Society of Australian Genealogists …. the Beginnings...

Most Aussies who’ve been doing genealogy for a little while will be familiar with the major genealogical societies in each state: QFHS, GSQ, AIGS, GSV, WAGS, GSNT, GST, SAGHS, HAGSOC and SAG. Today’s story focusses on the Society of Australian Genealogists in Sydney, which we commonly refer to as SAG. While recently browsing on Trove (as you do on cold, almost-winter evenings), I came across the following article which tells of the beginnings of the Society … So as you can see the Society of Australian Genealogists was formed way back in 1932. This made me go looking to see when the other state societies were formed, and here’s what I found: 1941 – Genealogical Society of Victoria 1964 – Heraldry & Genealogical Society of Canberra (also now known as Family History ACT) 1973 – South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society (also now known as GenealogySA) 1973 – Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies 1978 – Genealogical Society of Queensland 1979 – Queensland Family History Society 1979 – Western Australian Genealogical Society 1980 – Genealogical Society of Tasmania (now known as Tasmanian FHS) 1981 – Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory A snippet from the above 1932 article states… “Mr. H. J. Rumsey, said he was convinced that no country had more complete records from the time of its occupation by civilised people than Australia. Mr. Rumsey indicated the various sources of information available for research work, both in Australia and Great Britain … To help one another in genealogical study, Mr. Rumsey advocated the use of a card index system, so that members could be supplied with standard cards to record their investigation. Ultimately, he said, it was to be hoped that a genealogical reference library of their own...

Trove Tuesday: “There’s Gold in Them Hills …”...

The tiny town of Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills is well known these days for being the home of the world’s biggest rocking horse, the annual medieval fair, and of course wines. But believe it not, at one stage, Gumeracha was well known for its goldfields. Many who have connections to the area would have heard of Watts Gully Road at Forreston (previously North Gumeracha), this was one area where gold was, and was first found by James Watts back in 1884. Dead Horse Gully is near Watts Gully Road, and this was another of Gumeracha’s gold diggings areas. For my Trove Tuesday post, I’ve found the following article which discusses the Dead Horse Gully goldfields … and for someone who didn’t know about them (yes me), I found it fasinating, so thought I’d share it with you. Note: old references to this place list is as Deadhorse Gully (two words), or even Dead-Horse Gully (with a hyphen), current day spelling is Dead Horse Gully (three words). For consistency, I’m using the three word version. From the South Australian Register, dated Saturday 14 March 1885 … THE GOLD FIND AT GUMERACHA. During the last few days large number of men have arrived at Dead-Horse Gully on the gold rush. Now nearly 100 men are working in the gully around Mount Crawford. The rush was so great that on Thurs-day Hill & Co. put on a special coach from Adelaide. The rush is at Mount Crawford, about seven miles north-east of Gumeracha. To get at the field it is necessary to turn off the main road at North Gumeracha-road and to go right through that township. For the first three miles there is a good district road, but after that there is merely a vehicle...

“Dead” Soldier Returns...

Anzac Day. The day to remember those who fought for our country. Some survived. Many didn’t. And in reality those that returned were changed forever. It was while I was going through the military records of Arthur Vincent Elphick (Mr Lonetester’s great grandpa), that I kept seeing the name of Donovan Russell Elphick written in his records. Arthur was one of twelve children in the family, and Donovan was his youngest brother. On checking Donovan’s military records on the National Archives of Australia website, and reading through the dossier, one page in the record jumped out at me. But firstly, some background information … Born in Prospect, South Australia, but living in Western Australia, 24 year old Donovan signed up to serve his country in January 1915. After training in Western Australia, he was assigned to the 5th Reinforcements 11th AIF, and sailed to Egypt in June 1915, and was obviously in the thick of it from arrival, as within a week of arriving he was in hospital suffering from “deafness”. From here, I’ll let you read the article as that explains it all … The above article came from a Victorian newspaper, and is dated 20 October 1915. This story was repeated in numerous Victorian, South Australian and Western Australian newspapers over the weeks following. As you can imagine it was quite a story. And to say that it shocked his brother (Harold), when he walked in would be an understatement. Donovan was one of six boys in the family, with three going off to war. Sadly only two returned. And while Donovan Elphick did survive World War 1, he died in Perth on 25 December 1936, aged just...

Discovering Links: 25 FREE Links for Western Australian Genealogy Research...

