Monday, January 26, 2015

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #2: Stri-KING Gold - Peter McGregor 1809-1882

The theme proposed by Amy Johnson Crowe's Challenge for the second week of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is "King".  I have been wracking my brain all week for a connection to this theme to no avail. 

However, this morning when discussing the theme with my husband over our Saturday morning "flat white", he suggested using "stri-king".  Light bulb moment thank you Steve!  As many of my ancestors came to Australia with the hope of "Stri-King" gold, why not tell one of their stories.

Peter McGregor was my great great great grandfather and was born in Redgorton, Perthshire Scotland around 1809, the second son of John McGregor and Isabella McGlashan.  He married  his first wife Ann  on the 20 May in 1830.  Peter and Ann has four children John, James (my gg grandfather), Isabella and Peter.  Sadly Ann passed away in 1840 leaving Peter with four young children to look after.  It must have been difficult for him to look after his family on his own.  On the 25 June 1848 Peter remarried Christina Guthrie (nee Miller) in Barony Lanark Scotland

In the following year Peter, Christina and their children, including Christina's son James from her first marriage, left Scotland on board the Diana bound for Australia. Peter's occupation on the shipping manifest is listed as a Sawyer.  Once they had arrived in Australia on the 9 June 1948, the family moved to the gold fields at Araluen, in the Braidwood district of the southern highlands of New South Wales. 

Shipping List for Diana - showing members of the McGregor family
Peter McGregor was given a Crown Grant of 100 Acres in the parish of Jinglemoney near Araluen.  It is reported that he sold this land to Mr James Laing, however the family continued to live on this land until 1863.  A map of this block of land can be found on my blog, Mappy Monday - Jinglemoney Araluen. Peter and his sons along with the McPherson Family worked on the gold mines in the Araluen district and later at Bombay on the Shoalhaven River.  

1863 was not a good year for Peter and his family.  Late in the evening of 16th October 1863, Christina McGregor lost her way and fell into a mine shaft and drowned. Following, Christina's death the family continued to live in the district.  Isabella (married to Andrew Bowman) and Peter (married Annie Honeywell Couch) both stayed in the district.  James (married Margaret McPherson) and John (married to Catherine Wallace) both moved with their families to live in Sydney in the late 1870's.

Peter McGregor stayed in the Braidwood district until he passed away on the 10th January 1882.  He was buried in the Braidwood Cemetery.
Peter McGregor, daughter Isabella and her husband Andrew Bowman

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday - from Aunty Glad's Suitcase - WW1 Field Card

It is time to dig into Aunty Glad's suitcase for some more WWI history.

Among the collection of WWI post cards from Angus Shepherd and Malcolm Michael Shepherd I found one that intrigued me.  This was what you would call a "fill in the gaps" post card.  i.e. the card had a number of messages on the back which the sender could cross out and keep the appropriate message.  Handy I thought, something today's post card printers should consider for the traveler who wants to send a message home with the minimum of effort.

However, with this post card this was not the case.  The card, from Angus, was sent to his mother Mrs Lynn Shepherd from somewhere in Europe on the 4th October 1817.  You will note that instructions on the front of the card state that the only thing to be written on the front of the card is the address and "If anything else is added the post card will be destroyed"! 

Field post cards were an early form of censorship that were designed for troops to send home.  The message from the soldier was compiled by crossing out the irrelevant lines, they were not permitted to write any additional information other than their signature and the date.

Soldiers were not allowed to disclose their whereabouts, and I am sure many soldiers were glad to be able to send their family a simple greeting, without having to disclose the reality of their life in the battle field. 

These post cards served a number of purposes.  Not only did they provide their loved ones at home with the knowledge that they were still alive but also gave the soldiers something to do.  Boredom was an issue for the soldiers in the field and writing was one of the few activities that they were able to do and provided them with some distraction from the horrors of war. 

Playing a part in the War propaganda, the Field Cards not only delivering those at home with news of their loved ones in the forces but also helped to sustain the popularity of the war effort on the home front and protecting families from the reality of the Australian War effort in Europe and North Africa.