Thursday, 31 December 2015

Glad farewell to a difficult 2015

I'm very glad that 2015 is almost done. It wasn't the best of years for me.

I left a comfortable and well-paid job in February because it had really become more of a burden than it should have been. Local government - in Mackay anyway - is not all that interested in community development, it seems. At least not in the way that I believe community development needs to happen.

I took a part-time position in an exciting and interesting project that aimed to support the ongoing viability of small community-based NGO's in the region. However that turned difficult too with a case of "too many fingers in the pie" and I found my work and my ideas being often pushed aside in favour of others. Usually that wouldn't bother me too much, but for some reason this year it was particularly upsetting. So much so, that I ended up avoiding work as much as possible! Which also meant that my income was impacted - but I couldn't seem to change what I was feeling or doing. In the end, I haven't been working since mid-November :-(

Anyway, it's also been Jemma's last year of school and there have been lots of tears and struggles over assessments and achievement levels, and the pressure of having to decide her next steps. She's also learning to drive, which has meant lots of hours in the car that I didn't really want to give. Plus the constant trips taking her to and from her job at Woolie's ...

All in all, I'm glad it's over.

I'm not sure that I'm ready to face a new year though either. I don't think I've recovered my emotional equilibrium yet; at least not enough to really take on the challenges that are still current. Despite everything, I need to go back to the project work and deal with the same issues of "too many fingers"; Jemma doesn't have her licence yet so there are still daily drives to and from her work; and I still don't have much income.

Still, I take hope from some of the old adages: it's always darkest before the dawn; the only constant in life is change; you never know what's around the next corner.

Here's to a new year of hope, happiness, health - and courageous reclaiming of my life :-)

Happy 2016 to all!!!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

52 Questions in 52 Weeks: #1

As part of the Genealogy Do-Over, I undertook a self-interview to record some of the information that my descendants might find interesting.

One of the suggestions put by Steve Anderson on the FamilySearch blog is to answer 52 Questions in 52 Weeks.  That way, telling your own story doesn't seem so overwhelming!

So, to begin ...

Question 1.  What is your full name? Explain why your parents gave you that name.
My full birth name is Eunice Anne WEYMOUTH. According to my mother, my first name was chosen because a close friend was named Eunice, and my father particularly liked the name. I have no idea why Anne was chosen as my middle name; perhaps again they just liked it? Or thought a simple name should go with a more unusual first name? I don't know.

I do know that when I was in school, I didn't like my name; it was uncommon amongst my school friends and stood out. I remember I didn't really like to stand out! As I grew older though, I came to enjoy having an unusual first name. I now really like that people can identify me by using my first name only; it makes me feel a bit special :-)  

I now continue to use my married surname as it seemed too troublesome to change back to my maiden name after my divorce. 

Question 2 will come next week :-)

2016 FINALLY Get Organized! Weekly Challenge

I'm going to join in with this new 2016 challenge set up by DearMYRTLE.  Along with the Genealogy Do-Over being run by Thomas MacEntee, it should help me review and relearn the basics of rigorous genealogy research and storage.

At the moment, I feel like I just hit the online databases and see what comes up, without being particularly focused or disciplined about it. Lots of interesting little snippets come up which I then pursue and I realise at the end of it all that I haven't actually found what I started out looking for!! And when I do find things, I print them out, sit them on my desk, and they're still there months later!

Time to sort this out - at least some of it :-)

Monday, 28 December 2015

Mystery Monday: More questions about Charles Frank de Friez

I've already written a couple of blog posts about the mystery that is/was my great-uncle, Charles Frank de FRIEZ; you can find them here and here.
Charles Frank de Friez, c1990.
From his (blank) British passport
issued 3 Apr 1990, in the keeping
of the author
Charles was a Commercial Clerk.  On the death certificate of his wife Elsie, her husband's occupation is given as "chocolate company representative".  On the birth certificate of Charles' brother, the address is "Packer's Stores, Avonmouth".  Putting this altogether, I wonder whether Charles worked for Packer's Chocolate Factory...

