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Scottish assistance online 21 May

Bill Barlow
5 May 2020
Scottish Ancestry
Treasure Chest

No need to stop your family history research. We have moved our Scottish Assistance service online for 21 May.

With the GSV education centre being closed during May, the Scottish Assistance in the Library service, which was scheduled for Thursday 21 May, will now be available to members online, free of charge.

To register an interest and book a 30 minute time slot for 21 May, please email the GSV on gsv@gsv.org.au providing a contact phone number and your GSV membership number. The one-on-one consultation will take place on either FaceTime or Skype, and you will be contacted in advance to finalise the arrangements. Bookings are available from 10.00 am to 3.30 pm.

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A case of 'breaking bad'

 

Just after my last post and Clive Luckman's article about the usefulness of Police Gazettes, I had a note yesterday that a cousin had found a long-lost great aunt of ours in a Police Gazettes notice. She had disappeared and had neither married or died in any Australian State (as far as we had found)!

My great grandfather had reported her or had her charged as a vagrant - perhaps hoping to find her.

 

An instance of her 'breaking bad' giving us a good break in our sleuthing.

 

And what is an 'ulster' Off to the internet!

 

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Breaking bad

Castlemaine Gaol, Vic (Photo. W. Barlow)
Castlemaine Gaol, Vic (Photo. W. Barlow)
Bill Barlow
23 April 2020
GSV News
Treasure Chest

In the present COVID-19 emergency it has been interesting to see how we have reacted to new regulations and the evolution of social constraints. Very quickly we saw individuals prepared to fight over toilet rolls and to raid supermarkets in small towns.

Our responses have ranged from wealthy skiers who believed the laws didn't apply to them, to 'innocent' young women who had their brush with the law just by walking on the sand. And of course, politicians who demanded to see the 'science' so they could decide whether a rule about not playing golf should be followed.

Many of us in Australia are here because of our forebears' conviction under the onerous property laws of 19thC England. And poverty and economic depression often meant continued lawbreaking here. If our ancestors fell foul of the law we can often find out more about them in the extensive and detailed newspaper reports of their capture and trials than BDM records will tell us. Before the era of WW1 studio photos, the only photograph of an ancestor might be the one in the Criminal Registers, where from the 1870s photographs were included for those with sentences of 6 months or more. Presumably not their most flattering look! 

Their transgressions and bad luck are our good luck as social historians. Clive Luckman describes the rich source that the Police Gazettes offer. The GSV can help you find Police Gazettes and the many other sources of encounters with the legal system. [Ed.]

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Police Gazettes in the 1800s

We may not want to recognise it, but many of us with 19thcentury Australian ancestors may well had one whose name appeared in a Police Gazette. Before you get upset let me hasten to add that these Gazetteshad names of many people who were not criminals or “of interest” to the Police.

There were, of course, names of criminals in the Gazettes. The main purpose of the Gazetteswas to promulgate news about crimes and criminals. Descriptions about the crimes themselves (from murder through to illegal sale of alcohol) were often included, as were reports about wife desertion, bigamy, drunkenness and abandoned children. Also there were notices about missing persons – not only people reported as missing but also people seeking lost friends.

There were notices about licences granted for the sale of alcoholic beverages, tobacco and other regulated products, and licences for the conduct of regulated activities such as auctions. All police and magistrate promotions, dismissals, appointments and retirements were published.

During the gold rushes skippers of visiting ships often had some of their crew desert, which must have left those ships sometimes in a perilous position for their return journey. Ship’s deserters were certainly amongst those sought by the Police. Sometimes a deserter changed his name to evade detection, thereby presenting an interesting challenge to genealogists.

Details about those being sought by the Police were often published in several States as well as in New Zealand. There was a great deal of traffic across "the pond" between Australia and New Zealand in the 1800s.

On a personal note, a convict allocated to one of my Tasmanian ancestors absconded and a notice reporting that appeared in the Victorian Police Gazette.

Later in the century photographs were sometimes published, as were details such as eye and hair colour, height and characteristics such as tattoos or scars that might aid the Police. 

These documents are a good source of family history as well as other facets of history. Genealogists can use them to see if they will reveal details of their ancestors’ life (at risk of repeating myself, whether your ancestor was a criminal or not). The Gazettesmay allow you to get your ancestors in perspective – details about how they lived, indications of their wealth, of their occupation, and where they resided. And details that help you understand how society in that century behaved.

