Tips for German research

CFH-Widget-Germans-P-Cass-6-8-20209-NFHMFollowing on my presentation today as part of National Family History Month and hosted by Caloundra Family History Research Inc, I’m listing some research options.

German Newspapers can be searched:

https://digipress.digitale-sammlungen.de/search/simple

With more difficulty through Google Books (not newspapers):

https://books.google.com.au/

My tips for searching can be reviewed in this blog post:

https://cassmobfamilyhistory.com/2012/10/23/searching-german-newspapersbooks/

https://cassmobfamilyhistory.com/2019/05/31/finding-the-fass-in-bavarian-papers/

My Dorfprozelten blog:

https://dorfprozeltenaus.wordpress.com/

The WWI service of the Dorfprozelten descendants

https://cassmobfamilyhistory.com/2011/11/11/remembrance-day-honouring-the-australian-born-diggers-with-german-ancestry/

Sketches by Conrad Martens: Google search

Text Queensland https://www.textqueensland.com.au/

AncesTree: the journal of the Burwood and District Family History GroupArticles by Jenny Paterson about the German immigration ships. https://bdfhg.weebly.com/ances-tree-articles-by-date.html

They weren’t all Lutherans – A case study of a small group of German Catholics who emigrated to Australia from Dorfprozelten, Bavaria. Cass, P. Published in the Proceedings of the 11th Australasian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry, Darwin, 2006 (try your local family history society for this book).

Research Recommendations:

  1. Local histories – Australian area & in Germany
  2. Catholic church records – Australia & Germany. Try familysearch catalogue: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog
  3. Cross-reference sources to confirm details.
  4. Email contact with other family historians who come from the same area.
  5. Photos and newspapers on Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/
  6. War service information, including photos: awm.gov.au and www.naa.gov.au
  7. Genealogical, family history, and local history societies for indexes/references
  8. Kopittke indexes (online ordering from QFHS) https://www.qfhs.org.au/shop/shop-catalogue/society-publications/shipping-migration/
  9. Hamburg passenger lists 1850 -1934 https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1068/
  10. Catholic Archives or parishes in your area of interest
  11. Online grave searches eg Drayton and Toowoomba cemetery http://www.tr.qld.gov.au/facilities-recreation/cemeteries/deceased-search/burials
  12. Online mapping services
  13. Church histories (books or web)
  14. University libraries for studies and theses on your area of interest

Books on Dorfprozelten

Dorfprozelten Am MainDorfprozelten Schüler, Schulmeister Schulhäuser 1600-1998. Veh, G, Benedict Press, 1998.

Dorfprozelten am Main, ein Dorf im Wandel, seiner 1000jähriger Geschichte. Arnold, W; Lang, Elsa; Veh, Georg; Weiss Josef; Zőller Eugen; Zőller Werner. Benedict Press, 1995.

Dorfprozelten am Main Teil II

Veh, G, Benedict Press, 2002.

Note: This book is held by the Genealogical Society of Queensland, along with a partial index.

Thank you to Caloundra for offering me the chance to speak on this topic, and to all those who joined in.

Trove Tuesday: Thanksgiving Day in Brisbane 1942

The Battle of Brisbane or “Celebrating” Thanksgiving Day 1942

Thanksgiving Day 1942 must have seemed so very strange for the American forces stationed in Brisbane. Not only were they away from their families on what is possibly the most important family date on the American calendar, but the world around them would have felt so strange. Brisbane was approaching summer with blue skies and sunshine. The jacaranda trees would have been in full flower – traditionally exam time for local students. It’s fair to say that most Brisbane people would have had no idea what Thanksgiving was all about, or why it mattered so much to the men. Nevertheless, there were plans to give them a traditional Thanksgiving meal with formal dinners, dinner in the canteen, or at family homes around town.

American red cross service club

Brisbane City Council (1943). American Red Cross Services Club.

The Red Cross went to a great deal of trouble for the men so they would feel more at home with turkey, pumpkin pie and plum pudding. I’d imagine they’d have thoroughly enjoyed the meal but I do wonder where all those turkeys came from – I remember even as a child that cooked chicken was expensive and I can’t recall ever seeing a turkey, cooked or live.

thanksgiving

(2005). Workers carve 250 turkeys for Thanksgiving Day dinners at the American Red Cross Services Club, Creek Street, Brisbane, 1942. State Library of Queensland

During the days, life continued on as usual around town. One Brisbane woman who worked at the American Red Cross, reports “the city was jam-packed with Americans strutting around in fancy clothes. Walking down Queen St (the main street in the CBD) in 1942, I would say there were nine men to every woman, and six or seven of the men would be Americans…The Americans gave presents to the girls and won them over, which was extraordinarily annoying for the Australians[i]. Many women also worked repairing US service uniforms. Their employment gave them entitlement “to go to the American Red Cross canteen opposite the Gresham Hotel and have your meals.… they had so many things you couldn’t get in the shops like salmon and chocolates and Nestles tinned cream. The boys used to bring us nylon stockings[ii] The social pressure cooker was bubbling away beneath the surface.

