Fearless Females: Day 16 – Lunch with Catherina Kunkel in Das Goldene Fass in Dorfprozelten

My ancestor, 3x great grandmother Eva Catherina Kunkel nee Happ, was a descendant of a family dynasty which owned an inn in the Bavarian village of Dorfprozelten for at least 200 years. I would love to have lunch with her in her own inn, Das Goldene Fass. (I’m working on the whole time-travel-is-possible thing as the inn was demolished in the mid-20th century). She’s not really famous but in my family tree she is pivotal as she links the Australian branches and the Bavarian branches and could answer so many questions for me.A postcard of Das Goldene Fass mid-20thC. Kindly provided to me by Georg Veh, local historian.

It was Catherine’s son, Georg Mathias, who emigrated to Australia in the 1850s and started our Australian line. I would love to get her insights into so many things that affected her family. Why did her son leave home? Was it truly because of the risk of military service? How did she feel to see him leave the village, knowing it was likely she’d never see him again? Was he jealous perhaps that his step-brother inherited the inn? Did Georg’s brother Philip Joseph Kunkel really emigrate to the United States? Or was that after her sudden death? Did Georg write to her after he left home and did she know that he had married an Irish woman and had a big, healthy family. Did he tell her if he was happy in his new country? I really hope he didn’t regret giving up so much and making his life here.

In Bavaria, the family inn regularly hosted tourists to their village and I wonder if her son spoke some English before he left home. I wrote a hypothetical story of his last day in the village. I’d love to ask her if this was just a romantic view of what might have happened or if he did any of these things? She was there when the 60+ men, women and children left Dorfprozelten for Australia.  I wonder how the loss of these people affected the small village: she would be able to tell me this, and the gossip about all those who left.

I’d have so many questions she might regret that we were lunching together, but I hope not. Would she see any physical resemblance between me and her own family. My daughter says I have “big German hands”, so perhaps she would.

The local history of the village tells me something of the menu for the inn at other times, so I’d expect we’d drink the local white wine from its distinctive Bochsbeutel wine bottle. We’d likely have fresh pike cooked with cardamom and mustard, salmon prepared with lemon, special beer, home-made apple-wine, bacon, roast pork and varieties of home-made sausage.[1] I’d love to tell her that George had brought those traditions with him, and that some had become part of his Australian family’s Christmas celebrations.

After a meal like that, and our lengthy conversation, I hope Catherine would let me stay overnight. It would be wonderful to sleep in the deep beds with their fluffy eiderdowns and feather pillows! And in the morning it would be wonderful to awaken to the smell of the freshly-baked bread and pastries from the neighbouring bakery. Or perhaps I’d awaken to discover it was all just a wonderful dream.

This post is inspired by Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog and her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month.


[1] Veh, G. Dorfprozelten Teil II. pp. 193-195.

Beyond the Internet Week 11: Church Archives can be goldmines

This is Week 11 in my Beyond the Internet series in which I explore the sources of information beyond our computer screens. This week’s topic is Church Archives.  I’d love it if you wanted to join in with your thoughts on this topic. If possible please provide a link to your post on this page.

First up, let me say that I’ve never used church archives overseas so can’t speak about them there. Perhaps some overseas bloggers can comment on that? My comments will mainly refer to the benefits of using the Australian Church Archive relevant to your ancestor’s location. For me personally that means Queensland church archives, Catholic and Anglican.

Australian civil registration dates mostly from the early-mid 19th century, with the precise date being determined by each state. Cora Num’s website provides a useful guide to these dates. If this is the case why do we need to bother with church records?

I don’t know about you, but I have a number of early certificates with lots of blanks, usually in the fields that would be most useful eg place of birth. It was only by turning to parish registers held either in the parish or the local archives, that these blanks were (mostly) filled in. The information I obtained in this way, broke down what would otherwise have remained insoluble brick walls. For example, I could never have taken my George Kunkel back to his home village of Dorfprozelten without this parish information. On no other documentation, including several of his children’s birth certificates, does he give his specific village of origin. You can read more about this story here

Similarly the marriage of Hannah Kent and William Partridge obtained through the Anglican Archdiocesan Archives enabled me to clarify several points about their background.

