Saturday, 28 September 2013

Sepia Saturday – Don’t believe all you see

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is a photo from an insurance ad featuring a boy sick in bed.
I have a photo of my great grandmother Constance Edith GARRETT (first husband FITTS, nee TERRY) reclining and looking ill. She is attended by two of her daughters, probably Dorothy Louise FITTS born in 1895, and Thelma Millicent FITTS born in 1901.

But, she may not have been ill – she might have been pregnant, as she married her second husband, my great grandfather in 1905 and had children in 1906, 1908, 1910 and 1912.

Constance died in St Kilda, Victoria in February 1925 from acute pulmonary oedema and myocarditis. She was 53 years old and left her husband, and 8 children between the ages of 12 and 31. My grandfather was 16 years old. Constance’s first husband and father of the older four children had died (drowned) in 1902.

She had seen two sons go off to WWI and return. She only saw two of her children (sons) get married but did get to meet three grandchildren.

Interestingly, her death certificate only shows her marriage to her second husband and only lists the four children they had together.
I did know all eight of them, so do know that they exist and the record of death is incorrect – goes to show that death certificates are only as good as the person giving the information.

Myocarditis is inflammation and damage of the heart muscle.
Her son, my grandfather, John Raikes GARRETT died of myocardial infarction, aged 83.
Her father, Alfred TERRY, died of “disease of the heart” in 1881 at the age of 57.
Her mother, Emma Augusta TERRY nee HODGES died of cerebral haemorrhage and cardiac failure at the age of 77.

Can you see a pattern?
Luckily Mum, Constance’s granddaughter is healthy with no heart disease.
I am now the age Constance was when she died.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Trove Tuesday - Found: William Francis

Francis is a hard surname to search for as it is also a first name – made harder by a common first name (William) that is so often abbreviated.

So I couldn’t wait to try out the tip I learnt from the Trove Masterclass at the NSW ACT Family History Conference at the weekend:
“Mr Francis”~1 AND Driffield
“Mr Francis”~1 AND Yinnar
~1 gives results for the search term with up to one other word in between. ~2 works the same, allowing up to two words between the words.
Driffield and Yinnar: are names of schools he taught at.

Here’s what I found:
It seems that in early 1885, the whole Driffield school was sick with whooping cough and the head teacher, my great great grandfather, Mr William FRANCIS (1835-1915) was left sitting at the school presiding over empty benches. 
This article in a paper with the longest name I’ve seen: Traralgon Record and Morwell, Mirboo, Toongabbie, Heyfield, Tyers and Callignee Advertiser!

Then another country obituary with great new details about his career (we hadn’t known about the Bennett’s Creek school), home (we hadn’t known he ‘selected’ his land), funeral and burial, this one from the Morwell Advertiser.

William Francis had arrived in Australia from Glamorgan Wales in 1862 with his wife and little daughter. His first posting was at Spring Hill (near Trentham) in central Victoria. 
They had 11 more children, including my great grandfather William Collier FRANCIS in 1864. 
He later taught at both Driffield and Yinnar South State Schools.
I looked up Bennett’s Creek and from what I can find so far it is/was near Hazelwood, so all in the same area.
He also taught somewhere around the Batesford area, near Geelong but I haven’t found the school yet – I suspect I’ll have to go to the PRO Vic to check the education records and teacher’s record books.
William Francis, an imposing man, and tall -
a good mix for a head teacher I guess.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

I love TROVE

I’m in the middle of the NSW ACT Family History conference in Canberra and just sat down to have a good look at my emails – five notifications waiting for me from Trove that articles I’ve been waiting for are available.

It’s frustrating when you can see a relevant article but just can’t read it (yet), but good that you can get an email alert when it does become available simply by clicking on the little envelope and entering your email address.
Four of the articles are related to our (Ku-ring-gai Historical) Society’s WWI project but one is for my own family:
A wedding notice for my great grandmother’s brother.
For those of you who like coincidences and statistics, my great grandmother, Florence May PEARSON (1875-1947) was born 18 months earlier than her brother Frederick Charles Rowden PEARSON (1876-1949), and died just 20 months earlier than him.

The article is a wonderful example of the treasures that can be found in local papers. It gives great descriptions of the dresses, the attendants and their relationship to the married couple. Then it goes on to list all the gifts, who gave them and in some cases, their relationship to the couple - a family history treasure indeed.
I think the ‘Miss Pearson’ listed is my great grandmother (she didn’t marry until three years later), as the only other sister was a bridesmaid and was listed as Miss Emma Pearson – they both gave cheques, as did their two brothers.
I suspect this practice of publishing gifts (and the givers) in the paper, put pressure on the guests to give a good gift!

