T is for Trials, Tribulations and Tombstones

My A to Z 2016 theme is how to pursue an interest in family history/genealogy – I’d love you to join me on the journey.


41 Alexander DUNN

Alexander Dunn is buried in Winton Cemetery, Qld, a long way from his home in southern NSW.

Putting the cart before the horse, sometimes tombstones can reveal some of our ancestors’ trials.

How many of us have wandered cemeteries, sometimes just exploring and other times tracking down ancestral graves. We are shocked by the infant mortality revealed by tiny graves with touching tombstones. The death of young men in tragic accidents in those pre-safety-wise days, the horrors and risks hidden behind the deaths of young women who died of puerperal fever or simply being worn out from repeated births. I am always saddened by the deaths of people from many miles away who died and are buried far from their families.

Tombstones might be the only place where an ancestor’s place of origin is detailed as their divided loyalty is reflected by shamrocks and wattle. The sadness of the death far from Scotland or Ireland is mitigated when that person’s grave is wrapped around with the graves of their descendants. The conflicts of religion can be revealed by the burial of husband and wife in different part of a cemetery, not to mention the dilemma of whether to be buried with wife/husband #1 or a subsequent spouse.


Denis Scannell frm Co Kerry lowOf course our ancestors, especially our pioneers, experienced many trials and tribulations. Without family to support them they were vulnerable to economic downturns, poor agricultural seasons, death of spouses and dependence on employment. This is why we need to look, once again, at as many records as possible. Land selections (and the loss of property), news stories, insolvencies, bankruptcies and court cases can all illuminate your understanding. At least some of these involved trials of the legal as well as personal kind.

In times of war, there are the horrendous losses of (mostly) men, and the social impact of those who returned maimed and injured in mind or body. Throughout Australia there are memorials to these men who would have no grave in their own homeland…different types of tombstones. Each and every one of these losses created a great rent in the family’s fabric. Tribulation indeed.

children McDonald low

In memory of the children of John and Elizabeth McDonald, Winton Cemetery.

T is for Themes and Memes

 In S for Stories I wrote briefly about leaving our descendants our own stories. There are many themes which geneabloggers can use to structure their stories…some golden oldies and some current.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

Book of Me

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Sepia Saturday

Trove Tuesday

Why not check these out to see if they appeal to you?


Thank you for visiting me on this journey. I love comments <smile>

 There’s a plethora of reading choices on this year’s A to Z Challenge, so my challenge to you is to visit the sign-up page and select one (or more) blogs to read between the numbers 700-799.


n memoriam the children of John and Elizabeth McDonald, Winton Cemetery.