Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Finished? Not me!

Recently I read a blog post by the Legal Genealogist who had been following a blog thread of discussing the percentage found of ancestors.

In my bio (assuming any of you have read it <G>) I tell you I have been researching my family history since 1986 when I started initially, to answer a question from my Mother, and got hooked (obsessed)!

I have been doing it ever since, and for the mathematically minded of you, that is 26 years.

Now from the non-genealogists who hear this figure of 26 years the most common responses are:

"You have been doing this for 26 years and you haven't finished it yet? Wouldn't it be better for you to take up a hobby that you can do?"

"In 26 years you must have gone back a long way back in your research. What? You say that on that line you only go back to 1820?"

or the "Why are you bothering? They are all dead!"

So after 26 years how have I done?

Hmm, those numbers don't look that great, do they?

So I am missing three names in the 5th generation:

Sarah Morgan married William Philpott (or did she?) about 1858-1859 and they settle around the Folkestone-Saltwood-Hythe area in Kent and have 13 children. 

So far I have been unable to find this marriage. Sarah was also a bit creative with her age and a bit unsure of where she was born and gave a different place each census. I have found a possible family but without the marriage certificate and with a reasonably common name like Morgan, I can't be sure and can't count her parents so two down and consequently their parents etc.

My third name missing in this generation is the father of Martha Polhill Wood born around 1820 in Lydd, Kent, the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Wood. While the middle name of Polhill may be suggestive, there is no evidence so I lose those ancestors, probably for ever, so that paternal line stops in 1820.

In this generation as well, I also have my end of line Irish ancestors. They are pre-civil registration Catholics, three of whom have common names. One each of their children had emigrated to Australia in the 1860s one from Monaghan and one from Cork and then met and married in Toowoomba, Queensland so the very nice Queensland certificate gave me the the Mother's and Father's name for each. 

While I know their names and the male occupations and where the children were supposedly born, they are being elusive to say the least. So they are also lost to me at present. Hopefully not forever.

Then, of course, is the fact at this point, I now have five different lines of Smiths!  

I really don't know why Kezia Smith, when she was looking around the village of Selling in Kent decided in 1839 that the only person she wanted to marry was George Smith? Maybe she was worried about being able to remember a new married name?

So these ancestors and a number of other closed lines due to illegitimacy,  and a number of other elusive ancestors for various reasons has accounted for my only having found 17% of my direct ancestors in these generations.

My earliest date confirmed ancestor is Richard Wills born in 1669 in Perranuthnoe, Cornwall. I do know his father's name, also Richard but nothing further about the father (except he was clever enough to have Richard without any credit being given to his wife in the baptismal register!) so he is not counted.

I have done a lot of work on the families and their lives of my ancestors as I research family history rather than just direct line ancestors but that 17% does grate a bit.

So my plan is to go back and revisit my end of line ancestors to see if I can increase my percentage of ancestors found.

What is your percentage of ancestors found and confirmed?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Trove Tuesday: Stop! Don't bury that man!

The celebration of Trove by the blogging meme Trove Tuesday was an idea put forward by Amy Houston, in her blog Branches, Leaves & Pollen  

It is a great idea that was taken up and promoted by Jill Ball better known as Geniaus

Trove is the free digitised Australian newspaper site of the National Library of Australia. You can search a wide range of regional and metropolitan newspapers with ongoing digitisation occurring.

There are many treasures within newspapers and you never know what you may find.

Sometimes it is the start of a whole new trail of investigation.

Harold Richard Rollason,  my great-grandmother Violet's brother, was born 27 September 1895 in Brisbane. He was the eighth child of Richard John Rollason and Lucy Evans. 

He married Irene Lambert  27 November 1918.

He died 10 June 1922 (from the Queensland BMD indexes) and is buried at Toowomg Cemetery as shown in the Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search

Born, married, died and buried dates, found and all ticked off. Time to research someone else.

Then when doing a trawling search in Trove for Rollason, I came across this little snippet dated 13 June 1922 in the Courier Mail.

You can imagine the solemn scene of a burial about to occur.

Then a telegram is received to say that the deceased's family want the body to be sent to Brisbane rather than to be buried in Charleville.

The procesion would need to turn around so the body could be embalmed (after all this is two days after the death and it has to go back to Brisbane by train) to be sent back to Brisbane.

