Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Walter McKenzie to Colin McKenzie - 23rd May 1920 "SS Ormonde"

Continuing the correspondence between Walter and Colin McKenzie.  If you've just tuned in you may want to read the introductory post here.

Colin has written in pencil on the top of the letter "Recd. Monday 31st May" and next to Walter's date on the letter "Sunday"

My Dear Colin

I have just received your letter tonight and am so glad you have done so well in selling my land.  You have got a deposit that will save any trouble about the purchaser giving it up.  You say you sent a wire well I never got it.

I got into Sydney all right and stayed at the Acadia (sic) Hotel which was a real decent place and it was the only place I could get.

We sailed from Sydney about 4pm on Wednesday 19/5/20 and landed in Melbourne about midday on Friday.

I have got a good cabin with a port hole in it which is more than a lot of people get and I have nice cabin mates in fact I have got the pick of the 3rd class cabins.  Our cabin is in the starboard side of the ship and is situated far forward nearly right under the 1st & 2nd class decks.  You know where the 2nd class gang-way is placed when in port well we are under there.  We are away from the engines and all the galleys.  

We have also a lot of foreigners on board including French, Italians, Greeks & c but we keep well away from them.

Melbourne is a long way a nicer city than Sydney.  Broader streets & better buildings although Sydney beats it with the Harbour & trains.  We landed at Port Melbourne & got an Electric tram into Melbourne - a distance of about 3 1/2 miles.  I also got all my notes changed into gold at the Federal Treasury, Melbourne. 

We were not supposed to call at Adelaide but there is a rumour going round tonight that we are making for it now as something has gone wrong with the engines as I am writing this to be ready for it.  If I get a chance I will get a JP to sign the Transfer at Adelaide & send it on from there if not I will do so from Freemantle. (sic)

The weather is terribly cold down here.  I have never been sea sick in the least altho' a good many have.  We had it pretty rough the first night.

I have not written to anyone yet but will do son later on.

This is all my news at present.

Your loving brother


 Passenger Ship, Station Pier, Port Melbourne, Victoria, 1920-1939 Museum Victoria http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/1767151

Have you sailed around Australia?  Which do you like better Melbourne or Sydney?  Do you think you might be related to the McKenzies?  Let me know.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Transcription letter Walter McKenzie to Colin McKenzie 17 May 1920

Hotel Arcadia 
Pitt & Castlereagh Streets
Box 1002 GPO
Tel. 11560, 6 lines

May 17th 1920

My Dear Colin,

I arrived here safely on Sunday. I got the last train from Wallangarra, the first train being all reserved and by the time I got to the booking office there was no more room on it.  The next train was a special for J C Williamson Coy alone so I got the third. There is some fine scenery coming along from Newcastle.

First thing I did when I arrived was to see about my trunk so I enquired at Cloak room & found it all right; next I went to Grand Central Hotel & found it was full up so they recommended this Hotel in Pitt St. & I got fixed up all right.  Bed & breakfast cost 7/- per night the other meals I get outside. Pretty dear but a good class.  First thing this morning I went to Orient Coy Offices & found we could not get on board the “Ormonde” until day of sailing so I next went to “The People’s Palace” to see if I could get cheaper board & found they were full up also so I came back here & booked up for another night.  

Yesterday afternoon I had a walk down Pitt St to Circular Quay & saw the “Orsova” and the “Ormonde” both fine boats.  The ferries also are great; always 2 or 3 coming or going.

Today I intend to take a sail or two on the ferries.  

You have seen Sydney so I need not say anything more about it.

Remember me to the rest at “Strathfield” *& tell them I am having a good time.

I am

Your loving brother


 Allan C Green 1878-1954 photographer. This work is out of copyright. Identifier(s): Accession no(s) H91.108/455; H91.108/452 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/27588 

Notes by Alex: there was a pretty picture of the Ormonde on Sydney Harbour but it was taken circa 1930 and of course the Harbour Bridge had nearly finished construction then so it wouldn't have been very accurate hence the choice of the photo above.

