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Ancestor Approved Award

January 21, 2011

On Monday I got a lovely surprise to find that Geniaus had nominated me for an Ancestor Approved award!

My blog is very new and apart from the daily posts since I started the WordPress Post A Day challenge, there wasn’t really much going on.  So I’m very grateful to Geniaus for her encouragement and nod of approval.  Thank you Geniaus!

The Award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou At Ancestors Live Here and asks two things of those who receive it. Recipients should:

  1. Write 10 surprising, humbling, or enlightening aspects of their research;
  2. Pass the Award on to 10 other researchers whose family history blogs are doing their ancestors proud.

Geniaus’ list looked like this:

1. Genealogy in New South Wales – Carole Riley.
2. The Wandering Genealogist – John Gasson
3. Michelle’s Heritage
4. TMG Sydney
5. Winging it – Alex in New Zealand
6. Wishful Linking Family History Blog – Maria Northcote
7. Moonee Valley Family and Local History Blog
8. Orange Family History Group
9. Yarra Plenty Genealogy
10. Fanning Family History and Research – Kathleen Fanning

Ten surprising, humbling, or enlightening aspects of my research

  1. I was surprised to find just how engrossing family history research could be – and how obsessive I was, back in 1986 when I started.  Back then, with a baby at first and then young children, getting to the library was something that had to be planned with military precision, well in advance – to get there, to maximise the use of the limited time, and to fit it in amongst all my other responsibilities – and the library’s opening hours.
  2. I was surprised to learn that my great grandmother was registered in her mother’s maiden name, and that she was nine years old when her mother married.  I was also surprised to find that the elderly relative I asked about this was not surprised, but wouldn’t help me with an answer.
  3. I was surprised to find, during a fairly general surname search of old newspapers on Trove, that my great-great-grandfather, Frederick Greer Hanna had a sister, Rachel Malcolmson (Hanna) Suffern, living in Victoria, and that they had probably come to Australia from Ireland at the same time, because they both married in the same year.  When I get to the bottom of that mystery, I will be enlightened.
  4. I was humbled when, after calling everyone in my home city’s phone book with a particular surname, I found a connection, was invited to visit, and was presented with a set of old photographs that included the first photo I had ever seen of my great grandmother, Marion Hanna.
  5. I was surprised, when on an early visit to the Western Australian Genealogical Society library, just browsing the books on their shelves, I found an entry for my father in the Who’s Who in Australia.
  6. I was enlightened (and surprised) to find that after searching in all sorts of places for an ‘arrival’ date for my great-great-great grandfather, James Hammond, I (think) I found him, busy being a convict in Tasmania!  I had bemoaned my lack of convicts for years, and there he was right under my nose, looking respectable all this time.
  7. I was surprised to find my great-great-great grandmother, Rosanna/Rosina Lynch marrying only 8 weeks after her arrival in Victoria/New South Wales in 1840.  I was ‘enlightened’ after explaining the story to my daughter, when she said ‘was she a mail-order bride?’.  Yes, I think she may have been.
  8. I was enlightened (but not surprised) to discover that my grandfather’s brother, Richard Frederick Kirwan and his first wife had walked from Perth to Brisbane in 1931 so that he could compete in a dirt-bike speedway race.  And I was thankful that it made the newspapers in three states, and that Trove have digitised them.  I was humbled when back in 1991/2 his second wife sent me two huge scrapbooks full of newspaper cuttings and such recording his adventures in speedway and as a stunt rider in early silent films, as well as his military pay book, shortly after his death.
  9. I was humbled by the kindness and generosity the late EG (Gwen) Gartrell showed towards me in my early genealogy days, in sharing the vast research she had compiled over many years of hard work, and introducing me to other descendants of our shared ancestors, Henry Bacon and Ann Batten.  I will try to do her proud, by making that research available to new generations of descendants through this blog.
  10. I was also humbled by the kindness shown to me by the late Doreen Burvill (Miriel Doreen Kirwan) and her husband, the late George Burvill.  I can’t remember how I found them, but Doreen was my Grandfather’s cousin, and related several stories about her memories of him as a young man.  I spent my 22nd birthday with them and she told me about the time she was looking out of her office window and saw a tall, lean young man with a particular walk, crossing the road from the train station, and instantly recognised him as her cousin Frank.  She ran down to meet him and got him a job as a ticket writer in the department store she worked in.  I cross that road myself most mornings and think of him and her.  I had a similar experience in a Chinese Restaurant, where while paying my bill at the end of my meal, I turned to see a tall young man with a particular set of blue eyes behind me waiting to pick up his take-aways.  I instantly recognised him as a Kirwan, and quickly figured out which one, even though I hadn’t seen him since he was about 13 and he was by then in his early 20s.  He was my cousin.
  11. (haha) I was surprised at how quickly and easily I put that list together 🙂

