Sunday, 11 June 2017


When I started blogging about my genealogy adventures in 2012, I discovered this wonderful creation called GeneaBloggers. It was a community resource for genealogy and family history bloggers and was run by Thomas MacEntee. I was so excited when I discovered this community because at the time I did not know anyone who was a geneablogger, let alone into genealogy. I have much appreciation and thanks for GeneaBloggers as it allowed me to connect with many amateur and professional genealogists around the world. It is very exciting when you finally get to meet in person at a genea-event too. I know I have made some lifelong friends. 

At the beginning of May, Thomas announced that he was taking a step back from GeneaBloggers to focus on his other genealogy interests. In my opinion, I felt GeneaBloggers had become such a vital part of the genea-world, that if it did not exist anymore there would be a gap. Thomas had announced that as of June 1, the GeneaBloggers domain and other assets would be redirected to Abundant Genealogy. Towards the end of May, I noticed a couple of my genea-mates putting the call out for volunteers who would be interested in joining together to keep GeneaBloggers going, with Thomas' agreement of course. I did not even hesitate to say yes! A core group of about 20 volunteers from various countries and time zones signed up. As Thomas was retaining the GeneaBloggers domain, we needed to come up with something new. 

On June 1, GeneaBloggersTRIBE was announced. Thomas posted the official announcement on GeneaBloggers. The team behind GeneaBloggersTRIBE will continue to provide links to resources, daily blogging prompts, and highlight new and/or improved content-providing technologies. You can find support for not just blogging, but other content providing formats such as podcasts, vlogging, and micro-blogging (Twitter, Instagram etc). It's not just about blogging!

GeneaBloggersTRIBE - for the new badge, click here.

I am so excited to be part of the leadership team for GeneaBloggersTRIBE. I am one of two Aussies with my mate Jill - GeniAus. I am also the youngest on the team, and would love to see GeneaBloggersTRIBE carried out into the future. Huge props go to Pat Richley-Erickson and Laura Hedgecock for being our transitional leaders and ensuring everyone was and is aware of their roles.

The team is still settling in, so do bear with us while we're finding our feet...or mouses. If you are interested in volunteering, please do not hesitate to contact us! 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Trove Tuesday: An Engagement

I was quite excited to find today's Trove Tuesday as I had not seen it before. It is the engagement announcement for my paternal Grandparents which was in the Nambucca and Bellinger News on August 11, 1944.

[Source: Family Notices (1944, August 11). Nambucca and Bellinger News (NSW : 1911 - 1945),
p. 2. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from]
They married on October 12, 1944.

Nanna & Poppa.
[Source: Personal Collection]

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Census Sunday: 1880 USA Census

Grave of Mary Polly (George) Couch.
Italy Cemetery, Texas, USA.
[Source: Find A Grave]
The other day I decided to dive back into the world of my American ancestors. I thought I would have a look at my 4x Great Grandparents John Couch and Mary 'Polly' George. John was born in about 1800 in South Carolina and passed away in 1863 in Odgen, Utah. Mary Polly was born in 1804 in Tennessee and passed away on 30 June 1882 in Italy, Ellis County, Texas. They married in approximately 1828 in Alabama and had eight children - Elva Jane, Samuel Mitchell, John Meredith, William Jackson, Mary Elizabeth, Marion Walker, Nancy, and James Keys Clark.

When I checked Mary Polly's hints on Ancestry, I noticed there was one for the 1880 US Census in Ellis County, Texas. This made sense as she is buried in Italy Cemetery, Ellis County.

Mary Polly is Number 36 below. She is 75 years old, and has her Granddaughter Lizzie Couch with her. It tells me that Mary Polly's parents were both born in North Carolina, which I did not know. I don't even know her parent's names. Mary's sons Samuel and Marion both married Cherokee women. According to the census, Lizzie Couch's mother was born in 'Cherokee Nation' but I'm yet to figure out if her father was Samuel or Marion.

1880 USA Census showing Mary Couch
[Source: Year: 1880; Census Place: Precinct 4, Ellis, Texas; Roll: 1301; Family History Film: 1255301; Page: 491B; Enumeration District: 050. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]]. 

Mary Elizabeth Sharp nee Couch, approx 1900.
[Source: Personal Collection]
Hang on a minute! I see a Sarah Couch and Nancy Couch just above Mary. Who are they living with? Mary E Sharp. Sarah and Nancy are Mary E's nieces. Who is Mary E Sharp? Mary Elizabeth Couch, Mary Polly's daughter. Mary Elizabeth is my 3x Great Grandmother. She was born in 1838, Alabama, and in about 1855 she married Jesse Euing Sharp, my 3x Great Grandfather. Mary Elizabeth is listed as a Widow, which is correct as Jesse passed away around 1861. Mary Elizabeth's nieces Sarah and Nancy, also have their mother's birthplace as 'Cherokee Nation' - two more children of Marion and/or Samuel. Mary Elizabeth's two sons with her are William and John Sharp. In addition to William and John, Mary and Jesse Sharp had two older children - Jessie Mitchell and Mary.
Mary Elizabeth passed away in 1915 and is buried in Frost Cemetery, Texas.

