Thursday, December 27, 2018

Week 52 - Resolution - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Although at times I doubted it, I have managed to complete the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge.  Along the way I have revisited many areas of my research, taken closer looks at several ancestors, and reflected on the discoveries I have made. Now it is time to look at the final prompt, resolution.
For me, resolution is not just the end of the challenge but also looking to the future, to my plans for my research in the coming year.  And my resolutions are :
  • to keep blogging, even if I can't think of much to say.  This blog helps to keep me focused on my research and all the marvelous developments in genealogy - the new resources and books available, the new records I can access.
  • to keep researching, because family history is never something you can sit back and announce is 'done'.  There is always new paths to explore, newly available records to search, new relatives to share information with.  And we constantly make new history to pass down to the generations to come.
  • to contact more of my DNA matches, something I did when I first tested but have not followed up as well as I should.  New DNA matches appear all the time as more people do DNA tests, and this is an area I need to pay more attention to.
  • to celebrate the successes, both large and small.  Sometimes I focus too much on the brick wall in my research, the searches that revealed nothing, the records that have been lost, the DNA matches I have reached out to who have not replied.  I need to focus more on the positives - the new records I have found, new details gleaned, the various 'cousins' who have responded to my emails and shared information.
Finally, a huge thank you to Amy Johnson Crow, who created this challenge and issued the prompts throughout the year.  I've greatly enjoyed it and have found it extremely worthwhile.  Thanks Amy.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Week 51 - Nice - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

After reflecting on naughty ancestors in the last 52 Weeks post, this time I'm reflecting on the nice.  The 'Nice' ancestors frequently receive less publicity than their 'Naughty' counterparts, going about their lives quietly and without fuss.  Frequently they leave fewer records behind them to detail their lives than those who were 'naughty' - no court records, no prison sentences, fewer articles in the newspapers covering their deeds. Sometimes finding their footprints in history can be considerably harder, with their deeds not trumpeted to the world.

One such unsung ancestor was my great-uncle David James Clark.  It was only a few years ago, well after his death, that I discovered he was quite devoted to public service and volunteering, and in 1979 he was awarded an Order of Australia for his community service.

After service in the militia between the wars and in the army during World War 2, where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, David returned to Melbourne and lived out his life in Brighton and Cheltenham.  He became heavily involved in volunteer work, especially after his retirement, and was notably devoted to his former school, Brighton Primary.

An unsung hero indeed.

Friday, December 21, 2018

WDYTYA Magazine

The latest issue of Who Do You Think You Are magazine is now available free online for Campaspe Library members via our subscription to RB Digital eMagazines.

Inside this month's issue
  • 50 websites to watch
    Our exclusive annual report reveals the crucial record releases coming online for family historians in 2019
  • Child's play
    Janet Few shares some top tips on getting the children in your family interested in family history
  • Nonconformist family
    How to find your ancestors' records outside the established church
  • All at she
    The women who dressed as men to sail the seas
  • Reader story
    How a DNA test unlocked the mystery of Amelia Thorogood's father's parents
  • Plus...
    The best websites for researching your surname; finding your ancestors in temperance pledges; the history of shoemaking, and much more...

Week 50 - Naughty - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

As we approach Christmas, this week's topic of Naughty and next week's Nice seem apt.
"Naughty" brings to mind my disappointment at finding I have no convict ancestors.  In a perhaps uniquely Australian perspective, we tend to celebrate our convict ancestors as the founders of our nation, sent against their will to an unfamiliar land on the other side of the world for often fairly trivial offences.  As I have researched my ancestors I looked in vain for a convict, but found none - all my ancestors chose Australia as their home, rather than having it chosen for them.

My lack of convict ancestors does not mean there are no black sheep lurking on the limbs of my family tree.  Two of my ancestors, William Mothersole and James Cocksedge (they were brothers-in-law as well as friends and drinking companions) both has several convictions for being drunk and disorderly, and both spent time in prison when they were unable to pay the fines their behavior accrued. 
Bury and Norwich Post, 22 September 1863
 From the newspaper reports of their exploits, William Mothersole was frequently the ringleader of their misbehavior and neither learned the 'error of their ways'.  Surely a trial for their wives and families.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Week 49 - Winter - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Winter, just as we are entering the Australian summer, seems a little out of place, but winter still holds a number of special memories.

The scent of woodsmoke reminds me of childhood winters with a blazing wood fire in our living room.  The rest of the house was unheated, and I can remember many winter nights quickly diving under multiple blankets and shivering until the bed warmed up.  Getting up to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night was cruel, as our toilet was out on the back verandah and freezing cold during the winter months.  Thinking back it makes me appreciate my central heating and ensuite bathroom I enjoy today.

While snow was unheard of in the area where we lived, heavy frosts in midwinter turned the landscape white.  My grandmother taught me to knit as a child and for many winters I enjoyed gloves, scarves and hats I had made myself.  They also made excellent presents for family and friends and as my knitting became better the patterns grew steadily more complex.

My first visit to the snowfields as a child is another special winter memory - a rare holiday spent building snowmen, trying to ski and playing in the snow.  I quickly found that my knitted gloves were useless in a snowy environment, quickly becoming sodden and cold.  Snow deeper than my boots was also an unwelcome discovery.

Friday, December 14, 2018

New Records Online at NSW State Archives

The New South Wales State Archives have uploaded another trache of records searchable free online.  The Index to Convicts Applications to Marry has added 2,686 additional names covering May 1833 to Dec 1837. This is the 4th volume in the series.

These registers record key details about the parties applying for permission to marry including: their names; their ages; the date of permission or refusal; ship of arrival; sentence (for the party who was the convict); whether free or bond and the name of the clergyman.

There are seven registers in the series, some of which have overlapping dates.  Four registers have been indexed, covering December 1825 to March 1841.  A further three registers, covering January 1831 to 26 February 1851, are still in the process of being indexed.

While the basic information listed above is free to view, a full copy of the record can also be ordered at a small cost.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

New German records on FamilySearch

In a massive boost for anyone with German ancestors, FamilySearch has added a massive new collection of Lutheran baptism, marriage and burial records, comprising almost 80 million new records. The collection spans the years from 1500 to 1971 and was done in partnership with Ancestry.

