Wednesday, December 10, 2014

THE LIST SO FAR....So This is Christmas Geneameme Bloggers

List of Blogs which participated in the So This Is Christmas 2014 Geneameme



THIS LIST WILL BE UPDATED AS GENEAMEMES ARE POSTED

Thankyou to the bloggers who are joining me in sharing precious childhood Christmas memories through my Christmas geneameme. The following blog posts are filled with most varied and entertaining Christmas anecdotes. For anyone who hasn't yet participated but wishes to do so, just leave me a link to your blog and I will add it to the following list of blogs and bloggers.


You Are Where You Came From   - Kathleen Scarlet O'Hara Naylor

Family history across the seas  - Pauleen Cass

Shauna Hicks Family Enterprises  - Shauna Hicks

GenieQ    - Helen O'Connor

lonetester HQ  - Alona Tester

That Moment in Time  - Chris Goopy

Monday, December 8, 2014

So This is Christmas - and what have you done? My Christmas GeneaMeme

I My Response to my So this is Christmas and what have you done Geneameme?


Throughout the next few weeks of December, I will be publishing and updating a list of bloggers who participated in this Christmas GeneaMeme. Please leave a comment on my blog or send me a message if you wish for your blog to be included in the list. Some bloggers have already responded so I had better get moving and write my own response. Here is my own So This is Christmas Geneameme.....


MY GENEAMEME RESPONSE

SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS - GENEMEME 2014

1, WHAT KIND OF CHRISTMAS DID YOU HAVE AS A CHILD?

Christmas, when I was a child, was always a time of year that I looked forward to with great excitement. Christmas in my home, was regarded as a religious celebration in that we always attended a church service on Christmas morning. I do recall as a very young child, thinking it unfair that I had to to go to church just after opening my lovely Christmas presents! From the age of 7 I sang in our church choir and my favourite time to be a chorister was during the Christmas service. I remember feeling very proud wearing my light blue chorister's gown and singing Away in a Manger, Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful with the children's choir on Christmas morning. Christmas day was spent with extended family, enjoying a delicious lunch at the home of one or the other grandparent. My favourite Christmas days were those where both sides of the family gathered together, although this did not happen often. My paternal family was very musical and Christmas day spent with my McDade grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins was a day of concerts and singing. Christmas Day with my maternal grandmother always meant a swim at the beach in the afternoon, because she lived at Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane. This was always a much anticipated Christmas afternoon acitivity, since Christmas Day in Australia usually means very hot weather. My mother and my paternal grandmother were both amazing cooks so Christmas was very much about scrumptious food!

2. WHERE DID YOU SPEND  CHRISTMAS?

Very few Christmas days were spent in my own home as a child. My maternal grandmother lived on the Sunshine Coast, a drive of two and a half hours in those days (or longer if the car wouldn't make it up Buderim Mountain [showing my age here, for those who recall travelling to the North Coast years ago....]). We often spent Christmas at Maroochydore, but on those occasions, my paternal grandparents and cousins sometimes traveled north to have Christmas lunch with us. Other Christmas lunches were held at the home of my paternal grandparents at Garfield Drive, Paddington Heights, in Brisbane. One Christmas Day when I was 13 years old, my family, my parents and two sisters and myself, had Christmas lunch at the Aero Club at Archerfield where my father was a club member. I am not sure why we did that (my mother had cancer around that time so perhaps it was to save her from cooking) but I do remember thinking that it didn't really feel like Christmas day without my mother's lovely home cooking. 

3. A LETTER AND SOMETHING YUMMY FOR SANTA

As a child, my sisters and I always left out  delicious refreshments for Santa. After all, he did have a very long night and Australia was one of his first stops before heading all the way over to the other side of the world. So we fed him well. Our family tradition was to leave a plate of delicious fruit mince pies baked by my mother. They had a thick brandy sauce to accompany them. Santa also received a nice cold soft drink (fizzy drink for my American friends) to help him on his way. Not forgetting the reindeer, we put carrots and lettuce out. All of this was placed near the Christmas tree and Santa must have had quite an appetite because never once left even a crumb behind.
Pauleen Cass in her Christmas Geneameme post reminded me that we also left a Christmas beer out for the garbage collectors and the milkman. 

4. THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Today, my family has an artificial Christmas tree, but during my childhood we decorated a real tree every Christmas. The smell of a fresh pine tree to this day, evokes  childhood Christmas memories for me. The highway  to the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane was bedecked with an alternate patchwork of pineapple plantations and pine forests and a more perfect place to cut  a Christmas tree you could not find.... so every December, at night,  my father drove us north along the Bruce highway where Christmas trees grew in abundance seemingly just for the taking.. There we joined other families also searching by torchlight for their perfect Christmas tree. As a child, I didn't once wonder why we always went Christmas tree hunting at night by the light of a torch or why we didn't simply cut down a tree  in broad daylight....Only later did I I realize that  my early childhood Christmas trees were saplings growing amidst state pine forestry plantations. The small trees we and other folk cut were mere saplings seeded from the larger trees and would have never been needed for timber, but  I can't help chuckling at my father's audacity! I have such joyous memories of  joining other families search ing for Christmas trees by torchlight in the eerie shadows of giant pines at the foot of the Glasshouse Mountains.  For me, the simple joy of cutting down our own Christmas tree, was an exciting adventure to look forward to every year. 

5. DECORATING THE CHRISTMAS TREE


One of my favourite things to do as a child, in the months leading up to Christmas, was to make Christmas decorations to bedeck both the Christmas tree and our home. Each December, our house was filled with paper, glue, glitter and an assortment of other craft essentials. Towards the end of the school year, which is in December in Australia, hot classsrooms resounded with the sound of happy childrens' laughter as tired teachers abandoned learning in favour of Christmas craft activities. At home I created glittering decorations from dozens of gold and silver milk bottle tops strung together by means of a needle and thick coloured thread. Foil lids were washed and saved all year with the great anticipation of transforming these everyday items into wondrous Christmas ornaments. Milk bottle lids were also easily fashioned into pretty bells to be hung on the tree. 
Milk bottle lids such as this were used to make decorations Image Wikimedia ©©
Every piece of colourful wrapping paper from the previous Christmas was saved to make bright paper chains to bedeck the tree. Patiently my sister and I cut many even strips of paper and glued the first one into a circle. Each subsequent strip was joined to make long paper Christmas chains to be draped around the Christmas tree and also hung from window to window in our home.


Image ©©
Possibly my favourite Christmas decorations to make were paper lanterns. This involved folding and cutting and gluing a piece of paper into a lantern shape and adding a paper or string handle to hang it from a branch of the tree. 


paper lanterns Image labelled for reuse ©©
I am certain we must have had other Christmas tree decorations and ornaments but the only ones I can recall now are those colourful homemade decorations which adorned our tree year after year. Decorating the tree was a family affair although I don't recall my father helping. Sometimes he played Christmas carols on the piano while we sang and placed our decorations on the tree. 