Here’s another of my “Discovering Links” post. These posts consist of a collection of links that I have discovered, or found useful, and want to share with others. But rather than simply giving you a whole batch of random links each time, I am grouping them by Australian state, country or topic. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here. For this one I’ve decided to share my Western Australian links. It is not intended to be an exhaustive collection (not by a long shot), but they are simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you might not have known about. And while many people think that genealogy costs a lot of money, let me tell you that all of the links below are free. There’s plenty out there, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that. ======= DEAD RECKONING: A GUIDE TO FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA Produced by the Library Board of Western Australia as a book back in 1997, this publication has been updated and is now available online. If you are a novice family historian just starting out tracing your family tree or an experienced genealogy researcher looking for whatever happen to the elusive great uncle, Dead Reckoning is a great place start to learn about family history research in Western Australia. WESTERN AUSTRALIAN BICENTENNIAL INDEX (WABI) Western Australian Biographical Index is really the pre-curser to the Dictionary of Western Australia and Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians series. This is the information noted on card file, and all 85,000 of them have now been scanned, transcribed and made available through both the WA Genealogical Society...

15 April 1912 – The Day the “Titanic” Sank...

It was a disaster like no other at that time. The world’s biggest (and self-proclaimed ‘unsinkable’) ship set off from Southampton on 10 April 1912, bound for New York. It was her maiden voyage, and the crowd seeing it off was huge. Little did they know that just 5 days later all onboard would be fighting for their life, with the vast majority not making it. 2.20am, 15 April 1912, just a mere 2 hours and 40 minutes after hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean, the unthinkable happened to the unsinkable. The Titanic sank. total capacity: 3547 passengers and crew total onboard: 2206 passengers and crew total survived: 703 passengers and crew  That was 105 years ago, and it still has an impact. The movie below is from British Pathè’s collection, and is just one of the 85,000 old movies they have made freely available. Showing actual footage of the ship, the rescue ships, together with interviews of some survivors, it is chilling. There’s no doubt that the Titanic has become the stuff of legend. I remember asking my grandma about it though she wasn’t born at the time, but her older sisters were, and they remembered it, being aged 11 and 12. So I decided to see what the local South Australian newspapers wrote about it. The following was the first report of it in South Australia’s “The Advertiser”, was was dated 18 April 1912. Not too bad considering that communication back then wasn’t as instant as we have today. It didn’t make front page like it did in the US or England, but it did make a big article on page 9. The article blow is just a small portion of it. And as you would expect, every...

Sudden Death at the Railway Station...

Some days just don’t go as planned, and 22 June 1869 was certainly one of those day for the Elphick family of Adelaide. There’s certain words when researching that grab a researchers attention. One being the phrase ‘sudden death’ with another being ‘inquest’. Both of these we terms I came across in the newspapers on Trove, when looking for info on Mr Lonetester’s 3x great grandpa, William Kennard Elphick. I imagine that Tuesday the 22nd of June 1869 started out as a fairly standard day for the Elphick family of Adelaide. William Kennard Elphick was out and about, and made his way to the Adelaide Railway Station on North Terrace by late afternoon, either to head out or head home. However that’s when tragedy struck. While walking down the stairs William collapsed, and died … INQUEST ON MR W.K. ELPHICK On Wednesday, Mr. T. Ward, J.P., held an inquest at the Adelaide Hospital, for the purpose of ascertaining the cause of the death of William Kennard Elphick. A Jury of 13 having been empanelled, and Mr. J. M. Dowie chosen foreman, the following evidence was taken, after the body had been viewed:— James March Stacy, bootmaker, said yesterday afternoon about 4.20 he was at the Railway Station. Saw a crowd assembled carrying the deceased, whose body he had just seen in the dead-house. Recognised it as that of W. K. Elphick, late of the Burra Mine. Some females bathed his head with cold water. Felt his pulse, and found only one pulsation. Then placed his hand on the heart, which had ceased to beat. Dr. Phillips then came in. Left the deceased in charge of the police, and afterwards communicated with his friends. By a Juror—The cold water was applied whilst he was feeling the pulse of the deceased. James Phillips, surgeon, said he had made a...

What’s on Your Genealogy Bucket List?...

Every year about this time, I am reminded of one thing that’s on my ‘genealogy bucket list’ that I haven’t done, and that’s go to Who Do You Think You Are? Live in England. It does claim to be the world’s biggest genealogy event, however that title now goes to RootsTech. But still at over 10,000 attendees, it’s a giant event that is deserving of second-place. And one that I do hope to get to someday. So while I was thinking about genealogy bucket lists, I came across “The Bucket List GeneaMeme” created by Jill Ball back in 2012. I am always up for a good geneameme, but for whatever reason I didn’t take part in this back then, so I’m playing along now. 1. The genealogy conference I would most like to attend is … PARTLY DONE. RootsTech was always top of this list, which I have been to three times now. But Who Do You Think You Are? Live is a close second, which I’m still to do. So that one’s still on the “bucket list”. 2. The genealogy speaker I would most like to hear and see is … PARTLY DONE. This is a tough one, as I have seen and heard so many great speakers, though I know there would be so many more that I haven’t heard yet. So my answer is more along the lines of those I know, that I’d love to sit and listen to all day: Judy G. Russell, Paul Milner, Thomas MacEntee, Helen V. Smith, Shauna Hicks, Chris Paton. I have heard from others that Blaine Bettinger and David Rencher are also incredibly great speakers and very inspiring. So hopefully one day I’ll get to hear them in person....

