Disasters: Are You Prepared?...

My Christmas and New Year, like so many other Australians this year was almost a non-event. With half of Australia burning, no-one felt like celebrating. As it is, I’m writing this through tears after seeing so many heartbreaking images of our beautiful country go up in flames. So many people now no longer have a home, a business, or a farm that until just a week or two ago, did. Over 100,000 people have been displaced from Victoria, with many 1000s more from New South Wales. There are many thousands of people from right across the country that have dropped everything to go fight these ‘unstoppable’ fires, not to mention others who have come from overseas. The pets, native animals, wildlife and stock loss is staggering – 500,000,000 (half a billion) – and the numbers keep rising as the fires continue to burn. I have family and friends that were impacted by the recent Cudlee Creek fires in the Adelaide Hills … and while that fire covered a fair portion of the Adelaide Hills, it is small in comparison to those in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. I’ve been to Kangaroo Island and seen it’s incredible beauty, and now over the period of two days, about half the island has been turned to ash. I’m not going to get political here – this is not the place. But rather I want to say – how prepared are you? If you saw the “watch and act” or the “emergency warning” message come in to your inbox, or heard the evacuate siren sound from your local fire station – just how ready are you? What would you do? Having been through this scenario five years ago with the Sampson Flat...

The Poppy Umbrella

If you’re in need of a new umbrella, or even if you aren’t, but like to put your money to a good cause … buy a Poppy umbrella. I first saw these poppy umbrellas at the Families and Friends of the First AIF stand at Congress in Sydney in 2018, and bought one there, and since then I’ve bought a few more and given them as gifts. The poppy of course is a symbol of remembrance of the First World War, that is strongly linked with Armistice Day (11 November), but the poppy’s origin as a popular symbol of remembrance lies in the battlefields of the First World War, where poppies were a common sight, especially on the Western Front. These umbrellas not only look fabulous with a giant red poppy graphic, but as mentioned before, the funds go to a good cause … Here’s a few paragraphs from the FFFAIF website which gives information about the umbrella, and what the funds go to … The Poppy Umbrella, resembling a Flanders poppy when open, is manufactured for Rembrella by Fultons, the largest supplier of quality umbrellas in the UK. They are only available for sale through registered charities of ex-Service and welfare organisations, or military and heritage museums, or educational associations and not-for-profit organisations, and in 2009 Rembrella appointed Families and Friends of the First AIF (FFAIF) as its Australian importer. Sales of the umbrellas enables FFFAIF to contribute funding to Commemorations in Sydney for Fromelles Day and the Battles of 3rd Ypres as well towards the costs of headstones on unmarked graves of returned Diggers. The Poppy umbrellas are available in three different styles: Telescopic (small and compact), Standard (tall with a wooden curved handle) and Golf Umbrella (large)....

Discovering Links: 17 FREE Links for Queensland Genealogy Research...

Here’s another post in my “Discovering Links” series. These consist of a collection of links that I have discovered, or found useful, and simply want to share with others. But rather than just giving you a whole batch of random links each time, I am grouping them by Australian state, country, county, or topic. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here. So Queensland is the topic for this one. It’s not intended to be an exhaustive collection of links, but simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you may 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. Personally I find that it’s often a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that. === QUEENSLAND === Renamed Places in Queensland While I’ve seen ‘renamed towns’ lists for other places, I’ve never seen one as extensive as this Queensland one. Going way beyond just listing towns and suburbs that have been renamed, this one even includes street, cemeteries and buildings. Grouped into: Shires & Local Government; Electorates; Towns, suburbs & localities; Post offices; Railway Stations; Schools; Streets; Churches; Cemeteries; Buildings: Houses, Hotels, Theatres, Properties & Other Man-Made Things; Geographical Features: Mountains, Rivers etc.; Shire & Local and more! Queensland Family Trees This website contains names of over 42,000 individuals, and over 2000 photos and other media, which are linked to the relevant individuals that have a connection to Queensland. Easy to use it has a simple search box on the home page. Queensland Residents Pre-1859 Griffith University is documenting the lives and experiences of “people, groups and organisations that have not been the subject...

