Valentine’s Day is “as dead as Julius Caesar”...

Valentine’s Day is just a hyped up, money making day. There I said it!! [Note: that is entirely my personal opinion here. No offence to those who love the day, but I feel why have ‘a’ day when you’re simply ‘expected’ to give something, when it’s so much nicer to receive an ‘out-of-the-blue-no-reason-needed’ gift.] Flowers, chocolates, jewellery, a card and/or other romantic gifts … it is what you ‘should’ give your loved one right? Not necessarily. But it is certainly what we’ve been programmed to think. Anyway it certainly wasn’t always the case. In fact in the early 1900s Valentines Day had all but died out. That sure has changed!! Take for instance this article from South Australia’s ‘Evening Journal‘ newspaper from Thursday 15 February 1900: ST. VALENTINE’S DAY. Wednesday was St. Valentine’s Day, but perhaps few people knew it outside of those who are diligent students of their calendars. The old practice of sending valentines has almost if not completely died out. A leading bookseller reports that it is as “dead as Julius Caesar;” that most stationers do not stock valentines nowadays; and, moreover, that people never ask for them. The circulating of extraordinary caricatures is now almost entirely in the hands of the satirical papers, and if a remarkable event were to happen on February 14 there is a probability of St. Valentine’s Day not even being remembered by tie publishers of calendars.  But as the years went by, the tradition was starting to gain a foothold again., and according to the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express from Friday 11 July 1919 we can blame the Americans for it! VANISHING VALENTINES. Although the custom of sending valentines is very nearly dead in England, it may, perhaps, be revived...

The Train, the Explosion, and the Parliamentarian...

The year was 1890, and … “a most painful accident, of a character unparalleled in the annals of railway accidents in this colony, if not in Australasia, occurred on the Northern line on Friday evening, Jan. 17. The terrible calamity which befel … was so sudden, and its effects so appalling, that the harrowing details were listened to with bated breath and unconcealed sorrow.” That’s how the long article about the tragic death of well-known South Australian businessman and parliamentarian, Honorable James Garden Ramsay, M.L.C. begins. James Ramsay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1827, did an apprenticeship as an engineer at the St Rollox Ironworks in Glasgow, and then emigrated to South Australia in 1852. He established an agricultural implement and machine manufacturing plant at Mount Barker, which represented the starting point of what later grew into the largest business of its kind in the colony. Apart from his Mount Barker business, he opened up agricultural implement manufacturing businesses in Adelaide, Clare and Laura as there was a huge demand. Anyway J.G. Ramsay’s interest in politics began in the 1860s, and in 1870 he entered Parliament for Mount Barker, and from then until his death he held various parliamentary positions. The article says … “Altogether he served over five years as a Minister of the Crown. As leader of the Legislative Council he exhibited considerable tact and ability, and possessing the confidence of his fellow members, he was eminently successful in conducting the business”. Which then brings us back to Friday evening, 17 January 1890 when James Ramsay is travelling back to Adelaide, from Saddleworth, South Australia by train. Travelling with Mr Rounsvell (a fellow M.P.), who by the time the train reached Riverton left to go to the smoking...

Australia Day – We Are Australian...

For Australia Day this year I wanted to share with you a song that I love, and embraces everything about Australia … “I am Australian”. From the Aboriginals who of course were the first settlers, to the convicts and the free. The goldiggers and bushrangers, to the Anzacs and recent migrants … all of them, is what makes Australia the amazing, multi-cultural country it is today, and they all get a mention in this song. Personally I am a 6th generation Australian, whose roots lie in many countries around the world. I am Australian! I am Australian I came from the dream-time, from the dusty red soil plains I am the ancient heart, the keeper of the flame. I stood upon the rocky shore, I watched the tall ships come. For forty thousand years I’ve been the first Australian. I came upon the prison ship, bowed down by iron chains. I fought the land, endured the lash and waited for the rains. I’m a settler, I’m a farmer’s wife on a dry and barren run A convict then a free man, I became Australian. I’m the daughter of a digger who sought the mother lode The girl became a woman on the long and dusty road I’m a child of the depression, I saw the good times come I’m a bushy, I’m a battler, I am Australian We are one, but we are many And from all the lands on earth we come We share a dream and sing with one voice: I am, you are, we are Australian I’m a teller of stories, I’m a singer of songs I am Albert Namatjira, and I paint the ghostly gums I am Clancy on his horse, I’m Ned Kelly on...

