A project over the last 2 months has been to research the history of one Melville Hodge. Born in 1803 in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland (yes, this is the home of golf), he is the fifth and last child, and second son of John Hodge and Elspeth Clarke. A theory I have here is that he did not take an apprenticeship, and moved to Cupar following is older brother, James.
In 1820 maps of Cupar and St Andrews, a Hodge owns a house in each town. Again, I have a theory that John Hodge was a Baker; and his son James once trained, moved a short distance west to Cupar.
In 1854, Melville, his wife and two children moved from Fife, Scotland to South Australia. Sadly, his wife died on the voyage. Melville remarried, and had a son in Australia: David Melville Hodge. David Melville is 5 generations removed from myself. Using a new rail line that ran through Fife to Edinburgh, through to Liverpool in the north of the UK.
As Australia is just about to go through another Census, some research on Scotland People, I found that the 1851 and 1841 Census’ were online. Quick searching produced Melville Hodge living near Cupar (pronounced Cooper to Australians!) in 1841, and Leuchars in 1851. In both, he is listed as an Agricultural Labourer. It is my hypothesis that he moved to South Australia for the opportunity to own land.
Melville intrigues me: he had wonderlust at a late stage in his life (he was over 50) and left his native Fife for Australia. I need to do more research on the early 1850’s in Fife around Cupar and Leuchars to get a feeling to why he moved, and to Australia rather than the US or to a large city.
David Melville, born in the 1860s near Angaston (Barossa Valley, South Australia) inherited this wonderlust: there is a diary of his travels to the far north-west of Australia in the late 19th Century.
As a “Dawkin-ist” when it comes to the Selfish Gene, in my Y-chromosome lives a part of Melville Hodge. Could the wonderlust many older generation immigrants to Australia and New Zealand — and need to see the world genetic? More research is required, and its fascinating how much you can do via these interweb of tubes.