Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book of Me, Written by You - Prompt 20

Julie from Angler's Rest gives us Prompt Number 20

This week's prompt is  - The feeling of home

Home means different things to different people, so this week we are going to explore what it means to us

What does it feel like?
How do you recognise it?
What makes it home - people, place, time

My mother used to ask me - "Which is home for you?" ...

mostly because we had lived in a few homes and she wondered which one meant the most to me.  

It's hard to say....probably our home in Aranda but I loved our home in Glebe too.

I don't remember our first home - Hurstville...

This is where I came home to as a baby.

Then we traveled overseas and my home for a while was the had a pool and everything!

from SSMaritime

Here I am testing out the comfy furniture.  

We moved to Edinburgh...I think this place was had squirrels.  I liked squirrels.

And then this one...

See the VW Combie van parked out front....?  We called it Snoopy,

That became our home as we traveled around Europe...a home with wheels and somewhere new to wake up to every morning.

Here I am with my trusty Vegemite toast...

Back on the boat back to Australia and my home was wherever my donkey mother was very smart.  She invested in "backup" donkeys in case one got lost.  I had three.

We lived in Sydney in a flat in Bondi for a I am getting ready for Kindy....I liked Sydney.  There was a very nice little beach near where we Bondi...another one...I'm thinking it must have been Vaucluse Bay that I remember.

The unit block was pretty ugly on the outside as I remember...

Yep - I was right - there it is - Orana Flats, next to the Fire Station.  Great view though.  

Then we moved to Melbourne and I don't think we have a photo of the flat there....
we were there only a short time before....

We moved to Canberra and lived in Campbell...

Until we could move into the house we built in Aranda....

For the last term of Grade 10,  I boarded at School....

Then we moved back to Sydney to Glebe and had the fun of renovating an old terrace house.

Ouf what a mess and lots of hard work....but we really got to know the house inside out!

Then came a succession of share houses in Chippendale, Balmain and Woollahra until I moved to Brisbane...

There was Isedale at Carrington Street - another share house...

Then Leybourne Street - our first house on our own as a couple...but still a rental property with a lovely garden full of orchids...

Then Equinox Street.....our first home that we bought....with a hidden rainforest out the back...

And now our current home...with a forest out the front.... many homes is that?

What makes a home?

Well someone said to me once that she didn't think a house was a home if it didn't have a piano.  

So she thought music made a home.

I guess our house isn't a home then...wait, does a stereo count?

I don't think a house is a home unless it has books - LOTS of books....

Animals help make a home too and we are bereft of any at the moment.  I was always greatly cheered by the budgie chattering away to herself or the dog tripping me up or the cat nudging a book out of the way or the guinea pigs excitedly squeaking when they heard me chopping vegetables in the kitchen.

I still get a kind of ancient longing in my tummy when I go back to Sydney for my holidays - there's something primeval about that sandstone and thrilling about the harbour.  And boy did I realise Australia was home after a few weeks in London in my late wasn't until I was sitting in a cinema and saw the great big blue sky whilst watching The Getting of Wisdom that I cried at the thought of having to go back outside and endure a grey closed in sky for a few more weeks.

So sometimes home is a place...sometimes it's things....sometimes it's people....

A new baby and a grandmother make a make a home whether it's a tapestry like the one my grandmother made for me that you can see in the photo above or a print from a painting that my godmother gave me on our engagement that you can see there on the right or family photos just like this one.

A friend who lives overseas always feels at home when she smells the gum leaves.  I can't smell them anymore I'm so used to them.

I feel like I'm home when I get a 
great big bear hug from my father whenever I see him or someone is pleased to see you when you walk in the door.

Memories make a home I suppose...

Mostly it's where you can relax and be "you" for a bit.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book of Me, Written by Me - Prompt 19

Julie, from Angler's Rest has devised a series of prompts for a meme that will run for 15 months and this week’s prompt is –  

Who Do You Miss?

Having just gone through the Festive season our thoughts turn to those not with us. 

