Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Christmas treat - British Newspaper Archive

Each year I try to give myself a genealogical treat. This year it is a one month subscription to the British Newspaper Archive. For the next month my research will concentrate on what goodies I can discover on this site.

This morning I discovered the birth announcement of my great, great grandmother Jane Smith Fleming who was born in Princes Street, Stranraer, Scotland on 29th October 1853.



Dumfries and Galloway Standard, Wednesday 2nd November 1853, p. 4

This Google Map view shows the end of Princes Street with Loch Ryan in the distance. I wonder what changes there have been in the street in the past 160 years?



I have previously blogged about Jane McColm's (Fleming's) death and the about the fact that she had 2 death certificates

I wonder what else I will discover?

Monday, December 15, 2014

My World War 1 Soldiers (4) - Lawrence Seabrook

Lawrence Seabrook  1898 - 1951

This is the fourth post in a series of posts over the next few years to remember all the men in my extended family who enlisted in World War 1.

Originally I had identified 26 soldiers who enlisted between 20 August 1914 and 2 November 1918.  However, with more careful checking this number has now risen to over 35. Of these five were killed overseas or died here in Australia.

Lawrence Seabrook was the sixth son of William Alexander Seabrook and his wife Eliza Grant Lumsden of Hobart. Like the majority of the Seabrook family Laurie worked in the building trade. By November 1914, he had been apprenticed to his father as a bricklayer for 12 months and had been a member of the Naval Reserve.

His enlistment papers state that he was 19 years old. However, his actual birth date was 10 November 1898, so in fact Laurie was only 16 years old. 

This attestation paper was signed 30th November 1914 and Laurie was assigned to the Field Butchery. It appears as though his correct age may have been discovered as the attestation paper has the words "discharged unsuitable 12/3/15" written in blue pencil across the page. Laurie was to reenlist later in the war.





Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey

Yesterday I was in my local bookshop and I saw the book, Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey written by Fiona Carnarvon, the Countess of Carnarvon.


Highclere Castle - 2005

I had to buy the book, not just because of my love of the series, but simply because one of my family may be mentioned in the book. Sure enough, the index indicated a hit. Page 82 has a mention of Dick Dawson. So even though the reference to Dick was one sentence in the book it had to become part of my personal collection.

One of Porchey's first decisions was to build up his brood mares and then send his youngsters to be trained by Dick Dawson at Whatcombe, who trained the Aga Khan's horses.......

The horseracing, breeding and training world is full of dreamers and eccentrics, driven men (it is usually men, and certainly was in Porchey's day) whose existence has been overtaken by the hope that one day, one of their horses may win a Grand National, or an Epsom Derby, and become a household name. The sort is full of individualists from all walks of life: thrill-seekers and gamblers, canny businessmen and sportsmen devoted to the turf. p. 82-82

Reading between the lines on page 84 is also a link to Dawson. The author, the Countess of Carnarvon discusses the Newmarket sale of the horse Blenheim to the Aga Khan. Blenheim was sired by Blandford who was owned by Dick Dawson and his brother Sam. Blandford is known in racing circles as one of the greatest sires of all time. Blenheim went on to win the Derby for the Aga Khan being trained by Dick Dawson. (Obituary of R.C. Dawson, London Times, 17 September 1955).

I have some photos taken from images at Highclere in 2005 showing Lord Carnarvon and Dick Dawson but am unsure whether I can produce them here. One is of the two men in front of a plane. Another is a caricature of both men which form part of a much larger number of caricatures.

It's always exciting to add books that have family mentioned in them to add to my collection.









Saturday, October 25, 2014

My World War 1 Soldiers (3) William Vesey Dawson

William Vesey Dawson (390)  1892 - 1974

This is the third post in a series of posts over the next few years to remember all the men in my extended family who enlisted in World War 1.

Originally I had identified 26 soldiers who enlisted between 20 August 1914 and 2 November 1918.  However, further checking has now revealed a total of thirty five enlistment.  Of the thirty five, five were killed overseas or died here in Australia.

William Vesey Dawson was the fifth child of William Henry Dawson and his wife Bridget Mylan.  Twenty two year old Bill enlisted in Casino, NSW on 25th October 1914,  just a month after his older brother Ernest. Bill worked as a saddler and a general farm labourer. Like many young men from the north coast of NSW Bill (No 390) became a member of the 5th Light Horse.



William Vesey Dawson No 390
(Dawson family collection.)






