A family history blog from the UK to Australia and back again

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DNA – Part 1

One of the really interesting things that puzzles me with family history is the idea of nature vs nurture. As mentioned previously, I take after my granny. I am clearly cut from the Edgecombe cloth so to speak. I lived for a year with my grandparents in Sydney and even I noticed certain mannerisms and gestures that we shared. My Granny’s best friend was sat behind us once, and later told me that it was only the grey hair that told us apart! I even have my Granny’s hands – right down to the way our pointer fingers curve in, our finger nails were born with a french manicure and we both have droopy eyelids (an Edgecombe trait).  When I was a baby, my parents found a baby photo of Granny tucked behind an old frame. They temporarily set it on the mantle piece but then when friends came to visit they all asked how mum managed to get an old photo of me!

Granny and Sandy

Marion (Granny) and me (age about 8 or 9)

So I certainly can’t deny the close familial link to that side of the family. But how does that fit with having grown up many, many kilometres away. I can’t have just picked up mannerisms on my summer holidays with Granny, like I picked up shells on the beach.  Therefore a certain part of me must have been born that way.

According to Granny I am like Mum. But Mum says I am like my Granny. I have always found this frustrating if not slightly insulting… one wants to take ownership for me!?

But now here is what I find really interesting. With all this in mind, a few in the family have had DNA testing through family DNA. Granny’s results were unsurprisingly almost entirely European but we were a little surprised to find out she has 5% Jewish ancestry (something I am yet to track down!).

Next Mum was tested. Her results were surprising in more ways than I can say and deserve a blog post on their own. Suffice it to say a large part of her heritage came from what I shall call ‘region x’ – 75% to be precise. No one else we’ve had tested had anything like that amount, except my sister but that was no surprise considering she is so similar to Mum.

And then my test. It was a family joke that I would finally get to see just how alike I was to my Granny. But imagine my surprise when I discover that I am actually 73% ‘region x’.  Despite all appearances, I clearly inherited most of my DNA from Mum’s side and not nearly as much from my Dad/Granny as we all thought. I am more like Mum than my sister even which as I will show in my next post is a big surprise.

And so my (long winded) point being, is that our physical appearance, our DNA, nature vs nurture – it is only a small part of who we actually are. In my case, I am a little bit of Granny and a little bit more of Mum….perhaps it’s just the Granny bit is a little louder perhaps. In the words of Shakespeare “though she be little, she be fierce” (Taming of the Shrew).

Sandy and Marion (April 2016)

Sandy and Marion (April 2016)

New site

Well it’s been a little while between posts…longer than I’d hoped.  But I haven’t just been lazing about (well not too much).

One change that not many would notice really, is that I have moved the blog from being a wordpress blog ( to a ‘proper’ hosted website (  I now have a little more control over the site (I hope!) but can use the great Wordpress software to customize, add media, blogs, and extra pages.

And speaking of extra pages, perhaps the most significant change is the change in focus from being just about my paternal line, but also including my maternal line too.  I originally started this whole blog adventure, to let Dad’s family in Australia know about my finds when I moved to the UK in 2014. Previously we’d gather for dinner, cider and a (roudy) game of cards at my Grannys house. I do miss those family nights, but a blog is the way to go now.  And now that I have spent the time setting this site up, I thought why would I leave out half of my ancestry!?

So what tales does Mum’s side of the family bring you ask? Well if we were ever going to have family silver it would be in Mums family.  We have a family painting in a fancy frame brought all the way from the UK to Australia, and an (unverified) family chart for suggesting connections to royalty.  And then there is the whole question of connections to famous Australian explorers, Arctic explorers, and Navy heros.  But all that comes to nought if recent DNA test results are to be believed…..

Mum and one of my sisters are currently working their way through that minefield of family drama.  And in time I hope to fill you in with some tales from the other side (of the family).


a jump ahead…

So now I am going to be a little naughty.  Instead of following the story generation by generation, I’m going to pop ahead a bit to the Buckingham family.  The reason is that they are my current project because my Granny wanted to find out more about her own Granny.

As I’ve mentioned before, at age 11 Granny (Marion Scott nee Edgecombe) experienced the sad early loss of her mother (Elsie Davis).  She and her brother and sisters spent the next few years living with their fathers family and developed a close relationship with her fathers mother – Granny Edgecombe (real name Marion Edgecombe nee Buckingham).  Oh and despite the similarity in the name, she wasn’t directly named after her own Granny either….but that’s a story for another day!

It seems that they already were a close family unit – understandable since they had all migrated together from the UK in 1924/25.  Granny recalls living with ‘Granny and Grandad Edgecombe’ at Flushcombe Road Blacktown, (Sydney) in the mid 30’s when her sister Hazel was born.

So in 1944, when tragedy struck the family with the death of Elsie, at least there was a certain familiarity to fall back on.  But by this time Granny Edgecombe was in her early 70’s though, and had bad knees (I was doomed to have bad knees on all genetic fronts!).  So at 11 years old, Marion became the legs for her own Granny and helped cooking in the kitchen.

Granny remembers

“Aunty Ena and Uncle Ronnie Neeves were living with Granny and Grandad when we went there to live but they soon moved out.  Aunty May lived in the next street and she came up and did the washing and cleaning and was paid out of Dad’s wages.  Granny did the cooking and I helped her.  I was her legs and had to fetch and carry for her.  We muddled along but it was no fun time.”

