About Me.

A Family Tree researcher for over 30 years and a blogger since 2010, I love to share what I find. This blog has opened up a new way to contact and keep in-touch with both family and friends. It mightn't always be genealogy related and you might not agree with my point of view but I want you to comment, ask questions and look upon this blog as 'friends having a chat'.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Samuel Magill; Have I found his birth and parents?????

After over thirty years researching family history, I think that I have finally cracked how we have Hunter in the Magill names.

Family lore had two different stories as to why our surname is Magill;

The first one is that Samuel (Hunter), murdered a man called Magill and took the Magill name and high-tailed it out of Ireland.

The second one is that he took his mother’s maiden name of Magill and left Ireland because of reasons unknown.

 While both of these were interesting, I took them with a grain of salt. Samuel wasn’t above telling ‘stories.’

In February I was in Salt Lake City, home to the BIGGEST FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY in the world and have looked into Samuel’s birth. We know that he was born in County Antrim between 1844-1849. This has been gleaned from family lore and his death certificate.

Well before I arrived in Salt Lake City, I found a birth of one Samuel Magill, son of a James Magill and Mary.

 I then looked for their marriage and found this.

James Magill m Mary Ann Hunter, 1850.   This sent tingles down my spine. Could this really be the answer?


I headed to B2 and the Irish records.  Microfilm number 101313 holds the key. 

The record had some words I couldn’t decipher but the important bits were there.

 Name                             Age         Condition          Occupation     Abode           Father

James Magill                   Full          Bachelor            Mechanic      Ballymoney    James Magill

Mary Ann Hunter          Full         Spinster                  ---------         Ballymoney    William Hunter
Parish of Belfast, County of Antrim.

Presbyterian by Licence.

Both signed.

Date 29 March 1850.

Okay, this give us the names, James, William, Mary Ann and Hunter.  So are they THE ONES?

It took some searching for Samuel’s birth but this is what I found.

Samuel Magill born 27 May 1849, Ballymoney Parish, Antrim, Ireland to James Magill and Mary.

I know what you are thinking they married 1850 and he was born 1849, really?


A note at the front of the Baptism Book reads;

Parish Church of Ballymoney.

Baptisms and Births 1807 -1898.


The spelling of a Name or Parish may vary quite markedly in different records. The name was often spelt as it sounded to the writer; therefore it is advisable to note carefully variations of spelling.

Some entries do not appear to be recorded in their correct order – many entries (single & multiple) appear in the register at much later dates.


I spoke to  several other credited genealogists. All agree that with the information I have and what I have found, I can make the creditable assumption that Samuel Magill born 1849 is the son of James and Mary Magill and probably OUR Samuel.

It is also noted that in the baptism register that there is only one surname give, meaning he was legitimate. I did see births where both parent’s names were listed and the word illegitimate was used.

 So do you think  I’ve found Samuel?


Bye for now,







Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Humble Hankie.

I know some of my friends think that I'm strange as I iron things and one of the things I iron is the humble hankie. This got me thinking about where the hankie came from and I did a search of Wikipedia, to find out.

A handkerchief /ˈhæŋkərɪf/ (also called a hanky or, historically, a handkercher) is a form of a kerchief, typically a hemmed square of thin fabric or paper which can be carried in the pocket or handbag, and which is intended for personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one's hands or face, or blowing one's nose. A handkerchief is also sometimes used as a purely decorative accessory in a suit pocket, it is then called a pocket square. It is also an important accessory in many folkdances in many regions like the Balkans and the Middle East; an example of a folkdance using handkerchiefs is Kalamatianos.


Before people used the word handkerchief, the word kerchief alone was common. This term came from two French words: couvrir, which means “to cover,” and chef, which means “head.”
In the times of ancient Greece and Rome, handkerchiefs were often used the way they are today. But in the Middle Ages, kerchiefs were usually used to cover the head.
Then in the 16th century, people in Europe began to carry kerchiefs in their pockets to wipe their forehead or their nose. To distinguish this kind of kerchief from the one used to cover the head, the word "hand" was added to "kerchief".
King Richard II of England, who reigned from 1377 to 1399, is widely believed to have invented the cloth handkerchief, as surviving documents written by his courtiers describe his use of square pieces of cloth to wipe his nose.[4] Certainly they were in existence by Shakespeare's time, and a handkerchief is an important plot device in his play Othello.

Reference https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handkerchief

I remember Mum tying a coin in the corner of my hankie, for the tuckshop at school. I found the knot hard to undo.

Men would wear a hankie, in their suit jacket pocket and the was a time when you could by 'fake' hankies, which were three triangles of fabric, stitched to a card, for this purpose.

I have lace-edged ones, ones with crochet edges, done by my Mum, ones from my childhood, that have special memories.

Do you use a hankie or tissues?

