In 1985, Helen Hudson nee Hughes (1915 – 2005), my grandfather’s first cousin, published a family history with the rather lengthy title, ‘Cherry stones: adventures in genealogy of Taylor, Hutcheson, Hawkins of Scotland; Plaisted, Green, Hughes of England and Wales; Hale of Gloucestershire, Langford Sidebottom, Cheshire; Shorten of Cork, Ireland, and Slater of Hampshire, England who immigrated to Australia between 1822 and 1850, researched, compiled and written by Helen Lesley Hudson‘ (Berwick, Victoria: H.L. Hudson, 1985).


For me her book, based on papers, old letters, and paraphernalia she inherited from her father, is a researcher’s treasure-house. At the moment I’m preparing for a family-history trip to England, and I’m finding ‘Cherry stones‘ particularly useful, for it includes details of Helen’s travels to the “Old Country” visiting the places our forebears came from, and I’ll be doing something similar.

Helen and her husband Bill visited Holywell in Flintshire twice. She wrote about walking around the graveyard of the ancient church beside St Winifrede’s Well Sanctuary, where she found many graves of our Hughes family.


She also wrote about a visit she made to Trelawynydd, formerly known as Newmarket. My fourth great grandfather, Edward Hughes (1803 – 1876) was born at there. FindMyPast has the baptism records for Trelawnyd, Flintshire, and these include an Edward Hughes baptised 23 January 1803, the son of Edward and Ann Hughes. Helen gives Edward’s birth date as 17 January 1803. I am not sure what document she based this on. Edward Hughes is a common name – Hughes is the eighth most common Welsh surname – and there are plenty of other candidates for our Edward.

On 21 April 1821 Edward Hughes of Holywell, Flintshire married Elizabeth Jones of Ysgeifiog at Ysgeifiog. [Ysgeifiog pronounciation]. Ysgeifiog is less than five miles from Holywell. Helen’s tree had 1823 as the date of this marriage, but I have located a likely parish record at FindMyPast giving the date as 1821. Edward and Elizabeth married in Liverpool in 1825. Elizabeth Jones was from Cardiganshire.

Samuel Hughes (1827 – 1896), their eldest surviving child and my third great grandfather, was baptised at the Great Crosshall Street Chapel of Welsh Congregationalists, Liverpool. The baptism record gives his birth date as 12 October 1827. Helen’s tree has 13 October 1827 and gives his place of birth as Liverpool. Edward Hughes was stated to be a joiner of Norris Street, Liverpool.

At the time of the 1841 census Edward, Elizabeth, four children (Samuel, Mary, Henry, and Eliza) and a child Goodman Jones, I assume a nephew of Elizabeth’s, were living at Drinkwater Gardens, Liverpool. Edward was a joiner. There were no live-in servants.

On 20 January 1849 Samuel Hughes arrived in South Australia on the Gunga, which had left Liverpool on 16 September 1848. Helen states that Edward, Elizabeth, Mary, and Henry also arrived on the Gunga but there seems no record on the passenger list of any other family member.

In 1851 I believe Edward and Elizabeth Hughes and one daughter, Mary, were living in Heathfield Street, Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales. Edward was a builder, employing 30 men.

I have not been able to find the immigration record for Edward and Elizabeth Hughes. Elizabeth died in Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, and is buried in Brighton cemetery. Edward returned to England and died 4 May 1876 at South Norwood near London. A death notice in the Melbourne Argus  stated he was late of Sandhurst and the father of Samuel Hughes. He had been living with his daughter Mary Hewitt nee Hughes.

Helen Hudson wrote that there was a family story that Edward had lost a lot of money in Peruvian Bonds but she was not able to verify it. Nor can I. Helen also wrote that Edward was on the Bendigo diggings and that he and Elizabeth were living in View Street, Bendigo at the time of Elizabeth’s death.

I am glad that Helen wrote up her family researches in such detail. Much more information has become available since 1985 and online searching makes the task of finding and gathering information far easier than it was. I am sure she would have enjoyed researching today and verifying what she knew. I look forward to retracing her footsteps in Holywell during our visit to the United Kingdom in May.


St. Winifred’s Well or Holy Well, Flintshire, Wales. Line engraving by G. Hawkins, 1795 Image retrieved through Wikimedia Commons who obtained the file from the Wellcome trust.


  • Hudson, Helen Lesley Cherry stones : adventures in genealogy of Taylor, Hutcheson, Hawkins of Scotland, Plaisted, Green, Hughes of England and Wales … who immigrated to Australia between 1822 and 1850. H.L. Hudson, [Berwick] Vic, 1985.
  • “Liverpool: Churches.” A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Eds. William Farrer, and J Brownbill. London: Victoria County History, 1911. 43-52. British History Online. Web. 12 March 2019.
  •  – census records:
    • 1841 census : Class: HO107; Piece: 559; Book: 26; Civil Parish: Liverpool; County: Lancashire; Enumeration District: 35; Folio: 43; Page: 29; Line: 23; GSU roll: 306941
    • 1851 Wales census : Class: HO107; Piece: 2466; Folio: 145; Page: 57; GSU roll: 104215-104217