I imagine by this time that Granny Edgecombe was expecting life to be a bit easier, but instead she found herself caring for a grieving son and 4 young children aged 11, 8, 5 and an infant.  As Granny says it ‘was no fun time’.  Everyone’s lives were thrown into turmoil and on top of that was the emotional loss of a mother, wife and daughter-inlaw.

And so who was this ‘Granny Edgecombe’ who stepped in and cared for the children?

See here for more details on Annie Marion Buckingham


And so to the other half of the Scott family story….

Granny (Marion Edgecombe) grew up in Sydney surrounded by a loving extended family of aunties and uncles.  In turn, growing up I would hear about ‘Grandad and Granny Davies’ and ‘Grandad and Granny Edgecombe’ and Aunty Ena and Uncle Ted and….well you get the idea.  Then one day I was told that my great-granny (Nancy Edgecombe) was actually my ‘step’ great-granny.  I loved Great-Granny dearly but it made me wonder who my ‘real’ Great-Granny was and why she wasn’t a part of our lives.  Eventually I was told of her (Elsie May Davies) early death and how her husband (Henry George Edgecombe) had later married Nancy.

In 1944 Elsie May died leaving four young children in the care of her devastated husband Henry.  Marion remembers her father, Henry, spending the nights walking the streets no doubt struggling to understand what had happened and worrying about his young family.

His wife, Elsie May Davis, was raised in the care of foster parents Maggie and Maurice (or Morris) Davies – known as Grandma and Grandpa Davies.  They remained part of the families life after her death and so it seems they were more than a temporary foster family.    However, the extended Edgecombe family really rallied around and supported Henry and his four small children.  Marion speaks fondly of her early years spent with Granny Edgecombe (Annie Marion Buckingham) and being looked after by her Aunties & Uncles.  Being raised by an extended family may seem like a romantic notion but looking at it now, the kindness of the family undoubtedly helped Henry and the children through the tragedy of a mothers death and saw to it that things didn’t turn out far differently for our family.  Other families in a similar situation at the time would have seen all the children placed into care.

It is also for this reason that we know much more of the Edgecombe side than the Davies side.

And here my journey began….see Marion Edgecombe and the beginning of the family tree.  See my previous post on John Scott and the link to his page.

In the beginning…

Growing up I loved my ‘Plain’ Granny (Marion Scott nee Edgecombe) and Great-Granny (Nancy Edgecombe nee Steele).  There has always been a loving extended family to fall back on for much needed cuddles.  But until Uncle Gary (Scott) started the search for Grandad’s family (John Scott) and I started on this search, the Edgecombe side of the family was really all we knew beyond the current generations.

And there was a reason for that.  There are things that happen in previous generations that simply aren’t talked about at the time.  But I guess by the time I was in my teens, and Dad and his siblings were in their 30’s and 40’s, that enough water had traveled under the bridge for the family to talk a little more about what was and wasn’t known of previous generations.  For both sides of the family there were things that just weren’t discussed – Grandad being a child migrant for example, and then the stunning news that my beloved Great-Granny was my ‘step’ great-granny!  So what did we know…..

See the John Scott page for what we started with and Marion Edgecombe to follow….


Hi there and welcome to my family history blog and website,

As my first post, I should probably give a little background on where my journey into our family history journey started.

In the 80’s Mum spent many hours trawling through old records and microfiche for birth certificates and census records….something we can do now in minutes on the various genealogy websites! So, on her side (Moore’s) we had made quite a start to the family history.  In recent years my sister Victoria uploaded it all to and expanded many lines of research.  Mum is now semi-retired and so she is going back and digging a little deeper at some of the family mysteries (Are we really related to Governor Franklin? Is there any truth to that old family tree for the Youngs?) This side of the family I will leave to Mum and Victoria to research but from time to time I may mention it on here.

My father’s side – the Scott’s, is where I have focused my energy.  When I started out about 10 years ago we knew both a lot…and very little.

My Grandad (John Scott) was a child migrant sent from Scotland to Australia as a young ‘orphan’ boy.  In the 1980’s my Uncle Gary had tracked down Johns mother (still alive)  in Scotland, we knew nothing more.  John even managed to go back to Scotland and meet his Mum.  But she died shortly after and never spoke to Grandad about her family (she barely even acknowledged him as her son).  So she took any knowledge of his ancestry with her to the grave.  But more on that later….

On my Grannys side (Marion Scott nee Edgecombe), her mother died at a young age and so we really only knew of her father’s side – the Edgecombe’s.  Marion’s brother, Uncle Jim, (Jim Edgecombe) researched the Edgecombe family quite extensively many years ago.  My Granny was close to her ‘Granny Edgecombe’ and remembers a lot of the family history as well.  Although the family had moved to Australia in the 1920’s, there was still contact with Edgecombe family left behind in the UK.  I have not really looked at this side of the family at all, to be honest.  Uncle Jim did a great job.  Maybe one day I can add to it with some of the verbal history that Granny has told me.  Instead, I focused my attention on my Grandfathers maternal line – the Scott’s, and my Grandmother’s maternal line – the Davies.

I should say that I am in no way an expert at this type of things…even after all these years!  I don’t know how to properly record the names in that fancy numbered way real genealogists do.  I don’t know all the parishes and registers and districts.  I’m no social history expert either…particularly of the UK.  But through this blog I hope to share some of the things I learn along the way.


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