Identifying Photos

Sunday, January 7, 2018



I have just signed up for #52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. I did have a plan but this has gone by the wayside this week. I had contact from a man whose son in Law is the grandson of one of my Dad's cousins. There is not a lot on this side of the family so it was good to hear of them. It has put me back on track for the search of John Johnson, our original ancestor who made his way and settled in Australia. My paternal great great grandfather. Oh and what a merry chase he is leading me on.

I was only about 9-10 years old when I first learnt of him. We were studying the gold rush and our teacher asked if we knew were our ancestors came from. I had always had a fascination with people who came from other countries and saw my family as pretty boring really. My teacher came to my desk and said "your name is Johnson, so you are probably English". Even that sounded boring.
So I went home and asked Mum and Dad where we had originated from. Mum was all English and Irish but it was Dad who said his had come from Sweden. I remember Mum being rather shocked and telling him not to be so ridiculous. But Dad insisted, John Johnson was Swedish. That made my day, how exciting, an ancestor that was other than English or Irish.

However, when I started my research I found John Johnson was not so easy to trace. I purchased books on Swedish Genealogy and would pick up anything that would help me in this search.
His marriage certificate gave his age as being born c 1839, in Gothenburg Sweden and his parents were Peter and Albertine. He named his only son Peter so his father's name of his fitted well.

John and Anne Johnson (nee Farrell)
I then found that John had been Naturalised. The records gave his date of birth and the fact that he came to Australia via "Triton" and of course he was born in Gothenburg Sweden. Shipping records did not find anything for the "Triton" coming to Australia in 1863, the year he quoted on his naturalisation papers. I have since found the "Triton" a merchant ship, or cargo ship, leaving Warnambool on its way back to Sydney the night before the date John gave as his arrival in Australia.

Only this week I have found a number of records for different ships with John Johnson (Sweden or Gottenburg) leaving Melbourne for Sydney. On one he is listed as Carpenter, which is what Uncle Jim (Dad's Uncle) told me he did. Said he came out as a Ship's Carpenter. His marriage and his son's birth certificate list him as a labourer. He did live in the shipping type area, Williamstown, Fisherman's Bend, South Melbourne. Did he just see himself as a labourer who picked up work where he got it. Later years he is listed as a fisherman, deep sea?

The other interesting thing is that when he gave the informations for his wife's death he gave her the middle name Horsdlt. This had me puzzled until Bob Frears (my new contact) pointed out that there is a John  Horrsdadt Johnson, Fisherman, at Fisherman's Bend listed on the electoral rolls.
The death notice in  The Age (Melbourne, Vic : 1854 - 1954) on 3 June 1891 also has this middle name for Anne.

Is it possible that this is his real surname? I have asked the question on a Swedish Genealogical site and still waiting on an answer at this time. It is like John has sprinkled little hints all over but trying to interpret them to find him is another story.
My Brother's YDNA test has not come up with anything even close to Sweden! But he is definitely descended from John as family photos prove. It is amazing how we can pick such likenesses through the centuries. 
I will continue to search for John and who he really is as I go along. 



John Horrstadt Johnson with grandson (my grandfather) Jack registered John Royle. 

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