THIS IS THE FOREWORD PHIL READY WROTE FOR HIS BOOK – “READY OR NOT “. I AM REPRODUCING IT FOLLOWING HIS EMAIL RE MY PUBLISHING HIS FINDINGS. PERMISSION GRANTED.
When I decided in 1981 to research the history of my family, i believed that we were on my father’s side, descended from an average English, Protestant family with nothing very exciting to be found.
How wrong I was for I have found that we are descended from Irish Roman Catholic convicts, that there are numerous skeletons in the family closet and that there existed adventure and romance that I for one never dreamed of and my father, as far as I am aware, never realised.
My mother, would have been shocked, for my earlier memories of her are that she was rather biased against Irish Roman Catholics and judgemental about people’s moral values but as she got older, in line with the changes going on, she mellowed and became more tolerant of other people’s points of view.
The detective work necessary to ferret out the information has taken my wife,Lois, and I to many parts of NSW and VICTORIA whilst the rest of the family have waited to see what would be the next discovery.
The pleasant surprise of receiving phone calls from others researching the READY family has introduced me to Doug Howe and Betty Alford, grandchildren of Catherine Louisa and Sarah Ann, my grandfather’s sisters who married Joseph Howe and William henry Watson respectively. This has opened up more information and has not only led to a continuing friendship with Doug but introduced me to several more cousins on his side of the family. Research by Doug also led to a meeting with Ken Eccleston, great grandson of George Eccleston and his wife Catherine, sister of my great,great grandmother Elizabeth Curtis. Ken’s contributions on the Curtis Family have been invaluable.
Each time I find more information I get a thrill, for there are times when I despair of ever finding the information I want, such as; WHAT HAPPENED TO THOMAS and ELIZABETH HOGAN and to JOHANNAH PRENDERGAST? I thought that release of the Victorian Records might help but a search of these records has also proven fruitless. Time and further research may find the answer.
Finding my ancestors and researching their history has helped fill in some of my genetic heritage and what has helped in making me the way I am, for each member has added their contribution. I well remember strange feelings I had when I read JOHANNAH’s letter to Governor Darling, and also the story of HANNAH HUTCHINS or HITCHINS ( for there are many variations to the spelling of her name.)
Reading the Surgeon’s account of the voyage of the ‘Dorothy’ gave me some idea of what it was like to travel out on one of the Convict Transports, although the Dorothy apparently had a much better trip than many others.
In some ways I feel that I may have deprived those who come after me of the fun I have had but there is still a lot left untold and each day I guess, we are making history. I hope that later researchers will enjoy it as much as I have. be careful of what you throw out for, I believe, that although we are not responsible for our ancestors, who incidentally wen through situations that I,for on, would not like to have gone through, we are, as guardians of our heritage, responsible to our descendants.
Phil Ready. July 1988.