Moreover, my ancestors' souls are sustained by the atmosphere of the house, since I answer for them the questions that their lives once left behind. I carve out rough answers as best I can. I have even drawn them on the walls. It is as if a silent, greater family, stretching down the centuries, were peopling the house.

Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Finding Elizabeth Lodge

My father gave me some of his own typewritten notes, letters, photos and a gedcom he had completed of the Clarkson family some time ago. Among this material were some papers he had received from a second cousin in the early 1970’s. One was a transcript of a newspaper article from 1840. It featured excerpts of ‘Immigrants Letters Home’: edited portions of two letters written by passengers on the Aurora, who sailed from Gravesend on the 18th September 1839 and landed at Petone, near today’s Wellington. One of the letters was co-written by my ancestors – my 3x great grandfather John Lodge and his wife, Harriet. John and Harriet shared the writing of their first letter ‘home’ to John’s stepmother, Anne Lodge. The letter looks forward and looks back – I will post some of it with more comments, but the item is available online at

What struck me was Harriet’s comment about her 5 or 6 year old daughter Elizabeth: ‘ if the Lord spares her I shall find her very useful’. So Elizabeth was my first research project, because beyond that comment, our family did not know what happened to her at all. The story of Sarah Ellen, her younger sister born (allegedly) on the beach at Petone on the 11th March 1840 was well documented. Elizabeth was a mystery. Being very new to genealogy, I spent some time looking for a marriage for her on the New Zealand free BDM index. Nothing. There were some possibilities for another sister as well as Sarah Ellen, but that was all. I searched on the free (and excellent) ‘Papers Past’ website for newspaper references to a marriage – nothing. No possible death either. A yellowing newspaper snippet amongst the papers from my father, no date, gave me a clue: the family had possibly gone to Australia, but returned after a few years – the account was speculative. Had Elizabeth married over there?

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic find, found it really interesting and hopefully will help me with more of my research. Thank you, Barry Wilson, Plymouth, England