Friday, May 15, 2015

Inside History Magazine

The new issue of Inside History magazine is now available.  Highlights include :
  • AN expert guide to finding and using parish maps and land records
  • Chat with Sir Tony Robinson on his Tour of Duty discovering Australia’s hidden wartime stories
  • 95 new online genealogy resources to help grow your family tree
  • The world of the English workhouse, beyond Dickensian stereotypes
  • The iconic Tea and Sugar train of yesteryear and its cross-country rides across the Nullarbor
  • How to use asylum records and access even those closed to the public
  • A pick of the top 5 historical walks around Australia
  • The mammoth project to document surviving World War II veterans
  • Where to find the newly digitised collections of 14 leading museums from around Australia
  • How you can help map the past with geo-referencing projects underway
  • Why Victoria’s education system is historically significant
 Inside History magazine is available free online through Zinio from Campaspe Reginal Library.  Ask our staff for more information.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Joy Patricia Green nee Pummeroy

My mother Joy Pummeroy was born at home in East Brighton on 24 January 1942, the second youngest of five children and 14 years after her next oldest sibling. It was war-time, and things were tough. Her two older brothers were away in the RAAF and the Merchant Navy respectively, and she was only 5 when her next oldest brother died in an accident in Argentina while ferrying South American horses to Poland.

Things didn’t get much easier after the war. Though mum enjoyed school, learning Latin and guitar and being a good middle distance runner, when granddad got sick she had to leave school and earn an income to help support her family. She never finished her matriculation, I think one of the reasons she was so keen to see her children get a good education and so proud when we both graduated from university, the first in our family. Her first job was in the old Coles 200 store in Bourke St Melbourne, which stood long enough for both of us to have fond memories of the mezzanine cafeteria on our trips to Melbourne. After that she worked as a telephonist at Allens Music, but she had a yearning to see Australia and left there to take up a position as a governess on a station north of Mildura. It was there that she met Dad and decided he was the one for her,and they were married at St Mark’s church in East Brighton on 16 September 1967.  Her two daughters soon followed.

Mum always thought of her time on the station as the best of her life. But early in 1973, the station had to be sold, and Dad had to find another job, and so we moved to Moama.

Mum taught us to love reading and learning and to go out and find answers ourselves on all the topics that interested us.  She always took an active interest in our educations, helping out at school, volunteering in the canteen, supervising homework, never missing parent-teacher nights. 

Mum was especially proud the year my sister and I were both chosen to lay wreaths for our classes at our school ANZAC Day ceremony.  The event was held in the local community centre, and she and Dad both proudly watched as we did our parts and laid our wreaths.  All was going well until the last post was played.  Overcome with emotion, Mum began to sob.  The more she tried to stop, the louder the sobbing became.  Eventually, she fled the hall.  Unfortunately, we were in a far corner, and she had to run the length of the basketball court, still sobbing loudly, before reaching the exit and heading to the car to compose herself.  There she was later joined by her outraged offspring, mortified by her behaviour.

Mum never worked outside the home after we moved to Moama, undertaking childminding at home instead, and over a dozen children spent their days being looked after by mum.  She followed the lives of all of them as they moved through our home, and on to school themselves.

As she grew older and her mobility decreased, mum’s life closed in.  She went out less and less as movement became harder and more painful, and she endured just over a year in hospital with an infected leg ulcer and hip replacement.  She was only home for a matter of weeks before Dad’s final illness and death.  By now almost completely housebound, while she occasionally felt the isolation, she still had her books, puzzles and friends who called in regularly.  She even managed to continue volunteering for the library, assisting in storytime and holiday program preparation.  Mum passed away peacefully at Echuca Hospital on May 8th, 2015.  My thanks to everyone out there for your support and sympathy.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Endangered Archives Project

The Endangered Archives programme has now helped archives in 78 countries preserve over 4 million records, each of which have been digitised and added to the website.
The British Library's Endangered Archives website states that "Unless action is taken now, much of mankind’s documentary heritage may vanish - discarded as no longer of relevance or left to deteriorate beyond recovery." The website explains what the Endangered Archives Programme is, and how it can help.
Grants can be awarded to individual researchers to identify collections that can be preserved for fruitful use. The original archives and the master digital copies will be transferred to a safe archival home in their country of origin, while copies will be deposited at the British Library for use by scholars worldwide.  There is also an interactive map highlighting where records originated.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

