Sunday, October 27, 2013

QFHS Family Tree Maker™ Seminar with John Donaldson

Yesterday I went to the QFHS Family Tree Maker™  seminar held at the Queensland Baptists Conference Centre at 53 Prospect Road Gaythorne.  For those of you who have lived in Brisbane a lot longer than me or a long time ago - it's the old ACU campus.

This was my first visit to the Conference Centre which is just around the corner from QFHS in Bellevue Avenue Gaythorne.

There was a welcoming email sent out a few days before the event asking us to get there in plenty of time and advising us what landmarks to look out for on the way there and what facilities would be available when we got there in terms of catering, the QFHS bookshop, EFTPOS etc.  A small flaw was the identification of a fast food outlet near the turn off to the Centre.  It's Big Rooster rather than Hungry Jacks which is near Prospect Road.

There was clear signage on approach and plenty of parking as well as lots of smiling faces to greet me as I arrived.  The tempting bookshop was set up as always with a form to fill out if you wanted to be notified when the new version of FTM would be available.

There was a lucky door prize and I was given a bag of goodies including the agenda, the March 2013 Victorian G.U.M. Inc News, VicGUM ® membership form, bookmark and flyer, an AFFHO/FFSH Australasian really useful information leaflet, flyers for upcoming seminars, a pedigree chart, a family group sheet and some cheat sheets from QFHS about the library's holdings, suggested websites for family historians and advice on how to start tracing your family history.  The seminar cost $25 and ran from 9am-3pm including a light lunch.

We were in the smaller Lecture Theatre or Auditorium which was not too cold and well designed in terms of acoustics and everyone being able to see the screen.  The chairs had those little flip up tables which threatened on several occasions to upset my travel mug but I weighed it down firmly with my iPad.

The seminar was ably introduced by Kerri Kleidon who is the Co-convenor of the FTM Special Interest Group at QFHS which meets on the first Friday of each month (not January) and the last Saturday of even-numbered months (except December) at the QFHS at 10am.  

John Donaldson was the presenter.  John is an alpha tester for Family Tree Maker™ 
and the Secretary of Victorian G.U.M Inc. The seminar was promoted as covering the use of Family Tree Makerand providing ample opportunity for questions and answers.  He also wrote the book published this year by Unlock the Past, So You Are Totally New to Family Tree Maker™ .  The number of places was restricted to 75 and they sold out tickets months ago!

John is a confident speaker and quickly established his credentials with us.  It's not easy wrangling a group of nearly 100 people all with varying levels of expertise with questions ranging from "What's a Gedcom?" to "What is the ontology of Family Tree Maker™ ?".  There was plenty of time for questions and yet he managed to stick to his program covering the seven work-spaces in Family Tree Maker™ . The topics were Places and Media, Charting, Linking & Syncing and Online trees and Sources and Reports.

John told us that there are 410 Family Tree Maker™  users in VicGUM® and that it is by far the most popular family tree program - others being Legacy, Reunion, The Master Genealogist and Brothers Keeper.  

Most people at the seminar were using the 2012 version though there were some die-hard users of Version 6 who were willing to admit it.

I have been using Family Tree Maker™ for longer than I can remember.

Look !  I have the book to prove it.

Book that came with Version 2.0 dated 1996

Being an alpha tester means John is up to speed with developments in the pipeline and he was very enthusiastic on behalf of Mac users advising them that FTP 3 for Mac is great.  It's three months away and 64 bit.

So what does the new version coming in 2014 have?  Well - it loads in seconds apparently which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned.  

The layout is a bit different with a new family view which I think I'm going to like better than the current view.

One of the tricks John showed us that it is now possible to "Export a branch" of your family tree from the new wizard with one right click.  

There is also a magnifying glass tool which is useful for viewing scanned census records etc.  

2014 Tools also sorts all children by birth order.  

Most importantly John emphasized that the 2014 version has a snip tool which enables web clipping.

If you want to check out the official version of "What's new?" look here or here at this video.

Was the seminar value for money?  Absolutely!  I challenge you to find a 5-hour workshop anywhere that you can do for $25.  

What did I get out of it?  Lots.

