The Happs – innkeepers in Dorfprozelten

Translation: If you would like to read this post in a different language you can click here.

For my own interest I’m summarising the inn-keeping genealogy of the Happ family in Dorfprozelten. The approximate time frame of direct descendancy is c1740-1940s.

Generation 1: Adam Happ c1690

Generation 2: (Johann) Martin Happ (Fass) and Johann Happ (Anker) c1740-1770s

Generation 3: Johann Martin Happ II (Fass) and Nikolaus Happ (Anker)

Generation 4: Eva Catharina Happ/Ulrich/Kunkel (Fass) and Michael Happ (Fröhlichkeit) 1830s-1860s

Generation 5: Jakob August Ulrich (Fass) (step-brother to my George Kunkel who emigrated to Australia) and Maria Antonia Happ/Staab (Fröhlichkeit) (three siblings, Anna, Raimund and Julius emigrated to USA) c1860-

Generation 6:  Sophie Staab/Bohlig (Fröhlichkeit) c1900 – c1940s

While the Fass continued in other hands, the Happ family’s management of it came to an end with multiple deaths due to Lungensucht in 1868. I can find no translation for the word but it seems to be a highly infectious lung disease. Jakob August Ulrich was the first to die on 19 June 1868, followed by son Karl on 1 July 1869, wife Elisabeth on 20 August 1868 and finally his mother, Eva Catharina Kunkel, on 15 October 1868. There were children who survived: Josephina (b 1852), Maria Augusta (b 1856), Lothar Jacob (b 1858), Bertha (b 1860), Ernestina Veronika (b 1863) and Georg Jacob (b 1865). All except Maria Augusta and Ernestina Veronika emigrated to the United States in the 1880s. Who took care of them in the intervening period is unknown. I wrote about their lives here and here.

A sad end to the long association of the Happs and Das Goldene Fass guesthouse in Dorfprozelten. What tragic news it must all have been to my ancestor George Kunkel when the news finally made it across the world to him. 

The Fass guesthouse was sold on 1 October 1967 to the Raiffeisenbank and the old building was demolished. In autumn 1971 a new bank was built on the site. The Anker and the Fröhlichkeit are still part of the village’s built heritage.

In Georg Veh’s book on Dorfprozelten is this poem[i], written by Agnes Bohlig, the wife, and co-innkeeper, of 7th generation Happ innkeeper, Philipp.

In der “Krone” da is gut wohne        In the Krone is a nice place to stay

Im “Stern” da sitze nur die Herrn     In the Star only the men sit (a reference to its table for the seamen’s union?)

Im “Anker” hocke die Kranke            In the Anchor the sick sit/crouch

Im “Fass” da is mers zu nass           In the Barrel it is….too wet (defeats me this one)

And nuff “die Fröhlichkeit”                  And in the Happiness

Is mer der Weg zu Weit.                 the road is too far.

I’m quite sure my translation is not accurate and there are vernacular expressions here, … even my huge German dictionary and Reverso are defeated. Feel free to jump in and correct me…it would help make sense of it all.

I am indebted to Georg Veh and the published local history for providing me with so much background information on my family in Dorfprozelten, and being generous with access to it.

[i] Dorfprozelten am Main Teil II. Veh, G, Benedict Press, 2002. Page 216.

My Heritage – August Aussie Access

Recently I received this email from Emma from My Heritage. I’ve not long had a subscription with them and have been finding their records useful. I like to compare the results I get from different suppliers – sometimes you get info from one that’s not on another, or you get better/different transcriptions. Most recently I’ve been using My Heritage for some American research but how could you pass up this opportunity to try out their Aussie records for National Family History Month (August)?

My name is Emma Datny and I’m the Australian Community Manager for MyHeritage, the global family history network used by over a million Australians (and 75 million people around the world) to discover, share and preserve their family history.

You may have spoken previously with my predecessor Kim or my colleague Daniel, but I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself and let you know about the exciting activities we have planned for for August to celebrate National Family History Month including webinars, competitions, discounts and more!

In honour of National Family History Month this August, MyHeritage is giving FREE access to millions of Australian historical records between August 15-22. These include birth, marriage and death certificates, electoral rolls, school records, and many more. You’ll be able to search them here. We’d be grateful if you would let your readers know about this access.

Here’s a link to our blog post outlining the activities we have planned: http://blog.myheritage.com/2014/07/australia-celebrates-national-family-history-month/

Why not take this opportunity to try out My Heritage and their record sets?

The emigrating Happs Part 2: Raimund Happ

Thanks for following along on this post about the Happ family who emigrated to the USA.

Translation: If you would like to read this post in a different language you can click here.

Emigration of Raimund/Raymond Happ

As we know from the previous post, Raimund emigrated with his sister Anna Apollonia in 1869. He was only seventeen but in those days that made him ready to work and take such a huge step. Addendum: Since my initial post, I’ve found education records for Raimund which show that he had only just finished school when he emigrated. I assume it was at the secondary school level given his age. He had been studying, as far as I can tell, at the High School in Würzburg and these were his results for 1866/67. I have no idea what the scores mean but his subjects were religion, Latin, Greek, German, arithmetic, history and geography. Raimund Happ school subjects

Raimund Happ school

Jahresbericht über die königlich bayerischen Studienanstalten, das Gymnasium … By Königlich Bayerisches Gymnasium (Würzburg). Students for the 1866/67 year, page 23.

I had also previously searched the German newspapers (under Google Books), for the emigration notice of Raimund and Anna’s departure. These searches are neither straightforward or predictable but I did manage to find it fairly easily (I just forgot to add it to their stories yesterday!)