6. DID YOU DECORATE OUTDOORS?

My first home, where I lived until age seven, had a Christmas tree growing in the front yard so each Christmas, my parents put lights on it. At our next and subsequent homes we put a Wreath on the front door but no other outdoor decorations were used. When an umbrella tree grew high enough in our front garden at Jindalee, my mother decorated it with tinsel. I remember my father taking us for a drive to see a street where the owner of one house had put many Christmas lights outdoors. It seemed like a fairy wonderland to me as a young child.I don't recall homes or indeed entire streets being decorated with lights and decorations as they are in many places these days. Probably the highlight of each year for me as a child was a trip to the city centre to see the large Christmas tree which sat wondrously decorated in front of the City Hall.

7. CHRISTMAS CARDS

Christmas cards we received were always hung on string on the wall between two windows in our lounge (living) room. My mother was the person who sent Christmas cards to family and friends. My sister and I made Christmas cards for family members. We loved craft activities so this was something we looked forward to each Christmas. 

8. CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS

When I was a child my 'Christmas stocking' was a pillow case which my mother had sewn and embroidered a Christmas design on the front of. We called these our Santa sacks. Our names were embroidered on the pillow cases as well. I carried this tradition on with my own children, although they also had a traditional stocking as well which an elderly neighbour made for them each. A stocking may be more traditional but I must say I didn't ever feel we missed out with our pillow cases....  Possibly because it takes quite a few toys to fill a pillow case! Our 'Santa sack' pillow cases were left at the foot of our beds and we awoke to find them filled on Christmas morning. Usually in the Santa Sack we found toys, books or things useful for our holidays at Maroochydore, such as goggles, flippers and snorkels, or a beach ball, buckets and spades, beach towels and bags as we grew older or other small gifts. I  recall thinking how amazing it was that Santa somehow always knew that we were having a trip to the beach and so provided us with appropriate gifts. One present, each Christmas, was wrapped and left under the Christmas tree and this was from my parents. When I was aged nine, I remember the excitement of receiving my first camera. But for the 1974 floods, I would still have the photographs I took with that camera on our Christmas holiday that year. 

9. CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

Our immediate family opened presents on Christmas morning ( far too early for my parents I recall). Other gifts from grandparents were opened after lunch.
Our extended family all exchanged Christmas gifts and these were small presents such as brush and comb sets or jewelery boxes, books  or cars and trucks for my male cousins. My paternal grandmother, right up until her death aged 93, when blind, made our Christmas gifts. Each year we cherished the lovingly crocheted tops, dresses, bags, bikinis she made for us. As we grew older, she made items for our glory boxes and these were our Christmas gifts from her. I still have the beautiful tea towels she hand embroidered and crochet edged (I have never been able to use them) and the doilies, table cloths that she sewed. Some have been thoroughly made use of but I have kept a few items to pass down to my children.

One of the TeaTowels embroidered and edged by my grandmother.  Image sharnwhite©

Crocheted flowers on a 'hostesss' apron my grandmother made for my glory box Image sharnwhite©

10. YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

My favourite Christmas present is easy to remember for two reasons. The first is that I had desperately wanted this present for many years but was told I must wait until I was twelve years old to be responsible enough to own it. It was a bicycle. Little did my parents know that I had been riding a friend's bicycle all around the locality in which we lived for some years. I was a competent rider but I couldn't tell them this because I was forbidden to ride until the age of twelve. The second reason I recall this gift is that my ten year old sister received a bicycle the same Christmas. As excited as I was to finally have the bicycle I had asked for every Christmas since I was seven, my joy was dampened by the fact that my sister not only received her bicycle two years early, but I was thoroughly convinced that her bright red bike was much prettier than my black one. I never let my parents know that I was disappointed and in the end it was much more fun riding with my sister than on my own and my disappointment was short lived. We lived on 12 1/2 acres on the outskirts of Brisbane and the very hilly roads were made of dirt and not sealed. Our father insisted he drive behind us when we first ventured on to the road. My parents, having no idea that I had been cycling on friend's bicycles for some years, could not believe how quickly I took to bicycle riding! 


11. WAS THERE A PRESENT YOU WANTED BUT NEVER RECEIVED?


Since my family was musical, Christmas gifts sometimes consisted of a musical instrument. One Christmas I received a flute and another, a guitar. I was pleased to learn to play these instruments, however, throughout my entire childhood years,  all I really wanted, was to learn to play the piano accordion. My Scottish born grandfather had taught me to play a small button accordion which he had brought to Australia from Glasgow and I desperately wanted to learn to play a 'proper' piano accordion.  This was one instrument that neither of my parents liked so there was never going to be an accordion sitting beneath the Christmas tree for me. I persistently put a request for an accordion in my letter to Santa every year and each Christmas I was certain that somehow my mother had been in touch with him to cancle my order! 
This was not the vision my mother had in mind for me..... Image Wikimedia ©©

12. DID YOU GIVE GIFTS TO TEACHERS AND FRIENDS AT SCHOOL?

At Primary School, each year I gave my teachers a Christmas present. I think these gift were usually handkerchiefs.  Now, after reading the Christmas memories of  others in their geneamemes,  I can't help thinking that our school teachers were possibly not as excited about Christmas as we children were, with the prospect looming each year of taking home all those hankies!  My close friends and I exchanged small gifts, however, I don't really recall what these were. 



13. CHRISTMAS FOOD

With a mother and a paternal grandmother who were both excellent cooks, Christmas was always a time to enjoy scrumptious food. My grandmother who had been born in Northern Ireland, carried on her Irish family tradition of cooking a hot traditional roast turkey and vegetables for lunch on Christmas day, followed by a boiled plum pudding. Finding a threepence or a sixpence (later five cents ) in my piece of pudding was the highlight of Christmas lunch. My grandmother's custard, ice cream and Christmas shortbread stand out distinctly in my Christmas food memories. She passed on to me her secret recipes for these tasty treats after I married, and I will pass on the recipe to my own daughters. 

Christmas lunch at the beach  home of my maternal grandmother was much as mine is today - a cold lunch befitting the hot Australian Christmas weather. Ocasionally we enjoyed lunch outdoors if the day was not too hot. Usually our North Coast main meal in the middle of the day, consisted of a variety of cold meats, ham, turkey, chicken, pork, and many and a great variety of delicious salads. Mum was a very inventive cook! My mother spent the weeks leading up to Christmas day, in a frenzy of  cooking. There were Christmas cakes, fruit mince pies with brandy sauce (a recipe I dearly wish I had  asked for before she succumbed to Alzheimers in her late forties), coconut ice, fudge, turkish delight, and many other Christmas delicacies. My mother's salads were legendary among our family  and friends and her homemade mayonnaise is another recipe I wish I had today. 


14. A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS RECIPE

My grandmother's shortbread recipe is still used today at for a Christmas treat in our home. It is still the best shortbread I have ever tasted!

