Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday - 2013 Accentuate The Positive Geneameme

We are approching the countdown to 2014, and it is time for a little reflection on the passed year.  I must thank Jill Ball, from Geniaus for her wisdom in posing a challenge to all genealogy bloggers that encourages us to look back on our achievements of the last 12 months  with  the 2013 Accentuate the Positive Geneameme.  For me 2013 has been a year of many discoveries as well as sometime out in the second part of the year when work and family commitments left little time for research or blogging.  I was feeling a little slack, however, when I reflect, there have been quite a few high moments in my research and blogging. Here goes with my 2013 Accentuate the Positive Geneameme.

1. An elusive ancestor I found was Donald McDonald, my great great grandfather.  While troving on TROVE on Boxing Day, for articles on gold mining in Araluen and Braidwood districts, by pure accident, I came across the obituary for Donald, which confirmed the stories that my father had related to me many years ago.  The family story was that Donald McDonald was from Canada and came to Australia in the time of the gold rush.  However, I had not been able to find any record to confirm him immigrating to Australia from Canada.  The detailed obituary clarifies this story by advising that Donald first went to the gold fields in California and then traveled with a group of American friends to the gold fields in Australia. This group was known as the Yankees and they established quite a reputation in the area of Bells Creek, Araluen. More stories on this to follow in 2014! 

2. A precious family photo I found was a photo of James and Margaret McGregor, with all their family. What a find! or should I say gift! I was visiting my Aunt in November and we were discussing family tree research over a cup of tea, when she gave me a copy of a photocopy of the picture of James, Margaret and all their family.  The bonus was that each person in the photo was named. This photo was the kick in the "butt" that motivated me to get back into my blogging after a 5 month break.  That following week I started my blogging series on the McGregor Sisters.  Thank you Aunty Inara!

3. The Ancestral graves that I found which meant the most to me in 2013 were those of the Nesbitt Family in Alnwick, Northumberland.  Back in the 1890's, pre-internet, it was difficult to find information on family links in England, so I wrote to the post-offices of the towns that I knew our ancestors came from in the hope they would be able to put me in contact with people in the area with the same surname. One of these letters struck gold.  A worker at the post office at Alnwick, gave my letter to his father, who was a member of St Michael's Church parish in Alnwick.  He wrote a couple of lovely letters to me, these letters included photos of family graves, and post cards of Alnwick.  This year I traveled to the United Kingdom to do some family research and visited Alnwick.  It was so exciting to wander around the cobbled stone streets where my ancestors lived, but the most amazing part of this visit was to rediscover these family graves and take my own photos almost 30 years later.

4. A Genesurprise I received was about two weeks after my Aunt gave me the picture of the McGregor family (see above). I received a message on my Ancestry site, asking if I was related to James and Margaret McGregor? It seemed that the stars were aligned for my McGregor Research.  To cut a long story short a volunteer from the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) contacted me, advising that they had James and Margaret's bible and if I liked I could have it! I visited the SAG, and to my delight came away with three family bibles.  See my post: Lunch time discoveries in the Rocks. The bonus of this visit was that I finally joined the SAG and I hope to become more involved with them in 2014.
Alexander McDonald's grave

5. My 2013 blot post that I was particularly proud of was about my great-great uncle Alexander Joseph McDonald.  This poignant blog was part of the 2013 Trans Tasmanian ANZAC Day blog challenge and tells the sad story of Alexander McDonald's landing at Anzac Cove on the 25 April 1915.  By the way, Alexander was the son of Donald McDonald mentioned above in my first point in this blog on my most elusive ancestor discovery for this year.

6. My 2013 blog posts that have received the largest number of hits and comments has been the series that I started on "Sharing Memories". I have really enjoyed putting these personal memories, some with old pictures taken my father to paper.  Hopefully I will be inspired to post more of these memories in 2014.

7. A new piece of software I mastered was Evernote.  A couple of years ago I wrote a blog on my resolve to start using Evernote.  This year I made a concerted effort to use my Evernote account.  I have found it invaluable in collecting, and sorting notes, web pages, photos, documents, passwords, scanned documents etc.  I don't know about you but I love every now and then to just randomly search the Internet for bits and pieces relating to my family history, i.e. articles on towns they lived in, maps, occupations, social conditions, events that happened in their lives etc.  I collect and tag these links, saving them in the appropriate family tree file for later reference.

8. The social Media tool I enjoyed using this year! I start a Facebook page for Family Stories, Photographs and Memories.  This has allowed me to link with other genealogy sites on Facebook and has been very rewarding.

9. A journal/magazine article I had published?  None.  However, this would be a challenge I would like to tackle in 2014 if the opportunity arises.

10. A Genealogy Book that taught me something? My recent focus on researching the McGregor family has made me realise that my knowledge of Scottish Ancestry is very limited.  Two books that I found most useful were: Scottish Family History on the Web, by Stuart A. Raymond, and Scottish Genealogy, by Bruce Durie.

