Tuesday, 7 June 2016

We found Ballantarsin!

Well, I didn’t but Mum and Dad did.

They’d tried the closest historical societies in Mortlake and Terang and although not finding Ballantarsin, they did find a ‘new’ cousin of Mum’s who drove them around the district.

They went to the biggest town in the area, Warrnambool Historical Society and they had old parish plans showing subdivision of “Long’s Estate” for closer settlement. They could locate some roads and lanes on these and some fire maps.

Parish map: numbers above the asterisk on W Graham block is about where the house is.

Ballantarsin today
So off Mum and Dad went, driving all around the district in freezing gale force winds – you have to admire their determination!

Finding nothing, they gave up and started for home.

Still keeping their eyes open, they found something but it was on the wrong side of the road. 

They met the owners of the property who were very excited to learn some of the history of part of their very large dairy farm. They had never heard of it being called Ballantarsin.

The dairy farmers were using the house for a share farmer and it was empty until this day – the new tenants turned up just as Mum and Dad were finishing their photos inside and out – amazing timing.
The property is now called Crieve Hill.
House datestone AD 1876

Ballantarsin was owned by mum’s grandparents from 1918 to 1922. 
The map above has an asterisk on the ‘W Graham block’ and this is probably the milking shed. The house is closer to the numbers above and right of this.

So now Mum and Dad are busy dating some old photos, and noticing how grand the garden and house had been. The old stone fence that is still on the property today can be seen in the background of some of our photos.

Inside Ballantarsin today
Dad’s put some of the old photos together to take to the current owners who are very keen to have them.

Ballantarsin today

Of course this leads to more research:
The closer settlement subdivision of Long’s Estate.
Locate the Long’s previous property Warrawong at Glenormiston North. Edward and Sarah Long had sold this property to O’Keefes who had taken possession on 1 Oct 1918. The Longs sold Ballantarsin through McDonald Bros Mortlake on 15 Aug 1922 and took possession of their next property Watch Hill on 18 May 1922.

Many of the snippets of information, and dates of purchases and sales have been gleaned from mum’s aunt’s (our Auntie Jean) diaries and newspaper clippings. In amongst the day to day activities are little snippets of gold, it just takes someone with the time and patience to read through them all – lucky Mum kept them!

Stone fence at Ballantarsin today

My Nanna and her horse.
Is this the same stone fence in the background?

Inside Ballantarsin in the 1920s
The author of the diaries, Auntie Jean (Long) driving my Nanna
in the family Adler at Ballantarsin

Edward, Sarah and son Bill in Adler at Ballantarsin

Saturday, 21 May 2016

A very surprising death notice

I was visiting Mum and Dad recently and arrived by train.
Pretty much as soon as I got in the car, Mum pushed a newspaper page into my hands 
“Look at this!”

It’s a death notice for a lady with the same name as my Mum, and living in the same area.

I photographed it and texted it off to my brothers, sure of a couple of interesting responses:

One brother: "She should have told us!"

The other: 
"Not sure if I can take time off for the funeral as I’m about to go on leave. Any chance we can delay for a few more years?"

Mum went into her favourite coffee shop to a greeting of 
“Oh! I’m so glad you’re not dead!”

The age (and family names) does give it away but if you were only skimming headlines, you could easily draw the wrong conclusion.

Of course the next question is:
Are they related?

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Where is Ballentarsen (Victoria)?

I’m spending a week at my parents and Mum raised one of her ‘mysteries’:
I wish I knew where Ballentarsen is / was.”

Ballentarsen / Ballantarsin / Ballentarsin was the name of one of the properties where her mother (Mavis Garrett nee Long) and grandparents (Edward Long and Sarah nee Stonehouse) lived.
(We have different spellings on various documents and photographs.)

It was in The Sisters / Ellerslie / Ballengiech area of the Western District of Victoria (see map below).

Sometime in the 1970s, Mum’s sister drove her mother, aunt and uncle to the house but now doesn’t remember exactly where it was.
She took some photos (included).
The house looks like it’s made of solid stone, so could be still there.

Our timeline seems to show that they lived there between 1918 and 1922.

They sold their property at Glenormiston Warrawong to O’Keefes with possession date of 1 Oct 1918.
They sold Ballentarsen through McDonald Bros, Mortlake on 15 Aug 1922.
The purchase of their next home Watch Hill in Beeac was on 18 May 1922.
I’ve written about the beautiful Watch Hill a couple of times previously, including here.