Family history is much more than discovering the names, dates of births, marriages and deaths, and the names of wives and husbands. These things are critically important because they obviously must precede the thrills of the chase for the social, financial, demographic and other details of your ancestors. I find that these thrills are the best.

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This article was originally published in Fifty-Plus News in June 2007.  Clive Luckman contributed many articles Fifty-Plus News.

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Further reading

PROV Registers of Male and Female Prisoners (1855-1947)

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/justice-crime-and-law/register-male-and-female-prisoners-1855-1947

Using the Victorian Police Gazettes to research your ancestors, SLV Blog Jan 19 2015

https://blogs.slv.vic.gov.au/family-matters/using-the-victorian-police-gazettes-to-research-your-ancestors/

 

 

Feely me bony belly!

Bill Barlow
4 April 2020
Treasure Chest

STOP PRESS (can I have that with a blog?)

 

Discounted certificates for the months of April and May

Due to the success of our March offer for family historians, BDM Vic is continuing to offer downloadable uncertified historical certificates for $20 each until the end of May 2020. This is a saving of $4.50 per certificateThis offer is to say 'thank you' to our valued family historians.

GO HERE.

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Feely me bony belly!

 

Phonology for family history

 

Looking through early 17th C registers of births, deaths and marriages in Lancashire this week I regularly came across the use of Latin - Alis Barnes fil Robert Barnes; John filius Willmi Barnes and Marie filia Thom Barnes. Apart from my school French, this brought back a memory of my father telling of his schoolday Latin classes when the boys would break with gusto in to the chant 'Feely me bony belly' while the teacher tried to restore the phrase fili mi boni belli- for 'sons of the good war' - back into the lesson. This tale of deliberately misconstrued pronunciation is a good reminder for our FH research.

 

There are many websites explaining the use of Latin in BDM records (see Alison's Ring's article in GENUKI 'Latin in Parish Records' https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/LatinNotes

 

In looking at documents it sometimes pays to look at how the words may have been pronounced at that time and place. Most documents, especially registers and lists of passengers and so on in the first place involved someone saying their name or details and someone else writing them down. Others then transcribed that from the initial written version. The hearers tried to capture what they thought was being said.

 

A baptism entry in June 1700  from St James church in Haslingden caught my eye:

'Ssussanna Barnes ffill John Barnes of Oakenheadwood', and a month later Ssussanna Barnes was again entered this time as a burial. Ssussanna is not unknown as Szuszanna in Hungarian and derives from Hebrew Shoshanna (lily). It probably came into Lancashire with the Danish invaders. The double ss perhaps tells us how her name was pronounced with a hissing soft sound of sz.

 

We don't get much evidence of how our past family members spoke except perhaps by faint echoes in the transference to written word.

 

A place called 'Oberlee' I could never find, except for one reference to the Oberlee Mountains in central west NSW. Then on a road trip I mentioned this, and a local pronounced as 'Obe-erlee' the small place of 'Obley', that I had read as 'Obblee', and things clicked. He had introduced a trilling or rolling 'r' into it, extra-rhotic in a way. Similarly a document recorded my gg-grandfather as assigned to 'Mrs Niland'. I couldn't find anyone of that surname. But I eventually realised it was written from the pronunciation of 'Mrs Ireland', about whom I could find out much.

 

As a writer it helps to read your own writing aloud, but as a researcher it can also help to read your own reading aloud.

 

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A REMINDER that in these isolated times, GSV Members can access various databases from home (or wherever you are isolated). Go to the website and access as a MEMBER.

 

Keep well and be part of the 8o% and flatten the curve. [Ed.]

 

 

More Nellie and also the 'Sands & McDougall'

Photo courtesy J. Watson, 2020
Bill Barlow
28 March 2020
Treasure Chest

 

Our recent Melba story triggered a family memory from one reader and another related how 'Sands & McDougall' is still giving support to their online activity. 

 

This family memory of Melba told below reminds me that often we are so focussed on trawling databases to find very distant antecedents and geographically remote cousins that we forget the family history in our own backyard. My son once quipped that he would be more interested to read stories from my own early life than about our forebears from previous centuries. 

Judy Macdonald contributes this family story about Melba.

 

'I was interested to read your article yesterday on Dame Nellie Melba and Geoffrey Serle as my husband John has connections to both people. Geoff Serle was his brother-in-law being married to his late sister Jessie (Macdonald). My husband’s father Ken Macdonald had a first cousin Donald Macdonald who married Zoe Beatrice Mitchell, who was a cousin of Nellie Melba. The family story was that the bride’s wedding gown was given to her by Melba. John’s father Ken attended the wedding under strict instructions from his father to mind his manners and to be on his best behaviour as the Mitchells were ‘upper class’. However, by the end of the night, with some liquid refreshment no doubt, the party turned rowdy and the Mitchells resorted to throwing plates at each other!'

