Category Archives: Family history

rolling along


Local wine, ideal with our shared seafood platter. Photo copyright Chain of Ponds Winery

So it was Father’s Day last Sunday and we celebrated by taking Dr B to a late lunch at a favourite, nearby eatery. It’s always noisy, but waiting until after the worst of the rush helped keep the volume bearable. We had coffee and cakes elsewhere and were ready for a nap by the time we came home!

That might have been because of the delightful wine that YoungB selected for us. We brought home the unfinished bottle, along with half a pizza. That was dinner organised!

I hope your Father’s Day was an enjoyable occasion 🙂


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Posted by on September 3, 2019 in Family history, Food


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serendipity again

It’s not really this sort of experimentation, but there are days it feels this complicated! Image copyright

We have a new scanner, the old one having finally gasped its last and refused to function. As you’d expect, the new one has some wondrous whizz-bang features, but we have yet to come to grips with all of those.

Luckily, I have reached a point in preparing the birthday presentation where I have pretty much finished trawling pre-scanned and digital photos, and am about to start work on never-before-scanned old photos. This presents an ideal opportunity for experimentation and learning. We often say that the best way to learn new software is to use it for a project with definite expectations. That would be what I’m doing now.

In passing, I note that I have tried some phone apps for scanning. The result was reasonable with documents, not so good with photos. If the situation were desperate, using a phone app to scan a photo might be better than taking a photo of a photo, but I’m not entirely convinced because there would still be a glare factor and/or you’d need to set up extra lighting. I’ll continue to experiment with apps, however, because sometimes it would be fabulous to be able to whip out your phone and know that you could get a reasonable scan of an old photo.

All the best with your experimentation, and may your technology always behave 😀



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the value of tinkering


The nature of the problem: extraneous matter cropped, but otherwise no editing. All the glare is around the subject’s face.

Using the phone app and doing absolutely no tinkering, that was the image I managed to capture. Admittedly, the original wasn’t brilliant, but it was certainly clearer than this phone-app version. Further cropping would have exaggerated the problem.


Cropped a little more, but with no tinkering. Already, it’s a much clearer image.

Using our new scanner, that’s the image I’ve captured. I now have the option of doing some more serious editing in my photo app or even within WordPress.

The similarity in foreground and background colours was more problematic in the top image, because the glare washed out the contrast. Mind you, this photo was taken at Peterborough (South Australia) in the middle of winter. Although the light was very even, it was as cold as the day: definitely warm dress and overcoat weather, not to mention headgear that covered your ears to prevent frostbite!

May all your tinkering add value to your photos, too 🙂


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the shades of remembrance are blue


The shades of blue in my stripy wrap are more homogeneous than those in Youngest Aunt’s beanie

I recently spent a couple of days with Youngest Aunt, and one of them happened to coincide with the anniversary of our Mum’s death. We reminisced about what a wonderful cook she’d been, but agreed that there was no particular main meal we recalled with such a pang that we had any particular desire for it. Having said that, I think I’ve mentioned before that I would sometimes like to sink my teeth into one of Mum’s delicious egg-and-bacon pies; but, as Youngest Aunt doesn’t now eat meat, I can see why that wouldn’t be something she would hanker for.

Scones, biscuits, cakes and desserts, however? We were in mad agreement there about how delicious and toothsome many of them were; most of them, actually, particularly  the desserts. That’s probably why, to this day, we still make and enjoy them. My menfolk have sometimes expressed the view that, if I would make a couple of them more often, they’d be very happy; diet be damned 😀

We also talked about the knitted articles we still use, particularly at this chilly time of year. Mine is a dark-blue wrap, and it’s on the armrest at my end of the sofa, getting a good workout most nights as we watch TV/snore in front of TV (the detail varies from person to person and night to night; I wouldn’t want you to think we’re set in our ways). Youngest Aunt’s is a beanie, in shades of blue from light to dark and it is working similarly hard when she goes out for daily walks. Both are made from yarns long since discontinued and both continue to be wonderful reminders of our Mum.

May your memories keep you as warm as my knitted hugs 🙂


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all my Julys


We made it to August!

We start July well, with celebrations and “Do you remember?” tale-swapping for the family members with birthday anniversaries at about then, but whose demise was long enough ago that it no longer stings quite so sharply or who left very little unfinished business after a long life well-lived.

Then we get to the tail-end days of the month, often so laden with memories of the unexpected deaths, sorrow and misery that I can still find a wet, grey day to be one where the will to survive seems threadlike indeed.

19 July is the anniversary of the 1943 bombing of Rome during WWII, when Dr B’s paternal grandmother was killed. Her body, like many others, was never found. Although that is of historical importance it doesn’t touch me personally. But Dr B often wonders about how different his own life might have been had she not been killed when she was; and about how, on an ordinary working day, you could shut the door behind you in the morning, not knowing what a terrible end awaited you, not dreaming that you would never reopen your door on the homeward journey.

It’s also the anniversary of a more recent, sudden, unexpected death in the family, one that still clutches at my heart when I’m looking at old photos. But life goes on, and I am in the early stages of preparing a slideshow for a 60th birthday that happens later in the year. The photos aren’t all grey, nor are the memories they provoke. Sometimes they hint at remembered laughter and silliness, and that brightness helps dispel the day’s gloom.

Although the last week of July is particularly hard, I note that, so far, we have a 100% success rate of reaching August.

May you do so, too 🙂


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draughts, also of the not-zephyr variety

1983-07-09 Woodville SA_01

Back in 1983, we held a surprise party to celebrate your 70th birthday. Just fancy, Dr B is now the same age as you were in this photo. He certainly doesn’t have as much hair!

Dear Dad

It’s your birthday! You would have turned 106 today. The wondrous thing is that some people do actually live to that sort of age. You were never going to, but that’s OK. You did well. Knowing how little you liked the cold, I can say with some certainty that you wouldn’t have enjoyed today much, at least with regard to the temperature.

It is cold, wet, windy and unquestionably wintry. In short, it’s a good day to stay home in front of the fire, with big mugs of cocoa and a plate of hot, buttered scones, accompanied by a book (or two), or perhaps a spot of knitting (or crochet), or a board game or some euchre. Given the number of technology problems we’re having – by “we”, I can probably infer half the country, since there was a major communications outage yesterday – it’s certainly a day where the simpler things hold great appeal.

Fancy a game of draughts? To counter the other sort that are announcing their presence loudly and making our ankles chilly? Yeah?

Tell you what, because it’s your birthday, I’ll let you go first 😀


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believing something I’ve read


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 🙂



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