So this little snippet told me that Harold was a jeweller and had died in Charleville, both things I hadn't known. With further research I found Harold had died of pneumonia. His will was at Queensland State Archives and his death certificate and inventory was in with his will. 

Remember it is always worth looking for a will as often you will find the death certificate in the file. 

This  will now save you $37 in Queensland and sometimes marriage certificates and other documents.

Currently the Charleville paper has not been digitised for this period and I have not had time to visit the State Library to look at it on microfilm but it is on my list of things to do.

Trove puts life into our family history. 

I encourage bloggers to join in and take up the Trove Tuesday meme to highlight the wonderful things to be found in newspapers.

What interesting snippets, scandals or celebrations have you found in newspapers?

Sunday, 2 September 2012

N is for Numbers

Continuing with Alona's Family History through the Alphabet theme.

We were always told in maths class that maths is constant and that numbers don't change. 

But is this really true? 

House numbers are common now in most urban places, however you don't have to go too far back, to find that many houses were known by house name rather than by number. 

The house that my Grandmother bought from her husband William's uncle, Edward Courtenay, was called "Loretta".  Mail would be addressed to Loretta and the street name rather than to a number. In the old directories you will see houses listed as first on the right from Ann Street.

When the home was sold we retrieved this name plate and is one of the treasures we have at home.

Today in most areas of Australia and England if the houses do have a house number they will be numbered even numbers one side of the road and odd on the other.

This is not always the case, as the house numbering was done by the developer, not by the Council or  Post Office. In Oxford a number of streets particularly crescents  were numbered consecutively starting at one end of the street down one side then coming back and then finishing at the end of the street. 

And I have also seen this today in Australia particularly when houses are only on one side of the street such as Tallon Street, Sadliers Crossing, a suburb or Ipswich.

You may also find that a house may change it's number over time. 

My grandmother's home 'Loretta' on the corner of Ann and James Street, Fortitude Valley was numbered as 1 which made perfect sense as it was the first house on the street. 

The below images are from a number of directories and electoral rolls I have purchased over the years from Gould Genealogy . Without them I would never have been able to do as much research as I have whilst still working full-time and also studying. For some strange reason libraries don't want to open their rooms at 1.00am which is when i have done a lot of my research over the years. One advantage of working was that I could afford to buy some great resources even though the disadvantage was that I couldn't get to as many libraries as I wished.

Anyway back to the evolution of Loretta's house number.

1936 Electoral Roll

1939 Electoral Roll
I love electoral rolls as you can see as a family ages and are now eligible to vote.

In 1949 Myrtle and William bought the home and they and their 9 year old daughter Violet left Myrtle's Mother's home in Red Hill to move to their new family home.

1949 Electoral Roll

1958 Electoral Roll

However suddenly the council decided in the early 1960s that the number should be changed to 9 James street. Remember this is the first house on the right as you walk from the Ann St-James St corner walking down James Street.  

The first Myrtle and William knew of the change was when they received a rates notice. On querying it they were told "that is what it now is" 

1963 Electoral Roll

So numbers do not always stay the same!

It is something to consider in your own research that numbers can change as can the name of the suburb,  state, county even country over time.

What examples of this have you found in your research?

Saturday, 4 August 2012

M is for Memorial

We are now halfway through Alona's Family History Through the Alphabet and M is for Memorial

Now the general consensus of a definition of a memorial is something "in the memory of an event or more usually today, in people's minds,  a person".

So of course I will start with the Caskey Memorial carved by my 2x great-grandfather, William Busby. 

Of course a headstone may also be a memorial. If someone is mentioned on a headstone it does not necessarily mean that their mortal remains are buried within reach of the headstone.

Another form of memorial is the funeral or bereavement card as shown here for Alice Annie Rollason.

These cards can be very ornate.

The photo below is also a memorial. The two family members who had died prior to the photo being taken were added, fairly obviously.

I have seen more modern additions which have been photoshopped and can be difficult to detect the additions or in one case I saw of a divorce in that family, a deletion!

Memorials can also be used to remember an event such as the one at the Migration Museum in Adelaide remembering all the immigrants.

Or this medallion celebrating my having given 100 blood donations.

