Friday, December 8, 2023

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2023

Back in 2012 when geneablogging was more popular than it appears to be today I threw out a challenge to fellow genies. I have continued this tradition each year.

I wrote "I feel that a lot of my geneablogging friends are too hard on themselves; several have reported on their successes this year but quite a number have lamented that they haven't achieved as much as they set out to do or that they haven't blogged with the frequency they envisaged.".

In the meme I ask respondents to Accentuate the Positives of the current geneayear by responding to some prompts. Over the years a generous group of genies has responded to these geneamemes with entertaining and enlightening posts. 

Two regulars have already asked if there will be a 2023 edition. How could I not go ahead after that interest?  Here goes:

Thursday, December 7, 2023

A Snow White Dome

When fiddling on my blog today I noticed that, in my header image, I had brown or pepper and salt coloured hair. Nowadays my dome is snow white.  My branding should reflect the person that I am. 

I liked my old image that showed me waving while frolicking in the ocean. I liken my genealogy environment to a body of water where I can swim - a place where I can relax and have fun, play in the shallows or dive deep, it's somewhere that can throw up challenges and surprises. 

When holidaying in Vanuatu earlier this year I was enjoying a swim in a glorious lagoon when Mr Geniaus snapped a photo of me enthusiastically waving and showing my white hair plastered to my head. The image shows me in a happy place as I am when playing in my genealogy world. 

Over I went to Canva where I created a new header using their Blogger Header template. I've uploaded the completed image to the blog. While I may tweak it over the coming days it will remain basically the same until I next fiddle with my branding.  Next task is creating a new header for the Geniaus Facebook Page

The new header - created with Canva

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Almost a Year

I had committed to updating my online tree regularly from my main database in Family Historian,

Over the past year I have made my tree a priority.  I have been beavering away adding new cousins and finding BDM and Burial references for those already in my tree. FindaGrave has provided many clues that have assisted in finding these references. Each time I play around I promise that I will upload to my website - but that boring task isn't as much fun as the thrill of the hunt. 

Today's  discovery that the last upload was in December 2022 made me move.  I bit the bullet and can report that my website is up to date! It was so long since I had had carried out this task that I had forgotten the process and had to find my notes. It is a simple exercise that only took me 15 mins (including the finding instructions). 

If I want to connect with cousins I need to do this on a more regular basis. 

Latest Statistics -

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Aunty Kath's Slides

Dad's younger sister, Kathleen Curry, was the first person in my immediate family who travelled from Australia to work in another country. 

Kathleen Curry 1927-2013

During the 1960's Aunty Kath and her friend Pat Jones travelled to Wellington, New Zealand where they lived, worked and explored. A second adventure in that decade took them to Port Moresby in Papua, New Guinea where they also worked. I remember devouring Kath's letters recounting her adventures that she religiously sent home to Nanna each week. Perhaps I was inspired to travel by her letters. 

Aunty Kath was also one of the first people in our family who had a 35mm camera. Our family only had a Brownie Box camera that took tiny black and white images so I was most impressed with the brilliant colour slides Aunt Kath's camera produced. 

As Kath had no descendants of her own her husband's family passed Kath's collection of colour slides on to me after she passed away. 

I have been busy scanning and sharing the family photos in the collection with my cousins and they have brought great joy. I didn't know what to do with her travel snaps that included several holidays in Australia. I was surprised that there was only a small collection of images from PNG. What to do with those I found? 

For want of somewhere else to share them I am pasting them to this post. Perhaps they will help someone in the future who is searching for a particular image. 

Thankfully these images were labelled so I am adding Kaths's descriptions from 60 years ago to each image below.

Native Mission Village

Manus Island

Bomana War Cemetery

Chapel on Manus Island

Shrine at Bomana

War Cemetery near Rabaul

Bitapaka Cemetery, Rabaul

Koki Native Market

Koki Water Village

Native Village, Port Moresby

Samarai Island

Samarai Island

Samarai Island

Native Village near Lae

Native Village near Lae

Native Girl and Baby

Thursday, November 9, 2023

A Kealy in Cairns

When I announced on Facebook in September that I was in Cairns, Queensland one of my Kealy cousins sent me a message:

"Hi Jill

While in Cairns are you going to visit William Kealy’s grave? I’m pretty sure it is at the Pioneer Cemetery."

