52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 9 Inquest Records

March 10th, 2014

This blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focussing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

The 52 different types of genealogical records I finally decided on are listed in no particular order (each week will be a random surprise). Originally I planned to do this over 52 weeks but I now realise that I have to factor in travel and illness so it will continue a little bit over a year. Anyone is welcome to do all or part of this blogging challenge.  Let me know if you are participating and I will put a link to your post under each week’s challenge.

So far I know of five bloggers who are taking up the challenge and I have put links to their individual entries at the end of each week’s blog if they have submitted something for that week. Thanks Judy WebsterSharn WhiteCassmob, Anne and Sharon for participating and encouraging me to keep up the blog challenge myself!

Also participating in this blog challenge:

Campaspe Library Week 9

Sharon Week 9

Anne Week 9

Links to Week 1 Military Medals Week 2 Internal Migration Week 3 Probates (wills and administrations) Week 4 Memorial Cards Week 5 Family Stories Week 6 Land Records Week 7 Local Histories Week 8 Diaries

Week 9 Inquest Records

An inquest is held when someone dies in an accident, or has not been seen by a doctor for some time or if they have died in an institution such as an asylum or prison. In some ways I am lucky as many of my ancestors died in accidents or in institutions and the inquest has given me more information on the family.

I touched on this in Week 4 when I did Memorial Cards – my example was Sydney Herbert White and there had been an inquest into his death. I will not repeat that here as there are lots of other examples that I can use.

John Henry Gunderson, aged 39 years, was found lying unconscious at the foot of the back steps of his house on the Thompson Estate in Brisbane on 23 May 1932. He was taken by ambulance to the Mater Hospital but he died before arriving there. The post mortem certificate in the inquest file gave cause of death as a cerebral haemorrhage and syncope (natural causes). Also in the file were witness statements from the local police constable William Charles Fuge, the widow Violet Maud Gunderson and a neighbour Austin Patrick Walsh.  So even if you do not have an inquest into an ancestor, you may find they were a witness but unfortunately witnesses are not usually indexed by name.

I find the witness statements the most interesting and where you are most likely to find information not recorded elsewhere. The neighbour Austin Walsh in his statement said he was alerted to John’s collapse by another neighbour Mrs Flanders who first saw him lying there. When he went over he saw that John was unconscious and called the ambulance and it was he who went in the ambulance with John to the hospital. He recalled the doctor on arrival saying that ‘life was extinct’.

Violet Gunderson told the inquest that her husband was not a very strong man but he never complained about being ill and that it was probably five years since he had last seen a doctor. On that occasion John wanted to join the Foresters Lodge but the doctor told him he could not pass him as he had a leaky valve of the heart. On the morning of John’s collapse, Violet had left home early to do some errands and returned home just after her husband had been found. She saw him lying there and the ambulance arrived shortly after. Violet did not go with her husband as she had a young baby to look after. Austin Walsh returned from the hospital and told Violet that John had died just as they arrived at the hospital.

Violet also gave personal details such as John’s date and place of birth, his parents names including his mother’s maiden name and father’s occupation.  Also details of their marriage and that there was only one child from the marriage, a daughter Iris Merle aged 5 months. He was a teetotaller, he was not a returned soldier, he was not in receipt of a pension, he had no property or money but did have two insurance policies. The first was with Metropolitan Life Assurance Co  but Violet did not know for how much and the second with Mutual Life and Citizens for £10 5s.

Violet was left a young widow with a baby and very little monetary support. Not only did she have to deal with her grief at losing her husband so early but she would also have been left wondering how she would continue to support herself and child.

Most inquests are also reported in the newspaper and John’s death was reported in the Courier Mail. The information was basically what was included in the inquest file only in brief.  This is where a search of Trove can be useful in finding information on accidental or sudden deaths in the family. Once the date and place of death is known it is easy to then go to the relevant State Archives and look for an inquest file or register.

As this example shows, the witnesses statements usually give an account of a person’s last moments as well as giving personal and biographical information that may not be found elsewhere.  As I mentioned at the start, I have numerous inquest files in my family records. Some of these are on direct ancestors but I also look for inquests on collateral lines and their descendants as these may also give family background.

Most State Archives have online guides to inquest records and some may even have online indexes so these should be consulted in the first instance. Also Trove may be useful in determining a date and place of death or inquest but also follow up with the archival record as well.  Why not look for some inquest records in your families, you may be surprised.