It may be a book plate saying your ancestor had received it for perfect attendance at school or church,  the key given for a 21st birthday, the first shoes worn by your baby, the inscription on the flyleaf of the Bible given for a First Communion.

We should look for memorials of all types among our possessions as these can give clues which will tell us more about our ancestors and bring them to life and may even break down a brick wall in our research.

What unusual memorials have you found in your family research?

Friday, 3 August 2012

L is for Leisure

Continuing with Alona's Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge it is time for L which is for Leisure.

After the work is done our ancestors also enjoyed their leisure time. Sometimes we are lucky enough to have photos or ephemera showing us how they spent their time.

Attending the Brisbane Exhibition
Football Grand Final

David Smith walking his dog about 1953

Violet Busby aged 9 in 1949 on her yearly visit to Lone Pine Sanctuary. Each year Violet would be taken by her Aunt Gladys Trost nee Weeks.Sometimes they took the ferry up the river to Lone Pine to be met at the dock by a German Shepherd with a koala on his back.

Sometimes we do not have any pictures but maybe we have some letters: From Myrtle Busby in a notebook where she noted what she wanted to write in her letters to her husband William away at war in 1943:

"I went to Church on Sunday night and it was a real good service, May Brown and Allan Campbell was the speakers after Church we had a half hour singing all the favourite hymns"

"On Wednesday I went to His Majesty’s to see the play “My Sister Eileen”. It was real good. I am sending you the programme in the envelope to read. They are having another one on the week of my birthday called “Arsenic and Old Lace”. I think it will be very comical. Pansy took Violet down to see my Grandfather on Thursday."

"Last Friday I went to Redcliffe for the day. We had a good day but it was hot, we gathered shells, Violet and I we made sandcastles. We went for a walk and I went paddling with the her. At half past twelve a pie man came around so I bought hot pies for dinner. Pansy bought ice-creams and Katy got malted milks." 

Maybe you don't have any letters or postcards either, don't discount the newspapers to find out how your ancestors spent their free time

These were found in Trove the free digistised Australian newspapers site in just a few moments search.


Remember Trove is not just newspapers, it is also pictures from a variety of sources, such as this one from the John Oxley Library Queensland of William Rollason with his bicycle.

Even if you do not find your ancestor listed by name you are able to determine what leisure pursuits were in style at that time.  Was there a theatre? What was playing? Was it an open air film show that came to town on a circuit? Did the circus come to town? Were there activities at the school while your ancestors were either children or parents of children at the school?

How did your ancestors enjoy their leisure time?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

K is for Kelvin Grove School

Continuing with Alona's Family History Through the Alphabet, it is time for K.

Now I must admit, I changed what I was going to write for K when Pauleen of  Family History Across the Seas blog left a comment on my E for Education post that her father also went to Kelvin Grove School.

The school has put online a collection of old school photos They are not named but you may be able to determine your person among the images. Most are listed by year and class name. 

This is a fantastic idea and I hope more schools follow suit, especially as so many people have lost their photos in disasters including the recent floods. 

The school is also hoping that people might be able to provide copies of other photos they might have to go into the archives.

The girl (with the ribbon and light dress) to the right of the lass who is holding the sign, is my mother Violet in 1948 when she first went to Kelvin Grove.

1952 VIB Mr Topping on left Mum is second from left third rowstanding with white collar on what she remembers as a "blue velvet dress"
My mother was the third generation of her family that went to Kelvin Grove. The children of Richard John Rollason (Mary, James, Violet (my great-grandmother), William, Lily, Herbert, Harold and Arthur) all went to Kelvin Grove. 

Then Violet's two daughters, Gladys and Myrtle went then my mother. My mother was disappointed that I did not follow in the tradition but it was not practicable when I lived on the other side of town.

I have two unknown photos of Kelvin Grove students.

KG III Boys. Guessing around early 1900s Somewhere in there is a Rollason boy!

KG V Unknown year. Possibly Gladys Weeks sixth girl from left second row but we don't know for sure.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

J is for Jelly

J is for Jelly the maiden name of Elizabeth who married William Evans the subject of my previous post I is for Inquest

Elizabeth was born in Enfield, Middlesex in 1825 and christened 31 Dec 1825 at St Andrews Enfield.  Enfield is now a suburb of London but at this time was a satellite village.

