Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Trove Tuesday: Of Interest to Women

1930 '[No heading].', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 2 January, p. 58, viewed 30 April, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page8826592
I love browsing through the newspapers on Trove, seeing what I can find to read on a coffee break from research, and today I found this sweet little collection of things "Of Interest to Women". And talking of careers for women, particularly country girls moving to the city, the author writes "some day we shall all be keeping pet Angora rabbits in the backyard or skinning the goldfish for shoulder posies, but until then I admit it is a problem." [What on earth are shoulder posies and why would we skin goldfish for them?]

Oh, how things have changed since 1930!

However, I do keep an adorable Cashmere house rabbit ... who runs our lives. He even has his own Facebook page.

HRH Mufasa, the Sultan of Kashmir (aka Sultan) - hanging out on my desk at work for Easter.



Saturday, 27 April 2013

April A to Z Challenge - X Marks the Spot





Does anyone else feel like they are on a continuous treasure hunt with their research? Do you sometimes wish you had a treasure map with an X on it to show you where you need to be?

Did you know that you can use Google Earth to map your ancestors’ lives? Okay, I know it isn’t a treasure map … but sometimes it feels like it!

The best in the business when it comes to using Google Earth for genealogical purposes is Lisa Louise Cooke from Genealogy Gems. She even has a free presentation of Google Earth for Genealogy on her website.

It was from listening to Lisa’s podcasts that got me into blogging in the first place, so if you’re in need of some inspiration, I can highly recommend listening to them! 


This is a post for the April A-Z Challenge. This Challenge will cover each letter of the alphabet, one per day (except Sundays) for the month of April. I didn't register my blog with the organisers, but I'm going to follow along anyway. You can too! See www.a-zchallenge.com for more information.

Friday, 26 April 2013

April A to Z Challenge – Wardley One-Name Study


Earlier this year, I joined the Guild of One-Name Studies and registered my surname study of Wardley.

I had been aware of the Guild of One-Name Studies for a while, and had considered joining, but did not want to do that until I felt ready to commit to conducting a one-name study on at least one of my rarer surnames.

The Guild has been around for over three decades, and its members work hard to promote the research of the genealogy and family history of people with the same surname, and to facilitate the preservation and publication of the data collected.

If you haven’t already, I would urge you to see if a member of the Guild is studying any of your surnames – you can search for your surname from the home page. All members of the Guild are obligated to reply to your enquiry, and they may just be able to help you break down that brick wall you have. Perhaps even consider joining the Guild, you do not have to register a one-name study to be a member.

Origins of the surname Wardley


As far as I can gather, the surname Wardley is a local or topographical surname. According to the 1860 book ‘Patronymica Britannica: ADictionary of the Family Names of the United Kingdom’ by Mark Antony Lower, which is available in full on Google Books, the Wardley surname originates from a parish of that name in the county of Rutland. Further to that, according to Henry Harrison, author of ‘Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary’, the name suggests a combination of ‘Ward’, i.e. a guard, watchman, or keeper, and ‘ley’, i.e. a meadow.

Frequency of the surname Wardley


According to the ‘Surnames of England and Wales’ website Wardley had a count 1,110 people in 2002. According to advice from the Guild, that means I can multiply that by a factor of 3.5 to estimate the total number of people who have held the surname since the mid-sixteenth century. This small number makes the Wardley One-Name Study relatively easy to manage.

At the time of the 1841 England and Wales Census, there were 394 Wardleys. By the time of the 1911 England and Wales Census, there were 1,008 Wardleys.

Distribution of the surname Wardley


There are still Wardleys living in the UK, as well as scattered around the world in smaller numbers, typically in Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australia.

Progress of the Wardley One-Name Study


I have collected all of the data available in birth, marriage and death indexes for Australia and New Zealand, and I am in the process of reconstructing families with this data where possible. I have also been using articles found on Trove and records available on the NAA website to assist with the reconstruction.

I have also started collecting all of the data available from the English parish and civil registers, but the reconstruction of this data is still in its infancy, apart from the data I already had which pertains to my own Wardleys.


