Calling GSV History Buffs – RHSV Trivia Night – TRIVIA-AU-GO-GO– Friday 22 June 2018.
Fancy yourself a bit of a history buff? Of course you do! Time to get competitive and test yourself against all those other history buffs at the RHSV Trivia-au-go-go. Battle it out for some great prizes and you are fundraising for the RHSV at the same time. Win-win.
The GSV is pitting its knowledge of history in this year’s RHSV’s TRIVIA-AU-GO-GO night (is that a hint about the swinging ’60s??) and is calling for members to make up a table. If you would like to be part of a team, please register your interest with Leonie Lovedaytunari@bigpond.com
The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act was squarely aimed at driving down the cost of relief for the poor. New purpose-built workhouses would contain and control the poor throughout the United Kingdom. The conditions for paupers prepared to enter the workhouse were to be worse than those of the poorest free labourer outside the workhouse and only those entering the workhouse would be entitled to succour from the parish purse. The workhouse was to be so repellent that only those who lacked the moral determination to survive outside would be prepared to accept relief in the workhouse.
Families were broken up and segregated. Communication between family members in the separate wards was largely prohibited. Meagre diets, harsh conditions and corruption resulted in national scandals.
In the often highly moralistic tone of the times, one aim of the new Poor Law was to make the workhouse consequences so dire for unmarried mothers that they would be deterred from unwanted pregnacies. This provision proved a step too far and was repealed in 1844.
At our SWERD meeting on Wednesday 9 May 12.30 to 2.00 pm at GSV we will discuss the impacts of the workhouses and the Poor Laws on the lives of our southwest England ancestors, as well as the resources available at GSV and online to aid your research. A grim but fascinating subject!
Our SWERD meetings are free for GSV members and copies of presentations and meeting notes are provided to GSV members who join the discussion circle’s email list.
I am very pleased that recent GSV events have received ringing endorsements from members.
DNA: Our recent ‘DNA for Family Historians’ talk followed on from our well-patronised event in December. Further talks are scheduled – an introduction to DNA for family historians entitled ‘DNA Testing – should I do it?’ will be conducted on 13 June and ‘Using Your Ancestry DNA Results’ will be held in July. Check our events pages for details and ensure you book your place. The DNA Discussion Circle continues to be held monthly on every second Wednesday at 10.30 am.
Discussion Circles: The first meeting of the British India Discussion Circle was held 0n 17 April. Attendees resolved to continue to meet and I thank the convenor Mary Anne Gourley for her hard work and enthusiasm in establishing the Circle.
The newly formed London Research Discussion Circle met with great success on Thursday 26 April and will meet thereafter on the fourth Thursday of the month.
A Discussion Circle is a great opportunity to discuss your research successes or seek assistance from GSV members interested in the topic. The Circles work on the basis that the participants contribute to the meetings. We have seven Circles at present and there are more in development. Check the events calendar for all Circles.
If you would like to see a Circle developed around a particular topic or area please let me know by email to the office. I will do my best to help you to find like-minded members and to assist with the establishment of the Circle.
Volunteers needed: We are looking for members to help us in many areas but two in particular are important at the moment.
We are looking for volunteers to assist Linda Farrow conduct the administrative duties necessary to ensure that the Society operates smoothly. We have step-by-step detailed instructions for all the administrative tasks, which makes the role easier to understand and learn. We have four members who can undertake parts of the role and need additional helpers who will also learn and assist to understudy Linda.
Our IT systems are essential these days for the conduct of the Society. We are looking for members with IT experience and skills to assist Peter Johnston maintain and develop our systems.
If you are interested in either of these areas or any other area of the Society please email Margaret McLaren on firstname.lastname@example.org
With autumn now here, it is the perfect time to retreat indoors and pick up those family history lines of enquiry that have lapsed over summer.
