Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Identify your Ancestor in that Photo! Challenge - Day 3

I'm following along with Lisa Talbott Lisson's challenge to see if I can identify the people in this photo.

My previous posts are here and here, if you'd like to see what I've discovered so far - which isn't very much, I'm afraid!

Lisa's tip for Day 3 is to search Google for any matching images, just in case another researcher is perhaps on the trail of this family.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any matches.

However, closer inspection of the photo has revealed to me that the man on the left is wearing what I think is a Salvation Army uniform.

I've searched around a bit and the Salvation Army's site advises me that the organisation commenced work in the Australian colonies of South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria between 1880 and 1882.  So the logical conclusion is that the photograph must have been taken after those years.

So that's where I'm up to now - still not close to a conclusion, but further forward than I was.

My next steps will be to:

  • contact my cousin for ANY more information I can get;
  • research whether any of Thomas' and Mary's children were members of the Salvation Army or married a member of the Salvation Army.

I wonder what Day 4 will bring?

Merry Month of May Movie Meme

Over on her blog, Pauline has challenged fellow bloggers to take part in her Merry Month of May Movie Meme, and who am I to refuse her?

She has provided a list of questions and here are my answers, which took longer to do than I thought!  Hope they are of some interest :-)

Here we go:

What’s the earliest movie you can remember:
Bedknobs and Broomsticks - a Disney movie that we went to see during school holidays at the old Theatre Royal in Mackay (Queensland).  I think I was about 10 years old at the time.  I'm sure we'd been to the movies before that, but I don't recall it.

Where did you go to the movies (place or type of venue):
Clearly, the Theatre Royal was one of the places I went to.  I remember it seemed very "posh" to me, having been originally built in 1912 and upgraded in 1936.  There was lots of plush carpet, gilt mirrors, and beautiful upholstery - but sadly it was all demolished in 1990.

Theatre Royal Mackay, 1970's
Exterior (above) and Interior (below)
Both pictures are from the archives of Mackay Regional Council and the Mackay Historical Society

We also went to the Civic Theatre in the main street of Mackay, which was also a bit getting a bit rundown - though I thought it was very sophisticated :-)  And then, there was the drive-in :-)

Did you buy movie programs:
No; I don't think they had them!

Did you take in food and drink (and what did you like):
I think we had ice-creams and I do remember rolling Jaffa's down the aisles when I was older (hehe)

Movies of your teenage years:
Jaws; Alien; Rocky; Mad Max; Saturday Night Fever; The Sting; Smoky and the Bandit; Kramer vs Kramer - so many!!

Do you remember how old you were when you went unsupervised:
I think we always went into the cinema unsupervised.  My brother, sister and I had to stay together though.  Mum would always deliver us to the cinema, and collect us from outside.

Mischief you got up to in the movies:
See above reference to Jaffa's!  That's about it, I think.  I do remember getting into BIIIIIGGGGG trouble when I went to the drive-in with a group of friends - I was about 17, I think - and a "dusk-to-dawn" showing was happening.  We were supposed to leave after the 11.00pm finish and be home by midnight, but we opted to stay for the rest of the night and I didn't get home till almost 6.00am.  This was before we even had a phone in our house, let alone mobile phones, so you can imagine the state my mother was in!

Did you watch movies at home:
Every Saturday night, we watched "Disneyland" for whatever was on.  I remember endless episodes of "Lassie"; there were movies like "The Love Bug".  And during the Christmas school holidays, there was always "Summer Holiday" with Cliff Richard, lots of westerns with John Wayne and Gary Cooper, and occasional Elvis movies too.

What was your favourite movie to watch at home:
As a child, it was probably "Sound of Music"; now it's the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy :-)

Do you prefer to watch movies at home or at the cinema:
I enjoy both.  I still love the "occasion" of going to the cinema, buying tickets and snacks, racing in for the best seats, the big screen and the big surround sound.  And I also enjoy watching movies (on DVD) at home with my family.  I don't enjoy watching movies put on by commercial TV stations because I can't stand the ads!

Does your family have a special movie memory:
We have a family tradition that, every year, we go to the cinema on Boxing Day and see whatever new movie has been released.  It's always a lot of fun and a nice relaxing way to wind down from Christmas Day :-)

Movies you fell in love to/with:
Nothing that I recall.

Favourite romantic movie theme music:
No idea!  I'm not very musically-aware, and can never identify music or songs or themes.

Favourite musical movie:
Rocky Horror Picture Show

Which movies made you want to dance/sing:
Rocky Horror Picture Show; Mamma Mia; Grease; Saturday Night Fever; Fame - to name a few.  Not that I can actually sing, but I love to scare my family with the noise I make [LOL]

Do you watch re-runs or DVDs of old movies:
Not re-runs (see above reference to annoying ads), but certainly I watch DVD's over and over again.

