Seppingsfamilyhistory.com is dedicated to the ancestors and descendants of the Australian branch of the Seppings family tree and related families: Milligen, Lockyer, Staines, Kelly, Saxon, Nicholls, Purtell, Rapley, Webster and more. This is a showcase of our family history – a place to share stories, photographs and information; an opportunity to preserve our past, to learn about those who have come before us and to bring family members together, around the world.
The research has revealed much more than a list of names, dates and places. Here you can get to know the people of our past. What did they look like? How did they live? What legacies did they leave? The Australian Seppings branch is part of the history of migration from the British Isles to Australia as early as 1824: men of the British Admiralty involved in the nation’s establishment; convicts and Irish famine orphans indentured to serve. The Australian Seppings branch begins with an officer in the Royal Navy, Lt. Edmund Henry Seppings, and Hannah Ann Staines, daughter of a convict, early English settlers of Wagga Wagga, NSW, from whom all Australian Seppings descend.
Through the generations, there have been farmers, horsemen, shearers, stonemasons, shoemakers, homemakers, linen drapers, labourers, surveyors, chefs, teachers, artists, poets, writers, musicians, miners, gentlemen and landed gentry, some knighted, in our family. Some family members have suffered tragedy – the Irish famine left orphans, world wars took men to fight, two were POWs. There were children who died in infancy. Young men who died by accident. Our family has its fair share of skeletons in the closet, too. Lives which ended as a result of alcoholism, suicide or mental illness. There’s been desertion, divorce, multiple marriages, unrequited love, children born ‘early’ after weddings, and children born out-of-wedlock. Some children have been raised by family members other than their parents. One Seppings even changed his name – twice!
Family history is ongoing and ever-growing. The family tree is continuously being updated and revised. I will publish what I know and will add and correct data as I receive new information. Though I aim to tell the truth, we are often only left with someone’s perspective, a handed-down tale, a faded memory, and there may be no way of verifying these. Where applicable, I will include differing points of view. I am grateful for all the names and dates of those who fill our family tree, sourced from official records and newspapers, and most of all for the gift of family member’s stories, diaries, letters, a family bible, and photos filled with details of place and time. As I gather in the information and turn it into story, I will post regularly on this website and eventually compile the definitive collection in a book. Digging deep into the past is a journey of education, entertainment and understanding. The name Seppings unites us, here.
About the Author
Katherine E Seppings is the author and editor of this Seppings Family History. An artist, writer, poet, editor, photographer, historian and teacher, she has worked in publishing in Australia, London and New York. https://katherineseppings.com/
Born in Williamstown, the historic port of Melbourne, Katherine was a fourth generation member on her mother’s side to live there. She became interested in history from an early age. At eight years old, an essay Katherine wrote about the historic ‘Schramms Cottage’ was Highly Commended by Doncaster & Templestowe Council, the rapidly developing outer suburb where she grew up. At age fourteen, in reaction to widespread demolition of old buildings and vanishing landscapes, she began exhibiting and selling her drawings and paintings of the historic built and natural environment in art shows around Victoria. Katherine became obsessed with recording things before they disappeared. In 1980, Sir Athol Shmith nominated her to be a member of the National Trust Photographic Committee. During the 1980s, she made her home in the central Victorian goldfields and set up ‘local history days’ to collect and record the Shire of Metcalfe’s past. She wrote historical articles in the Metcalfe Shire Newsletter. Her collection of photographs of the region spans more than three decades.
In the late 1980s, Katherine lived in London where her first book, Fireplaces for a Beautiful Home, based on the history of the home, was published in four editions in London and New York (1988, 1990, 1993, 1997). She wrote local histories in the ‘Small Towns and Villages’ section of The Travellers Guide to the Goldfields (2006), and is currently writing The History of Castlemaine Artists Inc Etc (1960-90).
My interest in family history began through my mother, Joan Webster, a family historian of her side and a writer of a weekly newspaper column on local history in Doncaster and Templestowe. In the 1970s, my father, Edgar Seppings, wrote to historical societies in Wagga Wagga and England in the hope of turning family stories into facts. In the 1980s, he and his second wife, Jan, visited Wagga Wagga, and on a trip to England learned about Sir Robert Seppings at Taunton. While living in England (1988-89), I searched the births, deaths, marriages and Wills, on microfiche, at Somerset House, the Mormons International Genealogical Index, St Catherines House, London and the Public Records Office, Kew. I visited Taunton in Somerset, and St Alphage’s (Church of England) and the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, Kent. I travelled with my father and Jan to Devon, Somerset and Cornwall, and checked the Census records at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office.
In the 1990s, when my father’s health declined with early dementia, his brother Frank (Francis Raymond Seppings) took the information my father had and the family history exploration expanded. Frank discovered many missing links and fascinating details. He wrote to Seppings in Australia and to Seppings family historians in England. In 2001, Frank and I began writing long letters. He was the only person I knew to write letters as long as I did – twelve pages! I visited Norfolk and family historians, including Faith Packard, and kept in contact with them and with Frank to keep putting the pieces of the family tree puzzle together.
Meeting previously unknown family members in England and Australia has enriched my life with cousins who are now treasured friends. In 2008, a family reunion of the Bendigo branch and a 2011 reunion of first cousins in Melbourne, then a trip with my scanner, camera and notebook to visit relatives in NSW and Qld, increased that sense of belonging to a much larger family. In 2010, I began to add family names and dates to Legacy Genealogy software as part of my ongoing digitisation of the family tree. Family members who have helped in the time-travelling and gathering of archival gold are listed in Credits.
The internet now provides endless resources but with my uncle Frank it was always like sitting around a camp fire and listening to stories of the past; of our ancestor’s lives and times. Frank was particularly interested in the Seppings military men, in Burma and India and also the naval connections and early British history in Australia. When he died in 2015, I promised the family I would continue to collect, preserve and impart the Seppings history to all.
Katherine E Seppings