About cassmob

I'm a Queenslander by birth and after nearly 20 years in the Northern Territory I've returned to my home state. I've been researching my Queensland ancestors for nearly 30 years and like most Aussies I'm a typical "mongrel" with English, Irish, Scottish and German ancestry.

Unlock the Past Roadshow: Brisbane Day 2

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Those with German ancestral research tend to get fewer international opportunities than the British and Irish offerings, so I was really looking forward to Day 2 of the Roadshow with Dirk Weissleder and others. I was pleased to see there was good support for Day 2 and that at least some of my genimates were also there.

Don’t you admire people who are bilingual (at least)? Even before learning a thing from Herr Weissleder I was impressed by his ability to present clearly in a different language.

Dirk’s passionate vision for connecting the German diaspora is inspirational. My only concern is for those who speak no German or only the tiniest amount: how do we overcome the language barriers? Dirk wants to bring the descendants of Germans together wherever they are and that is what the DAGV is all about. What is the DAGV? Like many German words it’s what we’d call “a mouthful”: Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände…got that? Hint: It would be so helpful to have a translation option on the website for those who understand no German.

After listening to the vision for this bringing together of the diaspora, I’ll be considering whether to attend the 2019 Germanic Genealogy Conference in Sacramento.

Key points I took from Dirk’s presentations were:

  • Remember Germany came into being as a unit in 1871 – before that you must consider Kingdoms and Duchies. I know that my George Kunkel only ever listed his place of origin as Bavaria on official documents. I have the sense they were very proud to be Bavarian.
  • There are cultural and religious variations between the regions which must be considered. People think of themselves first as Bavarians (for example) and only second as Germans.
  • Like Ireland, you may have to work to find out what records are still available and where to find them.
  • We are in the same boat as genealogy researchers in Germany so we need to learn along with them.
  • I got lots of new sites to follow up to see if I can winkle out more info on my Bavarian interests.
  • The talk on European research was extremely interesting and could be applied to almost any form of overseas research. Key focus: channel your inner German heritage and be organised and focused.
  • think Geneaglobally

Of course Mr Weissleder and Mr Paton were not the only speakers on the agenda.

Rosemary Kopittke’s talks on My Heritage have convinced me I should renew my membership after all – it helps that I’ve just found someone else with connections to my distant Kunkel tree in there. I learnt a lot more about how to benefit from a My Heritage subscription. So far, my DNA matches haven’t been as helpful, but as yet it’s a smaller player in the DNA world.

The Living DNA presentation was interesting but as I tested back in February at RootsTech, it was more familiar to me. I might even get round to blogging about my results.

The Genealogical Society of Queensland, the Queensland Family History Society and the State Library of Queensland explained what a wealth of resources they had available for genealogical research, especially for the UK, Ireland and Germany. Remember to go Beyond the Internet and discover more about your families.

Helen Smith’s talks on DNA and how we can use it were informative, as always. I find that each time I listen to an explanation of the benefits of DNA, a bit more clicks into place. Have you tested for DNA yet? Has it solved any brick walls for you?

Thanks Unlock the Past for this fantastic two days of learning…it was both informative and fun.

Disclosure: I have been accepted as an Ambassador for the Road Show in exchange for a free entry pass. My reports on the Roadshow are my honest opinions

 

Unlock the Past Roadshow 17: Brisbane Day 1

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Is there anything better than the buzz of a bunch of genealogists gathering for a day of learning? Even before the presentations begin it’s so much fun to hang out with genimates who you talk to online and only occasionally in person. The sponsors’ stands offer treats to buy or activities to get engaged with eg joining a society.

Day 1’s speaker was the well-known GENES blogger, presenter and researcher, Chris Paton. I’ve been lucky enough to hear Chris speak on the Unlock the Past cruise a few years back and to do a Pharos course on Scottish records, so I knew we were going to learn a lot.

I don’t intend to steal Chris’s thunder for those attending the Roadshow in other cities so I will limit my disclosures here though I can guarantee you’ll learn a lot and get lots of laughs thanks to Chris’s quirky sense of humour.

What are my take-away points:

  • Check multiple online versions of the same documents eg newspapers, check the editions
  • Browse around a date, not just rely on the specific search
  • Search beyond your ancestors’ names
  • There are more online sources than I have found previously and I thought I was well across the various websites
  • Scotland is not England: its legal and cultural structures are different and so are the records as Chris will explain in useful detail.
  • Enjoy your research

Finally, through our research we remember (and honour) those from whom we come.

Cuimhnichibh air na daoine bho’n d’thainig sibh

And if you’re still dithering about whether to attend the Roadshow, jump online and register now before it’s too late – you won’t regret it! I had so much fun I forgot to take photos of the event.

Disclosure: I have been accepted as an Ambassador for the Road Show in exchange for a free entry pass. My reports on the Roadshow are my honest opinions

An Irish family in Surry Hills c1880s

NFHM AlexAlex from Family Tree Frog blog has set us a genealogy challenge for National Family History Month in August, themed around Australian novels. Week 1 is “Poor Man’s Orange”.

What do FANS and angels have in common? Let me take you to Surry Hills in Sydney – a not-so-pleasant area of Sydney back in the 19th Century.