 

There is a large article on the wedding on ‘Trove’ from Punch 1903 that includes a fascinating list of all the presents given, with accurate descriptions such as 'electro-plated pickle cruet'. But the equally interesting observation that plate-throwing occurred has possibly not (until now I believe) been captured in the historical record. And well authenticated too.

 

"WEDDINGS." Punch (Melbourne, Vic: 1900 - 1918; 1925) 3 December 1903 p.24. Web accessed 28 Mar 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article175403842.Punch 3 Dec 1903

 

Support provided by 'Sands & McDougall'

 

Our 'Presidents Update' logo prompted another reader's response:

 

'I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the 'President Updates' logo. Whoever designed it has totally captured my husband’s laptop, except it’s just the monitor he has sitting on top of my parents’ 1953 Sands & McDougall directory. I totally understand the sentiment. Nice to have a laugh in these gloomy times!' (Jill Watson)

 

I well remember the shelves of them in the old SLV Latrobe Reading Room. As noted, those directories are more useful than we ever realised.

 

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Dame Nellie Melba and Do You Know All Your Grandparents?

'Madame Melba', Rupert Bunny c.1902 (NGV A70-1980)
'Madame Melba', Rupert Bunny c.1902 (NGV A70-1980)
Bill Barlow
23 March 2020
Treasure Chest

 

This is a good time to do some family archiving and sorting. I am isolated in my workshop sorting through tools and jars of nails and screws inherited from both my father and father-in-law, along with my own magpie collection. I have also been going through books with family connotations and adding a note to explain their significance. One, a small book inscribed 'To A.H. ... Xmas 1919', is from Nellie Melba to my mother's uncle Adrian Holland who was her piano accompanist in London.

The article below by Clive Luckman FGSV and past President of GSV, previously published in 'Fifty-Plus News' April (2007), reminds us that capturing those memories from our grandparents and older family members is always important to do.

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Dame Nellie Melba & Do You Know All Your Grandparents?

 

A snippet I came across that I thought was interesting is in a book by John Thompson, The Patrician and the Bloke, about Geoffrey Serle (19221998), a very respected Melbourne historian. At the time Serle was an editor of the Australian Dictionary of Biography when a submission for entry into the dictionary about Dame Nellie Melba arrived on his desk.

Dame Nellie died of septicaemia after a face-lift done in Europe. The media at the time, with great respect for Dame Nellie, modified 'face-lift' to 'facial surgery'. Serle agonised over whether the true reason for her death should be in the Dictionary. After much thought and consultation he decided that as 55 years had then passed since her death, and he wanted the Dictionary to be accurate, he would include it.

This was, I think, an interesting example of how writers used to modify the truth because they did not want to publicly reveal matters that might degrade the reputation of 'great people'. How often does this attitude colour family histories and, especially, family stories handed down over the generationswhether public figures or ordinary people?

The most dramatic example of this may be that the British press did not print news about the relationship, for the first several years, between Mrs Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII; however it was widely reported by the US media. I am sure you know of other examples. I am also sure that these days no such suppression by the media would occur.

The age-old advice given to those starting their family history is to first talk to relatives in order to collect the family lore. It is also very good practice to make a list of those things that need investigation as part  of the modus operandiof genealogy.  A basic record of those things includes compiling an ancestry chart of what you can remember about your grandparents. Few can remember all their near relatives going back to their great-grandparents era. Fewer still can remember the occupations of their grandfather, let alone great-grandfather. Any family lore known by your living relatives will probably have been derived from your grandparentsif you are lucky from earlier generations also.

Having researched your recent generations proceed backwards in time, and enjoy the 'thrill of the chase'.

In case you haven't done this, download the Ancestry chart from the GSV website ANCESTRY CHART and fill in the names, occupations and residences of your great-grandparents and their direct descendants. I wonder how many of you can fill it all in. 

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This article is a slightly-edited version of that first published in Fifty-Plus News April 2007.

 

Madame Melba, Rupert Bunny, c. 1902, NGV Acc. no. A70-1980

 

More family secrets

Bill Barlow
23 February 2020
GSV News
Treasure Chest

A coming talk at the RHSV dovetails neatly with my last post about 'Family Secrets' - the new research project looking at interactions between settlers and indigenous Australians (see note 1).