If you have any Wardleys in your family tree, please contact me. I’m happy to share what information I have, and would appreciate your input into the Wardley One-Name study.


This is a post for the April A-Z Challenge. This Challenge will cover each letter of the alphabet, one per day (except Sundays) for the month of April. I didn't register my blog with the organisers, but I'm going to follow along anyway. You can too! See www.a-zchallenge.com for more information.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

April A to Z Challenge – V is for Vital Records

Vital Records are the lifeblood of genealogical research – the births, marriages and deaths of our ancestors.

Family history is more than vital records though – it is the bits in between. Family history uses vital records as a skeleton, and then puts flesh on those bones.

So, are you a "genealogist", focused on the lines of decent and the dates and places of vital events? Or are you a "family historian", who likes to use those vital records as a skeleton to start the story, and then write in and around them, sharing the stories of your ancestors (not just their vital records)?

I’m a bit of both – I love data entry and “perfect” statistics – so I love having all of the vital records in place before I start on fleshing out an ancestor’s story. But then, I love finding out about what my ancestors got up to in between being born, getting married, and dying.


This is a post for the April A-Z Challenge. This Challenge will cover each letter of the alphabet, one per day (except Sundays) for the month of April. I didn't register my blog with the organisers, but I'm going to follow along anyway. You can too! See www.a-zchallenge.com for more information.

Guest Post: ANZAC Day 2013 - Commemorating Connections

I have been hassling my mother, Lee-Anne Houston (nee Riebe), to either write her own blog or guest post on mine for a while now. So today, the moment has come. And without any further ado, I’ll let her get started. Thanks Mum! - Amy


Thanks Amy for a guest spot. As you know this will just be a snippet.

Last year, I spent way too long working on a small dossier project of connected and inter-connected individuals from my husbands and my EXTENDED families who took part in the Great War, but did not come home.

The project revealed a range of human experiences encountered by the twenty-two men who are “connected to the tree” and a glimpse into what affect this had on their next of kin. The project included statistics and facts and details but there was much to be gleaned from their service records so as not to lose sight of them being sons, husbands, brothers, cousins and friends.

Of course, I started off with George Houston of the 33rd Battalion, who Amy has already mentioned. We thought he was the only WWI soldier we ‘had’ for ages!

Private Gordon Ruthven Houston


Private Gordon Ruthven Houston’s story is an interesting one and was quite a detective story in the end. Gordon was closely connected to three others listed in this dossier project. He was half first cousin once removed to George Houston and was first cousins to two other men William and James Scott. Gordon was born in Wallsend in 1896 to William Houston and Christina Gray; but his family moved to Balmain at some point prior to the war.

Gordon was working as a stenographer when he enlisted and Christina documented that Gordon had achieved a high level of proficiency at playing the piano, passing the London College of Music course with honours when she completed the Roll of Honour Circular.

Gordon embarked from Sydney on the Runic on 20th January 1916 and became part of the 19th Battalion. He arrived in Alexandria on 26th February 1916; then disembarked in Marseilles on the 3rd April 1916; by 2nd May 1916 he was confined to camp for 7 days after two offences; using insulting language to an NCO and misconduct after lights out. By 15th June 1916 he was fighting on the front in France, in August he was wounded in action but remained on duty, obviously recovering quickly. He was reported missing in action on 14th November 1916 during the attack at Flers, France.

After being reported missing to the Red Cross, Gordon was finally confirmed killed in action on the 14th November. He was only 20 years old. He had no known grave and was memorialised at the Australian National Memorial Villers-Bretonneux, France. However, about 20 years after his death his engraved compass was discovered with his remains and he was properly reburied at Ovillers Military cemetery, Ovillers-La-Boisselle, France in 1936. His parents were still alive to be notified he had been found and the compass engraved with G.R.H. was duly returned to them.

Gordon’s father William died in 1937 and his mother in 1943. Gordon only had one surviving sibling, a younger brother, William Leslie Houston. William placed in memoriam messages in the Sydney Morning Herald for many years after the war.

