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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!

 

***

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

***

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.

 

***

 

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.

 

*** 

Help transcribe Chinese travel records into Victorian history

Details from 1933 for Tommy Hoy, Chin Sing Toy, Ah Yen, Ah Way and Doolah Mahomed.
Bill Barlow
30 March 2019
Treasure Chest

Volunteers are invited to help create a searchable index of the presently inaccessible records of Chinese travel to Victoria from 1904-59.

Robyn Ansell of Chinese-Australian Family Historians of Victoria(CAFHOV) describes below how you can help with this CAFHOV project, as part of the Australian History Festival.

Robyn will also be giving will a presentation on Saturday 13 April at GSV on ‘Chinese Australian Family History’. You need to book for this and more details are on our website http://www.gsv.org.au

***

TRANSCRIBING CHINESE TRAVELS INTO VICTORIA’S HISTORY

Sunday 5 May 2019 10.30 am to 4.00 pm

 

What was the Certificate of Exemption from the Dictation Test? Between 1904 and 1959, customs officials recorded the details of Chinese and Indian Victorians who travelled overseas under a certificate exempting them from having to sit the notorious dictation test on their return to Australia. They recorded the names, ages, nationalities, occupations, residencies and shipping details of these people. Currently all of these details are locked away, unsearchable, unless you know the date of issue of a particular certificate. We plan to change that by creating a searchable index of these records and we’d like you to help!

Bring your laptop or tablet to the Chinese Museum in Melbourne and help us to transcribe the key details from these three registers using our specially designed online system.

The day will include two specialist talks.

  • Tips for undertaking Chinese Australian family history.
  • The historical significance of these registers.

You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the Chinese Museum’s five floors of displays about the history and heritage of the Chinese in Australia.

What will I do on the day?

You will be assigned some documents to transcribe and transfer to an online database. On the day, you will provided with all the training to help you with this task. We need people who can enter information into a computer and people who can read old style handwriting.

  • If you have both skills, we need you
  • If you are comfortable with computers but have little experience reading old script, we need you.
  • If you can read old script but don’t like computers, we still need you.

We will be helping each other as much as possible.

Where will this be happening?

Chinese Museum
22 Cohen Place,
Melbourne, Victoria
Australia

Entry by ticket to the museum ($11 / $9 concession).

For further information contact our Secretary: info@cafhov.com.

Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria Inc.

***

[We are presently having some glitches with the email notifications of this blog to our subscribers, but you can always check via the GSV website for all posts. Our apologies for this, and I know if you are not being notified of new posts you may not see this one! Ed.]

 

Post expires at 5:05pm on Tuesday 30 July 2019

Was your ancestor a criminal? : A World-First Survey on Crime History and the Public

Bill Barlow
26 October 2018
Treasure Chest

Recently the GSV Writers shared their writing about topics such as 'a skeleton in the family'. A number of interesting stories emerged, of forgers and even a murderer. How do we deal with those in our family who have become entangled with the law?

Old portable police lockup, Chewton, Victoria, 1860s. (Photo. W. Barlow 2017)

 

Dr Alana Piper, Research Fellow of the University of Technology Sydney researches criminal justice history and is conducting a survey on the public’s engagement with crime history. The purpose of this online survey is to find out about public interest in and understandings of criminal justice history. The online survey is run through SurveyMonkey and takes 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey is completely anonymous.

The survey can be found via the following link - https://criminalcharacters.com/survey/

In this project Alana is using digital techniques to map the lives and criminal careers of Australian offenders across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her research interests draw together the social and cultural history of crime with criminology, legal history and the digital humanities. Her PhD thesis examined female involvement in Australian criminal subcultures across the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Castlemaine prison, Victoria, built 1857-61 on the Pentonville Model (Photo. W. Barlow 2017)

 

Dr Piper outlines the project:

A World-First Survey on Crime History and the Public

'One of the things I love about my job as a criminal justice historian is talking to people about my research. It does not matter who they are – or even if history in general is not a particular passion for them – most people are interested in hearing the stories I’ve uncovered about nineteenth and twentieth-century crimes and criminals.

