Saturday, April 24, 2021

2021 #AtoZChallenge U is for ... Undecided

I've been researching my family history for over thirty years. Along this genealogy journey I have been supported by hundreds of books, many of which I have listed on my Librarything page. 

During the 2021 #AtoZChallenge I will be writing about two of my passions, books and family history. I'll be taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting some of those books that have enriched my genealogy experience.

Of all the letters in the alphabet U has given me the most grief. I thought I might write about Pip Granger's Up West: Voices from the Streets of Post-War London that has been on my "To be read pile" for several years. It has some good reviews but, as I haven't read that book yet, I rejected it. 

My next thought was Unreal Banana Peel - A Third Collection of Australian Children's Chants and Rhymes that dredged up childhood memories but I wasn't sure if this had really assisted my genealogy journey.

There were very few U titles in my reading past so for this post I reluctantly decided to give a guernsey to a Children's Book, 
An uncommonly fine day : January 26, 1788  that was published in 1987 when I was working in a primary school. No doubt the author, John Anthony King, was hoping to cash in on the interest in the Bicentenary in 1988.

The book relates the story of the First Fleet and particularly  the raising of the British flag in Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip. I believe that the information for the text was found in the diaries of the officers of the First Fleet (

I remember reading and discussing this book with many youngsters as we discussed European settlement in Australia, it was a useful book to share in a school where most of the students were children of recent arrivals whose ancestry was from Europe.

It was in 1988 that I started my genealogy journey so this simple account may have added some knowledge to my understanding of local history. I can't really remember back that far. 


Molly's Canopy said...

Children's books can be amazingly good historical resources as they break down the concepts so simply. That Up West book sounds interesting, though.

Alex Daw said...

This has been such an interesting theme for the AtoZ challenge Jill. I too would be challenged to find a family history book in my collection beginning with U. I did a quick search of my Librarything collection but only came up with the third volume of the Fortunes of Richard Mahoney: Ultima Thule which then led me on a merry dance exploring the meaning of Ultima Thule. And of course while it's not directly relevant I guess we must as Australian family historians keep in mind that our ancestors must have felt as though they were at the edge of the known world in the early years of colonial settlement. The Australian Film Television and Radio School (which I used to work for) had a history written about it by Andrew Urban (remember Front Up on SBS?); the history was entitled Edge of the Known World, which was a kind of metaphor that students used to describe AFTRS location at West Ryde in Sydney - ha ha - but was also no doubt how Australian filmmakers sometimes feel on the world stage.

GeniAus said...

Thanks Molly and Alex for your comments. SO pleased to have some comments as we near the end of the challenge.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

I have Uncharted and Under Southern Skies in my LibraryThing, both history books. The Up West book sounds interesting. Sorry to be late commenting...a busy week last week.

GeniAus said...

No worries Pauleen, keeping up with comments is quite a challenge. I see a bit of retrospective commenting in my future.


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