Thursday, 3 September 2015

Ancestor Hunting in Kempsey - Mission #1

Back in May, I posted the Will of my 4x Great Grandmother Elizabeth Wright nee Graham. Her Will was like treasure to me in that she was very detailed and provided street names of the land she owned in Kempsey, New South Wales. This was the first time I had come across any record of where exactly she lived and owned land in Kempsey. If you'd like to read the transcription, please do so. Elizabeth's Will is one of my favorites.

In my transcription of the Will, I inserted screenshots of the relevant streets from Google Maps. To refresh your memory, the locations Elizabeth mentioned were -

1. Allotment of land with cottage and outhouses having frontage to Sullivan Street & William Street, East Kempsey.

Sullivan Street & William Street, East Kempsey, New South Wales
[Source: Google Maps]
2. Half an acre having frontage to Lord Street and Innes Street, East Kempsey.

Lord Street & Innes Street, East Kempsey, New South Wales
[Source: Google Maps]

3. Eight acres of land having frontage to Washington Street, East Kempsey.

Washington Street, East Kempsey, New South Wales
[Source: Google Maps]
Earlier in August, while my Aunt and I were visiting family nearby in South West Rocks, we decided to have a day out in Kempsey ancestor hunting. Mission #1 was to find the streets mentioned in the Will. Funnily enough, we ended up taking the scenic route to Kempsey instead of the Pacific Highway. I did not have any phone reception either and could not get on Google Maps to follow our route or provide directions once we got to Kempsey. We simply followed the signs with no idea of which part of the town we would enter. When we saw a sign telling us that we had indeed arrived in Kempsey, my Aunt started calling out streets we were driving past in the hope that with my now working phone reception, I could get the directions to East Kempsey. 

A second later, my Aunt is saying "Washington Street, Sullivan Street..."


We pulled over on Sullivan Street and took a few moments to confirm our location on Google Maps, and yes, we were exactly in the area we wanted to be in. It was really interesting wandering around and thinking that this was the area my ancestors lived in. I was walking the same streets they walked on. The numbers in the captions below corresponds to the number of the relevant map above. 

1. Sullivan Street, East Kempsey
Corner of 1) Sullivan Street & 3) Washington Street, East Kempsey
1. Corner of William Street & Sullivan Street
My Aunt wanted to knock on the door of the house at the corner of Sullivan and William Streets, but I am not a fan of knocking on random people's doors. I decided instead that I will write the residents a letter to see if they know anything about the history of the land. Is the house on the corner still owned by Wright's? Who knows! 

2. Lord Street, East Kempsey
2. Innes Street, East Kempsey
In my previous post, I had wondered if Wrights Lane that runs off Washington Street was named after my Wright ancestors. Another mystery to solve!

Wrights Lane, East Kempsey
Wrights Lane, East Kempsey
Caitie at Wrights Lane, East Kempsey
It was a very exciting day so far, but we still had more to do. Stay tuned for Mission #2 of our Ancestor Hunting day in Kempsey.


  1. what an exciting journey you are on

  2. Sharing your excitement. What fab day@

  3. I can feel your happy dancing excitement from here ;-) ...
    Awesome! stuff, and what a TOTALLY exciting day for sure.

  4. I miss my Nana on our genealogical adventures on the road. Loved reading about your plans.