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 :-)