Remembrance Day – Gumeracha’s Fallen Heroes...

“On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month we will remember them” After more than four years of continuous war, at 11am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent. From that moment the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” has attained a special significance, and has became forever associated with the remembrance of those who had died in World War 1 and subsequent wars as well. Remembrance Day (sometimes also referred to as Poppy Day) is a day that has been observed throughout the Commonwealth (Australia included) since the end of the First World War, to remember the members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty. There wouldn’t be any town in Australia that wasn’t affected by the Great War on one way or another. So many young men, more of often than not eagerly signed up to do their duty. And sadly not all came home. Gumeracha is a tiny town in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia. A typical country town, with a population of few hundred (back then), and one where everyone knows everyone. And it was a town that saw its share of tragedy and despair with a number of men who went to fight for their country, and never returned. Throughout Australia, in the cities and the country towns, the brave men and women were honoured on thousands of memorials and honour boards that were created, so as to “never forget those brave souls”. Gumeracha certainly did just that. They have honour boards for both WW1 and WW2, and even a small one for the Korean War. But their ultimate memorial is the Gumeracha District Soldiers’...

The Duel in the City of Adelaide...

A duel is something you associate with westerns. Two cowboys pacing it out on a dusty street before turning around, and drawing their guns as quick as possible. And usually the fastest one wins. So when I found out that there was a duel in my hometown city of Adelaide, South Australia naturally I was intrigued, and had to check it out further. There was no cowboys, or dusty streets, or tumbleweeds in this duel … (actually the streets may well have been dusty still at this stage), but certainly no cowboys or tumbleweeds. Instead we had politicians! The two players in this duel are Charles Cameron Kingston, Q.C. & M.P., (1850-1908) and Richard Chaffey Baker, M.L.A. (1841-1911). The scene was the Adelaide Town Hall, on King William Street, Adelaide, and the time was 1.30pm, on Friday, 23 December 1892 … and it all started over name calling! The Australian Dictionary of Biography sums up the who episode quite succinctly in the following paragraph … “The most dramatic and colorful episode in Kingston’s political career occurred in 1892. After a prominent conservative member of the Legislative Council, (Sir) Richard Baker, denounced him as a coward, a bully and a disgrace to the legal profession, Kingston responded by describing Baker as ‘false as a friend, treacherous as a colleague, mendacious as a man, and utterly untrustworthy in every relationship of public life’. Kingston did not stop there. He procured a pair of matched pistols, one of which he sent to Baker accompanied by a letter appointing the time for a duel in Victoria Square, Adelaide, on 23 December. Baker wisely informed the police who arrested Kingston shortly after he arrived, holding a loaded revolver. Amidst widespread publicity he was tried and bound over to...

Discovering Links: 17 Links for London Genealogy Research...

Here’s another of my “Discovering Links” post. These posts 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. And you can see my previous Discovering Links posts here. For this one I’ve decided to share my London links. As will all my Discovering Links posts, it is not intended to be an exhaustive collection of links, but they are simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you hadn’t previously 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. Now an important tip to remember when researching London, is to remember that there are three London’s: London city, London county as well as Greater London – with each covers different areas, as well as different areas over time as boundaries changed. When documents just say ‘London’ it does make it hard to know which, but you do need to keep that in mind – particularly as Greater London incorporates areas from neighbouring counties. === LONDON === AIM25 Archives in London and the M25 Area “is a major project to provide electronic access to collection level descriptions of the archives of over fifty higher education institutions and learned societies within the greater London area.” A work in progress, AIM25 provides online access to collection level descriptions from the archives of...

My Own Ancestral Places Geneameme...

