Until last week, these two names had meant nothing to me. Hooper is a family name but my connection to these two was hitherto unknown. As I commented my last post, I had been chasing down a few of the cousin lines, filling in gaps here and there, when I discovered these two – Selina Hooper Hudson and her husband, Sydney Charles Scoble.
Selina is my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Selina’s second name, Hooper, was her mother’s maiden name and her first name, also the name of one her Hooper aunts.
It appears that Selina and her husband chose a life on the stage performing as Calland and Hooper. Their careers must have been well underway in the UK before they elected to move to Australia in 1924 where they were advertised as well known performers from the English variety circuit.
My searches for material regarding their career naturally turned to eBay as this was where I had had the most success in sourcing ephemera reflecting the career of Betty Stockfeld who, not surprisingly, is also a 1st cousin 1R of Selina’s.
eBay yielded results! I was not aware that sheet music often bore the names and likenesses of those who performed the works. My personal experience of sheet music certainly didn’t reflect this, so I was somewhat surprised to find a sheet music specialist in the UK had a copy of Hiawatha’s Melody for sale featuring the singers Calland and Hooper.
How delightful it was to put faces to those names:
My “Wordless Wednesday” post this week was one of my favourite pictures of my daughter and her husband. When I scheduled that post to appear, I was getting organised to head off to town to be near them both as it appeared that she was going to deliver her first baby early.
It was quite a funny feeling – this being my first grandchild. I wasn’t sure whether I was excited, nervous or what?
In some ways it’s a blessing that you can schedule posts in advance on this blogging platform, because that grandchild had arrived by Wednesday and, by then, I was far more interested in getting to meet her and to see that my daughter was okay rather than writing blog posts.
It was a joy and delight to be able to sit down to my computer (when the dust had settled a bit) and add a brand new name and another generation to the family tree on my genealogy software, Reunion.
Over the last week or so I have been catching up with some research and writing about one of my ‘famous’ ancestors, Betty Stockfeld. Betty was a stage and cinema actress with a career spanning over 40 years in the British and European industries.
Like many stars of stage and screen, her image found its way onto postcards, cigarette cards, into magazines and newspapers. Her name and image was used to promote cigarettes, alcohol, make up and health products as well as fashion. Many of her film reviews commented on her wardrobe rather than her capabilities as a performer.
This image appeared as part of a full page spread in 1932 promoting a new play ‘A Cold June‘ by Sir Arthur Pinero. Of note is the photographer: Dorothy Wilding. Wilding was a self taught portraitist of some note, especially for her work with the Royal Family. Unlike Queen Elizabeth II, Betty’s image as taken by Wilding never appeared on a postage stamp!
Wilding was known to be a popular photographer with women especially as she began to make a name for herself in the nude photography arena.
Another series of images taken by Wilding also appeared in The Tatler – but as Betty was semi naked in one of them, they won’t be shown here.
We have, at day one and a half, had several photo sessions trying to get all the UTAS students and graduates together for a group photo. One session yesterday morphed into three when a couple of latecomers missed the first group shot.
Today we’ve gathered some more of the alumni who missed yesterday for another photo. The plan is to blend all the shots together so we are all recorded in one group.
Herding cats? yes…. it has been a bit like that, but it has been fun to put faces to the names that, for the last three years of the DipFamHist, we have mainly known online.
This morning, my Facebook feed informed me that there were just two weeks to go to the start of Congress 2018. Two weeks and I haven’t really started to think about how I can make the best of this event’s offerings. I’ve been caught up in the rush of organising a trip overseas in 12 weeks time and had put Congress on the back burner, thinking I had plenty of time to ensure everything was in place. Silly me!
There’s a list being compiled regarding names people are researching – do I need to add any of my names to the list? Which line would benefit most from some in depth research? Which is the most pressing brick wall? Should I consider seeking help/connections/references that will enhance my overseas trip? Which lectures and presentations should I see?
There are almost too many questions to answer!
Faced with all this, I decided that I should apply some of the skills I use every day when researching family and local histories – and start a Congress 2018 equivalent of a Research Log. So what would this entail?
Preparing my questions
Consider the resources available through the Congress 2018 programme
Contact fellow researchers ahead of time and make appropriate appointments
Prepare a Congress 2018 timeline
Check I have all my bookings in place, appropriate equipment packed including my Blogger Beads
Check my diary for times I have committed to attend social engagements, meets and appointments
Breathe. Breathe. Smile and last of all, breathe.
Jill (GeniAus) reminded us recently about those who posted blog reports on Congress 2015 – there wasn’t a great deal to be seen on my site. My resolutions about posting daily went out the window as there was so much to do and see, there seemed little time to reflect. I admit to being a little busier on Twitter throughout the event but even that interaction fell short of my self imposed expectations.
Events like these can be overwhelming – there is so much to take in, so many people to meet and so much information to absorb – that all you want to do at the end of the day is to give your brain a rest before the next day’s onslaught.