52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 1 Military Medals

January 7th, 2014

This blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

The 52 different types of genealogical records I finally decided on are listed in no particular order (each week will be a random surprise). Anyone is welcome to do all or part of this blogging challenge. Let me know if you are participating and I will put a link to your post under each week’s challenge. Happy researching everyone in 2014, Shauna Hicks

Week 1 Military Medals
Many of my ancestors have been awarded military medals but I have never really taken the time to research what the medals were awarded for, apart from the general knowledge that they received them for their participation in a particular war. This week I’m looking at the Boer War medals awarded to my mother’s uncles and the medals awarded to both my grandfathers, one in World War One and the other in World War Two.

My Mother’s uncles were Solomon Price born 1878 in Caleula, New South Wales and William Price born 1880 in Orange, New South Wales. When the South African (Boer) War broke out in 1899 they were aged 21 and 19 respectively. It must have seemed like a great adventure and they quickly enlisted in December 1899 in Charters Towers, Queensland where the family were then living.

Solomon served in the 2nd Queensland Mounted Infantry Contingent and William was in the 3rd Contingent. They both returned home in 1901 but just under a year later both Solomon and William re-enlisted and joined the 7th Australian Commonwealth Horse. However by the time they arrived in South Africa the war was over and they returned to Australia.

For his service Solomon was awarded the Queen’s South African Medal. According to the medal and clasps roll, Solomon was entitled to receive the following clasps – Dreifontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill and Cape Colony. For his service William was also awarded the Queens South African Medal with the following clasps – Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal and Rhodesia. Both Solomon and William also received the South Africa 1901 date clasp.

The information from the medals and clasps helped me to learn more about what they experienced while serving with their Contingents and I can also follow up newspaper reports on those battles. A quick Google search will also provide background information on individual battles. This type of information supplements what I have from the military dossiers now digitised and free online courtesy of the National Archives of Australia.

I wrote about my two grandfathers, Henry Price (brother of Solomon and William Price above) and John Martin (Jack) Gunderson in a Remembrance Day blog in 2011 – read it here. Henry Price was a recipient of the British War Medal for his brief service in Papua New Guinea during World War One and Jack Gunderson received the War Medal 1939-1945 and the Australian Service Medal 1939-1945 for his service within Australia during World War Two.

The interesting thing about both of my grandfathers is that neither went overseas but we still have military dossiers and medals for them. So it pays to check the indexes even if you know your ancestor did not go overseas as not everyone who served did. If there are military medals in your family history, try and find out the stories behind the medals.

Also participating in this blog challenge:

Judy Webster Military Medals

Sharon (Tree of Me blog) Military Medals

Sharn White Military Medals


Looking at the Irish & Immigration with GSQ

July 1st, 2013

I’m back home after attending the Genealogical Society of Queensland’s annual seminar in Brisbane. This year the theme was Irish in the morning and Immigration in the afternoon. It was the first genealogy seminar I’ve been to since February (which is almost like a drought for me) and it was good to be back chatting to old friends and swapping information.

The day started with Dr Jennifer Harrison talking about 19th century Irish arrivals in Queensland and Jennifer’s slides were available as a handout. After a brief look at the history of Irish emigration (I was surprised that 85% went to North America and only 15% to Australian and New Zealand, I would have thought more down under as we all seem to have at least one Irish ancestor), Jennifer pointed out that not everyone came direct to Queensland and it was a good reminder of the trans Tasman link and also inter-colonial movement. However, there were a number of immigration schemes in the 1860s which did bring Irish direct to Queensland including the Queensland Immigration Society run by Bishop Quinn. Also of interest were the History & Society series on Irish counties published by Geography Publications, Dublin. To finish there was a brief mention of St Patrick’s day and past parades.

Next session was Saadia Thomson-Dwyer talking on Irish in the Archives and I think Saadia mentioned just about every series held in Queensland State Archives as they can be found in most records including immigration, occupational records, wills and intestacies, prisons, hospital records and so on. I was particularly interested in the Imperial Pensions 1898-1912 for various country towns in Queensland.

The final session before lunch was Val Blomer from the Convict Connections group of GSQ talking about deliberate arson by Irish women in order to be transported to Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania). I was fascinated by the number of times Val reported that the reason they had committed the crime was to join a father, mother or other family member already in VDL. I suppose you can see transportation as a means of emigration especially if they didn’t fit the criteria for the various emigration schemes. Val had a handout summarising her talk.

