Two of Us

I love this school project that has captured some priceless family history memories of my parents, but even more the joy we have had talking and laughing about the stories they have shared and how it all came together, (with some typing and editing by Mum).

I give you Mum and Dad xxx

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The burning scrub

As I drive home in the evenings during winter, glimpsing small wisps of smoke from paddock burnoffs, I am reminded of an article from the end of the nineteenth century by a pioneer narrator I read a few years ago. The description of the ‘hundreds of columns of smoke’ gives a hint of how the landscape looked then, quite different from now.

I often wish, as someone who lives in the area once known as “The Big Scrub”, that I could travel back a hundred or so years to see what it used to be like here. Before almost all of it was cut down and burned. Before some of my ancestors, described as pioneers, cleared the Big Scrub and established dairy farms. When the Indigenous people had no knowledge of Europeans.

This is the pioneer narrative.

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1885 ‘Byron Bay and District.’, The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 – 1912), 29 August, p. 447. , viewed 12 Jun 2018,



Voyage on the S.S. Euripides

I’m fortunate to have a collection of photographs of my ancestors on both sides of my family. I do wish though, that my lovely grandparents, great aunts and uncles were still around so I could quiz them about the people in those photos.

There is one photo I have looked at many times. It is of my great grandfather with a group of men and boys. It could be anywhere, there are no hints as to where they might be. On the back of the photo, however, y great grandfather has written the names of all the people and more importantly made this note, “S.S. Euripides Oct 1927”. It gave me exactly what I needed to find out more about this photo.

My great grandfather, Victor Rex SIMMONS sailed from England to Australia on the S.S. Euripides in September 1927 with my great grandmother Eliza and my grandmother Ruby. Victor was from Newrybar in Northern NSW and met his English wife Eliza when he travelled to England during World War I. (It helped that Victor’s sister and Eliza’s brother were already married and living back in Australia – an easy introduction into the family!). This was the second time that the family of three had travelled back to Australia, and this time they would stay.

Each time I have looked at this photo I have wondered what draws me to it. I think I see hope. Hope that these families will have more promising lives in Australia. I hope they did.

I have included the photo and a snapshot of the back of the photo with the names of the men and boys. I would love to hear from anyone who is descended from the people in this photo to see where their lives took them.


Passengers on the S.S. Euripides


The passengers’ names.

On the back of the photo are the following names*:

William Hemphill (40) Senior
William Hemphill (13) Junior
Malcolm Hemphill (12)

Walter Wardley (49)
Charlie (Charles) Wardley (10)

John Dutton (40)
William (Bill) Dutton (15)

& Yours truly
V.R. Simmons (in his lovely handwriting) (29)

*I have expanded on the notations on the back of the photo using the Passenger List (1) from the Euripides and included more details on names and ages.

(1) UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.



Trove Tuesday – Too cold for cricket?

I can’t tell you why I started thinking about cricket and my family history tonight, but as I did I decided it was time for a Trove Tuesday post, or any post for that matter as it has been a while.

I grew up with cricket. Every Saturday in summer, in Grafton where you really should be at the beach because it is so stinking hot, my sister and I used to hang out watching Dad play cricket. My fondest memories are of him hitting sixes, (which very recently he told me never happened because he was actually a bowler), and of my sister and I doing crazy jumps off the swings in the park and stealing huge blocks of ice from the locker rooms, (we must have been too young to steal the beer that would also been there!).

So with crazy, mixed-up memories of my life growing up with cricket that I need to sort out – thanks Dad! I thought I would dig into the past and see if anyone in Dad’s family from the Booyong/Pearce’s Creek area is recorded as playing a Bangalow team. They are of course, and as I searched I started to remember many conversations between Dad and my grandfather when he was alive about various family members and their cricketing adventures. There is also a very well-researched local/family history book ‘Clunes to Caribbean’ by Hugh Gallagher, 2001, that details many matches and players of the local area when cricket was a major part of the community.

I found this article that mentions various names connected to my family at Booyong in 1927 – Pearson, Kirkland and Trimble – and they are just the ones connected by marriage. I can see from the results of my search there are many similar articles but I like this one because it has so many familiar names.

1927 'CRICKET', Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954), 6 October, p. 2. , viewed 17 May 2016,

1927 ‘CRICKET’, Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 – 1954), 6 October, p. 2. , viewed 17 May 2016,

My two children are nearly old enough and are as keen as mustard to get out and give cricket a go. Even though it goes against family history, I think they will play for Bangalow.

