Wednesday, August 31, 2016

75 Cowper Street

This address,75 Cowper Street, Randwick (in Sydney, NSW, Australia),  appears several times in my genealogy database. The property has now been demolished and replaced by block of apartments.

Location of 75 Cowper Street
It was the home of my grandmother's cousin, Loretto Kealy (Aunty Ettie) and her husband George Stach and must have had elastic walls as it was refuge for many family members who lived there at some time or other.

Trove tells me "Under instructions from Perpetual Trustee Co. (Ltd.), trustee of the estate of the late Patrick Ryan Larkin, and in conjunction with Richardson and Wrench,Ltd., residence, 'Glenomera,' No. 75 Cowper-st, for £1625. (1929 'ANOTHER FOR SYDNEY.', Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), 10 November, p. 12, viewed 14 July, 2015, I don't think this refers to the Stach's purchase as they were not married until 1932. Another cousin, May Nolan and her husband, Robert Neill, were resident in the property in 1932 as a birth notice for their son shows.

1932 'Family Notices', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 21 May, p. 12. , viewed 28 Jul 2016,
Electoral Rolls show that Aunty Ettie lived at number 75  between 1943 and 1969 when she died.

In September 1943 Ettie's brother, Herb died at Number 75. (1943 'MR. H. F. KEALY.', Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954), 3 September, p. 5, viewed 14 July, 2015, Another of Ettie's siblings, Margaret, also died at 75 Cowper Street in 1947 (1947 'Family Notices', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 7 June, p. 37. , viewed 28 Jul 2016,

When he first came to Sydney in the late forties my father also stayed with Aunty Ettie until he found more permanent accommodation.

Dad's cousin Molly also lived for a time with Aunty Ettie:

1944 'BLUEBELL'S PLAYGROUND',Catholic Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1942 - 1954), 6 July, p. 18. , viewed 28 Jul 2016,
 I can remember visiting this house several times and admiring Uncle George's budgerigars when I was a small child. Many years later when Mr GeniAus and I were looking for a new house we inspected this property and considered purchasing it.

Although George and Ettie had no children their house was a very busy family home.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Regular readers will have noticed  that I haven't posted my GAG's - GeniAus Gems for the past couple of weeks  and that my blogging has also been sporadic.

A few health issues reared their heads recently so I've been working on getting healthy. A week in hospital knocked a pesky infection on the head and my physio has turned my bursitis around.  After a week at home I'm back in hospital for some rather big surgery tomorrow  to remove a diseased organ.

I may not be blogging regularly over the next few  weeks as I'll  be concentrating on getting my body back on track. There will be a few posts from me as I have managed to schedule a few.  I  hope to get back to blogging in a month or two.

Thanks to my genimates who have been sending me messages of support. I am so grateful to you all.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Earl Grey Descendant's Plan

On my recent trip to Ireland I visited PRONI in Belfast to consult records relating to my ancestor, Mary Cregan/Cligan/Criggin/Gregson/Creigan, who was an Earl Grey orphan. Prior to being shipped off to Australia Mary was in the Enniskillen workhouse.

Search Room at PRONI
I can understand why another Australian Earl Grey descendant has plans for the former workhouse in Carrick-on-Shannon where her great-great-grandmother, Bridget Cannon, lived. I read Neisha's
 story in this article this morning. 

Read about Neisha's plans here:

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Cheeky Problem???

Before we took off on our last overseas trip in late May I sent Mum's DNA test off to FTDNA hoping that the results would be in by the time we got back on July 22.

The first time I checked at the site I was given a date of early August then the next time I checked it had changed to 18 August. I just logged in to check her results and got this message.

14th September!!! I'm now worried that there's something wrong with the sample I got from Mum. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Return to the Cow Pastures

I finally registered for the N.S.W. & A.C.T. Association of Family History Societies Inc. Annual Conference 2016 in Camden, Cow Pastures and Beyond. I missed the earlybird registration as I was having too much fun flitting around Iceland to bother about such things as geneaconferences at home. If you haven't registered yet you had better follow my lead as registrations close on August 21.

I am particularly excited about this event as it is taking me back to the home of my convict ancestors in the Camden area, Patrick Curry and Ellen Moore. Patrick was assigned as a shepherd to James and William Macarthur in Camden and, when he gained his freedom, he continued to farm in the area. I was alerted to one of my most precious family history documents that is about Patrick by Alan Atkinson in his book, Camden: farm and village life in early NSW. I'm excited that Alan will be delivering the John Vincent Crowe Memorial Address at the conference.

It's always difficult to prepare a program for such a conference and provide something for all comers. I am also looking forward to hearing Nick Brodie author of Kin (read a review here  which I must read before the conference. I always enjoy hearing from Heather Garnsey as she has so much knowledge and many good ideas to impart. As for the other speakers, I'll just have to wait and see.

Curry Reserve - I need a better pic
As one of the organisers of The Hornsby Shire Family History Group I will be part of the trade exhibition at the conference. Our Group doesn't have anything to sell but we are grateful to the organisers for giving us an opportunity to promote our group and meet people with links to The Hornsby Shire.