A typical baptism record in this collection lists the name of the child, gender, name of the parents, birth date and place, parish, town and state.

A typical marriage record lists the names of the bride and groom, their year of birth, the names of the parents, the wedding date, parish, town and state.

A typical burial record in this collection lists the name of the deceased, gender, date and place of death, spouse’s name, names of the parents, parish, town and state. Some records also list the date the obituary was published, which often can provide further clues as to the names of other family members.

The collection can be searched by first name and last name.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Week 48 - Next to Last - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Next to last brings to mind both my parents, who were each the second youngest child in their respective families.

For both my parents, the span of ages amongst their siblings is large, with the age difference between oldest and youngest sibling stretching over at least 20 years.  As a result, the difference is ages between oldest and youngest cousins is even greater.  Several of my older cousins, on both sides of my family, were parents themselves well before my sister and I were born.  It makes for interesting family gatherings.

On my father's side of the family, eldest brother Frank was born in 1908.  My father Peter was born in 1926, and youngest sister Marjory in 1928, making a 20 year span between the 10 siblings.  Add to this the fact that Dad was in his 40's when he had children, and the gap between oldest and youngest cousin in the Green family is almost 38 years.

Although there are only 5 siblings in my mother's family, significant gaps between some of the children creates even bigger age gaps.  Eldest sister Mavis was born in 1924, my mother was born in 1942, and youngest brother Noel appeared in 1947, making a 23 year span between oldest and youngest.  The first of the Pummeroy cousins was born in 1948, and the youngest didn't appear until 1988, making a whopping 40 year difference between oldest and youngest cousin!

Generation game indeed!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

First World War Shipwreck Database

Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War was developed by the Maritime Archaeology Trust with money from the Heritage Lottery Fund to record these forgotten traces of the First World War before they are lost forever. It covers wrecks off the south coast, but there are many more in other parts of the sea around Britain.

During the 2014–2018 centenary of the First World War, 322 volunteers spent 1,821 days working on the project, including diving on wrecks, conducting fieldwork and surveys, and recording more than 700 new artefacts.  The project also carried out outreach sessions to schools and the general public, and organised 44 different exhibitions, which were attended by over half-a-million people.

Now, members of the public can search the map or click on the colour-coded dots to find out more information about the wrecks. The website lists details of each location, such as the type of vessel; her launch year; the flag she sailed under; the departure port and destination; the cargo; the name of the master; the number of crew; the date of loss; and the number of fatalities.  Information about the vessel and how she was wrecked is available too, along with an archaeological site report ; where available there are photos of the wreck and of artefacts recovered, videos and 3D site reports.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Week 47 - Thankful - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The prompt for Week 47 is Thankful, not surprising as it coincides with Thanksgiving in the United States.  Indeed, there is much to be thankful for.

I am thankful to all the ancestors who lived their lives, contributed to society, raised their children, and left behind records and details of their lives for me to find.  Without their efforts, clearly I would not be here today.

I'm thankful to all the fellow researchers I've met, personally and online, through my genealogical research.  The genealogy community I have found is friendly, helpful and willing to chat, share ideas and knowledge and generally provide assistance and encouragement to others on their genealogical journey.  It makes researching easier, helps with brick walls, celebrates breakthroughs and provides company on the journey.

I'm thankful for all the distant relatives I've made contact with over the past several years.  There are so many people with whom I have established common ancestors, then swapped information, stories, photos and little details.  Again, they make the genealogy journey so much more entertaining and rewarding.

Finally, I'm thankful for the many online databases and web sites which make researching so much faster and easier, especially when I am researching ancestors on the other side of the world.  Without the internet and all the resources it places at my fingertips I would not have found a fraction of the information I have about my family.

Indeed, there is a lot to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Week 46 - Random Fact- 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 46 focuses on a random fact - what to choose?  Again, this prompt has sent me back into my research, looking for something a little bit different to choose to highlight for this prompt.  It is one of the things I love about this challenge.

One ancestor of mine, Christopher Prentice, was a water bailiff.  This occupation was, apparently, an elected position, something I only discovered while searching old newspapers for articles relating to my family.  I discovered two items inserted in the Ipswich Journal by Christopher, relating to his election as district Water Bailiff.

The first article above, inserted by Christopher in the Ipswich Journal 10 September 1778 thanks the Freemen of the Borough of Ipswich for electing him to the position of Water Bailiff.  Clearly he performed to job to at least a satisfactory level, because in 1784 he applies to remain in the position which he has held for the past 6 years.

These two newspaper articles give a fascinating insight into the position Christopher held and the effort he had to go to in first obtaining the job and subsequently keeping it.  Facing re-election every few years would have kept him on his toes, with the threat of someone else being elected to he position if he did not fulfil his duties to the satisfaction of the community.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Who Do You Think You Are Magazine

The latest issue of Who Do You Think You Are magazine is now available FREE for Campaspe Library members online via RB Digital eMagazines.

Inside this month's issue
  • DNA testing
    Our complete buyer's guide to testing kits cuts through the hype and jargon so you can make the right decision
  • Christmas photos
    Our ancestors have always loved getting the camera out at Christmas. Jayne Shrimpton reveals the history of festive photographs
  • Websites tested
    MyHeritage or TheGenealogist? Chris Paton weighs up the merits of two of the biggest family history websites
  • He's behind you!
    Are you heading to the pantomime this Christmas season? Caroline Roope lifts the curtain on this traditional form of great British entertainment
  • Reader story
    How Linda Hill discovered a family connection to a famous Battle of Trafalgar warship
  • Plus...
    The best websites for tracing East End ancestors; getting the most from trade directories; the lives of publicans, and much more...

Monday, November 19, 2018

Week 45 - Bearded - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 45 focuses on beards, and among the photos I have of my ancestors there are several impressive beards to choose from.