Okay, let's pause on the Couch/Sharp family for a minute.

Below Mary and Lizzie Couch is a George W Spencer. George is with his wife Frances E and children Burnett, Mattie, George, Jesse P, William, and Charles.

How are they relevant? What's going on? Who are they? All the questions!

George W Spencer is none other than George Washington Spencer, my 3x Great Grandfather. George (1832 Alabama - 1904 Texas) married Frances Elizabeth McWilliams (1837 Mississippi - 1908 Texas) in 1855, Mississippi. In addition to the six children listed above, they had two older children - Julia Latchapalee and Mary.

George Washington Spencer
approx 1880s.
[Source: Personal Collection]
Cast your eyes back to the census for a minute. Who do you see at the bottom, underneath the Spencer's?

Do you see the surname McFaddin?

Who is listed as the Wife? Julia L...also known as Julia Latchapalee Spencer! In 1877, Julia married Porter McFadden in Ellis County, Texas. They had one son, George Beveley McFadden, born in February 1880. He is the baby listed with them.

Sadly, in 1882, Porter McFadden passed away which left Julia on her own with a toddler. But not for long...

Because on the 25th of April, 1885, in Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas, Julia Latchapalee Spencer McFadden married Jesse Mitchell Sharp. This is how the the Sharp/Couch family and the Spencer family become one. Julia and Jesse are my 2x Great Grandparents.

Marriage Record for Julia Spencer and Jessie Sharp.
[Source: "Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1965," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 June 2017), Jesse W Or Jesse M Sharp and Julia L Mcfadden, 08 Apr 1885, Marriage; citing Navarro, Texas, United States, various county clerk offices, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Texas Dept. of State Health Services and Golightly-Payne-Coon Co.; FHL microfilm 1,034,859.]

Thanks to the 1880 Census, I think it is safe to say that the Couch's/Sharp's and Spencer's knew each other well before the wedding of 1885.

Five Years

Five years ago, on the 4th of June 2012, my beautiful Nanna passed away. 

Five years? Already? Sometimes it feels like yesterday.

Forever missing you Nanna.

Eunice & Caitlin, 22 Apr 1995
[Source: Personal Collection]
Eunice Dyer, Graduation Photo 1942,
Sydney Sanitarium & Hospital
[Source: Personal Collection]

Eunice Hazel Dyer

3 May 1916 - 4 June 2012.

Eunice & Caitlin, Jan 2012.
[Source: Personal Collection]

Friday, 26 May 2017

Oh My, Miss Mary Prince: Part 2

Last year, I told you a story about Mary Alice Helena Prince, my 1st Cousin, 3x Removed.

Here is a brief summary -

Mary was born in 1894, Macksville, New South Wales to parents Harriett Helena Gill (1869 – 1953) and John Charles Prince (1855 – 1930). After her youngest sibling was born in 1912, she relocated to Melbourne with her parents. However, by 1930, she was back in New South Wales and living at Little Billabong Station, near Holbrook in New South Wales. She remained there until at least 1949; the last Electoral Roll I found that has her living at Little Billabong. 

Location of Little Billabong Station
[Source: Google Maps]

I had also discovered, thanks to Trove, that in 1953 Mary was suing John James McLaurin for breach of promise. John was a grazier at Little Billabong and to whom Mary was engaged for 21 years. In the end Mary was granted $1000 in damages for McLaurin's breach of promise. 

One of the many articles about the court case.
[Source: WOMAN SUES GRAZIER (1953, May 14). National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 - 1954),
p. 4. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]
At the time of writing about Mary last year, I had learned that in 1963 Mary was living in Castle Hill, Sydney, except her surname was Lawson. In 1968, she was living in Swansea, Newcastle. In both electoral rolls there was no other Lawson at her address. I had not been able to find a marriage in Victoria or New South Wales. I wondered if she really married or changed her surname for some sort of protection. The court case was very publicized in newspapers all around Australia. Mary passed away in 1971 and I was not sure where she was buried either.  

Last month, I finally got around to ordering Mary's death certificate. 

Snippet of  a transcription of Mary's death certificate ordered from NSW Family History Transcriptions

What information am I most interested in? 

Name of Spouse: Christopher Bernard Lawson. A likely explanation as to how she changed her surname to Lawson.

Age at Marriage: 60. If Mary passed away at 76 years in 1971, her approximate marriage year is 1955. 

Place of Marriage: Box Hill, Victoria. Unfortunately, the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages historical index currently has marriages until 1942, which would explain why I could not find a marriage record for Mary.

Conjugal Status: Widow. This provides the assumption that Christopher passed away before 1971.

As Mary was living in New South Wales when she passed away, I searched the New South Wales BDM Index for a potential death record for a Christopher Lawson, including other spelling variants. Conclusion: Negatory.

