Friday, 27 March 2015

Congress 2015 - first day.

Well I've survived the first day of presentation after presentation. My head is spinning with new ideas and can't wait to get home and try them out AND this is only the first day.
Yes Canberra put on a cold Autumn day but once inside the Convention Centre the temperature rose. All those keen genealogists were hard at conversations and then hurrying to their chosen talk. My choices were  What can I find using eRecords by Cora  Num, Buried Treasure: What's in the English Parish Chest by Paul Milner, Family Search: Future and Vision by David Rencher and Not just the facts, Ma'am, give me the big picture by Colleen Fitzpatrick.
Unfortunately Cora was not able to be present to give her talk live as was intended but with the use of technology we had her recorded talk from her home. Great use of technology saved the day. Need some sleep now to be able to keep up the pace.
Bring on the rest of the Congress.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Life of Mary Ann Holmes

One of my many family relatives has kindly written about my great great grandmother Mary Ann Holmes( nee Throup) and given me permission to publish it here.
Here is what Margaret Roberts wrote .


Researching and organising the 145th anniversary of the arrival in Australia of my great grandparents, John and Mary Ann Holmes, made me wish they had written the story of their life’s journey, especially Mary Ann.  The laying of a wreath of Australian wildflowers on her gravestone at Allora Cemetery on the 120th anniversary of her death caused me to wonder about her life’s passage.  Her life must have been so harsh and sad at times.  Were there happy times?  I am sure there must have been - laughter following tears; excitement and exhilaration at setting out from Liverpool to cross the world with a husband, two young children and all her worldly possessions to the unknown  town of Allora on the Darling Downs in what was then New South Wales.  I wish Mary Ann had written her story.  No doubt she was too busy rearing 13 children and so in the absence of her autobiography I am prompted to write an account of her life.

Mary Anne Throup was born in Silsden, Yorkshire in 1834 and was christened on 9 February, 1834.  Her father, Jonas Throup and her mother Hannah (nee Jackson) were both 28 years old.  Mary met and fell in love with John Holmes, 16 months her senior.  Mary fell pregnant to John when she was just 18 years of age.  Their wedding followed on 10th May 1852 in the church at Bingley, Yorkshire. 

John and Mary’s first two children were born in Keighley, Yorkshire – Isaac in October, 1852 and Joseph in late 1854. 

The decision was made to travel to live in Australia and the family of four departed Liverpool on the SS “Matoaka” leaving on 21st February, 1855 and arriving Sydney on 17th May, 1855.  The immigration records list that John was a sawyer and could read and write.  Mary could read only.  (Maybe that is why she didn’t write her memoirs.)  They paid five pounds under the Assisted Immigration Act.  I guess that made them “five pound Poms”.  It must have been a sad journey for Mary as Joseph died on the trip being only 18 weeks of age.  They made their home in Sydney.  Castle Hill was their abode when their third child William was born on 18 February, 1856 and christened on 12th June, 1856.  Their fourth child, John was born during 1858 at Pennant Hills, Sydney.  They left Sydney sometime after that and John carried on a business as a sawyer in the Hawkesbury River District.  Was John one of the many “Cedar Cutters” who devastated the east coast of Australia of the cedar trees?  Red cedar was by far the most valuable of the timbers in the brush lands of the coastal districts of N.S.W.  The cedars were magnificent trees, frequently four or five feet or more in diameter, towering over the other trees and entangled in vines which had to be cut away before the trees could be felled.

