Sunday, May 11, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogical Research - Week 14 - Cemetery Records

This is my post for week 14 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

My husband's direct ancestors in Australia are buried from Glen Innes to Uralla - a mere 1.5 hours driving time. My direct ancestors however, are buried in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. This means, that wherever I go there just happens to be an ancestor buried there. My daughter once asked if a visitor wanted to see our holiday photos - yes they were headstones.

There is now a proliferation of Websites such as Australian Cemeteries Index and individual cemetery sites which makes finding the resting place of family members much easier than in the past. These sites can be used to make research trips more effective. 

I was fortunate to be able to locate headstones for two sets of great, great, great, great grandparents in Ireland before I visited.


  • James (d. 1857) and Rose Hannah (d. 1858) are buried at the Bushvale Presbyterian Church at Stranocum, Co. Antrim in Northern Ireland.
  • Andrew (d. 1853 and Rosannah (d 1830) Lagan are buried at Swatragh, Magherafelt, Co. Derry, Ireland.

Armed with this information I was able to visit these cemeteries and easily find what I was looking for. Without prior research it would have been impossible to take these two photographs.


Hannah headstone, Bushvale, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland


Lagan headstone, Swatragh, Co Derry, Ireland





Saturday, May 10, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 - Week 13 - Personal Names and Surnames

This is my post for week 13 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

My story this week is about a man I never met but with whom I corresponded for many years. It is about how his personal name allowed me to know I was going to make a connection to my family.

William Lee Dawson had moved from Kilronan in Ireland to Franklin in Tasmania in 1854. After his death in 1871, his wife Emma moved to Melbourne to be closer to her siblings. Her four children Catherine, Harry, Louisa and Robert ended up living in Victoria, northern New South Wales and western Queensland. By the late 1800s cousins were scattered over three states.

More than 20 years ago, I was attempting to find descendants of Robert Ernest Dawson. I scoured electoral rolls in vain to find a clue to connect with family members.

I came across a name - Franklin Heathcote Dawson. I stopped my search and wondered if he might be the man I was looking for. I hoped he might be my grandfather's first cousin. My grandfather's second name was Franklin. I knew that Robert Dawson had been born in Franklin in Tasmania and his wife Nelly Spinks had been born in Heathcote in Victoria. Was it possible that they had named their son after the towns in which they had been born? The electoral roll was not current. Did he still live there?

I wrote to Frank and yes he was who I though he was. We continued corresponding for many years. He shared many stories;  his father holding a man down so his father could amputate his leg; stories about growing up at Glenlinton near Whittlesea in Victoria; the death of my great grandfather who was visiting his brother over Christmas 1916; the suggestion that there was a family connection to Ned Kelly (he was right) and his experiences as a pilot during the Second World War and with ANA after the war.

I'm so pleased his parents named him after the towns in which they were born. I am truly thankful for all that Frank shared with me. 

Thank you Franklin Heathcote Dawson (1910 - 1996).






52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 12 Gazetteers

This week is week 12 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

A gazetteer  is a dictionary of place-names. Gazetteers describe towns and villages; parishes and counties; and rivers, mountains, and other geographical features. Gazetteers generally list place-names in alphabetical order.  Gazetteers may also be called topographical dictionaries. (Family Search)

The Family Search website give beneficial information about Gazetteers in Ireland. One of the most useful is Samuel Lewis' typographical Dictionary of Ireland which can now be downloaded or viewed online.

Gazetteers have been very useful in my research. 

A family property near Armidale is called Mothal. A search of Samuel Lewis' 1837 typographical dictionary reveals that :

Mothell, a parish, in the barony of FASSADINING, country of KILKENNY, and province of LEINSTER, 4 miles (S. by W.) from Castlecomer, on the road to Kilkenny, and on the river Dinin; containing 2427 inhabitants. The Roman Catholic parish formed part of Muckalee. 

This property name and the gazetteer allowed me to narrow down the search for the Brennan's home in Ireland.




