Monday, May 30, 2011

Country Newspapers are Wonderful!

Many years ago I had trouble finding the death of my great, great, great grandmother Sarah Matilda Collins, formerly Merchant, nee Neal. It was in the days of handwritten indexes and I simply couldn't find her.

However, quite unexpectedly the local newspaper, The Tenterfield Star came to the rescue. I knew the date of the death of her son, Thomas Hugh and his death was reported thus.

The Tenterfield Star, Tuesday Morning, 2nd December, 1902.
Local and General News
News was received on Saturday of the death of Mr Thomas Merchant of Drake, whose illness we reported in the last issue, as also did we report the death of his eldest son in West Australia.  Deceased leaves a wife and family in Tenterfield.

I had lost trace of his son Albert (who by the way wasn't the eldest son), so naturally went to the previous week's news.

The Tenterfield Star, Friday Morning, 28th November, 1902
Local and General News
We much regret to record the death of a promising young native of Tenterfield on the Westralian goldfields, Mr Albert Merchant - whose grandmother, Mrs Collins, was buried last week, and whose father is now ill at Drake - has succumbed to an attack of pneumonia following upon fever.  We extend our sympathy to the relatives.

BINGO! Here was the answer to my problem.

The Tenterfield Star, Friday Morning 14th November, 1902
Funeral Notice
COLLINS - The friends of the late Mrs WILLIAM COLLINS are invited to attend her funeral to move from her late residence, Vine Cottage, Vineland, at Noon today.
J R Day, Undertaker.  

The Late Mrs William Collins
The mournful tolls of the Christ Church bell early yesterday morning announced the death of one of the oldest inhabitants of the district in the person of Mrs William Collins, of Vine Cottage, Vineland.  The sad event took place on Wednesday night, the primary cause of death being senile decay, with failure of the heart's action.
Deceased was the daughter of the late Mr and Mrs William Neild, and she was born at London, England, on 11th June, 1924, and was therefore 78 years and 5 months of age at the time of her death.  She was married in England, in 1839, to the late Mr James Merchant, with whom she left Gravesend (England) for Sydney (NSW) by the ship FLEETWOOD and FRANCES (Capt. Dove) landing at the latter place on 11th March, 1852.  From Sydney the late couple visited Braidwood, Tuena, near Goulbourn, and Rocky River near Uralla.  In 1858 the late Mr and Mrs Merchant arrived in Tenterfield, and proceeded to the Timbarra goldfields, where they settled and where Mr Merchant died on 21st May 1865.  The issue of this marriage was 5 sons and 4 daughters namely Mr Thomas Hugh Merchant of Drake, Messrs James Henry, Joseph and George Merchant of Tenterfield, and Mr William Merchant of Stanthorpe, Mrs W Ford of Hillgrove, Mrs George Smith of Pretty Gully, Mrs F Brauer and Mrs John Melling of Tenterfield.  There were also 4 other children, since deceased.  Mrs Merchant came to Tenterfield in 1868, and on the 27th July the following year she was married in the local Wesleyan Church, by the Rev Corner, to Mr William Collins, who died at Tenterfield on the 9th September 1885.  There was no issue from the marriage.  The deceased lady leaves a number of relatives including 9 children, 53 grand children and 42 great grandchildren.  The funeral takes place today being timed to leave the late residence of the deceased at 12 o'clock noon.  Mr J R Day has charge of the mortuary arrangements and the Rev H G Smith will officiate at the graveside.
To the bereaved ones, our deepest sympathy us extended.

I have found that country newspapers tend to have much better obituaries than city papers. Almost everyone in the country had more than a passing reference to their death mentioned in the local paper. Like this one, they can be a goldmine of information which can be checked against other sources.

If you live in country NSW like me, Dixson Library at the University of New England in Armidale is a wonderful source for microfilmed copies of newspapers from northern NSW. Hopefully some of these newspapers will appear on Trove before too long and I'll be able to find these gems from the comfort of my home.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Not Everyone Leaves a Comment

I started my blog in January this year answering the Australia Day Challenge. Today I decided to look at my stats to see what I could discover.

