Thursday, November 20, 2014

Troveia - Come and Play!

We're a bit excited here at the thought of participating in Troveia tomorrow night.

We're studying hard as you can see.

We've registered our team - Moreton Monitors - and hope we win a prize or two.

It's Trove's 5th Birthday and what is a birthday without some games?

Some kids play Pass the Parcel or Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

We're playing Hunt the Newspaper or Journal Article instead.

What do you need to play?  Well you should probably be familiar with Trove.

And you should probably have a Twitter account.

For all the information on how to register and play go here.

Some friends to help you would be good too - friends with good searching skills and persistence.

The fun begins at 7pm AEDT in Australia.  We live in Queensland so that will be 6pm.

Happy Birthday Trove!

Monday, November 17, 2014

McLoughlin Family Reunion

Photos of John and Margaret McLoughlin with cake

In August last year I posted several photos on a blog post of my maternal grandfather Thomas Mcloughlin and his brothers.  The meme for Sepia Saturday that week was photos of men in striped trousers or neckties or suspenders.  Little did I know when I posted that photo what would unfold as a consequence.  It really was the ideal cousin-bait though it wasn't really pre-meditated as such.  I put the wrong names of the brothers under the photos and boy ! didn't that drag the cousins in ! ;)

Lovely new-to-me cousins Marilyn and Mary-Ann came to my rescue and put me on the straight and narrow as to which brother was which - bless them.  And then the idea for a family reunion was born.  Marilyn generously hosted it last weekend and I flew down to New South Wales to meet some of the cousins.  

I have never been to a family reunion before and so I was a bit perplexed as to what to take.  I had a 7 kilo hand-luggage allowance with Virgin so packing had to be carefully considered.  

Of course I took my trusty Flip Pal scanner.  

I also took a digital camera as well as my phone and an Archive box of photos and other mementos like funeral cards and ration cards.  

I decided not to take certificates, figuring I could share those later via Dropbox.  

I also threw in some Family Group Sheets, a Descendant chart of sorts, pencils, a sharpener and an eraser.  

Leaving Brisbane was a bit of an exercise because of the G20.  I had to catch a train to the airport as most of the city was shutdown.  The train stopped at Milton while police got on and inspected bags. They walked straight past me which was just as well really as I didn't want to have to unpack my very tightly packed port.

There were lots of people leaving Brisbane that day to get away from it all. Plenty of them were amused to have their photo taken at the mock G20 lectern near the terminal.  Those photos are sure to confuse their descendants for many years to come!

We were more than a bit excited to see U.S. Airforce planes on the runway as we taxied for take off.

When I got to Newcastle I found half the plane was going to see The Rolling Stones in the Hunter Valley.  Oh well - I'd seen them before!

The day was just lovely.  Marilyn and Rob had put in so much effort to make everyone comfortable.  There was a marquee outside with plenty of tables and chairs.  Some younger folk camped outside that night whilst older folk were pampered inside.  

The afternoon was a bit breezy so whilst we started to try and look at photos etc at the beginning, we were forced to leave it til later when we would be indoors so they didn't blow away.  

Over cake and coffee, there was much sucking of teeth as we tried to identify people in photos.  There were cries of recognition as we shared prints of the same photo - some with helpful identification on the back.

Mary Ann had brought the family Bible to show me which was very impressive.

Marilyn  had some folders with descendant charts which were fantastic and I was able to take photos of them.  Other family members did their best to fill in the blanks on my descendant chart which was also great.  Marilyn also had a book about the RAAF in WW2 (featuring a segment written by Frank McLoughlin - my grandfather's younger brother) which looked really interesting.  I have accordingly updated my Want list on Abebooks.

My grandfather was the eldest of nine children.  One of the first people to greet me was my mother's first cousin Kerry (Jack's son) which was pretty special - I remember her talking about him a lot. Jack had the photographic studio in Drummoyne and I think she wished she had spent more time studying photography.  My mother certainly loved arranging portraits of people and taking photos.  

