Tuesday, July 10, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Week # 28 - Mistakes

Got mistakes? from kayaker1204 on Flickr
52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more.

Genealogy research mistakes are wonderful learning experiences. They can be blessings when they show you how to improve your genealogy research. Which genealogy research mistake in your past has provided the most benefit to your present? How did you discover the mistake and what steps did you take to correct it? Sharing about these experiences will help others who are figuring out their own ancestral paths.

Ouf.  This is a difficult post to write.  No-one likes to be thought of as flawed, stupid or dumb.  If you boldly state that you've made mistakes in the past, how will anyone ever trust what you say in the future?  Well, as Amy says, mistakes are blessings if you can recognise them for what they are...i.e an opportunity to learn, rather than an opportunity to be embarrassed or ashamed.  

In knitting, when we make a mistake we have to undo or unravel what we have done...funnily enough - particularly for this blog...it's called frogging.  I've got a few "frogged" knitting projects - projects that I've just had to put to one side because I can't bear to unravel them again to find out where I made the mistake.  Here's a picture of one....

I have made so many mistakes in Genealogy that I would be too embarrassed to reveal all of them but I'll share a couple that I think are too important not to share....

  1. Be very careful about what you share with other researchers and what you upload to the net....I tend to be very open and generous - firmly believing in what goes round comes round.  This needs to be tempered with an understanding of security issues now that we have the advent of the world wide web which exposes us to those who have a different agenda. When conducting family history research, you inevitably meet others researching the same lines etc and want to include them and their research into your family tree software so you can see how you all fit in together.  You need to mask any information about people who are still living particularly if you are going to upload that information to any platform such as Ancestry.  
  2. Someone once said, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  What does that mean exactly?  Well I think it means that you think you know things when you don't ...i.e. you make assumptions.  Always test your assumptions.  Check and re-check.  Let me give you an example.  I am part of the Research Team for QFHS.  Someone wrote in recently seeking information about orphanages in Victoria.  Frogger here thought "Why on earth is she asking us for that information.  I'll have to re-direct her to the PRO in Victoria."  Barp!  Wrong!  Test your assumption Alex!  Thankfully I looked up QFHS' catalogue to discover....we held microfiche of admission or registers to half a dozen benevolent asylums in Victoria.  Just because it is the Queensland Family History Society doesn't mean our resources are limited to Queensland.
  3. Last but not least - and this is almost the reverse of my previous point.  Don't assume that because you don't know everything you can't help.  And this goes for all of life really.  How on earth are you ever going to know if you don't give it a go.  Volunteer in a society library?  Oh I couldn't...I don't know where anything/everything is... The best way to find out is to have to show someone...you can both find out together.  Write a blog?  Oh I couldn't...I'm not a very good writer....The best way to learn to write is to.....write.  Go to a conference or on a genealogy cruise?  I couldn't...I don't know anyone.....go to a conference/on a cruise and then you will!
 Jump in !  The water's fine!  
You never know you might meet a frog like me!
Thanks to hatarchive on Flickr for this image
Let's end with a quote shall we?  From Mary Pickford...
"If you have made mistakes...there is always another chance for you...you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down."
So, what are you doing?  Jump up!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: I is for Ireland

I do like a challenge.  And yes, I'm late - terribly late....we're almost halfway through the alphabet but I'm sure I can catch up!

The wonderful Alona Tester who I met for the first time last week at the Family HIstory Expo has devised this meme - bless her! 

At first I was going to use surnames but I think place is a better way to go with this challenge because ultimately I think that's how we can all best connect is through place yes?  The people come and go but the place remains.

So - perhaps rather unimaginatively today I am focussing on - yes, you guessed it...Ireland.

Now, what I'm amused at is how proudly I assert my Irish ancestry.  When I truthfully look at my ancestry - I am way more English.

