Lieutenant John Learmonth of the 2/3 Australian Field Regiment

John Learmonth and Diary Extract

At the end on Crete he took to the hills, and said he’d fight it out with only a revolver.
He was a great soldier …

“I wonder,” mused my brother a few years ago now, “whether things would have been different if we had had uncles.”
I stopped short. I treasured my two aunts. Mostly for their abundance of attitude. Would my brothers, likewise have respected and revered their uncles had they had them?

Last year I reflected a little on the life of Uncle Charlie.

Uncle John’s diaries are his very personal story. But can I put his story in the broad context of the war? What were the conditions like in Germany at the time? How were the prisoners treated? Did this differ from camp to camp – Uncle John spent time in four officer camps:

Oflag XC Lübeck
Oflag VIB Warburg
Oflag VIIB Eichstätt
Oflag IX A/Z Rotenburg

In June or July this year I hope to follow John Learmonth’s restricted World War II journey through the German country side. This post is my starting point.

I would love to hear suggestions as to what might add value to what Uncle John wrote in the diaries that have survived him.

We know that John Learmonth wrote eleven diaries before he died in May 1944. We don’t have them all. Nor do the ones we have cover all of Uncle John’s experiences.

At the beginning of Diary 3 and on 3 November 1939 John Learmonth wrote about his previous diary (Diary 2):

I cannot remember when I wrote the last entry in my previous diary, or even what I wrote about. That diary will probably be found amongst my other possessions at Carramar, Tyrendarra, Vic.

John confirms in later diaries that he sealed his first two diaries and sent them home with the rest of his possessions at the time he transferred from the Militia to the AIF. We assume they were later destroyed.

Uncle John’s Diary 3 covers the period from when he attended training at Seymour until he sailed from the Clyde on the Empress of Canada for Egypt. At the beginning of his Diary 4 he wrote:

My third diary, covering the twelve months (approx) ending 19/11/40, is with me now and will probably remain with my possessions wherever I go until the end of the war.

This was not to be the case. Written when he was a prisoner of war in Germany entries at the beginning of Diaries 8 and 9 indicate that Diary 3 was in his uniform trunk which was stored in the AIF kit store in Alexandria. However, this diary must have become separated from his kit for John wrote

Mum says my diary has been removed from my trunk returned from Alexandria.

The original of Diary 4 is held in Russian Archives. A copy was given to the family in 1998. It covers John’s Greek and Crete campaign but not, alas, the final two months leading up to his capture in Crete on 30 May 1941. Perhaps mindful that his diaries were being read by the German censors Uncle John recorded in Diary 9 that he had destroyed Diary 4

on being captured in Crete in May 1941.

Diaries 4 & 5 were probably destroyed in the Parcels Office fire. Just be careful here:

The fourth I destroyed on being captured in Crete in May 1941 and subsequently rewrote as the 4th and 5th while in Salonika.

Uncle John was in the Salonika Transit Camp in northern Greece 11 June to 22 July 1941. This was a large transit camp where the conditions were appalling. The prisoners were starving and covered with lice and other bugs. They received no letters, no food parcels from home nor any Red Cross parcels.

The rewritten Diaries 4 and 5 together with Diaries 6 and 7 were confiscated on Uncle John’s arrival at Oflag XC Lübeck. This camp was located near Hamburg and Uncle John was there for 6 weeks – 29 July – 8 October 1942. The conditions were better than Salonika but rations were minimal and still there were no food parcels nor any Red Cross parcels. On the nights of 7 and 8 September 1942 the Parcels Office in the Lübeck camp caught fire and it seemed that John’s diaries had disappeared forever. On 4 December 1942 he wrote

I regret very much losing the diaries preceding this one (No 8). They throw an interesting light on my state of mind when first taken prisoner. Although I am now well on the way to re-writing them I cannot entirely recapture the atmosphere of that period.

Despite the loss of his previous diaries John handed a completed one in for censoring at his new camp Oflag VIB Warburg – near Dossel in Westphalia. John’s trust was rewarded as it was eventually returned to him. Uncle John arrived at Warburg on 9 October 1941 and stayed for 11 months. Here Red Cross Parcels started to arrive – together with the first of many letters and parcels from home.