clothing repair shop

Unidentified (1944). Clothing Repair Shop No. 2, Brisbane, ca. 1944. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Wherever men are gathered at leisure, and able to have a few (?) drinks, there’s always the risk of a testosterone takeover especially when they’re geared up to go to war. Aussie soldiers, it must be said were very inclined to this social activity. Never known for  being compliant to superior officers unless they were well respected, it could take very little to set them off. On top of which Australians at the time had little inclination to fight with knives or weapons (at least when not in battle) – something which had been occurring in the recent past in Brisbane. Esteemed war photographer Damien Parer is quoted as saying “Those American MPs, the bloody bastards, they always hit first and talked afterwards.[iii]

US MPs

(2005). American military police outside the Central Hotel, Brisbane, Queensland, 1942. State Library of Queensland.

And so the scene was set. An American, Private James Stein, from the 404th signal company accepted an invitation to have a Thanksgiving drink with an Aussie soldier at their canteen. He had a leave pass so was confident he would pass muster with the patrolling MPs. Leaving the canteen after a few drinks, he literally ran into an Aussie former soldier, Ed Webster, recently returned from Syria and the Middle East campaigns.

Daily News Perth 27 Nov 1942 p8

Soldiers Riot In Brisbane (1942, November 27). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), p. 8 (CITY FINAL). Retrieved July 14, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78306972

Before it could get confrontational, the MPs intervened and asked to see Stein’s pass. The attitude of the MPs set off the Aussie dislike of authority and they angrily took exception to the MPs. They in turn, unwisely, struck one of the Australians with his baton. It was now on for young and old! He was punched and kicked and then chased back to the PX building on the corner of Adelaide and Creek Streets.

As more MPs got involved and passing Diggers decided to get into the action, it got very ugly very quickly. The MPs called in off duty reinforcements from across the river as the Australians did their best to destroy every window in the PX building. Police were called but the suggestion is they did little to control the mob. Similarly, the Australian MPs, who were only a small group and armed, but without ammunition, did their best to stay out of the melée. A fire engine arrived and the firemen were requested to use fire hoses to disband the crowd – they declined saying controlling riots wasn’t their job.

The arrival of a heavy vehicle and Provosts who’d been armed with loaded riot guns was a red rag to the Australian mob. (It was the 1970s before Queensland Police would carry guns). Norbert Grant, one of the provosts, was attacked by Webster and in the process his gun discharged. Webster was fatally injured though his name was mostly not mentioned in news reports.   Several other shots were discharged and seven others were shot, some severely but not fatally. Another eight were injured by batons. “The use of a shotgun on Australian troops had enraged the rioters.[iv]” Most of the men in the rioting crowd were from the 9th Battalion who had previously experienced heavy fighting in the Middle East and Milne Bay. They were not men to back down easily. “They [the American MPs] picked on the wrong mob, it was the silliest thing they ever did.[v]

Repairing American canteen

(2007). Repairing broken windows at the American canteen, Brisbane, November 1942. State Library of Queensland

Order was eventually restored that night but feelings ran high in the ensuing days. The canteens were closed and the brownout lifted in some city streets. Despite this gangs of Australian soldiers (rabble really) wandered the streets looking for Americans to attack and when found they would given them a massive bashing and kicking. A disgrace entirely. For some bizarre reason, no decision was made to keep the men in their barracks until feelings might have died down.

The Herald 27 Nov 1942 p3

One Dead; 16 Hurt In Brisbane Riot (1942, November 27). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved July 14, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article245115498

Reports of the riot were covered in newspapers the length and breadth of the country and it’s surpising how sometime the most accurate reports came from farther away. However not all were accurate as they mis-reported the name of the deceased soldier and instead included the name of one of the severely injured.

American Lt Bob Firehock is quoted as saying “the Battle of Brisbane was a tragedy that should never have happened[vi]. I would add that it’s an ignominious episode in Brisbane’s history. So many strategic decisions could have been made differently that might have avoided or moderated the outcome. “The Battle of Brisbane” book provides insights into the attitudes preceded the riot as well as how it might have been handled otherwise.

On a personal note, it’s a strange thing to think of an event like this in my home town. Even stranger that mum was only a teenager working in the city, and well monitored by her father I have no doubt, while Dad was with Queensland Railways, an essential occupation. I know he talked about the event very briefly once, and I took some notes….but where are they? Mum doesn’t recall much about it at all.

In the aftermath, some of the Australian soldiers were charged and sent to prison. The American MP, Norbert Grant, was found not guilty of manslaughter in the death of Ed Webster.

Brisbane brawls Cairns Post 30 Nov 1942 p4

BRISBANE BRAWLS. (1942, November 30). Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved July 14, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42369776

There was no indication in most of the news reports of the nationality of the participants to avoid making it clear to the enemy that the Allies were fighting among themselves. No wonder we love Trove when it opens up so many wonders for us but this one did give me a good giggle.

Typo on Trove

Those who are interested can follow the articles and photos I flagged in the Brisbane 1940s list on Trove. There are also a couple of interesting articles online:

Australia at War: the Battle of Brisbane has an excellent mud map if you want to orient yourself to the events.

