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.

Continue reading “Wool staplers and wool classers”

Census records – one of my gateway sources


I call some of the sources I use my gateway sources. I find them critical to breaking down brick walls. Do I stand at the gateway afraid to go any further? Do I stand in the open gateway thinking about how to approach a completely new set of sources that may contain family stories?
Passenger lists are one of my gateway sources. Before a family member embarks on their journey to Australia I focus on British sources. Once a family member arrives in Australia I search for my family stories here in Australia.
Census records, particularly those that form part of the 1841 English census collection, are one of my favourite gateway sources. They set a point in time for setting aside Australian collections and turning to English collections. Furthermore, information contained in an 1841 England census record may confirm information I already have or may give some clues about which other English collections I should look at.
For example, the 1841 England census records are pivotal in telling the story of my paternal two greats grandfather Francis Baulch and his wife Ann Bowles. The census records establish that the family was still living in Pitney, Somerset at census time. The census records also contain hints as to why the family emigrated to Tasmania with other Pitney, Somerset families not long afterwards.
There is no doubt that Francis’s family was in dire straits by 1841. As were many such families following the enclosures in the area several years beforehand. The Pitney churchwardens were concerned about the debt owed to them by Francis’s mother. Francis couldn’t help. He had a young and growing family to provide for. And Francis had difficulty getting sufficient work to sustain his own family let alone help his mother in her difficulties. One year he did manage to win the contract for hauling stone for the roads but was unable to retain the contract. Francis’s brother, Enoch, in common with many other young agricultural laborers, also had difficulty in obtaining work. And when he did have work Enoch was paid a pittance.
The 1841 England census was held on the 6th of June. It was summer harvest time and may well have been one of those times that Enoch Baulch had work. It’s likely that Enoch was one of the unnamed men recorded in the census as living in sheds.
The Baulch men, and other men like them, would have been receptive to Henry Dowling’s search for experience agricultural laborers in 1840/1841. Tasmanian farmers had appointed Dowling as their agent in the farmers search for workers to replace men who had left Tasmania for the opportunities in the new Port Phillip district.
In the autumn following the 1841 Census the Pitney churchwardens gave Francis Baulch and Charles Bartlett, both with young families to support, funds to purchase clothing and other necessities to help them emigrate. By late November 1841, the two men, their families and some closely connected families sailed for Tasmania. They were avoiding facing another bleak winter in Pitney.
But some family members didn’t come. The census records give clues as to why.
For example, Francis’s brother William Baulch was living next door to his mother at the time. No doubt to help his mother when needed. His mother remarried in 1845 so William and his family was then free to emigrate. There is a clue there in the 1841 census records that helped find William’s new home. In 1841 William Baulch and Martha Cook had a ten-year-old boy, Edward or Edmond Perrin, staying with them. There they all are emigrating to the United States in 1850 and can be followed in the US censuses from thereafter.
Others weren’t of the right age or otherwise not qualified for assistance to emigrate. Some of the children later emigrated with many of Henry Baulch’s descendants emigrating to Queensland.
Charles Edgar, one of Ann Bowles’ younger half brothers, went to Ontario, Canada.
Frances-Fletcher-TreeWhich brings me to a source that I think may become another of my gateway sources. I have a DNA autosomal match with a Canadian cousin. On my side of our family tree the match comes about because I am a descendant of Henry Bowles and Frances Fletcher, Ann Bowles’s parents. On the other side of our family tree the match comes about because my Canadian cousin is a descendant of William Edgar and Frances Fletcher, Charles Edgar’s parents. The ancestor we have in common is Frances Fletcher. The chromosome segments where we match, therefore, must have been passed down from Frances Fletcher. But which segments on which chromosomes?

Selected Bibliography:
The National Archives (TNA): HO 107/955 f4 p1 Census Returns: 1841
Canada Census 1851 -1861 [database ] www.familysearch.org
United States Census, 1860 – 1870, [database & images] www.familysearch.org
St John the Baptist Church of England (Pitney, Somerset, England). Parish chest material.
AncestryDNA [database]. www.ancestry.com.au.