JC Williamson was a theatre company as per the advertisement below from page 8 of the Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), Monday 17 May 1920, thanks to the National Library of Australia's Trove search engine.

If you have just "tuned into" the McKenzie story for the first time you might want to check out my first post here. No I am not related to the McKenzies but if you are, please contact me.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Letters from Walter and Mary McKenzie 1915-1916

And so we continue to "unpack" the Pandora's box of Nancy May McKenzie.

I have started to transcribe some of the letters to get a picture of what was happening to the McKenzie family in the early part of the 20th century.

But first a bit of an outline of who's who in the zoo.

Nancy May McKenzie was the daughter of Colin McKENZIE and Isabel Alexandra Manclark FORREST.  I tell you, I'm not related but yes, the Isabel and the Alexandra leapt out at me. But back to the family tree.

Colin McKENZIE was the eldest son of - you guessed it - Colin McKENZIE  - and Mary Tennent ROSS.  Mary was a widow when she married Colin so she is also known as Mary MORTON (her first husband's name).  

Colin Junior had four younger brothers - Alex, James, John and Walter.  

From what I can gather, Colin Senior died in 1912 and James and Colin came out to Queensland in 1914 to make a new life.  I think John was in the Navy and Alex was about to join the Army leaving Walter, Colin's 14 year old brother at home with his mother or Mamma. Here is a transcription of the letters from Walter and occasionally his Mum to James and Colin between 1915 and 1916.

81 Inchview Terr
10 Oct 1915

Dear James
We received a letter from you and one from Colin yesterday.  We are sorry to hear that Colin was not well.  He says that he is going to sea, well, I am going to come out as soon as I can to help you.  I wrote to London to the Agent General for Queensland and have asked him about the nominated passages.  If there are any I will be sending you the money by the next mail.  If there are no nominated passage. I will just need to go 3rd class or as Alex has suggested I might work my way out, but I doubt if they would be agreeable to that as I would need to come back here again.  However I will try and be out at the beginning of next year.  The Office I am in just now is not up to much in my line.  We have nothing but writing all day long and what is more I only get a half hour for dinner of course I can get ??? which is always a help.  I make it myself so it does not cost any money more than the buying of the cocoa, Colin is right about our firm and another one being the only official Searchers.  We go to the Register House and search up old deeds and Bonds etc and so forth against the persons stated by the lawers (sic) we search for.  In my spare time I searched up our name and found the Bond as you know and also one for P. Charles and found that they have a Bond over Cobden Crescent for £500 and mamma says they got it for very little (about £750 or so) Also Mr Clelland in Darvel and he has a bond over his home and factory in fact they are not really his own.  I forgot to tell you that my boss is going to pay my fees at the University and all fees for my learning.  It is really decent of him but I will not be staying so it does not matter to me (I have not told him that I am leaving .  He also gave me a ? holiday.  I go back tomorrow.  I just went about on the byke (sic) for a day’s run.  One day I went to Roman Bridge and on to the road to Peebles where the ?? and the Forth meet.  You will know that place.  When I hear from London I will write again.  Perhaps I will be enclosing the money if I can get a nominated passage.  We have been clearing up lately.  There is now nothing in the shed hut 1 chest 2 boxes and the mangle and one or two odds which can be put in the bucket at the last minute also a few tools which I will be bring out viz: hammer, a few chisels, brace & kits, the big long borer etc.  Your loving brother Walter
PS. Received word from London and now send you £7.50 for my passage.  Will write again.  W

Advertisement featuring gardening tools sold by A. J. Hockings, Queen Street, Brisbane, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Negative number: 177569

