Sunday, January 31, 2021
Monday, January 25, 2021
I penned this post ten years ago and am reposting it with a few extra phrases typed in this colour.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Shifty Ancestors in The Lucky Country
Meanwhile I have been procrastinating about which document from which of my convict ancestors I will share. Should it be something from Elizabeth Phipp's shady past or should I share something from one of her partners James Westbrook or William Magick? I don't know which of these gentlemen is my ancestor as they seemed to fall in and out of favour with Elizabeth. Who was she with when she conceived James Westbrook/Magick my first direct ancestor born in Australia?
Find the earliest piece of documentation you have about an ancestor in Australia. If you don't have an Australian ancestor, then choose the earliest piece of documentation you have for a relative in Australia.
Because it deals with three of my ancestors I am going to share an English document from 1812. I have earlier documents that tell of Births, Deaths and Marriages but this document is several pages long, quotes actual words spoken by my ancestors and gives information on the lives they led in London that caused them to be transported to Australia.
What is the document?
The document I have is a faded photocopy of part of Old Bailey Proceedings, 16th September 1812 in which JAMES WESTBROOK , ELIZABETH PHIPPS , SUSANNAH PHIPPS , and SAMUEL WESTBROOK , were indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Joseph Covington , about the hour of eight in the forenoon, on the 1st of April , and stealing therein, eighteen gowns, value 3 l. seven petticoats, value 1 l. six pair of blankets, value 3 l. a feather bed, value 3 l. a bolster, value 5 s. two pillows, value 5 s. a time-piece, value 6 l. a silver cup, value 1 l. and five yards of muslin, value 5 s. the property of Joseph Covington .
As there are copyright restrictions on the reproduction of this document I am only pasting a snip.
Do you remember the research process that lead you to it? How and where did you find it?
Some time last century, using microform resources at The State Library of New South Wales, I identified my convict ancestors Elizabeth Phipps and James Westbrook. On a trip to the UK in 2004 I spent time at various institutions trying to discover more about them and other ancestors from the Old Country. As part of that visit I visited the stunning National Archives at Kew armed with a list of my forebears and the ships that bore them to Australia.
Mr Geniaus and I were quite bewildered during our one day at this august institution but we managed to find a number of treasures including the transcript of the Phipps/Westbrook trial. How we managed to find the transcript I cannot remember! Today I can find a digital copy of that same transcript from the comfort of my home by searching The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 online. The typed transcript is, however, much easier to read, do take a look as it is an interesting story.
Tell us the story(ies) of the document. You may like to consider the nature of the document, the people mentioned, the place and the time. Be as long or short, broad or narrow in your story telling as you like!
A reading of the document will tell its story but it told me more than just a story; reading the spoken words of my ancestors from 200 years ago gave me spine tingles. It also gave me more facts and background on my ancestors.
1. I learnt the name of my 4th Great-grandmother, Susannah Phipps (nee Harris) and have been able to find her BDM details.
2. I learnt that James had a brother Samuel Westbrook.
3. Reading Elizabeth's defence tells me that she spoke quite well and coherently. "On the morning that Mrs. Covington left town, she called me down stairs, between six and seven. She said, where is your mother? Why does not she live at home? Mrs. Covington gave me a five-pound note, and two lace caps. I was rather fearful. I would not take them until I went up to Westbrook. I was to deliver them to my mother in Fetter-lane, where she then was. They all deal in stolen property. The things that were moved out of the place were my own."
4. I was able to identify the places of residence of my ancestors in London and have put them on a list to find on my next trip. One such place Woods Buildings (now demolished) was a haunt of Jack the Ripper. I have since visited the area in which the family lived in Golden Lane.
5. I learnt the Elizabeth and James knew each other and were probably living in a common law marriage before they were transported. Another researcher claims they were married and had a child before Elizabeth was transported but the only evidence I can find to support this is from the transcript "The child with them had the key". I now think the child may have been Elizabeth's younger sister and that Elizabeth was pregnant while waiting for transportation.
6. I surmise that Ann Price was Samuel Westbrook's woman as she gave him an alibi.
I am fascinated by the life of Elizabeth Phipps and was thrilled when I came across the transcript that told me so much about her and her environment in early 18th century London. Elizabeth, widow of William Magick, died as a respectable married woman in Richmond, NSW on August 8, 1869.