Trove Tuesday: Simpsons at Squattleseamere

Outside the Squattleseamere dining room door
Outside the Squattleseamere dining room door

My first home was on a Squattleseamere Closer Settlement block. Squattleseamere had initially been taken up by Thomas Browne but the second owners of the licence, George Simpson and his younger brother Crawford, are the subject of this article.
Although the Crawfords’ purchase of the pastoral licence and their sale later on are not officially recorded in the surviving pastoral run archives I have known for many years that the Simpsons were definitely on Squattleseamere. This is because a story has been passed down of how Crawford was gored by the imported bull Exhibition and subsequently died of his injuries.
Charles Macknight, one of the partners on Dunmore, regarded the Simpsons as proprietors of Squattleseamere. Furthermore, whenever Macknight writes of the Simpsons he writes of them as equals, as fellow squatters. Indeed whenever one of the Simpsons visited Dunmore it was generally in the company of other nearby squatters as such Medley (formerly of Snakey Creek), McGregor (of Ardonachie) or Phillips (of Tarrone).
When Dunmore mustered cattle for market in March each year those belonging to neighbouring squatters, including the Simpsons, were drafted out. Later in the year mares were accepted from neighbours and Dunmore mares were sent to horses owned by other squatters, including the Simpsons at Squattleseamere.
George Simpson was born in Old Deer, Aberdeenshire in 1830. In 1853, five young men, including a George Simpson, emigrated from the nearby port of Peterhead to Port Phillip. Two years later, George’s younger brother, Crawford, arrived in Melbourne aboard the Marco Polo. It’s not only the official passenger lists that confirm these voyages but associated newspaper entries at the time.
It seems that the Crawford brothers initially worked on Cato’s run where Crawford’s misfortunes started. In 1858 Crawford fell from his horse but his foot was caught in a stirrup and he was dragged. One of Cato’s shepherds found him unconscious. Crawford was so severely injured he wasn’t expected to live.
So perhaps the brothers were taken in by the claim in the sale notice for Squattleseamere and Snakey Creek stations that the cattle were quiet. Thomas Brown had first advertised the sale of his runs in 1857 but it wasn’t until June 1859 that J H Clough and Co finally reported the sale. Unfortunately, the purchaser wasn’t mentioned.
In October 1859 George Simpson married Jane Lyell, a sister of John Cato’s wife Margaret. On the same day another sister, Alison, married a John Simpson.
Then tragedy struck. On 10 Nov 1859 Macknight recorded that Mr Simpson was nearly killed by the bull. George was also injured. George recovered but Crawford died of his injuries three days later.
The runs were sold in 1862, presumably by George Simpson although no mention of the vendor is reported. He had been on Squattleseamere and Snakey Creek runs for just over three years.

NEWSPAPER SOURCES ACCESSED FROM TROVE NEWSPAPERS INCLUDED:
The Age (Melbourne) 17 Nov 1859 p3
The Argus (Melbourne) 12 Jul 1855 p8
The Argus (Melbourne) 5 OCT 1858 p4 c3 Fearful Accident
The Argus (Melbourne) 30 July 1857 p8
Ballarat Star (Ballarat) 24 Jun 1859
OTHER SOURCES ACCESSED INCLUDED:
R V Billis and A S Kenyon, Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip, Second Edition (Melbourne, Victoria: Stockland Press, 1974)
Charles Hamilton Macknight, “Dunmore Journals” (MS, Melbourne, Victoria, 1840 – 1873); State Library of Victoria. (Copy of Macknight sisters transcript 1929 held privately).
FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org)
Find My Past (http://www.findmypast.com.au/)
Public Record Office of Victoria “Index to Unassisted Immigrants from the United Kingdom 1852-1923” (www.prov.vic.gov.au)
Scotlandspeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk)

Baulch Y DNA mutations

DNA ribbons
DNA ribbons

When did mutations occur in the Y DNA in our direct paternal line?
Perhaps the Colac branch can help in my new DNA search for when a change or mutation on an STR or short tandem repeat marker on the Y chromosome occurred in our Baulch branch.
I remember with great affection one of my very early visits to Baulch family members was to the late Clarrie Baulch of Colac who introduced me visit to his wife as his first cousin on the Warry side but his second cousin on the Mitchem side. Perhaps this visit foreshadowed the challenges that were to come as part of my family history research.
It’s not that long ago that it was believed that the DNA on the Y chromosome was just a lot of randomly repeated junk.
So why did I ask my brother to undertake a DNA test? And why did a second cousin as well as my brother agree to do so?
Because we have a brick wall on our paternal line. We descend from the Charles Baulch who married Ann Beddlecombe on 1 Apr 1799 at Muchelney. Charles was born to Roger Baulch and Betty Gaylard on 25 Jan 1767. But my sister that it is more than likely that Roger’s son died in infancy on 8 Mar 1767. No other mention has ever been found of another Charles Baulch. Yet it is telling that Henry Baulch, Roger Baulch’s elder son, was a witness at the wedding of Ann Beddlecombe and Charles Baulch.

Extract from Free Reg
from www.freekreg.org.uk

Yet even more telling is that my brother has an autosomal match with Hannah Baulch, a cousin of Henry and Charles Baulch.
Then again, the Y DNA results of my brother and our second cousin indicate that, at least, our Baulch line is another branch of Baulchs.

Baulch Y DNA mutations
Baulch Y DNA mutations

Our second cousin’s Y DNA results confirm a branch mutation on marker DYS710 as both he and my brother have a value of 31 on that marker.

