Welcome to Lilian's Tree a place to read about what I've been doing. A place where I'll ask for help with tricky questions. A place to connect with friends, to share ideas and to have fun

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Brick Wall Has Fallen! (no not a real one but a family tree one)

For those Genealogists, reading this, you will know the excitement of having a brick wall finally fall and the other questions that this event brings.

Nearly 30 years ago I started researching my family tree. Things were very different then, microfiche, microfilm, waiting for weeks for certificates or replies letters and endless questions waiting for answers.

I knew my Mum's Dad, Grand pop, and with a bit of detective  work was able to find his birth and then his parents marriage, both in Victoria and his brother's birth, here in New South Wales. Mum's birth and her parent's marriage date were known, good, things were falling into place. Now all I had to do was find the deaths of Arthur and Maryanne Galbraith. How hard could that be there aren't that many Galbraith's on the microfiche, I should have this 'done' in a couple of weeks!  1560 weeks latter and I finally have the answers for both Arthur and Maryanne!

Arthur Galbraith was born in Ayr, Scotland to Samuel Galbraith and Margaret Kidstone Nicol, married in Victoria to Maryanne Grant, had one son, Arthur in Victoria and then their second son, William in Sydney. All those dots fell neatly into place. I was able to find, over the years, marriages for both of their sons, deaths of both of the sons but what happened to Arthur and Maryanne after 1894 was a mystery!

Over the years I would take them out, dust them off and go over all the information and look for new details and then they would go back to their spots and rest up. Questioning my Mum and her sisters about their Ganddad gave me two answers and another mystery. As to their Gandmother, they knew nothing.

Family stories had Arthur Snr dying, while looking for cowrie shells, in the Red Sea OR dying at sea and being buried in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Ceylon). How was one supposed to find him? Maryann faired no better, with no one knowing anything about her, nor having meet her.

This year I picked them to be the ones I found and boy did I. Searching through TROVE I found a Return Thanks notice for a May Galbraith, in Stockton, loving mother of Arthur and William. Bingo, I had her. More searching and there was her Death notice, with her burial at Waverly Cemetery, now time to order the death certificate and Williams birth certificate. Why his birth you ask? Well what if Arthur was deceased at William's time of birth? They duly arrived and more questions arose. What was Maryanne doing in the Hospital for the Insane, Stockton and why had she been transferred from Calan Park? Now to see if there were any medical records to access. Yes and after jumping through hoops, waiting weeks I had the scant copies of them and found that she had been in hospital nearly three years before she died and that she was a widow. Good this matches her death certificate. William's birth certificate yielded no surprises, Arthur Snr was alive when William was born.

Now if William was born in 1893 and Maryanne was a widow, when she died in 1912, I had a time frame to look for Arthur's death. Searching the Victorian BDM's, NSW BDM's, Family Search, Ancestry and Find My Past yielded NOTHING. Darn! Okay, lets try Scotland's People and bingo! There were the deaths of Samuel and Margaret Galbraith. Searching more I found Samuel's will and probate, interesting, everything went to Margaret and then to Arthur. Well since Margaret died in 1893, lets look for Arthur's death after that. What's this? A death of an Arthur Galbraith in 1894, well if he had to go back to sort out the estate, that is the right time frame, but what was it doing in the Marine Deaths section?

After weeks of waiting, Allan Murrin rang to say that they had the certificate and would scan me a copy and post out the original. Wednesday and there was the proof that at least one of the family stories was correct, Arthur did die at sea and is buried in Colombo. Now having the ship's name I was able to locate shipping records but am still trying to work out if he was going to Scotland or coming home to Sydney. More searching needed there.

Weeks ago I found a probate packet listed on the NSW Archives website, yesterday I was able to find a copy on Find My Past and it is MY Arthur. I ordered the item from the Archives, yesterday and it will be January before it arrives.

The internet has opened up so much for us to search and with obtaining the documents I have been able to prove that they are my family and solved the mystery of their deaths and found more questions to answer. Well those ones can wait a few more weeks, after all it has only taken 30 years to answer the first two questions!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Discovering ANZAC's Site

I spent some time with my sister today, looking at the Discovering ANZAC's site, discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/

We knew the spelling of the surname but couldn't find him.  We had is discharge paper, so that helped. Here is a small tip, I entered his first name and his number and we found him. The surname was miss spelled, it an a not an e, for the second last letter. So if you aren't having any luck try any variation you can think off.

It is a good site to search through.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A reflection

It has been awhile since I last wrote and nothing really interesting has happened. The house is finished, I'm still studying and our grandson had a sleepover. Pretty ordinary stuff. Then this week, sadness touched all our lives, sudden unexpected loss.

I never meet Phillip Joel Hughes, never saw him play other than on TV but his death has caused me to reflect on how short life can be. Yesterday I listened to the 3.00pm news, Phillip was still critical, I said a prayer for him and turned the radio off. At 4.15pm I logged onto Facebook and my niece had updated her status, to RIP Phillip Hughes 1988-2014 and I grieved.

I can't imagine the loss his parents, brother and sister are feeling, my heart goes out to them. I will keep them in my prayers. To see our cricketers in tears, over this sudden accident has given the country a chance to see that they are 'real' and suffer the same grief.