Unfortunately our digital membership system failed to generate the renewal email for those members whose subscription falls due during April. We apologise sincerely and are taking steps to ensure that it does not happen in the future. Those members who have been affected will still be be able to renew online or can contact Linda Farrow in the GSV Office on 9662 4455.
With the records of the East India Company, the India Office and the British Government now accessible without having to visit the British Library, the GSV has established the British India Discussion Circle. Its first meeting – for GSV members only – is to be held on Tuesday 17 April at 12 noon – 1.00 pm. The circle will be convened by Mary Anne Gourley, GSV Member and the representative in Australia of Families in British India Society (FIBIS). In this article Mary Anne introduces this area of family history with a brief outline of her own research.
With some 3 million people of British origin having lived and worked in India between 1600 and 1947, many of us may find ancestors having connections to that country.
How do we trace family who worked within the military, merchant navy, administration, commerce and trade in India? Can we unravel family stories of heroic soldiers fighting during the mutiny, of runaways, orphans and of course the inevitable and impossible to prove Indian princess! Where do we go to research these ancestors and what records will we find?
How and where do we start?
For me, my research began twenty years ago with information recorded on the 1853 Victorian birth certificate of my great grandfather; his parents had been married in Calcutta and his mother had been born in India.
By good fortune I was able to consult the Ecclesiastical indexes for Calcutta available on film from Familysearch. With information for that marriage in Calcutta, I was advised to order a copy of the document from the British Library in London, the repository for all East India Company and India Office records.
This information has lead me on a forever expanding journey. I am amazed at the number of family members I have found in India; from cadets, soldiers and officers in the East India Company and British Army, merchants, planters, journalist, administrators. Many of them marrying and having families. Their stories reveal determination and hardship, tragedy and loss. Not all who survived remained in India. Many returned to the UK, a few came to Australia some travelled farther afield to Canada and South Africa.
Interest in research in India brought about the founding of the Families in British India Society (FIBIS) twenty years ago in the UK. Technology has changed the way we research. Today it is possible to do our research using not only the resources held by the British Library in London, but those of other libraries and archives in the UK and worldwide with online databases.
Mary Anne Gourley
You can read more about this Circle on the GSV website.
1547 – the new reign of the boy-King Edward VI was marked with a draconian approach to controlling the kingdom’s poor. Penalties for the purported ‘work-shy’ such as whipping and leg irons were nothing out of the ordinary, but the new law extended this to branding with the letter V (for vagrant) and being made a parish slave for two years. Recalcitrant vagrants faced lifetime slavery or hanging. Children could be seized without their parents’ consent or knowledge. Those charged with enforcing the law faced severe penalties if they failed to mete out these punishments. Hard and dangerous times indeed.
We’ll be discussing the old poor laws (pre-1834) and their impact on our ancestors in south west England at our SWERD meeting this Friday, 13 April, 12:30 to 2:00 pm at GSV (GSV members only). A vast array of records were created in administering the poor laws and we’ll discuss how you can access these to find fascinating new insights into your ancestors’ lives. Our May meeting will focus on the impact of the new poor law, 1834 onwards, the era of the notorious Victorian workhouses.
Convener, SWERD – GSV Southwest England Research and Discussion Circle
I was interested to read an email from John Morkham, sent in response to the first ‘Keyboard of the President’ article. John has been a GSV Member for twenty-eight years. Life is busy for most of us, and our genealogical research proceeds in bursts, when it can be fitted in. In John’s case, the family history compilation has been going on over a number of generations and that work has passed down to him. With so much accumulated research, he now plans to retire from his ‘retirement’ positions, so he can commence writing the history. Many of us can identify with John’s objective, as he described it in his email.
‘May I, at the outset, wish you, the Board, Staff and the Members, a very happy Easter. I joined GSV in July 1989. How pleased was I today to receive your ‘Keyboard’ number 1 report concerning activities and observations for the GSV’s future. This prompted me to reflect on my family history research and my present situation.