Unmarried siblings Raimund and Anna Happ....Beobachter am Main und Aschaffenburger Anzeiger: 1869,7/12

Unmarried siblings Raimund and Anna Happ….Beobachter am Main und Aschaffenburger Anzeiger: 1869,7/12

Year: 1869; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 319; Line: 27; List Number: 1150. From Ancestry.com

Year: 1869; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 319; Line: 27; List Number: 1150. From Ancestry.com

Anna and Raimund arrived in New York on 6 October 1869. Raymond (note spelling change) remained in New York for a few years and presumably lived with his sister for some of them. In 1873, the year he turned 21, he became a citizen of the United States of America. At the time he was living at 400 First Avenue and working as a barber. George Eckhardt was his witness.[i]Raymond Happ natn

Two years later Raymond Happ was on the voters’ register of the 12th Ward in San Francisco, having registered on 29 July 1875.[ii] In 1888, he is registered as living at 419 O’Farrell St (on the 2nd floor).[iii] The 1892 registers would be something of a gold mine for his descendants as it documents his physical characteristics: he is 40 years old, German-born, 5 feet 6¾ inches tall, with medium complexion, hazel eyes and black hair, though the next entry states he is bald. He is still living at O’Farrell St but his naturalisation date is incorrectly noted as 1878 not 1873.[iv]Raymond Happ 1892 SFO 32421_233933-00063

It took me a while to locate Raymond in other records and only through searching for “Happ” + b1852. It seems he’d changed his name, or reverted to his full name, Charles R Happ. This may well account for why his brother Julius named his own son, Charles. These Germans can be tricky <smile>

Having pinned down the change of name, there was a surfeit of information on Charles and only one anomaly. On the 1875 City Directory for San Francisco, soon after his arrival, he is listed as a carpenter living at the Columbia Hotel[v]. In all other instances he is shown as a barber so perhaps it was just the work he could get when he first arrived on the west coast…he had “gone west, young man”. The nice thing is that the 1891 entry in the city directories ties Charles R Happ to Raymond Happ, as the address in common is 419 O’Farrell St.

Because Charles was in business he appears by name and business in many of the digitised editions of the San Francisco City Directories (in Australia we call them Post Office Directories usually).  He, and the business, moved often enough, but frequently within the same street.

The first time we find him working as a barber in San Francisco is 1878. His employers were Oppenheim & Stieber and he was living at 519 Octavia St. In 1883 he was at 915½  Market St working with Strecker and Kern, barbers, but by 1891 he had gone into partnership with John Ulrich Gingg at 116 Kearny St.

Pinned places of residence and work for Charles and Ida Happ. Prepared with Google Earth.

Pinned places of residence and work for Charles and Ida Happ. Prepared with Google Earth.

By 1896 Charles had moved to 20 Hollis Street and Happ & Gingg to 102 Geary (1900-1905). Obviously Hollis Street suited Charles as his next move was up to 64 Hollis. From 1905-1909 Charles is residing at 56 Hollis, only a few doors away but the business moved to 414 Divisadero St in 1907 then 2 Mason (1909-1911).

After a brief stop at 1522 Fulton St in 1910 and 814 Cole St in 1911, Charles and his wife Ida moved on to 18th Avenue where it seems they settled indefinitely, living first in number 778 until about 1913, then at number 770 (1921-1940). In the latter years the business name has become Kern and Happ at 1488 Fulton St, so it seems possible that he was perhaps preparing for retirement as by then he was nearing 70. It’s also interesting that the business included a Kern, the same name as the person he worked for in 1883.

This is 18th Avenue, San Francisco, very near numbers 770 and 778. Prepared with Google Earth Street View.

This is 18th Avenue, San Francisco, very near numbers 770 and 778. Prepared with Google Earth Street View.

But what of the census records? Do they match with the directories? Luckily for me they do! Each entry tells us just a little more about the couple. In 1900, Charles specifies he was born in Bavaria while Ida was born Germany. They had been naturalised in 1875 and 1886 respectively and had been in the country 25 and 14 years. In 1900 and 1910 they were renting their home. They had been married 23 years (est YOM 1886/87), and had no children. Unfortunately I’ve had no joy in locating their marriage.

Charles is listed as an employer in 1910 and 1920 and a proprietor of a barber shop in 1930. At that time they owned their own home and also owned a radio –a sign of technological change, or was there another reason for this question.

By 1940 Charles had finally retired, not surprising since he was now 88. Both had studied to Grade 8 level and could read and write.

Newspaper articles are frustrating in their absence, or requirement for subscriptions, and even though I have several there’s ones I can’t see. However the free site, Chronicling America, reveals the non-working side of the Happs’ lifestyle with holidays at Hoberg’s Resort on 22 August 1897 and again in July 1902.[vi] Combined with the apparent ambience of 18th Avenue, it seems the couple had made a success of their immigrant lives.

Another little snippet came to light through The San Francisco Call with the listing of land transfers in April 1906. What’s particularly interesting is a transfer of land from John Juedes to Ida, wife of Charles R Happ in April 1906:lot on E line of 18th Avenue 150N of Fulton St, N25 by E120 $10.

Charles R Happ died on 30 December 1943, aged 91 at Alameda, California[vii]. The registers show his birth as 21 January 1852, compared to 23 January 1852 for his birth/baptism in Dorfprozelten (baptism usually occurred on the day of birth). His wife Ida had predeceased him in San Francisco on 11 June 1941, aged 87. Her date of birth is listed as 18 October 1854 and her father’s surname as Maas. They are buried at the Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, San Mateo County, California.[viii]

By the time of their deaths their new nation was again involved in a world war. As with my own George Kunkel I can’t begin to imagine how distressing it was for them to be a lightning rod for anti-German sentiment for the second time.

Oh, and by the way, how lucky are we Aussies to have Trove…just imagine what might have been found in a similar site.