During lunch I managed to chat with Stephanie Ryan, genealogy librarian at State Library of Queensland, Helen Smith an Unlock the Past regular speaker, and various other old friends and time went very quickly.

After lunch Greg Cope from National Archives of Australia, Brisbane office gave a very interesting talk on immigration journeys using five case studies. The first was Joseph Gantz the inventor of the Volkswagen and I found his story fascinating. Other stories were Ernest Sung Wee, Bas Lie, Wolf Klaphake and Princess Ubangi, an African pygmy woman which was another really interesting story. NAA’s Destination Australia website is the place to go for post WW2 migrant stories and you can even add your own (if applicable). Greg gave out a handout of his slides.

Dave Obee was next with a talk on Destination America and how to research people who went to the United States and Canada and this was of interest to me as I have a couple of ancestors who went to both places although their children came to Queensland. I was struck by how much Dave’s talk was mirroring my own. For example using subscription sites and the need to do multiple searches on spelling variations and I particularly liked his ‘check the original image not just the index’. How true! Dave had a handout which summarised his talk.

My talk on 19thC immigration and where to look was the last session and as usual I have put the slides up on the Resources page of my website. Scroll down to Presentations. To highlight some of the difficulties in locating people, I used examples from my own family history (my Carnegie, Gunderson, Rosewarne and Trevaskis families) and how I finally found the name of the ship, or at least found possibilities to follow up. I have one ancestor whose arrival is still a bit of a mystery.

It was a great day and went very quickly. The goodie bag had the program, a notebook and pencil, an Ancestry.com.au handy magnifier, a bookmark from Queensland State Archives, and brochures from NAA and a Vroom badge highlighting another NAA iniative which I suspect not too many people know about. Other brochures I picked up included the Adopt a Digger project, Unlock the Past’s 4th genealogy cruise brochure, Gould Genealogy & History leaflets, State Library of Queensland’s what’s on catalogue and Inside History’s postcard. It is good to see sponsors supporting genealogy seminars like this.

As usual I’ve now got a list of things to follow up and I’m sure all the other attendees have too. Thanks to GSQ for the smooth organisation on the day which also included morning and afternoon tea and a delicious lunch. Can’t wait for the next one!


Genealogy Aspirations 2013

December 30th, 2012

Regular readers of this blog will know that each year I like to review the genealogy goals I set myself at the beginning of a year and then set new goals for the coming year. There has been varying success over the last three years but 2012 was definitely more challenging. Our sudden, although expected decision to relocate from Victoria, threw the second half of the year into chaos as most of my genealogy material was in storage and we were living in a caravan.

At the time of writing this blog we expect to move into our new home in mid January and I’m expecting it will take us a while to reestablish ourselves. Plus we have the genealogy cruise to Noumea and Fiji in February, a personal family holiday to Bali in March and we are going to the Ulysses 2013 AGM in Maryborough in April. So realistically I should only be planning on six months of ‘real’ time for my genealogy research.

But I’m getting ahead of myself! How did I go with 2012 goals? These were set out in my Genealogy Aspirations Reviewed and Renewed 2012 actually written on 13 January 2012 so I started the year a bit behind!

My 2012 aspirations and a brief result were:

1. Write up my mother’s Price family history, including photographs and other illustrations in time for her 78th birthday – not quite achieved, progress made on scanning images but now looking more likely for Mum’s 80th in 2014.

2. Do another DNA test, this time from a genealogy perspective and investigate my own DNA – just never got to this one and to be honest, not really sure that I’m into DNA that much at this stage.

3. Learn more about my Norwegian ancestors – I already know the basics from parish registers and census records but not the history and culture of Norway – another never quite got to it but still of interest.

4. Continue to scan photographs and documents so that I have digital copies as well as original copies and maintain a backup regime for both – this went into overdrive once we sold the house but there was still a lot still to do when I boxed everything up to go into storage. Will resume once I have unpacked everything and re-organised my new study which has purpose built shelving and bookcases (lucky me).

5. Conserve and preserve family heirlooms I have collected ensuring they are boxed and stored appropriately – during the packing up of the house, I realised just how much more ‘family’ material I have scattered around the house. So another goal to continue once we unpack again.

Of course there were other genealogy related things I achieved in 2012 which weren’t on the above list. A long time desire was to start a one name study but I just hadn’t decided which name. In Deniliquin, New South Wales at the genealogy muster I finally took the plunge and signed up for a Burstow one name study which I’m pleased to say I have been working on. I now have a spreadsheet with Burstow information for Australia and England and a very preliminary finding is that most of the Burstows in  Australia are descended from the one family.