Uncle John moved yet again – to Oflag VIIB Eichstätt for ten months until July 1943 and finally to Oflag 9 A/Z Rotenburg for the ten months until his death there in May 1944. During this period he wrote his last three diaries – Nos 9, 10 and 11.

John Learmonth is remembered in Hanover Cemetery looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

No story about Uncle John is complete without including John Manifold’s elegy. Yes, there is a story in the words written but the genius of the poem is in its form – based on the Classics? The form accentuates the emotions expressed. From the second verse look at the first and third lines. They rhyme with the second line of the preceding verse:

This is not sorrow, this is work: I build
A cairn of words over a silent man,
My friend John Learmonth whom the Germans killed.

There was no word of hero in his plan;
Verse should have been his love and peace his trade
But history turned him to a partisan.

Far from the battle as his bones are laid
Crete will remember him. Remember well,
Mountains of Crete, the Second Field Brigade!

Say Crete, and there is little more to tell
Of muddle tall as treachery, despair
And black defeat resounding like a bell;

But bring the magnifying focus near
And In contempt of muddle and defeat
The old heroic virtues still appear.

Australian blood where hot and icy meet
(James Hogg and Lermontov were of his kin)
Lie still and fertilise the fields of Crete.

Schoolboy, I watched his ballading begin:
Billy and bullocky and billabong,
Our properties of childhood, all were in.

I heard the air though not the undersong,
The fierceness and resolve; but all the same
They’re the tradition, and tradition’s strong.

Swagman and bushranger die hard, die game,
Die fighting, like that wild colonial boy –
Jack Dowling, says the ballad, was his name.

He also spun his pistol like a toy,
Turned to the hills like wolf or kangaroo
And faced destruction with a bitter joy.

His freedom gave him nothing else to do
But set his back against his family tree
And fight the better for the fact he knew

He was as good as dead. Because the sea
Was closed and the air dark and the land lost,
“They’ll never capture me alive,” said he

That’s courage chemically pure, uncrossed
With sacrifice or duty or career,
Which counts and pays in ready coin the cost

Of holding course. Armies are not its sphere
Where all’s contrived to achieve its counterfeit;
It swears with discipline, it’s volunteer.

I could as hardly make a moral fit
Around it as around a lightning flash.
There is no moral, that’s the point of it,

No moral. But I’m glad of this panache
That sparkles, as from flint, from us and steel,
True to no crown nor presidential sash

Nor flag nor fame. Let others mourn and feel
He died for nothing: nothings have their place.
While thus the kind and civilise conceal

This spring of unsuspected inward grace
And look on death as equals, I am filled
With queer affection for the human race.

