Incidental Sightseeing Part 1: Salt Lake City

When you have less than a week to fit in four conference days, three visits to the Family History Library, and lots of socialising, there’s not much time left for actual sightseeing. I notched up some distance to-ing and fro-ing and along the way took shots that caught my eye. Here are some of them. My SLR is playing up at present so I took these with my phone camera.

View from my hotel room - isn't it pretty?

View from my hotel room – isn’t it pretty?

One of the entrances to the City Creek shopping mall...just up the road.

One of the entrances to the City Creek shopping mall…just up the road.

The creek which runs through the shopping complex.

The creek which runs through the shopping complex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just love fairy lights when it's wintertime overseas. These were a mix of white and yellow.

I just love fairy lights when it’s wintertime overseas. These were a mix of white and yellow.

Looks like it belongs in France to me.

Looks like it belongs in France to me.

Now THAT's an Apple shop!

Now THAT’s an Apple shop!

Abravnel Hall, Centre for the Arts. I liked the sun on the red art work and the rather Expo-ish street art.

Abravnel Hall, Centre for the Arts. I liked the sun on the red art work and the rather Expo-ish street art.

The impressive entry to the Salt Palace Convention Centre - site of RootsTech and FGS.

The impressive entry to the Salt Palace Convention Centre – site of RootsTech and FGS.

Liked this quirky construction.

Liked this quirky construction framed by the mountains.

I was surprised how quiet the streets were in SLC. You can see the Trax arriving in the centre of the road.

I was surprised how quiet the streets were in SLC. You can see the Trax arriving in the centre of the road.

Do join me for Part 2 of my Incidental Sightseeing tomorrow.

Congress 2015 meets RootsTech/FGS

DSC_2845My genimate Jill Ball (GeniAus) was generous enough to invite me to participate in an interview with Congress 2015 speaker, Josh Taylor at the combined RootsTech/FGS conference in Salt Lake City. It was my first experience of being interviewed, and interviewing, in a proper sound booth so that was fun…and slightly intimidating at first. Jill will be sharing the Josh Taylor video on her blog in the near future, so I won’t share any spoiler info with you.

UPDATE: Here is the link to the interview Jill and I did at RootsTech.

Josh Taylor’s RootsTech presentation: Tech tools

However, I did want to whet your enthusiasm further for Congress by sharing Josh’s online RT/FGS conference presentation about “30 pieces of tech I can’t live without”. I wonder how many of them you use and what you (and I) will try after viewing the video?

One of the things I like about the blogisphere is the sharing of tools, tips and techniques we use for our genealogy – so many of Josh’s tips were among my favourite tech tools. Having said that, there were quite a few other tools I want to try: mood board, flipboard, reddit, trello, some WordPress widgets, snag it and Archive Grid. Oh, and wouldn’t a Hovercam be nice <smile>, As Josh says himself, you have to choose the ones that work for you. I especially enjoyed his comment about why you save five minutes in a library – I could certainly relate to that <hint – about the 8 minute mark>.Tegxedo cloud

What I particularly like about listening to Josh is that he’s so passionate about his family history and he “gets” what we’re on about. I was also impressed that he mentioned JSTOR, which we can access through the National Library of Australia with our library cards – make sure you allow time in Canberra to visit the Library.

Sharing the learning online

RootsTech has some of the presentations online here and more are expected in coming days.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies has their recorded sessions available to purchase for $US10 which I think is a pretty good bargain. I’ve downloaded a couple I didn’t get to and two I did: one on long-distance membership, something of great relevance to me, and a genetic genealogy one I thought was very helpful. More about the latter on my Worldwide Genealogy post today.

Join us at Congress 2015

Congress 2015So if you’ve been feeling left out when following the Twitter, FB and G+ feeds of the 15 Aussies who went to what Jill calls “the greatest (genie) show on earth”, there’s still plenty of opportunity for you to get a taste of the experience. And of course, since you’ll be coming to Congress 2015 in just over a month, there’s lots more ahead for you, including enthusiastic keynote speaker Josh Taylor.