21 Facts About the First Fleet...

Did you know that approximately 20% of Australians descend from convicts … yes, true! Having a convict in the family has become a badge of honour for many, and having a First Fleeter even more so. And while the term ‘convict’ tends to mean ‘criminal’, so many of the 162,000 who were transported to Australia weren’t actually ‘bad’. In fact, many were just trying to survive. So just how much do you know of your Australian convict history? In particular the First Fleet? Here’s some intriguing facts that you probably didn’t know. Why send convicts to Australia? Britain had shipped about 52,000 convicts to America between 1717 and 1775 before they started sending them to Australia. And it was because of the American Revolution in 1776 that Britain started sending their criminals to Australia. When and where did it leave from and arrive? The fleet left Portsmouth, in Devon, England on 13 May 1787, and arrived at Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia between 18-20 January 1788 How many ships in the first fleet? The whole fleet consisted of 11 ships. 6 convict ships, 2 naval ships and 3 ships with supplies What are the names of the ships in the first fleet? H.M.S. Sirius, Charlotte, Alexander, Scarborough, Lady Penrhyn, Friendship, H.M.S. Supply, Prince of Wales, Golden Grove, Fishburn and Borrowdale Who was the captain of the first fleet? Captain Arthur Phillip What about Port Jackson? The fleet arrived at Botany Bay but as that place was deemed unsuitable as a settlement due to the lack of fresh water, the fleet sailed on to Port Jackson (Sydney Cove), New South Wales arriving on 26 January 1788 What’s so special about the date 26 January? 26 January marks the anniversary of the 1788...

6 January 1912 – Australia’s First Plane Crash...

6 January 1912, is the date Australia’s first official plane crash happened. But before going into that, just a little background information. Australia’s earliest recorded attempts at powered flying took place in 1909, and within a year, numerous aircrafts were being imported, with others being locally made. As you can imagine, some of these new flying machines proved less successful than others, with mild accidents on take-off occurring in several cases. However it was inevitable that a ‘proper’ aeroplane crash would take place sooner or later. William Ewart Hart is the man who’s name is now in Australia’s history as being the pilot of Australia’s first plane crash. Billy Hart (as he was known) was born in Parramatta, New South Wales in 1885, when at age 16 he was apprenticed to a local dentist. By 1906 was a registered dentist himself, and after registration he practiced as a dentist in Wyalong, where he rode the first motorcycle and drove the first car in town. Quite the man, no doubt! He went on to practice in Newcastle, New South Wales. In 1911, at age 26 Billy Hart learnt to fly and became the first man to hold an Australia aviator’s licence. His No. 1 Certificate of the newly-created Aerial League of Australia was granted on 5 December 1911. Hart imported a British aircraft for £1300 (approx $140,000 today), and maintained it in a tent at Penrith, New South Wales. However, shortly after its purchase, strong winds overturned the tent and the plane, reducing the aircraft to a wreck. Not to be defeated, Billy salvaged what he could, and built a biplane from the parts. On 6 January 1912 he was demonstrating his aircraft, and had military officer Major Rosenthal as a passenger,...

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2017...

The end of 2017 has arrived, and as this will be my last post for the year it’s the perfect time to take a look back over what I’ve accomplished genealogy-wise during the past 12 months. Personally I wouldn’t say I’ve done a lot, which is why I love GeniAus (aka Jill Ball’s) Accentuate the Positive Geneameme.  Not only is it a wonderful way to review your past year of genealogy, but it’s done in way so that you don’t focus on the ‘I didn’t get to do this … or look for that’, but rather focus on what you DID do. Previously Jill has used the following words as an intro to the Accentuate the Positive Geneameme, which explains it well: “I feel that a lot of my geneablogging friends are too hard on themselves; several have reported on their successes this year but quite a number have lamented that they haven’t achieved as much as they set out to do or that they haven’t blogged with the frequency they envisaged.  I invite you to take part in this activity by responding to the following statements/questions in a blog post. Write as much or as little as you want. Once you have done so please share your post’s link in a comment on this post or to me via social media.” As this applies to research that I’ve done in 2017, and life has been rather busy with little research done throughout the year, my responses are less than I’d like, but still some is better than none. Accentuate the Positive 1.  An elusive ancestor I found was … This would have to be my (yet-to-be-100%-proven-but-95%-sure) convict , William Cosgrove. ‘My’ William Cosgrove turns up in Adelaide, South Australia, and...

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Genealogy-Style...

The items on a genealogists Christmas wishlist tend to be a little different to everyone else’s, and this is reflected in a number of variants of the “Twas the Night Before Christmas poem, and a few other genealogy-related Christmas poems. Enjoy! A GENEALOGIST’S CHRISTMAS EVE (Author Unknown) ‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse. The dining room table with clutter was spread With pedigree charts and with letters which said: “Too bad about the data for which you wrote. It sank in a storm on an ill-fated boat.” Stacks of old copies of wills and of such Were proof that my work had become much too much. Our children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads. And I at my table was ready to drop From work on my album with photos to crop. Christmas was here, and of such was my lot That presents and goodies and toys I’d forgot. Had I not been so busy with grandparents’ wills, I’d not have forgotten to shop for such thrills. While others had bought gifts that would bring Christmas cheer, I’d spent time researching those birthdates and years. While I was thus musing about my sad plight, A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a fright. Away to the window I flew in a flash, Tore open the drapes and I yanked up the sash. When what to my nearsighted eyes should appear, But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer. Up to the housetop the reindeer they flew With a sleigh full of toys, and ol’ Santa Claus, too. And then in a twinkling, I heard on...