John encouraged us to experiment with features in a sandbox/dummy file rather than the "real" tree.

He also encouraged us to watch the free tutorials available in the software which don't require the internet to play or view webinars online - he particularly recommended Duff Wilson.  

Looking to follow a blog about Family Tree Maker™? John recommended Russ Worthingon's blog here.

Want accurate data?  John identified many reports which you can run on your program to check for things like undocumented sources or individuals marrying at the age of 13 or less.

He also gave hints and tips for other companies/plugins that might help with charting.  For example for really big family tree charts for reunions (e.g. ones that are 50 metres long), he recommended the Family Tree Factory.

Interested in publishing your own book?  John talked about a Plugin called Family Book Creator to make your Family History book really schmick.

I'm into mapping at the moment which you've probably guessed if you've been looking at my blog lately.  Whilst it's still annoying that you have to use Bingmaps in FTM rather than say Google maps, John did show us how you can sort places in hierarchically and encouraged us to use the place name authority to make sure our data was consistent.  Unfortunately you can't print maps that you generate but John suggested taking a screen shot if you wanted a map with pins in it of where your ancestors lived.  

John also encouraged us to remember that media is not just photos or scans of certificates, census et al but can be audio and movies.  

I am by no means a super-user of Family Tree Maker™ despite having bought every update since 1996.  John's seminar reminded me there is no excuse for not knowing how to do things with all the marvelous support available now via the software tutorials available in the package (although we agreed that the American accent is a tad annoying - my apologies to dear American blogging compatriots - we just like hearing our own accents I'm afraid) and the wonderful groups and individuals in our community who give so much of their time to support us in our quest.

Here are some links to pages that John has drawn up for Family Tree Maker™ users - one is links for Help and one is the link to Source Templates.  If you are looking for technical support from users you could do no better than to join VicGUM®.  Membership is $65 per year which includes a joining fee of $15.  John was proud to report that queries are often answered within hours.  

Thanks for coming to Brisbane John - it was nice to meet you.  

And thank you to QFHS for being the hosts with the most! 

And yes they are thinking of running this seminar again next year - perhaps twice if they get the numbers so if you are interested do let them know.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sepia Saturday 200: 26 October 2013

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

Trumpet fanfares :  My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to that celebration of old and curious photographs that is known throughout the world as Sepia Saturday. Indeed, welcome to a very special Sepia Saturday, because four years and 199 themes ago, Sepia Saturday was born. And we are celebrating this important anniversary by asking everybody who has ever joined in with Sepia Saturday to look back on their contributions and choose a favourite one. Simply republish that favourite Sepia post and we will gather together all the contributions and publish them in a little "The Best Of Sepia Saturday" book which will be available for anyone to buy on-line. As you would expect from Sepia Saturday, there are very few rules and regulations involved in this special Sepia Saturday post. It can be any of your Sepia Saturday posts, but unfortunately we will have to limit it to one per participant. If you would like to amend or update the post, that is fine so long as it remains recognisably related to the original post. I would also like to include a short paragraph about each of the contributors - something along the lines of the Blogger profiles that appear on most of our blogs. 

I am a Johnny come lately to Sepia Saturday having only been aware of its existence since February this year and having made the grand total of 20 contributions.

I have chosen my first contribution (Sepia Saturday 162) largely because it is short and sweet and also because it is a photo I love but know absolutely nothing about...the best kind !

The theme was bicycles or lads with caps on their heads.

This photo was in my grandfather's album (Thomas McLoughlin) so I am hazarding a guess that it was taken in Bathurst or Orange in the early 1900s.

What these lads were doing I have no idea...feel free to extemporise....

Hanging about on a Sunday I reckon. 

Happy Anniversary Sepia Saturday!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Irish/McLoughlin/Sweeney Research - Part Two

Irish Coffee
from Ron Doke on Flickr
Are you looking for a coherent post about researching Irish ancestors? won't get it on this blog.....think more along the lines of musings from a bemused family historian blundering her way around different resources and trying to find what works without spending too much $.....

Let me tell you what I've been up to.....

