Thursday, July 12, 2012

E is for....

E is for Elizabeth

Lack of energy and exhaustion or excuses, excuses, excuses…. But excited to still be able to take part in Gould’s challenge of “Family History through the Alphabet”

From Wikipedia, the name Elizabeth or Elisabeth is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Elisheva, meaning "God's promise", "oath of God", or "I am God’s daughter”.  Elizabeth and Elisabeth are the parent unit names of Lisa, Liza, Lilly, Lizzie, Liz, Beth, Betty, Ella, Elisa, Elise, and Eliza; Elsa, Bitsy, Betsy, Isabel, and Isabella are etymologically related variants.

Elizabeth Olive as a young girl
Elizabeth is the first name of my Great Grandmother, her full name being Elizabeth Olive Dillon, though everyone called her Lizzie. Born in 1876 in Sydney, the granddaughter of convicts and Irish bounty immigrants, “Old Nana” lived two houses away from where I was born. I called her “Old Nana” to distinguish between her and my Grandmother Doris, or “Nana” who lived next door to my family; so we had 4 generations in three houses all in a row. 

She died in 1966 when I was a child, but was a huge influence on my childhood. Strong willed, with strong opinions, living for 34 years after her husband had passed away, she kept her family bound to her by that will.

Obituary of Elizabeth Olive Dillon

“Old Nana” had a goitre that endocrinologists are amazed to see today, but Lizzie was not one to fuss with doctors.

Elizabeth Olive Dillon, in her home

I often wondered why the majority of our family members bled Red and Green blood; were Rabid Rabbitoh’s or in other words, South Sydney NRL club supporters. It was only a few weeks ago, in correspondence with another family descendant that I found out that Elizabeth Olive’s uncle by marriage was Henry Clement Hoyle, who amongst other things, was a founding member of the South Sydney Rugby League Club in 1908. This I believe is the foundation of a legacy that has been passed down through at least 5 generations. So Lizzie’s legacy lives on… “Go Rabbitoh’s”

Saturday, June 23, 2012

D is for...

Delayed, but dutifully presented, here is the next of my posts for the Gould "Family History Through the Alphabet" Challenge

D is for Doris

Doris is from the ancient Greek name (Doris) which meant "Dorian woman". The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. 
Source: Behind the Name.

Doris Louisa Morgan was my wonderful Grandmother. She was born in Balmain, an inner suburb of Sydney in 1903 and died in 1988. She was affectionately known as “Dorrie”, but is sorely done by in the publication “Maroubra and District Pioneer Register Pre 1945” published by the Cape Banks Family History Society. This Pioneer index was compiled from individual submissions without any proof being needed, so different people who knew my family have entered Nana as being named both “Dorothy” and “Dorrie”; did no one known that her name was Doris? There are so mistakes in this publication regarding my family that I would blush if I were an editor, or had anything to do with its publication. A publication for family history researchers that contains unverified information is next to useless, in my humble opinion.

Doris met her husband Arthur Roberts at a dance held at Anderson’s Hall in the then popular weekend destination of “Long Bay”. They married in 1926, and had three daughters. Nana was a very “traditional” woman, spending her time making jam, bottling the fruit and vegetables that were grown in her backyard; the washing was always done on a Monday – first boiled in a copper, then put through the wringer to be rinsed in clean water in the cement troughs and least three times, with a “blue bag” to whiten the whites. Doris had to be pulled kicking and screaming into the technological age of the latter half of the 20th century; no need for a mechanical washing machine or an electric refrigerator in her opinion – no her “Ice Chest” would do just fine. And Television, what a waste of time – she had the “wireless” to listen to!

Nana was always “smart” though in public; going to dances regularly almost up until the time her husband died. Her hair “curled”, her best dress and a hat – types of which are often to be found in “Vintage” shops these days, all topped off with her fox fur – Very nice!

But Nana had another side; she could rough it with the best. The family regularly went camping down the South Coast of NSW. They spent their time sailing, fishing and finding oysters, living on the back of her husband’s truck. Nana was also a strong believer that “Stout” (the alcoholic beverage) was beneficial for any and all ills.

Doris Morgan (R) with her friend Nellie (L),
holidaying on the South Coast of NSW

I don’t have many mementoes of my Nana, living in a different State meant that her belongings were well and truly picked over by other family members. I know that Nana had promised each Grandchild a special thing that they had liked as a child, but few of us were given what had been promised. She also had put away a “Florin” - a coin worth 2 shillings (equivalent to 20 cents) from the year of our birth; it may not seem much now, but was a fortune to us kids back then and I’m not sure any of her grandchildren saw them either. What I am more than grateful for though is the many wonderful memories of eating her bread and jam, her wonderful humour and presence; her love and devotion as well as all the crotched hankies and coat hanger covers that I received as Christmas presents without fail each year, and which I still have and use, and most importantly, the stash of photographs that my mother was able to secrete away and which are now in my possession to remind me always of my wonderful Nana – Doris.

