Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Am I Mad? I am going to (attempt to) write a book: Wardleys at War

So, the plan was pretty simple - write a biography of each person with the surname Wardley who served during World War One. There aren't too many - so far I have identified less than fifty who served from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And the plan was to self-publish sometime in 1914-1915.

I started logically - Australian soldiers first - with Wardley, Arthur. Makes sense - alphabetical (the country and the name).

But ... where do I stop? It turns out Arthur survived WWI, got shot, came home, married his English sweetheart (who came to Australia as a sponsored War Bride), and then he re-joined for WWII... So do I write about what he did in WWII as well as WWI? Do I only write a biography that covers the WWI years? Do I try to find out where he met his wife (personally, I think it was during his convalescence in England - but this is only speculation based on the location of her home after the war and his hospital records during the war).

Argh! So easy to get carried away! Ku-ring-gai Historical Society volunteers are doing an amazing project - researching and writing storied of all the locals who served during WWI. But they are limited the stories to 500 words, and the final publication will only include the stories of the men who never came home and the ones who were awarded military honours.

Surely, with so few Wardleys I can manage 500 words on each of them! I think I might take a leaf out of the KHS's book, and make 500 words my limit (or aim) for each Wardley.

Do you have any Wardleys? Please get in touch with me! I would love contributors for the Wardley One-Name Study and the Wardley WWI Project.

Are you doing a personal project for the centenary of WWI? Are you contributing to a collaborative WWI project, like KHS? I would love to hear from you - it might be nice to support one another in our quest to share the stories of the men and women who served their nations during the War. Maybe I can finally figure out how to use Google+ and hangouts properly!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Trove Tuesday: Playing with @TroveNewsBot

I LOVE the new @TroveNewsBot by Tim Sherratt (aka @wragge).

Built using the Trove API (which I had to read all about and think I understand), Tim has created the ultimate Trover's procrastination tool!

All you have to do is tweet @TroveNewsBot hello and you will get back a random newspaper article, and a nice greeting.

Or you can just tweet @TroveNewsBot #luckydip to receive back a random newspaper article - in the example above, I also put in a year and it sent back a random article from that year! Which I took as an invitation to correct some text for Trove... and to read the rest of that page...

Any other message tweeted to @TroveNewsBot is sent off to Trove to find a matching result in the newspaper database. Tim had fun asking the database for child rearing advice and collecting the results!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

My First Family History Conference

So, I have registered to attend my first family history conference! Exciting times.

I only joined SAG recently, after umming and ahhing about it for a while (like, YEARS). For me, it was always a question of being able to find the time to use the resources that membership of a society offered and holding myself back from getting too involved (I tend to volunteer myself for committees ... to the point of getting elected as a Councillor in 2008 when I was just supposed to be helping out on the campaign). I now rush down to SAG on the occasional lunch break and have made it there one Saturday for almost two hours - and I found some very valuable information I am not able to access online or in a library.

And now I am going to my first conference - the 29th Annual Conference of the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies.

Will you be there? I would love to meet some of my fellow Trove Tuesday bloggers, and other GeneaBloggers, as well as any blog lurkers (I'm good at lurking - I should write more comments to encourage my fellow bloggers instead of just reading your posts, thinking "Wow, what an excellent post/find/story", and then moving on).

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Trove Tuesday: Thomas McCormick

Thomas McCormick, a convict from Ireland and my fifth great grandfather, arrived in the colony of New South Wales in 1816 with a life sentence.

Eventually he was granted a ticket of leave, and settled in the Hunter Valley. But that is another story for another time, today I found his funeral notice thanks to Trove!

1864 'Advertising.', The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), 14 May, p. 1, viewed 18 June, 2013,

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Trove Tuesday: Esther Weatherstone's Untimely Demise

Esther Weatherstone, daughter of John James Weatherstone and Lucy Louise Dixon, was born in 1861 near Goulburn. Unfortunately, she succumbed to rheumatic fever at the age of 21, dying on 15 April 1882. She was buried in the Anglican section of the beautiful Queanbeyan Riverside Cemetery, in a now unknown and unmarked plot.

1882 'LOCAL NEWS.', Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904), 18 April, p. 2, viewed 11 June, 2013,

Sadly, a doctor with experience as Medical Officer of the Leeds Fever Hospital opened a practice in Queanbeyan in the months after Esther's death - I wonder if his expertise would have been sought for her, had he arrived before her illness. Even if it had, it was likely that she would have succumbed to the infection regardless.

1882 'Advertising.', Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904), 12 September, p. 3, viewed 11 June, 2013,

Dr William David Bowkett, born in London in 1847, had been admitted as a Member of the Royal College of Surgeon's on 23 October 1873. He arrived in Sydney aboard the Darling Downs on 16 January 1881, as the ship's surgeon. His sister, Miss Jessie Bowkett, travelled with him.

Unidentified 3916, Dr William D Bowkett, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Trove Tuesday: Training Husbands

Whilst browsing through the Sydney Morning Herald from 4 June 1913, I came across an interesting read on 'A Page for Women'.

1913 'TRAINING HUSBANDS.', The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), 4 June, p. 7, viewed 4 June, 2013,
An interesting concept... but I don't think it worked.