Saturday, August 31, 2013

Deaths in Franklin, Tasmania

Today I discovered that I can check out the registered deaths in Tasmania in the 1800s on the Family Search website. My great great grandfather Dr William Lee Dawson was the medical officer in Franklin from 1854 until his death in 1871. More that twenty years ago, I had perused these records to discover what were the causes of death in Franklin and what types of cases Dr Dawson may have come across. Now that I can access them from home I have decided to take a more indepth look. So far it’s not looking good for newborns and babies under the age of one. However this is not the purpose of this post. 

On 16th October 1858, five people were accidentally killed by the felling of a tree. Those who lost their lives were settler Peter McEwen 45, farmer James Watson 19, Annie Montgomery 12, John McEwen 6 and labourer William Wellgrave 50. 

Family Search - Franklin Deaths 1858

I always wondered what happened to them. After rediscovering them today I decided to go to Trove. This is the first reference to the incident that I discovered.

The Hobart Town Daily Mercury, 20th october 1858, p. 3
The Steamer Culloden arrived from the Huon shortly after 5 o'clock last evening bringing some additional particulars of the late fatal accident at Long Bay. Mr Pitcher, the Schoolmaster was still alive when the Calloden left the Huon yesterday, and some hopes were entertained of his ultimate recovery. An inquest was held on Tuesday at Port Esperance, before the Coroner of the District, E.A. Walpole Esq. to enquire into the circumstances connected with the death of the unfortunate victims of the late catastrophe, when a verdict of accidental death was returned in each case. The body of Mr James Watson was yesterday brought to town for interment by the Culloden, the vessel having her ensign lowered half-mast as she came up the river. A great number of persons awaited the arrival of the Steamer at the Wharf, anxious no doubt to learn any additional particulars connected with this fatal occurrence, which has created no inconsiderable excitement in Hobart Town and the vicinity.

Although those who died ranged in age from 6 to 50, I had always imagined that it was a tree felling accident. However, that was not the case.

The Courier (Hobart), 19 October 1858, p. 4

The following appeared in our Town Edition yesterday : -
Since the calamitous fire in January 1854, when so many persons were burnt to death, there has not occurred in the colony a single accident with the loss of so many lives as that we are about to record. On Saturday last at about one o'clock, six persons, vis - Mr James Watson (son of the late Mr George Watson), Thomas McEwen, his two children (the eldest aged 14 years), Mr Pitcher, the schoolmaster of the place, and a man whose name is not yet ascertained, were taking shelter from a shower of rain in a small uninhabited hut usually termed by splitters 'a badger box', an immense gum-tree was blown down, and fell exactly on the hut. It seems that the widely-spreadng branches of the tree so enveloped the whole of the unfortunate inmates as to prevent escape, for they were all crushed beneath it. The only one who at present survives is Mr Pitcher, but very little hope is entertained of his life. The mangled remains of the five bodies present a melancholy spectacle. An inquest was to be held at twelve o'clock this day (Monday), at Port Esperance, before Mr Walpole, Coroner. The scene of this sad accident is not more than one hundred yards from where a lady, some few years ago, was killed in her house by the fall of a tree.

Even now not all is neatly tidied up. I don't know if Mr Pitcher died as a result of his injuries. He did not die in the Franklin district during the next 5 months. I presume Annie Montgomery was one of the two children of Thomas McEwen. Was she the daughter of his wife?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Trove Tuesday - The Catholic Press

It's been a while since I have written a blog post. Work has been hectic. However, I expect to be busy very soon checking out The Catholic Press on Trove. I have many alerts to newly digitised articles coming in the next month All of these are about some of my Catholic families in NSW. These families live in Armidale, Uralla, Cooma and Cootamundra. If you have CAtholic families why not take a look now.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Philip Merchant Tenterfield

I love it when Trove allows you to find events that would not be easily discovered without a random search.

This post concerns my great grandfather, Philip Richard Merchant of Tenterfield. His story made both the Brisbane and Sydney papers.

Sydney Morning Herald, 12 March 1931, p. 10

Late yesterday afternoon Philip Merchant,
a married man with 11 children, a resident 
of the Tenterfield district, suffered severe in-
juries when he was dragged several hundred
yards by a horse. He was riding on a cart-
load of wood, and, when he attempted to
jump off, his foot became caught in the reins,
tearing the winkers off the horse and causing
it to bolt. Merchant was dashed against
three telegraph poles. His condition is

Philip survived this accident. He died 20 years later in Tenterfield aged 68.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Australian Women's Weekly

For this week's Trove Tuesday post I was lucky enough to find mention of a family member in The Australian Women's Weekly.

The Australian Women's Weekly, 19 December 1956, p. 46
Royal Melbourne Championship Show 1956
T.C. Seabrook Trophy
Most Successful Exhibitor
In all still table wine classes

Thomas Claudius Seabrook was a wine merchant and judge. You can read his biography in The Australian Dictionary of Biography here.

An advertisement taken out by McWilliams in The Argus of 5th November 1956 states that this was the first year this award was presented.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Australasia through a lens

My inspiration for today's post came from my Facebook feed via Gould Genealogy.

This post alerted me to the UK National Archive Flickr launch of an Australian collection of images titled Australasia Through a Lens.

