Saturday, July 26, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 16 Naturalisation & Citizenship Records

This is week 16 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

This week's topic is Naturalisation & Citizenship Records.

In all my research of direct line ancestors there are only two families who were not from England, Ireland or Scotland. Members of the Glock family do no appear to have become naturalised.

However, naturalisation papers are available for Jacob Frederick Scheef. It would be more than twenty years since I first discovered Jacob's naturalisation papers. They provided a significant breakthrough in my research. Although I had searched shipping indexes I could not find Jacob's arrival in Australia. He seemed to be missing from the indexes. (Perhaps it was my inexperienced eyes searching for his name!)

Jacob's naturalisation record was a bonus as it informed me that he arrived as a 20 year old at Moreton Bay aboard the Grasbrook on 27th April 1855 and came from a town in Germany called Unterturkheim.  A search of the shipping lists for this ship finally discovered Jacob.

Going through my research for this blogging challenge I can see that I only have a handwritten copy of Jacob's naturalisation papers. I need to organise a photocopy of the record.



52 Weeks of Genealogical Records - Week 15 - Civil Registration and Certificates

This is week 15 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

The challenge for this week is civil registration and certificates.

My post is going to be a repeat of an earlier post as it's easily the best story I have about certificates.

My great, great grandmother Jane Smith McColm has 2 death certificates. When she died on 22nd January 1888 just 3 weeks after giving birth to her 7th child, Ethel Peel McColm, her husband Malcolm obviously didn't know where to register her death.

Sound strange to you? Jane died at the Railway Yard at Wallangarra on the Queensland-N.S.W. border. (I've just realised that the postcard I purchased a couple of weeks ago, has further meaning.) What did her husband do? He registered her death in both Stanthorpe (Qld) and Tenterfield (N.S.W.)

It is very interesting to compare the two death certificates.

The first one I discovered was the N.S.W. one. This stated that she was 40 years old and came from Wigtownshire in Scotland. Her father, James Fleming, was a druggist and her mother was Jane Milroy. Jane was married to Malcolm McColm and had no children. She died of puerperal fever. I wasn't happy with this certificate. I knew she had children - my great grandmother was one of them. Wigtownshire in Scotland also didn't give me the information I required.

A couple of years later I was browsing the Queensland indexes when I found her death registered again. I ordered the certificate and was delighted. The registrar in Stanthorpe was much more thorough than the one in Tenterfield.

Jane, 33, was born in Stranraer, Wigtownshire, Scotland and she had 7 children, Elizabeth 9, Samuel 8, James 6, Jane 4, Mary 3, and Ethel Peel 5 weeks and 2 days. Ethel's age doesn't tally with the duration of Jane's illness, but the certificate is typed and not a copy.

I am so pleased that Malcolm registered Jane's death twice. The experience left me wondering about the quality of information registered in Tenterfield at that time. A less than diligent Clerk of the Court!




Sunday, May 11, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogical Research - Week 14 - Cemetery Records

This is my post for week 14 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

My husband's direct ancestors in Australia are buried from Glen Innes to Uralla - a mere 1.5 hours driving time. My direct ancestors however, are buried in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. This means, that wherever I go there just happens to be an ancestor buried there. My daughter once asked if a visitor wanted to see our holiday photos - yes they were headstones.

There is now a proliferation of Websites such as Australian Cemeteries Index and individual cemetery sites which makes finding the resting place of family members much easier than in the past. These sites can be used to make research trips more effective. 

I was fortunate to be able to locate headstones for two sets of great, great, great, great grandparents in Ireland before I visited.


  • James (d. 1857) and Rose Hannah (d. 1858) are buried at the Bushvale Presbyterian Church at Stranocum, Co. Antrim in Northern Ireland.
  • Andrew (d. 1853 and Rosannah (d 1830) Lagan are buried at Swatragh, Magherafelt, Co. Derry, Ireland.

Armed with this information I was able to visit these cemeteries and easily find what I was looking for. Without prior research it would have been impossible to take these two photographs.


Hannah headstone, Bushvale, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland


Lagan headstone, Swatragh, Co Derry, Ireland





Saturday, May 10, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 - Week 13 - Personal Names and Surnames

This is my post for week 13 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

My story this week is about a man I never met but with whom I corresponded for many years. It is about how his personal name allowed me to know I was going to make a connection to my family.

William Lee Dawson had moved from Kilronan in Ireland to Franklin in Tasmania in 1854. After his death in 1871, his wife Emma moved to Melbourne to be closer to her siblings. Her four children Catherine, Harry, Louisa and Robert ended up living in Victoria, northern New South Wales and western Queensland. By the late 1800s cousins were scattered over three states.

More than 20 years ago, I was attempting to find descendants of Robert Ernest Dawson. I scoured electoral rolls in vain to find a clue to connect with family members.