The only thing I’ve found that relates to any spelling of Ballentarsen on Google or Trove is a reference on the Terang Cemetery Index to a James Graham who died in Feb 1919 at Lake View Keilambete, which is in the same area. 
Lake Keilambete was featured in some of the old photos from my Nanna’s collection.
This reference states that James Graham was born in Ballantarson, Inniskillen, Ireland about 1835.

Perhaps he lived on the property prior to my ancestors and had named it after his home town? 
Perhaps he gave it the name?

Perhaps he sold it in 1918 because he was ill? And moved to his elder son’s property?

Searching for James Graham reveals:
·      his youngest son, Gunner Jack (John) Graham died 31 July 1918 aged 32, from effects of gas poisoning during WWI service.
·      another son, Harry died in 1908 aged 25.

·      at the time of enlistment (15 Sep 1914), Jack Graham’s next of kin was his older brother Charles Augustine Graham who lived at Lake View via Terang.
·      Jack had two service numbers: 1136 in 1st Bn on enlistment and then 1235 in 14th FAB

·      at the time of his death, James Graham had been ill for several years: possibly why Jack put his brother down as next of kin. His mother had died in 1900.

·      The children of James Graham and Margaret Armstrong were: George (1867-1956),   William James (1869-1939),   Mary Ellen (1870-1954),   Eliza Jane (1873-1966),   Matthew Armstrong (1875-1954),   Charles Augustine (1878-1940),   Thomas (1880-? in Tasmania),   Henry / Harry (1882-1908),   Robert Johnson (1884-1969),   John / Jack (1885-1918).

·      Margaret Armstrong d1900 was the daughter of a Western District pioneering family.
·      They married in 1866 in Victoria.

Ellerslie / The Sisters / Ballangeich / Keilambete area from Google Maps

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

5 generation Health History / Cause of Death chart

Many of my family and friends know I studied biochemistry and immunology, and worked in hospital pathology laboratories for many years.

So, with my own fascination and inspired by Helen Smith’s blog including her health history charts, here is my own ancestral health history / cause of death chart.

It was hard to know what colours to use as there are many different causes of death, and multiple causes for some.

For most of these, it was hard to tell which was the overriding cause of death, and which just symptoms or other conditions that existed at the time of death.

I coloured the boxes or text of those with heart disease as that seemed to dominate my family’s chart – a fair warning to us all to take care of our heart now.

I’ve entered the age at death too.
Many lived long lives (especially for those early times) so no surprises that a number died of organ failure or senility.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

I'm back / 5 (6) generation charts

I’m back!
I made a new year’s resolution to resurrect my blog this year.

5 Generation charts
I’ve seen so many of these charts on other blogs and Facebook lately that I couldn’t resist giving it a try – and testing out my rusty old excel skills.

My places of birth chart is pretty boring compared to most of the others I’ve seen: 
Everyone back to and including all my great grandparents were born in Victoria. 
The 5th generation adds a little more colour with a few from Tasmania, and the rest from England, Wales and Scotland.

Then I tried a places of death: even more boring: only one death outside Victoria, in NSW.
It was so monochrome that I added a 6th generation to get some colour!
Then of course I had to add a 6th generation to my places of birth chart.

Here are the results:

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Thankful Thursday(s) - a surprise win

This time last week I got an email from Shauna Hicks, co-ordinator of National Family History Month sent me an email to say I had won one of the fabulous prizes from the many sponsors of NHFM.

I won a full registration to Congress 2015 in Canberra next March - the 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry 26-30 March 2015.

What a wonderful prize!

There’s a great program of talks and workshops, and some amazing venues for the welcome function and dinner.

Then today, it arrived in the post - not just a note on how to register but beautifully presented - a special prize indeed.

I had been intending to register before the early bird registrations end on 31 Oct but hadn't got around to it.

Just like I haven't got around to writing my blog for ages.

Here’s my excuse: This is what I’ve been up to in the meantime: the first Volume of our Society’s WWI Commemorative books.

Maybe this is just the inspiration I need to get back to blogging.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Sepia Saturday – There were three in the bed and the little one said...

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt is of girls on a bed with dolls and other ‘toys’.
As kids, my brothers and I were always climbing onto each others beds and ‘reading’ stories or making up stories using our toys.

There’s only 3½ years between the three of us so despite living on farms, there was always ‘someone to play with’, or to fight with!