So...last night I did a bit more reading and perusing of websites and I came across this one....Roots Ireland.  I'd been to it before - only I'd know when you try to register for a site and it tells you you've already registered.  Oh dear!  Alzheimers has well and truly set in.

Anyway...I was frustrated and thought I'd try looking for Patrick McLoughlin's birth/baptism again....Roots Ireland seemed promising.  

I looked for Patrick McLoughlin with father Owen and mother Bridget Sweeny in County Sligo...


Hmmm....I thought.  Let's give Bridget a miss.  I got that information from his death certificate - that could be dicey info.  Let's try just looking for Owen as the father (which I got from his marriage certificate).


You're kidding me????

Okay...let's try Bridget.  
from Martathegoodone on Flickr

Bingo two results.....Needless to was the second result which had the information I was looking for.  

A Church Baptism record for Patrick McLaughlin 

Date of Baptism: 7 Mar 1833 (this closely matches the ages on the shipping list, his marriage certificate and death certificate)

Parish/District: Templeboy

County: Co. Sligo

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Mother: Bridget Sweeny

Father: John

Sponsor 1/Informant 1: Michael Dunn Sponsor2/Informant 2: Maria Dunn

Yes I know it's McLaughlin rather than McLoughlin but spelling is always an issue in family history.  On his death certificate it's McLaughlin.  On his marriage certificate I think it looks like McLoughlin.

So now, I discover that Patrick's father was not Owen, but John.  And that he was born in Templeboy.  I spend a lot of time trying to find Templeboy.  It seems it is now called something else.

Nature's Rest
The only Creative Commons licence photo of Templeoby on Flickr by Mark Couvillion then I was up half the night trying to cross reference results in the Griffiths's Valuations for John, Bridget and Owen.  Not much joy really but half a ream of paper later.....

I flapped about a bit more and then reserved John Grenham's book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors (which I've borrowed once before - it was impressive but a bit overwhelming when you've got no idea what you're doing) and Chris Paton's book Tracing your Family History on the Internet.  

The next day I went to work and picked up The Irish Family and Local History Handbook as well and pondered that at night.

The real joy and find though was dear John Grenham's book.  I reckon it's worth it's weight in gold.  It turned up at work the next day on reservation from another library in the region.  Have I told you how much I like working in libraries?  It's the best gig - honestly - I am in heaven.  

So John Grenham's book was able to tell me the LDS film number for the parish of Templeboy.  Oh, I see...Templeboy is a parish, not a town...right.  And then I see in brackets after the name of Templeboy  the name Killala.  What does that mean?  Does that mean that the parish goes by two different names?  Read the table carefully means Diocese, whatever that means.  Google Diocese and Parish. Hmmm....I think a Diocese is bigger than a Parish. Hmm...

I ordered the film from the LDS the next day.  Easy peasy. Lemon squeezy.  $7.75 for 60 days.  What a bargain.  I wonder how long it will take to arrive.....

Time to go back and look at the half ream of paper.

I found what I think might be the Dunns or at least Michael Dunn but this is when I start to notice discrepancies between Origins and Ask About Ireland.  When I search for Michael Dunn in Sligo on Ask About Ireland, I get 1 result - Michael Dunn in the parish of St John.  Origins returns 4 results - Michael Dunne in Killoran, Skreen and Templeboy and Michael Dunn in St John.  Who do I go with?  Do I choose the one in Templeboy or the one spelled "correctly" in St John.  The one in Templeboy lives in the townland of Kilrusheighter.  The one in St John lives in the townland of Carrownamaddoo.

early morning panorama, Sligo Harbour
Sligo Harbour from Niall on Flickr

Let's go back and look at the Bridgets we found:

Ask About Ireland says there are no Bridget Sweenys in Templeboy in the Griffith's Valuations.

There are 3 Bridget Sweenys in Sligo - 2 in Ahamlish and 1 in Kilglass.

Origins also says there are no Bridget Sweenys in Templeboy either

Origins says there are 5 Bridget Sweenys in Sligo - or 5 results.  2 in Ahamlish, 2 in Kilfree and 1 in Kilglass.  The townlands are: Bunduff, Kilfree, Mullaghroe and Culleens.

