Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Trove Tuesday - Windsor visits

I visit Windsor, home to some of my convict ancestors,  each month (when I am around) for the meeting of the Hawkesbury Family History Group so I was interested to find on Trove a report of a visit to Windsor in September 1947 by members of another society of which I am a member, The Society of Australian Genealogists.

1947 'Genealogists Visit Windsor.', Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), 24 September, p. 11, viewed 1 September, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85787233

Monday, September 22, 2014

Disappointed with this tome

A couple of months ago I went to a talk by William Cox's descendant, Anne-Maree Harriet Cox Whitaker at Hawkesbury Family History Group. I quite enjoyed her talk (see my report) and lined up afterwards to purchase her book William Cox and Cox's  Road; a bicentenary souvenir as I was keen to learn more about the road and the story of its construction.

I believe that my convict ancestors, James Westbrook amd William Magick had earned their freedom in 1818 as a result of the work they did making bricks for the road.


I read the book when I got home and have had it sitting on my desk for six weeks as I ponder what to write about it. It was attractively presented, well laid out, competently written, had some pertinent images and was well sourced. Although there is nothing wrong with the book I felt disappointed after reading it. Why?

* From the title I thought there would be more emphasis on the building of the road and I was hoping to discover new information about the road and its construction.

* About 59 pages are devoted to Cox and his family, I didn't realise that this was a major focus of the work but should have realised as in the title the words  William Cox are in bigger font than And Cox's Road.

* The author recognises in the short four page chapter on "Cox's Road Party" that not all the names of those who worked on the road are recorded. I wonder what research was carried out to identify others. I would like to have seen a bit more information on the other members of the Road Party but this book's focus was definitely just Cox.

* 34 pages of the book are devoted to a reprint of the Journal Cox kept during the road's construction. This together with Governor Macquarie's instructions to Cox (also reprinted in the book) is freely available here through Project Gutenberg. I was annoyed that I had purchased a book told me no more about the building of Cox's Road than what I can find freely available on the internet.

Do go ahead and  purchase this book, it is a good souvenir. My disappointment is personal,  I had great expectations that just weren't realised.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

No photo

My Great-Grandfather, Francis Duncan, who died 93 years ago today is a bit of a mystery man to me.

The only photo I have relating to him is one of his headstone in Cobar Cemetery.

Frank Duncan and Harriet Magick are buried in Cobar Cemetery
When I started writing this post an hour ago I decided to see if I could find any new information on Francis who had been born in Victoria and who died in Cobar. As he never "married" his wife, Harriet Holmes (nee Magick), I don't know when or where he met her and as the births of his children weren't registered I cannot confirm their birth places and discover where frank and Harriet were living at that time. I have visited the Museum in Cobar but they have no information on Frank.

Where did I turn? Trove of course. In a short time I have placed Francis in Cobar from 1900, discovered that he was a carpenter, lived in Prince Street, leased land and ran sheep on it, did contract work for the local council and that his estate was probated (I hadn't found this at State Records - time for more investigation there). Two In Memoriam notices confirm the names of some of his grandchildren.

This post did not go where I expected it to go thanks to Trove., I am excited and on the hunt. The source of my joy today is The Cobar Herald (NSW : 1899 - 1914 that must have been recently added to Trove. I must away aand thoroughly read the articles I have found and conjure up a few more search strings to test out The Cobar Herald.

Maybe one day I'll find a photo of Francis and Harriet.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Signed up for Two Courses

I moved my family tree data over to Family Historian nearly two years ago now but I still class myself as a beginner with this versatile software package.

I learnt a lot from Family Historian expert, Jane Taubman, on the Unlock the Past Genealogy cruise in February when she presented a series of lectures on the package. Jane indicated that several times a year she conducted full day courses for Family Historian users at Dillington House in Ilminster, Somerset in the UK. When I expressed an interest in these courses Jane asked when I would be in the UK and said she would try to schedule some courses when I would be there. She was as good as her word.

Tonight I have signed up for two full day courses in November. Hopefully by the time I return to Australia I will be an intermediate user of the Family Historian software.

These are the courses I will be taking
You can read all about the courses here: http://courses.rjt.org.uk/wp/category/family-historian-courses/.

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