The Flowers of Remembrance Geneameme

La vie en rosesI’ve been sorting through this year’s desk calendar, a gorgeous one with images of flowers, which made me think of flowers and how we associate them with the people in our lives or our history.

And so to a fairly open-ended geneameme, rather than the usual structured variety. Why not record what flowers (or plants/trees) spring to mind when you think of particular people in your family tree or among your friends’ list. (Please only use first names if their still alive). You can approach it as “Aunty x makes me think of flower y” or “when I see this flower, I think of person xx or place/event ….”. It’s up to you, go with what inspires you at first glance.

Did your father always plants vegetables, or a particular type of plant (rather than flowers)? If so include that as well. This is a creative and flexible geneameme.

You might even want to record which flowers you love and what seasons you associate them with. This could be a supplement to your Book of Me entries (I hope Julie doesn’t have this topic lined up for the future).

P1130497 And so it’s over to you: let’s bring together our senses of sight and smell and mix-and-match to family we’ve known or read about. Some associations will leap immediately to mind, others will challenge our thoughts and emotions.

So for example: Aunty Emily makes me think of roses in New Farm Park, pansies on teacups and the fragrance of lavender and violets.

Will you join me in this multi-sensory geneameme? I’ll close off the list in a week and consolidate the responses in a blog post. If you’re posting on Twitter, please use the hastag #flowersgeneameme to make it easier to find.

Don’t forget to leave a comment with your link so we can all visit.

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Have I cracked it? Shall we dance?

Mary O'Brien, my 2xgreat grandmother.

Mary O’Brien Kunkel, my 2xgreat grandmother.

The midnight fairy came to visit me last night with an amazing surprise –in fact such a big surprise that I can’t quite believe it, and have spent the day trying to confirm or deny my conclusions. Oh ye of little faith!!

As a prelude to sleep (!!) I decided to have a quick look on Trove for Bridget O’Brien Ipswich. Bridget was my Mary O’Brien’s (2x great grandmother) sister. You see the other day I’d found a new obituary for her on Trove which mentioned that her year in Queensland had been spent in Ipswich. Up came the following advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald on 9th and 12th February 1859:

SHIP-FLORENTIA – BRIDGET O’BRIEN  Your sister Mary is anxious to hear from you. Mrs KONGEL, Post Office, Ipswich.

It’s as well I was lying down I tell you!! I couldn’t believe my eyes and kept saying “keep calm, keep calm”.

Why was I so excited? Because I’d pretty much guarantee that this is my Mary Kunkel (nee O’Brien) and her sister Bridget. Kunkel is routinely mangled even today, or greeted with a “what??” so the mis-spelling doesn’t bother me much, especially since Mary was illiterate and had a Clare accent.

I’ve been hunting for Mary’s immigration for 27 years to no avail. I’ve looked at every possible immigration record I could find, including checking every Mary O’Brien entry, as well as Bridget and Kate/Catherine.

So am I leaping to conclusions? Please tell me what you think after reading this.

My memory didn’t instantly retrieve Florentia but it was ringing loud bells for me. A quick search of my records reminded me this was the ship that the Daniel O’Brien family from Tipperary arrived on. I wrote about the connections in this post early in 2013. This O’Brien family and my Mary O’Brien Kunkel were involved as witnesses in each other’s church events.

So let me put together the details and compare it with the oral history given to me by Mary’s granddaughter, Anne Kunkel who lived with her, and who was an extremely reliable witness (she’s been spot-on about 99% of what she told me):

1.      Mary left Ireland when she was 16

In 1852 when the Florentia sailed Mary was 16 years old. This tallies with the age stated on several children’s birth certificates as well as her death certificate. Bridget’s age at death, and the details on her certificate also indicate an arrival year of 1852-53.

2.      Mary was six months at sea coming to Australia

The Florentia was at sea for 22 weeks, slightly over five months. On top of that Mary had to get to Plymouth to catch the ship, either by boat from Limerick or Bianconi carriage to Dublin. Either way you can see how the total trip would have been close to six months. And wouldn’t the temptation be to round up, not down?

3.  Mary and Bridget came together…though Anne did suggest perhaps sister Kate also came, but then she would have been <10 at the time.

