Tuesday, July 22, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 2 - Internal Migration

Shauna has chosen Internal Migration as her topic for Week 2 and tells us "technically internal migration is not a category of records but it is such an important part of our family history research as our ancestors moved around a lot more than we think. Many did not just come to Australia and stay in the one place."
My maternal great-grandfather's surname was Clark (always a challenge to research) and for several years the family's immigration and early years in Australia eluded me.  My Great-grandfather James Nicholas Clark (pictured left at his wedding to Pricilla Mulholland) was born in Bristol and emigrated to Australia with his parents and older brother as a young child.  My mistake was assuming (never assume - how many times are we told that??  NEVER assume) that as the family settled in Victoria, that was where they started their lives in Australia. 
Wrong.  Assume makes an ASS of U and ME.
It was mostly by chance that I discovered one of James Nicholas's siblings was born in Port Sorrell, Tasmania.  A little further research and I found the family lived in Port Sorrell for several years and six children were born there before the entire family crossed to Victoria.  By not looking in the right place I had missed all that information.
My fathers parents married in England before coming to Australia in 1909, starting their Australian lives in Collingwood before moving all over Victoria, including stops in Narre Warren, Bambill, Mildura and Clyde.  While they did stay in Victoria their travels covered a large protion of the state and tracking them through the electoral rolls and other records has been quite an exercise.
Like Shauna, I have found making a map and  timeline to follow my ancestors has helped enormously, as they were a much more mobile lot than I had previously realised.
Shauna tells us "this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world."  Visit her blog here.

Friday, July 18, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 1 - Military Medals

I'm finally going back and trying to complete the first few weeks of Shauna's challenge, and her topic for Week 1 was Military Medals.  I have several ancestors who fought in World War 1 and 2, but I have little idea of the medals they were awarded.  I do know my family was extremely fortunate to have so few losses during the wars - I have a total of 5 uncles and 11 great-uncles who fought, plus my father, and the only casualty we have was my Uncle James who was in the Merchant Navy and drowned in an accident in Argentina.  3 Rats of Tobruk, a bomber pilot based in New Guinea, others stationed all over the world and most made it home very little the worse for wear.  We were indeed very fortunate.
My father tried to enlist in WW2 underage and was sent home, back to the farm to work with his father and third brother Les.  His two older brothers Frank and Ernest (Squib) had both enlisted and were overseas - Dad saw it as his chance to travel and do his bit and went back when he turned 18, despite working on the land and therefore being essential services.  He worked in Stores in the Air Force and spent time in Townsville and Darwin before the war ended - he never made it out of Australia.  I have my father's military record but he never claimed his medal, saying that as he never actually fought he felt he had not earned it. 
Shauna tells us "this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world."  Visit her blog here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website has undergone a major revamp. Features include a brand new Discover 14-18 subsite to help researchers plan visits to CWGC cemeteries, as well as the addition of 300,000 casualty records from the First World War. Although the organisation states that the updates may cause some initial disruption, all of the new features appear to be up and running as of 10 July 2014.

CWGC new digital services include:-
  • The launch of the Discover 14-18 website - to help people visit the site and understand their history;
  • The launch of our First World War casualty archive documents online;
  • and enhancements to  Search Our Records.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 21 - Obituaries

Shauna has chosen Obituaries as the topic for Week 21.  She tells us that "obituaries may have information that is not found in official documents so it is definitely worth spending some time to see if something appeared in the local newspaper after a person’s death."  Certainly the ongoing work done by Trove makes finding obituaries of our Australian ancestors much easier, and the various overseas newspaper digitisation projects make searching overseas ancestors possible.

I have had the good luck to obtain several obituaries for various ancestors, including my great grandmother Isabella Mary Green (nee Argent) shown here on the right.  Not only does the article include family details for Isabella but also lists the chief mourners at her funeral and all those who sent floral tributes.  It also provides me with her cause of death, which was something I had not known until I found this article.  Even the name of the rector is included.  As a long-time resident and the wife of a major landholder in a small Essex community Isabella was a well known member of the village and several articles appeared in the local paper regarding her death.  While the quality of the digitisation is not the best (as all too often they are not) the obituary is still quite readable and is wonderful to have.

I also have the obituary for Miss Emma Noble Argent, who was Isabella's sister. 
There were 5 Argent children in this particular family - John Thompson Argent was born in January 1848 and died in November 1907 (59 years old), Emma was born in September 1849 and died in March 1935 age 85, Ada was born in 1851 and died December 1929 at 78, Constance was born July 1857 and died December 1929 age 72 and Isabella was born June 1858 and died March 1936, age 77.  Neither Emma nor her sister Ada married, but spent their lives living 'on indepentant means' and doing local church work.  Her obituary is also very interesting to read, again providing family details, the chief mourners and a list of those who sent flowers.

Re-reading through these obituaries this week has reminded me of the lives these women lived and the roles they played in village life.  If you are fortunate enough to find obituaries for your ancestors they can be another source of information for detail about their lives.

As more and more newspapers are being digitised, searching for obituaries for your ancestors becomes ever easier, so don't forget this valuable resource.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

National Library of Wales

The National Library of Wales has digitized an additional 100,000 historic newspaper pages in the month of June for their website Welsh Newspapers Online. The website now consists of some 725,000 pages and 7.6 million articles from over 100 newspapers.  Newspaper dates range from 1804 to 1919. The website can be searched by keyword and category (such as family notices, advertisements, news or detailed lists). Alternatively, the historic newspapers can be browsed by title and date. Access is free. [Welsh Newspapers Online]