Whether that is people who live elsewhere and that we will not see over the festive season
People that have passed away.
Who do you miss?
Why do you miss them?
Them as an individual
Something specific to them

Christmas at Nungara Street circa 1973 - I am seated between my uncle and my aunt.  My grandfather is to the right of my aunt.

At Christmas time it is inevitable that I miss my mother who died 18 years ago.  Ghosts of Christmas past and all that.

Mummy loved Christmas.  Her passion for getting things "just right" tended to drive us all a bit barmy.  She always wanted a bigger tree, a bigger turkey and inevitably burned the midnight oil cooking or preparing something.  We were all emotional wrecks by the time the season was over but my goodness did she put on a good show and a fabulous feast.  Yes, I can do without the stress but of course I still miss her and all the hullabaloo.  

After my mother died I received beautiful letters from old school friends of hers.  They told me how much she meant to them and what they enjoyed about her company.  It was very kind of them and we keep in touch just once a year with mutual Christmas cards.  

This year, one of them very kindly sent me photocopies of old photos she had (many of the originals of which I actually have in my mother's old albums) but there were some I hadn't seen before and most precious of all, there were some descriptions of where the photos were taken and names put to faces - information that I could not know as it was well before I was born and before she met my father.  I am an only child and my mother was an only child, so relatives who might know are far and few between or long gone.

A 2nd cousin also reached out to me this week by email and provided (unasked) another precious photo.  

So let me show you my best Christmas gifts ever...

My mother would have been about ten in this photo and Shirley was just pregnant with Douglas who sent me the photo.  Thank you Douglas.  This is just precious.  Isn't Shirley pretty ?  

I've finally figured out who she reminds me of - she's just Cate Blanchett don't you think or vice versa?

The next lot are the photos I already had but now I know a bit more about them...

I now know that this series of photos was taken at Head of the River on the Nepean at Penrith.

My mother is the one with the Alice Band sucking on the straw

And this one was probably taken at Bundanoon

My mother is on the far right

And I knew this one was at the Blue Mountains but it's nice to know who is who now...

My mother is on the left

Last but by no means least I now know that this was taken at the Petersham Town Hall

circa 1951

The boys were from Hawkesbury Agricultural College - bless.

As some of the people in these photos are still living I won't identify anyone except my mother who in this instance is on the far right.  I think it's fair to say that she probably loathed this photo.  It's not the most flattering of dresses.  I suspect she couldn't wait for the 1950s to be over and was much happier in the more figure flattering Dior/Chanel style suits of the 60s.  

So there you are.

My mother may not be with us in the flesh but she is certainly with us in spirit through the generosity of her very dear friends.

Love you Mummy.

And thank you Laetitia.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sepia Saturday 209: 4 January 2014

Alan on Sepia Saturday says

"All that Christmas and New Year stuff is behind us and we drive, full speed ahead, into 2014. And our vehicle of choice is a cross between a stretch limo and a country bus. There are plenty of potential prompts to be found in this image which comes from the collection of the Royal Australian Historical Society on Flickr Commons : cars, buses, dams, men in white coats." 

c. 1941

I do hope I haven't posted this photo before.  It is another favourite of mine but I know zip about it....other than that's my mother (the little girl) standing smack bang in the front of the photo there.  No grown-ups near her look familiar so maybe her nearest and dearest was taking the photo.  Was it her mother or her father I wonder?  Where were they?  Blue Mountains I'm guessing or maybe Newcastle....

circa 1912-1916

Here's a postcard of the construction of the Cotter Dam.  According to the brochure from the discovery  trail it was originally constructed between 1912-1916.

On the back of it is written "To Mick Townsend".  

I don't know what this postcard is doing in my maternal grandfather's collection.  

Why was he sending the postcard to Mick?  

Did my grandfather go and see the dam while it was being constructed? 

And if so why?  

My grandfather would have been about 14 to 18 at the does look like childish writing doesn't it?

