Sunday, 28 September 2014

Black Sheep Sunday - William Nelson McCann

Black Sheep Sunday - I have many candidates for this post, however I will choose William Nelson McCann.
The Star (Ballarat) 26 April, 1861, page 2

William Nelson McCann (my 2nd great-grand uncle) was born on 27 September 1837 in Launceston, Tasmania. He was the son of Nicholas McCann & Catherine Nelson. William married Lois Louisa Jenner on 25 April 1861 at the home of Louisa's brother, John Adolphus Jenner, in Ballarat, Victoria.

At the time of his marriage William was a town Councillor in Geelong, Victoria and the co-owner of the Geelong Advertiser newspaper. In 1864 William was elected as a Member of Parliament (MLA) in Victoria for the electorate of South Grant (an area near Geelong). Life seemed to be progressing well for the young couple, until...

Illustrated Sydney News, Monday 16 September 1867, page 6
Isn't Trove wonderful? So, here is William in 1867, son of a prominent Geelong family, sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. You might think that is the end of the story. I thought so for many years. William seemed to have disappeared. However ...

The McIvor Times & Rodney Advertiser
Friday 24 April 1885, page 2
Earlier this year, around May, I decided to have another look in Trove for William and had a Eureka moment. Here is a snippet from the article. It appears that William was a resident in San Francisco, California and not only that but with a different name. Again, thank you Trove.

So armed with this new clue I started digging. Questions that I needed to answer were: Why the change of name? When did he go to San Francisco?

There he was in the Sacramento Daily Union, dated August 1870, as an Englishman from Australia, one of the local reporters on the Alta (another San Francisco newspaper). This raised more questions than answers. Wait a minute, 1870? He was sentenced to 7 years prison in 1867 in Victoria wasn't he? When did he enter the US?

To Be continued...

Friday, 26 September 2014

Faces from the past Friday - the four cousins

While researching the cousins that lost their life in WWI, I thought a lot about what it would have been like for these four young Australian men on the other side of the world. 

Who were the four young men? Well they were:

Harold George McKerihan (husband of my 1st cousin 1x removed)
Guy Sydney Connor (my 2nd cousin 1x removed)
Henry Surman (Harry) Connor (my 2nd cousin 1x removed)
David Ernest McCann (my 1st cousin 3x removed)

That doesn't tell me much. It's true that I did not know them, they died long before I was born however I feel a need to write something of them. 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Wordless Wednesday - John Raymond Thomas

Botley War Cemetery, Oxford, England
This is where Flt Sgt. John Raymond Thomas was buried in 1945

(my 1st cousin 1x removed)

Monday, 22 September 2014

Madness Monday

When I saw the blogging prompt Madness Monday I thought, this is one for me. Having spent a great part of my life with mental illness and working to improve mental health services I thought this is a heavensent opportunity to share some stories. 

Where to start? Well, why not at the beginning of madness. In his seminal 1961 work, Madness and Civilisation: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, Michel Foucault confronts the reader and changes way you think about society.

Think of all the words used to describe madness: insane, insanity, craziness, crackers, loopy, mad, crazy, crackpot, possessed, mentally ill, abnormal, schizo, batty, deranged, nuts, psycho, psychotic, paranoid, raving, unhinged, loony..... Can you think of more?

Then what about 'normal people? What is - or is not - 'normal' may have much to do with the labels that are applied to people in particular settings. 

I will further explore madness, asylums and my family in later Madness Monday posts. 
To be continued...

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Sorting Saturday

I have previously declared my conversion from OneNote (goodbye, farewell) to Evernote,  so the time has come for exporting and sorting. By the way I also use Dropbox for file storage.

So my Sorting Saturday post is about going through my OneNote notebooks, seeing what I have sent to them over the last few years, and deciding whether I want or need all of the notebooks.