Do your children/family enjoy the same movies:
Yes and no.  Across the generations, we all love "Lord of the Rings", "Grease", "Sound of Music", "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert", "Love Actually".  But the younger ones are really into some of the "rom-com's" that just make me cringe.

What’s your favourite movie genre now:
Probably fantasy, and gentle comedy ala "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and its sequel.

Did you read the book before or after the movie:
Neither.  I read books.  If they happen to be made into a movie, then I generally don't want to see it.

Which did you enjoy more, the book or the movie:
See above.

What’s the silliest movie you’ve seen (silly funny or silly annoying):
Silly annoying: anything with Chevy Chase in it - remember those terrible 'family vacation' movies he did.  Ugh - makes me shudder just to think of them!

Pet hate in movies:
Background sound and music that overpowers the dialogue; and 3D movies - hate'em!

A movie that captures family history for you:
This might be a bit weird, but I think it's "The DaVinci Code" - the search for clues in strange places, the frantic confused search that keeps us looking for that next bit that will reveal all, and the great desire we have to be connected to our families and to our past - however strange that turns out to be.

If you could only play 5 movies for the rest of your life, what would they be:
Oh my goodness, how to choose [gasp] ... "Lord of the Rings" trilogy (which I'm totally counting as 1); "Love Actually"; "The Castle"; "Pirates of the Caribbean" (another trilogy which I'm counting as 1 hehe)  - no, there's too many to choose from.

Favourite movie stars (go ahead and list as many as you like):
Johnny Depp; George Clooney; Liam Neeson; Meryl Streep; Judi Dench; Maggie Smith; Alan Rickman; Patrick Stewart; Ian McKellen; Cate Blanchett; Emma Thompson - I'm much more partial to English and Australian actors and movies than I am to American efforts.

Well, I think that's it!  Thank you, Pauline, for the prompts.  It's reminded me of a few stories that I need to add to my "book of me" :-)

Monday, 23 May 2016

Identify Your Ancestor in that Photo! Challenge Day 2

I'm joining in Lisa Talbott Lisson's challenge to help identify the people in this photo.

You can read my first post here, explaining the little bit I know about the provenance of the photo.

The second step that Lisa suggests is to identify the type of photograph.  She lists 5 options. Since this photograph is a digital image downloaded from, all I can do is offer a "best guess"!

I do have some other photographs - not of the same people - with that similar sepia/cream colouring.  The extreme right edge of the photograph can just be seen, and it looks like it is attached to thick cream card. So I'm opting for a cabinet card.  Lisa advises that these were popular in the 1860's-1890's ... I wonder if that was also the case here in Australia?  Some further research is in order, I think :-)

Identify your Ancestor in that Photo! Challenge - Day 1

After my dismal attempt at the A-Z Blogging Challenge, and an absence from the interweb caused by moving house across 2 states, I've decided to return to my blog by joining Lisa Talbott Lisson's challenge to "identify your ancestor in that photo".

The photo that I've chosen to investigate is this one.

Whenever I log on to Ancestry, it's sitting there as a "shaky leaf" hint.  The photo was uploaded back in 2012 by a member who is my 3rd cousin (I think!)  Unfortunately, there is no source citation, so I feel a bit reluctant to accept the information without proof.

According to my 3rd cousin, the man on the right of the photo is my great-great-grandfather, Thomas William Pitts WEYMOUTH.  And the small round woman to his right is his wife, Mary Harris YOULTEN.

My 3rd cousin doesn't name any of the other people in the photograph, and I have no idea who they might be.

So, in terms of Lisa's first step - to understand the provenance of the photograph - I can only say that I think it belongs in my paternal line, and that it is likely a multi-generational gathering of the family.

Next step will be along soon :-)

Monday, 4 April 2016

A-Z Blogging Challenge: C is for Curiosity

Just a reminder that this post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge for April and my theme is Essential Characteristics for Successful Genealogy.

As a beginning genealogist, I've been giving some thought to the "how and why" of this practice I've taken on.  What makes me think I'll be any good at?  What do I need to do/be to ensure that the people I'm researching ARE actually related to me?

And, so this list was born.

C is for Curiosity

Curiosity is probably the common denominator linking all those interested in genealogy and family history. Why else would we spend hours examining illegible documents for the teensiest bit of information about our families?  Curiosity got us started and curiosity keeps us going.

Maybe in previous times we would be called "sticky-beaks" or "nosey parkers" - but I prefer to think that we are just interested in the lives of those who've gone before us.  Hmm, that sounds much better!