I need to put these on a map to see where they all are...

Ask About Ireland says there are no John McLaughlins in Sligo on Griffiths

They say there are 29 John McLoughlins in Co Sligo.  

Origins says there are 26 John McLoughlins in Sligo and no John McLaughlins.

None of the Townlands match Bridget or Michael.  Matching parishes are Ahamlish and St Johns.  Ahlamlish townlands are Ballyscannel and Grange.  St Johns is Town Sligo or Derrydarragh.  

Oh dear, it's all very tedious isn't it?

There's a bit of me that thinks - okay - let's look for Bridget's marriage.  But I'm not really having much joy with that either.

There are 9 results for Bridget Sweeny in Sligo on Roots Ireland.  None of them are for a John or an Owen or a McLoughlin!

I think now that I really have to go back to Australia and try and discover if Patrick came out with siblings and what those siblings were called and where they were born and who their parents were.....back to the long and winding lane of more research....

Knockmore Co. Sligo by Irish Dominican Foundations on Flickr

Monday, October 21, 2013

Evaluating Griffith's Valuations

Very recently I caught up with a new-found cousin.  We've started exchanging information - as cousins do.  I sent her some stuff with a bit of an apology....."Found this the other day, not sure if it's ours...." - that sort of thing.

"This" happened to be some items from Griffith's Valuations.  "What are Griffith's Valuations?" my cousin replied.

Right then, better get my facts straight hadn't I?


The Griffith's Valuation of Ireland 1847-1864 is an invaluable resource and census substitute because it lists where people lived and what property they held.  This valuation was based on the productive capacity of land and the potential rent of buildings.  It is arranged by county, barony, poor law union, civil parish and townland.  It lists every household head and occupier of land in Ireland.  This site offers a family name search and a place name search.  There is free access to digital images of the original valuation and maps.  These maps include the 1850s Griffith's map, a modern Google map and town plan (if applicable).

from page 14 of Cora Num's Irish Research on the Internet p. 14 - ISBN 978-0-9804372-3-2 published 2011 by Cora Num.  I bought my copy from the QFHS bookshop.

Where ?

So we're talking about Ireland okay?



How do you get them?

Well, I got my results whilst working in the computer room at the Queensland Family History Society Library one Sunday.  I'm embarrassed to confess I don't know which subscription website I was using at the time - probably the subscription website Find My Past.

If you read Peter Christian's The Genealogist's Internet (I've got the 5th edition) he points you in the direction of Irish Origins.   I have a subscription to Origins which expires in November.  It cost me £55 last year for a Total subscription.  

Cora had pointed me in the direction of the Ask About Ireland website which is great - because it's free.

Ask About Ireland is an initiative "of public libraries together with local museums and archives in the digitisation and online publication of the original, the unusual and the unique material from their local studies' collections to create a national Internet resource for culture." From their website here.

Ask About Ireland encourages you to upload information about your family to their website too if you find a connection with the Griffith's Valuations.

What's different about looking at the valuations on each site? 

Well the search results look pretty much the same.  They are presented in a tabulated form.

Ask About Ireland's is set out as follows: 

Surname, First Name, County, Parish, Details, Original Page, Map Views and then a button for uploading your information.

Origins tabulation shows the Townland as well.

The maps on each site are very different.

Ask about Ireland's looks more exciting as there is the opportunity to superimpose the Ordinance Maps over Google or view a hybrid.

It takes a bit of practice to get used to navigating the maps.

I actually found using both sites at the same time quite helpful.  Origins only shows the original ordinance survey maps.  Because it gives you the townland name as well that helps you navigate on the Ask About Ireland maps.  Am I making sense?

But Origins is good because in the Details section it tells you the Ordinance Sheet Number a well as the Map Reference Number and that helps you find your way around Ask About Ireland's maps.  


So who was I looking for?  Well I was looking for Owen McLoughlin - he was my 3rd great-grandfather.  His son Patrick came out to Australia on the Light of the Age 27 January 1864.  According to Patrick's marriage certificate his father was Owen McLoughlin - a labourer.  According to a transcript of his death certificate, his mother was Bridget Sweeney.  I could look for Patrick but there are a few too many.  Owen is a more unusual name.  

