Amy Johnson Crow introduced the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge on her No Story Too Small blog in 2014. This year she continued the challenge, but also added a weekly theme. This week’s topic was “Heirloom”. What heirloom do you treasure? Who gave it to you? What heirloom do you wish you had?
There was one family heirloom that I used to have. My husband’s grandmother’s ring had been handed down to my husband, and this became my wedding ring. After I had my two children, the ring no longer fit me, so I took it off. It was put in a safe place (or at least we thought it was safe!), but the next time I looked, it was gone. I’m not sure if my ex-husband took it when we separated, or if one of my children found the hiding place and then lost it.
My husband’s grandmother was Dorothea Isabella Sinclair Smith. I never met her, as she died in 1979, and I met my husband in 1984.
Dorothea (known as Doth) was born 29 June 1904 at Boisdale, Victoria, Australia. She was the eldest of 13 children born to Thomas Smith and Louisa May Clyne. When Doth was a child, her father had a number of different jobs and the family moved home several times. Eventually, in the early 1920s, they settled at Winalton. When she left home to go to work, she went to Kerang where she worked at “Heller’s” milk-bar. It was in Kerang that she met her future husband, Thomas Arthur Willis.
Thomas and Dorothea were married 3 June 1929 at Kerang, and they lived on his wheat and sheep farm at Mystic Park. They only had one child, a son, Murray. After Murray was married, they retired to live in Kerang, while their son took over running the farm. Tom died in 1957.
Doth went on a Pacific cruise in 1964 but was called back upon reaching Hawaii because of her son’s ill health. He died shortly afterwards. In 1968 she went on a world cruise. I have her passport, which has the following visas.
- Japan 18 Jan 1968
- Age 12 Feb 1968
- Kobe 16 Feb 1968
- London 21 Mar 1968
- Dover 27 Mar 1968
- Belgie 27 Mrt 1968
- Dover 18 Apr 1968
- Southampton 24 May 1968
Doth died 6 May 1979 at the Kerang and District Hospital. She was buried 8 May 1979 at the Kerang Cemetery.