There are lots of photo's of the now-derelict factory at /landie_man/albums/72157624371589225/with/4793107137/

I wonder how Charles and Elsie met?  Charles lived at 12 Olveston Road, Horfield and Elsie lived at 19 Hazelton Road, Bishopston. Elsie's father is identified as a Clerk, too, though he worked for a Corn Merchant.  Did they work together at some point?

So many questions!!!
  • Did Charles need to "convert" to Catholicism to marry Elsie?
  • What was the basis of their marriage?
  • Where did they live when first married?
  • Did he work at Packer's Chocolates Factory?  In what capacity?
  • When did they separate?  And where did Charles go after that?  How did he get to Wales?
  • Did he marry Dorothy, or was it a pretence to counter social disapproval?
  • What was the purpose of the trip to New Zealand - holiday or emigration?
  • How did Charles end up in Queensland, alone?
This is definite content for a research plan, I think, to help me uncover some clues and maybe discover some answers.

Once the research plan is done, I'll post it here for comment and for accountability.  Maybe the man of mystery and international travel will allow me to unlock some of his secrets :-)

Have fun gene-adventuring, till we meet again :-)

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Cemetery Sunday: Korumburra Cemetery

My grandfather, Eric Ormond WEYMOUTH, was born and spent much of his childhood in the small township of Coal Creek, close to Korumburra in Victoria.

His parents, Walter Josiah ("Josiah") WEYMOUTH and Margaret Jane (nee SEYMOUR), moved to the township shortly after their marriage in 1895.  Their first two children, Josiah and Jane, are buried in Korumburra Cemetery.

To date, online searches have failed to locate any burial records for Josiah or Jane.

Korumburra Cemetery is located on Kardella Road, just to the east of the township.  According to the site is managed by the Korumburra Cemetery Trust and the contact details for the Trust are listed there.

I've already sent an email request to the contact person for a look-up of information that might not yet be available online.  So that is a case of "wait-and-see"!

And, depending on the outcome, I may need to write to the Korumburra Cemetery Trust asking for advice about my next steps.

I'm quite sad to think of those tiny babies alone and forgotten.  I would love to find their graves and perhaps do some restoration when I visit in March.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

What do I need to learn, to be the best teller of my family's stories?

As 2016 approaches, I'm thinking about "reclaiming" my genealogy skills and knowledge.  I've really only used intuition and common research practices to date, in trying to find out as much as I can about my family history.  It's time to sharpen those skills, and to deepen my knowledge.

The areas/themes that I want particularly to understand are:

  1. Sources, citations, and references - what do they mean?  how do I put together a valid citation?  and how do I analyse a source or a citation?
  2. Research planning - so far, I've used a "scatter-gun" approach to my research.  I've simply followed what has presented to me really - not a very disciplined or rigorous approach at all :-(  
  3. Organising my information - once I've collected all this information about my ancestors, how do I record it properly, and organise it so that I can easily find it and easily share it with my family?
There are so many tutorials, classes, workshops, courses available to learn all of this!  I've whittled it down to a few that will help:
  1. DearMYRTLE will host the  2016 ESM's QuickLessons Study Group from 16 March to 28 September 2016, based on the QuickLessons put together by Elizabeth Shown Mills at her website  There are 21 QuickLessons which will be covered on a weekly basis with some breaks between.  I think this will give me some very good grounding in the whole area of sources and citations!
  2. Following a recommendation from Fiona on the danceskeletons blog, I downloaded a webinar by Marian Pierre-Louis titled "Plan your way to research success".  It is awesome!!  Lots of great information, examples, and inspiration to explain the usefulness of planning your research before you get started.  I really want to implement her ideas.  And I'll be stalking her for more webinars, because she's my new hero :-)
  3. I haven't quite finalised my approach for the third theme of organising my information.  I know it's about using OneNote a lot, regularly backing-up all the digital information to various safe places, and it probably involves me being more pedantic and focussed than I have been.  My approach will evolve, I'm sure :-)
So now I'm off to schedule some dates into my 2016 calendar for the QuickLessons Study Group, and to develop a research focus for the year ahead.