The Tomb of Lieut. John Learmonth, AIF
by John Manifold

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2017

The best thing about 2017 was its path into 2018 – or so it seemed on initial reflection. That doesn’t mean the short-term memories of the last days in 2017 were bad. Not at all. I spent my time in 2017 where I almost always spend it – in the preparation before undertaking the actual research.
I took a journey this year but first I read the biography of my Uncle Charles and the personnel file of Granddad Daly.
Yes, I did take a cruise in order to gain some context of where Uncle Charlie and where Granddad Daly were and how they fitted into the overall conduct of the Pacific War. And yes, I still have the same question: where was Granddad Daly when he counted out the planes such as Charlie’s and counted them home again. I don’t think he can have done so for Charlie’s squadron.
More planning and research to do in 2018 about Granddad Daly’s war – mainly in war diaries not yet available in digital form.
I took a journey back in time to St James around Anzac Day. It was just as I remembered – the morning sun filtering through the windows and dappling the font in colour. Just the minister, a parishioner and me. I hadn’t been there for a baptism 65 years ago (as I had remembered) but to the dedication of the windows to my Uncle John and Uncle Charlie. The memorial gates were still not back from being restored so I shall be back again this April – and to the Learmonth Burial Ground just up the road.
Squire Turner, my third great grandfather, remains as elusive as ever. Not too rich to attract attention of the papers nor too poor to draw attention of the parish. How can there be so little evidence of a man whose death in 1830 warranted inclusion in the Bath Personal Notices as published in a London paper? In 2017 I found his signature and occasional mention of Squire Turner in the Bathford parish chest material.
My question in 2018 is – where was Squire Turner when he wasn’t in Bathford?
The real joy of 2017 was my DNA research.
It took a while for some of us to get our family trees in order but finally we managed to create a DNA Circle. Now DNA circles for my second great grandparents Francis Baulch and Ann Bowles have expanded to over 20 members each. Furthermore, DNA circles have now been created for Francis Baulch’s parents and for his maternal grandparents Joseph Biddlecombe and Miriam Locke. I certainly wasn’t expecting this success given the difficulties we had getting the first ones created.
Can we expand Francis Baulch’s DNA circle to 50 by year’s end and can we create DNA circles for other ancestors?
More planning and reviewing of family trees and DNA matches in 2018.
Finally, I have really, really enjoyed the past six months engrossed in Visual Phasing (mapping DNA of three siblings or more to their grandparents). It has been a fascinating journey. The learning curve is steep. The learning process is continuous and iterative. Visual Phasing is totally addictive. It has got me around one of my most enduring road blocks. What more can I say? Oh yes! My success with Visual Phasing wouldn’t have been possible had not my sister who wanted an all in one Baulch family tree some years back. Nor would we have had sufficient DNA tests for Visual Phasing without that discussion with my brother and his view of what a good base for DNA testing looked like. Nor would it have been possible without using a workbook for my Visual Phasing in the fashion my daughter used a lab book. My workbook is not only a source of WHAT I have found and WHERE but, more importantly, HOW I have found it and WHAT is still to be found.
In 2018 I shall review what I have done to date, incorporate tips that are still being shared generously by others and, hopefully, glean a family story or two.
Some further reading:
Charles Page, Wings of Destiny (Sydney: Rosenberg Sydney, 2008)
https://the geneticgenealogist.com/2016/11/21/visual-phasing-an-example-part-1-of-5/ (and the following parts follow)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/visualphasing/ (closed group)

Ethnicity Estimates

Phased Chromosome 21

When some of us started researching our family history we were advised to start with ourselves, then confirm our links to our parents, grandparents and so on up our family tree.
Based on our family stories, photographs and the written records we had we developed our research plan, one that was often focused on looking for more information about a favourite ancestor.
In doing so we used a variety of sources.
Now we have another source to add to our toolbox – DNA – and just as we planned our traditional family research plan so too can we plan our DNA research plan.
Just as in the past we scraped and saved to purchase the next birth, marriage or death certificate so too we should be saving up to purchase the next DNA test in our DNA research plan.
Not to have a DNA plan leaves us open to being flooded with hundreds of supposed DNA matches that in general have little, if any, application to our DNA research plan. We are looking for specific matches – those with other researchers who have ancestors, or an ancestor, in common with ourselves.
The first step in our DNA research plan is to avoid those bright shiny objects that pass across our eyes and distract us.
The first bright shiny object is DNA advice provided by the medical profession. In our role as family historians we are not entitled to provide medical advice. Consequently, the DNA we use for our family history research is quite separate from that used for medical purposes.
The second beguiling object that floats across our eyes is DNA used for anthropological purposes.
For example, it has been exciting to read the research that found evidence of human occupation in northern Australia by 65,000 years ago (see Chris Clarkson et al “Human occupation of northern Australia by 65,000 years ago” Nature 547 306-310 (20 July 2017).
But do such discoveries help us conquer our own brick walls? The discovery in northern Australia was dated by reference to the fluorescence in the sand in which the discovery was made. Where is the link from our DNA today back to DNA of 65,000 years ago.
However, what is important to note about such discoveries is that they are made at a point in time.
When we think about our own ethnicity are we looking at one point in time?
When I look at myself:
My Parents were born in Australia. Is my ethnicity 100% Australian?
Six of my great grandparents were born in Australia. Two in England. Is my ethnicity 25% English?
Most of my second great grandparents were born in England. Does this make my ethnicity 81% English? It certainly doesn’t account for my Irish fourth great grandfather, John Bourke Ryan.
I have followed our paper family tree up through the branches for this example.
With respect to DNA we receive half our DNA from our father and half our DNA from our mother. But which half do we receive? And which half, as displayed in our family tree did they receive from their parents? And which half did they receive from their parents? And so on. Why, then, do we expect our ethnicity to be precisely the same as that of our siblings when there is doubt about what was received from which grandparent in the first place?
or example, on Chromosome 21 all my maternal DNA came from my maternal grandfather Learmonth. My sister also received all her maternal DNA from our grandfather Learmonth. While our brother also received most of his maternal DNA from our maternal grandfather Learmonth some of his maternal DNA came from our maternal grandmother Learmonth.
All my paternal DNA came from my paternal grandfather Baulch whereas my sister’s paternal DNA came from our grandmother Abbey. Our brother’s paternal DNA originally came about half from our paternal grandfather Baulch and about half from our paternal grandmother Abbey.
This simple example shows quite clearly that we each are unique. While receiving half our DNA from our father and half from our mother what we received that came from each of our grandparents may be very different. If we each calculate our proportion of DNA we get from each of our grandparents the answer is not the same for any two of us. Even at the grandparent level our ethnicity is different. Each of us is, after all, unique.
So why do we expect our ethnicity to be the same?
If we are using DNA as a source for family history purposes we should confine our family history research to the DNA that is used for genetic genealogy or family history purposes.
Results based on DNA used for medical purposes are given for medical reasons. Results based on DNA with ancient origins are for anthropological purposes.
We family historians have our own little sections of DNA that we use for family history purposes.
This doesn’t mean we can’t put our anthropological hat on now and then and tell a good story about our ancient origins. However, there is not necessarily a link between our ancient origins and our family stories of very recent times.