I believe that it is fairly simple to import notebooks into Evernote and I could just import all the data and then sort it later I guess. But, as this is Sorting Saturday I have decided to sort through and hopefully cull some of the notebooks. I wonder if I will find any forgotten gems among the notes.

Just came across one item that I had forgotten, a 2nd cousin twice removed that had married twice that I knew about and died in 1969 with a third surname. It puzzled me then and now has me scratching my head again. Her second husband did not die until 1974 so she either was divorced or living with the third partner. Her christian names were Henrietta Frances Charlotte and the death certificate details are correct naming her mother as Lily.

Why did I start this sorting? Now I have another puzzle to solve - well it will keep me amused this weekend.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Those Places Thursday

Thinking further about my Connor family, where they came from and where they went, I thought I would explore where they came from in Ireland.
The Hugh Connor family, my great great grandfather, came from Ballykelly, County Derry (Londonderry) in Ireland, now Northern Ireland.

For those of us who have done Irish family history research we know that there are a few things we need to know about Ireland and places.
First, the town - Ballykelly
Second, the county - Londonderry (Derry)
Third, the province - Ulster
Fourth, the townland - Ballykelly
Fifth, the barony - Keenaght
Sixth, the civil parish - Tamlaght Finlagan
Seventh, the poor law union - Newtown Limavady

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

From Derry to New South Wales cont'd

As I start this part of the Connor family's journey from Derry to New South Wales, some questions come to mind. Why did they leave in 1838? Why Australia and not Canada or America? What did they expect to find when they arrived in New South Wales?

So, why did they leave Ireland? 

In 1838 the British Parliament introduced the Irish Poor Law Act, closely modelled on the English Poor Law Act of 1834. This was an attempt to address the widespread poverty and hunger in Ireland. The establishment of the workhouse system of poor relief closely followed. Also, dissenting Protestants, i.e. Presbyterians and others not of the established Church were now being treated as second class subjects and debarred from civic and public life in Ulster along with the Catholics. 

Wordless Wednesday - John Raymond Thomas

Flight Sgt. John Raymond (Raymond) Thomas
6 Mar 1925 - 8 Apr 1945
(my 1st cousin 1x removed)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Travel Tuesday

A beautiful day in Brisbane - so I thought I would share some thoughts about my last trip to Scotland in 2008. Unfortunately I had not confirmed the location of my Cameron ancestors, apart from the fact they came from Argyll, when I journeyed there.

Rhododendrons at Rosslyn 
I had attended a conference in Edinburgh and drove south towards the border with a friend to visit Rosslyn Chapel, 8 miles from Edinburgh, (just had to visit) and Melrose Abbey. It was a beautiful summer's day (July) and fortunately there was not a big crowd at Rosslyn. The chapel choir was rehearsing for a ceremony while we visited so we were able to sit for a while and take in the atmosphere of the Chapel. Sitting there it was entirely probable that the Knights Templar had hidden secrets there, as per Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

Pillar - with Green Man in centre
Carvings in the Chapel are amazing, how those early stonemasons managed the designs and execution of the patterns. Everywhere we looked there were more intricate and different carvings.

After Rosslyn we drove south to the ruins of Melrose Abbey, 48 miles from Edinburgh, about an hour's drive. The day was still beautiful, blue sky and a gentle breeze. We stopped for lunch at Melrose and sat on an old tombstone in the garden to enjoy the sunshine before exploring the Abbey.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Sentimental Sunday

I have been thinking about my maternal grandmother, Dorothy May McCann nee Thomas, rather a lot lately. She was the repository of all family photos, dates and information. Dorothy May passed away on the 8th December 1996 at Southport, just a month after her second great great granddaughter was born.

Dorothy & my mother 1924
I was looking at some photos recently and thought of sharing them with you. Fortunately I spent a lot of time with my grandmother over many years and i got my interest in family history from her. We would spend many hours going through old photos and books with Dorothy May telling me who they were and what occasion was happening.

