About cassmob

I'm a Queenslander by birth and after nearly 20 years in the Northern Territory I've returned to my home state. I've been researching my Queensland ancestors for nearly 30 years and like most Aussies I'm a typical "mongrel" with English, Irish, Scottish and German ancestry.

Lest We Forget 2019

For the astounding loss of human life and potential around the world.

For those who served and gave their lives, ally or enemy

For their country’s cause, safety and honour.

For the ANZACs who travelled so far to fight in distant lands.

For the families and communities left behind to wait and mourn,

And the children who suffered a lifetime of loss.

For those who faced cousins and kin across no-man’s-land.

Bomana War Cemetery, Port Moresby, PNG

For the navy and merchant navy whose lives ended at sea.

For the young airmen whose courage and skill saved others.

For the Prisoners of War who suffered privation, fear and torture.

For the families who would never know the fate of their soldier.

For those who returned damaged in body, mind and spirit

Cobbers’ Memorial, Fromelles

And the families who suffered with them and supported them

Whose lives would never be the same again.

For the women who would never have a partner or loved one

Due to the loss of so many men.

For the animals who gave their lives for love and loyalty, not understanding why else they were there.

For all those who stepped up to the mark in their homeland

In restricted occupations: supporting the troops, feeding the population, and working in factories.

For the railwaymen in my family who ensured the troops got to the battlefields

A German cemetery on the Western Front.

Received their munitions, and were brought home afterwards.

We offer our thanks and prayers and we remember them.

LEST WE FORGET

Fromelles War Cemetery. “My boys, my poor boys, they have killed my poor boys”. WEH Cass

Over the years I’ve written posts for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, as well as some about the Bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942. For those who are interested you can read them here.

One hundred years 2018

Grandad goes to war

Honouring the Australian born diggers with German ancestry.

William Rudolph (Robert) Kunkel (MIA Korea)

Battle of Fromelles: In Memoriam James Augustus Gavin 

V is for the Valiant of Villers-Brettoneux including James Paterson

A family Anzac: Pte Hugh Moran (POW)

V is for our Valiant Indigenous Anzacs.

Two brothers go to war and Postcards to the Front

Those who came home

A Turkish memorial near Gallipoli

War in Papua New Guinea

Erle Victor Weiss

Lest we forget: the Battle of Milne Bay

Flowers for the fallen

Lest we forget and the Bombing of Darwin

War Memorials

RootsTech London 2019 – my thoughts

I’ve mentioned before that I consider the potential benefits of a conference from a combination of factors: learning opportunities + friends and networking + location (which includes travel and research options).

Ultimately I decided to  try out the London RootsTech as I’d been to two in Salt Lake (2015 an 2017) and it also meant that I could add on a week of Scottish research beforehand.

So how did RootsTech London stack up for me?

LEARNING BENEFITS

  • Ancestry Pro-Genealogist, Ursula Krause, helping us get started with German research.

    There was a good diversity of speakers on a range of topics. Many were very knowledgeable and professional in their delivery. As always there were always more than one that was of interest in almost every time slot. Mercifully the handouts counterbalanced the need to choose. In particular I enjoyed, and learned from, presentations by Myko Clelland, Fiona Fitzsimons, Maurice Gleeson, Celia Heritage, Michelle Leonard, Ursula Krause and Jonny Perl.

  • The focus on British and European research as well as tools and techniques was particularly helpful. I didn’t attend as many DNA talks as I have in Salt Lake having recently benefitted from the amazing intensive of DNA Down Under in Sydney.
  • The facilities were good and easily accessible offset by the unpredictability of room size for different talks – how were the rooms allocated I wonder?
  • Lots of “Ask Me” assistants in this picture.

    Keynotes were very interesting. Dan Snow’s media professionalism was evident but it was his need to reflect on one ancestor’s adverse actions that was relevant to anyone who discovers less than appealing attributes of their ancestors and their lives. Kadeena Cox was less polished but no less inspiring with her emphasis on how her family’s role-modelling had helped her when she suffered what many would consider impossible health challenges. Once again I missed Donny Osmond – judging on the crowds I seem to be in the minority in my indifference. I spent time with a study buddy instead.

  • Michelle Patient (NZ) and Janet Few (UK) met up at the Name & Place stand.

    There were lots of helpers to guide mystified attendees to the rooms or provide advice. “Ask Me Anything” said their T-shirts.

  • The Exhibition Hall provided plenty of diversity with a wide range of suppliers featured. I was particularly keen on learning more from the owners of “Name and Place” and am now even more keenly awaiting its release date. It seems to be an invaluable boon to those of us with an interest in One Place Studies. I’m also curious to follow up more on Reliving Ltd.

Just a partial view of the Exhibition Hall during presentation time when it was quieter.

NETWORKS and MATES

This was absolutely the highlight for me.

  • Sharn, Pauleen and Angela on a grey day at Kew Gardens.

    I was able to have a pre-conference outing to Kew Gardens with my friend Angela, an Irish blogger, and Sharn, a genimate (and spouse) from Sydney. We had an absolutely fabulous day exploring the gardens and seeing the wonderful Chihuly exhibition. And then the chance to go around again with other friends on the Saturday evening to see the glasswork lit up…spectacular.

