Welcome to the Harper Trew Family Tree. My family history journey began in earnest towards the end of 2011. I had toyed with the idea of family research back in the 90′s but most of the resources back then required that you travel to various registries, make phone calls and spend a considerable amount of time and money in general. With the advent of the Internet much more can be achieved in a smaller amount of time and with a lower cost – so here we are!
My research started on Ancestry.com and the starting point was my mother’s family. Her father was Robert John Harper (born in Ouyen) and her mother was Anne Catherine Trew (born in Warracknabeal). Ancestry.com is an excellent resource for researching but probably the only thing I don’t like is that the family tree is only available to members.
That is the main reason I have created this website – so that all of the information I have gathered from family members and several other people who have been very generous with their time and research is freely available. I hope you find something in here that saves you some time!
To view the members of our family tree, click the Family Tree option on the menu above
There are four families in our Harper tree that made the trip to the new Victorian colony. It is worth noting that Melbourne was founded in 1835 and Victoria didn’t become a separate ‘colony’ until July 1 1851 when writs were issued proclaiming the new colony of Victoria. The first settlement was at Corinella in 1826 and the second at Portland in 1834.
Information contributed by Maurie Harper
William James /Ernest Harper and Annie Maria Harper nee Smith, Fraser
My grandfather William James Harper married a widow Annie Maria Smith nee Fraser. Annie Maria had 2 girls and a son who later died in a drowning accident at Riddells Creek. Annie Maria was born to Charles Fraser and Maria Lush at Elphingstone near Tarradale in Victoria in 1863. She was 12 years older than William when she married him in the Registry office 442 Queens St Melbourne on the 19th January 1900.
As mentioned in the article about Robert Bown and the murder trial, it was known that Robert Bown fell foul of the law after serving his sentence for the manslaughter of Timothy Murphy. I recently found several archived news reports on Trove which relate to the offences he committed after returning to the Murtoa district and the sentences that were imposed. There was great interest in in the case, so much so that the Horsham Times posted this notice on March 23 1886:
The HarperFamilyTree.com website has been really effective for getting in contact with other Harpers and their descendants around Australia who we wouldn’t have otherwise known or perhaps even known about.
The first significant contact was from Maurie Harper. He had been researching for many years but there were questions around what had become of his Grandfather, William James Harper after he became estranged from his wife (Annie Maria Harper). Maurie was fairly sure he knew that William James had changed his name to Wilfred, so when I started researching our side of the family, which only ever knew William as Wilfred, we were able to put the pieces together and confirm what we both suspected.
I came across this interesting story whilst searching the Internet this evening. It relates to a feud between the Bowns and the Murphys that ended up with Timothy Murphy being shot by Robert Bown.
I wasn’t able to see a way I could contact the owner of the website containing the story, but I’m sure they won’t mind me reproducing it here with a link back to their original story which is HERE.
Like most families, the Harper family had several family members who joined the military and fought in the Boer War, World War I and World War II. Here are some links and information relating to their military service.
Patrick Ryan was born in Limerick or Clare, Ireland around 1804-1805 and traveled to Australia with his wife Sarah (nee McInerney) and four children (William, Ann, Honorah, Mary). His children were all born in Limerick and his wife was born in Clare (where they were also married according to Sarah’s death record). It is unknown exactly when they came to Australia or on what ship, but Sarah’s death record states that she had been in Victoria for 42 years when she died in 1894 which suggests that they traveled to Australia in 1852.
William Trew was born in 1789 in Witham, Essex, England. He married Hannah Hills in Witham on April 21, 1807.
The 1841 England Census has the following record for William Trew:
Street Address: Malting Office Cottages
William Trew 50 (Tanner)
Samuel Trew 13
Harriet Trew 11
Edward Trew 5
The 1861 England Census shows that William Trew was living at his sister’s house:
Mary Ann Bown was born on May 17, 1869 at Narrapumelap station in Wickliffe, Victoria. Mary married William (Bill) Trew whose father, Samuel Trew, was a brickmaker at Sawpit Swamp from 1878.