Tuesday, July 8, 2008




Genealogy has been my passion since the mid 1980s when I was in my early twenties, and amongst the many lines that I have been ruthlessly hunting down in the following twenty plus years, the Hughan family has been my all-comsuming addiction.



They are an amazing family, and their individual stories are closely entwined with many of the defining moments of Australian colonial history. My connection with the family comes from my maternal great-great grandmother, BERTHA HUGHAN,( see left) who was the last of nine children born to ROBERT ALEXANDER HUGHAN, of CREETOWN, KIRKCUDBRIGHT, SCOTLAND, and his wife, HANNAH OAKLEY, from Essex and later Suffolk.




Bertha was the only one of the family to be born in London- the three eldest of her sisters were born in Suffolk and her remaining five siblings were born in Colchester, Essex. Bertha's father made numerous attempts to succeed at his chosen profession- that of a tea merchant- but it seems he was more of a scholar than a business man. The 'London Times' and 'London Gazette' of the 1820s and 1830s record his various failings and bankruptcies, and by the time he moved his family to London in the late 1830s, it was his wife and elder daughters who kept the family financially afloat with their needlework.

Robert Hughan died suddenly in 1844, and Hannah continued to keep her family together until an event in 1847 served to act as a catalyst which saw most of the Hughan family relocated to Australia by the early 1850s. Middle son Robert Alexander Hughan, aged only 19, was sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia for stealing his master's watch. When he sailed for Moreton bay in 1849, his family were to follow soon after.

7 comments:

waterfrontbistro said...

Thank you for taking the time to compile this fascinating accout of the Hughan family.

Sherro46 said...

Thank you so much for your comment...are you connected with the Hughans at all, or like me and fascinated by their story? Just when I think I have dug up all that there is to be found about this remarkable family, another gem will surface from somewhere unexpected.I am working on another branch of my family at the moment, but plan soon to return to the Hughans to complete the story of Wilmot Holworthy, son of Ruth Hughan and grandson of Allan Hughan the Photographer.Please feel free to correct my research or make additions-I am sure my mistakes are many and varied!! Wonderful to meet you, Jen

waterfrontbistro said...

My mother is a Hughan by birth, I am just starting out on the research but nearly all her relatives are dead so It's all online research just now.

The Hughans are a remarkable family for sure, I'm discovering more daily - it's so addictive!

One thing my mother always said was that her grandpa told her all Hughans were related, but I doubt records go back far enough to prove this theory.

One thing I have noticed with geneology sites is the amount of inaccuracies in names & dates - probably due to old-fashioned handwriting & more modern typos. It's not straightforward, is it?

It's good to meet you too!
All the best, Sheila

John said...

Well I was so surprised to receive such a detailed account of the Hughan Family. I also am a Hughan and I have some history of my Family to share.
I have a website dedicated to it with PDF documents to read if you wish. Somehow it has been corrupted but it is still readable - must straighen it out - will do so in the near future.
http://members.optusnet.com.au/hughan.history/

So you can read it if you wish.
The two families are definately related and they both found their way to Australia - my family was about two years later - and some settled in New Zealand.

John Hughan

Anonymous said...

My surname is Holworthy, how is my family name connected to Hughan?
Phoebe Holworthy

Sherro46 said...

Hi Phoebe..glad to meet you! The Holworthy family connects with my Hughan family at the point where on July 9, 1881, when aged 21 years, Ruth Madeleine Hughan, daughter of Allan Hughan and Phoebe Berry Hall, married Englishman Francis Charles Holworthy in Noumea. The story of the Holworthys can be found in my blog at the following link:
http://hughanhistory.blogspot.com/2010/05/continuation-of-story-of-ruth-hughan.html

Who are your Holworthy ancestors? I would love to know so we can see if they relate to the Hughan/Holworthy line at all. All the best, Jen

Phoebe Holworthy said...

Hi, its Phoebe again.
I read you blog post 'The continuation of the story of Ruth Hughan & Francis Holworthy.' You have so much information about the Holworthy family!
I looked at my family tree a while ago and I remember a lot of the names you mention in your blog post being on my family tree, I have photographs of the Holworthy family tree on my computer at home and could send them to you in a few weeks.
My grandma used to tell me about Sir Matthew Holworthy donating a large sum of money to Harvard University, in her house she has two large portraits (prints or replicas) of Sir Matthew Holworthy and Lady Susanna Henley painted by Sir Peter Lely.
When I went to school I befriended a girl called Joanna Henley, my grandma started looking into our family tree and found that her ancestor was in fact Lady Susanna Henley and she was my 11th cousin once removed! Our family are very good friends and we only live a couple of miles from each other. Another coincidence is that there is a family called the Heathcotes who also only live a couple of miles away from my family we are pretty sure that we are related to them but they don't like to talk about it (because of Samuel Heathcote supposedly raping Susanna Holowrthy).
My family tree is very long and goes back roughly 18 generations of what I remember, I can’t remember exactly where my line goes after Samuel Smith Holworthy and Elizabeth Haddock , I think it then goes Nicholas Haddock Holworthy but I can’t remember off the top of my head.
Best wishes, Phoebe Holworthy