Consecration of the family to the Sacred Heart: one of the children, Anne Kunkel was the granddaughter of George & Mary Kunkel and shared a lot of oral history with me.

In researching the Bavarians from Dorfprozelten I’ve used church archives to great advantage. It’s rare that the marriage entries in the church registers don’t add something to what I know about these immigrants. If you’re searching for multiple people it can also be cheaper to do it this way, even allowing for a daily fee or a donation. Compare the cost to buying another certificate: surely it’s worth knowing you’ve explored all the options. I always encourage people with apparent brick walls to try this strategy. Unfortunately until you’ve seen the benefits, not everyone is convinced that they could tumble those walls in this way.

As with any archive, the records held will vary depending on what has survived and what has been transferred: some records may be in a garage somewhere. Some of the things you might like to ask about, in addition to the standard baptisms and marriages, are communion records, confirmation records, and society records. The archive may also have old books or newsletters which will tell you more about your ancestors’ churches in their era: all grist for your family history.

I’ve recently been fortunate enough to be thought of when there was a clean-up of surplus holdings and in this way obtained a 93 year-old church-based certificate which had once been in my ancestor’s original property. My great-great grandmother’s youngest son had the house blessed when his family took ownership after she died in 1919. Without my link to the archive this would never have come to light.

Where to find the relevant church archives? Well I’d tend to look up the local phone book first (under the name of the religion) but really a better strategy in Australia would be to use this Australian Society of Archivists search page. Similar societies exist overseas.

Please don’t forget when visiting churches or archives, that they have other purposes than helping family historians and may be time-limited. While some have fixed daily fees for research, others don’t specifically ask for money. I recommend always offering a decent donation for the service they provide.

Fearless Females 15: A “six-word” tribute to Emily Melvin

Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month. March 15: Write a six-word tribute to one of your female ancestors.

Emily was a courageous, dedicated, loyal, hard-working Queensland-born pioneer.

Fearless Females 13: Moments of Strength – Emily Melvin

Emily Melvin (nee Partridge) with her husband Stephen Gillespie Melvin, probably c1906-1910.

In honour of Women’s History  Month, Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month. This post is my response to Day 13, Moments of Strength.

Emily Partridge was the second wife of Stephen Gillespie Melvin. His fist wife, Janet Melvin, had died fifteen months earlier on Peel Island shortly after arriving on Australian soil.

The year 1887 was to be an annus horribilis for Emily and her family, a year of many moments demanding courage, determination and loyalty. Emily was still only a young woman of 28 but she needed all the strength she could muster.

1887 started with a major flood in Ipswich, Queensland in which her husband Stephen Gillespie Melvin, nearly drowned. Some newspaper reports suggest he was trying to move goods from his bakery and confectionery store, but given the year’s subsequent events I do wonder if it was an accident. A young man, Thomas Shadrach Livermore, was awarded a bronze Humane Society medal for saving Stephen from the flooded Bremer River.

No sooner had the family recovered from that fright, than Stephen was involved in a legal case over a land dispute to develop a coal mine, in which he was one of the defendants. Around the same time his business went into liquidation, no doubt partly due to the court case and perhaps also due to stock losses from the flood and his over-ambitious expansion plans. Stephen lost the court case and the judge charged him and four others with perjury believing they had given false evidence at the land case trial. At the subsequent trial Stephen was found guilty and sentenced to 5½ years gaol. Two of the others were also found guilty while the remaining two were declared not guilty.

Throughout these terrible times, Emily would have had to keep her young family of five children together and her spirits up. The evidence suggests that she was supported in this by her parents, William and Hannah Partridge. Her family had been in Ipswich since the early days and it’s likely she found the whole experience bewildering and shameful. Her family were staunch Methodists and the Melvin business had had a good reputation, so it surely must have been humiliating to be in the public gaze in this way.