What are your thoughts about my list so far?

See you tomorrow for the next item :-)

Saturday, 2 April 2016

A-Z Blogging Challenge: B is for Broad-Minded

Just a reminder that this post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge for April and my theme is Essential Characteristics for Successful Genealogy.

As a beginning genealogist, I've been giving some thought to the "how and why" of this practice I've taken on.  What makes me think I'll be any good at?  What do I need to do/be to ensure that the people I'm researching ARE actually related to me?

And, so this list was born.

B is for Broad-Minded

Now, I like to think that I'm naturally broad-minded.  And I think it's an essential characteristic for any genealogist.  Our ancestors are not necessarily who we imagine them to be, and when we unearth true stories of bigamy, domestic violence, criminal behaviours, and plain old boring-ness, we must be prepared to accept what we find.

Our ancestors lived in times very different from our own, with resources and capacities that again were very different from ours.  The choices they made and the lives they led are not ours to judge or condemn.

We can instead try to understand, and perhaps even learn from them.

See you tomorrow for the next item in my list :-)

Friday, 1 April 2016

A-Z Blogging Challenge: A is for Analytical

Just a reminder that this post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge for April and my theme is Essential Characteristics for Successful Genealogy.

As a beginning genealogist, I've been giving some thought to the "how and why" of this practice I've taken on.  What makes me think I'll be any good at?  What do I need to do/be to ensure that the people I'm researching ARE actually related to me?

And, so this list was born.  

A is for Analytical

Genealogists must be able to examine a document or story or photo, and make sense of it.  And I don't mean making sense by making up a story!  We must be able to analyse whatever is in front of us in a careful methodical way.  And we must be able to position the particular document or story or photo in the context of others we've found.  

There are, of course, loads of books, articles, websites, and blog posts aimed at teaching genealogists to become better analysts.  Some of the best can be found by visiting Cyndi's List - but be careful, you could be lost for weeks in the awesomeness of that website!

See you tomorrow for the next item in my list :-)

Friday, 25 March 2016

A-Z Blogging Challenge - I'm in!

With a great deal of fear and trepidation, I've decided to participate in the A-Z Blogging Challenge during the month of April.

I haven't been a very regular blogger, so this might give me just the "kick in the pants" that I need.  Or it might be a rapid crash into despair and guilt.  We shall see.

My theme is:

Essential Characteristics for Successful Genealogy

or something like that anyway.  Again, we shall see.  This will be my take on the characteristics that I already have or need to develop to make sure my genealogy research is done well.  Some of my ideas are tongue-in-cheek and I hope that will lend a bit of fun to my posts.  

Like I said, I haven't done this before, so I hope I can last the distance!

See you in April :-)

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Genealogy Do-Over 2016 Month 2: Base Practices

I wasn't sure I could keep up with the Genealogy Do-Over when it was first announced because I thought it was going to be a weekly prompt.  But I was wrong!  It's monthly and here is my progress report for February.

There are 2 topics in the February list to be addressed.

1.  Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines
I jumped ahead on this, I think, when I developed and posted my Golden Rules of Genealogy back in December.  

However, I've also taken this opportunity to review the process I want to follow when I'm doing research.  To date, my research process is haphazard and follows the "scattergun" approach - I aim broadly and hope to hit something!!

After reading lots of blogs and websites about research goals, research plans, research logs, research checklists, etc, and getting totally confused for a while, I've decided on the following terms for my own sanity:
  • Research Goal - is the specific point or question I have about an ancestor that I want answered.
  • Research Plan - is the steps I will follow to discover information that will hopefully answer my Research Goal
  • Research Tracker - is the list of searches I undertake as part of the Research Plan, and the results of those searches
  • Research Checklist - is the list attached to each individual of every possible piece of information I might find to help "flesh out" the story of that individual's life.
I've also developed and written up the steps of How I do my Genealogy Research.  It may need some changes as I start to implement it, but I'll see how it goes.

2.  Setting Research Goals
This will be the focus of another post in the near future, as I begin to implement my newly-identified research process.

I wanted to follow along with the Do-Over so that I could improve my research methodology - it's already working :-)

Webinar Wednesday: The Paper-less Genealogist

Having just watched this webinar by Denise May Levenick, I think it's time to curtail the ever-increasing piles of paper that my poor overloaded printer keeps spitting out!

Ms Levenick gives a number of strategies for reducing paper in the genealogist's life, and recommends beginning with something small and doable, and building from there.

So while I certainly have loads of photos, documents and heritage items to scan, I'm going to begin by reducing what I actually print.

