The Road to Gumeracha

Anyone who is familiar with the Adelaide Hills knows what a beautiful drive up from the city and suburbs it is. For those who aren’t think rolling green hills everywhere, except in Summer when they’re brown, with plenty of big beautiful gum trees around. There are crops and vineyards, sheep, and cattle. It’s the country, and it’s what I grew up with! I found an article in South Australia’s Register newspaper, from 20 January 1920, where the writer takes a trip from Athelstone through the hills to Gumeracha, and describes the journey. So I wanted to share a portion of that with you. To read the full article, click here.   An Entrancing Corridor If an unlabelled moving picture of the Gorge road were thrown on the screen people would ask where it was. The route is an eye-opener in rugged beauty. For most of the 17 miles, from the time the gateway is entered at Athelstone, the track runs between massive, rock-ribbed, tree-spread cliffs which climb hundreds of feet, and seem to meet the blue sky. From the moment you get into contact with the great panorama, it is a wonderland of wild, decorative effects, carried out by Nature to big scale. The road has the appearance of a bold, tiny interloper, twisting in and out among the boulders with flimsy, and almost precarious, audacity. Looking up on one side you see the hills, mottled by shadows on a sunny afternoon, lean their grey bulk against a radiant back ground. On the other the jagged, broken rock offers, at times, a rather uncomfortable proximity, supplying a striking colour contrast with their red and dark blue and brown faces. Running along this 24-ft. thoroughfare, amid some of the most impressive open-air...

Dipping My Toes in to Irish Genealogy Research...

Apart from my British, Finnish and a little European heritage, I have some Irish blood in me too. About 30% in fact (according to my AncestryDNA test). But the whole Irish side is one that I’ve pretty much avoided. Afterall, there are so many other lines and branches to follow … so it always ended up in the “I’ll get to it one day” pile. Well I’ve just discovered John Grenham’s YouTube channel. And to say I’m a fan is an understatement. For anyone who hasn’t heard of John Grenham, he is like THE No.1 authority on Irish genealogy research. The Godfather of it so to speak. He’s also the author of the best known Irish research book “Tracing Your Irish Ancestors“, now up to the 5th edition, and which is commonly referred to as the Bible for Irish research. So in other words, he knows his stuff. He also has the most incredible website for Irish genealogy around. It has SO MUCH info. So much, that he’s actually created a video to show people how to use it. I urge to to find 20 minutes to watch this video, because if you haven’t used his website, you will be blow away by what it offers, and how it works. —————— But I also wanted to share another of his videos with you … one that is common for everyone starting their Irish research “Irish Ancestors: Why Can’t I Find Mine?” As I’m a total newbie to Irish research, I thought it would be good to watch this to see what he had to say, and as expected John gives his viewers lots of great advice, so I’m sharing it here. If you are researching Irish ancestors, please go...

Australia Day Blog Challenge: Climbing Your Family’s Gum Tree...

I do love a good geneameme, so when Shauna Hicks posted her Australia Day post recently, which ended up being a revisit of an Australia Day Blog Challenge that was created by fellow Aussie geneablogger, Pauleen Cass a number of years ago, which apparently I missed … the challenge was on!! Pauleen says … “The geneameme is to test whether your family is ridgey-didge and to show us how Australia runs in your veins, without any flag-waving and tattoo-wearing. Shout it out, be proud and make everyone wish they lived in this wide brown land of ours.” 1. My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was … Ok, if we count “what’s yours is mine” when you get married – Mr Lonetester’s convict, John Warby, who was given a free ticket to Australia in 1792, is my earliest ancestor. You can read more about him here. However ‘my’ own first ancestor would be Isaac and Simeon Richardson. They are two brothers who were labourers from Kent, and were sentenced to death for their part in local riots, however thanks to the local townsfolk, their life was spared, and instead they were transported to Van Diemen’s Land (for more click here).  But my first non-convict ancestor was my Randell family from Devon to South Australia in 1837 (click for more details). Based on my Randell family, i’m 6th generation Australian. 2. I have Australian Royalty (tell us who, how many and which Fleet they arrived with) … OK, I don’t have any first, second or even third fleet convicts, but I do have Australian Royalty. Isaac RICHARDSON, transported 1831, Lord Lyndoch Simeon RICHARDSON, transported 1831, Lord Lyndoch William COSGROVE (still not 100% proven, but seems highly likely) So that was my direct...

Facebook for Australian & New Zealand History and Genealogy...