Assuming this is correct, then Mary would have been on the Florentia too. I had eliminated Kate as an arrival through Moreton Bay as she married in Sydney in 1871 but now I’m rethinking that. Kate witnessed a baptism in Broadford, Clare in 1860. A Kate O’Brien witnessed Mary’s child’s baptisms in 1864 and 1866 in Ipswich. Was this her sister or Daniel and Winifred’s daughter (born 1854), which does seem young to be a witness? Our Kate’s details suggest she arrives in the early 1860s, just when there are some Board Immigrant Lists missing.

4.“Mary had a job before ever she got here…and she worked for a sea captain in Brisbane

Was Mary arriving as an unassisted passenger? Or did she come under a false name as happened occasionally (and perhaps more than we realise?).  Certainly the passenger list of the Florentia tallies with the stated number of passengers, and does not include two unassisted passengers because when the ship docked in Hobart on 4th April 1853 to take on additional supplies, there is only one cabin passenger stated on the Tasmanian documents, the Surgeon Superintendent for the voyage, William Clegg. Might she have been under an alias? This is tricky and yet none of the ages quite fit, let alone for two young women, aged 16 and 18.

5.      She met her husband on the voyage

This tale is common to both Mary and Bridget. Bridget’s future husband was a mariner, John Widdup, so that may be plausible. I’ve never found George Kunkel’s immigration either, and have conjectured he too may have worked his passage given his upbringing on the River Main. The Tasmanian records indicate there were 26 crew on the Florentia…I wonder if either George or John was one of them. Unfortunately the Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters website does not include the Florentia.

So far at least I’ve also been unable to trace them through the CLIP website.

Green, Allan C (1900). [Unidentified barque (sailing ship) in full sail]. Copyright expired.

Green, Allan C (1900). [Unidentified barque (sailing ship) in full sail]. Copyright expired.

The voyage

The ship’s captain was Capt TH Banks and Surgeon Superintendent William Clegg and the ship arrived in Moreton Bay on 25th April 1853. The Florentia was a barque of 453 tons, and on arrival was carrying 249 immigrants so a fairly small ship. Apart from being unusually long, due to “contrary winds and calms”, the voyage had a fairly high fatality rate, with two differing death rates: 17 deaths (Moreton Bay) and 9 deaths (Hobart). Although “offset” by either 8 or 12 births, this was not a good tally. And yet surprisingly very little is documented in the Trove newspapers about the voyage, other than an elusive hint that there were issues with the ship’s officers: The local Immigration Board is now engaged in the investigation of certain charges against the ship’s officers, but what their nature or justice may be, remains a mystery.- Moreton Bay Courier, May 7 quoted in the Maitland Mercury of 18 May 1853.

The Moreton Bay colonists were far more concerned that the ship brought far more women and children, than the men they wanted to boost their workforce.

Further Queries 

Was there another Florentia voyage? Yes, but back in 1841 when Bridget was only a girl of about eight. It seems logical that the 1853 voyage is the correct one. Our Bridget witnessed her brother’s and sister’s  baptism at home in Broadford in 1846 and 1850 adding to that likelihood.

It’s also not surprising that Mary might have been advertising for her sister, as Bridget left Ipswich after a year, so about mid-1854. By the 1860s she was married and living with her little family in Urana in southern New South Wales. Meanwhile Mary too had married in 1857, to George Kunkel, which Bridget may not have known.

So why was Mary “anxious” to get in touch with Bridget in early 1859? Their parents didn’t die until much later. Mary’s marriage and children seemed to be having no problems. Perhaps she just hadn’t heard from Bridget for a while or perhaps Mary knew that Kate was thinking of emigrating and wanted to get in touch.

jumping-people-silhouettes-colorful-illustration_275-6273

Image from Freepik.com

Plainly there’s room for further research at various archives and online.

So what do you think? Does my hypothesis hold up? Can I do a happy dance or is it all wishful thinking? Pearls of wisdom and advice would be much appreciated.

Sources:

http://www.trove.nla.gov.au

Tasmanian Archives, Immigration document MB2-39-1-16 Image 183

Family oral history: Anne Kunkel

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2013

Once again Jill aka GeniAus has posed another end-of-year geneameme for us. She thinks we’re too tough on ourselves and need to reflect on the positives we’ve achieved in 2013 rather than all the things we wished we’d accomplished. So here’s my response.

