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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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Friday, 25 March 2016

Showing the first names of my direct ancestors using a pedigree chart

We've come a long way from Tipperary ... using spreadsheets to display ancestors' hometowns

This is such a great idea that genies across the world have been getting into over the last few days - using a spreadsheet to illustrate your ancestors' hometowns using a pedigree chart format. This type of research, where we focus on the places where our ancestors were born is sometimes known as place-based research or geographic genealogy.

From what I know of my ancestors so far, here are my place-based origins, based on the birth places of my direct ancestors. The places include:

  • 27 in Ireland
  • 13 in England
  • 9 in Australia
  • 2 in Scotland
  • 1 in Wales

Does this mean I'm more Irish and England, than Australian?

If you'd like to see how other genies have used this idea, check out ...

Ancestors by place of birth by Jill Ball
DNA places and people by Pauleen Cass 
Just playing along by Aloner Tester
Origins and age at death by Carmel Galvin
Birthplace pedigree chart by Kerryn Taylor
Ancestors by place of birth by Vicki Court
A full day's distraction by Janelle Collins 
The Migration of 5 Generations of Ancestors by Sharon
Location, location, location by Ruth Standring
Where were they in the 1880s? by  Michael John Neill

I believe this trend of showing the birthplaces or other key details about your ancestors using a pedigree chart within Excel was started over the last few days by genie, J Paul Hawthorne. Thanks, Paul, for your idea!

If you find any more examples, feel free to add them to the comments below.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

A chin from County Clare, Ireland. A surprising find in a mis-labelled photograph

This photograph was found by a distance relative of mine who currently lives in Canada. He found it on an Ancestry tree where it had been mislabelled. He shared it with me in case I recognised anyone in the group photograph. Can you imagine how happy I was when I found a photography of my paternal grandmother sitting right in the middle of the photograph, with her mother on her right, Margaret Keneally (nee BUTLER)? Love the hats. This photograph has reminded me where my chin came from ... County Clare!

Margaret Keneally (nee BUTLER) and her daughter, my grandmother, Ellen KENEALLY
5 January 1929

I haven't included the whole photograph of the wedding that they were attending because I don't own the photograph. but it was a huge group of about 50 people. An amazing photograph for the time it was taken.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Getting to know one of my great-great grandmothers: Ellen FLEMING (nee TORPY) from Windgap, County Kilkenny, Ireland

Knowing your great-great grandparents personally is not something that many people can claim. However, thanks to great resources like TROVE - Newspapers, we know have the chance to "meet" some of our long, lost ancestors or at least to find out a bit about them as people.

Beyond the names, dates and places of my family's history, the most exciting part of my research is finding out information about my ancestors' personalities. Tonight I had a good "find" on TROVE. I found some articles about the death of my great-great grandmother, Ellen FLEMING (nee TORPY) who arrived in Australia in about 1853, from Windgap, in County Kilkenny, Ireland.

Mum and I were very pleased to have found her grave when we visited the cemetery back in 2010, 104 years after her death. At the time, we wondered how many people had visited her grave since she died and how they mourned for her when she died. It seems that she was a much loved person so I would imagine that many of her nine children who were still living when she died visited her grave often.

Ellen FLEMING (nee TORPY) died at the age of 73 years on 25 July 1906 at 3 Bartley Street, Chippendale.

3 Bartley St, Chippendale
Source: Photo taken by Maria Northcote in 2009

The day after her death, her family and friends placed 7 funeral notices in the Thursday 26 July 1906 edition of The Sydney Morning Herald on page 12.

Her funeral was held at St Benedict's Catholic Church at Chippendale on Thursday 26 July 1906.

St Benedict's Catholic Church, Chippendale
Source: Photo taken by Maria Northcote in 2009

About a week after she died, the following article was published about Ellen on page 15 of The Catholic Press on Thursday 2 August 1906. In the article below she was described as " devoted member of the Sacred Heart Sodality and, a true Christian, a loving mother and a consoling friend in time of trouble" and "beloved by old and young". She sounds a lot like her great-grandchild, my Mother.

A couple of days later, a return thanks notice was placed by Ellen’s family on page 10 of The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday 4 August 1906.

One year after her death, her family placed a memorial notice in The Sydney Morning Herald on 25 July 1907 by two of her daughters, Ellen BALL (nee FLEMING) and Catherine SHEEHAN (nee FLEMING).

Ellen was buried at Rookwood Cemetery  on 26 July 1906. Her grave is located in Section M1, Row N in grave 226 with one of her daughters, Mary GARRY (nee FLEMING) who died in 1897 (not in 1898 as the grave indicates).

Gravestone of Ellen FLEMING (nee TORPY)
Photo taken 2010 by Maria Northcote

I'm glad to have met you, through TROVE, great-great grandmother, Ellen FLEMING (nee TORPY).

