My Family & Other Animals

Violet Byrne nee Clayton nee Edwards

Violet Edwards
This is my paternal grand mother - Violet Edwards. She was born the 1st September 1908 in Worsbrough, Yorkshire, England.  In this photo, I believe she is approx 18 years old. Her parents were John Thomas Edwards & Elizabeth Edwards nee Meigh.

First married at 23 years old to William H Clayton in March 1931, Yorkshire, England.  She gave birth to her first daughter - Doreen, in March 1933 who sadly passed away in March 1939; then on the 14th January 1934 gave birth to the first of her five sons - William Henry.  I have not located any other details about her first husband other than their marriage details - but still digging!!  I have been told that William Clayton died and left her a widow with two small children.

I do know that in 1935 she had met my grandfather - William Joseph Byrne and conceived her second son - my father. My father Terence Joseph Byrne was born on the 7th August 1936; she went on to have four more children - Robert born 21st October 1937, James Alfred born 16 November 1939, Oliver born 8 June 1942 and her last child and second daughter was Patricia Mary born 17 March 1952.

According to my grandmother, my grandparents were married four times. They married in the Registry office and then in the Catholic Church, but my grandfathers first wife, who had left him and he had believed deceased, suddenly re-appeared on the scene.  They then re-married in the Registry office and the church on the 18 May 1946.

My grandparents were together 28 years & married for 17 years when my grandfather passed away on the 12 June 1963. At the age of 60 she decided to emigrate with her then 16 year old daughter Patricia Mary and arrived in Australia on the 26th February 1969 on board the ocean liner 'Fair Star'.

She spent the rest of her life in Australia, with more than a few visits home to family and friends.

My Nana passed away on the 1st January 2001 at the Midland Nursing Home.  She left behind a large extended family. She survived two husbands and three of her children. 

On my way home from her funeral I was trying to explain to my 7 year old about life, death, cremation versus burial etc, without freaking her out too much. During that conversation I decided that I wanted to put together a book of memories of a wonderful & courageous woman.  It took me nearly all year, but with help I managed to coerce the family into putting down a bit about her, which with help from her daughter Patricia I put into a loose bound booklet for the family to retain. Every time I read it, I get a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes and laughter breaks free with all the wonderful memories of an extraordinary woman. Her life spanned across nearly all of the 20th century.
Back row L-R -Alfred Zammit (son-in-law), Oliver Byrne, James Byrne, Terence Byrne, Robert Byrne. Front Row L-R- daughter Patricia Zammit, Jean Byrne, Nadine Byrne, Nana -Violet Byrne, Elizabeth Byrne & Margaret


  1. I think I may be related on the evans/edwards side of the family


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