Of the nine siblings, I got to meet descendants of three - Jack, Joe and Patrick.  There were about 24 of us altogether which was really more than enough for me to try and remember who was who in the zoo and begin to get to know people.

Everyone was very kind and said lovely things about my grandfather - their uncle.  I learned his nickname was Goz - because he used to say "God's Truth" quite a bit apparently.  I learned that he was always laughing - which is good to hear.  And that he loved books.  And that he gave nephews and nieces great presents.   

I also found out that the McLoughlins possess musical talent - one played the sax and trumpet, another piano and others guitar.  Here is a photo of the music book that Mary-Ann brought to show which was handed down from generation to generation.

I also learned that they are pretty clever and very kind. It was kind of wonderful to see so many people with blue eyes.  My mother had hazel eyes so I never thought of her side of the family as being blue-eyed.  My father has blue eyes so I always thought I got them from him.  I'm embarrassed to say I can't remember what colour eyes Tom had, but they must have been blue.

The next day dawned with people heading off in all directions to various gigs or other gatherings.  There was a mad scramble to verify whose phone cable and charger belonged to whom, not to mention hard drive.  A lesson for us all - label your cables etc!

We're already talking about our next reunion and I can't wait til we catch up again.

Thank you McLoughlins - you're swell - God's truth!

Addendum - if you look closely at the list of music from Mary-Ann's book there's a song called We Won't Go Home til morning....sounds a bit like a Family Reunion doesn't it?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sepia Saturday 253: 8 November 2014

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following post contains images of deceased persons.

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

I have to confess, I have never been a fisherman. The thought of sitting next to some damp river bank waiting for some obliging fish to bite leaves me cold. The thought of having to push a sharp hook through some non-obliging worm leaves me frozen. I am much happier with an old photograph of some fishermen, and that is just what we have for Sepia Saturday this week. It is a photograph that dates back to 1916 and which has been shared via Flickr Commons by Alberta Archives. All you need to do is to cast your digital hook into your collection of old images and come up with something that may or may not match our theme image. You might want to go with miners or with anglers, with fishy tales or with three men : whatever you go with just post your post on or around Saturday 8th November 2014 and add a link to the list below.

The best thing about Sepia Saturday is that you can do what you like really....I'm going to keep on showing you some more of the photo haul that I was given to digitize last month. And justify my choice by saying that I am fishing for more family history stories ;)

Sorry for the spotty nature of the photo.  I think this little boy preferred cricket to fishing.

Len Guinea circa 1923

This is the back of the photo:

So there's my clue - Len Guinea.  

With Aunt Alice's stash of photos came a great book called "Numinbah Valley: A Social and Natural History 1840s - 1988" compiled and edied by Pamela Hall, Donna Yaun and Noela Gilmont published in 1988 by the Numinbah Valley Bicentennial Committee ISBN 0731621840.  It sadly lacks an index but with a bit of patient searching you can find lots of great stuff.  

Pages 68 and 69 look at the Guinea family.  Mention of Len is as follows:

The Guinea family name has been synonymous with the timber industry and the early pioneers of the district.  Although many of the family members were based at Advancetown, three of Din's sons settled at Numinbah: William, Jim and John.  Today, only one family in the area still retains the pioneer name.  They are : Len Guinea and his wife Gloria (nee Gumley) and their seven children: Lenette, Michael, Annette, Michele, Joseph, Mark and Maryanne.  

Using the Ryerson Index, I found references to Len's death and funeral notices and obituary.   He died 21 January (my husband's birthday) in 2003 aged 83. The obituary was published in the Gold Coast Bulletin 25 January.  I would love to get hold of it but I think I would have to go to the State Library of Queensland and look at it on microfilm.  

I found two newspaper articles about Len on Trove as follows:

courtesy of National Library of Australia, page 19 of South Coast Bulletin 20 December 1929

Len would have been about 9 years old at the time and seems to have enjoyed performing comic renditions.  I wish I knew the story of the Butcher and the Bride!