Trove Tuesday: Juan and Julia Rocks…or Julian Rocks?

There is a bunch of iconic, to both locals and tourists, rocks off Byron Bay called Julian Rocks. A few years ago, on a study excursion to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, I heard the story about the rocks originally being called the Juan and Julia Rocks. It seems that the discussion over the origin of the naming of these rocks has been going on for a while. This article is only one in a series.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 9.45.37 PM“NORTHEAST CORNER.” Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 – 1954) 17 Oct 1953: 4. Web. 19 Jan 2016 <;.

He didn’t swim. David John Smede, shipwrecked apprentice or something else?

I recently started the UTAS unit HAA003 Introduction to Family History after a spur of the moment decision to do so. I had read about it, mainly on Facebook, and talked to someone who had done it and found it very useful so when it popped up in an Inside History article I was reading I decided to sign myself up.

The main reason I am doing this unit, (I worked this out two weeks later when I actually realised what I had done), was to structure and organise my research. Not better than how I do now, just at all. Since starting my family history research I have made some wonderful discoveries, however I have not followed any plans or structure, which really means I have discovered things that are pretty easy to find, ie., on Ancestry, FMP, FamilySearch etc. I hoped the UTAS unit would help me focus and structure my research, and it has.

The main assessment task for this unit is to undertake a Research Plan. Pose your question and endeavour to answer it. So the first difficult part was to work out which ancestor and problem I was going to investigate. This took me two weeks to decide, you don’t need the details, and I settled on my great great grandfather, David John SMEDE/SMEDES. Why did I choose him? I like his photo. There is something about him that makes me wish I had known him.

David John SMEDE

David John SMEDE

I also chose him because I have been unable to discover how and when he arrived in Australia. David John SMEDES, sometimes also known as John David SMEDES, was born in Spitalfields, England in 1847. Before starting this unit, I had traced David through his birth certificate and UK Census records in 1851 and 1861, however after the 1861 Census I could find no mention of him until his marriage to Catherine PICKETT in Rylstone, NSW, AUS in 1870. Nine years were unaccounted for, although quite obviously at some point during that time he made his way to Australia. I searched all available record sets and indexes of records covering immigration to Australia for those years but I could not find him as an assisted or unassisted passenger, or as a convict – which would have been unlikely considering it was at the end of the transportation years, but still worth checking. I also tried Trove, searching passenger lists hoping that his name would appear on one of those. I drew another blank, so I shelved him for a while before I got too frustrated.

Discovering the details of David’s arrival in Australia was an easy choice to make when selecting a research problem, although I actually had very little hope of discovering new information. Luckily I was wrong.

I began by looking at everything I had already found out about David and finished entering the details into a timeline. This clearly showed that there was a nine year gap in my knowledge of his movements. The last record I had for him in England was as a 14 year old book binders apprentice in the 1861 UK Census. The next time I had located him was his wedding, as mentioned above. It is no coincidence that he appeared in the Rylstone district as his older brother, also sometimes called John, was already living there.

I decided to focus on apprenticeship records in the UK. I spent some time going through the National Archives and London Metropolitan Archives websites, hoping they had collections of records that would be useful. I read through relevant help sheets to try and pinpoint which records and made a note of the ones I thought I would try and follow up on somehow. None of them are digitised, so my options are few. Then I decided to try Ancestry, using the access I had as part of this course. I searched the Card Catalogue for ‘apprentice*’ and found a number of databases that were worth searching. One in particular caught my eye, it had NEW next to it. It was the UK Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy 1824-1901. I searched for SMEDES, not really expecting anything and almost feel off my chair when John David SMEDES turned up as an apprentice on the vessel the Troar, indentured in June 1863. OMG!

I was a tad excited and thought I would try a quick Google search to see if I could find anything out about the ship. I put Troar into Google and disappointingly didn’t find anything about a ship. So I did what I should have done first and I actually sat down and looked at the image of the record itself rather than the indexing that was on Ancestry. The image showed me many other details about his apprenticeship. David, (I’m defaulting to calling him David because that is what he was known as after he arrived in Australia. I believe this name switch probably happened because his older brother was also John and two of them living in the same district would have been confusing), was indentured on 2 June 1863 for four years on the ship Troar. The Captain’s name was C.B. Dasborough and the port that the ship came from appeared to be Sunderland. I put Dasborough, Sunderland and Troar into Google and found…the ship was actually called Troas, not Troar. Looking at the image of the record, I could see how easy it would be for the transcription error to have occurred. The ‘s’ on the end of the name looks a lot like an ‘r’, particularly as the writing is very small.