Due to the deeds of my ten shifty convict ancestors (and a few who were upright citizens) Australia was ordained as my birth place.
As I celebrate Australia Day I will reflect on the courage and determination of past generations who triumphed over a harsh environment. I thank them for their contributions to to our nation and for paving the way for my family to live a charmed life in The Lucky Country.
Sunday, January 24, 2021
I published this review on my Librarything account and, this morning thought I should add it to Amazon, the place where I purchased it. Sadly I am not able to post a review there because I haven't reached the minimum spend to gain permission to write a review! As I am gagged on Amazon I am sharing my review here.
As a member of the Nathan Dylan Goodwin Fan Club with many other genealogists I have been anxiously waiting for the debut of this work. Now that I have read it I am disappointed that I will have to wait for Nathan to recharge his batteries and research and write another tale.
This book was Nathan's best work yet. It is an improvement on his other works on so many levels. I have been critical of the covers for Nathan's earlier books but I loved this one, it set the scene for a real page-turner that held my attention from the first to the last word.
Between the covers I found a believable story populated with interesting characters and many story lines that ended with a couple of cliff-hangers allowing for future works in the series. I felt for the main character Maddie, owner of a genetic genealogy firm who, in spite of issues in her personal life, was able to rally and support her team in identifying through DNA the serai killer in a cold case.
As a genealogist I appreciated the detailed description of the methodologies used to solve the case. Nathan who is an Englishman must have been on a steep learning curve as he learnt about all the resources during the research for the book. To his credit he deferred to some of the top genealogists in the US for assistance. For this Aussie with little knowledge of US resources reading this book gave me a sugar-coated way of learning more on that subject.
I loved that the work was set in the geneamecca of Salt Lake City, a place I have visited on many occasions. Nathan's descriptions of the weather and the areas around Salt Lake were spot on. I noted that he named one of his characters, Kenyatta. Was that a nod to US genealogist Kenyatta Berry? One of the homes he described in South Jordan sounded similar to a genealogists's home I have visited there! Those who haven't been to Salt Lake will get an accurate picture of the place from reading this story.
This work is easy to read with many descriptive phrases. Nathan's prose in US English lends authority to the story and made the characters more believable. Nathan's writing has certainly developed since his first novel.
This book was unputdownable, a riveting story combined with a lesson in genealogy research and a discussion of issues facing family historians.
Highly recommended for family historians, those who love a good mystery and people inquisitive about DNA.
I read the eBook version of this work from Amazon that was priced at just $AU7.50 - great value for 4 hours entertainment, I look forward to the arrival of my hard copy that I will read at a more leisurely pace.
Saturday, January 23, 2021
I wrote this article that was published in The St Vincent's College Annual at the end of 2003 after I had returned to my Alma Mater as a member of staff. St Vincent's or Vinnies was established in 1958.
After recently reading a history of the College I was reminded of my little article which I located on my hard drive. I am sharing it to my blog in case my descendants may wish to read it in future years as my blog is preserved here on The Australian Web Archive on Trove.
The naughtiest girl again
Returning to my Alma Mater nearly fifty years after my Mother deposited me in the care of the Sisters of Charity, as a five-year old in 1954, has been quite an experience. I am still the naughty girl who left Vinnies in 1965 with a reference from Sister Reparata that stated “With maturity Jill is capable of doing well”. I returned, a gray-haired matron, who has gained physical but not mental maturity. I did leave St. Vincents, however, instilled with strong values that have guided me throughout my life.
|Facade of the College on Victoria Street|
Ghosts from the past leap out to grab me as I turn corners, memories of characters and events are sparked by random comments from colleagues. The School Library, my workplace this year, sits over the site of the grotto where we were photographed as infants and where we climbed and played during breaks. I remember the fuss when an infant mate, Helen, knocked over and smashed the statue of Our Lady and the distress of her father, the local delicatessen owner, who had to pay for an expensive replacement.
|St Vincent's College Infants at The Grotto - 1956|
The arrival of technology has caused a metamorphosis in my infants classrooms, they now house the IT department. The beautiful new primary school where, in 1958, we wore slippers to protect the polished floors is gone, so too is the 1960’s science block where one of the few lay teachers, Mrs. Kennedy, conducted her experiments.
