Category Archives: Family History

These are pieces written for my UTAS Family History Course or research pieces

WILLIAM’S FUNERAL

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The final submission for UTAS Writing The Family History Saga, William’s Funeral is based on factual details. The narrative has been  constructed to tell the story of my great grandmother Lily Menz Morse  who was widowed when her husband died in a tragic mine accident at the same time Queen Victoria died,  William and Lily had 4 boys under 9 years of age and she was 8 months pregnant with her fifth child. he was born  in March 1901 and named for his father William Francis Samuel Morse.  My grandfather is the middle son, Percy  Morse. Lily was on her own as she was estranged from her family. Her formidable father  Abel Menz  felt she had married beneath station.   Able was a powerful man  in the Mount Franklin Shire, and Past President  and Councillor of the shire. I want  to believe that her 11 brothers stood by her at the time of her husband’s death although I have no evidence to support this. Her sons were named for her brothers. Annie and James Parker are her sister in-law and brother in-law.  Annie was William’s sister and both were witnesses at Lily and William’s  elopement. This is my narrative relating to William’s Funeral.William& Lily's headstone

Everything was black, even the moon hid from view. The soft rain[1] fell echoing her mood. Lily set in her rocking chair on the front porch.  Her belly rising and falling as the child kicked.  Wrapped in an old quilt, Lily’s tears flowed. William lay in the front room[2].  Her thoughts were about the boys and the new baby. The Colony was in mourning the death of the old Queen[3], but she mourned William.

She closed her eyes against the night and everything went black.

The smell of porridge tickled Lily’s nostrils before Otto woke her.                                            “Mumma, mumma are you all right?” Otto shook Lily. Awake for hours,  Otto made sure Percy and Harold ate breakfast and changed Bertie. He understood how hard today would be.  Otto’s ninth birthday was only two weeks away.  The eldest boy, he was the man of the family. .  Looking down at her skirt she smiled when she saw the grey lumpy hand-print.  Otto had made porridge to feed the boys. Now her clothes need changing, and the funeral was at 10.00am.  Pulling her watch out of her pocket, she noted there was enough time before Annie arrived.  Her brother and sister-in-law, had been so helpful. Annie had lent her a black bombazine dress to wear. Smiling she thought just as well she was thin and Annie wide, for the dress fitted her in her eighth month.  The boys would need help to dress, she couldn’t leave everything to Otto.

Lily adverted her eyes from crepe draped coffin. The essence of William didn’t exist in a wooden box, he lived in her heart and as long as she had the boys he would always be with her. Reverend Rogers[4] had sat with her last night and talked about the future. He’d talked to the Mine manager. There might make a small annuity available. The parish would help where possible. She thanked him for his kindness, but her insides curled up at the thought of accepting charity.

She dressed slowly, and before she knew it Annie arrived; breezing through the door like a breath of fresh air.  James following in her wake with several brown paper parcels in his arms.  Annie took immediate control; organising the boys and before she could blink, they were washed and changed. Shouts and giggles sounded as they cut the string and unwrapped the packages.  Five-year-old Percy ran into the room;

“See Mumma, new pants and shoes he pointed his foot. Auntie Annie has new pants and shoes for all of us, even Bertie.”

“Percy, come here and help me with Bertie,” Annie’s muffled voice called from the back room. Percy raced back and, the giggling continued.

Lily retreated to the porch, to her chair, unable to stay in the front room, she had tried but felt breathless. James carried a tea tray out and placing the tray on the table he handed Lily a mug of sweet tea.

“Where did all the food in the kitchen come from, Lily?

“From the neighbours, it’s a good spread for the Wake.”

James laughed, “Well that’s something. It appears Otto’s been cooking porridge. Somehow I don’t think you’ll be able to selvage the pot.”

Before Lily answered, the boys spilled out on to the porch. Annie followed, her pink cheeks glowing. The boys standing to attention, with two-year-old Bertie balanced on Percy’s hip. Bertie’s thumb remained jammed in his mouth.

Harold twisting and turning to show off his new clothes spied the two drays coming up the road.

“Mumma! Look Uncle Otto, Uncle Alex, Uncle Ernest, and oh just everybody!”

