Thursday, 30 April 2015

Z is for catching some Z's (#AtoZChallenge)

Z is for catching some Z's (#AtoZChallenge)



Catching some Z's - to get some sleep. In comic strips, Zs are used to show that someone is sleeping or snoring (http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com).

It has been great fun participating in the Challenge for 2015, especially reading other posts. We are all creative people and seeing how everyone interpreted the alphabet was amazing.

So, after an exciting month of the A to Z Challenge I think it's time to relax with a cup of tea and catch some Z's.




This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

52 ANcestors #17 - all my ancestors who came to Australia

This post is for Week 17 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge - 2015 - by Amy Johnson Crow from No Story Too SmallPrompt for Week 17 - Prosper.

I have chosen all my ancestors who came to Australia for this post. From the earliest, Peter McCann, who arrived in January 1800 to the latest, Catherine Eunice McLaren, who arrived in 1890, they were all coming to an unknown land. Some like Peter McCann and other convicts had no choice to come to Australia. Others, like Granny McCann, came to Australia from New Zealand with two of her sisters for an adventure and stayed. 

Image: SS Great Britain leaving Prince’s Pier, Liverpool, for Australia, 1852. ANMM Collection
Regardless of how my ancestors came to Australia, they found a new land and endless opportunities for those who were willing and able to work. The McCann side of my family went on to develop the cement industry in Victoria, farmed and developed various successful business ventures. The Connor side, from County Derry, farmed and learnt trades and experienced different occupations. The Thomas side also farmed and ventured into business in Queensland. And so on ...

What this tells me is that a number of my ancestors, except for the convicts, of course, made the decision to risk all and start a new life on the other side of the world. How it must have seemed alien to them, the weather, the vegetation and the animals. Imagine when they first saw a kangaroo, or a large snake, or the strange birds, they must have wondered where they were. Of course, many of the younger members of the family would have relished the experience but I think of the mothers who had to adapt to a strange new world.


Thank you to all of my ancestors who journeyed to Australia, we have certainly prospered because of you.

Y is for Yesterday (#AtoZChallenge)

Y is for Yesterday (#AtoZChallenge)


Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
oh, I believe in yesterday
.


Written by Paul McCartney in 1965, Yesterday holds the record as the most covered song in history, according to the Guinness Book of Records. As a child of the sixties, it takes me back to yesterdays - and I did love Paul McCartney in the sixties.

For a family historian, yesterday has many meanings. The obvious one of the day before today, but perhaps it means more. Perhaps it means all the yesterdays, all the days gone before. Maybe it takes us back to the times before we were born, back in the time of our great-grandparents or further still to our 4th great-grandparents. We can imagine what their lives were like back then, dream about the yesterdays - so that is Y is for Yesterday.


This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

X is for his or her mark (#AtoZChallenge)

X is for his or her mark (#AtoZChallenge)

Do you have early documents where an X is placed for a signature denoting his or her mark?  I have many of these, mostly by women, as reading and writing was uncommon among the 'ordinary' folk.

William Connor & Mary Cameron marriage 1853 New South Wales

The above Marriage Registration is of my great grandparents William Connor and Mary Cameron at Bartie's Farm near Hinton New South Wales in 1853. As you can see on the right-hand side Mary Cameron made her mark of an X, so signifying her agreement to the marriage.

I have often thought of Mary and her inability to read and write, she had a very hard life after William died in 1875 and it must have been incredibly difficult to understand what was going on around her at times.


This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Monday, 27 April 2015

W is for Wilderness (#AtoZChallenge)

W is for Wilderness (#AtoZChallenge)


Perhaps W should be for William, after all, there are 209 males with that name in my family file but thinking of genealogy, it can be charting your way through a wilderness, so this post is ... W is for Wilderness.

When I first started family history back in the late 1980s, everything was on paper, records, books, plans, etc. It took time and effort to go to repositories and libraries to seek out the material. I then got distracted with family and work and didn't come back to family history until 2001. What a difference, the emergence of digital records made.

But, it raised a lot of questions, hence the wilderness analogy. Finding the gold among the millions of records online is like a trek through the wilderness to find your way home. It's a fascinating trek though, twists and turns on every path, false starts, wrong turns and misplaced records. 