 

On March 17 at the Royal Historical Society Victoria, Prof Lynette Russell will talk about family secrets and her journey to discover her aboriginal history.

 

 

What the little bird didn't tell me

17 MARCH - 5:15 - 7:00 PM

 

The RHSV has opened their March talk to GSV members at the RHSV member’s price of $10. GSV members who wish to attend should book through the RHSV website, as if they are RHSV members.

 

Prof Russell:

 

Twenty years ago I wrote a book that documented a journey I had been on for over a decade. The book was A Little Bird Told Me: Family Secrets, Necessary Lives. This book represented a journey of discovery where I located my Aboriginal ancestors and answered a number of questions that had dogged my family for generations. Along the way, I discovered a story of secrets and lies, of madness, and refuge.  In this talk, I will reflect on this book nearly 20 years later with a focus on the importance of women as the keepers and tellers of family stories. In so doing I will consider the reasons why I wrote the book, what impact it had at the time and its ongoing influence. I hope that these reflections might have something to say to other family historians. I want to question whether there are there some family secrets and necessary lies that should never be told?

 

Professor Lynette Russell AM is an award-winning historian and indigenous studies scholar. In 2020 she is taking up an Australian Research Council’s Laureate Fellowship to examine Global Encounters and First Nations People: 1000 Years of Australian History.

This personal story will be interesting to those who would like to better understand the complex issues of aboriginal identification and the inter-relationship between genealogical records, biological descent, family stories, self-identification and community recognition. Though it has been about 40 years since a three-part 'working definition' of aboriginality evolved and has been adopted in Australia (see note 2), there are still popular commentators and some historians who can't get their heads around this.

 

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References:

Note 1.Family Secrets Research Project. Contact Dr Ashley Barnwell

See the previous blog for details of how to participate in this research project:

https://www.gsv.org.au/content/unsettling-family-history-new-research

 

Note 2. For a full history of this topic see Defining Aboriginality in Australia, Dr John Gardiner-Garden, Parliament of Australia Current Issue Brief no. 10 2002-03

https://www.aph.gov.au/about_parliament/parliamentary_departments/parliamentary_library/publications_archive/cib/cib0203/03cib10

 

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ADVANCE NOTICE

 

On May 7 at GSV, Dr Richard Broome will talk on Frontier Encounters. 

Richard is a Professor of History and Associate at La Trobe University. One of Australia's most respected scholars of Aboriginal history, He has written many articles and books including  Aboriginal Australians and Sideshow Alley.

His last talk at GSV was sold out, so it would be worth getting in early to hear firsthand from a prominent historian, author and wonderful speaker.  

 

This talk will fill up quickly so go HERE to book early.

 

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The perfect Christmas gift!

Bill Barlow
23 November 2019
Treasure Chest

How often do we hear that someone wishes they had asked their older relatives more questions about the family?

 

Many of your relatives have memories and knowledge of the family that would be highly valued if recorded. Unmarked photographs could be identied and saved with some prompting.

 

You could help unlock these memories and give someone in your family hours of fun and interest. 

 

This Christmas consider giving a Gift Membership of the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

 

With the gift of a GSV Membership someone in your family could benefit from volunteers and research assistants to help them track down family facts. They may like to join any of the Special interest groups and discussion circles - making new friends sharing problems and discoveries. 

 

Do they need another set of bathroom products or a bottle of wine? Well, maybe, but this Gift may be a gift for the whole family.

 

Just ring the GSV office on (03) 9662 4455 and speak to Linda or one of our friendly volunteers to arrange this.

 

See our website for more details about Membership BENEFITS HERE.

 

Gift sorted!

 

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Your own coat of arms

Bill Barlow
14 July 2019
GSV News
Treasure Chest

My teenage grandson recently quipped that: 'The Barlows have a coat of arms, you know'. He had found it on the net. It reminded me that in my early family-history research days I recorded the 'Barlow' arms in my notebook and, having a healthy cynicism I have not paid it any more attention. But, with the great interest today amongst youngsters (and the not so young) in 'things mediaeval', encouraged by 'Game of Thrones' and so on, perhaps 'coats of arms' may be a good way to excite an interest in genealogy and in history generally. And that is always a good thing! As long as it doesn't lead to tribalising and marching under banners.