What places do your ancestors come from? That was the question I asked when I created Ancestral Places geneameme. And I know it’s taken me a while, but I finally got around to doing my own response to the geneameme. But as there’s no time limit, that’s not a problem. The idea is to list places that are relevant to your ancestors. Most of those listed below are birth places, with a few residences, and a few places of death listed as well. And apparently I have no places for X and Z as yet … maybe one day! Anyway compiling the list has made me realise that I REALLY (and I mean REALLY) must get to entering information from “THE PILE”, as I know I have more precise details for many, but they’re not entered into my genealogy program. So I do need to take (or should I say “make”) some time to work my way through the giant pile of unentered paperwork. But it’s been a great exercise to do, and it’s interesting seeing multiple families from the same place – often from different lines. So it makes you wonder, did they know each other? I’ve chosen to include a number of Mr Lonetester’s branches here as well as my own, even though I’m not actively researching them … I still felt they should be mentioned, so did so. A Antwerp, Belgium (Godschall-Johnson) B Babington, Somerset, England (Richardson) Bere Ferres, Devon, England (Treffry) Berry Pomeroy, Devon, England (Randell) Bunbury, Western Australia, Australia (Elphick) C Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia (MacDonald) Cranford, Northamptonshire, England (Robbins, Holland) Cudlee Creek, South Australia, Australia (Hannaford, Kelly) D Dover, Morris Country, New Jersey, USA (Trewartha) Durham, England (Todd) E Epping Forest, London, England...

NFHM Blog Challenge Week 3: History...

August continues, and so does National Family History Month, and now I’m up to Week 3 of the Blog Challenge, and this week my topic is “history”. But history is such a broad topic. Family history, social history, local history, ancient history, heirlooms  … oh the list goes on. What do I write about? Well it took a while to work it out, but for Week 3 I’ve chosen something that not enough people think about, and that is “Present History”. As historians and researchers it’s natural that we focus on the past. Our parents, grandparents, great greats and so on. The further back the better. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. But we also need to remember that “today is tomorrow’s history”, so we should be recording our OWN history. Now. While we can. Afterall you know your life better than anyone else right? But HOW do you record your own history? Most people will come up with an excuse along the lines of “my life isn’t interesting”, or “I can’t write” … or both. You don’t need to write a novel, you just need to record life as it happens along with your memories. Some of my family are avid diary writers, and for that I am eternally grateful. Not only has it instilled the diary-writing ethic into me from a young age (and I “mostly” still do it), it means that my parents are diary writers, my grandparents too, my great aunts were, my great grandma was too, and even a great great grandma. We are fortunate that a number of these diaries have survived, and that we are able to “see” life as it was, through their words. When flowers were planted, who...

NFHM Blog Challenge Week 2: Family...

Week 2 of the National Family History Month blog challenge, and this week I’m writing about “family”. Family for a family historian is such a broad topic. Do I write about an individual, or a family? A recent story or an old one? So. Many. Choices. And surprisingly it’s taken me a while to narrow it down. Reunions are a place where ‘everyone’ is family, so it seems appropriate to write about big a big family reunion one of my family’s had … the Kelly Family Reunion. 31 December 1938 was the date chosen as it marked both 100 years since the arrival of William Kelly and his second wife Jane (nee Caley) in South Australia from the Isle of Man, as well as 50 years since the death of William. The reunion was held at the Kelly family property, “Sulby Glen”, in the tiny country town of Cudlee Creek, South Australia, the drew 300 of the 400 descendants, with quite a number making the trip from interstate. The article in the Advertiser, dated Monday 2 January 1939 writes … Never has the old Sulby Glen property at Cudlee Creek seen so many visitors as passed through its beflagged entrance gates on Saturday morning, when almost 300 of the 400 descendants of William Kelly, from the Isle of Man gathered together to pay homage to his memory and to commemorate the centenary of his landing in Australia. The gathering was certainly unique as far as South Australia, is concerned, and one of the very few of its type ever held in the Commonwealth. The day was also the 50th anniversary of the day of his death.  Sixty cars and a large motor bus brought the visitors, who came from New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia, and from many parts of South Australia...

NFHM Blog Challenge Week 1: National...

August is National Family History Month, and fellow geneablogger, Alex issued the NFHM Blog Challenge. Using a theme of authors from the past, Alex posed an interesting challenge. It’s a great challenge, don’t get me wrong, but after thinking about it for weeks, nothing was jumping out at me, so I’ve decided to write my NFHM posts using a different theme. Week 1: something NATIONAL related Week 2: something FAMILY related Week 3: something HISTORY related Week 4: someing MONTH related ——————————————— As I’m already a little behind, I’ll get going with Week 1 now. And for this I’ve decided to take a look at Australia’s national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair“. So just how, when, and why did this song become the national anthem? Let’s find out. So let’s start at the beginning. Peter Dodds McCormick is the man behind the anthem. Born in Scotland in c1834, he emigrated to Australia in 1855. The son of a seaman, Peter himself was a teacher for most of his life, and he was the man who composed “Advanced Australia Fair”, and used the pen-name Amicus. Written and first performed in the late 1870s, it went on to become a popular patriotic song. In a letter dated 1 August 1913, McCormick described the circumstances that inspired him to write “Advance Australia Fair”: One night I attended a great concert in the Exhibition Building, when all the National Anthems of the world were to be sung by a large choir with band accompaniment. This was very nicely done, but I felt very aggravated that there was not one note for Australia. On the way home in a bus, I concocted the first verse of my song & when I got home I set it to music....

