Genealogy Do Over – Week 2

In my interviews for Genealogy Do Over Week 2 I returned to when I started collecting my family stories.  I went back to my first official family history visit which, coincidentally, involved going back to my first home, Squattleseamere. For my second interview I went back to the time of big shearing teams at Dunmore. I looked again at the transcript of an interview about shearing at the Dunmore shed when the shed was run by my Grandpa Baulch.

In setting my research goals I have tried to select some goals which should be achievable in the time of the Do Over while, at the same time, giving me time to test my new research process as set out in my Genealogy Golden Rules.

CONDUCTING SELF INTERVIEW

For my self interview I reflected upon my first family interview. This interview marks the time when I changed from just listening and absorbing family stories to consciously setting out to answer the question I am always asked but could rarely answer before this visit – You’re a Baulch are you?

CONDUCTING FAMILY INTERVIEW

As a child I absorbed the atmosphere in the Dunmore shed at shearing time and listened, engrossed, to the many stories Grandpa Baulch told me about the men who shore there. This interview is not with my grandfather but with one of the shearers, Bill Meade. It was to be about Grandpa in the Dunmore shed. Or that is what I thought on my way to Port Fairy for an afternoon’s chat.

FAMILY GROUP SHEETS

I rarely use Family Group Sheets. Rather I use Legacy’s Family Group Report in the List Style format. Why I do so means I need to add another rule to my Genealogy Golden Rules:

Keep it simple. I have ONE place, my Legacy database, which contains ALL the information I have gathered about my family.

SETTING RESEARCH GOALS

In setting my research goals I have looked at what reports and/or output I hope to produce by the completion of the Genealogy Do Over, how I plan to go about this and the limitations that might prevent me achieving my research goals. Consequently, I have tried to keep my goals simple and achievable within the duration of the Do Over.

My focus on output will be confined to:

  • Reviewing a Family Group Report for my three greats grandfather Private George Watts (1792-1845).
  • Reviewing my Family Group Report for my four greats grandfather John Bourke Ryan Esquire (1760 – 1835).
  • Creating a timeline for Squattleseamere Pastoral Run.
  • Substantiating my connection to John Bourke Ryan and George Watts. After all, this is a genealogical Do Over.
  • Creating some charts as I go.
  • Maintaining a weekly blog for at least the duration of the Genealogy Do Over.

My research process, or how I am I going to achieve my research goals, is as follows:

  • I shall start each piece of research by creating a To-Do Item.
  • The completed To-Do Item will then become part of my Research Log.
  • To comply with my Golden Rule of Sources First Sources will be attached to my To-Do Item in the first instance.
  • I shall set aside some time each day in order to achieve my research goals.

Of course, because family history is my hobby there are many things that may prevent me from achieving my research goals. These are my boundary fences:

  • My research should be confined to producing the output given above. In particular my research goals will set aside for the duration of the Do Over for those Individuals who sparkle and say come hither. This applies in particular to two of my great grandfathers, Samuel Baulch and J R Learmonth.
  • I have a time limit. I plan to have completed my research by Congress 2015 (to be held in Canberra 26-30 March). This ties in quite nicely with the duration of the Do Over.
  • I shall remain involved and committed to my genealogical and computer groups.
  • I shall take time out. Often.

Self Interview – a Baulch are you?

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In 1969 Victor Hallett gave me his Baulch family tree papers. Fifteen years earlier he had started gathering information needed to build the family tree for Francis and Enoch Baulch. Making sense of all the information he had gathered had become just too difficult for him. No wonder. Victor Hallett’s mother and my Grandpa Baulch were two of more than 180 of Francis Baulch’s grandchildren and while Enoch Baulch had several grandchildren their number was not nearly as many as Francis Baulch’s grandchildren.
Many of Francis and Enoch’s descendants lived, as I did, not far from Kirkstall where both

Francis and Enoch lived in later life. So it is any wonder that I was often asked “You’re a Baulch are you?” Then there generally there is a pause. “Related to the ones at Mount Koroite?” or “The school bus driver’s mother is a Baulch” or something similar.

Indeed, my very first family history visit was taken with my father to Norman Broadwood. Both men had farmed on blocks which were part of the Squattleseamere Closer Settlement Estate. Norman had his father William Broadwood’s block and when I was a small child my father had Jeremiah Gleeson’s block. Jeremiah had previously worked at Dunmore (but I think this refers to the Parish of Dunmore – not my father’s childhood home).

