My husband Michael and I have only been married for twelve years, yet we have known each other for a lifetime, meeting in the 1950s, before losing each other to our individual destinies. Our lives apart were fulfilled through marriage to other partners and the raising of families and the pursuit of personal endeavours. Coming together after a separation of almost forty years, and at time when the pace of life had slowed, allowed the space to talk about our lives. It was as we explored our recent and distant histories that Michael expressed regret for his lack of knowledge concerning his father’s lineage and the loss of his family name. He also expressed disappointment that his own children and grandchildren’s knowledge of his life was limited to their familial relationship with him and that, with the passing of time, their paternal heritage it would be lost forever.
As a writer with an interest in history, particularly the bare truth in history, I decided to research write the story of his paternal family, to fill the gaps and clear up misconceptions where possible. The story grew much larger, taking longer to research and collate the information than originally planned, yet some people had vanished without a trace. In 2014, with the availability of online genealogical sites and the digitising of newspapers and other records, I decided to search again for those who had proven elusive with the first writing.
Although this has been a more solitary effort, none of it would have been possible without the assistance and sharing of information at the beginning of this project in 2005. Without this foundation of knowledge, I would have had nothing to build upon and I continue my gratitude to my husband, Michael, for his persistence in researching and pursuing early documents and following up family contacts throughout the state, to my sister-in-law, Anne Macleod, for her assistance and support for the project and my brother in law, David Pugh, for his understanding.
I remain appreciative of:
the late Jean Martin and her daughter, Lyn Gleeson, for their generosity in sharing information and resources
Murray Stagg, for his kindness in sharing anecdotal family history, and for the time he freely gave to take us on a tour to the locations where the colonial Stagg family resided
Helen Britton, Margaret Niaura and Joan Donaghue, for their willingness to share and their kind hearts
staff at Carr Villa Cemetery office who persevered with Michael in his quest to find his grandmother’s grave
the gentleman at C T Finney’s, who searched old records and aided our understanding of the process of that era
staff from the records department staff of the Launceston General Hospital for their willingness to assist in the location of patient records from almost a century ago
Tim Vaatstra, manager, Adoptions & Permanency Service, Department of Health and Human Services, Tasmania for his assistance in accessing records pertaining to Mervyn Lindsay Stagg and Reginald Risk
Merlene Fawdry 2014