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5000 poppies in Federation Square

Recently I came across the blog 5000 poppies. Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight have a vision to plant 5000 poppies in Federation square in Melbourne as part of the 2015 Anzac Commemorations

The 5000 Poppies project will be “planting” a field of more than 5000 poppies in Fed Square Melbourne as a stunning visual tribute to Australian servicemen and women for more than a century of service in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

People are asked to make poppies (instructions can be found on the site) to be part of this display. Already they have more than 10 000 poppies.

I have decided to contribute to this project. My idea is to make a poppy for each of my extended family who fought in World War 1. As I started to make my list of soldiers I became disappointed with myself as I have neglected to tag these men with a military flag in Reunion. I am now trying to amend this.

These are the soldiers for whom I will dedicate my poppies.


  • Ernest Lee Dawson
  • Bertram Dawson
  • William Vesey Dawson
  • Gustav Lee Dawson
  • Clarence Seabrook
  • Cyril Noel Seabrook  *
  • Eric Charles Seabrook  *
  • Lawrence Seabrook
  • Reginald Henry Seabrook
  • Roy Hopetoun Seabrook
  • Thomas Claudius Seabrook
  • Walter Waldo Seabrook
  • Aubrey Adam Agnew
  • Adam Thomas Agnew
  • James Agnew
  • John Francis Xavier Moylan  *
  • Samuel McColm
  • William Moore  
  • John Moore  *
  • John Thomas Wright
  • Frederick Knox Wright
  • William Cecil Sibley  *

*  These men lost their lives during the war.



52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 11 Newspapers

This week is week 11 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

In the past I have made many trips to Canberra, Brisbane and Armidale to search microfilms of newspapers. I have searched through original newspapers at the Tenterfield library. I have even transported these bound papers in the boot of my car to Armidale so they could be microfilmed after I informed the university of their existence. 

However, these excursions are now more infrequent due to the advent of Trove in Australia. Genealogical research has certainly been simplified. No longer does one have to painstakingly trawl through newspapers searching for an article about a specific event. However, the main benefit I feel is finding other stories about events that we may never have know about.

I knew my great grandfather, Knox Moo had lost a finger in an accident. My father had told me the story about how while explaining to someone how he did it, he accidentally cut off another finger. Trove allowed me to verify this story. There is no way I could have ever discovered this without Trove. You can read the story here.

Many years ago, I was searching for information about my Seabrook family. Three members of the family died in Victoria in 1914. I knew that one, William Thomas had drowned attempting to rescue someone in the surf. I didn't want to spend the money purchasing a death certificate but I knew there would have been a story in the paper. I decided to start searching The Argus from 1st January onwards. I was ready for the long haul. However, imagine my excitement when I discovered the story on 4th January. You can read the post I wrote earlier this year to mark the centenary of this event. I was also fortunate that the next two deaths were in February and May.

I wait however, for the day that more country newspapers become a part of Trove. In the meantime, I feel fortunate to occasionally find interesting snippets from small country towns in the Brisbane papers. 









52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 10 Occupation Records

This week is week 10 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

It seems that each week (or when I get organised) I start to think about what to write for my post, I come up with something that I've already blogged about. This week is no exception. I thought I could share some of the certificates I have from when my great great grandfather William Lee Dawson studied medicine in Ireland and England in the 1840s and 1850s. This was my post for the 2012 Australia Day blogging challenge - Wealth for Toil by Shelly from Twigs of Yore

Instead I'll share occupation information about George Edward Lowe, spectacle maker of London and publican in Melbourne.

On 22nd November 1849, George Edward Lowe, spectacle maker of London was admitted to the Freedom of London. To become a freeman, men had to either complete an apprenticeship with a free man of the company and could now work at his trade in his own right, be a child of a freeman of the company, or buy the freedom of a company, Once you were a freeman of the company or guild you could apply for the freedom of the City. 
(Fitzhugh, T & Lumas S. (1991) The dictionary of genealogy. A & C Black : London.)