Here is another article about local cricket matches.

courtesy of National Library of Australia - page 8 of South Coast Bulletin 11 August 1933


Len would have been 13 years of age and I think was probably playing with his father and uncle and probably some cousins but father and son were playing on opposing teams I think.  Cricket was popular with all of my husband's ancestral lines it would seem - I can see plenty of familiar family names in the players' names - the Hindes, the Duncans et al.

Here is a newspaper clipping from Alice's files of some of my husband's and Len's cricketing ancestors in the area.

source unknown

To give you an idea of the area I have embedded a map:

The Numinbah Valley book gives a good account of how cricket was played in the area....

Most members of these clubs were dairy farmers, so the matches were scheduled to conform with their commitments and were played on Saturday's between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3.30pm. (page 143)


The Numinbah team often walked up to Springbrook for a friendly cricket match.  Bill Hinze remembers doing this, all decked out in his whites.  It was nothing to walk several kilometres, climbing all the way, along a narrow bush track, and then play a game of lively cricket, and return the way that they came, in time for the milking.  (page 144)
So in summary, Len Guinea seems to have grown up in Gilston, or at least went to school in Gilston.  

Searching on Ancestry, I find him in the 1943 electoral roll at Advancetown as a labourer.  I think he was living with his mother Kathleen at the time.  A Public Member Tree on Ancestry, the Evans family tree, indicates that William Alexander Guinea and Kathleen Kennedy were Len's parents and in turn that Mary Jane Duncan and Denis Guinea were William Alexander's parents or Len's grandparents. Mary Jane Duncan was the daughter of William Doig Duncan and Rose Gorrian - my husband's 2nd great-grandparents.

By 1949 Len is living in Wharf Road Southport and is a waiter.  He must have married Gloria May Gumley by that time as she is listed at the same address with home duties.  

In 1954 they are listed as living at Nerang.  In 1958 they are at 10 Ernest Street.  By 1968 they are back at Nerang and Leonard is listed as a hotel employee.  

By 1972 Leonard is up at Natural Arch and Gloria and Kathleen are still at Nerang where presumably it is a bit more civilized and closer to schools for children.  By 1977 Gloria is listed as living at Natural Bridge too.  And they are both still there in 1980 when Leonard is still listed as a hotel employee.

Natural Arch or Bridge near Nerang has so many special connotations for those of us who live near the Gold Coast and like bushwalking.  It is a very special place.  There are lots of fabulous photos of it on Flickr.  Here is just one to give you an idea:'


The story of its discovery by white fellers (I'm sure indigenous people probably knew of its existence long before us) is as follows in the Numinbah Valley history book:

Apparently two timber-getters Alexander Duncan (my husband's 3rd great-grandfather) and his mate Denis (Din) Guinea were cutting in the rainforest just above Cave Creek.  Kipper Tommy, an aboriginal from the Coomera district was also present.  Alexander, who was also known as Sandy or Ginger because of his colouring and bush red beard,scrambled down to the creek to get fresh water to boil up.  He came upon the waterfall and the bridge of stone and he returned to his party shouting "Dinny, I've found a natural bridge!" page 48

I'm not surprised that Len Guinea wanted to live there.  It is a beautiful place.

It would be lovely to have confirmed that this is indeed a photo of Len Guinea. Guinea descendants are you out there?

For more fishing on Sepia Saturday go here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sepia Saturday 252 : 1 November 2014

Alan on Sepia Saturday says:

It was a big day in the history of Dollinger Steel of Beaumont, Texas. It was their 50th anniversary dinner and countless guests had been invited to the celebratory dinner. And the photographer had come along as well to record the event. Back in the days when photographs were about more than just an idle click of a mobile phone touch screen, events and photographs went together. Weddings, birthdays, gatherings, anniversaries and parties : none would be complete without the burst of a flash bulb and all those practised cheese-smiles....we are asking you to feature an event, a tent, a cooking pot or even a name-tag. Let your freedom of interpretation be as extensive as a hungry diner queue and as voluminous as a generous cooking pot. 