  • The chance to re-connect with my study buddy, Kate from Essex Voices Past, with whom I studied the Advanced Diploma in Local History through Oxford University. It was great to have a chance to hang out and chat – even if we did get distracted by some weird and wonderful outfits from Comic Con.
  • Cheri from Carolina Girl Genealogy and Cassmob.

    Meeting up with overseas genimates from RootsTech conferences past was also a winner as well as Facebook friends who I’d only ever known by reputation or virtually. It was great to meet Cheri from Carolina Girl Genealogy from whom I’d won my pass to RootsTech.

  • Thanks to GeniAus, the 50+ Australians in attendance had a networking “edge”. We already had a Facebook group in which to share news, meet others and plan the usual “pre-conference” dinner meet-up. Even so, on the last day we were still discovering Aussies who were living overseas or who hadn’t joined the Facebook group. I made new Aussie friends who I know I’ll meet at other conferences around the country. We also generated quite a bit of curiosity as some of us had adopted the US practice of conference ribbons.

Just some of the Aussies at RootsTech London. Why have we got our mouths open? We’d been saying “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oy, oy, oy”.

I took the chance to visit St Paul’s Bloomsbury where my Partridge ancestors were married.

LOCATION

  • It was clear from all the Facebook posts, and photos, as well as conversations, that many people had taken the opportunity to visit ancestral sites before/after the conference, or to do research in relevant archives.
  • Given the expense of flying from Down Under, accommodation, and exchange rate considerations, the mix of benefits is critical.

“COULD DO BETTER”

A good portion of the problem areas came from the ExCel venue and the combination of RootsTech being held at the same time as the obviously popular Comic Con event.

My genimate @TravelGenee rocking her ribbons.

  • Closure of the Customs House DLR station on Friday and Saturday eliminated one travel option.
  • Access to the walkway through ExCel was blocked leaving anyone on the western side to walk 1.3kms outside in the weather – we were lucky it wasn’t pouring! This was of particular concern to those with mobility issues.
  • Along with access issues was the prohibition on RootsTech attendees being able to access all the food outlets throughout the complex. This particularly affected those with dietary/allergy issues. Luckily I found the E16 café offered decaf coffee so they became my go-to place.
  • Comic Con brought with it lots of crowds of all ages, some eye-popping outfits and K9 units.

My ribbon spread though I didn’t add all the DNA ones – it just got too long.

RootsTech however also let the attendees down in these regards:

  • Delayed communication relating to the conference – it seemed like RootsTech Salt Lake 2020 was being given information sooner than the London conference.
  • Late disclosure of the fact that RootsTech would be at the eastern end of ExCel meant many of us had booked months before – at the western end. Earlier notice might have avoided some of our angst. There seems to be a gap in understanding that for attendees travelling vast distances to get to the conference, flights and accommodation have to be booked months in advance.
  • After many speakers waging an education campaign to make attendees realise their slides were copyright and couldn’t be photographed, London RootsTech changed the rules and each speaker’s initial slide indicated photographs were allowed. Sigh.

SUMMARY

I thought my travel dollars were well spent and I was satisfied by the experience. It was less crowded than Salt Lake RootsTech, making it less confronting for the newbies. Would I recommend it to others or go again myself? Yes, provided research or holiday travel could be combined with the conference to maximise the benefit of the total outlay.

Serendipity meets Genea-generosity

Do we under-estimate the significance of serendipity in our research: those felicitous timings of people, place or discoveries? Or do our ancestors really want us to know something and make sure we find it?

Many years ago, one of my relations told me that my great-grandparents, Duncan McCorkindale and Annie Sim, had lost twins as infants from diptheria after being vaccinated. I dutifully pursued Jessie and Hugh in the records to follow up this information. I found Jessie, born 2 July 1891, and who died on 5 February 1892 at Stirling Rd, Glasgow, aged 7 months, of disease of the bones of the ear and bronchitis[i]. To my non-medical mind this seemed unlikely to be related to vaccination.Despite searching 1891-92 I could not find the birth or death of a son Hugh to Duncan and Annie. Hence I assumed (!!!) that the story of the twins was incorrect.

 

 

Scroll forward to these past weeks when my cousin Laurie returned from a trip visiting relatives in north Queensland. We hadn’t talked about the twins previously, but these cousins told her a story that Duncan and Annie had twins who died as a result of vaccination. Interestingly, this was from the same branch of the McCorkindale line that I’d heard it from – descendants of Jane Sim (Jean) McCorkindale. However, this time it came with an addition. Our great-grandfather had refused to have other children vaccinated and went to jail! Well that was news, and initially one I felt inclined to discount. Serendipitously, one of my genimates from the United Kingdom is doing her PhD on vaccination so I messaged her and asked if prison would be the sentence if a fine wasn’t paid.

McCorkindale Hugh death 1885

Statutory Registers 644/9 712, District St Rollox, County of Lanark

Brainstorming via Facebook messenger she told me this was possible. So the search for Hugh continued by widening the timeframe. And there he was: Hugh died at 96 Abington St on 4 July 1885, aged 5 months from stricture of the intestine and had been sick for four days[ii]….poor wee mite. Once again, this cause of death seemed unlikely to be due to a vaccination. Reluctantly, we laid the family story aside as “just” another family legend.