We can barely imagine how Emily felt when her husband was sent to gaol for those long years. I’ve read the trial papers in detail and I certainly felt that the evidence was ambiguous: very much a case of “he said, she said”.  Fortunately for the family, Stephen was granted a remission of his sentence after appeal to the Queensland government executive. Thanks to this, 1887 Emily’s annus horribilis ended on a positive note and the family could start to regroup. Emily’s courage and determination had been rewarded. Emily and Stephen’s reunion must have been celebratory as my great-grandmother Laura was born in due time after Stephen’s release from gaol.

Emily continued to work with Stephen to rebuild their business and some years later she bravely relocated with him to Charters Towers to start afresh. Emily went on to have another 8 children with Stephen 6 of whom survived to adulthood. She must have been both emotionally and physically strong.

Nations online-One World: a searchable gazetteer

This morning I discovered Nations Online for the first time and thought I’d share it with you. It seems to work best if you search at the state/county level as I found Dorfprozelten easily under the Bavarian section while I got no result at the Europe or Germany level.

It also includes information about the countries including population, flags etc. You can see an example on the Europe page.

While you can find this information elsewhere I quite liked the consolidated approach of this website.

Fearless Females: The tragic stories of Julia Kunkel and Janet Melvin

Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month. March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how this affected the family?

There are two tragic deaths of young women in my family tree. One was my maternal great-grandfather’s first wife, Janet Melvin nee Peterkin and the other my paternal great-grandmother, Julia Celia Kunkel nee Gavin.

Janet Melvin nee Peterkin

Janet Melvin’s story is a truly tragic one. Last Friday, 2nd March 2012, was the 135th anniversary of her death. Janet set sail for Australia from London on the Woodlark in October 1876. With her were her husband Stephen and infant son Lawrence, aged 4 months.

The family were all when the ship arrived in Moreton Bay in January 1877, but not long after Janet fell ill. She died on 2 March 1877 at Peel Island, in quarantine. I feel so sad when I think of her courage in making this voyage then knowing she would leave her infant son motherless. I was consoled that her husband and son were still with her on Peel Island when she died, and she wasn’t entirely alone. Janet had just turned 22.

Janet’s son Lawrence survived this early tragedy but I’m told his father tended to favour him above his other children – hardly surprising under the circumstances. My family descends from Stephen’s second wife Emily nee Partridge.

Julia Kunkel nee Gavin

Julia Kunkel saw more of life perhaps than young Janet but she also died young, at only 42, in what I feel was a particularly gruesome way. This was her obituary:

OBITUARY: Darling Downs Gazette 21 November 1901

We sincerely regret to have to record the death of Mrs George Kunkel, wife of the respected railway ganger of Geham, and daughter of Mr Denis Gavan (sic), of this town. The deceased was born in Dalby and was 42 years of age, and leaves a husband and 10 children to mourn the loss of a good wife and mother. Deceased, who had been ailing for some time, came in about a week ago to consult Dr McDonnell, who found her to be suffering from a serious internal disorder and at once pronounced the case to be hopeless. On account of the weak state of her heart, the doctors could not administer chloroform and had to perform an operation without its aid. Although the operation was a success, the patient’s constitution was too weak to make the recovery and she gradually sank and expired at 3.45 on Wednesday morning. The husband is at present also in a poor state of health.  Deceased throughout her life has been a particularly devout adherent of the Roman Catholic Church.  The deepest sympathy is felt for the bereaved husband and children in their terrible loss. The funeral leaves Mr D Gavin’s residence off Seaton St at 2 o’clock this afternoon.

Each time I read this I am horrified anew at the prospect of her being operated on without anaesthetic because she had a weak heart. Her husband died only five weeks later on Christmas Day 1901 leaving their children orphaned.

The impact on the family was significant because while some were old enough to be self-sufficient, they took on some responsibility for the younger ones. Over the years the siblings became alienated for different reasons and the younger ones in particular seemed to suffer the loss of their parents the most. I often wonder if my grandfather’s marriage at a rather late age wasn’t influenced by seeing what happened to his mother.