I would definitely be more suited to the style of education at St. Vincents today where students are encouraged to actively participate in class discussions. Although I rarely read a set text and we were not allowed to touch the treasured tomes on the library shelves, I left Vinnies with a love of reading which I have tried to imbue in our students this year. Thankfully our students have a broad range of young adult literature at their disposal whilst I had to make do with Blyton’s “The naughtiest girl” series.
|Boarders - 1965 - we all wore fawn pinafores over our uniforms|
As we arrived and left Vinnies each day we “had to pay a visit” to the College Chapel. Although there was no video surveillance in my time the spies in the adjoining convent always knew if some harried student had overlooked her visit. The College Chapel was the focus of our life with Friday Benediction and regular compulsory Confessions.
|Our entrance to the school with the chapel on the left - woe betide those who didn't pay a visit|
|Posed outside the Chapel on First Communion Day|
|With Leonie, my dancing partner|
As I sat on the stage at the 2003 Speech Day I reflected on my days on the College and realised that “Flow’rs and sunshine” did cheer my pathway at Vinnies or, as Sister Mark would have said, am I “looking at the past through rose-coloured spectacles?”
|St Vincents College - Class of '65|
Head of Information Services (shared)
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
My focus recently has been on living family. The twelve grandchildren have been on school and university holidays so we have been spending time at the beach, playing games, having too much fast food and reminiscing with them. One granddaughter introduced me to the Duolingo App for French, we had so many giggles as I progressed through the first few levels. I am continuing with this just a few minutes a day. It's amazing how much I remember of my schoolgirl French from over 50 years ago.
After a busy weekend we find ourselves with a relatively quiet week.
I have retreated to my geneacave to catch up on several commitments on my list. I am feeling rather virtuous as I am avoiding temptation and sticking to those things I must do.
Yesterday I tried to catch up on emails and messages on social media. If I have failed to respond to you, please give me a gentle reminder.
I am preparing a presentation on my ancestor Elizabeth Phipps for the Hawkesbury Family History Group. Yesterday I spent half a day going over research done years ago and checking databases to see if I could discover any new facts to add to her story. As I need to update my website on the internet I devoted time to looking at some of Elizabeth's hundreds of descendants and finding dates and sources for their entries. I found several new third and fourth cousins to add to my database.
Today I have written my weekly blog post for our Local Family History Group at Lake Macquarie and followed that up with three short articles for their quarterly journal. I must admit that I cheated a bit and repurposed and updated a few posts from the GeniAus blog for the journal. I have so much material on this blog that it's a shame to let it languish in the archives.
I also need to write the January newsletter for the Lake Mac Group but needed a change of focus.
Monday, January 11, 2021
When I posted this challenge I was wondering what sort of responses would come my way. I wasn't at all surprised with the number of positive responses that were posted on our Genimates' blogs. We are a resilient mob!
A consistent theme in the posts was Zoom, most of the respondents wrote about the value of this tool.
An important aspect of any activity is reflection and evaluation. The Accentuate the Positive Geneameme provides an opportunity for this vital activity. It's never too late to join this challenge, if you wish to blog about your experiences you will find the discussion points here. http://geniaus.blogspot.com/2020/12/accentuate-positive-geneameme-2020.html.
I am so grateful to those who participated in this challenge, thank you all for taking the time to play along.
Please follow the links below to read the posts from genies in Australia and overseas and, if something they have written resonates with you, tell them by leaving a comment on their post.
Jill Ball (GeniAus) http://geniaus.blogspot.com/2020/12/accentuate-positive-geneameme-2020.html
Pauleen Cass (Cassmob) https://cassmobfamilyhistory.com/2021/01/07/accentuate-the-positive-2020/
Samantha John https://lyfelynes.com/accentuate-the-positive-2020/
Sue Donaldson (ScotsSue) https://scotsue-familyhistoryfun.blogspot.com/2021/01/accentuate-positive-2020.html
If I have inadvertently missed any responses to the geneameme please notify me and I will rectifiy.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
It is gratifying to see how many fellow genies have responded to this year's Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2020. I will post a compilation with links to all those posts next week.
I have been mulling over my year and wondering if I can put a positive spin on 2020. I'll give it my best shot
Once you have done so please share your post's link in a comment on this post or to me via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will, later in January, compile a list of links to your contributions here on this blog.
(Please delete the items that are not relevant to your situation.)