Scroll forward a few days later and my geminate was working through copies taken for her PhD and what did she find? A reference to Duncan McCorkindale’s imprisonment in an Anti-Vaccination journal[iii] held at the Wellcome Library in London[iv]…not only that but the timings mentioned fitted exactly with what we knew of Hugh’s death and the child born after him….my grandmother Catherine (b May 1887). As you might imagine, there were happy dances in England and Queensland over this discovery as once again we messaged across the world. My family is totally indebted to Sylvia for this discovery – one I’d never have hoped to find myself. Serendipity meets genea-generosity indeed!

Next morning, I went into the British newspaper search option on FindMyPast[v]. Using “McCorkindale AND vaccination AND Glasgow” gave me a nil result so I deleted the surname and narrowed down the results to the timeframe mentioned in the journal above.

McCORKINDALE letter to editor 26 Mar 1888WOW! A letter to the editor from my great grandfather Duncan headed “Imprisonment for Vaccination in Glasgow[vi]. Duncan wrote about being imprisoned as he could not afford to pay the 30 shilling fine. He would not have his child vaccinated because it went against his conscience having lost a child previously. He stated “the child was in perfect health when taken to be vaccinated. Four hours after vaccination was performed he took suddenly ill and went into convulsions, dying three days afterwards”. He went on to describe his imprisonment with felons, the sleeping and working conditions. It’s very clear that he felt diminished by being treated like this. The child he refused to have vaccinated? Based on timing, it was my own grandmother Catherine and yet I’d heard nothing of this, nor had my cousin Laurie whose grandmother was the eldest daughter of this couple. A sad story but a wonderful insight into my family’s lives. I wonder now, whether their next children, Jean, Jessie and Edith were vaccinated, or if he continued to object, and pay the fine. The children in the photo above with their mother are these three girls.

Of course at this stage my geminate, my cousin and myself were all happy dancing enough to merit a place on Dancing with the Stars!

Like I said – this discovery came about from the serendipity of cousins talking, knowing your network of friends, and their generosity in sharing their own discoveries. I think it can rightly be called a win-win as the family has now got proof of a family anecdote and my friend has a great example to use in her PhD presentations and research. There’ll be drinks to toast our success while at RootsTech in London[vii].

Duncan McC snrBW

Duncan McCorkindale, a proud Highlander

Letter to Editor (Transcription )

SIR – I beg leave to ask your kind indulgence to give the following lines publication in your esteemed paper, so that the public may know how our law affects civil prisoners. On Monday 12th inst. I was summoned to appear before Sheriff Balfour on a charge of violating the Vaccination Act. My reason for refusing to conform to the Act arose from the fact of having lost a child two-and-a-half years ago. The child was in perfect health when taken to be vaccinated, and four hours after vaccination was performed took suddenly ill and went into convulsions, dying three days afterwards, and its death in my belief arose through vaccination. In the present case therefore I would not allow my child to be vaccinated, as by doing so I would be acting against my conscience, and for this I was sentenced by the Sheriff to pay a fine of 10s and £1 expenses with the alternative of seven days’ imprisonment. One pound ten shillings may seem a small sum to many, but for a man in my position with a small pay and a family of eight to support, it was beyond my power to pay. Therefore, I had to go to prison to be treated like a felon – no distinction being made between a respectable citizen and thieves and housebreakers, all and sundry being dressed in prison clothes, put into a cold cell with a plank bed and scanty covering, also working in outside work with criminals, such as carrying coals, sweeping snow etc. Then I was ordered back to the cell to sit with wet feet on a stone floor picking spools. I was in this pitiful condition from Monday the 12th inst at twelve o’clock till Wednesday the 14th inst at three o’clock, when a party paid the fine and I was set free. I think this was a very severe sentence to be passed. Now, sir, it seems very strange that no report of my case (the first case of imprisonment in Glasgow under the Act, if I am correctly informed) appeared in any of the newspapers, and I hope in justice to myself and the public, you will find a corner for the above unvarnished statement, for I consider I have been most severely, unmercifully and unjustly dealt with. I am etc – D McCORKINDALE Glasgow, March 24, 1888

Since vaccination is hot-button topic, and our grandson was terribly ill as an infant due to someone else not being vaccinated, I think I should state that I belong in the pro-vaccination group.

——————————————————-

[i] Birth 644/06 1095 District St Rollox, County Lanark. Death 644/6 161 District St Rollox, County Lanark

[ii] Death 644/9 712 District Kelvin County Lanark

[iii] National Anti-Vaccination League Magazine, volume 10, no 115, page 28

[iv] https://wellcomelibrary.org/

[v] https://www.findmypast.com.au/

[vi] Glasgow Evening News, March 26, 1888, page 3.