William Thomas Kealy (courtesy R. Gallagher)

Although I had William Thomas Kealy in my database I didn't know his story and how he was related to me. My database told me that William Thomas KEALY is 1st cousin twice removed of Jill Patricia CURRY. William was the Great-Uncle of the cousin who had contacted me. 

William Thomas Kealy relationship to my Dad, Allan Curry

I did a further bit of searching and responded to my cousin:
"I've worked out where it is, less than a km away. Found a grave number on local history site. Will try to walk that way tomorrow."

Within ten minutes of our arrival at the McLeod Street Pioneer Cemetery I had located the grave marker thanks to the excellent information provided in a gazebo at the cemetery.

Gazebo at cemetery  with details of interments and cemetery history

William Thomas Kealy on interment list

Diagram showing location of William Thomas Kealy's grave

William Thomas Kealy - Grave marker

I was thrilled to be able to send these photos to my cousin. Meanwhile one of my genimates who is a member of the Cairns Family History Group saw our messages on Facebook was able to provide me with some further information. That's Genearosity in action. 

William's ordeal was reported in the local press.

As this next report in The Cairns Morning Post  is difficult to read I am pasting a transcription below:


At 3 o'clock on Wednesday after-noon the Ambulance Brigade received word from thc Cairns Tramway sta-tion- master, Mr. J. Brown, that a man named W. Kealy had been in-jured whilst falling scrub on Mr. A. J. Draper's selection at Babinda; The senior bearer at once proceeded, to Aloomba by tram with the little to meet the injured man who was being conveyed slowly in, and the Super-intendent also drove out to Nelson in the field wagon.  

Particulars re  (next section too blurred to transcribe) »rtliiiE the accldonf. slate dat Point but the giant of the" forc"5t~ I when descending, struck another tree and rebounding suddenly hit Kealy in the stomach, causing severe and painful injuries. His mates, who were not far off,- ran to his assist-ance and hot fomentations were ap-plied to ease the pain of the sufferer but notwithstanding this his agony was terrible.An improvised stret- cher was made and the sufferer ac-companied by 13 of his mates was carried 71/2 miles to Harvey Creek where a pump car was requisitioned. 

The party eventually reached Al-oomba where the senior ambulance bearer was met and the sufferer brought on to Nelson which was reached at 8 p.m. The patient was in excruciating pain the whole time and Dr. .Knowles, who was at the Mulgrave at the time advised the removal of Kealy to Cannon's Hall where morphia- was injected. The surgeon and ambulance bearers stayed with the unfortunate man the greater part of the night' but to-wards morning he appeared 'some-what relieved and gained a little sleep. 

At 6.30 a.m. yesterday, a start was made for Cairns and three hours later the patient was admitted to the hospital. Kealy is about 33 years of age and has a wife; and fam-ily at the Hunter River, New South Wales. Much appreciation is due to Dr. Knowles who immediately, when, apprised of the accident, left a local function and exerted every effort, to relieve the intense agony, of the suf-ferer. The residents of the little township also showed their practical sympathy by rendering all possible assistance to the surgeon and am-bulance.

1908 'SCRUB ACCIDENT.', Cairns Morning Post (Qld. : 1907 - 1909), 14 August, p. 5. , viewed 23 Nov 2023,

1908 'THE " POST " SATURDAY, AUGUST 15, 1908.', Cairns Morning Post (Qld. : 1907 - 1909), 15 August, p. 4. , viewed 23 Nov 2023,
1908 'FATAL ENDING.', Cairns Morning Post (Qld. : 1907 - 1909), 17 August, p. 5. , viewed 23 Nov 2023,

As this next report in The Cairns Morning Post  is difficult to read I am pasting a transcription below:
In connection with the death of William Kealy, under distressing circumstances, as the result of a
tree-felling accident at Babinda Creek recently, it may be explained that the young man was 
unmarried, and as a matter of fact, at the time of his death was engaged to be married. 
This will serve to contra-dict a statement that the man was
married, having a wife and family in New South Wales. He was a native of the Hunter River district
and his father and mother are both living at Dungog on the Hunter. We conversation yesterday with 
Mr. Her-bert Tucker, one of his mates for the past nine years, a "Post" repre-sentative was informed 
that "Billy" Kealy, as he was popularly known was a steady, decent, 
and respectable young fellow, a favourite with every-body, and a staunch comrade. He
had been in Queensland between two and three years, having been about six months in the
 Cairns district, and at one time worked on the Town Council. Latterly, he, with Mr. Tucker
and others, had a contract clearing some sugar land for Mr. A. J. Draper at Babinda Creek, and
were by the latter insured under the Workmen's Compensation Act, so that the parents of poor Kealy
 will receive a substantial sum to com-pensate them in a small measure for the loss of an affectionate
1908 'THE LATE W. KEALY.', Cairns Morning Post (Qld. : 1907 - 1909), 18 August, p. 4. , viewed 23 Nov 2023,