Her father Thomas William Jelly was a baker and his wife Sarah nee Robinson was the daughter of a miller. Thomas' father was Thomas as well.

Now Elizabeth's grandfather Thomas got himself into a little bit of trouble as one of his customers complained he had short-weighted the loaf of bread.

I found out about his trouble by doing a search on Access to Archives which is a great resource. It is a combined catalogue of a number of archives. Unfortunately it is no longer being supported but it does contain entries from around 450 archives around England, including some quite unusual ones. 

Some of the entries are very detailed while others will just tell you that the archives has a bundle of papers covering a date range dealing with  a parish etc.

So I found this entry:
With this information I was able to access the file while on a trip to London. The images were taken with my digital camera at the London Metropolitan Archives (after paying  a small fee)

This is 1799 and Thomas  was fined 36 pounds which seems a huge sum of money. As you can imagine Thomas was fairly unhappy about this and he appealed the conviction.

And the following court session the conviction was quashed. The interesting thing was it did not give any evidence as to why the conviction should be quashed.

I looked further through the indexed court sessions and did not find another complaint against Thomas.

Thomas continues working as a baker until his death December 1840 in Enfield. He was buried  December 8 1840 in the St  Andrews Enfield churchyard.


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

I is for Inquest

Thanks to Alona for starting everyone on this journey of Family History through the Alphabet.

William Evans was baptised 29 May 1819 in Rhayder, Radnorshire, Wales. He marries Elizabeth Jelley about 1845, supposedly in Trinidad but I have not been able to find the marriage entry as yet, but am still looking!

Mary Elizabeth is born in 1846 in Enfield the hometown of Elizabeth, followed by  Samuel Jelley in 1849 also in Enfield. William was a coachbuilder/wheelwright by trade and he followed his trade around south-east England with further children:
Llewellyn born in 1851 in Brighton, Sussex, Thomas 1853, Martha 1856 and Lucy 1860 all born in Ashford then John William Evans born in 1862 in London.

Elizabeth was buried April 5 1865 at St Andrews, Enfield, Middlesex.

William decides to emigrate to Queensland. His two eldest children Mary Elizabeth and Samuel Jelley Evans decide to stay in England.

A number of shipping records from the mid-1860s have not survived for Queensland due to the 1893 floods, so I can't tell you which ship they sailed upon to Queensland or when.

The next we come upon William is when he marries Jane Cameron a widow, 21 April 1868. He is listed as being a storekeeper at Eight Miles Plains, Logan River. Interestingly this is also the last time we hear of Jane, no death was found but two years later, when William dies there is no mention of her except on his death certificate as being his second wife.

A very interesting death certificate as there was a magisterial inquiry.but one wonders why when the cause was listed as apoplexy?

A trip to the Queensland State Archives was in order!

At the time I wasn't able to get to the Archives as i was working full-time but I could get to the State Library who closed at 8pm to look at the newspapers.You never know what you are going to find!

Courier Mail 2 April 1870

Oh, so that was why there was a magisterial inquiry! Bound over to keep the peace! Threatening a neighbor! Tell me more!

Courier Mail 26 March 1870

Oh the scandal of it all! Did the apoplexy maybe cause him to have a violent temper attack? It was only a week previous? Was this woman he was living with Jane his wife or was it Charlottte?

Finally I got out to the Archives to get a copy of the inquest, not really expecting it to tell me too much more.

April 2 1870

 Enquiry into the death of William Evans of the Logan Road before John Petrie Esq. JP

 William Woods being duly sworn on his oath saith I am a legally qualified medical practitioner residing in Brisbane. Yesterday the 1 April at eleven o’clock am I accompanied the Police Magistrate to a house on the Logan Road kept as an accommodation house by the deceased William Evans. I went into a bedroom in the house and saw a body, the body of the deceased lying on a bed. He had been dead some hours. I saw the remains of vomit about the shirt, on the body, on the bed and upon different parts of the floor. I was shown a glass with white powder adhering to it which I believed was nothing more than cream of tartar which I was informed he had drunk some hours before his death. There were no external marks of violence on the body. I afterwards saw the same body at the dead house in Ann Street. I made a post-mortem examination, first opened the chest and found the organs there all in a healthy condition. I then opened the head and found the vessels of the brain  (? ? )and the membranes and the ventricles of the brain filled with serous fluid which had been the cause of death by producing what is commonly known as serous apoplexy a very ? condition found in persons who have ever even to intemperate habits. I have no reason to believe that the deceased (? )the condition of the brain being quite sufficient to cause death.

