Thursday, April 19, 2012

Eternity and the National Museum of Australia

For the past four years I have been a teacher on an excursion to Canberra. One of our visits is to the National Museum of Australia. I love this museum. Each time I go I find something I haven't seen before.

I particularly enjoy three of the permanent exhibits.

Circa is a short film depicting the history of Australia from ancient times to the present day using objects from the collection. So many of these objects and scenes bring an "I remember that" moment. It is always the first place I take my group.

The second section I really enjoy is Australian Journeys. This section tells the story of immigrants through personal objects. There is always something that our students can connect with.

The third exhibit which strikes a chord with me is called EternityIt is called Eternity after Arthur Stace who wrote the word eternity in chalk on Sydney streets for 35 years. This gallery discusses the lives of 50 Australians. There are ten words which are used to highlight the experiences of Australians. Each time I see it I try to think of an ancestor for whom that particular word had special meaning. What stories give meaning to those words?

These words or themes are:

joy, hope, passion, mystery, thrill, loneliness, fear, devotion, separation and chance.

My plan, hopefully over the next few months, is to write a post about a family member for whom I think one of the words holds specific meaning.

Do any of these words hold special meanings to any of your ancestors? Why not write about them? Put a link on my comments if you like.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why I love my iPad

Currently I'm on a holiday in England. Before I left I agonized about whether to bring my MacBook Pro with me. However, I erred on the side of common sense and left it at home. Into my bag I popped my iPad.

How has it proved invaluable?

1. Each evening I download the photos I've taken onto my iPad so at least I have another copy. I could also upload them to my flickr account but I haven't had time.
2. I have a copy of my Reunion files on my iPad. Any changes I make (I've already made several) can be transferred to my main machine when I get home.
3. My daughter has lent me her SIM card so Internet access has been simple and well used.
4. I have had access to free wifi on several occasions.
5. Google maps has been getting a thorough workout.
6. My app Feedler has enabled me to keep up to date with all the blogs I follow.
7. I've been able to easily reply to a few work emails that were important.
8. My Lonely Planet travel apps have been very useful.
9. The BlogPress app has proved simple to use. Images have been easily uploaded.
10. I also have a few books ready to read on my Kindle app and iBooks.
11. The train I'm currently on also has power so I can recharge my iPad.

What more can I ask for?

I couldn't travel without my iPad. If you don't already have one, you really need to invest in one now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Family Homes - John and Knox Moore, Wellington Street, Greenock, Scotland

When my daughter suggested that we catch a train from London to Glasgow, hire a car and drive to Edinburgh via Loch Ness I couldn't have been more delighted.

Little did she know that although my great grandfather had been born in Antrim, Northern Ireland he and his family lived in Greenock (not far from Glasgow) before they emigrated to Australia.

Our TomTom, which we called Lorraine led us straight to 52 Wellington Street, Greenock, West Renfrewshire.

At the time of the 1881 Scottish census this was the home of John Moore, his wife Margaret and their two children Knox and Rosetta. John's brother Knox and his wife Jane and their sons John and James lived next door at number 54. Both John and Knox were sugar house employees.

Wellington Street, Greenock

Outside the house where my great great grandfather Knox Moore lived with his parents John and Margaret in 1881.

Research of course always leads to more questions which necessitate further research.
1. Has the street numbering changed from 1881? A more careful analysis of the census before I left home would have allowed me to see if this group of houses are in the same location, i.e. next to what cross street.
2. Does this group of houses date from before 1881?
3. The houses are covered in stucco or some sort of pebblecrete. Was this around then?
4. Which sugar house did they work in and what work would they have been involved in?
5. I'll need to check Abebooks for any local history books of the area to satisfy my curiosity here.

I've now seen where the Moore's lived in Scotland and I've been to the general area in Antrim where they were born so I'm satisfied.

If you are also descended from John Moore or his brother Knox I would love to hear from you. Click on the About Me link and then the link to my email.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Elis Hare Dawson - an interesting discovery

For the past few days I have been staying in Renhold, the village in Bedfordshire, England where my husband's Dawson ancestors lived.

Elis Hare Dawson was born on 14 December 1821, the first child of Thomas Dawson and his wife Betsy Hare. Thomas and Betsy had been married in 1820 at Old Warden a few miles from Renhold.

I had a reference to the baptism of Elis Hare. The reference was in the Renhold baptisms but indicated that the baptism took place at Old Warden. This was something of a mystery.

