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!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Christmas through the years

1938 at Wilgul

My Mum really enjoyed her ‘early’ Christmases with her maternal grandparents, Edward and Sarah LONG in the western district of Victoria.
Mum talks fondly of these Christmases – probably why she always tries so hard to get us (her three kids and families) together for Christmas with all the trimmings.
I used to try to avoid these group photos – sometimes by being the one behind the camera, although I had to ‘fight’ with my Dad for that excuse.
But, looking at these photos, taken across the years from 1938 to 1950, I can really see the benefit of those posed family Christmas shots!

Some of Mum’s recollections to go with this great set of photos (in her words):
We always had Christmas with them.
1940 at Wilgul
The Christmas pudding had lots of ‘things’ in it – money, threepence and sixpence, and trinkets – a ring, a shoe and more, that we would exchange for money. It was very exciting to find all these things in the pudding. There was always brandy sauce too.
We always had a big turkey for Christmas. I remember seeing her pluck them and the chooks out in the scullery. I watched.
I used to pod peas. The potatoes were peeled with a knife – there was no peeler.
Nanna only had one or two hats – they were grey or black.
You had to wear a hat to church but she didn’t wear one many other times.

1941 off to church
1942 off to church



1950, Pa Long's last Christmas

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Trove Tuesday – Another Boer War Find

I wrote a post recently about my great grandfather’s words – writing back from the Boer War and published in his local newspaper.

Another great grandfather served in the Boer War, this time on my mother’s side, Lewis Raikes GARRETT (1876 – 1939). He served in Thorneycroft’s Mounted Infantry under the formidable sounding Colonel Thorneycroft.
I found the following (large) illustrated article in the Australian Town and Country Journal of May 1900. What a shame the photo isn’t better quality.
You can read a bit more about Lewis Garrett, and see a photo of him in his Thorneycroft uniform, in my July blog post.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Trove Tuesday - Cures through the Years

I have a cold - well, I had a cold and now it's a sinus infection.
This is a common complaint through both sides of my family and I've been working through all the 'cures' and 'pick-me-ups' passed down through the years - inhalations, lemon and honey drinks, keep warm, etc.

It set me to wondering how these came about.

Were they passed down to my ancestors from their ancestors?

Or were they picked up by reading the paper?

Here are a few 'cures' I have found using Trove across a number of years.

The first is from 1863 and not really a cure for a cold, really a cure for a cold head - buy a wig from Professor Burnett!
As I have plenty of hair, this one is not for me.

The next from 1873 is pretty scary and hopefully read by all tongue-in-cheek.
It includes almost all the 'old wives's tales' that you could think of! I don't think I'll try this one.

Then, even scarier in 1919 when my sinus-suffering Nanna was a young girl.
I hope she never tried this 'only in America' cure.

And then one from when my parents were little in 1939.
I'm sure if you suffered through this 'cure' you would never own up to having a cold or flu again, no matter how sick you are.

So, it seems that my 'cures' handed down are much more tame.
I'm off to boil the kettle.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Trove Tuesday - What a shame they sold it!

15 August 1935
Watch Hill, Beeac, Western Victoria
My Nanna, Mavis Fanshawe LONG (1906 – 1982) married my grandfather John Raikes GARRETT (1908 – 1992) at Watch Hill in 1935.

Nanna’s parents Edward LONG (1872 – 1951) and Sarah Henrietta LONG nee STONEHOUSE (1873 – 1953) had bought this homestead and land in 1919 as part of a subdivisional sale. 
See clippings (unfortunately hard to read) from the Camperdown Chronicle (via Trove) in October 1919 where the homestead is described as splendidly and substantially improved ... a handsome well-built bluestone structure, with slate roof, 12 rooms, in addition to kitchen, bathroom, etc., in perfect order, with verandahs, nicely kept grounds and plantations, extensive stables....

Edward and Sarah Long moved to Wilgul in Beeac in about 1938 after their son William (Bill) married, and later moved to Cressy (mid-late 1940s) and then Colac.
Both of these great grandparents were born in the Cudgee area near Warrnambool, in the very early days of settlement. Both had one parent born in Tasmania and one in the UK, both had a convict ancestor.
Watch Hill in the early 1920s

The beautiful old house, Watch Hill, was allowed to become run down – to the extent that sheep roamed through it. 
Dad posted a link on facebook – he didn’t mean to and didn’t know how he did it, but I’m very glad he did as I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.
Someone has done the house up – click on the link, doesn’t it look great?

A different angle, Watch Hill 1920s
In a strange ‘six degrees of separation’ twist: Mum and Dad used to run a bed and breakfast in the Wimmera. They had a guest in 2001, a Mr Parsons whose grandfather used to live at Watch Hill, and sold it to my great grandparents. The Parsons family then built Wilgul and in turn sold that to my great grandparents. In another twist, my Nanna’s sister Frances Jean McVey LONG (1901 – 1988) was this guest’s babysitter in the 1950s.
It’s a small world.

another view from the family albums, 1920s

19 Jul 1938

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Trove Tuesday - A Consequence

Not exactly something from Trove but something I may not have learnt if it wasn’t for my initial finding in Trove.

Some weeks ago my Trove Tuesday blog was about a ‘tall bride’ marrying my Nanna’s cousin. I wondered how tall you would have to be to have it pointed out in a newspaper item about your wedding.

I was at my parents’ house and going through some photos with Mum. Mum was reading the back of the photos when she didn’t immediately know who was in the photo.
“Here’s one of Billy and Ethel Stonehouse,” she said. “Where do they fit in?”
Out comes the family tree program and the search key.
Only one option in my program: William Hill Stonehouse and Ethel Lee married in 1936.

And, one good look at the photo and you can see how tall the newlyweds are – look at the lady standing next to the bride!
The groom looks pretty tall too, but then my Nanna was 5 foot 9 inches, quite tall for the early 1900s.

What a shame there were no photos of the ‘uncommon frocks’ of the bridesmaids.

So it seems that my Nanna and Pa were at the wedding after all.

Then Mum adds, “well, Billy’s sister Anne was Mum’s [my Nanna’s] bridesmaid.”

Share your Trove finding with your family, you never know what memories or photos they will prompt!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Trove Tuesday – My great grandfather’s words

My great grandfather, William Collier FRANCIS was born in Australia on 27 April 1864 to Welsh-born parents. He was a farmer at Yinnar, Gippsland, Victoria and later a salesman. 
He married late, at 41 years to Geelong-born Florence May PEARSON (1875 – 1947). My grandmother Mary Waveney Kathleen FRANCIS was their third child.

He died just before his 82nd birthday in 1946. My Dad remembers him as “an old man who used to sleep in the built-in verandah. He wore blue and white pyjamas and had a mass of white hair”.

William was a member of the 4th Victorian Contingent (Victorian Imperial Bushmen) and served in South Africa in the Boer War from May 1900 to Jun 1901. His son, my Uncle Jack, told me “he came home via Albany in Western Australia and walked to the goldfields in Kalgoorlie”. His medal has the battles on bars on the band - Transvaal, Orange Free State, Rhodesia, Cape Colony, South Africa 1901.

An amazing find on Trove has enabled me to ‘hear the words’ of my great grandfather by way of a letter published in his local newspaper, the Morwell Advertiser in May 1901. (I have transcribed it below the articles.)

As an aside: The Victorian Mounted Rifles were the first to wear khaki uniforms and the slouch hat, and established the mounted infantry model which was adopted by other colonial forces.