Image Wikimedia Creative Commons ©©

15. CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS & 16. CHRISTMAS MUSIC

When I was a child, each Christmas Eve we gathered as a family to admire the Christmas tree bedecked with splendid home made decorations and colourful Christmas lights (I had no idea then that it had been unlawfully obtained) and we sang Carols together. Either my mother or my father played the piano to accompany us and I remember when I was around 12 years old, my sister and I played the guitar to accompany the piano. My sister and I practiced singing harmonies for weeks and we often gave a small guitar accompanied concert for the family. Music was an important part of my family's life.
On Christmas Eve, before bedtime, we children placed our Santa sack pillow cases at the foot of our beds and tried to stay awake for as long as we could to see Santa arrive. One sister has always claimed that she caught a glimpse of Santa Clause in his red suit climbing out of the bedroom window (in Australia not all homes have fireplaces or chimneys) and who knows? Isn't it a good thing to have a little magic in life to believe in...


Did my sister see Santa? Image Wikimedia Creative Commons ©©

17. YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS CAROL

As a child I had two favourite Christmas carols that I sang incessantly around the house. I must have driven my family crazy! They weren't the usual childhood favourites, such as Away in a Manger or Jungle Bells or Silent Night. The song I sang the most was The Holy City.  I simply adored this Christmas Hymn which I had learned in the church choir and it still stirs emotion when I hear it.

My other favourite Christmas song was I saw Mummy Kissing Santa Clause.  

18. CHRISTMAS PARTIES

In Australia, the school year ends in December, and the last day of the school year was always spent having a Christmas party. Each child took a plate of party food to school and school uniforms were abandoned for the day. Children exchanged gifts with friends and teachers, and I remember many of these days as being much fun. 
My father's work parties were always very much child focused. When my father worked for Massey Ferguson Santa Clause arrived at the party every year on a tractor and gave every child a present. Hay rides in a wagon pulled by the tractor followed. 


Me, aged 5 at a Massey Ferguson Christmas Party © sharnwhite

I was fortunate to be involved in quite a few activities as a child so the month of December was a very busy one with parties to attend for Ballet, Tennis, Girl Guides and Gymnastics. 

19. CHRISTMAS CONCERTS/PLAYS

I studied ballet, tap dancing and Irish dancing as a child and each year we had a ballet Concert just before Christmas. Along with other young dancers from the Audrey Buchanan Ballet School, I danced a number of times in the Christmas Pantomime which was held every Christmas at the Brisbane City Hall. Prior to each of those pantomimes I always had a vision of myself being given a part which required a flowinglong tutu or princess gown but... alas, I was from memory, a mouse, a Christmas present and a red striped candy cane. On a high note, I do get to boast that I danced with the Queensland and Australian Ballet Companies. If prancing around as a little grey mouse or struggling to dance at all in a tight red and white candy cane costume counts.....


I finally got to wear a tutu! Image sharnwhite ©

20. CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS

I was very fortunate that as a child, my maternal grandmother lived at Maroochydore, on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane. I don't remember ever spending a school holiday, especially the long summer Christmas holidays at home. We had several holidays with my paternal grandparents, one at Caloundra  on the Sunshine Coast and another at Labrador on the Gold Coast. The Christmas holidays were a time of complete freedom. I grew up in an age of innocence at a time when children could wander freely about, without fear of danger. My sister and I walked to the beach on our own aged  7 and 9 years. We swam in the surf and rode inflated tubes on the waves. We ate ice-cream on the way home and got into trouble for staying too long in the sun and getting sunburned. I knew many of the local children and together with them, we played in the high sand dunes that lined the surf beach. At Cotton Tree, where the mouth of the Maroochy River reaches the ocean, we frolicked in the calm water. As we grew older a roller skating rink nearby became a favourite place to spend our time. My father didn't always have work holidays around Christmas time but when was able come with us, I loved going boating and fishing with him in the Maroochy River.  My Christmas holidays were idyllic. I look back on those days and I am very grateful for my wonderful Christmas holidays.

21. WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST CHRISTMAS MEMORY?

I don't have a very early memory of Christmas day itself, but I do remember  attending a Massey Ferguson Christmas Party when I was only four or five. It may even be the one I am pictured in below. Santa Claude arrived on a big red Massey Ferguson tractor which was very impressive! I recall being too shy to go up to Santa Clause to receive my present, and my father taking me by the hand and walking with me. I also remember wanting my ride on the hay wagon pulled by Santa's tractor, to go on forever! If it was the party I was attending in the below photo that I'm remembering, then I have other less happy childish memories. I was five years old and had lost my front two teeth. I did not want to be photographed because of this and I refused to smile properly. I also was upset that day that my mother had pulled my fringe back off my face. I did love my new blue and white dress which my mother had sewed especially for me with its lovely white broderie anglaise apron over it. That Christmas dress was probably my favourite childhood dress. 




WISHING YOU A VERY JOYOUS

CHRISTMAS 2014....









Friday, November 28, 2014

So This is Christmas, and what have you done? ... My Christmas GeneaMeme

2014 CHRISTMAS GENEALOGY MEME

Image in the public domain ©©



PLEASE LISTEN HERE for Christmas cheer....

December and the festive season is almost upon us. Decorations already adorn the shopping centres and some very organised friends and family members have posted some beautifully decorated Christmas trees on Facebook. Thinking today that it is high time I urged myself into the Christmas spirit I decided to devise a Christmas GeneaMeme while listening to Carols.... Genealogy memes are a wonderful way to record your Christmas traditions and memories for your family, so I hope that you will join me in responding to my prompts. The prompts are merely suggestions. Please fell free to answer any way you wish. Your answers may be as brief as one word or as loquacious as takes your fancy and please don't feel as though you must answer every prompt.

If you decide to participate in my 'So This is Christmas" genealogy meme, simply copy and paste the following prompts to your blog or facebook, or just write the headings and responses,  and I hope that you will enjoy a trip down the Christmas memory lane. I have provided a link above to Christmas Carol  'So this is Christmas' sung by Celine Dion, to put you in a festive mood while you write....

I will compile a list of  your GeneMemes and post the links to them on my own blog so please leave me a message if you would like your Christmas GeneaMeme published. 

Wishing all my family and friends a very Merry Christmas Season,
                                                                                                Sharn



SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS - GENEAMEME 2014

1.WHAT KIND OF CHRISTMAS DID YOU HAVE AS A CHILD?

Was your childhood Christmas a religious one? Did you go to Church? Was your Christmas a large family festivity or a small occasion? Who did you spend Christmas Day with?


2. WHERE DID YOU SPEND  CHRISTMAS?

When you were a child did you celebrate Christmas in your home, at a grandparents house or did you travel or go away on holidays and have Christmas away from home?


3. A LETTER AND SOMETHING YUMMY FOR SANTA

As a child did you write a letter to Santa or leave out food and/or a drink for him? Did Santa have milk and cookies at your home or did he find a refreshing beer to help him on his merry way? And don't forget the reindeer!



4. THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Do you recall your childhood Christmas tree? Did you have a real tree? If so, do you remember where the tree came from?  Do you recall going out to get the tree? When did your family put the tree up? Who decorated your childhood Christmas tree? (see the prompt below for decorations) Have you carried any of your family Christmas tree traditions into your adult life?


5. DECORATING THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Who decorated your Christmas tree when you were a child? Did you help? Did you make or buy decorations. If you made your own decorations perhaps you might share a description of them here. What were your favourite decorations?



6. DID YOU DECORATE OUTDOORS?

Did you decorate your house or a Christmas tree outdoors, or put decorations on the roof of your house? Did you put up outdoor lights? Do you remember anyone in your neighbourhood putting up Christmas decorations outdoors?


7. CHRISTMAS CARDS

When you were a child did you give and receive Christmas cards? Who sent cards in your family?
Was there a special place where you displayed the Christmas cards your family received? What did you do with your Christmas cards after the festive season? Were they used in craft activities or were they kept?


8. CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS

Did you have a Christmas stocking as a child? Was your 'Christmas stocking' a pillow case or a real stocking? Where in your home did you put your stocking out?  Were all your gifts placed in your stocking or did you have some wrapped under the tree?


9. CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

Who gave you Christmas presents when you were a child? Did you receive presents from  Santa, your parents, from other family members, family and from school friends? Did you make any Christmas presents for others when you were a child? Can you recall any gift that you made? When did you open your Christmas gifts?


10. YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

Was there one Christmas present which stands out from your childhood as your best ever gift? What was it and had you been waiting for many years for this gift?



11. WAS THERE A PRESENT YOU WANTED BUT NEVER RECEIVED?

Did you ever have an unrealistic Christmas present that you wished for but did not receive?


12. DID YOU GIVE GIFTS TO TEACHERS AND FRIENDS AT SCHOOL?

As a child did you exchange gifts with your school friends? Did you give your teachers presents? Looking back now, can you recall any of these presents?



13. CHRISTMAS FOOD

What kind of special foods did your family have on Christmas Day? Did you have a hot meal or cold as is often the case with an Australian Christmas which occurs in the hot summer month of December? Where did you eat - indoors or outdoors? Did you have a picnic or was your Christmas meal a formal occasion? Did you have a favourite Christmas food? was there a particular Christmas food you didn't like?



14. A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS RECIPE

Was there one very special Christmas food from your childhood Christmas  that you still have the recipe for or have carried on the tradition of making? Whose recipe was this Christmas dish?


15. CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

Did your family have any special traditions when it came to celebrating Christmas? Did you have bon bons on the table? Did you say grace before eating? Was your Christmas a special celebration of a cultural background? Perhaps your family went caroling or went to a Carols by Candlelight evening?


16. CHRISTMAS MUSIC

Do you associate music with Christmas as a child? Did your family sing Christmas carols together? Were you in a choir that sang Christmas carols? In what other ways was music a part of your childhood Christmases?



17. YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS CAROL

As a child, did you have a favourite Christmas song or hymn? Do you still enjoy listening to is now? Have you passed this Christmas song on to your children?



18. CHRISTMAS PARTIES

Christmas is often a time for festivity and parties. What Christmas parties did you attend as a child? Did your parents have work Christmas parties, or neighbourhood or street parties? Were you invited to these? If you were involved in group activities such as Scouts, Girl Guides or Sporting Teams, did you have end of year, Christmas parties?


19. CHRISTMAS CONCERTS/PLAYS

As a child did you ever take part in Christmas concerts, Pantomines, Nativity Plays or Band Performances?


20. CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS

On your  Christmas school holidays, what did you do? In Australia, the Christmas break falls in summer so it is the longest break of the school year. Did you spend the holidays at home playing? Perhaps you holidayed at the beach, went camping, skiing or travelled? What activities do you remember doing? In countries where Christmas falls in winter, how do you remember spending your Christmas break as a child?



21. WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST CHRISTMAS MEMORY?

What is your earliest Christmas memory? What do you remember about the day?

                                                     A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS
 Image  Wikimedia Creative Commons ©©


                                                                     
                                                                                                  
         

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday- a find on Ebay!

Image of Marburg in Queensland 1908
Researching your ancestors' communities can be very rewarding. 
The above image is a photograph I purchased on Ebay, which hows of the town of Marburg in Queensland in 1908. The large building picturedon the left, centre,  is the hotel which was licensed in 1907 to my great great grandmother, Hannah Morrison, in 1908 after her husband John, a prominent Sydney Rail Carriage Builder lost his fortune in the late 1890's due to the cancellation of a government contract. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

They Witnessed our Family History - Witnesses as Sources of Information

They Witnessed our Family History

Image in The Public Domain ©©

Our ancestors did not live in isolation. Just about every significant event in their lives was witnessed by other people. Births were witnessed, Godparents acted as witnesses for babies of family and friends. When our forebears married, their ceremonies required witnesses to the occurrence. Death certificates and other legal documents were required to be witnessed. Family circumstances which might have been witnessed include births, deaths, marriages, divorces, Wills, applications to purchase land, immigration and naturalisation records. Even criminal ancestors employed witnesses to testify to their character in court appearances, (usually in the desperate hope that they might avoid punishment). Witnesses were a crucial part of our ancestors' lives. 


Witnesses at the Trial of suspected Salem Witch Mary Wolcott Image Wikimedia©©

Our past, our history and our family history has been well witnessed and the names and testimonies of witnesses are a valuable legacy for us to explore. The significance of these testimonies is much greater than merely names on paper. People who certified our ancestors' legal documents and witnessed their meaningful life moments, were often people who were close to them. They were   family friends or relations - brothers, sisters, parents or cousins. Often witnesses will be the people, when researched, who provide crucial evidence for, or hold vital clues to, unraveling family stories. It is well worth not overlooking the people who personally witnessed our ancestors' lives as a source of information about our ancestors.

The names of witnesses can assist in confirming the identity of an ancestor. This can be especially helpful when you have a forebear with a common name.  Researching the people who witnessed important events in your ancestors' lives can add 'meat to the bare bones' of their stories. In the following examples, I hope to show how researching those who witnessed the lives of my own ancestors has significantly augmented my understanding of their life stories.

Mary Williams - Witness Mary Bird

I have never found a marriage certificate for my third great grandparents, convict Michael Frayne and Mary Williams. I suspect that they were never legally married. Mary stated on several documents that she was born in Singleton, in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales in about 1845, however, I have been unable to find evidence of her birth in Singleton nor a marriage to Michael Frayne. I have a marriage certificate for Michael Frayne and his first wife Bridget Donelly on February 8, 1858 at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney. Bridget Frayne died in Singleton on August 29, 1864.