Where's the Cotter Dam you cry?  Well it's near Canberra - where I used to live as a child.

View Larger Map

My grandfather lived in Bathurst or Sydney though at the time so it's all very confusing as to why he would have been there. Or maybe he wasn't and he just picked the postcard up somewhere and thought it was interesting and I'm wasting my time worrying about whether he was ever there.

While we're on the subject of's another newspaper cutting that was in my grandfather's collection.  Lord knows why.  It seems to be maybe from an English newspaper...I'm not sure.  And I don't know who the two people are with arrows pointing at their heads.  Any suggestions as to how I might find more out about this cutting?

Liberals' outing - Some of the members of the Cardiff East Liberal Association who left Cardiff on their annual visit to Symond's Yat.

This is the other half of the photo.....sorry - my stitch program has decided not to work on my FlipPal - maybe I'm not giving it generous enough margins....

What on earth is Symond's Yat??

Ah, Google and Wikipedia ...what would we do without them?

View Larger Map 

It's a popular tourist destination apparently but amongst the attractions listed are canoeing and kayaking down the rapids.  Somehow I don't see these folk doing that..perhaps they went for the maze.

When was this photo taken - well I'm madly guessing at the late 1920s early 1930s but I'm happy to be corrected again.  

So that's another mystery.

Now, men in white coats.  Well that's definitely my grandfather.

Here he is with other work colleagues and I'm pretty sure this is at De Havilland at Mascot...when?  well I'm not sure but I'm guessing the 1950s or 1960s.  Where's Mascot I hear you say - well it's near the airport in Sydney.

View Larger Map

Top to bottom L to R ?, H. Williams, R. Collins, T. McLoughlin (my grandfather), C (?) R Warbrick
Bottom row L to R man with glasses J A Clifton, W H Elms, F W Trimble, S H Hales and E. Blackwell

This is the back of the photo

So if I understand the way the names have been written I'm hoping that my caption is correct.  Is this how you read the names.  I can't understand the first one, next to H Williams.  It looks like H R and then something like Grenfdale or Greendale...I don't know.  Handwriting experts please step forward.  Also any advice on researching De Havilland at Mascot also gratefully welcomed.

I think that's everything covered off for today.  I hope you're keeping cool.  It is about 37 degrees celsius here.  I'm drinking ginger beer and trying to think cool thoughts.

Happy New Year!

For more Sepia Saturday fun head here....

P.S. I've just realised that this is my 100th post !

Friday, January 3, 2014

Caboolture, Pine Rivers and Redcliffe - Local History Education Resources

Bullock teams hauling logs through Landsborough, Queensland

Gosh!  Two blog posts in one day.  I must be excited!

Well I am to tell the truth.

The most marvellous resources have just been published on the web for teachers and students.  Aligned to the Australian Curriculum, the resources were originally designed for use with Year 5 students but I think are a fantastic resource for any age level.

In fact, I'm so excited I'm going to use them for my next geneadventures!

Check them out here.

You might like to check out this page too.

Disclosure:  Yes I am currently employed by Moreton Bay Region Library Service.  
Whilst you may consider me completely biased because of this fact, I hasten to add my employer did not ask me to blog about this.  A few years ago I worked with the two women employed by the Library Services who are responsible for putting these resources together.  I know that it would have been a labour of love for both of them and I think it will be a resource much valued by the local community and educators.

Please check it out and let me know what you think.  

2014 New Year's Resolutions for Family History

Qld Ladies Interstate Tennis Team, 1908

It's tennis season here in Queensland and they're slugging it out at the Brisbane International.  

Look at the women in the photo above from the State Library of Queensland Flickr stream - they look full of resolve don't they?  What an inspiration.

So too am I following a time-honoured tradition of setting some goals for 2014.