Unfortunately, having not grown up with digital technology, if I really need to take in what I'm reading, I need to do that from the printed page rather than the screen. For some reason, words on a screen tend to overwhelm me. Also, I can't quickly and easily highlight sections, or scribble my own notes in margins, etc. (I know it can be done, but I'm not fast at it, and trying to figure out how to do it, distracts me further from what I'm reading ...)

My plan, therefore, has a number of components:

  • I will improve my use of "screen-clippings" and screen-shots so that I can save ideas and tips and suggestions to OneNote, rather than printing them out as reminders.
  • I will improve my use of computer-based "to-do lists" - again, this is instead of printing out reminders to myself.
  • I will continue to print working documents on paper that has already been used on one side, and is destined for the recycling bin. (I get this paper from work.)

I also intend to participate in ScanFests and get my original photos and documents scanned and uploaded.  The next step will be storing them properly, but that's another step in the process :-)

Monday, 1 February 2016

January 2016 Monthly Review

So how did I go in keeping to my goals and intentions during January?

Goal #1 I'm going to resolve 5 of the 13 research questions I have about my grandfather, Alexander William de FRIEZ. I'm going to do this by spending at least 1 hour per week on the research.  These 5 questions will be resolved by 31 December 2016.

I didn't actually address this at all during January :-(

Goal #2 I'm going to resolve 3 of the 10 research questions I have about my great-uncle, Charles Frank de FRIEZ.  I'm going to do this by spending at least 1 hour per week on the research.  These 3 questions will be resolved by 31 December 2016.

While I didn't resolve any of my research questions, I have made progress. I discovered the date and the ship on which Charles Frank travelled to Australia from New Zealand.  I also discovered his name in an electoral roll for Marsden in New Zealand, which give his home address in 1957.  So this is moving forward.

Goal #3 I'm going to review and correct the source citations that I have in RootsMagic so that they are in Evidence Explained format.  I'm going to do this by tackling the records of 1 ancestor per week (per the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge) throughout 2016.  

Again, I only managed to finish 1 post in this series, which did force me to correct my sources though.  The linking of the post series with the ancestor is sound; I just need to keep up with it.

Goal #4 I'm going to participate in, and complete, the organising processes recommended through the FINALLY Get Organized! weekly checklists provided by DearMYRTLE.  I commit to making the necessary time to complete each week's activities throughout 2016.

I think I need to let go of this goal - it has proven to be too much of a distraction for me, from actually researching!  I have become bogged down in Facebook posts and emails and blog posts about the "perfect" system of organisation. And I have experienced a kind of paralysis about it.  I think it's been worthwhile because I have re-arranged my digital files, and have decided on a system to corral all the bits of paper I collect about each person.  But I don't want to be sidetracked by this any longer.

Goal #5 I'm going to photograph, upload, and transcribe all the headstones in the Presbyterian and Methodist Sections of Mount Bassett Cemetery for  I'm going to visit the cemetery once each month, take approx 100 photos, and upload and transcribe them before my next visit.  This work will be completed by 31 December 2016. 

No progress at all.

So, I'm going to let go of Goal 4 altogether and instead focus on researching and writing my family history - which is what I want to do.

Look forward to a more productive February :-)

Thursday, 28 January 2016

On this day ...

In honour of my 55th birthday, I thought it might be fun to collate a list of things happening "on this day" in my world.  

So here goes:

  • most importantly, it's my birthday - or did I say that already?! :-)
  • at 4.30pm, the temperature in Mackay Queensland is still 30C with a relative humidity of 68%, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.  
  • the front page of today's Daily Mercury implores people to NOT leave their dogs in distress during the hot summer season. The local RSPCA has received 7 emergency calls this summer already for dogs suffering heatstroke and/or dehydration. 
  • the men's semi-final of the 2016 Australian Open (tennis) is televised free tonight between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic - 2 all-time champions!  Go, Roger :-)
Novak Djokovic (left) and Roger Federer (right) will do
battle in the semi-final of the 2016 Australian Open tonight.

  • and Serena Williams defeated Agnieszka Radwanska in the women's semi-final earlier today.