Some people like to chat about the celebrity criminals whose lives have been immortalised in fiction and film, like bushranger Ned Kelly or Sydney crime queen Tilly Devine. Others like hearing about the quirkier or more unexpected tales I have come across, such as the fact that book theft was made a special offence in Victoria in 1891 after a spate of book stealing from public libraries. Or that until relatively recently fortune-telling was a criminal offence across Australia, with police intermittently cracking down on fortune-tellers throughout the twentieth century, in particular during the World Wars when people were desperate for reassurance about their loved ones.

These are not one-way conversations either. Family historians have often encountered at least one ancestor who had an entanglement with the law. It is fascinating to hear how sometimes those actions or events ended up changing the course of the lives of the entire family. Other people have developed an interest in local cold cases, such as the unsolved murders of three adult siblings that occurred in Gatton, Queensland in 1898, but still generate frequent speculation today.

The sense that I am left with from these encounters is that crime history is a subject in which the public is highly engaged. Anecdotally I know that other crime historians – both in Australia and overseas – have similar experiences. However, to date there has been no empirical research into public attitudes and interest towards crime history.

I am trying to change that by running an anonymous online survey about community perceptions of crime history. The survey only takes 5-10 minutes to complete, but will generate data that provides insights into the sources of information that inform public understandings of crime history, and how public attitudes about crime history vary across different national contexts.

Any participation in or promotion of the survey is much appreciated. It can be found via the following link - https://criminalcharacters.com/survey/- along with more details about my research project.'

Alana Piper, University of Technology Sydney. 

You can follow Alana on Twitter on @alana_piper

Together again

Bill Barlow
25 September 2018
Treasure Chest

By Karen Mather

One of the pleasures of family history research is to uncover the tracks made by our ancestors at a time when travel must have needed exceptional courage and endurance. For those who are not squeamish, cemeteries can often work as important hubs in joining up these networks.

Town Hall plaque, Kalgoorlie, WA, 2016

 

In 19th century Australia, a rumour of a new gold prospect in another state would immediately send thousands of people trekking from shore to shore. Of course, not only gold-seekers and their entrepreneurial providers trod new paths. Explorers, surveyors, naturalists and settlers also criss-crossed the land, leaving fragments for family historians to piece together.

John Flanagan's grave, White Hills Cemetery, Bendigo, Victoria, 2016

 



John Flanagan (1829-1864) set out from his parents’ farm in Ennis, County Clare, arriving in Melbourne in 1858, and within three years he and his wife, Margaret O’Halloran (1832-1916), were mining in Bendigo (aka Sandhurst). Of their three children only Michael (1862-1901) survived past early childhood, and John himself succumbed to tuberculosis in 1864.  His younger brother, Tom Flanagan (1832-1899), had by then arrived from Ennis, and, it was he who signed John’s death certificate. John was buried in White Hills Cemetery in Bendigo.

Lake Flannigan, King Island, Tasmania, 2017

 

Hobart next became an important junction on the network of Flanagan-family travels. Michael Flannigan (as he wrote his name in adulthood) qualified as a government surveyor in 1892, and then left the Mines Department in Melbourne for the Tasmanian Lands Department in 1894. 

In Hobart he gained a reputation as a highly professional surveyor and was appointed as the first District Surveyor for King Island in 1898. But, as with his father, his life was cut short by tuberculosis. He returned to Bendigo to spend his last months, in early 1901, with his mother, Margaret O’Halloran, now named Higgs and widowed for a second time. Ten years later his colleagues in the Lands Department in Hobart arranged for Big Lake on King Island to be named Lake Flannigan, in his memory.

Michael John Flannigan is buried in with his father, mother and sisters in White Hills Cemetery, but what has been little known until recently is that the biggest lake on King Island is his memorial, and further, that his uncle, Tom Flanagan, is buried in the same cemetery, but far away across the other side.

Michael Flannigan's family grave, Section E4, White Hills Cemetery, Bendigo, Victoria, 2016

 



The discoverers of the first gold at what has now become the astonishing Super Pit of Kalgoorlie, were three unassuming Irishmen, Paddy Hannan, the leader; Tom Flanagan, his regular prospecting partner; and Daniel Shea, an acquaintance who joined them on the way to Kalgoorlie. Their gains from the find were modest, and, as was usual for prospectors, they stayed only a few months before moving on.

