May 272012
Continuing on with Alona’s Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge  brings us to the letter C.
Lots of possible C words: Cornwall, Culley, Children to name but a few so maybe I’ll mix all of these into this story.
My Mary Johanna Nicholls emigrated to Queensland in 1884. She married William George Weeks 14 May 1884.
The family story was that she had come to Queensland in a bid to improve her health. She died of tuberculosis in 1886. They had one child Rupert George Weeks.  This very nice marriage notice was in the Brisbane paper and this and the marriage certificate led me to Mabe in Cornwall (incidentally the Stoke in Devon turned out eventually to be Stoke Damerel, one of the three cities of Plymouth).

Mary was born 8 September 1859 in Mabe Cornwall and baptised 5 July 1862, the same day as her younger sister, in Stithians, a next door parish.

Her parents were Richard Nicholls and Mary Ann Culley as shown by her birth certificate. Their marriage certificate is below. All is well and the next logical step is to look for Mary Ann’s baptism which should be 1828 or before. I check the 1851 census and it states that she is born in Mabe.
In the 1851 census for Mabe there was  the below entry for a John Culley, stonemason. Not proof, particularly with a name like John, but interesting.

So a search of the Mabe baptism registers (which incidentally you can do online now with the digital images on the FamilySearch site which is a lot easier than the evenings I spent at the Family History Library at Kangaroo Point going through the microfilms. The online images are not as yet indexed but they are way-pointed so it is just like scrolling through microfilm but in the comfort of your own home). However there is no baptism for Mary Ann Culley. So I do a search of adjacent parishes, still no baptism for Mary Ann Culley. Mary Ann Nicholls was very consistent about where she was born in the ensuing censuses. Interestingly there were no baptisms for anyone named Culley even though John Culley also said he was born in Mabe as were his children.
So I went back and looked at every Mary Ann baptism in the Mabe registers and
there was this  baptism shown below.

Researching the census:
1841 Census
CALLICOAT, John       M     35        1806                Cornwall        
CALLICOAT, Jane        F       40        1801                Cornwall        
CALLICOAT, James    M     17        1824                Cornwall        
CALLICOAT, Mary      F       14        1827                Cornwall        
CALLICOAT, John       M     11        1830                Cornwall        
CALLICOAT, Joseph   M      7          1834                Cornwall
CALLICOAT, Samson M       4          1837                Cornwall        
1851 Census
CULLEY, John Head Married M 49 1802 Stone Mason Mabe, Cornwall
CULLEY, Jane Wife MarriedF 48 1803 Mabe, Cornwall
CULLEY, John Son UnmarriedM 21 1830 Stone Mason Mabe, Cornwall
CULLEY, Joseph Son UnmarriedM 16 1835 Stone Mason Mabe, Cornwall
CULLEY, Sampson Son UnmarriedM 14 1837 Servant Mabe, Cornwall
CULLEY, William H Son M 6 1845 Scholar Mabe, Cornwall
WINNE, Mary J Niece UnmarriedF 15 1836 Servant Mabe, Cornwall
On further searching I found a baptism for each of John Culley’s children under the name of Cullicoat,  Cullecoat, Callicoat.

So we have a John Culleycoat who is a stonemason whose wife happened to be Jane Winn on further research. Sampson Winn Culley marries in 1862.

