Saturday, 31 August 2013

Sepia Saturday – Three Men went to War

I’ve decided to respond to this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt with a photo of three men: one of my favourite photos of my grandfather (centre) and two of his brother’s in law.

This photo was taken in 1937, when they were celebrating the birth of my father, the first child among the three of them.

I love the sense of fun and happiness in this photo. 

Little did they know that just a few years later these three men would go off to WWII and only two would survive.

From left to right:
Halley Edward HAWKINS (1910 – before 1997), known as Uncle Hal married my grandmother’s little sister Enid Laura FRANCIS (1913 – 1997) in April 1936. They didn’t have children until after the war. Uncle Hal enlisted in July 1940 and was discharged in October 1945 as a Lance Sergeant in the 2/8 Australian Infantry Battalion.

Keith Leo GRENFELL (1911 – 1944) my grandfather married my grandmother in February 1936. I’ve written about Gren before, here.
Keith was in the Citizen’s Military Forces (like the Army Reserves now I think) from about 1930 so was snapped up as a training sergeant into the army as WWII broke out. He had a series of illnesses and complications following an injury from a gun during a training exercise. I’m still wading through his extensive military and medical files trying to make sense and a timeline from them. He spent a lot of time in different army hospitals and rehabilitation centres. My dad can vaguely remember as a little boy catching the train up to the city to visit him in a ‘huge’ hospital. Keith died in their local hospital in Yallourn before his second son reached his first birthday.

Mervyn Collier FRANCIS (1918 – 2008), known as Uncle Jack, my grandmother’s little (or I should say younger as he was soooo tall) brother. I have written about Uncle Jack before, here.  Uncle Jack enlisted in the AIF in January 1940 and was discharged in September 1941 before joining the RAAF (air force) in October 1941. He was a Warrant Officer at RAAF HQ in Washington, USA by the time he was discharged in March 1946. He had come home to marry in February 1944 just a month before Keith died.

And I’m pretty sure the following is the only photo in my collection with braces. It’s my dad (on the right) after he had been in his own wars: broken his neck falling off his bicycle. He is with his little brother (left), and their Uncle Jack (see above) who was like a second father to them. Uncle Jack died in 2008 and dad’s brother in 2009.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Bloggers' Geneameme (in response to Geniaus)

Geniaus has asked fellow geneabloggers to join in and answer a few questions for National Family History Month.
Here are my answers:

What are the titles and URLs of your genealogy blog/s?
Jax Trax at

Do you have a wonderful "Cousin Bait" blog story? A link to a previous blog post might answer this question.
I never expected to have so many contacts.
I have had two contacts from people writing books about people linked to my family. Both of these have been able to provide me with more information and even photos of my ancestors and their relations.
Some cousins have contacted me through my blog, and I have identified others because my writing inspired me to research a particular branch a bit further.
Since writing the blog I have the following new cousins:
-       Anne in NZ who has sent photos of oil paintings of our common 4x great grandparents
-       Karl in Canberra – our grandfathers were brothers
-       Susan in Perth – our grandmothers were first cousins.

Why did you start blogging? Is there someone who inspired you to start blogging?
I went on my first trip to Europe and decided this was the time to get in the habit of writing daily so that hopefully I could continue writing when I came home – it worked! 
Jill of Geniaus joining our local society was also an inspiration.

How did you decide on your blog/s title/s?
I wanted to combine a travel blog with a geneablog and I thought my tracks and then the tracks of my ancestors might work. 
A glass or two of red wine and the wit of Mr Jax helped too.

Do you ever blog from mobile devices? What are they?
My trusty well-travelled MacAir.

How do you let others know when you have published a new post?
I don’t really, although if I have written about a specific side of the family I might email a cousin or two to look at it.

How long have you been blogging?
I started the travel blog in April 2012 and it morphed into a geneablog in July 2012, although there were certainly some genealogy parts to my travel - Maastricht, Fromelles, Cornwall, Bath.

What widgets or elements do you consider essential on a genealogy blog?
Search and past posts archive. I keep meaning to look at putting more on but too many other things keep getting in my way.

