Saturday, 31 January 2015

52Ancestors # 5 - Dugald Cameron Connor - a first cousin 2x removed

This post is for Week 5 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge - 2015 - by Amy Johnson Crow from No Story Too SmallPrompt for Week 5, Ploughing through. 
Ploughing with horses - National Library of Australia

With this week's prompt I am going to write about some of my Connor ancestors, those who settled around the Clarence River, New South Wales. During the 1800's there were many opportunities for farmers to show their skills - one was a ploughing competition. This was where a group of farmers would go against each other in various categories to show off their skill and win prize money.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Madness Monday - the lives they left behind

THE LIVES THEY LEFT BEHIND is a book about the suitcases found at the Willard Psychiatric Hospital, New York after it closed in 1995. 

More than four hundred abandoned suitcases filled with patients’ belongings were found when Willard Psychiatric Hospital, New York closed in 1995 after 125 years of operation. They are skillfully examined in this book and compared to the written record to create a moving—and devastating—group portrait of twentieth-century American psychiatric care.

My friend and colleague Judi Chamberlin reviewed the book and said:
"Darby Penney and Peter Stasny, in reconstructing the lives of ten ordinary people who spent years at Willard State Hospital, have performed an important service, reclaiming these individuals from the nameless, faceless fate of being only "mental patients". By going behind the label to find both the beauty and the horror of their lives, Penney & Stasny have reclaimed the humanity, not only of these individuals, but of everyone who shared their fate - having their individuality stripped away by supposedly medical labels that became life sentences to the grimness of institutional life. Now, with their stories revealed, they can call out to us from beyond their graves, to confront us with their humanity and their tragedy."  - Judi Chamberlin author of On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System.

Sadly Judi has passed away but her memory and her work of advocacy in the field of mental health lives on - you are missed Judi.
Lithograph of newly built Willard Asylum c 1870
You can go to the Suitcase Project here and view the photos on a Pinterest site here. They are well worth viewing. By the way, these horrific conditions were the same in Australia. Wolston Park Hospital did a similar exhibition, Remembering Goodna Mental Hospital, at the Brisbane City Hall in around in late 2007 early 2008. It was also  a powerful reminder of how people with mental illness were treated in the past and still are in many ways.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

52 Ancestors #4 - May Leonie Brooks - a second cousin once removed

This post is for Week 4 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge - 2015 - by Amy Johnson Crow from No Story Too SmallPrompt for Week 4, Closest to your birthday .

May Leonie Brooks
No too much to think about here. I looked through my database of ancestors and came across quite a few with birthdays near me but stumbled across one with the same date and month - May Leonie Brooks - my second cousin once removed.

May Leonie was born on the 27th April 1883 in Grafton, New South Wales. Her parents were John Henry Brooks and Martha Jane Miller. She was the third of seven children and the second daughter.

May married William Henry McClaer (McClear) in 1904 in Grafton. William and May also had seven children, three girls and four boys. The family lived on Dunoon Road near Lismore, New South Wales.

May with Rainbow Lorrikeets

May died on 3rd April 1965 in Lismore, aged 81 years  just 24 days before her 82nd birthday and William died on 1st June 1965. They are both buried in the Lismore Memorial Gardens.

I wonder how May Leonie celebrated her birthday -  did she look forward to her day? Did she have a special cake for her birthday? May married in her 21st year - did she celebrate her coming of age or did her wedding take preference?  I hope that May enjoyed her birthdays. I certainly enjoyed mine when I was younger, now I'd rather forget the years.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Sunday, 18 January 2015

52 Ancestors # 3 - Rosetta Johnson - a 4th great grandmother

This post is for Week 3 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge - 2015 - by Amy Johnson Crow from No Story Too Small. Prompt for Week 3, Tough Woman - Who is a tough, strong woman in your family tree?  

Thinking about who to select for this post I considered many women, among them my own mother, but I chose Rosetta and I hope in telling her story you will agree that she was a tough, strong woman.

