Finding Family

One woman's obsession with family history.

One of the amazing things about genealogy is that it has the ability to bring together distant (and not so distant) relatives who are all focused on similar goals; to make new discoveries about one’s family.

These discoveries are almost always furthered once contact is made and documents, photos and information are pooled. For some people such resources may become obscure as time ticks away but for others, they never disappeared. As the branches of the family tree spread out across multiple generations there is almost always someone who has family heirlooms or photos of those long gone. They are sitting on a gold mine and the beauty comes from being able to share such things with others.

I had long accepted the fact that I would probably never have a full collection of photos for my Mum’s side of the tree. They are either simply non existent amongst my Nan’s collection of photos or, if they do exist, there’s no one around (that I know of) who can identify the people in them.

I am lucky however that my Mum seems to be a wonder at remembering some of the faces and names. She’s helped identify several people in the photos, including my Great Grandmother Jessie Nicholson (nee Linto). This photo was taken later in Jessie’s life, most probably close to when she died in 1950.

Jessie Linto (left) with my Nanna, Gwendoline Joyce Harwood outside Jessie's house on Hay Street in Subiaco (1950).

Jessie was one of eleven children to William Linto and Catherine Grady and for a long time I had no other photos of her brothers and sisters. Then, out of the blue, a lady named Eileen contacted me and asked if I’d like copies of two photos of Jessie’s sister, Ethel May Linto. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity.

Ethel married George William Traiton Smith in 1917 and she is pictured in the photos below.

Ethel May Linto with her husband George William Traiton Smith.

Ethel standing out the front of her house with her children, Traiton Samuel Linto Smith and Audrey Smith.

The week appeared to be a week dedicated to the Linto family. Not long after I received an email from Eileen, I received an email from another lady, Jenny. Jenny is related by marriage to Lilly Linto, another of Jessie’s sisters. Lilly married John Foss Tonkin in 1919 and Jenny contacted me to say she’d finally found some photos. She very kindly sent them on to me.

Lilly Tonkin (nee Linto), Ned William Tonkin and John Foss Tonkin.

The Tonkin family at Niknot (Tonkin backwards) Farm. Left to right: Maggie Tonkin (John Tonkin's mother) holding William Tonkin, Lilly Tonkin (nee Linto), John Tonkin, unknown boy in cap, Ned Tonkin and Myra Tonkin.

These two wonderful women happily gave me access to photos which I had assumed did not exist. They’ve also given me the opportunity to look upon the faces of my Great Grandmother’s sisters and to wonder if there is much of a resemblance. Hopefully one day I’ll come across a photo of Jessie from when she was younger and I’ll be able to compare them. I’m grateful to both Eileen and Jenny and I could not thank them enough for their kind gesture.

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