Tuesday, March 20, 2018


The April issue of Who Do You Think  You Are magazine is out now and available digitally from Campaspe Library.

Inside this month's issue :
  • 1939 register
    Audrey Collins explains how to get the most out of this 20th-century resource
  • Taking flight
    Jayne Shrimpton celebrates the women who kept the RAF flying in two world wars
  • Spring-clean your family research
    Claire Vaughan reveals some tips and tricks to refresh your family tree
  • Reader story
    Gordon Martin discovers an unusual ancestor who fought at Trafalgar
  • Country house brewing
    Rachel Conroy reveals how our 18th century ancestors enjoyed a drink of beer
  • Plus...
    The best websites for tracing medical ancestors; the lives of ancestors who worked as locksmiths; exploring Scottish church records; and more...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Week 10 - Strong Woman - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The prompt for Week 10 of #52ancestors is 'Strong Woman', and looking through my family tree there are many strong women (and men) to choose from.  My focus, however, is my grandmother Rosa May Green (nee Pike).
Rosa May was born on the 27th December 1880 in Suffolk - her parents were Henry Arthur Pike and Sarah Jane (Hart).  Her father Henry was a miller and corn merchant in the Rattlesden and Gedding areas, and she had one brother Percy (who also left England, emigrating to Canada) and four sisters.  She married Frank Walter Noble Green in Fordham, Essex on 10 October 1907 at the age of 26, and the couple promptly emigrated to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on the 1st December 1907.  Rosa May never returned to England and never saw her parents or siblings again.
Frank and Rosa Green with Frank Jr, Collingwood, 1908
The family grew quickly and Rosa gave birth to 10 children over the next 20 years, with eldest child Frank Jr born 2nd May 1908 and youngest Marjory born 28th March 1928.  The two eldest children were born in Collingwood but after that the family moved to the country and the younger 8 children were born around Mildura and Red Cliffs.  They moved fairly frequently around Victoria, farming on a number of different properties, and often struggling to make ends meet.
Rosa May Green (Pike) later in life
 Rosa, like so many before her, must have been a strong woman to follow her new husband to the other side of the world to start a new life in Australia, adjusting to the heat and isolation and strangeness of her new home.  Rosa died on the 18th November 1965 at the age of 84 in Leongatha, several years before I was born, but she lived to see all her 10 children grow to adulthood and had a total of 23 grandchildren.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

WW1 Service Scrapbooks

Personal stories and first-hand experiences of World War I nurses are now available free online via a new website launched by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).  The project was funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and brings together the RCN’s collection of scrapbooks, diaries and photo albums belonging to nurses who served during the First World War.
Image from the pages of the Royal College of Nursing's Service Scrapbooks
Service scrapbooks showcases the stories of nine nurses and one VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment), just a few of the over 15,000 nurses who served during the First World War as part of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service and the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS). The project has digitised, transcribed and researched nearly 2,000 pages of photographs, poems, diary entries and illustrations, ranging from 1909 – 1919.
It reveals the experiences of nurses who travelled as far as Greece and Italy to work in military hospitals or occupied the halls of Oxford University and tin huts in the New Forest, whilst treating wounded men who had returned from the frontline. The scrapbooks also contain paintings, sketches and poetry by the soldiers and officers that they cared for, offering a unique perspective of daily hospital life.
This collection brings their history into the digital age and shines a light on the unsung heroes of the nursing profession.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Who Do You Think You Are Magazine

The March issue of Who Do You Think You Are magazine is out, and the digital version available free to all Campaspe Library members via RB Digital.

Inside this month's issue
  • Ancestry & Findmypast tested
    Find out which website is best for your research with Chris Paton's 13-page guide
  • From rags to riches
    Ed Dutton explains how your forebears could step up - and slip down - the social ladder
  • Reader story
    Edward Knowles reveals how a shared passion for genealogy introduced him to a network of kin he never knew he had
  • Learning disabilities and Victorian asylums
    Michelle Higgs reveals how care of adults and children with learning disabilities improved during the 19th century
  • Eureka moment
    Tim Butters recalls how he tracked down his mother-in-law's family cottage in Ireland
  • Plus...
    The best websites for tracing ancestors in India; the lives of ancestors who worked as antique dealers; exploring settlements and removals; and more...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Traces Magazine

For those of you in Australia who mourned the passing of Inside History magazine, I hope you have discovered Traces, which launched its first quarterly issue in December.