Their parents aren’t listed – I’ve written about their sad deaths previously
The Pearson children were raised by their mother’s parents, the Mr and Mrs F A Rowden listed in the article.

There was a Trove master class on the first day of the conference, where even those of us who considered ourselves pretty seasoned users learned some new tricks:

A good way to keep up with new items for your favourite searches is to scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the orange button to subscribe to the web feed.
You can do this for new (newspaper) issues too – by going to the Digitised Newspapers, ‘Show all titles’ then scrolling to the bottom to select if you want to be alerted about new titles or new issues (or both!).

There were a few good search tips for difficult or common names too, but I’m sure they are in the search tips and I just hadn’t got to read them yet – always too busy searching.
I'll write about them later (when I've tested them out).

Monday, 16 September 2013

Matrilineal Monday – Nanna’s poems

Nanna with Mum

A couple of reasons to post under this theme today:
- it’s my Mum’s birthday – Happy Birthday Mum!
- I have some of her mother’s (my Nanna’s poems) to share

There are many more of these poems that Mum hasn’t been able to see because another member of her family has them and doesn’t want to share.  

For quite some time now, she has been telling Mum that her daughter is going to publish them in a book with illustrations.
Mum is not getting any younger (sorry Mum) and wonders if she will ever see these poems. She only wants a copy of them.
Any hints for us?

What do you do with a family member who won’t share family history or mementos?

Here are a couple of the poems my Mum does have, 
written by her mother while still in her teens:
(along with a few photos taken around that time)

Nov 11th 1923
Lovely Flowers
How many flowers are left to bear
The passing of the spring
O why are they so sweet left there
To waste the happiness they bring

If but the blustering wind would bring
Some petals from another flower
And so make life a different thing
If only for an hour

So very soon do they depart
From all the earthly sound
And droop a weary withered heart
Upon the sodden ground.

When Autumn wind comes whispering through the trees
It touches all the leaves and turns them reddish gold
Methinks tis such a kindly thing to do
When days are getting cold
Little red-gold leaves flutter while you may
Soon the winter winds will come and scatter you away.

Feb 21st 1925
Through My Window
Through my window comes a whispering moaning sound
And the faint sweet breath of pine
It awakens memories of years ago
Of a home that was yours and mine

Through my window shine the stars
Each like a dear little twinkling eye
Eyes that keep toll of the happenings of night
You are but the reminder of nights gone by

Through my window I bid you goodnight
I hear no more the pines nor the stars of night I trace
I only hear the lingering sweetness of your voice
And see through a mist of tears – your face.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Sepia Saturday - A Beautiful (Dutch) Dress

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is of a lady sitting sewing an American flag.

The dress and hairdo of the lady reminded me of a wedding photo in my collection. 

This photo is of my husband’s grandparents and was taken on 16 Nov 1911 in Enschede, The Netherlands.

I’ve always thought what a beautiful dress it is.
I asked my mother-in-law if her mother might have made it herself and was told that she didn’t sew much at all and wouldn’t have made a dress like this.

My mother-in-law sews beautifully so I asked her where she learned it. 
She said that she learned some at high school, and more from a sort of finishing school where the girls learned how to run a household.

Jitske JURNA (1888 – 1983) was born in Franeker, one of the eleven historical cities of Friesland, founded in the year 800.

a close up of the bodice (and hair)
Enschede, where she married, was about 200km from Franeker. 
Lochem in Gelderland, where she and her husband, Pelegrinus Johannes VAN WINSEN (1884-1967) lived out their days, was a similar distance – a long way from home.

Jitske’s widowed mother lived with the family and my mother-in-law can remember helping her grandmother up and down the stairs in their house.
They had eight children, one dying in infancy and two migrating to Australia post WWII.
Pelegrinus was a saddler, and my mother-in-law remembers helping her mother with display cases in the leather goods shop that was at the front of their house. At least two of the brothers went into the leather goods business.

Jitske lived to the remarkable age of 95 years – she would have certainly seen a huge amount of change in The Netherlands in that time.

My husband didn’t know his grandmother as she only came to Australia once when he was very little, and by the time he started his own travelling days, she had died.

Jitske with her daughter, still sporting
the same hairdo 15 years later.