1930 'Family Notices.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 14 November, p. 10, viewed 24 April, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16730540

Sergeant Francis Matthews


Sergeant Francis Matthews, a great grandson of convict JohnWeatherstone, was killed in action on 3rd May 1915 at Kaba Tepe, eight days after the initial landing at Gallipoli. Francis was born in Braidwood to Richard William Matthews and Ellen Stewart. He was 26 years old, a school teacher and living in Boulder, WA when he enlisted into the 11th Battalion. He left Australia on the Ascanius on 2nd November 1914. He is buried at Shell Green Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey.

Private Thomas William Bernard Matthews

P05301.176 - Studio portrait of 5421 Private Thomas William Bernard Matthews from http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P05301.176


Private Thomas William Bernard Matthews was 1st cousin to Francis Matthews, and therefore his great grandfather was also the convict JohnWeatherstone. Thomas was the fourth child in a total of ten born to John Thomas Matthews and Caroline Lappin. Thomas was born in Goulburn, but had moved to Turramurra, and was working as a grocer’s assistant. He was 19 years old when he enlisted into the 56th Battalion on 25th January 1917.

Thomas embarked from Sydney aboard HMAT A40 Ceramic on 14th April 1916. The 56th battalion was involved in manning trenches during a freezing winter in the Somme valley and in early 1917 was part of the advance on the Hindenburg Line. Thomas was killed in action on 2nd April 1917. He has no known grave but is commemorated at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France.

Private William Morton Reynolds


Private William Morton Reynolds was grandson to JohnWeatherstone the convict; he was the youngest child of Catherine Weatherstone and Henry Reynolds. He enlisted into the 55th Battalion when he was 22 years old and embarked from Sydney on 30th September 1916 on HMAT A60 Aeneas.

William was married with one son. In the year he was in the Army he was deducted 19 days pay for various misdemeanours such as absenting himself without leave and when on active service neglect of duty. He died 24th September 1917 in Belgium just two days before the Battle of Polygon Wood started in earnest. He has no known grave and is commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.

Commemorating Connections - Lest We Forget

I would like to list their names here as a mark of respect, Lest We Forget.

George Houston, Gordon Ruthven Houston, James Scott, William Scott, Augustus Hinds, Thomas James Mitchell, John Henry Mitchell, John William Buchanan, Arthur Lorn Wyborn, James Oliver Kemp, Herbert Robert Duncan Cherry, Leo Aloysius McGuinness, William Samuel Thorsby, Thomas William Bernard Matthews, William Morton Reynolds, Edwin Thomas Frankish, Robert Leckie Tait, Samuel Peter Tait, Alexander Groves, Edward Dixon Deas.

Amongst this group there are brothers, cousins, uncles and nephews and friends.

Ten of the twenty-two have no known graves.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

April A to Z Challenge - U is for Unknown

Is your family tree full of women with a '?' for their surname? Mine is, even with my tenacious passion for tracking the matrilineal lines. 

All those missing surnames, these “unknown” women, lead to whole “unknown” families we haven’t found yet. And we may never find them. 

There are books dedicated to helping genealogists and family historians smash through brick walls when it comes to female ancestors, blogs full of tips and strategies, and plenty of other researchers out there tearing their hair out with the same frustration. 

If you’ve ever been frustrated, and just left these "Unknown" women be, I challenge you to go back to those “Unknown” women and see what you can find. I am going to try and attack one “Unknown” woman a month, double and tripling checking all of the sources available to me, and hopefully I’ll be able to put surnames to all these Marys, Janes and Catherines. 

So, keep an eye out for my “Matrilineal Monday” posts, on the first Monday of each month, where I’ll take up fellow blogger Jennifer Geraghty-Gorman’s invitation to post about my efforts “uncovering the ladies”.