Lily looked up through the drizzling rain across the rail line to the church. Revered Rodgers’ trap was already there, push-bikes and drays crammed into the rear. The black draped dray pulled up out the front. The second dray loaded with men drove on to the house.

Otto drove the trap around the back. The rain stopped.  He dismounted and the six brothers walked together to the steps of the porch.

“Morning Lily, we’re here to take William to Chapel.”

Lilly nodded and her boys melted to her side, and they walked down the steps as her brothers entered the house. Standing three on either side of the coffin they raised it from the trestles. Turning, they carried the coffin from the room, out the door and down the steps. In the yard they stopped, shifted William’s coffin to their shoulders and linking arms underneath, they began the short walk to the Church. Lily followed. Annie and James closed in beside her, and with the boys they made the journey across the railway line to the church.

 

[1] 1901 ‘WEATHER FORECAST.’, The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924), 22 January, p. 1. , viewed 20 Aug 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207027824

[2] Death Certificate of William Samuel Frances Morse, died 23 January 1901, Registrar of Birth, Deaths and Marriages, Victoria, 28251/1901

[3] 1901 ‘PUBLIC MOURNING’, The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), 24 January, p. 10. , viewed 19 Aug 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196061718

[4] https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/5ac5a60b21ea6b05947f8500

 

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Hardiman Family in Galway

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In 1754 Horace Walpole introduced the word Serendipity. It means a “fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise”. He wrote a letter to a friend, and to explain an unexpected discovery he referenced a Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip.

Do you believe in Serendip?   I do especially after this morning.  I opened Facebook and the very first post was by the Irish Genealogical Research Society containing an item about the Hardimans.   Why is this so noteworthy?  Just two days ago I posted on several genealogical Facebook pages asking if anyone was researching the Hardiman name from Galway.  My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Hardiman.  The family came to Australia in the mid-1800s.

The following is from a post I listed on 31/01/2016.Eureka!  I think I may have found the mass immigration mentioned in the document listed below.  The Fulwood arrived in Australia in 1854. Now I have the task of identifying the 40 first cousins  —   What a find

The placid waters of Lake Boga know the savage with his rude bark canoe no more. The kangaroo cloaks and the jagged fish spears may be found in the museums, the reversible hut has been superseded, and on the rising ground where the native village stood there is now to be seen a large, handsome mansion, tenanted by the tall chieftain of another and a different ” tribe.” This is Mr. Hardiman, who, in the dark days of ’47, left old Gcountygalway2alway far behind him, and, with no fewer than forty first cousins of his own in the same ship, sought a home in this country. In addition to those many ties of consanguinity, Mr. Hardiman is now the father of eleven strapping Irish Victorians. Thanks to his own industry, he has become the possessor of broad acres in this fertile region; but though fortune has richly favoured him under Austral skies, he still looks with an exile’s regret and an exile’s hope to the land of his origin.

[1] 1893 ‘MURRAYANA.’, Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), 14 October, p. 17, viewed 26 January 2016.

Twelve months have gone by and I have not had the time to delve into the Hardiman family research. I think the universe is trying to tell me something.  This is the post – Interesting book free online 19th-century look at the history of Galway on galwaynet.

http://www.galway.net/galwayguide/history/hardiman/

Now I have no excuse. I don’t know if this James Hardiman is any relation, but I guess there is a good chance.  Stay tuned for the next update because somehow over the next month I will find the time to do some more digging into the Hardimans of Galway.

Marriage Bennett & Wallace

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Keith and Annie 1927 Mildura

1927  Mildura   Marriage of Roger Keith Bennett to Annie May Wallace

Left to right

Mary Beatrice Wallace  Roger Keith Bennett Annie Wallace  Frank L G Lawn

picture Ancestry submitted by Kylie Garlando 2013

Marriage  Vic BDM 1927/2830

Death  Vic BDM  1934/16731     Father Robert Wallace  Mother Susan English

1928 Electoral Role  shows Roger and Annie  at San Mateo Ave Mildura  Box 345

1931 Electoral Roll  shows Annie  same address as above

1931 Electoral Roll shows Roger Keith at 13th Street  Mildura

Annie May Bennett Death Certificate

Annie May died 15th August 1934, from Pancreatitis following a Hysterectomy.  She left behind two daughters  Margaret aged 7 and Patricia aged 5

Her usual residence recorded on the death certificate is  Eaglesham Street Mildura  – this is  also the address given by her brother in law Thomas Henry Phillip Bennett and her mother in law Nellie Bennett.