Taken and sworn me at Brisbane this 2 April 1870

John Petrie JP

Well that gave a few clues such as William had an accommodation house. What else does the inquest say?

4 April 1870

Charlotte Chapman, being duly sworn on her oath saith I am a single woman I have been living with the deceased William Evans as housekeeper for the last five years. He had been in the colony four years, I had kept his house for a year before I came out. I came out on the Young Australia with him. He was a coach builder by trade. He came from London. Evans had been living on the Logan Road nearly from the time he came out. Last week he had been off since Monday and had only eaten a couple of eggs on Thursday at dusk. Deceased had two cups of tea and then began drinking from the  bottle. At about ½  past eight deceased said that he would have a (?) powder. I knew there were none in the house. I went into the house in about 10 minutes then I saw a tumbler on the table with the white stuff around the edge of it. I put the tumbler away. There was some acid cream of tartar and baking soda in the house. About ½ hour after, two gentlemen came up. Evans appeared as usual only ? from drink. At about 12 o’clock he was taken very sick. He was sick and retching until about 3 o’clock in the morning. At about three o’clock in the morning he got off his bed and drank two bottles of  beer. He asked me for some water and I told him he did not want anything. That were the only time I heard him speak   I heard a noise and found food ushering from Evan’s mouth. I was in the next room to Evans I could hear him if he had turned in his bed. I gave the alarm and saw Mr Chapman and told him that he was dead. He was generally sick after drinking. Evans was always in the habit of drinking once he has been in this colony.

Young Australia,  They came out on the Young Australia! Who would have thought the inquest would have given me the immigration details! I still don't have an exact date but it is likely to be somewhere around 1866 as his wife died in 1865, Charlotte was his housekeeper for a year before they left England and he was in teh colony about four years so sometime in 1866 is likely.

So I is for Inquest and Immigration!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

H is for Home

Due to the Second World War, my Grandmother Myrtle stayed living with her mother, Violet Weeks, in Violet's house on the corner of Craig and Cochrane Streets, Red Hill even after her marriage to  William George Busby in 1939. 

Corner of Cochrane and Craig Streets, Red Hill

My Grand-Aunt Gladys and her husband Walter Trost also lived in the house so my mother, born in January 1940, had plenty of relatives at home. Walter was in a reserved occupation and did not go away.

While her husband William was away, in Darwin then New Guinea and Borneo, Grandma worked towards the idea of a home of their own with their daughter, Violet, my mother.

You have heard of girls putting together a Glory Box ready for their marriage? 

Well my Grandmother put together a Glory House!

While William was away, Myrtle gradually put on lay-by furniture, and utensils ready for their new home. She used a firm, Trittons,  which was well known in Brisbane, but which sadly no longer exists

Among the treasures Mum and I have inherited were lots of lay-by receipts like the one below.

Grandma made regular payments off items for their future: a bedroom suite, a kitchen dresser and table and more.

Ready for time after the war when they could be a family together in their own home.

It took time after the war. Getting yourself back into civilian life was not easy. Granddad was trying to find out if he could take over the payments of the house which had been lost when his father had an accident but that was not successful. (This is a whole other story that I still need to do further research upon.)

In 1949, this deposit was paid on 1 James Street, Fortitude Valley. The house was owned by William's uncle Edward Courtenay and it was to become William and Myrtle's family home for the rest of their lives.

G is for Golden Casket

Every Queenslander knows the Golden Casket even though Lotto has gained more prominence now.

The Casket started in 1916, when the Queensland Patriotic Fund asked if they could run an Art Union for the Repatriation Fund of the Queensland War Council. The first Casket went on sale in December 1916.

It was successful in raising funds and a second Casket was also run for the Patriotic Fund, then three Caskets were run to fund the building of homes for War Widows by the Anzac Cottage Committee.

The sixth Casket run gave the profits to the Hospital for Sick Children (now known as the Royal Childrens' Hospital).

