Genealogy Close Calls

I was inspired to write this post as a result of reading Heather Rojo’s blog, Nutfield Genealogy, when wrote about her “Top Ten Genealogy Close Calls“. The title alone intrigued me, as I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by ‘genealogy close call’. But she explains it well: “What’s a “Genealogy Close Call”? It happens when I research an ancestor and realize that if fate didn’t intervene I wouldn’t be here today. Some of our ancestors narrowly escaped disasters, only to live on and produce a descendant that led to YOU. “ So that got me thinking. Did I have any “genealogy close calls”. My initial thoughts were no, but as the day progressed I remembered the following incidents: MY GENEALOGY CLOSE CALLS WILLIAM KENNARD ELPHICK (c1815-1869)  – Survived the voyage and wife SUSANNA ELPHICK (nee ELLIOT) (c1812-1899) William and his wife Susanna married in London in November 1838, and then immediately boarded the ‘Plantar’ ship to start a new life in Australia. The journey which on average takes about four months, took almost six months partly due to the captain’s incompetence – missing a port where they were meant to collect supplies, and having to stop elsewhere as a result, together with other misadventures such which included much of the crew being lost, as were some passengers and most of the livestock. Eventually a new crew was acquired and the journey continued. For more on their story click here. The Elphick family settled in Adelaide, and had numerous children. The Elphick’s are Mr Lonetester’s 3x great grandparents. While not everyone survived this journey, they did, and if they hadn’t he wouldn’t have be here. OTTO RAFAEL WINTER (1880-1961) – WW1 injuries Otto Winter was born in Finland and spent 7...

Looking Back: Photos of My Grandmas...

I’ve been good recently and have been scanning a few more old family photos. Scanning isn’t the funest job in the universe. In fact it’s rather a drag. But still it is nice to have a few more done. And they are nice high res ones, named, and filed appropriately, ready for when I need to access them again in the future. But while I was scanning some photos of one of my grandmas, I thought I’d like to share them so came up with an idea to do a mostly pictorial blog post of both of my grandma’s (maternal and paternal), and in another one I’ll show you my four great grandma’s. So let me introduce you firstly to Evelyn Hannaford (nee Randell) my maternal grandma (1916-2006) And that brings me to Valda Phillips (nee Winter), my paternal grandma...

The Women Who Made Me, Me! International Womens Day...

Today, March the 8th, is International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate and honour women both past and present. For my contribution to International Women’s Day, I want to share with you some photos the women who have helped make me, me! Obviously throughout everyone’s life there are many, many people who influence us. For this post I’m am sticking to the ancestral lines. Concentrating on those whose genes I have inherited at least some of. The ones who taught me things when you were young, and who embedded their values and ideals into me, and no doubt some of whose trait I have picked up. HERE’S ME …   MY MUM …   MY 2 GRANDMA’S …   MY 4 GREAT GRANDMA’S … MY 8 GREAT GREAT GRANDMA’S …  Although I do have photos for 6 of my 8 great great grandma’s I have opted to simply list them, to save this becoming so ridiculously long. Kezia Howard (Cecelia) ‘Sis’ BEECKEN (1867-1939) m. Samuel Thomas PHILLIPS Mary Ellen LUCAS (c.1856-1944) m. Denis John COSGROVE Hedvik (Karolina) VINBLAD (1856-1934) m. Otto Edvard WINTER Margaret Florence HAYHURST (1855-1935) m. John DALEY Martha Rosa KELLY (1864-1901) m. William John HANNAFORD Eva RICHARDSON (1860-1925) m. Robert McCULLOUGH Phebe ROBBINS (1838-1932) m. William Beavis RANDELL Lydia Amelia BAYS m. Ebenezer SINKINSON In case you were wondering who was who in the top picture … Top row L-R: Phebe Robbins, Alona Phillips, Dorothy McCullough, Evelyn Randell, Martha Rosa Kelly, Evelyn Randell & Cec Hannaford’s wedding. Bottom row L-R: Valda Winter, Winifred Lena Cosgrove, Anthea Phillips (nee Hannaford), Valda Winter’s wedding, Irene Daley. Every one of these women (and their husbands too), played a part in making me who I am. Some were...

Honouring My Ancestors with a Touch of Bling...

Let’s start off by saying I LOOOOOOOVE jewellery. Apart from genealogy and chocolate, jewellery is a passion of mine. It all started when I was about 10 or so when an auntie gave me a beautiful silver necklace, which I wore day in and day out. This one necklace has since been replaced by a whole stash of necklaces, rings, and bracelets. And when I travel rather than buy souvenirs from the places I visit, I tend to buy jewellery. At least its small enough to bring home easily enough. Anyway I found a site that combines my love of genealogy and jewellery. So naturally I helped the economy by doing some online shopping. And now I want to share with  you what I bought …. The www.mynamenecklace.com.au website  is one of those places that you can order jewellery from and get it customised to have your kids names on it. Well I ordered a bracelet, but rather than get my furkids names put on it, I chose to put my ancestors surnames instead. Well, my four grandparents lines anyway – Hannaford, Randell, Winter, Phillips, and to top it off it has the Tree of Life in the centre. I’m so thrilled with my new bracelet that I have already ordered another one as well as a necklace. On those I’m getting the words Genealogy. Past. Present. Future. put on them, which should be cool. Anyway when they arrive, I’ll have pics on my Facebook page. They’re my Christmas presents from me to me (we all have those don’t we)? I don’t normally write about companies, but I chose to do so in case any of you also have a love of jewellery and wanted to do something customised...

Movember Ancestors #4: Gustaf Adolf ‘Gösta’ Winter...