My great grandfather, Thomas Frank Morkham, following his retirement as Secretary of Lands (Victoria) travelled to the UK and Ireland in 1902. His father, who brought most of his family to Geelong, told him of the then known history of the Morkham family, which had been based in Dunster, Somerset. This drew him to start family research from the Dunster records. As a result of that trip he wrote notes from those records and then painted a Family Tree, which shows at its base his own great grandfather. His notes also include a reference to the death of his great, great grandfather’s wife Katherine, wife of John.
Since 1902, recordkeeping has evolved immensely, with digital recording of hard copies and the collating of them into family records. It is most unfortunate that Catholic Ireland failed to undertake Parish recordkeeping before 1837. Odd records were maintained by UK legislation and Victorian church systems. My great grandfather, who was born in Denmark, possessed an older family history, which was burnt in 1870. Such a shame; but fortunately the Diocese had many relevant records. From 1973 up to today, I have researched our whole family history with the help of branches of over three times-removed supporters as well as my father, mother, aunts and uncles and others not related to me but carrying the now false name of Morkham.
I have retired from employed positions, but I am presently the treasurer of three organisations, as well as being committed to the Catholic Church weekly and with visits to Prison and a Hospital. I have started to inform those organisations that I wish to retire during 2019 so that I can undertake the writing and recording of our family history back to a date of about 1490. In 2019, I plan to start the recording of my family history in the hope that I can accomplish this in my remaining years.
With my other ‘retirement’ commitments, I find it very hard to attend functions of importance arranged by GSV. Despite this, I support GSV, its relationship with RHSV and the Australian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry. I am also a member of the Somerset Archives and the Australian Heraldry Society. I hope to be able to use the GSV resources more fully as I undertake this next stage of my family’s history. Best wishes to you and the Board.’
John Morkham, 4 April 2018. [This is an edited version of John’s email, reproduced with his approval, Ed.].
Presenting years of research in a readable way can be daunting. GSV can assist its members to get started and can provide ongoing support from other writers in its Writers Discussion Circle. Articles in Ancestor‘s ‘Getting it Write’ series address all aspects of writing family history – for example, ‘Getting Started’ (vol. 28 no.1) and ‘The Writer at Work’ (vol.30 no.7). See the list here https://gsv.org.au/images/stories/pdf/GSVWritersarticles-2017.pdf. Our best wishes to John and thanks for his membership support.
From the Keyboard of the President – no 1 – April 2018
In this post I want to tell you about some of the recent activities of the GSV and to share some of my observations of where we are going.
Our program of DNA-related events for 2018 is underway with a talk scheduled for April 17 (see our website for details), another one planned and more to follow later in the year. This is obviously a ‘hot’ topic with all the TV advertising and promotion of kits. But the question often remains – what does it all mean? Without guidance and complementary research it can be unsatisfying. This is where GSV can assist.
The rationalisation of our resources continues after our big move last year. We have now cleared out the mezzanine floor due to the great progress made by our volunteers in scanning and indexing the folders of family history notes stored there.
I, and a number of other GSV members, attended the 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry in Sydney in early March. I will report more about this very successful event in the next Ancestor.
Our London Research talk by Vicki Montgomery on 22 March was a great success with overflow attendances. On the strength of this we are launching a new monthly Discussion Circle for our members on that topic. The first meeting will be on Thursday 26 April commencing at 10.30 am. We are anticipating that this Circle will be very popular so please book either online or by ringing the office.
I have been a member of RHSV for some years and as GSV President I continue to seek closer ties with that organisation. They are now the custodians of the bulk of the GSV library. Located on the corner of William and A’Beckett Street opposite the Flagstaff gardens, they are readily accessed. Parking is easier on the edge of the city; they are just along from the north exit of Flagstaff Station and two tram-lines pass nearby. Our GSV catalogue identifies whether items are located at the RHSV or at our GSV Research and Education Centre in Queen St.
