Lurking in cemetries for pocket money seems to be an eerie and morbid upbringing, but it was one which has proved life-changing for Australian Natalie Hausler.
As a family history enthusiast Ms Hausler is in the process of tracing one line of her ancestry in the UK.
She has discovered that one of her ancestors, Abraham Hopkins Davis, came out to Australia with his wife and four children on free passage to Adelaide in 1838.
He involved himself in public life and became the first president of the Natural History Society of South Australia.
He also instigated the construction of Military Road along the coast in case of foreign attack and was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1855.
Ms Hausler is a family history enthusiast, and said her fond fascination with genealogy is in her family’s blood.
“It’s more of a personal interest. My parents are into genealogy and as a kid we used to get paid pocket money to find our ancestors names in some of the local cemeteries,” she told Australian Times.
“I’ve had two children and they are both girls so I was quite interested in tracking the maternal side. It lead me back to England where I discovered this Abraham Hopkins Davis was one of the husbands. He seemed to lead a really interesting life so I’ve got into it from that way.”
Natalie has also learnt that her family lived in Birmingham, that Abraham and Mary met in Surrey chapel, and how they set up their life in South Australia.
“South Australia was only two years old at that stage so it was all tents and little shacks, there was no infrastructure. What an amazing family to have come from bustling London in 1838, to arrive in what basically was a desert. I just think that’s really quite incredible,” she said.
“It’s absolutely fascinating because you can see a lot of similarities through the generations. A lot of my ancestors were involved in organising committees or they were secretaries of boards and that still happens today.
So where somebody might have artists in their background and are very artistic, that line goes through. Our line is very much seems to be in organising more than creativity. It’s wonderful, I’ve really enjoyed it. Even seeing photos, we’ve all got the same nose!”
She said that her research continues to amaze her.
“I think I appreciate my ancestors a lot more and the hardship that they went through,” she said.
There were a lot of diseases and a lot of deaths and stillborns. I want to travel over to England next year and go to the places that they lived and go to the churches they got married in.”
However, she is now facing a challenge.
“We’re stuck with Birmingham in the 1700’s. We think that some of the records have been destroyed during the blitzes that went on over there. We believe this Abraham Hopkins Davis, the Hopkins line, is from the Steventon area in Oxfordshire,” she said.
If anyone in England knows anything or is researching the Abraham Hopkins Davis line, Natalie asks that you get in contact via email, [email protected].
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