There are two entries for an Owen McLoughlin in County Sligo.  This is the image of the one for the Parish of St Johns from 1858 - Map Reference 11 OS Sheet 20 for the Townland Aghamore Near.  

Peter Christian recommends reading a couple of articles which give you guidance to reading Griffith's Valuations.  There's this one , this one and this one.  I like the's longer but really drills down.

Excitingly there's an Owen McLoughlin living it would seem right next door to a Patrick McLoughlin.  But wait, there's another Patrick McLoughlin further down the page too.....

Aghamore Near is I think in the top right hand corner of the page

This is the kind of map you get on Origins.  It's authentic but very hard to read.

The other result I got for Owen McLoughlin Sligo is in the Parish of Kilglass, Townland of Cabragh.  It was published in 1857.  There's no Patrick but there are a few Sweenys - none of them Bridget though.

Map of Cabragh from Origins


Why indeed ?  Oh well, nothing worth finding is easily found is it.? So there's a lot for me to ponder here.  In the first result we have an Owen McLoughlin and a Patrick McLoughlin living in the Townland of Aghamore Near in the Parish of St John.  They are both leasing from John Wynne. Owen is leasing 3 acres, 3 roods and 10 perches.  James Reilly in his article says that "the holder of less than five acres was labeled a "cottier or laborer", small farmers usually held between five and thirty acres. " Having said that, the instructions manual for the Griffith's valuators says that "the farmer's house...should have the italic letter a prefixed to the number of the lot in which it is situated: the cottagers' b, c etc."  Owen and Patrick have "a" next to their lots which indicates that they are considered farmers in their own right.  Patrick has two lots: 15 acres and six perches in one and 2 acres 3 roods and 20 perches in another.  

An office it is important to note "includes factories, mills, shops and farm outbuildings such as a stable, turf shed, cow barn, corn shed, a piggery, and so forth." (Reilly again)

Patrick has another holding further down the page - land and house - 9 acres and 8 perches.  

There are no agnomens used on that page to indicate that the Patrick McLoughlins are different people e.g. sons, fathers, different occupations, cousins.  I have learned today that agnomen means different name in Latin e.g. Junior or Senior or the father's name in brackets. 

The other result for Owen McLoughlin is in the Parish of Kilglass in the Townland of Cabragh.  Here Owen McLoughlin is leasing 13 acres and 33 perches from Robert Orme.  

Which one, if any, is my Owen McLoughlin.  I cannot tell.  I am leaning towards the instance at Aghamore Near only because his holding more accurately fits the description of him as a Labourer.  But then I'm swayed by the Sweenys too.  Could he have moved from Cabragh to Aghamore Near.

Interestingly when you search the Tithe Applotment books there are no Owen McLoughlins in County Sligo.  This is when I realise I need to know much more about Ireland and its counties - there are a couple of Owen McLoughlins in Roscommon, a couple in Meath, a couple in Leitrim and one in Dublin, one in Kings and one in Donegal.

Hmmm....I'm leaning to Leitrim or Donegal.  

Both Origins and Ask About Ireland have some good help articles.  Ask About Ireland has a video on this page too.

Please let me know if you have found other resources helpful or you would like to make comments on any conclusions I have drawn or suggestions for furthering my research.

I am beginning to think more and more that I need John Grenham's excellent new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors....yes...another book.  Sigh. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sepia Saturday 199: 19 October 2013

Alan at Sepia Saturday says:

Hey, let's put on a show! The desire to dress up, lark around in public, utter words that you would not normally recognise, is as old as the hills - or at least as old as a string of Judy Garland films. Sepia Saturday 199 celebrates the theatre, be it professional or amateur, serious or comic, situated below a proscenium arch or behind a kitchen table. Dressing up, dressing down, acting daft or acting dreadfully - they all form part of the script for Sepia Saturday 199 (post your posts on or around Saturday 19th October 2013 and add a link to the linky list below). Our archive theme image was taken in 1914 in Waterford in Ireland and it has been suggested that it might be the cast of an amateur performance of the Pirates of Penzance.

