~ david coombe history

Mostly Coombe in Australia &

Coumbe in North Hill, Cornwall

Family History & Genealogy

Mostly Coombe ~ Coombe in Australia & Coumbe of North Hill, Cornwall


Early Coombe / Coumbe &c in Australia and their origins. Also Coumbe of North Hill in Cornwall and their destinations. And a few like subjects!


Is it Coombe with one “o”, two or a “u”?

Is it with or without “e” or “s”?


Yes it is! Before surname use was more consistent, the spelling of this family name varied. Name forms were usually standardised in parishes before migration, e.g. Coumbe in North Hill and Coombe in Altarnun. But just as name forms changed when people moved from parish to parish, so they changed in Australia after migration.


The purpose of Mostly Coombe is to share results of research and to collaborate with others where there is a shared interest.


In exploring family history, some stories attract greater telling - much more than their births, deaths and marriages.


Feature Section: Early Coombe, Coumbe, Coombes, Coombs, etc Mostly Coombe - Migrants


Feature Story: Solving the mystery of a double-life: James Coombe (Killed on Ajax Reef 1862).


Feature Story: Thomas Sargent Coombe migrated from Lewannick, Cornwall to South Australia in 1862. Why has he been missing from the Coombe family story? Thomas died in 1870 in suspicious circumstances. Did his publican wife Josephine kill him, as well as another husband and two other men? Find out in the recently published e-book:

Deaths at Josephine’s Gasworks Hotel

A Victorian Investigation


Immerse yourself in Victorian intrigue and the world of publican Josephine. A story never before told. A suspicious death, a coroner’s inquest, a Supreme Court verdict of fraud and a family cut out of a last minute will. Did Josephine kill four men? Author David Coombe investigates. Includes readers’ guide for book groups.


This is a story highly evocative of the times – the language and the social norms. The author brings together, for the first time, the case that Josephine may have murdered four men at her Victorian era Gasworks Hotel – two of them husbands.


This is mostly a story about ordinary people, although some of the characters rose to great heights in South Australia as premier, police commissioner and city coroner. But the story itself is anything but ordinary.


This is the story of Josephine. From 1863 to 1874 she was the publican at the Gasworks Hotel in Brompton, an inner suburb of Adelaide, South Australia.


Click to learn more, buy the eBook or download a free sample.


“Mostly Coombe” Family History and Genealogy


My main research interests are:

•               James Coumbe and Jane Lean and their descendants

•               Other Coombe, Coumbe, Coombes, Coombs, etc Mostly Coombe - Migrants

•               Coumbe (also Combe and Coombe) of the parish of North Hill (also known as Northill) and nearby in Cornwall England

•               Other ancestors of David and Nicole.


There are other pages on Australian Coombe placenames etc and I might (or might not) put some Frequently Asked Questions below!


Like many others, my first interest was in my own ancestry. But this expanded in order to answer two questions in particular. One question I wanted to answer was "Are my Coombe family of South Australian origins related to the Coombe family of Tasmanian origins?" To answer that, one needs to know some of the English ancestry of both families. The answer is of interest to both states. You will find this answer and other related lines in Mostly Coombe.


Another question was “Who is John? Or James … or Thomas?” If I found in records that a Coombe was a licensee of a hotel or a storekeeper or in the goldfields or fined for driving without a proper light – it’s not easy to know which John, James or Thomas Coombe it is. This has been made all the more important because of the amazing historical resource of Trove Digitised Newspapers. Working out which John, James or Thomas benefits all family history researchers. To find out the incredible discovery about Thomas Coombe and his fate, see Deaths at Josephine's Gasworks Hotel.


So although we can find our own ancestry by ourselves without reference to other families, if we want to learn more of their history we need to be able to distinguish our ancestors from their like-named contemporaries.


To help answer these questions, Mostly Coombe attempts to briefly document early Coombe migrants to Australia. It benefits from the many contributions and questions from others.


We each have our own ancestors,

Yet we also share those ancestors with many others.

Ancestral stories are shared here for

the interest and benefit of and contribution by many.


David Coombe, Canberra, Australia