When researching we all know that consistent spelling is a fairly recent idea as literacy levels varied and accents caused issues. Even today consistency can vary, I have received mail addressed to Hellen, Helan and Helon as well as the usual Helen and even Smith can have a few variations. 
This change of surname seems a bit way out and I have no explanation as to why pretty well all the Cullicoat family changed their surname to Culley between 1841 and 1851. John’s father James is buried as a Cullicoat in 1842. Was there some major scandal (I haven’t been able to find anything in the British newspaper Archive) but there has to be some reason why John and his family and his brother James and his family all changed their names.
May 232012
There are 32 sleeps before the Queensland Unlock the Past Expo begins and there is a great program (see side bar for further details)
Apart from the wide range of presentations by great speakers and the variety of exhibitors at the Expo a fantastic resource is the Research Help Zone (RHZ).This is where you can bring that brick wall problem and a number of experts in their area of research will try and help solve your problem.This gives you a chance to show your problem to a range of very experienced researchers which is not something that happens everyday.
So with 32 sleeps to go there is plenty of time to prepare to talk to the range of experts available! 
Kerry Farmer  will be available at the RHZ and you can’t find a better person to ask about convict records and much more. Carole Riley will also be available and she has a lot of knowledge icluding information on  New South Wales and also land records. Eric  Koppitke will be available to talk to about German research and trying to tie down your ancestor’s place of origin in Germany. I will be there for general research, brick wall problems, English research and more.
And don’t forget the expertise of the exhibitors: Judy Webster, a specialist researcher on records at Queensland State Archives will be on her stand answering questions. Steinar Johansen will be available to talk about Scandinavian research. 
There is a wide range of expertise available at the Library and Archive stands as as as all the Society stands. 
I have had the pleasure of helping people with their brick wall problems for a number of Expos now and it is great fun and there have been a number of happy dances performed!
One thing I have noticed though, is that a number of people are not getting the maximum benefit from their consultations. This is perhaps because they did not realise the Research Help Zone (RHZ) existed and did not come prepared.They came and mentioned they have a problem but can’t remember a date or who married whom particularly when you have a few generations with the same or similar names. This makes it very difficult to provide the appropriate answers that would work to explode that brick wall.
So how do you prepare for maximum success?

1. First work out what the problem is: perhaps a marriage you can’t find, an ancestor that has disappeared, you can’t pinpoint where they originated etc 
2. Determine what information you already have.
3. Determine what documentary evidence you have, a birth certificate, a marriage certificate etc
4. Determine where you have already looked, what you found including negative findings.
5. Write down this information and put it together so that when you ask your question of the RHZ you will  get the maximum benefit.

So with 32 sleeps to go there is plenty of time left to organise those problems and documents, bring them along so we can all do the Genealogy Happy Dance with you!

May 182012

Family History Alphabet Challenge

31 May 2012 is the 110th anniversary of the end of the Boer War. The Treaty of Vereeniging was signed on 31 May 1902 which ended the Second Anglo-Boer war, often referred to as the Boer War (there had been a previous Boer War December 1880-March1881 which is usually not mentioned unless you had serving personnel). The Boer War was the first military action in which Australia as Australia was involved. Initially each colony sent units but some Commonwealth units were involved after Federation.

So this week being the B letter of the Family History Alphabet Challenge is doubly appropriate as I am writing about William Busby, my stonemason ancestor and how the Boer War related to his work. It related to him personally as his son George Howard Busby went to South Africa and enlisted in the Cape Mounted Rifles.

William Busby
My William Busby was a stonemason and I have spoken  about him previously.  He came from a long line of stonemasons from Coombe in Oxfordshire. He emigrated with his wife Annie and small son William to Brisbane in 1882. Tragically, young William died aboard ship.

William worked as an Inspector of Works before starting his own business as a monumental mason which he then continued until he retired.

Lieutenant Lachlan John Caskey, who was killed in action at Makari Drift, Caledon River, South Africa on 27 September 1901. He was a well known sportsman and educator and the community wanted to have a memorial to him. A design competition was held and William submitted a design along with the other prominent stonemasons in Brisbane to the committee who wished to raise the  memorial. William’s was the winning design and this was announced in the Brisbane Courier 6 December 1901. 


Caskey Memorial
A public committee raised the 70 pounds cost.

As can be seen from the finished memorial it was an artistic detailed design that showed many aspects of Caskey’s life.

Each side of the memorial showed another aspect of his life. Cricket bats, tennis rackets, football, quill pen,  crossed swords, the draped cloth

The memorial was unveiled 10 May 1902
It is the first known South African War memorial in Queensland and a model for later monuments. 

