Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Accentuate the Positive 2013 Geneameme


The fabulous Jill from Geniaus encourages us to reflect on our efforts in the past year with the following questions:


1.  An elusive ancestor I found was

The article below is about my paternal 2nd-great-grandfather Edward Connor (yes the spelling of Conner/or is up for debate).  My gran always told us he shot himself but we were sceptical, shall we say.  Well, Gran was right.  

Portsmouth Evening News 24 April 1897

Where on earth did Edward get the gun????

He didn't die until 1903 as per this notice.


Portsmouth Evening News 6 October 1903

I suspect it was something to do with this....


Portsmouth Evening News 7 June 1893





I ordered the death certificate and received it in May but English death certificates are not as fulsome as Australian ones.  I have just realised that I was so excited to get the certificate that I gave it to my father without making a copy first (silly me).  I don't think it even tells us where he is buried.  Most frustrating.  So that is something I would like to do this year - find where he is buried.  

I joined the Hampshire Family History Society in August but have really only just learned how to use their website a bit better and access their journal online. I did order quite a few publications from them in order to try to learn more about Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.  I now have: Memories of Portsea, Memories of Old Buckland and The Village of Titchfield - all WEA publications.  I submitted my surname interests in October for printing in the journal and for their online search tool but so far no sign of them in the December journal.  Goals for 2014 will be to perhaps pay for some research to be done at the society (£12 per hour) and or write an article for the journal in the fond hope of raising interest and getting some more information about that side of the family.

2.  A precious family photo I found was

Hmmm...well I didn't really find any so much as was given some.  It's hard to choose a favourite but I'm going to go for this one.


1924 The Grange Irene St Abbotsford
Picture courtesy of  Marilyn Sanderson

I am very grateful to my new found cousins Mary Ann and Marilyn for making contact with me. They responded to a blog post I wrote in August.

We think that the gentleman in the middle of the photo is my maternal grandfather, Tom McLoughlin.  How wonderful to have another photo of him - particularly as a younger man.

As late as today I received some photocopies of photos of my mother by one of her old school-friends (in response to a Christmas card/letter I sent out earlier this month).  I am so chuffed and delighted.  She has very kindly given me lots of descriptive information about the photos - who is standing next to whom which is just heaven-sent.  I have most but not all of the photos but no description so it is really lovely to know now where some of them were taken.



3.  An ancestor's grave I found was

I'm afraid I wasn't successful in this regard.


4.  An important vital record I found was


There were so many surprises this year that it's hard to know where to begin but let's stick to what I found....I found the birth certificate for what I think may be the illegitimate daughter of my paternal great-grand-aunt.   This came about again through looking for newspaper articles.  

I found this in the Hampshire Telegraph


Hampshire Telegraph 19 May 1877
which led me to search indexes for Births and I found and ordered the certificate for Daisy Clara born 6 January 1877 at Titchfield - mother Clara Rebecca Conner.  No name or occupation for father was registered but from the newspaper article, it looks like it was adjudged to have been Henry James Fulljames.  

It is now my goal to find out what happened to Daisy which I hope to do with the aid of....

5.  A newly found family member who shared


My new found cousin Sharon!  Sharon and I met in June this year.  She responded to a blog post I wrote about the Conner sisters - namely Clara Rebecca and Harriet Conner.  I had always been particularly fascinated by Harriet as she didn't marry til quite late in life and had no children...or so I thought.  Sharon is in fact descended from May who Harriet had at the age of 22 in Mackay. No father's name is listed on the birth certificate.  Sharon and I are 3rd cousins.  It was wonderful to meet her when she came to Brisbane.  We actually have a mutual friend - someone I know through work and someone she knows from school days (the old small world routine).  We exchanged lots of information using fabulous Dropbox and now we're on the hunt together.  So far we have found out that Daisy Clara born in Titchfield was a boarder with the Sutherland family from Scotland  in the 1881 census.  By the 1891 census she was called "daughter".  We've not had much luck finding anymore information from that point.  

6.  A geneasurprise I received was


See above!

7.   My 2013 blog post that I was particularly proud of was:


I blogged over 70 times in 2013!  Holy crap - one might say.  I'm kind of proud of that fact in its own right.  But if I am proud of one post it was probably my last.  Reporting on the Family Tree Maker seminar that QFHS delivered recently.  