1908 'Family Notices', Cairns Morning Post (Qld. : 1907 - 1909), 23 September, p. 4. , viewed 23 Nov 2023,

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Limping along

Back on this day in 2014 I celebrated the sixth birthday of this blog with a post titled Six Years and Going Strong

Today this blog is 15 years old. 

My blogging status today would be limping along. While I don't post often or regularly I am still committed to the blogging platform as a means of sharing and preserving family stories and geneanews. 

Sometimes something related to my family history research (that I haven't previously' posted here) pops up in my Facebook memories.   I then add a retrospective post about whatever happened on that day. Today I wrote about an archive visit on this day in 2014.

I always get a thrill when someone contacts me with an enquiry, a correction or further information relating to one of my posts. 

I look forward to several more years limping along at the GeniAus blog.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Visiting Ann

Several months ago I was going over some old research and found a new reference on to my husband's 3xGreat-Grandmother, Ann Elms (nee Jones).

It was a record from the Register of Private Graves at The City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery. The record gave details of the grave's purchase by Ann's husband, Benjamin John Elms, and notes Ann's interment in the grave.

I then found a second reference from the Register of Burials in the year 1866 at The City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery. 

Once I knew that Ann was there I wanted to plan a visit to the cemetery. It so happened that we had a holiday to Europe planned later in the year so we included a stay in London and a visit to the cemetery on our itinerary.

I learnt about The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Parkan independent charity that looks after Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park (the current name for The City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery). I found a wealth of information  about the cemetery and its history plus an offer from The Friends to provide assistance in locating graves. 

Several weeks prior to our intended visit I wrote to The Friends and received a reply that I had been put on a list of enquiries to be dealt with by volunteers and that it may take some time to get help from them.

As we were driving up to London last week my husband asked if I had heard back from The Friends and I indicated that I hadn't. We resolved to visit the cemetery on our own and try to locate the grave by ourselves.  

Robert was anxious to honour his ancestor
After we settled in our hotel a few hours later  I received an email from the Heritage Officer at the cemetery who said "Do you have a copy of the burial record/s or at least a burial number for Ann? Happy to help but we need the grave number to assist. If you are visiting on Monday I may be able to meet you on site to help with the location."  I responded immediately. As it was after business hours we didn't expect an immediate response and resolved to visit the cemetery on Monday.

As we were heading out last Monday morning we heard from Claire Stack the Heritage Officer  "Thank you for those documents, that's all I need. I can do anytime from 10am today." We agreed to meet at 10am.

We received a warm welcome from Claire whose passion for her work and love of her workplace were evident. Claire had access to information not on Ancestry that enabled her to take us to the old area in the cemetery where the grave could be found. 

Ann's grave was somewhere among the ivy and brambles 

Claire and Robert started looking through the undergrowth and stinging nettles in the appropriate section and, after just a few minutes, Claire called that she had found it. There was a headstone but it was covered in ivy which obliterated the inscription.

Headstone covered in ivy

Mindful of the fragility of the headstone Claire asked Robert not to pull the ivy off but to remove the leaves and try to break off the ivy at the base of the headstone. This we did.

It appeared as though Ann's husband, Benjamin John Elms, had intended for this to be a grave for the whole family. The inscription at the top of the headstone is "The family grave of  Benjamin & Anne Elms of Poplar." I have not yet been able to locate Benjamin's final resting place in 1872. The Register of graves indicates that there is only interment.

The inscription revealed

Robert, a happy descendant

She is not lost but only gone before
I hope we meet her on a brighter shore
Where we shall never part again
Lord be it so - Amen Amen

Being able to honour an ancestor was a rewarding activity on the last day of our holiday.

Our thanks go Claire for her warm welcome and assistance in locating Ann's grave. We would never have found it without Claire's care and kindness. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Back in the Saddle

I'm settling in at home after a seven week journey around Northern Europe and the UK. While the trip was mostly for pleasure I managed some research while visiting a cousin in Wiltshire and during our time in London.