Some people have contacted me directly about my posts. One of these came within hours of posting for the Anzac Day Challenge. I was contacted by someone in the RAAF regarding my post about Allan Seabrook Mitchell which was very exciting.

I have also been contacted by William Vaughan author of Murder Trials in Ireland, one of the books I have reviewed. He has sent me some information about my Agnew family. I already had this information partially transcribed so it has been very useful to compare the two transcriptions and fill in a few of the gaps I had when I had extreme difficulty reading the document dated 1834.

My pages views have come from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Malaysia, Iran and Russia. Should I be concerned about any of these?

I'm disappointed the person who searched for Nettle Waters Family Armidale hasn't contacted me. Perhaps we could have helped each other. If you read this post, please send me a message.

Other searches that have found my blog include: I'd really like to innotate, McElwee genealogy from Ireland, book about murder trials, crew of HMS Euridyce, Cuming family tree, families of Samuel Dawson.

Thanks also to these referring sites, Geniaus, Twigs of Yore, Genimates, Geneabloggers, Twitter, Facebook, Unlock the Past and  Moonee Valley Family Local History.

I surprised at the number of visits my blog has had so feel that my time spent preparing posts has been warranted.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jacob Scheef - Letters to Home - 17 May 1885

My husband's family are very fortunate as his great grandfather travelled back to Germany from Armidale, NSW from May to September 1885. While visiting family he sent many letters back to Australia and kept a diary of his time overseas. I'll post his letters on the day they were written. This is his third letter home. These letters can be seen at the University of New England (UNE) Archive in Armidale, NSW, Australia. Biographical Entry

John Elder  Adelaide
the 17 May 1885

My dear wife and children
I wrote to you from Melbourne and also I received a letter from you of the same same content as the one I got in Sydney when I wrote last I was not yet in the city so could tell you nothing of it since I have seen a good deal of it Directly we were on the wharf I went and posted my letter and had one or two hours in the city the Sydney is a fine city but is not a patch to Melbourne because the street are all two chains wide and are all straight the next day I went again and seen the Exhibition Building as well as the aquarium with all the fishes also the Museum and the Botanical Gardens and the Town in general  the country around the city is nice and green something Spring the 16 at morning 7 o’clock we left the wharf and outside again about twelve the same head wind again as from Sydney now arrived went to work again because we had same weather as from Sydney. We are about 100 now in the steerage amongst are 4 Germans, 2 Wurttemberg one Saxe one Holstein which comes from the Murray River has land there and comes back here again our steaming is the same there is always to be seen on the right land last night at dusk we passed Cape Ottway about 100 miles from Melbourne we expect to reach Adelaide this evening where I will post this my health remains good and I don’t think you will receive another letter before 3 weeks as they have coal that will bring us through the red sea so my next letter probably will be from Naples So I wish Good bye for the present and trust that you are all well and remain so
Your loving Husband
and Father
Jacob F Scheef
it is very bad writing on board ship

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Road Building in Armidale

Amongst my mother-in-law's collection of photos that came from her mother is this wonderful one of a road being built. The photo was most likely taken in Armidale, but possibly Uralla. Of course, I have no idea when the photo was taken or who the two gentlemen are but I'm making an assumption that at least one of the men is related to my husband.

The clues to locating this street I feel are the two trees and the house facing the street. Short of driving up and down each street the only idea I can think of is to send a copy to The Armidale Express hoping that they will publish the image. Someone may recognise the street as their own.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jacob Scheef - Letters to Home - 14 May 1885

My husband's family are very fortunate as his great grandfather travelled back to Germany from Armidale, NSW from May to September 1885. While visiting family he sent many letters back to Australia and kept a diary of his time overseas. I'll post his letters on the day they were written. This is his second letter home. These letters can be seen at the University of New England (UNE) Archive in Armidale, NSW, Australia. Biographical Entry

John Elder
the 14 May 1885

Dear Wife and Children!

