David’s power point presentation covered our monthly topic ‘In Search of… ‘ and also ‘pains and gains’ in trialling charting software including ‘Charting Companion’. After considerable sleuthing, David found an ancestors’ “first wife”. This proved simple compared to the challenge ahead - to include the “first wife” in a family tree in a visually attractive A3 or A0 size tree chart in time for a family member’s upcoming “Cousins Reunion”. David currently has a tree scroll across 10 A4 pages that have been stuck together and plans to meet the “Cousin’s Reunion” deadline with an A3 or A0 tree.
As always, the characters described in ‘In Search Of…’ were as intriguing and interesting as the processes that were used by group members to search for a mysterious family member.
Bev went 'In search of' the family of her ‘Miller side’ great grandmother Elizabeth Miller discovering Elizabeth’s parents, siblings, where the family originated from, travel records, mixed marriages, and much more. It frequently happens that family researchers make new contacts, sometimes friendships, and this is how Bev met the Irish priest and relative, Father Miller, who wondered whether the Catholic Church’s edicts about mixed marriages might have been a mistake.
Deb is searching for Mary Stuart (Stewart). Though different name spellings can be a researcher’s nightmare, Deb has targeted her maternal great-great-great grandmother. Deb’s search methods included shipping records, Scotland’s People, Church records, and genuki.com. While ‘when, where and how’ Mary died remain a mystery, Deb has been able to locate Mary’s 6 children with Adam Glen (snr).
Barry recounted finding his paternal grandparents records. While he found his grandfather’s information quite easily, his grandmother’s history was the familiar researcher challenge - finding data from an era when women’s own stories were rarely recorded. Barry has since created his paternal grandmother’s story by working backwards from her death certificate. He has found her parents, siblings, addresses and more. Her name was Eva Muriel Few and she had a story to tell!
‘Time Travelling!’ was the alternate topic for this month. Wendy described how she organized and immersed herself in 200-300 handwritten letters written to and from her paternal grandmother, covering the paternal grandmother’s early 20s to nearly 60 years starting in 1937. The letters cover many topics, vividly describing the author’s lives and thoughts related to these topics. It was no wonder Wendy described feeling transported back in time. And just to keep us intrigued and in anticipation, Wendy discovered gaps in the letter’s timelines where Wendy’s paternal grandmother had destroyed some letters on topics she thought were not suitable for others to read.
Malcolm opted for a “Members’ Choice” Master Class on his on-going project to update relatives’ headstones and the many steps to achieve this. The Stone Mason’s quote describes prices and the assorted options to choose from if you are thinking about doing the same.
Graeme is also caring for a relatives’ grave. His soldier relatives’ grave is near a significant First Nation site. Stay tuned as Graeme updates us on the many factors he will negotiate to ensure cultural respect for his soldier relative and the First Nations’ site.
The 2023 National Trust’s Heritage Festival will be held in Benalla from 3rd to 7th May. The theme is “Shared Stories”, and the Benalla Heritage Network has planning well underway. The 2023 events calendar is larger due to an increase in participation by many history-based Benalla groups/individuals. The Benalla Heritage Network mantra is “highlight what we already do”. If you or your group might like to participate in the festival or have queries about the Network, go to https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/ahf/vic/ or call Jane on 0437 621 575.
At our next session, on Thursday 23 March, from 1 to 2pm, our guest speaker will be Jim Burnell on DNA - 'Why I am like I am' and some recent developments in gene therapy.
As International Women’s Day falls in March, our family stories topics for March are:
‘Her Story’ The chance to write about a woman in your family research you have come to admire; someone who has struggled and prevailed; perhaps someone who experienced a family or other tragedy, or multiple tragedies; someone who fought for women's stories to prevail; who participated in the woman's movement; who had a particular gift which she shared with the world or other theme which you feel pertinent.
The ‘G+’ (female) Collection
Add a new story your ‘G+’ collection. Write about a (great, great great, or even great, great, great) grandmother or aunt you haven’t written about previously.
Jane Rushworth, Barry O’Connor, Bev Lee