 

GSV first logo 1941
GSV's first logo 1941

I can't see our Genealogical Society of Victoria marching anywhere bearing arms - but we have them! In 1941 a logo with a tree trunk emblazoned on a quaint tilted shield was adopted. In the early 1960s the GSV endorsed four special interest groups, one of which was the Heraldry Group. Then in 1986 the GSV acquired its current coat of arms through official British channels. That there was some tension between budding republicans and monachists had been shown when, at the GSV's Colonial Dinner in 1985, the National Anthem tape was sabotaged by someone reinstating 'God Save the Queen' for the newly adopted 'Advance Australia Fair'. 

 

Coat of Arms of the GSV

 

The GSV's coat of arms, or Ensigns Armorial, was designed and granted to The Genealogical Society of Victoria by the Court of the Lord Lyon of Scotland, King of Arms on 1 March 1986. It is described as:

 

Azure, five mullets [stars], one of eight, two of seven, one of six and one of five points Argent (representing the constellation of the Southern Cross), on a chief Gules, a pale of the Second charged of an oak tree Proper issuing from a mount Vert, and fructed Or, between two acorns slipped of the Last. Above the Shield is placed an Helm, suitable to an incorporation (videlice: a sallet [helmet] Proper lined Gules), with a Mantling Azure doubled Argent, and on a wreath of the Liveries, is set for Crest on a mound of pink heather a male lyre bird close and in display Proper holding in its beak an acorn slipped Or, and in an Escrol over the same this Motto: "GENEALOGI SEMPER VIGILES". 

Public Register of all Arms and Bearings in Scotland, 69th volume, page 20.

 

The Shield was based on the arms of the State of Victoria with an oak tree added to represent genealogy. The oak tree is a long-lived tree and its fruit, the acorns, represents the seed origin of the tree from which continuing generations of oak trees and acorn seed will spring. The Crest comprises two parts, the Device, which shows the lyrebird, native of Victoria with an acorn in its beak, and the Mount which incorporates the Pink Heath, the floral emblem of Victoria.

 

The Motto, Genealogi Semper Vigiles, translates from Latin to 'genealogists always watchful'and is a play on the initials of the Society.

 

Apparently if you fancy having a coat of arms you can just design your own - whilst being careful not to infringe trade marks. 

 

The Australian Heraldry Society website has an interesting discussion about the authority of granting arms. The Australian PM issued advice in 2018 that: 'There is nothing preventing any person or organisation from commissioning a local artist, graphics studio or heraldry specialist to design and produce a coat of arms or identifying symbol. Those arms would have the same standing and authority in Australia as arms prepared by the College of Arms in England.'

 

However like an 'Engrish' T-shirt, or when co-opting any language, it will help if you know what various symbols you use could be taken to mean. The Australian Heraldry Society could help (https://www.heraldryaustralia.org/your-arms). 

 

When you design your avatar take careful note of the powers and attributes you assign. But your game-playing kids will know all about that.

 

Bill Barlow

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Ref. 

Amateurs and Experts: a history of The Genealogical Society of Victoria 1941–2001,by Elizabeth Ellen Marks, Penfolk Publishing, Blackburn, 2001.

The Australian Heraldry Society Inc. website (accessed 13 July 2019)

https://www.heraldryaustralia.org/heraldic-authority

New group for Victorian and Tasmanian family history and old maps of South West England

Bill Barlow
15 June 2019
GSV News
SWERD
Treasure Chest

 

 

The eight discussion circles convened by the GSV include one on South West England (SWERD) and a new one for Victoria and Tasmania. These Discussion Circles are a great way to share your queries and pool your discoveries.

 

The Victoria and Tasmania Discussion Circle has just been started. It meets monthly on the 4th Friday of the month at 10.30 am to 11.30 am and is convened by Ruthie Wirtz. Their next meetings are on Fri 28 June and then Fri 26 July. All GSV Members can take part at no cost - it is part of your membership benefits. Ruthie can be contacted at ruthie.wirtz@gmail.com.

 

Caption

[ Courtesy of Libraries Tasmania Online Collection Item no. PH30/1/2067 ].

 

At the May meeting of the South West England Research and Discussion Circle (SWERD) they explored the maps of that region. Stephen Hawke, SWERD convenor, reminds us that:

 

'Maps are a vital (but sometimes under-used) resource for our family history research. Accessing a series of maps produced over decades or centuries is an important part of understanding your ancestors' 'places'. They can reveal changes over time that would have impacted on your ancestors' lives.  For example, in Somerset, a mere forty year span between two maps (1782 and 1822) held at GSV gives evidence of the draining of the Levels, the rapid development of coal mines and the growth of towns. Other features of maps such as new roads, turnpikes, canals, railroads etc. provide clues as to how your ancestors moved around the county or further afield. Estate and tithe maps may help pinpoint your ancestors' homes and the land they worked. 

