Friday, February 26, 2010

A potted history of our president, Frank Grace - Local News - News - General - Yass Tribune

A potted history of our president, Frank Grace - Local News - News - General - Yass Tribune

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Readers in the Mist: Seniors Week at the Library

Genealogists? Blue Mountains? Seniors? If you need to brush up on your internet skills here is an activity for you.

Readers in the Mist: Seniors Week at the Library

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Adding Treasure to the Trove

I have read numerous blog posts and tweets extolling the virtues of the NLA's Historic Australian Newspapers, 1803 to 1954 on Trove.

Just last night @HicksShauna tweeted 'Having such a good time on Historic Australian newspapers forgot the time & now after midnight'

I am a regular user of this site,
the information found there adds some flavour to the rather dry facts in my family tree. I have found birth and death notices, sickly sweet in memoriums, saucy divorce proceedings and articles that give places and times to ancestors.

As Geniaus, a registered user of Trove, I can contribute to this wonderful resource. The newspapers are scanned by OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software that does not produce particularly accurate records. As the original newpapers do not have particularly sharp print the OCR transcriptions sometimes read as gobbledygook. Many words are therefore not indexed correctly and this results in fewer hits for searchers.

Users of Trove can correct lines of the OCR text. I recently edited this entry:
"WOODI1I VI) (nu Florence Gowans)-Februar) 15,
it War M.innnil Hospitil, Wnvcile), to Mr and Mrs
1-1, I Woiellieid, oí Burwood-j bon (Itomld Wil-
li jmj_"

WOODHEAD (nee Florence Gowans)-February 15,
At War Memorial Hospital, Waverley, to Mr and Mrs
Eric L. Woodhead, of Burwood-a son (Ronald Wil-

Now that this text has been corrected future searchers looking for Woodhead, War Memorial Hospital or Ronald William will be able to retrieve this article.

My contribution of 242 lines of corrected text is a drop in the ocean compared with the top five contributers:

1 jhempenstall 364,776
2 John.F.Hall 338,123
3 fwalker13 303,797
4 annmanley 273,427
5 maurielyn 246,304

who between them have corrected around 1,500,000 lines of text.I am ranked at 1657 on the league table of users who have corrected lines.

I exhort those who use Trove to consider adding to the treasure there by correcting lines of text in articles you read.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scottish Genealogy News and Events (SGNE): Gordon Brown to make Child Migrants apology

Scottish Genealogy News and Events (SGNE): Gordon Brown to make Child Migrants apology

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Genealogy Insider - Announcing the Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs

Genealogy Insider - Announcing the Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs

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Congratulations to all of the nominated blogs. I am pleased to see that a couple of my favourites are in this list.

I enjoy reading Shades of the Departed and Footnote Maven by footnoteMaven. I enjoy Schelly Talalay Dardashti's Tracing the Tribe with its international coverage of Jewish Genealogy.

As someone with British Roots I particularly enjoy Scottish Genealogy News and Events by Chris Paton. With a bias towards Scotland and the UK but with a broader coverage this blog provides valuable news and information.

The list of top blogs is otherwise US centric. There may be others on the list that emanate from countries other than the US but I cannot readily identify them. Obviously it would be difficult, because of our small population base and short history, for an Australian blog that caters to a smaller interest base to make this list.

I wonder why there appear to be no other blogs from Europe and the UK (the lands of forefathers) on this list. Do people in these regions not read Family Tree Magazine's blog? Is genealogy blogging not popular in these regions?

Next year I will nominate Ancestors Magazine (from the National Archives - UK, The Wandering Genealogist from Sussex and The Professional Descendant from Edinburgh to the selection and a couple of Aussie contenders too.

Will you join me in adding some international flavour to the list of 40 top blogs in 2010?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hawkesbury on the NET

I must commend the dedicated people who maintain the family history resources on Hawkesbury on the NET.

As someone wi
th convict ancestors and their descendants who lived in this region I have found the various family history resources that include Church and Cemetery Registers on this site most helpful.

Just today on the AUS-NSW-HILLS-HAWKESBURY-HUNTER-VALLEY- Roostweb list Michelle Nichols announced
" We have recently transcribed a list of nearly 400 electors in the Electoral District of the Hawkesbury. The men nominated Richard William Piddington (1815-1887) to represent them in Parliament."

This list can be found in a collection at

If you have a connection with the Hawkesbury area this site is well worth a visit.

Monday, February 22, 2010

TMG Users' Group Melbourne

Sighted this notice on a Rootsweb Listserv:

Melbourne Australia, The Master Genealogist Users Group, (TMG)

The next meeting of the above TMG Users Group will be held 24th February

Date: Wednesday, 24th February 2010.
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Private house. Ashwood area.

Email: for details how to get there.

Beginners to advanced welcome. If you are having a problem bring a backup or
your laptop and we will try to help you.

Elizabeth Phipps

My great.great.great.grandmother, Elizabeth Phipps (c.1792-1869), was quite a girl - a convicted felon, she bore at least ten children (their paternity is hard to identify) by James Westbrook and William Magick?) and, in 1834, married William Magick a much older man who reputedly lived to 108.