My thoughts then turned to another young man, only 22, Sean Abbott. I want to hug him and reassure him that it was just that a very tragic accident. How Sean copes with this and if he plays cricket again, is something that we will have to wait for. This young man needs our support too. I for one would love to see him continue in the game, something I think Phillip would have encouraged.

I then thought about my own family, now spread over two states. I wanted to gather them close and tell them how much I love and cherish them but families move, children grow up and this Mum and Grandma can only keep them close by praying for them. I also am thankful for Skype.

I know that God will watch over my family and keep them safe and for that I am thankful. I will still worry, what parent doesn't but life is meant to be lived, enjoyed and I for one won't stop them.

Love and God Bless,

Monday, November 3, 2014

What a Weekend!


I am a member of the Society of Australian Genealogists, (SAG) and this past weekend they held their annual "Lost In" weekend. Held every year, it  alternates between a country town, like Goulburn and the Dixon Room, State Library of NSW.

This weekend was "'Lost In' All Your Stuff" and we had a full program. Saturday started with the air-conditioning not fully working and we found ourselves using our notes to fan us. It did get fixed and it made the rest of the day more comfortable.

We had talks on topics as varied as what happens to your "stuff", when you pass from Christina Nicola, Senior Legal Officer Genealogy NSW Trustee and Guardian, to 'Beyond Your Lifetime', with the focus on who to pass your information onto.

Copyright was discussed with Nathan Webster, Legal Officer, Australian Copyright Council, giving a very interesting talk, complete with a monkey selfie!  Look at the Australian Copyright Council's website for lots of useful information sheets, www.copyright.org.au

Kay Soderlund  from Preservation Australia showed us way we can preserve our precious document and artefacts. Having her Kay speak before, this reinforced what I had learnt, that we need to make sure that we treat old documents with care. It was interesting to here Kay say that white gloves are out, as you can pass sweat through the cotton and that blue nitril gloves are best. The websites are
www.preservationaustralia.com.au and www.conservationresources.com.au

Talks on Solving Your Photo Dilemma by Jonathan Auld, from Auld Genealogy and Capturing the Memories by Sally Forsstrom, Dubbo and District Family History Society, were also part of Saturday's talks.

Jonathan, http://auldgenealogy.blogspot.com.au spoke on how to scan and save photos and documents.

Sally spoke on the importance of recording oral family history. Something we all seem to put off for another day.

Sunday dawned cooler, after a vicious storm rushed through Sydney on Saturday afternoon and we settled in for another day of interesting talks.

Ben Mercer from Ancestry.com.au gave an interesting talk about what new records Ancestry has just uploaded. Look at Recently Added and Update Collections to see what is new. Ben then took questions from the group and was hit with such things as "Who owns what is put up, ie family trees?" The reply was the person who loads, owns. He also recommends reading the terms and conditions and contacting Member Services if you have any issues

Alison, from the SAG Writing Group, to which I belong, gave a wonderful talk on Getting Into Print. Alison has a book due out this week, so was well able to speak on the many ways to go about printing your book.

Carole Riley, from SAG, spoke on the different types of technology we can use. Everything from scanners to the cloud was covered. My head was spinning with technology overload.

Ralph Hawkins, Alison Wolf and Martyn Killion finished the weekend with how we can pass our "stuff" and, be it to SAG or to other family members. The theme was make sure your family know, NOW, what you want done with the documents, etc, that you have collected. Put it in your will, tell your family and leave a letter, so that people know what had to be done.

Another interesting point that came up several times was BACKING UP. Something we all need to do but how many do, do it?

This is what was recommended, the 3, 2, 1 method
3 copies of your data
2 different types of media
1 stored offsite

Hope your weekend was great,

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Garden of Remembrance, Rookwood

I think that the Garden of Remembrance at Rookwood is a hidden gem. Why?, because it honours those who have died since the end of the conflict they served in. The veteran's death has to be accepted as being caused by war service.  It is run by the Office Of Australian War Graves, part of the Department of Veteran's Affairs.

While it looks like a crematorium wall, there are only plaques, not ashes there. There is an office that is open Monday to Friday to help in finding the correct wall and panel . On the weekend there are books that list the veteran's name, service number and date of death and they show the wall and panel numbers.

Below are some of the photos I took.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Monday of a long weekend, at least for some of us!  My 'to do' list is getting shorter, with some things like reading and knitting on going. I started the list very early on Saturday morning as I wasn't well, long weekend and I took ill, not happy :( .  I picked things that didn't require much effort on my part.

I did put a large collection of old photos into a scrapbook album and my printer takes 30cm x 30cm paper, so I did the labels at the same time. Trying to finish printing and the doing an album of our Singapore photos, from last year. Can't rush these things.

I have done some family research but not much. I'm using up a subscription to  RootsIreland.org  I didn't find much regarding my Abberton side, will now try the Magill side.

The Bankstown Family History Group as it's meeting on Tuesday 7th so I organised things for that as well.

I've started an new subject in my studies, today, Irish: Land Administration Records, it should be interesting.

I watched the football grand final, last night and my Bunnies won! Very happy about that as the last grand final we won was 43 years ago!

Bye for now,

Friday, October 3, 2014

Something free this weekend

A long weekend, what better way to spend it than researching family.

Here is the link to show what databases are free to look at this weekend (in the card catalogue) - http://search.ancestry.com.au/search/grouplist.aspx?group=occupations2014#databases