Where am I going to be:
28 July – 7 August 2017 – Unlock the Past Cruise – Papua New Guinea – to see where my uncle and father-in-law were in WWII
19 August 2017 – presenting “Using DNA to solve genealogical puzzles” at the Researching Abroad: British isles & European ancestors – Melbourne (find out more here)
11 November 2017 – presenting a half day session “DNA for family historians” for the Genealogical Society of Victoria (find out more here)
and when I get back from just cruising around the GSV will be taking bookings for DNA consultations (more here) . I expect to concentrate on autosomal DNA tests and I shall only be available on Fridays.
Hope to see you somewhere.

Charles Salter was my main focus in 2016

This post uses the Geneameme 2016 list as a border around which to reflect on my 2016 that was. In doing so my paddock is fenced by just a few of the suggested Geneameme 2016 talking points.
Ruth feels at home when she turns west onto the Hamilton Highway. I also feel the same tension disappear when I put city driving and drivers behind me. But for me the feeling of being safely home comes much later in my journey. That feeling of home doesn’t start until I have crossed the Paradise bridge. If it’s early in the night I look for home lights peeping through the plantation at the far corner of the Horse Paddock. But on I go. It’s when I turn right at Campbell’s Paddock that I feel a sense of home.
It may appear that I may have done little in 2016. Yet I have travelled in time to Campbell’s Paddock. It may seem that the year was full of obstacles, detours, Cheshire cats and afternoon tea parties. The reality is that not only 2016 but some of the preceding years have set the scene for 2017 quite nicely. Each year has over 360 days through which to travel before turning the corner at Campbell’s Paddock. It’s when my “driver reviver” reflection time starting at about day 360 that a year falls into place.
2016 wasn’t about laying any notable achievements on the table for all to see. 2016 was all about winding through the path that is my family history research. 2016 was about reviewing, planning and revisiting my research methodology and the tools I use. In this way 2016 was just another family history year. Nevertheless, there were a couple of highlights in 2016.

18 It was exciting to finally meet Clare and Mary.

Edith Learmonth (nee Salter) on the left and Agnes Salter (nee Skene) on the right.
Edith Learmonth (nee Salter) on the left and Agnes Salter (nee Skene) on the right.