I have discovered no evidence of George Edward Lowe working as a spectacle maker in either Hobart or Melbourne where he lived. However, a search of Trove and Wise's Post Office Directory 1884-1885 revealed that George was the proprietor of Tankard's Family Temperance Hotel. 

The Public Notice below was published on 4th April 1883 in The Argus. It gives details of the transfer of the lease of Tankard's Temperance Hotel from John Tankard to George Ed. Lowe. 


The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 4th April 1883, p. 3
 

Occupation records through advertisements can also be found in Wise's Post Office Directories.


Wise's Post Office Directory 1884-1885.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

52 weeks of genealogical records - Week 9 - Inquests

This week is week 9 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

For me this challenge is an attempt to blog regularly. I'm not sure how well this will proceed as I am a few weeks behind already.

As I don't live in a capital city it is sometimes difficult to access some records. Yes, many are available online but others still require a visit to an archive or paying a researcher to do the work for me. Personally I prefer to discover things for myself. However, perhaps I should out source some work if it's something I really want.

I have information about several inquests in my family, mainly from newspapers but a few are official primary documents. I have previously written a series of blog posts about family members in my extended family who have died young.

These include :



I do, however, have more information regarding the unfortunate death of John McInerney, my great, great, great grandfather who arrived in Melbourne with his wife an family aboard the Truro on 31st January 1854. Eighteen years later, on 14th December 1858, aged 37, he was dead.

He came by his death in the act of felling and cutting up a tree and that such death in our opinion must have been instantaneous and was purely accidental. (Foreman at the inquest)

John McInerney's son John who was aged 12 was required to give evidence.

I am the son of the deceased John McInerney, (labourer). I was yesterday cutting wood with the deceased (my father) and my two brothers, between Alberton and Port Albert at about four o'clock P.M. I was working about a hundred yards away from where my father was. I went over to him for a drink, and I thought he was laying under a log asleep. I went up to him and I asked him "was he dead" and he did not speak, he was sitting down, with his heels in the ground, and a limb of a tree was across his back and another across the back of his next. I took up the axe which was lying before him and chopped off the limb of the tree which was over his neck, and I raised up his head and it fell down again, and I immediately ran over to my brothers who were where I had been working. Mr Charles Tyers was with my brothers when I went back and I told them that my father was dead they came back to where my father was and found him dead. I had not been about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour absent from my father who I then saw alive, until I returned and found him dead. Before I left my father (when he was alive) he had felled a tree which was resting against another tree, and a stump, and when I came back, the tree which my father had felled, had fallen and crushed him. I went home as soon as I could with my brothers. 

John was further questioned by the Coroner.

What property do you know the deceased to be possessed?

I know my father to possess two pigs and thirteen or fourteen cows, a few fowls, a house on half a acre of ground, which he leased at one time but I think he bought it.

Are those milking cows?

No there are six milking cows, four ? and three suckling calves.

Do you know whether your father has ?? on those animals for debt?

I do not know.

How many in family ?

Eight children.

Mr Charles Tyers also gave evidence.

..... I reside at Sea Bank, near Port Albert. At about four o'clock yesterday afternoon (the 14th instance) I was talking to two younger brothers of the last witness, when the last witness, John McInerney came and told me that his father was dead. I went over to the spot where he showed me, his father, the deceased was in a kneeling position with the toes on the ground, there was a limb of a tree across the back of the deceased and one which was across his neck was cut through but not ? I lifted the tomb off he ?? and found that he was dead. I immediately went and gave information to the ?

John McInerney's wife, Mary was to give birth to their ninth child, Thomas 6 weeks later on 28th January 1869. How much harder was life to become for her?

From re reading this inquest there are some further investigations for me to follow up.


  1. Did John McInerney own the house which his son mentioned?
  2. Where was this property?
  3. I need to investigate further local history of this area as it is one with which I am not familiar.
  4. Visit archives to collect more information about other inquests.