I love family history – I have made contact tonight  with  Roger Keith and Annie May’s great-grand- daughter  ❤

 

The Bennetts of Campbell’s Creek

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Wow so much is happening and I am getting back into the family history research.  Trying to pick up after 30 years of  bits and pieces of research. Everything is so much easier now as a lot of information is online. But there are traps for players. I use Ancestry to access rate books census documents etc and keep a rudimentary tree  online.  The hints they refer to in the TV advertisement are a real trap. I see trees with surnames I have never heard of linked to mine. This can happen and it is  telling me all sorts of things  that have obviously not been thoroughly researched. In the early days, I made the same mistakes.  Now I work on the assumption that unless I have documentary evidence to substantiate a claim  then it is possibly not correct.   For example,  one of my paternal great-grandmothers  had 4 children and from the birth records it is obvious that they were twins  as the Victorian Birth Deaths and Marriages records record them as follows:

Born to Henry BENNETT  & Nellie BATTS   married 1901/5795

Jack Webster BENNETT   Birth  1914/33603

William James BENNETT    Birth  1914/33604

William James BENNETT Death 1915/ 2524

The twins  had an older sister (Dorothea Isobel) and two  older brothers (Thomas Henry Phillip & Roger Keith ); born  1902,1903 and 1906.

The question that arises is what happened between 1907 and 1914  as there are no other recorded births?    Henry Bennett FamilyGroupRecord

 

Thomas Hardiman

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Thomas Hardiman

OK  now here is Thomas or TomHardiman as he was known. A farmer and a policeman who worked most of his life at Melbourne West and North Melbourne Police Stations,  He married Margaret Skram and was my maternal great grandfather.  He is in the second row of the group photo and is standing second from the left.  It is thought that te photo may have been taken at Raheen the residence of Archbishop Mannix.

 

Thomas Hardiman 2

The Hardiman’s come to Australia

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Eureka!  I think I may have found the mass immigration mentioned in the document listed below.  The Fulwood arrived in Australia in 1854. Now I have the task of identifying the 40 first cousins  — I know John McHugh was one of them —   What a find

 

The placid waters of Lake Boga know the savage with his rude bark canoe no more. The kangaroo cloaks and the jagged fish spears may be found in the museums, the reversible hut has been superseded, and on

the rising ground where the native village stood there is now to be seen a large, handsome mansion, tenanted by the tall chieftain of another and a different ” tribe.” This is Mr. Hardiman, who, in the dark days of ’47, left old Galway far behind him, and, with no fewer than forty first cousins of his own in the same ship, sought a home in this country. In addition to those many ties of consanguinity, Mr. Hardiman is now the father of eleven strapping Irish Victorians. Thanks to his own industry, he has become the possessor of broad acres in this fertile region; but though fortune has richly favoured him under Austral skies, he still looks with an exile’s regret and an exile’s hope to the land of his origin

[1] 1893 ‘MURRAYANA.’, Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), 14 October, p. 17, viewed 26 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article170512561

 

ANNIES FUNERAL

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This is the final chapter of Annies story. It differs from a previous posting as it has been edited and a bibliography attached. I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Annie Canning-Skram-Lennon as much as I have enjoyed writing the stories about her.

FOR THE LOVE OF ANNIE

Phew…what was that stink!

Looking around, Fred couldn’t see anything to cause the smell. Then looking at his boots, he saw they were covered in the foul smelling, turd coloured clay from the gravesite.

Pulling the trap to the side of the Lockwood-road, the hot tears burnt his cheeks. He felt the bile rise in his throat. Leaning over the side of the trap, he spewed until his belly was empty. In his mourning black, he was sweating heavily. It was unseasonably hot for July. He sat, still and lost in thought.

Old man Skram was at the funeral, her children weren’t. Margarethe was in Melbourne with her husband and Will was on the farm at Benjeroop. They had lives of their own. They never sought her out, although she never gave up hope.

He’d done the right thing burying his beloved Annie under her proper married name, Skram. It was the same with the paperwork, he had made sure all the information was on there. He’d wanted her buried with their baby girl, Letitia, but Skram wouldn’t allow it. So she was buried nearby as close as he could get her. He grinned, it helped to have a brother- in-law who was an undertaker. Sawyer saw to it that everything was done right. Annie deserved a good send off. She’d earned  it. Thank God, Sawyer organised it, he was still too shaken to even think straight.

