Letter to Marion from John Robinson.

January 27, 2006

Dear Marion.
When Peggy received your Christmas letter in Trimdon she sent me an update of the recent additions to you family. While Billy was alive, he collected various documents including photographs from the album of Annie Shorthouse. He also made a start on a family tree for his grandchildren. Since his death, my younger brother Paul (in Durham) and myself have continued this task.

On my recent visits to England I have copied most of these documents and photographs, including some photographs of your father Arthur, mother Lillias and, Charley and Jane. I am not too sure that your family have these or any photographs of the other members of the Shorthouse family.

Because we made our home in Canada in the 60’s, our four children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren all live here. Like Arthur, Jane and Charley, we chose to emigrate for a better life. There are now a hundred or more descendants of Fred and Annie Shorthouse living in the Trimdon area.

We are trying to document our heritage for these and future generations, to give them some idea as to where their roots are. There is nothing too exciting in the family background, only miners, carpenters, farmers and labourers. 

I am collecting as much information on the Shorthouse family as I can, there is a story to tell to future generations. Peggy tells me that you write good letters and I would love to know a little about the lives that your family had living in Australia especially your parents and of course Charlie and Jane Richardson.  I remember visiting G Grandmother Annie as a child, grandmother Ellen, brother Tom (Hilda’s dad), sisters Minnie and Annie lived close and we knew them well. Only Arthur and Jane got away.

We also have had a similar experience to Arthur and Jane, emigrating to a new country and leaving the family behind. In our case we had three children with us. We were fortunate in being able to visit our families in England every few years and currently are in daily / weekly contact through voice over Internet. This morning I talked to my brother Jim and “Uncle” Tommy Kell for an hour, and exchanged Emails with Peggy.

Ironically, if Japan had not got active in the Pacific during WW2, I was just a few weeks away from being evacuated from Trimdon to live with your family in Australia when the program was cancelled.

I have enclosed a Compact Disk with a slide show. It contains some photographs of the Shorthouse family that you can play in a computer or TV/DVD player. The earliest photo is that of Annie Osborn as a child sitting on a beach in Cornwall (dark hair bottom right) with the rest of the Osborn’s about 1863. Her marriage picture 1873 (sitting left hand side, Fredrick in centre) and a family picture of Frederick and Annie with all of their children (Arthur left of Fred.) about 1898. I have tried to keep the photos in chronological order by guessing the dates.

We would love to hear from you or your family. If Stephen, Joshua, Claudia, Mark or Oscar has Email, they can reach me at: j.robinson@sasktel.net

We have done a lot of research on the family history and try to keep it up to date. We can send this information as a GED file by Email which can be imported into most Family Tree Programs.

Regards, John Robinson


Marion’s reply to John Robinson Letter March 2006.

Dear John,
Such a pleasant surprise to hear from you and know I have another relative in Canada. I also have a cousin on the maternal side of family in Canada – Carl and Dorothy Pontifex, Manitoba, Winnipeg. (Note: Carl died June 2015, age 95, in Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro engineer and Pontifex family historian).

I have done the best I could in recalling my family’s and aunty J’s life in Australia. Mark offered to type up my notes and email them on to you, Stephen may also contact you sometime.

Best wishes to you and your family,

Sincerely from




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