Thursday, 23 April 2015

ANZAC Day, Digital Memories & Death Records - Genealogy Notes 17-23 Apr 2015

Another huge week with lots happening on my own personal genealogy as well as going to genealogy seminars and National Family History Month ramping up. First up I went to Colleen Fitzpatrick's three Brisbane seminars and you can read my review here.

I also participated in Kintalk's Trans Tasman ANZAC Day blog challenge. This year's tribute was to Alexander Thomas Davis my cousin three times removed who received a gun shot wound to the head in France and died of wounds shortly after arriving back home at Toorbul. Read my tribute to Alexander here.

The Queenslander, 8 Jan 1916 courtesy
State Library of Queensland
The latest issue of Queensland's Registry of BDM's Family History Journal has a military article on my three great uncles Robert, John and Denis Finn who all enlisted in WW1. The Registry describes me as an 'avid supporter' - my online dictionary says that is someone who is enthusiastic, keen, ardent, devoted, dedicated, zealous and fanatic. Yep, I guess that is me! To subscribe (free) and read their really interesting journal and find out what's happening in Queensland BDMs visit this link.

My mother's draft family history progresses and I bought her a small book Dear Mum from me to you: journal of a lifetime which is basically a series of questions about her childhood, parents, marriage, children and so on. I thought it would be a good idea if Mum jotted down her memories in this journal and I could incorporate some of them into the family history. Well she did short answers to the first three questions and then it was all a bit hard with her arthritic fingers.

Not to be defeated I went back with a digital recorder and said all she had to do was read the question and then give her answer. I showed her the on/off buttons and away she went. I came back a little while later and she had totally finished the whole book, when I had been expecting her to take days, if not weeks. I haven't worked my way through the questions yet but some of her memories seem quite short. Perhaps I can go back with further questions after she has thought about things more. At least I am getting a bit more than the usual 'what do you want to know that for?'.

The other thing I was trying to confirm (or not) was that Mum is the last of her generation. I have thought this might be true for some time so I set about trying to get death dates for her cousins if I didn't already have them. This led to some interesting discoveries in Ancestry and My Heritage where I know some of my relatives have put their family trees. For those lines were no one is actively following the families, I did searches in Brisbane City Council's Grave Location Search, Moreton Bay Regional Council's cemetery database and the Ryerson Index and picked up a few more death dates.

Mum's youngest brother Cyril who saw service in WW2,
Mount Thompson crematorium  
I had heard that Mount Thompson crematorium was also now online but had never looked before. Well there went a few hours! Not only is it online but there are images of the plaques so even though I have photos taken back in the 1980s I was able to see more up to date images and in quite a few cases, additional people had been added to some family plaques. However, if your person does not have a memorial then they don't appear in the search results. At least mine don't.

The interesting thing about the Heaven's Address site is that it also links to other crematoriums and memorial gardens (not just Queensland) and is definitely worth a visit to see if one of your families final resting places is included.

I was then left with only a couple of names other than Mum's. So I did a Google search on their names using inverted commas around the names. Worked a treat for one of them! I found Betty Isabel White listed on the Gympie Funerals website and the last time I corresponded with the family they were in the Gympie area. The information is basically what would have appeared in the local newspaper announcing the funeral. I wasn't so lucky with the other two cousins (sisters) but if still alive, they would be older than Mum. Looks like I will have to try and find some of my own cousins to solve the question of whether Mum is the last of her generation.

There are quite a few talks coming up in May so I will be out and about again. The first is a seminar being held by Southern Suburbs branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland. It is on 3 May and includes 4 talks all on immigration topics. Details are here but it is a great opportunity to hear Eric and Rosemary Kopittke, Helen Smith and myself. Great value at $20 (in advance) for the day but you do need to bring your own lunch or buy it nearby. Other talks coming up can be found on the Events page of my website.

I have been adding some events to the National Family History Month web calendar but I would love to see more events added. Genealogy and family history societies who enter an event before 30 June 2015 will receive a gift certificate from the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. Full details on the Sponsors page.

Tomorrow we have the ANZAC Day dawn service and parade on Bribie Island plus there is the RAAF reunion which kicks off tonight with dinner at the Bribie RSL and ends on Sunday with a BBQ lunch. So not a lot of genealogy will be done this weekend but I am hoping to catch some of Max's military stories. Now that I have dusted off the digital recorder he is next on my list of subjects.

We will all be remembering our military ancestors this weekend, the centenary of the landing at Gallipoli. One of Max's cousins, Tasman Jarvis died on 25 Apr 1915 at Gallipoli, My tribute blog post to him was on 24 Apr 2010 and you can read it here. Until next week, happy searching.


  1. Hi Shauna .... getting back to you with some further details about my section of the family tree. As I mentioned in my email my mother is Enid Eunice Price, one of 5 children of George and Margaret Price. My mother is still alive, in her 90's, living on the North side of Brisbane.

    Her older sister Thelma is still alive as well, or at least she was last I knew. Her 2 brothers Douglas and Mervyn both passed away in the last few years, and Mum's younger sister Elizabeth (Betty) (married name Johnson) passed away just last year in Gympie. Betty and her husband Bill Johnson (William I assume in full) had 4 children: 2 boys William (Young Bill), and Leonard (whom we heard a couple of years back had passed away) who was a Vietnam Veteran, and 2 girls Gail and Darry.

    My mother and father (Raymond Sydney Devine, sometimes known as Raymond Cecil Sydney Devine) had 6 children (in chronological order): Beverley, Donald, Suzanne, Carolyn, Philip and my self (Stephen).
    We are all alive and well.

    Bev was married to Laurence Gilbert and they had 2 children: Jeffery (born January 1965) and Leachel (also a January child, born a couple of years later). Leachel has 2 girls of her own I believe.. Jeff has no children.

    Don was married and they had 2 girls: Katrina and Kelly, born only a year or so apart I think, circa 1980?. I believe Katrina also has 2 children. Kelly has no children.

    Sue married Peter John Cowell and they had 2 girls: Natalie (born 1974) and Sharon a year or 2 later. Neither of them have children.

    Carolyn married Reginald Spillane and they had 2 children: Michael (born 1973?) and Karen who is slightly younger.

    Philip has no children.

    I have a son, Timothy, born 1999.

    As I've only started looking into my own family tree in the last week I've been looking more at ancestors and not "closer" family but I have / can get lots more details for you with a little time.

    Steve Devine

  2. Thanks Steve for getting in touch and updating me on the family. I am happy to share info on the Price family. My email address is on my website - if you contact me that way I can send you more info.