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.

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.