This was a great lesson for me, because without the name of the Captain and home port I probably wouldn’t have found anything about the ship, searching as I was on the wrong name. I found an image of the ship itself on the Royal Museums Greenwich website which gave me some more information about the ship and where it seemed to have sailed. Having no experience with searching for maritime records I wasn’t really sure what to do next, so tried the National Archives website again. I found it hard trying to pinpoint records that would be useful, I’m sure they are there I just didn’t really know what I was looking for and do need to go back and ask for some advice next time. At this point I kind of gave up and decided to go local and contact the local records office in Sunderland. I found the Sunderland City Council Local Studies Centre website and emailed them, briefly explaining what I was looking for, the time period and asked them if they held any crew lists or shipping records regarding ship voyages.

The Local Studies Centre emailed me the next day to say that there were actually two ships by that name that were built in Sunderland and that they didn’t think it would be the first one I was interested in because it had been wrecked off the coast of Australia in 1865. What?? Now things were getting interesting. Could David have been a crew member on the ship at that time when it was wrecked and this is how he ended up in Australia? I emailed them back and told them I thought it was the first ship I was looking for, primarily because he had been indentured to it in 1863, only two years earlier, and it was for a period of four years which would mean he should have still been an apprentice on it.  The wonderful person at the Local Studies Centre, who remained nameless, emailed me a selection of records, newspaper articles and entries from Lloyd’s Lists relevant to the Troas that was built in 1856. There was enough information there to help me begin searching for records about how the ship was wrecked in May 1865.

My first stop was TROVE to try and find some articles (tagged in TROVE) to give me some background about the shipwreck. The story in a nutshell was that the ship had pulled in to Port Adelaide at the beginning of May, sailed east a week or so later and was wrecked near Rivoli Bay, on the Limestone Coast of South Australia, with no lives lost thankfully. It seems that the crew were able to make it ashore and walked inland for a number of miles to a homestead where they were well looked after by the owners and the Captain was able to send a telegraph the next day about the ship wreck. I was finding this incredibly exciting thinking I had mostly likely found that David arrived in Australia because he had been shipwrecked. Because he could hardly sail back to England if the ship was destroyed, could he?

What to do next? Of course I wanted to find out now, but it doesn’t always work like that – especially when the records you probably need to look at are nowhere near where you are. (Usually the case for me!). I looked again that the NAA to see if there were any guides that would help me locate crew or shipping records for South Australia around 1865. I found one, South Australian Maritime Records – Fact Sheet 260, that listed a number of records that I thought would be worth a look…whenever I managed to go to an archive that held them. Looking around a little more on the website I saw the link Ask us a question and thought, ‘Why not?’. They might at the very least be able to tell me if they thought those records could be useful and after my success with asking the Sunderland City Council Local Studies Centre for help, I decided it was worth an email.

My email was short and contained David’s name, common alternative name, ship name, and relevant dates to do with his apprenticeship and the wreck of the Troas. I also listed three sets of records that I thought I would check if I had access to them:

  • Series no.: D3, Title: Register of ships crew (British and foreign ships) discharged at Port Adelaide
  • Series no.: A7509, Title: Register of British Ships: Main Register subsequent to Merchant Shipping Act 1854, Port Adelaide
  • Series no.: D6, Title: Registers of ships crew deserted at Port Adelaide from British and foreign ships

Off my email went and I received an automatic reply stating that they aimed to respond to inquiries within 5 working days. I would just have to be patient. Not easy when I had gotten so excited about finally, I hoped, tracking down how and when David arrived in Australia.

I got a huge surprise only two hours later when an email appeared from the NAA. What did it say? Well not exactly what I expected. It seems that my ancestor fortuitously deserted the Troas when it docked at Port Adelaide on 1 May 1865. The entry in the D6, Title: Registers of ships crew deserted at Port Adelaide from British and foreign ships states: Name: J D Smedes, Designation: Apprentice, Desertion: May 1, 1865, Ship: Troas, Master: Desborough. There was the answer to my research question, David arrived in Australia by ship, the Troas as an indentured apprentice, and deserted the same ship in Port Adelaide, SA on 1 May 1865. I was very excited, for the most part excited that by using the skills I had been learning in the UTAS unit I had actually made more progress in six weeks on a mystery than I had in the previous 4 years! It would appear that being focused and structured in your research, opening up your mind to different sources and places to find records, can make an enormous difference to your research. I would recommend it to anyone who would like to improve their genealogical research and organisational skills.