81 Inchview Terr
20 Oct 1915
Dear James
We have not received any letter from you since I wrote last.  I hope you have received the £7-5 or perhaps you will get it at the same time as this because I see from the Post Office Guide that the mails for Australia only leave about three times a month.  The last one left on the 7th and then the next mail leaves on the 21st Oct.  I sent 5/- for expenses but the price has gone up you will perhaps be able to get the money someway and I will settle up with you when I come out.  I have painted a notice board to put up for the house to be sold and I am getting everything ready.  I suppose this will do for my outfit: - 2 pairs boots (with tackets in them): the kind we used to get in Dolphinton) as many socks as I can (all my stockings are done and I mean to wear them on the road out and then pitch them overboard) Three shirts (new ones) two pair of suits, one new and the other I have been wearing from June this year but its quite good. Two pair blankets and a bed cover and a few odds.  Then I will be bringing out some tools, hindges (sic) and small padlocks (which we have had in the shed). If you have any hints to give now is the time.  I wonder if you are alone again, perhaps by the time you get this you may be but I will be out as soon as I can and have a look at things and get to work.  Christmas will soon be here then by the end of January I will be looking for the letter from you.  We had a letter from John today and he is going to the Dardanelles again.  I hope Colin gets on and keeps well.  The sea should be good for him.  I have nothing more to say now I am your loving brother Walter P.S. Hope to see you soon.

Page 21 of the Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 24 July, 1915. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland 

(On the back of the previous letter)
21st October 1915
My dear Colin
I hope by now that you are all right again and that it was only a bad bilious attack.  Glad to know Jim keeps well.  Walter is making all preparations for coming out.  Alex is still at home..  W. Hobbs, Superintendnet of Sabbath School died on Monday last aged 69.  The coldest of your weather will be past now.  That is all the news for this week. Love to you both from your loving Mother.

81 Inchview Terr
5 Jan 1916
Dear James
I am looking forward to hear from you again.  I should get the reply of the letter I sent you (with the money in it) about the end of January. It is now the fifth so I have not a month to wait now perhaps only two weeks. I hope by the time you get this one I will be setting out for Australia or at least it won’t be long after that.
John is still at the Dardanelles but we expect to see him soon again as his three months are over (he gets a free pass home every three months.  We are getting an awful lot of rain here.
Your loving brother Walter
PS A Happy New Year to you. W Hope to see you soon
(on the back)
Dear Colin
Many thanks for the PC you sent me on Christmas. I hope by the time this reaches you you will be on board a ship.  I think it will suit you.  You will see from James letters I sent him that I am coming out soon. We have got things cleared up here.  We sent a lot of old books chemicals desks & co to “Dowells” auctioneers, a good while ago and today we received the money for them £2:6:4 that is after com cartage & c is taken off. It is not really bad.  A Happy New Year to you and the best of health Your loving brother Walter

Inchview Terrace
19 Jan 1916
Dear James
We received a letter from Colin on the 6th January and one from you on the 3rd.  I have not received a reply to the letter I sent you with the money for my nominated passage yet but expect one in a few days now.  I am getting everything ready for coming out.  We had a letter from John on the 14th and he says he was at Suvla Bay when the evacuation took place.  His ship took off the last of the men that the RAMCs so you see he is seeing a little bit of the war.  His ship was within rifle fire of the Turks.  A few stray bullets come on to the deck of his ship and wounded one man in the leg.  We are now advertising the House in the Scotsman For Sale 4 days Wed Sat Wed Sat this is the first day it has been in and when I came home at night a postcard from a man in Gillespie Crescent had come and he was asking the rive.  We will have had since putting up the notice board about ½ doz companies asking about it but none said any more about it.  However we shall see this man.  He seems to be after a house right enough.  He has taken the bother to write to us.  We are asking £430 for it and I think that is not to (sic) much for when I was clearing up I came across a note of expenses in connection with the buying of it and it was £15 of course that was recording the bond &c but it will likely take as much to sell it so that would be £30 for buying & selling House and you know what we paid for it. Then we may have to lower that price a little. We will do our best. Tell Colin that we have heard a lot of people saying that they have received a PC on Christmas viz: Grandma Miss Bain ; Reids (GW); Anderson Misselburgh; that’s all I remember just now. 
I hope he is keeping well and on a ship by now.
I will soon be out to see you again I hope.
We have had very wet windy dreary weather here. You can take some rain from here if you like or will I bring some out. Your loving brother Walter PS Excuse scribble. Bad pen WMcK More news about House next week.