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Rock throwing, seafaring, gamekeeping, Purgatory-working great-great grandfathers

Over the last few years, I've made some interesting discoveries about some of my great-great grandfathers, my 2nd great grandfathers. I'm fortunate to know the names of all of my eight great-great grandfathers and a little about the lives of seven of them. My great-great grandparents were:

  1. William Northcote
  2. Thomas Riley
  3. John Butler
  4. William Kennelley
  5. Joseph Walters
  6. Patrick Fleming
  7. George Kingsbury
  8. Thomas Carrick

Here are a few stories about them ...

Thomas Riley or Reily

One of my great-great grandfathers, Thomas Reily, was charged with assaulting a British soldier in southern Ireland in 1834 and was transported to Australian for his sins.
Read more about him here: Read all about it! An exciting but violent Irish discovery

Patrick Fleming

Another one of my great-great grandfathers, Patrick Fleming, worked in one of the Prymont quarries in the 1860s and 1870s. From my research so far, I think he worked in the quarry known as Purgatory, rather than the other two Pyrmont quarries that were known as Paradise and Hell Hole.
Read more about him here: Death in a Pyrmont quarry

George Kingsbury

Yet another one of my great-great grandfathers, George Kingsbury, was a gamekeeper in Flintshire in Wales.

Joseph Walters

My Scottish great-great grandfather, Joseph Walters, was from Glasgow. He was a mariner who arrived in Dublin during the 1860s.

DNA tests done

This morning I finally did two DNA tests using the Family Tree DNA kits I sent away for in December. I'm looking forward to the results.

If you're interested in the process and the kit, check out the blogpost I recently added at my Genies Down Under blog

DNA tests done!

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Death in a Pyrmont quarry

While searching TROVE for information about my Fleming ancestors who lived in Chippendale (inner city suburb of Sydney), I came across a sad story of a quarry employee who was crushed to death by rock in a quarry he was working in at Pyrmont. Patrick Fleming, my ancestor was a proprietor of the quarry at the time.

My 2nd great-grandfather (my mother's father's mother's father), Patrick Fleming, was born about 1830. He married Ellen (aka Eleanor) TORPY on 3 February 1853 in the Roman Catholic Church in the Parish/District of Windgap, County Kilkenny, Ireland.

Patrick and Ellen arrived in Sydney soon after 1853 (not sure what date). After their arrival in Australia, they lived in the Chippendale area of Sydney at the following addresses:
28 Waterloo St, Surry Hills
Source: Photo taken in 2010 by Maria Northcote
    30 Waterloo St, Surry Hills
    Source: Photo taken in 2010 by Maria Northcote 
    104 Abercrombie , Chippendale
     Source: Google Maps 2015
    On quite a few birth, death and marriage certificates, Patrick's occupation is recorded as a quarryman or a stonemason.

    • Daughter's, Bridget Fleming, birth certificate in 1856 - Quarryman
    • Sands Directory of Sydney, 1860s-1870s - Quarryman
    • Daughter's, Margaret Fleming, birth certificate in 1866 - Quarryman
    • Patrick Fleming's death certificate in 1880 - Quarryman
    • Daughter's, Mary Garry (nee Fleming), death certificate in 1897 - Quarryman
    • Daughter's, Margaret Fleming, marriage certificate in 1904 - Stone mason
    • Daughter's, Margaret Walters (nee Fleming), death certificate in 1939 - Quarryman
    I suppose Quarryman Hotel at Pyrmont is named after the workers at the quarry.

    Source: Google Maps, 5 March 2016

    The articles below were found on TROVE about a death in the quarry that Patrick leased in 1869, along with Richard Dunn. 

    Going by the following short report on page 3 of The Newcastle Chronicle on Saturday 25 Sep 1869, the accident appears to have happened on Tuesday 21 September 1869

    The following article reports the accident and the subsequent inquest in The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 22 September 1869 on page 5. In summary, the article reported:
    • A 40 year old man, Richard Guilfoyle (originally from Kilkenny), was crushed to death while working at a quarry at Pyrmont. He had been in Australia for six years and was a quarryman by trade. He was crushed to death by a rock or rocks falling on him. At the time of the accident, there were five workers at the quarry, including Guilfoyle and Patrick Fleming and Richard Dunn.
    • Patrick Fleming and Richard Dunn (the proprietors of the quarry) were at the scene, attempting to remove the rock that has fallen on the man, when Constable Hendron arrived.
    • Patrick Fleming lived at Waterloo St, Chippendale.
    • An inquest was held into the death on the morning of Tuesday 21 September 1869. The jury found that the man died from accidental injuries.

    The results of the inquest was also reported on page 2 of the Empire on Wednesday 22 September 1869.

    A few days later, on Saturday 25 September 1869, the results of the inquest were also reported on page 2 of The Sydney Mail.

    On page 3 of The Sydney Morning Herald on  Monday 27 September 1869, a short excerpt recorded Richard Guilfoyle's death at the quarry and noted the location of the quarry, near the Black Wattle Swamp Bridge.

    Next, I need to find out more about the Pyrmont quarries. I think Shirley Fitzgerald's work will point me in the right direction. Here is a video of hers (from her site: http://www.shirleyfitzgerald.com.au/some-online-talks-videos-of-mine) about Sydney sandstone.