The Battle of Brisbane by Dr Judith Powell

I will also have to look out this book to see if it offers a different perspective.

They Passed This Way: The United States of America, the States of Australia and World War II, By Barry Ralph

I was cheered a little by this image of a square dance in Brisbane for Thanksgiving 1943. A lot more pleasant than the events of 1942.

Square dancing Thanksgiving 1943

(2005). Square dancing at the Riverview Leave Area, Brisbane, Thanksgiving 1943. State Library of Queensland

war brides

(2005). Happy young brides on board a ship bound for their new homes in America, Brisbane, September 1945. State Library of Queensland

 


[i] Thompson, P. A and Macklin R. The Battle of Brisbane: Australians and the Yanks at War. ABC Books, Sydney 2001, pages 155-156

[ii] Ibid pp103014 Gloria Valentine later Mrs Gloria Bradshaw.

[iii] Ibid p209

[iv] Ibid p215

[v] Ibid p215 quoting Lt Lance Watts of the 2/2nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Webster’s former unit.

[vi] Ibid p217

Ibid pp219-226

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sepia Saturday: Wartime in Brisbane

Unidentified (1940). View along Adelaide Street, Brisbane, ca. 1940. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Brisbane in the late 1930s was a sleepy town more reminiscent of a country town than the capital of the state of Queensland in the land Down Under. That would change in 1939 when Australia entered World War II and men and munitions were despatched forth for embarkation to the European front.

AERIAL STARBOARD SIDE VIEW OF THE AMERICAN TANSPORT HOLBROOK WHICH BROUGHT US TROOPS TO AUSTRALIA AS PART OF THE PENSACOLA CONVOY IN 1941-12

Japan entered the war by bombing  Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 and then made swift and steady progress south through Asia. After this attack by Japan, America entered the war with specific concerns about the Japanese focus on the Philippines where the USA had significant military and naval interests. The Pensacola Convoy of ships was heading to their Philippines base prior to Pearl Harbor but were re-routed to sleepy Brisbane. As with a US naval visit in 1941, the troops were welcomed with great excitement especially by the women of the town. Already the seeds of disenchantment, frustration and anger were being sown.

2005. Women with visiting American sailors, Brisbane, Queensland, 1941. State Library of Queensland.

Australia’s new Prime Minister, John Curtin, was forced into a conflict of wills with Britain’s Winston Churchill to bring our troops back from the European front, north Africa and the Middle East. The Fall of Singapore in February 1942 and capture of Australian (and other) troops and evacuation of civilians and nurses certainly caused great anxiety in Australia. Britain had refused to believe Singapore could be defeated, assuming any attack would come from the sea not through the back door overland. With the determined and steady approach of the Japanese military, there was a fear that Australia was in the line of attack. No doubt the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942, of Broome on 3 March 1942, and Townsville on 25 July 1942 could only have exacerbated that fear.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT. 1972-09-15. A copy of  a colour lithographic print of a painting by a Japanese artist, showing the signing of around a long table of the surrender documents at Singapore, by Lieutenant General A E Percival on 1942–02-15. The table is now in the collection of the Australian War Memorial. Image out of copyright.

There is a strong belief, at least in Queensland, that, during the war years, our national policy was to defend the country below the Brisbane line. The rest of the state, to Brisbane’s north, was to be considered expendable. This strategy has been widely disputed over the decades but only detailed historical research would confirm or deny it.

I have often wondered whether it was a coincidence that my grandfather relocated his family from Townsville to Brisbane in mid-1941. He was a supervisor in the carpentry workshop with the railways, an essential service during the war. I can only imagine how relieved he must have been to be miles away when Townsville was bombed, but perhaps less thrilled to have three teenaged daughters in Brisbane with the presence of so many Australian or US troops.

Brisbane City Council (1942). Air Raid Shelters and Salt Water Pipes in Elizabeth Street behind the General Post Office.

Just imagine Brisbane at the time: a country-town sized capital of some 330,000 people firmly entrenched in the idea of Britain as home and with very British attitudes. The architecture was peculiar to this sub-tropical town with many wooden houses built on stilts and hotels with wide verandahs – it probably all looked a bit “wild west” to the incoming troops. Sadly, today much of that diverse architecture no longer stands having been wilfully demolished to make way for grander, taller, more modern buildings.

Unidentified (1942). Australian Hotel in Brisbane during World War II. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. This hotel was not far from the US PX.

During the years 1941-1945, around 90,000 US military (including the much-debated General MacArthur) would pour into the town. If we put a rubbery 1:3 ratio on the men in the local population, they were matched 1 to 1 by the new arrivals although many Australian soldiers (Diggers) were already posted elsewhere. There was also resentment between the two forces about their relative fighting “performances” in the highly challenging Papua New Guinea confrontations with the Japanese, even though the first land battle defeat of the Japanese had occurred in Milne Bay in August 1942.