Since releasing my first big list of Australian history and genealogy links on Facebook in September 2016, I’ve continued to find more, and more, and periodically do updates. So what started out as a list of a few hundred links, has grown to large list of 2012 links (as at 29 December 2020). That’s 74 pages worth of Australian and New Zealand history and genealogy links … just on Facebook. I haven’t added any new categories with this update, but there are additions to nearly every category that’s listed. It was my June 2020 update when I added New Zealand in. It’s still small, but it will grow, and as it does more sub-categories will be added as needed. DOWNLOAD HERE This is an ongoing project which will be updated periodically, so if you have any links you’d like added, please either send an email to  alona @ lonetester.com (without the spaces), or message me on my Lonetester Facebook page. ————– And I can’t mention genealogy on Facebook without making reference to two other incredible lists: – Katherine Willson’s worldwide Genealogy on Facebook list is enormous, and now has over 16,400 links. – Gail Dever’s Facebook for Canadian Genealogy list of over 1000 links is a must for everyone with Canadian...

Koalas and Kangaroos!

Randy Seaver author of the well-known genealogy blog, Genea-Musings, recently posed the topics of “Your Other Hobbies or Interests” for his “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun” weekly blog post, and it has spurred me to get writing again. So just what are my other hobbies and interests? Reading is one, and I’m a collector of various things, there’s no doubt about that. One of those is my 19 Crimes collection of corks and wine bottles, that is still growing slowly. But other than that … not so much of a hobby, but more of a passion, is keeping an eye on the local wildlife in my area. So my answer is … koalas and kangaroos. I live in the Adelaide Hills area of South Australia, and am incredibly fortunate to have koalas and kangaroos come and visit regularly. So regularly, that I can identify them, and have named many of them. So let me introduce you to my girl koala Boomer, and a few of my regulars …   So what started with me going out for a walk and photographing the wildlife I saw along the way and putting some pictures on on Facebook for my friends, has resulted in my koalas and kangaroos totally having fans. They suggested I should make a calendar from all my koala pics, so I did this and made a 2020 calendar which went well, and Boomer and her friends made it to many corners of the world. So recently I’ve been busy working on my 2021 calendar, and now Boomer has her own Facebook page as well. So it’s been keeping me busy, combine that with creating a proper separate website and there is absolutely no genealogy time at present. Everyone has their ‘happy place’...

They Closed the Borders ….. AGAIN!!...

“Victoria-NSW border to close for the first time in 100 years as Melbourne coronavirus cases hit record daily high” – this is the headline from the SBS News report, dated 7 July 2020, and it comes as Victoria is just beginning another six weeks of lockdown to try get COVID-19 under control. Anyway that headline intrigued me, as I was curious about the previous border closure … so I headed to Trove to see what I could find. And what an amazing article I found. Talk about history repeating itself … just have a read of this article from South Australian newspaper, The Register, dated 3 February 1919. You can see the original article here. Please note, the red highlight is my emphasis, not that of the original article.  —The Spanish Flu— No one desires to minimise the horrors or the epidemic which has swept over the world, nor the necessity for precautions, but it would seem that if ever fear was worse than the disease, the present is the occasion. The Federal Quarantining Department kept the disease out of the country for months. Australia has had ample warning, and advantage from the experience of other countries. The Commonwealth and State authorities met last November, and planned, a joint course of action. The Sydney doctors diagnosed their cases as the real thing; the Melbourne doctors were still using big words, and unable to make up their minds. Now both States have been declared infected, but New South Wales will not admit Victorian passengers, because Melbourne was responsible for the trouble, and Queensland, not to be out of the fuss, is asking the despised Commonwealth Government to lend it a body of Light Horse to patrol its border against New South Wales....

Crazy Month of May 2020 Meme: My Pandemic Experiences...

It’s been a while since I’ve taken part in a blog challenge, but good friend and blogger Pauleen (aka Cassmob) came up with one that I just had to take part in. It’s the “Crazy Month of May 2020 Meme: My Pandemic Experiences” She writes: “It occurred to me that perhaps we should have a meme which captures our response to the hopefully-once-in-a-lifetime May that we’ve just navigated….it might be a way to preserve the tip of our experiences. Remember that many blogs are being archived in Pandora so perhaps this is a way for our descendants to learn about our experiences during the covid-19 crisis.” So here’s my responses: What are you most grateful for during this covid-19 crisis? I would have to say I’m thankful that I still have a job when so many now don’t, but also that most people in my area are doing the right thing with social distancing, which of course helps stop the spread of coronavirus. What have you missed most during the full or partial lock-down? As an introvert I love being home, but just now and then it’s nice to randomly go out for a meal. So that is something I have missed. Has your hobby sustained you during this time? While not sure if you’d class it as a hobby, keeping an eye on my local wildlife (koalas and kangaroos) and enjoying them coming around, makes me happy, and is a stress reliever. But as for actual hobbies, I haven’t had time for them recently … What changes have you seen in your life over May 2020? Work is BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!!! I work in a family history business, and it has been non-stop crazy busy over the past few months. So...

