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 at age 42 married Anne McGrath in 1856, and they had 7 children. However his life prior to that he has been unknown … BUT it appears he could have been a 16 year old convict who was transported to NSW for stealing a plane, as the timeframe, ages, and even occupation fit. So it is a distinct possibility. But I’m still hoping to find one more defining piece to add to this puzzle. But it’s been exciting to track him through the convict records, Police Gazettes, newspapers and more.

3 August 1837, William Cosgrove was granted his Certificate of Freedom

2.  A great newspaper article I found was …
The one that springs to mind is finding out that my great grandpa (Horace Norman Phillips), and his dad (Samuel Phillips) who owned a fruit & veg shop. They were both arrested for bankruptcy. Horace went to jail for a few months while Samuel paid the fine. This one is a work-in-progress story, that I hope to write more about it once I’ve done some more research.

here’s the beginning of a long article on Trove about the case,
South Australian Register, 27 Jan 1923

3.  A geneajourney I took was …
FINLAND!! This really was the trip of a lifetime for me. And I had a fabulous time catching up with relatives, seeing the countryside, and was taken many family towns and cemeteries along the way. I saw the graves of my 2x great grandparents, my 3x great grandpa, and even the grave of my 4x great grandpa. How cool is that! You can find my Finland posts here.

selfie with cousins

selfie with my Finnish reli’s

Nils Winter's grave at Hämeenkoski

Nils Winter’s (my 4x great grandpa) grave at Hämeenkoski, Finland

Nils Winter's grave at Hämeenkoski

Nils Winter’s grave. He died 30 August 1864

4.  A geneasurprise I received was …
I received a parcel in the mail (with no name or return address on it) which contained Harold Roy Winter’s (or Roy Harold Winter as he was known on military records) original WW2 discharge papers and letters regarding his repat entitlements, copies of photographs. Harold is a great uncle of mine, and while he did marry, he and his wife never had any children. So who had these records, and then thought to send it on to me, I will probably never know. But it was an awesome surprise, and I guarantee they’ll be looked after. But I’d love to thank whoever did send them.

the goodies I received

5.   My 2017 blog post that I was particularly proud of was …
Interestingly my more controversial posts tend to get a more of attention, one of these being “Yes Folks, Genealogy DOES Cost Money!“. I wrote this as a response to comments I’d seen on Facebook, and I still stand by what I wrote 100%, even though I know others won’t agree.

6.  A new piece of technology I mastered was …
I would have to say MailChimp, but I wouldn’t use the word ‘mastered’, but rather ‘learning-as-I-go’. Late in 2016 I made the switch from Feedburner to MailChimp for my blog subscribers. I’ll admit I’m not the most technically minded person, but through watching various videos on YouTube, I made the switch all by myself, and even have worked out how to customise my posts. So I was kinda proud of that. Still lots to learn though.

7. A genealogy event from which I learnt something new was …
Every talk I go to I learn something. But two things come to mind. From a talk at the State Library of South Australia, it was emphasised about the need to keep digital records in an up-to-date (readable form). So store them, check them periodically, and migrate to a new form as needed. Everyone from government organistions and archives, to libraries and individuals NEED to do this.

And from Dirk Weissleder who toured Australia with Chris Paton as part of the Unlock the Past’s Researching Abroad Roadshow, he answered the question as to why many German’s are hesitant to take a DNA test … his response was as German’s are very proud of their country, they don’t want to find out how un-German they might be, which I’ll admit is something I’d not considered before. But something to certainly keep in mind.

L-R: Chris Paton, me, and Dirk Weissleder at the Adelaide for Unlock the Past’s Researching Abroad roadshow, 24 July 2017

8. A DNA discovery I made was …
There has been a question by some, over who the father of one of my great grandpa’s was. Now through DNA we can prove that he really is his father’s son. You can read about that here.

9. I taught a genimate how to …
There’s two things that spring to mind. One is the importance of writing your OWN history which is sadly overlooked in preference to searching and writing about those before us, as well as how to go about it in small blocks step-by-step rather than tackling writing as a giant book or novel.

And the other is teaching others how to use both the FamilySearch and Cyndi’s List sites. It’s exciting to see people realise the possibilities once they understand how to use these sites.

10. A brick wall I demolished was …
Going back to Number 1 … William Cosgrove’s brickwall is not “officially demolished” yet, but we’ve got the sledgehammer ready! So cross fingers for 2018.

11. A great site I visited was …
Two sites I’ve been having fun with are Trove for the old Australian newspapers (I mean, who doesn’t), there’s never ending discovering waiting to be found there. And the other is the South Australian passenger lists 1849-1940 which have recently been added to FamilySearch (and YES they even have images).

one of the thousands of South Australian passenger lists now on FamilySearch

12. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was … 
I should retitle this as “A new genealogy/history book I’m looking forward to … as I haven’t read it yet, but I have a copy of “Tracing Your Ancestors Through the Equity Courts” as I want to learn more about those records.

