Oswald Charles THOMPSON , 18791918 (aged 38 years)

Australian Army Crest
Oswald Charles /THOMPSON/
Given names
Oswald Charles
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Tuftström/Thompson - Family History Sweden & Australia

Mystery of the Six Children with Charles Thompson & his Family Forster, NSW Australia

Author: David Milliken Michel, Sydney, Australia Monday 26 October 2015

This note has been written to assist tracing the parents of six Australian children born in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Although there is the probability the father is Swedish born (Visby) Karl Toftström, this is yet to be verified. Additionally, Karl Toftström is known in Australia as Charles Thompson (1842-1921) and is believed to be a cousin of Oscar Thompson (maternal grandfather of the author) who was also born in Visby as Oskar Wilhelm Petter Tuftström and efforts are being undertaken to locate Karl's family in Visby.

**1. Introduction During David's visit to Visby, Gotland, Sweden, in July 2013 to meet his newly discovered family, his cousins had a considerable number of old photographs to discuss with him. Many of the photos had been emailed to David only days after he made contact with his (second, once removed) cousin Anna Lindblom on Sunday 30 December 2012. There was a photo of David's maternal grandmother, Gertrude Sarah Hardy, at age around 30 years. This is a photo that had never been seen here in Australia.

Two other photos really intrigued David. They were photos of six young children; three boys in one photo and three girls in the other, aged from approximately 3 to 12 years. The photos were estimated to have been taken toward the end of the nineteenth century according to the dress of the children.

David's Swedish cousins had no idea who the children were but the photos were part of a collection held by Einar Karl Verner Johansson (1909-1995) regarded as the great family storyteller. Einar was the great uncle of Anna Lindblom. One piece of fairly relevant information was a notation, but with no evidence of any letter, attached to the photo that clearly said: "Australian children". So somebody in Australia had mailed the photo to the family in Sweden and this suggests an important connection between the parents of the children in Australia and the family in Sweden who held the photo.

**2. Parents of the children When the photos of the six children arrived in David's email in-box from Sweden, together with other images of the Swedish family in early January 2013, there was an immediate question as to who were the parents of the children. After several weeks of trawling through emails and other photos received from Sweden, David developed the family tree and there was a suggestion that uncle Jacob Tuftström, who migrated to Australia in around 1855, may have been the children's father.

The dates for uncle Jacob did not gel, he was too young by a generation, so the mystery was set aside momentarily. Meanwhile, David was corresponding with the Great Lakes Historical Society (GLHS) in Tuncurry NSW, across the water from Forster where Oscar Thompson lived. Oscar was David's maternal grandfather who migrated from Visby, Gotland, Sweden as Oskar Wilhelm Petter Tuftström in 1890.

**3. Charles Thompson - Karl Toftström There were many Thompson's living in the Forster/Tuncurry district, some related and some not, and David recalls as a young boy the name Charlie Thompson was mentioned quite a bit; however, there was no mention as to whether he was related to the Tuftström/Thompson family. This was Charles Thompson and the GLHS sent David information on Charles and his family in 2015 mainly because the file mentioned Charles (Karl Toftström) was born in Visby around 1842. Charles died in 1921 and is buried in Forster General cemetery with his wife Mary Ann Blanch.

But most important was a GLHS file note against Charles Thompson; he was also known as Charles Toftström (Karl in Sweden). The note said: "Two cousins of Charles (John and Oscar Thompson) followed his example and came to NSW, Australia".

At this stage it would be reasonable to assume that Charles is related to Oscar and John, first cousins, either direct blood relatives or by marriage. There is also the possibility that they are not related and the families in Visby, Sweden, were good friends.

**4. The six children Back to the photos of the six children and David carefully examined the family that Charles married. Charles' wife, Mary Ann Blanch (1855-1937) born in Morpeth NSW, was the 17th out of 18 children; Mary Ann's father was Thomas Blanch (1809-1892) born in Kent, UK and mother Hannah Austin (1815-1879) also born in Kent, UK. Thomas married three times; first to Ann Callaghan, no children, second to Mary Ann Blanch, 18 children, and third to Elizabeth Morris, no children.

Charles and Mary Ann had nine children and it was the first six children that caught David's eye. Based on the ages and the gender of the children in the photo, it became apparent that the names from the list of children could be allocated to the photo.

Table 1 shows a list of the first six children of Charles and Mary Ann together with the ages of the children in the year 1888 when David figured the photos were taken - based on the youngest child Thomas, three years of age in 1885 equates to 1888:


Rank Name Birth Year Age in 1888
1 Laura May 1876 12
2 Hilda Catherine 1878 10
3 Oswald Charles 1879 9
4 Eva Mary 1882 6
5 Henry Harold 1883 5
6 Thomas Stephen 1885 3


The photo of the six children follows with the names, ages and dates of birth added:


Hilda Eva Laura Oswald Thomas Henry
Hilda (10) 1878 Eva (6) 1882 Laura (12) 1876 Oswald (9) 1879 Thomas (3) 1885 Henry (5) 1883


Based on the foregoing, it is reasonably assumed that Charles Thompson (Karl Toftström) and Mary Ann Blanch are the parents of the three boys and three girls in the two photos sent from Australia to Sweden. Should current research reveal that Charles is the son of Fredrik Toftström, then Charles and Mary Ann's descendants, running in to many hundreds, would add a considerable number to the Tuftström/Thompson family.

###5. Conclusion As at 23 October 2015, there are several clarifications to be made in order to connect the six children to their family and determine the family of Charles Thompson, summarised as follows:

[1] Although ninety-five percent sure that the six children are the children of Charles Thompson and Mary Ann Blanch, verification from a family member will be sought through a website to be developed by the author.

[2] Research is ongoing to determine if Charles Thompson, believed to have been born in Visby as Karl Toftström (around 1842 or perhaps later) is either direct-blood or marriage related to the Tuftström/Thompson family.

[3] Current research during October 2015 has found nine (direct-blood) descendants of the Tuftström/Thompson family and there will probably be up to a further one hundred more descendants to locate up to the current generation. Additionally, if Charles Thompson (Karl Toftström) does prove to be direct-blood related to the Tuftström/Thompson family, there will be many hundreds of descendants to include.