Unidentified (1942). American soldiers in Charlotte Street, Brisbane, ca. 1942. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

The local mantra during the war was that the US men were “overpaid, oversexed and over here”. Their uniforms were smarter, their pay was higher, and they had access to goods not available in the city’s shops through their Post Exchange or PX, and they were “exotic”. Perhaps unsurprisingly they were a big hit with the young Brisbane women.  The sad thing is how the behaviour of the women is reported – as if they were floozies, “no better than they ought to be”, tarts or amateur prostitutes. It seems that, as so often happens, the women got the blame for social behaviour. Add to that their Australian men weren’t socialised to just hang out with women and generally spent their spare time with their mates. Even today Aussie barbeques are famous for the division of the sexes. It can be argued that there was little difference between the Diggers in England during the war(s) when they were the exotic overpaid troops. The reality is that wherever men were stationed, they fell in love (or lust) with local women, and some married and the new-minted wives moved back to the man’s home country, as war brides.

Brisbane City Council (1950). Corner of Queen Street and Creek Street Brisbane.

It’s pretty easy to see in retrospect that there might be trouble brewing in sleepy Brisbane, but it seemed to have escaped the attention of the powers that be. On top of the social tensions, it was quite likely that tempers might well have been short simply because the heat and humidity of the approaching Brisbane summer.

Tensions would erupt with a vengeance on Thanksgiving Day in 1942. Come back tomorrow and learn what happened in sleepy downtown Brisbane. (pronounced, btw, as Bris-bin not Bris-BANE).

Meanwhile, venture over to see where other Sepians travelled this week.

Sepia Saturday 528 Header

As I write, US marines are currently stationed in Darwin in Australia’s north, and have been since 2011/12.  This is in addition to the Pine Gap base in Australia’s Red Centre.

You can read a few stories about the strategic decision to send the marines to Australia here and here. You can read some of my earlier stories about the Pitch Black multi-national ops in Darwin here on my other blog.

Queensland Newspapers Pty Ltd (2007). American serviceman meeting a wallaby in Brisbane, Queensland. State Library of Queensland.

 

Sepia Saturday: Windows and heritage

sepia Sat 7 June

A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside. Denis Waitley, American author. (Brainyquotes.com)

nora bodyke

This beautiful lady is Nora, my third cousin once removed. Over forty years ago, she visited the home of her great-grandmother (my 2xgreat grandmother’s sister). The home was in the townland of Ballydonaghan, near the town of Bodyke in County Clare.

It was thanks to an oral history tip from a Kunkel cousin that I learned about Nora and her sister in Sydney. I was lucky enough to visit them while on work trips initially and more recently on any trip to Sydney. Over the years Nora has shared so many family stories, provided me with photos and funeral cards, and linked me to the US branch of our O’Brien family. I am truly indebted to her, and for this reason I asked her to launch my Kunkel-O’Brien book in November 2003.

Nora was a trail blazer in her career as a woman clerk with the New South Wales public service as well as serving with the WRAAC Citizens Army Force, eventually rising to be a Captain. This is her entry in the Australian Women’s Register. She is as smart as a whip as well as being a kind and generous person, and I’ve been privileged to have her in my life.

NORA STUFF 097 (2)

Nora’s Irish cousins and mine. We’ve been lucky enough to meet a couple of times when our travels have taken us to Ireland. If you’d like to read more about Hanora(h) Garvey nee O’Brien, you might like this blog post.

The Garvey family in Sydney remembered their ancestors in a stained glass church window at St Peter’s in Surry Hills.

Garvey windows crop

Nothing on this window gives a clue that John and Honora Garvey lived and died in Ireland.

Keep creating new windows from which to look at your world. Never accept your current view of the world as the only view. Let new awareness help you to alter your view and motivate you to be the force of change in your life. Don Shapiro.

Why not pop over to see what other Sepians have found when they’ve peeked out their windows?

 

Crazy month of May 2020 meme: pandemic experiences

Image by Devanath from Pixabay

In the past we’ve done the May Music Meme 2012 and the May Movie Meme 2016. It occurred to me that perhaps we should have a meme which captures our response to the hopefully-once-in-a-lifetime May that we’ve just navigated….it might be a way to preserve the tip of our experiences. Remember that many blogs are being archived in Pandora so perhaps this is a way for our descendants to learn about our experiences during the covid-19 crisis.

If you’re so inclined, why not join me in completing this meme. Be as brief or lengthy as you like and feel free to add more than one response to a question.

What are you most grateful for during this covid-19 crisis?

What have you missed most during the full or partial lock-down?

Has your hobby sustained you during this time?

What changes have you seen in your life over May 2020?

Have you been exercising more or less?

Has the refrigerator been your friend or foe?

Have you been participating in virtual gatherings with friends or family?

Have you taken up new hobbies during the lockdowns?

Are you cooking or gardening more?

Have you shopped more or less? Online or offline?

What have you found to be the strangest change to your life?

Have you found the changes and experience stressful/anxious/worrying?

How have the closures affected your local community?

Have in-person meetings been replaced with virtual meetings via Zoom, Skype etc?

Do you enjoy the virtual meeting format?

Are you working from home instead of in your usual place of work?

Have your habits changed over the past months?

Have you had to cancel travel plans for pleasure or family?