British Red Cross WW1 Volunteers

Over 90,000 people volunteered for the British Red Cross at home and overseas during World War 1.  They performed all kinds of roles from nurses to air raid wardens.  Their work during the war included running auxiliary hospitals and convalescent homes, temporary facilities for wounded servicemen which proved to be vital.  During the war the British Red Cross and the Order of St John worked together as part of the Central Prisoners of War Committee which co-ordinated relief for British prisoners of war. POWs were in dire need of food and clothing during their captivity, with the Red Cross providing food parcels, helping locate missing soldiers who had been captured and ensuring letters between POWs and their families were received. 

The British Red Cross website now allows you to search for your family’s personnel records, and discover what Red Cross volunteers were doing in your local area 100 years ago.

The personnel records for surnames starting with A through I are currently available. Volunteers are updating the site with more names every few weeks, with the aim of making all WW1 records available.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

War Graves Photographic Project

Another great project, largely made possible by the efforts of volunteers, makes searching for our military ancestors easier.  The original aim of The War Graves Photographic Project was to photograph every war grave, individual memorial, Ministry of Defence grave, and family memorial of serving military personnel from WWI to the present day. However, due to the popularity of the project their aim has been expanded to cover all nationalities and military conflicts and make these available within a searchable database.
According to their website, the project is a joint venture with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and assisting the Office of Australian War Graves, Canadian Veterans Affairs and the New Zealand Ministry of Heritage and Culture.  The project is ongoing and names in the archive now stand at 1,816,851.  Below is their record and photograph of one of my relatives, Roger Pummeroy

[IMAGE] Athens Memorial - Pummeroy, Roger FrancisPummeroy, Roger Francis

Cemetery: Athens Memorial
Country: Greece
Rank: Private
Official Number: VX3417
Unit: A.I.F. 2/6 Bn. Australian Infantry
Force: Army
Nationality: Australian
28-Apr-1941 Aged 22 Son of Henry John and Alberta Lillian Pummeroy, of Clayton, Victoria, Australia. Face 11.

Photograph and details by volunteer/s: John Milner / Craig Walker

Monday, April 27, 2015

52 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 35 - Sporting Records

Shauna has chosen Sporting Records for her topic in Week 35, and tells us that "sporting records can tell us how our ancestors were involved in their local communities and what they did in their spare time. Or was it all work and no play?"
I must admit this is not an area I have really spent time focusing on, although while searching the British Newspaper Archives (Britain's version of Trove, although theirs you have to pay for!) I have discovered some of my father's ancestors were avid hunters.  My great grandfather Walter Green even kept a pack of hunting hounds, as shown in the first article below.
Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 26 February 1892
Walter also enjoyed pigeon shooting, and clearly spent a significant portion of his leisure time engaged in these pursuits.  As this is the wealthier branch of the family (where did the money go??) he clearly had the time and means to enjoy these activities.
Essex Standard - Saturday 21 June 1884
As Shauna points out, this kind of information really helps flesh out how our ancestors lived their lives, taking us beyond the basic names and dates and adding color, depth and detail to our knowledge of them.
To read Shauna's post on Sporting Ancestors, click here.

Friday, April 24, 2015


With preparations underway all around me for ANZAC Day ceremonies tomorrow, I've been looking at the information I have accumulated about my military ancestors and reflecting on how truly lucky my family has been during the two World Wars.  With so many family members seeing war service, we have suffered surprisingly few casualties or injuries.  So many others have not been so fortunate.

On my mother's side of the family, one of her brothers and four uncles saw service, along with a number of in-laws, cousins and second cousins.  Three of the four boys in my father's family saw service in World War 2, although my father, to his disappointment, never made it out of Australia.  My mother's middle brother, who was in the Merchant Navy, was the only immediate family member to lose his life, drowning in Argentina after the war had ended.  His ship was picking up a load of supplies to take to Poland to help rebuild when he fell overboard.

While none of my immediate ancestors were killed at Gallipoli, their war service had a profound effect on their entire generation, and I will be thinking of them all as I attend services tomorrow.

A carpet of handmade poppies at Federation Square in Melbourne