———————————

[i] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Soundex Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906 (M1674); Microfilm Serial: M1674; Microfilm Roll: 99. From Ancestry.com

[ii] Source Citation: California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 – 2A; CSL Roll Number: 44; FHL Roll Number: 977099. 1875. Ancestry.com

[iii] Collection Number: 4 – 2A; CSL Roll Number: 66; FHL Roll Number: 977627.

[iv] California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 – 2A; CSL Roll Number: 88; FHL Roll Number: 977607.

[v] Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. All entries for Charles R Happ are in the San Francisco directories.

[vi] http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1897-08-22/ed-1/seq-26. The San Francisco Call, 22 August 1897 and 22 July 1897.

[vii] Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.

[viii] On MyHeritage.com from Find a Grave, Section F Lot 51.

The Happ family emigrants: Part 1

Translation: If you would like to read this post in a different language you can click here.

Some time ago I set up a Facebook page, The Dorfprozelten Diaspora, for those whose ancestors came from this Bavarian village. New members to the group are asked for their link to the village and who their ancestors were.

The village of Dorfprozelten is situated on the River Main which formed the boundary between Bavaria and Baden.

The village of Dorfprozelten is situated on the River Main which formed the boundary between Bavaria and Baden.

Two weekends ago a new member, Keith, joined the group and to my delight it seems likely that we are distant cousins. Keith’s family had a German certificate which was translated as “some sort of acknowledgement for having conscripted others, not his own conscription record”. This document indicated his great-grandfather had been born in Dorfprozelten.

We’ve still got to achieve further verification via death/marriage certificates but so far the indications are that Keith and my Dad share a 5th great grandparent, Adam Happ. Admittedly, at this distance it seems such a tenuous connection but thanks to the wonderful German record-keeping and the oft-lauded local history, Dorfprozelten Teil II by Georg Veh[i], it’s actually possible to link families up over three centuries, and to track their history.

I’ve “fixed” my header photo for these posts so you can see what the village looks like in context.

Meanwhile in Bavaria

A postcard of Das Goldene Fass mid-20thC. Kindly provided to me by Georg Veh, local historian.

Das Goldene Fass before its demolition for a bank in the 1960s. Image kindly provided by Georg Veh.

The Happ family were one of the early inn-keeper families in Dorfprozelten, and their ownership dates back at least to circa 1750 when (Johann) Martin Happ ran Das Goldene Fass. This Martin’s son, another Johann Martin Happ II, inherited it from him, followed by Johann Martin II’s daughter, Eva Catharina later Ulrich and Kunkel, my own 3xgreat grandmother.

Meanwhile just across the street, Martin’s brother, Johann Happ was running the Gasthaus zum Anker. Johann and Martin’s father was Adam Happ but his occupation is unknown. The Anker passed from Johann to his son Nikolaus Happ, then was transferred to the family of Johann Anton Zöller…who knows why…perhaps it’s part of the German text I’m struggling with.

Die Fröhlichkeit in 2003.

Die Fröhlichkeit in 2003.

In the 1860s, Nikolaus’s son Michael Happ established a new guesthouse called Die Fröhlichkeit, built from the local pink sandstone taken from the cliffs adjoining the village. Michael is documented as an economist as well as a guesthouse keeper, which I think is quite interesting…how did it come to be that he was an economist at that time? Where had he studied? Other references in Veh’s book indicate that Michael was fairly well off and also served as Bürgermeister (mayor) from 1856-1863.

Michael Happ married Catharina Zöller and had the following children who survived to adulthood: Anna Apollonia (1835-1892) emigrated to USA; Maria Antonia (1840-1915) who took over the guesthouse; Julius (1844-1923) emigrated USA; Ernst (1847-1865); Corbinian (1849-1905) and Raimund (1852-) emigrated to USA.

In such a small village as Dorfprozelten everyone would have known each other, and I assume, also known their relationships. This interests me especially because Anna Apollonia was almost exactly a year younger than my 2xgreat grandfather Georg Matthias Kunkel so not only would they have known each other, they may have played together and also attended school together.

Emigration to  America

Siblings Anna and Raimund Happ emigrated to the USA and newspaper notices of 30 August 1869 indicate their imminent departure from their home village.

Unmarried siblings Raimund and Anna Happ....Beobachter am Main und Aschaffenburger Anzeiger: 1869,7/12

Unmarried siblings Raimund and Anna Happ….Beobachter am Main und Aschaffenburger Anzeiger: 1869,7/12

Anna and Raymund/Raimund arrived in New York ex Bremen on the ship Main (ironic since that’s the river on which they had lived in Bavaria), on 4 October 1869.

Anna and Raymond NYM237_319-0091 (2)

Year: 1869; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 319; Line: 27; List Number: 1150. From Ancestry.com

Initially I couldn’t help wondering why Anna didn’t stay to take over the running of the inn. However, the discovery of Anna’s marriage to another Dorfprozelten emigrant, Franz Michael Scheubner, made it apparent why she had decided to leave her home village.

Anna Happ marriage 1869

The marriage occurred in New York on 24 October 1869, shortly after Anna’s arrival. It is indexed in the New York Marriages 1686-1980 under Scheibner, a further reference to Veh’s book clearly correlated to Scheubner rather than Scheibner: his parents were Sebastian Scheibner and Anna Maria Rheinthaler and Anna’s are also correctly shown as Michael Happ and Catherine Zöller.

Like many Germans, Franz Michael was more typically known by his second name, Michael, and this is how he appears in records in the US, other than his immigration record. He arrived in New York on the ship Union, on 8 May 1869, aged 30, and this document[ii] uses Franz, probably because this is how his baptism was recorded.