My first thought was of course to wonder if there were any images I could assist to identify. This is not as silly as it seems as my great, great, great grandfather Henry William Seabrook and his sons were responsible for building many prominent buildings in Hobart.

Sure enough in the Tasmanian folder I found a copy of a photo of the Royal Society's Museum on the corner of Argyle and Macquarie Streets, Hobart.

Henry William Seabrook and his son, Henry William Jnr, built the Royal Society Museum on the corner of Argyle and Macquarie Streets, Hobart between 1861 and 1862 at a cost of £3772. A prominent architect of the time, Henry Hunter was responsible for the design of the building.

CO 1069-621-14
The Royal Society's Museum, Hobart

Our family is very fortunate as a descendant of Henry William Seabrook, Malcolm Ward has published a book Built by Seabrook - Hobart Buildings Constructed by the Seabrook Family from the 1830s. This book documents over 40 buildings built by the Seabrook family in Hobart spanning 4 generations over a 100 year period.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Tough Street, Hawthorn

Once again, Trove has provided me with useful family details and another search to clarify information found in these Death and In Memoriam notices.

The Argus, Monday 5th February, 1894, p. 1

SEABROOK - On the 3rd inst., at Tough-street, Hawthorn, 
Charles Stephen, second son of W.J. Seabrook, aged 19 years.

The following year two In Memoriam notices were published.

The Argus, Monday 4th February, 1895, p. 1


SEABROOK - In loving remembrance of Charles
Stephen, second eldest son of William John and
Mary Seabrook, who died at Ravenswood, Tough-
street, Hawthorn, on 3rd February, 1894
SEABROOK - In loving memory of my dearly-beloved
brother, Charles Stephen Seabrook, who died on
February 3rd, 1894.
Charlie's gone from his home below'
sad it was to hear the blow;
But now he's in the realms above,
Trusting in our Savour's love.
(Harry Seabrook)

My first thought was to look up where Tough Street was in Hawthorn. A quick search on google maps revealed no such address. I remembered that a previous family street in Melbourne had had its name changed so wondered if that was also the case with Tough Street.

I send an email to the Hawthorn Historical Society and was pleased to receive this message from Elizabeth a few days later.

Tough Street is now called Yarra Grove. It was originally named after Alexander Tough who lived at number 18 from 1876.
Yarra Grove runs between the end of Yarra Street and Evansdale Road Hawthorn.

Google map showing location of Tough Street which has been renamed Yarra Grove.

A look at Google street view reveals a mixture of new houses and some very large old properties and a terraced group on Evansdale Road bordering on Yarra Grove.

Now that I have located the street, I need to find where I can find Ravenswood. A search on Trove for Ravenswood Tough street turned up an interesting find.

The Argus, 24 September, 1890, p. 1

TOUGH - On the 23rd inst. (accidentally), at his
mother's residence, Ravenswood, Evansdale-road,
Hawthorn, James Campbell Tough, second youngest
beloved son of Margaret and the late Alexander
Tough, aged 22 years.

This death notice says that Ravenswood was in Evansdale Road. Were there two Ravenswoods?

The Argus, 1 February 1902, p. 3
eight-roomed brick house, on land 72ft x
293 ft.
A beautiful position, on the bend of the Yarra.

The Argus, 2 May 1903, p. 2
To Wind-up Estate,
(Three minutes from Railway Station),
containing Nine Very Spacious and Lofty Rooms
(21 x 15 &c.), Grand Entrance-hall,
Bathroom, Pantry, Laundry, Outhouse, &c.
Having a Frontage of 72ft. to Tough-Street by the
Splendid Depth of 293ft. to the River.

The Seabrooks either didn't own Ravenswood as Charles Seabrook's father William didn't die until 1914 and the above advertisement says the sale was winding up an estate or they purchased and sold to another buyer in the interim.

Of course these finds have left me with more questions.

  1. Exactly when did the Seabrooks live at Ravenswood?
  2. How do I solve the confusion about the two addresses for Ravenswood?
What turned out to be a very simple death notice has led to a reasonable amount of research.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Parallels between education and genealogy

It's back to work for me tomorrow after the summer break but hopefully I will still be able to allocate time to my passion. I will just have to be more disciplined.

Over the last few days I've been reading Will Richardson's Why School? How Education must change when Learning and Information are Everywhere.

In it he shared several unlearning/relearning ideas for educators. As I read them I could see the point he was making not only for educators but for the genealogy world as well.