Of my four grandparents - three were Australian-born and one English-born..Of my eight great-grandparents, three were English and five were born in Australia.  Of my sixteen great-great-grandparents eight were born in England, two in Ireland, one in Scotland and five in Australia. I could go on but I think you get the picture.

So Irish research.  Well I haven't done much.  Let's be honest...none.

So where to begin?  Here are some suggestions for me and you if you are in the same boat.
  1. Join an interest group in your Society - QFHS is blessed with the lovely Mary King and other colleagues to help you find your way
  2.  Borrow a book from your local library - the latest edition of John Grenham's as pictured above is now available for purchase at QFHS or borrowing from Moreton Bay Regional Libraries.  John recommends the following resources for Australian researchers trying to identify their Irish place of origin: Convict transportation records which can be accessed here; Assisted immigration records and Civil Records (e.g. Births, Deaths and Marriage registrations. Chapter 5 is devoted to The Internet and online sources.  In Chapter 8 he provides a generous bibliography for researchers in Australasia.  Chapter 13 provides county sources lists.  Really this is a fabulous book and I may just have to buy it!
  3. Borrow/Buy magazines.  June's edition of Family Tree has two articles which might be helpful to you - one by Chris Paton entitled Inside Story: Ireland's Genealogical Journey and one by Mary Evans called Ulster Folk.  I'm going to try Chris' suggestion of checking out www.irishgenealogy.ie which "offers free access to church records from counties Carlow, Cork, Kerry and Dublin City. "
  4. Read blogs - I found this one today.  Yes, I know it's headed up the Irish in America but it's still got relevant posts for researchers in other parts of the world.
  5. Join the National Library of Australia today - yes I know it's in Canberra but you can still join it online and access some fantastic resources - e.g. overseas newspapers - thanks to Charlie Nolan for that big tip.  
  6. Read an online guide to conducting research in Ireland - Grenham recommends the one at the National Archives of Ireland here or the National Library of Ireland here or this one at IrishTimes here 
So where are my ancestors from?  Well my maternal 2nd great-grandfather Patrick McLoughlin was from County Sligo and his wife Margaret Flannagan was from County Cork.  It's not really enough information.  All I have is their marriage certificate from when they married in Prescot, Lancaster in 1858 and their son John's birth certificate from 1867 in Browns Plains, NSW which is where I found out their county of origin.

Anne's Grove, County Cork courtesy of fringedbenefit on Flickr

I don't have any really verified immigration information though there was a suggestion that perhaps Patrick came out on the Light of the Age to Brisbane in 1864.  

Mary King says you need to know your ancestor's townland to really get anywhere.  "What's a townland?" I hear you cry.  Grenham defines it as:

 "the smallest official geographical division used in Ireland.....There are more than 64,000 townlands in Ireland.....townlands may be grouped together to form a civil parish...in turn, civil parishes are collected together in baronies....a number of baronies...then go to make up the modern county." (page55) 

Grenham recommends the following sites to get an idea of geography in Ireland

<www.seanruad.com> and <www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/placenames> and <maps.osi.ie> 

Right.   Well I haven't got a townland yet so I will blunder about a bit.  

For Cork I might start with:

Margaret Grogan's website with volunteer-transcribed Cork records here.  (the link in Grenham's book on page 227 didn't work so I googled it and came up with this link instead - it looks the right one to me).  

Waterford Archives also seems to get the thumbs up - you can access it here.

The McLoughlins were Catholic so it seems worthwhile pursuing <www.irishgenealogy.ie> as well given Grehnahm advises that it has Roman Catholic records for Co. Cork.  

Pound Street Sligo coutesy of Fergal of Claddagh on Flickr

I think that's enough to go on with....I hope I knock down a few more brickwalls with these tips.  Have you conducted research in Ireland...what resource did you find most useful?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Taits - Part 2

SS Cloncurry watercolour by Allan C. Green (1878-1954)
It's been a busy week and I haven't nearly achieved all that I wanted to achieve but  did have some success....

