What has kept me going for more than a decade of research? The answer’s simple: there’s always something new to be discovered, something that’s been hidden nearly two hundred years and as each new piece of information adds to the story, everything becomes more clear.
Since researchers and biographers first became interested in finding out more about the Molloys, we’ve entered the digital age and as each year passes more and more old documents become available via the Internet. Even when I thought I’d found everything there was to discover, more kept coming to the surface. It’s possible that some findings may be proven incorrect by future research and new information will come to light so it’s important to continue the work and to share as much as possible.
Here are just a few research moments from the last eleven years.

Changing tastes?

This recipe for Lemon Custards is tucked inside Georgiana’s diary. The double ‘S’ that looks like an ‘f’ and her typical backward loop on the letter ‘d’ in some word endings (as in ‘scald’ in the last line) suggest its date as contemporary with the 1828/1829 diaries. I’ve always wondered if this very rich ‘8 […]

Unravelling mysteries

Ten years ago I had no idea what the note on this envelope might have meant but when I saw it again recently I had learned enough about Georgiana’s mother to understand the abbreviations she used. It’s the same with handwriting. Documents can be difficult to transcribe until you become familiar with an individual hand. […]

The last piece in a John Molloy jigsaw

Researching the early life of Georgiana’s husband, John Molloy, turned out to be a huge project in its own right. I originally intended to write two complementary biographies because I’ve collected so much interesting material about Molloy’s life but that proved to be an unrealistic ambition if I wanted to complete the project within the […]

A 19th century mind at work

Sometimes an old document can give a strong feeling of connection with the original writer. Thinking not just about the factual evidence in the words on the paper, but also about the person who wrote those words, can create vivid pictures of an individual who lived long ago. It’s hard to believe now, but in […]

The oldest documents in Georgiana’s story

Research can be an exciting experience especially when working with primary sources. You sometimes feel as if you’re touching fingertips with the original writers of the documents in your hands. But it can also be a long, frustrating process. These are some of the precious documents in Georgiana’s family archive, dating back to 1567. Many […]

Another layer of research

Removing the 1829 portrait of Georgiana Molloy from its velvet-lined gilt frame reveals the artist’s individual brushstrokes and the colours he used to create the background. Shown here as it was when attached to an easel on backing paper, the portrait shows that its painter knew the shape and dimensions of the oval frame to […]

Georgiana’s journal on the Rothesay Castle paddle-steamer

Georgiana kept a diary of her boat journey around the Western Isles. It’s one of the first glimpses of her skill in using words to describe places and emotions. In this extract she conveys the beauty of the scenery but her mind keeps returning to ‘painful circumstances’ in Rugby. Holders of a research ticket at […]

Charting Georgiana

A reader very kindly sent an astrological chart reading for Georgiana Molloy, given her place, date and time of birth. It has remarkably close and accurate parallels with the person and her life. This extract seems particularly relevant to the life she lived. The background image shows hand-made 19th century bricks in the stable wall […]

Coast Australia, Series 2, 2015

Filming in Augusta with the wonderful Brendan Moar for the second series of Coast Australia, May 2014. The documentary included a section on Georgiana Molloy in Episode 4.

‘Tis the mind that shines

When Georgiana packed in 1829 for the sea voyage to her new home in Australia, she included some reading choices that wouldn’t usually be on the list of a person described as strictly pious, including this copy of the songs of Robert Burns. This beautiful little book was given to ‘GM’ as a wedding gift […]