It is not known how long it took for the family of five to travel overland to Queensland but John went to work as a sawyer at Goomburra Station some 20 kilometres from Warwick, Queensland.  It was his boast that one of the first cedar logs cut in these ranges was floated downstream by him when the Dalrymple Creek was in flood.  It must have been a big flood because it is a pretty scrawny creek.  Mary gave birth to her fifth child, Samuel, in Warwick on 11th April, 1860.  David arrived some two years later on 17th June, 1862.  Tragedy struck about this time.  In 1862 the three sons of John and Mary, Isaac, William and John, attended the school conducted in a tent by Mrs. James Gwynne.  A shilling per week was paid for each child for tuition.  In the lunch hour break on 20th October, 1862, the three boys arrived home from school and as the mid-day meal wasn’t ready Mary gave them each a slice of bread and butter and told them to play until they were called.  The trio went down to the creek.  Johnny, only four and a half, fell in and was struggling when the two others raced home for help.  Assistance came immediately but the body wasn’t found for some time.  The burial was held on the 22nd October in the grounds of the Church of England at the rear of the present rectory in Allora.  The grave was unmarked but on 16 July, 2001, a memorial to John Holmes was placed in the rose garden at St David’s Church, Allora.  This memorial was made possible from generous donations from the members of the Holmes family during the reunion in April 2000 and afterwards.  One of Mary Ann and John’s granddaughters, Thelma Kerr aged 86, was present at the ceremony.

Finally on the 6th May, 1866 after seven sons Mary gave birth to a girl child naming her Mary Ann.  That must have brought so much joy to Mary, but sadly tragedy struck once more for Mary as her only daughter died on 9th February, 1867.  She was only nine months old.  Who did Mary turn to for solace?

Mary went on to bear more sons – Benjamin in 1867 and Thomas in 1870.  Mary’s second eldest son, William, who was only fourteen died in 1870.  It is reported that he was killed by either a stone or cricket ball.  More grieving for poor Mary.

The big family continued to grow however with Jacob arriving in 1872, Esau in 1874 and finally, to Mary’s delight, another girl, Hannah Blanche, was born.  Alas, Mary had only three years of love and joy with Hannah as Mary died in April 1880 and was buried in Allora Cemetery.

Was Mary happy with her life’s passage?  No one will ever know.  Mary had her first child at 18 years of age in Yorkshire and had a child every two or so years until she was forty-three and died when she was forty-six having seen the death of four of her children and leaving her three year old daughter. 

Mary lives on in her many descendants.  When constructing the family tree for the 2000 reunion I was able to trace 1800 descendants from this couple, John and Mary Ann Holmes.  There were many that I missed but what a wonderful effort from our two ancestors who helped in no small way to “grow”Australia.
Margaret Roberts
January 2015  

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Congress 2015- Canberra-my first Congress

Having watched GeniAus and others on the hangout the other night I'm certainly getting excited. However I'm not just "doing" the Congress.
I'm definitely counting down as I leave this weekend.  I'm arriving early so I can catch up with members of the family I haven't seen for many years. An aunt and  a cousin have lived in Canberra for a long time and I haven't been to Canberra since 1991so it will be good to catch up with them too.
Via MyHeritage I've linked up with another cousin who organised a family reunion for my Mother's mother's family in 2000 and she had managed to get 600 to Pittsworth, Queensland for that. I'm able to stay with her before the Congress- many late nights comparing notes I'm sure. When it starts I'm moving closer so I can walk as I too think that sitting all day I'll need to get some exercise. It will be great to meet up with all the bloggers I've been following.  Some of the ones on the hangout tried to say they were shy but they all managed to talk on the Hangout OK. Me-well I'm still too timid to go live on a hangout so I don't class them as shy.
As a Queenslander I'm watching the temperatures in Canberra. Didn't like the look of some of the  morning's minima-6 degrees. That is about the coldest morning in Brisbane in the Winter.  When you see someone wearing a sweater that'll be me as I don't like cold weather.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Great Grandpa answers a request of his grandson Robin

Uncle Robin was invited to dinner at my mother's home when we were home one weekend. I had asked him if he had any family items that he could share with me.
He duly arrived with an arm full of "goodies"
As a 12 year old he had asked his grandfather Lionel Edgar to write some poems for him. So I'm now publishing transcriptions of his hand written "poems" for him 59 years on. I hope he can know that I'm doing this for him and that he is now in print.

