Monday, January 7, 2019

The ironing's not done ....

.... and it's all Shelley Crawford's fault.

Since she wrote about her network graphs for Visualising Ancestry Matches last year last year I have been hooked. Shelley posted detailed  instructions for creating these very useful visual representations of one's Ancestry matches (and beyond 4th cousin level too). What was easy for a cluey chick like Shelley was hard labour for this old girl. I persevered and created my first graph which helped me work out a few connections.

Since I created my first masterpiece my number of Ancestry matches has grown greatly. In October before I went on holidays I started the process again but it took me ages and my resulting graph looked like a dog's breakfast.

Shelley must have realised that there were quite a few people like me who didn't really have the patience and persistence to create these useful things because in December she announced her ConnectedDNA service. For a small fee one can avoid the headaches associated with creating network graphs by contracting Shelley to do the dirty work for you.

I placed my order and coughed up my $80 on Saturday. I was sent a link to upload some files to Dropbox for Shelley to work on. When I opened my email Sunday morning my files were waiting for me.   I received four files : the most amazing spreadsheet that listed all my matches with lots of relevant data, my very pretty network graph in two formats (.pdf and .jpg) and  a group map that gives an overview of my pretty graphs.

My pretty graph looks something like this but it also has names on each of the dots
The pretty graphs show clusters of relationships of my matches so I can see at a glance who matches with whom and therefore deduce where in my tree a relationship may be (very handy for those matches who are treeless and have meaningless kit names).

I love the spreadsheet and have gone down a rabbit hole today adding the notes from my own basic sheet of matches into Shelley's.  I have already been able to work out where a few more matches fit into my tree. I'm so impressed that I want to order graphs for all of the kits I match on Ancestry and FTDNA but I had better work with what I have and save up some pennies for more graphs from ConnectedDNA.

Perhaps I could even do some ironing.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Legacy Downunder Webinars

I was rather chuffed last year when I was approached by Marian Pierre-Louis on behalf of  Legacy Family Tree Webinars with an offer to present a webinar in their new Downunder webinar series. Although I get incredibly nervous about presenting to a video camera I could not turn down such an invitation. I was so excited about this gig but I had to keep Mum about the event until the series was announced.

Marian selected the topic, Six Feet Under Downunder, from the list I have on my blog so for the past few weeks as I have been putting my Powerpoint presentation together I have been burying myself in books and articles about burial history and practices in Australia. 

An outback cemetery
Hopefully I will manage to cover the following:

"After a discussion of the history of burial practices of indigenous and early European arrivals in the colony of New South Wales we will explore the development of cemeteries, crematoriums and memorial parks down under. We will discuss current legislation regulating burials and cremation and look at some current trends, practices and statistics for burials in Australia. The major focus of the webinar will be on resources available for locating details of people who were buried or cremated in Australia since European settlement in 1788. We will examine a range of free and subscription print and online resources that provide such details."

Tonight after I listened to the recording of Helen Smith's webinar on Australian Archives which kicked off the series it hit me that I am next on the docket for the Downunder webinar series

My nerves will be calmer if I know that some of my genimates will be joining me for my deadly webinar. YOU can sign up to join me in the webinar for FREE at 12 noon (AEDT) on February 6 from this link:

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Return to the Geneacave

It has been nearly six months since I have been able to access my genacave and its resources. Today I was finally able to sit at my desk.

During our house renovations my geneacave was used as a storeroom and was packed to the rafters with boxes and tubs. My files and books were hidden behind this mountain of stored items so my geneactivities were restricted to what I could do on the internet. I have let some of my genearesponsibilities slip during the upheaval and now need to play catchup.

Thankfully we were able to take a couple of holidays while the builders took over the house.  We managed to get home late on Christmas Eve so we could spend Christmas with the family.

We escaped from the renos
The renos are nearly completed and we are putting the house back together. First priorities were packing the kitchen, bathrooms and our wardrobes. Today I decided it was time to find my desk and I have managed to make a pathway there.

It was so good to sit on my office chair and connect my external monitor and scanner. I sifted, sorted, scanned and tossed some of the papers that we had dumped in there. I have so much physical and digital filing to do but at least I now have access to my technology.

Alas, when I tried to connect to the internet the signal was very poor, even worse than we endured on our recent cruise. My modem/router is downstairs at the opposite end of  the house from my study and I have to wait for the builder to come back from his holiday to see where I can now connect it.