One of the more interesting beards in my photo collection belonged to Henry Pike, a miller from Gedding and Coombs in Suffolk.  While he didn't sport a full beard in the photo below, the 'muttonchop' whiskers were certainly impressive.
Henry Pike (1826-1899)
Henry was born in November 1826 in the village of Rattlesden, Suffolk.  He was the fifth child, and fourth son of Morris Pike and Ann (nee Wordly).  Henry was the second child to bear that name - on February 2nd 1825 Morris and Ann had a child they named Henry who lived just over 16 months, dying on June 23rd 1826.  When Ann gave birth to another son only a few months later they called him Henry after his brother.

On July 20th 1855 Henry married Susannah Hines.  Susannah was born in East Bergholt, Suffolk and moved to Rattlesden to live with her grandparents after she was orphaned at the age of 17.  Together Henry and Susannah had 6 children, two sons and 4 daughters.  Henry's sons Henry Arthur and Charles Albert both followed him into his trade as millers and farmers.  Henry died in Coombes on February 18th, 1899 from diabetes, and is my 3x Great Grandfather.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

What's New on Trove

Trove is one of my favourite online genealogy sites, and one that I visit regularly in my research.  While they’re not scanning as quickly as they have in the past, mostly due to budget cuts, they are still finding more newspapers to digitize and the collection continues to grow.

Here’s the list the titles they’ve released over the past few months, as well as those that are coming soon.  These new additions take the current total of old newspapers records to a amazing 220,950,426!

Thanks to the wonderful people at Unlock the Past who highlighted these new additions in their blog.

New Additions

NEW SOUTH WALESThe Spectator (Sydney, NSW: 1846)
The Spectator (Sydney, NSW: 1892)

The Albany Despatch (WA: 1919-1927)
Chung Wah News (Perth, WA: 1981-1987)
Coolgardie Pioneer (WA: 1895-1901)
Day Dawn Chronicle (WA: 1902 – 1909)
Geraldton Guardian (WA: 1951-1954)
Harvey Murray Times (WA: 1931-1954)
Hellenic Echo (Perth, WA: 1967-1968)
Japanese Perth Times (Subiaco, WA: 1989-1996)
Kookynie Press (WA: 1903-1911)
Manjimup Mail and Jardee-Pemberton-Northcliffe Press (WA: 1927-1950)
Midlands Advocate (Perth, WA: 1930-1954)
Newcastle Herald and Toodyay District Chronicle (WA: 1902-1912)
North-Eastern Wheatbelt Tribune (Wyalkatchem, WA: 1926-1940)
Stampa Italiana = The Italian Press (Perth, WA: 1931-1932)
The Voice of Freedom = Elefthera Phoni (Perth, WA: 1956-1957)
The Western Australian Goldfields Courier (Coolgardie, WA: 1894-1898)
Wheatbelt Tribune and Koorda Record (Wyalkatchem, WA: 1940-1954)

Guinea Gold (Papua New Guinea: 1942-1945)
Papua New Guinea Post-Courier (Port Moresby : 1969 – 1981)
Papuan Courier (Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: 1917-1942)
Papuan Times (Kwato, Papua New Guinea : 1951-1954)
Papuan Times (Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: 1911-1916)

Coming soon

Albury Banner (1881-1896); [Albury & District Historical Society; NSW State Government Regional Cultural Fund]
Border Morning Mail (1938-1942); [Albury & District Historical Society; NSW State Government Regional Cultural Fund]
Daily Express (Wagga Wagga: 1919-1929); [Wagga Wagga & District Historical
Mosman, Neutral and Middle Harbour Resident (1904-1907); [Mosman Historical Society]

QUEENSLANDToowoomba Chronicle (Sept. 1917-Sept. 1922); [State Library of Queensland]
Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs Gazette (Oct 1922-Dec 1933); [State Library of Queensland]

SOUTH AUSTRALIAMessenger (1951-1954) [State Library of South Australia]
Port Augusta & Stirling Illustrated News (Feb.-Aug. 1901) [State Library of South Australia]
Portonian (1871-1873) [State Library of South Australia]

VICTORIAElmore Standard (1882-1905);[Bendigo Regional Genealogical Society]
Great Southern Advocate (1907-1913; 1919-1926); [Korumburra & District Historical Society]
Richmond Guardian (1907-1909;1915-1916) [Rhett Bartlett]

The Fremantle Advocate (Aug 1926 – Jan 1942); [Fremantle Library]

Friday, November 9, 2018

Statistical Accounts of Scotland

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland Online provides access to digitised and fully searchable versions of both the Old Statistical Account (1791-99) and the New Statistical Account (1834-45). These detailed parish reports, written by Church of Scotland ministers, detail social conditions in Scotland and are an invaluable resource for anyone interested in Scottish history.   They note basic details about the parishes in question: the industries that were followed, the religious denominations present, the names of key landholders, the topography of the area, and even the nature of the inhabitants themselves.

You can search with a place name or a keyword, for example Glasgow or mills, then click on the map. A new map will open where you can click on any county, to see the parishes in that county. You can then select a parish and view the available reports.

The website allows basic searches for free and charges a subscription fee for access to additional features such as print and download, the ability to tag and annotate pages and many more. Otherwise the service is run on a not-for-profit basis and the subscription fees only cover the cost of hosting and maintaining the website.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Week 44 - Frightening - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Frightening is a rather apt prompt for the week considering it is Halloween (although Halloween itself has passed by the time I write this post) - a day much more prominent in America than it is here in Australia, although it is now growing in popularity.

When I think of the frightening things my ancestors would have endured, there are so many things to think about.  The enormous changes in society they would have witnessed, from the industrial revolution to the digital age.  The two World Wars, along with many other conflicts.  Social upheavals.  Natural disasters.  Illness, unemployment, the threat of the workhouse.  Accidents, with the resultant possible loss of income, with little or no social welfare to fall back on.  Life is indeed frightening.

Most of all, I think about those of my ancestors who emigrated from England, Ireland and Germany to Australia.  How frightening it must have been to make the decision to move halfway around the world.  To step on board the ship knowing there was little chance they would ever see the family and friends they were leaving behind again.  To face life in an unfamiliar country, an alien landscape.  To establish themselves in that unfamiliar place and build lives for their children and grandchildren.  While for many it was a way to escape poverty, hardship and persecution, a potential to built lives for themselves better than they could ever have hoped for in their country of birth, it must still have been a frightening leap into the unknown.