  • Share everything (or at least something) To those who share best genealogical practices and thinking. Thank you. You are sharing some of your knowledge with those who are seeking it. Often I have found tips quite useful and file that new knowledge away for a time when it is needed. Other times I can relate to the post. Sometimes I just love to read the stories you have written. I hope I too have shared information that has been of use to others. There are so many ways we can share our work - blogging, twitter, Facebook, Google+, online trees.
  • Discover, don't deliver - I had more difficulty finding a parallel for this point. But then I thought that maybe my personal example would be my blog posts that start with an object and tell what I know about it. This is usually followed by me asking questions about what else I can discover about it. I could just deliver the final product but I feel the process of showing readers what questions to ask could help them in their personal family discoveries.
  • Talk to strangers - To those of you who may be reading this post and haven't made contact with a stranger online in the genealogy world perhaps now is the time to do so. I have made many online contacts, some of whom I have since met but others who I might not know if I passed them in the street. However, my life has been enriched by these contacts because often these 'strangers' are experts from whom I can learn a lot. "It turns out that strangers have a lot to give us that's worthwhile, and we to them." (Location 445)
  • Be a master learner - If we wish to become experts in our chosen field we need to continually improve ourselves by taking part in online webinars, attending lectures and reading books on areas of interest. The list goes on and on. Genealogy is not just about names and dates. Learn about the history of the places they came from, what events could they have witnessed, what may have led them to move across the world, what may their house have looked like.
  • Do real work for real audiences - If our work is stored in paper files on our bookshelf or digital files on our computers we certainly don't have a real audience. Writing this I realise that although I have written two books, I still have a lot to share with others. 
  • Transfer the power - "guide others through the process of asking questions and finding and connecting with experts" (Location 533)  Perhaps there is some information I have that someone else may pick up and run with and discover much more that I have or have time to investigate.
What do you think?

(Location quotes are on my Kindle app on my iPad)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My second blogiversary

Today is my second blogiversary. Two weeks ago, on one of the hottest days this summer, I asked my husband to look in our storage space between the ceiling and the roof in our garage to look for something that I hoped might be up there.

He obliged before it got too hot and found the box. Fortunately it contained what I was looking for - my old birthday cards. Rummaging through them, I found the card that my grandparents sent me for my second birthday in 1962 and thought this would be the image for my blogiversary.

2 years old already?
Well that's exciting news!
It's plain no other 2-year-old
Could ever fill your shoes -
Hope your birthday is a lot of fun
With frosted cake and candy
Games to play and things to do - 
Mmm! Aren't birthdays dandy!

Yes it is exciting that my blog is two years old. I'm looking forward to the year and will try to post regularly. I wonder if anyone has made me a frosted cake and candy? I do know there are games to play chasing those hidden clues left by my family and I have a million things to do.

So here's to another year of blogging fun!

2013 Australia Day Challenge : Patrick Flynn

Helen Smith at Helen V Smith's Keyboard has set this year's Australia Day Challenge.

Australia Day, 26th January is a day we celebrate what makes us Australian.

Regardless of whether your ancestor came 40 000 years ago or yesterday and regardless of where they were from, together their descendants are Australian.

Your challenge (should you choose to accept it) is to tell the story of your first Australian ancestor.

To make it fair to both the male and female sides of your heritage why not make it two stories. One each on the earliest ancestor on each side?

Patrick Flynn (1791-1862)

Patrick Flynn was my first ancestor to arrive in Australia. He was born c1791 in County Limerick, Ireland. In 1811 he married Hanora Connor and they had three children Ann, Mary and Thomas.
Patrick was convicted in County Wexford, Ireland for being a whiteboy in March 1821 and was transported to Australia for life.  He sailed from Ireland on 18th November 1821 aboard the ship Southworth under command of the master David Sampson and surgeon Joseph Cook. The Southworth arrived in Sydney on 9th March 1822.
Patrick was moved to Emu Plains where he worked at the Government Establishment. On 22nd December 1822 he was assigned to Mr Palmer to work with his clearing party. The following year he was on the monthly statement of changes in the convicts at Rooty Hill Station, from Prisoners’ Barracks, Sydney and was employed fencing. 
Patrick Flinn applied for his wife and three children to be sent out to the colony at the expense of the crown. The Rev J J Therry recommended the application. Hanora lived in the parish of Liscarroll and was known to the Rev Malachy Sheehan Parish Priest and William Purcell Esq. J P of said parish. 
Patrick’s wife Hanora and their children Ann, Mary and Thomas arrived free in the colony aboard the Thames on 11th April 1826. They had left Cork on 14th November 1825. The Thames was the first ship to sail direct from Ireland with free immigrants intending to join their convict or emancipated convict husbands in New South Wales.
On 18th April, after only eight days in Sydney, Hanora petitioned the Governor, Lieutenant General Ralph Darling praying her husband Patrick Flynn may be granted to her as her assigned servant as she had three children she was unable to provide for. George Blackett, the Superintendent at Rooty Hill stated that Patrick Flynn had been under his superintendency since 19th December 1823, “during which period I have found no fault in his conduct have been very attentive to his duty and all along demeaned himself in a manner much to my satisfaction.” 
Hanora again petitioned the Governor in October 1829. That your Memorialist has now five children viz. 3 female and 2 male whereas 4 of which are now looking to their mother for support. That  your Memorialist on arrival was immediately allowed the indulgence of taking her husband Patrick Flynn off the stores, he then stationed at Rooty Hill Establishment....My husband’s character since his arrival in the colony will bear the strictest enquiry as  your Excellency will see, should your Excellency be pleased to have his character investigated.
That your Memorialist since her arrival and with the industry and help of her husband has obtained 27 head to horned cattle for which with the exception of a few milch cows has to play for the grazing of the same, not having any land to graze them on. Your Memorialist therefore most humbly soliits your Excellency will be pleased to allow her a certain portion of land for the run of her cattle, for such a period of time as to your Excellency’s wisdom and goodness shall seem meet, which favour will be considered by Memorialists for ever and of infinite service to her infant children......... Hanora Flynn I reside at No 47 Kent Street Sydney.
The Rev John Dunmore Lang replied to this petition. Though I am not personally acquainted with the applicant, I am enabled to state from information which I can place with confidence that the statements contained in this ? are ???? to recommend the prayer of the memorialist to his Excellency the Governor. 
Although the Rev John Dunmore Lang did not have a personal connection to the Flynns, his assigned servant Thomas Moylan did. Banns for the marriage of Thomas Moylan and Anne Flinn were published on 14th June 1828. As his master, the Rev Mr Lang gave permission for Thomas to marry. 
When Patrick Flynn received his Ticket of Leave on 27th November 1830 he was living at Pittwater. He received his conditional pardon five years later on 21st November 1835. 
Two further children were born to the couple, John who was baptised on 12th January 1834 and Michael who was baptised on 26th May 1836. 
Patrick Flynn is mentioned several times in Shelagh and George Champions book Profiles of the pioneers in Manly, Warringah and Pittwater.
Martin Burke leased 40 acres of land at Little Mackeral Beach to Patrick Flynn for 999 years, for 2/- a year, upon trust for his daughter Ellen. (What a shame they later sold the lease!!). Although Patrick applied for land at Narrabeen Lagoon and Coaster’s Retreat he did not proceed with these,