When she moved house and went into a retirement village I inherited most of the family treasures and photographs and on her death all the remaining treasures. Dorothy would be so pleased to know of my discoveries about the family.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Faces from the past Friday

Yesterday I was thinking about my 'cousins' who had died in the Great War - the war to end all wars - WWI, and decided to research the four 'cousins' that I know perished in that war. 

Then I thought about what were they like these four young men? Were they full of hope? Ready to undertake the biggest adventure of their lives? Were they afraid?

Professional portrait - Flickr
I decided to look at some images online for Australian soldiers in WWI and came across these among the many.
From the professional portrait taken before they left for the front to this rather more informal photo that I think shows some of the spirit of the Australians.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Derry as an Emigration Port

From the early 1700s, in the age of the sailing ships, to the onset of the Second World War in 1939, when the last transatlantic steamer sailed from the port, Londonderry was one of the principal emigration ports in Ireland.

Derry port possessed an ideal situation. She stood at the head of a virtually land-locked Lough Foyle, 24 miles long and only 2 miles wide at its head. The Lough was sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds by the Inishowen peninsula, thus making it, in the age of sail, a harbour of refuge, accessible and safe in all weathers.

Monday, 8 September 2014

From Derry to New South Wales

My Connor ancestor came to Australia in 1838 with a Government scheme on board the Susan arriving in New South Wales on 2 February 1839. The family sailed from Derry city on 19 October 1838, from the River Foyle that comes out to the sea from Lough Foyle.

Hugh Connor with his wife Ann (nee Stewart), his sons James, Hugh & William and his daughters Elizabeth and Mary Ann. His eldest son John was also on the ship but as he was 27 years old traveled separately.

Hugh's eldest daughter Martha married John Miller in Ballykelly, County Derry in 1836 and had her first son in Ireland before departure. Martha & John and their son John left Ireland on the Parland and arrived in New South Wales in October 1838.

From Log of Logs Vol. 1 By Ian Nicholson - SUSAN, Two migrant voyages to NSW. The first by a vessel of 557 tons, under Captain Payne or Hayne, Londonderry, 19/10 - Sydney, 1/2.1838

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Fairie Folk

While thinking about my talk at the English/Irish SIG next month I came across some articles about Irish fairies. Yes - they do exist. Just walk around the Irish countryside at dusk or dawn an if you are lucky you may just see them

The people known as "The Sidhe"or people of the mounds, or "The Lordly Ones"or "The Good People"were descended from the "Tuartha de Dannan" who settled in Ireland millennia ago and in being defeated by the Milesians they retreated to a different dimension of space and time than our own, believed to be living under mounds and fairy raths and cairns. Placenames in Ireland with the pre-nouns Lis, Rath, and Shee are associated with these people for example; Lismore, Lisdoonvarna, Sheemore Rathfarnham etc.
(O'Hanlon, rev. John (Lageniensis), Irish Folklore:Traditions and Superstitions of the country. first published 1870, republished E.P. Publishing Ltd., 1973)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Ulster Covenant and Scotland

I am in the process of preparing a talk at the English/Irish SIG at GSQ, specifically about Ulster Scots and County Derry, and came across this great - free - resource on Claire Santry's - Irish Genealogy News.  Click on the link below to go to Claire's blog and get the free download.

The Ulster Covenant and Scotland: free download

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Spring 2014

September in Brisbane. Clear blue sky and westerly winds. Warm weather and a feeling in the air of new opportunities to come. An opportunity to clean out my family history folders, organise the research and recycle some of the paper. i don't know about you but paper seems to breed almost overnight in my office at home.

Lately I have been using Evernote for my family history - and everything else - instead of Microsoft OneNote. I had been using OneNote for a couple of years but am not a convert to Evernote. For example I went to  SLQ yesterday and took the film numbers I wanted to view in the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) in Evernote on my smartphone. The librarian at SLQ was most interested - I  believe she is going to try it our for herself.