William also did the Anning memorial, another Boer War memorial at Hemmant. The Boer War memorial at Sherwood, for Sgt Robert Berry and Acting Corporal John Macfarlane.  although a similar design, we don’t believe was done by William.
Caskey Memorial

Bryce Memorial

Another Boer War memorial that William at the Toowong Cemetery did was the Bryce Memorial. I thank Hilda Maclean of Friends of Toowong Cemetery for the fantastic photos she took of this memorial for me.

A Boer War Memorial is planned for Canberra. Did you know there is a very useful database of Boer War soldiers on the site?  You are able to add information about your ancestor and there are letters and photos. You are also able to buy a Boer War Descendents medallion or an “in Memory of” medallion as a fundraiser for the memorial. You are also able to add to the database if your ancestor was fighting on the side of the Boers or was in one of the English units.

Regimental Books in Brisbane have said a new book is being written about Boer War memorials around Australia. They are asking if you know of any in your area to let them know so that it can be listed.
Bryce Memorial

May 132012

I am very much looking forward to this event for the range of talks that will be available and for the range of exhibitors.

Unlock the Past has partnered with History Queensland, Genealogical Society of Queensland and Queensland Family History Society for this Expo. History Queensland will not be putting on a Family History Fair this year so this is your chance for your Family History Fix. This is the seventh Unlock the Past Expo and the first in Brisbane.

A featured presenter is Audrey Collins the well known genealogist from the UK National Archives. You may have heard a number of her podcasts available as downloads on the National Archives website and also in iTunes.Audrey is also the author of The Family Recorder, a very interesting blog that should be on every genealogist’s reading list. Audrey has been a frequent presenter at USA and Canadian conferences over the last few years but this is the first time she has come to Australia and I am very much looking forward to hearing her talks.
The Expo program is available here and the hard part will be working out which presentations to attend.
Audrey is speaking each day and the topics all sound great “Scandals in the family”,   “The Will Forgeries: Organised Crime” both sound very intriguing! 
Audrey is also speaking on the Census, The Making of the GRO Indexes, Online Newspapers and Periodicals and the London Gazette. 
As well as Audrey there are also many other speakers. For those who could not attend Congress, Shauna Hicks will be talking on “Ancestors in Church: Using Church Publications” and also other presentations.
Judy Webster  will be speaking on “Black Sheep and Vanishing Relatives” which is an excellent talk giving clues on how to find those very hard to find black sheep.

Kerry Farmer will be talking on DNA and another talk on “Convicts from Trial to Freedom” a must-hear of you have convicts in the family.

Carole Riley will be giving a talk on “Australian Land records”. This can be a difficult are a to research. 

Cassie Mercer, the well known editor and publisher of Inside History is talking on “Ireland to Longreach: the Real Captain Starlight?” which sounds very interesting.

Another presenter who is well known for his books is Stephen Dando-Collins  who has written on a number of Australian historical topics including “Captain Bligh’s Other Mutiny” and also a very impressive number of books based on Roman history.

I will also be giving a number of presentations including one on “Demolishing Brickwalls in your Research” “Just What Did cause Their Death?”, “The Guild of One Name Studies” and “Online Genealogical Education Opportunities”. 

I have only picked out some of the presenters, so definitely look at the program. As well as all the presentations there will also be an exhibit hall with an increasing number of exhibitors including Find My Past who will be there showing their databases and offering look-ups. They had a very popular stall at Congress with constant numbers of people looking up their relatives with many happy jigs being performed.

There will also be a Research Help Zone where you can bring your research problems.

Pre-booking entry will save you money, link on the side-bar of this blog.. Bookings for the talks will only be available on the day onsite.
Other Information
  • Cost: Entry pre-booked by Wed 20 June $20 two or more days, $10 one day, $5 Monday evening only. On the day $5 extra, Talks $5 and $10 each, a few free.

