Hoon, and You’ll be Fined … Even in the 1840s...

Same thing. Different century. And still boys will be boys! These days it’s reckless driving, back then it was reckless riding … Furious riding and driving are daily witnessed in Sydney to the extreme annoyance and danger of all persons who may happen to be in the street. People, whether drunk or sober, seem equally careless of the consequence to be apprehended from such wanton conduct, and we often wonder that children and others are not more frequently rendered the objects of accidents; For the middle of the streets are seldom empty, and indeed the contempt of danger of those on foot seems quite equal to the absence of caution on the part of riders and drivers. On Monday a youth on horse-back rode at a quick rate, nearly at full speed, through the street, and knocked down a young girl, the mother of a child, with the child in her arms, and occasioned in her very serious injury. A complaint was made at the Police Office, and the offender was committed to the Sessions for the assault. – The Australian Sydney, NSW, 14 February 1827, pg2 Back in the 1840s a law was passed in South Australia to fine those who were “furious riding or driving”. In otherwords, speeding or ‘hooning’ on your horse, as opposed to speeding or ‘hooning’ in a car as it is these days. Furious Riding or Driving By the provisions of the New Police Act, furious riding or driving is punishable by a fine of from Two to Ten pounds. It will be seen by our police report that a penalty of the lowest amount was enforced yesterday against a person for galloping in Hindley street. He pleaded ignorance of the Act (an excuse not likely long to be available), which was apparently the occasion...

Another Copyright Issue

Copyright. Yes, it’s that word again. The word few like the hear. The word that gets me kicked out of Facebook groups. But the word copyright is an important one. Copyright is there for a reason. Copyight is a law that is there to protect the work of the author or compiler. But before I get into that, let me just say that there’s no doubt that genealogists for the most part, are a wonderful bunch of generous people who love to help each other out. Be it on research advice, cemetery visits, or lookups. Research advice, fine. Cemetery visits, transcriptions or headstone photos fine. But lookups can be an issue. The issue of doing lookups from big-pay-sites has been mentioned before, and you can read all about that here, as has the general copyright issue before which you can read here. But another copyright issue has come up that needs to be addressed, and that is offering lookups from books. In theory doing a lookup from a book sounds fine. You have a book, you offer to do lookups, and respond back to those who ask with details of yes/no they’re in there. But this is the digital age, and what I saw on Facebook was someone offering to do lookups from a number of books (probably all out of print, but all still in copyright). But to help out fellow researchers, the person had kindly photographed the entire index of each book and pasted it online. Like it or not, that breaches copyright law. Several in fact. But not only that, the person then posted photographs of EVERY page that anyone was interested in. Again. That breaches copyright. Copyright is there for a reason. It is to protect...

1 Name. 61 Variants

Anyone who’s been researching been researching for longer than a week will know that name variants play a big HUGE part in research. Both with first names, and surnames. Figuring out how names were potentially spelt (or ‘spelled’ for my North American readers) can be the difference between finding them or not. I’m not going to go into the in’s and out’s of name variants, but rather I wanted to highlight two particular surnames, and all the variants that I’ve found for them so far. There’s 61 of them for one, and 31 for the other. And truth is, I really wouldn’t be surprised if more show up. So let’s start with ELLIOT. This is one of Mr Lonetester’s branches, while ELLIOTT (with two “Ts”) is one of mine, with no connection that I know of between them at this stage. We all know that there are numerous variants of Elliott: one “L”, two “Ls”, one “T”, two “Ts”, but what I didn’t realise is just how many more there really are. One thing I like to do when beginning searching a new surname is to note down all the variants. That way when I’m searching, be it a website, a book or records, I can look for them all, and see what I come up with. Mr Lonetester’s ELLIOT family possibly came from Sussex (that’s still to be verified), but I headed (online) to the Sussex Family History Society to browse around and see what they had. Now they have the coolest thing on their website, and that’s the Sussex People Index.  In their words … The Sussex People Index consists of any names that anyone can submit from anywhere – the only condition is that the event reported must...

Are You a Genealogist or a Family Historian?...

Are you a genealogist or a family historian? What is the right term? What is the difference? And what is the definition? Let’s take a look a the term “genealogist” first, you’ll see that it is defined as: – A person who studies, professes or practices genealogy. (www.yourdictionary.com) – An expert in genealogy. A person with special knowledge or ability who performs skillfully. (https://www.vocabulary.com) While the term “family historian” is said to be: – A family historian is person who has the most accurate information knowledge passed down to them by one of the oldest members, a patriarch or matriarch of their particular branch of the family. (http://www.yourdictionary.com) While I could leave it at that, I realised that everyone has their own way of approaching things, and family history, just like any activity is no different. Some go gung-ho, others take the cautious step-by-step, others like to just dip their toe in. So apart from the terms genealogist and family historian, here are some others that you may have come across: The Bragger The Bragger isn’t one that actually researches their family history, but they have a family member who does. The Bragger is one who grabs hold of the juicy stories (you know the criminals, the royalty, the explorers, and the heroes), and lets everyone know that they are connected to them. The BSO (Bright Shiny Object) Researcher The BSO Researcher is one that gets easily excited, and easily distracted. They are known to be researching one line, only to be totally distracted by a new and more interesting ancestor that they’ve just discovered. The BSO Researcher does tend to have fascinating stories on their family members. The Cemetery Traipser Also sometimes known as the Grave Walker, the Cemetery Traipser...

