1993/94 regarding a book that had come into a lady's possession who was trying to find any descendants so the book could have a home and she listed entries regarding the King & Miller families. What a find it turned out to be, you guessed it, confirmation to keep us moving along. Funnily enough Rhonda had already sent a letter to the lady to see if she kept a record of who she passed the book on to and while waiting for an answer was talking to Roma Waldron, writer of Pioneers, Settlers & Families in Northern NSW, and mentioned the book. Roma she said she knew about it & who had it, guess who?? It was herself so we also found and confirmed another relative. Roma kindly allowed us to photocopy this book and for this we will be eternally grateful as it is the only thing that we have that belonged to an ancestor, but not the last I hope.
Do you still believe an adopted person can have no luck in tracing a family tree?
After spending a very futile and frustrating day at the society on Saturday 20 September I came home feeling blue & down in the dumps. I checked the answering machine and a dream came true, some would even say it was a miracle, I know both my daughter's do. There was a message from a gentleman Rhonda had written to saying he may be able to help in our search. My youngest daughter had to come over & be with me because I could not return the call without her love & support to hold me together. NO, not my mother, aunt or sister but a younger brother of my father, Thomas Cummins. MY UNCLE TOM is 85 & not in the best of health, he also lives right down the bottom of Victoria & I need another miracle if I'm ever going to meet him. Here's hoping the 'Angel' that has been guiding me in my research is still with me & can perform another miracle.
Member No. 1063
If you have taken the time to read through our other pages you will have noticed that Uncle Tom passed over in 2000. Sadly we didn't get to spend a lot of 'physical' time with him, but we did talk almost every week.
During 1998 we bought an old caravan, which we worked on and registered (now known as the 'Granny Van') and Uncle Tom sent us his car to haul the thing down to Victoria to meet him. In that tiny 16' van Peggy, my son DC, daughter Gina and I survived for 3 months! An amazing fact, believe me!
When we arrived in Wonthaggi, Vic it was fantastic! Uncle Tom & mum took one look at each other and burst into tears, it was emotional, spiritual and beautiful. And they even look alike.
During the time that we were renovating the caravan we kept on with our research and with the information Uncle Tom had given us, electoral roles, phone books and a lot of investigating we also found that Aunt mum referred to above living in Geelong, Vic and we found her sister Trish living in Augusta, WA and an older brother she didn't know about also living in Fremantle, WA along with a younger half brother also in WA.
Unfortunately her mother had passed over in 1959.
After we left Uncle Tom we traveled over to Perth, the four of us in that van!! GRRRRRR But we survived! Even with me towing it, but that is another story, we did have our DRAMA's along the way. But we did get to meet everybody and we also visited my grandmothers grave and great grandparents whom had also passed over in WA.
On the whole we had a ball and that is how we have come to be living in our vehicles and travel around doing research when time permits. We have picnics in cemeteries regularly. It is a pretty awesome site to come across a little country cemetery with a car hauling a caravan and a 36' bus parked outside with a couple of ladies driving and two kids in tow! Actually this is what happened at Wingham Cemetery, NSW in 2001 when a funeral procession turned up! Poor people didn't know what was going on!
Well that's a dedicated genealogists life!
PS. The best thing about the trip to WA was that we also met a cousin Toni and her family and she had the family photo album from our Great Grandmother Emily May. Toni has even allowed us to borrow the album to try and sort out who is who and make copies of the photos. Toni, we love you and thank you!