Across the Sea to Ireland-The Growcock Family of County Meath..

On my paternal line I’m only second generation in Australia. My paternal grandfather, William Growcock emigrated from County Meath, Ireland in 1891 on the ‘Jumna’

While many Irish went to USA and Canada, my grandfather emigrated half way round the world to Queensland. Although he was the only member of his family to emigrate, he already had three cousins, William, John and Michael Growcock, in Queensland.

William Growcock, spent some years in Queensland before he settled at Zara on the North Arm of the Tweed River. He can be found there on the Householders Returns of the 1901 Census among a number of settlers. He was still residing there when he married at All Saints, Church of England, in Murwillumbah, on 23 March 1910. His bride was Olive Pearl Vidler, the daughter of Thomas Nathaniel and Margaret Jane Vidler (nee Goodwin).

William and Olive Growcock, had a dairy farm at Zara, and three daughters, Myra, Doris and Merle were born while they lived there. In 1916 the farm was sold to George Angel James Vidler, a younger brother of Thomas Nathaniel Vidler.

The Growcock family then moved to another dairy farm at Tygalgah, on the river flats just out of Murwillumbah. Olive, William, Myrtle, Ailsa and Robert were born when the family lived there. Sadly their daughter Merle died of diptheria in 1920, and was buried in the Church of England section of the Murwillumbah Cemetery.

My father, William (always known as ‘Bill’) was only eight years of age when his father died suddenly,of a heart attack, on the 18 April 1929. Bill was present at the time and could recall the event in graphic detail, until his own death more than seventy years later. Although the informant on William’s death certificate, A C Pratt, was not a member of the family, he was able to give details of William’s parents, James and Elizabeth Growcock (nee Anderson). The place of birth was stated as ‘ County Meath, Ireland’ and his age as 54 years. His marriage certificate confirmed his parents as James and Elizabeth Growcock (nee Anderson), but gave no clues to where he was born in Ireland.

William Growcock’s immigration records in the Queensland State Archives only gave ‘Meath, Ireland’ as his place of origin.

The fact that we had no idea where in County Meath to look for the birth certificate of William, the son of James and Elizabeth Growcock was a stumbling block for our research for some time. Then in 1973 my brother, Allan, was sent to Dublin for work. He searched the whitepages phone book and was able to identify one person, living in the County of Meath with the surname,and set out to meet with him. George Growcock, knew little of his family heritage, but he was able to give Allan his sister’s name and address and Allan then went to see her. Sarah Buchanan (nee Growcock) was delighted and most interested to hear about the Australian connections. She was able to tell Allan, the Growcock family had been settled in the parishes of Rathcore and Rathmoylan since before the 19th Century and the original parish registers had survived and were still held in the local church. Although the parish minister was not residing the parish, Allan was finally able to contact him and make arrangements for the extraction of details on the persons with the Growcock surname. Sarah Buchanan’s daughter, Mary who had children about the same age as our children started corresponding with me and we are still in touch today.

Then as often happens in the ‘family history’ research a chain of serendipitious events was set in motion. Within three weeks of Allan’s visit, George Growcock, had another visitor, Mary Turner (nee Growcock) who was also seeking her Growcock ancestors. Sarah Buchanan was able to give Mary my address and we have continued to correspond. Sarah and Mary had addresses of Canadian Cousins, William Bosworth, Robert James, and Margaret Growcock ,which they passed on. I corresponded with William’s daughter until her death.

I was also able to trace and make contact with the families of John and Michael Growcock, the Queensland cousins of my grandfather, William Growcock.

After Allan’s visit to Ireland we were able to apply to the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Dublin and get our grandfather, William Growcock’s birth certificate. We found he was born on 12 January 1867 and he was some years older than he let be known in Australia.He was actually 62 years at the time of his death in 1929, not 54 as stated.

Over the years I have able to get birth, marriage and death certificates of many other Growcock family connections in Ireland.

So having collected family documents and photos from all over the world I am now putting together the family story.

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