Leaving Comments on a Blogger Blog...

Has anyone else had issues leaving comments on someone’s Blogger blog, or is just me? I’m of the opinion that blogging is a two way thing. Someone writes something cool and interesting, you read it, and if you like you should leave a comment acknowledging it, or share it on social media.  So when I read blogs, I do like to comment. However some people who use Blogger have theirs set up differently, so that unfortunately won’t allow me to do so. As these bloggers probably aren’t aware that they’re missing out on potential comments, I thought I would highlight it here. Example 1. This seems to be the standard set of options which it allows you to sign into to leave a comment. However I don’t use LiveJournal, TypePad or OpenID. I have no idea what AIM is, but it doesn’t seem to be anything I can use. And yes, I do have a WordPress blog, but I have a WordPress.org not a WordPress.com one, so I don’t have a WordPress account. So none of these options work for me. I will admit that on rare occasions I have used ‘Unknown’ and just typed my name in as part of the comment, but it’s not ideal by any means. Example 2. This is actually a different issue I have with some Blogger blogs. you’ll see that there is no dropdown list, but rather simply a box to type. However comments based on your Google+ account. Now I manage four Google+ accounts, and it seems to be permanently preferrenced to my work ones. As yet I haven’t yet figured out how to change it, although I’m familiar enough with swapping between accounts themselves on Google+. So again, I don’t...

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...

Emigration from England to South Australia in the 1800s...

The “Mayflower” is ‘the ship’ in US history. The first ship to transport passengers from England to the United States in 1620. 102 people, all hoping to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic. Well, in South Australian history the “Buffalo” is the equivalent. It was one of a fleet of ships to arrive in the colony at the end of 1836. Once it arrived at Glenelg, Governor John Hindmarsh who was on board, proclaimed the establishment of government in South Australia as a British province. From then on, there was a big push to get skilled labourers from England to emigrate to the new colony, and as an enticement they were offered free passage (assisted passage). Of course there was still the option for anyone who wished to emigrate to pay their own way (known as unassisted passage), but many took up the offer of the emigration scheme, and as a result these pioneers helped make South Australia what it is today. But as with anything that’s free, there were some rules and regulations. I came across this list of rules for those wanting assisted passage in the West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser, dated 27 February 1839, and it’s truly fascinating. RULES FOR EMIGRATION The Act of Parliament declares that the whole of the funds arising from the sale of lands, and the rent of pasture, shall form an Emigration Fund, to be employed in affording a free passage to the Colony from Great Britain and Ireland for poorer persons; “provided that they shall, as far as possible, be adult persons of both sexes in equal proportions, and not exceeding the age of 30 years.” With a view to carrying this provision into effect, the Commissioners...

“Dear Friends” … Letter From an Emigrant in 1864...

So what was life like for those who emigrated to South Australia back in the 1800s? Generally you’re only likely to find this information from letters written to family or friends in the ‘old country’, or otherwise from diaries. So it was a surprise to find an article on Trove about an emigrant who not only came to South Australia, but actually settled in the tiny town of Gumeraka (note the alternate spelling of Gumeracha). Written in 1864 to some friends in England (or maybe Wales), it was produced as an article the Scotts Circular (Newport, Wales), and then in The Adelaide Express, 22 April 1865 (as reproduced below). The writer details what it was like for him and his family with housing food, work and wages, neighbours and other businesses all getting a mention. What we don’t know is who the author of the letter is. Still, it makes for an interesting read. In 1864 the town of Gumeracha was not very old, having only been laid out in the 1850s  (for more on that click here). The article starts off with “The following interesting letter has arrived from an emigrant who received a passage under Government, to South Australia.” —————————— The text below is a full transcript of the article. Note the paragraphs have been added in by me to make it easier to read. AN EMIGRANT’S LETTER. Gumeraka, Australia, September 18th, 1864. My Dear Friends, I am glad to tell you that I have got plenty of work the first day that I went on after landing, and the first master that I spoke to I  engaged to go with to go into the Bush a dray-making and waggon-making at the wheelwrighting trade, at the rate of wages I will give you, and...

The Intriguing Story Behind Barber Poles...

