Monday, November 25, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - Mary Ann McPherson McGregor (1861-1941)

This is the first in a series of blogs about the daughters of James McGregor (1833-1917) and Margaret McPherson (1839-1860) - The McGregor Sisters. Interest in this project was sparked when I was recently given a photo of the McGregor Family by my Aunt. Then, as if to give the project a gentle push, two weeks later the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) contacted me advising that they had in their keeping James and Margaret's Family Bible. The Bible proved to be an invaluable find, as inside there was a hand written list of family events, including the birth dates and places of all the McGregor sisters. Writing and researching the story of each of the McGregor Sisters, will I believe, be a journey of discovery, and I hope it will lead to connections with others who are researching this family.

Mary Ann McGregor
Life on the Gold Fields

On the 27 August 1861,  James and Margaret's welcomed their daughter Mary Ann  McPherson McGregor. The family was living and working on the gold fields of the mining community of Araluen, in the Southern Highlands of NSW.  James and Margaret had lost their first child, a little girl at birth in 1860.  The gold mining in Araluen had started in 1851 and the district had become one of the most significant mining areas in New South Wales, with over 15,000 prospectors arriving to try their luck, and in excess of 11 million pounds of gold being extracted from the area.*

The winter of 1861 had been a harsh one with severe flooding devastating and causing havoc to vast areas of the mining community in the Araluen and Major's Creek fields. However, as winter passed life on the gold fields improved. Araluen was known as Happy Valley, one article written July 1861 (just prior to Mary Ann's) birth, states "Araluen - We were much pleased on Saturday last, in paying a visit to the Happy Vally to find that the greatest prosperity prevails throughout the entire diggings; all the claims are realizing satisfactory returns,......The diggings are now rapidly extending along the Plain towards the Farm and this part, it is anticipated, will turn out extremely rich when it comes to be thoroughly worked.  it is really refreshing to see the happy state of affairs in the valley compared with what was the case a few months ago, when devastation and ruin had laid wast nearly all the claims." Braidwood Dispatch**

Entry in Family Bible for Mary Ann McGregor - 25 August 1867
Mary Ann and her family continued to live in the mining town of Araluen until 1870.  The family bible shows the family then lived at Shoalhaven River until around 1877, when James and Margaret packed up their belongs and moved their family to Booth Street, Balmain Sydney.  Mary Ann would have been around 16 years of age at this time.  One has to wonder, how the McGregor sisters adapted to life in the city after spending most of their childhood in the country.

On August 14 1884 Mary Ann married Hugh James McGoogan, in Balmain.  Hugh and Mary Ann continued to live  and raise their family in Sydney.  Their children were: Margaret Mavis, John, James, Hugh and George.

At the age of 80 Mary Ann passed away peacefully while staying with her daughter. Her husband Hugh passed away the following year. 

Entry in McGregor Family Bible  for the death of Mary Ann McGoogan (nee McGregor)

*Australian Heritage, viewed 22/11/13.
**1861 'GOLD FIELDS.', Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), 27 July, p. 3, viewed 25 November, 2013,

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - The McGregor Family Bible

List of family bdm in the McGregor Family Bible
Yesterday I wrote about my trip to the Society of Australian Genealogists,  (Lunchtime Discoveries in the Rocks - McGregor Family Bible) following one of their volunteers conacting me about James and Margaret McGregor's Family Bible.  What a coincidence, that this has happened as I start on my project to put together the stories of of James and Margarets daughters.

The timing is remarkable, especially the discovery inbetween the New and Old Testament of a page that lists the details of the McGregor Sisters births, deaths and marriages.

McGregor Bible - Family BDM entries

Monday, November 11, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - The Ladies of the McGregor Family

Every now and then,  all family tree researchers come across a small item, whether it be a letter, photo, postcard or newspaper clipping that opens the door to some  new and exciting family links. This was my fortune a couple of weeks, when visiting an Aunt.  We were comparing notes on our family tree, and she gave me a copy of the photo (above)  of Margaret and James McGregor surrounded by their children, spouses and grandchildren. 

Margaret McPherson married James McGregor on 23 June 1859, at the Presbyterian Church,  Jinglemoney, NSW. Margaret and James had a large family of three boys and nine girls.   How amazing was it to have access to this photo of the family which has each member of the family identified.

I spent the whole of our 4 hour trip home from my Aunt's place (luckily my husband was happy to drive) searching on my Ipad, and filling in gaps on my online family tree.  This picture gave me so many clues, most importantly the married names of the McGregor women.

This new stream of information has opened the door to my next project for The Other Half of My Tree - stories of my female ancestors, and over the next few weeks I shall attempt to write about each of the McGregor sisters.