Surry Hills is the focus of the classic Aussie novel Poor Man’s Orange, and this quote would almost certainly resonate with my extended family, the Garveys and Hogans who lived there:

The Church in Surry Hills was no fountain of stone…it was foursquare, red brick, with a stubby steeple as strictly functional as the finger of a traffic cop….It was as much a part of Surry Hills as the picture-show or the police station, the ham-and-beef or the sly-grog shop.[i]

Kate and Mary Garvey

Kate and Mary Garvey.

In the 1860s, Catherine (Kate) O’Brien, the sister of my 2xgreat grandmother Mary O’Brien Kunkel, arrived in Sydney and married fellow Clare emigrant, Pat Hogan. Pat and Kate Hogan lived in Surry Hills. Two decades later their nieces and nephews would also emigrate from County Clare and live nearby, also in Surry Hills.

Kate and Mary Garvey (daughters of Honora O’Brien, sister of Mary and Kate), arrived in Sydney in 1881 on the Blairgowrie, citing their aunt Kate Hogan, as a relative in the colony.

Mary remained a spinster throughout her life but Kate married, yet again to a Clare emigrant, James Skein (or Skehan?) Keane. Although Kate moved to the goldfields in Western Australia for some years, she returned to Sydney for her children’s health. Her sister Mary continued to be a strong support to her for the rest of her life.

Kate and Mary’s sister, Bridget Garvey, arrived in Sydney, marrying Samuel Gill in 1906. Brother, Michael Garvey, also emigrated to Australia, and the last to arrive was sister Ellen who didn’t come to Australia until 1923 after their mother died. Most of Honora O’Brien Garvey’s other children would emigrate to the United States and live in Baltimore.

Joining the Garvey clan in Surry Hills was my own great-grandfather’s sister, Margaret or Molly Kunkel, who became part of this extended family, spending the rest of her life near the Garveys and Hogans, and later being buried near them.

Paul Simon sings of “angels in the architecture”[ii], something that always strikes a chord with me and which is particularly pertinent to these Clare emigrants.

hogan and garvey wnidows

Stained glass memorial windows for the Garvey and Hogan families

St Peters Surry Hills Freemans Jnl 1918

Freeman’s Journal, 20 June 1918, page 40. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116774575

When the new Catholic church at Surry Hills, St Peter’s, was being built and the stained glass windows were being sought, the two O’Brien branches memorialised their own families. One window remembers Kate and Pat Hogan, while the other is a tribute to John and Honora Garvey. There is nothing to suggest that John and Honora lived and died in Ireland and it was simply their family who had emigrated.

All in all, a classic case of chain migration and the importance of considering FANs (Friends, Associates and Neighbours). It was from this family that I would acquire Kunkel photographs, genealogy details, and oral histories that linked the various branches both across Australia and the USA.

A “Rich Man’s Orange” in genealogical terms.

 

[i] Park, Ruth. The Harp in the South novels. Penguin Books, Melbourne 2009, page 418

[ii] Paul Simon, You can call me Al. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/paulsimon/youcancallmeal.html

Ancestral Places Geneameme

National flags of the different countries of the world in a heap. Top view

National flags of the different countries of the world in a heap. Top view

Alona from Lone Tester blog has set us this geneameme for National Family History Month. The ground rules are as follows:

What places do your ancestors come from?

Using the alphabet how many letters can you name ancestral places for? Some you will no doubt know well, some you may not … at least not yet (see my letter ‘I’ and ‘N’ examples below). I still have more research to do on those lines.

It doesn’t have to be where your ancestors were born, but it does have to be a place that they were associated with. For instance they lived or worked (or died?) in that place.

Here is my own list – luckily for me I’ve done some of this before with the A to Z challenge in 2012 and I’ve included some links below. It’s a lengthy post but not too “dense” (follow as few or as many of the links to earlier posts as you like).

A is for:

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The sixpenny gatehouse for Ardkinglas estate where my 3xgreat grandfather lived.

Australia where my ancestors arrived between the early 1850s and 1910.

Ardkinglas, Argyll, Scotland – my 2xgreat grandfather lived and worked on this estate

Argyll, Scotland – home of my McCorkindales/McCorquodales/Macquorquodales and my Morrison families.

Annandale, Sydney, Australia – my great grandfather Stephen Gillespie Melvin lived here and had a confectionery factory here after moving from Charters Towers.

B is for:

Ballykelly townland, Broadford, Co Clare, Ireland – home of my O’Brien-Reddan 3xgreat grandparents.

Binbian Downs (near Condamine, Qld) where my Gavin family worked and lived on their first employment contract in Australia.

Backrow farmhouse Bothkennar

Backrow farmhouse, Bothkennar.

Bothkennar, Stirlingshire, Scotland where my Sim family lived for around 200 years.

C is for:

Charters Towers, Queensland where my Melvin family set up their confectionery and pastry shop and refreshment rooms. In a strange coincidence there is also a link between Charters Towers and my husband’s work in Papua New Guinea.

Cairndow, Argyll, Scotland – my 2xgreat grandparents, James & Isabella McCorkindale are buried in the Church of Scotland church yard. Isabella Morrison McCorkindale has a lovely gravestone quite close to the door of the church.

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Pauleen visiting with Isabella. Daffodils planted on her grave, but snow still on the hills

Crows Nest, Queensland – Denis Gavin lived here towards the end of his life and is buried in the cemetery there.