[vii] https://www.rootstech.org/london

Trove Tuesday: the tragic tale of Lizzie Brophy

On a cool autumn day, 31 May 1881, Elizabeth Brophy was in her home at Jeffcott St, Melbourne with her six year old daughter Sarah and her other daughter, Lizzie, aged four[i]. Lizzie was handicapped and could neither speak nor walk. Her usual place was tied in her chair near the fireplace where “she rocked herself about and cried continually[ii], no doubt to her mother’s aggravation. That morning, William McKenna, Elizabeth’s father and the children’s grandfather, visited and later stated that all was well. He returned around midday and while Elizabeth may have had drink taken, all was well, so he reported. Later in the day it seems Elizabeth’s mother, Bridget McKenna, and some other women had been drinking in the house though subsequent news stories make no further reference to this[iii].

William returned around dusk by which stage Elizabeth was rather the worse for wear from the drink and was aggressive and vocal. At this stage, there are conflicting stories. Lizzie was crying and her mother shook the chair and the child fell to the floor with her head near the fire. Young Sarah would later report that William was sitting by a chair near the fire and arguing with Elizabeth. William suggested he would go and get some (wood) chips for the fire but Elizabeth said she’d burn her apron, which she did. Being both drunk and aggressive…and annoyed…she went to pick up the boiling kettle to throw it over her father. Unsurprisingly, he pushed it away and the water spilled over the child on the floor as well as on the fire. William was to state that he didn’t look at the child, whom he described as an “idiot”, nor did he see if any water had been spilled on her, though he acknowledged she was screaming. His daughter Elizabeth “was in such a temper that (he) was glad to leave the house at once[iv].

Six-year-old Sarah, “was frightened and ran into the street[v], heading next door to get the neighbour, Thomas Hill, who arrived at their home about 6pm – against Elizabeth’s vociferous objections. He could hear Lizzie crying and found her outside in the yard, brought her into the house and he gave evidence that “the child’s clothes were all quite wet and she appeared to be in great agony[vi]. Hill gave Lizzie to her mother, who put her on the floor. Meanwhile Elizabeth had filled the fireplace with paper and said she was setting fire to the house… a literal fire this time for Mr Hill to extinguish. In the midst of the drama, John Brophy returned home to the domestic disaster to discover his youngest child was scalded severely. He was an engine driver with Victorian Railways so he held a responsible position and presumably had been on shift work during the day.

Around this time the local constable, Frederick Maitland, appeared, having been sent for by Hill. Once again there are conflicts, or just confusion, in the testimony. The constable said he found Elizabeth Brophy on the pavement about 100 yards from her house and arrested her because she was aggressive. Hill stated that Brophy had asked him to help tie Elizabeth’s hands in front of her because she was drunk and violent, which they did. Which came first is unclear. John Brophy took Lizzie to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in the late evening where the poor child died of her injuries a few hours later. The resident surgeon, Dr Robert Stewart testified that, based on his post mortem, she had died of shock from the scalds[vii]. Further news comment was that “her arms, legs, and part of the chest were severely burned[viii], she was “badly nourished and unable to walk although four years old[ix]. The doctor indicated that the results “had she been stronger the results would likely not have been fatal[x]….or perhaps if she’d received medical care more promptly?

Elizabeth Brophy was taken into custody pending the outcome of a coronial enquiry by Dr Youl which commenced on 2nd June and was completed on Monday 6th June. Sub-Inspector Larner posed the question many of us would like to have asked “Why did you leave the house when you saw the child scalded? Was it not your duty as a grandfather to protect the child?” William replied “I left because the woman was in a temper”. The Coroner enquired: “And do you mean to say that you left this poor unfortunate decrepit child unprotected with a woman of whom you yourself were afraid”. William “I left”.

Sarah was asked for her testimony and the coroner assessed that had given an intelligent response. Her mother, however, objected saying that it “was not fair to cross examine the child like an old person. The child would answer in the affirmative to any questions put to her. She was only two years older than the deceased baby[xi].

The jury on the coronial inquest concluded that Elizabeth Brophy was guilty of manslaughter. The coroner committed her for trial at the next Criminal sessions on 15th June 1881. Bail was then allowed.

The Criminal Trial was held and testimony taken from the same witnesses. His Honour Mr Justice Higinbotham concluded that “if the jury accepted the evidence of the daughter Sarah, the prisoner was guilty of manslaughter, but if they believed the testimony of McKenna, she ought to be acquitted”. This jury returned a verdict of “not guilty” and Elizabeth was discharged[xii].

Was their decision affected by the fact that Lizzie was handicapped? Would the outcome have been different if they’d known another daughter had died only four months earlier from diarrhoea after suffering for two weeks?[xiii]

One also can’t help wondering what reception Sarah received from her mother on her return home from prison and if she was punished for her involvement in the trials. I also wonder whether William’s four visits on this day were typical, and if so, why he went so often.

A truly heart-wrenching story of a family’s dysfunction.

When next visiting Melbourne it will be interesting to see the primary documents relating to this event.

On the positive side I can find no evidence of Elizabeth in later Trove news stories or in the Victorian Prison Records, so perhaps this caused her to mend her ways and swear off alcohol.

———————————————————–

[i] Elizabeth Brophy daughter of Elizabeth McKenna and John Silvester Brophy, born 1877 reference 23712 / 1877 and died 1881 reference 5262/1881. I have called her Lizzie throughout this story to avoid confusion with her mother, Elizabeth Brophy, nee McKenna.

