Unlock the Past’s Australian History & Genealogy Expo 2016...

Unlock the Past’s Australian History & Genealogy Expo 2016 is coming and it’s big … ok, it’s not to the size of RootsTech or Who Do You Think You Are? Live! … but it’s big by Australian genealogy conference standards. In fact, it’s the biggest we’ve had. For anyone who’s into genealogy particularly those in Australia (or anyone who wishes to visit from overseas, you’re more than welcome to come and visit my beautiful home city of Adelaide), this really is something you won’t want to miss. The Expo is being organised by Unlock the Past, who along with being one of Australia’s leaders in promoting history and genealogy, have organised Expo’s and other events around Australia and as well as held genealogy cruises over the past few years. Firstly a few numbers and details Let’s start with a few stats – held over 2 days – 100+ exhibitors (with many coming from interstate or overseas) – 90 talks – 35+ speakers There will be workshops, getting started talks, advanced talks and one-on-one Research Help Zone sessions with experts, and a large Expo hall. The Where: Immanuel College, 32 Morphett Road, Novar Gardens, South Australia The When: 7-8 October 2016 The Time: Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 9am-4pm The Admission Cost: $15/1 day; $20/2 days, 18 and under free The Speakers The speakers are coming from all around Australia with a few from overseas too: – Dr Tom Lewis (author and military historian) – Philip Payton (well-known authority on Cornish history, and Australia in WW1) – Brad Argent (Ancestry UK) – Jeremy Austin (Australian DNA Database Project) – John Donaldson (Family Tree Maker specialist) – Greg Drew (South Australian mining history) – Andrew Gildea (from Finders Cafe) – Jan Gow (well-known...

There’s History in Those Walls!...

Let me tell you the incredible history of a small town pub in the Adelaide Hills that very few know of … The tiny town of Gumeracha is currently best known for being home to the World’s Biggest Rocking Horse, the place the Medieval Fair is held each year, and of course the local wines. However up until around the mid 1900s the local pub was a tourist attraction, and not just for the beer, it was for the thousands of names written on its walls. It was so well-known that it even gained the reputation of being Australia’s largest “visiting book” hotel in the process. The town, which was founded by William Beavis Randell in the 1850s, has had a pub there almost as long. The map below is a portion of a town plan of Gumeracha dated from 1860, and shows that the corner block (where the hotel is) was owned by A Vorwerk, who is also listed as the first owner of District Hotel from 1861. Here’s an extract from the Gumeracha 1839-1939 book: “The main front walls of the District Hotel are composed of a local chalkstone, and probably on no other walls of a building in any other part of Australia are engraved so many names and initials. From ground level up to the top of the balcony roof there are a thousand or more of them, many of them representing people who in later years became very prominent in the State. As is only natural, callers at this old hostelry scrutinise the names on its walls with the very greatest interest.” And from a newspaper article on the History of Hotels dated 2 June 1951: South Australia has a hotel with the largest...

Patriotic Day, Gumeracha, 1918...

Isn’t it funny how you learn history through ‘things’? My history lesson this week has been about Patriotic Day. I admit that I hadn’t heard of such a day, but thanks to a purchase of the badge (as shown above) on ebay, I was inspired to find out more. But what’s interesting is that I found very little on it. Wikipedia and Google both let me down, so I headed to Trove, but even they didn’t have much. It doesn’t seem to have been an Australia-wide thing, or even a South Australia-wide thing, but rather something the townsfolk have decided to do for themselves. Held in 1917 and in 1918 (at  least that’s all I could find), it seems that in 1917 it was used to raise fund for the war effort, and in 1918, was used to support the returned soldiers and the families of those who didn’t. If anyone has further information about Gumeracha’s Patriotic Day, please leave a comment below, as I’d love to know more about it. And don’t you just love the image of the Gum weir on the badge … how cool is that? And for those that are unfamiliar with the region, here is a actual pic of the weir...

The Australian Census: 1828 and 2016 Comparing the Questions...

Tuesday the 9th of August 2016 was an important day in Australia’s history. It was Census Day. A day that many find a chore (and not just because of the census website crash). But to say it’s a day that all genealogists and historians look forward to is an understatement. Anyway while I was filling out my paper copy of Australia’s 2016 Census (all 60 questions worth), I was thinking about what questions were actually asked in Australia’s first ‘official’ census. But before we get on to that, let’s take a step back. It is a well known fact that Australia conducts a census, extracts the data and then destroys them … much to the horror of historians and researchers. Anyway as a result, very few Australian censuses even exist. But one that does is Australia’s very first one. It was held in New South Wales in November 1828 … ok, technically it was New South Wales not Australia, as Australia wasn’t a country until Federation in 1901, but I’m not going to debate that here. New South Wales 1828 Census As you would expect, the aim of the 1828 census was to “record all inhabitants of the colony” (both convict and free). We are not only fortunate that this incredible record has survived, but we also get to see images of it online on both the Ancestry and Findmypast websites. Listing people alphabetically by surname, the questions asked for this census were: 1. Name of inhabitant 2. Age 3. Free or bond 4. Ship name on which arrived 5. Year arrived 6. Sentence 7. Religion 8. Employment 9. Residence 10. District 11. Total number of acres 12. Number of acres cleared 13. Number of acres cultivated 14. Number...