Page 21 of the Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 1 April, 1916. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland 

81 Inchview Terr
23 Jan 1916
Dear Colin
We received a letter from you yesterday which was written on the 12 Dec 1915.  The letter we got before that was from you too which had been written on the 28 Nov so we think we must have lost one from James that is if you write every week. I was very pleased to hear that you have got the £7.5 and am waiting till I get the Passage Warrant from you before I can do anything special. It should come by the next mail.  I hope that it will not get lost on the way.  Thanks very much for nominating me.  It was as well for me that you were not away to sea or it might have wasted a little while longer.  Thank James for me for trying to get me nominated.  I will tell you more news of how I get on next week when I get the Warrant.  We have been advertising the House in the Scotsman for four days (I think I told you about it last week); well the man who sent us the Post Card came to see it yesterday.  He did not say much but he had a list of Houses to see so we may hear from him again.  John is still at the East ed of the Mediterranean.  We hope to see him soon.  Alex & I especially to see him before we go.  Last time he was coming home he sent us a telegram and when we received it about 10 o’clock at night we did not feel inclined to go to bed but rather go up to the Waverly station and meet him.
We are having very blowy wet weather here.  I am glad to see the notice board still up.  It has been well tested. 
The cars in Edinburgh are always breaking now.  Every day last week the “Ports” Route was either broken or stopped.  Alex has had to walk up to Easter Road barracks a good many times.  They say that they cannot get experienced Drivers.  The other routes are not much better. 
Alex is still at home. It is just as well for us. He had a Colonel inspecting the RAMCs and he said they were doing more good in Edinburgh by going to Hospital Trains & c than by going to Hawich where they would likely have nothing to do.  The other day he & and another lad were set to Rothesay with an Hospital train.  It was a fine day’s outing for him.  Your loving brother Walter
PS Your last letter had been censored. Whether it had been opened or not we don’t known but it was marked “Pased by Censor.” WMcK

Transfer of patients from ambulance to train during evacuation to England, No. 2 Canadian General Hospital, Le Tréport, France. /Éditions Arnault. Library and Archives Canada

81 Inchview Terr
Dear Colin
Last Saturday I received word from the Agent General London that I had been accepted and had to sail on Feb 16th that gave me 11 day to get everything ready.  I got a form to fill up and send to Passport Office with two small photo’s of me and a Postal Order for 5/-.  I got every ready and yesterday I sent away my luggage to London. This morning I got word that I had not to sail till the end of the month and I also got the form back from the Passport Office saying I had not filled up my description (which I thought was meant for the Applicant’s wife). However I have time now and am sending it away again.
Alex went away to Hawick this morning so we will miss him.
John is not home yet; we are expecting word from him soon.
I gave up my situation last Monday. I had been working for 7 months. We got paid monthly and it was the 7th Feb when I left. PR Bryce (my boss) gave me £3-3-0 that was real nice of him. It helped to pay for expenses. I will write again next week. How are you getting on now and how is James. Your loving brother Walter
PS Tell Jas I was up at Kirkehope’s and they have rececived the Queenslander from him. J.K. has enlisted in the Derby Scheme W McK

O.T.C tent group at Stobs 1914 From Great uncle Jim's Photograph album.Sergeant Jock Sillars, Davidson, J B Laing, B Patrick, K Kirkptrick, J Taylor, C Jefferson, I K M Bovery https://flic.kr/p/FQ67bi
Transcription of letters from Walter to Colin from Montville (Walter had come out on the Waipara as per Index to Immigration on QSA website here.)

c/- J L Hutton Esq
14 Sept 1916
My dear Colin
I received your letter last Monday night John’s enclosed which I return.
You say the five acres below yours are no good well I might get some other bit. You say they may be cutting up more land; we shall see if it is any good. I would only buy 5 ac to begin with at £4 per ac = £20. In other 5 weeks I will have that.  I could keep myself by selling the wood.  Then if I turned ill it would be no worse than if I was here. But as for keeping cows (I did not mean to keep milking cows) I am a bit doubtful because one might die and that would mean a big loss. One of Mr H’s calves died the other day because it had been fed on green grass only and it could not pass it through.  I might try ducks as they increase pretty quickly and the could feed themselves.  Duck’s usually lay every 4 months and the best time for selling them is when they are 12 to 15 weeks old.  I could try anything that could bring in something beyond chopping wood. 

