Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Week 14 -The Maiden Aunt - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The Herald, Friday 8 March 1901 found on Trove
Once again, this was a topic where I had several potential subjects to choose from, although none were actual Aunts of mine as both my parents sisters all married.  My Great Aunt Edith Pummeroy is the person I have chosen to focus upon.

Edith Margaret Pummeroy was born 16th June 1896 in Caulfield, Victoria, the eldest child of Alfred Henry Pummeroy and Eliza Jane (Beseler).  She died 18th January 1949 in Melbourne.  Edith was deaf and mute, and she was only 4 years old when her father, a plasterer, died of pneumonia.  Her mother was left destitute with 4 young children to provide for - Edith age 4, Alice 3, Alfred 2 and William, 2 months.  The family struggled and eventually ended up in the courts, when their mother Eliza took the huge step of applying for relief. 

Although in the article showed the children were returned to their mother, eventually the struggle to provide for them became too much for their mother and the two boys were surrendered.  They spent several years in an orphanage until reclaimed by their mother after her remarriage.  Eliza did manage to keep her two girls with her.

Edith remained with her mother for a number of years until moving to her brother Alfred's home, where she functioned as his housekeeper.  They appear in the electoral rolls, and the image below is an important reminder of the potential mistakes we can make.  Taken from the 1942 electoral roll, it shows Alfred and his sister Edith living at 125 Union Street.  Directly below is their brother William and his wife Gladys, living at 8 Alexander Street.  Electoral rolls don't give any information about family relationships, and it would be easy to assume Edith and Alfred were a married couple, not siblings.
Pummeroys in the 1942 Electoral Roll

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Week 13 - The Old Homestead -52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For the #52ancestors topic 'The old Homestead' I had a few properties to choose from, but I have chosen to focus on Fordham Hall, the property in Essex, England where my father's family lived for several generations.
Fordham Hall is located in the village of Fordham in Great Holland, and the family appears in numerous records - birth, deaths and marriages ; wills and probates ; newspaper articles ; censuses.  While they did not actually own the property, they were the tenants for a number of generations, until my grandfather decided to emigrate to Australia.  The house still stands today, and is run by the Woodland Trust.
My 3xGreat-Grandfather Isaac Green first appears in the 1841 census living in the hall, and he and his family can be followed through the census records until Isaac's final appearance in 1881.
Isaac Green in the 1841 Census, age 48
Isaac Green in the 1851 census
Isaac Green in the 1861 census
Isaac Green in the 1871 census
Isaac Green in the 1881 census
Although I have not yet had the opportunity to travel to England, several members of my family have visited over the years, and have made the journey back to the old homestead.  During my research I have acquired a number of photos of the house, and of several members of my family who inhabited it.  One day I hope to make the journey and see it for myself.
Fordham Hall c1990

Friday, April 6, 2018

Pastmap - maps of Scotland

Have you discovered PastMap yet?  Pastmap is a free website allowing researchers to view information about the archaeology, architecture and landscapes of Scotland on one single map. It is managed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) along with partners from local government and archaeological curators, and holds data from a growing number of other sources.

You can look at different layers, such as local authority Historic Environment Records (HERs), or Listed Building data from HES. You can choose to display layers on a map or aerial photograph and you can turn the layers on or off. Use the search or zoom tools to explore the map and delve into historic sites across Scotland.

When you find a site of interest – like a standing stone, a castle or a designed landscape – click on it to show more detail in the sidebar. Select a group of objects by drawing a shape or circle around them. Once you have made your selection, you can download a report of up to 1,000 records to view later.

Different types of maps include
  • Modern.  Look at the locations of Scotland’s sites and monuments superimposed on today’s Ordnance Survey and OpenStreetMap bases
  • Historic - Use historic 19th and 20th century OS maps as a backdrop to historic environment data and look at how the landscape has changed over time
  • Aerial - Compare features from the air against what is known in Scotland’s historic environment records, and look in more detail from a bird’s-eye view
  • Data - Discover where the archaeology, historic buildings and landscapes of Scotland are, and follow the links to their descriptions and stories

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Unlock the Past Seminars

Those wonderful people at Unlock the Past are presenting more seminars around Australia, with the Melbourne 2 day session coming up soon.

Seminars will be held in :
I've booked my ticket for Melbourne and am looking forward to taking lots of notes, chatting with fellow genealogists and buying a few new books to read.  The program for Melbourne is below and looks great.