Prior to setting off on our next holiday I have a few gigs on the agenda.

On Friday 1st September I am hosting the SAG's Weekly Hangout with the topic being Patres Nostri: paternal tales. I love these events that give members an opportunity to share and hear each others stories. Through my participation I get to chat with and learn from so many SAG members from around Australia and New Zealand.

Saturday 2nd September takes me to the newest library in our neighbourhood at Sugar Valley to present an introductory session on DNA.

On Friday 8th September I will be presenting a session Genealogy for All at the Free Family History Fair that precedes our State Conference which is being hosted by the Wyong Family History Group. 

I'm hoping to catch up with some genimates and meet new family history fanatics at these events

Saturday, August 19, 2023

A Genimate in London

We capped off our genealogy day by spending a few hours and sharing a pleasant dinner with genimate and font of knowledge on all things English, Graham A Walter.

There's always plenty to talk about when genealogy is involved

Graham and Jill

Chasing down the Elms

We went chasing Robert's Elms ancestors at Tower Hamlets Archive and Bancroft Road library in London today. 

The archive is housed in a beautiful old building which needs an injection of funds for some necessary maintenance. The mish-mash of furniture is at odds with the heritage features of the building. 

The public area of the Archive

The four staff we encountered were most agreeable and took an interest in our quest. There were many local resources available plus PCs with internet access that were loaded with several local and commercial databases. As use of the services and resources at this facility is free we did not quibble about paying the 7 pounds 50 cents fee to use our camera to take images of the resources/.

In addition to the main research area there is an entry foyer that has a selection of new and secondhand resources for sale.

Entry Foyer

While we didn't find as much information as we hoped we confirmed that the Elms were landowners in Poplar in the early 19th century. We were also able to pinpoint the locations of Elms Cottages in Poplar where the family lived for several decades. We have several photos of documents to review once we recover from our holiday.

We thank the local authorities at Tower Hamlets for their commitment to local and family history and preserving these resources for future generations. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

600 Burials

I have been very quiet on the geneablogging scene lately as I have been concentrating on my personal research. 

Since I started researching 35 years ago many things have changed and many new indexes and resources have become available on the internet. My recent efforts have been directed towards killing off and burying the relatives in our family tree, I am slowly looking at those born prior to 1930 and seeking out their Birth, Death, Marriage and burial records.

I use the spreadsheet type view in Family Historian software that allows me to choose which fields I want to display and then sort them by name, date or other element. Viewing this shows me the gaps I need to fill

An excerpt from my database sorted by a surname (hidden) then a death date which shows the gaps 

To support this work I have many popular site tabs open on my menu bar. One of these is FindaGrave where I may have two or more tabs open.

In conjunction with this research I have been creating a Virtual Cemetery of our children's descendants on FindaGrave. When searching this site add extra details to family profiles and I try to link up family members. While on the site I add our biological relations to my cemetery. 

So why am I blogging about this today?

I have reached a milestone as I just managed to inter the 600th biological relation into my Virtual Cemetery. (I had intended celebrating at 500 but forgot.)

My Virtual Cemetery

I hope that some time in the future family members may find this useful. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Memories - Snapped by Susan

A photo of me presenting a session at THE Genealogy Show in Birmingham, England in 2019 popped up in my Facebook memories today.

Jill presenting at The Genealogy Show 2019

I paused to remember the photographer, the late Susan K Howard, with whom I shared some memorable geneamoments online, at Rootstech and workring at THE Genealogy Show. Susan was a genial and generous genie.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Thursday, January 26, 2023


I had a rest from searching for ancestors over the holidays and concentrated on living family 

Earlier this month we gathered with our 16 descendants and some of their partners for a family holiday in the snow in Hokkaido, Japan.

We were so fortunate to spend a week together. It was especially lovely to see our grandchildren catching up and enjoying their time together. They all enjoyed their time in the snow and indoors.

With our four children

With our twelve grandchildren

Monday, January 23, 2023

My Cousin Tim

I got to know my cousin, Tim,  yesterday.

Jill and her first cousin Tim

Back in 2014 I wrote a post about my Aunty Mary in which I mentioned a child she had borne and given up. I knew nothing of Tim's existence until Mary's funeral in 1997 when the Minister acknowledged Mary's son in the congregation. What a bombshell! 

