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Me 2010When my first daughter was born, back in 1986, my aunty – my mother’s sister – gave me a gift.  It wasn’t your usual gift on the birth of a first baby – it was a bunch of forms and a little book about how to get started researching your family tree, and I think she’d filled in the first few of the forms with some of the information she had discovered in researching her own family history.

It sparked  my interest, and for the next seven or so years, I was absorbed, sometimes even obsessed, with discovering my ancestors and the details of their lives.

I was lucky.  Many people discover genealogy as a bit of a hobby in their retirement.  Many of the people I met through my research were doing just that.  They were much older than me and didn’t have to juggle small children and work with their research.  But they commented too on how lucky I was.  I was meeting people – old people – who had known my grandparents when they were children, or who knew the old people long since deceased, who were otherwise just names on my growing files.

They told me things that unless I wrote them down have been filed away in the depths of my memory.  But for many people who come to genealogy in their older years, those opportunities to sit and ask the older people may have long since passed.

I stopped researching my family history at some stage.  I had hit a few dead ends and had three children and was just beginning university studies.  I just put it away.

But recently, many years later, with my children all fairly well grown, I find myself digging out the old files and card indexes and getting back into it.  Many of the old people have gone.  What is new, though is the internet.

I have had access to the internet continually since 1995.  I have designed websites, learned various programming languages and protocols, and LOVE the internet.  But until recently I had not used it for family tree research.  I think I had a bit of a go, back in 1995 when I was trying to figure out just exactly what this wonderful new technology could do (apart from share the view from a window in a university in Boston on a snowy January day when it was stinking hot outside my own window).

If you have stumbled in here and stayed long enough to read this – Welcome.

I have installed my family tree at Genes Reunited.  If you contact me I will give you permission to view it.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2011 7:04 pm

    I’ve nominated you for One Lovely Blog Award.

  2. Frank Williams permalink
    June 18, 2011 12:39 pm

    Hi Michelle
    In recent years the private cemetery at Edeowie Homestead, where John Kirwan is buried, has had some work done on it, a plaque installed, and his headstone straightened up. At the site of the Wilpena Eating House there is now an interpretive sign which includes the photo on your website (from State Library SA). Do you have extra information about the names of those in the photo? From memory (quite some years back), the original had written on the reverse “we lived here from 1862 to 1872” or similar. I have been involved in both of the above projects. I have a collection of copies of Kirwan material (some of which you no doubt have already), and would be happy to share it with you. Contact details attached.
    Frank, Adelaide SA

    • Michelle permalink*
      June 18, 2011 12:56 pm

      Hi Frank, Thank you for that information – It’s one of the things i want to do eventually/sometime – get to South Australia and explore those places! I will send you an email. Thank you for commenting! Michelle

  3. Leanne permalink
    June 26, 2011 10:41 pm

    Hello Michelle
    I was wondering if you could help me with some Malthouse family members in my tree . In particular your Francis. I couldnt find a contact email for you so sorry for posting on here…If you would like to contact me I will fill you in in more detail.
    Kind Regards

    • Michelle permalink*
      June 27, 2011 10:29 pm

      Hi Leanne, thank you for commenting. I will email you.

  4. July 5, 2011 11:07 am

    Hi Michelle, I stumbled across your blog while trawling the net for Langford Hanna. My Mum is in her 80’s and doesn’t have much info. on her grandfather Trezise’s side of the family and so here I am at your very enjoyable and interesting family site. My mother’s gg/father John Trezise, was the brother of Lavinia Margaret Mitchell Veal(e) (nee Trezise). Her g/father was Hugh Trezise married Phoebe Blanch Hiscock in Ballarat and her mother was Alice Constance Trezise who married Frank Robert Dowse in the late 1920’s.

    Just a question, have you researched much of Hazel’s family background. The reason I ask, is that I found an incoming Melbourne passenger list for 1866 with some of the Trezise’s that didn’t emmigrate earlier and there is listed a Margaret TreYise with her children and grandson John Veal (brother of Benoni Trezise Veale). Cannot for the life of me find a death cert. for Margaret.

    Just another question, Benoni’s wife, from what I can gather from various sources, she died at nearly 100 years of age in 1965?

    I have my private tree on Ancestry (Dowse/Trezise), if you are a member I’m happy to connect.

    Kind regards, Sarah Baird

    • Michelle permalink*
      July 5, 2011 5:48 pm

      Hi Sarah
      Thank you for commenting. You didn’t tell me who your mum is – I will email you so we can chat in more detail.


  5. Suzanne Rice permalink
    October 28, 2011 9:07 am

    Hi Michelle,
    I was thrilled to find your blog and read about your family, I am a distant relative of yours! My greatgrandmother was Rosina Hammond Hanna, my grandmother was Zena (Zina) Hanna OBrien and my mother Joyce O’Brien Haynes. Since I live in the US I have been doing most of my seach online. Wonderful work that you have done.
    If there is anything you need please let me know!
    Suzanne Rice (nee Haynes 0

    • Michelle permalink*
      October 28, 2011 5:46 pm

      Suzanne! Thank you for commenting! It’s so nice to ‘meet’ you. I’ll email you.

    • Michelle permalink*
      July 12, 2018 7:43 pm

      Hi Suzanne I sent you an email in 2011. I would love to hear from you if you get this message.