8.   My 2013 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was

Messing about in boats

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was


This question stumps me a bit.  I feel like I haven't really mastered any software yet!  And I probably have a very loose interpretation of what software means.  Is an app considered software?  I am using Evernote more confidently and Dropbox.  I have had to learn how to use the new Viewscanner at the QFHS Library as a library assistant.  I also used the Mixbook website more confidently in December to create our own family Christmas card.

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was


Well Blogger obviously!  But also I am enjoying watching Google Hangouts.  I'm just not very adept at participating in them :)

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was


Learned quite a bit from the Family Tree Maker Seminar as per this blog post.  But I also really value working for Moreton Bay Region Library service and getting to host some of their fabulous local and family history seminars.  We have a whole lot more coming up in 2014 so keep an eye on this page if you are in the area 

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at/to


Um ...pass!  Maybe that could be a goal for 2014!

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was


Well I do want to crow about having a book review published in the ALJ for the first time but that is completely irrelevant.  At first I thought I couldn't really say anything but then I remembered that in fact I was published this year in Sepia Saturday's commemorative publication.  Mine is absolutely the smallest contribution but if you are interested you can purchase it here.

14. I taught a friend how to


Once again this is a bit of a broad interpretation of the question but when I think about it well I did teach or give direction to a few people this year.  My very lovely and patient step-mother very bravely came to the QFHS Library and let me bore her witless with an orientation to all its resources.  

She was very impressed with the variety on offer, if not a bit overwhelmed.  I made sure to show her the honour boards as well so she had an idea of how many volunteers it took to run the Society, the work they did and how long it had been running.







As Coordinator of the QFHS Research Team I also responded personally to 34 enquiries and coordinated answers to another 15 enquiries.  I also volunteered at the Library once a month - sometimes twice a month.  And of course, in my full-time job, I help people navigate Ancestry or other websites and print family photos/records at the Library.  

I was also pleased to undertake another Pharos course earlier this year in Non-Conformists. So whilst I wasn't teaching, I like to think that I will share what I learned at some stage.

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was


Oh my goodness - where do I stop?  Probably John Grenham's Tracing Your Irish Ancestors has been the most help this year.  I really did go a bit mad this year and bought quite a few books - most of which I haven't really had a proper chance to look at.  Because of all the fuss lately, I purchased a second-hand copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills Evidence Explained for future reference.  It's fatal working in the QFHS Library as an assistant because they are always having quite tempting sales in the Bookshop.  I'm quite liking the digest feel of the Unlock the Past publications and purchased London and Middlesex family history resources online by Alan Stewart as well as Solving riddles in 19th century photo albums by Graham Jaunay and Your Family History Archives by Shauna Hicks.  I also invested in a 2nd-hand paperback copy of The Mechanical Eye by Con Tanre.  Yes, time to stop buying books !

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was


I visited a couple this year but as a complete tourist and would have loved to have spent more time there to do some proper research.  When I graduated in March I dragged my sisters-in-law round to the National Library and the Australian War Memorial.  I would have taken them to the National Archives as well only we were in Canberra over Easter - not a great time to be visiting repositories.  




In May I dragged my son into the State Library of Victoria - while we were in Melbourne.  Really just a chance to say "Ooh" and "Aah".  I loved that he was impressed with microfiche technology :)




17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was


I don't buy all my genealogy/history books...I borrow quite a few as well.  The latest monster publication which is just amazing is Atlas of the Great Irish Famine.  I was lucky enough to get this from my library just before Christmas.  Wow - what an amazing book.  It's got chapters by Queensland's own Jennifer Harrison and Thomas Keneally.  I've only browsed through it but really want to have a good read before I have to return it.

18. It was exciting to finally meet


Have I told you about my 3rd cousin Sharon?  See Point 5 :)

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was


Oh there have been so many....I really enjoyed participating in the February Photo Challenge, Sepia Saturday and The Book of Me Written by You.  Thanks to Julie at Angler's Rest for dreaming up the Photo Challenge and The Book of Me challenge.

and 

This is perhaps a bit left-of-centre but I also enjoyed participating in and viewing Portraits of a Tea Cosy.  You can see and hear my contribution here.  I'm the one second from the left on the top row.  My story is really a tribute to my mother-in-law and the bonds we make when we start new families and the stories we share over pots of tea.




