Who Do You Think You Are - Season 8, Episode 1 recap

Julia Morris

Season 8 of the popular family history show Who Do You Think You Are? screened over several weeks during 2016. Here at State Records of South Australia we recapped each episode at the time and highlighted any records in our collection relevant to topics covered. Now on our blog for your reading pleasure are all of our recaps. 

In episode 1 we joined Julia Morris on her journey through her family history. We started by tracing her father’s side of the family in both New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland. We learned her paternal great grandfather Percy Macaulay was involved in the movement to establish the capital of Australia in the NSW town of Yass. We were also surprised to learn at one point Mount Gambier and Port Augusta were proposed as capital city locations. After his time in Yass her great grandfather moved to Queensland where he established a newspaper in the town of Clifton and also stood unsuccessfully for Parliament. The episode revealed a strong connection with her great grandfather and the Labor party with suggestion he moved his family to Queensland after it became the first place in the world to elect a Labor government, another fact our staff were unaware of. The episode then revealed a bankruptcy and move to NSW where Julia met with Bob Carr and learned her great grandfather went on to work for the NSW Labor party.

Julia went further back into the Macaulay side of her family discovering that Peter Macaulay was a Private in the British Army who served during the Napoleonic War in Spain before coming to Australia with the Army and going on to be one of the first British settlers in Queensland. He also brought out his family and we learned that his wife gave birth to twins on board the ship to Australia and tragically one of the babies died on the voyage.

After this Julia traced her mother’s side of the family. Her mother had been unable to identify a passenger list for her father, Julia’s grandfather Patrick O’Halloran. This remained a mystery but it was revealed that Irish census records had him living in Ireland in 1911 but within NSW Railway and Tramways employment records he was employed in NSW by 1912. Julia learned he had a strong connection with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) which led to his activities Australia being monitored by the Government.

A great episode where Julia unlocked many family secrets which at times moved her deeply.

Whilst Julia’s story didn’t take her to South Australia if you’re looking for South Australian records on topics covered by Julia’s story we can assist you with:

  • Bankruptcy – we hold insolvency records within GRG 66 Insolvency Court, including GRG 66/5 Sequestration Files and GRG 66/6 Schedules of Estates
  • Births and death on ships - Julia consulted the Ships Surgeons reports to find details of her ancestor’s births and death. These records could be found within GRG 25/48/2 Immigrants Ships Papers

We hold a large number of South Australian railways employment records, for more information please see our Railway employment fact sheet

If you’re just beginning your family history journey then it’s also worth checking out our webpage on Family History Research at State Records.

More of WDYTYA Season 8 recaps can be found on the State Records blog.

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