It was coffees in one of Melbourne’s arcades that were the highlight of 2016. I met my Salter cousin Clare first. Then I met our cousin Mary. I had heard a lot them from Aunt Agnes when she came to stay with my grandparents over the summer. It was delightful to meet Clare in person some forty years after listening to the stories Aunt Agnes used to tell. These meetings with relatives and listening to their stories is what I enjoy most about family history. 2016 was a double delight when I met another Salter cousin Mary and listened to her in amazement. Mary is following in the footsteps of our great grandfather Charles Salter. But until 2016 she wasn’t aware that she is doing so. Is that genes? Perhaps. More likely, it is the tradition of Christ’s Hospital that has filtered down the generations.

1 Some elusive ancestors I found were the Salter children in boarding school at census time

Mary’s visit caused me to review my research into my Salter ancestors. Charles Salter was at Christ’s Hospital at the time of the 1851 census. I have now found his missing siblings and cousins who weren’t home at census time. They were also away at school. Plotting their whereabouts on Google Maps gave a nice little snapshot of where they went.

10 A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy were closed Facebook groups

It’s sad that the potential of closed Facebook groups hasn’t captured more attention from family history researchers. Two closed Facebook groups I am enjoying are Amy Johnson Crow’s course 31 Days to Better Genealogy (for the second years) and the Genealogical Society of Victoria’s one for their GSV Writers Circle.
The planning I did in 2016 has set up 2017 with just four simple goals. Now to polish each those goals into smart genealogy goals.
I wonder how different my Geneameme 2017 will be?

The X Chromosome – Planning and Indulgence

The X Chromosome inheritance patterns are complex but when the planning is right and your relatives indulge your curiousity about their DNA then the resulting X DNA matches seem serendipitous.
My brother wisely counselled establishing a sound foundation upon which to build my genetic genealogy research. My cousin Val started me off by agreeing to indulge my curiousity and undergo a DNA test.
My curiousity at that time concerned the origins of George Watts’s wife Mary McCade or McCord who was born about 1800 in Foreign Parts.

