Joy and Jubilees

J2020Earlier in the series I mentioned I’d prepared a Vision Board for 2020. One of the clippings I’d used said “Be brave -do something you’ve never done before”. I must admit I had something rather more fun that the current pandemic restrictions. <smile>

Two of the other gratitude features I’d imaged were Joy and our 50th anniversary celebrations, so what better way to focus on the letter J today. To me joy is a step up from happiness – it expresses an exuberance at something out of the ordinary rather than the day-to-day contentment of happiness. It’s like a bubble of champagne in your life. Of course, demonstrating that in my ancestors’ lives was something a bit harder to envisage.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Richard Bach, author.


The Joy of children and grandchildren


Among the events that have brought me great joy during my life has been the birth of my children and grandchildren. With your children you have joy mixed with the demanding practicalities of parenting. Grandchildren seem to bring all the joy with far fewer responsibilities. They are such a treasure. Those ancestors living in the home country missed out on a great deal by never meeting their grandchildren – did they miss the loss or were they reconciled to it? The grandchildren also missed out too, because they would never have the unqualified love and cuddles of grandparents. Perhaps they never even knew their names.

Grandma and me1

Grandma and me

Sadly, I have no family photos of babies with parents or grandparents among my more distant lines. I wonder if there were no photographers close by, or if they couldn’t afford the indulgence. I have little doubt, though, that the births of their grandchildren must have been a great thrill to them.

However, I’m going to share with you one of my own most treasured photos of my paternal grandmother reading to me in their back garden.

Grandma and me reading

Reading with the neighbours -my paternal grandparents.


Wedding anniversaries

Our own golden wedding anniversary occurs in 2020 and naturally that turned my thoughts to my ancestral couples. Four of the couples in my ancestral lines, were married for 50 or more years (though I suspect one couple were separated). A combination of longevity with early age at marriage. For most of them the event either went unremarked or was only celebrated within the family.

There was great jubilation and joy surrounding my maternal great grandparents’ 50th diamond (60th) wedding anniversary in 1941 with it being reported in several newspapers:  Townsville Daily Bulletin, Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Central Queensland Herald and The Catholic Press. It’s always productive for family members to read each report as they can include more or varied information.

McSherry family

My McSherry great-grandparents and some of their children, kindly provided to me by a cousin.

I was fortunate enough to be given a family photo from the event by a cousin. Observant people noticed a few of their large family had been “photoshopped” into the photo.

I’ve seen quite a few news stories of these jubilees…have you searched for reports in your family.

Societies and Groups

Trawling Trove last night using “jubilee” as a search term + name, I found a story that I’d missed before. I learned that my 2xgreat grandmother, Hannah Partridge, was a foundation member of the Ipswich branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) This also explains why her signature was on the WCTU petition for women’s suffrage – the society regularly had speakers on this topic.

Hannah Patridge WCTU foundation member

Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. (1910, November 15). Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), p. 4 (DAILY). Retrieved April 11, 2020, from

It’s worth searching the associations you know your families were involved with, to see if a jubilee event, or a regular meting, mentions them.

Do you use tags and lists when you discover a news story, or photo etc, relating to your family? I find them invaluable.


Today’s family anniversaries

This afternoon I opened up my Relatively Yours program to look at details for the Congress 2015 Research Interests. I was somewhat surprised to discover what an important date today is in the lives of my families. Perhaps it’s something we should do daily to pick up these coinciding anniversaries.

On 25th January my family honours these family anniversaries:

Hannah Partridge nee Kent is my 2 x great grandmother.

Hannah Partridge nee Kent is my 2 x great grandmother.

The birth of Richard Kent at Red Hill near Sandon, Hertfordshire, England in 1805. Today would be his 210th birthday! Richard is my 3 x great grandfather. He, his wife and family emigrated from Sandon on the General Hewitt arriving in Moreton Bay on 16 December 1854. This Richard Kent followed a long line of descendants with the same name, but it is through his daughter’s female lines that I am descended. My mtDNA comes from Richard Kent’s wife, Mary Camp later Shepherd.

The arrival of the Woodlark in 1877 with my ancestor Stephen Gillespie Melvin, and family, on board. Accompanying him were his first wife Janet Melvin nee Peterkin, and his young son, Laurence, named for Stephen’s father. Janet Melvin died at Peel Island on 2 March 1877. Stephen remarried on 21 August 1878, quite a long bereavement given he had a young son to care for. His second wife, and my ancestor, was Richard Kent’s granddaughter Emily PartridgeToday is the 138th anniversary of the arrival of one of my ancestral lines.Emily Melvin (nee Partridge) with her husband Stephen Gillespie Melvin, probably c1906-1910.

The death of Margaret Gillespie (born Tyneside) in 1906. Today is the 109th anniversary of her death. Margaret Gillespie had married Stephen Gillespie Melvin’s father, Laurence Melvin, in Leith in 1850 but was widowed as a young woman in 1858. She remarried in 1868 (again in Leith) to John Simpson Ward, a master mariner. She had worked as a stewardess at sea so perhaps emigrating when she was no longer young was not such a challenge for her as for some. After John’s death, she married Arthur Wheaton in Sydney and after his death, she moved to Charters Towers to join her son Stephen and family. Margaret was buried in the Charters Towers cemetery on Australia Day 1906.

The Melvin grave (2008) makes its own social statement in the Charters Towers cemetery. Easily the largest and most ostentatious of my family history gravestones.

The Melvin grave (2008) makes its own social statement in the Charters Towers cemetery. Easily the largest and most ostentatious of my family history gravestones.

I found it quite interesting that today’s anniversaries affected interweaving family branches on my tree.  Do you have similar anniversaries which link your families?