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Diaries and DNA

Diaries and letters

How lucky can you be to have a diary or letters written by your ancestors? Some of you do, but who has a diary or letters written by their lacemaker ancestors while at sea from England to Australia in 1848?

Perhaps you have read the diary on our website written by a young lad who sailed on Bermondsey and disembarked with his family in Twofold Bay New South Wales in late 1848. Now we have another diary. Member Jim Mather has kindly contributed his transcription of a diary written by a passenger on Baboo who travelled with Jim's lacemaker family in steerage from Britain to Adelaide in 1848.

December 5th Tuesday Lay at anchor in Gulf (of) St Vincent till 9 o'clock this morning when a pilot came on board to take us down to the harbour at Adelaide. The breeze continued to blow in our favour and we sailed down with the wind and dropped anchor again by one o'clock at noon to the great joy of us all, to end the voyage from London in 115 days, or from Plymouth to Adelaide in 108 days. May we be prosperous is my earnest prayer.

You can read the diaries on our website

Do you have a diary or letters written by or about your lacemaker ancestors you would like to share with the members? If so, please contact us at



DNA has become a valuable tool to many researchers and perhaps a surprise for others.

Researchers at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales are asking for help with their research as part of the Worldwide Family History and DNA project.

The University's Drs Shaw, Donnelly, Burke and Parkes from the School of Education are conducting research into family history and DNA testing and its impacts on people’s understanding of themselves and their place in history as well as some general demographic information. They are conducting an online survey which is expected to take about 20 minutes. This study is an Australian first and provides members with an opportunity to be involved in a new worldwide project about exploring the past. You can access the survey at or make enquires about the project from Dr Emma Shaw at or Dr Debra Donnelly at

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