Elizabeth and William lived out their lives in March Street, Richmond, New South Wales.

Elizabeth, daughter of Edmund Phipps and Susannah Harris, arrived in Australia on Wanstead on January 9th 1814 having been convicted with James Westbrook and transported for life. A transccript of their trial can be found at the Old Bailey Site. Her first assignment was to Mr. Cox at Windsor. She had gained her freedom by 1822.

I have located details for 1,600+ direct descendants of Elizabeth and would be thrilled to hear from more.

Event of interest to genealogists - next weekend at The National Museum of Australia, Canberra

Family memory making: Matching heirlooms with stories

Saturday 27 February 2010, 10am to 12.30pm
Learn how to skilfully document your family treasures and heritage in this two part workshop and discover the difference between ‘stuff’ and family heirlooms.

Cost: $120 for two family members to attend both workshops.
Saturday 27 February (Workshop 1)
Saturday 27 March (Workshop 2)
Bookings essential on (02) 6208 5048
Friends Lounge

Taneya’s Genealogy Blog » Portable Hand Scanner

Another techie toy for my wishlist

Taneya’s Genealogy Blog » Portable Hand Scanner

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Australian War Memorial Blog » Australian War Memorial Fromelles tour, 2010

Australian War Memorial Blog » Australian War Memorial Fromelles tour, 2010

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Genealogy Blog - John, Bill And Tom Are Most Popular Names Of Past 170 Years - GeneaNet

What happened to Tom, Dick and Harry??

Genealogy Blog - John, Bill And Tom Are Most Popular Names Of Past 170 Years - GeneaNet

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James the Clock

"James the Clock", as we affectionately know him, is James Gowans my husband's 3rd great-grandfather.

Born in 1806 in North Berwick James grew up to be a clockmaker in East Linton (1837-1850) and Galashiels, Scotland. Since we learnt of James' trade we have been anxious to find a clock made by him. Having an object crafted by James or his son James b. 1836 , my husband's 2nd great-grandfather, would add an extra dimension to our family history. James the clock's first son, John Gowans b 1832 who emigrated to the United States was also a watchmaker .

We started searching the internet for a Gowans clock around 2002 and discovered one on a British clocks website. We willingly paid the 99p subscription to view the site and download the photos of our first "Gowans" clock find. An email to the site did not elicit an answer so we were unable to find contact details for the owner. The clock's description states " There are four handpainted 'castles' one in each corner of the dial. It has Roman numerals. In the arch it has a picture of a farm-girl carrying two pails on a shoulder yoke with a cottage in the background." The photographs are by Mike Fuss.

We would have loved to see this clock "in the flesh" on a visit to the UK but had to content ourselves with photos. Just today I paid another 99p and went back to this website to check on James' entry that had been updated in 2009, I found an inaccurate and unsourced biographical entry. I was most disappointed and sent an email off to the site.

Not long before setting out on an excursion to the UK in early 2006 a Gowans ancestor contacted us through the Genes Reunited site. After a flurry of emails in which we discovered that he had inherited a Gowans clock from an elderly aunt we made arrangements to visit him to share family history and documents and have a viewing of the clock and James the Clock's family bible.

We had a wonderful visit with my husband's 3rd cousin (1 time removed) in his charming cottage in the English countryside. We have established a friendship with him and have subsequently stayed with him on another visit. As well as the clock and bible this cousin had a photo of an elderly James the Clock (above) as well as letters and documents from later generations. Oh, to have spinster aunts who live into their nineties and are bowerbirds to boot.

We have continued to scour the internet and have made contact with clock dealers on three continents in the hope of sourcing a Gowans clock. We regularly scour auction sites in the UK. Our English cousin has been on the lookout for us and helpfully placed an advertisement in an English clock magazine. We have yet to find a clock for sale.

Early this week I did another series of searches for Gowans clocks and got a new hit. This Gowans clock is in Australia at Museum Victoria; it is only 1,000 miles away. We immediately sent off an email to the Museum outlining our relationship to the clock's maker and asking if it would be possible to view it.

I was so excited to get a response from the Museum this morning thanking me for the biographical information supplied and indicating that we may be able to visit the clock at a time to be arranged. When I have photos of this new clock I will post them on my family history website and this blog. This news will make my husband's day.

I won't give up day our clock will come.

The Clock Monkey: Author Interview: Chrissie Michaels (Aussie Month Post)

Profile of Aussie author who is into family history.

The Clock Monkey: Author Interview: Chrissie Michaels (Aussie Month Post)

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Walter Taylor Drowned at a Brewery « Watter Genealogy Blog

Walter Taylor Drowned at a Brewery « Watter Genealogy Blog

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On the united colours of Bennett | The Australian

Beautifully written portrait of 80 year old Australian Artist "Mrs Bennett", Nyurapaia Nampitjinpa.

