Chinese Genealogy


The Sing (Sim,Sims) Family are descended from JOSEPH SING (JO SIM) who came to Australia from AMOY in CHINA, and his wife MARGARET POLSON who came from LOTH in SUTHERLANDSHIRE, part of the SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS. Margaret's family arrived on the 'British Empire' in February 1859. Joseph and Margaret married in June 1859 at the Wesleyan Church in Ipswich, Queensland, then they moved to Dalby and finally to Yingerbay near Roma where they brought up a large family including my Grandfather ADAM SIM.
From 1877 when Joseph bought land until 1920 when they both died Joseph and Margaret and their children worked hard on the farm.
ADAM SIMS'S daughter EILEEN MAY SIMS was born in Roma in 1906 and she taught in Charleville where she met her future husband GLADSTONE THOMAS MUTTON The Mutton ancestors originated in CORNWALL before arriving in Australia on the 'Elizabeth' in 1827. The Muttons settled in Oberon near Bathurst and seem to have been quite wealthy, and MARY MUTTON, a very religious woman, had to defend her shop against BEN HALL, JOHNNY VANE and other bushrangers.
ELIZA WILCOX MUTTON the mother of Gladstone Thomas lived in Glebe.
EILEEN MUTTON and her daughters JOY, DEL and PATRICIA lived at Bellbird Street, Canterbury in the house Eileen bought and lived in until she died 50 years later in 1994.


My Great Grandmother Margaret Polson and her family left England for Australia in 1858 on the ‘British Empire’. Her Father, Donald Polson, was one of the men on trial for the Kildonan Riots of 1813. That is another interesting story if anyone would like to hear about it some other time, I have the transcription of the trial.
Family History does present some excitement and this was the case when I discovered that the Society of Australian Genealogy in Sydney had a Primary Record or first hand account of a fellow passenger on the British Empire with Margaret Polson and her family on board in 1858 as follows:-
‘The following account is from The Family Records of Henry Warham 17 March 1828 where he states that his father Denis Warham was born at Charleville, County Cork, Ireland and his father, Denis, Mother, sister and himself, Henry left England for Australia on the 13 Oct 1858.’
Henry –bless him –then gives the notes of the voyage copied from his Father’s Papers.

13 Oct 1858. We sailed from Plymouth at 2 o’clock in the immigrant ship ‘British Empire’ commanded by Captain Hains, M. Nichol first mate, M. Storey, second and M. Babout third mate, Dr.Mackern. The Passengers numbered 206 single men, 52 single women, 41 Married Men, their wives and children numbered 113.
15 Oct. We passed the Lands end in the west.
17 Oct. We saw a large Whale, a shark and a number of porpoises.
18 Oct. Wind N.E. A rough sea, we are going into the Bay of Biscay.
19 Oct. A Hurricane commenced about 11p.m. In the forehold all the provisions were upset and sent flying about from one side of the ship to the other. Some of the Passangers were Praying. Others crying expecting every minute to go to the bottom of the sea. At midnight one of the boats was washed away from the quarter deck. It continued rough all night.
21st Oct 1858. Calm weather.
24th “ “ A great many ships in view.
2nd Nov. Passengers not receiving their proper allowance of provisions.
4th “ Fine. Very warm. In the Atlantic Sea.
14th. “ Warm, at Night much rain with thunder and lightning.
17th Nov. My Fifth Birthday we are crossing the Equator.
28th “ Night. A very strong wind and sea, very squally: one of our fore to top gallant spans broken.
5th Dec. Mrs.McCloud’s boy died 4 years old.
10th. Cold, Rough sea. We passed the Cape of Good Hope.
13th. Cold & wet. A Hurricane commenced about 6 p.m. The sea rose mountains high, the waves dashing over and through the bulwarks, and down the hatches. We had one of our yardarms broken. We all expected to go down, our bunks were filled with water. We set to bailing them out as well as we were able. We could not think of going to sleep, with the fear of being smothered with water or hit with provisions etc. The women and children were crying all night, and the men were shaking with fear. We never expected to see daylight.
14th Dec. Still a rough sea. Part of the Bulwarks were broken in by the sea and one of the water tanks was thrown about the deck.
25th. Christmas Day. Cold, rough sea. At noon we had a double allowance of flour, raisins and grog. After dinner there was climbing the greasy pole, running on foot and in bags, dipping in a tub of water for money. Cock fight and other sports.
1st January 1859. Fine with a cold wind.
7th. Warm & Calm. Mrs. Hill gave birth to a girl. Mrs. Young gave birth to a son.
19th. We see Tasmania to the N.W.
20th. Warm. We passed Cape Pillou.
21st. Mrs.Saint gave birth to a girl.
24th. We see Land to the west.
25th We see Land all day to the N.W.
27th Mrs. W. Young gave birth to a son.
30th Jan 1859. Rough sea, we see three water spouts, one came near to the ship.
1st Feb. We got up the anchor chains.
2nd. We passed the Lighthouse of Cape Moreton at noon, from which place the Pilot came on board, not having fair wind we could not get into the Harbour. We cast anchor opposite the Lighthouse at 7p.m.
3rd. Fine and warm. No change for the better.
4th. The wind in our favour, we hauled up the anchor, and we got safe to the other side of the backwater at 10a.m. where we anchored. We again hauled up the anchor, and sailed within 15 miles of Brisbane. We fired rockets as signals to the Commissioners.
5th. We hoisted the flag & fired 3 shots.
6th. Waiting for the Doctor & Commissioner to come from the Brisbane depot. No one was allowed to come on Board or go ashore.
7th. The Commissioner came on board.
8th Feb. Noon. We landed at Brisbane in the Colony of Queensland Australia.