Norman’s grandmother was Mary Ann Baulch. What’s more she had been born at sea. Her parents, Norman said, had emigrated because Mary Ann’s father, Enoch, only received 2/6 a week wages when he could find work in Somerset.

Here were some clues about why and when Enoch decided to emigrate. These clues helped me research the story further.

Since that visit other information I have gathered has substantiated and enriched the stories Norman Broadwood told us at my very first family history visit to another family member.

Family Interview – Shearing at Dunmore

Dunmore Tally Board 1917
Dunmore Tally Board 1917

For a few short years as a child I was able to observe and absorb the romance, the noise of the machines and the hustle and bustle of the shed hands in a big shed. And, if I believed Grandpa Baulch, everyone at some stage shore at Dunmore.

So it was, some 20 years after my grandfather died, I went to Port Fairy to have an afternoon’s chat with Bill Meade. Bill had started picking up wool in the sheds in 1923. As it still did when I was a child, shearing started in the Riverina in July and the teams worked their way south until Christmas. Then the work was processing the potato and onion harvest until it was time to head north again the following July.

My interview with Bill nearly came fell apart right at the beginning. Bill said that he hadn’t worked in the Dunmore shed. That’s confirmed by the records I have for Bill Meade isn’t listed.  Rather, Bill said, he worked in the Alanvale shed for Art Baulch. This can’t have happened until at least the 1925 shearing season as both Art at Alanvale and Stan Baulch at Rose Park and, to a lesser extent, Frank Baulch all used the Dunmore shed before then. This meant around 20,000 sheep a year were shorn at Dunmore.

Nevertheless, it was a most interesting afternoon with many insights into the shearing conditions at the time. Also Bill was able to mention many who had worked in the Dunmore Shed.

He also talked about the gun shearers – of Arthur Turner from Ararat and George Young of Orford as two men who could shear 200 sheep a day without much trouble. And of course Bill Edwards. Someone had said that it was impossible to shear that 200 sheep a day. Bill Edwards is reported to have said “Oh I don’t know whether it would be impossible or not but you can see them shorn tomorrow”.

It is certainly true that Bill Edwards shore more than 200 sheep in the Dunmore shed for I have been able to identify the following as his top tallies in the shed:

  • 211 shearing from Pen 8 on 14 Nov 1919
  • 185 shearing from Pen 7 on 20 Nov 1923
  • 183 shearing from Pen 9 on 16 Nov 1922
  • 182 shearing from Pen 2 on 4 Nov 1924
  • 182 shearing from Pen 2 on 3 Nov 1924

However, I haven’t, as yet, been able to identify who was shearing from Pen 9 in 1917. Perhaps Bill Edwards as he was shearing at Dunmore that year. Perhaps not. These are the top tallies for that pen that year:

  • 200 on 21 Nov 1917
  • 198 on 5 Dec 1917
  • 192 on 20 Nov 1917
  • 187 on 19 Nov 1917
  • 184 on 4 Dec 1917

Bill Meade was a life time member of the Australian Workers Union (AWU). Which reminds me of the shearer’s strike on 25 Nov 1887 when my great grandfather Samuel Baulch was at Glengleeson. But that’s a story for another day.

And of course the sheep were held in the Woolly Paddock before going into the shed and counted out on their way to the Shorn Paddock afterwards.

Genealogy Do Over – Week 1

SETTING RESEARCH ASIDE
Research is the course of action I undertake in order to find and gather my family stories. Research is the process I use to find Sources from which I extract my family stories.
There have been ground shifting changes since I began researching my family stories.  Most notably I now use digital means for gathering and storing my source material in preference to pen and paper. Also, a lot of material is far more accessible now, particularly online, than when I began searching for family stories. Along the way I have often tweaked my research process as a consequence of my experience.

The Genealogy Do Over is an opportunity to stop and take stock. The Do Over is an opportunity to set aside my current research process. It’s an opportunity to blow away the dust that lurks in the corners of my current research process. The Do Over is an opportunity to rebuild a research process that will serve me well going forward.
Setting previous research aside does not mean casting aside all the results of my previous research. It doesn’t mean I abandon all my results. Setting previous research aside does mean, though, that I shall set aside previous research results until required as part of this Do Over.
Genealogical research is an iterative process. It just so happens that in this particular iteration of my research process I hope that I shall be more open and conscious to adopting significant changes.
PREPARING TO RESEARCH
I believe that preparing for a research task accounts for 50% or more of the time taken for the research task overall. So here are some of my thoughts about preparing to research.