It's going to be a quick one this week and I'm afraid there's nothing from my own collection as I fear I have run out of material.

Thankfully the State Library of Queensland collection at Picture Queensland is chock full of treats....

Chorus line girls, Cremorne Theatre, ca..1926

Aren't they just lovely?

There's something to be said for a good hat I always say.

And a beautiful smile too of course.

Although of course if you were in the audience one would hope you would take notice of this lantern slide.

Lantern slide used in early cinema

I hope you enjoy other performances on Sepia Saturday gives me reason to live...well perhaps that's exaggerating it a bit....but  the great news is that you can leave your hat on while you're on the net...

The Book of Me, Written by You: Grandparents Part B

This is Part B of Week 7 of a 15 month project inspired by Julie Goucher of Angler's Rest.

What were their names?

Where were they from?
Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
Where were they born, another Country or state/area
What did they do?
Did you know them?
What was your relationship with them?
If you didn't know them have you researched about them?

Paternal Grandfather

I only knew two of my grandparents - one from each side of the family.

I didn't know my paternal grandfather.  He died just before my parents were married and before I was born.

That must have been very very hard for all concerned.

All the photos of my paternal grandfather make me wish I had known him.  He always looks a lot of fun and as though he had a great sense of humour.  I remember my mother saying that he would play tricks at the dinner table.  You know the sort of thing...
"Look at that enormous spider !"...and then he'd steal some of your dinner when you weren't looking.

His name was Edwin Arthur James Conner and, yes, he was an emigrant.  He emigrated to Australia from England arriving 6 May 1912 on the "Omrah". Two years later this was used as a troop ship in WW1.

S.S. Omrah of the Orient Shipping Line. It was torpedoed and sunk off Cape Spartivento in 1918, while troop carrying. Copyright expired.  From Picture Queensland.
The family spent some time in Melbourne first and then relocated to Sydney in 1920.  

Ted was born 10th June 1900 at 32 Connaught Road North End Buckland, Portsmouth.  

View Larger Map

Edwin or Ted as he was called was the youngest of three children with two older sisters Constance (Connie) and Lilian (Lil).  

This is a photo of him taken in England as a small child.

This is one of him with his mother Eleanor Eliza (nee Cook).

And another one...

This is one of him with his two of his children.

He married my grandmother Ethel on 18th February 1924 at St Matthew's Bondi.  If I'm to believe a calendar found on the web, 18th February was a Monday.  I understand my grandmother's mother did not approve of the wedding.  My grandmother would have been 19 years of age.  Her father signed the certificate as a witness and gave his approval.

To my knowledge, there are no wedding photos. 

Here is a map of where the church is located.

View Larger Map

What did he do?  Well - don't laugh - but I have inherited a very fancy ice bucket which has engraved on it:

'Presented to Mr E.A. Conner 
On the occasion of
His Retirement from the service
With best wishes from his many Friends in 
The Electricity Commission of N.S.W.
21st November 1958'

So I know he worked at the Electricity Commission of N.S.W.

On his marriage certificate to my grandmother Ethel, it says that he was a Drafstman.

I think my father said recently that he studied at RMIT.

So, there's two things for me to chase up.

This photo is of Ted aged 45.  The back of the photo is interesting too....

So I wonder if he was a member of a photographic club.

The caption on this photo says "pulled out of bed to say goodbye to the Maloneys"

The Maloneys were very good friends of the Conners.

I like this photo the best - Ethel and Ted, relaxed and happy in their home.

Paternal Grandmother

Where do I even begin to talk about my gorgeous Gran?

This isn't an especially good photo of Gran but it gives you a sense of her style.

Gran was christened Ethel Eileen Carrett and born 10 November 1904 in Riverview Road Canterbury.  Funnily enough, if you look at her birth certificate, it says Ethel Irene but she always maintained that was a mistake.

This is a photo of the house where Gran says she was born at Flinders Road Undercliffe

Ethel was the second eldest of seven children - five girls and two boys.  Her father was described as a bricklayer on her birth certificate.  By the time she was married, he was described as a builder.

