Sometimes it’s help from a complete stranger that sets you off in another direction.
By March 2015 I had spent considerable time researching my Australian family but seemed to have hit an information wall. A bit of lateral thinking and lots of luck lead me to an online bookshop and to a book written by Janette Holcomb – Early Merchant Families of Sydney. What a treasure trove of Moore and Mason information this book proved to be!
I was determined to find Janette Holcomb (now Mallyon) and once again with serendipitous intervention from Associate Professor Marion Diamond, I managed to locate Janette and was truly delighted when I received an introductory email from her. She told me that she’d first come across Captain Joseph Moore in 2006 while researching her doctoral topic on the early Australian shipping industry. The Moores were apparently a family of quite some note in Australia and she believed that perhaps I would find many descendants. She also recommended that I visit the Moore family plot at St Stephen’s Anglican Church cemetery in Camperdown. She had seen the gravestones of Joseph and Ann, Joseph Jnr (who had committed suicide), Henry and his wife Elizabeth, their children and Henry’s mother-in-law Mrs Johnson almost ten years previously and she noted that unfortunately the family plot was not in very good condition and appeared to be deteriorating fast.
This was such exciting news; I thanked Jan profusely and the next day Steve and I were in the car and on our way to St Stephen’s cemetery to find the Moore family plot.
The experience would prove fascinating but also quite confronting…