So here I am working at our dining table in the living room where I can get an internet connection. At least the view is good and the breeze refreshing.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Remembering Wives and Mothers

The person I knew in my close family who most affected by World War 1 was my maternal grandmother, Ethel Jane Pusell but across the sea in England a mother, Sarah Jane Busby, was sharing Ethel's grief. 

I wrote the following article for a local family history society's newsletter but as that has a very limited audience and I put a lot of effort into the post I am publishing it here on Remembrance Day.

Bertie Chatfield aka John Williams
While those who served at the front had horrific physical and psychological injuries many of their kith and kin who were left behind suffered emotionally. Two women who never met were affected by the war activities of Bertie Chatfield, his mother, Sarah Jane Chatfield (nee Busby), and his wife, Ethel Jane Pusell. Sarah Jane, a widow, lived in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire while my Grandmother, Ethel Jane lived in Cobar, NSW. 

Bertie, who was born in Wellingborough in 10 December, 1888, was working as a miner in Cobar when he enlisted in May 1916. He was an interesting chap who enlisted in the Australian Army under the pseudonym, John Williams, as he had deserted the British Navy from HMS Cambrian in Sydney in 1912. He had previously worked in a colliery in England so that experience and Cobar’s distance from Sydney and the British Navy probably encouraged him to seek work there. 

Ethel Jane Pusell, the daughter of James Pusell and Mary Jane Aspinall, was born in 1899 in the small hamlet of Thompsons Creek near Burraga, New South Wales. The Pusell family moved to Cobar in the early 1900s, no doubt for Ethel’s brothers to gain employment in the newly opened mines.

Ethel married Bertie Chatfield (who was named John Bertram Chatfield on his marriage certificate), at the age of 15 and six months later gave birth to her first child, John William (Billy) Chatfield. When 25 year old miner, Bert Chatfield, set off to war as John Williams he left behind his pregnant 17 year old wife and young son, Billy. On his attestation papers Bert had named Jane Williams (ie Ethel his wife) c/o Mrs Pusell as his next of kin.

Sarah Jane had five sons in the services, Arthur was killed in action in France on 9 May 1915 so she was concerned for the welfare of her surviving sons..

Bert probably did not hear that he had become a father of a daughter, Nellie, who was born on 4 April, 1917 and lived for just two weeks. I wonder if Nellie's birth was premature or if she died of some other cause. Ethel had always told me that she had lost twin girls; although there is no official record of two births I have a copy of a family letter that confirms this.

I do not know when Ethel heard of her husband's fate but on 24 July, 1917 she wrote the following letter to the Army. 

I cannot imagine how bewildered my grandmother, young Ethel, must have felt when she received news that her husband was Missing in Action and subsequently listed as Killed in the Field. He was reported as missing in action on 3 May 1917. A Court of Enquiry held in the field on 4 December 1917 found that he had been "Killed in the Field".

Sarah Jane reported in the local Wellingborough News that Bert was missing. She must have been heartbroken at the thought of losing another son. 

Northampton Mercury, June 15, 1917

When Bert’s death was confirmed Sarah Jane enlisted the help of The Red Cross to find details of Bert's death. Bert's file contains a number of statements from soldiers who were at the front with him. As Ethel was listed as Bertie aka John Williams' next of kin I wonder how Sarah had received news of his death.

It appears that Bert or Jack as he was known to fellow soldiers sustained a severe injury to his legs and was left in a shell hole by his mates, they retreated and when they returned he was nowhere to be seen. 

Ethel had received the devastating news by 19 February, 1918 when she wrote to the Army to see if any personal effects belonging to Bert had been found. Ethel whose handwriting was nothing like that in these letters and whose composition skills were poor must have had someone in the family write these two sad letters for her. 


I have visited the memorial in Wellingborough on which Bert Chatfield’s proper name is inscribed below that of his brother, Arthur John Chatfield

Wellingborough War Memorial

I have also travelled twice to France to visit the Australian Military Cemetery at Villers-Bretonneux and see the panel on which John Williams’ name is inscribed. Standing there on a winter's day when the biting wind was howling across the plains I shed a tear for Bert and Ethel and Sarah Jane and the thousands of young men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their countries. 

Villers-Bretonneux Cemetery, France
Hopefully it was some consolation to Sarah Jane that three of her sons returned from the front. 

Ethel was married at 15 and had lost two children and a husband by the time she was 18. The effect of these events on her must have been enormous. After the war The Chatfields asked Ethel and Billy to come and live with them in England but she declined. I presume that Ethel lived with her parents until she met her second husband, my grandfather Frank Duncan. She was blessed to have supportive parents and a strong family network to help her through these tough times.

Lest we forget.


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