She’d only been sick such a short time and now she was gone. She was so alive, and she loved to dance and laugh. Married and dead in the same year.

Annie me love, I’ve never regretted a minute of it. We’d some good times. I still expect you to come round the corner of the yard, flapping your pinny at the chooks and telling me to get down off the cart and get me lazy backside inside, that there’s another barrel that needs tapping.

Whist away with you Fred Lennon, you lazy bugger leaving me to do all the work as usual. God Annie, you were so beautiful, black hair, blue eyes and beautiful skin. A typical Irish girl, and with a temper to boot. I don’t know how I am going to manage without you.

Fred realised he must have spoken aloud as the horse was restless. They had waited for her children to marry. They’d shared a good life together, near on twenty years. Everyone knew they weren’t man and wife afore the service. Never the less they’d come to their wedding and celebrated. Four months later, they had come to bury her.

Shaking himself out of his reverie, he reached for the water bag on the side of the trap, and lifting the damp canvas to his lips and took a long, deep swallow. Then pulling a white kerchief from his pocket, he wet it with the cool water and mopped his face. He stuck his boots over the side of the wheel and poured some of his precious water over them trying to remove the clay. He realised he was still crying, today was the first time he had cried since his Annie had passed.

Putting the water bag back on the hook, he wiped his face. Balling the kerchief he threw it under the seat and picking up the reins slapped them against the horse’s rump. If he didn’t hurry he’d be late, No one had gone past him on the road, but they may have taken the other track . Either way, they’d not be far behind. Flicking the reins, the horse broke into a trot in a hurry to get back to his stable.

Driving the trap into the empty yard behind the Queens Head, the horse came to a halt outside the stable door. Fred sat, the reins limp in his hands, struggling to compose himself. The drive from the cemetery had taken well over an hour. No time to think, the horse needed wiping down and the trap put away and he was needed inside. Little Ben appeared as if by magic and started to unbuckle the harness.

‘Mister Fred, there be people in the front parlour waiting fer you. You best change them boots before you go inside or Miss Annie will have at ya,’ realising what he’d said he clapped his hand over his mouth.

‘Mister Fred, I’m sorry I meant…’ His voice trailed off and he busied himself moving the horse out of the trap harness.

Walking over to the boy Fred put his hand on his shoulder, ‘It’s alright Ben, I know. I miss her too. I’ll change me boots in the tack room. Clean ’em for me later will you.’

‘Righto Mr Fred, they be looking like new when I finish with ‘em.’

In the tack room, Fred removed his mourning coat and hung it on the hook. His brown jacket, the one she’d bought as a wedding present, all the way from Melbourne, was hanging where she left it. He picked it up, smelling her perfume on the fabric, he put it on and changed his boots.

At the kitchen door, he could hear the women’s voices, he could smell the bread baking and the meat roasting. The heat hit him in the face as he opened the door.

‘Mr Fred, where’ve you bin?’ Ginny came running to him, she grabbed him by the arm. ‘The bar and the front parlour are packed tight, they’re there awaiting for you.’

The hotel was bursting at the seams. Everyone had come to pay their respects to Annie. He saw Skram’s pale face in the crowd, they had both loved and lost her.

Fred rang the bell over the bar.

He turned to face his friends, ‘Thank you all for coming and the tables are set up outside. But before we go out to eat, please, raise your glasses to Annie. The best wife and friend a man could have. To Annie.’

Their voices rang out, strong and clear, ‘To Annie.’