National Family History Month – Bring it ON!...

July has all but gone, which means that August is almost here, and for family historians (at least in Australia and New Zealand), that’s good news as August is National Family History Month. YAY!! So what does this mean? It means that we (meaning ‘we’ as researchers) have an opportunity to share our knowledge with others and encourage them in their search. It also means we should take some time to self-educate ourselves … afterall, the more you learn, the better researcher you’ll be. Read a guidebook, watch a webinar, go to your local library or society to check out what they have. Grab a copy of a genie mag from your local newsagent and find out the latest news and tips from that. Revisit a website you haven’t been to for a while. Interview a relative, even just a question or two. Scan or simply file and label photos. Order a certificate. Do some transcribing. Maybe even take the plunge and start your own blog? There’s so many things you can do for NFHM, it’s not hard. Getting started …  For those that haven’t started the search, or have ‘just’ started, this is a great time for you. Just check with your local library or genealogy society to see when they’ll be open, and what they offer in relation to beginners talks, or one-on-one help.  Do yourself a favour, and get some good guidance at the beginning, it makes the world of difference and will help your search. And why not join a genealogy Facebook group (trust me there are 1000s out there). The events … The National Family History Month website is the place to check to see what organised events are on in your area. With over...

The Ancestral Places Geneameme...

As family historians we come across all sorts of interesting people and places during our research. In this geneameme I wanted to focus on the places. The countries, the states, the counties or provinces, as well as the parishes, the towns and villages. Our ancestors have a connection to these places. What places do your ancestors come from? Using the alphabet how many letters can you name ancestral places for? Some you will no doubt know well, some you may not … at least not yet (see my letter ‘I’ and ‘N’ examples below). I still have more research to do on those lines. It doesn’t have to be where your ancestors were born, but it does have to be a place that they were associated with. For instance they lived or worked in that place. Name the letter, followed by the place (town/parish/county/state/or country), and the surname/s associated with that place. I’ll be surprised if anyone can list places for all A-Z, but you never know. And if you want to double up on letters, that’s not a problem, go right ahead … after all this really is a cousin bait list detailing the surnames and places your ancestors are from, that you’re researching. EXAMPLE ENTRIES: C – Cudlee Creek, South Australia, Australia (Kelly, Hannaford) H – Helsingfors/Helsinki, Finland (Winter) I – Ireland (McGrath?) K – Kenton, Devon, England (Randell) L – Lancaster, Lancashire, England (Hayhurst) M – Modbury, South Australia, Australia (Phillips) N – Netherlands (Beecken) So geneabloggers, the challenge has been set, who’s up for the Ancestral Places Geneameme. Feel free to join...

Cemetery Day, 18 June 2017...

Today is “Cemetery Day”. A day to commemorate and share our love of cemeteries, and our loved ones who have passed. I’ve had the opportunity to visit numerous cemeteries as I’ve travelled. I mean, why go to the tourist sites, when you can visit your great great grandparents grave, eh? That’s so much more interesting. So here’s a collection of just a few of them for you, for #CemeteryDay. I’ll start off with one that’s close to my heart, and that is one of my little brother, whom I never knew. Now for some others more distant … firstly here’s some from Scotland. I don’t have relatives here, but the cemetery was gorgeous. In 2014 when visiting England, we (my family and I)  went to a number of towns our ancestors came from, so here’s some photos of those cemeteries. And when I visited Finland, naturally I visited the cemetery there too … and found some relis! And one last photo … the Helsinki cemetery is incredible. So quiet, so picturesque it was very “park like”, so here’s a ‘general’ photo of the cemetery, though it really doesn’t do it justice at all. So till next year, that’s my collection of a few of my cemetery...