  • unleaded petrol costs 105.9cents per litre at our local petrol station;
  • a loaf of bread from a supermarket costs $1.90 and 1 litre of milk costs $1.25;
  • Jemma has just come home from the movies where a ticket now costs $16.50; she saw "Dirty Grandpa" which looks absolutely awful to me and which she really enjoyed!
That's a few snippets about my life on 28 January 2016.  Maybe I'll revisit this next year and see what's changed :-)

Happy birthday to me :-) 

Electorate change for Canberra suburbs

Just in case you thought that changes to electorate boundaries were a thing of the past, here's an article in today's ABC news:

ACT electorate of Canberra grows while Fraser is renamed Fenner

A map showing the boundaries of the electorate of Fenner.About 10,000 Canberrans will switch federal seats at the next election in order to compensate for population growth in the ACT's north.
The electorate of Fraser, currently held by Labor MP Andrew Leigh, is also set to be renamed Fenner, after renowned Australian virologist Frank Fenner.
The Australian Electoral Commission's Phil Diak said the seat would no longer cover inner-city areas like Acton and Campbell, which would be absorbed by the electorate of Canberra, held by Labor MP Gai Brodtmann.
"Canberra had to come over to the other side of the lake, and takes part of what was traditionally Fraser, now Fenner," Phil Diak from the Australian Electoral Commission said.
"About 10,000 people on the inner south side are affected there.
"That includes that suburbs of Acton, Campbell, Reid, [and] people living in the city."
Some parts of Braddon and Turner will also be moved into the electorate of Canberra.
Fenner will also include Belconnen, Gungahlin, the Inner North, and the externally administered territory of Jervis Bay on the NSW South Coast.
Canberra, which covers the Inner South, Woden, Weston Creek and Tuggeranong, will expand across Lake Burley Griffin to cover the parts of the inner city lost by Fenner.
Mr Daik said the change was needed due to rapid population growth in Canberra's north, and that Canberrans would not need to contact the AEC if they were affected.
"That's to have an equivalence in the size of the electorates going forward," he said.
"Of course if you change your address or move into the new electorates ... you still need to keep your enrolment up to date.
"But where you are right now today, those changes are done automatically."

52 Questions in 52 Weeks: #3

Well, I'm already behind on this series of posts, but what better day to restart than my own birthday :-)

Image courtesy of Sheetal Bhardwaj at IndiaBright

And, no, I won't mention my age - though you'll get some idea when you read my story below :-)

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!

You can read my first 2 stories here and here.  And now, here is #3.

What memories do you have of your father (his name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on)?
My father,
Ralph Ormond (Bags) WEYMOUTH
at his daughter's wedding
26 January 1990
My father was born Ralph Ormond WEYMOUTH on 21 February 1930, in Euston NSW.  He was the first child of Eric Ormond WEYMOUTH and Gwendolyn Mary GRACE.

Of course, I have no first-hand knowledge of his childhood or his early adulthood.  He would often tell stories of these times, though, and he certainly emerged as a larrikin, a man who enjoyed the company of his brothers and family, and a person who loved life. 

Somewhere in his childhood, he gained the nickname "Bags" which he used throughout his life. In fact, many people never knew his real name.

He was a hard worker and a heavy drinker.  All of his working life was hard physical labour - cutting cane, digging wells, fencing, cutting timber. A long day of hard work was then followed by a long session of drinking. He was what people called "a man's man"; comfortable in the company of men like himself. 

Button accordion c.1950
Image courtesy of
Dad had one very like this!
He laughed loudly and often, recited bush ballads, and had a very pleasing baritone singing voice. Somewhere during his youth, he taught himself to play the button accordion and, much to the embarrassment of his children and the delight of his friends, would regularly accompany himself or others with this instrument.  Dad could never read music; rather, he would listen to a song or melody, then simply replicate it by ear.

Though born on the banks of the Murray River, he eventually travelled to north Queensland seeking work.  

It was in Mackay, Queensland that he met and married my mother, Janice Eileen de FRIEZ, in 1959 or 1960 - there is much debate about the actual year and my research hasn't yet resolved the debate! My mother fell in love with the "bad boy", I think :-)

He was a difficult man to live with, my dad.  At times happy, outgoing, and full of fun, he could also be moody, irritable, and disinterested in the daily activities of his children and wife.  I wonder whether, in today's world, his patterns would be diagnosed as either depression or bi-polar disorder.  But in my dad's world, men did not experience mental health issues, nor did they discuss them.  They simply carried on and toughed it out.

In later life, he suffered a number of physical health trials.  At age 50 (approx), one of his kidneys was removed because of cancer. At age 60 (approx), while cutting timber alone on a bush property, his left lower leg was crushed. The bone was not able to be repaired and instead a metal plate was attached between his knee and ankle. At age 75 (approx), cancer returned, attacking his prostate.  Dad refused treatment for the disease.  

He died on 24 January 2009 in the Mackay Base Hospital, at the age of 79, with his wife and daughters at his bedside.  He was cremated at the Newhaven Crematorium in Mackay on 27 January 2009.

And, despite the many difficulties of living with this man, I loved him.

So, my birthday - which will now always be the day after the anniversary of Dad's funeral - is a good day to say "thank you for everything, Dad. I love you and I miss you." 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Webinar Wednesday: a geniesdownunder podcast

One of my genea-goals for 2016 is to become better-educated and informed about genealogy and its elements, so that I can be a super-duper genealogist and go on lots of wonderful gene-adventures.