Do you think you’ll be able to travel in 2020?

Have you/others been wearing masks when out and about in your area?

Will you change your lifestyle after this experience?

Since it seems I conjure up one of these memes every four years, you and I will be free now until 2024. I’ll collate the responses into a blog post next week. If possible please link back so I know you’ve memed along with me.

Serendipity, Skills and Talents

S2020Serendipity (that magic conjunction of different thoughts and outcomes) has been a gift for which I’m very grateful. How else to explain my start in family history? I had been visiting a historical-themed event in William St, Brisbane with our youngest daughter when we came across a tent promoting the Genealogical Society of Queensland. On a whim I decided to join up – I think mainly because I was curious about the origin of my Germanic surname. And there, in that moment of serendipity, commenced a thirty-year love affair with discovering the stories of my ancestors. It’s kept me sane in difficult times and has always presented a challenge or two along the way. Even within this journey there are moments of serendipity where one person’s snippet of information marries up with another and a whole new discovery is made. A whole circle of friendship around the world has come from this journey, as has the opportunity to connect with cousins and family I’d known nothing about previously. What’s not to love?

Serendipity is the stardust sprinkling our research.

P McSherry Longreach brass bandSerendipity is one of the chief joys of our wonderful Trove. Now we can discover family stories that we’d have had no chance of knowing. Previously our newspaper searches, via microfilm, were targeted at the big-ticket events in our families’ lives: births, engagements, marriages, deaths, funerals, obituaries. Suddenly hidden pockets of our ancestors’ lives came out of obscurity. Today I want to share with you some of the skills or talents of my ancestors that I’ve uncovered. Thinking about this topic has made me realise how little we know even about quite recent ancestors like grandparents. I know with mine, they were “elderly” when I knew them (ie about my age now). Even though one set were neighbours, I realise how little I am aware of their hobbies or special things they liked to do. Perhaps I was just being a self-centred child/teenager, or perhaps after decades of working hard they just didn’t have the energy for hobbies.

The concept of serendipity often crops up in research. Serendipity is the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things that were not being sought. I believe that all researchers can be serendipitous. Akira Suzuki, Japanese scientist.

Serendipity, skills and talents

Are you already tired of hearing about my 2xgreat grandfather, George Mathias Kunkel? We’ve learned that he made wine, was a skilled pork butcher and grew export-quality oranges. But really, how much of that is personal? You’ve read in this series that I interviewed his granddaughter Annie and the stories she’d shared. Imagine how surprised I was when transcribing her oral history interview with Cameron McKee to learn something entirely new about George.

He was a clever man and he could take a pocket knife and carve a thing. We had a pen handle carved from a bone. It was a perfect thing with a folded hand on the end of it like that on the end of it.[i]

It’s a small thing but I was thrilled to discover it. My imagination takes me on a journey to think he may have learned this while on the sea voyage to Australia – or even if he’d been a crew member. Maybe one day another round of digitisation will reveal all.

Cameron asked Annie about their parties and who would provide the music:

Tom Kunkel …. they were up north on the cane farms but the crushing would be finished and they could come down for Christmas. The oldest, Bernard…Tom’s oldest brother, Bernard Kunkel, he played the accordion. Mr Chapman (a local from the earliest days pioneering Murphy’s Creek) played the violin generally.

Annie also mentioned that Tom Kunkelhad a terrific memory and he had an amazing store of good clean jokes, humorous things that happened in his life”. Even recounting this she was chuckling at the memories.

Another of the Kunkels (but which, and where is that note?) was also reputed to tell stories and give poetry sessions at various functions.

Partridge William colonial timbers Qlder 17 Dec 1870 p12

Newspaper reports of Agricultural Exhibitions (sometimes called Shows in Queensland) can often provide insights into an ancestor’s talents, skills or interests. This can be helpful for the women in our ancestry as the displays usually included “women’s work”.

I was quite tickled to find this story about William Partridge which evoked memories of a ruler I had at school, made up from different timbers:

Mr. Partridge’s colonial woods were exhibited in a handsome glass case (quite likely also made by him, as he was a carpenter). They were forty-five in number, and represented nearly all the woods of Queensland, and were most tastefully arranged and varnished. One piece of scrub vine particularly attracted our attention; it is twisted, and forms a pretty fancy stand for the table.[ii]

Stephen Melvin often garnered attention for his shop displays or entries in an Agricultural Exhibition:

Of preserves there were but few, mostly well gotten up in small glass tumblers with metal capsules, and looking quite tempting. The successful exhibitors were Mrs. J. Scott, J. A. Jackes, and Sophia Spressar and 8. G. Melvin.[iii]

Mr. Melvin had a very enticing display of confectionery- about the best ever seen here-and there was no lack of purchasers of his toothsome compounds[iv].

MELVIN Laura Nth Qld Reg 5 June 1899 p27

Aunty Mary's tiny doll

This tiny doll is in an “egg” about 3inches long.

