Sep 242015

In honour of Centenarian Day I present Richard John Rollason.

Richard  was born 14 July 1845 Pudding Pitts, Foleshill Warwickshire, England. 

He emigrated with his parents and siblings and his uncle and his family arriving in Brisbane Queensland 18 May 1863 aboard the Light Brigade. Their passage was paid by the Queensland Government as part of the Distressed Cotton Operatives Scheme (even though they were actually silk ribbon weavers! but that is another story). Their ship’s kit and supplies were paid for by the Poor Law commissioners.

Richard married Lucy Evans 4 December 1878 in Brisbane.

Richard John Rollason & Lucy nee Evans about 1900

The Telegraph 11 July 1945
Mr Richard Rollason, of Lintern Street, Red Hill, is celebrating his 100th birthday next Saturday.
A fresh complexioned old man with a thatch of white hair and a strong voice, Mr Rollason celebrated the occasion when a   “Telegraph” reporter called at his home during the week by singing five verses of a hymn in a resonant baritone that could be heard all round the neighbourhood. When his daughter-in-law suggested at the end of the fourth   verse that the old gentleman might be tiring himself, Mr Rollason scorned the idea, saw the hymn through to its finish, and even added a chorus. Mr Rollason was born in Coventry, England eight years   after Queen Victoria came to the   throne. When he was 18 he came to Queensland and got a job in a baker’s shop at Spring Hill at 4/ a week and keep. Neither the salary nor the conditions he says, with a twinkle, appealed   to him, so one night he   packed his bag and ran away to take a job in a butcher’s shop at a weekly increase of 3/6. A few years later saw him trying his luck on the Gympie gold- fields. “I never found any gold, except a few grains,” he says, “and soon came creeping back to my mother barefoot and hungry.” But it was all grand experience for a young man, and it stood to me.” Mr Rollason is the father of nine children, seven still living, and has 18 grandchildren— one of them serving in Bougainville — and eight   great-grandchildren. He is rather deaf and almost blind, but his humour is keen, his memory good, and he has not seen a doctor in three years. His sight difficulties offer no serious obstacle to his activities. He finds his way about the house with uncanny confidence. He walked down 16 steps to have his photograph taken in the garden, brushing aside any offers of   assistance. “I can manage fine,” he said, and counted the steps carefully under his breath as he made the long   descent.   Mr Rollason loves the wireless and says that now he is no longer able to read he would “go melancholy” without it. His remarkably long life occasions him no great surprise. If told, “You are a remarkable man, Mr. Rollason,” he gives a disbelieving nudge and says, “Get away with you. Nothing of the kind.”

Richard on his 101st birthday.    

Richard was a teetotaler (and long term member of the Independent Order of Rechabites Pioneer Tent Brisbane) and non-smoker his entire life.

Richard died in the Royal Brisbane Hospital 6 November 1946 after a fall causing a broken hip. He is buried in Toowong Cemetery.

Sep 142015

Rock Star 
 This year over 151 people were nominated and voting has now closed with results being announced very soon. It is an honour to be nominated by your fellow genealogists and I was honoured this year to be one of the nominees.

John D. Reid of Anglo-Celtic Connections blog runs a Rockstar Genealogist Award each year. 

These nominees are people who in John D. Reid’s words are:

“Rockstar genealogists are those who give “must attend” presentations at family history conferences or as webinars. Who, when you see a new family history article or publication by that person, makes it a must buy. Who you hang on their every word on a blog, podcast or newsgroup, or follow avidly on Facebook or Twitter?”

Regardless of who wins the actual awards it is YOU the genealogists who actually win.

This list shows you 151 genealogists that share information that other genealogists consider worthy of nomination. 

Now it is time for you to go and seek out these nominees. 

Some are the powerhouses such as Judy G. Russell, the Legal Genealogist who is a must see anytime you have a chance who lectures and who also manages to blog pretty much every day. Her blog The Legal Genealogist should be on everyone’s reading list. Don’t think because Judy is in the US that the law information is not relevant to people in the UK, Australia, New Zealand or Canada because we all started with law systems based on English Law. Many of Judy’s posts show ways of evaluating evidence. Judy also writes on DNA.

Talking of DNA there were a number of Genetic Genealogists on this years list:

Judy G. Russell
Roberta Estes DNA Explained
Blaine Bettinger The Genetic Genealogist
Bennett Greenspan
CeCe Moore Your Genetic Genealogist to name but a few.

DNA is a research area with its own language and requirement for study to understand the “records” and results and these genealogists are there helping people enter this brave new world.

Others may have other specialist topics but all willingly share their knowledge.

Find their blogs, follow them on Twitter, see if they are lecturing at a conference near you, look online at the Legacy Webinars or other webinars and see if they are giving one, look at the new Ancestry Academy series of lectures.There are so many opportunities now is the time to take advantage.

The future of genealogy is looking good when so many are nominated.

Sep 062015
Leslie & David abt 1943

Remembering today my father David Smith, who would have been 75 this year 16th February, but who was taken too soon, 26 November 2003.

He was born 16 February 1940, Dartford, Kent, England to Lilian and Leslie Smith. Both Lilian and Leslie were staunch Salvationists.

Lilian, Leslie and baby David 1940
Leslie was sadly killed in the Second World War and Lilian and David emigrated to Australia arriving aboard the Asturias 4 June 1949. Leslie’s brother Frank had emigrated to Australia arriving aboard the Largs Bay in 1934.It had been Leslie’s dream to visit his brother and Lilian decided to do so in search of a better life in Australia after the rigors of a post-war England. Life was still difficult in Australia and David was placed in the Salvation Army home in Goulburn while Lilian worked at the People’s Palace in Sydney. She was able to eventually find work in Goulburn.
Housing was difficult to find in the post-war period in Australia and it took quite a while as evidenced by the newspaper report in the Goulburn Evening Post May 1951 where she is making application for a home that had been left to the Salvation Army, a Returned Serviceman was also applying for the home. She had found work there but not a home where they could be reunited. Lilian was successful in her application to rent a home that had been deeded to the Salvation Army in Goulburn and they were able to be reunited.

They dug up the large back garden and planted vegetables and carnations plus had a productive hen house. When the crops were ready Lilian would take a string bag into work and sell the produce and eggs. Dad would talk sometimes about making the special warm mash for the chickens so they stayed laying through the cold Goulburn winters.
Originally they sold the flowers to the market until David decided to talk to the local restaurants and then he established a flower run along with his newspaper run. 
He also earned money by collecting beer bottles and handing them into the bottle depot. The bakery behind their home still used horses at that time to deliver the bread daily and his other job after school each day was to muck out the stables, some of which went to fertilise their garden.
Unfortunately later some of the money he earned went to support the smoking habit which he started in 1953.
Christmas Day 1953 Lilian’s father Robert Henry Philpott died and in 1954 Lilian and David travelled back to England to visit with family.

David with his dog before they went back to England 1953

After the year with the family they returned to Australia. David joined the New South Railways as a porter and gradually worked his way up to shunter. He had wanted to be called up for National Service and when this didn’t happen he joined the Army instead in 1958 and gets transferred to Brisbane

David Smith 1960 3RAR Enoggera Qld

He met Violet Busby at a church picnic and spent some time with her on the drive home as she had gotten travel sick on the bus. He drove her home and they started dating and in March 1961 they married.

David Smith & Violet Noreen Busby March 1961

From there they would start their new life.

Today Father’s Day in Australia, remembering my father David Smith lost too soon.