To keep myself accountable and on-track, I went through a process of deciding what elements I want to learn, identifying where I could learn about them, then setting up a calendar of webinars for myself.  I also decided to write about each piece of learning, both to reinforce what I hear, and to assure myself that I am actually keeping up with my goal :-)

Given it's still early in the new year, and I'm working on the Finally Get Organized! series, I thought my first few webinars should continue in this theme.  So for most of February, I'll be learning a lot more about getting organised.

I started with a podcast from As the name suggests, this wonderful site has lots of information and support for Australian genealogists and, every month, a podcast is broadcast. There are over 50 now!

The one I just finished listening to is called "Planning stuff for genies: Getting ready for family history research in 2012" because I figure that planning is pretty much the same, whether it's 2012 or 2016!

The calm and soothing voice of Maria Northcote led me through a number of ideas, tips and helpful hints to get me and my genealogy organized.

Firstly, Maria spoke about the need to actually set goals, rather than just muddling around or madly jumping from one thing to another. Like Amy Johnson Crow, she recommends keeping the goals simple and achievable, in order to build confidence and maintain motivation.  

For Maria, there are 6 sections of genealogy and goals are drawn from these sections:

  • new stuff - new information, new research, new clues to follow
  • old stuff - the need to organise, review, label, sort, etc is ongoing and continuous
  • write stuff - stories about our ancestors need to be shared with others
  • request stuff - from other family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours, fellow genies we can find photo's, documents, books, diaries, recipes, artefacts
  • learn stuff - new or expanded skills and knowledge
  • equipment stuff - discover and use the tools, equipment, products that can help us

Once goals have been decided, Maria recommends working out the "proportions" of time that need to be spent in each area.

Her third and final step is to identify the tools that help us keep moving forward on our goals - calendars, software, apps, etc.

My take-away points:

  • Use highlighter colours to differentiate among actions on a list.  For example, Maria uses pink to indicate "to do", green to indicate the action is linked to another, yellow to indicate she's waiting on something/someone else. I will definitely take on this little tip to help me figure out where I'm up to!
  • Set 1 small goal for an ancestor, turn it into a research question, and stick with it till you have an answer. This will help keep research manageable and achievable, and will prevent that feeling of being overwhelmed and having too much to do. Very do-able! 
  • When you're feeling "stuck" on research, turn to a goal from another of the 6 sections mentioned above. Doing so will help maintain interest, and keep that sense of progress. A great tip for me, as I do tend to think that the actual research is the only "real" aspect of genealogy.

Despite having heard similar messages before, I found this podcast refreshingly practical. Perhaps it's the Australian accent, or the lack of jargon - or both! Take the time to visit; you'll be glad you did :-)

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Patrick GRACE: my earliest confirmed arrival

In honour of Australia Day, I thought I'd share a bit of information about the ancestor of mine who was the first arrival into the newly-invaded New South Wales. There is evidence of an ancestor before this but I haven't been able to confirm that yet, so for now let me tell you about Patrick GRACE.

Patrick travelled to New South Wales as a convict via the Countess of Harcourt. According to the Convict Indents (1), he was 20 years old when he disembarked on 30 August 1822.

Excerpt from New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842 for Patk Grace

Further information on this document indicates that he was committed in County Wicklow, his occupation is "labourer", he was 5ft 11in tall, of slender build, with brown eyes and fair hair, and that he is without any distinguishing marks.

I've not yet discovered what happened upon his arrival, but on 23 January 1823, Patrick was assigned to work for a Mr Aylard of Picton (2).

At the 1825 Muster of Convicts (3), Patrick GRACE is recorded as "G.S. to Mr Smithers, Sydney". [I believe the "G.S" abbreviation is for General Servant.] Patrick is still with Mr Smithers at the 1828 Muster.

All must have gone fairly well for him, because Patrick was granted his Certificate of Freedom on 7 April 1829 (4).

On 4 April 1834, he married Mary Ann DWYER (a widow).  Through a series of processes too complicated and lengthy to explain in a blog post, Patrick came to own property in the Bathurst/Orange area and took up sheep-farming.  From there, the family travelled overland to South Australia, taking up property at Shea-Oak Log.  Here Patrick lived a long and fulfilling life, dying 29 April 1872 as a well-respected and highly-valued member of the community.  The Bunyip (Gawler, SA; Page 2) newspaper published a lengthy obituary on 4 May 1872, stating that he "carried on farming on a rather extensive scale, and at times under prosperous circumstances".  