It is a bit rough here.  Huttons are very nice indeed but they can watch themselves.  The porridge is lumpy and weevils in it.  Then bread is always mouldy and tea is made from tea-leaves.  After they have used them.  That’s my breakfast every morning.  At dinner the only good thing is a milk pudding.  Then I am getting up earlier every morning and stopping later at night now, just as long as it is daylight I have to work.
This last week has been more exciting.  We were ploughing with a disc plough and cut a snake in two which was six feet long.  Then on Thursday I nearly put my foot on one five feet long.  I just missed it by an inch or two.  However I soon killed it.  They were not deadly ones but they could lay you up for a day or two.  There might be worse ones about.  Mr H saw a black snake last Sunday.  It was a deadly one.

Yesterday I was going to the store on horse back when it shied and bolted.  I landed on the ground somehow.  I don’t know how but I landed and saw the horse flying on along the road when another chap caught it.  I was not hurt but I might have been.  The horse is very excitable and does not get much work which makes it all the worse.  Mr Hutton says it is real wild.
I got a letter from the chap who is working for Curran and he says they would like me back but thinks I would not get as much as I am getting here.  Anyway I don’t want back.  Mr H did not get the 42 cases sent to Sidney (sic) last wk as the dockers were on strick.(sic) They would be sold in Brisbane at 4/6 instead of 12/6 at Sydney.
The bit we were ploughing was the bit that was full of weeds.  He is going to put in trees so I will see and help him to do it.  It will always be more experience for me.  I am you loving brother Walter.

Pineapple farm at Montville John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Collection reference: 7803 Joe Barrett photograph collection Accession number: 7803 View related images: http://hdl.handle.net/10462/comp/681.
c/- J L Hutton Esq
Wed night
My dear Colin
I received your letter on Monday last with the Home ones enclosed.  I posted a letter to you last Friday night which would go to town I expect with the morning mail train arriving at Brisbane about 12.15 on Sat. and you should have got it on Sat. night or Monday at the latest.  I hope you got it as I had all my news in it.  I also got your last letter with home ones enclosed.
I am glad to hear that you are getting a rise in your screw.
If you like to come up here I will be very glad to see you but you must remember the cost. I think it would be worth it as you could see the country up here and we could have a talk about things.
There is a boarding House at Montville. It is a high class place. I think it would be about £2 per wk or 5/- per night & breakfast (of course I don’t know but I have heard as much)
In my last letter I was saying about planting pines in double rows well perhaps single would do as you get a lot of buttons off them with the first crop and you could plant them alongside the others.  This week I have been putting buttons in bags for Mr Hutton. 100 in each bag and I have bagged 5,000 which is a terrible lot of work.  My hands and arms were all skinned with them.
If you are buying pineapple suckers soon watch that you do not get buttons as they are very like suckers except that they take 2 years instead of 15 months to give pines.
Mr. H sends about 30 cases of pines away every wk. This wk he has 48 which is an extra lot.  He sends them south and he says they are selling at12/6 per case just now.  Some pines are sent to Brisbane (only the ones that are too ripe and the “not as good ones”) which only get 4/- to 4/6 per case.  Say 40 cases at 12/6 equals £25 and 8 at 4/ equals 32/- which would pay carriage for the lot.  Then 48 cases making at 1/- each equals £2.8. He would have about £20 gain this wk.
There are plenty of snakes up here.  Last Sunday Mr H saw two.  One was near to where I had been pulling and eating cape gooseberries which are growing wild on the 1 ½ acre of grass and weeds (the shaded part on plan I sent with last letter)
Hope to hear from you soon
I am your loving brother
Say when you would like to come up and I might find out the cost of boarding here if you like. WMcK