Featured in Volume 1 of Traces magazine:
  • Fremantle Prison: then and now
  • How an Indigenous axe is rewriting Australia’s story
  • Melbourne’s buried treasure
  • Preserving old photographs
  • Beginning your family research
 Having thoroughly enjoyed the first magazine, I am looking forward to  Volume 2 which is due out soon.  Look for a copy in your local newsagent!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

RootsTech 2018 Videos

For those of you who, like me, could not make it to the amazing RootsTech Conference last week in Salt Lake City, there is a selection of presentations available to view online.  While these gems do not make up for missing the event itself, they are a fantastic glimpse of what was available and a great chance to learn something new.
Go to https://www.rootstech.org/rootstech-2018-videos to see a what is available.  It is by no means the entire selection of presentations but a good cross section - and they only make me more determined to get to the full conference one day!
Clearly I an not the only one disappointed to be unable to attend - those who missed out even have their own hashtag https://twitter.com/hashtag/NotAtRootsTech which I have been following.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Week 9 - Where There's a Will - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Amy's prompt for Week 9 is Where There's a Will - and I do love wills.  They are fascinating documents and (potentially) give so much information about the family of the individual who wrote it.  Their spouse, children, other dependents, sometimes extended family or business associates - it is always well worth taking the time to see if any of your ancestors left a will.

I have had great luck with wills in my family history research.  They have provided me with invaluable clues - the surnames of married daughters, which children have survived a parent, details of property held and much more.  Getting the most out of the wills I have found has sent me chasing details of executors and witnesses - often relatives, as such a task was not given to strangers.  Who was each person mentioned, and how did they relate to the originator of the will?

My favourite will is that of my great great grandfather David Mulholland, who died in 1902.  The will itself is quite brief and names his wife and surviving children.
Original handwritten will of David Mulholland
A transcription of the will reads :

This is the last will and testament of me David Mulholland of Eurobin near Kilsythe in the Colony of Victoria Farmer.
I give devise and bequeath unto my wife Eliza Jane my dwelling house and furniture and all the land around the house to the railway fence for her life time and each of the two sons pay her five shillings per week for her life time the sons names are Henry and James.  My son David will receive fifty pounds cash.  James will get the homestead paddock and the paddock known as O’Donnell and also the house and land after Mrs Mulholland’s death.  Mrs Mulholland to do with as she likes with the furniture.  Henry is to have all the land across the Ovens River known as Watonga and all the cattle are to be equally divided between James and Henry.  My daughter Mary (Mrs Pape) one shilling and my daughter Ellen (Mrs Stoddart) one shilling.  My daughter Jane twenty pounds.  My daughter Priscilla (Mrs Clark) ten pounds and the balance of the cash to be divided in equal parts between James and Henry after all my debts are paid. 

Considering that David had over 600 pounds in the bank at the time of his death, the daughters who received a shilling each might feel a little slighted, as might his wife who gets to dwell in the farmhouse for the rest of her life but does not own it, and receives 10 shillings a week from the two sons who farmed the land with her husband but she has no money of her own left to her by him.

Also a source of extremely useful information is the probate record attached to the will, especially the Affidavit of Statement which contains a statement of assets and liabilities - basically a list of what David owned and how much it was worth.  The first page of this list (4 pages long in total) details the three parcels of land he owned - subsequent pages listed crops, livestock, farming implements, carriages, harness and saddlery, furniture, cash on hand and money in the bank.  Any debts owed to David, and any debts he owed others were also listed.  All fascinating information and a great insight into the family.
Page 1 of David Mulholland's Statement of Assets and Liabilities
David Mulholland owned 3 parcels of land that formed his farm, and the Statement of Assets and Liabilities details each, and gives quite a bit of information.  For the first parcel of land, it tells us the following details : All those pieces of freehold land containing 132 acres 3 roods and 1 perch more or less being special allot. 6H, allotments 7A and 7B of section 25 and part of allotment B5, Parish of Barrwedgee County of Bogong fenced partly post and two rail partly rail and wire 40 acres partly cleared remainder used for grazing with 3 room stone house with three weather board rooms and outhouses erected thereon municipal assessment 33 pounts per annum valued at 665 pounds.

So much information is contained in wills and probate records, and they are also a record type which dates back to before civil registration, which makes older wills an even more exciting find.  Not all my ancestors left wills of course - many were poor labourers who had little to leave - but every will I have found has furthered my research and given me a much deeper understanding of they lives my ancestors led.