I still use repositories and libraries to find records and view original documents, but the digital age has certainly helped me find my through the genealogical wilderness.


This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

V is for Vincent (#AtoZChallenge)

V is for Vincent (#AtoZChallenge)



V is for Vincent, Vincent Joseph (Vince) Connor, my father. Vincent was born on the 18th June 1915 in Newcastle, New South Wales, the sixth child of Arthur Connor & Dorothy Vero. His mother, Dorothy, died in 1923 of breast cancer and exhaustion when he was only eight and his eldest sister Kath, aged fourteen,  took over the responsibility of caring for the family of seven.

Vincent worked as a fitter at the steelworks and joined the Australian Army in 1940. He was drafted into the Service Corps and served in Queensland, Victoria and New Guinea. He met my mother in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens one Sunday in 1946, and they married on the 14th October 1946 at the Holy Trinity Church of England, Fortitude Valley.


Unfortunately, things did not go well for the marriage and Vincent deserted my mother early in February 1947. I did not know my father but have managed to piece together through family history a sketch of his life. He did not marry again and died in November 2001 in Glenroy, Victoria. From  his death certificate, Vincent died of bowel cancer and schizophrenia. Tracing his life it became evident the he had suffered from schizophrenia while in the army and afterwards with quite strange notations in his service record. He was in and out of Royal Park Hospital in Melbourne for a number of years and lived in a nearby hostel where he cooked for the residents and helped with the garden.

I think Vincent lived a solitary life and I wish I had had the opportunity to know him. He did not appear in any public records after his marriage in 1946 and I traced him only when the State Trustees in Victoria put a private tree on Ancestry. So you see, Ancestry can be useful.


Vincent is buried in the Yan Yean Lawn Cemetery, Victoria.
Rest in Peace Dad ...


This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here

Friday, 24 April 2015

U is for Unnamed (#AtoZChallenge)

U is for Unnamed (#AtoZChallenge) 


U is for unnamed. It is sad when you  find unnamed male or female in your family line. You usually find this in the BDM registers when searching for births of a couple. Sometimes you find it in a family bible. One of my Connor families has three unnamed males between 1862 and 1870. I cannot begin to comprehend the sadness that must have accompanied these births. Other families have named children who died soon after birth.

So to all the unnamed angels in my family file I hope you are looking down on me and smiling over my genie research.


This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

T is for Travel (#AtoZChallenge)

T is for Travel (#AtoZChallenge)

T could be for Tamsen, Terence, Tessa, Thelma, Theodore or Theodorus, Theresa or Teresa, Theron, Thomas, Thora, Thurza, Tiarna, Timothy, Tom, Toni, Tony, Toree, Tracey, Tressa, Trevor,  Tristan, Trixie, Troy or Trudy. But it is not, it is for TRAVEL.


Yesterday I mused about my Barbados family and this has inspired me to plan some travel. I have never ventured to the Eastern United States or the Carribean and have often thought about travelling there, especially in the Autumn (or Fall) and seeing the beautiful foliage.

Well, next year is the year to travel, definitely next year.  This year will be taken up with some health issues, getting them right with some surgery etc. Then ... next year it is on. The plan is to travel to the UK and Ireland then the Carribean and Eastern United States - then home to Brisbane.  Planning it will be such fun. Some geat opportunities for some genie travel, will have to see when some genie events are on next year ... advice welcome.


This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here

S is for Sarjeant (#AtoZChallenge)

S is for Sarjeant. (#AtoZChallenge)

S could be for Samuel, after all I have thirty-three of them in my family file. It obviously was a very popular name in my family. However, I am going to write about a recently discovered family line in my tree, the Sarjeant line.

As I have written before I have a fascinating family connection to Barbados through my 3rd great-grandmother, Mary Sarsfield Donovan, descended from Johannis Proverbs, my ninth great-grandfather who died in Barbados in 1685. 