What is the purpose of your blog/s? Who is your intended audience?
My intention is to share with my family the huge amount of research my mum and I have done, and the ever-increasing number of old photos that my parents have. Along the way, hopefully new-found members of the family will be found and join in. I also hope to interest other members of the family (eg my brothers) in our family history by putting it in a short easy to read form that is interesting enough for them to read.

Which of your posts are you particularly proud of?
All of them! It’s great to write and share but it doesn’t always come naturally.

How do you keep up with your blog reading?
I follow blogs and they show up in my dashboard page of blogger.

What platform do you use for publishing your blog/s?  Blogger

What new features would you like to see in your blogging software?
I’d like it to be easier to cut and paste into the blog without losing formatting and without the font changing. 
It would also be great if it was easier to place photos – they often seem to move when I preview.

Which of your posts has been the most popular with readers?
My Fromelles posts have been the most read, the Sepia Saturday posts have the most comments.

Are you a sole blogger or do you contribute to a shared blog?
Sole blogger on my own and shared blogger for my local historical society.

How do you compose your blog posts?
Look for inspiration (photo, someone else’s blog or just a whim) and just write.

Do you have any blogs that are not genealogy related? If you wish please share their titles and URLs.
Many posts not genealogy – I started as a travel blog.
The KHS blog also has many as it also covers local history

Have you listed your blog/s at Geneabloggers?  Yes

Which resources have helped you with your blogging?
TROVE, Mum’s amazing collection of photos, and blogging prompts such as Trove Tuesday, Sepia Saturday and others from Geneabloggers.

What advice would you give to a new Geneablogger?
Just do it – it doesn’t matter how much you write, just get something out there.
If you are stuck, pick a prompt and write to it. There are so many things in Trove, or choose an old photo and contribute to something simple like Wordless Wednesday or Sepia Saturday where you don’t have to write much at all.
Sepia Saturday is good to join in on because you get lots of comments and feedback so you feel more like keeping going. But you should make comments too – if you read a good post, let the blogger know you liked it.

Extra: An added benefit of blogging:
Mum and Dad are sharing more information. I always thought we talked a lot about family history but aspects of my blog bring back memories that they now share. They have also been a lot more forthcoming with other pieces of family memorabilia, photos, books, certificates, even an engraved silver teapot.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Trove Tuesday – The Longbottoms go to trial

Searching for any information on my 2x great grandfather’s family is not easy. 
Their surname is LONG!

What does make it a little easier at times is he and his brothers arrived here (mostly) as LONGBOTTOM.

My ancestor was one who ‘dropped his bottom’ and became known as William LONG (1838 – 1909).
His eldest brother was usually known as Timothy LONGBOTTOM (1827 – 1907) but occasionally LONG.

Here was an easy way to find the arrival of two of the brothers: Timothy and John, the two eldest in the family – a trial in which they were witnesses, and gave conflicting evidence.

I wish all arrivals were this easy.

The two brothers arrived in Australia on the Thorwaldsen in November 1852 with Timothy’s wife Emma Jacques LONGBOTTOM nee Hunter (1829 – 1867), and their one-year-old son John Lea LONGBOTTOM (1852 – 1921).