(word count 1000 words)

 Bibliography

A Canning  1854  Series: VPRS 7666; Series Title: Inward Overseas Passenger Lists (British Ports) [Microfiche Copy of VPRS 947] viewed  26 September 2015

Marriage Certificate Canning /Skram VPRO  2618/1866

Birth Certificate M Skram VBDM Index  19421/1867

Birth Certificate W Skram  VBDM Index 25923/1870

Birth Certificate L Skram VBDM Index  12415/1873

Death Certificate L Skram VBDM Index  14909/1875

Marriage Certificate M Skram/Hardiman  VBDM Index  2717/1887

Marriage certificate A Canning/Lennon VBDM Index  3819/1896

Death Certificate A Canning/Lennon/Skram VBDM Index  8638/1896

Marriage Certificate  W Skram /Kelly  VBDM Index  1718/1898

1880 ‘COURT OF INSOLVENCY.’, Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), 10 September, p. 3, viewed 28 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88637778

1883 ‘CITY POLICE COURT.’, Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), 22 May, p. 3, viewed 28 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88516160

1889 ‘FIRE AT LOCKWOOD.’, Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), 20 February, p. 3, viewed 28 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88583465

1892 ‘BENDIGO DISTRICT ANNUAL LICENSING COURT.’,Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), 15 December, p. 3, viewed 28 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88607233

1892 ‘LICENSING COURT.’, Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), 13 September, p. 3, viewed 28 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88603876

Death Certificate F Lennon VBDM Index  1692/1898

Death certificate J Skram VBDM Index  9119/1903

Morse, L 2016 For the love of Annie (Blog) justmecreativewriter. http://justmecreativewiter.wordpress.com/?s=for+the+love+of+annie, accessed 28 Jan 2016

Remembrance Parks Burial records  Skram A & L   accessed 26 December 2015 http://rpcv.com.au/deceased-search/?sn=Skram&gn=&yod=

ANNIE EDINBURGH CASTLE HOTEL 1871

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ANNIE EDINBURGH CASTLE HOTEL 1871

‘Joe I can’t do this no more. You be working day and night and if you not be working here on the farm, you be out there searching for gold. I can’t stay locked away out here all the time. I won’t!’

‘For God’s sake woman, what do you want?  You’ve got the Hardimans at Benjeroop and the Hetheringtons are just down the way.  I don’t understand what you want.’

‘I want to be in town Joe. Where there be people I can talk to. Places I can shop instead of waiting four days to get me supplies.’

‘What would you say if we invest some money in town, say in a public house, would that help Annie? You can run it while I keep on here.  I’ll come down now and again to give you a hand.  You can take young Lennon with you.  He can do the heavy work.’

‘What about the children, will you be happy with Margarethe and Willy in a public house? Oh Joe, tell me you will.’

Annie hopped from one foot to the other, waiting for his answer. Looking at her he saw a glimpse of the young headstrong girl he’d married.  He couldn’t refuse her.  It would be a good investment, they had to look to the future.

‘Annie, calm down, calm down!’  Holding her, he kissed her.  ‘There’s a licensing hearing next week.  The Edinburgh Arms in the High Street needs a new licensee.  We’ll put in an application if that makes you happy.’

 

Image   Creator: Bardwell’s Royal Studio  Source: Museum Victoria This image is: Public Domain  Item MM 2032Negative – Ballarat, Victoria, circa 1890  Showing The Edinburgh Castle Hotel

 

HER SECRET

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Is there anything more frustrating than family folklore that becomes embedded in the fabric of your family’s history?  Short answer no! These will o’ the wisp tales take on some form of Holy Grail that must not be disputed. Often they simply hide family secrets.

An example is Ada Maria Elliman. Ada or ‘Naunt” as she was known in the family. An incredibly private and strong woman.  The story she told was, she was born in New Orleans of mixed blood, her word was Octoroon.  Why did a woman born in Dromana around 1871[i]  invent such a story?   She was a tall good looking woman, who never married. She had two children out of wedlock, Ethel Arthamecy registered 1893[ii] and Fredrick Ernest registered 1895[iii].  Both were registered a Schnapper Point, Dromana. Looking at the siblings, it is obvious they have the same father.  The plot thickens, both children possessed dark skin tones, dark curly hair, brown eyes and snub noses. These physical traits were passed down to Fred’s daughter who was known as “Ginny” by the family. Her name is Patricia.

Ada consistently misrepresented the truth. Shortly before she died[iv], she burnt all her personal papers. She never revealed the father’s name. She was cremated. Her ashes were scattered.  The secret died with her. No evidence of her life remains except in public records

[i] Victorian Birth Deaths and Marriages  15071/1871

[ii] Victorian Birth Deaths and Marriages  12174/1893

[iii] Victorian Birth Deaths and Marriages  15927/1895

[iv] Victorian Birth Deaths and Marriages 5642/1952