[ii] INQUEST. (1881, June 7). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved September 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5977084

[iii] “THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 1881.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 2 June 1881: 5. Web. 29 Sep 2019 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5984419&gt;.

[iv] INQUEST. (1881, June 7). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved September 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5977084

[v] ibid

[vi] SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A CHILD. (1881, June 4). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918, 1935), p. 21. Retrieved September 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196566183

[vii] INQUEST. (1881, June 7). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved September 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5977084

[viii] A Doubtful Case. (1881, June 4). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 21. Retrieved September 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article219425980

[ix] SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A CHILD. (1881, June 4). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918, 1935), p. 21. Retrieved September 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196566183

[x] CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT. (1881, June 18). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 21. Retrieved September 30, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137815924

[xi] INQUEST. (1881, June 6). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved September 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article241329167

[xii] CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT. (1881, June 17). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 3. Retrieved September 29, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5987754

[xiii] Baby Catherine, a one-year-old infant died on 15 February 1881. Victorian Death Certificate 454/1881

Hazards of the Sea

Wexford Constitution 16 Feb 1861 p3

Few would be unaware of the hazards of the sea, especially in challenging storms, although most of us will have avoided ever being confronted by them.

Wexford Independent 16 Feb 1861 p2

Among the Irish newspapers on Find My Past I found some stories which attested to the toughness and determination of my ancestor, David Callaghan. In particular six fishermen were pivotal in rescuing five men (although only four survived) from the wreck of the Sir Allan McNab…in conditions which defeated a brave swimmer who attempted it and the Arklow Coast Guard. They were recognised locally for their bravery and interestingly the history of the event appears in the news over 130 years later…quite remarkable.

After pulling three miles, and after a most severe and determined struggle, they succeeded in reaching the wreck and taking off the crew in a most exhausted state – one poor fellow died soon after he reached the land.” The men were “Davy Callaghan, Michael Kelly, Any Kelly, John Massey, John Hudson and Edward Nolan”. Can you imagine the sheer physical strength needed to do that in churning seas?

Wexford Independent 6 April 1861 p2

Wexford Independent 23 Feb 1861 p2

A subscription was raised to reward the men which I gather was not typical at the time.

Enniscorthy Guardian 11 June 1992, page 5

I was very proud to read this story of my ancestor and his colleagues. Thirty years later, David would lose his own boat in a storm and a year later his son would be lost in a shipping accident in Dublin. These men lived difficult lives – no wonder they got “done” for drunkenness occasionally – and their wives and daughters would have to have been emotionally strong as well. Perhaps this is why I’ve always loved fishing harbours, but had a cautious view of the ocean. This song, Home from the Sea, by Celtic Thunder could have been written for my Callaghan ancestors…it actually gives me goosebumps.

Wexford People 17 Feb 1892 p4

Evening Herald Dublin 19 Dec 1893 p3

 

 

Of Learning and Checklists

The last six weeks or so have been full of family history learning for me.

August was Family History Month in Australia and a one-day seminar at the LDS Family History Centre at Forest Glen on 1 August was the start of lots of geneafun. For me, the stand-out speaker was Brenda Wheeler. As always the hospitality from the LDS community was excellent.

We had the second gathering of our McCorkindale cousins at Caloundra mid-August and once again all enjoyed themselves immensely. The icing on the cake was discovering new McCorkindale cousins in the UK and Australia…an tempting them to come to another gathering in 2020! As you might imagine this all kicked off a focus on our McCorkindale family who originated in Loch Awe in Argyll.

I was delighted to be able to attend the DNA Down Under session in Brisbane on 14 August and followed up with the three day intensive in Sydney from 29-31 August. Both sessions I attended were superb both in content and organisation so a huge thank you goes to Unlock the Past for this innovative program. Blaine Bettinger suggested we get a DNA Buddy to keep our feet on the ground and challenge our assumptions: straight away my genimate, TravelGenee, and I pointed at each other. I guess we’ve already been doing some of that with our coffee chat-fests. Don’t you just love it when virtual friends become real-life friends? I feel so grateful that I’ve made great friends from family history.

Since I’ve returned from Sydney I’ve been applying some of what I’ve learned, reviewing my notes and reading the 2nd edition of Blaine Bettinger’s “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy” which sold like hot cakes at the venues. Not only is Blaine an excellent speaker on matters relating to genetic genealogy, he is truly an all-round nice person. Sometimes it’s hard not to gush and be a genealogy rockstar groupie.

Between the two DNA events I enjoyed another gathering of the Brisbane Blarney Group at a pub in Brisbane hosted by genimate Crissouli. The focus is on those with Irish heritage and it’s always fun and more so as you get to know each other.

While in Sydney I scheduled some research time at the NSW State Archives at Kingswood where I did some McCorkindale research and got great assistance from the archivists with some tricky problems. More on that another time.

The last ten days have been real-life family history, spending time with the living family in Darwin and getting in lots of grandchild cuddles.