Jill Ball has stocked up on blogger beads for the Aussie bloggers so there’ll be plenty of fun in store, as well as all that learning.

Don’t forget you can read about all our expert speakers through their interviews on this blog and my fellow official bloggers Jill Ball and Shauna Hicks.

We’re looking forward to meeting you at Congress and renewing friendships with those we’ve met elsewhere.

 

Reviewing RootsTech 2015: The highlights

DSC_2893 crop
As I sit in the lounge at LA Brisbane airport waiting for the Qantas “bus”, it seems quite surreal to think of all that has happened in the short space of a week. Let me see if I can capture the highlights for you.

MOST EMOTIONAL

Hands down this was the keynote by Vietnamese-Aussie expat, Tan Le, a former Young Australian of the Year. Her speech was a testament to the resilience and courage of her family. She spoke so evocatively of her life’s transitions and challenges and the strength and influence of family. It was also a powerful testimony to the value our refugees have brought to Australia. Her talk should be compulsory viewing in schools (and parliaments!) around the country.The live stream is here now.  You can now click here for an extract.

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On a personal note it was such a privilege to be part of her official photograph with the bloggers and ambassadors. I think she was pretty pleased to see some among Aussies among the crowd.

BIGGER THAN TEXAS

I enjoyed meeting up with Hope from StoryWorth as we'd been in touch before the conference. StoryWorth won the Innovation Challenge at RootsTech, and that's a big cheque you see behind us.

I enjoyed meeting up with Hope from StoryWorth as we’d been in touch before the conference. StoryWorth won the Innovation Challenge at RootsTech, and that’s a big cheque you see behind us.

Being a blogger as RootsTech is such a treat…we had a couple of great opportunities. One of them was being given a back-stage tour of the Expo Hall on the Opening Day, before it was open to the public. It was fantastic to have the chance to get your bearings before the cross arrived. A comment was made that RootsTech should be RootsTexas as it was now bigger even than Texas!

Imagine a conference where on one day there’s 20,000 attendees! That was the final day, family day, when the place was huge! It was also the only day I felt somewhat overwhelmed by the crowds….after all that’s about 20% of Darwin’s population in one place!

BUCKET LIST TICK

DSC_2781I guess every genealogist has a visit to the Salt Lake Family History Library on their bucket list, so it felt quite an achievement to get there. Despite spending two full days there and playing hooky from Saturday’s keynote (which I’m told was excellent) I didn’t get beyond the British floor B2. It was wonderful to be able to work through  the books I had on my list and see what I might have missed.

LOTS OF LEARNING

I made a deliberate choice to prioritise genetic genealogy talks and I now feel that I’m more confident in my understanding than I was before. Whether that holds true when I get immersed in my results remains to be seen. My commitment was demonstrated by buying an Ancestry DNA kit rather than a rather nice coat that caught my eye at Macy’s. It was a lot easier to do the test in the States and MAY give me different matches than I’ve got from my Family Tree DNA tests.

I was impressed by the professionalism, skill and knowledge of all the speakers…they were all in the 4 or 5 star range with one exception.

GENEABLOGGERS and TECH

We bloggers are so much part of each other’s genealogy lives it was surprising to see how small a drop we were in the ocean of attendees at the combined FGS RootsTech conference. However it was a quick point of connection as we recognised people from our virtual worlds. Thanks to DearMYRTLE and Cousin Russ we were all bedecked in red and white beads which made recognition easier. Not to mention that the one and only Thomas MacEntee who bedecked us all with an array of ribbons.

Not all the Geneabloggers at RootsTech but a representative sample with keynote speaker . Not sure who took the photo, but thank you!

Not all the Geneabloggers at RootsTech but a representative sample with keynote speaker AJ Jacobs (on the right) . Not sure who took the photo, but thank you! As far as I know we gave each other permission to use photos at will.