Rosetta (Rose) Johnson - Johnston(e) - was born in County Louth, Ireland in about 1773. Rosetta was convicted at the Surrey Assizes - Lent 24 March 1814 [1] and sentenced to "Let them be transported beyond the seas for seven years." Rose had stolen 18 yards of sheeting value seven shillings and a shawl value 30 shillings in the parish of St George the Martyr in Southwark, aged 29 years. There is no mention of  a daughter during her indictment. There are no details available of imprisonment in subsequent prisons or hulks. She was transported to the Colony as a convict in 1815, with her young daughter Catherine on the transport Northampton.

What circumstances brought Rosetta and her daughter to London? Was Catherine born in Ireland or in England? Who was her father? There is no record found for Catherine or Rosetta's birth at this time.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Martha Ellenor King nee McCann (#52Ancestors #2)

Week 2, King - January 8 is Elvis' birthday, January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. So I will write about a great great aunt named King.

Martha Ellenor (Ellen) McCann was born on the 30 July 1858 to Charles John McCann and Mary (nee Johnson) at the Richmond River, New South Wales. Martha was the 5th child and 3rd daughter. The McCann family moved between Victoria and the Richmond River on two occasions that I know about. They had a child in Ballarat in 1853, two children (one was Martha Ellenor) in the Richmond River District in 1856 & 1858, the next child in 1860 back in Ballarat Victoria. So Martha was very young when the family travelled back to Victoria. I wonder how they went - possibly by coastal steamer I expect.
Martha Ellenor with her mother Mary McCann c 1880
Martha married Richard Stephen King on 1 April 1878 at Teven Creek, New South Wales. Richard was the son of Richard & Sarah King (nee Brown). Richard King Snr. was a cedar cutter and his son Richard Stephen followed in his father's footsteps.

Martha c 1921
Martha & Richard had seven children, four girls and three boys, all born in Lismore, New South Wales. I'm not sure when exactly Martha & Richard moved to Brisbane - her favourite brother George (my great grandfather) had moved to Brisbane early in 1920 - they were certainly living in Nelson Street, Dutton Park, Brisbane by 1913. Martha died on 16 January 1925 at home and was buried on 17 January at the South Brisbane Cemetery.

So that's my Week 2 King. My mother was a baby when Aunty Martha died but her grandfather George told her many stories about his big sister Martha and she is fondly remembered by the McCann family.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Madness Monday - it's sorting time

Madness Monday - it's sorting time. My good intentions of a Genealogy Do-Over are fading fast. Somehow I have thought - yes, I'll do that tomorrow - you know how that is? Well, today is the deadline - no more procrastination.

My first Do-Over is to organise Evernote. I love Evernote. I am a Premium user of Evernote and love every part of it - BUT - I have been very lazy recently and sent clips to my Inbox - to deal with later on - and later on.

So today is sorting time as I said. This is what I will be doing today:

  1. Reviewing my notebooks - do I have too many?
  2. Reviewing my tags - are they the right tags?
  3. Merging notes if necessary??
  4. Sorting the notes - yes please - even though Evernote has spectacular searching I want it to be more accurate.
  5. Deleting unnecessary notes.
  6. Reading the To Read Notebook - yes I have a To Read Notebook - this is for those interesting things I find and want to read later - well I will review this.
  7. Enjoy a cup of tea and relax - praising myself for a job well done. Well, maybe a few cups of tea!
This is a screenshot of my Evernote - note the note showing from MakeUseOf which says - How to Keep Your Digital Life Organised in the New Year - well here goes - stay tuned and wish me luck.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Joseph Antoney - a great great grandfather (52 Ancestors #1)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - well this is certainly a challenge. I wonder what will unfold during the year. It will certainly be interesting to look back on 31 December 2015. I hope you will enjoy the journey with me.

Week 1, Fresh start — Seems appropriate for the beginning of the year. I am going to start with Joseph Antoney my maternal great great grandfather. 

