Several years ago I started researching the ancestry of Alfred Harris, a man who lived in Pateena, Longford from around 1850 until 1918. He had, at least, 17 children and was my wife's great grandfather. I eventually formed the view that he was most likely to have been born to Charles Harris and Isabella Murray in Westbury, at least in part because no other records could be found for that Alfred.
While my father-in law could remember family stories about him and could name Alfred and Annie’s seventeen children, nothing was known of their ancestors. One of Alfred's children (my wife’s great Uncle) was still living, well into his eighties, and he told fascinating stories.
There were a couple of anomalies that I couldn’t explain and so I took to DNA testing when it became possible. Sadly, that told me I was wrong and that all the months I had spent researching had been in vain. I now believe that Alfred, son of Charles and Isabella, died as a baby although I have discovered no records of his death or burial.
But my venture into the Murray family was not wasted because it is a fascinating story well supported with a vast number of fantastic family letters and documents going back nearly 200 years that deserves to be told more fully and professionally than I have done here. There is a lot that, time and resources permitting, I would like to have added. The Murray family remains here in my family website because there are many links across my family tree.
The Murray and Young families were Scottish pioneers who emigrated in the 1820's to Van Diemen's Land from the other side of the world seeking fortune in new lands. They were accompanied by some of their friends and relations, the Reid, Young, Scott, Thomson and Macqueen families. They married amongst themselves as well as other new immigrant families including Nankivell, Harris, Strachan, Stodart and Calvert's. Collectively they made a major contribution to the early settlement of both Van Diemen's land and parts of Victoria.
Outstanding records including diaries, letters and histories are scattered about in a variety of sources and can be used to extract and paint a picture of the lives and the contributions these people made to the society we enjoy today. This web site encompasses a great deal of my original research but I have also received invaluable assistance from others and I would particularly like to acknowledge the contributions and encouragement by George Hugh Murray (Devonport), Hugh Nankivell (Perth WA), Alex Turner (Hampshire, England re the Young family) and Sandra Duck (Launceston).
It is inevitable that there are mistakes and omissions within these pages; perhaps a living person exists on these pages and would prefer not to. It is my fervent hope that people will contact me so that appropriate corrections can be made. I would like this web site to be a starting point rather than a finished product. I have not attempted to reference every entry, that would be beyond my capacity, although I have checked all that I could and am happy to provide specific references on request. If readers have access to additional information or a photo of anyone from this site who is deceased I would love to be able to add that. Please contact me using the email link below.
I have consulted and drawn upon the following resources and I recommend them as a source for further information.
- Australian Dictionary of Biography
- Clan Mhoraidh – The Murrays by Clara Murray, Melbourne 1924
- Clan Murray
- Cyclopedia of Tasmania
- Green Knowe to Green Hill and Beyond A strand of the Reid story by O. W. Reid 1989
- Campbell Town Tasmania History and Centenary of Municipal Government compiled by the Historical Committee of the National Trust of Australia (Tasmania), and published by the Campbell Town Municipal Council 1996
- Family Documents 1747 - 1961 Murray Douglas Blunden and others compiled by Reg Murray 2009 ISBN: 978 0 646 51241 9
- A Murray Family History Descending from David Murray Compiled and written by Connie Ward
- History of Tasmania by James Fenton
- Land of the Sleeping Gods compiled by Jane Cooper 2013 ISBN978-192-1767-12-8 (re Umurrah)
- Launceston Family Album
- Leake Family Papers UTAS reprints
- The Lyne Family History by Lois Nyman, 1976
- Murray Clan DNA Research Project Facebook Group
- My Dear Betsy - A collection of letters written by David Murray, his family and descendants between 1813 and 1947 by Connie Ward
- Presbyterian pioneers of Van Diemen’s Land: a contribution to the ecclesiastical history of Tasmania. J. Heyer 1935
- Letters from Victorian Pioneers, edited by Thomas Bride 1899
- A Short history of Campbell Town and the Midlands Pioneers by K R von Stieglitz, 1948
- Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office: Colonial Secretary's Office correspondence with David Murray CSO1/1/75.1622
- Thomas Bock Convict Engraver, Society Portraitist 1991 by Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery ISBN 0651 158979
- Recollection of Launceston 1836 -1847 by George Samuel Fuller