Coleford, Gloucestershire, England – my Partridge family (incl John & Elizabeth, my 3xgreat grandparents and 2xgreat grandfather William) lived there.

Courtown, Wexford, Ireland – my Callaghan ancestors were fishermen here for generations.

D is for:

Dublin, Co Dublin, Ireland – Denis and Ellen Gavin, my 2xgreat grandparents married here and lived in the Liberties.

Dalby, Queensland – my great grandmother, Julia Celia Gavin, was born here when her parents lived in the town for some years. My grandfather was born at the 40 Mile railway camp outside Dalby.

Drimuirk, Argyll, Scotland – my 3x great grandparents, Duncan and Annie McCorkindale, lived in this hamlet in the mid-19th century.

E is for:

England: my Kent, Partridge, Thompson, Gillespie/Gilhespy, Reid families lived here.

Edinburgh, Scotland – my Melvin family lived in the Edinburgh port of Leith for generations.Leith shore and Melvins

F is for:

Fifteen Mile, Queensland – I’ve written about this small settlement outside Murphy’s Creek many times – home of the Kunkel-O’Brien family.

Fromelles, France – my grandfather’s cousin, James Gavin, is buried at Fleurbaix cemetery.

Fortune and Florentia – just two of the ships on which my ancestors came to Australia.

'Florentia', under Captain Wimble, passing through Telleberry Roads, coast of Malabar, on 1 February 1825

The sailing ship Florentia. Image from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and reproduced with permission. Image PW 7704

G is for:

Goroka, Papua New Guinea – where our family lived for some years. This will be ancestral country in the future.

Gorey, Wexford, Ireland – my great grandparents, Peter Sherry (later McSherry) and Margaret Callaghan were married here and my grandfather was born here.

Glasgow, Scotland – like so many Scots, my McCorkindale family came to Glasgow and settled there. My great grandfather, Duncan, was a cabinet maker, and he and his sons were pipers.

H is for:

Hughenden, Queensland – my Peter and Mary McSherry great grandparents lived in Hughenden for some time.

Highfields, Queensland – my great grandfather and his siblings were early enrolees at the new Highfields school when his family lived there before moving to the Fifteen Mile.

I is for:

Ipswich, Queensland: my Kent, Partridge, Kunkel and O’Brien ancestors all lived in Ipswich like so many early Queensland settlers.

shamrock and leprechaun

Ireland – whatever my DNA ethnicities tell me, my paper trail confirms I have a significant amount of Irish ancestry – Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford, Offaly, Clare and my Mystery Sherry.

J is for:

Jondaryan, Queensland – where my great grandfather George Michael Kunkel, and his future wife, Julia Gavin, both worked for a while.

Jimboomba, Queensland – George Michael and Julia Kunkel lived here as part of his railway work.

K is for:

Knockina townland, Wexford, Ireland – my 2xgreat ancestors James Sherry and Bridget Furlong lived here, possibly in a railway house. This townland is mentioned on their children’s baptisms.

Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Queensland – my grandparents and parents lived here for many decades.

Kildare, Ireland – birthplace of Denis Gavin, reportedly in Ballymore Eustace.

Korea – my father’s cousin, Robert Kunkel, was MIA in Korea and later registered KIA.

L is for:

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Loch Fyne near Inveraray

Laufach, Bavaria – home of a few generations of my Kunkel family.

Longreach, Queensland – Peter and Mary McSherry lived here while he worked on the railway. He also taught the Longreach Brass Band.

Loch Fyne (and Loch Awe), Argyll – my spirit belongs to Loch Fyne, home of my McCorkindale and Morrison ancestors.

M is for:              

Murphy’s Creek, Queensland – the hub town where my Kunkel ancestors worshipped and worked. The Fifteen Mile (see above) is an outlying area.

Monmouth, England/Wales – my John Partridge was born here, if we can believe his census enumerations.

Moreton Bay, Queensland – the end of the long journey for most of my ancestors who came to Queensland.

N is for:

P1100363

North Shields is all about the sea, then and now. © P Cass 2010

North Shields, Northumberland – my Gillespie/Gilhespy family came from here and my 2xgreat grandmother Margaret Gillespie was born here.

Neuhütten, Bavaria, Germany – home of my Kunkel ancestors before the move to Laufach.

New York State, USA – my 2xgreat grandfather’s nieces and nephews emigrated here.

O is for:

Offaly, (Kings County), Ireland – my 3xgreat grandparents, Martin Furlong and Margaret Stanton lived here.

Oceans – my Melvin ancestors and my Callaghan ancestors were seamen for whom the oceans were their workplaces. Oceans also played an important part in the life of all my emigrant ancestors.

P is for:

Peel Island, Queensland – my great grandfather’s first wife, Janet Peterkin Melvin, died in quarantine here soon after arrival and was buried there.

Q is for:

Queensland, Australia of course! With 11 pre-Separation ancestors who arrived or were born here before 1859 I’m proud of my Queensland roots.

R is for:

Roma, Queenslandmy great uncle Joseph Francis Kunkel is buried there.

Rotterdam, Netherlands – my 2xgreat grandfather, Laurence Melvin, was buried there when he died during a voyage.

Rockhampton, Queensland – a key place for my Sherry/McSherry/McSharry family who arrived in Rockhampton in 1883 and 1884 and where my great grandparents, Peter and Mary McSherry celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary. They are buried in the Rockhampton cemetery.

