Four weeks ago, the archivist and historian Shauna Hicks ( started a series of blog posts about genealogical records. There’s to be one post each week this year.  I am a bit late to the party, but now I’m joining in.

This week Shauna wrote about Memorial Cards (

I have only one Memorial Card, purchased from Lenore Frost’s ‘Photo Rescue!’, a service intended to ‘re-unite orphaned photos [and cards] with their lost families’. (

In 1854 Margaret Smyth, who became Margaret Plowright, arrived in Melbourne from Southampton on the Persian. She was  20 years old from County Cavan. During the passage to Australia, she gave birth to a boy, and when she arrived she first stayed with a cousin called John Hente. At least the surname looks like ‘Hente’ on the Assisted Migrant record; but the writing is hard to read and I have no other information about him. I would be grateful for any suggestions.


Microfiche copy of Register of Assisted Immigrants from United Kingdom 1839 – 1871 – See more at:
Microfiche copy of Register of Assisted Immigrants from United Kingdom 1839 – 1871 – See more at:
From Public Record Office of Victoria VPRS 3502 Register of Assisted Migrants from the U.K. 1839 – 1871: 1854 list for the Persian Book 9 page 437

In November 1855 Margaret married John Plowright, a goldminer, at Magpie near Ballarat.  Their  marriage certificate describes her as a 22 year old dressmaker from County Cavan, whose parents were William Smyth, a farmer, and Mary Cox.

Margaret and John had seven children including one adopted child.  I can find no mention of the boy who was born on the Persian.

I have written previously on the marriage and children of Margaret and John.

On 5 March 1872 Margaret was admitted to the Maryborough Hospital.  According to the index of the hospital admission record, she was 37 years old, married, from Homebush, a Wesleyan, and she had arrived in the colony seventeen years previously on the Persian.

In 1897 at the age of 63 Margaret died at Homebush near Avoca. The death certificate has the cause of death as Brights Disease [kidney failure], dropsy [fluid retention] and exhaustion.  She was buried in Avoca cemetery.