  6. Kerry Shardlow (nee Peirl) permalink
    January 11, 2012 11:29 am

    Hi Michelle,
    Found your website while searching for info re Daisy Peirl who died tragically in a fire after 2 weeks marriage to Edward Arthur. Thanks to you I now know her maiden name and will look further. My great grandfather was Edward John who was a police officer (No 37) at Cossack among other places in WA. He and Sarah married in 1868 and had 10 children. The other two were John the eldest and Maude who never married. Of the 10 children only five daughters were born to descendents bearing the name, and as we are all married the name has not been passed on.I have the Family bible given to Edward and Sarah on their marriage, left to me by my grandfather Fred who was 100.

    • Michelle permalink*
      January 11, 2012 6:13 pm

      Hi Kerry
      Thank you for commenting. I’m glad you found some new information that will help you move your research forward. Good luck with your search.

    • Michelle permalink*
      January 11, 2012 6:47 pm

      Just another thought, Kerry – It would be a great idea if you copy your comment to the comments attached to the Cossack Cemetery post with the Peirl grave – just in case there are others searching the same family who find that post.

  7. September 17, 2012 5:27 pm

    Hi Michelle!
    I am a reenactor from Poland and together with friends, we try to reproduce the figure of an Australian soldier (Reenactors Project “Commonwealth Forces”) fighting in North Africa (Tobruk) in 1941. I came to your site while searching for documents in which each soldier was equipped with. My attention was attracted Record of Service Book your ancestor. Would you be so kind as to provide us with scans of the all pages in this book that we may make copies (repirnt) of this blank document?

    • Michelle permalink*
      October 10, 2012 9:08 pm

      Hi Piotrek
      I would be happy to help you, but I’ve been very busy recently. Do you need the book scanned by a particular time? If you don’t need it too urgently, I would be happy to do it for you.

      • October 10, 2012 9:46 pm

        Hi Michelle.
        I am very happy that you want to help in our project. I would like to make it before next reenactors season 🙂 Then, I was waiting for the scans (best for me – on a scale of 1:1, resolution 200-300 ppi; if a page is duplicated, you do not have to scan them).

  8. Colleen Bessell permalink
    March 30, 2013 10:57 pm

    Hi Michelle, Frank Williams, told me about your Blog, after I contacted him about my Kirwan relatives. My Great Grandmother was Agnes Jane Kirwan, a daughter of Edmund Francis Kirwan & Ellen McLean, I haven’t worked out how we are related yet

    I’ve only been researching my tree for just under a year, and was blown away reading your blog. Up to now, I’ve been researching my Dad’s Scottish side, and along with a cousin we’ve been researching a shared Danish side. (and getting pretty good at reading Danish opalgs) Now we’ve hit some brick walls, (mainly I think due to the fact that my rellies were illiterate and had a hard to spell surname!)

    I’ve not done a lot on the Kirwan side yet, but hope to fill a lot of the blanks in. I’ve loved seeing your old photo’s, and would love an invite to your Gene’s united site if that’s OK. My tree is on My Heritage if you’d like an invite,(although its not nearly as good as your’s)

    Colleen Bessell
    Western Australia

    • Michelle permalink*
      March 31, 2013 8:10 am

      Hi Colleen
      Great to ‘meet’ you! Thanks for commenting. I havent looked at my Genes Reunite tree for several years. I’m sure its still there. I’ll go in and have a look and send you an invite (how do i find you in there? I’ll send you an email.


    • Petrea Pachen permalink
      August 20, 2017 12:26 pm

      Hi Colleen, I am also an SA decendent of Ellen McLean and Edmund Kirwan. Would love to be in touch with you all. PS I remember that when i was a little kid some WA relies would come and see us. Mum used to call them the “McKenzie cousins”. Are you related?

      • Michelle permalink*
        July 12, 2018 7:35 pm

        Hi Petrea I’m sorry – i didnt see or didnt ‘approve’ this message when you wrote it – i’ll let Colleen know that you’ve commented. Are you on face book?

  9. November 8, 2018 1:01 pm

    Hi Michelle, I’m interested in John Richards 1821 – 1897, a convict sent to Western Australia, who married Julia Tighe. I’m having difficulty find his parents and anything about him prior to his transportation. Do you have any verifiable records or certs stating his middle name as Kirwan, such as BMD’s?

    • Michelle permalink*
      November 8, 2018 10:23 pm

      Hi Maggie I will check my records and get back to you. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  10. Judy Ruoso permalink
    April 19, 2019 1:30 pm

    Hey Michelle, I was wondering during your research whether you came across any Kirwan’s that immigrated from Roscrea Ireland to Australia. I am a descendant from a Patrick KIRWAN (1824 – 1863) who married a Mary Agnes Rafter. Patrick and Mary immigrated from Ireland in 1853 on the ship Blackheath. At this stage I can not see if we are related, are you able to give me access to your family tree on GeneReunited so that I can double check – I currently use a MAC Reunion program but have uploaded the base Kirwan Family as I know it on Gene Renion.
    Thanks in advance Judy Ruoso (nee Kirwan)

    • Michelle permalink*
      April 19, 2019 10:15 pm

      Hi Judy – it’s so long since i accessed my Genes Reunited site i doubt i could even log in…. Thank you for your message though – always interested to find links to family. I havent found any links to Kirwan families outside my own. My line has lots of Johns, Richards, Edmunds, Nicholas’, but no Patricks – not that that means anything much. I’ll see if i can log in to Genes Reunited, but i’m also unsure how much information the tree contains. I stopped tree building online and got a program to work offline on my computer – too many people taking information from online trees and not checking the accuracy…
      Would love to hear if you find anything that connects us.

  11. Michelle permalink*
    April 19, 2019 10:20 pm

    I got in. My tree doesnt expand past my immediate line. You’re welcome to have a look. How do i give you access?

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