Exactly how my ancestors faced those fears I will never know in great detail, but face them they did.  The lives they built in Australia were, for the majority, well worth the risk.  And I can only thank them for having the courage to face their fears and build those new lives.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Irish Records on FamilySearch

FamilySearch has increased their collection of Irish civil registration records by an additional one million records in the last few months. These are primarily birth (1864 to 1913), marriage (1845 to 1870) and death (1864 to 1870) records issued by the Irish government.

A typical birth record in this collection lists the name of the child, date and place of birth, full name and address of the father, profession of the father and full name (including maiden name) and address of the mother.

A typical marriage record in this collection includes the full names of the bride and groom, their ages, date and place of marriage, occupations of the both the bride and groom, their signatures and witnesses to the marriage (who were often close relatives).

A typical death record in this collection includes the full name of the deceased, date and place of death, sex, age, marital status, occupation and certified cause of death (if known).

These records can be searched by first name and last name. Sadly, most of the records in this collection do not show images of the original record, but it is still a fantastic addition to the FamilySearch collection for those of us with Irish ancestry.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Week 43 - Cause of Death - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 43 is 'Cause of Death', and some of the causes of death listed on death certificates, in coroners reports and even on headstones can make you stop and think.  Sometimes they are straightforward and I know what the terms mean, but others required some research to understand.

There  are a few great websites around that help us understand the causes of death we find given for our ancestors.  One I have used several times is Rudy's List of Archaic Medical Terms - giving explanations of various causes of death and for many their equivalent today and a handwritten example of the term.

In my own family there are a range of causes of death.  Several died in accidents - falling from a horse, cart turnover, farming accidents.  Several women died in childbirth.  Two died in lunatic asylums, both admitted in old age because of dementia.  Others died of pneumonia, influenza, cholera and other illnesses.  Cancer has also appeared fairly frequently.  Rarer causes of death include catarrh, atrpohy, occlusion and simple old age.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Week 42 - Conflict - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 42 is about conflict, and like so many other families, mine has had a number of individuals serve in the military in various conflicts.

My family was certainly more fortunate than many, with few injuries and even fewer deaths during military service, but I do not doubt that all who served - and those who waited at home for them to return - were profoundly and permanently changed by the events they witnessed.

For those who served in Australian forces, the National Archives of Australia has been invaluable in my research, providing military dossiers of many family members.  The Australian War Memorial has also been a fantastic resource, with Embarkation Rolls, Red Cross files, Unit Diaries and general information about the battles in which family members fought.  Researching  newspaper reports in Trove has also been a gold mine, with news of enlistments, farewells, news from the front, even a few letters home were published in local papers.

With so many commemorations and activities surrounding the centenary of World War 1, the last few years has seen an explosion of information become available about military ancestors and the conflicts in which they served, and I an sure I am not the only family history researcher who has found out so much about various family members as a result.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

British Red Cross Memorabilia

The British Red Cross has launched a new online database, allowing the public to explore its collection of historic artefacts.

The British Red Cross Museum and Archives has approximately 56,000 items, one of the largest Red Cross collections in the world.  It has currently published an online database of 28,752 items, including approximately 11,000 museum objects plus catalogued archive items such as letters, posters, photographs and films.

The database is searchable by keyword, name, type of object and even by color, and users can save their favorites.  Many of the objects are photographed, including a collection of items used by Allied prisoners of war during the Second World War.  The charity will continue to add items to the database, although it has stated that some will be withheld because of data protection laws. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Week 41 - Sports - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 41 is all about sports, and I find sporting records for my ancestors can be a bit light on the ground, although I do have some memorable finds.

While cleaning out my parent's home after my mother passed away, I found many treasures, several of which I have already documented in this blog.  One such treasure, hidden at the back of a cupboard, was a certificate won by my father for coming second in a relay race when he was at school.  He obviously valued it, because he had kept it all these years, but neither I nor my sister had ever seen it before.
My father's school relay certificate
Other sporting achievements were reported in local newspapers, just waiting for me to find them.  Two such articles concerned by Great Great Grandfather Walter Green, who clearly had the time and wealth for sporting pursuits such as deer hunting and pigeon shooting.
Chelmsford Chronicle, 26 February 1892
From the article above, I find that Walter not only enjoyed deer hunting but kept his own pack of hunting hounds, something that would have necessitated considerable expense.  Clearly he found it worthwhile to have his own hunting hounds, and would have kept horses and ridden well also.
Essex Standard, 21 June 1884
The detail included in these newspaper articles paints quite a vivid picture of Walter's sporting passtimes, although it is a little disappointing to note he lost the above pigeon shooting contest.  Oh well, you can't win them all!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Week 40 - Ten - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 40's prompt is 10 - and the first response that springs to mind is that my father was one of ten siblings.  As Dad was the second youngest of the siblings and in his 40s when he had children, all my cousins are quite a bit older then I am - some even have children who are my senior.  Family gatherings can be a bit of a generation game, and I certainly missed out on growing up with a groups of cousins my own age.

Given the range of ages amongst the 10 Green siblings, the oldest were leaving home while the youngest were still toddlers, so there are few photos of all 10 siblings together.  I only have one picture of them all, taken when they were adults at their mother's funeral in 1965.
10 Green siblings with their father
From other family gathering I have several of the Green siblings together, but this is the only one I have of all of them at once, which makes it quite special. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Week 39 - On the Farm - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 39 is 'On the Farm', and as so many of my ancestors were farmers and agricultural labourers I have a fair bit to choose from.