  1. Searching for my family stories mustn’t take over the rest of my life. This is indeed a point I must consciously practice during the Genealogy Do Over.
  2. I am a morning person. Therefore any initial research conducted after 9.30 pm is really a waste as I shall just have to repeat it at a later stage. Another point I should practice over the next thirteen weeks.
  3. I should complete my current research task before commencing another.
  4. I shall leave my notebook at home on field trips to archives. Instead I shall use my android tablet loaded with Families complete with appropriately formulated To-Do Items and a clear pencil case containing a pencil for completing forms, a usb drive, my small camera and mobile phone. The clear pencil case is a requirement of the Public Record Office Victoria where I expect to be spending some time this year. This set up seems to meet requirements of other repositories I have visited.
  5. I shall consider how I can use my research, where appropriate, for other obligations such as for:
  • inclusion in presentations and in articles I write for the Victorian GUM newsletter and
  • creating examples of outputs from my Legacy Family Tree database for display at user group meetings and, in particular, at Victorian GUM’s stand at Congress 2015a late in March.

MY GENEALOGY RULES
Let me begin with two rules I shall continue to observe while conducting my genealogy:

  1. Enjoy searching for family stories. It has been my passion for most of my life. May my search for family stories continue to be a joy.
  2. Share my research and stories with others. Not only is this fair but it is also a delight (and a source of many more stories). Many, many more people than I’ll ever remember have shared their stories with us.

There are also three rules I am introducing in 2015:

  1. My Legacy database contains information I have gathered about my family over the years. That is, in 2015 I shall no longer regard my family database as a glorified card file but as a properly and appropriately structured database.
  2. Sources first. Immediately on finding some family information I shall capture that information into my family database by linking the Source to the relevant To-Do Item.
  3. Focus on output. After all, the very reason I search for family stories is to share them with others. Focusing on output also implies my research is an iterative process.
    “Begin at the beginning”, The King said very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop” (Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll).
    Rather than follow the King of Hearts advice to stop at the end I often go back to the beginning and repeat my research. Generally more than once.

 

Ships and Drays

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How’s school going? This was a question I was often asked as a child. I generally mumbled “alright” in reply. But I remember one time particularly – when Grandpa Learmonth asked me about school. I had a great deal of respect for him and he deserved a considered reply. So I asked him how was it that the Hamilton students could catch the morning train whereas the Warrnambool students had to catch the evening Warrnambool train – long after school had finished and every other student had left for home.

Yes he said. His ships had to tack all the way home to Portland against the sou-westerlies. Those same sou-westerlies blew him back but it could be days after the beginning of term before the Wimmera boys finally arrived back at school. There always seemed to be some problem with the drays that delayed them.

While this story mentions neither paddocks or land selections it does define loosely the fences or boundaries (Portland – Hamilton – Warrnambool) within which my Baulch and Learmonth ancestors held land and where many of my paddock stories originate.

Why join Genealogy Do Over

WHY have I joined Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do Over?
Most of us have a process for researching our family tree, a process for how we go about finding and gathering our family stories.
Technology resources have changed in ways quite unimaginable when many of us started our genealogical research. Consequently, our family stories are far more accessible than they have ever been.
Yet many of us have not taken the time to review our genealogical research process.
Thomas MacEntee encapsulates this quite well when he says
“I know a lot more about the “process” of genealogical research and I want to put it to use. I want to head out from the same starting point and see where the journey takes me this time.”
2015 is also the year that I am starting a Genealogy Do Over by implementing a new process for capturing information into my Legacy Family Tree database. During the Genealogy Do Over I shall implement and test a new process of adding Sources first to my family database. I have never been completely happy with my Legacy Family Tree database as a glorified card file. This is mostly because processing Sources came at the end of that process. Consequently, Sources have generally not made it into my family database.
So, during the Genealogy Do Over my desk and table will be clutter free. I shall apply my new process to just a very few Individuals in my family database. The rest I shall put aside for the time being.
The company along the way will be most welcome. Indeed, already some good ideas worth some serious consideration have been posted.
During the Genealogy Do Over I am implementing a major change to my family database – something akin to a major service on my car. One of those very big ones that only comes along once in a while between many minor services. This is not a once only Genealogy Do Over. I often make small changes to portion of my family database. I regard honing the WHAT I do as part of gathering and sharing my family stories or my research process as an iterative process.
Which is fortunate. I remember when one of our cats was “done over.” He came home very sore and lay in front of the open fire for days. We gradually removed the mud as it dried. I don’t think my family database could survive equivalent treatment. I shall merely be doing a major overhaul of my research process.