Category Archives: Australia

Alice Bellinger (1875-1917) – servant at Woburn Abbey

It’s rare that I write about any of my ancestors who lived in an adjoining county to where I live now. When I came across Alice, my 4th cousin twice removed, I decided it was time to see what I could find out about her.

Alice was the eldest daughter of Ashley Bellinger (born 1849) and his first wide Maria Saunders (1845-1888); she was born in Q1 1875 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and is highlighted in purple on the following outline descendant chart.  

Descendant chart for Ashley Bellinger

Alice’s father Ashley was a gamekeeper and in the 1881 census the family were living in Keepers Cottage, Amersham. In 1910, Ashley and his third wife, Margaret, highlighted in pink on the above chart), emigrated to Canada on the SS Empress of Ireland. They arrived in Quebec on 29 September 1910 and settled in Kelvington, Saskatchewan, Canada where Ashley became a farmer.

By 1891 Alice had left home and was a kitchen maid working for the Matthews family in Northaw, Hertfordshire. In the 1901 census she was working as a laundry maid at Woburn Abbey, the seat of the Bedford family. There she met her future husband Walter Fletcher Lansom (1874-1918), a stable helper. The following picture is of Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire:

Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire from Picturesque England

Alice and Walter married in Q4 1905 and settled in Woburn. In 1911 they were living at 39 Bedford Rd with their three children, with Walter working as a “chauffeur domestic” (see the following outline descendant report for Alice).

Descendant chart for Alice Bellinger

Alice died in 1917, and Walter on 13 February 1918, leaving their three young children orphans.  A memorial entry in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent (13 February 1920), posted by Walter’s sister Renee, gave further information about Walter’s death. He was said to have “passed peacefully away at 62, Leighton Street, Woburn, Beds., on February 13th 1918, aged 44 years.” The following 1901 OS map for Woburn has been annotated to show the location of Leighton Street.

OS Bedfordshire Sheet XXIV.7 date 1901

The recently released 1921 census shed further light on what happened to Alice and Walter’s three children after Walter’s death. Their eldest son Ashley Herbert Lansom (1906-1997) and daughter Florence Irene Lansom (1910-1988) were recorded living with Alice’s older brother Frederick Bellinger and his wife in Walthamstow, Essex. Frederick was a plumber and Ashley, aged 15yrs 1month, a page boy working for bankers Guaranty First Co. of New York, 31 Lombard Street, London EC2. His sister was at school. Their brother, Robert William Lansom (1908-1977) aged 12yrs 10months, was found in the Royal Albert Orphanage, Camberley, Surrey where the census records that his parents were both dead and that he was at school.  Robert married and in 1939 was living in Letchworth, Hertfordshire.

In 1949, Ashley and his family emigrated to Australia. They arrived in Freemantle, Western Australia on 15 November 1949 on the SS Otranto. The Perth Sunday Times reported, on 13 November, that the Otranto was one of three ships bringing a total of 364 migrants to Australia.

Ashley and his family settled near Perth where he worked as a plumber. Ashley’s sister, Florence Irene, also emigrated with her husband William Rice Baldwin (1908-1974) to Australia. They arrived in Freemantle on the SS New Australia on 2 March 1952 with their intended address being that of her brother Ashley: 105 Rupert St, Subiaco, Perth.

I am interested in knowing more about all the people mentioned in this blog post, and in particular, what happened to Ashley and his family in Australia. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence and sourced from the NLS maps site


1939 Register.  : accessed January 2022.

Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980.  : accessed January 2022

Bedfordshire Times and Independent. : accessed January 2022.

Births, marriages and deaths.  : accessed January 2022.

Canadian Census Records.  : accessed January 2022.

Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935.  : accessed January 2022.

Census Records.  : accessed January 2022.

Freemantle, Western Australia Passenger Lists, 1897-1963.  : accessed January 2022

OS Maps. : accessed January 2022.

Trove. : accessed January 2022.

Woburn Abbey. : accessed January 2022.

Ancestors in Australia

So far in my family research I have found very few people who have emigrated to Australia from either my husband or my own part of our family tree. The most notable person was Thomas King, born about 1813, who was transported to Tasmania for stealing.

Recently I discovered some distant cousins, one of whom emigrated to Australia in 1928 and the other who joined him in 1949. The first to emigrate was Frederick William Ellis (1906-1957) who was born in Luton, Bedfordshire and by 1928 living in Cople in Bedfordshire. He left England for Australia on 13 October 1928 on the ship SS Orford where his occupation was given as farming. Information on the ship he travelled on is included on the Passengers in History website.

SSOrdfordfrompassengersinhistoryFrederick seems to have settled in Western Australia and so far I’ve been unable to determine if he received assistance for his passage. He wasn’t listed as a new settler arriving on the ship SS Orford in the list published in The Western Australian newspaper dated 10 November 1928.


Frederick was living in Northam, Western Australia when he enlisted in the Australian army in WWII. After the war his sister Helena (1904-1988) and brother-in-law Ashley Herbert Lansom (born 1906), my fifth cousin once removed, together with their two sons, emigrated to Australia on the ship SS Otranto. They left Tilbury Docks, London, England on 14 October 1949 bound for Freemantle in Western Australia. On the passenger list Ashley’s occupation was listed as a plumber and they gave their intended residence as c/o Ellis, 58 Hovea Crescent, Wundowie, Western Australia. The Lansom’s seem to have settled in a suburb of Perth called Dianella as they were recorded living there in The Government Gazette dated 31 August 1979.

A resource that I’ve found really helpful to add context to these two men is the National Library of Australia’s Trove website. It is free to use and is where I found copies of The Western Australia newspaper and The Government Gazette.

Note: the photo of SS Orford came from the Passengers in History website under their Creative Commons license. It has not been modified.

Research update

In the last few months I have spent time at the archives in Beverley, Borthwick Institute in York and the Society of Genealogists library in London, as well as much time searching the internet. It was sad and exciting to hold the actual documents which recorded my ancestor Thomas King’s guilty verdict and sentence to be transported to the colonies for stealing chickens. My query about him to the Tasmanian Information and Research Centre was handled thoughtfully and I am working through the information they sent.

I do though still have some brick walls to deal with,; parrticularly in relation to the Sarginsons. A seminar at the Society of Genealogists on searching Yorkshire records has though give me some leads to follow. If you have any information about your Sarginson ancestors do get in touch using the contact button as I am also in the early stages of a one name study of Sarginsons.