Hmmmm. Should I be looking for appropriate cemeteries which start with R or avoid them?

S is for:

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Strachur church.

Sandon, Hertfordshire, England – home of generations of my Kent family

Strachur, Argyll, Scotland – home of my Morrison family for generations

T is for:

Tullamore, Offaly, Ireland -home of my 3xgreat grandparents and their family, the Furlongs.

Townsville, Queensland – my grandparents and mother lived here.

Tiaro, Queensland – my great aunt’s family, the Connors, live(d) here.

Toowoomba, Queensland – so many burials of family members in this cemetery, especially my great-grandmother Julia Gavin Kunkel and her mother Ellen Gavin nee Murphy.

Tooloom goldfields, New South Wales – where I confirmed the story that my George Kunkel (2xgreat grandfather) worked on the goldfields, and made other connections to fellow emigrants.

U is for:

Urana, New South Wales -home of my 2xgreat grandmother’s sister, Bridget Widdup nee O’Brien, with whom she emigrated. Pivotal to taking my research back to Broadford, Ireland.

V is for:

Villers Brettoneux, France where my grandfather’s cousin, James Paterson is remembered on the Australian War Memorial.

W is for:

Wicklow, Ireland – birthplace of Eleanor Murphy, possibly (probably?) in Davidstown.

Wallumbilla, Queensland – home of three branches of my Kunkel family: the Lee, Paterson and Kunkel families.

who-s-going-green-question-mark-md

Winton, Queensland – home of the Mellick family: Bridget Agnes Mellick was my great-grandfather’s sister.

Y is for:

Y, oh Y, can I not find the ancestral home of James Sherry – my ongoing brick wall.

Z is for: 

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.

DorfproZelten, Bavaria, Germany – my 3xgreat grandmother’s family, the Happs had an inn in the village for generations and my George Mathias Kunkel was born there.

I got a bit carried away with Alona’s great geneameme but it was fun. I’ve chosen to extend it from direct ancestors to ancestral family generally e.g. siblings, children and I’ve realised that I could write many more blog posts about them.

If you’re descended from any of these families I’d love to hear from you.

What are your ancestral places? Wherever you are, why not participate in Alona’s geneameme.

Welcome to August and NFHM

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Welcome to August, Australia’s National Family History Month.  I don’t know about you, but the days are already skipping away from me. There’s a host of goodies in store for us and these are the things I’m thinking of for my own research.

National flags of the different countries of the world in a heap. Top view

  • On Tuesday-Wednesday this week I’m off to the Unlock the Past Roadshow in Brisbane and I’m looking forward to getting more tips for my Irish, Scots and German ancestry. I’m also hoping to pick up some clues for my friend’s east German research since that’s something I’m not knowledgeable about. The Roadshow is heading to other cities in Oz and NZ so don’t forget to check if it’s coming to somewhere near you.
  • Then it’s off to Toowoomba for a visit to the Catholic Diocesan Archives and to present at the AGM of the Toowoomba & Darling Downs Family History Society on the “Marriage of Local and Family History”. Inevitably there’ll be a side trip to Murphy’s Creek (Kunkel ancestral turf), Crows Nest and Dalby (Gavins) and some graveyard sleuthing even though I’ve been there many times.
  • The Noosaville Library on the Sunshine Coast is running a weekly series of talks with speakers Carmel Galvin, Shauna Hicks, Judy Webster. I wrap up the month with my talk on Writing your family history.NFHM Noosaville
  • If you want to learn more about all matters genealogy, then you could add a subscription to Legacy Family Tree Webinars to your wish-list: an annual subscription is 50% off until 13th August to celebrate their merger with My Heritage. These webinars are excellent learning opportunities and a subscription lets you watch at your convenience plus get presentation notes.
  • In my spare time this month (?!) I’m going to be following more of Twigs of Yore’s DNA graphing. It can look a bit intimidating when you first read each post, but Shelley’s made it super clear and you can readily follow it all if you take your time, step by step. You can see what I’ve done so far on this blog post. Thanks Shelley for the clever technique and inspiration!
  • And in a real-world scenario I was thrilled to meet up yesterday with a second cousin whom I haven’t seen for over 50 years. We had such fun chatting, comparing family stories and heirlooms and I know there’s more fun ahead.

IMG_2636What’s on your agenda for NFHM? Will you be doing any of these activities or participating in some other research.

Disclosure: I am an Ambassador for the Unlock the Past Roadshow in exchange for free registration in Brisbane.

 

Graphing DNA

My geminate Shelley from Twigs of Yore blog has been giving us all lessons in how to graph or group our Ancestry DNA matches. She’s done a great job of simplifying each step so it’s hard to make mistakes (but it occasionally happens, due to user-error).

In following this process I was lucky on a few counts:

  • I have only 64 matches for 4th cousins or closer
  • I have readily identifiable cousins in the short list at 2nd or 3rd
  • Overall I have about 1000 matches.
  • My ancestors mostly come from different countries or regions so I expected little overlap between groups/graphs.

As a result I have yet to need to do much to play with graphs which are crazy busy with lines. As yet, I haven’t updated my matches download, so I haven’t tackled the deletion of duplicates. I decided to take the process one step at a time.

Having followed the process, I ended up with 12 graphs in my screen (see below). There are another 12 as well which I can focus on, but they have only one or two linkages, and no identified cousins, so I’ve left them for the time being.