The story goes that she met her husband while travelling around in her father's pony trap collecting rent from all the tenants.  The Conners were renting one of the Carretts' properties.

Gran was quite short - probably not much more than 5 foot - maybe even smaller.  

She loved hats.

She was a very quick walker.  I was flat out keeping up with her no matter how old I was.

I spent a lot of time with her in my youth.  She was the best babysitter and we enjoyed our weekends together.  We would talk until the cows came home and solve all the problems of the world.

She taught me to knit.  She was very good at all crafts: crocheting, embroidery, tapestry.  She completed several huge tapestries. We have several in our home adorning the walls.

Memories include making pikelets or scones with her while my father mowed her lawn on weekends.  She spoiled me rotten with breakfast in bed - a boiled egg and brown bread toast.  She made delicious roast chicken in a sunbeam frypan like no one else I know.  She made me a special icecream and jelly dessert called a Knickerbocker Glory.

She gave me a string of pearls for my eighteenth birthday I think.  She bought them from the Burlington Arcade in London.

She was a great traveler and loved cruise ships - particularly the Royal Caribbean Line.

She took me to the opera.

She shopped for everything at David Jones - even chickens!

She was a very good swimmer and I have blogged about her prowess here.

She had much tragedy in life.  She outlived her siblings, her parents, her husband and three of her four children.

Ethel died 20 October 1996 at the age of 93

She had, as they say, a very good innings.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Book of Me, Written by You: Grandparents - Part A

Today is Week 7 of a 15 month project inspired by Julie Goucher of Angler's Rest.

What were their names?

Where were they from?
Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
Where were they born, another Country or state/area
What did they do?
Did you know them?
What was your relationship with them?
If you didn't know them have you researched about them?

I have written about my grandparents quite a bit on my blog already so I apologise for any repetition.

I only remember two grandparents when growing up: one from each side of the family as the other two had died before I was born.  Let's tackle them one side at a time.

Maternal Grandmother

My maternal grandmother's name varies according to the certificates you read.

On her birth certificate she is called Helen Kate  Forfar.
On her marriage certificate she is called Katherine Helen Forfar.
On her death certificate she is called Kathleen Helen McLoughlin.

Kit (as she was known) died 11 April 1958 at the age of 55 (before I was born) at Gloucester House, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Camperdown.  My mother was only 22 when Kit died.  The cause of death on the death certificate says Pituitary Adenoma.  I remember the story being that they discovered a brain tumour.  She had an operation to remove it, which was successful, but she died of high blood pressure shortly after.  There was also a story about a family picnic in a park somewhere - years before the tumour was discovered.  A tyre was reported to have come off a car and hit Kit in the back of the head.  Family conjecture was that that was the start of the tumour which grew for years, undetected for a long time.  

Kit was born at 23 Bedford Streeet Newtown on 8 December 1902 (my mother's birthday was 7 December) - the younger of identical twins to her sister Grace Isabella.  

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The story of the Forfar family is quite sad.  Kit and Bel's mother died when the twins were only three and they spent most of their early childhood in The Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children with older brother Ernest and sister Dorothy.  When their father re-married in 1913, Kit and Bel were removed from the asylum by their father and taken home to live with their step-mother.  They were eternally grateful to her for this.

You can read more about the Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children here.

Walter William Forfar and his new wife Alice were listed as living at 1 Benahm St Petersham in the Electoral Roll.  Five years later they moved to 230 Old Canterbury Road Summer Hill.  This is not very far from Nowranie Street where my mother spent much of her childhood.

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WW Forfar has various addresses from 1922 - 1925 including:

843 Oxford St Paddington and
163 Elizabeth Street Sydney in 1922
99 Glebe Point Road Glebe in 1923
Owen Street Innisfail in 1925

I'm not sure whether these were all domestic addresses or whether some of them might have been business addresses.  Walter William (or Dick as he was called) was a pastrycook by trade.

Kit's twin sister Belle married in 1922.

