Demholm family grave at the Cheltenham Cemetery, Port Road, Cheltenham, South Australia
You might recall that a few years ago I undertook a semester-long unit of online study, “Writing Family History”, via the University of Tasmania. The writing part wasn’t difficult, although I appreciated the discipline of having to fit something meaningful into the 250-word limit allocated for most of the exercises. Researching the family history and finding ancestors was often trickier, but one perk of the study was free access to some otherwise costly online resources. Via Ancestry, I tracked down a potentially intersecting family tree that had a date of death for one of my great-great-grandmothers, whom I had never been able to trace at all in any local resources.
Because that other family tree contained names and dates that seemed dodgy to me, allowing for what I actually knew and for which I had concrete evidence (such as the above photo of the family grave), I included the date of death information in my own family tree as a query; but haven’t really stopped looking for secondary sources or corroborating information for the GGGM in question.
I am presently undertaking another short course on family history, because it’s an obsession I can now indulge (the beauty of being between jobs, I suppose). Also, it’s useful to keep updated about new techniques and database changes. People who do it all the time – the course is being taught by people from the state genealogical society, so it’s their full-time passion – are usually on top of that in a way that we who do it more sporadically are often not. I am certainly not.
Part of this week’s homework was to find an ancestor by using Trove. I refined my searches and did all sorts of fancy things, and would you believe it? I found one reference, and only one, to Ellen O’Grady: her death notice in the Advertiser on Wednesday, 30 Jan 1901. Well, I never! She was properly Mary Ellen, I believe, but obviously always known as Ellen; and perhaps that’s part of why I’ve struggled to track her down. I now need to dig further to find out when and where she arrived in Australia.
As the death notice only names two children, I also need to follow up to ascertain if there were others. I say that because a death notice I found for a great-grandmother includes the name of only one of the children; and I know there were four who survived to have families of their own. So, the fact that only two are mentioned in the O’Grady death notice does not necessarily mean that there aren’t others.
Her connection to the above grave is that her daughter is the Ellen Teresa Denholm there interred, who died at the ridiculously young age of 54. She’s another mystery because, although I’ve viewed her death certificate, tracked down three separate newspaper death notices and have a photo of her grave, I have yet to find any information about her birth.
Ah, the thrill of the chase! I hope all your chasing is as thrilling as mine has been this week 🙂