Monday, 31 December 2012

Accentuate the Positive 2012 Geneameme

Following the suggestion of Geniaus, and facing a very quiet New Year's Eve at my parents, I put together the following - definitely my last blog post for the year:

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was: not really an elusive ancestor but rather an elusive part of an ancestor’s life – his music. We have always known that my grandmother’s maternal grandfather was a composer but never been able to find any of his music until Music Australia shared their collection with Trove. My siblings and I all play (or have played) musical instruments, as do most of the next generation, so this was a really exciting find for us.

2.  A precious family photo I found was/were: so many photos since starting my blog. It has prompted mum and to a smaller extent, her sister, to show and share so many old photos that have been hidden away in boxes in the cupboard.

3.  An ancestor's grave I found was: I didn’t find any direct ancestors’ graves but found lots who were linked to my ancestors in St Just in Cornwall. The best part of this was Mr Jax (who usually yawns at the mention of genealogy) tramping through the long grass to take photos of headstones! (I did ‘let’ him play golf afterwards though).

4.  An important vital record I found was: too many to think of – they are all important, providing proof and links to the next generation.

5.  A newly found family member who shared: a distant cousin in Auckland through a family tree online (from 2001) via a very roundabout way and very lucky that all the ‘linking people’ were still alive. She has the Garrett family bible and is going to photocopy parts of it for me until I can visit.

6.  A geneasurprise I received was: discovering that the cousin mentioned above had oil paintings of two of my 4xgreat grandparents that she was generous enough to photograph and email. We had never seen photos or portraits of these ancestors before. One is in my blog A Beautiful Lady and the other I haven’t written about yet.

7.   My 2012 blog post that I was particularly proud of was/were: my Trove Tuesday blogs – what a great prompt to keep me going when life got busy, and I only missed a couple right at the end (near Christmas) – will try to keep it up in 2013, thanks Amy.

8.   My 2012 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was: 484 hits for my post on theanniversary of the battle of Fromelles about my visit to the cemetery and memorials, and about my ancestor who was one of the identified casualties.

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was: not sure if I’ve really ‘mastered’ it yet, but Bento on my iPad, taking photos of mum’s memorabilia straight into it and filling in the (modified) template recording the rest of the details.

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was: blogging – I started blogging this year. I started with a travel blog (including some ancestral sites) so I would get in the habit of writing regularly. I converted to a geneablog about a month after returning home and really enjoy the reactions and input from family, the encouraging comments from fellow geneabloggers, and all the interesting blogs I have discovered.

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was: the congress in Adelaide, the first really large genealogy event I have been to, and not the last.

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at/to: not being really fond of presenting, I quite like running hands on Trove workshops at our local society – helping people discover this amazing resource, and everyone goes home finding something unexpected.

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was: nothing major but regularly submit items for our Society newsletter.

14. I taught a friend how to: taught my Dad to Skype so he and Mum can keep in better contact with me (and others) – this has led to all sorts of genealogical discoveries.

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was: In Tasmania by Nicholas Shakespeare, not finished it yet but it covers a lot of early Tasmanian history alongside the author’s quest to discover his ancestors after finding old letters saved by his grandmother.

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was: the amazing Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam where I learnt more about what my parents in law and their families lived through in WWII. Learnt so much I haven’t been able to get my head around it all to write a post.

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was: Inside History magazine – so easy to read anywhere on my iPad.

18. It was exciting to finally meet: my husband’s cousins in Maastricht, Netherlands and to see his aunt and uncle again after many years.

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was/were: numerous and included:
a) walking around Oatlands in Tasmania where one of my convict ancestors spent time in the jail and building the Heritage Highway.
b) walking around Bath and finding the house that my 3xgreat grandfather lived in with his mother in 1851 (Census) just before he came to Australia.
c) booking a day tour in Cornwall and finding that the only mine we were to visit was the one my ancestors worked in.
d) sitting in a pub in Padstow, Cornwall and having my husband crack up laughing when he pointed out that “everyone in this pub has your nose”!

20. Another positive I would like to share is: this has made me realise how many subjects I have for future blogs, …
…and, volunteers are wonderful – they keep societies going in a variety of ways, giving their time, their knowledge and their friendship.

Happy New Year everyone!


  1. I only just found your post, Jackie.

    You have made great strides this year and because you are so modest you haven't mentioned your wonderful work as the new President of the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society

  2. Hi Jackie

    I'm a descendant of the Austen and Purvis families. I might just have a little more information for you on the Garretts. I can't find a contact address for you - you can email me at

  3. I really enjoyed reading this, especially question 19! And how excited you must have been to find portraits of your ancestors. My great-great-grandmother's brother (John CAMPBELL) was a pioneer of Gippsland, and I was amazed when I found portraits of John and his wife in a historical museum at Sale.

  4. I must try the Bento tip. Pleased you found the portraits. We had some that went down on a ship heading from Australia to China in the early 1900s.