So while exploring the Barbados family history I came across my 4th great-great aunt, Jane or Jean Proverbs who married James Edghill. Now the Edghill name occurs here and there in the family tree, so I thought it worth investigating, as you do. Jane's son William Bracey Edghill (Bracey is another recurring family name) married Sarah Elizabeth Archer in St Phillip Barbados in 1829 and their daughter Frances Elizabeth Edghill married, wait for it, Joseph Courier Saramento Lewis Sarjeant- also known as Joseph Saramento. I had more or less ignored this line; after all, it is peripheral but being a bit bored recently I decided to explore, again, as you do.

What I found was an interesting, indeed fascinating group of people who moved between, Barbados, Trinidad, United Staes and Venezuela. It has become quite absorbing to trace their movements across the United States, many ending in California. 

I have thought about their movements and related them to my Australian families that moved to Australia from Irelan, England, Scotland, and Portugal. Just yesterday I found that a 5th cousin once removed, Richard Maxwell Sarjeant died in Adelaide, South Australia in 1990. It appears that Richard, his wife and his widowed mother Elsie Violet Maude Sarjeant moved to Australia shortly after his father died in Barbados in 1964. Another connection, albeit a distant one. A new resolve to visit Barbados ...



This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

R is for Rebecca (#AtoZChallenge)

R is for Rebecca (#AtoZChallenge)



Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again ...

This is the opening line to Daphne du Maurier's most famous novel Rebecca. I love all of Daphne du Maurier's stories but Rebecca is probably my favourite, I often reread it. I am obviously not alone - there were 2,829,313 copies of Rebecca sold between 1938 and 1965, and the book has never gone out of print (Wikipedia).

For those who have never had the pleasure of reading Rebecca, let me tell you a little about the book and later 1940 film, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.

The story is a psychological thriller/drama. A naïve young woman, whose name is never mentioned, is in Monte Carlo working as a paid companion when she meets the aristocratic widower Maximilian "Maxim" de Winter. They fall in love, and within two weeks they are married.

She is now the second "Mrs. de Winter"; Maxim takes her back to Manderley, his country house in Cornwall. The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers is domineering and cold and is obsessed with the beauty and sophistication of the first Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca, all things that the new wife is not.

I  could have written about one of th thirteen women named Rebecca in my family file but thought Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca much more interesting. What do you think?  Do you also love the story of Rebecca? Maybe I will read Rebecca agin this weekend ....

This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Q is for Quest (#AtoZChallenge)

Q is for Quest (#AtoZChallenge)



Quest: a long or arduous search for something (noun, thefreedictionary.com). Does that sound like genealogy and family history? It certainly does for me. The quest to find one elusive ancestor, one more bit of proof that I need to confirm that Mary is indeed my 6th great grandmother, the burial place of my WWI cousin, the occupation of my paternal grandfather, what was happening in history when my great-great-grandfather left Ireland.

I think one of the reasons I love family history is that as a child I loved puzzles, loved solving mysteries, a trait that continues to this day. Give me a psychological thriller and I am lost for hours. I especially love those that aren't solved until the last few pages. No wonder I love family history The quest to find answers to the family history puzzles are so rewarding when I find an answer and so frustrating when I do not.

Onward with the quest ... it is certainly a never-ending journey.



This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

52 Ancestors #16 - Dorothy May Thomas - my maternal grandmother

This post is for Week 16 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge - 2015 - by Amy Johnson Crow from No Story Too SmallPrompt for Week 16 - Live Long - time to feature a long-lived ancestor.

Dorothy May with her mother
For this post, I will feature my maternal grandmother, Dorothy May McCann nee Thomas. Dorothy May, Nan,  lived to the age of 98 years and three months when she passed away on the 8th December 1996. She always said she wouldn't make 100 and Nan was right as usual.

Dorothy May was born in Eton outside Mackay, Queensland in 1898. She was educated in Eton and Brisbane, at Duporth Private School at Oxley and trained as a nurse at the Brisbane General Hospital where she met the love of her life, George Douglas McCann. They were married in January 1924 in Brisbane and were happy together until Doug's death at Easter 1969.

Nan was active in the Country Women's Association, Queensland Branch and enjoyed cooking, craft and sewing. Her pastry and scones were legendary, she always scolded me for 'playing' with the dough too much, saying 'your hands are too hot' as usual she was right.