Thanks to the wizardry of the RootsTech app it was easy to compare presentations and speakers – though a lot harder to get down to just one choice per session. I was annoyed that I dropped the ball with one session thinking it started on the hour, not the half hour. I used the app comprehensively to locate vendors, choose talks, and assess each talk.

INTERVIEW NEWBIE

It was a whole new experience to be in the media den, being interviewed by Jill Ball aka GeniAus along with Hilary from the UK and Tas from Sydney.

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Thanks Sharn for being out photographer outside the glass room.

Straight after that Jill and I interviewed Josh Taylor who will be speaking at Congress 2015 in Canberra. We’ll let you know when the link is online.

I really admire Jill for her courage on her first trip to RootsTech in 2011 and then going solo in the media room. You’re a trail-blazer Jill, and inspire us all.

AND THE FUN

Needless to say the week of socialising was also a ton of fun from the Commonwealth dinner on Tuesday night to the Saturday night get-together at Dear Myrtle‘s home,  where Myrt also gave us some Hangout on Air tips. Thanks to Myrt and family who made the evening, and RootsTech, so special.

Dear Myrt party hangout

A great gathering of Geneabloggers at Dear Myrtle’s home as a conference finale.

Genealogy Heaven

imageIt’s hard to believe I’m already half way through my weimageek of genealogy heaven in Salt Lake City. It’s already been so much fun meeting with Aussie geneabloggers, face-to-face meetings with overseas bloggers, social events and great learning experiences.

If that all sounds like too much fun and frivolity rest assured I spent some serious time in the genealogical holy grail, the Family History Library. Given I’ve been reading microfilms in Brisbane or Darwin that wasn’t my primary focus. Instead I opted to prepare a long list of the books held in the library, many of which can’t be found in Australia and which can’t be ordered in through the local family history centre.  With a wish list a mile long I photographed relevant segments of the books which I can digest at my leisure. I was particularly pleased to be able to read Gillespie’s book on researching Irish Local History.

I did take the opportunity to read the microfilm for the Griffith Valuation Revision Books for Courtown Harbour in my pursuit of the Callaghans who I wrote about recently. I’ll post about that in due course but not until I get home.image

I had a brief fishing expedition for one of Mr Cassmob’s ancestors in County Carlow, but the time wasn’t productive and I gave it up. We tend to think (live in hope?) that the release of the digitised Irish parish registers will solve our problems. I think we may be mistaken. This one was so faint as to be totally illegible in the relevant period. I may give it another go one day but it won’t be a quick process.

On Tuesday evening we had a Commonwealth group dinner organised by GeniAus which was great fun and I was able to have a long chat with Tessa Keogh, Hilary Gadsby, Ruth Blair, and Rosemary Morgan (sorry I can’t get links to work on the iPad so see below). There is a real sense of community among the group and such a pleasure to meet in person. Just as exciting was meeting Randy Seaver and Angel Linda in the foyer of the Hilton…isn’t the virtual world an exciting place?!

Yesterday was the start of the FGS Conference and today RootsTech commenced. My schedule has been packed and I can honestly say every speaker has been excellent. More on that anon.

You can read about my genimates on these blogs:

GeniAus: http://geniaus.blogspot.com.au

Tessa Keogh: http://www.geneabloggers.com/introduce-tessa-keoug/

Hilary Gadsby: http://genemeet.blogspot.com

Rosemary Morgan: http://londonrootsresearch.blogspot.com

Ruth Blair: http://blog.familyhistorysearches.com

Randy Seaver: http://www.geneamusings.com

Would you trust this woman? A mug shot among the microfilm stacks.

Would you trust this woman? A mug shot among the microfilm stacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog themes and memes from the past

Beyond the Internet

Beyond the Internet

Since my blog has now reached primary school level having its 5th birthday recently, I thought it might be an idea to relink some of the series I’ve responded to over the years. I know I often enjoy making discoveries among blogs by genimates who I didn’t know “back in the day”.