I searched the Victoria BDM for a death record for a Christopher Lawson and was given the following result:

Name: Christian Bernard Lawson.
Death Year: 1966
Age: 77
Place: Mont Albert, Victoria. 
Father: Frederick Lawson
Mother: Mary Catherine Lyons

I immediately ordered his death certificate to find out more.
Cause of Death: Effects of injuries received when he was struck by a motor car. 
The verdict was declared at an inquest held by the coroner. 

Where Married: Mont Albert, Victoria.
Age: Unknown
To Whom: Mary Uren
Conjugal Condition at Death: Married
Children: No

Is this him? I am not sure yet. The informant was the coroner, so perhaps he did not know the correct information about this Mary Uren? I found Christian's birth record for the year 1889, but could not find a marriage before 1942 for a Surname Lawson to a First Name Mary. 

I found two Victorian Electoral Roll records for a Christian Bernard Lawson.
1 - 1949, Scott St, Vermont. 
2 - 1963, View St, Subdivision of Surrey Hills.

In 1963, Mary is listed in the electoral rolls as living in New South Wales. Both were living on their own. Keep in mind that sometimes people forgot to update their address when they moved. 

The Victorian BDM says that marriage certificates can be applied for without identification documents if the marriage occurred more than 60 years ago, and both parties are deceased. 60 years ago was 1957, and Mary and Christian are both deceased. I wonder if the Vic BDM will be able to help me? I would love to know if this Christian is indeed the Christopher Bernard Lawson on Mary's death certificate.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Janet Mackay, Is It You?

This past week, I have been researching the descendants of my 4x Great Uncle Hugh McKenzie Mackay. His son Angus (1857 NSW - 1929 QLD) had 2 marriages and 16 children. Angus' 3rd child, Janet Mackay, according to the baptism record, was born in New South Wales in 1887 to his first wife Jane. I had a number of leafy green hints for Janet which I had a look at. 

This led me to another tree that had Janet listed with two marriages - Richard Daley in 1911 and Harry Walters in 1945. But hang on a minute, I had just read her sister Sarah's obituary on Trove. Sarah had died in 1938 before she was 50, and I was hoping Trove would provide me with some clues as to why. I got more than that though - Sarah's obituary wonderfully listed all her siblings! Her sisters first names AND married names were given.  

Obituary of Sarah Stone, nee Mackay.
[Source: Mrs. Sarah Stone. (1938, July 12). The Wingham
Chronicle and Manning River Observer
(NSW : 1898 - 1954)
, p. 2.
Retrieved January 29, 2017,

Can you see Janet's name in the list of Sarah's siblings?

"Janet (Mrs J H Geelan, Elands)."

On the New South Wales Births Deaths and Marriages Index, the only marriage for a Janet Mackay & male Geelan is to a James Samuel Geelan in 1936, Taree (#3184/1936)

James passed away in 1947 – there’s an inquest and everything! And yep, his wife Janet is mentioned. 

If you are interested, here is a link to an article detailing the inquest - it is very long!

And his obituary...

I found a death on the NSW BDM for a Janet Geelan in 1954, with parents listed as Angus and Jane (#8318/1954). I guess it is time to order the death certificate and find out if this is her.

But what about this other tree?

Well, I checked it out and they are not a direct descendant of Janet, but of a sibling of Angus' first wife Jane. I guess this is another case of not believing in other public trees on Ancestry until you have done your own research. I would not want someone else coming along and taking the information from my tree to be 100% correct. We all make mistakes.        

So, will this death certificate tell me what I want to know? Is this Janet Geelan the Janet Mackay I am looking for? 

Time to play the waiting game.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

William Gow's Shares

Do you have shares in companies? I do not yet, but my Dad has been talking about setting me up with some shares. My Great Grandfather William Gow had shares in the North Central Broken Hill Silver Mining Company. Try saying that really fast 5 times in a row! 

Form confirming William Gow's purchase of 50 shares
[Personal Collection]
Finance and shares are not my forte at all. My understanding from this form is that on the 20th of December, 1895, William bought 50 shares in the company. If you look at the top of the form, you will see "dissolved in 1939" written. My Grandfather wrote that when, I assume, he was doing his own research. 

I jumped on Trove to have a look at what information there was about the North Central Broken Hill Silver Mining Company. 

[Source: Advertising (1891, August 14). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 3. 
Retrieved January 22, 2017, from]
It seems that the North Central Broken Hill Silver Mining Company started in 1891 and was an off-shoot of the Central Broken Hill Silver Mining Company.

[Source: I, THE undersigned, hereby make application to register The North Central Broken Hill Silver-mining, Company (No-Liability) (1891, December 1). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 9441. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from]

A month before William bought his shares, the company had them available for three pence per share. 

(1895, November 22). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900),
p. 7626. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from]

18 September 1900. I wonder if this was for purchasing another 50 shares in the company?
[Personal Collection]
Fast forward to 1939, and the company is in liquidation.

[Source: COMPANIES ACT, 1936 (SECTION 323 (5)). (1939, December 15). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 5811. 
Retrieved January 22, 2017, from]
I would hope that the company going into liquidation did not affect William that much. Did he even still have shares in the company in 1939? Who knows.

Did your ancestors have any shares?