At the annual exhibition of the Towers Pastoral, Agricultural and Mining Association, my grandmother, Laura Melvin, then a young girl of 11, was highly commended for her doll with handmade sailor dress and cap.[v] Making doll’s clothes was a love she shared with my aunt who maintained her interest throughout her life and had a wide collection of dolls whose faces she’d “made up” and the outfits she’d sewed. I’m not a fan of decorated dolls but I do like this tiny one that came to me from Aunty Mary – can you imagine the patience that the clothes took to crochet?

My mother did some crocheting and embroidery but she preferred sewing and other crafts like decoupage and flower KUNKEL Joan recipe prize WWarranging. Her attention to detail was precise and every seam (clothes or decoupage) had to be perfectly aligned and matched. She later turned her skills to home handywoman activities like painting and wallpapering. I have plenty of patience for family history, but none at all for DIY.

I was intrigued to find that mum had won a prize when her recipe was published in the Australian Women’s Weekly – thanks Trove![vi]

Without Trove, our family would never have known that Peter McSherry played brass instruments and taught the Longreach band. Similarly, some of the Partridge family also played instruments – yet another skill or talent that hasn’t reached me, sadly.

I’ll leave you with this story of a massive cake made by Melvin and Sons in Charters Towers in 1919…most likely by the sons, since Stephen Melvin had relocated to Sydney by then. Sadly, the text is hard to read but there’s no doubt it was a whopper! Just imagine – six tiers of which the bottom tier was 15 inches in height, and weighed 420lbs. The whole cake was decorated with icing and flags (presumably a patriotic note after the war).  Mr Melvin (which?) claimed it as a record for Queensland having only been surpassed nation-wide by Sargent’s of Sydney. Interested residents were invited to see the cake within the shop because it was too large for the window.

MELVIN record cake 13 Dec 1919 p4 Nth Miner

Absurd quantities of eggs and fruit went into this super cake.

 

Also true: In reality, serendipity accounts for one percent of the blessings we receive in life, work and love. The other 99 percent is due to our efforts. Peter McWilliams, American Writer.

Have you made intriguing discoveries thanks to Trove or other digitised newspapers?

Did you inherit your ancestors’ skills or talents or have they passed you by?

 

Quotes from brainyquotes.com

[i] Oral history interview Annie Kunkel with local historian Cameron McKee c1984.

[ii] Mr. Partridge’s colonial woods were exhibited in a handsome glass case. They were forty-five in number, and represented nearly all the wood* of Queensland, and were most taste fully arranged and varnished. One piece of scrub vme particularly attracted our attention ; it is twisted, and forms a pretty fan<y stand f r the table.

[iii] The Ipswich Show. (1882, December 16). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), p. 856. Retrieved April 21, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19788354

[iv] IPSWICH. (1882, December 25). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), p. 5. Retrieved April 21, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3409131

[v] TOWERS. PASTORAL, AGRICULTURAL, AND MINING ASSOCIATION. (1899, June 5). The North Queensland Register (Townsville, Qld. : 1892 – 1905), p. 27. Retrieved April 21, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article84407477

[vi] Prize recipes (1952, June 18). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 38. Retrieved April 21, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51595521

Of Reading and Religion

R2020Reading for me is like food and water – an essential experience in life, and one I can’t imagine being without. I’m so grateful to my dad for sharing his love of reading with me. Not because we shared books but because I saw his example of reading being a pleasure even though, in retrospect, I suspect he was somewhat dyslexic. Similarly, I love seeing my grandson being immersed in a book and not lifting his eyes when the end is in sight.

My mother was never much of a reader which is strange because she liked to write some poetry and little children’s stories. To her, reading was a waste of time away from tasks and hobbies, unless it was reading something religious. Dad combined both by bringing me bible story comics when I was sick.

Religion is a hot button topic for many people and a source of great contention for many people. These days I’m sitting on the barbed wire fence on the topic even though (or because) I was firmly embedded in the Catholic religion when growing up.

Pauleen newspapers 1980s (2)

Weekend reading in the pre-digital era.

 

Ancestors and Reading

Maryborough Chronicle 17 Oct 1878

Nord Australischer Glaubenseifer. (1878, October 17). Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser (Qld. : 1860 – 1947), p. 3. Retrieved April 20, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article148529577

I wonder whether reading was important to any of my ancestors. I can’t imagine not being able to read as many of my early Irish ancestors couldn’t. It seems likely George Kunkel could have read at least the news because he was a regular signatory to government petitions, yet would he have had any German literature available to him? Did he subscribe to the German language newspaper, Die Nord Australische Zeitung, which was published in Australia or could he not afford it? Luckily at least some articles found their way into the local English newspapers. Did family members perhaps send him a book or two? Was there a German-language lending library anywhere or did he bring a couple of books with him when he emigrated? So many questions and so few answers. The reality is probably that all of my immigrant ancestors were so busy working long hours to establish themselves that the hobby and pleasure of reading just didn’t fit into their day.

I think, too, that they cultivated the power of memory more than perhaps we do. Dad could rattle off verses of poetry, whereas that was a skill beyond me. Did they learn them at school and never forget?