In 1844 Patrick Flynn had a farm on the site of the present Palm Beach golf course. The Champions have recorded an anecdote about Flynn.

“There was once a well-cultivated garden. It was kept by an old man named Pat Flynn…Old Pat’s garden is still remembered, for he grew vegetables of many sorts and sold them at a low price. He delighted to tell visitors of a day when, during a furious storm, the waves of the ocean had swept across the isthmus” (136)

It is not know when Patrick left Pittwater but it seems he moved to Balmain to be closer to his family. He died there in 1862.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Family Treasures - The Gorilla Hunters

The Gorilla Hunters R.M. Ballantyne

Recently I've been tidying up around the house attemping to put into action the Fly Lady's tidying philosophy. Three piles - one to put away, one to give away and one to throw out. On our TV stand there was a copy of a book belonging to my husband's grandfather Patrick Brennan. Naturally this went in the put away safely pile.

To celebrate Empire Day on May 24th 1912, 13 year old Patrick Brennan, son of William Brennan and Annie Ryan of Enmore, near Armidale was given a copy of the book The Gorilla Hunters (A Tale of the Wilds of Africa) by R.M. Ballantyne.

Inscription to Patrick Brennan 1912

Inside is the following inscription.

Empire Day May 24th 1912
Presented to
Patrick Brennan
Groses Creek
Provisional School
Harry H Wharton

Flower pressed in the book

Like a lot of my posts I want to see what other evidence this item can lead to. What further questions can I investigate?

  • Who was R.M. Ballantyne?
  • What was Empire Day and why was it celebrated?
  • Where exactly was Groses Creek Provisional School?
  • What happened to the teacher Harry H Wharton? 
  • There is a small sticker inside the book advertising Mallam & Co, Booksellers Armidale. When did Mallam & Co operate in Armidale?
  • What type of flower was pressed between pages 80 and 81? Who pressed it?

  • Information about Ballantyne can be found here.
  • Empire Day was celebrated on 24th May each year after the death of Queen Victoria. School children were fortunate as they had a half day holiday. In 1958 Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day.
  • Groses Creek is about 6km southwest of Enmore where the Brennans lived. Enmore is to the east of Uralla, N.S.W. State records have two administrative  files for Groses Creek School - one pre 1939 and the other post 1939. Unfortunately a copy service is not available for these files.

Groses Creek would close to the two blue markers
  • I'm not sure what happened to Harry H Wharton. I've looked at NSW BDM and electoral rolls but haven't found a Harry, Henry or Harold who I can be certain is the right man.
  •  I don't know how long the Mallam's had a bookstore in Amidale. Another member of the family, Henry Guy Mallam is best known as a chemist in Armidale. Mallam House at 94 Rusden Street forms part of a tourist drive around the town. It is an example of a mid Victorian house which was built in 1870 and restored in 1991.
  • Now I'm no flower expert so I have no idea about what type of flower this could be. 
The following quote is from R.M. Ballantyne. I'm sure boys must have enjoyed reading his adventure books as long as they had time to sit still instead of enjoying adventures of their own.

"Boys [should be] inured from childhood to trifling risks and slight dangers of every possible description, such as tumbling into ponds and off of trees, etc., in order to strengthen their nervous system.... They ought to practise leaping off heights into deep water. They ought never to hesitate to cross a stream over a narrow unsafe plank for fear of a ducking. They ought never to decline to climb up a tree, to pull fruit merely because there is a possibility of their falling off and breaking their necks. I firmly believe that boys were intended to encounter all kinds of risks, in order to prepare them to meet and grapple with risks and dangers incident to man's career with cool, cautious self-possession... -R.M. Ballantyne, The Gorilla Hunters

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Death of Jane McColm

My great great grandmother Jane McColm had only lived in Australia for 9 years before she died a few weeks after the birth of her seventh child Ethel.

