Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Visiting Ann

Several months ago I was going over some old research and found a new reference on ancestry.co.uk. 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
Link: http://www.geniaus.net/getperson.php?personID=I99&tree=geniaus001

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:  https://geniaus.blogspot.com/2022/12/accentuate-positive-geneameme-2022.html

Please enjoy these inspirational posts from our genimates.

Alex from Family Tree Frog https://familytreefrog.blogspot.com/2023/01/accentuate-positive-geneameme-2022.html

Anne from Anne's Family History  https://anneyoungau.wordpress.com/2022/12/28/2022-continuing-progress-on-my-family-history/

Bobbie on the GSQ Blog  https://gsq-blog.gsq.org.au/remembering-to-accentuate-the-positive-2022-challenge/

Jane from The Janeologist https://janeologist.blogspot.com/2023/01/accentuate-positive-reflection-on-my.html

Kerrie Anne from Steely Genes  https://asteelygenesjourney.wordpress.com/2022/12/28/accentuate-the-positive-2022/

Lilian from Lilian's Tree  http://researchbylily.blogspot.com/2022/12/accentuate-positive.html

Linda from Empty Branches on the Family Tree  https://emptybranchesonthefamilytree.com/2022/12/accentuate-the-positive-2022/

Lynn  https://geniaus.blogspot.com/2023/01/guest-post-accentuate-positive.html

Margaret from Kiwi Nomad  https://kiwinomadancestors.blogspot.com/2022/12/accentuate-positive-geneameme-2022.html

Sammi from Lyfelynes  https://lyfelynes.com/accentuate-the-positive-2022-genealogical-year-in-review/

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 (Lynn.McAlister@lmgenealogy.com)

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 (https://loyolanotredamelib.org › 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.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...