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My passion is genealogy and family history. I host a podcast about Australian family history, Genies Down Under. In my day job, I work as a lecturer and a researcher in higher education, teaching pre-service teachers.

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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Don't judge an ancestor by a gravestone-less grave

What was I doing, taking photos of plots of grass, leaves and weeds?

Well, while these photos may not look much to some people, they mean a lot to me and my family. They are the plots where some of my ancestors ended up, after long and sometimes short lives on this earth. The lack of a headstone, although disappointing for the genealogist in 2013, doesn't diminish the value of their lives. For this reason, I still want to remember them and mark the spot where they were laid to rest, although it doesn't look that interesting.

Yesterday, we visited about ten or so graves, most of them without headstones.

So, for the record, here are a couple of the gravestones and gravesites we found on our visit to Rookwood cemetery yesterday.

James Walter KINGSBURY (1867-1945)

My great-grandfather, James Walter KINGSBURY's grave has no gravestone but here is where is gravesite is located in the Roman Catholic Section Graves in  Mortuary 2 Section, Area 17, grave no. 142.

James Walter KINGSBURY

John Joseph WALTERS (1871-1935) and Margaret WALTERS, nee FLEMING (1866-1939)

My great-grandparents, John Joseph and Margaret WALTERS, are buried in the same grave: in the Roman Catholic Section Graves in  Mortuary 2 Section, Area 14, grave no. 1551. They do not have a gravestone on their grave but here is their gravesite:

John and Margaret WALTERS

Thanks to my Mum for coming along with me today for yet another full day of cemetery searching at Rookwood cemetery. The people above are her grandparents.

More ideas about searching for graves at Rookwood Cemetery

To find out more about how I used the search engine at the Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria site, go to their search engine page: http://search.catholiccemeteries.org.au/),

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A life in pictures: Leo Bertie Bede NORTHCOTE

My paternal grandfather, Leo Bertie Bede NORTHCOTE, had a long and rich life. He was born in the outback NSW town of Bourke on either 25 March 1887, when he traditionally celebrated his birthday, or 1 April 1887, as noted on his birth certificate.

Strangely, his birth certificate notes his name as George Bede NORTHCOTE, although he was always known as Leo Bertie Bede NORTHCOTE throughout his life.

At the age of 10 months of age, Leo's father died at the age of 45 years of age in Bourke, leaving his mother to care for nine children.

The following photograph was taken of Leo when he was about 2-3 years of age, about 1889-1890.

Some time around 1900, Leo moved with his family from Bourke to Orange. The following photo was taken of him as a young man, around 1902, probably in Orange.

The following photo was taken of Leo with his mother, Margaret NORTHCOTE (nee RILEY) in Orange at the Bradley and Barnes Studio. This photo was taken in approximately 1905 when Leo was 18 and his mother was approximately 60 years of age.

Photo taken some time in the early to mid 1920s of Leo (crouched down) with his mother and brother, Alf, outside the family home at Five Dock in Sydney

In 1927 Leo's mother died and many memorial poems were published in the Sydney Morning Herald by Leo and his brothers. For details of this poetry, see Memorial Poetry about a much-missed mother.

After Leo's mother's death in 1927, Leo was photographed at his much-missed, beloved Mother's grave at the Field of Mars Cemetery at North Ryde, NSW:

Leo must have spent quite a bit of time at his mother's grave because this is where he met his future wife, Ellen KENEALLY, sometime in the late 1920s when she was visiting her father's grave. For a story about how they met, see Love in the graveyard.

In 1930 Leo became engaged to Ellen Maria KENEALLY, as announced in the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday 26 March 1930.

 Leo and Ellen (Nellie) married at St Mark's Catholic Church, Drummoyne on 16 September 1930. Although they did have a photographer at their wedding, the photographer apparently absconded with their payment and photos so they never did receive photographs of their wedding. 

Two years after they were married, their first son was born, Carew Joseph NORTHCOTE on 1 May 1932.

Leo and Nellie's second son, Gregory "Barry" NORTHCOTE, was born  on 12 October 1935.

The following photo of Leo with his family was taken in Manly in about 1940.

This photo was taken in about 1942 at Circular Quay, Sydney, with Leo (top left), his brother, Alf NORTHCOTE, his wife, Ellen NORTHCOTE (nee KENEALLY) and his youngest son, Barry NORTHCOTE.

Leo with on the steps of Mark Foy's shop in Sydney, about 1942.

This photo of Leo with a gun, was taken at a property at Borenore, NSW (near Orange) where one of Leo's brothers was living in about 1949.

This photo was taken of Leo with his eldest son, Carew, on the steps of the Old Sydney GPO in about 1952.

In the early 1950s, Leo's eldest son, Carew, joined the Australian Airforce. The photo below was taken in the mid 1950s when Leo and his family visited the airbase at Richmond, just outside Sydney.

The photo below was taken in the mid-1950s of Leo and his two sons, Carew and Barry (first photo below), outside their home, 11A Murralong Avenue, Five Dock in Sydney. By this stage, Carew had met his future wife, Margaret, who is featured in the second photograph below.

Photos of Leo and his wife, Ellen, with their son, Carew, at his 21st birthday in May 1952.

Photos of Leo with the family on a picnic at Camden, sometime in the mid-1950s.

Leo with his family, on various beach picnics in the mid-1950s.

Leo visiting friends at Newport, with his family, in 1956.

Photos of Leo with his family in about 1957, at his home in Five Dock.

Photos of Leo with family and friends, taken at Five Dock, around Christmas 1957.

Leo in about 1955 at the front of his home at Five Dock.

Leo with family at Wamberal, near Terrigal NSW, in about 1957.

Leo with his wife, Ellen (Nellie), his son, Carew, and his new daughter-in-law, Margaret, in 1958.

At Orange in about 1959

Leo, in about 1960 at Five Dock.

Leo (on the right) at the christening of his first grandchild in 1964

Leo on a beach picnic with his family in 1965:

At Woy Woy, central coast of NSW, in 1968 with family and friends"

Leo, in the late 1960s, at Five Dock.

Leo passed away on 5 December 1970. He is buried at the Field of Mars Cemetery alongside his wife, just a few metres from where they originally met back in the late 1920s.

In 2008, a mural about the suburb of Five Dock was created in which Leo and his family featured:

For a more information about this mural, see I remember Five Dock and Three generations visit family tribute mural.

My memory of Leo NORTHCOTE was of a kind and loving grandfather who used to sing me to sleep with sweet lullabies.  As you can see from the photos above, he is rarely photographed away from his family.