I came across a name - Franklin Heathcote Dawson. I stopped my search and wondered if he might be the man I was looking for. I hoped he might be my grandfather's first cousin. My grandfather's second name was Franklin. I knew that Robert Dawson had been born in Franklin in Tasmania and his wife Nelly Spinks had been born in Heathcote in Victoria. Was it possible that they had named their son after the towns in which they had been born? The electoral roll was not current. Did he still live there?

I wrote to Frank and yes he was who I though he was. We continued corresponding for many years. He shared many stories;  his father holding a man down so his father could amputate his leg; stories about growing up at Glenlinton near Whittlesea in Victoria; the death of my great grandfather who was visiting his brother over Christmas 1916; the suggestion that there was a family connection to Ned Kelly (he was right) and his experiences as a pilot during the Second World War and with ANA after the war.

I'm so pleased his parents named him after the towns in which they were born. I am truly thankful for all that Frank shared with me. 

Thank you Franklin Heathcote Dawson (1910 - 1996).






52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 12 Gazetteers

This week is week 12 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

A gazetteer  is a dictionary of place-names. Gazetteers describe towns and villages; parishes and counties; and rivers, mountains, and other geographical features. Gazetteers generally list place-names in alphabetical order.  Gazetteers may also be called topographical dictionaries. (Family Search)

The Family Search website give beneficial information about Gazetteers in Ireland. One of the most useful is Samuel Lewis' typographical Dictionary of Ireland which can now be downloaded or viewed online.

Gazetteers have been very useful in my research. 

A family property near Armidale is called Mothal. A search of Samuel Lewis' 1837 typographical dictionary reveals that :

Mothell, a parish, in the barony of FASSADINING, country of KILKENNY, and province of LEINSTER, 4 miles (S. by W.) from Castlecomer, on the road to Kilkenny, and on the river Dinin; containing 2427 inhabitants. The Roman Catholic parish formed part of Muckalee. 

This property name and the gazetteer allowed me to narrow down the search for the Brennan's home in Ireland.




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5000 poppies in Federation Square

Recently I came across the blog 5000 poppies. Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight have a vision to plant 5000 poppies in Federation square in Melbourne as part of the 2015 Anzac Commemorations

The 5000 Poppies project will be “planting” a field of more than 5000 poppies in Fed Square Melbourne as a stunning visual tribute to Australian servicemen and women for more than a century of service in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

People are asked to make poppies (instructions can be found on the site) to be part of this display. Already they have more than 10 000 poppies.

I have decided to contribute to this project. My idea is to make a poppy for each of my extended family who fought in World War 1. As I started to make my list of soldiers I became disappointed with myself as I have neglected to tag these men with a military flag in Reunion. I am now trying to amend this.

These are the soldiers for whom I will dedicate my poppies.


  • Ernest Lee Dawson
  • Bertram Dawson
  • William Vesey Dawson
  • Gustav Lee Dawson
  • Clarence Seabrook
  • Cyril Noel Seabrook  *
  • Eric Charles Seabrook  *
  • Lawrence Seabrook
  • Reginald Henry Seabrook
  • Roy Hopetoun Seabrook
  • Thomas Claudius Seabrook
  • Walter Waldo Seabrook
  • Aubrey Adam Agnew
  • Adam Thomas Agnew
  • James Agnew
  • John Francis Xavier Moylan  *
  • Samuel McColm
  • William Moore  
  • John Moore  *
  • John Thomas Wright
  • Frederick Knox Wright
  • William Cecil Sibley  *

*  These men lost their lives during the war.



52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 11 Newspapers

This week is week 11 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

In the past I have made many trips to Canberra, Brisbane and Armidale to search microfilms of newspapers. I have searched through original newspapers at the Tenterfield library. I have even transported these bound papers in the boot of my car to Armidale so they could be microfilmed after I informed the university of their existence. 

However, these excursions are now more infrequent due to the advent of Trove in Australia. Genealogical research has certainly been simplified. No longer does one have to painstakingly trawl through newspapers searching for an article about a specific event. However, the main benefit I feel is finding other stories about events that we may never have know about.

I knew my great grandfather, Knox Moo had lost a finger in an accident. My father had told me the story about how while explaining to someone how he did it, he accidentally cut off another finger. Trove allowed me to verify this story. There is no way I could have ever discovered this without Trove. You can read the story here.

Many years ago, I was searching for information about my Seabrook family. Three members of the family died in Victoria in 1914. I knew that one, William Thomas had drowned attempting to rescue someone in the surf. I didn't want to spend the money purchasing a death certificate but I knew there would have been a story in the paper. I decided to start searching The Argus from 1st January onwards. I was ready for the long haul. However, imagine my excitement when I discovered the story on 4th January. You can read the post I wrote earlier this year to mark the centenary of this event. I was also fortunate that the next two deaths were in February and May.

I wait however, for the day that more country newspapers become a part of Trove. In the meantime, I feel fortunate to occasionally find interesting snippets from small country towns in the Brisbane papers.