Julia Kunkel was laid to rest with her mother in the Drayton and Toowoomba cemetery on 21 November 1901. The full story of Julia and George Michael Kunkel is told in Grassroots Queenslanders: the Kunkel family.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting her grave site, so the timing of this post is particularly apt. One of my family history “bucket list” items is to put a grave stone on her grave which she shares with her mother and a friend.

Beyond the Internet Week 10: Church records – the life and times of a parish and its parishioners

This is Week 10 in my Beyond the Internet series of topics in which I explore the sources of information beyond our computer screens. I’d love it if you wanted to join in with your own posts on this week’s topic which is Church Records.

Please join in with your blog posts on this topic, and if possible provide the link on this page.

Last week’s topic was church registers: the records of baptisms, marriages and burials kept by parishes in the important era prior to civil registration, taking you back into the 17th and 18th centuries of earlier if you’re lucky. They remain relevant, although less critical, for the modern day.

This week looks at the other records kept by the churches which may provide invaluable clues to your family’s history, as well as that of the local parish where they live. In earlier days the parish was responsible for many of the day-to-day functions of the area, for example, the state of the roads; care of the poor, sick or destitute; foundling children; collection of tithes etc. The potential for finding snippets or nuggets of information about your family is pretty good. You may even find a signature for a distant ancestor who fulfilled ones of the parish responsibilities. The records were kept in a locked chest hence the name “parish chest”.

The parish chest in the village church at Hook Norton, Oxfordshire.

In this topic I’ll highlight a few of the parish records sources I’ve found useful in my own research. I’ve mainly looked at these records for Scotland and England but first let me mention an invaluable resource for German research.

FAMILIENBÜCHER (family books) (Germany)

You will find the standard baptisms and marriages (and sometimes burials) in the church registers but the familienbücher are especially worth seeking out, if you can access them. In essence they document each family as an entity. So when a married couple starts out their children are progressively added to the entry, sometimes with comments about emigration or relocation. Each son’s entry is cross-referenced to his new family once he marries, and each daughter’s entry refers to her husband’s name and her new family. Excellent value.

My hint: Don’t forget that there’s more than one religion in the old German states so do check place information for what churches were in your family’s area. It’s worth remembering that much of the southern areas of Germany are Catholic.

How to find them: The Familienbücher may be microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), so try the Family Search catalogue. If not, they should be with the local parish or with the regional church archives.

The Kunkel familienbuch extracted from the parish records of Dorfprozelten, Bavaria.

KIRK SESSIONS (Scotland)

My 2011 posts here and here referred to these wonderful records in some detail so I won’t repeat it here. They provide a unique insight into the day-to-day life in your family’s parish.

My hint is: don’t just search for your family’s name. In my experience reading the sessions for Inishail parish, each entry makes reference to families or individuals who may have no genealogical link to the key person and you may find yours among them.

How to find them: Essentially only available at (some) Scottish archives, most particularly Edinburgh.  Still it would be worth checking the Family Search catalogue to see if your parish’s records have been microfilmed. I’m longing for the day when ScotlandsPeople makes them available on line. I just hope it’s a full-subscription site because I don’t just want to look at odd pages with my family’s name.

OVERSEERS OF THE POOR (England)

If your family had some land and/or parish status, you may well find them taking on the responsibilities of overseer of the poor. The parish records may reveal their signature, how often they served and other extant information. I learnt that one strand of my ancestry served in parish roles for over 100 years – it was interesting to see how this had carried down the years. Genetics or training? If the family was poor, you may find references to them in the parish minutes.

How to find them: Search the Family Search catalogue for your parish and see what church records they have other than parish registers.

Hint: click on each entry to see what it includes. If you think it might be helpful give it a whirl. All you stand to lose is a few dollars and some time offset by the potential of finding something quite different about your families.

The local parishioners chosen to be Surveyors of the Poor may also be in the parish chest/church records and again give you insight into your family’s responsibilities and engagement.