11. A great library that I visited in 2013 was the Colne Library, Lancashire. As I mentioned earlier I went to the UK in the middle of this year with the specific aim of researching the descendants of William Taylor and Elizabeth Rushworth. I spent a month in the small village of Foulridge on the outskirts of Colne, Lancashire, and passed many hours in the local Colne Library. The staff were so helpful, assisting me with all my questions, and showed genuine interest in my research. This included pulling out from their storeroom a forgotten box of pictures from the local Ambulance Station that was given to the library when the station closed.  In this box we found an amazing collection of photos highlighting events and important personalities from the Ambulance Station's history.  Included among these were a number of pictures of Elizabeth Taylor (nee Rushworth).

12.  A history book I enjoyed, was A Lancashire Past: A family love story, by J.W. Foulds. This was a delightful story of life in Lancashire in the early 1900's, and provided a great background and some understanding of life in Colne, Lancashire.

13. It was so exciting to finally meet  and reconnect with fellow researchers of the Taylor/Rushworth family tree. I has been writing and sharing information with this researchers for around three years.  It was so much fun to actually embark on family tree research together, as we visited the old family haunts, homes and churches in Lancashire.

14. The geneadventure I enjoyed was of course, my trip to the United Kingdom. I visited the districts of Arnold, Cambridgeshire; Alnwick, Northumberland; Arnold, Nottingham and of course Colne, Lancashire, all towns linked with branches of my and my husbands family tree. I visited so many churches, pubs, farmhouses, library's and museums, met long lost cousins and discovered photos and family graves and records.  It is my plan to sort and write about these discoveries in the new year.

15. Finally, another positive I would like to share. I consider myself a person who dabbles in blogging and writing history, though if I had more time I would like to take my blogging more seriously.  So when I received an email from the Australian National Library that both my blogs, Family Stories: Photographs and Memories, and The Other Half of My Family Tree - stories of my female ancestors, were to be archived in the Pandora Project, I was quite surprised! and a little chuffed. It certainly puts a little more pressure to write articles of substance!

Well that is all for 2013.  I wish you all the best for the New Year and Happy Blogging for 2014.

1. 1913 'OBITUARY.', Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), 12 April, p. 12, viewed 31 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85849934
2. http://womenfrommyfamilytree.blogspot.com.au/
3. Society of Australian Genealogists, http://www.sag.org.au/ 
4. http://familystoriesphotographsandmemories.blogspot.com.au/
5. Colne Library, http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries/librarydetails/libsearch1.asp?name=Colne

Friday, December 20, 2013

Follow Friday - Recipes from the Past - Christmas Recipes

This week I searched TROVE for a tasty christmas recipe from the past to post for this weeks recipe from the past and found two that I couldn't go past.  These two recipes provide the ingredients for a wonderful christmas I am sure you will agree. Merry Christmas to you all, and I hope you are able to share some of this Christmas Pudding with friends and family.

Sunday Mail (Brisbane) 16 December 1928

Three parts of fun
To four parts of nonsense
Stir them well together:
spice them next with jolly jokes
Take every bit of crossness out,
And every unkind thought:
Bake it in the oven of love
And it shall lack for naught. 

Narromine and Trangie Advocate - 19 December 1930

Recipe for Christmas Pudding**

Take some human nature - as you find it,
The commonest variety will do -
Put a little graciousness behind it,
Add a lump of charity - or two.

Squeeze in just a drop of moderation,
Half as much frugality - or less,
Add some very fine consideration;
Strain off all poverty's distress.

Pour some milk of human kindness in it;
Put in all the happiness you can.
Stir it up with laughter every minute,
season with good-will to every man.

Set it on a fire of heart's affections,
Leave it till the jolly bubbles rise;
Sprinkle it with kisses - for confection,
Sweetenwith a look from loving eyes.

Flavour it with children's merry chatter,
Frost it with the snow of wintry doll's;
Place it on a holly-garnished platter,
Serve it with the song of christmas bells.

* 1928 'A CHRISTMAS RECIPE.', Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (Qld. : 1926 - 1954), 16 December, p. 16 Supplement: The Sunday Mail Christmas Number, viewed 20 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128503641 

** 1930 'Recipe for Christmas Pudding.', Narromine News and Trangie Advocate (NSW : 1898 - 1956), 19 December, p. 1, viewed 20 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article99233872

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Sharing Memories - Childhood Christmas in the Outback of NSW

Our Aussie Christmas Tree
Recently I received an email from a friend in England in which she commented. "I  guess you are going to have one of those funny Australian Christmases”.  This made me smile, as Australians love to celebrate Christmas.  It is one of the most important family events of the year and our traditions are a carry-over from our ancestry.  

Quite often  families embrace the customs of their grandparents with the traditional meal of roast meats, baked vegetables, gravy and of course the Christmas pudding with steaming hot custard. We do however give the meal an Australian flavour by including lots of seafood, salads, tropical fruits such as mangoes, lychee's and of course a bowl of cherries.  Christmas is the traditional start to our cherry season and is often equated as the “Christmas fruit”.  There is nothing better than  seeing the littlies  with big red stains around their mouths from munching on the cherries in the Christmas fruit bowl!
However, mainly as a result of our climate,  an Australian Christmas is quite different to that experienced by my friend in England, so I thought I would share as part of my Sharing Memories Posts a couple of Christmas stories from my childhood.