First of all I ordered a book from the Maryborough Family Heritage Research Institute which turned up very quickly.  Here is a picture of it.....

Now it is a slim volume at 21 pages but didn't cost an arm and a leg ($5 incl. postage) and its authors Judith A. Grimes and Kay F. Gassan had discovered information about The Shenir that I hadn't been able to find, so I was well pleased.  If I have any criticism of the publication it is that it does not cite sources which is a bit frustrating if you want to confirm the information for yourself.  The booklet was published in 1995.  I suspect that the information came from some papers at the Queensland State Archives so I shall investigate further.  But I am pleased to have the book and a bit more information about the arrival of the immigrants from Glasgow.  

In the meantime, I have corresponded further with a fellow descendant of the Taits who advised me that he  had in his possession "a discharge certificate from the relative authorities in 1917 for Sydney (Tait) who was listed as a cabin boy on the steamer BOAMBEE".  Yippee!  Another angle to investigate.  I would show you a picture of the Boambee but it is in copyright, so you will just have to go here to check it out....

At the same time I was trying to discover the link between the Taits and the Linnings.  Just to refresh your memory.....Elsie Coralene Tait and Sydney were the children of William and Mary- Anna Tait (nee Cathcart/Grieve).  After Mary-Anna (known as Annie) died in 1908, Elsie Coralene (known as Coraline) went to live with the Linnings.  We're not quite sure what happened to her older brother Sydney.

So I burrowed around on that estimable source Trove with a bit of back-up from Picture Queensland and this is what I found.....

Linning and Allison Quartet practising around the piano, Baroona, 1913 taken by John Frederick Shale John Oxley Library Collection found on Picture Queensland
Now I like this photo because my sisters-in-law told me that their grandmother (Elsie Coralene Tait) had a musical education whilst in the Linnings care so it is nice to have this kind of picture to help tell the story.  

There are lots of other great photos of the Linning family online including this one.....

Norma, Ronald and George Linning at 'Baroona' in Glamorgan Vale, 1907  
But back to the family detective business....how were the Linnings connected to the Taits?  I thought I would have a look at the Historical Index to Qld BDM and see how much information was there on the Linnings.  It wasn't a name like Smith, so the results might be manageable.  I searched Marriages and limited the search from 1865 to 1937 because this photo indicated that the Linnings had come to Queensland around that time.  There were 19 results - quite manageable.  

I looked at them.  Bingo!  There was a familiar name - MengelJames Henry William Linning married Margaret Elizabeth Mengel in 1897.  Where had I seen the name Mengel before?  Well, after Mary-Anna (Annie) had died, William Tait went on to marry Elise (sometimes listed as Elsie) Louse Emma Mengel in 1909.  Aha!  Were Margaret Elizabeth and Elise/Elsie sisters?  Elise/Elsie died in 1925 and her parents are listed as Jacob Friedrich and Margaret Koob so I think it may be likely.

Now of course I don't have any of the certificates yet but I studied births and marriages and am coming up with a rough idea of who was who and who was married to whom.  I think that Frederick and Johanna Linning (nee Lorenzen) had about six children - James Henry William (born?),  Frederick William in 1871, Ferdinand Detloff in 1876, Ludwig Wilhelm in 1878 and Enora Emilie in 1881 and Carl Frederich (born?) who died in 1933

I cannot find any children born to JHW Linning and Margaret Elizabeth Mengel so I wonder if they were the Linnings that took in Elsie Corale/ine.  The photo above of Norman, Ronald and George belong to JHW's brother Ludwig Wilhelm and his wife Violet Helen Shale.  They were the eldest of 7 children and  Ronald would have been about the same age as Elsie Corale/ine Tait being born in the same year.

When you look at Elsie Corale/ine's marriage certificate, one of the witnesses to the marriage is JHW Linning so I think this is correct.  Maybe he wasn't known as James but rather Henry because my husband's mother remembers him as Harry.  Anyway, I should order some certificates I think.  

