Woodhouse enquiry

From: Ron
To: Jan
Subject: Woodhouse family


My name is Ron Woodhouse and I live in Sacramento Calif.
The reason I am writing  my grandfather George Bernard Woodhouse came to Caifornia by way of New Zealand to Australia to California, arriving here ca. 1920. The story I got is that a sea captain by the name of Woodhouse married the Irish maid, was disinherited in England and made his way to Christchurch where he had 7 sons.
The parents died, the sons burned down the family house and took my grandfather, George, the youngest with them to Australia. From there he moved to San Francisco.
Anyway I’m wondering if there could be any relation with your family.

Sincerely, Ron Woodhouse

From: Jan
To: Ron
Subject: Woodhouse family

Hi Ron,

Well your grandfather has a very interesting story but it doesn’t seem to be one which coincides with anything I’ve heard about mine.
I must admit at first I wondered how you got my email address to contact me and then I figured out that probably you googled Woodhouse and it picked up my greatgrandfather’s name James Woodhouse Bibby.

James got his middle name from his mother’s maiden name which was Woodhouse.

His Mother (my great, great grandmother) was Mary Ann Woodhouse and she was a miller’s daughter in Lancaster, and was neighbours with my great, great grandfather Edward Bibby.

Edward came over to New Zealand in the 1850’s and worked for a while as a cabinet maker, and he also built and sold a few houses around in Napier (which is about an hour’s drive by car away from where we live now). He did fairly well financially and so went back to England and asked his neighbour (girlfriend) Mary to marry him.

They came back to New Zealand and lived for a while in Napier and then moved south to Waipawa and were some of the very early settlers here. They lived for a while in a little whare (which is a very basic little hut) and their son James was born there being the 2nd white baby born in Waipawa.

They went on to build one of the early stores here in Waipawa in the early 1860’s which sold everything from flour and salt, to cloth for making clothes and fine china… Mary was said to be a very astute business woman who ran her husband’s business while he involved himself in getting a school built and being on the town board. There is a story that she even took off the hat she was wearing and sold it to a customer after the customer had complimented her on it!

Apparently quite a few years ago some Woodhouse relatives from England come out and visited some of the Bibbys. They still live in Lancaster and are farmers there (and good Methodists).

You could try contacting them if you like and see if your grandfather George fits into their family tree anywhere.

(postal address supplied)

Anyway happy ancestor hunting!
I’d love to find out what you discover – and if we put it on the website maybe someone who knows something more about your Woodhouse connection might be able to help you out.


Edward Bibby and Mary Ann Bibby (nee Woodhouse)