For as long as I have been researching my family history, I have been keen to discover more about my Great Great Grandfather John Swadling. Well after six years of on and off searching, I finally had a breakthrough yesterday after stumbling across another researcher’s tree on www.ancestry.com.au. Before yesterday I simply had a name and no other information, although I had quite a lot of information about his wife Elizabeth Ireland and their five children – Euphemia (my great grandmother), James, Margaret, Kathleen and Robert.
This is a great example of how just one small piece of information can open up a whole family tree. What I discovered is that the mysterious John Swadling was born in Sydney around 1842, the son of two English convicts – John Swadling (1818-1858) and Mary Ann Baker (1819-1890). When John Snr died, John Jnr took over his father’s successful Farriers business located in Castlereagh Street in the Sydney CBD. According to his funeral notice, John was also heavily involved in the Loyal Rose of Australia Lodge and at some point even served as the lodge’s Provincial Grand Master. He lived in Manly and died there on the 26th December 1897. He is buried in Manly Cemetery.
What is most curious though, are two pieces of information I found yesterday.
Firstly, the following was from the Sydney Morning Herald on 31st May 1873… “In the affiliation case, Elizabeth Ireland v. John Swadling, defendant was ordered to pay the sum of 5s. per week for 12 months, together with 6s. 6d. costs of Court, and 2 pounds 2s. professional costs to Mr J Lowe, who conducted the case for the complainant”. According to some quick research I did today, an affiliation case is conducted to determine the paternity of a child and the father’s financial obligations. Curious, as I have no idea who the child in question might be.
Secondly, I discovered that when John died he left his estate to be divided between his two sisters and left nothing for Elizabeth or any of his five children with her.
I can see that I will need to do a lot more digging.