Friday, July 29, 2016

National Family History Month Blogging Challenge

For better or worse, I have taken on the challenge National Family History Month Blogging Challenge. Once I get started on this type of blog challenge, I enjoy it, but I'm glad there is a bit of a lead up time to prepare a few ideas for August, family history month.

The proposed themes for the weeks of August are:

Census records. Week 1 - Sunday 7 August - 9 August is Census Night in Australia.  What extraordinary things have you discovered about your ancestors in census records?

Working ancestors.
Week 2 - Sunday 14 August - Blogger Anne Young reminds us that 16 August 1891 was the date the Shearers' Strike Monument was dedicated. This week why don't you honour your working ancestors and the challenges they faced in their occupations.

Military battle, family anniversary or significant family event
Week 3 - Sunday 21 August - Significant military battles are commemorated during the month of August such as Mouquet Farm in WWI and Milne Bay in WW2.  The Australian Comforts Fund was also founded in August 1916.  Did your ancestors have connections to these places or battles?  Is there another anniversary or significant event that your family commemorates/remembers in August?

Country, place, landmarks.
Week 4 - Sunday 28 August - Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar in her poem My Country talks of a "sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains".  What does "country" or place mean to your family?  What makes your place unique or special? What are the features or landmarks  that stand out in your family history?

There's plenty of scope for a few family history posts, based on the weekly themes above.

Monday, May 23, 2016

A mitochondrial DNA/ Mother's Day mystical moment

The more I think about this 15 minutes in my life, the more I think it's a wee bit mystical.

Here's the story ... decide for yourself about the "mystical moment" bit.

Once upon a time, a very curious genie (me) was asked by her thoughtful husband, "What would you like for Christmas?" She responded, "A DNA kit (or two), of course!" And so began the adventure back in December 2015. For Christmas last year, I was given two types of DNA tests:
  1. Autosomal DNA (atDNA) testing - goes back about 5 generations
  2. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing - mother's line (mother's mother's mother's mother, etc.)
After putting off the cheek-swab test for no particular reason at all, I finally swabbed both cheeks and sent of my saliva to somewhere in Texas to the Family Tree DNA company. Thanks to my fellow genies for their encouragement to take the step to get my DNA tested and for their information about the whole process. Special thanks to Ros Elcott for her interview with me on my Genies Down Under podcast.

Now, here are the mystical bits ... a few weeks back on the day before Mother's Day, we took my lovely Mum out for dinner. I was planning to tell Mum about the results of my mitochondrial DNA test over dinner. After all, my DNA is her DNA. However, the restaurant was too noisy, so I delayed telling her for the timebeing. After dinner we decided to find somewhere that sold ice cream or gelato. A quick search on Google found Bellingen Gelato at 688 Darling St, Rozelle, not that far from where we had dinner. So, this is where we ended up after dinner.

Source: Google Maps, 23 May 2016

The address of this place was significant. As we stood outside the gelato shop at 688 Darling St, Rozelle, Mum and I looked up at the little windows of the place just next door, at 692 Darling St and reminded each other how this was the place where her great-grandmother/ my great-great grandmother, Catherine CARRICK (nee HIGGINS), lived with her husband, Thomas CARRICK, back in the 1890s and early 1900s (see red circles below).

Source: Google Streetview, 23 May 2016

Catherine CARRICK (nee HIGGINS), 1836-1904

A few pieces of evidence found through my family history research place the CARRICKs at this address.

Excerpt from 1901 Census of Darling St, Balmain (Rozelle), 
showing the CARRICK family living at 692 Darling St

Thomas CARRICK's funeral notice, 1901, mentions his address:
692 Darling St, Rozelle, Balmain West

Just around the corner from 692 Darling St, my mother's grandmother/ my great-grandmother, Catherine KINGSBURY (nee CARRICK), gave birth to my mother's mother/ my grandmother, at 10 Red Lion St. This address is a two minute walk away from where we standing.

Source: Google Maps, 23 May 2016

Catherine KINGSBURY (nee CARRICK), 1877-1912

Lily WALTERS (nee KINGSBURY), 1902-1996

The gelato shop was full; there wasn't a spare seat in the shop. So, we sat outside on a bench and I told Mum about my/her DNA results. It was serendipitous. I was sitting with my Mum, less than 200m from where her Mum was born, and just a few steps away from the places where my great-grandmother and my great-great grandmother lived, after they migrated to Australia from Tuam, County Galway in Ireland.