2013

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was – no new ones this year but I’ve learned a little more about some like when and how the Dorfprozelten emigrants left Bavaria…but not my George Kunkel (so unusual..not)

2.  A precious family photo I found was not for me, but for Prue from Becoming Prue when I posted a photo of Erle Victor Weis for Remembrance Day – it turned out he was Prue’s 1st cousin, twice removed…talk about coincidences! I also saw photos of some of the early Dorfprozelten descendants at the Zöller/Zeller reunion at Highfields. During my mother’s move mid-year I was given a prayer book which was a gift to my grandmother shortly before she emigrated.

3.  An ancestor’s grave I found was… no new ones this year. I do need to try to find where in Glasgow my great-grandfather Duncan McCorkindale is buried.

4.  An important vital record I found came from a blog reader who shared a brilliant resource he’d acquired in Ireland which I’d never seen despite several visits to local archives etc etc. Not precisely a vital record, but even better given its contextual value in the beginning of the Famine years and shortly after the parish records commence. I’m still waiting on some “copyright” clearances to see if I can disclose more about this wonderful document from Kilseily parish, County Clare. I am indebted to my reader, Morgan, for sharing it with me. Truly an Irish research pot of gold!

Image from Shutterstock.com

Image from Shutterstock.com

5.  A newly found family member who shared: a 4th cousin from my 3xgreat grandmother’s first marriage to Georg Ulrich. In 2012 I traced the family in the US census records, recently Tom commented on my blog and said “your history is part of my history which has been lost”. During last night’s hangout a few of those online mentioned how much pleasure it gave them when they helped someone. I’m so pleased that Tom and I have connected up across the miles. I just wish I could find my George Kunkel’s brother as well – Philip Joseph Kunkel (bapt 17 October 1840) who reputedly also went to “America” (any relatives out there? Anywhere?)

6.  A geneasurprise I received came from a blog reader who shared a brilliant resource he’d acquired in Ireland, yet I’d never unearthed. (See #4) I was over the moon and doing a family history happy jig.

7.   My 2013 blog posts that I was particularly proud of was the Fab Feb Photo Collage series invented by Julie Goucher (she’s a busy woman!) Not only did I enjoy sharing my own 7xUP series with the blogosphere but also rather enjoyed re-reading it myself last night <smile> I’ve also started writing up posts for Julie’s Book of Me series, though I’m rather behind with topics. I also completed the A to Z April challenge for the second time in 2013. This year it was a tour around Oz, with Aussie colloquialisms, which I posted to my Tropical Territory blog. It was a voyage of discovery for me too as I met other bloggers whose interests don’t even include family history – can you imagine?

8.   My 2013 blog posts that received a large number of hits or comments were the two I wrote when our lovely furry friend, Springer, disappeared back in March and then was restored to us on Anzac Day Eve. I was so thankful for the support my friends gave me. I also ventured into the the Sepia Saturday themes this year and got lots of support from fellow Sepians – what a great group they are!

9.  A new piece of software I “mastered” was Google hangouts and Win 8. I’m using Evernote but I wouldn’t like to say I’ve mastered it either.

10. A social media tool I “enjoyed” using for genealogy was Google Hangouts…slowly feeling more comfortable with it and the opportunity to chat with like-minded people around the world.

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was the Geniaus Community Hangouts. A bit of a drought locally this year.

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave in Darwin during Seniors Month on blogging. People went away clearer about its purpose but only a handful expressed a real on-going interest and one potential blogger. I am also thrilled to have been selected to present a few other papers but as yet they’re still not publicised.

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was: nada, but this blog did make the Inside History Top 50 again in 2013 – thanks Jill Ball and Inside History, another happy dance <smile>.

14. I taught a friend how to…<mind blank>…I shared lots of stuff and discoveries on the blog but person-to-person, does that count? Blogging friends certainly taught me lots over the year!

15. A genealogy history book that has already taught me something new is one of my Christmas presents (yes I’m already into it!), Sending Out Ireland’s Poor by Gerard Moran. I think it’s going to offer lots of learning.

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was the Anglican Archives in Brisbane (currently residing at Bowen Hills, not far from the Exhibition Grounds. A fantastic resource!