Happy gene-adventuring :-)

Friday, 18 December 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Week 1: My golden rules

There is a whole process of this happening on a regular basis on blogs around the world.  It seems to be coordinated by Thomas MacEntee at  I don't think I can follow on a weekly basis because life gets in the way!  However, I'd like to see what I can do.

One of the first items is to consider some "golden rules" that will underpin how I want to carry out my genealogical research.  So I've come up with this list ( with nods to Thomas MacEntee and others) which I prepared in my fabulous OneNote program:

  1. Write down the citation of every source I find; and link the citation to the source to the person/people it relates to.  In order to PROVE the story I am building about my ancestor, I must be able to validate the information in the story.  And this means, I must be able to show where the information came from, the truthfulness of that source, and that I have correctly interpreted the information.
  2. And be discriminating about both the information and its source.  Think like a detective.  Look for the corroborating and/or disproving facts in relation to the information I've found.  Ask myself questions about the motivations and accuracy of  "witnesses" to events in my ancestor's lives.  Think laterally and creatively.  And remember that 1 primary source of information is more credible than 100 pieces of "hearsay"!
  3. NO judging allowed!  The lives of my ancestors took place in a totally different time and place - geographically and culturally - and the decisions they made, the actions they took, and the journeys they travelled are their own.  It is not in my scope to judge them. 
  4. Genealogy is not just names and dates.  Learn some social history along the way. Uncovering how my ancestors lived is the true joy of this hobby.  And will help to maybe make sense of some of the decisions and actions they took.
  5. Work and think like my ancestors. My ancestors clearly were resourceful and developed tools and skills to get what they wanted. They were not necessarily “educated”, but they certainly learned lots of new things throughout their lives. Also make sure I have a plan; my ancestors didn’t just wake up one day and on a whim decide to come to Australia and make a better life. They had a plan, they had a network of people to help them, and they made it happen. 
  6. Keep copies of all my work in 3 different places - on my laptop, on an external hard-drive, and on the cloud.  Back-up day is the 1st of the month - do it!!!  There will be great heart-ache and much gnashing of teeth if anything goes wrong in an "all-eggs-in-one-basket" storage system.
  7. And finally, remember to still live today!  Genealogy is fascinating, fun, and addictive, and exploring the lives of my ancestors can be all-encompassing.  I must remember that I also have a life to live and journeys to take.

So those are my "Golden Rules of Genealogy".  I expect they will make my enjoyment of this hobby even richer.  Happy gene-adventures to all!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Wedding Wednesday - Eric Ormond WEYMOUTH and Gwendolyn Mary GRACE

I never knew my paternal grandparents.  I did meet them once, but I didn't get to spend any time with them.  I heard lots of stories about them from my dad, and I certainly felt like they were in my life.  It's only now that I'm in my fifties and trying to put together the story of their lives, that I wish it had been different.

I don't know how they met, but on 26th August 1929, just days before the Wall Street Crash that would trigger the world's worst economic depression, Eric and Gwendolyn married.  She was pregnant and they were married by license in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Mildura (see pic below) with only her parents present at the ceremony.  She was 17 and he had just turned 23.   I wonder how ready they really were for marriage.

I have never seen any photos of their wedding or any item that would symbolise the joy of a wedding.
I'll keep looking though; who knows what might turn up through my gene-adventures :-)

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Sibling Saturday - Mary Eileen de Friez

Today is Sibling Saturday and I thought I'd take a little rest from exploring whatever is going on with Charles Frank, and spend some time with his sister Mary Eileen de FRIEZ.

I'm also going to steal borrow the layout from Randy Seavers on his wonderful blog  I love how he presents the information aobut his ancestors; it's really simple and easy to understand ... so here is most of what I know about Mary Eileen.