Here is the transcript as it is a hard article to read and a very long one to try to pdf / jpg:
I've 'bolded' the names as they appear in the MISDEMEANOR trial.
Criminal Sittings.  Before His Honor Mr Justice Barry.  Saturday, December 18th 1852.
His Honor took his seat on the Bench at the usual hour, when the following Jury were impannelled,
George Bailey, Wm Baker, Ed Butler, Louis Brennan, James Brandon, John Moore Bryant, John Buchanan, Francis Edis Reave, (Foreman) Thos Briaris, John Bland, George Basen, A Banord.
George Bannister, who was yesterday found guilty of horse stealing, was sentenced to seven years on the roads of the colony.
John McCasken was charged with the above offence.
Police constable Delaney, No 48, gave his testimony in such an incoherent and extravagant manner, as to force His Honor, who heard the man with most unexampled patience, to say that the constable was either mad or drunk.
The jury retired for a short period, and returning, found the prisoner Not Guilty, when he was discharged.    
Before the following jury - John Brophy, foreman, C Bunsworth, John Bourke, Robert Bennett, John W. Beaumond, J. Belman Isaac Booth, R. F. Bickerton, H. Bignell  John Brown, J, W. Bell, Wm G. Buttolph.  
Robert Preston was charged with having on the 21st day of November, assaulted one John Howick, with intent to rob him.
This was one of the usual street robberies, that have disgraced our town so long, and which after a brief lull for a season, have again become so common. The prosecutor was passing down Brunswick-street, when, meeting with four men, he was knocked down; starting on his feet again, he parried off the blows that were aimed at him, and   shouting for the police, who were fortunately near, the men running away close followed by the prosecutor who succeeded in apprehending the prisoner.
Mr Michie addressed the jury for the defence, insisting that the prisoner was one of many passers by in Brunswick-street on the night of the robbery, and that in the trepidation of the moment, the prosecutor seized   hold of a man who was hurrying to his assistance. The jury retired for half an hour, and acquitted the prisoner.
Before the following jury- F E Beaver, (foreman; P Bourke, O Burns, A Burchel, S Briaris, W K Bull, H Budge, J Bland, F Bursten, G Basan, F M Bryant, and A Bruford.
William Birnie master of the ship Thorwaldsen, was placed on the floor of the Court charged with having behaved negligently, carelessly and being in a drunken state, as master of the said ship, on the 9th of Nov. last. The defendant pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr Stephen and Mr Smyth.
This was an indictment framed under the Mercantile Marine Act adopted by the Colonial Legislature (13 Vic, c 93). From the evidence of Mr Yeomans, a passenger, it appears that on the night of the 9th of Nov. last, the Thorwaldsen was entering the Heads. Much excitement prevailed on board, from a report which had been circulated, to the effect that the Captain was drunk. The passengers were running to and fro on board the ship, and were shouting to the first mate to take the command; the vessel was then close to land near the light-house, with her head towards land; the captain was giving his orders in a rough manner, and was apparently drunk, but this witness could not swear he was so; the sailors would not obey the orders of the captain to hoist the mainsail, but soon afterwards they attended to the orders of the mate, and, tacking, they stood out to sea. From the evidence of another passenger, Edward Cardwell, it appeared that for a space of six weeks the passengers were in a state of trepidation from the intemperate conduct of the captain. He saw him only once in that state; on the night of the 10th ult the ship was entering the Heads; at this time the second mate was on the look out for land, and when he cried " Land off the bow," this witness ran abaft, and told the captain, who retorted in a most disagreeable manner; the first mate then came on deck and gave some orders; the captain countermanded these; the captain then asked if the mate intended to take the command of the ship, shaking his fist in the mate's face. The captain ordered him to go below, when he replied, "not until he saw the ship and passengers in safety;" he then called the mate a scoundrel and a sneaking villain; the captain appeared to be suffering from the effects of drink, but witness would not swear he was drunk; the noise alarmed the steerage passengers, who, rushing forward, cried out to put the captain in irons; these expressions were used because the captain appeared inclined to thrash the mate; the conduct of the mate on this occasion was very good.
On this witness's cross-examination by Mr Smyth, it appeared that there was no friendly feeling between him and the captain. He also explained that on the first occasion when land was descried by the second mate, the captain had put the vessel (which was then close to land) round properly, and then headed her towards the land again. The first mate took command the second time, and wore the ship out. At this time the ship was outside the heads.
Thomas Hughes, a seaman on board the Thorwaldsen deposed, that on the night of the 9th of November, he was on deck from 8 to 12; he was steering and at the wheel for   that time; at 8 o'clock the ship was running with a fine breeze, and some time afterwards, when it was getting dark, some person for- ward cried out " light ahead," and then " Port your helm." Witness sung out to the captain, what is that sir? He answered, starboard your helm; he sung out, who the ___ cried out that viz," Port your helm." The ship came round flat aback; the captain ordered the studding sails down, and it being difficult to do this, the captain swore at the sailors; the captain told witness to let go the wheel, and let go the starboard brace; did so, and after half an hour the ship went off, and ran in the same direction with studding sails down. When the vessel had proceeded some distance, the lead was hove and 16 fathoms found. The ship was then wore and was very stupid; the fore and top-gallant sails were then stowed by Captain's orders. At this time the witness was relieved and went forward; went to bed, and shortly afterwards hearing a noise came on deck; heard the mate say, " Haul in starboard fore brace;" witness did so, and heard the Captain say, " Not a word out of your mouth, you-; do you take the command out of my hand, Sir?" the mate replied "No I don't, Sir;" the passengers were then crowding about the Captain imploring him to do as the mate directed; he refused, and ordered the mate below, but was not obeyed; witness cannot swear that the Captain was drunk; if the mate had not given the order witness thinks if the ship had escaped, it would have been more luck than management; if the ship had not been put aback, she would have gone ashore; if she missed stays, there was not room to wear the ship about. Can't say but if the Captain had been let alone, he might have put ship about; next morning saw the Captain walking backward and forward; he seemed to have had some liquor in his head.