My First Hannaford Family in Australia...

For Australia Day this year I decided to write about the Hannafords, who are one of my immigrating families. Or more specifically I should say, about  Susannah Hannaford (nee Elliott), who is truly the matriarch of the family, and her children. I admit I am in awe of Susannah,  in some ways anyway. She was a widow by age 48, not an easy thing for anyone, but then to pack up all of your belongings and move to the other side of the world, to a colony that had only been founded a few years before, with her six children, leaving her family, friends and whole life behind, to start again from scratch. I can’t even begin to think of what that would be like or how she managed it.  But she survived. So did her children, and now her descendants number the thousands. But let’s go back a little bit first. Back in Devon … Susannah Elliott was born in 1790 in the market town of Totnes, in Devon, England. Meanwhile the Hannaford family (the ones I’m writing about anyway), grew up just four miles away in the little town of Rattery. I mention that as the Hannaford name in Devon is much like Smith or Brown everywhere else. Hannafords are everywhere! When Susannah was 30 years old, she married William Hannaford (one from the neighbouring parish in Rattery), and who was actually a few years younger than her. Sadly William died at age 42, leaving Susannah with six children ranging in age from 17  down to 6. Devon at that time (actually probably England at that time) had limited employment opportunities, and with high taxes (land tax and window tax for instance), it would seem that emigrating...

So. Much. More. Research. To. Do!...

It is said that ‘genealogy never ends’. You get one generation back, then you suddenly double the number of people to research on the following one. Not to mention following the the siblings, and the side branches as well. So it’s true … it doesn’t. And anyone who says it does, should take part in this “Ancestor Tally” or “Ancestor Tracking” geneameme which I’ve seen on a few blogs now (Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches, and Michael Dyer’s Family Sleuther), so I thought I’d play along and see what my 15 or so years of on-off research shows. In short it shows that I need to spend a whole lot more time researching! So the idea is to count up the number of direct line ancestors you can identify going back10 generations (starting from yourself). So I sat down, printed out a 10 generation ancestral  chart (4 pages so it wasn’t too bad), counted them up generation by generation … and wallah … I have the numbers, which I then also converted to percentages. As you can see from the numbers I’m not doing too bad till I reach my the 7th generations (4x great grandparents). Part of that is probably due to the fact that I just haven’t entered some info (I really find the search more interesting than the entering, do others find that too?), but it does also highlight that a LOT more research is still to be done. It’ll happen bit-by-bit. Another name here, another date there, or something verified so I can add it in. We all know it’s a slow process. That’s just the way of proper genealogy.  GenerationRelationshipNo. in GenIdentified% TOTAL1023171 1Self11100% 2Parents22100% 3Grandparents44100% 4Great Grandparents88100% 52x Great Grandparents1616100% 63x Great Grandparents322681%...

Genealogy and the 52 Week Challenge...

Ok, who’s up for a Genealogy Challenge? I could say Blog Challenge, but this isn’t just for bloggers. It’s actually for anyone who wants to record their own history, and it allows you to do it a little each week.  And you don’t even have to do it online. Simply grab yourself a blank notebook, and you’re all ready to go! I recently came across Linda’s 52 Week Challenge, and I love it. Linda writes the Hinterland Writing blog, and she started this Challenge back in May 2016. Releasing a new topic each week, she’s currently up to Week 29. It’s along the lines of my Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge, as in you pick and choose which weeks you’d like to participate in. In saying that she has a number of dedicated followers who are busy recording their memories every week, with others doing some along the way. Anyway I’ve compiled a list of her topics for Weeks 1-29 for you. 52 Week Challenge Week 1 – What is your full name? Do you know why you were given that name? Do you have a baptismal name? A confirmation name? Why were these names chosen? Week 2 – When and where were you born?  Which child are you ? Brothers and sisters? Capture the memories of the house you grew up in and the neighbourhood as you saw it? What do you remember the most about the house? Week 3 – Your dad Week 4 – Name 5 people that you consider to have had a positive impact on the world Week 5 – Mother Week 6 – Occupations Week 7 – Have any of your immediate family members died? Week 8 – Brothers and sisters Week...