Brothers, William Vesey Dawson and Ernest Lee Dawson. Photo taken at Alexandria
prior to embarkation for Dardanelles 9 July 1915. (Photo: Dawson family collection.)


Brigadier L.C. Wilson who later wrote The Fifth Light Horse Regiment, 1914-1919 stated that men were selected to join the Light Horse after tests in horse riding and shooting. 

Six weeks after enlistment on 12th December 1914, the Bill's Regiment went to Liverpool in Sydney and on 20th December they embarked on the SS Persic Transport No A 34. After a voyage of 42 days they arrived at Alexandria and immediately went to Maadi, near Cairo. It was here that the 5th Light Horse undertook training for mounted operations.

On 15th May, 1915 they left Maadi for Gallipoli and arrived at Cape Helles on the evening of 18th May, 1915. At 6:30 pm the next day they arrived at Anzac Cove. Troops were successfully landed on the morning of 20th May 1915 with no casualties. They spent the first day digging in and establishing communication trenches.

Wilson (p. 22-23) describes life on the Peninsula :

Normal life on the Peninsula embraced night post duty, night patrols, day observation, sniping, digging, wiring, ration and water carrying.... Night post duty insisted of watching tactical points or the trench system, to stop a rush, give the alarm and serve and listen for enemy movement...All ranks were ordered to sleep in their boots and clothes during the whole time we were on Gallipoli...It must be remembered that from the end of May, when we first went into the trenches, until the morning of the 20th December,...the Regiment was never for a day out of the front firing line, and that line was, in parts, only a matter of seconds from the enemy trenches.

While at Gallipoli Bill was part of the B Squadron Cookhouse. 



Informal group portrait of five cooks at the 5th Light Horse Brigade's B Squadron cookhouse. The cookhouse consists of an uncovered wooden structure built into a mound of earth. Hanging from the roof are four sides of mutton or goat. Identified is 390 William Vesey Dawson (later DCM), B Troop, B Squadron, 5th Light Horse, left, holding a knife and sharpening steel. A photograph in an album relating to the service of Captain Edward Oswald Straker, 5th Australian Light Horse (5ALH).



Bill Dawson was one of only 49 men from the 5th Light Horse who remained on the Peninsula from May until December. He was listed to evacuate on the night of 18-19th December.

He was later involved in military operations which culminated in the capture of Jerusalem in December 1917. It was here that he was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Acknowledgment was sent to his father William Henry Dawson. Unfortunately Harry had been dead for 2 years and the letter would have been received by his wife Bridget. 

BASE RECORDS OFFICE, AIF
4 October 1918

Dear Sir,

I have much pleasure in forwarding hereunder copy of extract from fourth Supplement, No 30664 to the London Gazette, dated 30th April, 1918, relating to the conspicuous services rendered by your son, No. 390 Company Sergeant-Major (temporary) W.V. Dawson, Camel Transport Corps (5th Light Horse Regiment)

AWARDED THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL

"HIS MAJESTY THE KING has been pleased to award the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the undermentioned non-Commissioned Officer for gallantry and distinguised sservice in the Field: -

No. 390 Trumpeter (remporary Company Sergeant-Major)

W.V. Dawson

For conspicuous gallenty and devotion to duty. He showed great initiative and skill during the operation and set a splendid example to his men."

The above has been promulgated in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No. 150, dated 24th September, 1918.

Yours faithfully
Maj
Officer i/c Base Records.


Bill Dawson finally returned to Australia aboard the Argyllshire and arrived in Sydney on 13th April, 1919. He had spent 4 years and 138 days in the army. All but 80 days were spend abroad.


References.

Brennan, S 1992Kilronan to Franklin and beyond - The story of Dr William Lee Dawson and his descendantsAM PrintingTamworth, NSW.

Wilson, L. Brigadier-General 1926The Fifth Light Horse Regiment, 1914-1919, Sydney.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Letters of 1916

A couple of days ago I came across the Letters of 1916 website. I was quite excited when I read about this project.

The Letters of 1916 project is the first public humanities project in Ireland. Join the hundreds of people who are helping us create a crowd-sourced digital collection of letters written around the time of the Easter Rising (1 November 1915 – 31 October 1916) by contributing copies of letters to the database or transcribing previously uploaded letters.

In my collection of letters written from Ireland by my Dawson family I have two letters that fit the timeframe. The first written in November 1915 from Eleanor Dawson to her niece Louisa Spinks who lived in Whittlesea north of Melbourne. The second, was written in June 1916 by Eleanor's daughter Maude to her cousin Louisa.