I went to the Bedford Archive to investigate. Upon arrival I asked to see the specific register. They told me the baptisms were on microfiche and I would need to use those as the originals were not to be used. I told them that the information indicated that it wasn't a baptism but instead a reference to the baptism and that it was the last entry in the book. I showed them the screenshot I had taken from their online catalogue.

The original baptism register for Renhold was given for me to look at. Sure enough the reference was not a baptism but a memorandum to the baptism on the back fly leaf of the book. Staff indicated that they hadn't seen anything like this before.

Ellis Hare, son of Thomas & Elizabeth Dawson, born 14th December 1821, was baptised at Old Warden in this County on (here there is space for a specific date) 1822 by the Rev. F. Neve.

The Old Warden baptisms indicate that Ellis Hare, son of Thomas & Elizabeth Dawson was baptised on 26th May 1822. The column for residence has been left blank. The others had all been born at Warden.

So what possibilities can be gleaned from these two entries?

1. Thomas and his parents were visiting family at Old Warden. As he was nearly five months old and hadn't been baptised, it was decided that he would be baptised before they went home.

2. Reference to his baptism was made in the Renhold registers so they would not be responsible for him if he ever needed to enter a workhouse.

The baptisms of his siblings can be found in the Renhold baptisms, so his was the only unusual one.

I was able to photograph the memorandum for 50p. While I had use of the original book I also photographed the other family baptisms recorded in the book.

A useful visit to the Archive!

If you are descended from Ellis Hare Dawson too, I would love to hear from you. Please email me via the View my Complete Profile and then the email link.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Barry Jones explanation

Have you ever wondered like me why you can remember the names of so many ancestors and family members, where they came from, what ship they arrived on and seemingly thousands of other facts about your families?

Have you ever wondered why you often can't remember other simple facts and figures at all?

The answer was given to me at the weekend while I read an article in the Easter Weekend Edition of The Sydney Morning Herald - Love is a Battlefield by Bob Carr (Minister for Foreign Affairs). The article was about Bob's cousin Len, an American Civil War expert.

The bell ringing moment to me was this paragraph.

"We are left with the Barry Jones explanation : the more facts you know, the more facts adhere. If you love the subject enough, your memory absorbs every detail." SMH News Review April 6-8 2011, p. 15.

So now, like me, you know why.

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Caroline Chisholm

I am currently in England visiting my daughter who is working in London. Naturally I decided I would have to spend some time on genealogical pursuits. The problem was where would I choose for a few day's retreat from London?

In the end I decided to go to Northampton to visit the grave of Caroline Chisholm. Caroline is known as the immigrant's friend. She was a well known social reformer of her day.

Why is Caroline significant to me and my family? You may recall that Caroline Chisholm was on the original $5 note in Australia. As well as her image there was a picture of a ship. That ship was the Waverley.

Caroline agitated at the Home Office to reunite the wives and families of convicts with their husbands and fathers. On 22 June 1847 she wrote that she ‘had just left the Home Office and had obtained a passage per Waverley for forty-nine souls.’ SMH 9 August 1847, extract from letter 30 March 1847.

My great great grandmother Matilda Agnew, her older siblings James, John and Rosanna and their mother Ellen (Alicia on Irish records) were on the Waverley. Caroline Chisholm organised their journey to Australia to be reunited with their father and husband James Agnew.

Her letter went on to say that one of the families had been ill with fever and she requested that they not be permitted to travel until later. That family was related to mine. They were Matilda's cousins Adam, Edward and James along with their mother Catherine. They had to wait until the following year. This must have been very difficult for them.

Back to the present. Caroline Chisholm is buried at Billing Road Cemetery in Northampton, less than an hour's train ride north of London. The cemetery is quite close to the centre of town. I came armed with information about how to locate the headstone - it was at the far end of the cemetery.

Unfortunately my definition of far end differed from the information I had. I walked to the very far end and could not find it. However, I finally located the headstone at what I would have called the right hand side, quite close to the front and the side wall of the cemetery. Enter from the main gate, follow the path to the right and when the path veers to the left, leave the path and continue walking straight ahead. If it's springtime you will be fortunate to see daffodils surrounding the grave as I did.

My great great grandmother Matilda was born a few months after her father was sent to Australia, so by the time she first met him she was 11 years old. Without assistance from Caroline Chisholm she may never had met him.

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