In 2012 I wrote a 52 weeks series entitled Beyond the Internet, to explore the varied records which aren’t available online. This series led to the inclusion of my blog in Family Tree Magazine’s Around the World in 40 Blogs2012 Forty best002

I wonder how many of the records have now been digitised? Time moves fast in the geneasphere.

In 2011, Amy Coffin and Geneabloggers offered prompts in the series called 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History. These are my own responses via this link.52-Weeks-Personal-History

In 2010, I also participated in a similar series called 52 weeks of Abundant Genealogy, again by Amy Coffin and Geneabloggers. These were my responses.

I’ve completed two April A to Z challenges. For 2012 I focused on the heritage places for me and my families, writing my posts on this blog. In 2013 I changed tack and introduced my readers to a tour of Australia’s north and some Aussie-isms via my Tropical Territory blog.survivor-atoz

If you’re keen to give the A to Z challenge a whirl in 2015, then here is the link, quite a few geneabloggers have taken the plunge over the years. It works best if you pre-write your posts which leaves you time to comment on others’ posts.

Of course we’ve also had lots of blogging fun with various geneamemes initiated by a range of geneabloggers. You can find them in the drop-down box “Search by Category” on the right-hand sidebar.

I hope you enjoy some of these “blasts from the past”.GLOBE wwg MINE_edited-7

If you haven’t yet encountered the blog, Worldwide Genealogy, a collaboration of geneabloggers around the globe, do yourself a favour and check it out for a wonderfully diverse perspective on genealogy. Worldwide Genealogy is the innovative brain-child of UK blogger Julie Goucher from Angler’s Rest blog.

RootsTech here I come

Sitting in the Brisbane International airport lounge I can now believe I’m on my way to RootsTech 2015. It was interesting experiencing the new international digital check-in system ….practice for the U.S. no doubt.

I have been looking at everyone’s preparation lists and have ticked most of them…forgot to tell the bank.

It will be exciting to meet new people and get together with fellow bloggers. I’m sure at times the sheer scale of the thing will be a bit overwhelming with all the razzmatazz.

This is just a trial post to see how I go using the iPad to post. you’ll be hearing more from me once FGS and RootsTech starts. meanwhile I’ll be at the Family History library …every genie’s dream.

Setting Our Books Free

We are in the process of severely de-cluttering our townhouse. Even though we’ve been in the habit of regular-ish trips to the Salvos/Anglicare/Vinnies, the stuff just keeps mounting up. Or to quote Himself “we’ve brought in more than we’ve got rid of”.

Sisyphus and his rock - painting by Titian. Image from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus

Sisyphus and his rock – painting by Titian. Image from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus

The decision making of what to “get rid of” and what to keep has been causing me lots of grief over the past months, not least because it seems like a sisyphean task – you know how you’re pushing a very large rock up a hill and you’re in imminent danger of an avalanche. I’m consoled by the fact that I’ve been feeling increasingly weighed-down by our belongings in recent months (years?) and so decluttering will shed that big rock and let me fly…well perhaps float a little.

One strategy might have been to consider the following questions should a severe cyclone come round:

  • What would we take as precious-to-us items?
  • What would we want to replace if the items were lost?
  • What would we not miss at all, and perhaps be relieved we were shed of them?

However there are less extreme rationales to use when decluttering. Entirely coincidentally one of my friends shared this post on Facebook and it’s been wonderfully helpful. Appropriately it focuses on books, which along with papers, are the bête noir of this household. I was so relieved when I read this story as it made the process so much clearer. Hence, my strategy is going to be similar.

We will be keeping:

  • Most of my family history reference books.
  • Coffee table books which we particularly love.
  • Books which are relevant to our own personal history.
  • Books we want to re-read again and again.
  • Books that changed how I/we see life, or which made me say “me too!”
  • Any books which are not held elsewhere in Australia (there are a few).