Cross-examined by Mr Stephen. If the Captain had not been disturbed by the passengers, he might have put the ship about; the Captain's conduct did not appear to be that of a skilful seaman, by his orders respecting the taking down of the studding sails. Until the witness went down, the Captain's conduct was seaman-like. The man (the Captain) is a seaman, no   doubt, in witness's opinion; it would be the duty of a captain, with the wind he had, to go in that night; the Captain was merry with grog; can't say he was drunk, but the night before the ship came in, witness saw the Captain drunk in the second cabin with some women; did not intimate to any one that if he (witness) got discharged he would not come forward to prosecute;  heard the Captain offer ten pounds a-month and a discharge at Calcutta to the sailors if they would stay with him; witness might go to the diggings if discharged.
By the Solicitor General. - When witness came on deck he could not condemn the captain.
Thomas Taylor, boatswain of the ship Thorwaldsen, being examined, threw no further light on the question. He did not see the captain drunk; on his cross-examination being pressed hard, the witness said he heard the captain order the helm up before the mate ordered it down. Three weeks before the vessel came to port this witness and the captain had a quarrel respecting some nautical work, but he could not allow he had any ill-will towards the captain.
James Stewart, seaman, proved the same facts as the above, with similar deductions.  Witness had had a quarrel with the captain.  
John Longbottom was passenger per ship Thorwaldsen; on the night of the above occurrences the captain appeared to him to be drunk; he was holding on by the poop rails, and talking to some ladies; he was talking in a rambling manner; never had any quarrel with the captain when at sea; after coming into port, one evening witness used some words in joke answering a boat that hailed him in nautical phrase, when the captain shook his hand in witness's face, and threatened him in violent language.
George Small and A. Langcake corroborated the testimony of the other witnesses, as also Mr Cavenagh, another passenger.
Wm. Read, mate of the Thorwaldsen, corroborated the main facts that occurred on the night of the 9th November; when he told the Captain that land was on the bow the Captain did not answer him; when he came on deck the Captain was ordering to put on sail; witness gave opposite orders, and having stationed the men gave the word to back; the Captain followed out his directions.
On cross-examination this witness, allowed that he could not swear that the Captain was   drunk on the night in question.
Mr Stephen submitted that neither in the first or in the second count had the allegation been supported ; and secondly, that the ship was not proved to be a British ship.
His Honor could only entertain the last point, the other was a question for the jury.
The Solicitor General having replied,
Mr. Stephen said he would waive the point by the express wish of the Captain.
Mr. Stephen then addressed the Jury for the defence, and indignantly denied the truth of the testimony adduced. He   then put in the ship's log, kept and written by the mate, and in it no reference was made to the drunkeness of the Captain. He called Mr. John Strachan, cabin passenger per Thorwaldsen, who deposed that on the night of the 9th of November, he was awoke by some screams from a woman; coming on deck, he saw a rush from the deck to the poop and heard the people call out put the ___ in irons. The Captain was not drunk on the night in question. He refused to drink anything from the anxiety that was on his mind concerning the safety of the ship.
Mrs. Isabella McConnon, remembered the night of the 9th of November; was up all night whilst the ship was off land; the Captain was conversing with this witness and her husband; the Captain was not drunk that night, he conversed with witness, and walked with her up and down for a long time.
Mr. T. Longbottom corroborated the testimony of the last witness. The Captain was not drunk that night.    
Mr D. McConnon was on deck the whole night of the 9th, and deposed that during that night he walked up and down the poop with the Captain and his wife till two o'clock; the Captain was certainly not drunk.
William H. [?]ix corroborated the above.
William Bishop, passengers' cook, recounted a conversation between himself and the first mate, in-which the latter being, asked if he believed it to have been the Captain's intention to run the ship on shore (a rumor and belief on board the Thorwaldsen) said "that the Captain was perfectly justified in having the ship where she was if he had room, and that he did not think he wanted to run the ship on shore;" he made no allusion to the Captain's state on the evening of the 9th of August .
This was the case for the defence.
The Solicitor-General addressed the Jury. His Honor then summed up, and pointed out the various facts elicited. He left the fact of the captain's being drunk to the Jury, conceiving that they were the proper judges of the fact. He then went through the remaining evidence and especially commented on the remarkable fact of there not being any mention of the occurrences of the night in the mate's log book. He adverted to the terror of the passengers being   no criterion of the captain's want of skill, and left the matter in their hands.
The Jury retired, and after a short delay returned into Court, and acquitted the defendant.
The Court then adjourned till ten o' clock this morning.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Sepia Saturday – How to confuse future family historians

