An Aussie Genealogist’s Wish List...

Be it birthday or Christmas, what’s on your wish list? As genie-friends I’m sure you’d love a DNA kit, or an Ancestry or Findmypast subscription and a box of chocolates or two … but let’s get down to it … here’s what we REALLY want! Note: I was inspired to create this after seeing a similar (but US-orientated) one that Ancestry created an put up on Instagram, which you can view here. So what are you REALLY after this Christmas? Save Save...

Christmas Time at the Candy Store...

For my Christmas-related post this year, I decided to go trawling through New Jersey’s old newspapers. In particular The Iron Age. This is a small town newspaper for the area of Dover, in Morris County. Lucky for me these have been digitised and put online (for free), so I have spent a couple of days browsing through them looking for adverts of my 4x great grandma’s candy shop. And what fun I have had!!! Over a period of 25 years (1872-1897), I have found 16 adverts! I won’t put them ALL here, but rather I’ll just choose a few to share with you. But first let me tell you a little about my 4x great grandma. Charlotte Phillips was born in Redruth, Cornwall, England in 1822, and married Samuel Trewartha in 1847. He had tough life as a miner, while according to census records Charlotte was a ‘confectioner’, no doubt to supplement the family income. In 1867 the family made the life changing move to New Jersey, USA where they set up a candy store in Dover, Morris County, New Jersey. She ran this for years with husband Samuel, though after his death in 1885, her youngest son Richard helped out. While I’ve never seen any photographs of the shop, I am picturing from the adverts that it was a popular place. For one thing it was there for YEARS! And Samuel (also known as “Candy Sam”) was famous not only for his Black Rock Candy, but also his cough drops. Enjoy the vintage adverts from 4x great grandma Charlotte’s shop. And for more on Charlotte herself, you can read an earlier article I wrote about her here. ** As the advert from 1889 is rather hard to read, it...

9 December 1843 – The Day the First Christmas Card was Created...

It’s that time of year again, when we get out box of Christmas cards and our address book, and start writing cards to those on our Christmas card list this year. There is no doubt that this has become a Christmas tradition right around the world. But when did this tradition actually start? Well … way back on 9 December 1843 actually (although some dispute that, and say May 1843). Either way, it is a LONG time ago! A description online tells us that … Sir Henry Cole, Director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, found that writing numerous Christmas greetings to friends and colleagues was becoming a time-consuming task. He asked his artist friend, John Calcott Horsley, to design a card which could be used by Cole and also sold to the public. The first Christmas cards were created in England on 9 December 1843. Horsley produced 1,000 lithographed and hand-coloured cards. More like postcards, they sold for a shilling, which was the equivalent of a day’s wages for a labourer. It was another twenty years before Christmas cards became commercially viable for the common man, following the invention of cheaper colour lithography. The image at the top is one of the “first ever” Christmas card, according to Wikipedia. And as the cards became affordable, the stationery companies found it profitable, and they certainly haven’t stopped making them since! While I don’t have any Christmas cards in my family’s heirlooms that date back to 1843, I do have some old, vintage ones that I have scanned and are pictured below (click on each for a larger image). Most of these would be from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, with at least some of them being written...

So This is Christmas and What Have You Done Geneameme...

Christmas is coming quickly and fellow Aussie geneablogger Sharn White has created the “So This is Christmas and What Have You Done?” Geneameme. which is making us reminisce. This very thought-provoking geneameme, has stretched my memory back, here’s what I’ve come up with … Q1 . WHAT KIND OF CHRISTMAS DID YOU HAVE AS A CHILD? A. Let’s see … I do remember going to the local church service and also carol singing sessions with my grandparents occasionally, but I don’t remember my parents going to the carol singing at all. It wasn’t their thing.  ———————-  Q2. WHERE DID YOU SPEND  CHRISTMAS? A. Christmas has always (except for one year) spent at home with my family in the Adelaide Hills. Usually all the reli’s came to to their place. ———————- Q3. A LETTER AND SOMETHING YUMMY FOR SANTA A. I don’t remember ever writing a letter to Santa, but I do remember seeing a present under the tree one year saying it was for me and from Santa. Not surprisingly it was in my mum’s handwriting, so I wasn’t fooled. I do remember making big long multi-page Christmas gift lists which I’d put on the fridge weeks before Christmas, so it was giving my parents plenty of time to work out what they’d get me. ———————- Q4. THE CHRISTMAS TREE A. A christmas tree is a big thing for me, and I would assume that is because we’ve always had one, so it seems wrong not to. I remember that we use to go an get a real pine tree from a pine forest near our house. One year it was so big it touched the ceiling. While these days I’m happy with my fake tree, there is something about...

