Tuesday, 18 March 2014


Great Aunt Annie Maud MANSELL was the youngest child of my paternal G-Grandparents George and Eliza MANSELL. Born on this day in 1892 she was largely reared by her elder siblings after her fathers death when she was 3 and then her mothers when she was just 7 years old. In fact by the time of her first census record in 1901 she was already without either parent and the head of her household at 13 Thorpe Street was her 23 year old sister Lizzie (Eliza Ann).

By the 1911 census Annie was living with her two older brothers, George and Tom at 28 Wynyard Street in Stockton. It seems they had left the Thorpe Street address which had been the family home since at least the 1871 census but whether this was due to the urban redevelopment that Stockton had undergone at the turn of the century or for purely economic reasons I have not been able to determine.

Two years later Annie married Harry ABRAHAM and later that same year their first child, Harry was born. It was six years before their next child; a girl named Annie Maud but called Nancy, was born. Their next child, Rose, arrived in 1921 but died at the age of 3. In 1923, they had Margaret and in 1925 Jean was born but sadly she died the following year.

By 1927 Annie and Harry lived at 64 Gladstone Street Thornaby. This was the address provided on the emigration papers when Annie and Harry and their three children, Harry Jnr, Nancy and Margaret emigrated to Australia. They travelled on board the P&O ship Beltana and settled in Sydney.

British migrants on the SS Beltana, Fremantle, Western Australia, circa 1925 http://museumvictoria.com.au

I wonder if they chose Sydney because Annie had an older sister already living there. Rhoda MANSELL was 44, unmarried and working as a cook when she migrated to Sydney in 1923. She married George ANDERSON in North Sydney the following year and according to my Dad they ran a boarding house “somewhere” on the harbour. I remember Dad telling me also that he had a very early memory of waving off an Aunt who was heading for Australia – I wonder if this was Rhoda or Annie? 

Ancestry.com. UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 

When my cousin Eric met up with Annie in Sydney in the early 1970’s she told him she had had a hard life here in Australia. Her husband was “something” to do with the armed forces so was often away leaving her to raise their children alone. It seems it was not a happy marriage and Annie missed her family back in Stockton.

Annie died in 1976 in Sydney. She was 84.

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