Linda’s Arrival

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Linda looked over her shoulder to the sea behind her, the vast expanse of blue water that had been her home for the past three months. There was no way she could go back, no matter how much she wanted to. Sighing in the way that only an eight year old can sigh, she turned back to the approaching shore and the bustle of the many people on the cargo dock. How would she ever find her Uncle George among that chaos?

So enthralled by the never ending ebb and flow of people, moving just like the ocean waves she’d been watching for the past weeks, Linda didn’t hear the ship’s cabin boy approach and was startled when he spoke.

“Linda, the Captain wants you in his quarters please. It is for safety while we unload the cargo.”

Wordlessly she nodded and turned to follow him. He had been the first person on this ship to say comforting words to her. Oh everyone had been kind enough, but he’d been more of a friend, seeking her out and talking to her whenever he was allowed to.

As she joined the handful of other passengers in the Captain’s cabin, Linda was again filled with the same thoughts of trepidation and uncertainty that she had had every day on this voyage.

What if Aunt Helen doesn’t like her? What if Uncle George doesn’t come for her?
What if…?

Her mind was filled with what if’s.

Some time later, as the yelling, clanking, banging, and general noise of the cargo being offloaded started to settle, there came a quick knock at the door and the Captain entered. He filled the doorway with his large frame and made the room feel even smaller than it already was.

The Captain addressed the other passengers, moved to one side to allow them to leave, and then spoke directly to Linda.

“I have a letter here. I am to put you on a train.”

Linda’s heart sank and she started to cry softly. He hadn’t come.

“Oh hush child, no need to cry. Your Uncle is on the train. You will see him soon enough.”

Although his words were sharp, his voice was soft and kind. His own daughter was also eight years old and he could not imagine having to send her on a cargo ship all alone to the other side of the world. What had happened to this child’s family? He didn’t know, she had not said two words all voyage, even to his cabin boy.

Linda dried her tears, hiccuped, and settled her mind. He had come after all. Sort of. She still had a way to go to get to him.

But a train though, she’d never been on a train before. Although, before three months ago, she’d never been on a ship or even seen the sea before either.

The Captain hoisted Linda’s bag containing all of her worldly possessions onto his shoulder and offered her his other hand.

“Come child, the gang plank is slick and we don’t want you falling in the drink or getting lost in the crowds.”

Linda placed her small hand in the Captain’s. For such a rough and calloused palm, his grip was gentle but firm. Linda was almost immediately grateful for that firm grip as her shoes were not suitable for walking on the steeply sloped gang plank and she would have indeed fallen into the drink as the Captain had predicted if she was not secure in his grasp alongside his sure footing.

Jostled and bumped by the crowds on the dock, Linda’s short stature meant that she was essentially unseen by the workers. Just as she thought she would lose her grip on the Captain’s hand and that she would be lost in the throng forever, the crowds thinned to reveal a horse and cart loaded with some of the supplies she had seen on the ship. The Captain placed Linda’s bag in the back, and quickly and easily lifted her onto the cart before climbing in himself.

The journey to the train station was only a short distance, and the salty grime and hustle of the docks soon made way for the bustle of the city, and then the smoke, steam, clanks, whines and other noises of the busy railway station.

The Captain lifted Linda and her bag off the cart and strode quickly towards a small wooden building not far away. Linda had to run to keep up with him.

The Captain spoke to someone standing just inside the door, “I’m looking for George MacDonald, I’ve been told he’ll be the guard on the Toowoomba train this afternoon.”

Linda was too far away to hear the reply from inside the shed, but the Captain responded to whatever was said with a kindly laugh as he stepped aside.

“Yes, I have your very precious cargo right here.”

Linda looked up at the face of the man who now stood in the doorway. Even though she had never seen this man before in her short life, she instantly knew that this man had to be her Uncle George. He had the same wonderful kind eyes, that same smile, and the same rumbling laugh that she knew from her father and uncles back home.

Linda burst into tears as she ran to him, and buried her head in his shoulder as he scooped her up to comfort her.

“Hush now Linda, it’s been a rough time for you I know, but I’m here, and you’ll soon meet your Aunt Helen and cousin Flora, and we’ll make sure that all is as well as it can be in your world again”

Linda raised her head, turned to the Captain and spoke for the first time.

“Thank you Captain, may the wind always be in your sails.”

Linda jumped as a train whistle screamed close by. George shook the Captain’s hand and thanked him for his assistance, took Linda’s bag, and hurried to board the train, settle Linda, and take on his role as guard on the train journey to Toowoomba.

Linda was here, safe, and he would write home to Scotland with that news tomorrow.


This story is a completely fictional hypothesis as to how an 8 and a half year old child named Linda came to be in the family of George and Helen MacDonald of Toowoomba, Queensland, and remain with them for long enough for Linda to consider them her parents. So while the names, and locations are accurate, the story itself is fictional, unless evidence is found to the contrary. Other stories have also been written about this event.

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I’m sorry Mother

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I’m sorry Mother. I am sorry that you are going to have to bury another daughter.

I don’t remember how you were after we buried Jane, I was only 6 months old then. But I know we always had the best health care you could provide for us any time we got even so much as a cough. You didn’t want another child lost to Diptheria.

I remember how broken you were after Elizabeth drowned when I was nearly four. I heard your screams from the house, and we were not close to the river. I remember that you never let us go near water again after that, except to bathe ourselves of course. But never swimming.

