Genealogy Do Over Cycle 1

Thank You
Thank You
Thank You

It was serendipity.

Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do Over arrived in December 2014. Just when I had bedded down using Legacy Family Tree‘s To-Do Lists, my tablet, my camera and a USB drive instead of my trusty pen and notebook. When I was despondent. When all I seemed to have were insurmountable brick walls. Just when I was considering my projects for 2015.

Thank you Thomas MacEntee for addressing a gaping hole in my genealogical research practices. More than 6,000 Facebook members suggests I am not alone.

So are you considering doing the Genealogy Do Over in Cycle 2? I know that many of you who I spoke to at Congress 2015 were watching from the sidelines. Here are three suggestions:

  •  Just go for it. A job started is a job half finished. You don’t have to set aside the next thirteen weeks for the Genealogy Do Over. It is a matter of personal judgement whether time away is absolutely necessary for your peace of mind and well being or whether you are being distracted by some Bright Shiny Object.
  • Set your own pace. By the end of Week 4 my mind was in a whirl. This was exciting stuff. I needed time out to take stock (I had another time out at the end of Week 9).
  • The Genealogy Do Over doesn’t need to be completed in just the one 13 week block. In Cycle 2, now that I have the flavour of the Genealogy Do Over, I hope to tweak my new work practices and consolidate my new work practices. I set aside implementing any use of spreadsheets in Cycle 1 but in Cycle 2 I shall give more consideration to using some of Thomas’s spreadsheets – particularly for project management (I still employ the student mentality of doing all the project the night before the deadline date). I shall also look further at the role of social media in my genealogy research. The social media aspect totalled overwhelmed me in Cycle 1. And consideration of my Research Toolbox might creep into Cycle 2.

Thank you Thomas for identifying that my genealogical work practices should no longer be confined to remembering those stories spoken of whenever and wherever my family gathers. These days my work practices should focus on managing my time economically while maximising my chances of extracting family stories from the overabundance of information available in newspapers, books, archives and online. That is, I should be focusing not on the WHAT I find but on the HOW I go about finding my family stories. It is there at the beginning of the Genealogy Do Over:

“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.”

Now just in case you think applying a new set of work practices has brought all those brick walls tumbling down and all my family stories have been revealed let me assure you that this hasn’t been the case. Yes, when I set aside my previous results for my three greats grandfather George Watts and started over I found that accepting a death certificate I had previously rejected was far more relevant than the Census results I had been relying on for so many years. No wonder I had a brick wall! While I still know nothing about his wife I now have George’s Army life to pursue. I see lots of seemingly tedious searching ahead of me. But I have a plan. The possibility of understanding why George joined the Army and what life in his home town of Nottingham was like at the time the leaders in the Luddite rioters were tried and transported to Tasmania.

Just like searching in those pre computer days really.

My enthusiasm for genealogy research has returned.

Thank you Thomas.

Assisted Emigration

Here I am in Canberra for the 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry. For those of you also attending, particularly if you are users of Legacy Family Tree software, do stop at the VicGUM stand and say hello.

Here at the Congress I am particularly looking forward to Day 1, Session 1 Simon Fowler’s session Shovelling out paupers: researching assisted emigration in English archives.

I have a handful of ancestors who were able to come to the Australian colonies because of assistance received from the government (mostly) or privately (one or two). Each have their own stories but I view their journey mostly from the prevailing conditions in the colonies and their experiences once they got here. Not from the point of view of the government who made it possible.

The most notable emigrants were my two greats grandparents Francis Baulch and his wife Ann Bowles. They, with their families, emigrated as bounty migrants arriving in Tasmania in 1842. Francis came with his brothers Charles and Enoch Baulch. Also aboard was Charles Bartlett and his family. Francis Baulch and Charles Baulch were granted funds by the Pitney, Somerset churchwardens to help them prepare for emigration. It was the Tasmanian landowners who sent Henry Dowling to select suitable agricultural labourers. It was as agricultural labourers that they later found success around Tower Hill in south western Victoria – when the labour there left for the goldfields in the early 1850s.

It is a no brainer as to why Lazarus Watts left his employment as a young chimney sweep in Nottingham after his mother died in 1858. He came with his sister Lydia and his brother in law William Porter. Both men found work in the goldfields – William as a shoemaker and Lazarus as a sawyer.

Similarly, Thomas Wild would have found his trade of blacksmithing useful in the Victorian colonies. But less so his brother in law, and my two greats grandfather, Brian Abbey a weaver from Elland, Yorkshire. He initially found work as a colporteur.

Which leads to a question. What part did religion play in the emigration of these families? Was it mere coincidence that couples may have met as part of the Methodist Church or did the Methodist Church play a more significant part in the lives of these very poor people?

Enabling my ancestors wasn’t confined to government assistance at the time of emigration. Following the death of his father my great grandfather Charles Salter was sponsored as a pupil of Christ’s Hospital Blue Coat School. This subsequently led to his employment with Royal Insurance Co initially in England but after 1873 in Melbourne where he spent the rest of his working life still with Royal Insurance.

Charles Salter’s experience as a beneficiary of private philanthropy has me wondering about the means by which my two greats grandfather William Newman may have emigrated to Victoria to marry Ann Cathcart, an Eliza Caroline Irish orphan, in November 1852. At the time of the 1851 England Census William was a lodger at the New Model Lodging House in Westminster and his sister Emma was a pupil at the Grey Coat Hospital School nearby. Did he receive government assistance to emigrate or was he the recipient of some private emigration scheme that helped him, and his sister, following the death of their parents?

Even after all these years of doing family history research it seems that I have only looked at the tip of the iceberg. Understanding the circumstances from which my ancestors came also includes understanding how they were able to, or were encouraged to, take advantage of, in particular, government emigration schemes.

Let the Congress begin.

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 http://www.freereg.org.uk/). But have I searched those surrounding parishes not yet indexed on either FreeREG, FamilySearch or Somerset Online Parish Clerks (http://wsom-opc.org.uk/)? 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.

Genealogy Do Over and Legacy

Ancestors of Donald George Baulch

Thank you to those of you who asked how I envisage using Legacy’s To-Do Items as part of my Genealogy Do Over research log.

Here is my view of my April Article for VicGUM’s newsletter. The article was written in response to questions I have been asked about how I use Legacy’s To-Do List as my research log. For this month only my mailing list version of the article is given here with screenshots. Next month I shall revert to m

Legacy mailing list. As usual, a version with screen shots will be published in VicGUM’s newsletter.

In looking back on my Genealogy Do Over experience so far I have included some consideration of how I envisage using Legacy’s To-Do List for recording my research plan or goals as well as use Legacy’s To-Do List after the manner of Geoff Rasmussen in his book Legacy Family Tree Unlocked!

For some I hope it answers your questions. For others I hope that it encourages you to look at Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do Over.

y usual practice of publishing a text only version on the Aus-