As soon as I saw this week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt, a particular photo came to mind.
This photo was taken at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, Victoria – a fabulous outdoor ‘living’ museum of the area’s goldfields in the 1850s.

An added relevance of this photo is that my Trove Tuesday post this week was regarding the Eureka Stockade uprising that happened very close to where this museum is located in 1854, and in which I have just discovered my 3x great grandfather played an unexpected role.
Also, the photographer was my Mum’s cousin!

Despite the clothing and setting, this photo was taken in the late 1990s.

My girlfriend and I went off in one direction to get dressed up in clothes of the era while the kids went in another direction, and my husband muttering about being a landed gentleman went off with the photographer.

We were surprised to come back out to the photo setting and find Mr Jax all dressed up as a preacher.

We joked about the preacher and his two wives and three children!

How many of you have had similar photos taken?

Did you ever wonder (like I am) what the family historians of the future will make of such photos? – just as we Sepians are trying to make something of the prompt photo!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Thankful Thursday – A New Cousin via Facebook

Last night while checking my facebook I saw a post from Mortlake & District Historical Society regarding a book Women of the Mount

It had completely sold out and they were announcing more copies would be printed. 
This book is about “The lives of the earliest immigrant women to settle in the Mount Shadwell district 1839-1864”.

I commented about them being tough ladies and glad it featured my 3x great grandmother Jane Brooks.

Within the hour there was a responding comment from Susan asking if I was referring to Jane Brooks nee Cundell / Condell as she was her 3x great grandmother too.

A bit more to-ing and fro-ing, and a new friend on facebook later, we found we are not only both descended from Jane Brooks, but from the same daughter.
Quite a find as Jane had 12 children, and over 50 grandchildren.

So now, Susan and I share the same great great grandparents, Frances Eliza Brooks and William Long.
I am descended from their middle child, Edward Long and she is descended from the youngest, Ernest Long. Ernest is the twin of mum’s Uncle Abbie who I wrote about earlier.

As Susan lives in Perth and I live in Sydney, it could be some time before we actually meet, but in the meantime, the facebook and emails might keep us going.
Turns out we are almost the same age, our Nannas were first cousins and her grandmother is still alive and living just 20 minutes from where my parents live!