I was born on a farm - sorry Dad - on a sheep station.  As I was less than 3 years old when we left I have few clear memories of our home there, but have heard stories all me life about it.  The few photos I have of the old homestead are very precious to me, and I always enjoyed hearing stories about my parents lives there.
My father Peter at Para Station, c1960s

Dad's parents were born and married in England before emigrating to Australia, and over the years I have acquired several photos of the property where Grandad was born in the small village of Fordham, Essex.  The Green family had lived there for several generations, and the farm is now held by the Woodland Trust.
Manor Farm, Fordham, Essex, England

Monday, October 15, 2018

Week 38 - Unusual Source - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The prompt for Week 38 (where has the year GONE??) is Unusual Source, and it sent me back through my records looking for odd bits and pieces I have picked up over the years.

I have plenty of records from the usual sources.  Birth/Baptism, Marriage and Death/Burial records from civil registrations and church records, censuses and electoral rolls, newspaper articles, directories, wills, military files - the list goes on.  For this post I need things slightly more exotic.

Amongst the more individual documents I have found are things like prison records, asylum records, apprenticeship papers and work references.  These types of documents I only have a few of, and many have required more effort to trace and obtain.

One unique record in my files is the workhouse admission register for one of my several-times-great uncles, Henry Argent.  Henry was a carpenter by trade and was admitted to the workhouse on Saturday 13th May 1876.  He was 70 years of age and suffering from bronchitis, and he died barely 2 weeks later.
1876 Workhouse Admission for Henry Argent

Friday, October 12, 2018

World War 1 Soldier's Pension Records has recently undertaken a major new project to digitize First World War soldiers' pension records, and stage one of the project has now gone live.  This initial set comprises 50,485 records from naval pension ledgers and Merchant Marine cards.  Ancestry has added searchable transcriptions of the records, with 18,270 digital images of the originals available to subscribers of Ancestry's partner website Fold3.  The record release was made possible by Ancestry's partnership with the Western Front Association (WFA).

This first tranche of records consists of cards used by the Ministry of Pensions to monitor payments to injured merchant navy veterans or the families of the dead. The naval ledgers, meanwhile, list married men in the Royal Navy who were lost at sea, and whose widows and children were eligible for pensions.  Both sets of records can include the seaman's name, rank, service number, date of birth, date of death or injury and the ship he served on.  They also list each widow's name, date of marriage, and the names and dates of birth of any children.

In November 2012, the WFA acquired an archive of approximately 6.5 million First World War pension records index cards and ledgers from the Ministry of Defence.  In December 2017, it announced that scanning and indexing of the records was underway, following a deal with Ancestry. 

These records kept track of pensions paid to soldiers, sailors and airmen injured in the First World War and also recorded payments to the widows and dependents of men who were killed.  They are one of the largest surviving sets of records of British forces in the First World War, since many records and individual dossiers were destroyed in air raids in 1940.

Ancestry plans to upload more records before Remembrance Day on 11 November and to complete the set by early 2019.  WFA is also planning to allow its members to access the records via its website without an Ancestry or Fold3 subscription.

Friday, October 5, 2018

New Records on FamilySearch

It has been a big month for the people at FamilySearch.  They have expanded their free online archives during September with almost 13 million new indexed family history records and over 500,000 digital images from around the world. New historical records were added from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, England, France, Italy, Lesotho, Liberia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Wales, and the United States, and new digital images were added from BillionGraves.

New resources from Australia include the South Australian immigrant ship papers 1849-1940 (133,542 records added), the South Australian school admission registers 1873-1985 (44,673 records added), and the Victorian inward passenger lists 1839-1923 (1,618,183 records added).

Another significant addition is the England and Wales national index of wills and administrations 1858-1957 (1,024,884 records added).

If you want a more comprehensive list of the records added, check out their blog post and see what is relevant to your own research.

Well done to the people at FamilySearch for all their work!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Week 37 - Closest to your Birthday - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

As the number of names and dates in our family research grows, it is inevitable that some dates will coincide, that some significant events in our family's history will fall close to, or right on, our birthdays.  In my own family, both my parents and sister were born at the start of the year, in the Australian summer.  I'm off in August, in the depths of our winter.  Several cousins, however, have birthdays quite close to mine.  As both parents come from fairly large families I have over 30 cousins, so it is inevitable some dates are fairly close.

As I have delved into the family history finding coinciding dates has always interested me - although on one occasion it did lead me astray and gave me a valuable lesson in making assumptions and how easy it is to get it wrong.

A few years ago I discovered a family with three children all baptised on the same day, and jumped rather enthusiastically to the conclusion 'Triplets!!"  I'm sure many can immediately see my mistake here.  Closer examination showed that while it was in fact three siblings all baptised on the same day, one was three months old, the second was two years old and the third almost 5 years old.  I will never again make the mistake that a christening or baptism closely equates with birth!  Looking back I now know that several ancestors were baptised as children several years old rather than as babies - it was more common than I had realised.

Going back over the generations, several ancestors have birthdays on the same day as mine.  Others married, or died, on the same day as I was born, but sharing a birthday with a several times great grandparent is always going to be special.  Sharing a birthday or other significant date with our ancestors cam help us to connect with them - to feel a greater sense of being family and a more 'personal' connection to that particular individual. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Who Do You Think You Are Magazine

The latest issue of Who Do You Think You Are Magazine is now available FREE online for Campaspe Library members via RB Digital eMagazines.

Inside this month's issue

  • Go beyond 1837
    Pam Ross has some nifty tips to find ancestors before the start of civil registration
  • Trace Huguenot roots
    Kathy Chater explains how to discover your family's connection to French Protestant refugees
  • Getting Started Part 3: Visiting Archives
    Chris Paton finishes his beginner's guide with advice on finding offline resources
  • Reader story
    Valerie Corby uncovered a double murder in her husband's tree
  • Trick or feat?
    As Halloween approaches, Julie Peakman sorts the facts from the myths in the spooky world of Victorian spiritualism
  • Plus...
    The best websites for researching the Merchant Navy; a new website for connecting with other family historians; the lives of ancestors who worked as cooks, and much more...

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Week 36 - Work - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 36 of #52Ancestors is about work - something pretty unavoidable for many of us.  Researching what my ancestors did for a living has been fascinating and at times eye-opening, and for many of the listed occupations I have had to do some research to discover what the occupation actually entailed.