So now my question is why Anna brought her younger brother, Raimund, with her when she emigrated, rather than why she herself emigrated.

Life in America

It seems from all the records I’ve found that the couple lived in Manhattan through their life together.

In the 1870 US Federal census[iii], Michael and Anna were living in New York Ward 17, District 21. Michael was shown as a cook. Their surname has been misindexed as Scheibner.

By the 1880 Federal census[iv], Michael and Anna had two children, Frederick Scheubner aged 4 and Kathe aged 1 (probably Catherine after her mother) and were living on the east side of 16th Street, Manhattan. There were plenty of Bavarians living close by but it’s interesting that Michael showed their origins as German. Michael was working as a cook in a hotel and had dropped 7 years from his age.

Despite my best efforts and searching across multiple sites, I have been unable to locate any of the Scheubner family in the 1890 Federal census or the 1892 New York census. I am assuming that it has been mis-indexed, though even using wildcards or first names they have still eluded me. As it’s not my direct family I’ve had to put it aside for now rather than spend more time on it.

I have had more joy with City Directories. In the 1879 New York City Directories Michael Scheubner (a cook) is registered as living at 191 Orchard and in 1888 at 104 1st Street and was a cook. In 1894 he is registered as Mich’l Scheubner and he has an eating house at 61 Grand (see below) and a residence at 48 Grand. In later directories (1902, 1903 and 1906) he is at 61 Grand.[v]

On the 1900 census I found a Michael Scheubner living with his wife Katie at 61 Grand St between Wooster St and West Broadway, Manhattan[vi]. Michael is 50 and lists his birthdate as August 1849 (rather than July 1838) and arrived in the USA in 1870, having been there for 30 years. Katie, his wife, is also German-born and enumerated as aged 30, even though she supposedly arrived in 1869 and had been in the US for 31 years….obviously some error there. They had been married eight years (soon after Anna’s death in 1892?) and had two children, but neither was alive. Michael is working as a cook, which is why it’s tempting to think he’s the right man.

I’m curious, too, whether it is this Michael Scheubner who is a 38 year old (est YOB 1839) passenger on the Weser to New York in 1877. He is a cook and an American citizen. Is this our guy going back to Germany to see family, then returning?[vii]

Oops forgot this before...the Manhattan residences of the Scheubners.

Oops forgot this before…the Manhattan residences of the Scheubners.

And deaths in America

I knew from Dorfprozelten Teil II (page 229) that Anna Happ (Scheubner) had died on 14 February 1892 in the USA, though there is no mention of her married name. Indexes on Ancestry record her death on 12 February 1892, aged 56 in Manhattan.[viii]She died the day after her 56th birthday.

It seems it may be “our” Michael who died in 1905, also in Manhattan, aged 63[ix]. Michael is rather more prone to providing variable dates of birth.

I have done preliminary searches for the children Frederick and Kathe (Catherine?) Scheubner without success. Throughout this research I’ve been cross-referring between Family Search, Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com and Archives.com.

Please join me for Part II of this story as I reveal what happened to Raymond and his brother Julius in the USA.

For the record, this is my 600th post to this blog…whew!

FYI: When reading German references I particularly like the Reverso online dictionary. You can even use it to translate sentences.

——————

[i] Dorfprozelten am Main Teil II. Veh, G, Benedict Press, 2002. See pages 41, 143-144, 198-199, 192-193, 213-214 , 229, 23-239 for the families mentioned in this story.

[ii] Year: 1869; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 310; Line: 27; List Number: 457.

[iii] Year: 1870; Census Place: New York Ward 17 District 21 (2nd Enum), New York, New York; Roll: M593_1038; Page: 208B; Image: 420; Family History Library Film: 552537. From Ancestry.com

[iv] Year: 1880; Census Place: New York City, New York, NewYork; Roll: 887; Family History Film: 1254887; Page: 221A; Enumeration District: 420; Image: 0307. From Ancestry.com

[v] Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[vi] Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1080; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 0012; FHL microfilm: 1241080.

[vii]  Passenger Lists of vessels arriving at New York, 1820-1897 , Affiliate Film Number: 410 , GS Film Number: 000295774 , Digital Folder Number: 004680490 , Image Number: 00869. Familysearch.org

[viii] Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1862-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.Original data: Index to New York City Deaths 1862-1948. Indices prepared by the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogy Group, and used with permission of the New York City Department of Records/Municipal Archives. Certificate 5447 can be ordered.

[ix] Ibid certificate 18960.

100 years ago: Declaration of War

BRITAIN AT WAR. INVASION OF BELGIUM. (1914, August 6). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved August 5, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1552795

BRITAIN AT WAR. INVASION OF BELGIUM. (1914, August 6). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved August 5, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1552795

One hundred years ago Australians woke to the news that the Britain had declared war on Germany. In 2014 it’s difficult to appreciate how enmeshed Australia’s politics and life was with Britain’s, but the summary on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald gives us a retrospective glimpse:

“An unparalleled scene in the history of the State Parliament took place in the Assembly yesterday…..Members sprang to their feet and sang the National Anthem (which was then God Save the King) and “Rule Britannia” and gave cheers for the King”. [i]

In the “home country”, the navy was already mobilised and the army was to be mobilised by midnight on 4 August, just an hour of the declaration of war (then the next morning Australian time).

Last night (UK time) many in Britain commemorated the start of this long tragic war by turning their lights out and lighting a candle in remembrance (see twitter #lightsout). In 1914 the declaration of war must truly have seemed a terrifying prospect despite assertions it would all be over before Christmas, but it was not to be in 1914, or 1915, rather more than four long years later.