Like many convicts, Patrick GRACE found a level of wealth and comfort in this new world, that he could never have realised if he had remained in Ireland.  

Happy Australia Day :-)

(1) New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842
(2) New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825
(3) New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849
(4), New South Wales, Australia, Certificates of Freedom, 1827-1867, State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12210; Item: 4/4296; Roll: 984.

Monday, 11 January 2016

OMG - David Bowie died today :-(

I can't believe it really.  He just made it to 69; his birthday was 8 January.  Died from cancer, at home with his family.  So so sad to realise that the genius of this man is now gone.

This is one of those "where were you when ..." moments.  In years to come, we'll ask each other. And I'm sitting here at my desk looking out a beautiful summer dusk - the golden haze on the horizon - and shouting inside "Nooooo!  It can't be true!"

A truly legendary artist; an under-rated actor; and a true enigma.  RIP David Bowie.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Shipping Saturday: Charles arrives in New Zealand

Thanks to a snippet in the latest edition of Inside History - which I'm able to view for free, courtesy of my wonderful local library and Zinio! - I decided to take a (virtual) visit to Archives New Zealand. I wondered whether I might find some information about my mysterious great-uncle, Charles Frank de Friez.

And there it was: his name on the passenger list of the S.S.Tamaroa, arriving in Auckland on 27 October 1952.  Along with Mrs Dorothy de Friez.

"New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973," database with images, FamilySearch ( accessed 8 January 2016), Auckland (other ports also listed)>1952>Tamaroa>image 16 of 24; National Archives, Wellington.

For those of you who've been keeping up with this story, my belief is that "Mrs Dorothy de Friez" is actually not married to Charles.  I believe she is Dorothy Lowe, and I believe that she and Charles are in a de facto relationship.  But none of this is proved (or disproved!) yet.

In the meantime, at least I now know how and when Charles arrived in New Zealand.

I think the document gives me a new clue to follow too.  Many of the other passengers arriving on the Tamaroa gave their addresses as "c/- Dept. of Labour & Employment, Draft 25a, Wellington".  I wonder whether the fact that Charles gives a specific address, along with an occupation of Transport Manager, means he had a job already lined up.  He didn't need to wait for the Dept. of Labour & Employment to sort something out for him.  I don't know how to chase this down yet, though. Another item on my To-Do list!

Further searching uncovered a Restricted Access file with references to Charles. The file is the property of Te Puni Kokiri which is the New Zealand Government's Ministry of Maori Development. I'm intrigued as to what role or relationship great-uncle Charles could have played in that sphere.

There is a process by which a person can apply for permission to view the records.  BUT one can only view them in person at the offices of Archives New Zealand!  So that might be a bit of an obstacle for me! Or maybe a good reason for a holiday to NZ :-)

While I was at the Archives, I also searched for Dorothy de Friez, and came up empty.  A search for Dorothy Lowe, on the other hand, shows a couple of promising entries, but I need to know more about her to narrow down the "possibles" to the "probables".

So, a chink in the brick wall appears.  I'm off to find the tools to expand the chink into a big hole :-)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 1 #4 Eric Ormond WEYMOUTH

Amy Johnson Crow suggested a weekly blog theme of "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" in her blog post Challenge:  52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on the No Story Too Small blog.  That was back in 2014.  

Since I'm just beginning my own blog and my own review of ancestors, I'm going to follow her challenge with a slight change.  

I'm going to check that all the claims I've made about each ancestor, as listed in my RootsMagic software, have accurate and correct citations attached. Wherever I find omissions or inaccuracies, I'll do what I can to correct them immediately.  If I can't, they'll be added to my "to-do list" for attention.

Since unfortunately all my grandparents are deceased, I feel OK starting with them, and I'll approach them in Ahnentafel order, a la Randy Seaver in his blog series.

So, please meet my paternal grandfather - #4 in my Ahnentafel list :-)  

Person Facts:

Name:      Eric Ormond WEYMOUTH
Father:     Walter Josiah WEYMOUTH
Mother:    Margaret Jane SEYMOUR

Birth: 16 July 1908, Korumburra, Victoria, Australia (1)

Military Service: 2 September 1941 - 20 December 1943 (3)
Death: 26 December 1989, Mildura, Victoria, Australia
Burial:  29 December 1989, Mildura Lawn Cemetery, Mildura, Victoria, Australia (4)

Shared Facts:

Marriage:  26 August 1929, Mildura, Victoria, Australia (2)
Spouse:  Gwendolyn Mary GRACE
1. Ralph Ormond Weymouth 21 February 1930 - 24 January 2009
2. Mary Dawn Weymouth 1931 - 7 February 1994
3. Victor Sylvester Weymouth 17 February 1932 - 6 March 2010
4. Laura Elizabeth Weymouth 11 March 1934 - 1974
5. Josiah Glenn Weymouth 17 January 1936 - 2011
6. Helen Margaret Weymouth 19 May 1939 (living)
7. Maureen Ruth Weymouth 6 July 1941 (living)
8. Gwendolyn Valda Weymouth 21 February 1943 (living)
9. Ernest John Weymouth 7 August 1944 (living)
10. Eric Douglas Weymouth 14 August 1945 (living)


(1) Victoria, Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, Birth Certificate 2124/1908 (issued 30 September 2002), Eric Ormond Weymouth; State Archives, Melbourne Victoria.