Fame would come years later, after Tom had returned to lodge with his late brother’s wife, Margaret O’Halloran, in Bendigo and had died there in 1899.

Tom Flanagan's grave, Section H5, White Hills Cemetery, Bendigo, Victoria, 2016

 



The linked stories of Tom Flanagan, and his nephew Michael John Flannigan and his friend in the Lands Department, William Nevin Tatlow Hurst, can be read in Wikipedia, and various history magazines. 

September, 2018

***

[All photos courtesy of K. Mather, 2018].

The Catholic Heritage Archive

Bill Barlow
15 August 2018
Treasure Chest



Today's post contributed by Ted Bainbridge draws our attention to the Catholic Heritage Archive available at Findmypast. Ted has been a researcher, teacher, speaker and writer on genealogy since 1969. He has taught many beginner and advanced genealogy classes. His genealogical and historical articles are published frequently by several US national, state, and county organizations. Ted is the past president of the Longmont Genealogical Society, in Colorado, US. and he is currently on the staff of the Longmont Family History Center.[Ed.]

***

The  Catholic  Heritage Archive

Ted  Bainbridge  PhD

Findmypast.com is enlarging its Catholic Heritage Archive [CHA] which intends to become 'the most comprehensive online collection of Roman Catholic records for the USA, Britain and Ireland, containing one hundred million records.' The site’s front page claims, 'Most of these records have never before been accessible by the public - either offline or online.'

Go to https://www.findmypast.com.au/catholicrecords and sign in or subscribe.  [Access to Findmypast is free to members of the Genealogical Society of Victoria (GSV) within the GSV Research Centre. Alternately free access is also available at LDS Church Family History Centres or your local library.]

The CHA contains or will contain millions of Irish records*, plus sacramental registers of England, Scotland, and the United States.  Records of the archdioceses of New York, Philadelphia (beginning in 1757), and Baltimore contain thirty million records. English records include those of Birmingham and Westminster, both beginning in 1657.  Records include baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials, censuses, and more.

You can search the entire collection by specifying various name, date, and place parameters. Alternatively, you can access English or Irish or Scottish baptism, marriage, or burial registers; as well as American baptism or marriage registers, or parish registers. Each data set can be searched for several parameters that you can specify or omit as you think best.

Invaluable guidance is available by selecting Learn More, Understanding the Records, Searching Irish Catholic Parish Registers, Common Latin Terminology, and Finding British and Irish Places of Birth.

There are many links to other helpful internet locations at the bottom of the CHA front page. 

***

*  The GSV also recommends going to the free IrishGenealogy.ie for locating any Irish ancestors for birth, death and Marriage records. [Ed.]

 

Maryborough's gold-rush newspapers to go online

Bill Barlow
30 June 2018
Treasure Chest

It's pretty cold in Melbourne so it's good to be reminded of colder places in Victoria, but it's also great to hear of genealogical activities in those places. In this post Robyn Ansell, a member of GSV, the Maryborough Midlands and Creswick historical societies and the Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria (CAFHOV) lets us know of new online records being created to help researchers.

Robyn 's great grandfather William Henry Ah Whay came to Maryborough as a teenager from China around 1860. He lived there for 60 years, marrying a young girl from the Creswick Black Lead Chinese camp and fathering eleven children.

Whay family fruiterer and refreshment rooms, High St, Maryborough, c.1918-1922 (Courtesy R. Ansell)

 

Teachers, students and residents of Maryborough, Victoria, past and present will later this year be able to read the Maryborough newspaper online for eleven years of the gold-rush period 1857 to 1867. It will be made available through the National Library of Australia on the Trove website. The State Library of Victoria, which holds the microfilms from 1857 onwards, will send the microfilms to Canberra for digitisation.

Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Beechworth, other significant Victorian goldfields towns, have newspapers for the goldrush period on Trove. To provide comparable Trove coverage for Maryborough will make a rich goldfields history resource available worldwide online to researchers and family historians. The World War I period 1914 to 1918 is already available on Trove. Users can easily browse the newspaper and download selected pages or individual articles.

The Maryborough-Midlands Historical Society holds many decades of the Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser in hard copy, however the paper is fragile. It is expected that digitisation will reduce the need for people to handle the hard copies for 1857 to 1867.