This is a post for the April A-Z Challenge. This Challenge will cover each letter of the alphabet, one per day (except Sundays) for the month of April. I didn't register my blog with the organisers, but I'm going to follow along anyway. You can too! See www.a-zchallenge.com for more information.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

April A to Z Challenge - T is for Taker

Ancestors of Leslie TAKER


  1. Leslie TAKER, son of George Dutton TAKER and Mary Ellen CARTWRIGHT was born on 20 Jun 1927 in Wavertree, Lancashire, England (29 Statton Road). He married Jean RATTER, daughter of Laurence RATTER and Margaret Elsie STAFFORD on 12 Feb 1951 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England (Register Office).She was born on 18 Jun 1930 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. She died on 20 Apr 2011.

    Second Generation
  2. George Dutton TAKER, son of William TAKER and Anne Jane DUTTON was born between Jan-Mar 1891 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. He died on 28 Nov 1943 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England (29 Statton Road). He married Mary Ellen CARTWRIGHT, daughter of Thomas CARTWRIGHT and Ellen NALLY on 17 Aug 1914 in Toxteth, Lancashire, England (Register Office).
  3. Mary Ellen CARTWRIGHT, daughter of Thomas CARTWRIGHT and Ellen NALLY was born on 20 Jun 1892 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. She died on 02 Feb 1979 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England (Broadgreen Hospital).

    Third Generation
  4. William TAKER, son of Thomas TAKER and Eliza DAVIS was born on 28 Aug 1849 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England (20 Holland Street). He died on 28 Apr 1915 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. He married Anne Jane DUTTON, daughter of Thomas Kenyon DUTTON and Rosanna NEEDHAM on 05 Dec 1886 in Warrington, Lancashire, England (Wycliffe Congregational Church).
  5. Anne Jane DUTTON, daughter of Thomas Kenyon DUTTON and Rosanna NEEDHAM was born in 1861 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. She died on 13 Jan 1928 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England.
  6. Thomas CARTWRIGHT, son of John CARTWRIGHT was born in 1859 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. He died between Jul-Sep 1929 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. He married Ellen NALLY, daughter of James NALLY and Margaret MILLER on 03 Feb 1883 in Warrington, Lancashire, England (St Alban's Chapel).
  7. Ellen NALLY, daughter of James NALLY and Margaret MILLER was born on 05 Jan 1858 in Warrington, Lancashire, England (7 Sugar House Yard). She died between Apr-Jul 1896 in Warrington, Lancashire, England.

    Fourth Generation
  8. Thomas TAKER, son of George TAKER and Nancy THOMASON was born about 1819. He died in 1883. He married Eliza DAVIS.
  9. Eliza DAVIS
  10. Thomas Kenyon DUTTON, son of Thomas DUTTON and Hannah was born in 1827 in Eccleston, Lancashire, England. He died in Jan 1892 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. He married Rosanna NEEDHAM, daughter of John NEEDHAM on 05 Sep 1854 in Warrington, Lancashire, England.
  11. Rosanna NEEDHAM, daughter of John NEEDHAM was born in 1827 in Ashton, Lancashire, England. She died in Jan 1882 in Warrington, Lancashire, England.
  12. John CARTWRIGHT He died before 1883.
  13. UNKNOWN
  14. James NALLY He died before 1883. He married Margaret MILLER.
  15. Margaret MILLER

    Fifth Generation
  16. George TAKER, son of Thomas TAKER and Anne WARRALL was born about 1796 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. He married Nancy THOMASON on 15 Sep 1817 in Grappenhall, Cheshire, England.
  17. Nancy THOMASON
  18. UNKNOWN
  19. UNKNOWN
  20. Thomas DUTTON He married Hannah.
  21. Hannah was born in 1795 in Backford, Cheshire, England.
  22. John NEEDHAM
  23. UNKNOWN
  24. UNKNOWN
  25. UNKNOWN
  26. UNKNOWN
  27. UNKNOWN
  28. UNKNOWN
  29. UNKNOWN
  30. UNKNOWN
  31. UNKNOWN

    Sixth Generation
  32. Thomas TAKER, son of George TAKER and Jane FOSTER was born about 1769 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. He married Anne WARRALL on 31 Aug 1786 in Warrington, Lancashire, England (St Elphin).
  33. Anne WARRALL































  34. Seventh Generation
  35. George TAKER He married Jane FOSTER on 15 Nov 1768 in Warrington, Lancashire, England (St Elphin).
  36. Jane FOSTER 

This is a post for the April A-Z Challenge. This Challenge will cover each letter of the alphabet, one per day (except Sundays) for the month of April. I didn't register my blog with the organisers, but I'm going to follow along anyway. You can too! See www.a-zchallenge.com for more information.