1. An elusive ancestor I found was... All of my elusive ancestors are still in hiding but I have had quite a deal of success in locating distant cousins. It is so important when one is trying to identify DNA matches that one has as complete a tree as possible with branches extending every which way. Previously genealogists looked down on those who built large trees with little detail but now in the 21st century we realise the value of this practice.
2. A great newspaper article I found was ... A whole series of articles. In April 2020 I participated in the 2020 #AtoZChallenge in which I shared stories about my maternal grandmother's paternal family. I found many articles from the ordinary to sensational that shed light on members of that family. I posted all of these articles on my blog in April 2020 starting with A is for Artie
4. I located an important record ... when I went beyond Trove and followed a reference at the bottom of a Trove article. I wrote about that here A Reference from Macarthur
5. A newly found family member shared ... a virtual pair of secateurs. As a result of a comment on one of my #AtoZChallenge posts a new cousin pointed out a foreign branch in my tree which I excised and replaced with the correct branch.
6. A geneasurprise I received was ... These are not in my hands yet but they are now with a family member. When my Aunt Kath died several years ago her step-family promised to give us Kath's collection of family slides and photos. Kath had a decent camera when I was a child and took many slides of family members before she married later in life. I can't wait to collect and digitise this collection. Thanks to Jo for returning these photos to our family.
7. My 2020 social media post that I was particularly proud of was ... The first blog post I wrote for our local Family History Group, Entering the Blogisphere. Although this was an introductory post it marked an exciting venture for our Lake Macquarie Family History Group. I am so proud of the 44 posts I have written for that blog so far and thrilled that community members are reading the snippets of local history I share while learning about the existence of our Group. While few people comment on the blog we have had over 3.000 visits in just six months.
8. I made a new genimate who... through the wonderful Friday Hang Outs hosted by SAG on zoom I got to meet many fellow members of this Society. Although I am a longterm member of this Group I hadn't communicated directly with many members. I have a host of new genimates thanks to this initiative.
9. A new piece of technology or skill I mastered was... It just has to be Zoom. We were fortunate in Lake Macquarie that an anonymous member donated a subscription to zoom so that we were able to maintain our program of meetings through 2020.
10. I joined... several new Facebook groups and followed more Facebook pages. I also found a few new cousins had public pages on Facebook - not a positive for them to share so carelessly but a positive for me as they give details of BMDs and other genealogical information.
11. A genealogy education session or event from which I learnt something new was... Heather Garnsey's presentation The Triangle of Care. (A recording of this webinar may be available through SAG.)
12. A blog post that taught me something new was ... I always learn something from the techie posts Carmel Galvin posts on her Carmel's Corner Blog. I won't nominate one - you should read them all.
13. A DNA discovery I made was... Thanks to my double first cousin, Jane, who shared her spit I have identified many new 3rd and 4th cousins. Jane had tested for me with FTDNA years ago but our results from there have not been spectacular. This new test with Ancestry has delivered the goods.
14. I taught a genimate how to... hopefully the presentations I gave during 2020 taught someone, somewhere, something. I particularly enjoyed using Zoom to give one on one assistance to genimates with various applications.
15. A brick wall I demolished was ... The sledge hammer took a well earned rest this year.
16. A great site I visited was... I managed only one on site visit this year. Mr GeniAus and I had a successful excursion to NSW State Archives & Records. I was fearful of going out during the pandemic but I had a need to access a document for a presentation I was preparing for the SAG Irish Day. Thanks to the staff I felt safe during my time at the site. I was made most welcome by Emily Hanna on the enquiries desk and one of the volunteers Judy. (The male who took over from Emily on the desk needed a dose of positivity and a course in customer relations.)
17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was... From Distress to Deliverence by Stephen Gow is well written, well researched and beautifully presented. I blogged about it here https://geniaus.blogspot.com/2020/10/from-distress-to-deliverance.html
18. Zoom gave me an opportunity to... connect, communicate, learn and love.
19. I am excited for 2021 because... I live in Australia where Covid19 is well under control and we live in relative safety. We should be vaccinated during the year and hopefully we will be able to attend geneaevents in person real soon.
Monday, January 4, 2021
|Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic|
|Brac Castle, Romania|
|Tauranga, New Zealand|
|Museum, Helsinki, Finland|
|Amakhala Lodge, South Africa|
|Museum, Adelaide, Australia|