STR Marker Mutations
STR Marker Mutations

No other Balch, Sims or Washburn men have that value and are all 32 or higher. This means that somewhere from our nearest common ancestor, our great grandfather Samuel Baulch on up, one of your Baulch ancestors mutated from 32 to 31, and that mutation was passed on to my brother and to our second cousin.

Trove Tuesday: Old Roads

Old-TrackThis is a little family story about old roads. A couple of stories just for Trove Tuesday. I wouldn’t have remembered them if Inside History hadn’t organised the cloud funding of the earliest editions of the Hamilton Spectator. It was just a small entry in the Hamilton Spectator that reminded me of two stories my father told be about roads. A small entry that had been overlooked when I first searched the paper version of the Hamilton Spectator many, many years ago at their office. And which I had overlooked in searching microfilm at the State Library of Victoria. As part of the launch of the introduction of the Hamilton Spectator to Trove Newspapers I was invited to submit an initial search. A no brainer. Both my great grandfather Samuel Baulch and my two greats grandfather William Learmonth were in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the release of Crown Land in Victoria.
But it was a line about Samuel’s brother Alfred that caught my eye. G Payne and Alf Baulch of the parish of Macarthur were absent from the Local Land Board sitting in Portland on 15 September 1870.
Hamilton-Spectator

The Hamilton Spectator, 17 June 1870, p4, c2.

Now there may be many reasons as to why these two men didn’t go to the Land Board sitting.
One may have been the difficulty of actually making the journey for Macarthur parish sits in between Hamilton and Portland and between Hamilton and Port Fairy (or Belfast). So they had some distance to travel. But the roads weren’t same as they are today.
For example, my father told me the story of how he and his father drove the truck to Heywood to pick up or deliver a load. They decided to go by the direct route – following what is now the Woolsthorpe – Heywood road. Travelling directly west from Dunmore. But there was no road and the track beyond the gate into the Dunmore forest to Ettrick was so bad that they travelled north to Myamyn and came east to Macarthur before travelling south home to Dunmore. A lot further but apparently quicker.
So the track through the stones may have been so bad that Alf Baulch was unable to attend the Land Board meeting in Portland. Certainly his older brother James paid his rent in Belfast from time to time rather than travel to Portland to do so.
Of course the first tracks which later became roads went from one run to another. For example, there was a track from Harton Hills south through Dunmore to the crossing place at Orford. But it was the track out of the Dunmore Pre-emptive Right (PR) to Macarthur that is the source of my next story. When the Heywood – Woolsthorpe road was eventually proclaimed it not only went through the forest but it also passed through the Dunmore PR. This meant that some old roads were closed and others opened. That some land became part of my grandfather’s holding and some returned to the Crown.

 Government-Road

Certificate of Title Vol 5118 Folio 441

Years later it was discovered that the areas had been miscalculated with a consequent effect on the rates levied. My father visited the Shire Office for half a day. Without any resolution as far as I can remember. There was another consequence too. By financing the power to the Dunmore Woolshed my grandfather helped bring power to the Macarthur Butter Factory. With the changes due to the making of the Woolsthorpe – Heywood road there is now a title plan to show “transmission of electricity” across what was the old road but which is now private land.

SEC-Line

Title Plan TP 551Y

So even just one line in a Trove search can remind me of family stories that may have so easily been forgotten!

Land – Laverton

At the corner of Landers Lane
At the corner of Landers Lane

My methodology for researching land ownership is not necessarily the only way to do land research.
Where and when we start with our research depends on the information we have or don’t have.
For our current home that is easy. We have the date. We have a place.
There is always an element of truth in family stories but often the truth is sufficiently different to make research difficult. Have I said that with enough feeling? For example, there is a story in our family that my great grandfather Samuel Baulch owned a hotel in Cavendish – some distance from his home in Kirkstall. A visit last year to the Hamilton History Centre confirmed Samuel was indeed a publican in Cavendish for a short while after the previous publican, his brother-in-law, had died. I found extra information recently when some of the Hamilton Spectator was added to Trove. Information I had missed when I visited the Spec office some thirty years ago!
If your family was here in Victoria very early on then another place to start may be at the Registrar of Titles General Law Library at Cherry Lane, Laverton. Susie Zada has written an excellent blog about using this resource. You will note, as I didn’t, that the indexes to the first series of vendor books are at the END of those books. Down the bottom.
Also, if you are going out to Laverton, think about taking the opportunity to look at aerial photographs. It may be worth looking at the University of Melbourne Map Collection first though.
I haven’t personally looked at aerial photographs. Because, until the hot rock geothermal pilot went in nearby, there was nothing to indicate that Landers’ block was hotly disputed over by the occupying squatter and the family of selectors when it was opened for selection under the 1869 Land Act.