Today I added the first of these letters to the website. My only disappointment so far is that I can't seem to be able to transcribe my own contribution. Hopefully it will be available for transcription soon.

Monday, August 25, 2014

My WW1 soldiers (2) - Ernest Lee Dawson

Ernest Lee Dawson (500) (1885 - 1968)



This is the second post in a series of posts over the next few years to remember all the men in my extended family who enlisted in World War 1.

So far I have identified 26 soldiers who enlisted between 20 August 1914 and 2 November 1918 and I feel sure I have missed some. Of the twenty six, five were killed overseas or died here in Australia.

My aim is to publish these posts on the 100th anniversary of their enlistment.

Ernest Lee Dawson (my great uncle) was the eldest child of William Henry Dawson and his wife Bridget Mylan. He was born in the Cooma district of NSW in 1885.

On 25th August 1914, less than three weeks after the outbreak of the First World War Ernie, a farmer who lived at Old Bonalbo enlisted in the 2nd Light Horse Regiment in Lismore.

Ernie had previous military experience. In 1906, he answered an advertisement to join the Shanghai Municipal Council Police Force, as a recruit. He was appointed on 10th January 1907, with four others, for an initial three year contract. This was part of a big increase in the force, sixty being recruited that year, as part of a total overhaul of its structures and procedures. The Shanghai Municipal Police was a British run police force founded in 1854 to police the International Settlement at Shanghai. This area was administered by international merchants and bankers who paid taxes to, and controlled the municipal council.  The role of the police

was to provide an orderly environment for Shanghai’s foreign trade and commerce.     Their prime responsibility was to collect intelligence on political demonstrations, strikes, labour and social unrest, foreign and domestic subversive activities and areas of dispute between the International Settlement and the Chinese government 

Reference (This link is no longer appears current)


Captain's Parade at Shanghai Racecourse


Ernie would have learnt to speak Shanghainese, as this became compulsory in 1903. Men were expected to study for an hour each day in their own time, and were given an extra day’s leave each month. Cash bonuses were received when they passed language exams. Language proficiency was a requirement for promotion. (Bickers, R. Empire Made Me, p. 80-81). Ernest was appointed Sergeant in 1909 and became a 2nd Class Sergeant before he left Shanghai in 1912. (Bickers, R. Correspondence with Sharon Brennan). 

Ernest Lee Dawson, 2nd Light Horse Regiment



The 2nd Light Horse had been raised at Enoggera in Queensland on 18th August. Most of the recruits came from Queensland but many, like Ernie were from northern New South Wales. They sailed from Brisbane on the transport ship Star of England on 25th September and disembarked in Egypt on 9th December. 

The 2nd Light Horse Regiment deployed to Gallipoli without its horses and landed there on 12th May 1915, joining the New Zealand and Australian Division. It played a defensive role for most of the campaign but did attack the Turkish trenches opposite Quinn’s Post, one of the most contested positions along the ANZAC line. The first assault was mown down and fortunately the officer commanding the attack had the wisdom and courage to call it off. The 2nd was withdrawn from the front line in September and left the peninsula on 18th December. (Australian War Memorial)
) 

Suffering from enteric fever (typhoid) Ernie Dawson was evacuated from Gallipoli on 5th August 1915 and taken to No 21 General Hospital in Alexandria. He was then transferred to London aboard the Letitia on 2nd October and admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley England on 12th October. He also spent time at Perham Downs, a small brigade camp hospital. He was reported ill in The Sydney Morning Herald on 12th November, 1915.

Ernie was later transferred to the Australian Army Ordnance Corps (AAOC). The AAOC were responsible for providing Ordnance support to Australian operations in Egypt, Gallipoli, France, Belgium and Palestine. Although most soldiers were returned to Australia very quickly at the end of the war, as a member of the AAOC Ernie Dawson was required to remain and assist with collection of all equipment. As a result he did not return to Australia until  6 May 1920 aboard the Ceramic. (Reference)

Ernest Lee Dawson and Walter Waldo Seabrook were 3rd cousins, great grandchildren of  Henry William Seabrook and his wife Sarah White.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My WW1 soldiers (1) - Walter Waldo Seabrook

Walter Waldo Seabrook (1894 - 1971)


This is my first post in a series of posts over the next few years to remember all the men in my extended family who enlisted in World War 1.