Already on this first day, in Australia, motor cycle clubs were volunteering members as despatch riders, immigrants of German and Austrian descent rushed to take up Australian citizenship, the St John Ambulance had been placed at the disposal of the Defence Department and men were offering to enlist. The 8th Infantry Brigade had also been mobilised for coastal defence, along with the citizen naval forces. [ii]

Nothing would remain the same in society for decades to come, not least the impact of the loss of the talents, skills and love of the men killed in this battle for freedom. The loss of life, the impact on families, communities, and not least the men who returned was to be incalculable at a local, national and international level. Women would remain single for lack of men to marry, married women would not recognise their husbands as they returned with ferocious injuries to the bodies, and even more inexplicably to those at home, their minds. It astonishes me that more men on the Western Front didn’t lose their minds listening to the repeated noise of guns, artillery and bombs combined with the fear of imminent death or terrible injury. Mercifully the Australian Expeditionary Force, comprised of volunteers, prohibited the execution of a soldier for shell-shock, more often called cowardice.

The World War I memorial in the Darling Downs town of Crows Nest, Qld.

The World War I memorial in the Darling Downs town of Crows Nest, Qld.

Those who had lost loved sons, brothers or husbands erected memorials throughout the country to have a tangible reminder of those who had died in foreign lands, often with no known grave. Forlorn and tragically pleading letters from families can be read in the military files of the men, begging for any small item of their loved one’s belongings with no understanding that often they’d been blown to pieces, just like the person who’d owned them. These heart-wrenching letters begged for some small memento to give a child left behind, perhaps one whose father had never even seen them, when men rushed to marry before they left for war.

The names on this wall of the Menin Gate are only a fraction of the total listed.

The names on this wall of the Menin Gate are only a fraction of the total listed.

The walls of the Menin Gate evocatively lists 54,000 men from the British and Commonwealth forces[iii] whose lives were lost on the Ypres/Ieper salient during WWI and who have no known grave. It is sobering to think this is only a part of the losses to the British Empire during this horrendous period.

The ideals of war are the fight for freedom, justice, humanity and home soil and yet “the war to end all wars” with such a fierce loss of life was only to be a precursor to another greater social cataclysm a bare 20 years later with even greater losses of life, both civilian and military, and the massacre of whole communities.

Lest We Forget

Menin gatee

[i] SUMMARY. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW 1842-1954) 5 August 1914 page 1. http://nla.gov.au/news-article 15527541.

[ii] ibid and also http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1552795 page 7, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August 1914.

[iii] http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/91800/YPRES%20(MENIN%20GATE)%20MEMORIAL

A desperate family tableau

I’m a self-confessed travel addict but no matter how much one enjoys the experience of visiting new places (or revisiting “old” ones), travel does come with its ups and downs…in the case of the Paris metro, there’s lots of ups and downs in the ubiquitous stairs, especially when carrying luggage.

However some experiences reach deep into our hearts and minds.

As we walked up the hill from our wonderful hotel in Istanbul, we were confronted by a 2014 “holy family” tableau which has seared itself into my mind. “Syria, Syria, food, food” he said, waving a pre-printed sign in a plastic sleeve. His face was gaunt and his eyes desperate. Beside him his wife sat with a blank gaze, traumatised by lack of food or the things she’s seen in their country’s conflict. Their daughter, a toddler, sat docilely on her mother’s lap. Everything about them spoke of hunger, trauma and desperation.

Inured to rounds of importuning beggars we initially walked past them but this little family group was different. Their hopelessness spoke volumes and the next thing I was sobbing in tears. We turned back, giving them a donation with the universal sign of food and eating.

On our return a few hours later, they were in the same place, but now the toddler sat on the footpath, looking more animated and nibbling on a simit, a kind of Turkish roll available from mobile stalls for about 1 Turkish lira or 50 cents. Once again we turned back and gave them another donation.

We’re great believers in Kiva and have been part of Genealogists for Families since it was set up by Judy Webster. It makes a difference to those who’ve made steps towards independence and helps them protect the most valuable thing in all our lives – our families.

But how does a family like this one of Syrian refugees ever get to that stage of semi-independence? They are probably among those sleeping rough under the bushes and trees near the waterfront. Most likely they were in the only clothes they owned. You can’t fake the desperation in their eyes and faces…I have no doubt in my mind their circumstances were drastic. How will they ever break loose from this cycle of homelessness and despair? Even a basic job like collecting recyclables from the rubbish bins requires a large bag and trolley in which to carry them. And there we were, having spent what to them was a life’s fortune on a five week trip, buying gifts for our own family and complaining about the amount of luggage we had.

That tableau will remain in my memory for a very long time to come: the impact of war and conflict on the ordinary person.

This post is dedicated to my blogging friend Catherine Crout-Habel from the Seeing Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family blog. Catherine passed on to the land of her ancestors around the time we returned home. I’d never met her in person but felt I knew her from her intelligent and humorous posts. She was a woman who cared deeply for the underprivileged and I’m confident this experience of ours would have resonated with her.

Travel signs and portents

Have you missed me? I’ve been gone so long even I feel like I’ve been AWOL. Later on I’ll share with you my experiences on the Western Front in France and also at Gallipoli in Turkey.

Fun as it was, the Unlock the Past Cruise in February was the start of my blogging slippery slope. After that I got caught up in commitments with family and at home in Darwin and interstate. Inspired by my cruising experience we decided to take our first step into the non-conference cruising world with a voyage between Athens and Istanbul in June. Between all my travel agent duties, and doing the same for my Mum, time just galloped away from me.

Then we also gained a new twig on the family tree not long before we went away, and so the months of 2014 have slipped through my fingers, at least in blogging terms.

Family history at the moment is focused on trying to unravel the findings from DNA results for me, my mum and indirectly a cousin, my post on that will come later when my brain slowly makes sense of it…at least in part.