In 1861, in Singleton, a woman named Mary Williams married a James Buckley. I have determined this to be my Mary Williams by process of elimination. Her mother Mary Bird gave consent for her daughter, a minor to marry. Although my Mary's parents are reported to be Mary Kelly and Joseph Williams, I believe Mary Bird and Mary Kelly to be one and the same person. In  March, 1865, Mary Williams gave birth to a son named Michael. Again, the witness was a Mary Bird so I know that this Mary Williams is the same person who married James Buckley four years before having a son in her maiden name. Since James Buckley was alive in 1865, I must assume that this child was not his. There is a world of difference, however,  between believing and proving beyond doubt that you have the correct ancestor. Witnesses can provide evidence or they can provide clues. In this case I found significant clues in a news article of 1864. It is not evidence but it affords an enticing new line of research for me.

A news article in The Maitland Mercury and  Hunter River General Adviser on Thursday 25th August 1864, reveals that Michael Frayne was charged with a breach of the Publican's Act, for allowing disorderly conduct to take place in his licensed public -house. A witness claimed that I saw four women there in the parlour, one was lying drunk on the sofa and another was a little the worse for liquor. This witness suggested that at least one of the women was a prostitute. A second witness, Fanny Dawson countered this evidence by stating that she herself was at Mr Frayne's house last Saturday evening; a girl named Betsy Bird was there, also Mrs Buckley and Ruth Rose. They were not drunk. 

As soon as I read this news item several names stood out immediately, those being Buckley and Bird. These were both surnames on the certificates I had collected. Mary Bird was the witness to the birth of a baby boy to a Mary Williams in March of 1865. Mary Bird was also named as a witness and significantly, the mother of Mary Williams on the occasion of her marriage to James Buckley in 1861. A likely synopsis begins to materialise.....If my two time great grandmother Mary Williams married James Buckley, there is a distinct possibility that she was the same Mrs Buckley in the news item, stated to be present in the public house of Michael Frayne, especially as searching has failed to find any other Mrs Buckley in the area in 1864. My hunch is that Betsy Bird may have been Mary's step or half sister. It is entirely plausible that Mary, then with the married name of  Buckley, was acquainted with Michael Frayne just prior to the death of his wife Bridget in 1864, Coincidentally, or not, she gave birth to a baby named Michael (no father named) whilst still legally married to James Buckley in 1865. Of course it may just be a strange coincidence that my 3 times great grandfather's name was Michael.... and it is still just in the 'hunch' stage of research but......Since Mary Buckley (Williams) did not divorce her husband James and there no record of his death, then this would account for there existing no marriage record for my three times great grandparents. Mary would have still legally been married to James Buckley. It could also feasibly be the reason that Michael and Mary left Singleton and went to live in Brisbane, Queensland as 'husband and wife', before their daughter and my great great grandmother Sarah was born in 1868.

The incidence of the surnames Bird and Buckley appearing in connection with Michael Frayne could in fact be coincidence, but at the very least, the appearance of the names of people who witnessed an episode in my third great grandfather's life, has presented significant incentive for further research.... and in the meantime, I have a most intriguing speculation!



Mary Bird witness to the marriage of Mary Williams and James Buckley


Edward Joseph Weston -Witness Christopher Bauer

Edward Joseph Weston is my great great grandfather on my maternal side of my family tree. He married Sarah Frayne, the daughter of the same Michael Frayne and Mary Williams mentioned above. Edward Weston was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, to Edward Weston and Mary Ann Turner. After the death of his father, young Edward aged 10, with his mother left England in 1870, bound for Maryborough, Queensland. They arrived on board the ship, Flying Cloud in August 1870. 

From a letter to Edward, 'Teddy' from his Aunt Ann Manton Weston in London, it seems that Mary either traveled to Australia with the intention to marry, or that she met her future husband soon after arriving in their new homeland. Aunt Ann Weston, in her letter, sent after September 5, 1870, instructed 'Teddy' to be a good boy for the man soon to be his new father. The name of Mary Ann's future husband was not mentioned in the letter (I often wish that my ancestors  were more forthcoming in the information they provided....) and despite a search for a marriage using both Mary Ann's maiden name of Turner and married name Weston no marriage was found.

Edward Weston is a reasonably common name, so when searching the digitalised newspapers on the National Library of Australia's website, TROVE, I limited my search to Queensland and Maryborough, where I knew the family had resided. My search resulted in numerous news accounts regarding the name Edward Weston which gave me cause to believe that my ancestor's name appeared in the newspaper quite regularly with regard to court appearances. My family were not the only Westons in Maryborough, however, and Edward himself was most unhelpful in never using his middle name, so when I found the name Edward Weston reported in the Maryborough Chronicle, I had no evidence that this person was in fact, my great great grandfather until I discovered someone who witnessed first hand Edward's misfortunes.

The compelling clue which enabled me to verify that the news reports I had found on Trove, were related to my two times great grandfather, appeared in the form of a witness named Christopher Bauer. The man named Bauer appeared more than once as a witness for Edward Weston  when he was charged with various offences. Then with good fortune, one single news report generously informed me that the witness, Christopher Bauer, was Edward's step-father! If I could prove a marriage between Edward's mother Mary Ann and Christopher Bauer, I would have the evidence to prove that this was my seemingly wayward Weston ancestor.

By searching marriages under the groom's name of Bauer, I discovered that a Mary Ann 'Thorner' had married German born Christopher Bauer on December 2, 1870, four months after arriving in Maryborough. Her parents were named as Joseph and Mary Turner, which were the names of my Mary Ann's parents  and her birthplace and year was the same also in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. There was no doubt that I had found my Mary Ann's marriage. Despite a letter from England indicating that Mary Ann was to marry, the marriage had been difficult to find because her maiden name was misrecorded as Thorner instead of Turner.

Edward, it appears, was a touch too fond of the drink. He was employed as a general labourer, in various capacities, which was somewhat in contrast to his Weston ancestors who were generations of London doctors in Middlesex, London. He appeared too frequently in the Maryborough and other district courts, charged with drunkenness and assault under the influence, and his witness was usually his step-father. A patient man it appears was Christopher Bauer, even reported to have visited the home of one of Edward's assault victims, George Pitt, who was not happy with the attention young Edward Weston was paying to his daughter. Poor Christopher, on this occasion,  was beaten with a fence paling, by Pitt, and all three men ended up in court. Patience had worn thin by the time Edward was 29 and his step father appears to have reached his limits with the incorrigible step son. On July 20, 1883, Christopher Bauer had his step son charged with ungentlemanly language almost amounting to threats, according to the Maryborough Chronicle, which reported the trial. Edward's Witness had turned accuser however, he had provided me with all the evidence I needed to significantly enhance my  story of my great great grandfather's early years. It also went a long way towards explaining he reason that his son Fraser left him at the Goodna Mental Aylum (which treated alchoholism) in 1925 with no contact or forwarding address!

There are references to court appearances for one Edward Weston after his marriage to Sarah Frayne, for use of obscene language and drunkeness, however, without the known name of a witness I cannot verify that this is my great great grandfather (although his reputation by now has preceded him well and truly.. so I have my strong suspicions and little doubt!)