*  Name:                     Mary Eileen de FRIEZ    
*  Sex:                         Female    

*  Father:                    Charles de Friez (1873-1936)    
*  Mother:                   Florence Reed (1882- )    
*  Birth:                       18 April 1913 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England 
* 1939 Register:          With her husband at Compton Martin, Clutton  
*  Death:                      Q4 1976, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
*  Spouse 1:               Ernest Edward Jefferies    
*  Marriage:               Q4 1936 (about age 23), Bristol, Gloucestershire, Bristol

* Birth Certificate:    BXCF091023 issued by General Register Office on 27 July 2011
* 1939 Register:        1939 Register, Borough of W.P.M.C., R.D. of Clutton, District 315/2

Mary Eileen is my great-aunt.  I never met her and only have some family stories to go on.  And while I'm pretty confident the marriage information is correct, I'm awaiting the arrival of the official marriage certificate to confirm it all.

And already other family stories appear to be not quite true!  My mother has always said that Aunt Molly (as she was called) and her mother (Florence) moved to Portugal at the beginning of World War II and stayed there together until it was over.  But this evidence is that she was definitely still in Compton Martin in September 1939.

I've always had a sense of her as being the "modern fun" one of my grandfather's family.  She was portrayed by him as the younger sister who liked to have fun and who often got into mischief.  I do have a postcard that she sent to my grandfather, which he kept.  She signed off with "your little sister" and certainly sounds full of energy and vitality.  I have no pictures of her, but I imagine her as small and elfin - somewhat like Audrey Hepburn :-)

I believe that Mary Eileen and Ernest had at least 1 child, but I haven't investigated that yet.  And there is a blacked-out entry directly below Mary's name in the 1939 Register - an indication that the person could still be alive!

I wonder how Mary Eileen and Ernest survived the war.  Did they stay on the farm?  Did they get re-located during or after the time when the bombs dropped on Bristol?  And what happened after the war?

Curiosity is the cornerstone of geneaology :-)  Until next time, enjoy your own gene-adventures!


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Charles Frank de Friez - some answers and even more questions

In my last post, I discussed some of the questions I have about the life and times of Charles Frank de Friez, my great-uncle.

On 28 July 1928, Charles married Elsie Marie PRYOR in St.Bonaventure's Roman Catholic church in Bristol.
St.Bonaventure's Roman Catholic Church, Bristol; from GoogleEarth

According to the Gloucester Citizen published that day, the weather was "rather cool" ranging from 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit, with moderate north-westerly winds and occasional rain showers interspersed with "bright intervals" - probably, in Bristol, a lovely summer's day just right for a wedding!

The Marriage Certificate shows that witnesses included the groom's father, Charles de Friez, and the bride's brother-in-law, Everard R. Davies.  I haven't found any kind of newspaper notice about the wedding, so don't know what the bride wore, how many people attended the wedding, etc.  I have written to the archivist of the Clifton Diocese to request any records, and am awaiting a response.

This Roman Catholic marriage is unusual for my Anglican family.  Charles' parents were married in an Anglican church, and I've found a christening record for Charles' younger brother, Alexander, that took place in St.Andrew's (Anglican) church on 31 October 1907.  His sisters were also christened in Anglican churches.

However, I haven't found any record of a christening for Charles.  I can't believe that his parents simply forgot!  Or that they made a deliberate choice to NOT have Charles christened.  Perhaps it's a recording omission, or indexing omission?

Despite the lack of a christening record, it's fairly clear that Charles was raised in an Anglican household.  Did he have to go through the process of "converting" to Catholicism to marry Elsie? Would there be records of such a process?  In a recent post on, Fr Thomas Ryan says:
When a baptized member of another church wishes to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, the person will be personally interviewed to see what kind of process would be appropriate. The process generally averages 6-9 months, but it may be less or more depending on the individual’s needs and desires.
6-9 months?!!  That's a lot of commitment!  And, Charles was only 23 years old when he finally got married!  So it's likely he started this process of conversion at just 22 years of age.  He must have really wanted to marry Elsie!

More to come but, for now, enjoy your own gene-adventures :-)


Charles Frank De Friez - "man of mystery"

Charles Frank de FRIEZ is not an easy man to know.  To me, he is behind a faded curtain; occasionally small holes appear where I get a brief glimpse of him as he passes by.  