13. It was exciting to finally meet … 
Oooh, so many people. But one that does spring to mind quickly is Amy Johnson Crow, who I am a big fan of. I got to meet her at RootsTech back in February 2017 which was very exciting.

14. I am excited for 2018 because … 
Well Congress is on in March 2018, and the next Unlock the Past cruise is the Alaska Cruise in September 2018 which I’m going on. Both will be amazing experiences, and there are so speakers spectacular for both it’ll be hard to choose what sessions to go to. But aside from those I have no-doubt there will be other genealogy adventures along the way throughout the year.

Alaska cruise

15. Another positive I would like to share is …
I did my first ever genealogy presentation to a local group. Now, I’m not a presenter, and don’t do talks, but was kind of talked into this by being told it wasn’t so much a talk, but rather a show and tell of some of my family’s heirlooms. Anyway I did it, I wasn’t too nervous, and the group seemed to enjoy it. Thankyou Jen.

And we all love present money don’t we? So with birthday money I was able to buy some more certificates (yay), and I bought a DNA kit for my grandma. So that was a present for her AND me. 🙂

And one last thing, during the year I also wrote guest posts for both the Carolina Girl Genealogy blog, and for the site which was exciting. So that’s my 2017 … what will 2018 bring?

Now roll on 2018,
here’s hoping for more genealogy excitement and discoveries

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) …

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 the bible is 1881, but going by the handwriting I’d say the bible was either obtained in the 1910s-1920s, or else they had it earlier, and just didn’t write it it until later. As far as family bible’s go, we’re fortunate that they actually filled it in AND even added in some photos (though sadly we don’t know who they all are). For more on the Randell Family Bible, click here.

the giant Randell family bible

and here’s me photographing it (as you do)

the Births page in the bible

My grandma (Evelyn Randell) was one of the many thousands who were war bride. My grandpa (Cec Hannaford) signed up to fight in WW2 and In May 1941, when he had a few days leave, they got married, before he headed back to the barracks for more training, and headed overseas shortly afterwards. While I don’t have my grandma’s wedding dress … I do have one of her bridesmaid’s dresses. And since times were tough, and everything was being rationed and clothing was shared – it’s surprising that we even have that. I’m pretty sure this would have been belonged to her sister (Dorothy Randell), the one second from the left in the photo below … and boy she was a stick. I’m not large, but there’s no way I can fit into this dress … not without forcefully giving it new seams in the process. Anyway we found someone of similar stature, who was happy to ‘model’ it for us. The dress is starting to show its age, but being 76 years old – it really is in pretty good condition. I wrote about Evelyn and Cec’s wedding here.

the whole wedding party, 31 May 1941

the bridesmaid dress in 2017

I don’t know about you, but I love looking in boxes and containers, and albums and everything … you just never know what you’ll find. And I must say there have been many surprises. However probably none quite as much as finding old tattered looking tin (“treasure tin” as I call it), that belonged to Phebe Randell (nee Robbins) – my great great grandma. This tin is choc full of letters, cards, some photos, store receipts, newspaper cuttings etc … in other words, lots of ephemera, and much of it is from the 1860s-1870s.

I’ll admit I still haven’t read all the letters, but there is one fascinating one from her brother who was on a voyage to the Northern Territory, to look for a suitable place the for the capital – and it wasn’t going to be Darwin. You can read more about that here.

So I need to make time, to go through each and every item. Document them all, as well as scanning them of course. So who knows what else I’ll discover in these letters. Fun times ahead!

Phebe’s treasure tin

this is some of what’s in the tin

letter from Gumeracha (Gumeracka) dated 16 September 1865

more ephemera from the tin

Another heirloom that my family has, is a bible. Actually to be perfectly honest, as many of my relatives were ‘godly’ folk, we have many bibles. However this one was special, as it was also a wedding present. Born in Ireland, Robert McCullough studied to be a minister at Charles Spurgeon’s “Pastor’s College” in London, and then emigrated to Australia in 1879 where he ministered at Fitzroy, Victoria, and then subsequently Longford and Hobart in Tasmania, and the Mount Barker, in South Australia. Eva Richardson was said to have been his first convert, and who became his wife on 18 May 1881.

So this bible is a real treasure. Without the inscription this bible would be ‘just an old bible’. With it, I now know that my great great grandpa, the Reverend Robert McCullough gave this bible to his wife Eva Richardson on their wedding day back in May 1881, and doesn’t that make it so much more special.

it really is an ordinary looking bible – albeit well used

and inside

ooh an inscription …

Robert’s inscription in Eva’s bible

The photo below is one of my great grandpa (Otto Winter), and is from the side of my family that has very few heirlooms, which I guess is partly why it is a real treasure. Otto was born in Finland, but left as he refused to join the Russian army which was compulsory at the time. After sailing the world on merchant ships for a number of years, he jumped ship in Australia he became naturalised, and when the call for men to join the war was issued, he signed up and fought as an Australian soldier. For more on Otto Winter click here. He was injured, but survived, and even signed up for WW2 when that began.