ENCLOSURE AND TITHE RECORDS

The parish chest records may provide information on tithe and enclosure within your parish. This may list the amounts payable by each individual in the parish and their land and property name. Obviously this is invaluable information for your family’s story. This post elaborates on the impact this information had on my own family history. In other urban parishes I’ve found entries where the relevant parish official has gone door-to-door finding out who lives there and listing their liability.

How to find them: Again try the Family Search catalogue for your parish or the relevant archives for that area.

UNOFFICIAL PARISH CENSUSES

Some parishes have wonderful informal parish censuses in their records. You will give thanks if you find one of these. I’ve seen one (sadly not my parish, and also sadly I’ve forgotten which Northumberland parish it was) which said the woman “was very clean for a Catholic” and other equally acerbic comments.

HINT: If you would like to learn more about these wonderful records you might like to enrol in the Pharos course on the Parish chest.

FINAL HINT: Not everything has been microfilmed, digitised or indexed. Sometimes you need to dig deeper by approaching the local parish (offering them a donation to thank them for their time) or be visiting or contacting the relevant archives. Sometimes you’ll draw a blank but if you get lucky you’ll be delighted with how it enriches your story.

Beyond the Internet: Week 9 – Baptisms, Banns and Burials

This is Week 9 in my Beyond the Internet series of topics in which I explore the sources of information beyond our computer screens. I’d love it if you wanted to join in with your own posts on this week’s topic which is Church Registers.

Please join in with your blog posts on this topic, and if possible provide the link on this page.

Last week’s topic was certificates and how they can help ensure you are tracing the right line, and potentially tell you a great deal more about your family. But of course certificates are only available from around the middle of the 19th century. Before that you need to turn to the church registers of your ancestor’s local parish for their baptisms, banns, marriages and burials (and don’t forget they may not all belong to the official church). If you’re lucky the clergyman may have also shown dates for births and deaths, but by no means always.

If I’m researching a parish where my ancestor lived, my first port of call is the familysearch catalogue to search under place names. Lots of people (me too) used to like to search the old IGI but what are/were you getting? You might assume you’re being given every bit of information regarding that parish. Unfortunately that’s not the case, and ignoring for the moment that you’ve so far only got dates and names, what else are you missing out on?

When I want to know what’s indexed for the United Kingdom (also Canada/USA), I’ve been in the habit of using Hugh Wallis’s wonderful site because this tells me what’s been incorporated into the IGI. To illustrate what you might miss out on with the IGI (and perhaps to a lesser extent with familysearch unless you use advanced search carefully), I’ll look at the parish of Sandon in Hertfordshire. This is what Hugh Wallis says is available on the IGI:

Sandon Hertfordshire (IGI)
C072892   1697-1812 M072892   1678-1812
C072891   1813-1879 M072891   1813-1837
C053871   1813-1850 M072893   1837-1885
M072894   1886-1976

To summarise: baptisms (christenings) from 1697-1879 and marriages from 1678 to 1976. Sounds great doesn’t it? Now search the family search catalogue under the place name of Sandon, Hertfordshire and these are the options that come up for church registers (there are yet more other entries).

England, Hertford, Sandon – Church records 

author:

Church of England. Parish Church of Sandon (Hertfordshire)

author:

Church of England. Parish Church of Sandon (Hertfordshire)

author:

Church of England. Parish Church of Sandon (Hertfordshire)

You can also see that the author of #3 is the Church of England, parish church of Sandon. When you look at the films you’ll find that you’re actually viewing an exact image of the pages from the parish register. By clicking on #3, it will show that it’s possible to see all the following by ordering the film numbers bracketed behind each:

Baptisms, marriages and burials 1678-1812, and banns 1750-1766 (991394, items 6-9).