Edward Joseph Weston ©


Christiana Siegler and Gottlieb Nerger - Witness Johan George Haug

Christiana Siegler, born 18th December, 1840, in Beutelsbach, Baden-Weurttemberg, Germany, is my third great grandmother. Christiana arrived in Brisbane, Queensland on board the La Rochelle on August 15,  1863 with her 17 year old brother Gottlob. On the 19th of September, just a little over a month  after her arrival in Australia, Christiana Siegler married Prussian born Gottlieb Nerger in 1863, in Drayton, Queensland. Gottlieb had arrived in 1852 aboard the Caesar Godeffroy and was a good deal older than Christiana. Since the birth date of my great great grandfather, John Gottlieb Nerger, was January 9, 1964, only four months after Gottlieb and Christiana married, it is apparent that Christiana was pregnant when she arrived in Australia. Gottlieb and Christiana could not know each other previously since they came from different origins, so the question sat unanswered.... how did they meet and marry so quickly? It was only after researching the witnesses of the marriage, that I was able to fill in the missing chapter of this story. One of the witnesses was a Johan George Haug. Investigating in more depth,  I discovered that Johan Haug arrived in Brisbane, Queensland in 1855 from Germany. Johan was a schaefer or shepherd, as was Gottlieb Nerger and as both German speaking shepherds settled in Drayton on the Darling Downs within a few years of each other, they would certainly have become acquainted. The crucial piece of inforamtion which explained how Christiana and Gottlieb met was that Johan George Haug came to Australia from the same village in Germany as Christiana Siegler lived in with her family. The next thing to examine was the possibility that he knew the Siegler family.

A search of the passenger list from the ship,  La Rochelle, on which Christiana and her brother Gottlob Sigler aged 17, travelled, shows Johan's wife Friederike and their two sons, Johan Heorge Jnr and Rahel journeying to accompany their husband and father in Australia. Accompanying Mrs Haug on the ship was Christiana and her brother Gottlob Sigler who were travelling alone. Christiana's parents, Johannes and Anna Siegler had lost five of their eight chldren so perhaps they believed that their two elder children could begin a better life in Australia. One daughter, Pauline Margarethe remained behind in Beutelsbach, too young to travel. Christiana's parents had been applying to immigrate to America for some time but had not been successful.

In 1862, the year prior to her journey to Australia, Christiana Sigler gave birth to a baby girl, Sophie Johanna who lived only a short time. This also could have been the motivation for sending their daughter to Australia for a new life. Armed with this knowledge, naturally my mind has been spinning with possibilities. Was Christiana having an affair with a married man in the small village the family lived in? Did her family consider her suitor unsuitable? With the information I discovered through this witness, it is feasible to surmise that the Siegler family asked Mrs Haug to supervise their 22 year old daughter during the long voyage to Australia with her 17 year old brother. Perhaps Friederike Haug herself, suggested that the older Siegler children accompany her to the new land where her husband had spent three years making a new life for his family. Christiana would have undoubtedly been regarded as help for Mrs Haug with her children during the long voyage. The passenger manifest for this journey made by the La Rochelle shows the Haugs and Sieglers travelling together and with this connection established between the Haug and the Siegler families in Beutelsbach, it is not inconceivable that Johan Haug arranged a marriage between Christiana Siegler and Gottlieb Nerger. Did Mrs Haug know that the young woman had fallen pregnant either on the voyage or just prior to leaving Germany? I will never know the exact details of the situation, however, I have the threads of a story to expand upon, purely because I researched Johan George Haug who acted as a witness to the marriage of my three times great grandmother, Christiana Siegler and Gottlieb Nerger.

[A son, my two times great grandfather, named, John (Johan) Gottlieb Nerger was born in Drayton, on January 9, (my birthday), 1864 and was claimed by Gottlieb to be his own child. The couple had two more children, George (probably named for Johan George Haug) and Hermann, before Gottlieb's untimely death along with his baby son Hermann, at the Gympie Gold Fields in September 1869] 

John Gottlieb Nerger 9/01/1864

William White: Witnesses Thomas White and John Watters

Searching for the Wills of ancestors can be challenging if they possessed a common name. The Will of Esther Drusilla Lloyd was simple to locate thanks to her uncommon middle name, however, finding her husband William Lloyd's last testimony was  more challenging.  Unless you know an address or some identifying information about an ancestor, then searching for the Will of Tom Jones or William Williams, is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. When I searched the Will Calendars on the PRONI website for a Will for my great great grandfather William White, I did not know when he had died or whether he has died in Londonderry or County Tyrone. It was only was the name of one Witness to his Will which identified him from the many William Whites who wrote a Last Will and Testimony in Northern Ireland. Without the crucial name of a witness which I recognised, I would not have been able to prove that I had the correct document. The only information I had was the name William White (from his son Hugh's marriage certificate) and a few family stories. I had no names for any other children besides my great grandfather, Hugh, and not even a name for William's wife.

While I was growing up, my paternal grandmother Jemima Florence McDade (White) , was fond of telling me stories about her childhood on the family flax farm in Brookend, County Tyrone. As a child, I was completely mesmerized by her tales. Unfortunately, among the anecdotes of near drownings in flax bogs and other more exciting adventure tales that were my preference, I neglected to notice the names of any ancestors. When I discovered that my grandmother's father, Hugh Eston White had been born in County Derry, and not Tyrone as I had believed, I had no way of knowing whether my White ancestry originated in Londonderry or Tyrone. The only story of my grandmother's that remained fixed in my memory and which included any names, was one which told me that ' two generations of Whites had married two generations of Watters.' This story included only the first names Anna White and John Watters.

Through my blog I had been contacted by a Watters relative from Tamnavalley in County Tyrone, who informed me that both his mother and grandmother had been Whites who married into his County Tyrone Watters family. His parents were in fact, the same Anna White and John Watters that my grandmother had mentioned. This person and I had no way of really understanding exactly how we were related however, other than that my White family had married into his Watters family. He did not know much of the White family history so I still did not know whether my twice great grandfather, William White had ever lived in County Tyrone. But I did discover that it was my grandmother's first cousin Anna White who had had married John Watters.

My task thus was to read possibly all of the 127 Wills written by men named William White in Northern Ireland, within the time frame in which I was searching, in the hope that I would find a Will for my own William. On page six of the results in my PRONI Wills Calendar search for William White, and in the fifty-second Will I opened and read, I found a name of a Witness to the Will which literally jumped off the page!  As I read the following words, 'my son in law John Watters of Tamnavalley', I knew I had struck GOLD. Even William's naming of his son Hugh in the Will would have been insufficient information for me to identify him, since Hugh's unusual middle name of Eston was not mentioned. As Hugh was unmarried at the time of his father's death no spouse's name was included. I knew from my new Watters cousin in County Tyrone, that the Watters family lived in Tamnavalley so the name of this Witness was all I needed to verify that the Will was written by my great great grandfather, William White.

