Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Friday Blog: Five Generations

Five Generations in a Family - a search of Trove to find them.

I am not certain how often five generations of living family occurs, however, it is a family history topic dear to my heart as I am the baby pictured in the photograph above, which was featured in the Brisbane Courier Mail in October, 1955. The occasion for the gathering of five generations of mothers and daughters in my family was the 88th birthday of my great great grandmother, Barbara Lena Nargar (nee Häberling).

Barbara Lena Häberling arrived in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia aged 4 years, on March 9th, 1871 on board the ship Reichstag with her parents Jacob and Anna (Bosshardt) and sisters, Rosina (1856), Amalie Dorothy (1861), Bertha Martha (1867) and Herminnie Adelle (1868). Sadly, three children, Fritz, Jakob and Rosetta had died in Zurich. My great great great grandfather Jacob Häberling was a bootmaker born in 1785 in Affoltern, Bern, Switzerland. With the help of the Maryborough District Family History Society, I have traced my Häberling family (spelled Heberling in Australia) back to the 1400's in Switzerland.

Feeling somewhat privileged to have this special five generation photograph in my family, prompted me to wonder how often five generations in one family occurs. I decided to conduct a search Australian newspapers on the Trove website, to find other Australian 'five generation' families. I was interested in several aspects of five generation families. Firstly, I was curious to see the age spans between the eldest and youngest generations. I was also interested to see if there was a pattern to the occurrence of these multiple generation families in different decades of Australian history. Given that the average year span for one generation is accepted as being around 20 years, I did not expect to find five generations of family alive in Australia until around the 1880's or 1890's.

[My research was undertaken purely for my own genealogical interest. There is no empirical evidence to support my findings. I am merely reporting information found in digitalised newspapers and I admit that I found this excercise to be fascinating as a member of a five generation family.] Trove is an amazing source of information for the family historian.

My first discovery was a surprise as I discovered the first evidence of five generations of one family living at one time in Australia, as early as 1856.

Pictured right is a news item which appeared in the Hobart Courier in March 1856, on the birth date of a Mr Hoskisson's great great grandson William. Mr Hoskisson was living in Windsor at the time and was 100 years of age. (Born 1756)

Following are the numbers of five generation families, that I found reported in Australian newspapers between the years 1880 and 1954. (In a search of 20 pages of newspaper items).

1880-1899 - 2

1890-1899 - 2

1900-1909 - 11

1910-1919 - 18

1920-1929 - 19

1930-1939 - 55

1940-1949 - 27

1950-1954 - 17

The average year span for each generation between these years ranged from 17 to 20 years.

The record, above left, describes a five generation family in 1899, in a story which appeared in The Queenslander. The article featured a Mrs Ransley, reportedly one of the colony's oldest residents, who was 85 years of age and described five living generations of her family including her great great grandson.

Below are just a few of the wonderful photographs of five generations of Australian families which I found in various Australian newspapers on the Trove website which were published between the years 1915 and 1953.

The two photographs above are among my favourites as they picture five generations of mothers and daughters as does my own five generation photograph.

Perhaps my most exciting find, was the picture and story below, from the Australian Womens Weekly, which is of an amazing 6 generations of one family photographed together in 1982. The ages iin this family of six generations spanned 98 years to 7 weeks.

Source: Trove

I would love to hear from other people who have multiple generation photographs or stories.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting exercise, I'll have to wander through my files now, just out of curiosity...