Trove Tuesday: Christmas is the Season for Giving...

‘Tis the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse (or our cats). I’m not going to quote Christmas rhymes here, but I but it is Christmas Eve and all it quiet in our house at the moment. The cats are all sleeping, Mr Lonetester has gone to visit friends, so I’m home. And as there’s nothing decent on TV, I headed over to the Trove newspapers to see what I could find. Now I think most of you would agree with me that commercialism is ruining Christmas. For the past month or two we’ve had to deal with the glitzy TV adverts and the glossy brochures that arrive in the letterbox, each wanting us to buy the latest electric toothbrush, blower vac, or set of $2000 earrings for your loved one. And don’t forget that you must have matching tablecloth and napkins! I mean … really? Anyway while Troving I thought I’d see what is mentioned for Christmas in the tiny Adelaide Hills town of Cudlee Creek. Why there? Well this is the town I first lived in, prior to moving to Gumeracha. It was the town that my Kelly ancestors first settled, and it’s the town my Hannaford reli’s still live in. So my family has a close connection to the area. As always Trove comes up with the most remarkable articles, and I wanted to share one that highlights the generosity some people. Now in case you’re wondering why Mr Redden was donating to the Food for Britain Fund, it seems that at that time Britain was still on rations, and in desperate need of food. You can find a long article about the Food for Britain...

‘Tis the Season for Christmas Cards...

In going through old family ephemera I found this beautiful old Christmas card … and as it’s almost Christmas I’d share it now. There’s no santa, no reindeer, no snowman, no tree or even ornaments on this card. It is simple and yet very elegant. And I know I’m right in saying “they sure don’t make ’em like they used to”. This Christmas card (postcard) was sent to my great great grandma Phebe Randell (nee Robbins), at ‘Salem Glen’, Gumeracha, from someone named Bert who lived at Woodville in South Australia … though I’m yet to discover who Bert is. Is he a family member, or just a friend? I’ve added it to the “must-check-out-one-day” list. What i find interesting on this is the spelling of Phebe here (Febe), as well as Salem (Salam with the S back-to-front). Salem Glen, for those not familiar with the town of Gumeracha is the name of a property that is on the land behind the current Gumeracha Hospital. This land was given to Phebe when her husband, William Beavis Randell died in 1876 and she built the “Salem Glen” house. The card is undated but it is likely to be in the late 1800s. Produced by J. Beagles & Co. Ltd. who started in 1881, and the business continued through until 1939. You can see that the front of the card looks like a quilt, but in fact it is embossed paper which gives that effect. But you have to agree it does look very cool, doesn’t it! Now putting this into some kind of perspective, this card is at least over 100 years old, maybe even up to 120 years. So think about the Christmas cards you send and receive. Do...

Getting a Bit Christmassy...

From time to time I do blog about something other than genealogy or history, and this is one of those times. And this is about Christmas. Which with it being only a week away is hardly surprising. Anyway I’ve been getting into the Christmas mood, and as part of that I do love Christmas carols. Though trust me, I’m not one to put them on about 6 weeks before Christmas. About 1-2 weeks before is enough.  Fortunately I don’t work in a shopping centre where they do that, as seriously I would be “so over” carols that you just don’t want to hear them anymore. Anyway I just wanted to share my new favourite Christmas carol with you. Performed by a capella group from the US, Pentatonix, I think they do a simply amazing version of “Little Drummer Boy”. And another seriously awesome one is the “Angels We Have Heard on High” by The Piano Guys. Are you into Christmas carols? Do you have a...