Jill Ball encourages us each year to reflect on the year just past. See http://geniaus.blogspot.com/2021/01/accentuate-positive-geneameme-2021.html .
I have been thinking for some days now how to approach my reflection of 2020 when that reflection is of fleeting images. I think of distant paddocks of 640 acres or thereabouts and of the pastoral runs of ten thousand acres or more.
How, then, to picture a meme? Rogan Josh in a stall waiting for the Melbourne Cup?
Capturing a sheep as it runs down a race seems more apt. My father explained to me how count sheep in a paddock when I was very small. One, two, three I used to chant over and over. What my father actually meant was in lots of three. What he actually meant was Three, six, nine and so on as he moved his hand over lots of sheep in the paddock. He actually did it in lots of five and move quickly around the paddock.
His hand eye coordination to do so was automatic.
Similarly, he explained how to use the three lot system in the race leading into the Dunmore woolshed. A mob could be split into two, he explained, by running the mob straight up the the race and let the major lot keep going. All he did was keep an eye open for the exceptions that needed to be diverted to the second yard. Similarly, a mob could be split into three by running the major lots straight through to either lot one or lot two using one hand. The second hand should be used to draft off just the few making up the third lot.
How could he keep the sheep running through the race when his eyes were back up the race and his hands were on delay at the end of the race?
His hand eye coordination to do so was ingrained.
(These days mobs can be drafted into many lots electronically)
So here are glimpses of my 2020 captured halfway down the race and drafted aside for reflection.
- 1: We have found a few elusive ancestors in the past two years. It seems that many have been doing their family research during COVID stay at home times. DNA has confirmed some of our incomplete traditional family history research. Ancestry Trulines has helped as well. I have been thinking a lot about how to get Ancestry to do my research for me. At least in the first instance. I confess that I have turned my research process of some 50 years upside down. I am passing control to a company just sold to a new owner. I am sweating on the new owner to the justify my faith in them. Please find a new family story or two or even confirm a family story or two for Little Miss AI & Data. Another story about John Bourke Ryan is always welcome. I include no life span. There was only ever one John Bourke Ryan.
- 2: A great newspaper article I found was during one of those late nights on Trove. The Australian had published William Darlot’s journal describing overlanding a mob of cattle leaving Dutton’s station Mullendery on 30 December 1837 and arriving at the Second River on 11 February 1838 (the “t” in Darlot is silent by the way). How come I have missed this journal all these years?
The Australian 26 June 1838 page 1 Journal of Mr Darlot’s Route to Portland Bay, with five hundred and sixty five head of cattle, the property of the Messrs W and F Dutton
- 9 A new piece of technology or skill I am learning is QR scanning. It has taken a while but it is absolutely a necessary requirement to sitting down and writing over coffee in the morning. My daily exercise is the walk there and back.
- 13 A DNA discovery I made was doing DNA clusters with DNAGedom. Seriously. This way and that. With these settings. And those. With some close cousins and without. Got it now. Time to return to organising my source materials.
- 16 A great site I visited was the Public Records of Victoria. It was still there. Not quite the same but with some of the same friendly faces. So that is 20 probates down. Another three to go. Next time I visit I must take a list of cancelled titles to look for. The visit was a major boost to my morale.
- 17 A new history book I enjoyed was the history of Tarrone Estate Soldier Settlement by James Affleck (Editor) & The Tarrone Families (published by Warrnambool (Vic) Warrnambool & District Historical Society 2019). You will see why in the June edition of GSV’s Ancestor magazine.
- 18 Zoom gave me the opportunity to see and speak to familiar faces throughout 2020 when direct personal contact wasn’t possible.
A blessing beyond measure.
As a 12 year old I survived the winter of 1959 at the end of the Asian flu pandemic. Though I only knew it as the flu then. I caught the Asian flu in the May holidays, measles in the September holidays, followed by the Echo flu (a recurrence of the Asian flu) and pneumonia to arrive back at boarding school in time for the end of year exams. I may have missed out on school holidays but with the help of my school friends (when I did see them) and my family I made it to the end of the year.
Move forward to 2020. Having made it through that long winter and spring of 1959 I knew I could make it through the Melbourne shut down. This time it was modern technology that kept me in contact with my family and friends and, thereby, in touch with my sanity. Though certain of the No 96 tram drivers and the certain police who weren’t there one minute but were there the next all sirens wailing and all lights flashing also helped to keep life as usual.
A very big thank you to each and everyone of you.
I have done little work on my website for several years and my neglect is catching up with me. One 2021 goal is to do a little with each post that I publish. This post I have changed the way I backup my website and I have ticked a little box so my certificates work in Filezilla. Invisible but critical stuff at the back end. Little steps.