Her husband Malcolm McColm placed this notice in The Warwick Argus.

The Warwick Argus, 28th January 1888, p. 2
Here is a link to a previous post about Jane McColm.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Family statistics

I like to play with statistics. In a previous post Individual Arrivals in Australia I blogged about which previous generation arrived in Australia. This time I decided to look at States of arrival, the arrival numbers in each branch of our families and then whether the arrivals were single, couples or family group arrivals. The results are interesting.

There is no real surprise here. My husband's families for generations come from an area about 1.5 hours from north to south mid way between Sydney and Brisbane. Most of them had land and were well settled. However, my families have tended to move around quite a lot and their State of Arrival patterns are more widespread. 

The graph below show the number of individual arrivals in both my husbands and my families. This prompted me to look further at the type of arrivals. Did they arrive as single individuals, couples or as family groups?

My father's branch is the only branch of our families that arrived as family units, parents with children. Two of the three convicts on my mother's side were married and their wives and children arrived later and are two of the three family groups. One of my mother's single arrivals may have been with a brother and sister but I can't find the shipping record. 

One family group on my husband's mothers side arrived en masse with three generations of family members. There were also two orphan sisters and a widowed mother and daughter who arrived together (I've counted them as families). My husband's great grandfather started his trip from Ireland with a wife and two children. His wife died on the voyage and by the following year both his children had died. Not one of our families arrived as a couple without children.

What prompted them to move across to the other side of the world? Sent, reunited, seeking a better life, adventure, hope, fear, loneliness, discrimination, arguments, tragedy, love or war. The list could go on. For some we know, but for others it may never be known.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trove Tuesday - What did he purchase for £5?

As I have written a book about my Seabrook ancestors, Crossing the seas to build a future, I have to admit to not continuing my research with the family.

However, since I'm on holidays I have time to spend on Trove and have decided to see what other things I can discover about the Seabrooks and Whites in Tasmania. Previous research involved manual searching of newspapers.

Henry William Seabrook and his brother-in-law Thomas White were at one stage in a building partnership in Hobart. These posts that I discovered relate to Mark Smith, an assigned servant or prisoner on loan.

Hobart Town Police Report, Colonial Times 9 June 1840, p. 7

Mark Smith, a prisoner on loan, to Messrs. 
Seabrook and White, was charged by Mr.
White with felony, in having on Saturday
night last, picked up a £5 note, his property,
which he had lost, and appropriated the same
to his own use. He was remanded. The man
acknowledged to Mr. White, in the presence of
witnesses, that he had picked the note up, and
spent it.

Hobart Town Police Report, Colonial Times, 8 September 1840, p. 7
Mark Smith, assigned to Mr. Seabrook, was
committed for trial for stealing a £5 note belong-
ing to his master.

At this stage I haven't been able to discover what happened to Mark Smith and if these two articles relate to the same incident or not.

I hope he had fun spending he £5. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Churches related to the Dawson family

During 2012 I visited three churches of significance to the family of Thomas and Betsy Dawson who emigrated to Australia from Renhold, Bedfordshire in 1848 aboard the Equestrian. 

All Saints Church, Renhold, Bedfordshire, England

St Leonard's Church, Old Warden, Bedfordshire, England

All Saints, Ravensden, Bedfordshire, England

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Brennan - Another letter from Knockmajor

Mary Brennan Senr
Co Kilkenny
15 4 29

My Dear Cousin

I am delighted to know that I have a cousin and namesake in Australia and I am twenty-eight years of age. Though I often heard Father talking about Uncle William and wondering whey he would never write to him, yet he never knew he was married. I am sure you feel lonely for them both as I would, think above any other member of the family wouldn't be missed half as much.
May They Rest In Peace
Well cousin there are five of us in family one boy and four girls, the eldest girl is away. Mother is laid up in bed for the past four years with Rheumatic pains & I have to remain with her. It is terrible to say there can't be any remedy we have tried several prescriptions but they all failed.
We are after having a great spell of fine weather here. It has been the finest spring that has come for years. This Country is very dull it is hard to find suitable positions for girls the majority of them go to England and some to America. I have no more news now that would be of any interest to you so I will close for the present hoping to hear from again. Love to all

Your living Cousin
Mary Brennan

Information gleaned

  1. One boy and four girls in the family (agrees with father's letter - previous post)
  2. Eldest girl is away. Does this mean in Ireland or further afield like England or America?
  3. Mary was born c. 1901
  4. It was difficult to obtain suitable work
  5. Family didn't know that William was married

Regarding point 5. William Brennan's arrival in Australia was very sad. His wife Annie died on the voyage to Australia in 1885, his daughter Margaret died a few weeks after arrival and his son Thomas died the following year. He did not remarry until 1896. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Brennan - Letter from Knockmajor

This morning I had the pleasure of corresponding with one of my husband's third cousins from Ireland. This has spurred me into spending the afternoon scanning. I'm set up on the dining room table sitting in front of the air conditioner on a very hot day here in Coffs Harbour.

I have two letters  to share with E. so thought I'd put them online as there may be others who may find these letters useful. Who knows there may be other relatives we haven't made contact with.