For this Movember Ancestor picture we head to Finland. My great grandpa Otto Rafael Winter was a seaman who arrived in Australia in 1907, leaving behind his whole family in Finland.  So I am one eighth Finnish. Otto was of six children. He had two older sisters and three younger brothers. Gustaf who was generally known as Gösta was one of his brothers. Gösta has a fairly standard “English” style moustache in this picture. It is very neat, and goes well with the smart, distinguished look he has here. The inscription on the bottom of the photo says G.A. Winter, Helsingfors (which is another name for Helsinki in Finland) and is where the Winter family came...

Great Grandpa Winter and his Tattoos...

I have written from time to time about  my great grandpa Winter (see the links below), and was inspired to do so again after reading an article today. Although the article was about convicts their tattoos, it reminded me of Otto Winter’s tattoos which I found out about from his military records. The image below is  portion of a page from Otto Winter’s WW1 records which are held at the National Archives of Australia – which lists his tattoos in his distinguishing marks. I remember being totally stunned when I read it purely as I hadn’t considered that he would have them. But there on his arms are an American flag, clasped hands, a basket of flowers and on his chest the Australian Coat of Arms which is an interesting mix – and I’d love to know the reasons behind them, particularly the basket of flowers. As he was a seaman I shouldn’t be surprised, because has there ever been a seaman that didn’t have tattoos? So you have to LOVE military records not just for the detail about the military history of the person, but also the personal details they include! And I couldn’t have a story about great grandpa without including a photo of him, so I’ve included the picture below. I don’t have many of him at all. And in fact it’s the one side of my family that I have VERY few photos unfortunately. And for anyone that is interested in more about Otto Rafael Winter, here’s links to the previous posts I’ve written about him: Anzac Day Blog Challenge:He Was Proud to be Australian Family History Through the Alphabet: F is for Finland and Football Is this Otto Rafael Winter?  ...

Is This Otto Rafael Winter?...

Do you have an ancestor or two that you are totally fascinated by? And by that I mean you spend ten times as much time on just that one person, than you do for whole other branches. Well I do. I have two of them in fact, and great grandpa Otto Rafael Winter is one of them. I have written before about Otto Winter (see the links below), though not for a while as I’ve not done much research on him for quite some time, but I have recently come across a ‘new-to-me’ photo which I think may be him. Anyway back to my fascination and a little intro: So why him? Well possibly because he’s from Finland for a start, as opposed the most of the rest of my ancestors who were largely from the UK, so researching him has been quite different. But also because there’s so few photos of him, and he wasn’t a diary-keeper, he’s always seemed a bit of a mystery.  So I’ve had to piece what I know of him from records, as well as my grandma’s memories. Otto was the third of six children, but the first son. As I find seeing a chart easier to read, than writing who was who, and where they fit in, I’ve included a little chart to show the family details. He left his home in Helsinki, Finland when he was young and made a life for himself working on cargo ships around the world as it was a way to avoid to joining the Russian Army which was compulsory for all young men at the time. He jumped ship at least twice, once in England and the second one being in Queensland, Australia. From there...

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: F is for Finland and Football...

This week’s letter in the ‘Family History Through the Alphabet’ Challenge is F … and immediately I thought of FINLAND, and then FOOTBALL. And as I couldn’t decide between them, I have decided to do both. F is for FINLAND I’ve written before about my Great Grandpa Otto Winter, who was born in Finland, and jumped ship in Australia – so I won’t repeat it here. Even though I’m only 1/8th Finnish, I have taken a real interest in my Finnish heritage – maybe because it is something completely different from Australian and English research? Who knows. First up let me tell you that this tiny country, which is way, way up near the top of the northern hemisphere has been such an interesting one to learn about. I won’t go into details about everything I have learned, but I will start off by showing you the size of Finland in relation to Australia. It’s only about 1/2 the size of South Australia. Anyway researching my Finnish heritage has led me to join a Family History Group or “sukuseura” as it is called in Finnish, and to discover and keep in contact with some reli’s from over there, which is simply awesome. Another big plus for Finland, is the Helsinki City Archives, who I must say are simply THE BEST!! I wrote to them asking if they happened to have any records relating to ‘Otto Winter’ and crossed my fingers hoping for something. Little did I expect what I got – which was fat a A4 size envelope packed with photocopies of all sorts. And by all sorts I mean all sorts … plans of the houses that Otto grew up in, an old map of the city of...

Anzac Day Blog Challenge: He Was Proud to be Australian...

When Auckland City Libraries put our the call for the Anzac Day Blog Challenge again, I just had to accept. I would like to introduce you to my Great Grandpa … Otto Rafael Winter … he was a proud Australian. Born in Helsinki, Finland in 1880, at age 22 Otto chose to leave his family, friends and life as he knew it to become a seaman. This was not only his way of getting to see the world, but also it was the best way to escape compulsory conscription to the Russian Army. Having worked on cargo ships for a number of years, in 1907 Otto jumped ship in Australia to start the next phase of his life. Why he chose Australia is one of those questions that sadly I’ll never know. But I do know that he adopted Australia as his new home, and in 1909 chose to become an Australian citizen. To further prove his allegiance to his adopted homeland, in 1916 he signed up with the Australian Imperial Force, was assigned to the 50th Battalion, 1st AIF, and was stationed at Marselles, Belgium. He was wounded several times, including being  shot in the stomach and poisoned with mustard gas while tunnelling at Ypres. Despite this, he survived and made it home in 1919 to his young wife (Irene) and baby boy (Harold). Australian patriotism was shown yet again when World War II broke out when Otto signed up in 1942 for the Volunteer Defence Corps. He did some further training in Australia during 1943, but wasn’t called up to go to the battlefields this time, and was discharged in late 1945. While there is still much for me to learn about my great grandpa’s life, thanks...