Thursday, 19 January 2017

#52Stories, Week 3, What is your earliest memory of feeling proud of yourself - at school, in sport or...?

This one is hard too. I’ve been procrastinating because I didn’t want to do another goal oriented post. I already told you I’m not goal oriented.

So I chose this topic from the list – I was never really sporty, I don’t think I am competitive like that. I took part but it didn’t matter if I came first (at either end of the race) or finished in the middle. I played netball a bit at primary school but I was short, so the teachers always made me play Wing Attack or Wing Defence and I really wanted to be in goal. (That came later, when I was at college I was a bit taller and I played Goal Defence or Goal Keep, sometimes even Goal Attack)

I was pretty good at swinging myself on the swing my Dad had put up in the lean-to from when I was quite little. I remember being a bit smug that I could get on and off, swing myself and jump off to miss the mud puddle underneath it – and my little brother couldn’t – does that count ?

When I was about 9 or 10 I seem to have suddenly got involved in everything. My last year at primary school I was in so many school photos; choir, netball, gym club, librarian, stationery monitor, prefects – add to this piano, Brownies, more gym and skating outside of school. I must have been running Mum and Dad ragged with all of these activities to get to.

I got a pair of roller skates for my birthday. We didn’t have a lot of concrete to practice on; just one path from the front door to the driveway. Our driveway was gravel and the footpath was dirt, so no skating on them. There was a skating rink down by the lake in Hamilton, close to the huge slide. We used to go there and somehow became members of the club. I don’t know how this stuff happens. Parents get talking and nek minnit ! Anyway, I got involved with figure skating. This meant I needed new skates with white boots and a big rubber stopper. I remember going shopping for them one Friday night. My teacher/coach was also a teacher at school. I practiced going backwards and turning, and forwards, and gliding; propelling myself without taking a foot off the ground and pushing. Good for the muscles that ! I had to practice figure eights, gliding around each circle on one leg and only pushing off once at the intersection of the two circles. I didn’t enjoy that so much. Then I began to learn dances and dance steps. I don’t remember ever seeing anyone do this before. It was like ice-dance I guess, like Torvill & Dean, but way before any of us knew who they were, and not quite as fluid and graceful as it is on ice. I learnt some jumps, and little dance steps, and how to glide in Eagle position with one foot facing left and the other right. I arabesque-ed at speed. We went to competitions at weekends, clubs against clubs. I figure skated and my brother was in the speed skating team. I had to have the right dresses too – not just the boot skates. My favourite was a red dress my Nana knitted for me with white pompoms all around the hem. I don’t remember that I ever won anything, but it was a lot of fun. When I was thinking about writing this I did a bit of research (as you do) and I discovered that one of the jumps I learnt was a Salchow – not a Sour-Cow as I have always thought it was. Who knew !! If you want to see some old school roller skate dancing (not mine) – check this out.

Around the same time I started doing gymnastics. I think I had a friend who went, or Mum and Dad knew someone who ran the club. It was on Saturday mornings at Boys’ High. You got to do exercises, tumbling, vaulting, beam, parallel bars and horizontal bar. I loved it. This gym led me to start doing it at school as well in the last years of primary school and then Intermediate. At Intermediate I was in the school team, there were inter-school competitions. Olga Korbut was who we all wanted to be like. She had won GOLD at the Olympics in Munich on beam and floor. I used to practice my beam routine on the top of the block walls of the garage dad was building at home. Cartwheels and forward rolls etc 8 feet up – on concrete. What was I thinking ? We did floor exercises too, like the Olympics. It was called rhythmic gymnastics but we hadn’t got as diverse as ribbon and ball exercises just yet. I remember choreographing my own voluntary (as opposed to compulsory) floor routine to “Burning Bridges” by the Mike Curb Congregation (no MTV or music videos back then !) I was pretty pleased with it in the end. There were badges to earn too, I don’t remember if we ever won anything in our gym competitions either. I earnt my Iron and Bronze badges and was well on my way to my Silver when we moved to Wellington. All the extra curricular, and school based activities stopped then. I did join the gym club at school, but it wasn’t the same.

As for which I felt most proud, or which came first, I’m not sure. I know I was proud of my floor routine and of achieving my badges in gymnastics. But I was also pretty proud when I nailed one of those jumps on skates. I’m declaring them a tie – it’s the sporting thing to do.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

One brick at a time...