While many of my ancestors were farmers and agricultural labourers, other occupations have included many trades.  Several generations of my Argent and Pike ancestors were millers, with sons apprenticing to their fathers and uncles and mills passing down through several generations.
Newbridge Mill in West Bergholt, owned by the Argent family
Another ancestor, Christopher Prentice, was a water bailiff, elected to the job.  Several articles appeared in the Ipswich Journal about his election during the late 1700s.  In the first article below he thanks the freemen of the borough for electing his to the position.
Ipswich Journal Sat 12 Dec 1778
Christopher clearly held the job for some time, as he applied to continue the position several years later in 1784.
Ipswich Journal Sat 10 July 1784

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Week 35 - Back To School - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 35 and I am behind on the #52Ancestors challenge again - but at least I am still going!

The topic for this week is 'Back to School', and education has played such a huge part in my life.  I was one of those kids who loved school, loved learning, loved books - it is no surprise I have ended up working in a library.  Neither of my parents had the opportunity to continue in school that my sister and I had, but both Mum and Dad loved to read and saw the value of education for their daughters.  They supported our education and were the parents who always attended parent/teacher nights, helped out at school working bees, canteen and library, and always attended school plays and other activities.  Both could not have been prouder when their daughters headed off to university, and proudly attended our graduations.
Me ready for school c1977
For my parents there were fewer educational opportunities.  Both left school early to go out to work to help support their families, but learning was still lifelong and libraries and books played a big part in their lives.  Any topic they wanted to know more about was only a visit to the library away, and reading non-fiction because you happened to be interested in the topic was how we were brought up.  My father even had the opportunity to go back to school later in life, doing a correspondence course from Sydney University in farm management and sheep breeding as part of his job on a sheep station.  Not bad for a man who had left school at Grade 6 to go out to work.

Friday, September 14, 2018 updates DNA Ethnicity Estimates

For those of you who, like me, have done a DNA test with, there is some interesting, and welcome, news. 

AncestryDNA has updated its ethnicity estimates, and the results are rolling out for all 10 million plus people who’ve tested with the company.  So if you haven't visited your DNA ethnicity data recently, now might be a good time to take another look.  I have included my new ethnicity results below.

There were two changes in the update:  firstly, more people have been added to the reference populations (the groups of people with well-documented pedigrees to whom our DNA is compared to make conclusions about ethnic origins) and secondly, the method of making the comparisons has changed.

In the last update, there were roughly 3000 reference samples assigned to 353 regions of the world. In this update, there are 16,000 reference samples assigned to 380 possible regions. This helps screen out less-likely regions and make more nuanced estimates between, say, Scandinavian and Norwegian or Swedish.

On the methodology side, in the last version, the bits and pieces of DNA were compared bit by bit, while the new update looks at longer stretches of DNA at a time. That also helps minimize the chances of misreading a person’s ethnic origins.

All of which is exciting for those of us who have found our DNA ethnicity results to be a little vague, and possibly not quite what we were expecting.  Mine are pretty much in line with my research - mostly English, with a bit of Irish, Scottish and German.  Although I'd love to know just where in my family history that Ivory Coast/Ghana 2% came from.  Any relatives out there with a clue, please contact me - I'd love to know!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Week 34 - Non-Population - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 34 has a prompt of "Non-Population", which is a prompt that initially didn't make much sense to me until I discovered that several of the United States censuses had additional schedules which are referred to as non-population schedules.  A mystery solved.

As I have no US ancestors, I've decided to take a slightly different approach.

Several of my ancestors, when they first came to Australia, took up land and settled down to farm, several in quite isolated areas, distant from towns and even nearest neighbours.  What must their lives have been like, in the days before the easy transport of motor vehicles and the instant communication of telephones and internet.  We take such things for much for granted today, but before they existed the isolation must have had a profound impact on the lives of our ancestors.

For those who were the first generation of my family to arrive in Australia, the distances must have seemed vast, and the isolation even more extreme in such an alien landscape.  No easy access to things like medicine, no popping down the street to the local shops when supplies of something ran out.  For several, the nearest store was several hours away, and a visit to town might be only a once-a-month event.  Several of my ancestors came from big families, and suddenly found themselves on the other side of the world, establishing themselves in a strange land on a farm hours from other people, with no easy means of transport.

Communicating to family in the old country - even for those who were literate and had the means to send letters - would have taken months, and yet more months for a reply to arrive.  The isolation would have been extreme.  Non-Population indeed.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Week 33 - Family Legend - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 33 is "Family Legend" and they are something we all have.  Finding evidence that proves a family legend is always hugely exciting - and finding evidence that disproves a family legend is so disappointing, but it all adds to the overall story of our family.

One family legend that had always fascinated me was a tale of an illegitimate child born in my father's family in the 1880's.  While not actually providing proof of an illegitimate child, a series of newspaper reports from 1888 were a fascinating find that built on the original story.

My great great grandfather, Walter Proctor Green, took a newspaper editor to court and sued him for libel after he published innuendo that suggested Walter's wife Isabella had been having an affair.  The case excited considerable local interest and was reported in several local newspapers.
From the Chelmsford Chronicle, Friday 5 October 1888
 The entire court case was reported in the papers, and finally came to a close later in the year.  After hearing all the evidence the jury retired to consider their verdict, and after only 23 minutes found editor Ernest Brown guilty on all counts.  He was sentenced to prison for three calendar months without hard labour.
The final paragraph in a lengthy report on the case
A final article appeared about the case at the end of the year, when it was reported that a committee had been formed to start a subscription to recompense Walter Green for the cost of the prosecution, which clearly showed where public sympathy lay.
From the Essex Standard, Saturday 22 December 1888

Monday, September 3, 2018

Portrait Detective

Do you have treasured family photos whose date your do not know?  Portrait Detective is a unique image-dating tool developed by Inside History and the State Library of New South Wales to help you accurately interpret and decode historic images, dating your photos and helping you solve the mystery of who they feature.