This was probably a fairly typical journey of the time yet it must have been quite an adventure for people from the northern part of Scotland who had spent their lives in the little village of Loth and Kildonan , especially for the children.

Quoted from ‘A Fascinating Family History’ by Del Mutton. 1999.

Jack Sims met his wife Alma in Augathella, but they lived their life in Charleville. They too had a large family.

Hi Fellow Genealogists

I wonder how many of you are having the problems I'm having trying to find out how my Chinese Great Grandfather Joseph Sing arrived in Australia? Shipping records state so many coolies on board but no names. Then Joseph left nothing in writing neither in Chinese nor English that I know about. Even his will doesn't mention his parents and is just answers to questions. Joseph's birthplace was always stated to be Amoy and we think from the ages given on Certificates that he was born there in 1825. His Death Certificate states he'd been in Queensland or Australia for 66 years which equals arriving 1854.
Do you have Chinese ancestors and don't know it? We didn't know till I started to do the Family History which my Mother was dead against me doing, when I read a book on the building of the local railway line and lo and behold Judith Barclay the author mentioned Joseph Sing as being 'a respectable Chinese Gentleman with a pigtail.' What a sensation!! If your surname is Young or Low for example you too could have someone from China as one of your ancestors
On 2nd June 1859 we have his Marriage Certificate for his marriage to a Scots lass Margaret Polson at Ipswich but no parents are given. We also know that Joseph lost his home through the British occupation of Amoy China and Margaret lost her home in Loth Scotland because the British landlords betrayed their loyal tennants as there was more money and less trouble producing sheep
Margaret and her family arrived on the British Empire arriving in Brisbane in February 1859 for which I have a primary record of the voyage. Also I have details of Catherine Polson(Margaret's sister's) who married John Reimer Other families mentioned are Joanna Reimer and John Arthur Gibbs, John Frederick Reimer and Anna Catherina Margaretha Peters, Catherine Sim Kennedy and James Kennedy, Graeme Wilson and Rochelle Cunningham
Joseph and Margaret had nine children. Sarah Anne, Mary, Adam (my grandfather) Nathaniel (Scotty), Alexandra, Margaret Jane, Joseph (Jack), Catherine and William (Bill). Adam Sim and Eliza Jane Cains had ten children, the second eldest being my Mother, Eileen May Sims and including Eric, Alice, Annie, Joseph (Jack), William (Bill), Doris, Mona, Ethel and Lawrence Sedric


1.Joseph SING from Amoy, China and his wife Margaret POLSONfrom Sutherlandshire Scotland.
2. Donald POLSON and Marion MURRAY from Sutherlandshire Scotland.
3. Catherine POLSON and John REIMER from Germany
4. Joanna REIMER and John Arthur GIBBS
5. Catherine REIMER and William Frederick WINKLEMAN
6. John Frederick REIMER and Anna Catherina PETERS
7. Catherine SIM and James KENNEDY
8. Ellen KENNEDY and Keith Mant WILSON
9. Graeme Robert WILSON and Rochelle CUNNINGHAM
10.Adam SIMS and Elizabeth CAIN SIMS
11.Eric SIMS and Pauline Spence SIMS
12.Richard MUTTON and Mary SHORT MUTTON
13. Thomas Collins Sidmouth MUTTON and Isabelle ARMSTRONG MUTTON
14.Frederick William MUTTON and Eliza Harriett WILCOX MUTTON
15.Gladstone Thomas MUTTON and Eileen May SIMS MUTTON
16.Allan Colin(Bill) COCKS and Joy MUTTON COCKS
17.Christopher Stephen LAMBKIN and Judith COCKS LAMBKIN
18.John COCKS and Robin PYLE COCKS and daughter Anna Elizabeth COCKS
19.Joseph Thomas(Jack) SIMS and Alma SIMS
20. William(Bill) WINTERS and Mona SIMS WINTERS
21. Geoffrey LAWRENCE and Dimity Gai WINTERS LAWRENCE
22.Ethel SIMS SCHROEDER BIRRER and Walter SCHROEDER (1st husband) and Alwyn Birrer(2nd husband)
23.Wendy SHEPHERD and Charles SHEPHERD and son Charles David Walter SHEPHERD.
24. Charles Walter David SHEPHERD and Melanie Shanahan SHEPHERD

This photo includes six of Adam Sim and Eliza Cain Sim's children: L. to R. Doris Sims, Eric Sims, Eileen Sims Mutton,Bill Winters and his wife Mona Sims Winters, Alice Sims and Ethel Sims Shepherd Birrer.
This is Joy Mutton Cocks and Bill Cocks and their family.Joy is the eldest daughter of Eileen Sims Mutton:
L. TO R. Phillip Lambkin, his Mother Judith Cocks Lambkin, Bill and Joy Cocks, their son John Cocks and his daughter Anna Cocks(on his knee),Sarah Lambkin and her father Christopher Lambkin on the 3rd September 1995 celebrating Bill Cock's birthday.
Four generations of women including R.Eileen Sims Mutton, Joy Mutton Cocks, Judith Cocks Lambkin and Sarah Lambkin.
In 1928 in Charleville Queensland there was a Fancy Dress Procession. On the right hand running board of this car is a young Gladstone Thomas (Chris) Mutton.

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