When Ken Miller started looking into his family tree, he didn't expect to become consumed by his ancestor's journey to Australia.
The Mandurang resident has compiled a catalogue of 11 books telling the story of his and his wife's family trees with the first book They Came On Royal Saxon now published.
The book tells the tale of his great-great-grandfather John Ware's trek to the Port Phillip region in the mid-1800s and how he spent his life in Australia.
"A few years ago it all started; my dad was a ship lover and started to research what ships brought over our family," he said. "I loved tracking our history and I found a few diaries of people on the ships as well.
"I was able to find very early history of the Grampians and the interactions between the Indigenous people and the settlers.
"Soon, it all became a story erected rather than a chronology and I found I loved the research process."
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Through using the online platform Trove, Mr Miller was able to research John Ware and his family's story from their settlement in Australia to his retirement in Maryborough.
John Ware travelled from England to Australia with his three teenage children after his wife passed away. Within the first year of the family's new life, his daughter Jane drowned in a dam in Little River.
The family then moved to the uninhabited Grampians region where they lived with other settlers and Indigenous people.
The widower eventually remarried in Melbourne in 1852 and had six daughters with his second wife and the family moved to Kyneton during the gold rush.
"He came over in 1841 before Victoria was even Victoria and where they lived was technically New South Wales," Mr Miller said.
"As I've researched I've realised they came from a sort of poverty in England and they really came to Australia for a better life, but also for a better life for their descendants which I feel privileged be.
"They knew they'd never see their family in England again which was a massive sacrifice.
"I'm very humbled and I feel so fortunate. I've always said I won the lottery being born in Australia and it was because they came out."
They Came On Royal Saxon is full of surprises - including the note that music legend Molly Meldrum is a third cousin of Mr Miller.
John Ware's third daughter in his second marriage was Sarah who married Charles Wilson and the pair are Mr Miller's great-grandparents.
Mr Miller's second book will be published in the coming months and follows the Wilson Family's story.
The author and his family recently commemorated John Ware by erecting a plaque in his honour in his burial town of Maryborough.
To find out more about They Came On Royal Saxon, head to kennethmillerauthor.com.
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