As mentioned in previous blogs, my early childhood was spent in the far west of New South Wales, where we lived on the sheep station, Nuntherungie. As with most families, Christmas meant time spend sharing food, drink and adventures with our extended family. This time with family often meant a lot of travel, as my father’s family lived on the South Coast of New South Wales, over 800 miles (about 1,200  kms) away. My mother’s family were much closer, only 120 miles (190 kms) away in Broken Hill.

When I was quite young my father’s family, decided they would make the venture from the seaside village of Milton on the South Coast of NSW to Nuntherungie to celebrate Christmas in our home.  Unfortunately, the hot weather came early that year, with temperatures reaching the high 30’s.  Quite a shock to all the family members who were used to living in the lush coastal region, close to the beach!

House and  with Sleep- out (RH corner)
Our home had glass louvered windows all the way around to allow as much breeze through the house as possible and  away from the main house was a” sleep out” which my parents would sleep in in the summer months.  This was a separate room built away from the house with windows all the way around to help keep the room cooler in the summer.  However, not everyone could fit into the sleep-out, so all and sundry elected to sleep outdoors under the stars, in the hope of catching the smallest of breeze.  The large square of buffalo grass, that made up our “lawn” was covered in a conglomeration of pillows, mattresses, sheets and sleeping bodies. 

On one corner of the lawn was our version of a Christmas tree.  There are no neat symmetrical pine trees to be found in the outback, so our Christmas tree consisted of a branch of a dead gum tree, sawn off and painted with silver paint and then decorated with home-made streamers and balloons.  Yes, a different Christmas tree!! However, Santa always managed to find our tree, and leave a collection of large lumpy parcels wrapped in bright Christmas paper.

Christmas Day soon arrived, and the sleepy visitors stirred, cups of sweet black tea were passed around as everyone stretched and yawned, finding a spot on the grass amongst the scattered bed clothing from the previous night.  The children, pushing for a spot closest to the tree, waiting for my Dad, as elected Santa’s helper, to pick up each parcel from under out tree, read the tag and passed on to the excited recipients.

Ohhs! And Aah!s came from all corners of the grass, as everyone opened their parcels, squeals of delight from the children at new toys, and sweets, and the tangled mess of bedding was now joined by discarded Christmas paper and ribbon.  What a Christmas morning, and I love the slides that my father took of this day, about fifty five years ago.

The mess cleaned up, the children acquainted themselves with their new toys, while the adults moved into the kitchen to being the preparation for the big family Christmas meal.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Follow Friday - Recipes from the Past - A Christmas Sweet - 1911

When scanning through old papers on Trove and British News Papers on line I often come across interesting old recipes from past eras. Why not share some of these?  Maybe others would like to do the same?

In keeping with the festive season I have selected a Christmas dessert that was posted in the Tamworth Daily Observer just before Christmas in 1911. It sounds simple and delicious. 

A Christmas Dessert
Six large oranges
Half a pound of loaf sugar
A quarter of a pint of water
Half a pint of cream with sugar to taste

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan, boil until the sugar is brittle, peel the oranges, remove as much of the pith as possible and divide into slices without breaking the skin that surrounds the juicy part.  

Dip each slice into the hot sugar and arrange in layers around a plain mould, which should be oiled with pure salad oil.  The centre is left open for the cream.  Let the sugar become firm by cooling.  Turn the oranges out on a dish and fill the centre with whipped cream.*

* 1911 'FLIRTING.', The Tamworth Daily Observer (NSW : 1911 - 1916), 16 December, p. 6, viewed 12 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109562655

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sentimental Sunday - Christmas Greetings from the Past

Christmas is almost upon us, and it is time to sit and take the time to send out our Christmas cards and family letter. A tradition that is slowly dying out and  being replaced by emailed and facebook Seasons Greetings messages. However, I wonder, do this e-greetings replace the thrill of the arrival of our Christmas mail, with the bundle of cards from distant relatives, friends that you haven't heard from since the last mailing of Christmas greetings and family and friends from over the seas?

I still get a buzz when cards arrive in the mail with little notes of greeting and best wishes, accompanied by snippets of my friend's year just passed.  The tradition of sending cards started in the United Kingdom in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. The practice of sending cards increased through the 1870 and 1880's and by the turn of the century the sending of Christmas cards became very popular all over the world. 

Among the collection of lovely old postcards and photos that were passed on to my by husbands Great Aunty Tilly are some beautiful family Christmas cards. I am not sure how old these cards are, and would be interested if any readers can provide any information on dating Christmas cards.  

This lovely card was sent to Aunty Tilly probably in the early 1920's, the inside of the card is just as pretty as the front.

The next two cards were sent to Aunty Tilly's family, date unknown.

It is interesting to note the name of the printer is on the inside of the second of these two cards, C.W. Faulkner and Co, London. After a little digging I found out that C.W. Faulkner and Co began in London in 1897 and closed in 1956.  They were very famous for their beautiful postcards and Christmas cards.  They also made board games.

The last card from the collection is quite unusual!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - with a question?

Letter from James McGregor to his daughter Jessie Kinnear
In my recent blog Lunch Time Discoveries in the Rocks- McGregor Family Bible  I describe my good fortune after being contacted by the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG). They were able to pass on to me three diaries connected with the McGregor Family.  In one of the bibles, there was a letter (see above) written by James McGregor to his daughter Jessie when he and his wife Margaret, passed the family bible on to Jessie for safe keeping.