If you are a descendant please read on. If you believe you may have inherited some of your X DNA from George’s family or, in particular, from his wife I would love to hear from you.
Even if you aren’t a member of this family do read on.
I have been putting off my analysis of Lyn and Val’s X chromosome matches even though their DNA test results were the first DNA test results I received. My procrastination is entirely because of the inheritance patterns of the X chromosome. Of course, its complexity is no reason to ignore significant X DNA matches. So the purpose of this post is to look at some X DNA match results I have received. Even if I take the low road to get there.
Before I delve into the mysteries of X DNA let me just go back to the beginning of analysing our DNA matches. DNA for family history purposes isn’t just one analysis process but four:
.   analysis of matches on the X chromosome
.   analysis of matches on the Y chromosome
.   analysis of matches on the 22 autosomal chromosomes and
.   analysis of matches for mitochondrial DNA.
Let me set the scene for analysing X DNA matches by beginning with a short review of the analysis of other DNA matches.
The most common analysis has been of the Y Chromosome. It’s relative simple to identify which ancestor provided a male’s Y DNA. A male receives his Y DNA from his father. In turn, his father receives his Y DNA from his father. And so on up the paternal line (following the family surname).
Identifying which ancestor provided our mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) follows a similar process. With a slight change. All children, whether male or female, receive their mtDNA from their mother. I received my mtDNA from my mother. As did my brother. In turn our mother received her mtDNA from her mother. And so on up the maternal line (with, in my family at least, the surname changing each generation).
There are no half way measures with Y DNA and mtDNA. My brother received all of our paternal great grandfather’s Y DNA and we each received the same mtDNA from our maternal great grandmother.
Autosomal DNA (atDNA) is a little different. It is more difficult to determine which ancestor we received our atDNA from. Suffice to say, on average, we receive half our atDNA from our father and half from our mother. My father received half his atDNA from his father and half from his mother. Similarly, my mother received half her atDNA from her father and half from her mother. This means I received half my atDNA from each of my two parents, a quarter from each of my four grandparents, and one eighth from my eight great grandparents and so on up my family tree.These amounts aren’t set in stone however. They are not precise. It’s only probable that I received precisely half my atDNA from my father and precisely half from my mother.
With Y DNA and mtDNA it is clear which is received from which of our ancestors. With atDNA we can estimate how much atDNA we received from each of our ancestors but it is less clear just which DNA we received from a particular ancestor.
Now we come to the X Chromosome and its inheritance patterns.
Let’s start with myself. I received half my X DNA from my father and half my X DNA from my mother. In turn, my mother received half her X DNA from her father and half from her mother. As far as this example goes, the X DNA inheritance pattern is like the inheritance pattern for autosomal DNA.Now let’s look at my brother. My brother received no X DNA from our father because he received a Y chromosome instead. That is, he received all his X DNA from our mother. Similarly, my father received no X DNA from his father. Instead he received his Y DNA from his father and all his X DNA from his mother.Let’s now look at a simple X DNA match before looking at a couple more complex and interesting DNA matches.
It’s expected that my brother and I match on 50% of our X DNA (with that X DNA originating from our mother). In fact, we matched on 88.5 centiMorgans (cMs) – 45% of our X DNA and a little less than estimated. Here is what our match looks like in the Family Tree DNA chromosome browser:Now let’s look at two first cousins – Lyn and Val. Their mothers were sisters and were daughters of Samuel and Eliza Ann.Lyn received half her X DNA from her father and half from her mother. In turn, Lyn’s mother received half her X DNA from her father, Samuel, and half from her mother, Eliza Ann. That is, Lyn received 25% of her X DNA from her grandfather Samuel and 25% from her grandmother Eliza Ann.
Similarly, Val received half her X DNA from her father and half from her mother. In turn, Val’s mother received half her X DNA from her father, Samuel, and half from her mother, Eliza Ann. Here is how Lyn and Val’s X DNA match of 49.4 cMs (25% of their X DNA) looks like in the Family Tree DNA chromosome browser:As expected Lyn and Val match on just over half the number of cMs that my brother and I do.
Samuel and Eliza Ann are my paternal great grandparents but neither my brother and I would have received any X DNA from this line as my father received a Y chromsome from my grandfather and, consequently, no X DNA from my grandfather.
Now do I have anyone else who may have received some part of their X DNA from my great grandparents Samuel and Eliza Ann? My first cousin Marilyn did. And this is where expected X DNA becomes complicated.
Marilyn received half her X DNA from her father and half from her mother. In turn, her mother received half her X DNA from our grandfather and half from our grandmother. Now our grandfather received his Y chromosome from his father, Samuel and his X chromosome from his mother Eliza Ann. The probability is that Marilyn received 25% of her X DNA from her great grandmother, Eliza Ann and none from her great grandfather Samuel.
There are two points to take note of here.
Firstly, X DNA isn’t like mtDNA. It doesn’t merely go up the female line. You can have one male in the sequence. Our grandfather in Marilyn’s sequence is one example. But you can’t have two males in the sequence and inherit X DNA from that line. My brother and I haven’t received any X DNA from our great grandparents Samuel and Eliza Ann because there are two men in the line – my father and my grandfather.
Secondly, any match that Marilyn may have on her X DNA with either Lyn or Val, must be attributable to Marilyn’s great grandmother Eliza Ann because our grandfather received no X chromosome from his father Samuel. Marilyn shares 58.3 cMs (30%) with Lyn and 72.9 cMs (38%) with Val.When I map Marilyn’s matches with Lyn and Val I see the segments of Marilyn’s X DNA that come from her great grandmother Eliza Ann.

It is Lyn’s X DNA match that I find most intriguing. She has a X DNA match with:
• Val, her first cousin on her mother’s side
• Marilyn, a first cousin once removed on her mother’s side and
• Rick, her second cousin on her father’s side.

