Archive for September, 2009

Religious differences

I wonder how christian friends would react if I started sending them emails about my spiritual beliefs? It never ceases to amaze me that one friend in particular seems to assume that either 1) I’m christian or 2) I don’t mind receiving religious emails. Up to now I haven’t responded but I’m wondering whether I dare do so to express my “reluctance” in receiving them. Would they be hurt? Shocked? Offended? Apparently it’s ok to offend non-christians but not ok to offend christians (hence the cross atop the city clocktower). I’m happy for anyone to worship/believe in any deity/religion/spirituality they want but I do not want it shoved down my throat at every opportunity.

Just my thought for the day after having received yet another god-related email.


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More ancestor-hunting

Got robbed of an hour of my weekend, thanks to daylight saving. It’s dark and miserable. Summer seems a long way off.

I spent Saturday at the Latter Day Saints library looking up Census returns. Had lunch with friends beforehand and they followed me, wanting to do their own family research. I had success with finding the siblings of my Scottish great-great grandfather as well as his father. So success at last as I go back another generation after stalemating with the Scottish branch for years. However, I was unable to find his father’s birth in Glasgow but he has a common name. My friend also had problems for the same reason – how many millions of Johns are out there?

I looked on the census returns for another branch and the results seem to confirm the family tree version of a fellow researcher – which is very different to the family tree left to me by my grandmother. I like having her tree confirmed (it has been up to now) rather than veering off somewhere unfamiliar.

The lovely helpful lady there said that ancestry.co.uk and findmypast can also be accessed from the public library so that will be more convenient (especially when I’m hanging around on a Wednesday evening for Spanish class). She said findmypast records are more accurate as they were transcribed by English people in England. Ancestry.co.uk records were transcribed in India (because it was cheaper) by Indians so there are many errors. I came across just two in the brief search of one family. Thomas and his wife “Jamaria”appeared in one census return and in the other Thomas and his wife “Samuel”. Yeah right. Hopeless. You can, however, see the original copy to see for yourself.

I had a further ponder on the results on Sunday and entered the new details in my online family tree. My handwritten trees are now getting messy so I need to somehow print off clean copies. I did a bit of further searching but no miraculous finds. I wish I could spend all day everyday searching for my ancestors.

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I know I’m in need of some organisation in general at home but more particularly with my family tree stuff. I came across a Netguide magazine which had a guide about searching – I needed such an article some time ago. It recommended all sorts of methods including writing everything down in a book so you don’t repeat searches, etc. This is fairly straightforward advice, you would’ve thought, but my search results have been written down on countless leaves of pad and other scraps of paper near to hand when the urge to search has come across me. Quite often I neglect to put a date or location on the paper, it gets lost and I do the whole search over again a few months down the line. I discovered this recently when I came across some scribblings in my tidy-up of my room. “Oh, I’d already done that” I think to myself. Blast! Hopeless.

So, I MUST get a notebook to write these things down. But that involves remembering to BUY a notebook when in town (which is rarely). You see my problem. I did come across an old, but small, notebook, in my tidying so that will have to do in the meantime.

Last night I got the urge to search for the Jones sisters. I hadn’t attempted any such search before for the obvious reason. I did, however, find the likely christening date for one of them – right time frame, parents, and location. But the rest drew a blank. No marriages found for any of them even though I know the first name as well as the last for two of the grooms. I will try a different strategy next time.

Actually I must get organised for my visit to the LDS library in a couple of weeks. Screeds of paper and lists of what to look for where are required.

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I had forgotten to add that my brother also gave me four small framed paintings that my maternal grandmother had painted – part of a set. I already had one at home of a Victorian woman in a long blue dress seated at a writing table. My brother had been given the rest by my mother’s cousin in England. It appears they were all paintings of my great great grandmother and her sisters. I could identify one from the family tree (they were all Jones’ so not much promise of going back on that branch). My mother’s cousin had written who they were on the back but “Mrs Goff” and “Mrs Mansell” were not too helpful, so I’ll have to attempt to find which sister it was.

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Well, I had a lovely weekend, taking the Monday off (my first day off since May). I left work a half-hour early on Friday, ready to get going to my brother’s place near Masterton. Unfortunately I hadn’t counted on my forgetful daughter who was still in town and didn’t appear until 7pm (armed with fish and chips). So we didn’t get to my brother’s until after 9pm.

That evening I hauled out my bag of genealogical folders and gave a few items of interest to my brother (including my recently acquired copy of the will of my great-great grandmother who died in 1900). I also let him see a photo of my maternal great grandfather’s siblings which was taken in England and in which my brother featured, as a boy of about 2. The siblings all looked alike – there were 5 of them (out of eight) at the wedding of my mother’s cousin. We probably spent about an hour looking through various things and discussing different aspects and then my brother said he had a box of old family photos which he’d search out tomorrow.

The next day did not bring the expected rain – it was cloudy but warm. We had a few games of Siedler (aka Settlers of Catan) and each of us won 2 games each (yes we played at least 8 games – it’s very addictive). My brother searched out the box of photos and we had a good look through – most of them from my mother’s side of the family. My bro then said I could take them home with me. Goodo. More photos to scan though. I’m still wondering where to store the scanned photos – ideally a website but not Flickr, I don’t think. I already have photos of the Australian branch of the family on Flickr for family members to view but want something different for the rest of them.

The day was still warm and dry. My brother hauled out an old bag of golf clubs he’d found at the tip and we all hit a few golf balls around the paddock – hilarity ensued at all the holes in the ground from trying to hit the ball. My brother took some video which we watched later on the TV.

Wonderful food and drink and more games of Siedler.

The next day was bright and sunny. We played more Siedler then went outside to play petanque on the front lawn. My brother then had the idea of heading to the local rugby field a couple of kilometres away to hit more golf balls (he wanted to really drive them). We did so but unfortunately we spent most of the time looking for lost golf balls in the rather long grass, with the afternoon sun glinting off the grass, making it difficult to spot little white balls.

We then headed home and got home about 7pm.

Yesterday I got stuck into de-cluttering my bedroom. It took most of the day but I still have a couple of piles of things I don’t know what to do with. I have such little cupboard space that there’s just nowhere to put stuff. I got rid of two bags of papers and 2 bags of clothes and shoes. But I’m going to have to have another sort through and be absolutely ruthless. I now have a pile of “things to be scanned” so I can then throw the original away – but these are the least bulky things anyway – like tickets to shows (why do I keep such things?) I always think it might be interesting as archival ephemera or that something might come in useful, but no – everything sits there for years on end, forgotten about and untouched. My hoarding brain needs a complete overhaul.

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I got another email from my second cousin. He included a photo of my great-grandfather. I hadn’t seen any photos of him before so it was wonderful to receive it. Quite a handsome chap with a big moustache. My contact included other photos but I haven’t had a chance to view them, having been out last night and again tonight. I just quickly clicked on the attachment of my gt-grandfather. I forwarded the picture onto my brother.

This morning, as I was walking to work I overheard an army officer (on his way to a conference on campus) talking on his cellphone. He had a voice which is difficult to describe – it was authoritative and yet understanding. It was a voice you would trust. I wondered, if he inherited his voice, what sort of employment his ancestors had – whether they were leaders. All very interesting.

A chap at work is leaving for the UK today and he will be doing some genealogical research while there. I’m green with envy.

Morning tea time!

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