Another job I have while in Camden is to take some better photos of Curry Reserve that was named for members of my family. Those I took last century aren't tog good.

Most of all I love events like this because they give me an opportunity to reconnect with my genimates in the flesh  and put faces to names I've heard over the years.

Will I see you in the Cow Pastures?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A little bit of Majick

Over the years some of my ancestors have given me grief because of the varied spellings of their surnames in records.

One such chap is my 2xGreat Grandfather, James Magick (born Westbrook). When looking for my Magick ancestors I have found them recorded as Madgwick, Magic, Maquirk, Maguirk, Madgick, Mogick and other variations. Although I have been able to find evidence of James' death  in a cemetery record and in a Coroner's report I hadn't found a death registration for him. When I was researching him nearly thirty years ago I put this down to the fact that his death occurred out in the bush and that no one bothered to record it.

Yesterday as I was trying to sort out my FTDNA matches I went over to Ancestry to see if one of my matches  had a tree there.... and he did.  And what did I find? This person had a reference to a death entry for James under the surname Majick. How had I not thought of this spelling????

Off to the NSW BDM Online Indexes I went and found:

I probably would have found it if I was starting my research now as I would have done a wildcard surname search for James in the NSW Online BDM index but back in the days of microfiche this was not available.

I think I need to search again more creatively for all those other ancestors for whom I couldn't find BDM records years ago.

As the entry for James indicated that a copy of his registration was Readily Available I ordered it and opted for email delivery. And Guess what? While I have been typing up this post I got these messages:

How's that for efficiency from a government department? Majick?

After 30 odd years I have the official record of James' death in my hands. How can anyone ever say "I've done my family history"?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tombstone Tourist

Even when I'm not chasing ancestors I'm a bit of a Tombstone Tourist. Luckily Mr GeniAus likes  tramping around cemeteries too.

Glasnevin Cemetery - a Sea of Celtic Crosses
On our recent holiday we visited several cemeteries but one in Dublin stood out. I wanted to visit Glasnevin Cemetery to photograph some ancestral graves for my cousin but, when I read on Tripadvisor, that Glasnevin was a popular tourist destination I made sure we included it in our itinerary. The Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum is ranked 2 out of 455 things to do in Dublin!
Family graves found and photographed
We found a beautifully maintained facility not far from the CBD with on-site parking. Having located the family graves within ten minutes of arriving at the cemetery we booked in for one of the walking tours at the modern visitor centre and museum. While waiting for the tour we spent time absorbing the material on display in the cemetery museum that is housed with gift shop, cafe and facilities in this modern purpose built building.

Cemetery Museum and Visitor Centre
Our tour guide gave us a lesson in Irish history as we visited the graves of many Irish patriots and other famous and infamous Irish folk. One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to Daniel O'Connell's crypt. Our guide told us that it was good luck to touch O'Connell's lead-lined coffin so we made sure we did so.

Detail in O'Connell's Crypt
O'Connell's Lead-lined coffin can be seen (and touched) through decorative openings

O'Connell's crypt is underneath the tall tower in the centre of the cemetery
Although the heavens opened during our tour we soldiered on because it was  such an informative and enjoyable tour. I came away with a greater appreciation of Irish history and the turbulent times faced by my Irish ancestors.

The rain came down
Several of the people on out tour were regular visitors, they indicated that they learnt something new each tour as the various tour guides had different favourite tombs and tales to share. I will definitely  return for another tour if I get an opportunity.


I would definitely recommend a visit to Glasnevin for visitors to Dublin.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

An enjoyable and educative experience

Always keen to learn something new I grabbed an opportunity to attend a workshop, Care of Collections, yesterday at Preservation Australia.

While the workshop was aimed at those working with collections in libraries and museums  I learnt so much to help me manage and preserve the files, documents and artefacts in my home collection.

The workshop led by Kay Soderlund was held in the studios of Preservation Australia in Annandale, an inner suburb of Sydney. The venue is close to the many buses that run along Parramatta Road and not far from Stanmore station. Indeed my fellow participants who came from Malaysia, Singleton, the Central Coast, and several Sydney suburbs all commented on the convenient location.

Kay Soderlund at Preservation Australia

Tools of the Trade
After a welcome cuppa and getting to know you session we all perched on high chairs around a work table to hear Kay’s presentation. We were given a 22 page handout which provided a structure for the day's workshop. Kay’s deep knowledge of her subject was evident as she spoke to us throughout the day, she had plenty of pictures for us to see and many materials for us to handle. As one who loves words I found some of the terms associated with the subject area fascinating. New words and acronyms in my vocabulary include foxing, red rot, EMC, IPM, fatty spew, blunder traps, frass and picric acid.
Tools of the trade

As it was a small group/workshop we were able to engage in much discussion and interrupt Kay whenever we had a question or comment. We were not deluged with chalk and talk, we learnt in an informal, interactive environment with welcome breaks for a delicious morning tea and lunch.