My great great grandfather's Will named all of his children, their spouses, their places of abode in Northern Ireland, Canada and the USA and even gave me names of grandchildren. I have since gone on to research all of the people mentioned in the Will and prove beyond doubt that I have the correct Will. The Will itself, was a treasure trove of information and but for the name mentioned to me as a child, of John Watters, and his witnessing of the Will of my great great grandfather, his father in law, I might never have found a wealth of information about my twice great grandfather, William White of Brookend, County Tyrone who married a County Londonderry girl and lived in Magherafelt, Derry where my great grandfather Hugh was born in 1866.


Hugh Eston White, son of William White ©

The people who knew your ancestors can be crucial keys to unlocking their stories. One can never overestimate the importance of the people who witnessed ancestors' real life events. These folk were there, on the spot, acting as eye witnesses to many important details regarding day to day occurrences and significant events in your ancestors' lives. They are sometimes the only people who can  reveal significant extracts of your family history.

The Peasant Wedding Peter Breugel the Elder Image Wikimedia ©©


Friday, September 19, 2014

ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD

One Lovely Blog Award



I have been nominated for the ONE LOVELY BLOG award by the very talented Debra Watkins of the Pocket Full of Family Memories blog. Thank you Debra for taking the time to read my blog FamilyHistory4u and for deeming it worthy of this award. I am most grateful and at the same time humbled. I must recommend that if you haven't yet read Debra's  blog to visit via the above link. I am certain you will enjoy her fascinating stories and her beautifully presented blog.
It is always rewarding to know that other writers appreciate one's writing and for that reason, awards such as this are a wonderful way in which to show our appreciation as bloggers for the effort that others put into their blogs. It is also an excellent opportunity to share and showcase other blogs that we enjoy reading and follow ourselves.  

Here are the Rules for The One Lovely Blog Award.

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to that blog.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire, or as many as you can think of.
4. Contact your bloggers to let them know you have tagged them for The One Lovely Blog Award.


Image Sharn White ©

 Seven Things about Me

1. I Love to Write

Since I was a child I have loved to write. When other children in my school classes were groaning at the thought of writing an essay, or composition as we then called the stories we wrote, I was already far away in my own world of  imaginative thoughts. I wrote fictional stories and poetry mainly, but also kept diaries from a young age. Unfortunately, I no longer still have any of these childhood anecdotes, as my mother, who had early Alzheimer's Disease (in her 40's) threw them away, unaware of what she was doing. My mother was my inspiration when it came to writing. She impressed upon me her own love of writing and language, as well as her creative imagination. I wrote stories in my spare time and filled note books, complete with illustrations. Drawing and painting were my next great love. My mother was my greatest fan when it came to my stories, often contributing with her own ingenious ideas for plots. Together we fashioned some fabulous fictional characters and colluded over melodramatic and marvelous story lines. It is my passion for writing that enticed me into blogging in 2009. 
   
My beautiful mother was my inspiration. Image SharnWhite ©

2. I am a History Fan!

My father was a keen history buff and I feel certain I inherited his infectious passion for history. My favourite school subjects were Ancient History and Art History and I have continued that love of the past into my adult life. I have studied Ancient History at university and I am currently studying a history degree through a university, off campus,(although I may end up holding a record for the world's oldest university student at the rate I am going...) I especially enjoy Australian Colonial history and in particular Convict history, possibly because this ties in well with my family history. I am quite fascinated by Medieval history as well and have a large and ever growing collection of medieval history books. I love nothing more than to trace my family back to the Middle Ages and beyond. I suppose really I am curious about anything from the past.

3. Genealogy is an Obsession of Mine

I have more than one hobby so it is difficult to find enough time to research my family history. Many late nights are the result of limited time, but I delight in following clues and unearthing ancestors. Whenever I find new forebears, it is never enough to just know their names and dates of birth, death and marriages. I am compelled to research the places where they lived and to place their lives within the historical context of the times in which they lived. These diversions often mean that instead of finding ancestors, I am off researching in depth things or places that related to the life of an ancestor, such as a heritage listed water mill in Lincolnshire, UK, a butter factory in Cooroy, Queensland,  an old house that was once a hospital  operated by a nursing great great great aunt, an 1870's rail carriage built by a great great grandfather, a family sheep farm and the graves of ancestors. Family history connects us individually to our collective world history and it is that aspect which makes history become personal and relevant. Although family history digs up the past, one of the most exciting aspects of it is connecting with and meeting new relatives in the present. Through my family history, I have many new cousins, both near and far who have become my best friends. Last but not by any means least, the genealogy community is a generous and very friendly place to be a part of. I have made some exceptionally good friends through  associating with generous and caring people worldwide who share my passion for family history.

4. I Have Lyme Disease

This is not an aspect of my life, that I find easy to speak about, however, with recent controversy raising its head yet again in Australia, regarding the existence of Lyme Disease, I feel it is now time for me to speak about my own experience.  Far from being in any way  'poor me' related, my comments are my way of raising awareness about the existence of this debilitating Tick born illness. I hope also, to show, that despite handicaps in life, one can still achieve, maybe not every goal but many. I have been listening to the 'Lyme Disease does not exist in Australia'  argument for 21 years since I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease (with a positive Western Blot test which had been sent to the USA). I spent two months in intensive care and a year in and out of hospital, so desperately ill that I wasn't expected to survive. I wrote letters to my children, expecting not to see them grow up. When I became ill, I presented with encephalitis, myocarditis, neurological problems, partial paralysis, swollen joints, breathlessness to the point that I couldn't walk, and many other symptoms. Lyme Disease is often referred to as The Great Imitator! It is not a pleasant disease. What makes it more difficult to deal with is the lack of help available for sufferers in Australia. 

I spent five years in total, bedridden, on oxygen unable to walk. With the help of two exceptional doctors who believed in Lyme Disease, and who were willing to experiment with unconventional treatments, I began to slowly improve. I was unable to have the recommended anti-biotic treatment for Lyme Disease as I had anapylactic reactions to all anti-biotics. Before my diagnosis I spent a long time being taken to many specialists whose reactions to my symptoms included (quote) "You are obviously a frustrated housewife. Go home and quit your bitching".  It was a frustrating time, not just medically, but for my family as well. The youngest of my four children was only three years old and the eldest eleven. They had to do without my mothering significantly, for seven years, I was fortunate that I had and still have an amazing and supportive husband and the most courageous and resilient children any mother could be fortunate enough to be blessed with. Well, apart from one inventive child who decided that cooking mince with banana sauce could be a regular contribution! 