Drawing on the research of historian and portrait-dating expert Margot Riley, Portrait Detective brings together a selection of 100 images of Australian people sourced from the Library’s collections, dating from 1788 to 1955.  They cover a range of media such as oil paintings, water colours, drawings, miniatures, silhouettes, engravings and photographs, and all depict Australians from a variety of eras, classes, social contexts and walks of life.

Each image in the timeline has been chosen because its date and provenance is known, so you can see at a glance the changing styles of portraiture, art, dress and personal grooming over time.
Arranged in a chronological timeline, these images form an authoritative and historically accurate record and reference resource of the changing appearance of men, women and children in New South Wales over time.  As you browse through the timeline you can click on an individual image to learn more about:
  • the subject
  • the artist or photographer who created it
  • the provenance
  • the medium
  • background details, and more.
There is also the Men's Style Guide and Women's Style Guide which explores changes in fashion and grooming through time.  The men's style guide explores coats, shirts, neckties, trousers, and hair and beard styles.  The women's style guide explores the bodice, neckline, sleeves, accessories and hair.

Using Margot’s expertise in dress and photographic history to decode the visual evidence in every image, Portrait Detective will equip you with specialised visual analysis skills to accurately interpret and date historical images of your own.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Who Do You Think You Are Magazine

The latest issue of Who Do You Think You Are Magazine is now available FREE online for Campaspe Library members via RB Digital eMagazines.

Inside this month's issue :
  • Track down your family wills
    Wills have never been easier to find - Margaret McGregor explains why they are so useful for breaking down brick walls
  • Start your family tree online
    Chris Paton continues his series for family history beginners by picking out the crucial websites to find your ancestors
  • Scottish records
    Janet M Bishop reveals the key records you won't find on ScotlandsPeople
  • Escaping the Blitz
    Janet Sacks tells the story of the forgotten organisation that helped thousands of children flee the country in the Second World War
  • Local and village history
    Jonathan Scott picks the best websites for finding local groups, village histories and community archives
  • Plus...
    Discover your ancestors for free with the Irish Registry of Deeds; how to create keep your photographs organised; the stories of women who worked as railway clerks, and much more...

Friday, August 17, 2018

Unlock the Past in Seattle Conference now to be live streamed

The uncoming Unlock the Past in Seattle conference will now also be livestreamed, for those of us (like me) who cannot attend in person at Seattle Public Library. Both streams – all 10 presentations – will be broadcast live and recorded for watching for a limited time after. So wherever you are, you can participate in this conference in the convenience of your own home. Watch up to five presentations live and/or all 10 (recorded as separate webinar presentations) at a later time convenient to you.

So if, like me, you love participating in genealogy conferences you cannot physically attend from the comfort of your own home, have a look at what's on offer at the conference and book yourself in for the livestream.  The conference takes place on Thursday 6th September.

Presenters include :
  • BLAINE BETTINGER (USA) – Blaine is a professional genealogist specialising in DNA evidence. He is the author of the long-running blog The Genetic Genealogist and the books The family tree guide to DNA testing and Genetic genealogy.
  • DR MAURICE GLEESON (UK) – Maurice was voted Genetic Genealogist of the Year 2015 (SurnameDNA Journal) and Rockstar Genealogist, Ireland 2016 (Anglo-Celtic Connections). He runs a variety of Y-DNA Surname projects and organises the DNA Lectures at Genetic Genealogy Ireland.
  • CYNDI INGLE (USA) – Cyndi is the creator and owner of the award-winning web site Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet, a categorised index to more than 333,000 online resources. In its first three years, Cyndi’s List was voted the best genealogy site.
  • WAYNE SHEPHEARD (Canada) – A retired geologist, Wayne now spends most of his time on family history research. This has resulted in the pioneering publication Surviving Mother Nature’s tests: The effects climate change and other natural phenomena have had on the lives of our ancestors.
 Book yourself in and enjoy!

Week 32 - Youngest - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The theme for Week 32 is youngest, and that would be - ME!  On my father's side of the family, at least, I am the youngest of the cousins, and my sister and I are almost a generation younger in age than our older cousins.

My father, Peter Jeffrey Green, was born 2 January 1926, the second youngest of the 10 Green siblings.  His eldest sibling, brother Frank, was born in 1908 and was almost 18 by the time my father was born.  Dad married rather later in life and was 42 and 44 years old when his children were born, so we are very much the youngest of the cousins.  We cover quite an age range, with our oldest cousins more then 35 years our senior, and several of them have children older than we are.  In fact, the first of the grandchildren are closer in age - it makes family gatherings rather interesting!

Les, Marj and Peter Green
The photo above is on the three youngest Green siblings, taken around 1935 or 36.  Les, Marj and my father Peter are returning home from Bambill North Primary school, a tiny, one teacher school near Mildura, Victoria.  The family farmed nearby, and Dad spent time trapping rabbits to sell and help support his family.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Week 31 - Oldest - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The theme for Week 31 is Oldest, and I have chosen the oldest of my father's siblings Phyllis, who lived to the fine old age of 102.  Dad's family were all quite long-lived, all 10 siblings living into their 70's at least and several passing 90, but Phyllis was the only one to reach the 100 years milestone.

Phyllis Holyoak (nee Green) at her 100th birthday
Phyllis was born 4th October 1913 and died 20 September 2015, just short of 102 years old.  She married Len Holyoak on 5 October 1934 and together they raised 7 children.  A huge family gathering of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews and assorted other family celebrated her 100th birthday, including her only surviving sibling, younger sister Nancy.

Considering life expectancy and infant mortality, all of my father's family have lived fairly long lives, but Phyllis certainly qualified for the title of Oldest.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Week 30 - Colorful - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The prompt for Week 30 is 'Colorful', a work that describes several (many!) of my ancestors.

One colorful family member I can recall is my father's brother Ernie Green.  A larger than life character, Ernie, known as Squib, was the second of the 10 Green siblings.  Squib was born in 1910 and died in 1987.  He fought in the army in world war 2 before settling on a farm near Mildura, in northern Victoria.  Below is a copy of a postcard Squib sent to his sister Nancy during his service in WW2, with his photo superimposed above the pyramids.