Of all the places we could have ended up that night, I doubt there was a better place in all of Sydney to share my mitochondrial DNA results with my Mum. Five generations of maternal history in one little part of Sydney.

The results? Well, that's another story for another blogpost.

Zero kids - A blogpost I almost didn't write

As part of the Blogging A-Z Challenge in April 2016, I wanted to write this blog for my final Z blogpost but didn't feel brave enough to click the "Publish" button. Now, a few days later, I am taking the leap to publish this post because I do feel quite strongly about the idea of a family historian with zero kids.

Sometimes people without kids, like me, worry about how their many years of family history research will be saved or thrown away.

So, if you don't have kids but you are your family's archivist, or one of them, here is my ABCD of a few things you can do ...

A - Author a book or two and contribute a copy to the NLA

B - Blog about it, of course:)

C - Choose a relative as a caretaker of your research

D - Donate to a local or national genealogical society

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy Birthday to my Dear Old Dad, Carew Joseph Trevor NORTHCOTE

Today would have been my Dear Old Dad's 84th birthday. He died too young at the age of 70. Dad was an inspiration for my family history research and he started much of the research I am working on today.

Carew Joseph Trevor NORTHCOTE
1 May 1932 - 17 July 2002

Much missed and never forgotten by his family and friends.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Summary: Blogging from A-Z Challenge

This is the first A-Z genie challenge that I actually finished, the Blogging from A-Z Challenge (April 2016)

If you're interested in reading a few stories about the quirky antics of my ancestors, here is a collection of 26 blogposts to choose from:

A is for Aloysius
B is for Bankruptcy in Bourke
C is for Chameleon
D is for droves of diverse ancestors
E is for elegant and ever-so-cheeky
F is for Five Dock
G is for the giant cabbage of Gulgong
H is for hats, quirky hats
I is for interesting
J is for journey of a lifetime
K is for Kennealy and Kelly
L is for love in the graveyard
M is for a magazine reunion
N is for Nevertire
O is for O'Reilly and O'Riley
P is for pins in the feet as a wake-up call
Q is for quarrying in Paradise, Purgatory and Hellhole
R is for riding from Bourke to Sydney
S is for strange occupations
T is for tram conductress
U is for up a shark's ^!@%
V is for Victa lawnmower
W is for wild Irish hair
X is for a couple of X-chromosomes
Y is for Ysciefiog
Z is for zzzZZZzzz and letting sleeping beds lie

The twenty-sixth step in my A-Z of quirky ancestor antics - Z is for zzzZZZzzz and letting sleeping beds lie

I was stumped for what to include in this final post for the A-Z Blogging Challenge. So, I resorted to the Macquarie Concise Dictionary (1998, edited by A. Delbridge and J. Bernard) for some ideas. On the final page of z words, I found a definition for zzz which is described as "a conventional representation of sleep or the sound of snoring, used especially by cartoonists" (p. 1376).

So, this is quirky ancestor story I have about Z, zzz and an old bed.

Z is for zzzZZZzzz  and letting sleeping beds lie.

During the late 1890s and the early to mid 1900s, many of my maternal grandmother's family members lived in a few different houses on Renwick St in Drummoyne, a suburb of Sydney. The story goes that, when the family needed to do a bit of cleaning up, they decided to throw out a load of old furniture they no longer wanted, including an old iron bed. At the time, it must have been difficult to get rid of big household rubbish, like old bits of furniture.

Source: (Creative Commons licence)

Instead of removing the rubbish from the premises and taking it to the local tip, they decided to bury it all instead, including an entire iron bed.

So, if you live somewhere on Renwick Street, Drummoyne in Sydney, you may not have to dig too deep in the backyard to find an old iron bedhead

Source: (Creative Commons licence)

Thanks for following my posts in the April 2016 A-Z Blogging Challenge and thanks for your comments.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The twenty-fifth step in my A-Z of quirky ancestor antics - Y is for Ysciefiog

This is the quirky name of a small rural town in the County of Flint in Wales. According to Wikipedia, the word "Ysciefiog" means "a place where elder trees grow". My great-grandfather was born there mid-summer on 11 June 1867, as shown on his birth certificate:

James Walter KINGSBURY with daughter, Essie
About 1894

A few photos taken by me when I visited the town in June 2012.