Yesterday I was privileged to be on a panel with Janice Cooper, Bob McAllister and Doug Moss at the Fridays @ QFHS seminar. Our topic was “Researching, Organising and Filing your Family History”. This was the second session on this topic in 2019. The main advantage of having a panel format for this topic as the variety of responses and strategies hopefully strike a chord with the attendees….no one way will suit everyone and as I said “my way may not be your way”. I also recommended The Organised Genealogist Facebook group as a great opportunity to discover a wide variety of strategies. As always I learned something too, and picked up clues and tips of my own, especially from Janice’s One Place Study strategies.

PD60004885_000-RootsTech19-1200x1200_LondonThe seminar also provoked me to finally do something I’ve been planning for some time: a checklist of research for family history – yours or mine. No doubt I’ve forgotten or just omitted some sources/strategies so feel free to let me know what you think should be added. I’ve included the file on this blog here.

So what’s next for me? RootsTech London, along with some of my long-standing Genimates, and the chance to meet and make new ones….and of course the learning…the schedule is jam-packed with great speakers and presentations so choosing which to attend will be a challenge. I am slightly miffed that London is taking second place in the planning and preparation to the Salt Lake conference which is still months away as it would be helpful to have the RootsTech updated for London…however that’s a small matter. I’m so grateful to Carolina Girl Genealogy and RootsTech London for the free pass I won which reimbursed my early registration. I’m really looking forward to meeting Cheri in person! In the meantime I’ve got lots of homework to prepare for a week’s research time in Scotland before RootsTech. Focus will be the name of the game!

What was I thinking – I published without adding photos. My apologies!

 

 

DNA to the Max

Yesterday the Castle Hill RSL had an electric atmosphere as 400 hyper-excited amateur genetic genealogists convened to hear a panel of experts teach them more about DNA, what it means for genealogy and how to maximise its benefits. Add to that the opportunity to catch up with genimates from all over the conference, make some new friends, meet some “old” friends, and meet some blogging genimates in person for the first time.

Once again the primary attraction was DNA guru Blaine Bettinger from the USA. It’s as well that Blaine is such a lovely human being as otherwise he would be full of himself from everyone’s awed enthusiasm for him. It was perhaps surprising how many had attended the DNA Down Under seminars in other cities and knew what a treat we were in for, as we also had our national DNA gurus to teach us as well.

First talk of the day and Blaine completely tipped my thoughts on ethnicity results from DNA onto their head. I won’t be quite so glib about dismissing it any more. I also learnt more about 23 and me’s offerings so again I need to look more into my results from that company. Interestingly that is where I have several of my Kunkel matches. It also encouraged me to look again at my Genetic Communities on Ancestry. He also emphasised that, currently at least, it’s most helpful to look at our ethnicity from a continental perspective rather than individual countries.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kerry Farmer’s talk on combining DNA with traditional genealogy. We all know that DNA isn’t a magic bullet that will drop our entire family history in our laps but it was very interesting to see Kerry’s practical application of using traditional genealogy and targeted DNA testing to determine formerly unknown ancestors. I also liked that she showed us it might still be a work in progress.

Both Kerry and Blaine emphasised the importance of looking at your tree completeness and that of your DNA matches.

Louise Coakley from North Queensland gave a great explanation of how the different types of DNA that can be tested are inherited.

Blaine’s presentation on the “Latest additions in third party tools” reminded me that I had opened an account at Genetic Affairs and perhaps it was time to revisit it…oops. In GEDmatch I’d noticed only last week there was an option to build a Superkit but didn’t get round to exploring it. Now I know what it does, and how it can be of benefit, it’s gone on my “To Do” list…my notes are scattered with asterisked “check this”, “do this” comments.

His talk on “Identifying your DNA matches” he says may seem a “bit creepy’ to some people but he gave us different strategies for focusing in on those good matches with strong centimorgan lengths. I’m sure it’s because of this that last night it finally dawned on me that one of my more recent match names was dimly familiar from email exchanges over 20 years ago. I’m going to have to wait until I get home to follow up on those but meanwhile I can send a brief message to her.

We rounded off the day with a dinner meeting of those attending RootsTech London in October. Thanks GeniAus for organising that.

So at the end of day 1 it was clear it was not only DNA to the Max, it was a DNA Intensive. Speaking for myself I know I was challenged more yesterday than I had been at the one day seminar in Brisbane, I suppose because it took the learning to another level.

Thanks to all the wonderful speakers and to Unlock the Past for giving us all this opportunity.

I was delighted to meet my genimate Fiona Tellesson in person!

Finding the Fass in Bavarian papers

I have been spending happy hours chasing down stories about ancestors and other emigrants from the village of Dorfprozelten in this site for Bavarian newspapers: digiPress – Das Zeitungsportal der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek

At least some of my discoveries are ones I’ve previously found by searching Google Books (yes, not newspapers) where you’ll find digital versions of some Bavarian newspapers. I wrote about this some years ago, here, here, here, and here

Aschaffenburger Zeitung, 22.12.1846 p4

Aschaffenburger Zeitung, 22.12.1846, p4

However, I’ve also found some new articles including the liquidation of my ancestor’s inn in Dorfprozelten, which seemed to teeter on, into the future for a while. Then last night I made a discovery of the sale of the inn in 1868. This occurred because key members of the family had died of Lungensucht which I understand to be tuberculosis or similar. The inn had been in the hands of my 2xgreat grandfather’s step-brother, Jakob August Ulrich who died on 19 June 1868, followed by his wife Elisabeth Firmbach on 20 August 1868. Shortly afterwards, on 15 October 1868, Eva Catharina Kunkel, born Happ, also died. Catharine Happ later Ulrich then Kunkel was the mother of both Jakob Ulrich and my George Mathias Kunkel. These consecutive tragedies marked the end of the Happ family’s history with Das “Goldene Fass” which had been in business for over 100 years by then. Jakob and Elisabeth’s children emigrated to upstate New York.