I am in receipt of your letter which I received in Sydney just half an hour before we started from which I see that you are all well except David and I trust you will take good care of him with his cold and am glad that you had some rain the white bullock you can either kill or sell him if you can get £5 10s for him and break the Strawberry or roan bullock in with Glover.
We left Sydney on the 12 this month at 1 1/2 o'clock and the Sydney Harbour I can give you no idea for his beauty and grandeur every half hour of steaming it presents a fresh Panorama after coming outside on the open sea my shipmates began the work of sea sickness although we had a smooth sea We steamed all along the coast and were never out of sight from the land yesterday morning it commenced to blow a pretty hard breeze and the sea became lumpy and shortly after it showed plenty of waves and began to work pretty lively with some rain and cold wind but it only proved to me that my sea legs are well established for it made no impression on me and I feel very good health and can eat well our meals are cooked and we go to work each as he thinks is best for him there is no sharing of the meals the cook brings it to the table and each one helps himself, so far as we went the meals are very good I wish no better every day fresh bread not biscuit and also fresh meat and potatoes.
You never mentioned that you paid some money for me in the Lodge perhaps you got no word of it. I could write a lot more but the ship will not be steady and it is no use grumbling it takes no notice of it we are close to Melbourne now and I must stop hoping to receive another letter from you.

Your loving Husband
and Father
Jacob F ScheefJ

City of Melbourne - iHeritage database

Do you have ancestors who lived in Melbourne? If so take a look at the City of Melbourne iHeritage database. This database allows you to search for a specific address, browse suburbs, architectural styles and builders. When you have located the specific property you can see the complete heritage details for the property.
Details include (if known):
Architectural style
Construction Date
First Owner
Original Building Type
Description/Notable Features
Current photograph
My great great grandmother Emma Seabrook (Dawson) died at No 1 Hope Terrace, Gipps Street, East Melbourne in 1885. At the time she lived with her sister and her husband Louisa and George Edward Lowe.

Hope Terrace 161-165 Gipps Street, East Melbourne. Dec 2006.
As you can see by the extract below, the description of the building is quite detailed.
A row of three, two-storeyed houses, of which No. 165 possesses a porte cochere (I.e. a porch, large enough to accommodate wheeled vehicles). The row is decorated to present a single identity, i.e.. the parapet is plain, and unbroken over the three houses and there is a central basket-arched 'entablature' flanked by scrolling. The cornice is dentillated. All windows are square-headed and are panelled internally between the sill and the floor level. One of the three openings at the first level being an access door to the balcony. (Aluminium glazing bars have been superimposed over the window joinery). The door has a square-headed toplight and is six-panelled. The verandah is single-posted, with finished-brackets supporting panelled friezes consisting of a star motif, superimposed on the serpentine motif. The balustrade panels are bellied and are similarly decorated, using a panel and frieze work, registered by William Hutchinson in April 1870. The timber fascia is dentillated at the first level. Fairly restrained ornament is placed on the dividing walls, I.e. consoles support decorated panels at the two levels. The palisade fence is intact; the picket heads being of a fleur-de -lys pattern. The porte cochere is provided by means of exposed riveted iron beams supporting the rooms above, a tall bluestone plinth producing the necessary hardy dado along the porch's walls. No. 165 is given an extra bay of rooms at first level, to provide the space underneath. At the rear, the skillions are not joined and hence enjoy light from both sides. (City of Melbourne, iHeritage database - Hope Terrace, Gipps Street, East Mebourne)
As so many properties bear no resemblance to their earlier days, it’s quite exciting to find the house of an ancestor which still looks very similar to what it looked like over 100 years ago.  But there are still so many questions. What rooms were inside? How was it decorated? Did George Edward Lowe have a carriage to park in the porte cochere? 
Can you find where you ancestors lived?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Mothers of Him

Happy mother's day to all my husband's "mothers" in Australia.

