Canberra Congress – Emigration

The gate by the milking shed was left open. So just for a few days my horizons have changed from looking at land selection records in South Western Victoria – mostly within the triangle Portland, Hamilton and Warrnambool for that is where my ancestors settled.
The vista and the beckoning horizons were set there right in the opening address – by the story woven and told by Dr Mathew Trinca of the National Museum. From the keeper of Phar Lap’s heart no less. The tone and his example has been set for the rest of the Congress.
I have found a couple of themes to follow when possible.
It certainly is time to revisit the emigration stories of my ancestors who came to the colonies like Brown’s cows starting with Robert Ralston’s emigration scout, his niece and my first cousin four times removed, Agnes McClymont in 1823 and finishing with the emigration of my great grandfather Charles Salter fifty years later.
As I listened to Simon Fowler and Roger Kershaw and the voice at the back of the lecture room, I see that there is no avoiding it as I have been for the past decade or so. The circumstances of leaving is not common across them all. They are peculiar to each emigration journey and each deserves to have their story told.
That is, in the flavour of Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do Over, I should set aside what I have done so far and start again. This time considering the factors that caused them to emigrate. Was it just for the sense of adventure? Were they driven out, as was William Lord of Kilmuckridge in County Wexford, by difficulties with their landlords? And I am sure that William Newman’s journey from Westminster is still out there to be found.
Kerry Farmer’s two presentations on DNA were absolutely first class. I have been looking for ways to describe simply the results of an mtDNA search I requested. The presentation of Day 1 was spot on. But then I got completely confused on yesterday. I think, Thomas MacEntee, that these two sessions in particular require to be itemised separately in my further education!
And it is fortunate that we have a four generations chart of Charles Baulch’s descendants. I can see it will be much consulted as more Baulch cousins undertake DNA testing The chart finishes at the end of autosomal DNA searches so will be a good confirming link into further Baulch connections. Well at least I hope so.
But the land selection records never go away. My first discussion yesterday wasn’t about my genealogy software tool, Legacy Family Tree but about land selection around Tarrington (just south of Hamilton). Sure, some of the answers lie in government land records. But one of the best ways to begin is with the local paper, the Hamilton Spectator. Won’t it be great when the Spectator will be finally up there on Trove?

Genealogy Do Over – DNA (1)

The results of my first foray into DNA testing arrived in time for consideration as part of GDO Week 10 DNA considerations. My first request was not for myself nor for my brother but for a cousin of my father’s as she is a direct maternal descendant of my two greats grandmother Lydia Watts.
I have over the past three weeks paused to reflect again on my Genealogy Do Over so far. I have come to the conclusion that until the Do Over I have been beguiled by the ease of access electronically to many sources. This has caused me to churn my research. To do the same searches over and over again. With the same results. I may not have brick walls at these places at all. I have been trapped into looking at the sources that are easy to access rather than those that are most likely to give me some results.
Way back in Week 1 of the Genealogy Do Over we were advised to set aside our genealogical research so far, to abandon our bad habits and start over. What good advice! My perceived brick walls may not be brick walls at all. I have been just too lazy to put together a research plan that, while it may involve some actual work by me, is more likely to yield my hoped for results.
I was particularly struck by this when I asked for a review of where I was at with my Ralston ancestors at the recent Glasgow and Strathclyde region library research day at the Genealogical Society of Victoria. All that is lacking is a little actual work on my part. Something that I would have done years ago before the advent of personal computers and online databases. I should be searching a little further afield than just at Ralston, Renfrewshire. Not churning through the Paisley registers again and again. The information contained therein is exactly the same as what was there last time I looked.
Sure, there is a lot of planning and there is some actual research to do. Sure most of the information may only be available in various repositories and not online. Yet isn’t this now I went about my family research before the 1990s?
Similarly, I have doubts about the Charles, son of Roger Baulch and Elizabeth Gaylard, who was baptised on 25 Jan 1767 in Muchelney, Somerset, being my ancestor for a Charles Baulch was buried just over a month later on 8 Mar 1767 at Muchelney (see But have I searched those surrounding parishes not yet indexed on either FreeREG, FamilySearch or Somerset Online Parish Clerks ( No. I just took fright at the number of parishes yet to be searched.
On the other hand at least I have started gathering information about John Bourke Ryan. So easy to search for as he always used his full name. I have found some rich archival material which I have transcribed. Nevertheless before I start churning my online research here I do need to stop and think about the information so far gathered. And how that all fits in with the economic and political climate at the time.
Which brings me to Mary McCade or McCord, the mother of Lydia and Lazarus Watts.
The 1841 and 1851 England Censuses indicate that Mary was born in Foreign Parts (that is, she wasn’t born in the British Isles) although, as I have found, that information isn’t necessarily correct.
The question now is – was Mary of British ethnicity or was she of the ethnic background of wherever she was born? Or someplace else for that matter.
Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to daughter. The test results I have just received yielded an mtDNA haplogroup of J1c9 – a classification that is confined to the United Kingdom. This haplogroup had been passed to my father’s grandmother, Eliza Ann Porter by her mother Lydia Watts. Lydia Watts would have received this haplogroup from her mother Mary McCade or McCord.
While Mary may have been born in foreign parts it is possible that she and perhaps her family returned to the United Kingdom and, as their children didn’t arrive until after George Watts was pensioned out of the British Army, it is also possible that George Watts and Mary McCade married, not in foreign parts, but in England.
Another brick wall for which I must stop churning and start creating a research plan that may actually yield some results.