Inspired by Geniaus reflection on last year's achievements, I resolve to do the following this year:

  1. Study and or attend workshops regularly(and report on it or share with others my discoveries along the way) - I might try something new like NIGS (thanks for the tip Shelley)
  2. Regularly review magazines/books that I borrow/purchase
  3. Keep scanning family photos and finding out as much about them as I can
  4. Be a more generous user of Trove i.e. correct and tag articles that I find
  5. Create a Graves page on my blog to log all the graves I know about and keep an index of who is buried where.
  6. Go on more geneadventures - i.e. go and hunt down graves or visit areas where my ancestors have lived or visit repositories and report on same
  7. Present a paper or a talk - now this will be a challenge!
  8. Publish a journal article - yet another challenge but perhaps more achievable/less scary.
  9. Participate properly in a Google Hangout (thanks for providing the opportunities Jill)
  10. Participate in a #genchat (thanks for the tip Alona) - the next one is 10 January
  11. Listen to Genies Down Under podcasts (thanks for the tip Kylie)
  12. Catch up on the episodes of the show Finding Your Roots somehow (suggestIons anyone? - I can't find it on SBS on demand - why do I always find out about these things AFTER they happen?)

In an ideal world I would blog more regularly so have devised this rough calendar of what I should blog on what days:

Monday - Report on genea-adventures/excursions on the weekend
Tuesday - Report on discoveries on Trove for Trove Tuesday
Wednesday - Scan and post an unknown photo and invite comment for Wordless Wednesday
Thursday - Review a magazine or book that I have borrowed or purchased
Friday - Report on study I have undertaken
Saturday - Continue to contribute to Sepia Saturday
Sunday - Continue to contribute to The Book of Me, Written by You or some other Meme

(if all else fails refer to Daily Blogging Prompts here)

I fear it won't happen this year but long term goals are to go on a genealogy cruise - one day.  It's my idea of heaven.

And of course to spend oodles of time in the UK doing real research in all the different areas my ancestors lived.

So what about you? Do you have any New Year's Resolutions for family history?

Give us your best serve!

The image above can be found here!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Accentuate the Positive 2013 Geneameme

The fabulous Jill from Geniaus encourages us to reflect on our efforts in the past year with the following questions:

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was

The article below is about my paternal 2nd-great-grandfather Edward Connor (yes the spelling of Conner/or is up for debate).  My gran always told us he shot himself but we were sceptical, shall we say.  Well, Gran was right.  

Portsmouth Evening News 24 April 1897

Where on earth did Edward get the gun????

He didn't die until 1903 as per this notice.

Portsmouth Evening News 6 October 1903

I suspect it was something to do with this....

Portsmouth Evening News 7 June 1893

I ordered the death certificate and received it in May but English death certificates are not as fulsome as Australian ones.  I have just realised that I was so excited to get the certificate that I gave it to my father without making a copy first (silly me).  I don't think it even tells us where he is buried.  Most frustrating.  So that is something I would like to do this year - find where he is buried.  

I joined the Hampshire Family History Society in August but have really only just learned how to use their website a bit better and access their journal online. I did order quite a few publications from them in order to try to learn more about Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.  I now have: Memories of Portsea, Memories of Old Buckland and The Village of Titchfield - all WEA publications.  I submitted my surname interests in October for printing in the journal and for their online search tool but so far no sign of them in the December journal.  Goals for 2014 will be to perhaps pay for some research to be done at the society (£12 per hour) and or write an article for the journal in the fond hope of raising interest and getting some more information about that side of the family.

2.  A precious family photo I found was

Hmmm...well I didn't really find any so much as was given some.  It's hard to choose a favourite but I'm going to go for this one.

1924 The Grange Irene St Abbotsford
Picture courtesy of  Marilyn Sanderson

I am very grateful to my new found cousins Mary Ann and Marilyn for making contact with me. They responded to a blog post I wrote in August.

We think that the gentleman in the middle of the photo is my maternal grandfather, Tom McLoughlin.  How wonderful to have another photo of him - particularly as a younger man.