He was my great-uncle.  The simple known facts are these:

Charles was born on Sunday 9 April 1905 to Charles and Florence (REED) de FRIEZ. 
Charles was married on Saturday 28 July 1928 to Elsie Marie PRYOR.
Charles died on Wednesday 14 July 1993.

Other facts are these:
  • Charles was the first child for Charles and Florence. 
  • The birth was registered by his mother, giving their address as 17 Farr Street, Shirehampton, Bristol.
  • At the time of his marriage in 1928, Charles gave his address as 12 Olveston Road, Horfield.
  • Charles, though baptised in the Anglican Church, was married in a Roman Catholic Church by licence to a woman who was 9 years older than he.
  • In 1939 when the UK undertook its Register, Charles' wife was living with her sister and brother-in-law, and reported her marital status as "separated".  There appears to be no children with her.
  • Charles left England in 1952 on the SS Tamaroa, bound for New Zealand.  He travelled with Mrs Dorothy de Friez and 2 children, Stuart and Jane Lowe.  The address given by all four people was Woodlands Cafe, Llandrindod Wells, Rads.
Clearly, there are a lot of questions raised by these facts:
  • Did Charles need to "convert" to Catholicism to marry Elsie?
  • What was the basis of their marriage?
  • Where did they live when first married?
  • When did they separate?  And where did Charles go after that?
  • Did he marry Dorothy, or is it a pretence to counter social disapproval?
  • What was the purpose of the trip to New Zealand - holiday or emigration?
  • How did Charles end up in Queensland, alone?
Plenty of avenues to pursue, which I'll write about in another post; this is getting way long :-)

Until then, enjoy your own gene-adventures :-)


It begins!

I've been debating for a while about starting a blog about my genealogy adventures.  I've been researching in very haphazard and undisciplined ways for over 10 years now, and have discovered lots of wonderful ancestors and stories along the way.  However, I don't have any way of remembering the stories I discover.  I get very confused about which story belongs to which ancestor and while I have a lot of facts, it's the stories which are the truly amazing part of family history.

So I've been following a number of blogs and I do think that writing my stories - with appropriate tagging - could be a good way of keeping track of them.

So I'm going to give it a go!  I'm not very disciplined or consistent in anything I do, so this may be another "false start" but I hope this will work for me - which will keep me more motivated to keep using it :-)  A bit of a loop-de-loop there :-)

I'll start by listing my main families:

WEYMOUTH - my father's paternal line arrived in South Australia from England in 1838 on board the Coromandel.  My ancestor, John Weymouth, brought his wife and 6 children with him.  After the death of his first wife, he married again, and had another bunch of children.  That generation spread into Western Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales.  So there are literally thousands of descendants!!

DE FRIEZ - my mother's paternal line is an interesting and nomadic one.  Most of her male line is very attached to the sea, with a raft of Master Mariners, river and barge pilots, fishermen and other sea-related occupations appearing among them.  Surprisingly, the originator of this line (at least as far as I've got so far!), Joseph DEFRIEZ 1793-1874, was a Feather Merchant!!

Then of course, there are the maternal lines that weave in and out.

GRACE - my father's mother.

MCDONALD - my mother's mother.

And it goes on:  Seymour, Norris, Reed, Cook, Youlten, Jenkins, O'Shaughnessy, Richards, Clough, Prescott, Oatway, Sprowles ...

I have a couple of convicts in the GRACE line - political activists from the last remnants of the Irish Rebellion in the 1820's - and a number of criminals; there are suicides, tragic and unexpected deaths, hasty marriages - even a bigamist, I believe! - children and babies who died too early, spinster aunts - and all the other big and small stories that make up our human existence.

I hope this blog gives me an opportunity to share some of them and to bring some order to my understanding of them all.

And - finally - given that this is Thankful Thursday - I am incredibly thankful that my ancestors' lives played out the way they did.  I would otherwise not be here :-)  I'm also thankful that their lives are recorded in a variety of ways that allows me to get a glimpse of their personalities, their loves and hates, and their amazing stories.

Until next time, enjoy your own gene-adventures :-)