Meanwhile inspired by this week’s topic on Sepia Saturday I thought I’d offer you some signs from our recent gallivanting in Europe.

We absolutely loved Istanbul with its vibrant mix of East meets West, Islam meets Christianity and the buzz of the city. It was out first visit there and it’s now a firm favourite, whether we make it back there or not. As confirmed cat-lovers how could we not like a city where the stray cats are fed and looked after by the local shop-owners.

A sign on the rooftop terrace of our wonderful hotel.

A sign on the rooftop terrace of our wonderful Istanbul hotel.

Feeling stressed? Try some dessert!

Feeling stressed? Try some dessert!

No dessert needed here...this kitten is super-chilled out...well resting comfortably in the morning sunshine.

No dessert needed here…this kitten is super-chilled out…resting comfortably in the morning sunshine.

Taksim Square shopping festival  -we've got our eyes on you!

Taksim Square shopping festival -we’ve got our eyes on you!

 

Says it all really.

Says it all really.

And now to Prague where graffiti/cartoon sketches seem to be de rigeur. I asked our guide why, and he seemed surprised by the question. I wondered if it was a response by the people during the Communist era.

I don't really "get" the whole John Lennon thing, but this wall is a major tourist site.

I don’t really “get” the whole John Lennon thing, but this wall is a major tourist site.

On the wall of a hotel, with similar cartoons on the windows.

On the wall of a hotel, with similar cartoons on the windows.

On a far more serious note, around the city you will see signs which commemorate Czech people who gave their lives for their nation’s freedom.

DSC_0373 murder

Working in reverse to our trip here are some Parisian signs.

Seen in Montmatre, I know a few Territory males who think three vodkas is only the start of a serious night's drinking.

Seen in Montmatre, I know a few Territory males who think three vodkas is only the start of a serious night’s drinking.

Seen on the way to a lovely restaurant, this sign caught my eye. A number of my early Queensland ancestors settled near the Condamine River.

Seen on the way to a lovely restaurant, this sign caught my eye. A number of my early Queensland ancestors settled near the Condamine River.

What does it mean? Not sure I understand it...

What does it mean? Not sure I understand it…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual journey through some of the travel signs that caught my eye.

 

Guest Post on Inside History blog

I know it’s been a little quiet here lately – other things taking the front line – but  you may be interested in my guest post on the Inside History blog. It’s entitled Top 10 out and about Genie Activities and you can find it here: http://www.insidehistory.com.au/2014/06/top-10-out-and-about-genie-activities/

Thanks for the opportunity to contribute Cassie.

Lost in X – DNA that is

Despite having other pressing family tasks I’ve found myself lost in DNA results and especially the X chromosome matches. I had my autosomal DNA (aka Family Finder) tested some time ago but have never really come to terms with the matches presented by Family Tree DNA.

I’ve been fortunate lately to find a known second cousin has also been tested, and even better we have loads of DNA in common…well compared to my earlier matches. As we also know our genealogy from traditional methods, it means that we can focus down on where our X chromosomes may have been generated. Interestingly, we both have good overlaps on the X chromosome with a couple of women who only come in at the likely 4th cousin level, Sandra S and Linda S (who also have some reasonable shared Cms with me/us on some of the other 22 chromosomes).

To state what is generally well known, a girl child inherits an X chromosome from her mother and another from her father. The father’s comes down intact exactly as he inherited it from his mother. Any genetic jumbling, aka recombination, happened at his mother’s level ie with the paternal grandmother.

The X chromosome inherited from a girl’s mother will not match the mother’s exactly. Rather it goes through the jumbling or recombination process, amalgamating genetically the two X chromosomes the mum inherited from the female child’s maternal grandparents.

So the X-chromosome Dad gave me is a direct reflection of whatever his mother Catherine passed on to him. This is a genetic blend of the X-DNA from my great-grandmother, Isabella Morrison of Cairndow and Strachur in Argyll, and that of my Sim great-grandparents over in the east of Scotland, in Stirlingshire.

My mother’s X-DNA is a blend of her two X chromosomes, which were inherited from my maternal grandparents ie McSherry and Melvin, so a combination of Irish and Scots genes. A comparison between my mother’s X-DNA and mine will not be identical as it has been jumbled up before being passed on. There should however (I think) be a fair degree of overlap. This will become more clear (I hope!) to me when my mum’s results come back.

Follow the pretty pink lines for X-DNA.

Follow the pretty pink lines for X-DNA. While I haven’t filled in all the info I have, the question marks make it clear how many stumbling blocks are thrown up by Irish ancestry.

The chart here shows the pink boxes which generate our X chromosome material. As it cannot be passed on from fathers to their sons, we can eliminate whole sections of a genealogical chart when looking at X-DNA. As the Family Finder autosomal matches predict likely relationships, I found it helpful to illustrate which segments would apply to 2nd, 3rd or 4th cousins. I also noted which countries and known counties or regions my ancestors came from. I haven’t filled in every box but I’m sure you’ll get the drift. It does look like a bit of schmozzle, but what you’re looking for is the pink lines of descent, henceforth known as the “women in pink” and don’t forget you can click to enlarge it. (I acknowledge with thanks the work of Blaine Bettinger, the Genetic Genealogist, in providing us with this tool).

The X chromosome is one of the 23 DNA pairs which make up our genetic being and it is the one which determines our gender (boys only inherit one X and their father’s Y). It is tested as part of the FamilyTreeDNA Family Finder, or autosomal, DNA test. 22 of the pairs are a random mix of all the DNA which is passed on from generation to generation, making it possible to find relations via significant shared SNPs of shared chromosomes.