Fiery Star (ship) - Wikimedia Commons
Joseph was born on 4 September 1842 in the Azores, Portugal and died on 24 December 1923 in Mackay, Queensland, Australia aged 81 years. Joseph was a seaman and arrived in Queensland aboard the Fiery Star on 20 November 1864. He was fortunate to leave the ship in Brisbane as on its return voyage - 19 April 1865 - a fire engulfed the ship 400 miles off New Zealand.

What made Joseph leave his ship and settle in Australia? I will never really know. From his naturalisation papers in November 1921 he had been on sailing ships for many years and had shipped to America, New Zealand, Calcutta, China, Hawaii, Nantucket Island, and Mauritius. Joseph had certainly travelled the world from the Azores. On these papers he stated he had spent 2 years in and around Brisbane,  3 years in and around Bowen (Port Denison) and the remainder in and around Mackay. He selected some land near Bowen and married Elizabeth Hannah Young on 30 July 1867 at St Mary's RC Church in Bowen. 

Joseph & Elizabeth Antoney with Annie Jacintha
His first child Francis Albert was born in Bowen on 9 November 1869. His next child Manuel Silva (Emanuel) was born at Walkerston outside Mackay on 1 April 1877. Joseph's first daughter (my maternal great grandmother) Annie Jacintha Mary Elizabeth was born 24 June 1879 in Mackay. Another son Enoch Henry born 1882  and another daughter Daisy Elizabeth born 1884 in North Eton outside Mackay.

Joseph selected land at Eton outside Mackay in late 1870 and farmed there until he retired from farming in around 1918.

North Eton Mill c1895
Joseph was part of a consortium of cane farmers who opened the first cooperative sugar mill in Queensland at North Eton in 1888. The mill closed in 1988. There is an excellent book written by Frank Rolleston (1987). The Defiance – The story of North Eton Co-operative Sugar Milling Association Limited, 1888-1987. North Eton, QLD: North Eton Co-operative Milling Association Limited. 

I did not know Joseph and only know of him from my maternal grandmother, Dorothy May Thomas. Dorothy May (Nan) told me many a story about her grandfather Joseph. Nan told me that her grandfather grew tobacco, grapes and sugarcane on his farm. She also told of him employing Japanese labourers and was fascinated about them having very hot baths in big tubs. I have since found that Japanese were in fact employed in the Mackay region. There is evidence of Joseph growing tobacco as he was required to have a government licence for same. I believe the grapes were used for wine.

So why did Joseph leave the sea? I think he saw an opportunity for a fresh start in a new land with endless opportunities for hard work. I don't know if Joseph spoke English when he arrived in 1864 but I expect he quickly learned as he took up land and married in 1867. My grandmother said he had a musical voice and loved telling her stories. At the time of his death in 1923 Joseph left four surviving children, twenty-two grandchildren, and fifty-five great grandchildren.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year 2015

Like many people I have been thinking of 2015. I have plans. Oh yes I have plans. I plan to look again at my genealogy research (maybe attempt the Genealogy Do-Over); I plan to attempt the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks; I plan to write more of my history - hence the 52 Ancestors challenge.

I have found blogging a wonderful tool to focus myself on aspects of my family history and to form words around some of my family history. I think that putting the words out there I have thought much more about my ancestors. I have discovered more about how they lived, where they lived and more importantly to me why they made the choices they did. I loved that I found a cousin in England when she read my blog about my cousin Leonard Alexander Thomas - just lovely to make contact. 

On a personal level 2015 will be a challenging year. My aged parents will need to move from independent living to aged care. This will be a difficult transition for my fiercely independent 90 year old mother, thankfully I have a wonderful son to assist in this fraught process. I trust in the angels that all will go well. I also have to face some difficult medical matters for myself - some further orthopedic surgery - in late February early March so I will be laid up and have extra time on my hands to write and research - anyway that's the plan. 

Thanks to all my genie friends and extended family for supporting me during 2014 - I hope to hear from you in 2015 and look forward to reading all your very interesting blogs - they take me on journeys I would never have dreamed about. 

Thank you and Happy New Year.