Now, however, I don’t know where David was between May 1865 and when he was married in September 1870. I also don’t know how he got from Port Adelaide to Rylstone, NSW where he settled for the rest of his life.

Luckily there is always another mystery to solve.

Photographic resource for Queensland-enlisted WWI soldiers

I have been doing some research into a WWI soldier for the 2015 Trans-Tasman Anzac Day Blog Challenge put together by Auckland Libraries and the Kintalk blog.

My research on this soldier is not complete, need to get a wriggle on, but I had to share a (new to me) resource on WWI soldiers from Queensland.

None of my military ancestors are actually from Queensland, however, because many of them lived in Northern NSW near the Queensland border a number of them enlisted in Queensland. One of those was Milton Simmons who I have blogged about before for the inaugural ANZAC challenge.

I have been researching a soldier who is unrelated to me, but one who went to the school my grandmother went to and the one my children now attend, and as I was searching for photographs of him in TROVE I found one of him and the source is as follows, ‘one of the soldiers photographed in The Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 1914.’

So in my true fashion, I went off on a tangent searching for a photograph of Milton Simmons – yes, I need to be more focused! But, I found him. Well at least I think I did. I need to look more carefully at the fuzzy image I already have of him and see how they compare. The photo does mention his Battalion, the 26th, so I think it really could be him.

The Queenslander, State Library of Queensland

The Queenslander, State Library of Queensland

The real purpose of this blog though is to note this fantastic resource for anyone who might be trying to find photographs of their WWI soldiers who enlisted in Queensland. You  may find them via TROVE, but you should also search directly in the State Library of Queensland’s catalogue One Search for these photographs from The Queenslander.  When searching, enter the surname of the person you are searching for, not their given names, and also enter the word soldiers, this should give you a good change of finding your soldier if there is a photo of him.

I have tried searching before on TROVE for photos of Milton Simmons but had no luck, mainly due to the commonality of his surname and I would also have used his given name. These photographs do not include given names so there is very little chance I would have found him without being able to search the State Library of QLD’s collection. Always great to have more than one place to search.

They are still digitising these photos, so if you don’t find your soldier the first time, don’t give up. Try again!

Days 3 and 4 of Congress 2015

I had intended to do a post describing each day of Congress, but lost my way when we went out for dinner with the the Kiva group on Sunday night and I was too exhausted by the time we got home to blog. And then I arrived home and was introduced again to reality. So in order to wrap up what I learnt and keep a record for myself, I am going to do one post for the final two days of Congress.

Day 3’s keynote address was by Michael McKernan and he talked writing and war from the home front. Charles Bean featured in this talk and I discovered a number of things I didn’t know such as, there are the names of 8,000 individuals included in Charles Bean’s Official Histories of WWI. I also did not know that the first ‘dog tags’ for soldiers were made of leather and therefore perished and made identification of bodies much harder than the later, metal versions. I enjoyed Michael’s talk because it gave me new insights into war from the home front, and sources to look for to explore this better, as well as people such as Charles Bean who wrote about it during and afterwards.

The next talk I attended was by Kerry Farmer and was on Migration schemes to Australia. I learnt so much from Kerry’s talk and have bought her new book via Unlock the Past so I can keep learning. In her presentation Kerry took us through various immigration schemes and how to find out more about them and if your ancestors were involved. It has given me so many more places to look for my ‘swimmers’, the Immigration Board interviews when immigrants landed in NSW is one record set in particular I need to check out at SRNSW. Kerry has some handy information on immigration on her website. So either take a look at that or buy her new book.

David Rencher’s session on Interpreting and evaluating name lists from Ireland. This was quite and amazing session as far as the amount of information was concerned. David suggested a number of Census substitutes, many of which we had heard about in a previous session, but then he moved on to explain how to evaluate them to obtain useful information from them. It was a hands on session with examples of name lists on our seats that we examined towards the end. It was a great exercise to challenge our brains and actually show us what we could possibly glean from these types of records.