A Wife for Sale

Now there’s a title that I bet got your attention. I know it got mine when I was browsing through the old newspapers on Trove and saw the headline “A WIFE FOR SALE”. On further searching, I found that there are actually quite a heap of articles titled “A Wife for Sale”. But today I’m going to share two with you. In our modern day, western world society, the whole concept of “selling a wife” is horrifying, but these two articles might just give you a different view of it … They both come from Queensland newspapers, but are reporting news from overseas.   ARTICLE 1 comes from the Brisbane Telegraph, Wednesday 31 July 1912, page 4 (click for a link to the original article) and is a mutally agreed sale between the husband and wife. “A WIFE FOR SALE.” It was long a popular belief among the ignorant in England (says the “New York “Herald”) that if a man sold his wife at public auction such a sale had all the legality of a regular divorce. The latest case of the kind occurred in 1832. John Thompson, a farmer, had been married for three years, and he and his wife agreed to separate. Thompson brought his wife into the town of Carlisle, and by the bellman announced he was about to sell her. At 12 o’clock Thompson placed his wife on a large oak chair with a rope or halter of straw about her neck. He then made (his announcement “Gentlemen, “I have to offer to your notice my wife, Mary Anne Thompson, otherwise Williams, whom I mean to sell to the highest and fairest bidder. It is her wish as well as mine to part for ever. She...

No Liars, No Dirty Faces, and Other Library Rules...

Library rules were simple back in the day. If you take look at current library rules, they’re kind of what you’d expect. Very long and very detailed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, they’re just covering their bases. But back the 1900s (actual date unknown), the Hyde Institute Library in Hertfordshire, England, created a list of just 12 simple rule … and very wise ones at that! What we do know, is that the first newspaper account of this list that I found was is in The Observer, London, England, Sunday 27 April 1930, p18. But it was so good, that it was picked up by the Australian newspapers, and reproduced in the Northern Territory Times, 12 August 1930, p6, as well as  Brisbane’s Sunday Mail, 11 January 1931, p15 as well as Melbourne’s Advocate, Tuesday 23 March 1939, p16 to mention a few. Incidentally while looking on Trove for “Library Rules”, I found a great article that was printed in the Geraldton Guardian, Tuesday, 4 November 1914, p4, which I’ve added in below. I especially like the “Don’t grumble. You are borrowing, and getting interest for nothing”. So true. Libraries are free, and they provide an incredible service to the community. Respect the staff and library volunteers, not to mention the books and other items the library has and allows the public to use....

Anzac Day: A Message from the Battlefield...

For Anzac Day this year I’m focussing on Ypres, a city in Belgium that’s on the French border. A prosperous place that in 1914 had a population of around 18,000 people. Just for reference, Ypres is the Belgian version of the name, while the Australian Diggers knew it as as “Wipers”. And nowadays it is often known by it’s Dutch version, “Ieper”, which is pronounced as “ee-per”. From November 1914 through until November 1917 Ypres was devastated by war and as you would expect, deserted by its inhabitants. Over that 4 year period, there were over 38,000 Australians who were killed or wounded in the Ypres battles, while the total number of casualties for all sides climbed into the many hundreds of thousands. Captain Frank Hurley was an Australian official military photographer who was in Ypres during 1918 and captured many unforgettable images of the destruction and the lives of the Australian soldiers during the Third Battle of Ypres (also known as the Battle of Passchendaele). The photograph at the top of this post is one of his very well-known ones. The State Library of New South Wales has a large collection of his war photographs (and diaries) online, so if you’re interested feel free to click here to view them. Anyway this year I’m remembering my great grandpa, Otto Rafael Winter. I have written about him before, including his service with the Australian military, but this time I’m highlighting a family heirloom. The postcard pictured below is one of the very few heirlooms that exist from my Winter family, and it’s a postcard that Otto sent from Ypres, Belgium (one of the places he was deployed to) to his parents-in-law, John and Margaret Daley, in South Australia. The postcard itself...

Women Who Changed the World...