As late as today I received some photocopies of photos of my mother by one of her old school-friends (in response to a Christmas card/letter I sent out earlier this month).  I am so chuffed and delighted.  She has very kindly given me lots of descriptive information about the photos - who is standing next to whom which is just heaven-sent.  I have most but not all of the photos but no description so it is really lovely to know now where some of them were taken.

3.  An ancestor's grave I found was

I'm afraid I wasn't successful in this regard.

4.  An important vital record I found was

There were so many surprises this year that it's hard to know where to begin but let's stick to what I found....I found the birth certificate for what I think may be the illegitimate daughter of my paternal great-grand-aunt.   This came about again through looking for newspaper articles.  

I found this in the Hampshire Telegraph

Hampshire Telegraph 19 May 1877
which led me to search indexes for Births and I found and ordered the certificate for Daisy Clara born 6 January 1877 at Titchfield - mother Clara Rebecca Conner.  No name or occupation for father was registered but from the newspaper article, it looks like it was adjudged to have been Henry James Fulljames.  

It is now my goal to find out what happened to Daisy which I hope to do with the aid of....

5.  A newly found family member who shared

My new found cousin Sharon!  Sharon and I met in June this year.  She responded to a blog post I wrote about the Conner sisters - namely Clara Rebecca and Harriet Conner.  I had always been particularly fascinated by Harriet as she didn't marry til quite late in life and had no children...or so I thought.  Sharon is in fact descended from May who Harriet had at the age of 22 in Mackay. No father's name is listed on the birth certificate.  Sharon and I are 3rd cousins.  It was wonderful to meet her when she came to Brisbane.  We actually have a mutual friend - someone I know through work and someone she knows from school days (the old small world routine).  We exchanged lots of information using fabulous Dropbox and now we're on the hunt together.  So far we have found out that Daisy Clara born in Titchfield was a boarder with the Sutherland family from Scotland  in the 1881 census.  By the 1891 census she was called "daughter".  We've not had much luck finding anymore information from that point.  

6.  A geneasurprise I received was

See above!

7.   My 2013 blog post that I was particularly proud of was:

I blogged over 70 times in 2013!  Holy crap - one might say.  I'm kind of proud of that fact in its own right.  But if I am proud of one post it was probably my last.  Reporting on the Family Tree Maker seminar that QFHS delivered recently.  

8.   My 2013 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was

Messing about in boats

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was

This question stumps me a bit.  I feel like I haven't really mastered any software yet!  And I probably have a very loose interpretation of what software means.  Is an app considered software?  I am using Evernote more confidently and Dropbox.  I have had to learn how to use the new Viewscanner at the QFHS Library as a library assistant.  I also used the Mixbook website more confidently in December to create our own family Christmas card.

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was

Well Blogger obviously!  But also I am enjoying watching Google Hangouts.  I'm just not very adept at participating in them :)

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was

Learned quite a bit from the Family Tree Maker Seminar as per this blog post.  But I also really value working for Moreton Bay Region Library service and getting to host some of their fabulous local and family history seminars.  We have a whole lot more coming up in 2014 so keep an eye on this page if you are in the area 

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at/to

Um ...pass!  Maybe that could be a goal for 2014!

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was

Well I do want to crow about having a book review published in the ALJ for the first time but that is completely irrelevant.  At first I thought I couldn't really say anything but then I remembered that in fact I was published this year in Sepia Saturday's commemorative publication.  Mine is absolutely the smallest contribution but if you are interested you can purchase it here.

14. I taught a friend how to

Once again this is a bit of a broad interpretation of the question but when I think about it well I did teach or give direction to a few people this year.  My very lovely and patient step-mother very bravely came to the QFHS Library and let me bore her witless with an orientation to all its resources.  

She was very impressed with the variety on offer, if not a bit overwhelmed.  I made sure to show her the honour boards as well so she had an idea of how many volunteers it took to run the Society, the work they did and how long it had been running.

