Dorothy Bennett and her Ancestors

Rose Dorothy Bennett (1886 to 1923)

Rose Dorothy Bennett was born on the 9th of September, 1886, in Chilworth which is near Southampton in Hampshire. She was the first child of George Henry Bennet and Rose Bennett née Smith. Although she had been christened Rose Dorothy, in later life she was known as Dorothy or Dolly. Dorothy’s parents had seven other children — four boys and three girls.

Dorothy’s father worked as a coachman, groom and gardner. The family moved to Shirley, in Southampton, while Dorothy was still a young child. While she was in her teens she left home to work as a domestic servant at the Polygon Villa in Southampton, and there she met Sidney Parsons, a steward, whom she married on the 3rd of March, 1907. The fathers of the bride and groom formally witnessed the ceremony. Their first child, a boy called Reginald, was born four months later. Sidney left his job as a steward to work in the docks where the money would have far been better.

Sidney had been a soldier during the Boer Wars and had seen the lifestyle in the colonies. Just over a year after Reginald was born the family emigrated to Queensland in Australia under the assisted passages scheme. On the 18th of September 1908 Sidney, Dorothy and Reginald sailed from Tilbury, London, on the Ortona, bound for Brisbane.

At first the family lived in an apartment near the centre of Brisbane and Sidney worked in the docks. During their stay in Brisbane Sidney and Dorothy had two more children, William and Dorothy. But by the time their son George was born (on the 24th of September 1914) they had moved out of town to Darra, near Oxley in the district of Sherwood about five miles south west of Brisbane along the river, where they lived on the Oatland Estate. Their son Frank was also born there (on September 4th 1916).

The photograph on the right shows Sidney and Dorothy’s home in the Oatland Estate, Darra. The type is characteristic of the region and there are still a few houses like this remaining in the Oxley, Darra and Sherwood suburbs of Brisbane.

While they lived there Sidney continued to work in the docks.

Sidney’s career in Queensland was not a great success and in 1920 the family returned to England. Relatives in England probably paid their third class fares (Sidney’s brother William, a bookmaker and boarding-house keeper, was fairly wealthy). They travelled on the Orsova from Brisbane to London stopping on the way at Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Freemantle, Colombo, Port Said, Toulon, Gibraltar and Plymouth. The passenger list showed them as “Parsons, Mr, Mrs, and five children and infant”. Once back in Southampton, Sidney became an assistant barman, probably working for his father, John Parsons, who was a publican, but the family soon suffered a series of tragedies.

On the 17th of August 1923 Sidney was present when his brother William died of pulmonary tuburculosis in their father’s pub, the Salisbury Arms, in French Street. Four weeks later, on the 13th of September, Dorothy died of pneumonia in the Southampton Isolation Hospital. And just one year after that, on the 27th of September 1924, Sidney himself died of heart disease at the Royal South Hants Hospital. William, who had never married, had left a substantial legacy (£1896 11s 11d) to his father John. So before John died four months later he was able to make provision in his will for Dorothy and Sidney’s six orphaned children.

The oldest boy, Reginald, soon joined the merchant navy and the two youngest boys, Frank and George, were placed with foster parents paid from the proceeds of their grandfather John’s estate. The remaining children were cared for by Dorothy’s parents George and Rose.

The picture on the left shows Dorothy’s mother Rose with the five youngest children.

In the back row are Frank, George, William and Dorothy and next to Rose is the youngest child Evy who had been born just before her parents returned from Queensland.

Ancestors of Dorothy Bennett

Father — George Bennett
Mother — Rose Bennett née Smith

Grandfather — unknown
Grandmother — Frances Bennett

Grandfather — Frederick Smith
Grandmother — Charlotte Smith née Light

Great-grandfather — Henry Bennett
Great-grandmother — Elizabeth Bennett née Misselbrook

Great-grandfather — George Smith
Great-grandmother — Eliza Smith née Oakley

Great-grandfather — Charles Light
Great-grandmother — Eliza Light née Russell

Return to Dorothy Bennett’s Ancestors

You are free to make use of the information in these web pages in any way that you wish but please be aware that the author, Mike Parsons, is unable to accept respsonsibility for any errors or omissions.

Mike can be contacted at

The information in these web pages comes from a number of sources including: Hampshire County Records Office, Somerset Heritage Centre; Dorset County Records Office; Southampton City Archives; the General Register Office; several on-line newspaper archives; several on-line transcriptions of Parish Register Entries; and several on-line indexes of births, marriages and deaths. The research has also been guided at times by the published work of others, both on-line and in the form of printed books, and by information from personal correspondence with other researchers, for all of which thanks are given. However, all of the information in these web pages has been independently verified by the author from original sources, facimile copies, or, in the case of a few parish register entries, transcriptions published by on-line genealogy sites. The author is aware that some other researchers have in some cases drawn different conclusions and have published information which is at variance from that shown in these web pages.