Wednesday, December 23, 2009

that ocean

The pull of the Indian Ocean is strong. It connects me to places and people as well as to the past and present. I am continually drawn to its blue immensity. And in the light of this discovery, I wonder what else is out there in the depths of that ocean, what else is held in that vast body.

I want to tell you this. The person who became my latest follower, Trevor Kidd, is now part of this connection. I was mistaken, we hadn't met before.

He has been researching the Alkin family and was googling when he found my blog. You see, his grandfather was my great-grandmother's younger brother.

That's him, Reginald Alkin, Trevor's grandfather.

In the last week, Trevor has sent photos, family trees, birth certificates and more, for which I am grateful, intrigued and delighted. It seems that Edward and Kate had ten children. Annie, my great-grandmother was the second. Reginald was the youngest child, born in 1888. He would have been seven when his father died in Madaripore.

Trevor tells me that both Reginald and his brother Horace were sent from Calcutta back to the UK to board at the Asylum of Merchant Seamans Orphans in Snaresbrook. This was 'an institution founded for the support and education of the children of deceased and shipwrecked marines'.

At 15, Reginald joined his family in Calcutta and worked for the Indo-Burma Petroleum Company of Calcutta, as well as the State Shipping Service. In 1918, he married Elizabeth McMahon in Fremantle and two of their children, Avis and Aubrey, were born in Albany.

He died in Sydney, 1941 on the HMAS Kybra and is buried in Rookwood Cemetery.

Trevor lives in Perth and he has Reginald's sea-chest.

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