We never stop reading, although every book comes to an end, just as we never stop living, although death is certain. Roberto Bolano, Chilean writer

Ancestors and Religion

Sandon church and pub

Sandon Church of England where my Kent ancestors worshipped,  and the old Six Bells public house © Pauleen Cass 1992

Mostly religion is much more clear-cut for my ancestors: they fitted neatly into mainly two categories. The Irish were Roman Catholics and the Scots were Church of Scotland or later Presbyterian. A couple wavered between Baptist, Methodist and Church of England. Ironically, my maternal, Catholic, branch includes as many non-Catholics as Catholics, while my non-Catholic paternal side has just as much representation of Catholics.

True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness. Albert Einstein, German physicist.

Kilmorich Parish Church.

Kilmorich Parish Church at Cairndow where my McCorkindale ancestors worshipped. My great-grandmother Isabella’s grave is on the right side of the path.

The truly sad thing is how religion could divide families. My father was a non-Catholic and I am appalled now to think how much he was humbugged, including by me, to come to the Catholic church with us and how his entire home environment was filled with Catholic iconography. On his death bed he told me he wasn’t religious but he had faith. Amen! My grandfather refused to attend his daughter’s wedding in the Methodist church in Brisbane, Dad’s cousins reportedly would not attend his wedding in the Catholic church or act as groomsmen. My paternal grandfather, from a long line of Catholics, lost contact with most of his siblings after he left the church so that while I have myriad second cousins on that line I knew nothing about them until, by coincidence, one was in my class at high school and recognised my surname. Similarly visits by my grandmother’s Presbyterian siblings and children generated angst if I jumped the fence (literally and figuratively) to go and see them. I’m so grateful that second cousins on both my Catholic and Presbyterian lines have reached out over the years and we’ve regenerated the links and friendships that were lost. If all that reads very cynically you can see why I sit on that barbed wire fence today.

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair. G.K. Chesterton, British writer.

Ancestors, Religion and Community

New and Old Catholic church Murphys Creek DDG 15 June 1895 p5 and 6

FUNCTION AT MURPHY’S CREEK. (1895, June 15). Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 – 1922), p. 5. Retrieved April 20, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article171383494

In those very early days of pioneering settlement, families played a huge role in bringing churches to their communities. Similarly, the clergy of all denominations rode long miles across the colony to visit their parishioners, sometimes marrying couples and baptising their children at the same time. Oftentimes, the members of all churches contributed to funds for the building of another church…they were all in it together to develop their communities.

Lists of donations to church building were published in the newspapers and while I was lucky enough to find some pre-digitisation, Trove has certainly made it so much easier to find them and get a sense of where they fitted in the community’s financial structure.

Community gatherings celebrated the opening of churches and of course the women were pivotal in organising and feeding people at these events.

DSC_0237

The old decommissioned church from Murphys Creek now on a rural block at Upper Laidley. Photo copyright P Cass 2011.

I was surprised how often I’ve blogged about religion over the past 10 years but you can find any by entering “religion” in the search bar on the top right of the page. Perhaps the most relevant is another post here or religion in Papua New Guinea here.

When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator. Mahatma Gandhi, Indian leader.

 Religion played a pivotal role in my life for many years and reading has been a constant thread thoughout my life.

Was religion an important part of your ancestors’ lives?

And for the family historians who love to unearth an epitaph for their ancestors – an amusing, ironic quote:

Reading the epitaphs, our only salvation lies in resurrecting the dead and burying the living. Paul Eldridge, American educator.

 

 

 

Gratitude for Gifts

Gifts may seem a very materialistic focus for our gratitude, but are they really? What we’re thanking the giver for, is their time and thoughtfulness in choosing something they think we’ll like or need. Quite often a gift may have an ordinary cash value, but an extraordinary emotional value simply because the person has found something that truly speaks to you. So for every gift you receive, gratitude is the appropriate response.

My favourite childhood (and later!) gifts were books, some of which are still on my shelves with the gift-giver’s note inside. A birthday or Christmas just wasn’t “up to snuff” without one, so this quote made me smile.

I do give books as gifts sometimes, when people would rather have one than a new Ferrari. Dean Koontz, American author. (no contest, surely?!)

book gift021

This book was a gift from my great-aunt. I’d bet I’d finished it before my January birthday.

As a child, many of of us were taught to write thank you notes on receipt of a gift. This matter of etiquette seems to have largely gone out of fashion – though I have one friend who unfailingly writes a formal and polite card of thanks. Instead we now telephone or email our thanks.

I’m very simple when it comes to gifts, so the best ones that I’ve received have love as their main intention. I appreciate everything. Adriana Lima, Brazilian model.

Ancestors and gifts

 

If you’re really lucky your ancestors lived in a place where the local newspaper was gossipy and the correspondent sought out the details of events, or knew the people well. Those stories can give you wonderful insights into your families’ lives. You may know local names from post office directories, electoral rolls, census enumerations (not in Oz) or land maps but you are unlikely to have any true sense of the people’s closeness or the extent of their friendship. News stories can help reveal these links of FANs. And they’re a wonderful source of information for those undertaking One Place Studies. Australian researchers are so very fortunate to have Trove, our free digitised source of newspapers, photos, diaries etc which let us tag, list and text-correct the digital stories. Very much a focus for our gratitude as it’s revealed so many hidden stories which had been lost in the pre-digital era.