Dorothy May aged about 94
In her later years, Nan lived at Lady Small Haven retirement village at Benowa in a self-contained unit where she enjoyed craft mornings and bus trips - how she enjoyed those bus trips! I was always amused when she told me about visiting  the 'old folks' at the nursing home or hostel - they were usually younger than her. But then, age is a matter of mind really.

Nan passed away peacefully at 3:30 am on the 8th December 1996 and was cremated, and her ashes interred with her husband and youngest daughter, Joan, at Toowong Cemetery. There is a space there for me when the time comes.

I miss Nan almost every day especially when doing my family history research. I inherited all her photos and memorabilia and lots of her notes and musings. Nan was the repository of all things family and knew just when cousin so and so was married, divorced or died. As I have said before, Nan is my genie-angel.

P is for Peter (AtoZChallenge)

P is for Peter (AtoZChallenge)

P is for Peter McCann, my 4th great-grandfather. Peter McCann is my first ancestor to come to Australia, and not of his own free will, I might stress. 

Peter was born in County Monaghan, Ireland c1769, a rebel from the 1798 rebellion, tried Monaghan 1798 - sentenced to 7 years - transported on the Minerva departed Cork, Ireland on the 24th August 1799 - arrived Port Jackson on the 11th January 1800. Peter was a Catholic.

He married Mary Fitzgerald, an Irish Catholic convict lass, on the 9th January 1804 at St John's Church of England Parramatta by the Rev Samuel Marsden.

There were two children of the marriage:
Nicholas born on the 20th November 1803 in Parramatta (Nicholas was baptised on the day of their marriage) and Catherine born in July 1805 in Windsor.

Peter McCann had been assigned to the Government Farm at Castle Hill and was involved in the 1804 Castle Hill rebellion and sentenced to 100 lashes for his trouble.
Painting depicting the Battle of Vinegar Hill (Wikipedia)
The Castle Hill Rebellion of 1804 was a rebellion by convicts against colonial authority in the Castle Hill area of the British colony of New South Wales. The rebellion culminated in a battle fought between convicts and the Colonial forces of Australia on 5 March 1804 at Rouse Hill, dubbed the Battle of Vinegar Hill after the Battle of Vinegar Hill of 1798 in Ireland. It was the first and only major convict uprising in Australian history (Wikipedia).

Peter McCann died on the 21st October 1806 in the district of Richmond/Windsor - this was recorded in the "Sydney Gazette" dated 26 Oct 1806, page 1: "Peter McCann, a labourer, was unfortunately drowned on Tuesday night at Hawkesbury, in attempting to swim across Rickerby's Creek".

Peter's body was not found, obviously swept away with the flood waters. So my 4th great grandfather only survived the Colony of New South Wales for six years but in that time laid the foundation for a large family from his son Nicholas McCann.


This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

O is for Olive (#AtoZChallenge)

O is for Olive (#AtoZChallenge)


O is for Olive - Olive McCann - Aunty Ol. Catherine Olive Annie McCann was born on the 23rd September 1895 in Ballina, New South Wales. She was my great aunt.

Olive was a great businesswoman and entrepreneur. She started a fashion business shortly after the family moved to Brisbane in 1922, working at a shop in Fortitude Valley and running a salon in Queen Street Brisbane called Davids. Ol would catch the tram up from the Valley with her pay to pay the girls in Davids. The salon soon became successful and Olive left her Valley job and concentrated on her salon. Olive involved other members of her family and soon had another salon at the Adelaide Street end of the Brisbane Arcade, called Pauls Frocks. This morphed into a shop in Ruthven Street Toowoomba and one in Elizabeth Street Sydney. By then they had established a factory in Burnett Lane Brisbane called Model Manufacturers of Queensland. My grandfather, Olive's brother, was the Managing Director of the businesses. 

Olive was a woman before her time. She travelled overseas in 1937 with her sister Gladys, attended the Coronation and spent some time in Europe, particularly Paris. Apparently she purchased model gowns in London & Paris, removed the labels, sewed her labels on to avoid customs duty and returned with the garments to Brisbane where they were copied.

Olive also bought and sold racehorses and was not averse to large wagers on the same. It was reported in The Sydney Morning Herald that - Miss Olive McCann was successful in betting £10,000 at 3 to 1 on Babillard. The largest bet by a woman on the Sydney racecourse - this was in 1941.