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Not the Same Sky by Evelyn Conlon. I was especially interested in the idea that the immigrants silenced thoughts, and mentions, of “home”. Why not read Carole Riley’s review?

18. It was exciting to meet County Clare Facebook coordinator extraordinaire, Chris Goopy, again for a lovely long chat in Brisbane. I’m also looking forward six weeks to when I meet some fellow fanatics genealogists, great bloggers and excellent presenters on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise in southern Australia.

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was…well it was indirect but I unearthed lots of interesting family bits and pieces when I helped my mother move to a retirement home. Meeting an enthusiastic bunch of Zeller descendants at their reunion was also great fun, mitigated by the recent death of the man who’d done so much to bring them together, Paul Davis.

20. Another positive I would like to share is the growth in interest by the Dorfprozelten descendants, many of whom are beavering away at their own families; building networks; sharing a Zöller family reunion, and establishing a facebook group for the Dorfprozelten Descendants.

21. I’m thrilled to be one of the Official Bloggers for the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise, and look forward to sharing some of the excitement with you via my blog posts. Just imagine 245 enthusiasts in one place listening to great talks…woohoo!

This year was more about my living relatives: spending a holiday in Africa with two of our adult daughters, several trips to Brisbane including helping Mum move, and other family engagements. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the living take precedence over the long-gone ancestors.

I expect I’ll be doing a more critical review of my year before the year is out but thank you Jill, for encouraging us to be more affirmative in how we view what we’ve achieved over the past 12 months.

Happy 4th Blogiversary to me!

Today marks the 4th anniversary of my adventure into the blogosphere. It was a very tentative experiment at first, arising from my lack of knowledge of webpage design. Once I learned about the Geneabloggers community, I was no longer comparatively isolated in Australia’s Top End.

Image from Shutterstock.

Image from Shutterstock.

Little did I know how many doors blogging would open, how many wonderful people would visit my site, and how many fantastic friends I’d make along the way, many (most?) of whom I’ve never met. I’ve also discovered distant relatives, and fellow descendants from the homes of my ancestors.

My blog page on Dorfprozelten is the single biggest drawcard on the blog and has helped connect up different family members –sometimes I feel like a match-maker <smile>. It’s been so popular that I eventually opened another blog called From Dorfprozelten to Australia and also a facebook page for the Dorfprozelten Diaspora.

THANK YOU!!

I just want to say a very sincere thank you to all those 99,600+ visitors to my blog who’ve come to read one or more of my 553 posts. Thank you to my fellow geneabloggers who’ve provided so much support and encouragement along the way. Thank you also to the new family members I’ve met and those who share a common ancestry or place of origin with me.

presentTREATS

I have two books which I’m going to offer as blogiversary gifts. We’re downsizing our library and while these books are good second hand ones, they’re ones I can force myself to live without. Sadly they will only be able to be sent to the Australian contingent as my postage costs would be astronomical elsewhere. If you’d like to be in the draw, why not mention it when you comment and Mr Cassmob will do a random draw of the names on New Year’s Eve.

Scan to the bottom of the page to see which books they are.

GENEAMEME ALERT

And don’t forget to drop by later, as I’m brewing up another geneameme just in case you get bored after all the Christmas rush.

Curiosity killed the genealogist?

And a question to satisfy my curiosity, my ClustrMaps profile tells me there have been visits this morning and this afternoon to my blog from:

7:11 : Adelaide, AU; 6:59 : Vancouver, CA; 6:46 : Melbourne, AU; 5:37 : Baulkham Hills, AU; 5:17 : Sydney, AU; 4:58 : South Australia, AU; 4:42 : Turramurra, AU; 3:55 : Brisbane, AU; 3:38 : Mumbai, IN; 3:35: Caboolture, AU

12:25 : Los Angeles, California, US; 12:15 : Hebron, Connecticut, US; 12:08 : Adelaide, AU; 11:58 : United States, US; 11:46 : Brisbane, AU; 10:57 : Ashfield, AU; 10:19 : Castle Hill, AU; 10:16 : Eastwood, AU; 10:03 : Mountain View, California, US; 9:39 : Milton Keynes, GB

Were you one of them?