I went to Cora Num’s session next on mapping our families and discovered some new resources I will have to try out. I was particularly interested in the search she showed within the Discovering Ancestors website where you can search on a locality to see what soldiers enlisted from a certain area. This link will take you to that specific search. I did a search based on my local area, and what was interesting was that it gave me quite a different set of results to that which we had found recently by using Honour Rolls/Boards and the AIF Project website. It just confirms you usually need to check more than one source.

I had been looking forward to the next keynote address, by Grace Karstens, ever since I discovered she would be at Congress. Her talk about a book she is currently writing on the Castlereagh area, north-west of Sydney was entertaining and fascinating. The relationships within the small and isolated settlement were complicated and intriguing. I look forward to being about to buy a copy.

The next session was by Pauleen Cass on blogging one place studies. I was interested to find out more about what is involved in a one place study, not so much about blogging it, but more about a one place study itself. This session tied in somewhat to Pauleen’s previous session about linking family and local history together, if you want to add context to your ancestors’ lives then you need to research the local area they lived in. Pauleen ran slightly ahead in time in her presentation which proved to be a positive because it allowed quite a few items to be discussed, particularly about blogging. Pauleen’s session made me think that I would love to do a one place study for one of my ancestor’s localities, probably Booyong/Pearce’s Creek in Northern NSW, however I would need to clone myself – one of Pauleen’s suggestions!

Another David Rencher session was next on the list. David was so informative I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see him again. Again I learnt a great deal about resources you could seek and search for information about your Irish ancestors. I will save details about this for another post.

That wrapped up Sunday’s Congress proceedings. Then it was off to dinner with a lovely group of geneablogger friends and Mum. :)

The keynote address on Day 4 was given by David Holman. It was a very light-hearted and funny talk about surnames, occupations and other interesting information gleaned from BMD and Census records. One of the funniest examples David gave was the marriage between Lottie Large and Francis Butt in 1914, which if Lottie hyphenated her surname would have made her Lottie Large-Butt. That was only an if, by the way…

Feeling more awake by now, I was interested to hear what Tim Sherratt from TROVE had to say. We all know and love TROVE, particularly the digitised newspapers, and as a librarian I would like to think I know how to efficiently search for my ancestors. However, you can always learn something, and I learnt that TROVE has become a platform for many historical projects, some of which Tim said the TROVE team had not even envisaged! Tim also mentioned that the NSW Govt Gazette is currently being digitised, exciting, and will be interesting to see how it differs to what is offered on FMP.

The next session I attended was by Carole Riley and was on finding NSW house and land records. I was keen to learn more about this because I am in NSW, most of my ancestors in Australia lived and were from NSW and I don’t really know anyone locally who can teach me how to do this kind of research. Carole stepped us through how to locate a property when you know the street address and then you can trace back through ownership. I think I will use my old family home as an experiment to see how I go.

Colleen Fitzpatrick’s session on six degrees of separation was next and it was very interesting. Colleen, with amusing anecdotes, stepped through how you can try and locate people through various records. I was starting to think that I might be good at this type of detective work when I realised that you also have to knock on doors and cold-call people – not something I am comfortable doing, so back to the drawing board!

The last keynote of Congress was one from Cora Num on digitised newspapers. Again this gave me a number of sites to explore, including, a current online newspapers website that is a great complement to TROVE, the Ryerson Index and eResources from SLNSW.

The last session I attended was the Panel Session, chaired very well and entertainingly (is that a word??), by Jill Ball. There was some pertinent discussion from the Panel, David Holman, Carole Riley and Joshua Taylor, about family history societies and how they can attract, retain, engage and remain relevant in with all the changes occurring. Comments from the audience were interesting, particularly one lady who said she saw no need for using social media to connect with other family history researchers. My take on that is completely different because I don’t live in a city with a society that has a large number of members, so I actually connected with fellow genies first via Twitter and blogging. Through this I have been introduced to the world of societies, for which I am very grateful, but would also not know as much about without connecting first with other genies online. Maybe traditionally back-to-front, but I’m happy.

After this wonderful download of all things genealogy and family history, Shelley, Mum and I indulged in a spot of shopping, and I am now the proud owner of a puffy jacket from Zara that I will probably never need to wear in Bangalow, even during our winter. Maybe I need to visit Canberra again!

Day 2 of Congress 2015

I thought yesterday was full and then ran into today. 

Unfortunately I missed this morning’s Keynote by Joshua Taylor from Find My Past because I was a little late waking up (no young children equals sleeping until 7am – yay!) and then went in search of a good coffee.