Cover - Hotel &​ boarding house directory of the principal cities, towns, and tourist resorts in Queensland /​ compiled and issued by the Queensland Government Intelligence &​ Tourist Bureau. 1912 http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/21258057

c/- J L Hutton Esq
1 Oct 1916
My dear Colin
I got your letter with the two home ones on Tuesday night.
You say you are going to get some pines planted soon.  2000 of each kind; why not plant all smooths? If you sent them to Sydney or Melbourne you would get a better price for smooths than ripleys.  I asked Mr H if the knew of anyone selling suckers up here and he said that he was selling some but he had promised them to somebody else.  He would find out if anyone else was selling them.  I think they would charge pretty dear up here.  You might try E Smallman at Ormiston or JJ Nagel at Cleveland.  They are nearly always advertising them in the paper.
I have not found out the price of staying at the boarding house yet. My wee room would be too small for us both as there is only a narrow bed in it.  However we shall see if you come up.
Will you be called up on Tuesday? This is rather sudden. I don’t think you will have to go as it says if more than half of the family is serving you can be exempted. If you do have to go you would be done with Mrs Bean so I would need to get my boxes taken out. If that is the case I think Petrie would be the best place for them so I might take a run down to see about them or you could get Bryce to carry them to the station.
I have been harrowing this last week first with the spring tooth between the young trees where there are no pines and then with ordinary lever harrows.  I used two horses and could easily manage them. I was harrowing the bit we had ploughed.
I am getting up now about 5:15am and stopping a good bit after six, just as long as it is daylight.
Trees are a bit of a nuisance. They need spraying a lot. Some are covered with white lice and some get a grub  in them called the “Bourer”. It bours into the bark and east round the tree which ring barks it. Then some have a fungus on them called The Muusle. It is just like a mussle and is pink. It spreads very quickly. All the orange trees are in bloom just now; they look lovely. I am your loving brother Walter
PS I might write during the week. It depends what you say in your letter. W

So what do you think?  Interesting huh?  Searching Trove I found out that poor Mr Hutton died later that year....

Family Notices (1916, December 2). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), p. 4. Retrieved October 22, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20104365

Friday, October 21, 2016

Family Archives - Nancy May McKenzie


Earlier this week one of my colleagues was doing the rounds of the library, getting us ready to open one morning when she noticed a box had been left at the front door.  Many people donate books they no longer need or want for us to add to the collection (if they are in pristine condition).  But this box was a whole different kettle of fish......

The box was duly dragged into the workroom and we all sighed over the contents. Someone's precious memories given....to us.  There was no note.  Why do I feel a bit like a baby had been left on the doorstep?  

So - call me a hopeless case, but I am now sifting through it, trying to establish provenance and whether any items might be of interest to any particular collecting institution or at the least provide good material for blogging.  

But the event has also reminded me that we as family historians do need to make plans for what happens to our stuff after we've gone.  I think the box in this particular instance was a special case.  

My best guess is that the contents belonged to Nancy May McKenzie who once lived in Northgate, Brisbane and who died in 2014.  Nancy was an only child to the best of my knowledge and did not marry, so has no direct descendants.  Her father's brothers (the ones who came to Australia that is) died without marrying or having children, leaving the only other possible descendants based in Scotland.  I am yet to explore Nancy's mother's side of the family but to be frank, I suspect that most of the contents in the box, would be of interest to the McKenzie side rather than the Forrest side of the family.

I am an only child too, but at least I have two children who will inherit my "stuff".  But in fairness to them, I should organise it more and perhaps provide guidance as to what should happen to it or what it actually is so they can make sensible decisions about what can be done with it.

So I'm going to use this Pandora's box as a bit of an example as to what can be done both in terms of investigative work as well as documenting and preserving a Family Archive. Remember, I am not related to Nancy in the slightest, which just goes to show what a sad, sad, case I am when it comes to family history.

So...what's in the box?  Here's a rough list of contents which needs to be refined and further defined.  All suggestions for documentation welcome.

1. Trip Book 6 February 1957 - 16 November 1957 belonging to Nancy M McKenzie of 53 Peary Street Northgate including cinema, bus, flight tickets, dried flowers etc

2.Published pamphlet of Colin McKenzie Testimonials - Nancy's paternal grandfather 1873-1895.  I have never seen anything like this before?  Have you?