So far I have identified 26 soldiers who enlisted between 20 August 1914 and 2 November 1918 and I feel sure I have missed some. Of the twenty six, five were killed overseas or died here in Australia.


Walter Waldo Seabrook (1894 - 1971)



My first post is for Walter Waldo Seabrook (107) who joined the 3rd Field Company Engineers  on 20th August 1914, less than three weeks after Australia joined the war. Walter,19 years old was the third child of Alfred and Emma Seabrook and was born at Augustus Terrace on 23rd September 1894. He had been named after his uncle Walter Waldo Kennedy who had died, aged 13 while boarding at The Friends' School in Hobart.

Walter's attestation papers state that he had spent 1 year in the Junior Cadets and 2 years in the Mililtia and he worked as a clerk. He was only 5 foot 6 inches tall and weighed 10 st 4 lbs. He was fair with blue eyes and brown hair. 

Walter was appointed to the 3rd Field Company A.I.F., 1st Division Engineers. Just over one month later Walter departed Melbourne aboard the Geelong on 22nd September 1914. 

While at Gallipoli he spent time suffering from influenza, bronchitis and pneumonia aboard the hospital ship Franconia. 

In September 1917 he was admitted to Northampton War Hospital, Duston, England suffering a mild gunshot wound to his left hand.

Walter was mentioned twice in dispatches.

On the evening of August  15 (1918) this NCO was engaged in running out direction tapes through the maze of trenches near Lihons Wood to the from line positions - finally marking these out also - in order to guide the troops of the relieving Division. A minor advance in the afternoon had extended the former CT 800 yds. In spite of enemy counterattacks with consequent shelling he reconnoitred the new positions and after being twice stopped by continuous enemy shelling successes in establishing complete communications to the rear. His devotion to duty and coolness under fire has continually been a fine example to the men under his command (AWM Honours and Awards.)

During the period 16th/17th September, 1918, and to the cessation of hostilities, Lance Corporal SEABROOK has done valuable work in organising parties and in the running out of direction tapes, in order to guide roops of relieving units. he has done reliable and constant work in reconnoitring of positions and securing valuable information in connection with water supply and material. His energy and devotion to duty has been a fine example to the men under his command (Commonwealth Gazette No. 113 6th October 1919, p. 146, London Gazette 3 June 1919, p. 6918, AWM Honours and Awards & Australian Honours List.) For this he was awarded The Meritorious Service Medal.

After the war, Walter took up land at Dover in Tasmania as a soldier settler. He married Kathleen Eady and they had three children. Walter enlisted again in the Second World War on 24th April 1942 and was discharged on 15th January 1946, as a Lieutenant from the 1st Battalion. He died while on holiday at Broadbeach, Queensland on 27th August 1971, aged 76.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

My World War 1 Soldiers

I have decided to write a series of posts over the next couple of years to highlight all the men in my extended family who enlisted in World War 1.

So far I have identified 26 soldiers who enlisted between 20 August 1914 and 2 November 1918 and I feel sure I have missed some. Of the twenty six, five were killed overseas or died here in Australia.

At this stage, I don't have information about them at my fingertips. I don't know if they were all single or if some were married with children. I have photos for some of them, but not all. They enlisted in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

My aim is to post on the 100th anniversary of their enlistment.

My first post will be on 20th August 2014 and the final one in the series on 2 November 1918.

30 August
Tonight I have found another soldier. So my tally now is 27 soldiers of whom 6 were killed.



52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 17 Court Records

This is week 17 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 Court Records.

In my research my main contact with court records that I have is via a secondary source -  what is reported in local newspapers.

Since the advent of Trove this has become a relatively easy task. 


The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Saturday 18th April 1874, p. 4

Ludwig Glock found himself the victim of a robbery. George Parker was convicted of stealing £2, two boxes of matches, a handkerchief and a shirt from Glock. Parker, another man and two women came to Glock's house with alcohol. While there Parker "pulled Glock about" and robbed him. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment, with hard labour, at Maitland. Perhaps less drink would have kept him out of gaol.

This report in the Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser is an abridged version from the Armidale Express. I've added this to the list of things to investigate when I'm next in Armidale and have access to this paper. Perhaps it will give me more information about Glock that I can add, other than the fact he lived by himself in 1874.






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 Baumgarten
  • Archibald Leslie Seabroook
  • 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  *
  • Albert William Merchant
  • Walter Merchant
  • William Joseph Richard Hooton

*  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 Moore 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.