This month I attended a workshop at RHSV by Rosalie Triolo, Lecturer in the Education faculty of Monash University, entitled ‘Writing and Publishing Local History’. Quite a number of the participants were writing about particular ancestors or the history of their families in general. Rosalie emphasised the value of broadening our perspectives and integrating local and wider historical context when writing our family stories. I am discussing with Rosalie the possibility that we might host her workshop later in the year.
We seem to have settled into our smaller office footprint but the work to get our house in order continues. Although downsized, we are expanding our Discussion Circles and our digital media services via our website, Facebook and this blog, Family History Matters. A new web-based service for members is soon to be trialled.
I hope to regularly keep you informed via this post – but perhaps e-pistle is the appropriate word for this communication.
South West England Research & Discussion (SWERD) is one of a number of Discussion Circles that the GSV hosts for its members. These are part of the annual membership and there is no limit to the number you can participate in, beyond your own time. Doing your own research can be exhilarating but having the chance to share your problems, and findings, with others is even more fun.
This report of the recent SWERD meeting – Wednesday 14 March 2018 – from Stephen Hawke gives a good idea of the value of this circle on South West England. [Bill]
Introductions We had a very full house, with 45 attendees at the meeting (including four new SWERD members and some visitors from the DNA discussion circle).
Presentation – Dr Joe Flood – DNA and Genealogy: The DNA of Cornwall Dr Joe Flood is both the Administrator of the Cornwall DNA projects on the FamilyTreeDNA website and also runs a One Name Study on the Coad and Coode surnames. DNA research has been particularly useful in resolving brickwalls and establishing global connections for the Coad and Coode family researchers. Joe’s presentation included interesting anecdotes on the family myths, surprises and new social connections found through combining the One Name Study and DNA research.
Joe’s presentation covered three broad topics (all with fascinating case studies, charts and research findings):
Firstly, we covered the use of autosomal DNA research – this included commentary on the relative costs and ‘usefulness’ of the offerings from the various DNA test providers. This aspect of research is particularly useful for confirming family connections and uncovering ‘new’ cousins.
Next we turned to Y DNA research – the research that follows the male-line. Again, this has proved very useful for resolving brickwalls and Joe provided examples of successes in extending and joining the various Coad/Coode family trees.
The research pages Joe administers on the FTDNA website currently have 600 members on the Cornwall project (autosomal DNA research) and 120 members on the Cornwall Advanced Y DNA project. Joe advised that there is also a project page for those with Devon origins. These projects are free to join (after you’ve done your DNA test), the data and discussion sections are a great learning tool and they provide the opportunity for feedback and help from very experienced researchers. I’m a fan – I joined both projects with my DNA test results a few months ago and straight up connected to some ‘new’ third cousins here in Melbourne who’ve provided fantastic photos (late 19th and early 20th century) and new aspects to our shared family history.
The final section of Joe’s presentation turned to some of the deep ancestry material, including the DNA connections of some members of the Cornwall DNA projects to the Beaker people who settled in Britain and Cornwall several thousand years ago. This aspect of the research has also found some pockets of ‘very rare DNA’ amongst some members of the Cornish Advanced Y DNA project. Joe is keen for more of us with Cornish heritage to join the FTDNA projects to help expand his and your research and findings.
I’m afraid my notes are not doing Joe’s really interesting presentation justice. Fortunately, Joe has made a copy of the presentation available to SWERD members and it has plenty of detail in the slides to show the depth and detail you can take up in using DNA research.
I’m also aware that this is a complex area and to help you through that complexity GSV is rolling out a number of new education sessions on different aspects of DNA research. There are some details in the current issue of Ancestor and keep an eye on the GSV website for updates. These will be popular, so make sure you register ASAP for these to secure a place. The first session is on 17 April – you can book for this through the ‘All Events’ section on the frontpage of the GSV website.