While much of the world is seen as a ‘man’s world’, there’s no doubt that women have had a huge influence in just every field in history, you just don’t tend to hear about it. I could have written about queens, warriors, suffragettes, and other well-known females who did make an influence on the world, however for this article I have opted for female inventors – most of who you won’t have heard of before – but whose inventions are largely everyday items, and in doing so have helped change the world we live in. __________________________ Caller ID and Call Waiting Can’t say I’d thought about someone ‘inventing’ caller ID and caller waiting, but obviously someone did, and that was Dr Shirley Ann Jackson. It was her research from the 1970s that was responsible for it, and her breakthroughs in telecommunications also enabled others to invent the portable fax, fibre optic cables and solar cells. Car Heater In 1893 Margaret A. Wilcox invented the first car heater, which directed air from over the engine to warm the chilly toes of the upper class 19th century motorists. You’ll now think of this every time you turn on the car heater, while also being incredibly thankful as you thaw out on those cold mornings. Central Heating Back in 1919, Alice Parker invented a system of gas-powered central heating. While her design was never built, it was the first time an inventor had conceived of using natural gas to heat a home, and inspired the future central heating systems. Chocolate Chip Cookies Ruth Wakefield and her husband bought an old toll house outside of Boston with her husband. They converted the toll house into an inn with a restaurant. One day in 1930,...

Nail Your Irish Genealogy Research With These Sources...

St Patrick’s Day. It’s always a day to make you think of all things Irish, wear green wigs, drink green beer and for those who research your family history, a day to think of the Irish ancestors. This year I’m giving you tips on where to look for the ultimate advice and links for Irish research. CYNDI’S LIST – free www.cyndislist.com/uk/irl Cyndi’s List is one of the ultimate research sites. However it’s not a place to type in name and see what comes up, as it is a website of websites. Think of it as a giant yellow pages of genealogy websites – every country, and every topic to do with genealogy, all nicely categorised. For Ireland there’s almost 4300 links, making it the ultimate portal for Irish genealogy links. And they are nicely divided into topics and counties, making your search a whole lot easier. FAMILYSEARCH – free www.familysearch.org While there’s not a whole lot of Irish records on FamilySearch itself, the site is still incredibly useful, as they have a number of tutorial videos to watch – all free. From introducing key websites, to highlighting various records. it’s  great way to learn about Irish genealogy and the records involved. GENUKI – free www.genuki.org.uk This is a site that I find not many people know about, yet it has a HUGE amount of information. Again, it’s not a ‘type-a-name-in’ website, but one with a lot of information and links giving you further places to look. FINDMYPAST IRELAND – $$ www.findmypast.ie Findmypast Ireland is a pay site, but it also the online data site with the most Irish records – over 195 million of them! From directories to BDM records, from military to catholic records, from family histories to...

25 Ways to Take Part in “Genealogy Day”...

Saturday the 9th of March 2019 is an important day for us genies. Why? Because it is GENEALOGY DAY. No I did not make it up. There really, really is an official “Genealogy Day” and it’s held on the second Saturday of March each year! Don’t believe me? Well, here you go … Genealogy Day was created in 2013, by Christ Church, United Presbyterian and Methodist in Limerick, Ireland to help celebrate the church’s 200th anniversary. For this day, Christ Church brought together local family history records not only from its own combined churches, but also from the area’s Church of Ireland parishes, including the Religious Society if Friends in Ireland (Quaker) and the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon). The people in attendance could then use the amassed marriage and baptism records dating back to the early 1800s, such as Limerick Methodist Registers and Limerick Presbyterian Registers, to find out about their great-great-grandparents. The idea proved so popular that the day was repeated for the next two consecutive years and has inspired many people to take a look into their family tree to find out a bit more about where they come from. It is no secret that genealogy or family history, is one of the fastest growing hobbies around. Everyone knows someone who’s doing it, if they aren’t themselves. With the massof genealogy records going online, combined with DNA testing and genealogy on TV, doing your family history has finally become an accepted hobby. Dare I say, it’s even becoming cool!! So it is nice to see it recognised with it’s own actual “Day“. But what are some suggestions for Genealogy Day? Well for me it’s not a case where do I start, but rather where do I stop. I’ve...

Women’s History Month Blog Challenge...

March is Women’s History Month in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. So fellow genealogists, historians and bloggers, join with me in participating in Women’s History Month by highlighting some of the incredible women from history. You may like to choose an ancestor or two to write about. Or maybe a female who has made an impact in your local area, or maybe even any of the inspiring women from history around the globe. The choice is yours, take your pick. One thing does seem to be a recurring trait – and that is that women’s history doesn’t get written about nearly enough. They were often the backbone of not only a family, but society itself. They lived, they worked, they got into trouble, they struggled, they triumphed, they were inspirational. Every woman has a story. They helped make history! So let’s do what we can to recount some of their stories and make sure they are not forgotten. For more about Women’s History Month, be sure to check out their website, and also Wikipedia. #WomensHistoryMonth...