Graph 1 DNA

A quick glance showed me some decidedly interesting clusters within particular graphs connecting cousins who I know to be on particular lines. I decided to use the Kunkel graph as my example here, partly because I’ve followed up some of the connections and because I had known cousins in the mix.

KUNKEL DNA Matches relnships2

With Shelley’s guidance I removed names from the graph, cut and pasted the graph into Photoshop, and added some relationships. For these lines to link up, I’m assuming (yes, I know!) that they belong to one of my Kunkel lines but it’s important to realise that some links might be through the other surnames on that line: Happ (Dorfprozelten, Bavaria) Gavin (Kildare), Murphy (Wicklow), O’Brien and Reddan (Clare). Is this a logical assumption?

The known 2C and 3C cousins in the single graph above are on different branches, descended from George Kunkel and Mary O’Brien. The a2C cousins are on my Kunkel-Gavin branch while the b3C cousins are on the Lee branch, and the c3C are on another branch. Interestingly some of those intersect with matches who seem to be descendants of my Mary O’Brien’s sister, Bridget Widdup from New South Wales.

I find it fascinating how the DNA “lottery” varies so that some will match while others don’t. Similarly some link to the cluster in the coloured lilac area (more anon). What I need to remember is that they also match me, since these linkages derive from my results. What the graphs introduce are links which may be weaker for me and stronger for other cousins. Shelley reminds us that when we search ICW on a match, it only gives up to 4th cousins on that match. These graphs extend the links beyond that.

I’m most intrigued by the lilac cluster, all from the USA as far as I can tell. Many include the surname Kunkel, though unfortunately many do not know where their Kunkel ancestors were born. As you can see from the size of the dots there are strong links with a couple of these in particular. Despite emailing and working on their trees I’m still no wiser about where they fit into my Kunkel family but it seems inevitable that they do, because of the geographic separation. It seems likeliest that they tie to the Kunkels who lived in Laufach or Neuhütten in Bavaria, where my own earlier ancestors came from, and it fits that they would be at the 5th cousin or upwards range. I am fortunate that I should be able to identify relevant 4th cousin families – provided they are shown on a match’s tree.

Has this helped me? Yes, I think it has, because it’s identified where the strong links are. It also lets me target matches who I might otherwise ignore because they’re too far down the match ladder. The clustering with known cousins on particular lines gives the researcher confidence that they are focused on the correct area of their tree.

As always it’s not easy when the matches you want to look at have private trees (or don’t respond), no trees or minimal trees, or when the background information just can’t be found easily. I do feel some sympathy for American researchers because with Australia’s semi-centralised civil registers, it generally makes it easier to track ancestry (more assumptions behind that). On the other hand the US has decennial census records (apart from that very annoying 1890 census) and wider naturalisation information. Swings and roundabouts I guess.

I wonder how often people use the local church records to find where their ancestor may have come from – if the register even states that. Without that one strategy I’d never have found my Kunkels in Bavaria. How appropriate that I wrote that post in response to a geneameme by Shelley all those years ago!

Thanks Shelley for coming up with this bit of Excel magic to help us out. Thanks also to my cousins who’ve tested, either at my request or off their own bat.

 

 

Genealogy Delights: Unlock the Past Roadshows

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What a wonderful array of genealogy delights we’ve had in South East Queensland recently. Firstly we had the Footsteps in Time conference at the Gold Coast where Gould Genealogy and Unlock the Past had a stall promoting their books and cruises. Only a week later, it was a packed day of Irish content from the Ulster Historical Foundation hosted by Genealogy Sunshine Coast.

And the treats keep coming: In only a few weeks Unlock the Past is hosting another series of Roadshows: Researching Abroad: Finding British Isles and European Ancestors.

Brisbane gets to kick off proceedings on 8th-9th August. It’s going to be a great couple of days, learning about Scottish, Irish and German records. With ancestry from all those countries I’m especially looking forward to the presentations. You can check out the video promotion here.

The well-known Irish-Scots presenter and blogger, Chris Paton is a featured speaker. If you haven’t heard Chris’s family history talks before, you’re in for a treat. He has a wealth of knowledge to share with us and an engaging way of presenting the information. Chris chats about the roadshow here.

20170210_102305(0)The other speaker is Dirk Weissleder, who will present on European and German genealogy. I was lucky to meet Dirk briefly in Salt Lake City at RootsTech 2017.  While I haven’t heard him presenting, he is an engaging character who thoroughly enjoyed the bout of madness from the Down Under mob’s RootsTech photoshoot. We’re lucky in Queensland that we have Rosemary and Eric Kopittke to share their knowledge of German ancestry and migration, so we have high expectations of what Dirk will share with us. Here’s what Dirk has to say about his upcoming trip. I’m especially keen to hear more from a new-to-me expert in German research. Who knows what insights it will provide into my Bavarian ancestor George Kunkel.

It’s pleasing to see that local family history societies are having the opportunity to share what resources they hold which can help with our research. It’s common these days for people to think it’s all online whereas societies can offer so much more in terms of indexes, libraries, microfilms and expertise.

With DNA high on many genealogists’ radar at present, it’s good to know there will also be information available from new DNA companies: Living DNA and My Heritage. Not to mention the opportunity to win some great prizes. You can read about all the sponsors here.