I have been looking for ages for information about my daughter's 2x great grandmother Mary Millicent (sic) Hogg, nee Barnett or Jerrard/Jarratt. Since before she was born even !! 

When I started researching the family I had married into I asked lots of questions. I have stored all the answers and information, like a squirrel, for safe keeping in my mind. My mother-in-law had told me that her grandmother was a twin, that the twin died and then their mother (her great grandmother) remarried. But there was some confusion about whether the birth name of Mary was Barnett or Jerrard/Jarratt and which name belonged to the stepfather.

Her Australian death certificate has her name as Mary Millicent Hogg nee Barnett – and her mother’s name as Mary Milne.

I purchased her marriage certificate about 12 years ago. She gave her name as Mary Milne Jerrard in 1901 and said she was “over the age of 21”, when she married Thomas Watson Hogg. On most of her children’s birth certificates she gave her maiden name as Barnett.

It was also said that there were more children born in the UK before they moved to Australia, but I’ve not been able to find any registered. Especially now that you can search using the mother’s maiden name which you’ve never been able to do before. On the 1911 census, which was the last one taken before they emigrated, she says she had had 2 children and that they were both still alive (although only my daughter's great grandfather – Robert - was at home with her on census night). The elder child, Margaret, I later found enumerated as a patient in hospital. There are additional deceased children listed on her death certificate – but still no evidence !

On her husband’s Army enlistment papers for WW1 (found on Ancestry) her name is recorded as Mary Milne Jerrard (with Barnett crossed out) with the same marriage date. Just two children are listed, a 3rd was born in 1914 so not on the census, and the 1st had already died and was not included. When they emigrated to Australia after the war their 4th child had arrived.

When I was having a spend up on the GRO in their email pdf trial in November last year, I decided to take a stab at the birth certificate for their first child Margaret in case there was information on there to help. But not really – apart from confirming that the address where they were living in 1902 was the same as in 1919. I found her death in 1913 from TB, aged 10 years. Her death certificate gave her name not just as Margaret Hogg (on the birth certificate) but as Margaret Jerrard Hogg. A clue perhaps, considering the naming patterns that are commonly used in Scotland.

Last night I decided again to see if I could find any additional children born to the Hogg/Jerrard Hogg/Barnett family. Nope.

So I thought I would try again to see if I could find Mary’s birth in Scotland. On the 1911 census (the only official UK document I had found where she had recorded her birthplace) and on her death certificate (where the information was supplied by her children) the place of birth was given each time as Aberdeen.

I’ve looked and looked there so many times !! Even back when one of my nieces was living in Aberdeen - at least 12 years ago, maybe 13. 

Scotlandspeople have updated their website and search function too and things are a little easier to navigate. I tried several searches, changing spelling, looking for the mother’s name as well and then BINGO !! A birth for Mary Milne Gerrard in Aberdeen ! I looked at the birth entry and the mother’s name was Margaret Gerrard (sound familiar ?).

To be doubly sure that I had found the right baby – I looked to see if there was a twin. Yes there was ! James Milne Gerrard, born 20 minutes earlier. (I LOVE the information on Scottish certificates !) They were born in the Poor House in Aberdeen to a single mother. Again, I am wondering if the naming pattern points to their father being a Mr Milne ?

So anyway, still trying to align with the information which I had been told, I looked for a death for the twin, and found one, aged 17 months, in the Poor House from croup. At that point I wondered had she left both of her babies there ? Her occupation on the birth certificates was Domestic Servant, and the same on the death certificate for baby James. How would a young girl look after 2 babies on her own back then in 1882, in a city like Aberdeen ? She would have had to keep working. Who cared for the children ?

The next event I needed to confirm was a marriage. Knowing now that HER name was Gerrard – and that the children’s birth names were Gerrard, the marriage should logically be to a Mr Barnett. And what do you know, there it was, in a slightly different part of Aberdeen. Margaret Gerrard (Domestic Servant) marrying George Barnet (a Paper Mill worker).

I eventually found them living as a family on the 1891 Scotland census, where he was working at a Paper Mill (which is actually still in existence today !) and Mary was listed as his stepdaughter. YAY !! Now I know I have the right people.

