Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Do we have a Hibell Family in Australia?

Sometimes a breakthrough in your family research can come from a quite unexpected place, and just 'out of the blue'.

This happened to me the other day when I received an email from eBay relating to the surname HIBELL. 

This is the item which was listed for sale:

The title of the item was: White's Family Hotel Glenelg Winston Private Hotel F L M Hibell Proprietor

Initially, I almost ignored the email, as it appeared to relate to something in Australia, and none of my HIBELL family, (as far as I knew), came to Australia, but the long line of initials on the document "H. R. & F. L. M. HIBELL" made me think I should look more closely.

I searched in my family tree and found that I had a Horace Robert born in the Apr quarter 1900, (Staffordshire) to Benjamin Francis HIBELL and Caroline (nee WHITE).  Although one of 13 children, I had no further information on Horace past the 1901 and 1911 census records of him with his family.. I made a note in my family tree that it was possible that this was Horace in Australia. I thought that I should try and find a marriage for HR and FLM, but couldn't come up with anything in Australia, or on Free BMD in England (this marriage could possibly be too late). 

Luckily, I had taken out the 1 pound for a month offer on FindMyPast. A search of the Australian records for HIBELL brought up 3 records that were immediately of interest:

HIBELL FLM - born 1899, event 1956 - passenger list leaving UK - location Adelaide
HIBELL Florence LM - born 1900, died 1977 - Billion Graves
HIBELL Horace Robert - born 1900, died 1969 - South Australian Deaths - location Adelaide 

A search in TROVE found a few references to Robert, but the main one of interest was an Engagement notice for a daughter Judith to Ivan Jones, a medical student from Sydney. 

FindAGrave gave me the full names of both people, Horace Robert and Florence Lydia May, along with actual death dates, and their burial in the same cemetery.

Genealogy SA https://www.genealogysa.org.au confirmed that Florence Lydia May was the wife of Horace Robert, something which FindAGrave did not have. More information is available if I joined, and there were 5 newspaper death notices, the one for Florence, but also for a John and Anthony John in 2007, (I have not followed these up yet).

Even though I do not have a subscription for Ancestry.com, I was able to find 4 images in Public Family Trees, that for Horace Robert, 2 for the Hotel, and one titled "Hibell Family emigrates to Australia, 1949, naming them as John, Flo, Bob, Judith. The source of this photo was given as Judith Jones. So even though I couldn't find a marriage for Judith to Ivan Jones, it seems possible that they did indeed marry. At some time in the future, I will contact the owner of this tree.

A similar search for Flo Hibell brought up a photo of Flo Hibell taken in 1947, with her full name given as Florence Lydia May Finney (born 1899).

Although, as yet, I have no definite proof that this little family of:
Horace Robert HIBELL, born 1900, England, died 25 Nov 1969 Adelaide
Florence Lydia May HIBELL (nee FINNEY), born 12 Apr 1899, England, died 6 Mar 1977 Adelaide
Possible son: Anthony John, born 10 Feb 1921, died 2007 Adelaide
Daughter: Judith, born 8 Dec 1930, England, married Ivan Jones
is the family of my Horace Robert Hibell, it seems quite likely, and I am confident that in the future that I will be able to confirm this. But, it was the automatic notification from eBay which led me to this information.


  1. Hi Chris, just read your article by accident. My father is Gordon Hibell, son of Horace and Flo Hibell, brother to John Hibell and Judith Jones....He is living in South Africa and is 92 yrs old...if you would like some more info then contact me. Rgds Dave Hibell

  2. Thanks Dave! Wow! Would love to hear more about the family.You can find out more about the Hibell family at my web page http://www.chriswright.id.au and contact me at family@chriswright.id.au