Lorna Scheef

Stella Maude Kerr (1908 - 1979)
Julia Waters (1882 - 1973)

Great grandmothers
Annie Ryan (1870 - 1928)
Edith Mary Maude Squires (1879 - 1939)
Christina Jacobvena Glock (1842 - 1912)
Ann Richardson Dawson (1857 - 1940)

Great great grandmothers
Catherine Cleary (1846 - 1913)
Mary Ann Spatch (1848 - 1906)
Mary Ann Lydamore (1839 - 1924)
Barbara Rosina Wagerle ((1810 - 1869)
Margaret Doherty (c1826 - 1875)
Mary Richardson (1822 - 1859)

Great great great grandmothers
Elizabeth (Betsy) Hare (1800 - 1849)
Ellen Key (1824 - 1875)
Catherine Heffernan ( c1816 - 1896)

Great great great great grandmother
Sarah Pickett (1784 - 1858)

My husband's oldest "mother" was his grandmother Julia Waters who lived to be 90 years old and the youngest his great great grandmother Mary Richardson who died aged 37 the day after giving birth to her 8th child. This is amazingly similar to mine. My oldest was my grandmother who died at 93 and the youngest my great great grandmother who died at 34 after giving birth to her 7th child.

My Mothers of Me

Happy mother's day to all my "mothers" in Australia.

Dorothy Dawson

Esme Merchant (1910 - 1981)
Elsie Ryan (1907 - 2001)

Great grandmothers
Mary McColm (1885 - 1939)
Rose Allsop (1889 - 1972)
Bridget Mylan (1864 - 1940)
Sarah Ogden (1867 - 1944)

Great great grandmothers
Margaret Jane Henry (1850 - 1923)
Jane Smith Fleming (1853 - 1888)
Sarah Jane Hooton (1852 - 1924)
Mary Ellen McInerney (c1852 - 1919)
Emma Seabrook (1834 - 1885)
Matilda Agnew (1836 - 1905)
Mary O'Halloran (c1846 - 1895)
Elizabeth Harrison (c1841 - 1927)

Great great great grandmothers
Sarah Matilda Neal (1824 - 1902)
Rebecca Bettis (c1832 - 1921)
Elizabeth Handley (1820 - 1870)
Mary Maley? (c1834 - 1893)
Sarah White (? - 1888)
Anne Flynn (1813 - 1862)
Ellen Lagan (c1806 - 1891)

Great great great great grandmothers
Hanora Connor (? - 1852)

My oldest "mother" was my grandmother Elise Ryan who lived to be 93 years old and the youngest my great great grandmother Jane Smith Fleming who died of puerperal fever aged 34 after the birth of her 7th child.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jacob Scheef - Letters to Home - 7 May 1885

My husband's family are very fortunate as his great grandfather travelled on holiday to Germany from Armidale, NSW from May to September 1885. While visiting remaining members of his family he sent many letters back to Australia and kept a diary of his time overseas. I'll post his letters on the date they were written.

European Hotel
90 Castlereagh Street
the 7 May 1885

My Dear Wife and Children
I am glad that I feel in good health and believe far better than in New England. My knees do not trouble me at all since I left home and neither do I feel anything in my inside since I left but my new boots give me a good deal of trouble so I bought a pair of shoes as well as my other clothes. My passage I paid for yesterday and have seen the vessel I am going in it is a grand ship when I was in it I found scarce my way out of it again. Yesterday there came two German warships into the Harbour so is also the English warship Nelson and they are anchored side by side there is very little difference between the English and the German ships. I have seen today William the Mekleburger your must remember him when we were yet on the Rocky he had his right arm taken off since so have I also seen Ferdinand who was once living with Shuman and was working with us on Mount Welsh Gully and a few more Germans besides but they did not know me until I told them who I was I believe Sydney has almost doubled the population as it had two years ago they people are almost in every street as thick as they were in George street at the time I was here before and the noise from 4 o'clock in the morning until twelve o'clock at night is impossible to describe.
If you cannot get your letter to me posted before 9 o'clock on Monday morning at Armidale you may send it to Melbourne and write the address as follows

J. F. Scheef
on board the John Elder
Orient Line Main Steamer

We are going to start on the 12 of May so you must send the letter away from Armidale at least on Thursday morning with the Railway. You may send the letter to Adelaide if you come too late for Melbourne. Hoping you are in good health the same as it leaves me and keep so till we meet again

Your affectionate Husband and Father
Jacob F Scheef

Friday, May 6, 2011

Golden Wedding Anniversary - Robert and Ann Waters

Sometimes you come across a fantastic family photograph. This photograph is one of those.