Otto joined the Australian Army in 1916

So why not take part in this geneameme, and share some of your family’s heirlooms.

And thanks again to Denise and Jen for providing the inspiration.

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.

Antwerp, Belgium (Godschall-Johnson)

Babington, Somerset, England (Richardson)
Bere Ferres, Devon, England (Treffry)
Berry Pomeroy, Devon, England (Randell)
Bunbury, Western Australia, Australia (Elphick)

Berry Pomeroy Church in Devon

Berry Pomeroy Church in Devon

Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia (MacDonald)
Cranford, Northamptonshire, England (Robbins, Holland)
Cudlee Creek, South Australia, Australia (Hannaford, Kelly)

, Morris Country, New Jersey, USA (Trewartha)
Durham, England (Todd)

Epping Forest
, London, England (Daley)
Exeter, Devon, England (Tothill, Treffry)

, South Australia, Australia (Robbins, Holland, Winter)

Glenelg, South Australia, Australia (Cosgrove)
Glen Osmond, South Australia, Australia (Phillips)
Gould Creek, South Australia, Australia (Gould)
Groningen, Netherlands (Beken)
Gumeracha, South Australia, Australia (Randell)

Gumeracha in the 1870s

Gumeracha in the 1870s

, Gemany (Beecken)
Hausjärvi, Finland (Backberg)
Heavitree, Devon, England (Tothill)
, Finland (Winter)
High Ham, Somerset, England (Gould)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (Billing)

Isle of Man, United Kingdom (Kelly)
Ireland (Lucas, McGrath)

, South Australia, Australia (McDonald, Perry)

, South Australia, Australia (Kemp, Phillips)
Kanmantoo, South Australia, Australia (Kuchel)
Kenton, Devon, England (Randell, Tothill)
Kenwyn, Cornwall, England (Trewartha)
Kettering, Northamptonshire, England (Robbins)
, Ireland (Butler)
Kokemäki, Finland (Eriksson, Erävuori)

Lamorran, Cornwall, England (Kemp)
Lancaster, Lancashire, England (Hayhurst)
Langmeil, Brandenburg, Prussia (Kuchel)
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia (Kerslake)
Leppävirta, Finland (Peura)
London, England (Cosgrove, Daley)
Longford, Tasmania, Australia (Richardson)

Lancaster Castle, taken August 2014

Lancaster Castle, taken August 2014

, Finland (Vinblad)
Modbury, South Australia, Australia (Phillips)
Moonta, South Australia, Australia (Cathery, Elphick, Phillips)
Mount Barker, South Australia, Australia (McCullough)
Murray Bridge, South Australia, Australia (McDonald)

, South Australia, Australia (Ware)
Naracoorte, South Australia, Australia (Hannaford)

, Kent, England (Smith)

Parham, Sussex, England (Bisshopp)
Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia (Warby)
Penryn, Cornwall, England (Treffry)
Petersfield, Hampshire, England (Remnant)
Port Adelaide, South Australia, Australia (Elliott, Kemp)
Portsmouth, Hampshire, England (Cathery)
Pulborough, Sussex, England (Bisshopp, Piper)

Quernmore, Lancashire, England (Hayhurst)

Rabaul, Papua New Guinea (Hannaford)
Randalstown, Antrim, Ireland (McCullough)
Rattery, Devon, England (Elliott, Hannaford)
Redruth, Cornwall, England (Banfield, Phillips, Trewartha)
Riverton, South Australia, Australia (Hannaford)
Rockaway, Morris County, New Jersey, USA (Trewartha)

Scharmbeck, Lower Saxony, Germany (Beken/Beecken/Beeken)
Scotland (MacDonald, McDonald) – oh, won’t this be fun … NOT!
Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia (Liddell)
Stockholm, Sweden (Winter)
Sulby Glen, Isle of Man, United Kingdom (Kelly)
Sussex, England (Tester)

, Australia (Kerslake)
Thebarton, South Australia (Winter)
Totnes, Devon, England (Elliott)

, Tasmania, Australia (Pointon)
, South Australia, Australia (Elliott)

, Finland (later Viborg, RUS) (Eriksson, Winter)
Villers Bretonneux, France (Kerslake)

, South Australia, Australia (Phillips)
West Ham, Essex, England (Cathery)
Western Australia, Australia (Elphick)
Westbourne, Sussex, England (Cathery)
Westbury, Tasmania, Australia (Richardson)



Ypres, Belgium (Winter)

postcard from Otto Winter to his parents-in-law in South Australia, showing where he was at Ypres during WW1

postcard from Otto Winter to his parents-in-law in South Australia, showing where he was at Ypres during WW1




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.

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 in.