As Coordinator of the QFHS Research Team I also responded personally to 34 enquiries and coordinated answers to another 15 enquiries.  I also volunteered at the Library once a month - sometimes twice a month.  And of course, in my full-time job, I help people navigate Ancestry or other websites and print family photos/records at the Library.  

I was also pleased to undertake another Pharos course earlier this year in Non-Conformists. So whilst I wasn't teaching, I like to think that I will share what I learned at some stage.

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was

Oh my goodness - where do I stop?  Probably John Grenham's Tracing Your Irish Ancestors has been the most help this year.  I really did go a bit mad this year and bought quite a few books - most of which I haven't really had a proper chance to look at.  Because of all the fuss lately, I purchased a second-hand copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills Evidence Explained for future reference.  It's fatal working in the QFHS Library as an assistant because they are always having quite tempting sales in the Bookshop.  I'm quite liking the digest feel of the Unlock the Past publications and purchased London and Middlesex family history resources online by Alan Stewart as well as Solving riddles in 19th century photo albums by Graham Jaunay and Your Family History Archives by Shauna Hicks.  I also invested in a 2nd-hand paperback copy of The Mechanical Eye by Con Tanre.  Yes, time to stop buying books !

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was

I visited a couple this year but as a complete tourist and would have loved to have spent more time there to do some proper research.  When I graduated in March I dragged my sisters-in-law round to the National Library and the Australian War Memorial.  I would have taken them to the National Archives as well only we were in Canberra over Easter - not a great time to be visiting repositories.  

In May I dragged my son into the State Library of Victoria - while we were in Melbourne.  Really just a chance to say "Ooh" and "Aah".  I loved that he was impressed with microfiche technology :)

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was

I don't buy all my genealogy/history books...I borrow quite a few as well.  The latest monster publication which is just amazing is Atlas of the Great Irish Famine.  I was lucky enough to get this from my library just before Christmas.  Wow - what an amazing book.  It's got chapters by Queensland's own Jennifer Harrison and Thomas Keneally.  I've only browsed through it but really want to have a good read before I have to return it.

18. It was exciting to finally meet

Have I told you about my 3rd cousin Sharon?  See Point 5 :)

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was

Oh there have been so many....I really enjoyed participating in the February Photo Challenge, Sepia Saturday and The Book of Me Written by You.  Thanks to Julie at Angler's Rest for dreaming up the Photo Challenge and The Book of Me challenge.


This is perhaps a bit left-of-centre but I also enjoyed participating in and viewing Portraits of a Tea Cosy.  You can see and hear my contribution here.  I'm the one second from the left on the top row.  My story is really a tribute to my mother-in-law and the bonds we make when we start new families and the stories we share over pots of tea.

20. Another positive I would like to share is

Last but not least we had the most unexpected discovery late this year at the Brisbane International Film Festival.  My father has always banged on to me about having made a film with Fred Schepisi when we lived in Canberra when I was young.  I listened with half an ear saying "Yes, Yes" but guess what?  The little documentary Tomorrow's Canberra was screened as part of a Fred Schepisi retrospective at the Film Festival.  What's more - the National Film and Sound Archive were most helpful in tracking down and making a copy of it for him and for me so we can watch it at our leisure for a reasonable fee.  The whole process from enquiry to DVDs in the mail was a very quick turnaround indeed.

I have encouraged him to record the names of those featured in the documentary for the Archives (there weren't many helpful subtitles) and I think it would be very valuable for future researchers.  So I just wanted to extol the virtues of the helpful staff at NFSA and encourage you to check out their resources as a possible source of fantastic family history.  It was really wonderful to see and hear my father in his mid-thirties in his workplace.  As well of course to see lovely Canberra in all its glory in the late 60s/early 70s.  

Me outside the kitchen at 3 Nungara Street c 1969 adopting my usual pose of looking backwards ;)
So thanks Jill.  It's always good to reflect on achievements.  I thought (before I started this post) that I hadn't done much this year at all.  No wonder I've been sleeping a lot the past few days :)

P.S. Just realised that this is the second anniversary of this blog!