Back to Sydney, Elsie Corale/ine's older brother.  I did a bit of hunting on the Queensland State Archives website - namely the Index to the Register of Seamen 1882 - 1919.  I found a Sydney Tait listed on the Cloncurry on Page 84, HAR/2 Item ID 17909 Microfilm Z2412.  I can and will order a copy of this page in the register for $6.50 - bargain!  It may not give me very much information but I am hoping that it will give us "details of employment including current number/number, date of entry of particulars/date of occurrence name of ship and official number, name, age, capacity, whether engaged, discharged etc., home address (or at least country of origin), and wages."

How's your research going?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

FlipPal and the Taits

Extract from Passenger List of Shenir 1883

This post is the attempt to structure thoughts about some recent research on my husband's side of the family ....and also to show some early efforts at scanning using my brand new FlipPal.

So...let me show you the FlipPal scanner ....

Here it is in it's bright purple carry case which for some reason looks blue in this photo.....

Here it is unveiled for the world to see....

So you can see that it is quite small and easy to carry...I don't know what it weighs...okay I'll go and weigh it...it weighs 770g with the carry  case or nearly 2lbs.

 Here it is open and ready for business.....see that little screen on the right?

That's where you can see your image when you scan it...

The image gets recorded on the SD card just under the screen there...

And if your computer is old and clunky like mine and doesn't take SD cards, never fear, the FlipPal comes with a USB stick that you can stick it in the side of - putting all my prepositions the wrong way around in a most ungainly fashion but I'm sure you get the gist and I'm sorry for the over-exposure in the last photo.

I love my FlipPal scanner because it means I now have a scanner that is closer to me, portable and easier to operate than the one in my husband's study which always seems to take forever to scan and then save stuff to the wrong drive and take forever for me to find and then re-size.  I can take this one anywhere with me and scan stuff that people may not have copies of e.g. old photos.  I will report on how friendly places are with regards to scanning stuff from microfilm screens etc.  I bought mine from the lovely people at Gould and no, they are not paying me to write this blog.

Okay so back to family history.  An old contact emailed me this week and put me in touch with someone who is researching the Tait family.  He is descended from one line of the family and we are descended from the other and we are trying to stitch stories together.  His side of the family went down to Sydney.  Our mob stayed up here..so he is interested in what they did between their arrival in Queensland in January 1883 and their departure to Sydney c 1920.

This is what I have found so far...

From the A.D. Edwardes collection at the State Library of South Australia

Shipping List - the Taits arrived on the Shenir in Maryborough January 1883.  Alex and Catherine aged 29 and 26 respectively with their four children, William aged 6, Catherine aged 3, Alex aged 2 and James aged 1.  The Shenir left Glasgow 21 September 1882 so the voyage took about 14 weeks.    
Newspaper Articles - Several articles found on Trove give some insight into the calibre of the immigrants, the voyage and their reception. 
The Queenslander
The Brisbane Courier Friday 12 January 1883

The Queenslander Saturday 10 March 1883

Historical Index of the Qld Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, shows that Alexander and Catherine welcomed another son into the world - John on 30 June 1884.  

The Queensland 13 March 1886
But another newspaper article indicates that not all is going well for Alexander Tait, now of Ipswich, who was adjudicated insolvent on 7 October 1885. Five months later he applied for the certificate of discharge which was granted by his Honour Sir Charles Lilley, Chief Justice in the Supreme Court.  

Meanwhile, more children are on their way - George on 25 April 1886, Mary on 5 May 1888 and Thomas Christopher on 28 April 1891.  Will I obtain their birth certificates?  Perhaps.

School records searchable through FindmyPast are a bit difficult to confirm as there are many Taits in Queensland.