The picture of the letter and its thoughtful and caring blessings fits well with today's theme of Wordless Wednesday.  No description or explanation needed.

However!! I do have a question, that I hope one of my readers can answer.  At the bottom of the letter there is a small white bow, a little faded and worn now, and beside it James as written "My Badge".  I would love to know the significance of this, and would greatly appreciate it if someone could enlighten me. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Those Places Thursday – Araluen 1859 – Home of the McGregor and McPherson Families

In piecing together the story of the McGregor Sisters, I have spent quite a few fascinating hours
Sydney Morning Herald 29 June 1859
scanning newspaper articles in TROVE, reading about life on the gold fields in the Braidwood and Araluen district during the mid-1800’s.  It is easy to be side tracked as you flick from one article to another.  There are vivid descriptions of floods, snow falls, harsh conditions, lucky finds, accidents, bushrangers and of course the inevitable reports on the amounts of gold found in the previous week.  I was thrilled to find that one of these multi themed reports actually mentioned the McGregor and McPherson families, and thus giving me a clue as to how the McGregor Sisters parents James McGregor and Margaret McPherson met.  They were married in the Presbyterian Church at the nearby settlement of Jinglemoney, on the 23 June 1859, just a few days before this article was published.

It seems from the article that the McGregors and McPhersons were making a good living from the gold fields. It was fascinating to see part of the article report on recent snow falls.  I wonder if James and Margaret had snow on the day of their wedding?  

I hope you enjoy the sections of the article that I have included below, and I am sure you will agree these articles from the past bring to life the conditions that these pioneering families lived and thrived in.

Sydney Morning Herald Thursday 30 June 1859 page 5

(from our correspondent)

“After a storm comes a calm” This proverb is at present being fully verified.  The excitement caused by the elections is now over, the most pleasing reminiscences of the late contest being the contributions made to the different charities of the town by our newly elected member.  But the political excitement of the people has subsided, and a different one is rising in its stead by the unexpected advance in the price of all sorts of supplies.  From 4d. beef has gone up to 6d: from 18s. flour rose to 28s.; from 4s. potatoes rose to 7s.; and everything has taken, this last fortnight, a similar advance.  Heads of large families look, in many instances, dejected, and speak of a rise for their labour.  The rise at Sydney on groceries has been responded to here.  The weather is very dry; the diggers and farmers generally, complain of drought, and many storekeepers are becoming reluctant of furnishing supplies on credit.  A copious fall of rain, without flood, would overcome the unpleasantness that has taken possession of the minds of the community.

Where sufficient water is obtainable on the diggings the results are most satisfactory.  Last week a part of ten, on the Lower Araluen, obtained 96 ounces of gold, and a small company adjoining it, procured above 60 ounces.  On these diggings those who have their work opened and a good stream of water are doing well; indeed, it is rare to hear complaints from people who possess the first-named advantages.  A rush has lately taken place at Mericumbene and on the Moruya river.  Where, a few months ago, the wild beasts of the forest were the sole inhabitants of these regions, now tents, huts and comfortable homes are to be seen, inhabited by healthy and industrious people.  Stores, bakers and butchers’ shops, and public-houses are providing the necessaries of life to hundreds, from Braidwood to nearly Kiora, a distance of above forty miles. The last escort that left town took 2335 ounces of the precious metal.  The greatest part of that amount was procured at the Araluen diggings.  Considering the trouble and expense of getting supplies down there, things are cheaper at Araluen than at Braidwood.

During the last two months McPhersons’s and McGregor’s parties have realised an average of 40 ounces per week; the party is composed of four partners and a few hired men.   Like the auctioneers, we may well say, speaking of the lucky arties, the list of names is too numerous to mention.  At the Little River, and the neighbourhood diggings, the miners are doing pretty well – there, none but persevering people can expect to do well; the chances are very uncertain, but when you do hit upon the lead, it well deserves the title of “luck”……..

Mr Surveyor Ardill and his staff are now engaged to find the boundary line of Messrs Roberts’ property at Araluen, with the Government land.  Latterly there has been so much law work on this question, that the diggers have resolved to have it settled’; they therefore joined together to defray a surveyor’s expenses, and very soon a great annoyance will be stopped.  The same gentleman has also instructions from the Government to survey and mark out a grant from the Crown to the Catholic community of these diggings for the erection of a church, a schoolroom and a reserve for a burial ground. …..

The snow storm that passed over our district on nomination day has left behind traces of its presence.  Numerous trees have been thrown down; branches had to give under the weight of the snow, and many horses shied at the novel sight – thus causing not a few accidents.*
*Citation: BRAIDWOOD. (1859, June 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved November 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13027028

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lunch Time Discoveries in the Rocks - McGregor Family Bible

McGregor and Kinnear Family Bibles
As mentioned in my recent blog, Matrilineal Monday - The Ladies of the McGregor Family
I recently received a copy of a family photo of James and Margaret McGregor with a large group of their children, their  partners and grandchildren.  Even more exciting,  each member of the family was identified by name. 