The first letter was written in 1929 from Martin Brennan in Knockmajor to his niece Mary Ann Brennan in Armidale. Mary Ann's father William had died in December 1928 and she had obviously written to Ireland to inform his family.

Letter from Martin Brennan in Ireland to his niece Mary Ann Brennan in Australia - 1929

8th April 1929

Dear Niece

I was surprised when I got a letter from you as I never knew he was married once he went over he never wrote to me. I got him prayed for in Australia may God have mercy on his soul.
I am sure all Brother Pats family are married or had he much family? I have 5 in family 1 boy and 4 girls and my wife is in bed this 4 years with rheumatic pains and no remedy. My sister Julia is dead since 1915 and as you say I am the only one living out of 10 and a big division between us all. 
Dear Niece would you let me know what is Mrs Duffys maiden name as I did not know any one from around that went out to Australia.
The weather is very fine for the last two months. I may say only 2 showers of rain during that time.
Have you ever seen any of the Maguire's (?) there are 4 boys and  girl out there they were neighbours of mine and two boys of the ?
Would you kindly send me Brother William Photo I would like to see it. I suppose I would not know him as I was very young and small when he left Ireland.
I have no more to say in particular at this time hoping to hear from  you soon.

From your loving uncle
Marting Brennan
Martin Brennan Snr
Co Kilkenny

As with many of my posts I need to look at the specific facts gained from the letter.

  • There doesn't appear to have been any correspondence between the families
  • Martin Brennan had 1 son and 4 daughters
  • Julia Brennan (his sister) died in 1915 - no indication if she was married
  • Martin was one of 10 siblings - big division (I think this is an age range)
  • Martin was the last surviving sibling in the family
  • In 1915 Martin lived at Knockmajor, Coolcullen, Co Kilkenny, Ireland
  • A photo of William Brennan may have been sent to his brother Martin in Ireland after April 1929.
From my research I believe Martin Brennan's children to be Thomas, Margaret, Mary, Ellen (Nellie) and Kathleen.

A newspaper obituary in Australia says Mrs Larkin was a sister. I think she may have been Julia.

My research indicates that the 10 children were:
  1. Patrick b 1846
  2. Ellen
  3. William b 27 Mar 1851
  4. Mary b 1854
  5. Julia/Judith b 1857
  6. Bridget b 1860
  7. Martin b 1864
  8. Martin b 1867
  9. ?
  10. ?
I hoping to make some headway with my Brennan research.

Tough Street, Hawthorn - What is it called now?

Why do towns and cities change the names of streets? This is causing me some confusion at the moment. It's the second time this has happened to me and both instances have been in Melbourne.

Nineteen year old Charles Stephen Seabrook died at Ravenswood, Tough Street, Hawthorn on 3rd February 1894.

A quick search on google maps reveals no such street. So obviously its name has been changed. Now what! A google search reveals a soldier with a Tough Street address enlisting in March 1915. So either the name was still in existence in 1915 or locals still used the old name.

I have now emailed the Hawthorn Historical Society in the hope that they can assist. Or can anyone else make a suggestion of where to from here?

Back up your blog

Yesterday I started thinking about all my data and how it is backed up.

I use a Time Machine from Apple which automatically backs up every hour or so. It's great to go back to recover an old file.

In fact two weeks ago I accidentally deleted a page on my Newspaper lookup spreadsheet.  (This is the speadsheet I create with publication dates of death and funeral announcements taken from the Ryerson Index. i.e. those that are not on Trove or the Sydney Morning Herald Archives site. When I am in Armidale I go to the University and look up these dates in the microfilmed newspapers.)

Fortunately I was able to go back into the Time Machine and recover an earlier version of the document. Lucky this happened two weeks ago as last week my Time Machine died. I am now paranoid that my laptop will die before I get a replacement. However, I have been backing up my genealogy files each night. I also have some information backed up on Dropbox and still more in iCloud so hopefully I have everything covered.

Then today I realised I had never backed up by blog. I would be upset if I lost it and as a consequence all the work that has gone into producing it over the last 2 years.

So this afternoon, I discovered that it was simple to back up my blog.

How long is it since you have backed up your data?

Perhaps you should do it now!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nomination : Wonderful Team Member Readership Award

Thanks to Jill Ball at Geniaus for nominating me for this award for commenting regularly on her blog.

I have to admit not replying as regularly to blog posts as I should. I know we are all excited when someone does reply to a blog post. This has spurred me into hopefully being more diligent in my responses to other blog posts. Usually I go through some of my feeds on Feeddler on my iPad before I get out of bed. This doesn't allow me time to respond. Perhaps I need to alter my blog reading time to after tea!

Now for my nominations to those who comment often on my posts or in the case of one nomination alert me to what I have to admit was sloppy research.

1. Fi from Dance Skeletons whose last comment was one I wholeheartedly agree with.  I'm starting to believe the first result of good research is...more questions! I hope you can find some answers but I think there's always something else out there.

2. Cass from Family History Across the Seas whose comments are always encouraging.

3.  Boobook  from Backtracking who has a few different blogs, for alerting me to an error I had in a blog post (caused by quick research and not even realising that there were 2 Lismores in Australia - the fact that the article was from Victoria should have twigged with me.)