As always, I’m indebted to local historian, Georg Veh and the team who wrote the wonderful book “Dorfprozelten Teil II” for information relating to my family, and for the photo of the inn.

There are some tricks to be used when searching these papers:

Tip 1: Spellings may vary from what you’re familiar with, so do try to use the German version eg Georg not George (Not that I’ve found him – yet!)

Tip 2: the first search and the first time an image comes up it is very sloooow. After that, each image comes up much more promptly.

Tip 3: When you get the little image snapshot, you can click the down arrow to see what it includes. Clicking the image itself brings up the whole page.

Tip 4: Once the page has loaded, if you click the download icon at the top right, you can click on the JPG options and see the image separately, enabling you to save it.

Tip 5: This doesn’t tell you which newspaper, date, or page you’ve found it on, so best to include that information in your saved name.

Tip 6: If you have a long place name like Dorfprozelten, it is worth searching with it hyphenated eg Dorf-prozelten as you will get different additional results.

Fass Sale 1868 Aschaffenburger Zeitung

Aschaffenburger Zeitung, 22.12.1846 p4

And now let me share with you my major discovery.

My feeble translation courtesy of my outdated German skills, Reverso and my very large German dictionary…all of which were defeated by some phrases/words/sentences.

In the estate of Jakob Ullrich Widow Elizabeth of Dorfprozelten, auction by the under…(signed?) Notary.

Thursday 17 September …1pm in the Guesthouse “Fass” in Dorfprozelten

  1. Following real estate
  2. The Guesthouse “Fass” Plan number 341 -119 decimal (?) residence with stable, pig house, brewery, barn, bar-hall (??), barn, guest…rooms, well managed (carriageway??) ….and farmyard.
A postcard of Das Goldene Fass mid-20thC. Kindly provided to me by Georg Veh, local historian.

Das Goldene Fass before its demolition for a bank in the 1960s. Image kindly provided by Georg Veh.

Plan number 343* -19 decimal, Entry and farmyard, one-eighth share (??)

Plan number 349-123 decimal, nurseries (hothouses?) to both sides of the carriageway

  1. Plan number 4433-170 decimal, vineyard Rothenhäuser
  2. Plan number 1412-619 decimal, vein/core of the ….(Abschlag) of Hösbach
  3. The same Guesthouse -Inventory

Tables, …., stools/chairs, glasses (?), Beds etc

The inn’s position in the middle of the High Street of some 1200 residents of the village of Dorfprozelten is one of the most favourable.

The Money for the moveable property is therefore…, that for plan numbers 4433 and 1412 to pay nearly 5% ???? in 1869, 1870 and 1871.

The rest largely defeated me but it seems that there was an amount of 2400 florins and 5% interest remaining. (????)

There were three payments due in 1860, 1870 and 1871 at 5%.

Anyone who has better German skills than I do, is more than welcome to correct or clarify. I’ve also discovered from this that perhaps I need to investigate the relevance of Hösbach.

Happy hunting if you’re looking for your Bavarian ancestors’ story.

 

 

“Waves in Time” is rolling in

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Mooloolaba Beach from Surf Lifesavers’ Club.

Things are abuzz on the Sunshine Coast with only “two more sleeps” until “Waves” rolls onto our shores. Waves in Time 2019 is being hosted by History Queensland Inc and Caloundra Family History Research Inc and an enormous effort has gone into hosting this conference – thanks to all those who’ve been involved.

SPONSORS

No conference these days can proceed without the generosity of its sponsors so a huge THANKS to State Library of Queensland (Platinum sponsor); National Archives of Australia and the University of New England (Gold sponsors); Boolarong Press, Ancestry Australia & New Zealand, and Sunshine Coast Council Heritage (Silver sponsors); Gould Genealogy, Unlock the Past and Genebooks and My Heritage (Bronze sponsors); as well as Conference Supporter, Joy Murrin Family History Services.

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Mooloolaba Beach

SPEAKERS

I’m sure you’ve checked out the program but have you also looked at the Speaker Profiles on the Conference website? And find out about the speakers’ interests and what they think are the benefits of a genealogy conference by reading the “Meet the Speaker” interviews hosted on the blogs of the Conference Ambassadors (Shauna Hicks, Fran Kitto, Helen Smith and myself).

EXHIBITORS

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Waves rolling in!

There will be so many wonderful exhibitors at the Fair and the Conference that they can’t all be listed here. Do go to this link and make sure you find your way to each and see what they can offer your family history research. For those dabbling their toes in the genealogical waves, these organisations and societies are a first-step to finding out where you can source information.