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The focus of this book is Sydney -so may be of great interest to a Sydneysider.

Happy Christmas one and all

I would like to wish all my readers, wherever you are, a very happy Christmas full of enjoyment and peace.

While it’s snowing madly in much of the northern hemisphere, today is a typical Top End Christmas with overcast skies and rain veering between sprinkles and tropical downpours. The pleasure of that is the temperatures are quite mild and we are not all hot and sweaty.

DSC_0564 edit

Christmas wishes from the Northern Territory. Images from the Xmas decorations in the Palmerston shopping centre…very NT.

SNGF: Christmas Tree Family and Places

Randy at Genea-Musings has a weekly challenge: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. This week he was inspired by Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here blog and her Wordless Wednesday Surname Tree.

This is my offering, created in Tagxedo and edited and decorated in Photoshop. I also did one for my Dorfprozelten to Australia blog, with the names of all those who left the village for Australia in the 1850s and 1860s. You’ll find it here.

I have done some of my family names here, including the names from different marriages but accidentally forgetting Dalziel. And since one thing inevitably leads to another, I thought I’d put my family places into a tree as well. So here are my creations for this week’s SNGF. Thanks Randy and especially Leslie Ann for the inspiration.

Created using Tagxedo in combination with Photoshop.

Created using Tagxedo in combination with Photoshop.

Created using Tagxedo and Photoshop.

Created using Tagxedo and Photoshop.

Happy Christmas One and All

Advent Calendar 2013: Day 16 – Christmas Travel

The theme for Day 16’s Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories was Christmas Travel: “Over the river and through the woods” as the song goes . . . Christmas time can often mean travel home or meeting up with family at a special destination. Do you remember traveling back home for Christmas? Were there any trips that standout in your memory? What methods of travel have you used to make the trip home?

I first wrote on this topic in 2011 in terms of my childhood Christmases, and one special one Mr Cassmob and I made in 1992.

Xmas lunch L&RSince our children reached adulthood, Christmas travel has pretty much fallen to them. My first thoughts were that we’ve been fortunate to mainly have them all around at Christmas time but when I tallied up the absences I was surprised that there’d been an unavoidable few. Thanks to technology we’ve been able to Skype the missing person in recent years, with calls to Africa or Italy, but back when our youngest was doing her Aussie-ritual year abroad in Hook Norton, we had to suffice with phone calls. Calls also had to suffice when DD#1 and DD#2 celebrated Christmas Day in New York. It was hard to feel sorry for them when they had Christmas lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Rockerfeller Plaza ice rink then went to Central Park. They even had Darwin friends who they met up with so weren’t on their Pat Malone (own).

Peter and Pauleen Xmas 2008 cropOur home gatherings have involved very long drives or long flights for whoever is the farthest from the bulk of the Cass mob, now concentrated in Darwin. One year the shoe was on the other foot and we took a driving trip to Tasmania where we met our eldest daughter and had a delightful Christmas on the gorgeous Freycinet Peninsular. It was chilly but sunny and we were able to go for a short drive to the magnificent beaches nearby. Tassie is also noted for its fine fresh produce and wine, so we had a splash-up Christmas meal with Tasmanian bubbles, lobster, prawns and scallops bought from the fish co-op the day before and fresh-from-the-vine raspberries and blueberries. DD#1 was the chef (I was the sous-chef) so we had a fabulous meal of lobster risotto with a starter of scallops on cauliflower puree. Delizioso!! Oh, yes, this is supposed to be about travel not food!

Image from Shutterstock.com

Image from Shutterstock.com

Only once have we been home alone as empty nesters, and that was our first year in Darwin. We coped quite well and thought in future we’d volunteer to serve community meals. So much for our good intentions, as never again have we been alone.

While we’ve travelled close to Christmas, we’ve always made sure we’re home for the big day (excl Tasmania).  As Darwin is so far from many people’s homes, we’ve also included friends who can’t make it home to family for the holidays. This Top End tradition is about sharing the joy with the so-called “orphans”.  When it’s not too hot, there’s been the chance for cricket or the pool.

However back in 1989 my youngest daughter, my mother and myself travelled to Europe and Christmas was spent in Lucerne. Calls home to the family didn’t really cut it for us and it was sad to be so far from them. Not one of my wisest decisions for a variety of reasons.