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I'm certainly pleased I am a member of the genealogy blogging community.

RULES OF THIS AWARD(i)    Don’t forget to thank the nominator and link back to their site as well;(ii)    Display the award logo on your blog;(iii)   Nominate no more than fourteen readers of your blog you appreciate andleave a comment on their blogs to let them know about the award;

Blog of the Year Award - not 1 but 2 stars

Thanks to Kylie at Kylie's Genes for a 2012Blog of the Year Award.  Kylie not only blogs but makes things to sell at the Adelaide markets. Sometimes I don't know how we all manage to blog in between all our other commitments.

It is great to know that others read the blog posts that we write about our families. It has certainly been two exciting years since I began blogging. (Should have been longer - just took too long to make up a name!)

After reading the extended post at TheThought Palette I realise that you can nominate a blogger who has already received an award. They simply exchange the image above for one with more stars. Perhaps someone will receive a second or even third star from me.

Looks like I have a second star before I finish this blog. (I have to admit being a little slow to get this post started.)

Thanks this time to Catherine Crout-Habel whose blog Seeking Susan - Meeting Marie - Finding Family is one I frequently read.

Hopefully I'll finish this post today. As I'm on holidays I'm trying to swim every morning and it's that time now. I also have another problem - I procrastinate.

My nominations are not from the genealogy world.

1. 52 suburbs - I eagerly await the post from Louise each week. In fact I don't now what I'll do this year when Louise has reached 52 posts. I encourage you to take a look at this blog. 4 weeks in 4 different suburbs in 12 different cities around the world in a year with a 9 year old. WOW!

2. Mark at  Clarence Valley Today has a daily photo blog about life in Northern New South Wales. How he manages to post daily is beyond me, but it's always worth perusing. This morning when I looked at it I saw a couple of posts about Hillgrove, east of Armidale. Both my husband and I have family who lived in Hillgrove so I was very interested in these posts.

I encourage you all to take a look at both these blogs.

The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:
1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award
2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award –   and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them
5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience
6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Samuel Mainwaring and the SS Yongala

What started to be a simple search on Trove has ended with possibly more questions than answers.

For many years I have known (or at least thought and was led to believe) that a member of our family, Samuel Mainwaring was aboard the Yongala when it sank of the Queensland coast during a cyclone in April 1911.


There are many news stories detailing the disappearance of the Yongala and all on board. With the benefits of searching via Trove I decided to see what else I could find out about Samuel Mainwaring and his voyage on the Yongala.

However, my research has left me a little confused.

My first find was a mention in The Zeehan and Dundas Herald. 

The Zeehan and Dundas Herald 1st April 1911
My second find was a story told by a Mr Owen Thomas who had boarded the Yongala with Mainwaring in Sydney but decided not to continue past Brisbane.

Kalgoorlie Western Argus 4 April 1911
He stated that the run from Sydney to Brisbane was one of the most enjoyable trips he had experienced.  The weather conditions could not have been more favourable, and the passengers were like a happy family.....One of the first men Mr Thomas met was Mr S Mainwaring, a well-known mining expert from Tasmania. He was journey north to Cairns in connection with a mining venture.

I now know why Samuel Mainwaring was aboard the Yongala. I always thought he was a long way from home.

The next mention of Sam begins to blur the picture. There appear to be two S Mainwarings.

Launceston Examiner, 3rd April 1911
The Sydney Morning Herald of 29th March states that Mr S Mainwaring was travelling on a single ticket to Cairns, and is described as a very old man. The Sam Mainwaring in our family was only 54 years old. This doesn't seem very old.

The final story is from The Brisbane Courier of 3rd April 1911.

Brisbane Courier, 3rd April 1991

At the moment this is all I can discover. I'm sure it was our Sam Mainwaring who died as family members first told me the story. However, it has got me thinking especially as Sam has been described as a  very old man.

The will of Peter Laurie Reid (Mainwaring's father-in-law) states:
I bequeath to my daughter Louisa Alice Mainwaring the wife of Samuel Mainwaring of Zeehan in Tasmania Labourer.....

This places Sam Mainwaring in Zeehan. So who was Mr Mancell's uncle? Or what happened to our Sam Mainwaring?

Friday, January 4, 2013

From my Bookshelf - Close to the edge

This is my second post in my new series - From my Bookshelf

I frequently trawl Abebooks for local history books, particularly for those places where ancestors lived. I have been rewarded with several interesting finds. Whenever I am in a town in Australia where family members have lived I see if there are any books written about the area. I usually find something interesting.

Today I decided I needed to update my books on Library Thing. There were quite a few new purchases which hadn't been added. Hopefully, I now have most of my genealogy related books on Library Thing.

As I pulled books from my shelves to catalogue I decided that there were many that I need to read more thoroughly. One of those is Close to the edge  - stories of the New England Gorges written by Dave Vidler.

This book is a collection of interviews from 14 people who live in the New England gorge country or as my husband's family called it the falls-country near Armidale, New South Wales. Looking at the map of the Gorge Country I can immediately see where both my parents-in-law were raised - one on either side of the gorge.