Sadly Olive died in a car crash near Glen Innes on the 22nd July 1952, her sister, Aunty Pat,  was driving and never got over the trauma of causing Olive's death. I remember Aunty Ol as smelling lovely and always having a special suprise for me.


This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Friday, 17 April 2015

N is for Nancy (#AtoZChallenge)

N is for Nancy (#AtoZChallenge)

N is for Nancy - Nancy (Nan) McFarland. Nancy is the second wife of my black-sheep 2nd great-great-uncle - William Nelson McCann - AKA William McCann Neilson. 

Nancy was born in 1856 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, United States, the daughter of Irwin McFarland, a steel mill entrepreneur. She married William on 4th December 1894 in San Francisco, California. The following appeared in 

The San Fransisco Star of Dec 8:

Wm M Neilson, the well-known journalist was married on Wednesday last to Miss Nan McFarland, daughter of Major McFarland a Pennsylvania iron manufacturer. They will continue to reside in Vacaville, where they own a splendid and valuable ranch. They cannot live longer, more prosperously or more happily than their many friends wish.


By 1896, they were separated. On the 15th September 1896, Nancy files a petition in insolvency stating that she owes $2372 and that she has no available assets. 

This was obviously difficult marriage as Nancy had him arrested for insanity on the 19th March 1897 and taken to the Receiving Hospital in San Francisco. William appeared before a judge three days later and was declared sane.

On the 11th July 1897 William, as assignee of the estate of Nancy Neilson, an insolvent debtor, brings suit against N Neilson, Clara McFarland & Agnes Ellen Brock that Nancy Neilson with intent to defraud her creditors executed a deed for land in Solano.

Nancy was granted a divorce from William on the 6th January 1898 and was allowed $50 per month alimony. 

Nancy seems to disappear after 1898. William is in the 1900 US Census and then disappears. I am still searching  for him ...

This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

M is for Maggie (#AtoZChallenge)

M is for Maggie (#AtoZChallenge)

M is for Maggie, no not  Margaret (though there are 81 females named Margaret in my family file) but Maggie. Maggie Eunice McCann was (my great Aunty Meg) born in Lismore, New South Wales on the 25th January 1902, the 5th child of George McCann and Catherine Eunice McLaren. 

Aunty Meg was great fun when I was growing up, she smoked cigarettes and drank beer and whisky much to the regret of her Presbyterian mother, Granny McCann. Aunty Meg also played cards and I believe was a dab hand at poker. I remember Granny McCann telling me that 'cards were the instrument of the devil' - poor Aunty Meg.

Meg married Joseph Johnston, from Belfast, in Brisbane in 1922. They had six children three boys and three girls - very well organised. I didn't know Uncle Joe as they had separated before  I was old enough to realise Aunty Meg had a husband. My mother tells tales of the Johnstone clan holidaying with them at the beach and said Uncle Joe was great fun.

When I was old enough to notice such things, Aunty Meg had a 'friend', Jack Livingstone, who drove a very fancy, I'm talking 1950s here, Cadillac convertible car, painted pink. I believe Jack imported the car from the USA and had it converted. I loved being taken for a drive in that car, quite a treat in 1950s Brisbane.
Car just like Jack had - I especially remember the fins on the back
Don't know what happened to Jack, Aunty Meg died in July 1974 in Surfers Paradise and is buried in Toowong Cemetery.

As I said she was great fun, Rest in Peace Maggie.


This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

L is for Living (#AtoZChallenge)

L is for Living (#AtoZChallenge)
L is for Living. What does this mean? As an adjective: having a life; being alive; not dead: living persons. As a noun: the means of maintaining life; livelihood: to earn one's living (Dictionary.com).

Thinking of living, I looked at all the 'living' persons in my family file, i.e. the ones that I knew were 'my family' but who I didn't know their first names. I know their gender and about the time they were born but haven't followed up more information about them. Do you have some 'living' members as well? To be clear, I don't mean those family members that you have all the details. Work to do in the future ...