What a fantastic family group! I was fortunate that family members knew the occasion. However, if I didn't know the occasion I need to look for clues in the photo. The photo was taken outside a church and there are two older people sitting in the middle of the photo. It is obviously an important occasion, either for a family or a church group.

It is the celebration of the golden wedding anniversary of Robert Waters and his wife Ann Dawson, of Armidale, who were married on 30th April 1878 - 133 years ago. The photo was taken 83 years ago this week.

The occasion was reported in The Armidale Express (5 May 1928)

Mr and Mrs R Waters
On Monday, April 30, Mr and Mrs R Waters, of Silverton, Metz, celebrated their golden wedding. They were married at Hazeldale, Dumaresq, by the Rev Dr Sellors on April 30, 1878, Mrs J C Lees (nee Miss J Waters) was bridesmaid, and the late Mr T R Dawson was best man. Over 30 descendants and guests were present, the grand-children numbering 58. The breakfast was held in the Methodist Kindergarten Hall. The catering by Mrs Charlton was excellent, while the tables were beautifully decorated. The wedding cake (made by Mr Brooks) was suitably decorated with golden ornaments.
The Rev R J Williams proposed the toast of “The King,” and Mr A C Nettle that of “The Bride and Brodegroom.” After a humorous speech, Mr Nettle recited a poem he had composed for the occasion. 
Mr R Saunders supported the toast.
Rev Williams spoke on behalf of the members of the Methodist Church, and recited a poem, suitable to the occasion, entitled, “The Women on the Land”.
Mr R Waters responded, recalling incident of his early pioneering life. He said he selected Silverton in the year 1872 - years before the famous gold-mining days of Hillgrove.
Two daughters were unable to be present - Mr and Mrs F J Nelson and family of Taree, and Mr and Mrs J Rogers of Lithgow.
Telegrams of congratulations were received from: Mr and Mrs W Scribner (Haberfield), Mr and Mrs J C Lees (Five Dock), Mr and Mrs Dale (Gordon), Mr and Mrs A Waters (Murwillumbah), Mr and Mrs J Davies (Newcastle), Mr Northey Davies (Newcastle).
After the breakfast, the guests retired to the Sunday School Hall, which had been artistically decorated by Miss Ivy Nettle and Mr and Mrs A Elliott (grandchildren). A splendid musical programme was rendered. The pianists were Mesdames R J Williams, A Scheef, E Waters and J Sewell. Recitations were given by Miss Addie Nettle, Miss Edith Elliott, Master Jack Sewell and Arthur Waters (grandchildren), also Rev R J Williams. Company songs were also given by the sons, daughters and grandchildren.
Numerous were the gifts received by the grand old couple. Gold and “golden syrup” came from a little granddaughter.
During the evening Mr and Mrs Waters joined with the young folk in games such as “Jolly Miller”, “Musical Arms,” etc., surprising everyone by their activity.
The festal day terminated at a fairly late hour with the National Anthem.

We are very fortunate to have both a newspaper account and a photograph of the occasion. It would be complete if we had the poem written by Robert and Ann's son-in-law Alf Nettle.

Robert and Ann had 10 children and 73 grandchildren, several of whom were born after this occasion.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Brighton Cemetery - Melbourne

Anyone with family buried in the Brighton General Cemetery in Melbourne might like to look at the website created by Travis Sellers titled History of Brighton General Cemetery.

The website contains a history of the cemetery and a useful timeline. However, the most interesting part of the website is dedicated to stories about many of those interred at Brighton. Sellars has divided these into 150 Years: 150 Lives, Arts, Business & Commerce, Crime & Tragedy: short stories, In Brief, Local Identities, Medicine & Science, Military, On the Land, Politics, Pre-Victoria, Public Service, Reader's Stories and Sport. These stories also usually contain photographs of the individual and their headstone.

I have a story included in the Reader's Stories section titled Tragedy at Point Lonsdale William Thomas Seabrook 1881 - 1914

William Thomas Seabrook, age 33, the sixth child of William John Seabrook and his wife Mary Mason, drowned at Point Lonsdale while trying to rescue Muriel May Hunter from a dangerous surf. 

Please read his story linked above and take a look at some of the other stories to be found on the website.