Friday, June 22, 2012

C is for....

C is for…..

Catching up on this challenge, set by Gould Genealogy “Family History through the alphabet”; I know in my mind what I want to write, so despite some setbacks,  I must continue when I can, so …

C is for Christian and Christiana, two of my Scottish GGG Grandmothers, or if you are a Scottish or English record keeper in the 19th century, plain old Christy seemed to do, regardless of the actual spelling of the woman’s first name.

The meaning of this name, today usually written as Christine is fairly simple: “Follower of Christ”. It is derived from the word Christ, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word "Messiah". 
Alternate forms of the name, including spelling variations, nicknames and diminutive forms, include:

  • Kristinë, Kristina (Albanian)
  • Cairistìona (Scottish Gaelic)
  • Chris (English)
  • Chrystina (English)
  • Chrissie (English)
  • Chrissy (English)
  • Christa (Danish), (English), (German)
  • Christabel (English)
  • Christabella (English), (Italian)
  • Christabelle (French), (English)
  • Christel (German)
  • Christelle (French)
  • Christi (English)
  • Christiana (Latin)
  • Christina (German), (English)
  • Christiane (French), (German)
  • Christianne (French), (German)
  • Christie (English)
  • Christin (German), (Scandinavian)
  • Christine (English), (French), (German), (Scandinavian)
  • Christobel (English)
  • Christy (English)
  • Crestienne (French)
  • Crista (Spanish)
  • Cristeena (Manx)
  • Cristen (English)
  • Cristin (Irish)
  • Cristiana (Italian), (Spanish)
  • Cristina (Italian), (Portuguese), (Romanian), (Spanish)
  • Cristiona (Irish)
  • Cristy (Spanish)
  • Crusty (English)
  • Crystin (Welsh)
  • Hristina (Bulgarian) and (Greek)
  • Kerstin (German), (Swedish)
  • Khristina (Russian)
  • Khristya (Russian)
  • Khrysta (Russian)
  • Khrustina (Bulgarian)
  • Kia (Swedish)
  • Kiersten (Danish), (English)
  • Kilikina (Hawaiian)
  • Kirsi (Finnish)
  • Kirsteen (Scots)
  • Kirsten (Scandinavian)
  • Kirsti (Finnish)
  • Kirstie (Scots)
  • Kirstin (Scots)
  • Kirsty (Scots)
  • Kistiñe (Basque)
  • Kjersti (Norwegian)
  • Kjerstin (Norwegian), (Swedish)
  • Kolina (Swedish)
  • Kris (Danish), (English)
  • Kriska (Hungarian)
  • Krista (Czech), (English), (German)
  • Kristen (English)
  • Kristi (English)
  • Kristia (English)
  • Kristiana (Latvian)
  • Kristiane (German)
  • Kristie (English)
  • Kristiina (Estonian), (Finnish)
  • Kristin (German), (Scandinavian)
  • Kristína (Slovakian)
  • Kristina (Croatian), (German), (Lithuanian), (Russian), (Serbian), (Swedish)
  • Kristine (Danish), (German), (Latvian), (Norwegian)
  • Kristinka (Czech)
  • Kristjana (Icelandic)
  • Kristy (English)
  • Kristýna (Czech)
  • Kriszta (Hungarian)
  • Krisztina (Hungarian)
  • Krysia (Polish)
  • Krysta (Polish)
  • Krystka (Polish)
  • Krysten (English)
  • Krystiana (Polish)
  • Krystina (English)
  • Krystyn (Polish)
  • Krystyna (Polish)
  • Krystynka (Polish)
  • Kurisu (紅莉栖) (Japanese)
  • Kyrsten (English)
  • Nina
  • Stiina (Finnish)
  • Stina (German), (Scandinavian)
  • Stine (Danish), (Norwegian)
  • Stinne (Danish)
  • Tiina (Finnish)
  • Tina (Dutch), (English), (Greek), (Italian), (Russian), (Slovene)
  • Tine (Danish), (Norwegian)
  • Tineke (Dutch)
  • Tyna (Czech)
Source: Wikipedia

Regardless of what the above list may indicate, both my Christian and Christiana were Scottish. Christian came from a long line of Christian’s from Lanarkshire (Glasgow) and Christiana was born on the Isle of Skye.