 

Where were the markets, the pubs, and the schools, the cemetery used by your ancestors?  Where were the mills, mines, ports and factories that provided work for your ancestors?  A little delving and study of old maps can answer many questions and open up new ideas for researching your ancestors' lives.' 

 

In other recent meetings they have discussed the Widows of Cornwall, Devon & Exeter Industrial & Reform Schools, Dorset Machine Breakers, local history resources and the Bristol Hearth Tax.

SWERD next meets on 12 July.

Gold in your blood? Researching NSW goldfields for ancestors

Tambaroora Cemetery, near Hill End, NSW
Bill Barlow
3 June 2019
Treasure Chest
Writers Circle

by Martin Playne

 

Victorian readers will be well aware of Bendigo and Ballarat as rich goldfields, but for most Hill End will ring no bells. But, between 1851 and 1872, Hill End and neighbouring Tambaroora, which is now a ghost town, were among the richest goldfields in NSW.

 

I came across Hill End almost by accident. While chasing up a distant cousin and her convict husband, I found that on his release from Hobart Gaol in 1856, the two of them and their teenage daughter, Marguerite, travelled to Mudgee to start a new life. Then, I discovered that daughter Marguerite died in Hill End, which is about 70 km south of Mudgee in the ranges of central NSW. Why did she end her days there?

 

It is a pleasant drive on a winding hilly bitumen road from Mudgee to Hill End these days. Some 5 km short of Hill End, one finds the Tambaroora Cemetery. Searching for her grave, we found that it was the most imposing in the cemetery. So there must have been more to this woman than I knew - why such a big tombstone? This led me to continue the search for more information on Marguerite and husband, Edward. This is what makes family history search so interesting, and it takes you to beautiful places.

 

I wonder how many readers may have a relative who lived in Hill End. After all, there were some 2500 residents at one time. Hill End has been preserved as an historic town by the state government. Indeed the Hill End Historical Museum is run by the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service in the old hospital building. There they maintain information on early inhabitants, supported by keen volunteers and family historians. The museum is well worth a visit. It has lots of photos of old buildings and their inhabitants, and the equipment they used.

 

Soon I came across another mine of information - the Hill End and Tambaroora Gathering Group, headed by Lorraine Purcell in Sydney. This group of descendants of Hill Enders aims to preserve and record as much information as they can on the early days. They meet at least annually in Sydney, and also arrange frequent visits to Hill End. An email newsletter is produced regularly, and a number of books and booklets are published. Details can be obtained on their comprehensive website: www.heatgg.org.au   . The website has recently (2019) been greatly improved by the addition of searchable records.

The Mitchell Library holds a wonderful photographic record of early Hill End known as the Holtermann Collection. Some of these photos were published in 1973 in a book by Keast Burke.

 

So if you think an ancestor went searching for gold in the NSW goldfields, it is likely that they spent some time at Hill End. It’s not too hard to chase them down if you follow up some of these leads. The gathering group is a great place to start - and you can do that from your armchair with an iPad.

 

By the way, I did find out about Marguerite and Edward. She lost her mind when her little boy died, and became a piano-playing recluse living in her dressing gown with all the windows curtained all day. After her death in 1902, Edward went to Marrackville in Sydney, remarried, and died in 1914. He had however ensured Marguerite’s sad story would not be forgotten, with her monument in the cemetery at Hill End.

 

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This article was first published in Fifty-Plus NEWS, December 2013.

 

Martin Playne is a long-time member of the GSV Writers Discussion Circle and a member of the Editorial Team of the GSV magazine Ancestor. He has published many articles in Ancestoras well as his 2013 book,'Two Squatters: The lives of George Playne and Daniel Jennings' - a digital copy of which you can find in the GSV Collection. (A Kindle edition is available via Amazon). He is currently writing a new book on the lives and families of the Great Will Forgers of the1840s. This book covers the fen country of England, London, and the west of England, and then moves to Norfolk Island, Tasmania and mainland Australia. 

 

If you need help and support with your family history writing, come to the GSV Writers Discussion Circle which meets on the first Wednesday of each month (GSV members only). If you are a GSV Member just come along this week - it's all part of your membership.

 

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