Is there anything more frustrating than family folklore that becomes embedded in the fabric of your family’s history?  Short answer no! These will o’ the wisp tales take on some form of Holy Grail that must not be disputed. Often they simply hide family secrets.

An example is Ada Maria Elliman. Ada or ‘Naunt” as she was known in the family. An incredibly private and strong woman.  The story she told was, she was born in New Orleans of mixed blood, her word was Octoroon.  Why did a woman born in Dromana around 1871[i]  invent such a story?   She was a tall good looking woman, who never married. She had two children out of wedlock, Ethel Arthamecy registered 1893[ii] and Fredrick Ernest registered 1895[iii].  Both were registered a Schnapper Point, Dromana. Looking at the siblings, it is obvious they have the same father.  The plot thickens, both children possessed dark skin tones, dark curly hair, brown eyes and snub noses. These physical traits were passed down to Fred’s daughter who was known as “Ginny” by the family. Her name is Patricia.

Ada consistently misrepresented the truth. Shortly before she died[iv], she burnt all her personal papers. She never revealed the father’s name. She was cremated. Her ashes were scattered.  The secret died with her. No evidence of her life remains except in public records

[i] Victorian Birth Deaths and Marriages  15071/1871

[ii] Victorian Birth Deaths and Marriages  12174/1893

[iii] Victorian Birth Deaths and Marriages  15927/1895

[iv] Victorian Birth Deaths and Marriages 5642/1952


About lindandsam

Linda is a poet and writer. As a mature aged student, she completed a Bachelor of Creative Writing. Master of Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). Linda has also completed the Diploma of Family History Studies at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) and is looking forward to further post graduate work. Published in the USC Storyboard, 2015. Self-published ‘Where is Gedhum Choekyi Nyima?’ For the Tibetan Children’s Village, Dharamsala, 1997. She now lives in Bass Coast in beautiful Wonthaggi and shares her life with her partner and their four-legged fur baby Hugo Boss

3 responses »

  1. Fascinating! Perhaps DNA testing of the children’s descendants might at least reveal something of the genetic history even if it doesn’t help in putting a name to the father.

    Liked by 1 person

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