Baptisms and burials 1813-1879 and marriages 1813-1837 (991394, items 1-4)

Marriages 1837-1976 (film 993735, item 4)

Banns 1767-1874 and baptisms 1880-1960 (1537909, items 5-6)

Burials 1879-1902 (1951789, item 16)

You’ve gained the opportunity to learn a good deal more about your ancestors because you can now go back in time for 20 years of baptisms, as well as banns and burials (not sure what happened to the 1628 shown).  Burials are not included in the IGI, so searching the films will let you correlate the information you’ve obtained on your family and make sure you’re not pinning your tree on someone who was buried well before adulthood. For example, at first glance my direct ancestor, Hannah Kent, is the child baptised in Sandon on 27 April 1832 and that was what I initially thought. Had I never ordered the microfilm I’d never have known differently because that Hannah was buried a week later on 2 Mary 1832. My ancestor was presumably the next girl born to parents Richard and Mary and also called Hannah – though there’s no clue why she wasn’t baptised in the Church of England (nor is she shown in the non-conformist indexes). Burial information can let you identify which person of the same name is being buried and if a child, the name of the father, and sometimes address information and other stray details. Other entries in the register may tell you about occupational changes, confirm family connections, provide witnesses’ names and so on.

It’s also a good idea to have a look at the Bishop’s Transcripts (BTs) where they exist and for Sandon it looks as if they provide another 74 years. Unfortunately the reality is that the film is so poor that it looks like the register was kept in a barn with a leaky roof for a very long time. Much of those early years are illegible but occasionally snippets can be figured out. The other qualifier with any of the BTs is that they are what they say, transcripts, so subject to errors in transcription. On the other hand, they will sometimes give slightly different details from the original register. For a small sum of money, a wait for the microfilm, and the time taken to read it, you can have the confidence to know you’ve squeezed as much as possible from the available registers.

If you have ancestry in Durham and Northumberland from c1797-1812, you will find parish registers might offer you a great deal more even than “normal” registers. The then Bishop of Durham, Shute Barrington, decreed that parish registers be kept which included such detail as place of origin, parents’ names, maiden names, ages etc. Inevitably not every entry has all the required detail but most do, and it is a potential goldmine. Bishop Barrington deserves his own Genealogy Award!

Happy hunting in the microfilms…may you find many “lost” ancestors, unravel some mysteries and find some clues.

Abundant Genealogy: Week 8: Fanfare and tribute for my genealogy libraries

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog, in conjunction with Geneabloggers, has a new series of weekly blogging prompts for 2012 and the theme is 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy . The topic for Week 8 is Genealogy Libraries: Genealogy libraries (and dedicated departments in regular libraries) are true treasures in the family history community.  Tell us about your favorite genealogy library. What or who makes it special? 

The more I reflected, the more unfair it seemed to single out just one library, so here’s my tribute, with fanfare, to the family history libraries in my life.  Like choosing between your children, picking your favourites seems unjust but I’d like to give my trio of Genie Awards  to the following: GSQ, LDS Family History Centre(s), and County Clare Library, for their contribution to my family history. Read all about my credits below.

Genealogical Society of Queensland (GSQ)

My family history would probably have languished in the “I wonder where my name originated” basket, had I not happened upon a Colonial Street Fair in William St, Brisbane in 1986. GSQ had a “get ’em interested stall” and over 25 years later, the rest, as they say, is history. Not only did GSQ launch my family history search, but it fed and fuelled it for a very long time until I moved to Darwin. In those pre-digitisation days, I used to visit the library to search their hard copy documents but also their rolls of microfilm and especially their wonderful and vast set of indexes prepared by family history centres around the country. They also had special interest groups and when possible I attended their sessions. The GSQ seminars were goldmines of information to new genies like me, and I made sure I mined them to the full. GSQ also established a Pioneer muster register to celebrate the Bicentenary in 1988 and I submitted my own family trees, such as it was after 12-18 months of research (info was much slower to find in those days). The register was updated for Q150 in 2009. So GSQ Library is my first and biggest trumpet fanfare of thanks!

