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Chasing down those Fairfax Ancestors….. June 16, 2017

Posted by Robbie in Musings.
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Some time ago I wrote about tracing back the women in my family especially as the name Fairfax had popped up as a middle name throughout the generations.  Currently I’m having a little break from study – next semester’s units don’t start for a few weeks yet – so I thought I would continue the task begun with the unraveling of those Fairfax, Kirkby and Welch intermarriages.

Rigorous examination of the marriages of the various daughters over the generations have revealed quite a few more Fairfax middle names as well as a whole new (to me) branch.

My 4x Great Grandfather, Benjamin Fairfax (b 1758) married twice – to Dorothy Kirkby (b 1766) and to her younger sister Mary (b 1768).  Mary became my step 4x G grandmother as well as already being my 4x great aunt.  Mary gave Benjamin two more children to add to the five borne by Dorothy.  Those two children became cousins as well as half aunts and uncles.

Following down and across the generations,  I’ve discovered a whole raft of family out there – a family that supported and cohabited across three generations when the child bearing aged women didn’t survive. Benjamin’s daughter Charlotte (b 1789) lived to ripe old age of 82 and over time, took in her nephews and nieces, her widowed brother and his grandchildren.  All this time, she was herself kept busy as a grocer and storekeeper in Mile End Old Town.

For a short period around 1841, she was living with two of the Richardson sisters in Wellclose Square, daughters of my 4x great Grandfather, David (b 1746) and one of his other wives (he had four!)  The Richardson family lived in Wellclose Square in Wapping right through the 1800’s and possibly longer – that’s another piece of detective work that awaits.

I had managed to bring  most of the lines down to the period covering the first and second world wars, so I thought I would look for any that had served and had not come home.

I found Henry James Fairfax (b 1859).  Henry was the great grandson of Benjamin and Mary and that made him my 3rd cousin twice removed.  Henry was the eldest of seven children – and like the rest of the family was ‘in the trade’ – he was, for most of his working life, a grocer’s assistant. His father had been a commercial traveller as was one brother and their interests lay in spices and ‘farinous materials’ – that’s flour to you and me!

Henry never married and remained living with his mother and other unmarried siblings until at least 1911.  There must have been a touch of the mid life crisis happening as he made a complete shift into the Merchant Marine and became a steward on a steam freighter.  He was certainly too old to have been considered for active service at the outbreak of WW1.

Extracted from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission files

 

Henry was a Londoner – its probable he couldn’t swim.  He was the only casualty when his cargo ship, the Peninsula, was torpedoed by U-46 and sunk in the Bay of Biscay on 25th July 1917.  Henry’s name can be found on the Merchant Marine memorial, Tower Hill. He was 57 years old.

 

 

 

The GeneaDictionary April 19, 2015

Posted by Robbie in Musings.
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The wonderful Jill Ball aka Geniaus has the most amazing collection of words, phrases, inventions and descriptions of a language that is devoted to the world of family history and genealogy – there are some classic terms explained, new ones you never would have imagined and a whole heap that you recognise as having crept into your own daily use lexicon.

Tim Sherratt (@wragge) couldn’t contain his delight at having discovered there was a whole list of Trove related words that had evolved as the Trove user community had grown over the past few years. Carmel Galvin (@crgalvin) has created this great list in her Troveictionary.

So here I was this morning taking a look around to see what else I could find in the way of free online courses for those amongst us who have caught the study bug. Quite a few of the students who completed the UTAS course on Family History have gone on to study other subjects like ‘Introduction to Technology for Healthy Living’ and FutureLearn‘s courses on WW1 – quite a few including myself are currently engaged with World War 1: A History in 100 Stories being presented by Monash University.

I found a site that was offering a course on researching British Army nurses. Of course it was necessary to share this information with my fellow students which I did via Twitter and on the Family History course’s Facebook group page.

In the process of keeping to the character limit for Twitter, I coined the term “genistudents” – in my head I defined it as family historians and genealogists who improve their knowledge through online study. It also struck me that there are a number of us who have become quite addicted to the online delivery model and can’t help signing up immediately a new course pops up!

Knowing of Jill’s GeneaDictionary, I just had to pop over to her blog and check whether it was already there….. and, lo and behold, it isn’t!

So… distraction for the day complete, I must get back to that study or I will fall behind!

 

Women of Empire Exhibition – Capitol Theatre, Bendigo April 17, 2015

Posted by Robbie in Fashion Friday.
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Last week, my friend Sonja and I went to visit “Women of Empire” Exhibition in Bendigo, Vic.  The exhibition closed here in Bendigo on Wednesday but as it is touring (and growing) over the next few years, a review is still relevant.