For the last two weeks I have been digging out all my notes, old letters, pouring over old maps, researching in TROVE and other on-line sources, so that I can put together the stories of James and Margaret McGregor’s daughters (who are all depicted in this photo) as my next project on “The other half of my family tree - stories of my female ancestors”.  This has taken me longer than I thought, as I have been discovering new leads and  getting side tracked on interesting family stories.

Over the weekend, I experienced one of those family tree serendipitous moments. A message popped up on my ancestry site, “Are you a direct relative of James McGregor and Margaret McPherson?  If so can you please contact me”.  Puzzled, I sent back a quick response advising that they were my great great grandparents.

Imagine my surprise, when she advised me that she was a volunteer for the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) and that she had been trying to find someone connected with James and Margaret as  the Society had a their family bible and wanted to pass it on to a direct descendant.  I was a little gobsmacked!!  Especially by the timing, and the relatedness's to my recent research into the McGregor Family. 

It was with great excitement I ventured out in my lunch hour today, down to the headquarters of the SAG, which is situated in the beautiful historical area of “The Rocks”, near the Sydney Observatory.  I was greeted at the door by one of the volunteers, (who I think was just as excited as I was, at having found a family for the Bible).

We went into what must have been a very ostentatious lounge/parlour room of the beautiful Richmond Villa which had huge bay windows that looked out over Sydney Harbour.  When I inquired as to who the house belonged to I was advised that it had been a private home of architect Mortimer Lewis and the SAG was lucky enough to be given the use of the premises by the State Heritage Council.

We sat down at a small table and the bible was pulled out, very  old, with a brown paper wrapper as its
binding was long gone. This small ragged bible must have so many stories to tell!! Inside the bible there is a page that lists family births, deaths and marriages, all written in different handwriting depicting the different ownership of the book as it was handed down through the family.

 Then!! when I looked through the pages, tucked in between the pages amongst some small dried pressed flowers was a small letter, written by James McGregor, to his daughter Jessie Kinnear (nee McGregor).  He had written this note to her when he passed the Bible on to her for safe keeping. 

However, the discoveries were not over.  The kindly SAG volunteer said, "after looking this I think we may have some other documents that are linked to this Bible".  So we headed downstairs to the storage area.  On the shelves were stacks of family bibles, of all different sizes and in all different states of repair.  Amongst these Bibles we found the two bibles that the SAG volunteer was referring to and yes!! they were also connected to the McGregor family, in particular to James and Margaret McGregor's youngest daughter Jessie Kinnear.

These wonderful discoveries prompted me to join the SAG, as it seems there are some more files, letters etc related to the McGregor Family in their library.  About an hour after my arrival, I struggled out with three family bibles that are at least 170 years old. As I hailed a taxi to help me get back to work, I pondered, what stories will these books reveal!.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - William Taylor 1833-1928

Colne Times 3 June 1928

General  regret will be express  in Colne at the death of Mr William Taylor of 62 Alkincoats Road, and formerly of Duke Street, which occurred on Wednesday morning.  Mr Taylor would have been 95 years of age if he had lived until Sunday.  So far as we have been able to ascertain he was the oldest inhabitant of the town. For some time he had resided with his son-in-law and daughter, Mr and Mrs Joseph Hartley, at the above address.  He was predeceased by his wife, who passed away in January of last year at the age of 86.

The late Mr Taylor was born at Burnley, and was a son of the late Mr Richard Taylor, of Lower Hood Hollow, Burnley.  Mr Taylor was formerly in the employ of Colne Corporation, and prior to the incorporation of the borough, of the old Local Board, as Building and Streets Inspector. He held that position for a period of about 20 years, retiring 20 years ago.

Diamond Wedding Ten Years Ago

It is almost impossible to write of Mr Taylor without making reference to his wife.  It will be remembered that Mr and Mrs Taylor celebrated their diamond wedding in July 1918.  They were married at Gill Church, Barnoldswick on July 15th 1858, the ceremony being performed by Rev. J.C. Miller.  They had 16 children, of whom only four are living - two sons and two daughters, one son being in Australia.  They had also had nine or ten grandchildren and some great-grandchildren in Australia.

For many years Mr. and Mrs Taylor were the oldest married couple present at the annual old folk's tea given by the Mayor and Mayoress of the town, but Mrs Taylor was unable to go in 1927, and she died soon afterwards.

It will be remembered that Mrs Taylor was one of the lady veterans of Colne Ambulance Association, and held the position of Lady Superintendent of the Nursing Division for 28 years.  For her ambulance work in the town she was elected an honorary serving sister of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England.  Both Mr and Mrs Taylor had been connected with the Church Colne Parish Church, and the  mission Churches - St James and St George's, Alkincoats.  It is interesting link with the past to recall that Mrs Taylor's parents were married in the Colne Parish Church 110 years ago.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wedding Wednesday - Jessie Taylor and Alfred Smith

Jessie Taylor and Alfred Smith - 8 January 1921

My husband's grandparents, Jessie Taylor and Alfred Smith were married at the Presbterian Church, Marrickville, NSW, on the 18 January 1921. Alfred was a World War I veteran, who had experienced the ANZAC landing first hand. At the time of their wedding his occupation is described as a printer.  Jessie was employed as a clerk and prior to their marriage she lived with her family at Dolls Point, Sydney.

