Almanac (Footy) History: How do I connect with Rod McGregor?

How do I connect with Rod McGregor?


By Adam Haase.


I come from a family where, inevitably, all discussion points involving quips, anecdotes, facts and banter lead to family chatter.


You find out there’s more than just the 2 generations before you which is what you’ve always been used to since the childhood notion of anything being older than your grandparents seemingly unfathomable. This is also the generation that your childhood self can only conclude, comprehend and understand being ancient dating back to the Dinosaurs when they’re merely a scratch of that time period.


One day, we were talking about all things family related when my grandpa mentioned that his mother was born with the surname Reynolds and he also told me that Reynolds wasn’t really that branch’s surname which piqued my interest and was left with a strange sense of “something doesn’t seem right.”


How does one person have on their birth certificate one surname but, deep down, that surname isn’t remotely connected or linked with that person in any way, shape or form?
How does one begin to fathom the information that was just told to them?
How does one, with the faintest of excitement upon hearing that surname suddenly have that excitement erode with the bombshell that is dropped at the conclusion of such news being broken?


Sidenote: My faintest of excitement was due to the fact that I am an Australian Football fan and its most famous league, the Australian Football League featured a player from Essendon (my team of supportership) called Dick Reynolds who is widely regarded as the best player in Essendon’s history.


Due to what was, at the time, limited information, I had no idea what to do with such information and, thus, it sat on a ledge gathering dust and being left in the cold.


Talk about my grandpa’s mother inevitably led to talk about her siblings plus nieces and nephews and, the granddaddy of them all, her father who, all that time, I thought was called Arthur Reynolds but, like I said earlier in the piece, he wasn’t really a Reynolds.


The biggest turning point in all of these discourses was the discovery of an article on a guy called Les Wood which was published by Herald Sun journalist Glenn McFarlane who is normally a sports writer with a focus on covering the Australian Football League.
There was a picture next to the said article and my grandpa instantly recognised the guy in the article but was surprised at the name attached to the article.
The guy in the article as observed by my grandpa was his own grandfather but he was credited as Les Wood so that made Les my great-great-grandfather.
My aunt and cousin would later find out and confirm that this guy was, indeed, Les Wood but, the most surprising part of this discovery was that he was born in Australia and grew up in a suburb north of Melbourne called Brunswick.


They were able to find his enlisting record which was signed enabling him to go to World War One but he was there on a voluntary basis.
That is, he didn’t get paid for his service.


On his service record was the name Lois Chivell.
Lois would later be revealed as Les’ mother (my great-great-great-grandmother) but the curiosity didn’t stop there.


Why were Lois’ and Les’ surnames different?
Why was he Wood and she, Chivell?
We found out that she was married to a South Australian man called Joseph Henry Chivell which explained the Chivell part.
It wasn’t until a 2 week free trial nutted out by my cousin that revealed itself.
Lois’ maiden name was Simson and her first husband was Henry James Wood.


Henry James Wood was my great-great-great-grandfather.


Henry and Lois had a daughter called Jessie Wood who was born in 1887 and died in 1967.


Jessie married a guy called Albert Bartlett Bickford who, I would find out much to my excitement, played in the Australian Football League (then, Victorian Football League or VFL for short) for Carlton (2 games) and Melbourne (9 games.)


Albert Bickford had a brother called Edric Bickford who also played for the Melbourne Demons and both Edric’s son George and grandson Stephen played for Melbourne.
Stephen later served on the board of the Melbourne Demons.


Albert and Edric Bickford had a sister called Alice Bickford who married a guy called Roderick McGregor or Rod for short.
Rod was, therefore, the brother-in-law of both Edric and Albert Bickford.


Rod McGregor played 236 games for 26 goals at Carlton and was considered Carlton’s best player of the early 20th century.


So, to answer the question posed at the start, this is where I link up with Rod McGregor:


Myself. (Adam Haase.)
My mother. (Ange Reed.)
My grandpa. (Victor Reed.)
My great-grandmother. (Dorathea Reynolds.)
My great-great-grandfather. (Les Wood.)
My great-great-great-grandmother. (Lois Simson and her husband, my great-great-great-grandfather Henry Wood.)
Their daughter Jessie Wood.
Her husband Albert Bickford.
Albert’s sister Alice Bickford.
Alice’s husband Rod McGregor.


While I’m not related to Carlton legend Rod McGregor, the fact that my 3rd-great-aunt married a Carlton and Melbourne player whose sister married Rod is something that I’ll forever hold close to me.


Adam Haase. (My surname is pronounced ‘Haze.’)


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE






  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Some great research there Adam, well done. How close did you get to a Dick Reynolds connection?

  2. Adam Haase says


    I was initially excited purely because of that surname but that photo of Les wiped any excitement away and, as a result of that, no links to Dick.

Leave a Comment