In short, it will be two days of high-level education combined with the fun of meeting other genimates – don’t miss it! If you’re near enough to travel to Brisbane, it’s only a month until this fantastic two-day event – best head on over and book now. If you live further afield click here to learn when the roadshow comes to your area.

Disclosure: I have been accepted as an Ambassador for the Road Show in exchange for a free entry pass. After, or during, the show I will be blogging about the content.

Brisbane event: 8th – 9th August 2017

Place: Kedron-Wavell Services Club, 21 Kittyhawk Drive, Chermside South Qld, 4032

Schedule for other states: click here.

Of cats and Callaghans at Courtown

Cottages Courtown Harbour edited

The mudmap sketch from the 1847 Quarto books, renumbered over time.

Well it has taken me an age to revisit my research discoveries from Ireland in September last year. One of my first research stops in Dublin was a flying visit to the Valuation Office to look at one of my favourite record sets – the Cancellation or Revision books from Griffith’s Valuation. I’d visited before on different trips but this time my focus was on unravelling those Callaghans from Courtown. As I didn’t have long, I focused (haha) on photographing all the relevant pages from the Courtown Harbour Revision lists.

I’ve mentioned previously that the first Griffith’s Valuation in 1853 showed an Anne Callaghan (at house #17)  and a John Callaghan (at house # 6) both living in Courtown Harbour in the new housing constructed for the town’s fishermen by John Oughton. I knew from earlier research approximately where this part of the village was located, so when we arrived on the ground in Courtown, we set forth on an exploration of the area.

Courtown 20160910_145629

Spoiler alert – the cat made me do it – outside either house #17 (Anne Callaghan) or #16 (David Callaghan)

Unfortunately I didn’t know, at the time, how those numbers translated on the ground so I satisfied myself with taking photographs. As we walked down one side of the cottages I spotted a black and white cat which needed a short pat (I’m sure other pet owners do this sort of thing too). Being in a small place this inevitably attracted some interest and the owner came out to say g’day and generally suss out what we were doing. I explained I was trying to find anything about the Callaghan families who’d lived there in the 19th and early 20th centuries, not long ago at all <smile>.

20160910_152921 Patrick Callaghan

The photo of Pat Callaghan and Kate nee Dunbar, generously shared with me.

It was my lucky day as apparently this had come up not long before in relation to some property arrangement. We were taken off to meet an older gentleman who would know all about it. We found him in the nearby park. A short discussion ensued and we both recognised the story of Pat Callaghan who’d drowned near Dublin. We were invited to his place for a cup of tea and biccies so we could see a photo that he held of Pat and his wife, Kate Callaghan. We had a lovely chat about a variety of topics, but it still wasn’t clear what the connection might be to the Callaghans, if any. When visiting Ireland it always seems imperative to ensure people don’t think you’re after the land, farm or house, so I tend to be over-polite.

On our way back to the car we went via the original lady’s house and thanked her for her assistance and were invited to come back again. Of course, travel being what it is, we had commitments elsewhere and didn’t make it back.

So what of all this sideways chatting and its relevance to my research?

Original mudmap Pauleen

My own mudmap of the village, based on the original house book numbers,  1846.

Well my sleuthing through the valuations books has left me with a clear idea of where John Callaghan and widow Ann Callaghan lived, as well as my ancestor David Callaghan. I retain the conviction/assumption that Ann may be my David’s mother, and that David and John may well be brothers if not cousins.

As I mentioned yesterday, the Quarto books included a mudmap of the village, much-amended over time. Combining this with my own examination of the valuation books I’ve made a couple of maps to show the houses and their occupants. (click to enlarge)

Anne Callaghan resided in house #17, which changed its number along the way from the number on the original mudmap #14 and the house book number of 20 then 19. She didn’t play musical houses – it was just the way they re-coded the sequencing. So where was house 17? Actually, it was either the house with the cat we cuddled, or the very one next door. Now why didn’t the cat tell me that outright?!

Courtown mudmap Pauleen GV

The mudmap based on occupants at the time of the published Griffith Valuation in 1853. John later moved to house 35 while David moved to house 34.

John Callaghan initially lived at house #15, two doors from Ann, but prior to the revision of the 1846 house list, he is shown on the other side of the quadrangle at #6. When John relocated, David Callaghan moved into John’s old house #15. Interestingly this occurred at the time of the 1865 revisions, so about the time he likely married. We had been standing just metres from where my ancestors lived!

In about 1868, John moved to a larger house in the same area, #35 where the family remained for many years. After John’s death in 1911, the tenancy is transferred first to his widow Catherine (1912 revision), then to son Pat (1926), after which it passed to Mary Redmond.

David makes a similar move to house #34 in 1901, and again the family remains there for many years passing to his daughter-in-law Kate Callaghan (1916) then his grandson David (1936), and later to a Mrs Sarah Mitchell (is she a relation or just the new tenant?). Once again, house #34 is either the house we visited or adjacent to it. While the original property tenancies were house only, by the time of the 1914-1935 revision lists, there are small land parcels being leased. Unfortunately the amendments and annotations on these proved a challenge too far for me, and not one worth pursuing.

Have I answered my relationship questions about the Callaghans? Well, no, not really. I still think David and John must be close kin and that Ann is likely the mother of one. She is almost certainly the widow who died in 1870. The transfers of tenancy confirm the linkages within each family as shown the 1901 and 1911 census data.