Tip: If you’re visiting the Fair only, check out the conference timetable as it’s likely the exhibitor booths will be quieter during presentations.

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Cotton Tree – where the Maroochy River joins the sea.

ATTENDEES – Are you conference ready?

I’m sure you’ve already looked through the program and worked out which presentations you want most to attend. You may have also completed the form that was sent out indicating your preferences.

Tip: It’s okay if you suddenly decide you really, really want to hear the alternate presentation.

Tip: With all the talks on offer, the time between talks will be short and sweet. Never fear, the speakers will be around the conference venue and will welcome enquiries and feedback.

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Coolum Beach at sunset.

Tip: Have you checked out the recent newsletter from the organisers so you’re up to date with what’s happening.

Tip: If you’re on Facebook you can join the Genimates at #wavesintime2019 Facebook Group.

Social Media: the hashtag for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook posts on the conference is #wavesintime2019. Using this tag means others can also follow your posts.

WHAT TO BRING

Your sense of enthusiasm and a happy smile.

Willingness to meet and greet new people.

A print-out of the parking/walking guide from the Conference website.

https://wavesintime2019.org.au/wp-content/uploads/WALK-MAP-AND-PARKING-MAP.pdf

A print-out of the Shuttle Bus timetable.

A notebook or iPad for note taking.

A power pack and phone/iPad charger cords in case your technology gets run down.

Contact/business cards if you have them.

Blogger beads (if you’re a blogger and have them). Have you completed the form on the Genimates Facebook page with your blog name?

A jumper/cardigan/pashmina/jacket in case the air conditioning, or weather, is cool.

If you’re not attending the conference dinner and are planning to go to one of the local venues which offers bus transport, it might be wise to see if you need to book in advance.

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The Glasshouse Mountains from Maleny.

If you want to use public transport, do remember to bring your Go Card with you. This is a link to the bus services on the Coast. https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Living-and-Community/Roads-and-Transport/Public-Transport/Bus-and-Train/TransLink-Sunbus

Timetables etc are available on the Translink Journey Planner.

Information on the Go Explore card can be found here.

Can you think of anything I’ve forgotten?

WELCOME

We all hope you have a wonderful time at the Waves in Time 2019 Conference, and that you manage to see some of the beautiful Sunshine Coast while you’re here. After all, we have plenty of real waves as well as genealogical ones! There’s so much fun possible for you or your non-genealogical family.

Here are some choices:

Mooloolaba Beach

Caloundra

Coolum Beach and environs

Australia Zoo

Maleny and the hinterland

Noosa and environs

Sealife, Mooloolaba

Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens

Eumundi Markets (go early for parking)

Kiva Genealogists for Families

Have you considered joining your fellow genealogists in supporting the Kiva Genealogists for Families team? You can learn more about it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Speaker: Dr Jennifer Harrison

Jennifer-HARRISON-225x300Can you believe that it’s only 10 more sleeps until Waves in Time 2019? I hope you’re as excited about it as I am…genimates to catch up with and general family history learning and fun for three full days!!

There’s always something to inspire us at conferences with a range of topics and speakers. Today I want to introduce you to Dr Jennifer Harrison, who will be speaking on In their own words: How 1860s immigrants sailed Waves in Time to Queensland.  Migration is one of my own interests so this is a go-to topic for me personally.

I wonder if you could tell us a little about your background?  Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation?  

I am an academic historian who believes that among the elements which make up history: a time period, locations, events and people, the most important is people – although in some stories one or more of the other characteristics may also be important.  I think this is reflected in my employment as Queensland researcher for The Australian Dictionary of Biography with ANU Canberra and my long associations with a number of family history societies.  So, I guess, in answering the question, I am a family historian, a researcher, an historian and I fully support the organisations represented by History Queensland.

What do you love most about genealogy/family history/history/heraldry? 

I guess I love the fact that once I start exploring a life story, I never know where it will take me physically, mentally, geographically and in life experiences.

Have you attended a History Queensland Conference in previous years?

Yes, I have attended the two previous functions and will continue into the future because I believe the programs, opportunities to meet people and access to tools, provided by the exhibitors to be incredibly stimulating.

How do you think your topic/s will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference?

I sincerely hope that my selected topic will assist people realise that there is an end to the long sea journey and that immediate responses by incomers, officials at the destination and facing new prospects required enormous mental and physical energy and demonstrates what strength our forebears displayed in order to make such a big relocation.

Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?

I guess I try to stick by: “Never ever assume” and “Footnote (or appropriately reference) as you go” but I am not always successful – still both are excellent and essential rules.

 What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for you personally and for others attending?

The opportunity to seek new solutions, learn new methodologies and make friends in a holiday atmosphere.  Find out new sources, what is available and who is involved – absorb, learn and enjoy.  It is not funding issues that thwart me – time, time, time but I am doing my best.

If you could pick one new project to do, what would it be? (Assuming no funding issues)

Currently it would be to continue with my British soldiers at Moreton Bay project.  Not new?  Then a detailed outline of migration to Queensland during the nineteenth century.

Disclaimer: As a Waves in Time Ambassador I receive a free registration in return for promoting the conference in various social media forums and on my blog.