In 1928 the girls' father had a rather spectacular accident as reported in this newspaper article.

courtesy of National Library of Australia website Trove

Note that Walter is described as living alone.  His wife Alice is living in Wollongong in 1930 at a place called "Inglebah" in Smith Street.  Upon further investigation it seems that "Inglebah" is a high-class guest house.  There's a badly scribbled on advertisement from the Goulburn Evening Penny Post from 1932 which describes its attractions.  I don't know whether Kit was living with Alice or perhaps with her twin sister and her husband - the Wingfields in Newcastle.

courtesy of National Library of Australia website Trove

I don't know anything about Kit at all in terms of her occupation and this is something that I need to follow up but I'm not sure how or where to begin.  She doesn't seem to appear on any electoral rolls prior to her marriage which makes it somewhat difficult.

Kit married Tom on 4th August 1934 at the age of 31 at St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church Bondi.  How did they meet I wonder????

There are no photos of the wedding to my knowledge.  

This was one of Tom's favourite photos of Kit I think - probably taken when they were courting.

She was described as a spinster and her usual occupation as domestic duties.  Witnesses to the marriage were V McLoughlin - I'm guessing this is Tom's brother Vince.  Helen Reily was also a witness.  I don't know who Helen was and I should follow this up with cousins.

Kit and Tom were married by The Rev. Michael Fitzpatrick.  He died three years later and this is his obituary.

courtesy of National Library of Australia website Trove

Kit and Tom's marriage was what was called a "mixed" marriage in those days.  She was Church of England and he was Catholic and I think it caused a great deal of heartache for much of their married life.  

Maternal Grandfather

In contrast to Kit, I have much more information about Thomas, her husband.

Here is a photo of him as a baby.  He ended up being the eldest of nine children with five brothers and three sisters.

He was named Thomas Joseph Benedict McLoughlin and was born 7th July 1898 in William Street Bathurst.  

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I called him Grandad.  I think everyone else called him Tom.

I have some great photos of Tom growing up.  There's this one.

Tom and John Byrne

Tom and John are described in this article below:
courtesy of National Library of Australia Trove.

There are a couple of photos of football teams

1912 - Tom back row right at the end on the right
1914 - Tom front row on the right

This is a scan of his certificate of enrolment in the Australian Military Forces in 1942.  His occupation is listed as Clerk.

I'm not sure when this photo was taken of Tom but it's a great candid shot.  I'm thinking the 1950s sometime.

I'd like to investigate Tom's working life some more.  He was a clerk, but I'm not exactly sure where.   

I do know he worked for De Havilland for a while and I suspect that it was during this work with engines that he might have become profoundly deaf.

Here is a photo taken I think at De Havilland with workmates.  He is the one in the white coat in the front on the left.

Tom lived to the ripe old age of 84.   The last few years were not happy ones.

  There was an accident I think in 1979 when he was about 81.  My memory is that he was run over while walking across a crossing outside the Leagues Club one night.  Others with better memories may correct me.  He survived the accident but was never the same.  One of my mother's letters from the time says: 

"He cannot walk, except for a few steps...He can say occasional words that can be understood, but they don't necessarily have anything to do with what is going on at the time; most of the time it is incoherent muttering...rarely is there any recognition and he has never answered one question I have put to him since the accident."


"Every third day the nursing home advises me in sepulchral tones, that I must prepare myself, that Daddy is about to go very quickly, after which, he rallies for dozenth time, and away we go again."

In November of that year there was a fire in the nursing home.  Five fire brigades were needed to control the fire.  My mother recounts that they were lucky as there were 100 patients and only three night staff.  The fire started:

 "right opposite Dad's room in a storeroom....everything is under control; he can still use his room and it looks as though no-one will have to leave as the affected patients are being doubled-up in other undamaged sections of the hospital."

Tom rallied for three more years eventually dying at the Nursing Home at Ashfield on 
2nd November 1982. 

I remember my grandfather as very loving.  According to my mother he had a temper but I never witnessed it so maybe he mellowed over the years.  He had a great love of history, books and chess.  

Oh and having a flutter on the ponies I understand. 

He introduced me to Readers Digest and Word Power.  He gave me lots of different books including many sets of encyclopedias.  

He liked a beer at Christmas.  

This is how I will always remember him - reading something of great interest

I'm conscious that this is a very long post so will do a new post for my paternal grandparents.