Jessie and Alfred spent their entire married life living in Tempe, NSW and raising their two sons and two daughters.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sentimental Sunday - William John Herbert - Uncle Bob

William John (Bob) Herbert

William John Herbert (1985-1972), or Uncle Bob as I knew him was my grandfather (Roy Clarence Herbert)'s half brother.  He and his wife Florence (nee Beaumont) were my mother's favorite Aunt and Uncle.  They lived in 97 Wolfram Street, Broken Hill. I remember as small child visiting Uncle Bob and Auntie Florry every time our family traveled into town (Broken Hill) from Nuntherungie, the station  where we lived.

Uncle Bob was born in the mining town of Burra, South Australia.  His parents were John Herbert and Louisa Seaforth. John was only seven years old when his mother Louisa died from Cholera. His father, was left with four young children remarried Caroline Hornhardt.  William, along with his siblings attended the Burra State School. He worked in the mines in Burra and then when the first World War broke out he enlisted in the Army. (Service Number - 3703).

At the end of the War he moved to Broken Hill, met Florence Beaumont, married and settled into their modest home.  Uncle Bob was an avid collector of stamps, spending his spare money on first day covers and newly released stamps. It was his enthusiams for stamp collecting that sparked my childhood interest in stamp collecting, and whenever we received a letter or card from Auntie Florry, there would always be a couple of older stamps from his collection on the envelope, especially for me.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Time Out - Family Tree Burnout

It is November!!
Five months since I last posted a blog!!  I am not sure where the time has gone, but today I received a gentle shove that has given me the motivation to get back to writing about my family history.

I wonder if other bloggers have experienced the need for a little time out, whether it is due to life commitments or just the need to sit back and reflect a little. 

In May I headed off to England to explore some of our family tree roots in Lancashire, Cambridge and Northumberland.   After linking up with fellow researchers I  spend a month visiting old family haunts, graveyards, churches, libraries, farmhouses and pubs.  We wandered through narrow cobbled streets with old census records, tramped through fields with turn-of-the century maps, ate  picnic lunches while sitting amongst family gravestones, had tea and cake with long lost cousins and sipped on a pint or two in an old family pub.

I gathered and collected hundreds of pictures on my camera and Ipad, bought numerous books on local history and was such a frequent visitor to the Colne Library, that the locals were asking me how to use the computers and if I had a key to the toilet. 

Following my month of research, I headed off to visit family and friends in Europe with my husband and all my research was packed into two large postage boxes and set off by Surface Mail, back to Australia.  On my return home I eagerly awaited the arrival of my “Boxes”.  They finally arrived about 4 weeks ago.   However, the motivation to get back into family research mode didn't arrive with it. I think I was suffering a little from research/travel burn out.

I would be interested to hear from other family historians/bloggers if they have had the same experience and how they motivated themselves to get back into it.

That off my chest, lets get back to writing.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Funeral Card Friday - Marion Miller Taylor (nee McNair) 15 September 1952

Funeral card for Marion Miller Taylor

Marion Miller Taylor (nee McNair)
Marion Miller Taylor, (nee McNair) was born in Torphichen, West Lothian Scotland on the 10th August, 1864, and came to Australia in the late 1880s.  She married Richard Taylor on the  1st August 1891, at St Peter's Church, Cook River Rd, Marrickville, Sydney, NSW Australia. She passed away 15 September 1952, 17 years after her husband Richard Taylor, who passed away on the 22st October 1935 (as noted in pencil note on her memorial card).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Barry Shepherd 1952-1953

This is one of those very special family photos, battered and very much loved.  It is a picture of my Grandfather Roy Herbert with my older brother Barry.  Barry was born on the 10 November 1952, in Broken Hill, NSW and passed away suddenly when he was only six months old in May 1953.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Friday's Family Recipe and Sharing Memories - Homemade Tomato Sauce

Summer time brings back memories of Mum and Dad’s vegie garden and the glut of ripe juicy tomatoes.  Dad would check the vines morning and night to pick the tomatoes before the pesky birds and insects attacked them.  Our kitchen would have huge bowls of  ripe tomatoes, that we would eat like apples, juice and tomato seeds dribbling down our chins.  The tomatoes that were just ripening would all be sitting along the kitchen window, and my mother would rotate them so that they ripened evenly.

My mother was very resourceful and would use the overabundance of tomatoes to stock up on homemade relish and tomato sauce.  All family members would be called to the kitchen, including my Dad, and we would chop up tomatoes and onions for relish and sauce.  There was always a bit of a battle as to who would be landed with cutting up the onions.

Mum would stock up on vinegar and other condiments, and pull out her large pots.  All the bottles and jars that she had saved through the winter months would be pulled out, rewashed and dried, and lined up ready for the bottling.  Soon the wonderful aromas of garlic, spices and tomatoes would be wafting out of the kitchen, as Mum stirred the tomatoey mixture that bubbled gently in large pots on her stove.  She would careful test small amounts of the sauce in a spoon at different intervals to check how it was setting, and if it need to be cooked a little longer. 