Thursday 19 April 2018
9.00amregistration and exhibition
9.25amwelcome and seminar introduction                                                           
9.30amLocating your ancestor’s place of origin in Germany - E. Kopittke
10.20amOnline newspapers: what happened in the “dash” - R. Kopittke
11.10ambreak and exhibition
11.40amMidwives and nurses: and researching female ancestors - S. Zada
12.30pmlunch break and exhibition
1.40pmUnderstanding the system: a brief overview of the history of the German region - E. Kopittke
2.30pmConvict ancestors - S. Zada
3.20pmbreak and exhibition
4.00pmResearching in German church and civil records - E. Kopittke
Friday 20 April 2018
9.00amregistration and exhibition
9.25amwelcome and seminar introduction                                                          
9.30amUnderstanding your World War One ‘Digger’ - N. Smith
10.20amBeyond just indexes: why we should check source records - R. Kopittke
11.10ambreak and exhibition
11.40amtopic and speaker TBA
12.20pmprize draw
12.30pmlunch break and exhibition
1.40pmResearching your Freemason ancestor - R. Hamilton
2.30pmTracing your World War Two Australian military ancestors - N. Smith
3.20pmbreak and exhibition
3.40pmScotlandsPeople: the place to launch your Scottish research - R. Kopittke                 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Week 12 - Misfortune - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

One of many newpaper articles on the
attack found using Trove
After last week's post 'Lucky', this week we are focusing on the opposite side of the coin, 'Misfortune'.  Sadly, every family suffers some kinds of misfortune, the bad with the good.

As I said last week, this week I would focus on the only child in the Clark family to die young - my great uncle Norman William Clark.  Her was born 10th August 1910 and died 15 February 1930, the victim of the first shark fatality in Victorian waters in over 50 years.  Norman, along with his girlfriend and younger brother Russell, was watching a boating regatta from Middle Brighton Pier in Melbourne.  During a break in the races Norman decided to have a swim, and dived off the end of the pier.  The shark came from underneath the pier, grabbed Norman, and dragged him out to sea.  Over 100 people on the pier and beach witnessed the attack, and regatta officials tried to reach him, firing their starting guns in an effort to drive the shark away, but all in vain.  Norman was dragged out to sea and his body was never recovered.

The attack received wide publicity was was reported in newspapers around the country, including the Melbourne Argus, Brisbane Courier, Hobart Mercury and Canberra Times.  I have over 30 newspaper articles, sourced through the wonderful Trove, describing the attack and subsequent search for the shark and Norman's body.  Many of the headlines were sensational, with the one above even declaring a 'Thrilling Struggle' - certainly not a headline a newspaper today would use when describing a shark attack fatality.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Week 11 - Lucky - 32 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Russell Nicholas Clark
The prompt for Week 11 of #52ancestors is "Lucky", and I have been reflecting on just how lucky my maternal grandmother's family was during the Second World War.

My maternal grandmother, Gladys Daisy Clark, was born 30 June 1906, the 5th child (and 5th daughter) of James Nicholas Clark and Pricilla Veronica (nee Mulholland).  Eventually she would be one of 12 children, plus another 2 half siblings from James' first marriage to Eliza Hawley.  Unusually for the time, all the children survived to adulthood.

Leonard Rupert Clark
Gladys had 5 brothers in total, and 4 of them would see active service in World War 2.  Her 5th brother, Norman William Clark, was tragically killed at the age of 20 in a shark attack (see my next #52ancestors post 'Unlucky').

For a family with 4 brothers serving in the war, they were extremely lucky to see all 4 come home safely.  Mostly they saw active service in the Middle East, with 3 surviving the siege of Tobruk - brothers David, Leonard and Russel.  Gladys' eldest son, my uncle David Pummeroy, also served in World War 2, a pilot in the Air Force.  He would also return home uninjured.
Lucky indeed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


The April issue of Who Do You Think  You Are magazine is out now and available digitally from Campaspe Library.

Inside this month's issue :
  • 1939 register
    Audrey Collins explains how to get the most out of this 20th-century resource
  • Taking flight
    Jayne Shrimpton celebrates the women who kept the RAF flying in two world wars
  • Spring-clean your family research
    Claire Vaughan reveals some tips and tricks to refresh your family tree
  • Reader story
    Gordon Martin discovers an unusual ancestor who fought at Trafalgar
  • Country house brewing
    Rachel Conroy reveals how our 18th century ancestors enjoyed a drink of beer
  • Plus...
    The best websites for tracing medical ancestors; the lives of ancestors who worked as locksmiths; exploring Scottish church records; and more...