Christian Goldwin Ramage and son James Johnson
My Great, Great, Great Grandmother, Christian Kilpatrick, with her husband, James Ramage, and 5 children arrived in Sydney, NSW on 10 Dec 1854 on the St Helena. They eventually made their way to the New England area. Their eldest daughter, Christian Goldwin Ramage, married Thomas Johnson in 1858 near Uralla in NSW and their daughter, Agnes Jane was the subject of my post “A is for…”   

Christiana Matheson from the Isle of Skye is a much more elusive ancestor. It was only recently that I even discovered her surname and place of birth; my mother had been chasing her since the 1970’s! And that is as far as I have been able to go with my GGG Grandmother Christiana, even with the help of Norma MacLeod, who runs a family history site called Skye Roots, as well as help from Chris Halliday from Scotlands Genealogy who offered to help after seeing a message on Genealogy Wise. The name seemed too common and the dates wrong: - a single woman aged 30, emigrating from the Scottish highlands in the 1840’s with the name of Mathesion and its many variations was not to be located. I live in hope of finding her family and emigration details one day…

Thursday, June 7, 2012

B is for....

B is for….

Following is my next foray into the Gould “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge”

B? Oh bother, I don’t have any ancestors whose name springs to mind starting with B! There are my first cousins Brian and Barbara, but I best not discuss them as they are both alive and kicking! (Hi guys) Maybe I should just skip B?

There are a couple of Bessie’s and Bertha’s, but too distant and not particularly interesting. So I checked my maternal database instead of my paternal one – yes, I keep them separate, and low and behold who could resist:- Bartholomew Burrows from Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire – I do love a good alliteration!

So B is for Bartholomew

Bartholomew Burrows is the name of my 6x Great Grandfather. There’s not a lot I can tell you about Bartholomew, who lived between 1732-1805, but I am now in the process of writing to a local genealogist at the Eaton Bray Family History Page, who is willing to check parish records and eventually I will be able to flesh Bartholomew and the other 10 family members from this village, out somewhat. He does come from a reliable source though; my cousin J is most particular in sourcing her (our) ancestors.

Just like Agnes, Bartholomew is no longer in the top anything to do with names in this day and age, despite the popularity of (or because of) “The Simpsons” and their favourite son, Bart.

The origins of Bartholomew lie in both Hebrew and English, but are essentially the same.

In Hebrew, Bartholomew means: Son of Talmai (Talmai is a variant of Tolmai, meaning abounding in furrows.) Famous bearer: St Bartholomew was an apostle of Jesus Christ.
In English, Bartholomew means: Son of a farmer. Used as both a surname and given name.

Burrows means: This interesting surname is of topographical origin for a "dweller by the hill", deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "beorg" or the Old High German "berg" meaning a hill or mountain. However, it is also suggested that the surname derives from the Old English "burh" or Old High German "burg" meaning a fort. In the Middle Ages any sizeable habitation had to be fortified, so the surname may refer to "one who lived by the fort". The surname is first recorded in the mid15th Century. In the modern idiom the surname has many spelling variations, including Burroughes, Burrows, Burrus, Burris, Burriss and Borrows. 

Eaton Bray, is a very pretty village and civil parish in the English county of Bedfordshire. It is part of a semi-rural area which crosses into the parish of Edlesborough in Buckinghamshire.
The village name Eaton is a common one in England, coming from the old English eitone, meaning "farm by a river". It was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Eitone. The suffix Bray refers to Sir Reginald Bray (d. 1503) and the family that once owned the manor or castle in this village.

Aerial view of Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire

So from this we can imagine that Bartholomew was a farmer, whose ancestors lived near either near a hill or a fort. 


Sunday, June 3, 2012

A is for...

TheFamily History through the Alphabetchallenge, as set out by Gould Genealogy

I have wanted to join this challenge for a while now, though illness has prevented me from participation so far. As soon as I saw this challenge, I knew what I wanted to do – NAMES; the meaning of the names of my ancestors, those names that are carried through the generations, and the names of those ancestors who are special to me.