As soon as the sauce reached the required thickness, it was taken off the stove and it was time to bottle the mixture into the shiny clean bottles (of all different sizes and shapes) that were lined up on the kitchen skink. When the sauce had cooled in the bottles, Mum would seal, label and date them ready for the pantry cupboard and gifts to family and friends.  Even after we were married, my husband expected to be given a bottle of Mum's tomato or plum (that is another recipe) when ever we visited.  Here is Mum's recipe if you feel like trying it for yourself.!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sympathy Saturday - Obituary - Mrs Annie Shepherd (nee McDonald)

Annie Shepherd and grandson Neville

My Grandmother,Annie Shepherd, nee McDonald was the daughter of Donald McDonald and Margaret Hanlon  and she was born in Reidsdale, NSW Australia in 1869.  Annie's brother Alexander Joseph McDonald was the feature of my recent ANZAC day blog, Military Monday - 2013 Trans Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge - Alexander Joseph McDonald.

Obituary - Mrs Annie Shepherd 
from Braidwood Dispatch  
By the passing of Mrs Annie Shepherd, which occurred in Sydney recently, another of our fine old pioneers has gone on her last long journey. The name Shepherd has been associated with Braidwood for almost 100 years.  Away back in the dim distant past her father, the late Mr Donald McDonald worked on the gold diggings at Bell's Creek, when the whole district, and particularly Araluen were in the throes of a great gold rush.

The deceased was born at Reidsdale in May, 1869, being the only daughter of Donald and Margaret McDonald.  She with other members of  the family received her early education at the Reidsdale School, the teacher there being the late Mr Arkins.  Leaving the district the family migrated to the South Coast, Mr McDonald setting up a timber mill at Mogo. From there the deceased married the late Lynn Shepherd at Mogo, Moruya, the ceremony being performed by the late Fr. Cassidy. The couple came to the Braidwood district to live, settling about eight miles out of Braidwood off the Mongarlowe road in the vicinity of the piece known as Torp's Lane.  Later they shifted nearer to town to a home close to Sandy Creek, two miles from Braidwood, where they lived for some years.

This home was noted for it's hospitality, many a weary traveller having the occasion to remember a good meal and often a comfortable bed there.  From there the family moved to Belle Vue, on the Araluen road, where they were exceedingly popular with all sections of the community.  Their home was on the Araluen Road, the hill just beyond being known to this day as "Shepherd's Hill". 

Mrs Shepherd was indeed a fine type, possessing all the fine traits that distinguished our worthy pioneers.  Her husband passed awry some 21 years ago at Braidwood.  The two older boys went to World War I in the great fight for freedom.  In later years the old lady has been living in Sydney.

There were 11 children of the marriage, of whom 8 are still living.  She had 18 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.  The funeral from St Francis Church, Paddington, was largely attended, marking the respect and esteem in which the deceased lady was held.
Several of the sons are still in the Braidwood district, while a daughter, Mrs Norman Casey, resides in Sydney.  It will be remembered that her late husband worked for the late John Musgrave on the Braidwood "Dispatch" where he was foreman and later on manager, a capable, conscientious employee, possessed of considerable journalistic talent.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sharing Memories - Childhood Memories of Picnic Races at White Cliffs

Horses preparing to race
 As I remember, the vast distances between settlements in outback NSW definitely didn’t seem to place restrictions on the social life of the people living in these areas.  One of the most popular events were the Picnic Races that were quite a regular feature in many of the small settlements. 

The local horse breeders would travel long distances to compete at these events.  All the station owners, and station hands, along with their families, would pack up for the day and head into town for the race meeting and the dance that would be held at the local community hall in the evening. 

Keeping in mind these memories are those of are a young girl and that they are probably from quite a different perspective to that of the older generation,
 this is how I remember it. We would all be dressed in our best casual clothes, and our party dresses and shoes would be packed in the car for the evening event.  Pillows and blankets, and refreshments would be piled into the back of the car, and off we would head on the dusty road to the small opal mining town of White Cliffs. 
Opal mines of White Cliffs

The township of White Cliffs consisted of one sparsely settle street, with a pub at one end, a small general store and garage with one petrol pump on the other side of the road. Further along the street the bush nurse’s residence/office, and the local Country Women's Association (CWA) building, a post office and the Town Hall could be found.  Very few of the town’s residents lived above ground, and the town was and is still renown for its underground homes.  Miners dig out their kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms in the earth near their mines, where the temperature is much cooler than the searing summer heat above ground.

The White Cliffs Race track was a few miles outside of the town and consisted of a large dusty track, with roughly hewed wooden railings.  On the outside of the track there were a number of tin sheds, a larger one, where the CWA would serve, tea, coffee and freshly baked scones and cakes , then there were a number of smaller shelters, one acting as the local betting station and another as the bar where cold beer and soft drink was available to quench many dry throats.

It was a great opportunity for all the people of the district to catch up, as the distances between properties often meant it was weeks between seeing other people other than those who worked on the property.  It must have been quite a special time for the women to be able to get together and share stories, as I know in my mother’s case, she and the owners wife were the only adult women on Nuntherungie Station.

For the children, it was a chance to catch up with children other than your own siblings, we would all run off and play around the sheds, check out the horses and later in the day have a few laughs at some of the locals who had visited the beer shack one too many times. 