Darwin’s LDS family history centre 

Darwin's Family History Centre and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

 

If I was pinned down to one library I really couldn’t do without right now in 2012, it would be the Darwin LDS family history centre. Not at all like the flash Salt Lake City facilities, it nevertheless provides me with access to all the diverse records microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). The films may take their time venturing across the seas but when those films arrive they provide the gateway into so much of my family story, especially when it takes my stories back across the seas to England, Scotland and Ireland (sadly my German village records are not filmed).  I continue to harp on about how wonderful they are, so I’ll let you read someone else’s story about why they’re genealogical gold. It bemuses me that researchers just don’t seem to “get” how much they can learn through the Mormon library: it’s just not instantaneous and perhaps that’s the problem in our impatient world.

Clare County Library

You could search my blog and find many references to this wonderful library. An innovator over many years I can’t sing their praises highly enough. If you have Irish ancestry, you want them to come from Clare so you, too, can benefit from the riches on their website: this is a virtual library you want to visit, trust me. Even if your Irish family comes from elsewhere have a look on the site to see just what may lie hidden in your family’s county of origin. And if you’re lucky enough to visit Ennis, as I have been, calculate the time you think you’ll need then multiply it: they have riches galore.

My other drum-rolls are for these libraries that have served me so well over the years. Each has wonderful research opportunities that have contributed to my own family histories and can do the same for yours. To each I say “Thank You!”.

State Library of Queensland (SLQ)

In my early research days, SLQ was then housed in William Street (and if my memory serves, staffed with Shauna Hicks among others) and became another home-away-from-home. Here I again used BDM microfiche, microfilmed newspapers, and that wonderfully old-fashioned thing, reference books. In those early days I don’t believe I had ventured into John Oxley Library but when time permits on Brisbane visits there are always things to follow up.

Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society (TDDFHS)

With family in the Darling Downs, as I soon discovered, TDDFHS had an impact on my research long before I joined the society or visited their library. GSQ held their index to BDM events in the Darling Downs Gazette and this was the key to learning more about the lives of my ancestors. TDDFHS have continued to hold a place in my genie heart with their local indexes especially their published books of newspaper extracts (especially great for “my” Germans). Because I live so far away I rarely get into the physical library but through membership emails etc I’m kept up to speed with what they’re doing.

Queensland Family History Society (QFHS)

I must mention QFHS even though I visited them infrequently because they were on the other side of town when I lived in Brisbane. These days my Brisbane visits are so time-constrained that I rarely make it to the actual library but I’ve gained so much from the resources they produce. Their Hamburg shipping indexes, school admission lists, electoral rolls, and so many other indexes and services are fantastic resources. Some of the information you’re finding on Findmypast, for example, comes from their indexing work. Hidden heroes! They also awarded me a prize in 2004 for my family history – a huge buzz for me! QFHS had a great Q150 project, Queensland Founding Families, for 2009 and if you have Qld family it’s a must-read.

Northern Territory Library (NTL)

With the encroachment of Trove and online subscriptions, NTL hasn’t seen me as much as they used to.  Their wide range of newspapers has often been a godsend to me in following up leads and where they don’t have them in house, NTL is efficient in ordering them in on inter-library loans from The National Library of Australia and similarly books that I need or want to suss out, are dispatched from Canberra to far-away Darwin for researchers like me.  Thanks Ken for your wonderful service with these loans! Always very much appreciated. NTL also hosts or co-hosts family history seminars throughout the year and includes family history, and history, journals and magazines for reference. They also have a great facility for people to tell their Territory Stories via online submission so if you have a family member who lived in the Territory in the past, you might want to put your entry there.

Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory (GSNT)

I’ve spent many hours at GSNT scrolling through Board Immigrant Lists searching for east County Clare immigrants. There were some wags who thought I was going to grow cobwebs! Tucked among the bookshelves are a wide variety of reference books to assist with family history and the microfiche and CDs provide further opportunities to round out what’s known about our ancestors. GSNT also holds an extensive pioneer register which hasn’t been of interest to me previously but I’ve now learnt that one of my family connections was in the Territory so I’ll need to see what they may have on them.

Thank you to each and every one of these libraries, without which my family stories would be just a litany of names and dates!