So there you have it, planes and cars for our distance travel but no boats and trains, unless you count the ferry to Tasmania. In fact sometimes our car can look like this one just travelling across town with gifts and a stash of food.

christmas-travel-300x164

This post is part of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) which allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com. You can see the posts others have submitted on the Advent Calendar Pinterest site.

SNGF & Deck the Halls Geneameme 2012 Revisited

Baby Jesus in mangerJust the other day I came across a post I wrote last year and had almost forgotten. Imagine my surprise today to discover that Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings blog has generously featured it on this last week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF)! (I prepared this last Sunday and forgot to upload -Christmas rushing?)

So if you didn’t see the Deck the Halls Christmas Geneameme I created last year, why not write up your responses and post a comment on this blog and also on Randy’s so we can all have some weekend Christmas fun. Thanks Randy for sharing the fun this year as well as in 2012.

Yvonne from Yvonne’s Genealogy Blog is first cab off the rank (after Randy) in 2013 though Angela from The Silver Voice has also reblogged her story too. Pam from My Maine Ancestry also joined in the fun.

Meanwhile here are the responses from the geneabloggers who joined in for Christmas 2012. They make great reading about the similar experiences we share as well as the regional differences.

A Pocket Full of Family Memories from Deb on Australian and UK Christmases

Angler’s Rest by Julie in England

Family History 4U from Sharn in Sydney.

Family History across the Seas my own response

Family History Fun by Sue in Scotland

Family Stories Photographs and Memories from Diane in Sydney

Finding Eliza from Kristin in the USA.

Geniaus by Jill in Sydney

Geneamusings by Randy in San Diego as part of last Saturday’s Genealogy Fun (thanks Randy)

Hanging from the Family Tree by Donna in the USA.

Jenny’s Genealogy Blog from Jenny in Sydney.

Jottings Journeys and Genealogy from Judy in Queensland (with a bush-Christmas slant) Lone Tester from Alona in South Australia

Red de Antepasados by Sonia in Madrid, Spain (use your friendly Google Translate button to read Sonia’s responses, unless your Spanish is better than mine!)

Round Tuit Genealogy by Linda in Illinois, USA

Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family by Catherine in South Australia

Shauna Hicks History Enterprises from Shauna in Queensland

That Moment in Time by Crissouli in Queensland

Tracking Down The Family from Jennifer in Bendigo, Victoria advent candles

And an absolutely delightful post about Christmas in Donegal, Ireland in the 1950s which The Silver Voice kindly said was inspired by this geneameme.

Thanks again everyone for joining in, and showing us the wonderful traditions people have around the world.

Advent Calendar: Day 15 – Christmas Tree Decorations

The Advent Calendar of Memories for 15th December was Christmas Tree decorations: Do you have unique decorations that you use each Christmas? How did you get them or were they passed down to you from family members? Do you have certain traditions surrounding Christmas decorations such as purchasing one from every state or country you visit? Describe your favourite decorations!  Once again I’m behind with the topics.

Xmas decorations collage

Collage made using photovisio.com

Yes, we have a stash of Christmas tree ornaments that are put up every year in the first week of December. Some are common or garden ones from department stores but many are special ones that we’ve bought while travelling: in Ireland, England, France, Bavaria and Africa. Just as well we often travel around that time of year (another post!) Strangely while we were in the USA just before Xmas once we don’t have any ornaments from there, or indeed from Scotland.

Our daughter bought us a beautiful Inuit Christmas ball a while ago but when hers bit the tiled floor a few years ago we passed ours on to her. This year the glue on my Tara bell suffered from tropical melt, and it too fell to the floor. Thank heavens for super-glue, and it’s only missing a tiny piece!

We have only one bright-pinks 70s ornament from our very first Xmas trees but when Target had some similar ones a few years back I bought some more in similar colours.

It’s always interesting to “tour” our daughters’ trees each year as among their collection are ones we passed on to them when they set up home and we became empty nesters. Craft they made as littlies and some of our Bavarian wooden ornaments from Nuremberg. Hopefully they will eventually pass down to our grandchildren, and at the rate we insist on buying more, despite a total over-supply, there’ll be plenty to go around.

