Following four brothers from Somerset - Merriott to Australia, and NZ


Back to filling out the foreign connections ‘down under’.

The trip to Tonypandy in April resulted in acquiring a copy of ‘Descendants of Joseph Osborne’, compiled by Sue Osborne in Brisbane, Australia. This is referred to as JOT (Joseph Osborne Tree) in my notes. Sue has traced her husband’s line back to Joseph, born around 1803 in Merriott, Somerset, who was my 4 x great grandfather.

Much of the information is available on the Merriott Families Genealogy website, also created by Sue. I’ve used this as a base for my own summary of the descendants, on a new Australia/NZ page.

Four Osborne brothers, four paths

The known offspring of Joseph Osborne and wife Mary Lawrence are: Robert born 1824, George about 1826, Harriet about 1829 but died 1834, Joseph about 1831 and Samuel about 1833.

The four boys trod different paths.

Samuel in Australia

Samuel arrived in Australia September 1858 at Moreton Bay with wife Mary Ann Moucher and son George. Unfortunately both Mary Ann and their second child Joseph died the following year, and George in 1861. Samuel re-married in 1860 (Melbourne, 25th May, Wesleyan Church) to Fanny Harris. There’s nothing very definite known about Fanny’s history – her death record gives parents as John Harris and Sarah Plows, and there is a suggestion she came from Upper Chelsea in London, date of birth vague.

JOT has a number of notes on Samuel’s occupation – perhaps a milkman at one stage, then a dealer, and in Post Office directories (1888-90) as a horse dealer. On reading this, it seems Samuel was following in elder brother Robert’s footsteps but thousands of miles away.

Samuel died 11th March 1902, and is buried at Lutwyche Cemetery Brisbane. His wife and eldest son Henry George (who never married) were later buried in the same plot. Samuel’s grave , borrowed from Merriott Families Genealogy site:

Grave of Samuel Osborne 1833-1902, Lutwyche Cemetery, Brisbane

George in New Zealand, maybe

The trail for George is rather uncertain at present. He is in Australia by 1860, where he marries in Melbourne, same day and place as Samuel, 25th May. The wife is recorded as Ann Morany, but this appears to be a misspelling. Mulrainey is suggested by JOT, but a search on Ancestry.co.uk throws up a Mary Ann Melrainey attached to a New Zealand tree. This is new information for our tree and an enticing find.

The Australian records of George end in 1862 with the birth of son Samuel at Port Curtis (now part of Rockhampton), Queensland, 1st May. This lack of further records in Oz makes the Kiwi connection more likely, but unfortunately what is available online for New Zealand is limited. The electoral roll records for Greymouth, West Coast, New Zealand do, however, give some support to the following:

  • George, second son for George and (Mary) Ann, is born 1865 Dunedin, dies 15 Aug 1907 Otago. George works as a groom.
  • Son Samuel (b 1862) marries Augusta Johanna Haizo (later Forsyth) 17th Feb 1898 Hokitika, West Coast, and dies Greymouth 2 Oct 1902. Samuel is shown as a labourer. Children Annie Agnes Osborne, Samuel Victor Forsyth.

Info originally derived from information in the Tamati/Aubrey family tree on Ancestry, which unfortunately doesn’t give any sources.

UPDATE: See comments below for further info in the link given by Sue Osborne, and also Nicole’s notes. There are also a few more NZ records online, enabling some tree developments.

Joseph farming in Somerset

Back in Somerset, brother Joseph moves from the home village of Merriott to Misterton by 1861, and is recorded as a farmer up to the 1891 census. First wife Rebecca Abbott dies 1869, and he than marries Mary Pitcher. He outlasts her too, as in 1891 he is recorded as a widower. His own death is probably 1896.

Robert the dealer

My 3 times great grandfather Robert also moves from Merriott to Misterton. His occupations, as shown in the census records, are variously General dealer, Horse dealer, Tranter, Hawker, with one count of ‘ag lab’.

Although he stayed in Somerset, many of his offspring moved to the Welsh coal valleys. See the Osborne/Scott page for more on this family line and also the Moving for Work section of Tonypandy and the Rhondda.

7 thoughts on “Following four brothers from Somerset - Merriott to Australia, and NZ

  1. Hi Sue, and thanks very much for your comment and link. You’ve got me sat in front of the computer on the first sunny day after loads of damp ones!

    That’s a wonderful coincidence with Sue Smythe – is she a fourth or fifth cousin of mine? In tracing her ancestor Samuel Victor Osborne, did he actually adopt the surname Forsyth, as he would have been about 2 when his father Samuel Osborne died in 1902? I’ve spotted on Ancestry a new, rather minimal family tree in the Forsyth name which would imply so, as do some NZ records on that site.

    Thanks again
    John

  2. Looking further at the Forsyth connection, I’ve found another couple of Ancestry trees with ‘Victor Forsyth’ – one of which is labelled the Smythe tree, so I guess that is Sue’s. I reckon he married twice, first to Ettie Marjory Mirfin in 1926, and later Williamina Ann Mckay (she’s on the electoral roll with Samuel Victor at 1949 so before then).

  3. Hi! I’ve just followed your message on Ancestry.com to your website here. (Albeit, 10 months late! I apologise.) You are absolutely correct here. Victor Forsyth, my gorgeous grandad, was married twice. He had one daughter with his first wife and went on to have 7 (3 girls and 4 sons. 2 of which died at 16yr and 21yr due to Muscular Dystrophy) children with Mina (Williamina) my grandmother. Sue Smythe is my aunty. My mother, Cheryl, being the youngest of the brood. It’s so lovely to have my interest in my family history reignited. Thank you! :) – Nicole Lennon.

    ps – His 3 daughters and 2 sons all reside in QLD, Australia. Along with loads and loads of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

    1. Thanks Nicole, that’s wonderful information (although I had hoped the family would still be in New Zealand, to make the tree more spread out!). We must be fourth cousins, once removed.
      There are loads of Osbornes around in Oz, as well as south Wales – see Sue Osborne’s material for instance. Have fun looking through your family history, and do contact me if I can help, too.

    2. Hi, to Sue and Nicole, Victor Forsyth was my father ( I was adopted and I looked up the history 15 years ago ) I am having trouble finding more history of Joseph Haizo, in particular husband place of birth Rico Poland not being locatable in Poland. Is there any more info about this ?
      Regards Fran Buckett

  4. Hi Fran, good to hear from you, another distant cousin! Nicole has a tree on the Ancestry website – no more info there on Mr Haizo unfortunately but she may still know something. You need an Ancestry sub to make contact that way (nicolelennon_1), or I can forward your message.

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