Then there is 'living' as the means of maintaining life, livelihood. So I thought about how my ancestors earned their daily bread. My paternal grandfather's occupation was coal trimmer. He lived and worked in Newcastle, New South Wales near the coal loading port. My fanciful imagination of what a coal trimmer would do was sitting down and trimming lumps of coal into neat shapes. It took some time for me to find that a coal trimmer was:

The person who sorts the coal in the railway cars after it is dumped into them. He spreads the coals in the waggons or carriages in which the coals are conveyed along a railway from the top of the pit to the staith -which is the place where the coals are shipped by a spout or by a machine for lowering the waggons.When coals from the waggons are dropped or spouted into the hold of a vessel they produce a conical heap which, unless provided against, would soon block up the hatchway. To prevent this, sheets of iron are laid upon the cone as it rises which cause the coals to slide off in all directions ; these are placed by a set of men, called trimmers, who with shovels and rakes still further distribute the coal, or trim the cargo (www.british-genealogy.com).

This was dirty and dangerous work. Trimmers suffered lung infections from the coal dust and an uncle was buried under coal when the coal shifted in the bunker. Chilling reading of the account in the Sydney Morning Herald.
So that's living ...

This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Monday, 13 April 2015

K is for (#AtoZChallenge)

K is for  Kathleen (#AtoZChallenge)
K is for Kathleen. When I was thinking about this blog post the words of the old song, I'll take you home again Kathleen, came into my consciousness.  When I was about five or six years old my grandmother used to drive my grandfather and his two friends home from the Criterion Hotel in George Street, Brisbane after a post-work beverage or two. One of my grandfather's friends was a man named Frank Normoyle who had a beautiful tenor voice. Frank used to sing all the way home from the city to his home in Ascot and one of my favourites was I'll take you home again Kathleen.

I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen is a popular song written by Thomas P. Westendorf in 1875. In spite of its German-American origins, it is widely mistaken to be an Irish ballad. Westendorf, then teaching at the reform school known as the Indiana House of Refuge for Juvenile Offenders in Hendricks County, Ind., wrote it – apparently – for his wife (who was, however, named Jennie). It's in the form of an "answer" to a popular ballad of the time, "Barney, Take Me Home Again," composed by Westendorf’s close friend, George W. Brown, writing under the nom de plume of George W. Persley (Wikipedia).

I find this info interesting as I was always told it was an Irish song and I'm sure Frank thought it was. His other favourite was Danny Boy.

Memories are wonderful ...

Sunday, 12 April 2015

J is for (#AtoZChallenge)

J is for James - lots of them (#AtoZChallenge)
J just has to be about James, lots of them. There are 127 males named James in my family file. Forty-eight are named James with the rest having a second and sometimes a third first name. My family seem to love three first names and quite often four.

I will write about James Neill (Neale, O'Neill) today. James is my half 3rd great-great uncle. He was born in 1809 in Windsor, New South Wales to Mary Fitzgerald and James Neill (Neale). Mary, my 4th great-grandmother, married James Neill shortly after the death of her first husband, Peter McCann. 

James trained as a stonemason with his half-brother Nicholas McCann and listed as living with Nicholas and his family in the 1828 New South Wales Census. It must have been an opportunity for romance in that household as James married Carol McGowan in 1829 who was listed as a servant employed by Nicholas in the 1828 census.

James seems to have lived an uneventful life after his marriage as there is very little evidence of him. He appears in Braidwood, New South Wales as a godparent for one of his sister's, Bridget, children Ellen Hughes. James died in 1879.

I must look further into James' life. It occurs to me that in the early days if they lived an ordinary life there is often very little to discover. I will try to find out more.

This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Friday, 10 April 2015

I is for Isadora (#AtoZChallenge)

I is for Isadora (#AtoZChallenge)
Names starting with I makes me think about the 'I names' that aren't used so much today. In my family file, there are fifteen women named Ida, none later than 1912; five named Ina, none later than 1909; twenty-four named Irene, none later than 1930 and so on ...

For no particular reason, I have decided on Isadora Gertrude May Hinkson, my 3rd cousin four times removed. Isadora was born on the 31st May 1862 in St Joseph, Barbados, the twelveth child of Mary Jane Proverbs and Samuel Gibbes Hinkson. The Hinkson family was large, fifteen children, six boys, and nine girls. Several of the Hinksopn family moved to Iowa in  the United States around the early 1880s. Isadora married Willie Houghtaling on the 7th September 1885 in Iowa. The couple had six children, four girls and two boys. Isadora died on the 14th June 1944 in Greeley, Colorado.