Other Features
  • Research Help Zone – now a regular and popular feature of the Unlock the Past Events
  • Talk to an expert – one on one with an expert to help with your problem
  • Prizes and special Expo offers – valued at several thousand dollars
  • Open Monday evening
Venue and date – 
Centenary State High School – 1 Moolanda Street, Jindalee Queensland
Monday 25 – Wednesday 27 June 2012
  • Monday 12.00noon – 9.30pm
  • Tuesday 9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Wednesday 9.00am – 4.00pm
May 132012

    is for Asturias!

The ship upon which my Father and  Grandmother emigrated to Australia in 1949.

Thanks to Alona for thinking of this Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge   

Lots of possibilities here as we go through the alphabet!

Anyway back to the Asturias. This ship carried a lot of ‘Ten Pound Poms” from England, during the 1940s and 1950s, ready to start a new life in Australia. There is a great website for anyone interested in this ship.

My Grandfather, Leslie Smith, had died during WW2.

It had been a dream of Leslie’s to go to Australia to visit his brother Frank, who had come to Australia aboard the ‘Largs Bay’ in 1934 and who had then settled in Sydney.

My Grandmother, Lilian Maud Smith decided that life in England wasn’t as good as it could be.

Australia was looking for emigrants and while usually, it would have been difficult for a widow and nine year old boy to be considered ideal emigrants, the fact her brother-in-law Frank was willing to sponsor them made the difference and Lilian decided to emigrate.

(Potentially there was also the desire to leave the continual advice from family and friends on the best way to rear a nine year old boy, but that is a bit of supposition on my part, due to a couple of comments overheard when I was younger.)

They left from Southampton on the 3rd May 1949. Life on board the ship was very different. Lilian must have been worried about the future and what life in Australia would be like but for Dad  it was a massive adventure!

At the time of leaving, there was still rationing in England and there was much reconstruction work being done. 

Dad saw white bread for the first time aboard the ship AND he could have as much of it as he wanted! He made friends with the stewards and it became routine for them to bring him two deserts! 

The food was one of Dad’s enduring memories of the voyage.
The other was the time he had roaming everywhere on the ship including down in engine rooms and just about any place he could fit. He had always been interested in mechanical things, possibly something he inherited from his father so he had a great time down in the engine room.

They arrived in Fremantle first on the 28 May and eventually sailed through the Heads into Sydney 4 June, a voyage of a month and a day. 

The National Archives website has the passenger list at Fremantle indexed.  All passengers were listed regardless of their eventual destination and over 879 000 names from 1 January 1921 – 15 January 1950. This should be the first place you look as it will give the name of the ship and the date of arrival in Fremantle which is information you will need to do further research. Other information about the emigration process will be held by the Commonwealth archive in the state of arrival or in Canberra.

So A is for Asturias the name of the ship that started it all for me by bringing Dad to Australia where he could meet and marry Mum and then there was me!


May 102012

It was fantastic to receive my copy of Inside History issue 10 this evening as it is always a great read.  The artwork and layout is spectacular as can be seen by this cover picture. 

If you haven’t read any issues, I strongly recommend picking up a copy and then subscribing. Incidentally it is now also available as a digital issue for the iPad and soon for Android.

I have written articles previously for Inside History and it is still on my to-do list to submit one, at least, hopefully more articles this year.

What was even more wonderful was to start reading and come to an article penned by Australian blogger Jill Ball also known as Geniaus which was about her top 50 blogs that every genealogist needs to follow. 

I settled in for a good read and there it was; my blog, this blog mentioned as one of the top 50! 

You can imagine the smile on my face at that point!
People are reading, enjoying and finding useful what I write and that is a fabulous feeling.

I am very pleased to be in a list that includes Shauna Hicks and Judy Webster and many others that I read on a regular basis!
It is a great article that includes many blogs already on my list and a few are not but that I am looking forward to reading!

There are a wide variety  of blogs including libraries, societies, personal historians, speciality topics, international sites and organisation blogs. I am sure you will find hours of reading pleasure.