Ten other researchers whose family history blogs are doing their ancestors proud

I will try not to duplicate either Geniaus’ list, or Pauleen’s (who nominated Geniaus).

Here is my list:

  1. Missing Pieces – While not strictly a genealogy blog, this is Dana Taylor’s blog recording the search for her birth mother.  I have linked to the first post so that, if like me you want to read from the beginning (I did so over two days, non-stop), there won’t be any spoilers.  The journey of searching for a missing birth mother bears many resemblances to any other brickwall we might encounter in our search for ancestors.
  2. Finding Josephine – I note that this blog has already been nominated for the Ancestors Approved award – but it bears repeating.  This is a visually beautiful blog that records the “lifelong journey” of Dionne to research and locate her enslaved African-American ancestors.  Her posts are heartwrenching, but beautiful.
  3. Records Ireland – A blog on the professional website of Records Ireland, a family history/genealogy research service based in Dublin, Ireland, that aims to provide clients with the opportunity to direct their own family research by ordering searches for specific records in the various record repositories here in Ireland. The blog is full of useful hints and prompts that have been a great help already in pointing me in the right direction for my Irish research.
  4. Shoestring Genealogy – Dae Powell’s blog – full of information!
  5. Perry Family History – Sue’s website and the  blog which is just a part of it.  I stumbled into Sue’s website because I have close friends whose surname is Perry and I thought I might find something of relevance to them.  I may have, but I forwarded the link and let them work that out.  But Sue is certainly ‘doing her ancestors proud’ – there are masses of information here and many of her ancestors were brought to Australia as convicts, so the information she shares about tracking them down is of particular interest to me.
  6. – the first blog I have found tracing Aboriginal family history.  John is a descendent of Irish, Swedish & English free settlers and convicts, the Bundjalung & Gumbaingirr Nations of Northern New South Wales and  Southern Queensland, and the Yorta Yorta and Dhudhuroa Nations of the Murray River New  South Wales and Victoria.  Australian Aboriginal family history can be very difficult to trace (although John states that its easier than you might think).  Although his Koori research is primarily based in the Eastern states of Australia, and therefore somewhat different to similar research in Western Australia he has shared a wealth of information.
  7. Family Matters – another professional blog – this time the blog of the State Library of Victoria – provides valuable information and pointers to researchers like me just finding our way through the pipes of the internet for genealogy purposes.
  8. Dear Annie… – a postcard a day – a beautiful collection of old photographs to the blogger’s great aunt.
  9. Time Travel With Old Photographs– not strictly a genealogy blog, but not strictly a photography blog either – this is a blog about (and a glorious array of) old photographs.  I love old photographs and the connected feeling they give me to the times my ancestors lived in and the things they experienced.
  10. World War I Veterans – This blog feeds my new found interest in the experiences of World War I military personnel and their loved ones.  It is a series of interviews with British WWI Veterans, conducted in the 1980s.  It gives fascinating first hand context to the experiences of my  family members who enlisted and fought in Gallipoli and France.  I would like to find a similar blog/website with Australian first hand accounts – if anyone knows of one, please let me know.
One Comment leave one →
  1. January 21, 2011 8:59 am

    Thanks for posting, Michelle.
    I am amazed by the stamina you display, as a new genealogist, with your daily posts.

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