A major project of the Dressing Australia Museum of Costume, this exhibition looks at the role of women during the years of WW1.  It examines the careers and contributions of many women and vividly illustrates just how they would have been dressed at the time.

One of the outstanding features of these beautiful costumes is the size… or should I say, lack of size.  Those waists were waspishly thin, those shoes tiny and narrow and the women whose clothing was on show certainly weren’t tall.  It is remarkable to see how we have grown in just 100 years.

On the day we visited, curator Fiona Baverstock was on hand to talk about some of the pieces, to tell us about the touring future of the collection and to explain the wonderful carpet of poppies that stretched across the carpet.  I had noticed that on display were a number of large framed embroidered pieces and postcards that were sent or brought home by servicemen. However, there were none of the embroidered postcards that were a feature of wartime correspondence.

A quick trip back the next day and Fiona had four embroidered postcards to display for the rest of the exhibition in Bendigo. It is envisaged they will also be part of Kyneton’s and Ballarat’s exhibitions in the coming months. A future post will describe these items… and hopefully find families with whom they will be reunited.

 

Screen shot of Women of Empire website

Screen shot of Women of Empire website

Where you can see the exhibition in the next few months:

*RANDWICK AND BONDI JUNCTION, SYDNEY

Monday 20 April 2015 – Sunday 31 May 2015

Bowen Library, Anzac Avenue, Maroubra & Waverley Library, Sydney

KYNETON VICTORIA

Friday 5 June 2015 – Sunday 21 June 2015

Kyneton Museum, Piper Street, Kyneton

Telephone – (03) 5422 0333

BALLARAT VICTORIA

Friday 11 July 2015 – Sunday 19 July 2015

St Patrick’s Hall, Ballarat

Ticketing details to be advised

For information call 03 54 68 7418

 

AFFHO Congress 2015 Day 2 March 28, 2015

Posted by Robbie in Musings, Uncategorized.
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Another 8.30 start this morning but I wanted to be at the venue earlier.

I had arranged to meet with fellow geneablogger, Jennifer Jones (See Jennifer’s blog here )

We had managed to swap messages and tweets throughout the day yesterday but not managed to actually catch up with each other.  Imagine our mutual surprise when we discovered a longstanding family connection! Isn’t this what Congress is all about? If we’re not discovering new ways of uncovering what has happened in the past, we’re establishing ways of taking our family’s stories forward.

Not all “Family” is biological – for my family, there was one special family who, although not related by blood, were a significant part of our early lives as children.  The adults stood as my godparents at my christening. Before this, they had stood beside my parents as witness to their wedding….and even before this, had been involved with my mother’s school life and when she was first in business as a florist.

They were intricately entwined in our early years, as many a Christmas night gathering would attest.

Recently, I was allowed the box of old family photos to scan and amongst them are pictures of my mother and father as children, teenagers and “young marrieds “.  Naturally, their special friends Ailsa and Les, featured throughout.

This one’s for you, Chris.

Ailsa (2nd from left) and Mum (4th from the left) are in the second row.... photo dates from mid1940's

Ailsa (2nd from left) and Mum (4th from the left) are in the second row…. photo dates from mid1940’s

So…. it was on with the day.

The proceedings opened with Joshua Taylor from FindMyPast as Keynote speaker. He promised it would not be 45 minutes of continual advertisement for the Congress’ main sponsor and it wasn’t.  We delighted in his recounting of his own induction into the world of genealogy, how Disney is building the family tree into many of its movies and supporting products, his experience of working with celebrities on “Who Do You Think You Are?” and how Grandmothers are just the best people!

From here I moved to hear Dr Richard Reid talk about the experience of Australians on the Western Front.  He focused on the stories of four servicemen and took us through the experience and the impact of those bloody campaigns.  It was hard to sit and listen to Richard talk about the events of 20th September 1917 and to see the contemporary images of the Menin Road battle when this was where and when one of my great uncles lost his life. He was 20 years old.

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My Morning sessions concluded with a tour through the UK Gazettes with Jenny Joyce.  This was a great introduction to the gazettes and all the wonderful opportunities they hold for expanding our understanding of our ancestor’s lives. As Jenny pointed out, this might be the only place we find reference to some of our antecedents and their activity.

In between morning sessions I had attended Jill’s talk in Speaker’s Corner about blogging… and was officially “beaded”! It only took me a day and a half to find her in the crowds!

Lunch! ….. and a bit of a breather.  I was in need of a little time to settle and as a consequence missed attending the group photo session for all the ‘Beaded Beauties’.  Sorry, Jill.

To be continued……

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