    Maps and War and a bit of Queensland

    Maps and War and a bit of Queensland

We will be releasing:

  • Books we’ve enjoyed but would only look at occasionally in future.
  • Books which no longer have relevance for us eg our Kathmandu collection.
  • Books which have been superseded by new information/new editions.
  • Ones I know I’ll be able to find in a local library (mostly fiction)
  • Ones that may be in a reference library I can access – provided I don’t use that book regularly.
  • Ones I’ve started to read but can’t get into.
  • Books I feel I should read but just never get to.

DSC_2736

DSC_2738One of the big questions I’m dealing with though, is whether to keep some of my childhood books which I’ve only just re-acquired in the past 18 months. Like everything else children’s book fashions have changed massively since dinosaurs roamed the earth so they don’t suit the grandchildren’s reading styles.

Do I treasure them a little longer, purely for the memories? Or do I tell myself, you didn’t have them for 40+ years so why will you miss them?

Rather than just sending the unloved books to a charity store, I’m thinking of which of my friends would really love that particular book. Hey, don’t good friends share things – even clutter?! Others of our poor rejected books will go to the casual “library” of pre-loved books which Mr Cassmob set up at work and which has been quite popular.

Wish us luck – Himself will need more than me as my study is FULL of books. Perhaps that’s why it’s freaking me out more?

FMP’s Clare Electoral Rolls are grand

fmpfridays-homeIn recent months Find My Past[i] have been releasing a wonderful and vast array of records each Friday under the banner of Findmypast Fridays (the image here is their logo for this promotion). It makes for pretty happy Fridays!

Last Friday’s releases included Irish Poverty Loans 1821-1874 and the Clare Electoral Rolls 1858-1989. Sadly I had no joy with the loans records but found the Electoral Rolls to be quite wonderful.

Although I’ve only dabbled slightly in the records I can see they have great potential for family history research and especially for One Place Studies research. Let me give you some examples of what I’ve discovered.

 Relevance to Personal Family History

  •  There is no Martin O’Brien listed on the Griffith’s Valuations 1852 at Ballykelly townland, Parish Kilseily (various spellings), Co Clare. The electoral rolls of 1864 (the earliest available for Broadford polling booth) tell me that Martin resides at Killaderry [O’Brien] townland but has land there and at Ballykelly, with a combined value of £15/5/-.
  • My own Michael O’Brien, at Ballykelly, must be on a property worth less than £10 as he is not listed.
  • Similarly the Michael O’Brien at Kilseily (Kilsiley) townland is also not listed.
  • On some occasions the entries refer to a person by their alias which can also be helpful in differentiating people of the same name.
  • The rolls may also offer clues as to when an ancestor died and who took over the property (again of use in comparison to the revision lists).
  • They may also offer clues to when emigration took place…always assuming the person is on the rolls in the first place.

 Relevance for One Place Studies

I think the real value of these records is shown with One Place Studies. For example I am interested in Broadford (Parish Kilseily) specifically, and East Clare generally.

Over time I can peruse the electoral rolls which are available, year by year, and determine the changes in occupancy and compare them to the Valuation Revisions available on microfilm through LDS Family History Libraries.

I can also:

  • track changes in the use of a particular place name or townland and its spelling and perhaps identify locally-used names.
  •  differentiate between two people with the same name by comparing where they reside and what land is listed for them.
  •  compare when one land owner’s land values increase over time eg my ancestor’s land at Ballykelly finally enables his son to gain a vote much later on.

Much of this research is time-consuming and tedious, but then research wasn’t meant to be easy all the time (to paraphrase on of Australia’s Prime Ministers, and appropriately, Irish poet and writer, George Bernard Shaw).