On the united colours of Bennett | The Australian

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The Third Annual iGene Awards, The Best of The Best!

Wow! This is a challenge but I'm going to take a trip down memory lane, trawl my archives and see if I can find any gems.
  • Best Picture - Best old family photo that appeared on your blog in 2009. Tell us which you liked best and why.
For the Annual Swimsuit Edition of the 74th Carnival of Genealogy I posted a photo of a little girl on the beach in Ettalong, NSW. I love this photo as it brings back memories of wonderful holidays with an extended family that were especially relished by a sometimes lonely only child.

  • Best Screen Play - Which family story that you shared in 2009 would make the best movie? Who would you cast as your family members?
Photos from 1956, 1965 and 2008 of the girls I attended school with and later met up at a school reunion were in the post Flowers and sunshine cheer our pathway.

Tina, Anne, Jackie, Gabrielle and myself were in each of those three photos. The life stories of these five women would make an excellent mini-series or docudrama. Between us we have been married, widowed or remained single, had no children or large families. Three were teachers as that was one of the few professions easily accessible to women in the late sixties. We have maintained the faith or turned our backs on the Church, we have lived in the city and the outback. We have been mature students changing careers in mid-life or have stayed in the one job for the duration of our working lives.

With the help of lighting, makeup and filters the girls have what it takes to play themselves in this series.

The real life stories of my classmates would show that Vinnie's girls are not Desperate Houswives but that each is a "Woman of Substance".

  • Best Documentary - Which was the best informational article you wrote about a place, thing, or event involving your family's history in 2009?
When the Queen came to town gives a potted history of Elizabeth II's visits to Sydney interlaced with comments about my family's involvements in these visits.
  • Best Biography - Which was the best biographical article you wrote in 2009?
The best biography that appeared on my blog was Last July's post "Frank Duncan - an ordinary bloke" about my grandfather, Frank Duncan. I did not meet Frank as he died before I was born but from stories recounted by my mother and aunts, who adored their father, I imagine that he was was a real Aussie larrikin.
  • Best Comedy - Which was the best funny story, poem, joke, photo, or video that you shared on your blog in 2009?
A popular pasttime in Australia is the derision of public figures especially politicians in our nation's capital, Canberra. Although it did not elicit comments from any readers my post Christmas news from our nation's capital really tickled my funnybone.

Public events - National Archives of Australia

Public events - National Archives of Australia

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Time to nominate ancestors | Northern Rivers News | Local News in Northern Rivers | Clarence Valley Daily Examiner

CLARENCE Valley residents and descendants of local pioneering families have less than two weeks left to nominate their ancestors for a place among those to be officially acknowledged in Grafton’s Sesquicentennial Pioneer Garden.

Time to nominate ancestors | Northern Rivers News | Local News in Northern Rivers | Clarence Valley Daily Examiner

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Monday, February 8, 2010

The women of the Edgeworth David Family

I have copied the following notification from the Hornsby Library website. From time to time the library hosts some interesting talks but, unless I go to the website to see what is on the horizon, I miss out on hearing about the events they have planned.

Jenny Horsfield -The women of the Edgeworth David Family

Hornsby Library will be hosting a talk on the women of the Edgeworth David Family.

From educating a Fijian princess to knitting hundreds of woollen socks for servicemen during World War II, from providing medical assistance to Tuvalu islanders to offering Miles Franklin advice on her shortcomings as a writer, Lady Cara David, wife of Sir Edgeworth David, was arguably one of Hornsby Shire’s most influential women.

In 1907 David observed, "Whatever success I may have achieved in life, is die chiefly to my wife".

The talk will also focus upon Cara's children Margaret and Mary. Margaret was a community worker and politician and Mary an author.

Cost :- $5.00
Bookings:- Please phone on phone number (02) 9847 6614 or email

Sessions will be held at Hornsby Library at the following times.
Wednesday 10th February
7:15 pm
Print Page

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rate Books

Library volunteer Ian Beckett has painstakingly transcribed The Hills Shire’s early rates books. They can be searched online.

Rate Books

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February 1st

I love the ability that TNG the software I use for my genealogy website allows me to take a look at what happened "On this Day" .

Perusing today, February 1, I see that Emily Jane Pusell, my great-great aunt, was married in 1885 in Binda, NSW to Thomas Parsons. I know nothing of the Parsons branch other than having recollections of my grandmother talking about her cousin Siddy Parsons.

As today's task I am going to spend an hour or two seeing if I can dig up any further information on Emily and her descendants.

Blog Content - Peaks and Troughs

The realisation that I haven't posted any snippets for five days has just hit me. The greater percentage of posts on my blog are taken from news services and blogs that I read. If there is anything that I think may be of interest to genealogists in Australia I post it; sometimes with a short comment and sometimes with just a link.

These items do not come in a steady stream so somtimes there is a peak and sometimes a trough. It's trough time now, in the thousand odd bits I've read in the past few days there has been nothing that I am inclined to share.

I am still on the lookout and when a peak looms I will share the information/news I find.


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