I remember how worried you were the whole time that James was away during the war. He was your youngest child of your own. Yes, Linda was younger, but James was your last child. You waited with so much tension every day the post was due, hoping and praying for news from the front. I saw you break a little when they told us he’d been wounded, but he survived, and he did come home to us. Thank God.

My stomach hurts so much, I feel ever so sick and oh so very tired. The doctors can’t help me this time, and they tell me there is nothing I could have done to have stopped it. I’m only 38, yet my time is over.

I love you Mother, I’m so sorry.


Based on Flora MacDonald’s 1924 Death Record, as well as other records of the family.

Precious Cargo

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Clickity-clack, clickety-clack. George was so used to the various clunks, bangs, whines, and screams of the trains that he worked on and around every day, that he no longer heard any of the normal noises. Today was different though. Today he was expecting a very special delivery, one that was coming by cargo ship from the other side of the world. As such, he was keenly aware of every sound of the rail yard, and each time he heard a horse and cart pull up, he waited.

The smell of salt aged leather caught George’s attention and he looked up from his work to see a ship’s captain standing in the doorway.

“I’m looking for George MacDonald, I’ve been told he’ll be the guard on the Toowoomba train this afternoon.”

“Ah, you have my precious cargo?” asked George with a smile and humour in his voice.

George didn’t hear the Captain’s reply as he moved to the doorway in anticipation. Linda was here, and he scooped her up in his arms. As she buried her head into his shoulder and sobbed, he could smell the salty sea spray that clung to her hair and clothes, and he could feel her trembling and shaking from her crying.

George held the child tight as he comforted the eight year old girl, “Hush now, I’m here.”

Close by, a train whistle screamed loudly, and George felt Linda start at the sudden noise. Thanking the Captain, George took Linda’s bag and hurried to the waiting train.

The train jolted and clunked as it started its journey back to Toowoomba, Linda safely on board, and George working as Guard. Clickity-clack, clickety-clack.


This story is fiction as it is currently unknown how Linda actually arrived into George’s family and what their relationship was prior to that event. Other stories have also been written about this event, all are fiction.

GedMatch One to One Comparison Examples

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Please Note: The Examples shown here are the results of GedMatch One to One Comparisons, and should be taken as Examples Only. Your experience with a relationship of the same degree may vary. Please check tables such as those provided at ISOGG to determine what your relationship with your match may be.

Images are shown as “Graphics Only”, as the positions are not as relevant, and the current GedMatch default levels of 500SNPs and 7cM have been used.

Example Images

Same Person with Multiple Kits (or Identical Twins)
Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 1.0
All chromosomes show full green on the top and full blue on the bottom

Identical DNA

Parent to Child
Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 1.0
All chromosomes show bulk yellow with varying amounts of green or red on the top, and should be full blue on the bottom, sometimes with a very small break, but usually in one single segment.

Parent-Child

Full Siblings
Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 1.1 – 1.2
Individual Chromosomes can vary and include any, all or none of the following examples

  • long blocks of green and yellow on top, with full blue on the bottom

Full Siblings 1

  • Long blocks of green and yellow on top, with blue underneath those sections, interspersed with sections of red and yellow on top and grey on bottom

Full Siblings 2

Other Relationships

Relationship Estimated Number of Generations to MRCA
Full Siblings 1.1 – 1.3
Half Siblings
Aunt/Uncle to Niece/Nephew
Grandparent to Grandchild
1.3 – 1.6
Half Aunt/Uncle to Half Niece/Nephew includes 1.
First cousins 2.0 – 2.2
First cousins once removed 2.3 – 2.7
Second cousins Can include 2.8
Third cousins Can include 3.7
Third cousins once removed Can include 4
Fourth cousins twice removed Can include 3.9

Reminder: The Estimated Number of Generations to MRCA may vary from the above mentioned numbers in your situation.

Individual chromosomes can vary and include any of the following

  • long sections of yellow on top of blue, interspersed by sections of yellow and red on top of grey.

4

(as well as other examples already seen of this type)

  • Predominantly yellow and red on top of grey with only a small section of yellow on blue

4a

  • One or more chromosomes which share no DNA at all

4b

The more distant a relationship you have with your match, the more of this type of chromosome graphic you are likely to see.

 

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The River

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John Wilson was running hard towards the screaming. As he crested the river bank he could see the reason why there was so much panic involved.

“Shit, it’s Helen. Damn, her kid better not be dead.”

Helen MacDonald was slumped on the sand, the bottom of her dress soaked. In one arm she was holding her 14 month old baby, in her other was her eldest child Elizabeth, awkwardly cradled, naked, wet, and apparently lifeless. John and Mrs Fallan, who had also just arrived, started rubbing Elizabeth’s body, desperately trying to coax the nine year old back to life.

As they rubbed Elizabeth’s body, John asked Helen what had happened.

Helen’s reply was breathless and her voice hoarse from screaming for help. “I don’t know. I had to go into town. Why would she come to the river, and with the baby? She couldn’t swim. Thank heavens the baby wasn’t injured. Oh Lizzie, why?” Helen started sobbing again, and the baby’s crying got louder as Helen held her tighter.

“Keep rubbing her, I’ll fetch the doctor” John urged.

John stumbled briefly on the sand as he again started to run, but he knew that no matter how hard he ran, the doctor would probably arrive too late to help. Elizabeth’s arms and legs were already cold, although her chest and stomach still had some warmth to them.  John knew that Elizabeth had been dead for some time and that he needed to call the police as well.


Inspiration provided by Inquest Papers into Elizabeth’s death by drowning.
Source: Queensland State Archives Item ID2730132, Inquest file