Now for 2013 Aspirations.

1. Aspirations 4 and 5 above are very similar so I’m rolling them into one and as I unpack in the new house I’ll try and identify and list tasks to help keep this goal of scanning and rehousing progressing.

2. The Burstow one name study is also a priority and I need to get organised so that I can answer any queries from others interested in the name. I also need to set up my profile on the Guild of One-Name Studies website.

3. My Norwegian ancestors (Gunderson) – researching more about their culture and where they came from. The line goes back to 1688 so that’s lots of Norwegian history.

4. Now that we are living on Bribie Island, my Scottish ancestors (Carnegie) who were oyster farmers in Pumicestone Passage have again captured my attention and I’m looking forward to rediscovering my files on them during the unpack. It’s been over 30 years since I did that research so there must be new material to discover!

5. Finally I want to get back to blogging on a more regular basis – both my SHHE Genie Rambles blog and my Diary of an Australian Genealogist were a bit haphazard with all our travels and the big move. Blogging and participating in various blogging challenges forces me to write up some of those family stories and share them with others. Reading other peoples’ blogs not only helps me to learn about new things but also inspires me to do the same for my ancestors.

Well that’s my five key genealogy goals for 2013 – wish me luck!


Surname Saturday Meme: Names, Places and Most Wanted Faces

November 17th, 2011

As a regular reader of Geniaus‘ blogs, I often find myself (lately) doing memes. Sometimes they are created by Geniaus and sometimes she has picked up memes from fellow bloggers. This is one of the latter, and it is a really useful way to advertise the primary surnames we are researching. I have already had considerable success with relatives finding me via my own blogs, so this meme instantly appealed to me.

On his Destination Austin Family Blog Thomas MacEntee has revived Craig Manson of GeneaBlogie’s meme from 2009. Thomas says “Why so? Well this meme actually helps the genealogy blogger create “surname bait” for other researchers to find out on Google and other search engines.”

I’m a bit behind in responding to the challenge as it is a busy (or busier) time for me at present but that won’t detract from the results I am hoping for, which may be next week, next year or even in a few years time. As Geniaus said, it has also made me reflect on my direct ancestors again as it is a while since I revisited some of those lines (having started in 1977) and more recently I have been doing my partner’s families. Plus there are so many more resources available now I really should revisit all family lines.

The instructions for this meme are very simple (although they are US centric) but simply adjust them slightly to include Country, state or county or whatever is relevant for your ancestors.

How The Meme Works

To participate, do the following at your own blog and post a link in the comments of Thomas’ post:

1. List your surnames in alphabetical order as follows:

[SURNAME]: State/Province (county/subdivision), date range
as in:

AUSTIN surname: New York (Jefferson County, Lewis County, St. Lawrence County), 1830-present; Rhode Island (Kent County, Washington County), 1638-1830

2. At the end, list your Most Wanted Ancestor with details!

Shauna’s Names, Places and Most Wanted Faces

Following are the surnames of my Great-Great Grandparents

CARNEGIE surname: Scotland (Angus, Montrose) 1786-1875; Australia (New South Wales, Grafton, Queensland, Brisbane, Toorbul) 1875-present

FAGAN surname: Ireland (Wicklow, Rathdrum, Glasnarget) 1861-present

FINN surname: Ireland (Wicklow, Rathdrum, Avoca) 1841-1882; Australia (Queensland, Brisbane) 1882-present

GUNDERSON surname: Norway (Telemark County, Seljord) 1688-1873; Australia (Queensland, Brisbane) 1873-present

HALVORSDATTER surname: Norway (Telemark County, Seljord) 1811-present

JEFFERS surname: Ireland (Armagh, Portadown) 1844-present

JOHNSTON surname: Ireland (Cavan, Bailieborough, Knockbride) 1803-1861; Australia (Queensland, Brisbane, Mackay) 1861-present

JUDGE surname: England (Northamptonshire, Croughton, Brackley) 1799-present

POLLARD surname: England (Northamptonshire, Croughton, Brackley) 1799-present

PRICE surname: England (Staffordshire, Wednesbury, West Bromwich) 1789-1878; Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, Charters Towers, Brisbane) 1878-present