Are the valuation books a “silver bullet” for your research? Only to a point, though they can be invaluable. Unfortunately, there’s still nothing to say whether or how the various Callaghans are related….except maybe a DNA trail or local oral history which I’m exploring. Pending another feline encounter on another trip, perhaps.

And a final piece of amusement: we had just flown the long haul from Brisbane-Dubai-Dublin so were a tad weary on arrival at the Valuation Office. It was something of a shock to be told they were closing in 10 minutes. Now I knew my brain was befuddled but didn’t think it was quite that bad, or that I had my watch set incorrectly. Turns out the person at the desk was also confused – she was an hour ahead of herself. A heart-starter and then a bit of a chuckle.

 

Of rabbit holes and Irish valuation books

Courtown harbour marked

Courtown Harbour with the Oughton cottages marked. Google Earth view.

My week started with the attempt to unravel my Callaghan ancestors from the Griffith Valuation and revision books. It turned into something of a marathon as I got lost down the rabbit hole of tracking the change in occupants of the small quadrangle of buildings constructed by John Oughton in the early 1840s.

What sources was I using?

20160910_144814These small cottages were valued at £1/-/- (or about $2), however they rented for £4 a year (not a bad profit!). The valuer annotates the house books: “houses from No 7 to No 34 inclusive are held from Mr Oughton. The tenants pay £4 yearly which is an extravagant rent but as they generally live by fishing, and the situation is convenient, the houses are seldom unoccupied”. Indeed, this quadrangle of buildings is a stone’s throw from the harbour and it would have been very easy to step outside and assess the weather and the state of the Irish Sea.

Logically speaking one might expect that the names of the occupants would trace from the 1846 house books, to the 1847 quarto books to the 1853 published GV and then to the revision books. It took some messing with spreadsheets to determine this was not the case. In fact, the most reliable correlation was between the names on the revised list of occupants from the 1846 house books, the mudmap drawing in the 1847 Quarto books, and the published Griffith Valuations. The original and revised names in the 1847 Quarto books actually (mostly) matched the original names in the 1846 house books.

Cottages Courtown Harbour edited

The annotated mudmap of the Oughton cottages -complete with revised numbers.

So what else did I learn from this marathon of rabbit-hole-ing?

  • Wise Irish genealogists will hope for extant house books or quarto books for their ancestor’s townland (sadly not always the case)
  • These earlier books may provide the names of previous generations of ancestors and when a male ancestor may have died, as his widow’s name then appears
  • The Quarto books for this area include mudmap drawings of the villages eg Courtown Harbour and River Chapel (Yay!!)
  • The number of the houses is annotated but because it’s overwritten by changes over time is very confusing without the spreadsheet analysis
  • The spelling of names is definitely variable – both surnames and first names eg the tenancy for Carty is variably Mogue or Morgan but on the annotated mudmap, it shows MaryAnn. Then there’s Darby/Dermott, Neale/Neil or Kavanagh/Cavanagh
  • Some names are just plain difficult to decipher especially when over-written
  • As already known, the changes in the Revision books can highlight an approximate year for an ancestor’s death
  • They can also confirm the line of descent eg Kate Callaghan, the widow of David Callaghan’s son Patrick, takes over David’s property. It is this that leads me to believe Patrick may have been the eldest son.
  • The numbering of the houses changes somewhat over time – a spreadsheet makes it easier to track this. After all, while people did move from one house to the other, it wasn’t a routine case of musical houses.
  • Many of the houses were held “at will” meaning their tenancy might be precarious
  • In some cases, the tenant may be referred to as “Widow Callaghan” but a later entry may reveal their first name eg Widow Callaghan in 1846 is shown as Anne Callaghan in 1847.
  • Annotations will reveal where a property is in ruins – doesn’t say much for the conditions under which the previous tenant may have had to live.
  • Using different search parameters for place can make a difference to results: try Barony, townland or just county.

Although inordinately time-consuming, this has been a worthwhile exercise and one that I’d recommend to others who are lucky enough to have a range of early valuation books available for their townland.

In terms of the revision lists, these can be viewed at a Family History Centre near you, but it comes with a warning – on the originals, the revisions are (generally) different colours. On the microfilm it’s possible, but much harder work and more ambiguous, to follow the changes. I haven’t used the online version at the Family History Centres so not sure whether they are in colour or not.

If you’re heading to Ireland, do put the Valuation Office on your must-visit research places. I first learned of these books from a tiny little book back in 1992, and it has been invaluable. Perhaps one day we’ll be lucky enough that the revision lists will be digitised as well. After all, Irish research is on a winning streak lately.

Come back soon for the conclusions I reached about my Callaghan clan.

Courtown Callaghans revisited

Courtown harbour 20160910_145048I suppose it’s not surprising that Murphy and his law have a particular fondness for researchers of Irish genealogy. While it’s far more accessible than was the case for many years, thanks to all those recently digitised records, stumbling blocks still abound to challenge our research confidence.

Such is the case with my Callaghans (aka Callahan/Calligan etc) from Courtown near Gorey in Co Wexford. Each step forward seems to come with a shaky step to the side…or backwards.

In my earlier post, I discussed my aspirations for research discoveries in Ireland last year. Sad to report, much of those questions remain unanswered or have generated more questions. Despite my best endeavours I’m still unable to find the following for my ancestor, David Callaghan and his wife, Anne nee Callaghan.