It’s become universal. A red, white and blue striped pole means barber shop. But why and when did it become a thing? Let’s me start by saying I work in a shop that has a barber shop next door. Being a good barber (and a Greek one at that), he loves to talk, so it was only natural that one day we got on to the topic of barber poles, and significance of the stripes. So I gave him a little history lesson! Way back … and we’re talking back in medieval times here, barber’s didn’t just cut hair and offer shaves. No, no, no. They were also the local dentist, doctor and surgeon as well, and they were known as barber-surgeons. Elizabeth Roberts writes it well … “Up until the 19th century barbers were generally referred to as barber-surgeons, and they were called upon to perform a wide variety of tasks. They treated and extracted teeth, branded slaves, created ritual tattoos or scars, cut out gallstones and hangnails, set fractures, gave enemas, and lanced abscesses. Whereas physicians of their age examined urine or studied the stars to determine a patient’s diagnosis, barber-surgeons experienced their patients up close and personal. Many patients would go to their local barber for semi-annual bloodletting, much like you take your car in for a periodic oil change.” Just to clarify things, physicians were the academics, who tended to work in universities, and mostly dealt with patients as an observer or a consultant, and considered surgery to be beneath them. I sure can’t imagine my shop neighbour doing anything of the like. In fact I think he’d faint at the sight of blood. Anyway back to the significance of the barber poles. Dr Lindsey Fitzharris,...

Well, That Was Disappointing: The Value of “Negative Evidence”...

We’ve all been there. We’ve done searches looking for an ancestor, and simply came up with nothing. We’ve tried numerous alternate spellings. Eliminated the date. And even omitted the parents names. And still Zip. Zilch. Nada. In fact the name you were searching doesn’t even appear. Or anything even remotely like it. So what now? Some would say that they’ve wasted time, effort and money, but in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. What you’ve done is find “negative evidence”. In effect you are eliminating sources. So then narrowing down your search list. Negative Evidence is far more valuable that most give credit for, so don’t ever discard this information. Record it in a research log, noting down your search term, what (book, website, journal, archive etc) you searched, what you found (or not), and the date. If is is a website, you might want to note to recheck it later, as we all know new records do get added online regularly. An added bonus with a Research Log is that you can see exactly what you found (or didn’t find) when. So when you pick up that line a couple of years later, you don’t have to repeat all the same searches (unless they’re websites of course). And if you don’t have a Research Log as yet, you’ll find some great Research Log Templates over on Cyndi’s List which you can download and printout for free. So while it’s not as exciting as finding your ancestor, NEGATIVE EVIDENCE really is a GOOD thing. Try it. You’ll be amazed at how much time it can actually save...

RootsTech 2017 – The People You Meet...

For me the best part of RootsTech is the people. Yes, were are many, many, MANY thousands of people who attended (around 30,000 they say), and no, I didn’t meet them all … but I did get to catch up with quite a number of friends, as well as meeting a bunch of wonderful people for the first time. This is a collection of photos of some of the people I met. Some were were taken at lunches, others at dinner, a number at RootsTech itself, and a few at after parties. Please note they’re in no particular order. Enjoy! As someone told me, “RootsTech brings us together from around the world”, and it’s true, with people from around 40 different countries attending this year. The geneablogger community, as well as the wider genealogy community is such a wonderful group to be a part of. So friendly and so welcoming. And thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. Well that’s all for RootsTech 2017 from me. But for a whole heap more reports, be sure to check out Randy Seaver’s compilation of other bloggers reports...

RootsTech 2017 – A Few Words From the Autograph Book...

Wherever I went during RootsTech 2017 (and even the few days prior), I made sure I had my autograph book with me. Putting it simply you just never know who you’ll meet, where. And that proved very true. I tried to make the most of my opportunities. I had such fun meeting people and asking if they’d like to sign my book. And surprisingly not a single person refused. All up I had 95 people from 11 different countries sign my book (Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Israel, Norway, France, Germany and Poland) which is awesome. And there’s so many beautiful comments that people have written, I wanted to share a few of them with you. Note for privacy reasons I have chosen not to include the names of those who wrote them. Thankyou for your wonderful friendship. Hope you are enjoying America and Utah. have fun hunting for your ancestors. Thrilled to have a visitor from so far. Thanks for making our day brighter. I always enjoy spending time with you, so this is a bonus. Have a wonderful RootsTech. Do you know the difference between inlaws and outlaws? Outlaws are wanted! We live as long as long as we are remembered – keep on remembering those ancestors! We’ll have to stop meeting like this – people will talk! Alona, so great to meet you. Looking forward to many more fun adventures here @ RootsTech 2017. To my genimate, Alona. So thrilled to be sharing the RootsTech experience with you once more. Happy ancestor hunting. I wish you the very best in your genealogy work – you’re quite the beautiful, energetic, friendly & vivacious personality. It’s so great that RootsTech brings us together from all over the...