(2) Victoria, Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, Marriage Certificate 201/1929 (issued 11 July 1997), Eric Ormond Weymouth and Gwendolyn Mary Grace, 26 August 1929;Public Record Office Victoria, Melbourne.

(3) National Archives of Australia, World War II Service Records (Name: National Archives of Australia; Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia; Date: 13 December 2002;), Series B884, Item Number V19065.

(4) Mildura Cemetery Trust (Mildura), full, Form of Instruction for Graves, 26 December 1989; personal property of author.

I'm very excited that I've managed to put together citations for my documents that seem correct :-)

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

52 Questions in 52 Weeks: #2

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!

This is my answer to question #2.

When and where were you born? Describe your home, your neighbourhood, and the town you grew up in.
My family moved around a lot when I was very young.  When I was born, my parents were living in a small cottage on the banks of the St.Helen's Creek at Kolijo.  The cottage is no longer standing.  Soon afterwards, we moved to Cathu where Dad was working in the State Forest.  That house is still there and I have a photo of it somewhere.  I believe we were living there when Mike (my brother) and Grace (my sister) were born.  I don't remember anything about either of those homes. 
From there, we moved to a small 2-room home in Bloomsbury, again following Dad's work.  That also still stands.  It is a little weatherboard box, and stands about 1metre off the ground.  The laundry and bathroom were downstairs under a lean-to on a small square of concrete.  Up 3 or 4 steps into the kitchen.  There was another room where Mum and Dad slept.  There was a curtain down the middle and Grace and I slept on the other side, while Mike slept outside on the small verandah which ran across the front of the house.  I have some fun memories of living there:  we experienced my first-ever hailstorm; we played under the house in the dirt with small matchbox cars where we made extensive roads and obstacle courses for our cars; we climbed hibiscus bushes and lemon trees to the roof of the shed, then tried to jump off!; I broke my left arm while dangling Grace out of a window when Mike allowed the window to fall down across my arms; when I started school, I walked long dusty roads until being collected by our family friends, the Skaife's who had children older than me, who escorted me to and from school; our cat was killed when my Mum drove over her hiding in the long grass that Dad hadn't mowed; we had a pet calf called Bumper.  If I think of more, I'll add them. 
After that house, we moved to Carmila, south of Sarina, again for Dad's work.  I went to school there for 2 terms, I think.  My only memory there is of being accidentally locked in the school library after school one day.  I pried open the window, jumped out onto the water tank, slid down the drainpipe, and ran home.  Mum reckons she didn't even know I was missing!
After that, it was back to Bloomsbury, where we lived in the house now owned by Paul and Bernadette Camm at Mikulu.  Again, lots of memories.  I got my first pushbike there, and rode it down to the rail siding to collect the bread and milk which was left there every day or so.  It seemed like a very long way when I was 7 :-)  There was an old house there which we used to explore, though we weren't supposed to.  It was full of old dark heavy furniture which I loved and wished could be ours.  There was an old horse, named Dolly, who would come to the house every day for nibbles.  We learnt to ride on her.
After that, we moved to Calen.  I'm not sure where Dad was working then, but we lived in a house that was owned by the Council, across the railway line from the school.  At the time, there were no houses beyond and it was fairly isolated.  That's where Mike was so badly burnt :-(  Mum started teaching again too, so I think Grace must have started school at Calen.  We would walk across the railway line, across the highway, and across the school oval to get to the buildings.  No shoes of course :-)    I was in Grade 3, I think, when we moved there.  Sometime not long after that, we moved to Cameron's Pocket - my favourite childhood home.  It was up in the hills about 10km west of Calen on a cattle property.  We had acres to roam in, a wonderful creek to swim in, there were mango trees everywhere, and the people across the creek had a dairy farm where we would go and help with the milking.  We often were given a bucket of fresh milk to bring back home.  It was a wonderful place to grow up and I remember it very fondly.
Our final move happened sometime in 1974 when Mum and Dad finally could afford to buy a home.  I have photos of that house too.  I was only there for 4 years because I finished school in 1978 and left home.