Cemetery Day, 18 June 2017...

Today is “Cemetery Day”. A day to commemorate and share our love of cemeteries, and our loved ones who have passed. I’ve had the opportunity to visit numerous cemeteries as I’ve travelled. I mean, why go to the tourist sites, when you can visit your great great grandparents grave, eh? That’s so much more interesting. So here’s a collection of just a few of them for you, for #CemeteryDay. I’ll start off with one that’s close to my heart, and that is one of my little brother, whom I never knew. Now for some others more distant … firstly here’s some from Scotland. I don’t have relatives here, but the cemetery was gorgeous. In 2014 when visiting England, we (my family and I)  went to a number of towns our ancestors came from, so here’s some photos of those cemeteries. And when I visited Finland, naturally I visited the cemetery there too … and found some relis! And one last photo … the Helsinki cemetery is incredible. So quiet, so picturesque it was very “park like”, so here’s a ‘general’ photo of the cemetery, though it really doesn’t do it justice at all. So till next year, that’s my collection of a few of my cemetery...

Introducing #CemeteryDay...

I’m a follower of the “Days of the Year” website. For those who aren’t familiar with this site, here’s what their About page says: “Days Of The Year aims to bring all of the world’s weird, funny, wonderful and bizarre holidays under one roof, and to create the ultimate guide to celebrating each and every day.” Scroll on through and you’ll find some weird ones like False Teeth Day (9 March), Pecan Day (25 March), International Axe Throwing Day (13 June), Lamington Day (21 July), Save Your Photos Day (last Saturday in September) or Name Your PC Day (20 November) and literally hundreds, if not thousands more. I tend to use the site to see if there’s any “Days” that are coming up that I could use as a blog idea. For Recipe Day (or even Biscuit Day) I’ve thought of popping up my grandma’s fav Rock Bun recipe, Wedding Day I could find some old wedding pics, Grandparents Day should be easy enough to come up with something, Old Stuff Day (2 March) sounds like a fun one … and so on. And for those who are genealogically-minded pop these on your calendar: – Genealogy Day (2nd Saturday in March) – Ancestor Appreciation Day (27 September) Anyway I have some cemetery photos I’ve been wanting so share, so I was looking on their site for for any listing of “Cemetery Day”, “Headstone Day”, “Gravesite Day” or even a “Taphophilia Day”. But as there doesn’t seem to be any, so in lieu of any official “Day”, I’ve decided to make this coming Sunday 18 June “Cemetery Day”. I’ve come up with some ways that those who wish to take part in Cemetery Day can do so: – visit a cemetery...

They Died in the Asylum

Parkside Lunatic Asylum is the original name for the building that was subsequently renamed to Parkside Mental Hospital, then Glenside Hospital and more recently Glenside Health Services. Situated on Fullarton Road at Glenside, it is in one of Adelaide’s leafy eastern suburbs and is by outwards appearance, a magnificent place. But the asylum was far from that for the inmates at the asylum, and sadly for so many it was their last home. The Parkside Lunatic Asylum was opened in 1870 initially housing men, but by the 1880s men, women and children were being housed there. It housed not only those suffering from mental illness, but also people with intellectual disabilities and medical conditions like epilepsy. While browsing around on Trove, I found this article in the Adelaide Advertiser, 14 January 1910, and was saddened by the fact that there was so many who even in a six month period, died without family nearby. LUNATIC ASYLUM. Return of persons who have died in the Lunatic Asylum during the half-year ended December 31 whose relatives are unknown or reside outside the State:  – Margaret Sinnott (81), died July 3 last, the cause of death being cardiac disease and senile decay – Wilhelm Heinrich Dittich (71), July 5, pulmonary disease and cardiac failure – Judy (aboriginal female), (60), July 10, gastritis and cardiac failure – Guiseppe Castagneth (58), August 8, apoplexy and cerebral disease – Rosalie Russell (63), August 20, hepatic disease and ascites – Theodosia Byrne (78), August 20, apoplexy and senile decay – Sarah Jane Hayes (35), August 29, phthisis and exhaustion – Bridget (alias Annie) Evans, (42), August 29, suicide by hanging – William Conway (36) September 1, general paralysis and apoplexy – Dora Knout (80), September 2 cardiac disease and senile decay – William Carruthers (75), September 5, diarrhoea and senile decay – Thomas...

Five Faves Geneameme

It was a few weeks ago that Jill Ball (aka GeniAus) put the word out on her latest genealogy blog challenge, the “Five Faves Geneameme“. She writes … “To participate in this meme simply pen a blog post sharing details of five books written by others you have found most useful in your geneactivities. Use the above graphic to decorate your post if you wish. Please let me know via a comment on this post or via another form of social media when your post is done and I will add it to a compilation that I will publish on this blog in early June.”   May was a busy month for me, so it didn’t happen. But I’ve decided to take up the challenge, albeit a little late. But better late than never. I am a booklover. I love books and I love libraries, not to mention secondhand bookshops too. And I will confess I’ve never got into the whole ebook thing. I much prefer a paper book to read. Anyway others who’ve already taken up the challenge found narrowing it down to “just” five titles is really hard. While I don’ t have 1000s of books like some do, my collection would be in the 100s, and they range from reference books (reading old handwriting, lists of old diseases etc), battalion histories, family histories, histories of towns and counties, books with transcripts, royalty, heraldry, placename books, books of old maps and more … including diaries! So thinking about those that I use the most … here’s my list: BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF SOUTH AUSTRALIANS 1836-1885 Compiled by the South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society Anyone who is researching ancestors in South Australia prior to 1885 NEEDS to use...

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...