Jenny Joyce


Jenny Joyce is a professional genealogist, lecturer and teacher living in Sydney, Australia, specialising in Australian, English, Irish and Scottish genealogy.  Her earliest immigrant ancestors came to Australia in 1801 and she can count three convicts in her line: two women from England and a man from Ireland. Her ancestors come mainly from England and Ireland, with just a little touch of Scottish ancestry.

Jenny developed an interest in family history from her two grandmothers, who used to tell her stories about their families.  She was therefore lucky to have them around to ask questions about her family. Her love of history was sparked when she watched the television series The Six Wives of Henry VIII starring Keith Michell, and Elizabeth R staring Glenda Jackson.

She spent 25 years working in the IT industry, before quitting that to spend more time looking after her family. Shortly after that she commenced work as a professional genealogist, and has been awarded a Certificate in Genealogical Research by the Society of Australian Genealogists.

Jenny teaches at local community colleges about a variety of topics relating to history and genealogy and has also given lectures to the Society of Australian Genealogists, the Queensland Family History Society, and to her local family history group, where she runs the Irish Special Interest Group.  In addition she writes the Jennyalogy Blog and produces the Jennyalogy Podcast. The other areas she is passionate about and has lectured on are DNA and Photo Dating.

She is currently the President of her local Historical Society.

Go In-Depth With Jenny:

What is your saddest ancestor story?
My saddest ancestor story isn't really about an ancestor – it's about the sister of an ancestor.  My great-great-grandfather, Joseph Brockbank, was one of eight children.  I had noticed from the indexes to the English births, marriages and deaths that his sister, Jane Ellen Brockbank, had died in 1872 aged just 17. I had also seen that every one of her brothers and sisters had named one of their daughters Jane Ellen. I wondered why this was, and thought that Jane Ellen’s death might hold the clue.

I sent off for her death certificate and under the cause of death it said “Murdered by having her throat cut with a Razor. 9 hours elapsed before Death”. I checked the online newspapers and found several reports of the murder. Her fiancé, Edward Ward, had become jealous, convinced that she was seeing another man, and on several occasions he threatened her with violence, saying that if he couldn’t have her, no one else could.

One Saturday night he followed her from the shop where she had been working and cut her throat and then cut his own, although he still managed to run off. Jane Ellen managed to call for help and was taken back to her home, where the wound was stitched up. She seemed to be doing well, but further hemorrhaging set in and she died early the next morning. Before she died she managed to say “Ned Ward has done it”. He died on the Sunday evening without having made any comment. A letter to his brother was found in his pocket, which read:

“Dear Brother, you must not be Surprised when you hear of my death. I have loved Jane Brockbank with all my Harts (heart). Now she has deceived me hearthley (heartlessly) wrong (wronged) me. She is in the fmaley way (family way) to hear her shopmate Richard Tyler (Taylor). May Haven (heaven) bles (bless) you George now for you are the only one left. May Hevin (heaven) blis (bless) all of my mats (mates) and hope they will not think to much of a Lass. I give my best Love to all the Brockbanks, hoping they will forgive me for what I have done. May the Lord Blis me and forgive me. Anan (amen).”

What is your favorite blog post from your personal website?
It was very hard to pick one post, but I think it would have to be the tribute I wrote to my grandfather back in 2011 to celebrate Anzac Day.  Anzac Day, 25 April, is the anniversary of the Australian Forces' dawn landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula during World War I – the first time an Australian Army was involved in a conflict. My grandfather was not at Gallipoli (though his brother was), but Anzac Day is now the day of recognition and commemoration for all members of the armed forces who have fought for their country. ANZAC stands for "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps" and in Australia Anzac Day is more "sacred" than any other day, and shops are not allowed by law to open until 1pm, when the Dawn services have finished.  Why is this my favorite blog post? Simple. It's about my beloved grandfather and brings back lots of memories of him.

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You can also listen to the Jennyalogy Podcast.

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You have permission to reprint articles that have been written by Jenny Joyce appearing on The In-Depth Genealogist, except any articles published in Going In-Depth, according to the following requirements are met:

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©2017 Jenny Joyce

Jenny Joyce is a professional genealogist, lecturer, teacher and writer from Sydney, Australia.

She specialises in Australian, English, Irish and Scottish genealogy and has deep interest in DNA in relation to genealogy, palaeography and historical photography.

This article originally appeared on The In-Depth Genealogist and can be found here. [insert original link]