So for my first attempt – A is for Agnes  

Agnes is a female given name, which derives from the Greek name γν hagnē, meaning "pure" or "holy". The Latinized form of the Greek name is Hagnes, the feminine form of Αγνός Hagnos, meaning "chaste" or "sacred". The name passed to Italian as Agnese, to Portuguese as Inês, and to Spanish, as Inés.
It was the name of a popular Christian saint, Saint Agnes of Rome, a fact which encouraged the wide use of the name. Agnes was the third most popular name for women in the English speaking world for more than 400 years. Its medieval pronunciation was "Annis," and its usage and many of its forms coincided with the equally popular English name Anne, a name related in medieval and Elizabethan times to 'Agnes', though Anne/Ann/Anna are derived from the Hebrew Hannah ('God favoured me') rather than the Greek.
The true Scottish version of Agnes is Segna, which comes from a Scottish custom of spelling a name backwards
Source: Wikipedia

Agnes is a name carried through many, many generations of my paternal Scottish line. The last woman to carry this given name was my Great Grandmother, Agnes Jane. Though her father was English, the tradition had been carried on from her mother’s Scottish heritage.  There are a few recent usages of Agnes as a second name in my family, but I am not taking that usage into account, as in Anne Agnes, my 8x Great Grandmother or my second cousin, Janet Agnes.

Though not a traditional Celtic name, my database has at least 18 women named Agnes – all from Scotland, with earliest known birth date of 1705. In one sense, the keeping of the tradition in naming patterns has helped enormously with following the Scottish family lines.

Agnes Jane (1860-1933) was an amazingly strong woman; losing her husband and two children to diphtheria in 1895 which was discussed in my post "The Death of William Smith : A Pitiful Story", raising the remaining 5 (or possibly 6 as I am currently investigating whether she was pregnant on her husband’s death) children alone – unusually, she did not remarry; Watching her adult daughter, her daughter-in-law, her sister-in-law, and three grandchildren die before her, while raising many of these orphaned grandchildren (which included my father and his siblings) as well. It was a tough life in the New England Tablelands of NSW, and I really wish I could have known this strong Great Grandmother of mine.

From the Glen Innes Examiner 22 August 1933

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers through the generations....

To My Mum and Nana

My Grandmother Doris Morgan and my Mum, Marjorie
on their way to a family picnic at the Botanical Gardens
c. 1944

 I miss you Mum; I miss you Nana. 

I think you would both be pleased at what I (the back sheep of the family) have achieved, and I know that you Mum, would be excited at the information I have found since I took on your role as Family historian, and the new family connections that I have made. Many of your cousin’s children are now interested in Family History, one of whom even holds a Roberts Family Reunion each year. I’m sure you wish you could be part of the excitement of discovering new relatives and finding out about their stories. 

Roberts Family Reunion 2011
I remember as a child the large extended family gatherings that took place in the  Botanical Gardens in Sydney; all the kids running and playing hide and seek amongst the tree roots, and rock caves that seemed so large back then. This must have been a long standing tradition as I have a photo of you as a child attending just such a gathering. I wish I knew who all those women were; how are they related to us? Where did they live and what did they do? From electoral rolls, I realize most of the women were stay at home mothers, with “HD” (Home Duties) given as their occupation. Were you the only one who had to work? Did they know or care about their convict ancestry? So, so many questions; questions that I bet you knew the answers to, but which I can only guess at.

We were such a large and connected family back then, nothing was more important. But I was a child and took it all for granted; sometimes even found it a nuisance having to “Go and visit Auntie Stella…”; “Take this down to Uncle Tom’s….”; so many eyes in our small suburb which all seemed focused on what I was up to, that I eventually left. Now the remnants of that large community are spread far and wide, and I so wish that I could just walk down the street a couple of house and have a cuppa with Auntie Thel or Auntie Mavis, and hear the stories again – this time paying attention instead of fidgeting and being anxious to get down the beach instead.

I'm only just discovering how many people in our small community I am related to… The Burn’s, Cree’s, Cotton’s….., names I am familiar with, but was unaware of the family connections until recently. So just who are all these women and children? I know that you are there Mum with your Auntie Vi (bottom right), Nana, you are also there right in the middle, as is your Mother-in-law, My Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Olive Roberts (Dillon) (2nd from right, top row); but the rest..., I really wish I knew. I wish you were here to tell me.

Roberts family gathering at the Botanical Gardens, Sydney
c. 1934
And Nana, this is a picture of your Grandmother, Louisa Morgan (Nicolls), daughter of two convicts who were transported to Tasmania, and eulogized as “A Grand Old Pioneer” pouring the tea. Just what was the occasion that called for the wearing such hats? Surely not just afternoon tea with the rellies! And just who they are I have even less chance of finding out, but I am still glad to possess this picture, so thanks Nana for keeping it for me, even if I can only wonder… 

Louisa Morgan, doing the duties at Afternoon Tea, probably at her home in Lidcombe, NSW
c. 1900?

Love from Linda

xxx xxx

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Merry Month of May Music Meme

The Merry Month of May Music Meme : a meme for your amusement (or not)

1. Song(s)/Music from your childhood: It was an… Itsy Bitsy, Teeny Weeny, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

  2. Song(s)/ Musos from your teenage years: Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Joan Baez, The Band, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Doors, Eric Burden….