It was such a shock that I neglected to get Tim's contact details.

As an only child with close relatives thin on the ground I have been wanting to find Tim and welcome him into the family fold for the past 25 years.

Since 1997 I have been hoping that one day Tim would seek out members of his biological family. On Friday evening Tim, who is now in his fifties, and his wife were googling Mary's name and came across Mary's name with two Living children mentioned in my online tree. 

When I was checking my email on Saturday morning I got this message:

 "Proposed Change: Duncan Mary Olive (I99)

Tree: GeniAus Family Tree

Description: I am number 2, living Male"

Tim had found me!

During the course of the day we exchanged emails and then had a very emotional 'phone call when we arranged to meet up the following day for lunch at our home.

Meeting Tim, his beautiful wife and two of their children was an awesome but emotionally draining experience. I learnt about Tim's childhood that was no bed of roses, I was so sad that he didn't have the opportunity to meet our dear grandmother Ethel and the extended family. 

It was little compensation but I was pleased I could send Tim away with a cache of photos of his mother and her family, some stories and contact details for another cousin. I am so pleased that I have recorded many of these stories on this blog and that Tim and his children will be able to absorb them at their leisure. I can't make up for all those missing years but I will do my darndest to use my skills to help Tim and his family learn about their heritage.

I thank Tim and family for spending time and so graciously accepting us yesterday and Tim for his willingness to do a DNA test. I look forward to our further meetings.

 I know that Aunty Mary would be so proud of the man Tim has become today. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Accentuate the Positive 2022 - The Responses

Thanks to the wonderful genies who have supported this exercise. 

I have recently returned from a family holiday to Japan where all of our descendants and their partners joined us for a cool time at Disney and up in the snow in Hokkaido. On my return I was delighted to find more responses to this challenge.

I feel that I may have missed some posts along the way - please let me know of any omissions. If you fancy some reflection I'm always happy to receive new contributions to add to this list as documents, in emails or in blog posts. See:

Please enjoy these inspirational posts from our genimates.

Alex from Family Tree Frog

Anne from Anne's Family History

Bobbie on the GSQ Blog

Jane from The Janeologist

Kerrie Anne from Steely Genes

Lilian from Lilian's Tree

Linda from Empty Branches on the Family Tree


Margaret from Kiwi Nomad

Sammi from Lyfelynes

Shauna   Diary of an Australian Genealogist

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Guest Post: Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2022

Thanks to Lynn who, although she doesn't have a genealogy blog, sent me a contribution for the 2022 Accentuate the Positive Geneameme. 

I was delighted to be able to host Lynn's contribution on the GeniAus blog. I found several items I need to chase up in this post.

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2022 from Lynn McAlister UE (

A new software package or web application I embraced was ... I joined Mastodon, where I’ve made new connections with genealogists all over the world (and some of those I knew from elsewhere on line).

A new genealogy/history book that sparked my interest was ... Sarah Abrevaya Stein, Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey through the Twentieth Century.

In 2022 I finally met ... my tribe! I now have a word for what I do: “Genohistory” (described by Donna Cox Baker as “that spot in the road where genealogy and history meet”).

I progressed my DNA research by ... finally testing my husband’s parents! We’ve been trying to sort out my father-in-law’s paternity for years!

An informative journal or newspaper article I found was ... J├╝rgen Eichhoff, “Types of German Surname Changes in America”, in The Report 43: A Journal of German-American History, vol. XLIII (1996), pp. 23-35 ( › php › report05 › articles › pdfs ›report43.pdf).

The best value I got for my genealogy dollars was ... the 15-week Boston University certificate course. It gave me a chance to test my skills against advanced methodology and be assessed by professionals, and I have a new confidence that I actually do know what I’m doing.

A DNA discovery I made was ... the identity of my husband’s previously unidentified grandfather.

A fabulous event I attended was ... APG’s 2022 Conference. Not only were there numerous useful and interesting sessions, but the networking was surprisingly good for an online conference, and I also won a doorprize of four classes from the NIGS.

I'm happy I splashed out and purchased ... Patrick Hanks, ed., Dictionary of American Family Names (3 vols.) and Henry Z Jones, Palatine Families of New York (2 vols.). Also several volumes of Kevan Hansen’s Map Guides to German Parish Records. All three excellent and useful resources.

I got the most joy from ... interacting with genealogy colleagues at online conferences, in the Boston University groups, and especially in the Ontario APG group.


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