ROSEWARNE surname: England (Cornwall, St Hilary Breage) 1582-present

SILK surname: England (Staffordshire, Wednesbury) 1740-present

SWEATMAN surname: England (Oxfordshire, Deddington) 1798-present

TITT surname: England (Wiltshire, Wylie, Bishopstrow) 1549-present

TREVASKIS surname: England (Cornwall, St Hilary, Ludgvan) 1698-1861; Australia (South Australia, Moonta, Queensland, Copperfield, Charters Towers) 1861-present

WHITE surname: England (Wiltshire, Pitton & Farley) 1640-1883; Australia (Queensland, Charters Towers, Brisbane) 1883-present

Most Wanted Ancestor: I’ve just recently found mine – Elizabeth JUDGE who was really a POLLARD (story here) but I’m happy to have any additional information on any of the above!


Remembrance Day & My Two Grandfathers

November 10th, 2011

Each ANZAC Day I like to blog about one of my military ancestors, and this Remembrance Day I have decided to do the same. Neither of my two grandfathers spent much time in military service but their stories are still interesting.

Although my parents were born only a few months apart, my mother’s father Henry Price was born in 1887 while my father’s father John Martin Gunderson was born in 1909. So one grandfather saw brief service in World War One and the other in World War Two.

Henry Price

At the outbreak of World War One, Henry as part of the Kennedy Regiment in North Queensland, was mobilised for war service.  In the event of war, it had been previously arranged that the Kennedy Regiment, one of the citizen-force regiments enrolled under the compulsory training scheme, would garrison Thursday Island. Therefore as soon as the news was received, the regiment’s was mobilised. On 8 August 1914 Henry and his regiment (over 1000 men) embarked on the troopship Kanowna at Cairns for Thursday Island.

After reaching Thursday Island safely, a few days later the volunteers were called for ‘for service outside Australia’. The Defence Act provided that no citizen forces could be sent outside the Commonwealth without their consent, hence the ‘call for service’.  About 500 of the men volunteered including Henry Price and they were then sent on to Port Moresby on 16 August 1914 on board the Kanowna where they were to take part in the capture of German New Guinea.

On 4 September 1914 the Kennedy Regiment met Colonel William Holmes who was based in Port Moresby to prepare the task force to attack German New Guinea. Henry joined the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force on 6 September 1914.

Holmes had been expecting mature, trained well-equipped soldiers. Unfortunately he was disappointed for a number of reasons.  Firstly, the Kennedy troops were mainly young men aged between 18 and 20 years old.  The Regiment had been mobilised quickly, without proper medical inspection and consisted of both trainees under the compulsory scheme (some of whom were not yet 18) and middle-aged members of local rifle clubs.

Secondly, the  new arrivals had very little gear with them and to fight in the tropics soldiers needed mosquito nets, good boots, hammocks and suitable uniforms. There had been no time to provision the Kanowna for a long voyage and she quickly ran out of stores and was given extra stores from the Sydney.

A third factor that upset Holmes was that the Kanowna’s crew were considering mutiny as most of its members had  been shanghaied into service and were not volunteers.  Without the Kanowna, there was no way of getting the Kennedy Regiment from Port Moresby to the attack area.

For these reasons Holmes wanted to send the Kennedy Regiment and the Kanowna back to Queensland.  However, he could not do this without higher authority and before this could be arranged, Holmes was ordered to send his troops off to battle.  On 7 September 1914 the cruisers Sydney and Encounter, the auxiliary cruiser Berrima, destroyers Warrego and Yarra, submarines AE1 and AE2, the supply ship Aorangi, the Parramatta, the Koolonga, the oil tanker Murex and the Kanowna steamed out of Port Moresby.

However, just outside the harbour the Kanowna slewed sideways and halted.  The firemen had stopped stoking the engines and insisted that they would not start again until the ship was going home to Queensland.  The soldiers declared they would stoke the engines but were overruled and the Kanowna was ordered back to Townsville.

Colonel Holmes reported ‘I consider the Kanowna detachment, as at present constituted and equipped, unfit for immediate service and, in view of today’s events …. recommend disbandment’. The Kanowna arrived back in Townsville on 18 September 1914 and the Kennedy troops, including Henry Price, were discharged on the same day.

Henry Price

Henry Price

The majority of the Kennedy Regiment then rushed to volunteer for the 1st AIF and subsequently became the backbone of the 15th Battalion at Gallipoli which went in with 1000 men but sadly, within just a few short weeks came out with only 350 men.