As the day  progressed I realised just how much stuff I have in my home collection, I got tips on looking after the few original artworks we have, great-great-grandfather’s shillelagh, Jesus (a large 19th century tapestry done by a family member), family bibles, documents, medals and a heirloom christening dress. Having attended this course I am now confident about selecting appropriate enclosures for my treasures. This course should be an essential element of the Professional Development program for anyone (paid or voluntary) involved in the care of local collections.

Of course this is going to cost me money as I am now drawing up a shopping list of items to purchase from Conservation Resources, the retail arm of Preservation Australia.

Thanks Kay and team for an enjoyable and educative experience.

Trove Tuesday - Zam-Buk

I have recently been suffering from a painful abscess which my doctor is treating with antibiotics, he has also suggested I have probiotic drinks and take painkillers for the accompanying pain. When I share details of my plight with friends and relatives they suggest old-fashioned remedies like lancing and drawing ointment.

I turned to Trove to see how such painful annoyances were treated in pre antibiotic years and came across many references to the healing properties of Zam-Buk.

1903 'Advertising', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 3 October, p. 14. , viewed 09 Aug 2016,

1904 'ABSCESS IN THE GROIN.',Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 - 1915), 19 April, p. 6. , viewed 09 Aug 2016,

1906 'ZAM-BUK CURES A BAD SWELLING.', The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), 10 March, p. 20. , viewed 09 Aug 2016,

1909 'Advertising', The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), 30 March, p. 4. , viewed 09 Aug 2016,
Perhaps I should ask my Doctor for a jar of Zam-Buk.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

NFHM Blogging Challenge - Week 1 - Sense and the Census

I have found lots of valuable information and leads over the 25 odd years I have been consulting various censuses. Some of my ancestors were illiterate and some were cheeky so I wonder if the information recorded by and about them in various censuses is accurate.  Some of the census collectors may have not have been the sharpest tool in the shed.

There are many and varied spellings for family names, there are women's ages that are not consistent from census to census, some occupations that didn't ring true and there were claims to marriages that hadn't happened. My ancestors may have also had difficulty understanding the questions asked.

Although they are valuable genealogical resources I take some of the information recorded about my ancestors with a grain of salt and try to verify elsewhere the facts(!) recorded on census documents.

Taking a look at Trove today I discovered several articles that discussed responses to various censuses. The examples below demonstrate how easy it is for both intentional and unintentional errors to be made on census returns.

1934 'SIDELIGHT ON THE CENSUS',Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 - 1950), 2 August, p. 7. , viewed 07 Aug 2016,
1901 'Humour.', The Canowindra Star (NSW : 1900 - 1902), 18 October, p. 6. , viewed 07 Aug 2016,

1921 'CENSUS HUMOUR.', The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), 26 April, p. 12. , viewed 07 Aug 2016,

Friday, August 5, 2016


We all respond to our family history in different ways.

I received this message from Mike earlier in the week "Hi Jill, I just discovered your blog and website and thought you and your readers may enjoy a new song and video produced for my Gibson Family reunion this past June.  I have never been a great journal keeper but have recently started sharing my family history through music."

Well I often ignore this sort of request but I was curious. I found Mike's song, that was illustrated with family photos, really touching. What a lovely way to share family stories.

Here is Mike's song on Youtube: 

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 5 August 2016

There haven't been as many posts as usual in my RSS feeds this week. Perhaps Australian genies are otherwise engaged with National Family History Month. I look forward to reading many reports from those who attend #NFHM16 events over the next four weeks.

1. Jennifer has a busy program lined up.

2. I've always the Common Craft videos. Thanks to Richard for sharing this "new to me" one.

3. A beaut image always encourages me to read on.

4. So important for our youngsters. Wouldn't hurt we oldies either.

5. I too enjoyed this book.

6. Newbies can be sucked in by WDYTYA.

7. For the writers amongst us - some very alternatives.

8. Kate enjoyed her visit to the BC Archives.

9. I'm a "No gloves" girl. What's your opinion?

10. Get organized with Drew.

11.  Maria was out of luck.

12. A humble roll of toilet paper tells a story.

New to Me Blogs

1. Googling one of my DNA matches I found she had a blog.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Trove Tuesday - Passport Applications

This morning I submitted an application for a new passport which I hope will be approved. I took a look at Trove to see under what circumstances others had had applications refused. I think everything in my application is in order so I should expect a delivery in a few weeks time.

1983 'Clyne fails in passport application',The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 1 January, p. 4. , viewed 02 Aug 2016,

1920 'PASSPORT REFUSED.', The Maitland Weekly Mercury (NSW : 1894 - 1931), 10 April, p. 14. , viewed 02 Aug 2016,
1927 'FALSE NAME', Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 - 1954), 23 February, p. 5. , viewed 02 Aug 2016,
1933 'APPLICATION FOR PASSPORT',Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 - 1950), 2 September, p. 7. , viewed 02 Aug 2016,


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