20. Another positive I would like to share is


Last but not least we had the most unexpected discovery late this year at the Brisbane International Film Festival.  My father has always banged on to me about having made a film with Fred Schepisi when we lived in Canberra when I was young.  I listened with half an ear saying "Yes, Yes" but guess what?  The little documentary Tomorrow's Canberra was screened as part of a Fred Schepisi retrospective at the Film Festival.  What's more - the National Film and Sound Archive were most helpful in tracking down and making a copy of it for him and for me so we can watch it at our leisure for a reasonable fee.  The whole process from enquiry to DVDs in the mail was a very quick turnaround indeed.

I have encouraged him to record the names of those featured in the documentary for the Archives (there weren't many helpful subtitles) and I think it would be very valuable for future researchers.  So I just wanted to extol the virtues of the helpful staff at NFSA and encourage you to check out their resources as a possible source of fantastic family history.  It was really wonderful to see and hear my father in his mid-thirties in his workplace.  As well of course to see lovely Canberra in all its glory in the late 60s/early 70s.  


Me outside the kitchen at 3 Nungara Street c 1969 adopting my usual pose of looking backwards ;)
So thanks Jill.  It's always good to reflect on achievements.  I thought (before I started this post) that I hadn't done much this year at all.  No wonder I've been sleeping a lot the past few days :)

P.S. Just realised that this is the second anniversary of this blog!

10 comments:

  1. My that is a bumper post for an enormous year. I loved the post because as well as documenting your many achievements it told me more about Alex the person.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to join this activity.

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    1. Dear Jill - thank YOU for dreaming it up. I really do like reflection because I think you're right - we judge ourselves very harshly and yet, when we take the time to look back, we really do manage to cram a lot in :)

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  2. Hi Alex
    What a great year you've had!! I'm an avid crocheter so I really enjoyed looking at yours and the other tea cosies in the exhibition. The story about Edward Connor is good too, makes one wonder why he was at the cemetery too.
    Kylie :-)

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    1. Hi Kylie - I just love knitting...don't get round to it much these days though. Really wish I could crochet...I can after a fashion but I'm pretending....don't really know what I'm doing. Yes poor old Edward....was he trying to save everyone a bit of time and bother by shooting himself in the cemetery or was he really cleaning the gun? We'll never know I fear.

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  3. Alex, I have ancestors from Titchfield, Hampshire, too! How helpful do you find being a member of Hampshire Family History Society is? I've only joined 2 societies in England so far, & they have a member's area where you can access most stuff online. What are their publications like?

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    1. Hi Sherie - Ooh you have ancestors in Titchfield too. Great! Look - at the moment I feel I haven't derived too much from being a member of HGS but then again I think they are going through lots of change and that it's been a big year for them - 40th Anniversary and all....so I'm reserving final judgement at this point. I really think I should try a few other things first yet (e.g. pay for some research or write a letter to the journal) before I make a decision about whether to continue membership. I really wanted to purchase downloadable PDFs on their website but couldn't make it work earlier in the year. It looks like it might work now though so I think they are still working on their website and getting it together. I am meant to be getting a monthly newsletter by email but haven't received anything yet. I am downloading their journals from the website but they are absolutely huge...40 pages each at least. Really probably better for me to go to the QFHS Library and look at them for free there but it's nice to be able to do it in the comfort of my own home. The Titchfield publication on the other hand is very slim - 11 pages. There's some good information about the village schools and public houses. Let me know what your names are and I can tell you if there is anything of interest or relevant for you.

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    2. John (Thomas) Bartholomew and Elizabeth Ann Ketch were born in Titchfield, married there and had their children there. John's parents, Thomas & Susanna King, were married in Portsea (I can't find a record for this), & lived in Titchfield, Elizabeth's parent's, William & Jane, both lived there also.

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    3. Sherie - there is no mention of Ketchs or Bartholomews or Kings in that little Titchfield book. I shall let you know how I go if/when I pay for some research to be done at the Society or write a letter/article for the journal. Would you consider joining that #genchat on Twub that alona tester talks about on her blog? I've never done it before but I like the idea of submitting a brick wall question and seeing what comes back. The schedule is here http://www.conferencekeeper.net/genchat-2014.html. Twub is here http://twubs.com/genchat (I've never used Twub before either - New Year - New Tools ;)

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  4. Great post, Alex. So many highs in 2013, I hope 2014 proves to be just as good and perhaps a little pinch better.

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    1. Thanks Fi. It's good to take the time to reflect on our achievements isn't it. All the best for 2014 to you too.

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