Right - so today's post is going to be short and sweet because I'm heading off for a girls' weekend up on the Sunshine Coast.  We will be battling the Noosa Triathlon traffic on the way up for sure.  Once there, I am sure we will enjoy ourselves shopping, wining, dining, knitting, card playing and reading books.

In the meantime, here is a fuzzy picture of a tent.  A wedding tent nonetheless.  This is a tent for June's wedding.

picture of cakes on trestle tables covered with sheets.  Balloons, streamers and gum trees in background.
The wedding cake mother decorated for June's wedding.

This photo was taken circa 1949.  It is in my mother's photo album and I think she may have taken the photo.  She would have been about 14 at the time. Her mother and her mother's twin sister would have made the cake.  Her aunt was a baker and I have blogged about her before.  June would have been the daughter of the twins' older sister Dorothy - their niece.

I nearly went mad trying to find a record of Dorothy's marriage to Reg Peterson in 1921 on the NSW BDM Index this morning (thankfully I have a copy of the certificate from my cousin on file .... somewhere ....).  I now realise that Forfar has been transcribed incorrectly - FORRAR.....grrrr...

Anyway back to more important stuff.....What can you see in the photo?  I can see a gum tree through the opening in the tent at the back.  I can see balloons and streamers.  A couple of bottles of champagne and a couple of sponges on cake stands.

I wish I knew more about June and Dorothy.  Time to contact my cousin again.

For a smorgasbord of photos go here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Isabella Ellis nee Sinclair - Probate

Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 14 May 1918 courtesy of National Library of Australia

Some of you may remember me blogging about my 2nd great grandmother, Isabella Ellis (nee Sinclair) last month.  Lovely Jill Ball of Geniaus asked me if I had looked for her Probate files. I hadn't.  So guess what turned up in the mail yesterday?  The probate files.  Hoorah!!

It cost $34.13 to be precise.  Item 19/10252 Reel 3033.  No less than 11 pages for me to digest.  

I can see the signatures of her sons - James St Clair Ellis of Hurstville and Henry Victor Ellis of Bondi.  There is an inventory of her estate.  It was valued at less than one thousand pounds so was not subject to stamp duty.  

It totalled £783.0.10.

The debts were interesting.  The greatest of these was the exhumation and removal of her husband's body £27.6.  He had been buried a couple of years before at the Field of Mars Cemetery as per this notice found in Trove.

Sydney Morning Herald Monday 21 February 1916 page 8
courtesy of the National Library of Australia

They are now both buried at Waverley Cemetery.  Section 15 Ordinary Row 26 Plot Number 6679,6680 to be precise (Thanks to the Society of Australian Genealogists transcriptions of Waverley and South Head Cemeteries and Find My Past).

The value of her property was as follows:

The two cottages in St George's Parade "Inverary" and "Ararat" were valued at £500.  The vacant land at Empress Street (not included in the will) was valued at £50.  Property at Narrabeen was valued at £25 and property at Katoomba was valued at £33. 

There are detailed descriptions of the location of the properties at Narrabeen and Katoomba. 

If I wanted to/could get to I could probably go and plot out the property at Narrabeen exactly using the Narrabeen subdivision plans at the State Library of NSW.  There is mention of Turimetta Allotment 13 of Section 8 so I'm guessing it is somewhere near Turimetta Street in present day Mona Vale or near Turimetta Beach.  This must have been the family's seaside getaway.

The property at Katoomba was on Twynam Street which is on the north side of Katoomba - a part of Katoomba that I'm not familiar with.  It must have been the family's mountain getaway.

There are two pages listing in detail the household furniture valued at £64 altogether.  There are recognizable items like a Singer Sewing Machine (value £3) and several musical instruments - a small Harmonium £2 - a cottage piano by Aucher Freres £8.  

I was heartened to see that there were was a quantity of books (value £2-hrrumph) and two rocking chairs.  I was also heartened to see that there was a biscuit barrell, a pickle jar and a toast rack in the dining room (amongst other things). 

There are many things I need to investigate.  What was the Wal. Loo Table in the front room.  I'm thinking maybe walnut?  But loo?  