In 1901 when Mary and Thomas married, she said she was living in Benwell. I’ve not been able to find her (for sure on the 1901 census) but I did find her mother and stepfather, along with a half-brother and a step-grandparent living in the Benwell area of Newcastle on Tyne. The half-brother, George, isn’t on the 1891 census which is odd. I thought he may not have been born by the time the census was taken, but his birth certificate shows he was born in 1890 – to the correct parents. Maybe the enumerator just forgot to write him down.

Mary’s mother died in 1901 – between the census and Mary’s marriage. She was 38 years old. Her death is registered as Margaret Gerrard Barnet – further confirmation of the naming pattern and correctness of all this searching. Margaret must have been aged about 18 or 19 when she had her twins, and as I suspected Mary was not "over 21 years of age" when she married.

So there you have it, a story passed down which turns out to be true, I love it when that happens.

Very pleased with myself, I am. One brick wall smashed - now to focus back on those other ones. Julius, Mowbray, Charles et al., I WILL find you.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

#52Stories, Week 2, What is something you taught yourself to do without help from anyone else ?

So this is a tricky one for week 2. How many things do we actually learn without help from anyone else ?

Most of us look for a little guidance or reassurance when we start something new.

I learnt to walk and talk by watching other people and absorbing conversations around me.

I learnt to ride a bike by copying my friends, and falling off and getting back on.

I learnt to knit sitting next to my Nana and Mum.

I learnt to love jigsaws because they often led to getting takeaways for dinner when Mum got engrossed in getting them finished.

I learnt to roller skate by buckling them on to my feet, standing up and trying to glide.

I learnt to look for joy and wonder in the simplest things through the eyes of my daughter.

Baking, sewing, problem solving, driving, cross stitch, cardmaking, abseiling. All of these had mentors or tutors to get me started or help me when I got stuck.

I seriously can not think of anything. When I start something new, I research. I might not ask someone directly, but even help found online or in a book has been placed there by someone wanting to help newcomers by sharing their experiences and experience.

Oh wait, 

...maybe being able to problem solve IT idiosyncrasies and frustrations is a skill I have acquired with minimal input through osmosis and just bluffing it - and persevering until getting it right.

...or thinking outside the square to find long gone ancestors who have left few clues (I WILL find you all eventually). Perseverance again.

...or how did I get an in built GPS, so that I can get my bearings and find my way intuitively in new places. My TomTom hates me; the map in my head just takes over and renders it ineffective. This does only work in this hemisphere though. I struggle with east and west, north and south when I am on the other side of the planet.

Friday, 6 January 2017

#52Stories, Week 1, What goals do you hope to achieve this year ?

I have been inspired to challenge myself to #52Stories to define "my dash" - a project to help people get started writing their family history for the next generations. The project is being promoted by Family Search you can download the printables and just get started. Each week they will also share a question on social media that you can use to write your paragraph, story or even a few lines. By the end of the year, there should be 52 stories.

So, welcome to week 1.

My first goal will be to complete this challenge. I have marked it in my calendar to remind myself each week.

I don't think I am a very goal oriented person, so this could be a very short list !

  1. Write a story every week, to complete the #52Stories challenge 😊
  2. Sell or giveaway objects that have been packed, can be replaced and cost too much to keep moving and storing. (anyone in the market for a washing machine, drier, fridge, leather lounge suite ? - keep an eye on Trademe)
  3. Save some money
  4. Find a more rewarding way to make money - new role ?
  5. Get a bit more socially involved - this last inter-city move has been a fairly lonely time
  6. Live on my own (again) - probably not in Auckland then...
  7. Be more organised for Christmas 2017 
  8. Get fitter - there are some legendary walks I would like to do one day soon
  9. Plan new travel adventures
  10. DNA confirm 16 great great grandparents (or even better 32 great great great grandparents - could I dare hope for 64 great great great grandparents)
Well, there are ten goals of some sort or another. Not so bad for a not very goal oriented person. In 52 weeks time we will all know how successful (or not) I have been in achieving them.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Where to next ? I asked...

Puhoi, that's where.

We have seen that sign so many times driving north and always thought - one day.