The X chromosome behaves somewhat differently from the other 22 autosomal pairs. This is partly because of recombination, though some researchers have found that it’s been passed down virtually unchanged over several generations. Even siblings will not necessarily have identical X-DNA for these reasons. I am happy to take the word of the experts that this little gene is rather tricky and not as predictable certainly as Y-DNA or matrilineal DNA.

The X chromosome is not to be confused with matrilineal DNA (mtDNA) which is passed virtually intact from generation to generation down through the mother-to-daughter-to-daughter line. In this case I can expect my mtDNA to have come down through the generations from my 2xgreat grandmother, Mary Camp from Hertforshire, and the women back in line from her.  While my father inherited his mother’s mtDNA he cannot pass it on to me…that’s a genetic “dead end” for me, which can only be tested via Dad’s maternal aunts (now all deceased) or their daughters.

A selection of women who share X matches with me.

A selection of women who share X matches with me. The one in orange is a 2nd cousin.

It seems logical to me (but am I right?) that if an autosomal DNA match includes a match to me on the X chromosome, this might be the best line of research to approach first, especially for those high in my overall matches and relationships. After all, the X-DNA has narrowed down my possible lines of ancestry with its focus on the “women in pink” (see chart). While I have over 400 DNA matches with Family Tree DNA, sharing a range of Cm from 378.4 to say 25, I have only 90 X-DNA matches among these. Some have trees listed, others have names and places (as I do), and some have nothing.

Among my matches I have five probable 2nd to 4th cousins and 25 x 3rd to 5th. While a fourth cousin may seem some distance away, that fades when I realise how much conventional research I’ve achieved through my 3rd cousin once removed in the O’Brien line. This includes providing me with mtDNA which will go back to my 3xgreat grandmother, Catherine O’Brien nee Reddan from Co Clare, Ireland, and generations of women beyond her.

I have had two good autosomal matches in my list for a while and have recently been in contact with the person who manages them. We share no X-DNA but we do have one narrow area of Ireland in common. Of course the problems with Irish documentary research make it difficult to go multiple generations without a fair amount of the luck of the Irish.

I’m by no means confident I’m correct on all these facts and happy to receive advice from more experienced readers –this is by way of “thinking out loud”. It all no sooner seems to make sense than I find myself in another spider’s web of confusion. Many’s the time I’ve wondered what happened to those five years of science I did at school and university.

In trying to get my head around these issues I’ve been assisted by the following blog posts as well as conference presentations by Kerry Farmer and advice from Helen Smith. In each of these posts there are onward links which are worth following. Any false deductions and reporting are entirely my own fault, not theirs. As I said, I’m thinking out loud here trying to sort out my own ideas, so feel free to weigh in with corrections.

DNA eXplained – Genetic Genealogy, Roberta Estes, on X Marks the Spot. (do read the comments as well) and That unruly X – chromosome that is.

The Legal Genealogist, Judy G Russell, on X marks the spot, Whence the X, and Looking at Recombination.

Genetic Genealogist, Blaine Bettinger, on Unlocking the Secret of the X chromosome and also More X Chromosome Charts. The image of the chart of X chromosome inheritance also comes from Blaine and I acknowledge, with thanks, that he has provided this for us to use.

The Lineal Arboretum, Jim Owston, in Phasing the X chromosome (in relation to male inheritance)

Trove does it again – Bridget Widdup and the Florentia

URANA. (1912, May 25). Wagga Wagga Express (NSW : 1879 - 1920), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145395082

URANA. (1912, May 25). Wagga Wagga Express (NSW : 1879 – 1920), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145395082

Our good friend Trove has done it again!

I mentioned in my East Clare post last week that I was waiting on a new release news story which looked tantalisingly optimistic. It’s now been released and has exceeded my hopes.

Regular readers will recall my excitement back in late December when I found a clue to my Mary O’Brien’s immigration in an advertisement for her sister, Bridget. Since the family’s oral history has them both arriving in Australia together I thought I’d hit the jackpot.

Hours of research online and in archives in Hobart, Sydney and Brisbane had left me none the wiser in terms of hard evidence, and if anything doubting whether even Bridget had come on this sailing ship. Nowhere was there a mention of her name and my hopes plummeted. I felt like the prince trying to make that glass slipper fit.

O'BRIEN Advert Florentiaarticle13011791-3-004

This new death notice and obituary once again opens up the research and reveals so much more. It tells of:

  • Bridget’s arrival in Queensland (also mentioned on her death notice)
  • Arrival on the Florentia (a confirmation of Mary’s advertisement for her)
  • Relocation to Sydney. Her death certificate mentions 1 year Qld, remainder in NSW, so she probably left Ipswich for Sydney some time in 1854.
  • Arrival in the Urana area with Mr James Broughton to work on Cocketgedong[i] Station, on Billabong/Billybong Creek, near Jerilderie, probably around 1857-58.
  • Arrival in the town of Urana before it was surveyed. “Urana village was laid out in 1859” according to Bayley[ii]. Urana was proclaimed a town on 6 May 1859 and gazetted on 10 May[iii]. This roughly fits with when Bridget was believed to have married John Widdup, who would become the town’s poundkeeper, a role Bridget took on after his death in 1876.
LOWER MURRUMBIDGEE. (1858, May 11). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13009895

LOWER MURRUMBIDGEE. (1858, May 11). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13009895

There is some oral history that suggests Bridget worked as a children’s nurse which would fit with the birth of Emily Church Broughton in Sydney in May 1858 and Mary B on 25 April 1860. This would tally with Bridget’s move to Cocketgedong especially if she had been working for the Broughtons in Sydney. She’d certainly have been well qualified in this role having been the eldest of the eight O’Brien children. The impact of women arriving in the district was among the subjects discussed in this interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald of 11 May 1858[iv].