I find it most concerning to see that little has changed regarding medical opinions in the 21 years since my diagnosis. I have lost friends to Lyme Disease in that time because they were denied medical treatment. Many doctors who might be tempted to treat the disease feel they must refuse, because of the risk of being struck off the medial register. These days I am, for the most part, well,  and I maintain the attitude that Lyme Disease will not stop me from doing the things I most love. I travel, although I often end up spending weeks if not months bedridden with fatigue, arthritis, severe vertigo and neurological symptoms when I return. My Lyme Disease riddled immune system has caused  my body to attack my own organs. So I am missing a few - but nothing so far that will deter me from living life to the fullest. I suffer, as do many Lyme patients, from dyslexia so it may seem strange that I have chosen to follow my passion for writing combined with history in my blogging. My blogs may not be published as often as I would wish but when one has to edit every word  because each one is completely jumbled or missing the first letter, writing  anything is time consuming. Writing, for anyone with Lyme Disease, is a mammoth task. Writing, for me is made more complicated by the fact that my blogs are always very wordy. Despite this, I love blogging and I am most honoured that my blog posts are enjoyed by others and my hope is that everyone who reads post this might make just one other person aware of Lyme Disease. AND I AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO MY FRIENDS WHO KINDLY EDIT MY POSTS... WITHOUT THEM I WOULD NOT HAVE A 'ONE LOVELY BLOG' AT ALL.

5. I Love Books

You might notice that I didn't say 'reading'. My zeal for reading closely matches my enthusiasm for family history and history however, I said books because I am a collector as well as a reader of books. I suspect that I will never have time in my lifetime to read the many books I have. I have bookshelves groaning under the descriptive weight of my bounteous books, and tsundokus (a wonderful Japanese word for piles of unread books) reposing by my bed. I cannot walk past a book store. I love the smell of books, the touch of the paper and the allurement of the covers. Sometimes one simply does have to choose a book by its cover! My largest collection by far, is of history books but I collect children's classics, books about places and gardens and architecture and antiqarian books that take my fancy.


Image available under Creative Commons License ©©
6. I could not live without Social Media!

Social Media, in my opinion, is the best thing invented, in my father's words, 'since sliced bread'. Every day, on Facebook I am able to 'talk' to my family and friends who live far away from me. I am constantly moved by the kind gestures I see posted, and the positivity that is spread around the world. Just this week I joined a group of people posting 'happy flowers', (a picture of a flower each day simply to spread good cheer). There are of course, negative aspects of all social media but I try to overlook negativity. For me, the positives far outweigh any antagonism. I keep in touch with events occurring in the world and in the genealogy community as they happen, via Twitter. I find this a wonderfully informative media platform. I choose wisely whom I follow and the resources available through this social medium are boundless. Google Plus is another of my favourite social media platforms, although I have yet to make the quantum leap into the world of Google Hangouts. I will get there, Jill Ball! Google Plus introduced me to an annual event called the Google Plus Photographic Walk. This increasingly popular gathering was launched in 2011. I attended the very first Google Plus Walk in Sydney and proudly donned my Google T-Shirt to walk around the city  of Sydney in a groups, photographing buildings, the Botanic Gardens, the  beautiful Harbour among other things, whilst receiving helpful tips about photography on the way. Eager photographers use everything from a smart phone to expensive cameras but all are welcome. In 2012 I completed the Google Plus walk in Adelaide since I was attending  the 13 th Genealogy and Heraldry Congress there at the time. On both walks I was accompanied by my geni friend Carole Riley who is as keen a photographer as I am. 

7.  I am a Keen Photographer! (see above).

Pauleen Cass, who was on the 4th Unlock The Past Cruise in February this year with myself and about 200 other genealogy and history buffs, will attest to my obsession for taking photographs (which possibly equally matches her own enthusiam). An example of our collective craziness when it comes to snapping photos, was while walking the foreshore of Hobart. Suddenly we both stopped and with a simultaneous  'oh look!' from both of us, we headed wordlessly across the street. I turned to Pauleen and asked, " Are you heading toward the boats or that seagull in the puddle?"  "Seagull" was her quick reply.... Well, it was a great reflection photo! We could easily have missed our cruise ship so distracted were we then by some crab pots.....

My Seagull Photograph,Image Sharn White ©

15 BLOGS THAT I RECOMMEND

There are far more than fifteen blogs which I admire and some of those have already been nominated for The One Lovely Blog Award. Here are my nominations:

    The following quote is an example of Jacqi Steven's engaging style of writing, which makes her blog so easy and enjoyable to read, " There are two kinds of genealogical research: the reasonably exhaustive search and the wild goose chase. Sometimes, you can't know which one is which until it is all over." 

    Helen's blog posts are always well researched and brimming with fascinating information. A must read. 

    I have followed Nancy Marguerite Anderson's captivating Hudson's Bay Fur trade blog for some years. Nancy began writing about her ancestor Alexander Caulfield Anderson and his expeditions but her blog has evolved and in it she describes the lives of many people, places and events  connected to the fur trade in Canada. This blog is well worth reading.

4. Andrea's Ancestors - If you are interested in some fascinating information about DNA, then this is here well researched and  comprehensively written blog for you. 

An interesting blog about the lives of 89 men listed on the town of Newquay War Memorial in Cornwall. Of you have an interest in WW1 then you will enjoy reading this well researched blog.

    Anne Young has written about many topics on her family history blog. Her lovely style of writing and her excellent pictures demonstrate how to research your family history. A great read.

Titles like 'Nan's lemon Butter' and 'Granite Town - Links with Sydney Harbour Bridge won't disappoint when you read Diane Hewson's well researched and entertaining blog. This is a blog I have followed for some time and I highly recommend it. 

    Catherine Crout-Habel, founder of this blog, passed away in July of this year.  Catherine has been sorely missed in the genealogy community. Catherine's daughter, Kirrily is continuing in her mother's footsteps with her own unique voice. I would like to wish Kirrily well and to honour her mother with The One Lovely Blog Award.

    Frances Owen's blog,  began as the tracing of her ancestor convict, Nicholas Delaney. This has been one of my favourite blogs for some years. Frances has since broadened her always fascinating blog to include a wider range of genealogy topics. A must read!

    A beautifully presented and very informative blog, especially if you have New Zealand ancestors as I do. Whether you have NZ ancestry or not, this blog is well researched and well worth reading. 
   
     I discovered Pat Spears genealogy blog when looking for tips on how to research my Swiss ancestors, although this is just one interesting topic that this resourceful blogger covers. Pat writes her blog to share her family stories, successes, techniques and to share resources with others. 

     This blog is an excellent resource if you have Scottish or irish ancestors. Although it often focuses on American Scots-Irish, there are some really interesting information which might assist you in your search for Scottish and Irish forebears.

      Donna is a professional genealogist specialising in Irish ancestry. Her blog is a must read for those with Irish ancestors.

      Maria Northcote's blog is another I have followed for a long time. Maria's eye catching titles and well research blogs are always a great read.

    Another blog on my list of favourites is Jackie Van Bergen's extremely well researched and well written and informative blog. A recommended and always interesting read. 

I know I have left out some of my very favourite blogs, however, some have been nominated by others and limiting my nominations to 15 was a difficult task. Thankyou again Debra for thinking enough of my blog to nominate me for this lovely award which I very much appreciate. 
I will notify these 15 blog owners as soon as possible.