The first session I attended was Pauleen Cass’s on ‘The marriage of local and family history’. I loved her presentation because it just made so much sense! Local and family history are intrinsically linked, particularly when researching early communities which were small and had very little in the way of public infrastructure. Pauleen’s talk was a case study on a line of her own family at Murphy’s Creek which had me wishing my family had come from there because she has unearthed so many wonderful historical sources about them. Challenge for me…find the same for two of my lines who live in striking distance from where I do now. Pauleen gave me so many new ideas for sources to explore. The only negative was when Pauleen said something about moving the NSW/Qld border South to Ballina. We all know that would never happen!

Morning tea was next. Lots of happy chat with geneablogger mates as we enjoyed Jill’s happy and lively talk about genaeblogging. If you have thought about it but aren’t sure, do it! I think it is the best thing I have done, apart from dive into Twitter, because I have met so many wonderful people I would never have met before. Also, it is fab ‘cousin bait’ as Jill discussed. People, all of us, Google our ancestors names hoping to find something about them. What if you find someone’s blog who tells you exactly what you have been searching for, or has  documents or photos of your ancestors? You get completely excited doing a crazy dance and your partner thinks you are mad! Imagine this in reverse, if people start contacting you because they find your blog and you can exchange information. Give it a try. It isn’t hard and you only need to do it when you can. You will meet fantastic people!


Jill Ball on the wonders of geneablogging 

I went to Dr Richard Reid’s session next on ‘Stories of the Western Front’. I was particularly interested in Richard’s talk because my grandmother’s uncle was killed at Pozieres in 1916 and I hoped his talk would shed some light on the life, or death, soldiers experienced over there. It did. He did. I have so much more to explore now. I have already trawled through my ancestor’s war record and have read the anguish of his mother when he was listed as missing in action. (Tragically she died before they could confirm that he had in fact died.) Richard’s talk though has inspired me to research the wider context of the Battle of Pozieres using photographs, diaries, and I need to check the Roll ofHonour  Circular for my great great uncle, Milton Simmons, to see who spoke for him and what they wanted recorded about him. (As an aside, I visited the Australian War Memorial this evening and placed a poppy next to his name on the Honour Roll and experienced the Last Post Ceremony. What a treasure the AWM is for collecting, preserving and displaying our nation’s war time memories and experiences.) Richard’s emotive strand during his session was the Seabrook family, who had three brothers sign up and were sent off to fight on the Western Front. They were all killed and unsurprisingly their parents were shattered. Maybe surprising, but certainly disappointingly, their broken parents were offered no support, were actually refused support. The most heartbreaking moment was seeing their mother’s, Fanny Seabrook, portrait on the screen with a hole in it. It was a photograph of her that was retrieved from the body of one of her dead sons. The family does not know which one because they were all killed in a short space of time. Heartbreaking and giving context to those at home who lost so much.


A poppy for Milton Simmons at the Australian War Memorial

The next session I attended was given by David Rencher on ‘Irish census and census substitutes’. I was amazed at the alternatives David offered for researchers to go to when trying to track down Irish ancestors. Word of slight warning, they may still be fragmented and cover different/limited time periods, but are definitely worth exploring if you have Irish ancestors. There are too many to list here, but include sources such as:old age pensioners applications; tithe applotments; school records; survey maps; valuation lists; religious censuses; and directories. Much to follow up here too!

My last session for the day was Richard Reid’s keynote address on Irish Assisted Emigration to Australia. We were treated to a serenade by Patrick Corr, singing Galway Bay, as an introduction to Richard’s talk. Richard impressed upon us the importance of discovering the townland of your Irish ancestor, where you can, to help you discover so much more about them. He gave many tips on sources such as looking at the applications to emigrate to Australia – records which hold high levels of birth or baptismal dates. He also talked about finding out about your ancestor’s townland…more of that putting local context to your ancestor that Pauleen discussed earlier in the day. Richard also mentioned a source I have to follow up on, the British Parlimentary Reports on destitute people, because my Irish ancestors appeare to be just that. Richard, both times I saw him today, was a very engaging and knowledgeable speaker, and I very much enjoyed listening to him.

My afternoon and evening was spent with my Mum, exploring the War Memorial. The Vietnam Memorial for my Dad who served there and the new WWI exhibition for my ancestor Milton Simmons. We didn’t have enough time to visit the exhibits relating to our other ancestors who fought in WWII. For me, that will have to wait for another time.


The Last Post Ceremony at the Australia War Memorial this evening