Last Name:
First Name:
Anne Brooks' Ancestry



"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet not withstanding, go out to meet it."

Thomas MACHON, son of Thomas MACHON and Rachel TAUDVIN, was baptized 26 January 1840 in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island. He was one of eleven known children born to Thomas and Rachel. On December 23rd, 1863, as a young man in his early 20s, he set sail on the Brig Pakeha from Charlottetown to New Zealand. The story was, that when he left, he said he wouldn’t write...and then he disappeared.

  New Zealand: Google map

We know that Thomas did arrive in New Zealand. The Pakeha arrived in Auckland after a journey of six months at sea. The New Zealand Herald reported, "They sailed from P.E.I., 12-23-1863, crossed the line, 1-24-1864, and went into the Cape of Good Hope on 3-6-1864. She left there on the 24th and passed through the Bass Straits on May 12th of this year. The Three Kings were made on the 13th, and she had light winds from there. It was the Brig Pakeha of 173 tonnes, Capt. Alexander CAMPBELL, arrived in New Zealand 5-26-1864." The Daily Southern Cross, published the arrival in Auckland and included a list of the passengers from Prince Edward Island, Thomas MASCHON, being one. You may see this original article here.

We also know that today, no one living in New Zealand with the surname MACHON is a descendant of Thomas. In January of 2005, I obtained a list of phone numbers of all living MACHONS in New Zealand and through the help of a volunteer living there, enough were contacted to demonstrate that today there are two distinct groups in New Zealand with this surname. One group lives in the Motueka area; the main person in this group was born in Poland and immigrated to New Zealand in 1971; he has a son. The second group has a known ancestor originating from Australia. The spokesperson said, "We can account for all the MACHONs in New Zealand; the only ones I don't know are in a town called Motueka which is at the top of the South Island. [that being the one just mentioned previously]. All others of the name are related to me; our family started in New Zealand with my grandfather. He arrived here from Australia at the age of 17. His father went to Australia from France back in the gold rush days of that country. I have an uncle in Richmond which is in the Nelson region; he has a son who has no children. The others of the name are step-sons of mine who took on the name so are not true Machons. My own son died at the age of 35; that was seven years ago and he had no children”.

  Taken in Dunedin, NZ

Because two photos exist of a young woman, and a young girl, both taken in a Dunedin, New Zealand photo studio, we believe he most likely married and had at least, one daughter. The existence of the photos demonstrates that someone, possibly Thomas, or his wife, or even a descendant, must have sent these photos to a family member on Prince Edward Island. Someone received them. The photos (shown here) were found in the albums of Lauretta Brooks, nee Machon (1882-1964). They were not inscribed. Lauretta’s father, John, was a brother to Thomas, so she would have been a reasonable person to receive them. Whether Lauretta received them directly from New Zealand, or whether, as the known family historian, she was given the photos by another family member to record, is unknown. It really doesn’t matter. They exist, and provide the only evidence that Thomas most likely had a family of his own.

Dunedin is located on the South island, about 1400 miles from Auckland, on the North island, where Thomas landed in 1865. Although a considerable distance, it is nothing compared to the trip from Prince Edward Island. No doubt he moved in search of work, possibly taking months or even, years, to eventually end up in Dunedin where he might have settled with his family.

  Taken in Dunedin, NZ

Aside from eliminating any possible connection to MACHONs living today in New Zealand, many other paths have been followed with little success. I have had the good fortune to meet several researchers in New Zealand who were able to search specific indexes. One person has suggested that in order to fit in more easily Thomas might have changed his name to a more Anglicized variation such as MASON and MARSHON and this has been considered.

Marriage indexes have been checked; No MACHON has been found. Two possible MARSON marriages were located but neither proved to be a possibility. The New Zealand electoral rolls, 1865-1866, for the whole country, gave no MACHON, MASCON, or MARSON. Three Thomas MASONs and one Thomas MARSDEN were found. In the 1881 and 1891 electoral rolls, no Thomas MACHON was found. It is important to remember that neither of these were compulsory. There is a record in the 1881 rolls for a Thomas MACHIN, residing in Timaru. A search of the local cemeteries in the District of Timaru found no Thomas MACHIN or MACHON.

A search of a CD, compiled by the N.Z. Genealogical Society, containing burials across New Zealand (incomplete), showed only a Francis Thomas MASON who died in 1905, age at death unknown, at Northern Cemetery which is in the area of Dunedin. An interesting record was discovered online using Archway at NZ Archives; Winnifred Maud MACHON, Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand; 1926 Probate records, married woman. It might prove useful to have someone look at this entry.

In conclusion, if Thomas MACHON wanted to disappear, he succeeded. There is little more that can be done at the moment. In due time other databases will be available, particularly cemetery records, and he eventually may be found. The other possibility is that some night, an inquisitive, determined descendant, somewhere in New Zealand, with echoes of “Prince Edward Island”, and “Machon” vaguely tossing around in the back of his head, does a random search online, and stumbles across this website. If so, he will find his family and all the pieces will fall into place. Until then it is a waiting game.

February 2009

UPDATE: February 2010.

I have now seen the will of Winifred Maud MACHON as mentioned above. Winifred died in 1926 in Christchurch; she was the wife of Joseph Morton MACHON. After contacting Wyn Machon in New Zealand, I learned that Joseph was his grandfather, and the first Machon in his line who came from Australia at the age of 17; thus his descendants are one of the two existing groups in New Zealand. So this takes us full circle. Nevertheless, in a search, elimination of possibilities is the name of the game.

The New Zealand website BIRTH, DEATH AND MARRIAGE HISTORICAL RECORDS shows two marriages of Machon women: In 1915 a Maud Lilian MACHON married Vincent MASON, and in 1916 a Margaret Maria MACHON married William Dalrymple HARDIE. Could one of them be a descendant of Thomas? Wyn Machon believes that these women are connected in some way to his Joseph Morton MACHON and has given me a contact who might be able to answer the question. The mystery continues...


This site powered by The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding, Copyright © 2001-2008, created by Darrin Lythgoe, Sandy, Utah. All rights reserved.