Isidora sometimes spelled Isadora is a female given name of Greek origin, "gift of [the goddess] Isis"). The male equivalent is Isidore. The name survived the suppression of the worship of the Egyptian goddess Isis in the newly Christianised Roman Empire and is, among others, the name of several Christian saints (Wikipedia). 


This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

H is for Hephzibah (#AtoZChallenge)

H is for Hephzibah (#AtoZChallenge)

H is for Hannah (10 of them), Harold (30 of them), Harriet (only 5 of them), Harry (16 of them), Hazel (13 of them), Heather (13 of them as well), Helen (14 of them including me), Henry (very popular 49 of them), Hephzibah (only four of these), Herbert 22 of them), Hilda (only 9), Hilton (only 5), Honor & Hope (two of each), Horace (there is 7), Hugh (20 of them) & Hughina (one only), as well as Huia, Howard, Hope, Holly, Hida, Henrietta, Helena, Hedley, Hector and so on ...

Hephzibah Cable or Hipsea for short is the name of my 4th great-grandmother. Hipsea was born in September 1753 in Hinton St George, Somerset, England, the ninth child of Edward and Ann  Cabell. She married Jonas Thomas on the 28th March 1785 at the All Saints' Church of England, Lopen, Somerset. Hipsea and Jonas had five children, all of whom baptised at the All Saints' Church. She died on the 21st March 1821 and was buried in the All Saints' churchyard.

Hephzibah or Hepzibah (English pronunciation: /ˈhɛpzɪbə/ or /ˈhɛfzɪbə/my delight is in her) is a figure in the Second Book of Kings in the Bible. She was the wife of HezekiahKing of Judah, and the mother of Manasseh. She is in 2 Kings 21:1. "Hephzibah" is also a symbolic name for Zion once it has been restored to the favor of Yahweh in Isaiah 62:4 (Wikipedia).



This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

G is for Gilbert (#AtoZChallenge)

G is for Gilbert (#AtoZChallenge)


G is for Gilbert - Gilbert Samuel Colin Latona Birkbeck - another person with many first names. What was it about our ancestors that they needed so many names? Were the parents thinking that they needed to give them four first names so they would be noticed? Just imagine learning your name as a small child and writing it.

Gilbert was the second husband of my great-grandmother, Annie Jacintha Mary Elizabeth (another with four first names), and so my grandmother's step-father. Gilbert was born in March 1876 in Brisbane, the son of Robert Epifanio Birkbeck and his wife Francesca Julia Louisa Letona Clement (another with four first names).

Gilbert was a public servant and soldier. In April 1908 Gilbert was commissioned second lieutenant in the 15th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Queensland Mounted Infantry. 

On 20 August 1914 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as a lieutenant in 'C' Squadron, 2nd Light Horse Regiment, and was promoted captain on 18 October, two days before embarking for Egypt. 
B00525 - Major Birkbeck's team of four original horses
& unidentified members of 2nd Aust LH Regiment - AWM

After training, his unit was sent to Gallipoli to fight as infantry; it took over the defence of Quinn's Post on 12 May 1915 and three days later Birkbeck was wounded while leading an abortive raid. Wounded again in a Turkish attack at Pope's Hill on 30 June, he was evacuated and rejoined his unit for the Sinai campaign. He was promoted major on 1 August 1916 and in the battle of Romani commanded 'A' Squadron.

On 15 November Gilbert's regiment joined Major General Sir Philip Chetwode's Desert Column, which attacked the Turks at Magdhaba on 22 December. Swooping on a vital Turkish redoubt from the rear, His troops cut off the only line of retreat. For his 'initiative and excellent leadership, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order

After he returned to Australia he rejopined the public service as a stock inspector. He died in 1947 and was cremated in Brisbane. My grandmother did not like her stepfather, she said he was a very strict disciplinarian. I guess that was the army in him.



This post is part of the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is Names: First Names from My Family File. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other A to Z participants, simply click here.