The Local History Grants program which will pay for the digitisation is funded annually by the Public Records Office of Victoria. The successful application was made by the Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria, CAFHOV, which was established in 2001. Many Australians are descended from Chinese who came to Australia in the last 150 years but may not know about this element of their heritage. They have been discovering it through genealogical research and DNA testing. The Facebook page and website for CAFHOV may be of assistance to them. https://www.facebook.com/cafhov  and  http://www.cafhov.com

Other links : 

The Maryborough Midlands Historical Society

You can find them on Facebook  'Worsley Cottage' and read about them at Culture Victoria website https://cv.vic.gov.au/organisations/maryborough-midlands-historical-society/

Maryborough Family History Group Inc. http://www.visitmaryborough.com.au/arts-culture-heritage/maryborough-family-history-group-1

Worsley Cottage, Maryborough Midlands Historical Society

 

 

Writing a Morkham history: a member's challenge

Bill Barlow
7 April 2018
President's Keyboard
Treasure Chest

I was interested to read an email from John Morkham, sent in response to the first 'Keyboard of the President' article. John has been a GSV Member for twenty-eight years. Life is busy for most of us, and our genealogical research proceeds in bursts, when it can be fitted in. In John's case, the family history compilation has been going on over a number of generations and that work has passed down to him. With so much accumulated research, he now plans to retire from his 'retirement' positions, so he can commence writing the history. Many of us can identify with John's objective, as he described it in his email.

*

'May I, at the outset, wish you, the Board, Staff and the Members, a very happy Easter. I joined GSV in July 1989. How pleased was I today to receive your 'Keyboard' number 1 report concerning activities and observations for the GSV's future. This prompted me to reflect on my family history research and my present situation.  

Morkham family tree, painted by Thomas Frank Morkham, 1902. Courtesy of John Morkham.

 

My great grandfather, Thomas Frank Morkham, following his retirement as Secretary of Lands (Victoria) travelled to the UK and Ireland in 1902. His father, who brought most of his family to Geelong, told him of the then known history of the Morkham family, which had been based in Dunster, Somerset. This drew him to start family research from the Dunster records. As a result of that trip he wrote notes from those records and then painted a Family Tree, which shows at its base his own great grandfather. His notes also include a reference to the death of his great, great grandfather’s wife Katherine, wife of John.

Since 1902, recordkeeping has evolved immensely, with digital recording of hard copies and the collating of them into family records. It is most unfortunate that Catholic Ireland failed to undertake Parish recordkeeping before 1837. Odd records were maintained by UK legislation and Victorian church systems. My great grandfather, who was born in Denmark, possessed an older family history, which was burnt in 1870. Such a shame; but fortunately the Diocese had many relevant records. From 1973 up to today, I have researched our whole family history with the help of branches of over three times-removed supporters as well as my father, mother, aunts and uncles and others not related to me but carrying the now false name of Morkham.

I have retired from employed positions, but I am presently the treasurer of three organisations, as well as being committed to the Catholic Church weekly and with visits to Prison and a Hospital. I have started to inform those organisations that I wish to retire during 2019 so that I can undertake the writing and recording of our family history back to a date of about 1490. In 2019, I plan to start the recording of my family history in the hope that I can accomplish this in my remaining years.

With my other 'retirement' commitments, I find it very hard to attend functions of importance arranged by GSV. Despite this, I support GSV, its relationship with RHSV and the Australian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry. I am also a member of the Somerset Archives and the Australian Heraldry Society. I hope to be able to use the GSV resources more fully as I undertake this next stage of my family's history. Best wishes to you and the Board.'

John Morkham, 4 April 2018.                                                                                          [This is an edited version of John's email, reproduced with his approval, Ed.].

*

Presenting years of research in a readable way can be daunting. GSV can assist its members to get started and can provide ongoing support from other writers in its Writers Discussion Circle. Articles in Ancestor's 'Getting it Write' series address all aspects of writing family history - for example, 'Getting Started' (vol. 28 no.1) and 'The Writer at Work' (vol.30 no.7). See the list here https://gsv.org.au/images/stories/pdf/GSVWritersarticles-2017.pdf. Our best wishes to John and thanks for his membership support.

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