Isabella also had a gong (valued at 1 shilling).  I feel a gong is missing in my life and I must seek one out as a matter of urgency.  

What is hollow ware????  And whilst I've seen the word cruet before I've never really understood what it is.

Harry Young "My Jeweller" - of 524 George Street (near Park Street, opp Q V Markets) Hours of Business 8am til 6pm Friday - 10pm and Saturday - 1pm - Value for Money all the time all prices in plain figures, nett cash we are a live firm - was called in to value Isabella's jewellery.  He was peremptory in his evaluation:

Acting under your instructions I have valued the old personal jewellery in the above estate, in the presence of the two sons Messrs. James S. and Harry Ellis; it consists of a sundry lot, broken and otherwise, and the value I place on it is SIX POUNDS (£6) that being the figure at which I am prepared to purchase it.

You can just imagine the scene can't you?  A very dour affair I would imagine.

I have learned so much from these papers - that my 2nd great grandmother loved music, books, pickles, biscuits, toast, sitting in a rocking chair, holidaying at the sea and in the mountains and when it all got too much - banging a gong on the odd occasion.  Bless her and bless Jill for sending me off in this direction!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sepia Saturday 251: 25 October 2014

Alan from from Sepia Saturday says:
Marilyn chose this splendid image from the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Centre.  She suggested as possible theme interpretations - bobbies, bellies, bums and brushes - but one could keep the alliterative pendulum swinging by adding beards.

Well, as per usual, I am going to break the non-existent laws of Sepia Saturday by NOT following the prompt and carrying on in my own sweet way. Those bobbies are looking back at me as I jay-walk through my latest digital acquisitions.

Here is a photo of yet more WW1 soldiers.  Last week I posted about Roy Duncan.  

Here we have a photo of Alex Duncan.  I'm sorry but I don't know whether he is the chap on the left or the right but I'm going to guess the one on the right as the Duncans tend to be tall chaps.  Alex was the third son or fifth child of seven born to Alexander Duncan and Julia O'Sullivan.  He was born in 1891 and the older brother of Roy. His full name was Maurice Alexander Duncan but seems to have been known as Alex.  

Alex enlisted 14 February 1916 joining the 2nd Reinforcement of the 42nd Battalion.  He was 24 years old, a single man and a Labourer. He was described as being 5 foot 9 inches and weighing 132 lbs.   

His younger brother Robert enlisted a couple of weeks later on 6  March, joining the 41st Battalion.  He was a carpenter.  On his enlistment record he says he was 21 years and 3 months old but in fact he would have been more likely 19 or 20.   Robert embarked for overseas service on 5 June.  

Alex embarked 16 August (four days after his younger brother Roy was killed in action at Pozieres) on the "Boorara" from Brisbane.

A couple of months later he arrived in Plymouth and, in the footsteps of his younger brother, having contracted Mumps, he was sent straight to Hospital. After some training in England he was finally sent to serve in France leaving Folkestone just before Christmas on the "Princess Victoria".  He was marched in to 3rd A.D.B. Depot, Etaples and went into the Field with the 42nd Battalion on 26 January 1917. 

According to a history of the 42nd Battalion on the Australian War Memorial's site here:

"The winter of 1916-17 was horrendous, and the 42nd spent much of it in the front line, the remainder being spent alternating between training and labouring in the rear areas.

In 1917, the operations of the 3rd Division were focussed on the Ypres sector of Belgium. The 42nd participated in major battles at Messines on 7 June, Warneton on 31 July, Broodseinde on 4 October, and Passchendaele on 12 October. Even though the battalion was in a reserve role, the battle of Passchendaele proved particularly costly. It lost over a third of its strength, principally from German gas attacks, and trench foot caused by the sodden condition of the battlefield."
You can tell it was cold in that photo by the sheepskin vests that they are wearing.  