What Got You Started?

What got you started? This is a question I have heard a lot, and it’s also one that I have asked many people. And I still find it interesting to hear the varying answers. It is also one that Amy Johnson Crow recently asked. [By the way, if you don’t follow her blog yet, take a few minutes to at least check it out … it’s really is one you should be reading!!] Anyway back to the question … for some it is to help out their parents or grandparents. For others their interest was sparked with the discovery of an old document, photos or letters. Other love the hunt – piecing the family jigsaw together. Or it might be simply proving (or disproving) a family story, while for some the interest in history has always there. For me … I would have to say while the hunt is a factor, I would also say that I’m in that latter category in that the ‘interest’ was there, but having grown up in the family history scene I knew how addictive this hobby disease could be – I’d seen it with my own eyes from a very young age, so I was forewarned. And because of that I procrastinated. Then one day I woke up and decided that enough was enough … what was I waiting for? Ok, in reality I was waiting for more time (aren’t we all) … but I still have family living, so I NEEDED to start. NOW! And so I did. Going back to when I was about 10 or so, I do have a very vivid recollection of my dad telling me that we were related to the Kelly’s  … which of course to...

DNA Testing and Bullying...

While genealogy DNA testing has been around for a few years now, DNA testing in Australia only became a big thing last year when AncestryDNA hit our shores. I, along with numerous family members, and many others I know have done the “spit test” to see “where we came from”. So far all good and easy. Right? For many this is enough. That’s all they wanted. Do the test, and see their ethnicity. But for the rest of the testers, they want more. They want to find the long lost cousins and branches of their family. They want to find matches, and this is where you can find issues arise. I have heard it so many times “they don’t have a tree online” or if they do, “they haven’t replied to my message about a match”. Personally I’m not a ‘tree online’ person. I am happy to work on my own tree, on my own computer, but due to public pressure, I did put a mini-tree online, and am now having people contact me saying that they match, and wanting more information. Can you see the issue here? Not everyone tests for the same reasons. So my suggestion to those who have tested, and have sent queries to those who are possible matchers, don’t be a bully about it. If you find that someone doesn’t have a tree online, don’t pressure them. And if they don’t respond to your request for more info, don’t hassle them. The more you do, the less likely they’ll want to share their info with you. Maybe in time they’ll look into the whole matching thing for themselves, but at present they’re happy with the ethnicity report, and seeing the match of a close...

Hit By Two Cars, Neither Drivers Stopped...

Tuesday … so it’s Trove Tuesday time. And again Trove has come up with an amazing tid-bit relating to my family. Ok, technically it’s Mr Lonetester’s family, but you get the point. And again it’s something I never would have thought of (of known about) if it wasn’t for the wonders of Trove. I will admit I haven’t done a whole lot of research on this side of the family, so am still learning a lot as I go, however I do know that Richard John Tester survived this accident and lived on for another 20 odd years, and is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in Victoria,...

Trewartha’s Candy Store, Dover, New Jersey...

My regular readers will know that my 4x great grandma Charlotte Phillips and her husband Samuel Trewartha are two of my fav ancestors, and I’ve written about them from time to time. Born in the 1820s, they grew up in Cornwall, England and in the English 1861 census Samuel Trewartha’s occupation was given as Copper Miner, while Charlotte’s was Confectioner. This is followed by an entry in the 1866 Directory for Redruth (England) where Samuel is listed as a Sugar Boiler, so obviously they were making candy to supplement his income from mining. It was in 1867 that they made the lifechanging decision to move from England to the United States, ending up in Rockaway and Dover, Morris County, New Jersey, and they opened a candy store there … which from what I can tell was a wonderful store, with an incredible reputation and ran for at least several generations, with her son John and his wife Minnie running it in her later year, and I believe some granddaughters did after that, with Black Rock Candy being their signature treat. While I know a fair bit about Charlotte’s life from records, one thing I didn’t have is any photos of Samuel,  Charlotte, the candy store. That is, at least until cousin bait worked, and some distant relatives saw my previous posts, and have sent me some photos, and have kindly allowed me to share them with you here. So I must say a HUGE, HUGE thank you to Glenn Rush who sent me the photos below, and has allowed me to share them with you. And also to Eric Bullfinch who has sent me a map showing the exact location of the store in Sussex Street, Dover.   So...