Of course the question remains why Bridget left Ipswich and her sister, having journeyed so far together. To the best of my knowledge there were not yet any relatives in Sydney. Perhaps she just didn’t like the Queensland heat and dryness. Certainly it can’t have been the isolation as Urana was far more isolated.

Link with the Early Days. (1924, October 24). The Burrowa News (NSW : 1874 - 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103199365

Link with the Early Days. (1924, October 24). The Burrowa News (NSW : 1874 – 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103199365

So here I am, back pondering the mysteries of the Florentia migration and again I’m left with the following questions.

  1. Did Mary and Bridget emigrate together?

All the oral history suggests the two young women came together. Annie Kunkel’s usually reliable information fits with what’s now known of the Florentia’s voyage. Furthermore I’ve re-read the notes I took at the time and see that she refers to them on an “old sailing ship”. I’d blipped over the “old” previously but it particularly fits with what’s known of the Florentia which had made voyages to Australia as a convict ship in earlier decades.

  1. Why would Mary advertise for her sister on the Florentia if she didn’t arrive on it?

This question now seems to be answered. I have two different sources citing the Florentia which gives me confidence that Bridget at least arrived on that ship. It only had one voyage to Queensland, in 1853. Earlier ones to other states would have meant the women were too young to travel alone, so I’m now happy to place Bridget on this ship. But why is she not mentioned anywhere in the records?

  1. Were they unassisted passengers?

I can find no evidence or mention anywhere that there were paying passengers on board the ship. It was an old ship and less likely to provide suitable cabin accommodation for anyone other than the captain and surgeon. However, is it still possible that it offered cheap paying accommodation to two young women? The records, as always, are focused on the assisted passengers and there was enough kerfuffle about the voyage that the assisted may have gained no recognition. Or am I clutching at straws?

  1. Were they assisted passengers?

As I mentioned I’ve looked at all available passenger lists for this voyage. There are no single women named O’Brien other than the daughters of Daniel O’Brien who I mentioned in the earlier post. I’d checked them out years ago because of the family’s on-going connection to Mary O’Brien and the Kunkel family. However, once again I married each girl off, and checked their deaths until I was sure none of them were actually our Bridget or Mary. Case closed there.

  1. Were there substitutions or impersonations?

As implausible as this sounds it is not impossible. State Records of New South Wales (SRNSW) makes mention of it:One practice which frequently occurred during this period was the taking on of an alias in order to obtain passage. This happened in cases where passage had been denied under the correct name; in these instances, the assumed name was often the maiden name or the name of a person with whom travelling. In other instances, an immigrant assumed the name of a person to whom a passage certificate had been granted. An example of this is Joseph Golding who came in place of John Mahon. In these cases the lists usually record the person under his/her correct name with a reference to the alias (or assumed) name. (always assuming they actually came to light)

I’ve also found manipulated records, and impersonations, in the East Clare database I’ve built up, though they are only the ones which have come to light, as per the SRNSW examples above.

It seems logical that if the O’Brien girls had taken up other passengers’ tickets/permits that they’d (a) have to have been Irish and (b) most likely have been from Clare or nearby eg Limerick or west Tipperary.

I also eliminated from consideration single women whose married siblings or single brothers were on board, just because that would have required more extensive collaboration.

Similarly two young women in their mid-teens were unlikely to be able to pass themselves off  as women over thirty.

It really does defy logic, and Irish propriety, that the girls would have been languishing on the docks of Plymouth hoping to catch a ship to Australia until some other young girl(s) changed her mind about the voyage.

  1. Checking the single women

Over the past weeks I’ve been researching the single women on the Florentia.

Even eliminating the English and Welsh women from consideration there were still lots to investigate and I set to by looking at potential marriages via Queensland’s online BDM site. If I found one that seemed plausible I traced the death and compared the parents listed with those provided on the shipping lists.

Again and again I hit brick walls, often not even finding marriages at all. I also checked the NSW BDMs, just in case, because some of the immigrants had stated they had relatives interstate. Eventually I had to give this away due to the overall ambiguity, but if any reader had ancestors arrive on this ship I’d love to hear from them.

CONCLUSION

Glass_slippers_at_Dartington_CrystalTo be honest I’m still floundering, though I’m now much more confident that Bridget was on board the Florentia when it arrived in Queensland in 1853. However, was she an assisted or unassisted passenger? Did she/they come out under someone else’s name? There is a suggestion in the local history of Broadford that some young people were assisted to emigrate and perhaps that’s where the clues lie. Perhaps the girls came out as privately funded passengers but on a very old ship, with perhaps a cheap rate.

Frustrating as this is, without Trove I’d still have no clues about their migration as I’d exhausted other avenues many years ago. My gut feeling for some time has been that they came out as unassisted passengers so perhaps that was the case on Florentia.  I’m still walking around with that glass slipper in my hand looking for a perfect fit but will it ever happen? Digitisation has saved my research and perhaps will do so again.

Other posts on this topic:

Have I cracked it?

Bridget Widdup nee O’Brien

Was it all fun and games on the Florentia?

Mixing my metaphors: macadamias and glass slippers.

[One day I may manage a short post!]

[i] Also known as Cocketygong, Cockegong from Trove reports. Cockejedong Creek was a tributary of Billybong or Biallabong Creek: Billabidgee, History of Urana Shire. Bayley, WA. Urana Shire Council 1959, page 59. For overseas readers, the word “station” here does not refer to the railway but an extremely large rural property. In American terms it would be called a ranch.

[ii] ibid, page 75.

[iii] ibid, page 23.

[iv] I was alerted to this by a reference in Bayley, op cit, page 22. Although not referenced in the book, Trove picked it up immediately when I searched by the phrase used.