Alex Duncan was first wounded on 10 June.  The diary entry for the Battalion during that time was:

 Catacombs 9/6/17 Strength 35 off 973 OR
                         Casualties 5 OR wounded
Received orders 12.30AM to proceed to the line & take over Black Line.  Took over from 38th & 40th B/tns & became G. Btn.  BAG on Messines Road near Seaforth 2am.  3 Coys in the line.  A.B.C. from right to left and D Cy in support.  Armour occupied. Green line in front of us.  Digging & wiring commenced.  Subjected to heavy shelling with 5.9 4.5 whizbangs & shrapnel all day.  Few gas shells.  
Black Line 10/6/17 Strength 35 Off 942 OR
                                                 Casualties decrease 27 (12 OR killed, 55 wounded, 
                                 3 Off wounded)
Subjected to exceptionally heavy shelling as previous day.  Trench digging & wiring proceed with position well consolidated.  Few gas shells reported.

Let's have a look at what these Catacombs looked like.  The Australian War Memorial has some great photos.

Base records sent Alex's father advice along the lines of "Reported Private Alexander Duncan wounded.  Will advise anything further received.  9/7/17"  You can see his name on the top of the 3rd column in Casualty List No. 325 reported in the Brisbane Courier 20 July 1917 here.  

Alex was admitted to the 9th A.F. Amb. in the Field with concussion then transferred to the 12th A.F. Amb. with exhaustion.  A fortnight later he was transferred to 24th Gen. Hosp. Etaples and then the 25th Gen Hosp. Hardelot.  

If I had been Alex, I would not have wanted to leave here at all.  It looks so sweet doesn't it?  This hospital was staffed by Australian nurses and English medical officers according to the AWM site here.  You can read more about it here too. 

Alex's story has turned out to be quite a saga, so I've decided to break it into three parts.  I'll finish the post here but in the meantime, can anyone tell me the type of dog in the photo?  It looks like a Jack Russell to me but I have a bit of an uneducated eye when it comes to dogs.

For more Sepia Saturday posts go here.  For Part Two of the saga go here.

Alexander Duncan - Part Two

On 27th August 1917 Alex Duncan rejoined the 42nd Battalion.  The weather according to the War Diary was dull and showery and the Battalion was engaged in training at Remilly-Wirquin for the Ypres offensive. On 25th September they started to march. By 3 October they had reached Ypres.  Extracts from the War Diary read as follows:

During this period the weather was extremely bad and both men and animals suffered severely.  During the first 4 days 64 men were evacuated to hospital suffering from trench feet, exhuastion and shell-shock.....Never since the Battalion has landed in France has it been called upon to face such abnormal conditions.  Never have the men had to face such hardships or to show such endurance and never have the Officers and men risen so well to the occasion and upheld so well the honour of the Battalion and the best traditions of the Australian Forces.
Ypres 18 October 1917 courtesy of AWM

Alex Duncan was wounded for the 2nd time in action on 11 October. Concussion is all that I can deduce from his medical record.  He was back with the Battalion five days later but by this stage they were the Brigade in Reserve, having been relieved by the 36th Battalion.  On 27 October he was promoted to Lance Corporal.  

To quote from the AWM's potted history of the 42nd Battalion again:

Belgium remained the scene of the 42nd Battalion’s activities for the next five months as it was rotated between service in the rear areas and the front line. When the German Army launched its last great offensive in March 1918, the battalion was rushed south to France and played a role in blunting the drive towards the vital railway junction of Amiens.
Unfortunately Alex overstayed his furlough leave in February 1918 which meant he was deprived of his Lance Stripe and forfeited 3 days' pay.  He was wounded in action for the third time on 24 April with a gun shot wound to the head and left arm.  

I won't go into much more detail about his service record apart from saying that the remainder of his service was spent in England suffering from various ailments including a severe case of broncho. pneumonia in January 1919 when he was dangerously ill.

Group of diggers at entrance to Greenhill House, Australian YMCA military camp at Sutton Veny courtesy of AWM

He spent time at Sutton Veny and then Weymouth recovering from Pleurisy. 


Alex Duncan  finally got to go home in May on the "Leicestershire" arriving Melbourne 21 June 1919 and was discharged from the AIF in Brisbane on 7 August.

For Part Three go here.