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...

1 February 1895 – The Day Time Stood Still in South Australia...

At midnight on 1 February 1895, clocks were stopped, and time stood still in South Australia so as to bring the State (or colony as it was then) into line with international standard times. Actually this was an Australia-wide change as up to this time, each colony had followed their own time set at a local observatory in their capital city. A long article in the  South Australian Register, Thursday 31 January 1895, starts off with the following: “To-night the process of marking that period which Hamlet calls ‘the very witching time of night’ will be exceptionally puzzling throughout the greater part of Australia. By the provisions of the Standard Time Act the Legislatures of five colonies have taken the liberty of declaring that an hour shall not be sixty minutes in duration, but something else, varying in different localities with the ‘ hour-zone’ in which those localities happen to lie. Thus, in South Australia the space from 11 o’clock till 12 p.m. of this 31st of January will be seventy four minutes twenty and two fifth seconds. In other words all clocks and watches, in order that they may indicate the correct time to-morrow, must be put back fourteen minutes twenty and two-fifth seconds.” So as far as South Australia was concerned the clocks stopped at midnight for 14 minutes and 20 seconds, bringing it in line with the 135th meridian, and adopting Central Standard Time. The article continues … “In this colony we have to put our clocks back, and therefore we gain time; but in Victoria, as in New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania, the people are to lose time and the Victorians in particular do not appear to relish the idea, although, of course, it is a nominal loss and nothing more … “ The eastern states actually only lost 5 minutes, bringing it in line with the 150th meridian. “The main fact...

Genealogy Selfie Day

Today is February the 1st, which is also Genealogy Selfie Day (or as it is technically written #GenealogySelfie Day). The aim is to have some fun, share a little of our genealogy and see pics of our genealogy friends. As Conference Keeper (the organisers) wrote: Genealogists are a friendly and social bunch. We share knowledge, information, documents, research triumphs and struggles, joys, sorrows – even pictures of cats. So why not selfies? Chances are good that if you’re on Facebook or Twitter (or even Instagram), you have many ‘genealogy’ friends that you probably have never met in person, but regularly Like, Share, and Comment on one another’s posts. Genealogist Selfie Day is an opportunity for social genealogists to snap a picture of themselves and share it on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #genealogyselfie. It will be fun to put faces to names, and increase our chances of recognising one another at the next event! Then Jill Ball of the GeniAus blog, suggested we blog about #GenealogySelfie Day. So here are the pics I put up on social media for #GenealogySelfe Day, with little explanations of each. First up is my folders. This is in my office at home, and this shows just a few of my ‘family’ folders. Essentially any family that I’m doing any research on gets a folder! Next up is my photo wall. This is definitely not a flattering photo, but it does show the wall. Then it was off to work at the genealogy shop!! Love my job! This fabulous picture is my Great Grandpa (Horace Norman Phillips) and is in our shop. Stay tuned for more on him, but I need to get to State Records of SA to check some info...

Summertime Memories

While the temperature has been near record levels in my little corner of the world (in South Australia), recently, it’s made me, and probably everyone else in the state seriously appreciate our air conditioners. I have no idea how ancestors coped with 40C+ days without air conditioners? Serious kudos to them. They did it tough and they survived, and it reminds me of one of my all-time favourite genealogy quotes … But also I’ve been thinking about Summertime and what we did when I was young. How many of these can you relate to? ————— Firstly sprinklers were used to not only water the lawn, but were also a great way to keep kids occupied and cool, as they played in the water. But along with that there was plenty of clover and bees – which of course also resulted in beestings. There was the slip’n’slide, do you remember that? That was cool, at least until too much dirt grit got on it, then grazed you as you slid down. There was the little kiddy pool. That was well used, and when my bother and I got older my family got a bigger above ground pool. Summertime as a kid was pretty much spent in the pool! And who remembers the black innertube rubber tyres? They were the best in the pool. There was none of the fancy plastic blow-up ones that are available these days. Cordial or juice icy poles. You know the ones that were frozen in the tupperware iceblock moulds. If you’ve forgotten when they looked like, you can check them out here. The days were filled with outdoor life. Bike riding to friends houses, playing in nearby creeks, or getting dropped at a friend or...

An Heirloom Christmas Recipe...

When thinking about what to write for Christmas, I wondered if my mum had inherited her mum’s recipe books. Sure enough she did, and what treasure it is. Can you tell it was well used? And guess what the very first recipe written in the book is … yep, “Mother’s Christmas Pudding”. So here it is. The Christmas pudding recipe from my great grandma. In case you can’t read my grandma’s handwriting, here’s a transcription: Mother’s Christmas Pudding 3 Large Cups Flour 2 Cups Sugar 1 lb Seeded Raisins 1 lb Currants 1/2 lb Lemon Peel 1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs 1 lb Suet 8 Eggs 1/2 Teaspoon Carb Soda Mix Soda in Flour. Boil about 6 hours. I generally boil mine 4 hours the first time. __________________________________ Now don’t go getting any ideas thinking I’m going to make this. Firstly I’m not much of a cook. Secondly I’m totally not a fan of Christmas pudding. And thirdly I had to google to find out “suet” even is, and that should not go in anything, let alone a pudding!! But still I do believe in preserving history, and this is an heirloom recipe, whether I make it or not! I don’t know what date this would have been written, but my grandma’s name was Evelyn Phebe Hannaford (nee Randell) b.1916, and her mother’s name was Ella Alice Randell (nee Sinkinson), b.1876, so no doubt it dates back a fair way! Wishing you a all Merry...

The Origins of Christmas Traditions...

Christmas. It’s the time of year where so many people have ‘traditions’. Whether it be decorations, presents, carols, the gathering itself, christmas stockings, gingerbread houses or other Christmassy treats, or more … there’s usually an element of tradition to it. So let’s see where these traditions started! I wouldn’t say that I’m really a traditionalist, but there are certain things that ‘make’ Christmas, Christmas for me. Things such as having a Christmas tree, sending out cards to friends, having a roast lunch, and my mum’s “polish sausage” which is actually a chocolate mint thing, rolled up like a sausage … sounds weird, but it is YUMMY! While Christmas is long associated with Christianity, when you look back there’s a definite mix of Christian and non-Christian origins of traditions. “Yuletide is the old or poetical, name for the Christmas season, and has been held as a sacred festival from time as a memorial – long before the advent of Christianity – by numerous nations of the earth. The births were celebrated, then, of Buddha by the Chinese, or Horus, son of Isis, by the Egyptians, and of Ceres, Bacchus and Hercules by the Greeks. Druids, various Indian tribes, the ancient Mexicans, Persians. Romans, and Scandinavians, all held some sort of religious celebrations during the period of winter solstice, occurring in the northern hemisphere towards the end of December.” The following description of Christmas traditions was reported in the West Australian newspaper, 24 December 1929, with a few additions (with links) added in as needed. “””””””””””””””””””””””” DECORATIONS AND HOLLY Evergreen decorations have been used since ancient times when the great feast of Saturn was held in December and the people decorated the temples with such green things as they could find. The...