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Ancestors and all of that!

A group of good friends, a Sunday barbeque and great Southeast Queensland sunny winter weather. Perfect! Picture the scene.

While waiting for the snags and steaks to blacken in their usual fashion, we chatted about all and sundry, the weather, the footie and the Logies, but steered clear of politics, or anything to do with seven members of the Sea Eagles leagues team refusing to wear the jerseys.

However, the increasing threat of hostilities with China certainly got a run, as did the rising cost of living and mortgage stress but that’s as far as those got. Then someone changing the subject by mentioning his family tree. Evidently, he had recently hooked up with that ‘ancestry mob’ and had discovered that he was directly related to ‘Robert the Bruce’, the 14th century heroic King of Scotland.

The next week, the ‘Bruce’ story got me thinking. I remember my Aunt Jess always maintaining that the Lancaster’s (that’s us) were directly related to ‘the Plantagenet John of Gaunt’, Duke of Lancaster, who was one of the early organisers of England’s bloodiest 30-year, 15th century civil war, ‘The Wars of the Roses’. For a second or two, I fantasised that I could have a legitimate claim to the British throne. After all, the current mob occupying Buckingham Palace didn’t go back to the 15th century, did they?

Now ‘Dr Google’, as I have often found in the past is a marvellous source of information, so as a bit of a lark I typed in my name. Suffice to say not all that I found in Google’s vast memory bank, was to my liking or indeed assisted in any way my future ascendancy to the British throne. For example, there were no less than 34 Lancaster’s listed as convicts who were transported to Australia during the early 1800’s. One actually bore my name, Richard Lancaster. And he was a ‘Lifer’. This Richard Lancaster was evidently a single, blue-eyed, light browned haired English farm labourer who was twice imprisoned for poaching and was then further convicted on March 8, 1834, of cutting and maiming a John Yeates. For these crimes he received a life sentence and was transported to Van Diemen’s Land, aboard the convict ship the Lady Kennaway. Admittedly, he did behave himself during the voyage according to the records, but his previous behaviour, convictions and the 33 other Lancaster’s who joined him on his colonial jaunt, finished my need to search for illustrious ancestors!

Now I’m a firm believer in the old adage, `Let sleeping ancestors lie`!


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