  3. First live concert you attended: Billy Thorpe at Coogee Oval (Sydney), 1963?

  4. Songs your parents sang along to: Dad: Australian Country Music classics like Slim Dusty; Mum: Welsh Choirs and Harry Secombe and Burl Ives.

5.     Song(s)/Music your grandparents sang/played: Don’t think they did – Granddad only had the wireless on for the ABC News at 6pm. Though right into their 70's Nana and Granddad would go to a dance at the local RSL at least twice a week (fox fur draped over Nana's shoulders), so they probably enjoyed waltzes, foxtrots and other dance music of their era - Granddad was an excellent dancer!

6.     Did your family have sing-a-longs at home or a neighbours: At Christmas we sang Carols at my Great Grandmother’s house – 2 houses away; most of my great Aunts and Uncles and their families all came too as we all lived close to each other.

7.     Did you have a musical instrument at home: As a child, No; However my husband was very musical and we had multiple guitars, electric piano even a drum kit for a short while ; Two sons "played" saxophone when in primary school (Oh my poor ears, even with bedroom and hallway doors closed) and my husband and his mates would gather for regular "jams" that would last well into the night

Youngest son daring to touch (one of) his Dad's guitars
8.  What instruments do you play (if any): None

9.  What instruments do you wish you could play: Piano, Guitar

10. Do you/did you play in a band or orchestra: No

11. Do you/did you sing in a choir: No, but I’d like to! One son was in the Australian Boys Choir, but left as he hated wearing a “dress”

12. Music you fell in love to/with or were married to: When a man loves a woman (Percy Sledge), Stand by me (John Lennon), Dance me to the end of love (Leonard Cohen) were played at my wedding.

13. Romantic music memories: Being serenaded by both my first boyfriend and my husband who could (and still can) play guitar and sing quite well

14. Favourite music genre(s): Soul, Blues, Gospel, Country AND Western, Bluegrass, Contemporary folk, classical….

15. Favourite classical music: Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. I used to know all the words in German and could sing along - "Freunde" (badly) still love to pretend to conduct!

16. Favourite opera/light opera: Madame Butterfly (Puccini); especially the aria "One fine day" - very moving and emotional

17. Favourite musical: On stage? None; Maybe Gilbert and Sullivan

18.  Favourite pop: Not sure how that is defined, but not really my scene

19.    Favourite world/ethnic: Cajun music (and food) from Louisiana

20.   Favourite jazz: John Coltrane

21.     Favourite country or folk: Johnny Cash, Carter Family,  Alison Krauss

22.    Favourite movie/show musical: Singing in the rain, Sound of music, The music man on a rainy Saturday afternoon

23.   Favourite sounds tracks: O Brother where art thou?; Morning of the Earth (Surf movie from 1972), Woodstock

24.  What music do you like to dance to: If it has a beat, I’m up there!

25.  What dances did you do as a teenager: Swim, Twist, Stomp… (stomp, stompin’ at Maroubra, everybody’s doing the Maroubra stomp!) Yes Little Patty lived at Maroubra, close to my Great Aunt

26.  Do you use music for caller ID on your mobile: None, I like the sound of a phone ringing to let me know my phone is ringing

27.  What songs do you use for caller ID: None

28.   What songs do your children like or listen to: Anything from Rap to World Music and Bluegrass. They are diversifying and more discerning as they get older

29. Favourite live music concerts as an adult: Leonard Cohen, Bo Didley, John Lee Hooker Jnr, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, John Butler, Xavier Rudd…. Many seen at festivals such as The "New Orleans Jazz Fest"  and the "East Coast Blues and Roots Festival" held at Byron Bay, which we try to get to at least every second year

30.  Silly music memories from your family: Dad singing ...Home, home on the range… where the deer and the antelope play…

31. Silliest song you can think of: Jake the Peg (Rolf Harris)

32.  Pet hate in music/singing: Manufactured pop groups, lip syncing

33.   A song that captures family history for you: Home, home on the range… where the deer and the antelope play… it was an ever recurring event….  
NOTE: It was strange that my Dad always told my mother that she couldn't sing, as I have recently found out that she entered many, many eisteddfods right though her childhood and early teens, and received not top, but very good marks!

34. If you could only play 5 albums (assume no iPods or mp3) for the rest of your life, what would they be: Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, O Brother, Morning of the Earth, Johnny Cash

35. Favourite artists (go ahead and list as many as you like): Music or Painters? Either way I love nearly all music if it’s original, moving and well executed; same with art.