3. Historical sketches of Australian landmarks/heritage properties from NAB calendars and the like - very tempted to chuck in the bin but by all means tell me why I shouldn't.

4. Framed wedding photo - presumably of Nancy's parents by Ruddle Brisbane

5.  B & W Negatives in buff envelope - 6 x 9cm

6.  B & W Negatives in pink envelope "Gaslight"

7.  Grey Photo Album - undated containing photos of Toowong, Indooroopilly, Northgate, Tweed, SS Koopa, Osterley leaving for London from New Farm, Colombo, Suez etc circa 1920s

8.  Framed photo of schoolgirls performing calisthenics - best guess is Clayfield College

9.  Framed photo of Naval Officers - perhaps Nancy's Uncle John?

10.  4 large bundles of correspondence - 1919-1933 to Colin from his brother Alex, 1915-1931 to Colin from his mother, 1915-1927 to Colin from brother Walter, 1916-1928 to Colin from his brother John 

11. Kodak negatives and prints in a folder - Your Snapshots

12. 3 x Gold Kodaslide boxes - 240 slides in each box circa 1959

13. 18 boxes of colour transparencies dated 1959 - 1975

14. 2 x green Hanimex slide boxes containing 175 slides

15. Pocket of commercial slides of Tangalooma

16. Cigarette tin containing various badges e.g. St John Ambulance and some linotype

17. Kodak folder of prints featuring photos of car circa 1920

18. Various postcards and photos

19. Passenger list for Strathnaver 10 October 1957 to Australia

20. 8 x handmade photo albums dated 1920 - 1929 

21. Large manilla envelope containing legal papers and insurance claim and receipts regarding a car accident in which Nancy was injured in 1966 - some envelopes have been unopened.  Because Nancy didn't open them, I feel obliged not to do so - What do you think the ethics are in this matter?

22.  Unopened pack of 12 question cards and 1 answer card for Party Competitions - I am itching to open these but once again, feel ethics dictate "No"

23.  Exam papers for History, English and Physiology for Nancy McKenzie Form VA

24. Large photo album (mock leather with Egyptian decorative motifs) featuring postcards from trip in 1957

You get the idea.  It's a big box. And the dog would like me to move it so she can get back up on the sofa.

Completely gratuitous photo of new dog Arwen who has stolen our hearts.

Perhaps what intrigues me the most, and what I suspect will be the biggest challenge in terms of workload but also the most fruitful in terms of identifying information, will be the letters.

I can't begin to guess how many there are but I'm thinking they are in the hundreds.  There's some beautiful photos too - many unidentified but some with enough information to assist like this sweet one.

So, if like me, you are a hopeless case when it comes to family history stories, stand by....as I start to pull together the McKenzie story for you.

PS And yes, I have looked for Nancy May McKenzie on Ancestry database and made contact with a couple of lovely people who seem to be researching the same family tree but it's not really their line.  

So don't worry, if there is a relative out there who wants to lay claim to these treasures, of course I am happy to hand them over.  Unfortunately I suspect there won't really be anyone (on this side of the planet at any rate) - so probably the best thing is to digitise/transcribe as much as possible and publish it on this blog so it can be found.  As well as contacting various institutions who I think might be interested in bits of the collection to see if they would like to accession them.  

What do you think?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

At last!

I was beginning to wonder if I was going to have to go to Winnipeg myself and get Edward Forfar's Marriage Certificate in person.  As some of you may remember, in early May on this post I was rather chuffed to have discovered a record of Edward Forfar's marriage.  I duly sent off my credit card details and the charge was processed 23 May.  Having no reply after a few weeks,  I emailed the Archives at the end of June and was told it would take 8-10 weeks to process the request. More like 12 weeks I think.  So, if you are ordering anything from the Province of Manitoba be prepared to be patient.

Here's the envelope - see I scored three great stamps of otters, I think, which I hope to be seeing in animal (as opposed to person) in the not too distant future.