The Hospital was in urgent need of funds for repairs and further development at a time when donations from the public were more difficult to obtain.

From  1920 the Government took over the running of the Casket with the profits being used for funding Public Hospitals, Maternity Hospitals and  Baby Clinics. 

The Royal Women's hospital was funded by the Casket at a  cost of 200 thousand pounds. By 1938, 93 maternity hospitals and 122 baby clinics had been provided by the profits of the Casket.

The money was used to provide free hospitals in Queensland and this was important as previously hospital care was not free. Previously the richer persons provided charitable entry or you paid for the services provided. The hospitals were always trying to gather donations. With the Casket there were many small donations from many people rather than larger donations from the few.

The general public embraced the concept of the Casket, as not only was there a possibility of winning the first prize, which was a number of years of wages for a tradesman for a small investment, it didn't matter if you didn't win, as after all "you still got the hospital!"

100 000 tickets were sold in each Casket. You could buy a quarter or half share in a ticket and originally a barrel containing a 100 000 marbles was used to draw the prizes. Then, in 1932, a new machine invented by a Brisbane engineer, John Lund was put into use.

The new machine (shown in the illustration) stood over six foot tall with a rectangular barrel divided into five compartments. Each compartment contained ten discs from 0 to 9. 

The barrel is turned by a handle, three turns of the handle rotated the barrel once, thoroughly mixing the discs. At the end of the revolution a disc in each compartment falls into the slot and a five figured number is shown in a clear window. (For the mathematicians amongst you, the number 100 000 was represented by five zeros showing in the window). This system stayed in place until the introduction of computers.

It was possible for the same number to win multiple times in the same drawing.

All drawings were open to the public.

In the first fifty years of the Casket's operation, it contributed significantly to the sick and needy with $73 million dollars being used for the hospital and health system and $200 million being returned as prizes.

I don't know precisely when grandma Myrtle Doris Weeks bought this ticket but guess it to be in the early 1950s. At this time the top prize was 15 000 pounds. Each full ticket cost ten shillings. My grandparents never won the top prize but regularly bought tickets, as after all, "you got the hospital!"

F is for Find the Ball

Thanks to Alona for thinking of this Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge  I am continuing, a bit late, with F.

My Grandfather, William George Busby, loved his football. 

He attended all the home games and listened every weekend (in fact most of the weekend, even when he was in the garden with his beloved roses he had the transistor radio blaring the game) to all the other games.

He followed the Fortitude Valley Team known as the Diehards although they were generally just known as Valleys.

I am sure modern supporters would like to pay $1.50 for a Grand Final ticket!

As part of his football fever he played the Courier Mail's  Find the Ball competition every week.  A photo was published of a moment in a game with the image of the ball removed. You had to guess where the ball was to win a weekly prize. The prize was quite good, as was generally over a thousand pounds. 

Finally in the week 30 October 1954 he hit the jackpot! That week the prize would be

As you can imagine there was lots of excitement in the house with plans being made as to what to buy.

There was only one slight problem:

So his share was only 127 pounds, still a nice windfall but not the jackpot for which he had been hoping!

The dreams had to be reined in a bit but he did use the money to buy Grandma a nice watch!

E isfor Education

Thanks to Alona who started us on this fabulous Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.

Education and school days have a strong impact on us and also on our ancestors.

Due to the Second World War my Grandmother Myrtle stayed living with her mother Violet Weeks in the house on the corner of Craig and Cochrane Streets, Red Hill even after her marriage to  William George Busby in 1939. 

My Grand-Aunt Gladys and her husband Walter Trost also lived in the house so my mother born in January 1940 had plenty of relatives at home.

My mother Violet Busby went to the Seventh Day Adventist school, a school close to her home, for her Prep years.

Taken 2 August 1946 Violet is second from the left, front row

People talk a lot today of school fees and Grandma paid a regular fee to send Violet to this school.

From there Mum went to Kelvin Grove State school, the third generation of her family to go to Kelvin Grove, but more about that in another post.

While Mum was going to the Seventh Day Adventist School, she also went to the Seventh Day Adventist Sunday School. The picture below was taken between 1946-1947 at a picnic.

Violet is far right standing in the dress with the embroidery on the chest