Well, today was also One Day. What a cute wee town. We'll be going again I think to check out the General Store, Hotel and Cafe. If I won Lotto, maybe I'd live there. Probably too close to Auckland to consider seriously though, pretty sure it would be way outside my budget.

Being a tourist in my own country

So, I know I declared to many that this summer would not be filled with road-trips in stationary traffic and that I would be island hopping instead. Ooops.

There has been one trip to the best Berry Farm in the land, and we are still eating the last of their strawberries and blueberries. It must be almost time to go again.

On New Year's Day I DID catch a ferry. Across the harbour and then walked to the tennis centre to be part of the charity match for Kaikoura. A doubles match between Venus & Serena Williams and Julian and Ardie Savea. Plus a few others who stepped up for the fun.

Yesterday, we decided to get up early and beat the traffic and head to Rotorua to visit a geothermal attraction. It wasn't supposed to be a hot day, so perfect for a road-trip.

We went to Wai-o-tapu which is south of Rotorua on SH5, on the way to Taupo. There are plenty of attractions to choose from around Rotorua if you want to see geothermal phenomena occurring naturally. We chose this one because we had heard about the amazing colours at the Champagne Pool. We had seen pictures, but how accurate where they ? (Everyone uses filters these days, don't they ?)

I'll tell you what - you don't need a filter at all. The colour is just brilliant all by itself.

The sulphur smell though could do with a filter. Jokes, it wasn't so bad until the wind wafted hot steam from the surface of the lake all over you. It permeates your skin though and we could smell it all the way home.

We even found some proper mud pools which we could see without paying an entrance fee, before we started on our journey home.

Where to next ?

Friday, 30 December 2016

Lost and Found

This is a genealogy post - instead of a commentary on where I have been or what I have been eating. When I started blogging family history was going to be the focus of all my posts ! Best laid plans, hey ?

Anyway, this year I have been studying our cousin matches at Ancestry, from our DNA tests taken in 2015 and have attended a few workshops and seminars to try to get my head around the science of it. Some of it is sinking in - a lot of it is still mumbo-jumbo. At the end of last year I had uploaded two kits to GEDMatch but still haven't really got the hang of that either. On there, as on Ancestry my closest matches (aside from Mum, Dad and Lauren) are 3rd-4th cousins - most are more distant. It all makes the searching to find the common link a little more time consuming. 3rd cousins share great-great grandparents. But if those great great grandparents (and we all have 8 sets of them) had even just two children, and those two children had two children each, and those four children had two children each, of their own - do we KNOW all of these people ? Remember then, that most of our great great grandparents had at least six children (not two) - and some just kept on going and had like FOURTEEN !

This year I uploaded two kits to FamilyTreeDNA - which has different tools to Ancestry, and a smaller database of testers. But again, I've not really got my head around all that it offers. 

I have actually met two 3rd cousins this year, while on holiday in the States, and spoken to another on the phone. Two of these were new discoveries thanks to the DNA test and the other confirmed our paper trail (YAY). But I have also corresponded - a little sporadically - with several others. For the majority who have responded to messages, we have, between us been able to determine our common ancestors. All that paper research starting way back before the internet has been right - so far. Thanks Dad, Chris, Bessie Peggy and Grev for all that painstaking research.

I've also been trying to fill out our tree - the more we know about siblings in each generation the more likely we are to be able to identify a common ancestor (eventually). So I have been searching people's trees on Ancestry for common families and contacting them to offer to collaborate - or to elicit assistance. I've been making fairly good progress there too.

In November I got caught up in the GRO pdf trial (Births, Deaths and Marriages in the UK) £6 for a certificate to be emailed, rather than wait for the snail mail ! Thanks twitter for alerting me to this ! The GRO had also launched a search facility on their site. Previously this needed to be carried out on a 3rd party site, and then the actual order for a certificate was made on the GRO site. The new search function had a bonus not found on other sites, in that the mother's maiden name was included in the results - even as far back as the beginning of registration in 1837. Yuss !! This meant that even if you didn't order a certificate to be doubly sure you had the right person, in a lot of cases you could confirm the children you had included with your family did all have a mother with the maiden name you suspected they should have. You could also discover children previously unknown. Those who may have been born, and died between census'. In England the only helpful census in this regard is the 1911, where wives were asked to note how long they had been married and how many children they had had - and how many were still living. Thanks to that helpfulness many families in my tree have

"Child Xxxx b. ? d. before 1911". 

