Sunday, August 28, 2011

Samuel Cuming Dawson - Cloghran

I have written three previous posts about Samuel Cuming Dawson of Cloghran, Swords, Co Dublin, Ireland. The first discussed a letter he posted to Autralia in 1878 when he was a cadet aboard the Conway. The second showed the honour board when he won the Queen's Medal. The third post discussed information from the Maritime Museum in Liverpool.

Today I write what may be the final post for Samuel Dawson. Last year, I visited Swords and found Samuel's headstone at St Columba's Church of Ireland at Swords, Co Dublin. Unfortunately, I couldn't read the date of his death.

Headstone of Samuel Cuming Dawson - St Columba's Swords.

Today I have been using my NLA card and have been trawling the Irish Newspaper Archives with great success. (However, it's a shame the site is so slow to move to the next result page.)

A search for Dawson and Cloghran has come up with 598 results and one of the first ones was an obituary for Mr Sam C Dawson.

Of course, his obituary invites further research. His brother R.C. Dawson warrants more work as does the horse Blandford. Fortunately most of this has been done and will feature in future blog posts.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

SLQ Images - Wallangarra - 1909

Deserted area and dirt road in front of Royal Hotel and other buildings at Wallangarra,  c1909.

I love looking at the images on the State Library of Queensland website and those on Picture Australia. The photograph above is one of my favourites as it is of the small country town in Queensland that I grew up in. The dirt road is now the New England Highway which passes through Wallangarra. I grew up just around the corner.

However, the main reason I love this image is that my grandfather was born in Wallangarra. So this photograph shows me what Wallangarra looked like in 1909 when he was born. Even better, my grandfather was born at the Royal Hotel. So this photograph shows me exactly where James Malcolm Moore was born. My grandfather always said he was born on the billiard table. I never knew if he was joking or not!

Have you looked at Picture Australia to see what images there are for the town you or your ancestors grew up in? You never know what treasures you may find.

Image from the State Library of Queenland
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Talks by Helen V Smith

Over the past two days I have attended talks by Helen Smith. Last night’s talk Where to From Here was at the Coffs Harbour City Library and this afternoon’s session Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms was hosted by the Coffs Harbour Family History Society.
Both talks very well presented. Although I have been researching my family history since the late 1970s there is always something new to learn.
What am I going to do as a direct result of these talks?
  1. I had not thought of trying to trace some of my gggg grandmother Anne Moylan’s children using the surname of their stepfather. 2 sons, Thomas and John kept the name Moylan/Mylan and I have traced their lines. However, I can’t find James or William. I’ll try and look for them with the name Powell.

    2. I’m going to buy a copy from Abebooks of an old medical dictionary. Many years ago I had taken a few notes about the causes of death of the inhabitants of Franklin in Tasmania. My great great grandfather was the doctor and there from 1855 until his death in 1871. I was interested to see what cases he may have attended.

    3. Download more podcasts from The National Archives. I have previously listened to several of these podcasts but then gradually forgot about them. It’s always great to be reminded of something you’ve known about but neglected. However, I live so close to work that it’s almost not worth listening to anything while driving.

    4. Work out what all the causes of death on my death certificates really mean. 

    Here is a list of some of the causes of deaths of members of my family.
    • scarlatina maligna
    • influenza 
    • pneumonia
    • inanition
    • infirm
    • senile decay
    • cerebral haemorrhage
    • fractured ribs, pneumonia, congestion brain
    • myocarditis, heart failure
    • syncope
    • found drowned but how he got into the water there is no evidence to show
    • transverse myelitis
    • bronchitis
    • old age and paralysis
    • cancer of throat
    • degeneration of all tissues - cancer of lower jaw and chin
    • disease of lungs
    • chronic nephritis
    • subacute pneumonia exhaustion
    • vomiting due to umbilical hernia
    • fever after confinement
    • tabes mesenterica
    • carcinoma of the liver (disseminated)
    • acute cholecystitis
    • mitral regurgitation
    • fractured patella and shock
    • decay of nature
    • age and general debility
    • concussion of brain
    • haemorrhage after childbirth

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Family Treasures - Cylinder

    The next of my family treasures is a cylinder originally owned by my great great grandfather Dr William Lee Dawson.

    Dr William Lee Dawson 1819 - 1871

    Two weeks ago I bit the bullet and undid the precious cylinder. I’m not sure how many times it has been opened and the contents removed. However, I don’t think it would have been all that often.

    Cylinder containing medical certificates dating from 1845.

    The cylinder probably was purchased some time between 1845 when my great great grandfather began his medical training at St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin and 1853 when he became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

    Almost immediately afterwards he sailed for New York aboard the Asia steam ship and afterwards he joined the Dee, sailing round the Carribean. His diary tells us that he resigned as he was not satisfied with the conditions for Surgeons as they did not have the same privileges as other officers.

    In 1854 William Lee Dawson became the surgeon aboard the Mootan bound for Hobart Town.  The cylinder had now been from Ireland, to England, to New York and the Carribean, back to England and then on to Hobart Town. The cylinder stayed in Tasmania until Dr Dawson’s death in 1871. About 12 months later his widow Emma moved to Melbourne and the cylinder stayed there until this century.

    I was given the cylinder about 6 years ago, as the custodian knew of my great interest in the family. I had previously written a book, Kilronan to Franklin and Beyond – The Story of Dr William Lee Dawson and his Descendants and some of the contents of the cylinder were published in the book.

    What is in the cylinder? There are 27 certificates from various medical institutions in Dublin. Each course of study earned a certificate – from anatomy and physiology, surgery, diseases of the eye, to midwifery and diseases of women, lectures and dissections. From St Vincent's Hospital, the Apothecaries Hall, Mercer's Hospital, Coombe Lying in Hospital to the Dublin School of Medicine and the School of Anatomy, Medicine and Surgery.

    As well there are letters of reference obtained during his studies, a letter with a duplicate copy written by the Colonial Secretary stating the immigrants on board the Mooltan arrrived in a clean and healthy condition. Another certificate appoints Dr Dawson as the Surgeon of the Huon Rifle Company Southern Tasmanian Volunteers in 1861.

     Now to your collective wisdom. What do I do with these treasures? I want to get them scanned so that I actually have a digital copy. Do I roll them back up and put them back in the cylinder? Do I place them in archival material? I am concerned that separate from the cylinder they may become lost. Some of the larger certificates are quite damaged on the edges as they have been crammed into the cylinder. So you can see that I am concerned about what is the best course of action. Any suggestions?

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Jacob Scheef - Letters to Home - 13 August 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. These letters can be seen at the University of New England (UNE) Archive in Armidale, NSW, Australia. Biographical Entry

    the 13 Aug 1885
    My Dear Wife and Children
    Last week I sent you a letter informing you that I thought I would be unable to go through America home. Now I must inform you that I could get no passage in the ship Austral which I was intended to do because it is full and that a full week before she is ready to sail and there would be no other ship leaving before the 5 September so I took passage through America to Sydney which cost me £32.5.0 and am leaving tomorrow evening from this port for Philadelphia. I hope this will find you all well the same as it leaves me and give my best respects to all who inquire.
    Your loving Husband and Father
    Jacob F Scheef
    I hope to be with you again in two months time. I have got knives for all of you from my sister and from my brother-in-law the photographs of his family and my sister promised to send the likeness of herself and family to Australia to me I have also got various kinds of seeds amongst it the plum seeds which is fit for drying purposes and which I always wanted also corn long stone turnips onions and a few ears of good wheat.
    I may write again soon from America but the letter from there will not be home before me.
    Truly yours
    J F S
    I am glad that I am homeward bound.