Record History as it Happens...

With COVID-19 changing the world we live in, we are in a time of ‘history happening now’. I’m sure you’ve seen the suggestions about keeping a diary to record life and times of our ‘present normal’, and that is certainly a great idea. I mean low petrol prices, lack of toilet paper, only going out for necessities, closed restaurants, closed schools, closed gyms, closed entertainment venues, Anzac Day services around the country cancelled, all sporting events cancelled, even the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Then of course all the genealogy and history societies have been temporarily as well, with a number of them no embracing online seminars instead. But also don’t forget about self isolating and social distancing. I’m sure your kids or grandkids would love to read your thoughts on how you survived being cooped up at home for weeks. Maybe you got hooked on jigsaw puzzles, or decided to master making bread, or created your own vegie garden for the first time ever, or the family drove you crazy??! The list could go on. But I also know not everyone is a diary writer … so there are ways other than writing, that you can record and share “history as it happens” as well. So here I’m letting you know about a number of organisations that are wanting to “record history as it happens” but they need your input to do so. They are collecting your photographs, memories, and ephemera (some physical, some digital), all which will help document this incredible once-in-a-lifetime event that we’re currently living in. Canberra: National Library of Australia The National Library of Australia has been busy collecting web-based ephemera relating to COVID-19, by taking snapshots of websites and archiving them. You can view their collection...

Activities for the Genealogist While Self-Isolating...

Are you currently in lockdown, quarantined or self-isolating at home? Looking for some ideas to fill the day? I know that I could simply write “research” here and you’d all be happy (I would be), but for those of you who may need a break from just “research” on occasions, or don’t have the longer spurts of time required for researching, there’s plenty of useful genealogy-related activities that you can still do. Here’s a few ideas… ————————– WATCH – Webinars & Videos Webinars and videos are a fantastic way to learn in your own time, and from the comfort of your own home. There literally thousands available to watch, and that’s without going to YouTube and searching for more, and most of them are free. – Ancestry Academy – Short tutorial videos, covering Ancestry, DNA, methodology and more. – FamilySearch Webinars – Watch webinars on researching in different countries, as well a numerous general topics (organisation, DNA etc.), as well as how to master the FamilySearch website. – Legacy Family Tree Webinars – This one is a pay site, but at less than US$50/year, and access to over 1000 tutorial videos, it is SOOO worth it. But just so you know all newly added videos are free for 7 days, before they then go behind the paywall, and you will then need to pay or subscribe. – MyHeritage Education – There are a heap of webinars available covering how to use the MyHeritage website to advantage, as well as how to build a family tree, general research basics, well as DNA and health tutorials. – The National Archives (UK) – From using Discovery, to workhouse records, emigration, musters and militia, King Henry VIII, and a whole heap more. – National Library of Australia – Watch videos...

The Day the World Changed...

There has been numerous key dates over the years (or decades, and in reality centuries) which have been defining, and have changed the course of history, or life as people know it. … wars, fires, plagues, assassinations, accidents, deaths and so on. Everyone has their own “key dates” for various reasons. But for me, 14 March 2020 is that day. Why this date? Well I was on a cruise ship with a whole bunch of geniemates, on the way to Tasmania as part of the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. But, again why? Well, it was the day that the captain of the Pacific Aria ship advised passengers, that 3 days into our 8 day cruise, we would not be going to Tasmania as planned, but instead heading straight back to Adelaide (where the ship came from). This was due to all P&O cruise ships “pausing” their operations as a precautionary measure in regards to the Coronavirus. Of course I’d heard of the Coronavirus before then, it had been in the news. But it wasn’t BIG news. But with each passing day, it certainly became so. While it began in China back in December 2019, it had reached Australia. The numbers of those infected kept rising. The deaths started happening. So the cruise ships stopped. The planes cut flights. State borders were closed. Mandatory 14 day quarantine was introduced. Pubs, clubs, gyms, even playgrounds were closed and so on. The world HAD changed … all just within a few days. “Self isolation” and “social distancing” became the new key words. Pretty much every country in the world is faced with this pandemic. But when it gets to your own country, your own area, it really hits home. Prior to leaving...