Cross-Comparisons

By cross-linking the original valuations, the revisions, the electoral rolls, church registers, and other records which come our way, we can slowly come to understand the economic standing of people within the community, differentiate people with the same name, and generally get a clearer picture of the community. I’ve been lucky to be given an “off the back of the truck” source of information from one of my blog readers which I can use in triangulating this information, but even without that bonanza, the Clare Electoral Rolls can perform wonders in clarifying our understanding of communities and our own families.

My guess is that once again those of us with Clare ancestry will be the envy of our genealogical peers!

Resources

And if you have Clare ancestry and are yet to discover the Clare County Library’s proliferation of wonderful genealogical resources and indexes (all cross-checked). You can look through their offerings here. While some counties have been curmudgeonly with records, Clare Library has made it so much easier for us to trace our Clare-born ancestors…they really have been trail blazers.

If you don’t have a personal subscription to Find My Past you may wish to keep an eye on their website and Facebook pages as they’ve had some good specials lately. Meanwhile don’t forget your local family history/genealogy society or reference library may well have a subscription you can access. Why not give it a go? I’ve had wonderful success over the years.

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[i] I have a world subscription to Find My Past.

Congress 2015: Dr Jeff Kildea and the Irish ANZACs

Jeff KIldea 001One of the social treats that’s ahead of us for Congress 2015, is the Congress Dinner in Parliament House. I’m really looking forward to it as the last time I had this opportunity I was too sick to attend. Apart from the fun of being in Parliament House for dinner we have a further treat in store which will be of interest to those with Irish in their families: Dr Jeff Kildea and the Irish Ambassador. I’ll let Jeff tell you a bit more about what will be happening.

Can you tell us a little more about what you and the Irish Ambassador have in store for us at the Congress dinner?

At the Congress dinner it is proposed to launch the Irish Anzacs database with a short presentation by myself as to what it is and how to access it.

What is the purpose of the Irish ANZAC database?

The Irish Anzacs Project was set up with funding from the Irish government with the aim of identifying all Irish-born who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during the First World War, or as close to all as is practicable, and of building a publicly accessible database containing information on each of them.

The database provides families with information on their Irish-born family members who served as soldier or a nurse in the Australian forces as well as providing statistical information to assist researchers understand the contribution of the Irish to the Australian war effort.

What triggered the development of the database and why focus on the Irish ANZACs?

Anzacs-and-Ireland-Cover-194x300The Irish Anzacs Project grew out of my book Anzacs and Ireland, which was published by UNSW Press in 2007. The book, which looks across the board at relations between Australian soldiers and Ireland, includes a chapter which discusses some statistics based on a small sample and tells the stories of a few of the Irish Anzacs. The project expands on that chapter by identifying all of the Irish Anzacs and providing more extensive and more reliable statistics.

How many names do you envisage being included in the database?

I estimate that there will be just over 6000 names in the database when the project is finished. The reason for the uncertainty is that not all of the service records are available on line and searchable by place of birth. So far we have identified just over 5740 Irish-born. The last 250 or so will be the hardest to find as they are contained within uncatalogued paper files that number in excess of 76, 000.

Are the men and women in the database Irish-born Australians or children of Irish immigrants?

The project is confined to those of Irish birth rather than of Irish descent for the pragmatic reason that, because AIF service records include place of birth, the Irish-born are capable of identification.

In the case of Australian-born soldiers it is not possible to identify from the records those with Irish parents or grandparents.

Are you planning to publish stories arising from the database?

While the database itself will contain the bare factual data concerning each of those in the database, one of the proposed spin-offs would be the publication of a book that tells the stories of a number of them. One idea being looked at is a book that includes a soldier from each of the 32 counties of Ireland.

What relevance does it have for genealogists?

The database will be a useful tool for genealogists tracing their Irish ancestors who served in the Australian forces during the war. The information in the database has been extracted from the service records held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA), and includes the following basic information: name, town and county of birth, date and place of enlistment, declared age, occupation, marital status, next of kin location, previous military service, religion, and the unit to which initially posted.