I cannot find:

  • Baptisms for either Anne or David
  • Names of parents for both
  • Place and date of marriage
  • Baptism of children before 1868, though other clues have provided me with three children’s names: my ancestor Mary, born ~1860 who married Peter Sherry in 1881 and was of “full age”; Patrick drowned 1893 aged 33; and Bridget (unmarried).

Ballygarrett parish yearsIt does not help that the Callaghans were fishermen and/or sailors so could have married and had children far from Courtown. Nor does it help that they were typically illiterate and may not have completed the necessary documents, or been blasé about meeting imposed reporting deadlines. I find it highly unlikely that they did not baptise their children however, so why are missing from those? The notation on the church registers that “no baptisms were recorded in 1863-65” may be part of the problem.

Although the parish registers for Ballygarrett cover a wide range of years, the presence of Callaghan names appears to be haphazard. You might expect that it would be perfectly possible to do family reconstructions quite easily but sadly, no. While I’ve indexed any I found, it still leaves me with lots of questions and ambiguities.

Given these limitations, this is my current reconstruction of my ancestral family:

David Callaghan #1 (b? date/place?)  married (date/place?) Anne Callaghan (same maiden name confirmed) (b date/place?)

Their known descendant lines are:

Mary Callaghan b ~ 1860 married Peter Sherry (later McSherry) 1881 in Gorey Wexford. This family emigrated to Queensland in 1884. They have many descendants.

Courtown 20160910_133624

May they rest in safe anchorage. Photo Courtown Harbour, P Cass 2016.

Patrick Callaghan b ~1860 married Catherine (Kate) Dunbar in Dublin South in 1886. They had one son, David Callaghan #3, in 1893, only five months before Patrick was accidentally drowned.  Both Patrick and later young David were sailors. I can find no record of David (b 1893) marrying so perhaps he had no children.

Bridget Callaghan b~ 1867/68 unmarried, died 1937.

Ellen Callaghan born March 1870 at Courtown died 1870.

David Callaghan #2 born April 1873 at Courtown, died 1950. He too became a fisherman and sailor. David married Mary Kinsella, also from Courtown, in 1908. Mary died in 1956 and the witness was a nephew. It seems this couple had no children.

20160910_152921 Patrick Callaghan

Patrick and Catherine (Kate) Callaghan.

Even though I can find no record of the marriage of David and Anne Callaghan, or births/baptism for their earlier children, I suspect that son Patrick may have been the eldest son. I base this theory on the fact that it was Patrick’s widow, Kate, who became head of the household by the time of the 1911 census and “inherited” the house. When I visited Courtown, in September last year, I was very fortunate to be introduced to an older gentleman who kindly gave me a photograph of Kate and Patrick. I think I tend to be too polite when visiting with random acquaintances as I don’t want to convey the impression that I’m “fortune hunting” or interested in getting the land, rather than the family ancestry. I’m also reluctant to strain their hospitality.

CALLAGHAN David grave 20160911_114024

Photo P Cass, Sept 2016

David Callaghan #2 (d 1950), his wife Mary and nephew David Callaghan #3 are all buried in Ardamine Cemetery near River Chapel, south of Courtown Harbour. David #3 (d 1971) is buried with Thomas Turner and Mary nee Dunbar. I cannot determine what his connection to them might be, although David’s mother was a Dunbar but not from this area.

Another connection I’m curious about is Mary Callaghan, daughter of a David Callaghan, born about 1838, and hence an age peer of my David Callaghan #1 (brother, cousin, no relation?). Mary married Luke Doyle in Courtown in 1868. Mary Doyle is witness to many of the various Callaghan births and some deaths. It may be that she was simply the local midwife or “nurse”, but she could also be a relation.

I am still mystified how the various Callaghan families from Courtown connect, or even if they do. I suspect that the claim made in Ace of Spies, that David #1, John and Edward were siblings, is incorrect. Certainly, the children’s naming patterns don’t suggest that. They don’t seem to follow the predicted pattern of father’s father, mother’s father, father and mother’s mother, father’s mother, mother…or is it just that I’m missing children.

I’ll leave this mystery here for now and live in hope that I may get a random “hit” one day, that explains not only these ancestral links but also a couple of strong DNA matches I have from the general area. I’m also going back to one of my earlier posts to add in new info rather than recreate the wheel.

Resources used:

General Register Office, Dublin, Ireland an in-person search netted me a reasonable number of certificates only to find Murphy’s Law struck again with the free release of many digitised images (see link below), the very next day. Luckily some of those I obtained are yet to appear online. And while the walk there gave me some sight-seeing and exercise, it would have been good to catch the bus 50 metres from the hotel and arrive outside the door of the GRO! Ah well, next time.

Irishgenealogy.ie  – Civil Records (FREE)

Catholic Church registers at National Library of Ireland – FREE – Ballygarrett Parish

Ancestry.com  and Findmypast.comabove Catholic Church records indexed and searchable

1901 and 1911 census – FREE online at National Archives of Ireland

Billion Graves – Ardamine Cemetery

North Wexford Historical Society

The kindness of strangers, and a cat, in Courtown.

Riverchapel Ardamine cemetery

Ardamine cemetery and St John’s Episcopal church. Photo P Cass, Sept 2016.