Sep 042012

Recently I read a blog post by the Legal Genealogist who had been following a blog thread of discussing the percentage found of ancestors.

In my bio (assuming any of you have read it <G>) I tell you I have been researching my family history since 1986 when I started initially, to answer a question from my Mother, and got hooked (obsessed)!

I have been doing it ever since, and for the mathematically minded of you, that is 26 years.

Now from the non-genealogists who hear this figure of 26 years the most common responses are:

“You have been doing this for 26 years and you haven’t finished it yet? Wouldn’t it be better for you to take up a hobby that you can do?”

“In 26 years you must have gone back a long way back in your research. What? You say that on that line you only go back to 1820?”

or the “Why are you bothering? They are all dead!”

So after 26 years how have I done?

Hmm, those numbers don’t look that great, do they?

So I am missing three names in the 5th generation:

Sarah Morgan married William Philpott (or did she?) about 1858-1859 and they settle around the Folkestone-Saltwood-Hythe area in Kent and have 13 children. 

So far I have been unable to find this marriage. Sarah was also a bit creative with her age and a bit unsure of where she was born and gave a different place each census. I have found a possible family but without the marriage certificate and with a reasonably common name like Morgan, I can’t be sure and can’t count her parents so two down and consequently their parents etc.

My third name missing in this generation is the father of Martha Polhill Wood born around 1820 in Lydd, Kent, the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Wood. While the middle name of Polhill may be suggestive, there is no evidence so I lose those ancestors, probably for ever, so that paternal line stops in 1820.

In this generation as well, I also have my end of line Irish ancestors. They are pre-civil registration Catholics, three of whom have common names. One each of their children had emigrated to Australia in the 1860s one from Monaghan and one from Cork and then met and married in Toowoomba, Queensland so the very nice Queensland certificate gave me the the Mother’s and Father’s name for each. 

While I know their names and the male occupations and where the children were supposedly born, they are being elusive to say the least. So they are also lost to me at present. Hopefully not forever.

Then, of course, is the fact at this point, I now have five different lines of Smiths!  

I really don’t know why Kezia Smith, when she was looking around the village of Selling in Kent decided in 1839 that the only person she wanted to marry was George Smith? Maybe she was worried about being able to remember a new married name?

So these ancestors and a number of other closed lines due to illegitimacy,  and a number of other elusive ancestors for various reasons has accounted for my only having found 17% of my direct ancestors in these generations.

My earliest date confirmed ancestor is Richard Wills born in 1669 in Perranuthnoe, Cornwall. I do know his father’s name, also Richard but nothing further about the father (except he was clever enough to have Richard without any credit being given to his wife in the baptismal register!) so he is not counted.

I have done a lot of work on the families and their lives of my ancestors as I research family history rather than just direct line ancestors but that 17% does grate a bit.

So my plan is to go back and revisit my end of line ancestors to see if I can increase my percentage of ancestors found.

What is your percentage of ancestors found and confirmed?

Sep 042012

The celebration of Trove by the blogging meme Trove Tuesday was an idea put forward by Amy Houston, in her blog Branches, Leaves & Pollen  

It is a great idea that was taken up and promoted by Jill Ball better known as Geniaus

Trove is the free digitised Australian newspaper site of the National Library of Australia. You can search a wide range of regional and metropolitan newspapers with ongoing digitisation occurring.

There are many treasures within newspapers and you never know what you may find.

Sometimes it is the start of a whole new trail of investigation.

Harold Richard Rollason,  my great-grandmother Violet’s brother, was born 27 September 1895 in Brisbane. He was the eighth child of Richard John Rollason and Lucy Evans. 

He married Irene Lambert  27 November 1918.

He died 10 June 1922 (from the Queensland BMD indexes) and is buried at Toowomg Cemetery as shown in the Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search

Born, married, died and buried dates, found and all ticked off. Time to research someone else.

Then when doing a trawling search in Trove for Rollason, I came across this little snippet dated 13 June 1922 in the Courier Mail.

You can imagine the solemn scene of a burial about to occur.

Then a telegram is received to say that the deceased’s family want the body to be sent to Brisbane rather than to be buried in Charleville.

The procesion would need to turn around so the body could be embalmed (after all this is two days after the death and it has to go back to Brisbane by train) to be sent back to Brisbane.

So this little snippet told me that Harold was a jeweller and had died in Charleville, both things I hadn’t known. With further research I found Harold had died of pneumonia. His will was at Queensland State Archives and his death certificate and inventory was in with his will. 

Remember it is always worth looking for a will as often you will find the death certificate in the file. 

This  will now save you $37 in Queensland and sometimes marriage certificates and other documents.

Currently the Charleville paper has not been digitised for this period and I have not had time to visit the State Library to look at it on microfilm but it is on my list of things to do.

Trove puts life into our family history. 

I encourage bloggers to join in and take up the Trove Tuesday meme to highlight the wonderful things to be found in newspapers.

What interesting snippets, scandals or celebrations have you found in newspapers?

Sep 022012
Continuing with Alona’s Family History through the Alphabet theme.

We were always told in maths class that maths is constant and that numbers don’t change. 

But is this really true? 
House numbers are common now in most urban places, however you don’t have to go too far back, to find that many houses were known by house name rather than by number. 

The house that my Grandmother bought from her husband William’s uncle, Edward Courtenay, was called “Loretta”.  Mail would be addressed to Loretta and the street name rather than to a number. In the old directories you will see houses listed as first on the right from Ann Street.

When the home was sold we retrieved this name plate and is one of the treasures we have at home.

Today in most areas of Australia and England if the houses do have a house number they will be numbered even numbers one side of the road and odd on the other.

This is not always the case, as the house numbering was done by the developer, not by the Council or  Post Office. In Oxford a number of streets particularly crescents  were numbered consecutively starting at one end of the street down one side then coming back and then finishing at the end of the street. 
And I have also seen this today in Australia particularly when houses are only on one side of the street such as Tallon Street, Sadliers Crossing, a suburb or Ipswich.

You may also find that a house may change it’s number over time. 

My grandmother’s home ‘Loretta’ on the corner of Ann and James Street, Fortitude Valley was numbered as 1 which made perfect sense as it was the first house on the street. 

The below images are from a number of directories and electoral rolls I have purchased over the years from Gould Genealogy . Without them I would never have been able to do as much research as I have whilst still working full-time and also studying. For some strange reason libraries don’t want to open their rooms at 1.00am which is when i have done a lot of my research over the years. One advantage of working was that I could afford to buy some great resources even though the disadvantage was that I couldn’t get to as many libraries as I wished.

Anyway back to the evolution of Loretta’s house number.

1936 Electoral Roll

1939 Electoral Roll

I love electoral rolls as you can see as a family ages and are now eligible to vote.

In 1949 Myrtle and William bought the home and they and their 9 year old daughter Violet left Myrtle’s Mother’s home in Red Hill to move to their new family home.

1949 Electoral Roll
1958 Electoral Roll

However suddenly the council decided in the early 1960s that the number should be changed to 9 James street. Remember this is the first house on the right as you walk from the Ann St-James St corner walking down James Street.  

The first Myrtle and William knew of the change was when they received a rates notice. On querying it they were told “that is what it now is” 

1963 Electoral Roll

So numbers do not always stay the same!

It is something to consider in your own research that numbers can change as can the name of the suburb,  state, county even country over time.

What examples of this have you found in your research?