At the meeting we passed around the very large book Joe has written – Unravelling the Code: The Coads and Coodes of Cornwall and Devon – and descriptions of the book and on-line purchases are available through www.lulu.com/spotlight/coad
Joe has uploaded his presentation to his webpage (address as below) and from a quick look he has other papers of interest to DNA researchers on his page as well: http://rmit.academia.edu/JoeFlood/Other
I also want to acknowledge Joe’s dedication and generosity in providing his presentation at GSV. He is still recuperating and went above and beyond the call of duty in providing us with his very informative presentation. Thanks also to one of our members who saw to Joe’s safe homeward journey.
Next meeting The next meeting will be held on Friday 13 April2018, 12:30 to 2:00pm. The discussion topic will be ‘Our poor ancestors’, with a focus on Poor Laws and workhouses in the southwest. Many of us had ancestors who were subject to the Poor Laws or who spent time in workhouses and we’ll look at the materials available to research their lives. Start thinking on what you know of your poor ancestors in the southwest and how you’ve researched them, and come along to join in a fascinating discussion in April. If you are not a GSV member, join up and join in!
Recently the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) hosted Bridging The Past and Future – the15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, March 9 – 12 in Sydney. This major international event was held under the auspices of AFFHO, the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations. Gayle Nicholas, one of a number of GSV Members who attended, brings us her observations from the Congress. Gayle is a member of the GSV Writers Circle, as well as her local Waverley Historical Society. She blogs at GV Genealogy – a space that reflects her love of history, genealogy and writing. This article is republished with her permission from her blog. You can read more of Gayle’s family history exploration here https://gvgenealogy.wordpress.com/about/
I have just returned from Sydney where hard work by the Society for Australian Genealogists (SAG) and 600 participants contributed to making Bridging the Past & Future a congress to remember. As a new participant I was soon under Jill Ball‘s wing along with 300 other ‘first timers’. Bloggers couldn’t hide in the corner as Jill’s ‘blogging beads’ were a beacon to bloggers seeking a conversation. There was lots of chatting and new friendships as people mixed and mingled with ease.
There were many high quality presentations with Judy G. Russell‘s Plenary Session Just Three Generations standing out as one of the very best for me. If ever a genealogist needed justification for their work this presentation provided it! Judy stated the need to deliberately and accurately pass down our family stories. She urged participants to look for the truth in family stories, to verify them and pass them on. I have memories of my grandfather telling stories to a lounge room full of people in Brunswick East. I now have the Amiens Cathedral made of cards that hung above the fireplace and I can remember Grandad standing there. I can remember the laughter but I do not remember the stories. I was so very young. No-one has been able to answer my question, ‘What were Grandad’s stories?’ All I know is they were about what the soldiers got up to in France when they were not at the front or about his time as a Scout Master. Three generations and the stories are lost.
Angela Phippen’s Oops – I wish I’d checked the original!brought home loud and clear the importance of checking references thoroughly. Using The Letters of Rachel Henning Angela demonstrated the difference that can occur through a published work and an original work. The results were stunning and we will all be seeking original copies of documents from now on!
Jan Worthington told us to avoid the ‘black holes’ in her Your Story session. I was thinking, “How does she know I am obsessed with ‘just one more bit of research’ i.e. in a black hole?” The key is to start writing. It’s time to stop Hunting Henrietta; it is time to ‘walk in her footsteps’ and write her story!
Our heads spun as we soaked up research know how and How-to tips, trying hard not to miss even a little piece of wisdom. English and Irish research sessions were popular and, while people seemed to shake their heads at the complexity of DNA research, you could see no-one was going to give up. We travelled from seventeenth century to the modern day and still had the enthusiasm to learn new techniques and take on new ideas.
The Cockle Bay room was almost full for the last session Create a free Google Earth Map Collection for Your Genealogy Research with Lisa Louise Cooke. While many wondered where the time was coming from it was evident others were ready for this new mapping challenge. People dispersed quickly after the closing ceremony: some for a drink, many for a rest and others, like us, headed straight to the airport. Many times I heard the same farewell, ‘See you at the next Congress!’