But that only works if the parent was still alive in 1911. This new search enabled many people participating in the trial to find children between all of the census'.

I ordered copious numbers of certificates. I now know the birth dates of all of my grandmothers paternal aunts and uncles - and where the family was living at the time of each birth and what job their father had at the time. For most of these I already had their baptism dates from previous research. I also attempted to find the birth certificates for as many of her mother's paternal aunts and uncles (we already have the maternal ones). But I am still missing two. One was born just prior to registration beginning - I do have his baptism date though, sadly with our the birth date noted in the church register. The other is a complete mystery - she seems to have not been registered at all. I thought at first she might have been registered under a slightly different name or spelling. Her sister Emily as registered as Emma, but no. I have just in the last couple of days found her baptism though - with the surname spelt a little weirdly. I have a great great grandmother like this too ! Grrr. 

Also this year I joined the NZSG and took advantage of that membership to change my subscription at Find My Past from pay-as-you-go to annual. The things I have found !! I've searched on here before looking at shipping and church records some of which are not available at Ancestry, and exploring the 1939 register (taken at the beginning of WW2). But now, since I don't have to be too exacting about what I use my credits for, it is like Pandora's box. I have read the baptism books for each parish I could, to find the baptism dates for most children in one branch of the family. I also read the marriage and burial registers if they were available. 

What did I find that I wasn't expecting ? 

That my great grandmothers Uncle Henry had 14 children not 13, that one his children died as a result of an accident when he was a baby. How grief stricken they must have been, but yet they went on to have 9 more babies. Baby George was 13 months old and being carried by his mother when one of her other children called out to her from the top of the stairs and as she turned to reach out to the child she lost her balance, falling to the floor below. Their eldest child at this point was just 7 years old. What a thing for her, and her three younger siblings to witness. How did it affect them ? Their mother was pregnant at the time with her sixth baby, how guilt-ridden and anxious she must have felt. 

I had known about George though from census records and searching freebmd. I just didn't know the circumstances of his death or the actual date until Find My Past gave me that information in burial records and in a newspaper that reported the inquest in to his death which was held on the day of his burial. What I didn't know until I read the entire baptism register for the parish was that they had had one more child than I had been aware of. She was to be their last child. Her baptism is recorded in the register as "PB"- private, and a note was added in the margin that she had died the next day and been buried 2 days after that. In the burial register her age is given as 1 month. Once her parents and siblings had left this earth did anyone remember wee Lucy Kate ? Possibly only some of her older siblings would have remembered her in any case, perhaps only her parents remembered since these matters were not spoken of in times gone by.

I also had a penny dropping moment about one of the same great grandmothers Aunts. Why this thought did not occur to me while the GRO trial was still running I do not know. So I am patiently waiting for their next trial, or the introduction of the pdf service as a normal service. This Aunt had married and had 3 sons. They have been hard to trace into adulthood appearing on some census' and not others. She lived the majority of her life in an Asylum suffering from what I am not sure. Anyway, it suddenly occurred to me that I knew when she was admitted and I knew when her youngest son was born. There was space of a few years there - plenty of time for more children to have been born from her marriage. Being able to search on the GRO and cross reference her maiden name made looking for any so much easier. 

Bingo ! Two daughters !! I read the baptism register for the parish where they lived, and there were one son and one daughters, baptised on the same day, with another son having been baptised just days before. Sadly the other daughter died aged just 9 months and does not appear to have been baptised. I have been able to follow the surviving daughter who grew up with an aunt and uncle and cousins through to adulthood and possibly her own children. Exciting - there may be more living cousins to connect with yet !

So, here are my goals for Genealogy in 2017:

  • Save money and buy AncestryDNA kits for my cousins, brother, nephews, nieces - possibly even ex-in-laws (is that a thing ?)
  • Save more money and buy FTDNA kits for a couple of strategic people to possibly follow Y-DNA lines and mtDNA
  • Keep stalking researchers with trees on Ancestry that merge with mine on single or many branches
  • Buy more certificates when I can
  • Hope that some other rellies in NZ and UK get tested - USA matches are all very well and fine, but finding the common ancestor 6-9 generations back is pretty difficult

Happy researching people !