Lionel Edgar and Louisa Rebecca Laws
May 19 1946
Random Rhyme
Take my advice

My Grandson Robin is a great little bird
He has sent me a special request
Write me a poem his voice it is heard
Before you pass out to the West

Write me a poem before it's too late
The last day to us all it must come
Write me a poem at seventy-eight
Signed Robin your loving grandson

I now pen a few lines of good advice
To help you through life's long span
Well move your fingers like galloping mice
As correct and as fast as you can

Over the keyboard with ivory notes
I've no doubt you'll create a record
As over the air a melody floats
Robin Laws on one of his many trips
When judged by a "Musical Board"

Be honest and truthful whatever your lot
Take care to select a good wife
Remember that once you were in a cot
Smile at setbacks, trouble and strife

Ever with a heart that is brave and true
Be it work, cricket, football or fight
Do what your hands find to do
And do it with all your might.

Be sure to grow up a model young man
Some day you might even gaze on a daughter
Eschew strong drink make it your plan
To quench your thirst by drinking cold water

Act on the proverb that relates to a stitch
Be prompt and smart at your job
Don't say this jolly thing gives me the itch
Or you'll continue as one of a mob

Please accept your Grandpa's good wishes
As a pansy might say to a rose
Breathe in the fresh air as your form it enriches

Where we'll end up only God knows

Grandpa Laws

Of course I doubt that any publisher would think this worthy of publication but as I didn't know Great Grandpa Laws I thoroughly enjoyed his words of wisdom. Sadly for Uncle Robin he didn't marry so he couldn't gaze on a daughter but spoilt lots of his nieces. He certainly played the piano and organ and sang in choirs.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Is this James Bruton Shearmur and his wife Eliza?

Photographers for this one were H & J Reed  in Tottenham Court Rd from 1872 to 1903. (1)

James William B. Shearmur was born in Mile End Old Town in about 1874 son of James Bruton Shearmur and Eliza Mabbett.
Although James Bruton Shearmur was in Gloucestershire for both the 1871 and 1881 census it looks like he took a trip to London. James Bruton and his wife Eliza Mabbett were not married until 1876 in Dursley, Gloucestershire so perhaps they were in London for the birth of the baby.
From the woman's dress looks like it is an 1870's dress.
As most of the Shearmur's were in Gloucestershire except for Arlette who would have been at least 34. I think the woman in this photo is younger than that so I would like to say this couple is James Bruton Shearmur and Eliza Mabbett but am open to suggestions as to the identity of this couple.
Isn't it fun trying to work out who is in the photos.
Anyone out there who can verify the identity please?

(1) More information about the photographer

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Georgina's book of poems-Forget me Not

As I hunt through the things my mother has kept for many years I find lots of treasures that have been handed down through the family. I obviously came from a family of hoarders. My husband would probably say I was the best hoarder of them all.

This little book to me was just a little book.
Then I discovered the name inscribed inside the cover-Georgina Naish,  Allora- my great great grandma.

I then took note of the date of publication. The book was printed in Edinburgh in 1846. I couldn't believe my eyes- yes 1846.

Then I turned the page to the contents page(or rather pages). I've only put the first page here  but there are 4 pages of the contents. This little book had 254 pages. Sadly the last two pages have not stood the test of time( or probably children)

Here is page 4 of the contents page. The theme of the poems is Forget Me Not. One can only surmise but perhaps this was given to Georgina when she left home in 1864. What a lovely little book this is.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Naish Family in Australia

William and Georgina Naish had 12 children.
Thomas William b 1866
Georgina Jane b 1869
Elizabeth Mary  b  1871-my great grandmother
Amy Louisa b  1873
Charles David b 1874
Albert Bruton b  1875
Alfred James b  1877
George  b 1879
Emily Agnes b  1881
Ethel b 1883 d 1883
Edith Victoria b 1884 d 1884
Joseph Henry b  1886

The photos here are all taken by Albert Lomer, Queen St Brisbane Queensland and he was in business from 1874 to 1900.(1)   With such a wide date range I am not sure how I can work out which is which. So here is my thoughts so far.

Daughter aged about 12

Daughter aged about 8

 Now I have the 3 boys

Son about 11, maybe

son about 10,  maybe.
Son about  8, maybe.
These photos continue to both intrigue and frustrate me. There is such a collection of them and no one seems to know who they are.
Would love to hear from someone who might be able to enlighten me.