Wedding gifts

Plant Savage Wedding DDG 30 Jan 1912

WEDDING. (1912, January 30). Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 – 1922), p. 8. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18319416

Ada Savage married James William Plant of nearby Geham at the Murphy’s Creek Presbyterian church on 17 January 1912. The festivities were extensively reported but so were the list of gifts. I love that even the children gave their own gifts and I’m curious who did the shopping and where. Did they travel on the train up to Toowoomba to search out special gifts? Who would have thought that Kunkel would be mis-reported as Hunkel. The Ganzers were Dorfprozelten connections of my 2xgreat grandfather, George Kunkel and the Tomkys children’s widowed mother married James Kunkel. After many years looking at Murphy’s Creek I can recognise many of the names mentioned in the news story, and their role in the community.

Mary Elizabeth Gavin farewell gift

SOCIAL. (1917, April 10). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), p. 9. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20163205

 

Farewell gifts

This is a delightful story of recognition for long public service by my great-grandmother’s mother and father. Typical of the times Mr Gavin responded on behalf of his wife. This was not their only service as five of their sons went to World War I, and one, James Gavin, was killed at Fromelles.

Enlistment gifts

It was common for the young men, enlisting in World War I from their home district, to be given a gift by one of the community organisations.  Typical gifts were wallets, watches, brushes, or small monetary gifts. Reading these with the knowledge of hindsight, it’s sad to think how many of these men never returned. Perhaps the wallet found with James Gavin’s body was the one given to him at Pechey. The first news story needs to be read with a fair degree of caution as the details seem to be inaccurate in terms of the names.

Jack Gavin, below, was not a member of my Gavin family but his family and mine kept “tripping over” each other on the Downs – it took a while to untangle the threads. Jack was also killed in action.

Gavin boys WWI

PRESENTATIONS. (1915, September 13). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), p. 8. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20059598

 

Jack Gavin

Our Volunteers. (1915, September 15). Western Star and Roma Advertiser (Toowoomba, Qld. : 1875 – 1948), p. 3. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98166240

Have you used reports of events or gifts presented to extend your family history research?

Do you perhaps have a special gift that’s been handed down through the family?

Have you left notes on special gifts or items for your descendants, so they know their origin and why they are special to you? Or are  you like me and have it on your “to do” list?

Quotes from https://www.brainyquote.com/

 

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.

 

 

Zany, Quirky or Weird?

AtoZ2019ZThis series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea?

 

The ground crew rush to the aircraft

“Take this box to Hagen”

“What’s in it?”

“Mosquitoes from the coast”

Aghast the tourist asks

“What happens if those things get loose in here?”

 

tiger-mosquito-49141_1920

zzzzzz zzzzz I suck your blood! Image from Pixabay.

Zzzzzzzz the annoying whine of a mozzie round your ears

Hope you’ve taken your Camoquin.

Ours is stored in a maxi Pablo jar –

To avoid the risk of poisoning –

Rationed out each Sunday.

——————–

Tinka and Tabitha

The dachsund and the acrobatic cat

Enliven our early mornings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A PNG butterfly. Image from Wikipedia

Shredded tissues from one

Shredded butterflies the other

A colourful snowstorm in the bedroom.

————————-

Now an adult cat, Tabitha decides to wake me up

And my eyes open to a kitten emerging onto my chest

No respecter of the delivering fur-mum

She is deposited promptly on the floor

My memory is that it was near Anzac Day…why?

—————

A Goroka event draws crowds

Meet up with Aunty Lee and

Let’s go see the gumithon…

Inner tubes and crazy passengers

Hurtle down the chilly river.

Family657

Ferry crossing PNG style – between Kerema and Malalaua (Gulf District). All government vehicles were spray-painted (or bought) in this dark blue colour.

—————-

A late night phone call frightens us

News of a colleague’s murder and

Name confusion in the panic

Anxiety and sadness follow.

————–

We head to the movies

To See Easy Rider

(Of which I remember nothing)

Family669

What did the bishop say to the Prince? I’m lost for words! Independence ceremony at the Catholic Cathedral, Port Moresby 1975.

At the Goroka Cinema

Next to the Zokozoi Hotel.

And our truly weird movie experience

Papillon – for our anniversary

The only time we’ve walked out of a movie, I think.

—————

“Mummy, there’s bugs in my room”

“No there’s not, go to sleep”

Afternoon nap time in Moresby

Eventually I check it out

He is sound asleep with the small fan

Whirring away in flames, sending black specks

Over the space to their bedroom. Whoops, good save.

————-

 

You might think there’d be a zoo in PNG

Instead we took friends to the croc farm

Where we also saw cassowaries and

Magnificent Birds of Paradise

Day to Day we saw little fauna (frogs, snakes, geckos, possums)

And some ordinary birds

It may that many zoological specimens wound up as costumes.

Perhaps more quirky and weird than zany, but life was never dull in PNG.