My last two blogs have been about preparing for my talk on Convicts and Criminals and accompanying Handout at Mulwala Family History Expo and all the wonderful information I discovered on my families because of new online resources. The talk went very well and I received some lovely feedback. One woman said she could listen to me all day which might have been a slight exaggeration.
But the more exciting thing was the discovery of my gg grandmother Helen (Ellen) Ferguson nee Carnegie after 32 years of searching. I had included a reference to her in my talk and was going to outline how I would follow up the new clue that I had discovered in the Police Gazettes. The morning of my talk I was up early and decided to check emails and there was one announcing the recent expanded range of Queensland BDMs online. Births now 1829-1914, marriages 1829-1934 and deaths 1829-1964.
So I logged on and did my usual searches for her and again a nil result. Then I used the name I found in the Police Gazettes – Ellen Chick alias Ferguson – and again nothing. Then I searched for Helen Chick and there she was. The full story of my gg grandmother and how I demolished the various brick walls that I came across over the last 32 years is in a new blog series called Brick Wall Solutions on the Unlock the Past website.
The attendees at the talk were so intrigued by Ellen’s story that they have asked to be kept informed of the outcome – what will her death certificate tell me? More mystery or finally the truth?
As this story demonstrates, online BDMs can resolve brick walls because they allow us to search wider time frames without having to pay fees, search for variations of given names and surnames, even search for unusual names or combinations of names, search others States and so on.
I have another brick wall that was demolished by being able to search the NSW BDMs online and that will be the second blog in my Brick Wall Solutions series on Unlock the Past next week.
As for a theme for this blog next week, I will let Serendipity guide me.