In the past, I have felt that I have not been a good attendee if I didn’t attend every available session in the event’s timetable. I’ve sat through some less than adequate presentations and come away feeling cheated of time I could have spent more productively elsewhere. I’ve enjoyed some amazing speakers yet felt rushed to get to the next place and consequently not able to fully absorb, reflect and respond to a brilliant presentation. This Congress will be different – I plan to be selective and to give myself time to really enjoy the material/speakers/presentations that are relevant to me which means I am likely to sit out a few sessions.
Why would I do this?
The filing cabinet of my brain is full to bursting – something has to give. I want to make best use of the time and the expertise on offer so I am going to be choosy and what I will choose will reflect Point 1 up above – the questions to which I want to try and find answers will guide my lecture/presentation choices. If there’s not something offered in a particular time slot that may answer any of my questions, then I’l do one of two things. I’ll find a quiet spot, grab something to eat or drink and reflect on what I have done so far or perhaps chat with someone who’s also sitting out a session. Otherwise I’ll follow up what I have just learned with a bit of connected research or writing up of notes or discussing my particular question with a likely helper.
Attending any sort of conference is not just about sitting and listening to experts as much as we appreciate their skill and time. For me, its about where it can take you during the conference and after those experts have shared their wisdom. There are times I have found where you need to make immediate steps in your own research as a result of something you have learned as its all too easy to lose that great hint or other light bulb moment if you don’t attend to it straight away.
For me, during this Congress, there will be the equivalent of play breaks where I spend some time exploring leads, crashing through those brick walls and discovering some of those answers.
Its hard to believe that today is February 1st and that we are already one month into the new year. All my resolutions to spend the summer break finessing some of the lines of research I had pursued over the last year have disappeared in the heat haze.
Next week I begin a short course offered as MOOC through FutureLearn and the University of Glasgow:
Early Modern Scottish Palaeography
So – what’s Palaeography?
According to Wikipedia, its the study of ancient and historical handwriting – see their entry here.
What does this mean for a family historian? Let’s face it, the typewriter, printer, computer etc are all relatively modern inventions. Not everything we might wish to examine appears neatly completed in Times New Roman and easily read. If we have been successful in tracing our family’s line back to a time where all documents were handwritten in a variety of styles and on a variety of surfaces, we will find ourselves challenged to interpret them even if they are in a language we are supposed to understand.
Being able to interpret historic writing styles in handwritten documents will give us much better access to the content of original material which we should hopefully decode with enhanced skill thus reducing the risks of errors in our research.
It’s an additional skill in our repetoire as researchers and historians, and continually building that investigative skill set can only serve to broaden our knowledge and understanding resulting in better quality research results.
There is still time to enroll in this course – follow this link to the information page: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/ems-palaeography While you’re at it and on the FutureLearn site, you might like to consider the University of Strathclyde’s short “Introduction to Genealogy” course as well.
I made a comment to a fellow researcher that I would be attending the VAFHO conference in Colac, Vic., in October. She asked “Why? Do you have family in Colac?”
I don’t have any living family in Colac (that I’m aware of) however there were a few distant connections that resided permanently in the local cemetery so I thought I’d go visit, photograph, fill in a few gaps and whilst I was at it, find out a bit more about Writing Non-Boring Family History with the wonderful Hazel Edwards. Besides, I needed a bit of a break.
I had few expectations of the weekend except that I could indulge my passion for family research without deliberately boring anyone else to death. What a fabulous weekend it turned out to be!
Friday’s trip down was going to be at least 2 1/2hrs driving – I love long distance country driving and this was fun. No-one else much on the back roads, pleasant temperatures and some spectacular scenery. Of course there needed to be the odd diversion – so it was off to find the cemetery at Rokewood and to check in with the great great grandparents William Henry Dawkins and Mary Ann Considine.
Rokewood Cemetery has a Pioneers Section and in 1993 a family reunion was organised and a commemorative plaque erected by the descendants. William and Mary Ann have been joined by quite a few more in the Pioneer Section over the years since that reunion.
Colac Family History Group, members of VAFHO, were hosting this weekend’s activities and the first part of the event was a seminar with Hazel Edwards on writing Family History. This 3 hour session was just fantastic – Hazel had us talking, writing, laughing, planning, motivated and resolving to get started as soon as we could. No more procrastination, just great writing!
What did I come away with from this event? Two new friends one of whom, it transpires, was distantly connected by marriage. Neither of us had any idea that there was a link however we discovered over the course of the weekend our familial connection whilst asking questions of each other, helping solve each other’s mysteries, enjoying a shared meal or two and searching around those rows of gravestones for further clues.
The Colac Family History Group members were welcoming, enthusiastic and willing to share their love of their region and its history. Who knew that Colac was famous for growing onions and had its own rail line devoted to ensuring those onions made it quickly to the city markets? I certainly didn’t. I came away with some great images of the landscape coupled with a better understanding of how the area was developed and thus how my family members fitted into that environment. I discovered more family than I knew about previously, found their final resting places and I now know how to find where they worked the land they were granted.
This is why we conference.
To make new connections, to share what we know, learn about what we don’t know, to reconnect with old friends, to enjoy the company of fellow travellers on the road to understanding ourselves by understanding the dynamics of our ancestors’ lives.