Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ann Lyons

 Ann Lyons birth certificateAnnie Pearson c 1932 (far right, age 76)

My family tree researches have picked up again lately since meeting my cousin Annie, who found me through this blog. She’s at least the second or third family member to stumble on me thus, through my listing of our common ancestors.

I’ve written about my Swedish great-great grandfather Sven Pearson (from Malmo) before. He married Annie Lyons in Adelaide, South Australia in 1880. Until very recently I had no information at all on Annie’s background: whether she was born in South Australia ( or indeed in another state ) or, like Sven had arrived from overseas. The surname Lyons is almost certainly of Irish derivation, but when was that connection made?

Cousin Annie has been doing the hard yards with archives in South Australia (their BDM records are still not online), using family stories to pin down more information. As I know too well, few of my female ancestors were on intimate terms with their real ages through their lives, so working backwards from an event like the birth of a child or a census and believing their recorded age is just a recipe for pain. And they start fibbing out it very early in their lives!

The 1880 wedding certificate lists Annie as 21 years of age. Subsequent life-events would have one revise that down to 16-18 if taken at face value.

It seems that Annie arrived from Plymouth, Devon with her mother Ellen, sister Margaret and baby brother Arthur on the Duntrune in 1876. We suspect that they left England not long after the sudden death of her father Daniel.

While the birth certificate above confirms that Annie was born in Plymouth and was in fact nearly 24 when she married, this doesn’t give me another strand of English ancestry. Her parents Daniel Lyons and Ellen Ahern were married in Plymouth, but hailed from Cork in Ireland.

So this gives me the first Irish ancestry on my father’s side of the family, closing up one more gap in the records of the countries where my ancestors came from.

Ann Lyons Pearson passed away in 1935 in Stanmore Sydney, only about 5 minutes drive from where I live today.

Next steps:

1. try to uncover more about Daniel and Ellen. I’ve ordered their wedding certificate and what I hope is his death certificate, with the aim of uncovering more precise ages (possibly birthdates) and names of their parents.

2. Learn what became of Ann’s siblings Margaret and Arthur. After Sven’s early death in 1900, the family moved east, with all of them ending up in Sydney. I’ve not found any records of Margaret or Arthur in NSW or Victoria (which is easy for me to check online) so they most likely settled down in South Australia. Unfortunately that would require a paid researcher to look for potential BMD records.



  1. Hi Mike, which one in the photo is Annie Lyons (my great grandmother) and who are the others do you know?

  2. Sorry, I didn't see the tag you have on the photo. Thanks for that.


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