Trove Tuesday - Suicide at Parkesbourne

I have previously written about John Weatherstone, and his death from taking arsenic at the age of 77, but the new Goulburn papers going up on Trove have given more detail from the inquest into his death.


This scan is quite hard to read, so I have put the text of the article below.

1883 'SUICIDE AT PARKESBOURNE.', Southern Argus (Goulburn, NSW : 1881 - 1885), 23 August, p. 2, viewed 23 April, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article101911011



Text of article:



There was an inquest at Parkesbourne on Monday held by Mr. Betts, coroner, when the following evi- dence was gone into as to the cause of death of John Weatherstone:—

Catherine Weatherstone deposed : The deceased was my husband ; on Saturday last deceased said to me that he was going to Queanbeyan - that he had come to see me for the last time, as he had made up his mind to put an end to himself ; he said he had some poison in his pocket ; he asked me to give him a tea-cup with a drop of water, but I said I would do no such thing ; subsequently he went away and said good-bye ; in about an hour I went to where he was in the bush ; he said "give me a drink of water,   I have taken poison and my stomach is burning out of me ;" he seemed to be in great pain ; I got him home, and he went into the stable and asked me to let him lie down on the straw there ; we tried to get him to take some emetics, but he would not ; he continued vomiting until about 9 o'clock, when he died ; he frequently threatened to take poison before ; he used drink heavily at times, and was of a very desponding disposition ; he told me he got the poison at Vincent's, in Goulburn, and that he had told Vin- cent it was to poison mice and rats ; I could see on Saturday morning that deceased had been drinking ; my son was away, and there was no one to send for a doctor after we found that deceased had poisoned himself. Last Saturday deceased went to the house of Mr. James Bugg ; he got a cup from Charles Bugg with water in it, and having placed some white powder in it, drank the dose off ; deceased stated that he had poison in the cup.

Jane Weatherstone deposed : I am the wife of William Weatherstone of Parkesbourne, farmer ; the body just viewed by the coroner and jury is that   of John Weatherstone my husband's father ; he was 77 years of age, and has left a widow and five children ; deceased had been living in Goulburn for the last six or seven weeks with his daughter Mrs. Gowan ; he came out here about 9 o'clock last Saturday morning ; he asked for his wife and he saw her, and talked with her for some time ; after this, about 11 o'clock, he came in and got a cup, and com-   menced putting something in the cup out of a little paper ; I saw it was a white paper ; I took the cup from him and threw the contents in the fire ; de- ceased then crumbled the paper up in his hands and   went out with it ; he went away from the place altogether, and in about an hour Mrs. Warne's boy came for me ; I went away past Mr. Bugg's and I there found deceased sitting on a log ; he had the same paper in his hand ; I asked him to give the paper up, but he would not ; I saw some of the dry powder on deceased lips ; deceased would not come to my house ; at about three o'clock he sent for his wife, and she came and got him to come home ; when they reached the place he went into the stable; he complained of a pain in his chest and was vomiting frequently ; the vomiting was of a green appearance ; his wife stayed with him, and took him some tea, but at about 9 o'clock p.m. he died ; I saw nothing strange about his appearance or his manner when he came to my place ; I saw no signs of his having been drinking ; deceased and his wife were not on good terms, and had not been living together for some time.

Dr. Gentle made a post mortem examination of deceased's body ; from the appearance of the stomach and the evidence of different witnesses, the doctor was of opinion that death was caused by an overdose of arsenic.

The finding of the jury was that deceased died from the effects of a dose of arsenic intentionally administered by his own hand.