And here's a glimpse of the certificate

So here's what was on the certificate:


Full name Forfar Edward
Occupation or profession: Provincial Police
Bachelor, Widower or Divorced         Bachelor
Age 41 Religious Denomination Presbyterian
Residence Hudson's Hope, B.C.
Place of Birth Perth, Scotland
Name of father: George Robert Forfar
Occupation of father: Civil Engineer
Place of birth of father: Stirling, Scotland
Maiden name of mother: Emily Hollingham
Can bridegroom read? Yes Can bridegroom write? Yes


Full name: Kinniburgh Mary
Occupation or profession: Clerk
Spinster, Widow or Divorced: Spinster
Age 22 Religious Denomination: Presbyterian
Residence: 22 Agnes Street, Winnipeg, Man.
Place of Birth: Glasgow, Scotland
Name of father: James Kinniburgh
Occupation of father: Engineer (deceased)
Place of birth of father: Kirkintilloch, Scotland
Maiden name of mother: Marion Hendry
Can bride read: Yes Can bride write: Yes
When Married 10th October 1921
Place of marriage Knox Church, Winnipeg, Man.
By license or banns: M.L. No. 7 38561

Then there are the signatures of the bride and groom and a witness James Kinniburgh of 424 Agnes Street Winnipeg, Man. and Janet Kue (?) of 50 Kate Street Winnipeg, Man. and the clergyman R.S. Laidlaw of Suite 6, 21 Hargrave Stree Winnnipeg, Man. 

My first Canadian certificate.  

Lots of good information there. 

The weird thing though is that I am pretty sure that Edward was born in Leamington rather than Perth but I am happy to be proved wrong.  This bears further investigation.  

I am also fascinated that George is a civil engineer.  I had only ever known him as a shop keeper so he must have changed profession. I wonder where I go to look up records of civil engineers.  Does anyone out there know?  All suggestions gratefully accepted.

Well that's enough for one day....let's dance the gene-dance....

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Annotated map of Taemas

This blog post will be a bit waffly because I am fast running out of time to think clearly and make sensible well considered posts.  Please forgive me.  

Recently, for another University of Tasmania course called Place, Image, Object we had to make an annotated map of a place that was significant to us or our family history, bringing together subjective and objective elements. What an agonizing but fruitful exercise it was.  I chose to do a map showing some of my ancestor's land near Yass and Canberra where I grew up.  My ancestor was Samuel Taylor.

Here is my reflection on the task.

I created several annotated maps in the process of creating the final annotated map for my ancestor, Samuel Taylor.  At first I wanted to show how place names can be duplicated in different areas.  For example.  George Willmore originally called Arana Hills, the suburb where I work in Queensland, after Camden Park – a place familiar to him from New South Wales.  I work in Cobbity Crescent, off Narellan Street in Arana Hills Queensland.   Samuel Taylor was married at Cobbitty near Narellan in NSW. I felt like my ancestor was calling to me, wanting me to tell his story.  I decided to forget about where I was and focus instead on where he was at the time.

I had recently received a map from the Yass Historical Society showing Sam Taylor’s run.  I traced over it several times all the while I developed great respect for map-makers with legible writing and a steady hand. My faltering efforts led me to create a digital map instead. I exchanged one set of problems for another – how best to label in Google Maps?  What sequence for annotations?  I chose Alphabetical and put the events in chronological order.  As I re-traced the map several times, I saw more landmarks that connected with the newspaper stories I had collected over the years.  The digital result still didn’t feel right.  So I decided to play with collage because I am a patch worker and a hoarder at heart.  It seemed right in the end.  I know I will never be able to tell the whole story – just scraps.

You can check out my digital annotated map here.

And because I said this would be a meandering post, here is a picture of my daughter and me with my first completed patchwork/quilting project. See all the mess behind us?  That's what happens when you do family history...you have been warned!

PS If you can get hold of the Patchwork Prisoners: the Rajah Quilt and the women who made it by Trudy Cowley and Dianne Snowden published in 2013, it is a fascinating read about 180 convict women transported to Tasmania in 1841.