A while ago I mentioned I should do an A to Z of our Christmas ornaments which decorate our tree and house.

A is for a choir of angels, in all manner of styles.

B is for baubles (flash glass ones or newer plastic ones), multi-coloured butterflies and birds

C is for craft (made by family or friends), crystal danglies and cherries

D is for a tiny drummer boy

E is for recycled Xmas earrings and Eeyore with gift

F is for French birds –lovely ornaments bought in Provence

G is for geese, mainly from Bavaria, or hand-crafted cross-stitch;  blogging gift swaps or gift ornaments

H is for a beating of hearts –all over the tree, and for heirlooms

I is for my Irish ornaments –a Royal Tara bell and Waterford china angel

DSC_0524J is for Jingle bells – some of the bells jingle when touched

K is for our kids’ craft: special things like mushrooms we’ve made from the Gnome Book of Christmas

L is for the strand of lights which circles the tree

M is for our Maasai decorations from Kenya: birds, hearts, angels

N is for Noel and the nativity set (manger)

O is for Ornaments and the orange ball which is a flash back to our original set

P is for a Procession of Pusscats with Puddings which marches up our stair-rail

Q is for a quirky mermaid ornament a friend gave me

R is for ribbon bows and the reindeer from a gift swap.

S is for a heaven of stars from around the world, sleds, snowflakes and snowmen

T is for tinsel and Tigger

U is for uncoordinated – our tree does not have a uniform style

V is for vibrant – colourful, varied and very evocative

W is for tiny wreaths on the tree, large ones on the doors, and world ornaments

X is for eXtra special but not eXpensive (unless you count the airfares to get some!)

Y is for a little yellow bird, the only splash of yellow on the tree

Z is for the Zanzibari dhow hearts which I bought for the tree.

christmas-ornaments-300x224

This post is part of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) which allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com. You can see the posts others have submitted on the Advent Calendar Pinterest site.

Advent Calendar of Memories: Day 11 – Christmas at Church

The topic for Day 11 of the Advent Calendar of Memories 2013 is Christmas at Church: There are a variety of activities at Church during Christmastime, and they can vary based on your denomination or church. From the lighting of the Advent Wreath to Midnight Mass or Christmas Eve church services, for many, church is a central focus of the Christmas holiday.

A Christmas crib in Bavaria.

A Christmas crib in Bavaria.

My mother and I were always church goers and my father would very occasionally join us for Midnight Mass even though he wasn’t a Catholic. Christmas, like Easter, had many phases to the preparation for Christmas including the priest wearing purple vestments throughout Advent then wearing white on Christmas Day.

In more recent times the church has had Advent wreaths with various coloured candles for each week of Advent and while I don’t really recall this from my childhood, I do distinctly remember the Easter candle being re-lit at Christmas. The crib would be set up in the church and the baby Jesus added, I think, on Christmas Eve. We did the same thing at home: the crib was set up on a large corner display table with an angel hovering over it and suspended by the glass top of the table. Again, the baby would not be added until Christmas Day.

It was traditional to go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve when I was a child and this was a tradition we continued with our own children for many decades. It was part of what made Christmas special, including the sleepiness, darkness, and then the candles. The band at the church we attended would play subdued carols throughout Midnight Mass, then when then as everyone left, full of the spirit of Christmas, they’d launch into rocking versions of carols with full acoustics. It was fun, and very different from the churches overseas.

Of course in Australia, we had the advantage that we didn’t have to contend with snow, jackets or the freezing cold. Even at midnight it was often still quite hot.

christmas-church-280x170When we came home we’d have shortbread and a hot drink. Midnight Mass also had a good off-spin which is that the kids were then tired enough to sleep in a little on Christmas morning and not wake us up at 4am! One of our traditions was that they had to roll over and go back to sleep when they first woke up, then they could look at one of the parcels on the end of their beds. Between this tradition and not getting to sleep until 1am, we were rarely awakened at an unholy hour on Christmas morning.

christmas-school-angel-300x201I’m not going to re-submit a response for the Christmas at School(day 13) topic, but if you would like to read my 2011 post, you’ll find it here.

This post is part of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) which allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December. Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com. You can see the posts others have submitted on the Advent Calendar Pinterest site. My post today is a minor re-working of my 2011 one.

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