So now let’s look at Lyn’s X DNA match with Val. Lyn received half her X DNA from her mother who received her X DNA from her parents Samuel and Eliza Ann. But I don’t know which X DNA Lyn’s mother received from her father Samuel and which she received from her mother Eliza Ann.
The situation is the same for Val.
Consequently, where Lyn and Val match on their X chromosome I don’t know whether that match is due to X DNA they each received from their grandfather or is due to X DNA they each received from their grandmother. Further testing is required.
This is different to the scenario of Lyn’s X DNA match with Marilyn where the inheritance pattern of X DNA indicates that that match could only have come from X DNA inherited from Eliza Ann.Lyn also has an X DNA match with her second cousin Rick on her paternal side. Rick inherited all his X DNA from his mother (as he inherited his Y chromosome from his father). Rick’s mother inherited half her X DNA from her father. In turn he inherited all his X DNA from his mother Jane (as he inherited his Y chromosome from his father).
Lyn inherited half her X DNA from her father. Her father inherited all his X DNA from his mother (as he inherited his Y chromosome from his father). She inherited half her X DNA from her father and half from her mother Jane.
We have another instance here of being able to determine which ancestor DNA came from. Under the inheritance pattern of the X chromosome Lyn and Rick can only match on X DNA with regards to X DNA they inherited from Jane.
Rick and Lyn have a match of 91.9 cMs (or 47%) on their X chromosome.Putting Lyn’s three X DNA matches together we can see that she can attribute almost 65% to a specific ancestor (Jane or Eliza Ann) and the balance to either Samuel or Eliza Ann.
There is further testing required to attribute her match with Val to either Samuel or to Eliza.
For those of you who have tested in AncestryDNA and would like to explore your X chromosome all is not impossible. Download your raw data from AncestryDNA and upload it into Gedmatch for testing.

Thank you Kathy for the suggestion to use fan charts from Legacy Family Tree. They worked! These and other charts drawn in Excel were drawn by me but are strongly based on Blaine Bettinger’s trees. See, for example, his recent book Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T Bettinger as well as  Foundations in DNA by Blaine Bettinger: A recent series of 5 webinars found in Legacy Family Tree’s Webinar Library.
The Family Tree DNA chromosome browser examples came from our matches at Family Tree DNA , the Gedmatch chromosome map came out matches uploaded on to Gedmatch and Kitty Cooper’s chromosome map can be found on Kitty Cooper’s Blog under Tools.

Genetic Genealogy (DNA) as a family history source

DNA Collage

What triggered my interest in DNA or Genetic Genealogy and its possibility as a source for family history research? It’s time, after two years of exploring DNA tests, to reflect upon why I started and where I have ended up.

Curiousity was the first reason I started looking at DNA. Knowledge of DNA has come a long, long way since my first year in a university lab. But there were other reasons as well I started looking at DNA for family history purposes. It’s always nice to have another primary source to confirm my oral and written family history. I also had the idea that perhaps DNA may help break down some of my family history brick walls. So far this hasn’t been the case in relation to two of my most difficult brick walls. Where there is still some doubt about my conclusions. Finally, as DNA can only be collected from my living relatives I approached a couple of my father’s cousins and was delighted to receive their permission undergo a test. Doubly delighted as I have no living uncles or aunts and only one first cousin. Continue reading “Genetic Genealogy (DNA) as a family history source”

Stony barriers

This blog is the final of four blogs written for National Family History Month 2016 and describes volcanic stony barriers that are a little more than they seem.
A land of sweeping plains? Thousands of years ago my favourite place may have been part of a verdant plain. Thousands of years ago before the volcanoes were active. Then my favourite place may have looked like the freshly mown lawns and the avenues of elms that are just a short walk across the tram lines from my home.
Continue reading “Stony barriers”

DNA – More than just matches

Next time you log in to your FamilyTreeDNA test check your Family Finder matches. There are now four tabs under the Family Finder – Matches screen.
Just as I haven’t stopped purchasing birth, marriage and death certificates I am sure that I am far from finished purchasing DNA kits. Particularly when I am excited about Family Tree’s DNA new phased Family Matches analysis. But not just now. I need to plan and budget first.
DNA tests for family history purposes only work when my DNA test matches with someone else’s DNA test.
Continue reading “DNA – More than just matches”

Gunner Holmes Part 1

 

On 15 August 1914 the 1st Division was initially formed as the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
In the August offensive a year later the 1st Division’s role was to hold the front line and conduct a diversion at Lone Pine.
A further year on in August 1916 Gunner Holmes, recovered from injuries incurred at Lone Pine, embarked for France.