Introducing “Blog Caroling”...

I was introduced to a new term a couple of days ago, and that is “Blog Caroling”. If you’re like me and hadn’t heard it before, it is where you blog about your fav Christmas carols, an apparently well-known geneablogger, footnoteMaven (aka fM) has made an annual tradition of it and welcomes everyone to join in. As part of her intro to it footnoteMaven writes … From the comfort of my blog, with Hot Toddy in hand, my flannel jammies and furry slippers on, I will blog my favorite Christmas Carol on Friday, December 22, on this blog and Facebook. So my fellow GeneaBloggers, I challenge each of you to blog or post to Facebook your favorite Christmas Carol – Blog Caroling. Blog Caroling is posting the lyrics, youtube video, etc. of your favorite Christmas carol on your blog. So Blog Carol by Friday 22 December (US time), which of course is Saturday 23 December (Australian time), and post a note in the comments on her original post. So Blog Caroling … I do love Christmas carols. Though I’m not one to put them on about 6 weeks before Christmas. About 1-2 weeks before is enough.  Fortunately I don’t work in a shopping centre where they do that, as seriously I would be “so over” carols that you just don’t want to hear them anymore. Anyway I just wanted to share my favourite Christmas carol with you. It is performed by a capella group Pentatonix and I think they do a simply amazing version of “Little Drummer Boy”.   But another seriously awesome one is the “Angels We Have Heard on High” by The Piano Guys. I hope you enjoy my carols. Are you into Christmas carols? Do you have a...

The Heirloom Geneameme

It’s geneameme time, but I can’t take any credit for this one as it began by me sharing post from The Family Curator blog, on “Top 5 Family Heirlooms They Actually Want to Inherit” … if you haven’t read it, take a moment to do so, as it’s a great post. Anyway a comment on that from fellow geneablogger Jen of the Conversations with Grandma blog said … “An idea for a Geneameme Alona? “Five heirlooms in my family”? Or similar.” So wallah … we have a new geneameme. For the “Heirloom Geneameme” simply pick 5 of your family heirlooms, and write a post about them. Sounds easy? I found it harder than I expected. Well firstly let’s define what an heirloom is. The dictionary says it’s “a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.” Now those who’ve been following me for a while, will know that one side of my family are hoarders. But in the good ‘everything is an heirloom sense’, not in the ‘junk piled to the ceiling sense’, so we have a house FULL of heirlooms. The other side  of my family … well, we have a couple of photos. Anyway having so many, certainly makes it challenging to choose … and I changed my mind about fifty two times (before, during and even after writing this). But here are five of my family’s heirlooms (in no particular order) … RANDELL FAMILY BIBLE This bible was owned by my great grandparents Ella Alice Sinkinson and John Beavis ‘JB’ Randell who married in 1899. It is huge, it is heavy (I’d guess about 15kgs), and is starting to fall apart … so great care is needed when handling it. The publication date of...

Trove – Eight Years of Incredible Discoveries...

Eight years ago, the way of historical and genealogical research in Australia changed forever. Trove went live. Created by the National Library of Australia, the Trove website is a portal to their absolutely incredible collection of records. By “absolutely incredible”, I’m talking millions of records. But not “just” millions. How about 554,000,000 of them? That’s right, over HALF A BILLION of them in fact! All online and all free to search. So how lucky are we? There’s no doubt that Trove is Australia’s number 1 website for research. If it’s not yours, it should be! So go and bookmark it www.trove.nla.gov.au now. If you’re not familiar with Trove, take a quick look at the videos below that give you a quick overview, of what it is, and the different facets to it. So you’ll find photos, journals and articles, archived websites, government gazettes, music, sound and video recordings, diaries and letters, maps and books, even vintage issues of the Women’s Weekly magazine. They all make up the phenomenal collection of Australian history that the National Library of Australian (NLA) looks after. For more a detailed analysis on using Trove and all it’s facets, check out Shauna Hicks’ “Trove: Discover Genealogy Treasure in the National Library of Australia“. However what most researchers (myself included) head to Trove for, is their historical newspaper collection. And why wouldn’t we, they are so fun. And with over 200 million pages of old newspaper online already – there are so many stories just waiting to be found. The blog theme “Trove Tuesday” was started back in 2012 by Amy Houston of the Branches Leaves and Pollen blog, [note, I know the link has changed, but I still wanted to give her the credit], and through its creation, has...