Both my husband's grandfathers are mentioned in the book.

Cliff Faint mentions Albert Scheef.

An old chap down here, ten mile down, by the name of Albert Scheef, he was a German, and he had Devons, red cattle, and he had falls-country too, only a long way further down, and they always done well. If there was a feed about, they had it, they done well.
So I said to Mr Scheef one day, "You're good friends with the family," so I said, "When you're marking your calves," I said, "would you care to keep me a red bull?"
"Yes boy," he said, "No worries."
Well that's when I started with Devons. I put Devons over Herefords. p. 35

Maisie Brennan's interview mentions Pat Brennan

How far would the nearest neighbour be away?
Here (on Benevis). Pat (Brennan) was the nearest neighbour. About a mile from down home, I suppose. Oh you wouldn't be able to yell out, but I have come up here of a night when I had Eric's father very sick, come up here to get Pat to come down, you know.
Pat was very good, and he was me' closest neighbour. And he had six (5 actually) boys and a girl. And then when he got too old to run the place, no one wanted the place, he sold it to me. The boys all got away and got good jobs, you know. p. 64

View from Benevis

The interview with Kevin Brennan mentions Bill Brennan (brother of Pat above).

Locals used to provide the music. Like we had, one fella, Bill Brennan, from over here. He used to play violin and accordian, that sort of thing. Very good too. You only had to suggest to him and away he'd go and play it, you know. One of his brothers played a bit, but he wasn't nearly as good, you know, nearly as proficient. p. 140.

Max Brennan, Maisie Brennan (Waters), Kevin Brennan and Laurie Sewell were all interviewed in the book. Each of them has a connection to our family. After reading the book I realise that I need to spend more time at Enmore and Long Point - not just a quick drive to look at the scenery.

Thanks to David Vidler for taking the time to interview these people and so allow me to know more about my husband's family.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

From my Bookshelf - Small Lives - Photographs of Irish Childhood 1860-1970

The is the first post in my new series of blog posts - From my Bookshelf.

I treated myself to a couple of books for Christmas - not that I need an excuse!

Small Lives - Photographs of Irish Childhood 1860-1970 which is edited by Aoife O'Connor arrived this morning.

This book contains a wonderful collection of images taken over a hundred and ten year period in Ireland. Images include those from the city and country, those from wealthy families and extremely poor ones and those at work and at play. The differences between the rich and poor are often quite distressing.

As usual when I looked at this book I made a note of things that I hadn't been aware of or had not stopped to think about. Which photographs made me think of specific Irish families in my family?  What did I find interesting?

  • Although I knew that little boys were often dressed in dresses, I was surprised to see boys as old as 12 dressed this way.
  • I had not stopped to think about what happened to families who had been evicted from their homes. An image of a family sheltering in a hut made of dry-stone walling and sod had me considering if any of my families ever lived like this.
  • I didn't know about bathing machines where women were wheeled out into the sea so they could enter and leave the water without being seen.
  • There are four photographs of children with donkeys. In one, the creel (basket) is loaded with turf. This is probably the way my Agnew family carted their turf. (I have documentation to say they lived near a bog.)
I wonder 
  • which women in my families were proficient lace makers?
  • did any of them live in a workhouse?
  • did any of them keep pigs?
  • did they own a spinning wheel?
  • did they use sack cloths for capes?
  • did they have a quern stone to grind grain?
  • if they didn't go to school because of a lack of suitable clothing?

I wonder
  • did they get pushed in Dublin in a back-to-back perambulator for two?
  • did they cycle along the promenade?
  • did they pose in their best clothes for a studio portrait?
  • did they go to a school with walls covered with maps and science diagrams?
I can probably answer yes to all of the above. My Irish families are quite a mixed lot - from wealthy Church of Ireland Irish living just north of Dublin, Scottish Presbyterians from Antrim (and probably before that from Scotland), and Catholics from Derry, Waterford, Clare, Tipperary and Cork.

Small Lives was a photographic exhibition held at the National Photographic Archive Templebar from August 2011 until June 2012. You can also see some of the images on the National Library of Ireland Flickr page.

If you have Irish ancestry this book is certainly worth purchasing. 

Why not share your bookshelf too!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Trove Tuesday - William McCall - Snake Bite

This is a Trove Tuesday post.

Although the Tenterfield Star or the Stanthorpe Border Post have not been digitised yet for Trove, I am amazed at how much I can find about my family from Wallangarra in the Brisbane Courier.

Another browse last night found this.

The lesson about snake bite must have been a popular one at the time. I have a school exercise book belonging to my great uncle and in it he writes a composition about a boy getting bitten by a snake and treating it himself.

McCall's sister Jane who was in fact 2 years older than William, was bitten by a death adder on 26th August 1893 and died on the way to a doctor. She was buried on her parent's property, just north of Wallangarra.

William McCall later married Catherine McCaul who was my great great grandmother's niece. 

Happy New Year 2013

Thought I'd share a New Year's card from our family collection. It was sent from Robert and Ann Waters to their daughter Julia, husband Albert Scheef and their young daughter Vida. Vida was born in 1916 and as her brother Albert was not born until 1918 this card was sent in either 1916, 1917 or 1918.