There would be general buzz around the track as everyone caught up, discussed the weather, lack of rain, prices of wool etc.  Then about every half hour there would be a hush over the crowd, and in the distance you could see a cloud of dust approaching as the horses made their way around the track towards the finish line.  The excited punters would jump up and down, hoping that their horse was at the front of the cloud of dust.  The horses would finally reach the final straight, and all the children would race to the barrier to watch the pounding hooves as they raced by.  Disappointed punters would tear up there betting tickets and head to the beer shed to mourn their lost, and the gentle buzz of conversation would start up again until the next cloud of dust and hooves made its way around the track.

The races over, it was time to wash off the dust and climb into our party gear for the evening “dance” at the local hall.  Younger children were fed, bathed and dressed in their pj’s and tucked into makeshift beds in the cars parked outside the dance hall.  Ladies would dress in their prettiest dresses and high heels, and men would don freshly ironed shirts and pants ready for a night of music and dance.  I was a little older than my sisters so I was lucky enough to be able to stay up a little later, and would sit on the side of the dance floor with one of my friends and watch the couples gliding across the dance floor.  I loved to watch the swishing of the ladies full skirts as they twirled and spun. 
Then the best bit of the evening came when the band stopped for a break, fresh hopps and sawdust would be sprinkled across the dance floor (to make it easier for the dancers to “slide”), and while the parents checked on the younger children,  the  older children would take the opportunity to run and slide across the dance floor.  I was not a child who liked to be bundled off to bed when there was a party, and somehow usually managed to be able to stay up until the dance finished.  This was a special treat as I would get to see the last dance of the night.  “The Streamer Dance” as I called it.  It would be announced as the last dance, and rolls of streamers would be handed out to everyone.  As the couples danced, the rolls of streamers would be tossed across the hall, unwinding and covering the dances in a  curly coloured blanket. 

The Dance over, we would be bundled into the car, a space made for me on the back seat amongst my sleeping sisters and we would head home with heads buzzing from the excitement of the day.

Friday's Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge" - H is for "Homes"

Oh, it is soooo long since I have posted an Alphabet Challenge Story!!!

The Letter "H" is the next in line and today's post is "H is for Homes".  How do we find out about our families "Homes".  I think "Homes" means much more than an address, or the house that our family lived in. " Home" conjures up memories of the people in the house, social customs, social conditions, neighbourhood and neighbours and the events that took place in that house. Our search for our family stories would be so much easier "if only the walls (of their home) could talk". However since the "walls" do not talk, we much look to other means to find out more about how our ancestors lived.

Census- provides a lot of information about a home
1. Accessing the census records of your family will assist with learning a little about their home.  A census record will provide you with details of the address, how many people were living in the home, their occupations, who their neighbours were and their occupations. Once you have located the address, you are able to delve deeper into the history of their "Home".

 2.  A visit to the local court house or Lands Titles Office may provide you with the official records of the house, change of ownership and changes of street names, numbers etc.You may be able to access, Building Permits, that will provide information on additions to the building, Utility Reports will provide information on water, gas and sewerage installation (or if older house if these utilities were not installed).  Insurance records may also provide interesting information,  most notably fire insurance claim forms. These can contain information about the nature of an insured building, its contents, value and  possibly floor plans and details of claims made in the case of a home/house fire.

3. The local Historical Society will be able to assist with background to events, social conditions, employment for the people who lived in and around your ancestor's home.  Check out your local library collection for publications on the historical development of your area. Published histories of the area, often compiled by a local historian or heritage group, will provide valuable background information on building development, social conditions and often include pictures of houses in the area.

My Nanna's Home in Milton, NSW
4. Searching local newspapers can provide records of the home being sold, family events such as births, deaths and marriages. Newspapers can also be good sources for information and town histories. Searching the name of the street that your family lived in can provide stories of events and incidents that would have occured while your family lived there. These stories can add a lot of colour to your understanding of the home life  of your family.

5. Check family letters, scrapbooks, diaries, and photo albums for more possible clues. Photos of the family home can tell us so much, if they were affluent or working class, if they had a garden, laundry, out-house etc.  Did they have a fire place? What kind of building material was used?

6. Family and Neighbours can provide insight and a deeper understanding of the history of a home. Contact your older relatives, their friends and neighbours.  Their memories will be invaluable, take time with them, over a cup of tea to hear their recollections. Show them some old photos/newspaper articles, if you have any, these will help trigger memories and help the stories to flow.

Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book
7.  Finally, another resource which can provide an understanding of life in your ancestors home are recipe books.  If you are lucky enough to have inherited a family recipe book, it will provide information on the foods that were available, how they prepared cooked their food, how resourceful were they when there was a shortage of food and who was responsible for the preparation of the food.
Cook books such as the one seen in this picture (Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book), provide a lot of information on the social background and conditions of the family. This book is aimed at middle class Victorian families, and not only includes recipies, but house hold tips, budgets, descriptions of cooking utensils, and details on the roles of the different members of the house hold domestic staff.  

There are a number of useful resouces that assist you in finding details on your ancesters house, however, in this blog I have attempted to take this search a little further, with resources that will help you to understand more about your ancestors "HOME".