Genealogist David Payne has unearthed some golden nuggets in his ancestry.
But his maternal ancestry is filled with great success followed by equally momentous tragedy.
Today, we begin a series of articles on his ancestors the Pearts and their heart-rending links with Australia.
Behind this photograph of the Peart family lies a family tale of tragedy.
Hartlepool man David Payne has shared his family tree with us down the years.
Today’ he looks at his mothers side of the family, especially her grandmother, Emma Peart.
Emma is pictured with her father Joseph and brother William in Ballarat in Australia in 1864.
Joseph was a North East Englishman until he emigrated in 1854 with his brother Thomas. They hoped to find their fortunes in the gold fields of Australia.
Thomas and Joseph left Liverpool on the newly built clipper Lightning, and arrived in Melbourne on July 31, 1854.
David said: “Joseph Peart must have decided at some point to move to Sydney, in New South Wales, which is over 500 miles from where he landed in Melbourne.”
He married a farm worker’s daughter called Mary Lynch in March 1856. They moved to the gold mining town of Ballarat, 50 miles west of Melbourne.
David said: “Thomas, the first of their five children was born in 1857. He was followed by Mary Ann, John Joseph, Emma (my great grandmother), and William Henry.
“Tragically Thomas died in 1861, aged four years old, and his brother John died the same year, aged just 1 year old. Mary Ann died in 1864, aged 6.
But fate had yet to finish with its tragic twists for this family. More on that next week.