Following four brothers from Somerset

Back to filling out the foreign connections ‘down under’.

The trip to Tonypandy in April resulted in acquiring a copy of ‘Descendants of Joseph Osborne’, compiled by Sue Osborne in Brisbane, Australia. (Note the document is known in my notes as JOT) She has traced her husband’s line back to Joseph, born around 1803 in Merriott, Somerset, who is also my 4 x great grandfather.

Much of the information is also available on the Merriott Families Genealogy website, also created by Sue. I’ve used this as a base for my own summary of the descendants, on a new Australia/NZ page.

Four Osborne brothers, four paths

The known offspring of Joseph Osborne and wife Mary Lawrence are Robert born 1824, George about 1826, Harriet about 1829 but died 1834, Joseph about 1831 and Samuel about 1833.

The four boys trod different paths.

Samuel in Australia

Samuel arrived in Australia September 1858 at Moreton Bay with wife Mary Ann Moucher and son George. Unfortunately both Mary Ann and their second child Joseph died the following year, and George in 1861. Samuel re-married in 1860 (Melbourne, 25th May, Wesleyan Church) to Fanny Harris. There’s nothing very definite known about Fanny’s history – her death record gives parents as John Harris and Sarah Plows, and there is a suggestion she came from Upper Chelsea in London, date of birth vague.

JOT has a number of notes on Samuel’s occupation – perhaps a milkman at one stage, then a dealer, and in Post Office directories (1888-90) as a horse dealer. On reading this, it seems Samuel was following in elder brother Robert’s footsteps but thousands of miles away.

Samuel died 11th March 1902, and is buried at Lutwyche Cemetery Brisbane. His wife and eldest son Henry George (who never married) were later buried in the same plot. Samuel’s grave , borrowed from Merriott Families Genealogy site:

Grave of Samuel Osborne 1833-1902, Lutwyche Cemetery, Brisbane

George in New Zealand, maybe

The trail for George is rather uncertain at present. He is in Australia by 1860, where he marries in Melbourne, same day and place as Samuel, 25th May. The wife is recorded as Ann Morany, but this appears to be a misspelling. Mulrainey is suggested by JOT, but a search on throws up a Mary Ann Melrainey attached to a New Zealand tree. This is new information for our tree and an enticing find.

The Australian records of George end in 1862 with the birth of son Samuel at Port Curtis (now part of Rockhampton), Queensland, 1st May. This lack of further records in Oz makes the Kiwi connection more likely, but unfortunately what is available online for New Zealand is limited. The electoral roll records for Greymouth, West Coast, New Zealand do, however, give some support to the following:

  • George, second son for George and (Mary) Ann, is born 1865 Dunedin, dies 15 Aug 1907 Otago. George works as a groom.
  • Son Samuel (b 1862) marries Augusta Johanna Forsyth 17th Feb 1898 Hokitika, West Coast, and dies Greymouth 2 Oct 1902. Samuel is shown as a labourer.

This is derived from information in the Tamati/Aubrey family tree on Ancestry, which unfortunately doesn’t give any sources.

Joseph farming in Somerset

Back in Somerset, brother Joseph moves from the home village of Merriott to Misterton by 1861, and is recorded as a farmer up to the 1891 census. First wife Rebecca Abbott dies 1869, and he than marries Mary Pitcher. He outlasts her too, as in 1891 he is recorded as a widower. His own death is probably 1896.

Robert the dealer

My 3 times great grandfather Robert also moves from Merriott to Misterton. His occupations, as shown in the census records, are variously General dealer, Horse dealer, Tranter, Hawker, with one count of ‘ag lab’.

Although he stayed in Somerset, many of his offspring moved to the Welsh coal valleys. See the Osborne/Scott page for more on this family line and also the Moving for Work section of Tonypandy and the Rhondda.


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