In addition, information has been added from sources maintained by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) such as the Roll of Honour (which records those who were killed or died as a result of their war service), the list of Honours and Decorations and the Australian Red Cross’s files relating to wounded and missing soldiers and to prisoners of war. Over time further information will be added from the Embarkation Roll and other sources. Links from the database to the NAA and AWM websites enable searchers to view the original records of the particular person they are researching. Ultimately the database will provide for each Irish-born soldier and nurse a comprehensive record of service in the AIF.

Is there any way in which the genealogy community can assist with information?

Most definitely. The database has been built from official records, which provide basic information, some of which is incorrect for one reason or another. In some cases it was the fault of the clerks compiling the records, but in others it was because the soldier gave incorrect information, eg. overstating or understating his age in order to enlist. Also, much of the information has been extracted from handwritten documents, so there are bound to be transcription errors. I would welcome feedback from members of the community who can help to fill out some of the basic information or who can help us identify and correct errors.

Will you give us the link for the database?

The database can be accessed at the following web address: http://repository.arts.unsw.edu.au.

Where can we read more about your research and activities?

My web page is http://jeffkildea.com/

Thanks for sharing that exciting news with us Jeff. I’m sure the gathered genies will find it of great interest in this centenary year of the ANZAC landing.

Today’s family anniversaries

This afternoon I opened up my Relatively Yours program to look at details for the Congress 2015 Research Interests. I was somewhat surprised to discover what an important date today is in the lives of my families. Perhaps it’s something we should do daily to pick up these coinciding anniversaries.

On 25th January my family honours these family anniversaries:

Hannah Partridge nee Kent is my 2 x great grandmother.

Hannah Partridge nee Kent is my 2 x great grandmother.

The birth of Richard Kent at Red Hill near Sandon, Hertfordshire, England in 1805. Today would be his 210th birthday! Richard is my 3 x great grandfather. He, his wife and family emigrated from Sandon on the General Hewitt arriving in Moreton Bay on 16 December 1854. This Richard Kent followed a long line of descendants with the same name, but it is through his daughter’s female lines that I am descended. My mtDNA comes from Richard Kent’s wife, Mary Camp later Shepherd.

The arrival of the Woodlark in 1877 with my ancestor Stephen Gillespie Melvin, and family, on board. Accompanying him were his first wife Janet Melvin nee Peterkin, and his young son, Laurence, named for Stephen’s father. Janet Melvin died at Peel Island on 2 March 1877. Stephen remarried on 21 August 1878, quite a long bereavement given he had a young son to care for. His second wife, and my ancestor, was Richard Kent’s granddaughter Emily PartridgeToday is the 138th anniversary of the arrival of one of my ancestral lines.Emily Melvin (nee Partridge) with her husband Stephen Gillespie Melvin, probably c1906-1910.

The death of Margaret Gillespie (born Tyneside) in 1906. Today is the 109th anniversary of her death. Margaret Gillespie had married Stephen Gillespie Melvin’s father, Laurence Melvin, in Leith in 1850 but was widowed as a young woman in 1858. She remarried in 1868 (again in Leith) to John Simpson Ward, a master mariner. She had worked as a stewardess at sea so perhaps emigrating when she was no longer young was not such a challenge for her as for some. After John’s death, she married Arthur Wheaton in Sydney and after his death, she moved to Charters Towers to join her son Stephen and family. Margaret was buried in the Charters Towers cemetery on Australia Day 1906.

The Melvin grave (2008) makes its own social statement in the Charters Towers cemetery. Easily the largest and most ostentatious of my family history gravestones.

The Melvin grave (2008) makes its own social statement in the Charters Towers cemetery. Easily the largest and most ostentatious of my family history gravestones.

I found it quite interesting that today’s anniversaries affected interweaving family branches on my tree.  Do you have similar anniversaries which link your families?