I am delighted and honoured to receive the Ancestor Approved Award from Kim at Footsteps of the Past at http://footstepspast.blogspot.com/. It was a real treat to receive this in an emotional week as I watched from afar as my home town, and others with links to my family’s heritage, were flooded, lives lost, homes demolished and heritage destroyed.
The Award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou At Ancestors Live Here and asks two things of those who receive it:
- They should write 10 surprising, humbling, or enlightening aspects of their research
- Pass the Award on to 10 other researchers whose family history blogs are doing their ancestors proud.
So here are my 10 surprising, humbling or enlightening findings, in no particular order or indeed order of importance:
- Enlightened, surprised and humbled that I was able to find the birthplace of Mary O’Brien from County Clare through meeting up with an elderly lady from Toowoomba who gave me one contact name. This distant relative provided clues and links that let me build a history of this whole clan of the O’Briens from Ballykelly, in Ireland, Australia and the United States.
- Surprised to find my great-grandfather Melvin was saved from drowning by Thomas Livermore, a blacksmith’s labourer during the Ipswich floods of January 1887. Humbled because if he hadn’t been saved, my line of the family would not exist.
- Enlightened by finding the church marriage register for my Kunkel-O’Brien gt-gt-grandparents (this will be a blog for Australia Day –a topic suggested by Shelley at Twigs of Yore http://twigsofyore.blogspot.com/-so I won’t elaborate further here).
- Humbled by the day-to-day courage and commitment of my many Queensland pioneer families as well as “my” Dorfprozelten pioneers.
- Humbled by the many young men of my families who went to fight for the Empire in France and the Middle East during World War I, World War II, and Korea especially those who lie in foreign graves or whose bodies were never found. Also humbled by the determination with which the families left behind pursued every option to find out more about the men who were killed and sought to get keepsakes for their father-less children. Enlightened to read War Diaries which explained the circumstances surrounding their deaths.
- Surprised to discover that my great-grandfather married a woman who was a bigamist twice over (at least that’s what the evidence to date indicates and certainly once).
- Humbled and surprised, but not in a good way, to learn that my great-grandmother Julia Kunkel was operated on without anaesthetic in 1901 because her heart was too weak! Unsurprisingly she died of the childbirth-related illness, and the shock of the surgery. Six weeks later my great-grandfather also died. All their 11 children, aged 21 down to 2, were left orphans (the recently-delivered child appears to have died although not shown in indexes). Enlightened to read a novel which dealt with the horror of puerperal fever.
- Surprised to discover that the woman who is buried in the Toowoomba cemetery with my great-great grandmother, Ellen Gavin, and her daughter, Julia Kunkel (see above), is not a relation despite sharing the same surname. Why it was so, remains a mystery, except that she had also lived in Dalby in the early days and was estranged from her husband.
- Enlightened, humbled and delighted to stand on the lands where my ancestors walked in Ireland, Scotland, England and Germany so that I could “feel” their lives and connect to them. Humbled by internet “strangers” going out of their way to show me over their land where my ancestors lived in Argyll in the early 19th century and explain the remains of the small buildings where they had lived.
- Surprised (more like astonished) to connect with the inheritor of my O’Brien family’s land in Ballykelly and to be shown over the land by Paddy. Enlightened to know oral history meant he knew that they had Mass said in their homes in Australia’s pioneer days. Enlightened to be able to track the transfers of the land through the Griffith Valuation revision books. Humbled to be welcomed by distant family in Ireland.
Now for my honour list of 10 other bloggers doing family history proud. I’ve chosen to focus on Australian blogs, some of whose authors have been contributing to family history for many years. I’ve also chosen to bend the rules somewhat and add two web-pages that I think deserve to be here for their extensive contribution to family history research for all researchers…a research Honour Badge.
- Shelley, Twigs of Yore at http://twigsofyore.blogspot.com/
- Geniaus http://geniaus.blogspot.com/
- Judy Webster, Queensland Genealogy at http://qld-genealogy.blogspot.com/
- My Family History Research at http://baker1865.wordpress.com/
- Carole’s Canvas: http://caroleriley.id.au/
- The Family Curator at http://www.thefamilycurator.com/about/
- Irish Family History at http://irishfamilyhistory.ie/blog/
- Family History Research at http://famresearch.wordpress.com/
The next two are my “Honour Board” –they aren’t blogs specific to families but they are websites which provide a truly invaluable resource to family historians:
- South east Queensland cemeteries headstone photos: http://www.chapelhill.homeip.net/FamilyHistory/Photos/
- Clare County Library at http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/genealogy/genealog.htm