Henry Price did not re-enlist following the abortive campaign on the Kanowna.  For his brief part in the war effort, Henry received the British War Medal.  This simple silver medal was issued singly without the Victory Medal 1914-18 to certain personnel who did not actually serve in the theatre of war. The family story that he participated in the capture of German New Guinea was not quite accurate.

Had Henry re-enlisted, he would have gone to Gallipoli and perhaps this story may not have been written as only three of his ten children had been born at the outbreak of  World War One. The photo to the right shows Henry and my grandmother Alice and their daughter (my mother) shortly before his death in 1938.

John Martin Gunderson

John Martin Gunderson

John Martin Gunderson
Jack, as he was more commonly known, enlisted in the Australian Army on 27 August 1941 in Brisbane and was discharged two years later as a Sapper with the 2/3 Field Squadron on 27 October 1943.

Aged 32 years when he enlisted, Jack’s health was an issue and he served at various places in Australia including Redbank in Queensland, Bonegilla in Victoria and Northam in Western Australia before he was declared medically unfit and discharged.

Although he never saw military service outside of Australia, he received the War Medal 1939-45 and the Australian Service Medal 1939-45.  The photo above shows Jack in his army uniform with my grandmother Kathleen and my father.


Advertising Your Genealogy Research Online

May 18th, 2010

Back on 4 December 2009 I wrote a blog titled Serendipity or Advertising Your Ancestors which described how various ‘relatives’ had contacted me after reading something that I had written. This is a follow up to that blog and it confirms that it pays to advertise your genealogy research interests.

Since then I have written many blogs on a range of topics using my own families to either tell their stories or to highlight how I have found information on them. To inspire others to have the same success, I will highlight two of my magic moments over the last few months.

Most recently, on 24 April 2010, I wrote about Tasman Jarvis – An Original ANZAC and this led to a distant relative adding a very moving comment to the blog. Her comments made me very pleased and proud that I had told Tasman’s story as my tribute to ANZAC Day. She wrote:

As an English woman having only lived in Australia since 1985, ANZAC day has never meant anything to me as in England we always remembered those lost in the War, on the 11th November. In the last two days I have discovered that I have dozens of relatives living in Tasmania all descendants of Sophia and James Gunyon, who were transported to Tasmania in 1828. I have only to-day, 30th April discovered that a very distant cousin of mine, Tasman Jarvis was killed at Lone Pine, Gallipoli. ANZAC day will never be the same for me from now onwards. Thank you for your interesting and moving page. I feel very emotional to know about Tasman Jarvis and his family and hope that one day I might meet some of their descendants. Sophia Gunyon was the sister of my ggggrandfather John Robinson of England.

Letters Home – My Irish Families was written on 6 March 2010 as part of my contribution to the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture, 18th edition. In this blog I wrote about the few surviving letters between my gg grandmother Maria Jeffers and her family back home in Ireland. This has been hugely successful. I have been contacted by my Gunderson cousins who I hadn’t heard from in years and we have exchanged information on our families and updated that branch of the family. One of them wrote the following comments:

Thanks Shauna for this great information on our mutual grandmother Maria Jeffers. We are the mirror counterparts of two trees – the Johnstons and the Gundersons. I must start following your advice and record all my mother’s ’stories’ for future generations. Hope to stay in touch and share more of our family history.

Even more exciting I was contacted by a direct descendant of Maria’s brother James who she was corresponding with in the early 1900s. His excitement at finding my blog on the internet is obvious in his comments:

I have some goose pimples running along my back at the moment. 10 Years ago I went to Portadown to find some family heritage. I took my father Kerry. Story is My great grandfather’s name is James Jeffers. We went to the church where he was married and it seems his father was Isaac and his mother was Harriet.

I am blown away!!!! I was reading the rest of your Blog talking about Albert. My Grandfather Albert was from Tandragee, His mother died and his father remarried. His Father James Died. The Albert in your letter is My Grandfather.He had an older brother Moses who was about 10 years older.

Can you please send me your contact details it would be great to talk to you.

I have been trying to find the Jeffers family in Ireland and through my blog I discover that they are now in Sydney! I was only in Sydney a few weeks ago. How good would it have been to meet in person and swap information? For now we will  get to know each other through email and telephone but I really would have liked to have seen his face when he receives copies of those family letters mentioning his own direct ancestors.

There are many places to post blogs and it is not necessary to have your own website. I encourage everyone to think about blogging their family stories and don’t forget to let others know your success stories!


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