Monday, August 31, 2020

Remembering Thomas

Back in March I was correcting some text on Trove and came across this article so I scheduled it to appear on Thomas' anniversary. Thomas Osborne died 72 years ago on 31 August 1948.

1948 'SWALLOWED DENTAL PLATE', Goulburn Evening Post (NSW : 1940 - 1954), 31 August, p. 1. (Daily and Evening), viewed 26 Mar 2020,

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Redding Sisters

 From time to time I take a look in Dad's old photos and try to work out the identity of the subjects. Thankfully Dad labelled his snaps so I knew that these young ladies were Eileen and Pat Redding.

As Dad's family lived in Canowindra I initially concentrated my efforts on finding a Redding family in that area but searches in the usual places bore no fruit.

A search for Eileen Redding on Trove yielded a couple of hits for an Eileen Redding living in Waitara, one of these was a report of her wedding that indicated that the bride's attendants were Patricia and Geraldine, that sounded promising. It was then easy to find her marriage to Adrian Leyden in the NSW BDM indexes. 

It struck me that I had been looking at the wrong area. When Dad was in the Army he spent time in Sydney with his aunt and uncle who lived in James Street, Hornsby right next to Waitara so that is where he would have met the girls.

I popped the name Eileen Leyden into Google and found a death notice. The notice was rich in information which confirmed I had the right Eileen, gave the names of Eileen's siblings and I was able to deduce that Eileen was the older of the two girls in the photo.


Eileen's death notice

Leyden, Eileen Frances.

(Nee Redding)

27/11/1927 - 2/4/2019
Aged 91 years

Loving wife of Adrian (Dec). Beloved mother of Michael, Peter, John, Tracie ,Richard and their families.
Fond sister of Mary, Patricia (Dec), Geraldine, Philip, Kathleen.

Eileen's family and friends are invited to attend her funeral service to be held at St Patrick's Church Asquith , 1 Royston Parade on Monday 8th April at 11am.



My next task was to find Patricia, the schoolgirl in the photo, who from the above notice learnt that she had passed away before her sister.

Back to Trove I went and searched for "Patricia Ridding". I found more answers with a poem posted in the Children's pages of The Sun newspaper. 

1944 'WATER FAIRY', The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), 17 September, p. 2. (SUPPLEMENT TO THE SUNBEAMS), viewed 15 Aug 2020,

Patricia was aged 12 in 1944 so would have been 13 in Dad's photo, that fits. Her address was on the Pacific Highway which is just around the corner from James Street.

Patricia's marriage to Howard Francis Longworth was registered at Hornsby in 1956.


Patricia's death notice

Patricia Audrey
25.4.1931 - 17.3.2019
Late of McQuion Park
Beloved wife of Howard (dec), loving mother of Simon, Philip, Matthew, Ann-Mary, Timothy, Stephanie and their families.

Family and friends of Patricia are kindly invited to attend her Funeral service to be held in the Chapel at McQuion Park, 28 McAuley Place, Waitara on Monday 25.03.2019 to commence at 10.00am.

In lieu of flowers, please donate on Patricia's behalf to your favourite charity.



Thursday, August 20, 2020

A Particularly Amiable Man

One day I hope to write the story of my 3xGreat-Uncle, Michael Harrington Ryan, elder brother of my Great-Great Grandmother, Bridget Ryan.  

In the interim, as well as references from books and journals found in archives, I have a Private List on Trove where I keep details of newspaper articles that mention Michael. This list currently has 161 references that provide a reasonable timeline of this pioneer priest's appointments and movements. However until today, when I decided to venture away from the Newspaper and Gazette Category on Trove, I didn't know much about Michael's character. 

With half an hour up my sleeve I decided to try my luck in the Magazines and Newsletters Category on Trove so I entered this term, "michael harrington ryan",in the search box and was rewarded with two hits.

My Search

The first of these articles (which are instantly available online) only confirmed that Michael had worked at Mayfield. 

The article from 1933, written by W.E.D. (an ex-pupil of St Mary's School), gives a insight into the character of Michael Harrington Ryan when he worked at St. Mary's Church, Newcastle. It is a nugget of Geneagold. 

2016, The Newcastle and Maitland Catholic Sentinel : the official organ of the diocese of Maitland National Library of Australia, Canberra viewed 20 August 2020

My next task is to search in this publication using variants of Michael's name in case there are more mentions of him. I was just so thrilled to find this article that I had to share it immediately.

From the Archives - Mary Jane Aspinall

First published on the GeniAus blog on 20 August 2010. Although I have connected with several cousins in the past ten years I have no new photos of Mary Jane.

Mary Jane Aspinall

 My maternal great-grandmother, Mary Jane Aspinall, was born in Carrawa, New South Wales on this day in  1862. Unfortunately I do not have many photos of Mary Jane. Hopefully one day I'll hook up with some distant cousins who may have some pictures stored away. Reproduced below are some of the photos I have.

Mary Jane and daughters c 1912
Mary Jane c 1949

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Dancing for Joy on VP Day

On the 75th anniversary of VP Day we remember those who defended our nation from 1939-1945. 

A request this morning from a cousin for a copy of a photo of my mother on VP (Victory in the Pacific Day) reminded me that I should share the image on my blog again.

When Peace was announced my mother, Elsie aged 22, was at work in Sydney's General Post Office in Martin Place. Mum and her co-workers went into the street to join the crowds celebrating there. This photo that was published in a Sydney newspaper shows the joy on the faces of Mum (in the two-tone shoes) and the others who gathered in celebration.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Trawling in the Lake

Normally when I present a webinar or talk it is on a topic about which I have a reasonable amount of knowledge.

Recently I have been on a steep learning curve as I prepare a talk, Trawling in the Lake: resources for family history research in the Lake Macquarie area, about my new local area. With the support of fellow members of The Lake Macquarie Family History Group I am learning about the history of this area and the resources to support research into the district.

Lake Macquarie LGA is within the red lines on this map

Until I started this exercise I thought that the Newcastle Local Government Area (LGA) was the major LGA in the region. I have since learnt that Lake Macquarie (649km2) covers a greater area than Newcastle (187km2). The Lake Macquarie area's population at 2018 was 204,914 while in Newcastle the population at 2018 was 164,104. The lesson here for genealogists researching in the area around Newcastle is that the Lake Macquarie LGA should be included in your searches. 

Suburbs like Cardiff, Charlestown, Edgeworth, Glendale and West Wallsend that I had thought would be in Newcastle are actually in Lake Macquarie. The Lake Macquarie area also extends south past Morisset to Wyee, south on the eastern side past Catherine Hill Bay and west past Cooranbong and into the Watagans National Park.

If you would like to learn more about resources for researching in this area you are invited to join the Zoom event hosted by The Lake Macquarie Family History Group and presented by me as an outreach activity on August 28th during National Family History Month

Bookings are necessary for this free event.

Please email  to register. A link to the event will be emailed to participants in the days prior to the event.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Mervyn Percival Hasler 1920-1990

This morning in a private Facebook Group for descendants of our convict ancestor, Elizabeth Phipps,  one of my cousins, a fellow genealogist, posted some photos of her father to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.

On seeing these beautiful photos of Mervyn Percival Hasler (my 2nd cousin twice removed) I asked my cousin if I could share them in a post to mark this special anniversary. She wrote on Facebook:

"This is my Dad Mervyn Percival Hasler (1920-1990). Great great grandson of Elizabeth Phipps. He was born in Leadville, NSW, 4 August 1920. Today would have been his 100th Birthday."

Below are the photos of a dapper Percival. Thank you to my cousin for her Genearosity.


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