annepauline on Family Tree Circles
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In February my husband and I bought a house in Tasmania. We are moving from Victoria to the small town of New Norfolk.
The house is a treasure built in 1906 by a Mr.Fysh. Obviously a woman involved in the design as so much Art Nouveau is included in to what should have been a manly domain in the middle of Tasmania, a harsh land at that time.
So wanting to know more about the lady owner, I went into research mode. Mr.Fysh's father was a Sir Fysh an important person on the island.
I managed to find the family tree and traced it back to the UK. The daughter of the house Esther born at the house in about 1916, is miraculously still alive and living in Hobart. We visited and have become friends, she has also visited her old home and seeing us get it back to its original state with a little of 21st century help.
BUT the really interesting thing is, that one of Esthers relatives married into the Tullett family. An Ann Tullet who happens to be my husbands 5th Great Aunt. What on earth would be the percentage of luck, that the same family has bought a house on the other side of the globe and not even known of each others existance, as Ann Tullett and her Fysh husband emigrated to Canada!!
Another coincidence. The place is full of art nouveau ceilings and finger plate, so trying to bring its history alive I have been hunting for pieces at auction fill the house. A few weeks ago at aution found some lovely reproduction Tiffany lamps. So more research, and find that I am related to Tiffany through marriage. A cousin Mary Goddard married into the Tiffany family. My surname "Goddard" How weird this whole thing is becoming, so many coincidences, wonderful at that!!!
For many years my great grandparents have not been easy people to find. Joseph Slizauskas, there are variants on this name and his wife Antosas Ubicente, even more variants arrived in Middlesbrough during the late 1800's Joseph went to work as a furnace worker at the docks, and from what family have told me Antosas was a sort of Au pair at the time. They met and married in 1901 at St Marys Cathedral in Middlesbrough. They lived at various addresses those being Stockton Street, Cleveland Cottages, Lincoln Street, and George Street. There were 10 children in all, my grandmother being born on the 28th March 1908. Also Antony, Francis b.1906, George b. 1911, Helen b. 20th May 1915, Joseph b. 1902, Margaret b. 1912 Michael b. 1903 and William b. 1917. There was a child Maria that died in 1905.
From stories told to me long ago by my grandmother, life was a trial. Her father was a big man of over 6ft. He was an amazing musician, play the accordion, and could stretch the whole thing across his chest with no bother. He had also an amazing singing voice. But he was sometimes a cruel father, who wealded the leather belt on many occasions. My grandmother remembers being the translator for her mother who dying in the 1960's never learnt to speak English. When Joseph died, the family must have been in dire straights. He died sometime during the flu epidemic in and after 1918. This is something any day now I will get an answer to after 18 years searching. I do not even know where he is buried.
I have all the birth certificates, marriage certificates of my great grandparents, but it gives no clues to where they actually came from originally. There doesnt seem to be any ship that has either of them as a passenger. The story is told in the family that Joseph wanting not to get recruited into the white army ran away!!!
Out there somewhere is more family in the UK, I have managed to find one cousin Margaret, but beyond that nobody!!
So if you know of or can help with this name and where it comes from, please fo write to me. It would be wonderful to hear from anybody.
The furthest back I have got with this name is the late 1600's. George Offor born 1787 died 1864. A bibliographer, who translated bibles from greek, hebrew etc. His wife Sarah Ann Holloway had 9 children. Georges first wife Elizabeth died of consumption. He collected a large library of books in his home in Gorve House Hackney. When he died they went up for auction at Sothebys. Some of the books went back to Caxton. The sale was to be for 7 days, the value huge. After the first days sale the auction house caught fire, and Georges books were destroyed and the Offor legacy. George is buried in Abney Park cemetary in a tomb which house his wife and daughters and sons in law. He was a J.P. had owned a book shop and published. His brother John went after the death of his wife to Tasmania where he married and had a further 4 children, having left two behind in England. This is another story!!! Georges son George also had 9 children one being Beatrice who was one of the first women to study at Slade School of Art. Her work can be seen in Bruce Caslte Museum, Tottenham. A sad life, losing two babies, a husband, William Farran Littler, and then committing suicide herself. Still researching her life, so any help would be greatly appreciated, please see www.beatriceoffor.com.au for more information. The Offor name is an old english name. Where from is a mystery. It was once thought it was connected to King Offa, but this cannot be proved. It is most likely to have come from Suffolk,Essex, or Norfolk. The french meaning for the name is given as a gold merchant. This Offor name is not to be confused with the Nigerian Offor which by coincidence is exactly the same spelling.
This gentleman goes back to about the 1100's his great grandfather coming over as a Lord with William the Conqueror. His name was St Leger. They obviously owned Goderville in France and so the name was passed down, and no doubt the lands. As the Goddard name according to The Goddard Association of Europe comes from France via the Vikings, it seems only feasible that the St Leger, Godard, Goderville names are connected to our present day Goddards. Living as I do now in Austrlia I have found it impossible to research any further without having to come to the UK to find out more. Is there anybody out there that can do this, research more that is, as Lord Godard of Goderville seems to disappear, but the St Leger name goes on even today, i.e. the St Leger horse race.
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