In these two years Louis Aaron Holmes (1886-1960) saw less than two month’s active service. I remember my great uncle Lou as quiet and a man to be respected in the way great uncles should be. Comments by repatriation doctors paint a different picture. And when I look at the record of his military service I begin to understand why.

Louis Aaron Holmes enlisted on 1 October 1914 having emigrated to Victoria from Woolwich, Kent just a year beforehand. He was taken on with the 1st Division Ammunition Column Reinforcements and was to become a gunner in the 4th Battery of the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade.

There is a glimpse of his service and the possible effects in his military personnel records. What Uncle Lou did in the war and afterwards is better understood on reading his repatriation records as well as exploring relevant World War I unit diaries.

Uncle Lou sailed from Melbourne on 22 December 1914 and arrived in Egypt two months later. Here the Divisional Ammunition Column Reinforcements underwent further training in Egypt. Some were taken on strength for the Anzac campaign but Uncle Lou did not get to Gallipoli Peninsula until the middle of July 1915. And perhaps I would never have known just precisely where he was if it weren’t for mention of his first misadventure to the repatriation medical staff.

In establishing that his injuries were war related Uncle Lou mentioned to Repatriation that his hernias were due to placing the two three pounder Hotchkiss guns. These guns were taken over by his battery on 29 August 1915 and placed on Russell’s Top. It seemed from Uncle Lou’s recollection that a horse took fright or some part of the gun carriage snapped leaving Uncle Lou taking the full weight of a Hotchkiss gun.

A few days later 15 effective rounds were fired from one of the Hotchkiss guns before its sights were damaged and the gun pit badly damaged. The Lieutenant and seven other ranks were evacuated by the Medical Officer. I believe that Lou Holmes was one of those other ranks. While his most severe injuries were received in placing the guns he also received some shrapnel wounds when when the gun pit was damaged.

That period from the middle of July 1915 to the beginning of September was the total of Uncle Lou’s active war service until he joined his unit a year later on the Western Front.

He was evacuated from Gallipoli Peninsula by the Hospital Ship Nile to Malta where he was recorded as having dysentery, piles and rupture. The more badly injured men were returned to Australia from Malta but Uncle Lou was transferred by the Hospital Ship Hunslet bound for England. Here started his journey to recover from his wounds, to get fit, train and join his unit preparing for the war on the Western Front. His journey included seven months in London hospitals and periods at the Monte Video Camp at Weymouth Dorset, Perham Downs near Salisbury, Wiltshire and finally Bulford Cam, also on the Salisbury Plains, before undergoing further training in France in August 1916.

Selected Bibliography:
National Archives of Australia, NAA B2455 Louis Aaron Holmes Service Number 3434
National Archives of Australia, NAA B73 H34661 and M34661 Repatriation personal hospital medical case files, World War I Louis Aaron Holmes Service Number 3434 4th Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade
Australian War Memorial AWM4 Australian Imperial Force unit war diaries, 1914-1918 War including Subclass 13/10 Headquarters 1st Australian Division Artillery, Subclass 13/30 Headquarters 2nd Australian Field Artillery Brigade and Subclass 13/66 4th Battery Australian Field Artillery diaries.

Image courtesy Australian War Memorial www.awm.gov.au/collection/C01635 A driver guides his pair of mules and AT (artillery transport) cart up a slope near Anzac Cove.

Wool staplers and wool classers

Dunmore wool shed

The 1891 shearers’ strike is just one consequence of the many pressures applied to the wool industry which has been in decline since Hargreave’s invention of the spinning jenny. some of these pressures include:

  • the mechanisation of weaving through the use of power looms,
  • the mechanisation of shearing through the introduction of powered hand pieces and the introduction of wide combs,
  • the decline in the demand for wool to cloth armies against severe winters,
  • the introduction of alternative clothes made of cotton and synthetic fibres and
  • the periodic government regulations applicable to the selling of wool.

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