52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge

For the start of my 52 ancestors in 52 weeks Challenge I am going to write about my maternal grandfather Henry George COOPER (also known as Harry). Over the holidays I have been on redoing my maternal line following the COOPERS from South Australia back to Helions Bumpstead in Essex and Castle Camps in Cambridgeshire.

Henry George COOPER was born on the 2nd of January 1905 at Mount Benson in South Australia. He always stated that he was really born in the 1st, but as the family were late registering his birth so they changed the date of his birthday. Throughout his life he always celebrated 2 birthdays, his real one and his paper one. Henry’s parents were Henry George COOPER and Helena (Selina) GIBBS. Henry or Harry as he was known as the second generation born in Australia. His grandfather Charles arrived in South Australia on 20th January 1858 on the Clara. In 1862 at the Primitive Methodist Chapel Charles married. Young Irish immigrant Ann Whaland. The spelling of Ann’s name on her children’s birth certificates as Whaland, Whalen, Whaling continues to confound researchers.

Harry himself started work as a young school assistant, moved to the working on the railways and ended his life in Norwood as an insurance assessor. He always stated that as he had so many relatives he could always rely on family to tell him what the gossip was in a small town and this helped him with his job.

The family had lived at Lucindale, Blackwood, Eden Hills and finally at Norwood. It is at Norwood that I remember him. To us he was fun, he always had a laugh and always had some money in his pocket for us to spend at the corner store. Even when he was dying in hospital he had coins waiting on the bedside cupboard when we came to visit. He passed away on 28th June 1966.

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