However a search of the Orphanage and Reformatory indexes on the Queensland State Archives reveals the following:

On 17 May 1890 at the age of 10, Alexander the 2nd eldest son, standing 3 ft 11 inches and weighing 55lbs with a chest circumference of 23 & 1/2 inches with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair was tried at Ipswich and convicted of larceny.  He was sentenced to three years at what is now the infamous Westbrook Reformatory School for boys.  He was a Roman Catholic and his father Alex, a painter, lived at Mortimore Street in Ipswich.  So very very sad.  This paper is about the reform school located at Lytton but may give some idea of what life may have been like at Westbrook at the time.  This promotional film made in the 1950s gives a rosy picture of life there rather at odds with recent publications.
My first attempt at stitching on the FlipPal - Alex Tait's entry in the admission register

Then in 1894, George his younger brother, at the age of 8 was tried at Longreach, convicted of neglect and sentenced for four years.  It's a bit difficult to read the writing but it seems his father was away.

Ploughing at Westbrook State Farm, 1896
On 25 August 1899 Thomas Tait, at the age of 8, was tried at Roma and convicted of larceny and sentenced for seven years.  His father was listed as a painter living at Roma.

A month later his older brother, William Macdonald Tait at the age of 24, a saddler of Oxley married Mary Anna Cathcart (nee Grieve) a widow from Walloon aged 27.  These are my husband's great-grandparents.

In 1900 William's youngest sister Mary was admitted to the Industrial School for Girls in Toowoomba aged 12 and released in 1903.  

William Macdonald and Mary Anna had Sydney McDonald in 1900, Pearly Gladys in 1902 (who died a year later) and then Elsie Coralene (my husband's grandmother) in July 1906. William was listed as a picture framer in the Qld Commonealth Electoral Roll living at Hampton Street Woolloongabba.  On Elsie's birth certificate he is listed as living in Baines Street Kangaroo Point.

Hawthorne Street Woolloongabba 1900 with bubonic plague quarantine fencing
In September of 1908 Mary Anna died of double pneumonia.  At that time the family were still living at Kangaroo Point.  She was buried at Ipswich Cemetery.  We have yet to find the grave.  I should call the Sexton tomorrow - no luck with the online indexes so far.  I have checked Anglican, Pioneer, Presbyterian and General.  

We know Elsie was sent to live with the Linnings who lived at Walloon.  We're not sure what happened to Sydney.  Elsie is listed as attending Jondaryan State School in 1918.  You can find out more about Jondaryan here.

Elsie Tait

William re-married in 1909 to Elise Louise Emma Mengel.  They had two daughters - Thelma Maria Margreta and then Katherine Emma in 1912.  

By the 1913 Qld Commonwealth Electoral Roll William's father Alexander is still listed as a house painter but now living in Crown Street Brisbane South.  William is listed as a fancy goods dealer in Logan Road Woolloongabba.  

In 1914 William is listed as living in both Bourbong Street Bundaberg as an auctioneer and then in August with his wife Emma in Gympie as an auctioneer and shopkeeper in Gympie.  Kathleen Emma Tait is listed as attending the One Mile State School in Gympie in 1919.  The photo below was taken a few years earlier but gives a sense of the size of the school.

One Mile State School 1912

In 1920 Kathleen Emma's grandfather and William's father Alexander died, according to the Historical Index.  So there's a death certificate for me to get.  

According to the Historical index of the Qld BDM, William died in 1944.  His parents are listed incorrectly as Edward Mcdonald and his mother's surname as Molloy when I understood it to be Catherine Munay.  This could be an error however as the copy of the marriage certificate has been transcribed so who knows...it could even be Murray.  I must order this certificate even though it probably contains some inaccuracies.  It would be nice to know where he is buried.

I have found some Taits buried at Toowong cemetery but it is difficult to know if they are ours.

So this has been a long and turgid post, for which I apologise.  But it is an attempt to record research and its sources on the run as it were.  Have you any suggestions as to further research I could conduct?