Sent from Egypt, World War 2
I only have one photo of all 10 Green siblings, taken in 1965 with their father, Frank Walter Noble Green, seated front centre.  Squib is easy to identify - he is the one balancing a beer bottle on his head!  Colorful indeed!
All ten Green family siblings, taken in 1965

Friday, August 3, 2018

WDYTYA Magazine

The latest issue of Who Do You Think You Are Magazine is now available FREE online fro Campaspe Library members via RB Digital eMagazines.

Inside this month's issue
  • 20th century kin
    Emma Jolly shares 20 useful tips to help you learn more about the lives of your recent relatives
  • Start your family tree
    Chris Paton reveals everything you need to know to begin your research today
  • Local BMD certificates
    Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine editor Sarah Williams explains why an alternative strategy can break down your brick walls
  • Irish military records
    Nicola Morris, expert on Boy George's episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, shows you how to trace your ancestors during the Irish Revolutionary War
  • Patents
    Intellectual property expert Maria Lampert reveals how family historians can use patent records to track down inventor ancestors
  • Plus...
    The best websites for tracing Caribbean kin; how to create family memoirs; the lives of ancestors who were elected councillors, and much more...

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Week 29 - Music - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The theme for Week 29 is Music, and music has always been an important part of my family life.  Listening to music, playing music, sharing music - 'tis quite a shame I cannot sing, (at least not in public) but as my grandmother once said I could not carry a tune if you gave it to me in a shopping bag with handles.
In primary school my specality was the recorder - in grade three I graduated from the standard recorder to the larger alto recorder, before moving on to the flute in high school.  I also learned to play the guitar, again at school, saving my pocket money for months to buy my first acoustic guitar.  It was only then, accepting that I was serious about learning and it wasn't a passing fad, that my mother produced her own instrument, a beautiful hand painted creamy colored Spanish guitar.
My mother Joy with her guitar, early 1957
It was only then that I learned my mother had played in a Federal Band in Melbourne during her youth.  She had stopped playing when marriage and children took up too much of her time to practice, but she still had the guitar, stored wrapped in blankets on top of a wardrobe.  Somehow it survived mouse plagues, moves and years of less than ideal storage.  After allowing me to play it for a while she put the guitar away again, and I continued to learn on my own.
After her death I re-discovered her guitar, and it moved with me to my new home last year.  Eventually I plan to have it restrung and display it, and hopefully hand it on to another generation.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Records of London's Livery Companies (ROLLCO)

The Records of London's Livery Companies Online project is a partnership between the Centre for Metropolitan History, The Bowyers' Company, The Clothworkers' Company, The Drapers' Company, The Founders’ Company, The Girdlers' Company, The Goldsmiths' Company, The Mercers' Company, The Musicians' Company, The Salters' Company, The Stationers' Company and The Tallow Chandlers' Company.

The aim of ROLLCO is to provide a fully searchable database of Livery Company membership over time, including the records of Apprentices and Freemen in the City of London Livery Companies between 1400 and 1900.  Searches can be made for individuals within the Companies' membership, with results available to download and save.  Currently the database includes information about apprenticeship bindings and freedom admissions for ten of London's Livery Companies, with the records of further Companies to follow.

The Livery Companies of the City of London originate from the medieval trade guilds which were established to regulate particular crafts. Guilds supervised the training of apprentices, controlled standards of craftsmanship, and protected craftsmen from unfair competition. They also provided financial support to their members in old age and in times of poverty and bereavement.

ROLLCO is a not-for-profit project, and access is free to all.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Week 28 - Travel - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 28 (I'm catching up) focuses on travel.  How much easier it is today for us to travel the globe, with airplanes and cruise ships, modern cars, trains and buses.  Journeys that took our ancestors days, weeks or even months, we can now accomplish in hours, and in a degree of comfort they would not have even dreamed of.

For many of my ancestors, travel for pleasure was simply not an option.  They didn't have the means or the leisure to travel far, and for many holidays were unheard of.  Most of them lived their entire lives within miles of their place of birth, and rarely ventured far from home.

For those of my ancestors who emigrated from England, Ireland and Germany, the move meant weeks or months of travel with the knowledge that there was little chance they would see the loved ones they left behind again.  200 years ago even exchanging letters with those in the old country could take weeks, and for those without great skill in reading and writing even letters could be problematic.  For some the move would have been very final indeed.

I have family scattered around Australia, and traveling to visit them is so easy today.  My sister lives 200km away - and I can hop on a train or bus, or drive my car on (fairly) good roads, and be at her house in just a few hours.  200 years ago it would be a journey of several days at least, and so visits would have been few and contact a great deal less regular.  We take travel fo much for granted.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Week 27 - Independence - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The theme for Week 27 of #52Ancestors is Independence, and for those on time with these posts it coincides with the 4th of July in the United States. 

Whether focusing on independence as a nation - Australia Day for those of us Down Under - or the independence of our ancestors, especially those who left their loved ones behind in search of adventure or a better life - we all have plenty of examples of independence.  We all find our own independence in our own way, but the journeys of many of my ancestors leaves me in awe of their spirit and drive, their determination to build independent lives.

My mother is one such example.  Born in 1942 in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, she spent her first few working years in the city - at G. J. Coles Bourke Street store, at Allan's music shop in Collins Street and at Evan Evans in Elizabeth Street.  A city girl through and through, she then headed for the bush to work as a nursery governess around Mildura and Balranald.  Independence indeed, to leave behind the life she knew.

She learned to deal with snakes and dust storms, vast distances and poor roads, the pace of country life and the isolation.  Although she never held a drivers licence, she learned to drive farm vehicles around the paddocks.  When my sister and I were born, our parents were living on a sheep station on the Darling River, north of Mildura - a 1 hour drive from the nearest town.

An even bigger step into the unknown showed the independence of several of my ancestors who emigrated to Australia from England, Ireland and Germany.  Many of them knew nothing of Australia, but took the huge step of leaving behind all they know in the hope of a better life.  How strange this new country must have been to them, but they settled down, built new lives and made themselves a home in this new landscape.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018