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Blindsided by Life

After a wonderful weekend away I came home to find my husband had been ill, all weekend, from there life has taken some interesting turns and things haven't been done. This blog is one of them.

Paul started spiking seriously high temperatures, 40+C, shakes etc. trips to the doctors, scans and blood tests ended up with his admittance to hospital, Tuesday, last week. The cause is a very nasty bacteria, Klebsiella pneuomoniae in his blood stream. No idea how he got it but it seems to be responding to the treatment.

Please keep us in your prayers as I feel it could be a long recovery.

Bye for now,

Monday, 21 August 2017

A GoONS Weekend. Part Two.

Woken, again by the laughter of kookaburras, I looked out the window to see that the river was shrouded in a soft mist, making sunrise softer.

After such a beautiful start to the day, we settled into the downstairs lounge for Helen Smith's talk about FindMyPast and how to access their record sets. Again this is a site I subscribe to and Helen explained some very useful things, that I didn't know about.
Then Michelle Patient gave a wonderful talk on DNA, condensing a two day talk into about 21/2 hours and she gave us a link to a handout. While my head was spinning, with the complexity of how DNA works, Michelle's talk did make it easier to understand and I'm going to take a closer look at my results.
Michelle recommended Blaine T Bettinger's book, The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, (on my to read pile). I got my copy from SAG but you can get it from Amazon in both book and Kindle forms. The book has three sections, Getting Started, Selecting a Test and Analysing and Applying Test Results.  I am looking forward to reading mine.
This took us to lunch, with a quick break to grab a coffee at morning tea.
Carol Baxter, www.carolbaxter.com  was next and she spoke about the difficulty we sometime have in finding the correct surname and gave examples of how letters can be mis-read and that gives a totally different name.
This is Carol's book and it is a really useful tool to have, when trying to find that elusive ancestor.
The day wrapped up with a group photo and lots of hugs. I had a better drive home than there, so that was good. It was a really great weekend and I know that I learnt heaps that I now have to try and apply not just to my study but my research in general.
Think about joining the  Guild of One-Name Studies or at least look at their website, it is very useful.
Bye for now,

A GoONS Weekend. Part One.

The Guild held its Surname Retreat at Juniors on Hawkesbury, Lower Portland, NSW, this past weekend and it was great. I'm relatively new to the guild and wasn't sure that this was for me. Wrong! Everyone was welcoming and I learnt heaps. Have a look at their website www.one-name.org

Friday in Sydney was windy, I'm talking about 100km+ winds in some areas, plane flights cancelled or delayed and the airport closed for a time, so it was windy. I don't like driving in wind, especially to somewhere new but of I set. Now Lower Portland is near Windsor, approximately 90mins from my place. Lower Portland is approximately 30mins from Windsor, not a short drive. I was fine until I got to the turn off and from there was frightened. A narrow, windy road, strong winds and then the road turned to gravel, not a good mix but I made it.

                                                                    Our view.

Friday's talk was from Paul Featherstone, in England and he took us on a tour of the website. I found this interesting as I am still discovering things on the site and it helped to know what they were. Some free time followed and there were lots of interesting discussions going on. This happened all of the weekend, through all of our meals and breaks, everyone was included and I found it very informative.

Woken, early by the laughter of kookaburras, I got up to film sunrise. Firstly from the room we were using for the conference, then from outside. Beautiful was the only way to describe it and for those of you, who read this regularly, you know I love sunrise.
My alarm clock! Well one of them.

Goodnight moon.

Just a hit of light.

                                                            We have sunrise!

Saturday was a full day but with the talks well spaced and plenty of time for questions, it was great. Martyn  Killion from NSW State Archives https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/ was first and he spoke on what the archives hold, how we can access them and interesting record sets. I use the site, frequently but still learnt something new, from Martyn's talk.

Heather Garnsey from the Society of Australian Genealogists,  https://www.sag.org.au/was next and she spoke on how to locate records, documents etc. in the SAG library and MIDAS collections. I should do this for my studies. I have heard Heather speak, three times, this week and have come away with something new each time.

After lunch, Jason Reeve from Ancestry spoke on how to use Ancestry, to make our searching better. I have a subscription and often get frustrated with how many search results I get, Jason explained how to search smarter, something I will try.

We then had an open forum where we talked about our study, introduced ourselves and asked questions and received advice. Some members have an amazing amount of information and I am admire them.

A decision was made to move the Skype session, down stairs and use the TV as a screen, this worked well and we ended up staying downstairs for the rest of the time.

Dr Maurice Gleeson spoke on Y-DNA and how to use it in our studies. He also explained about matches and different studies. I found it interesting, as did many others and this lead to a re-arrangement of the Sunday talks.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Researching Abroad, Day Two

Today it was all about Scottish, Irish and a bit of English records, wonderfully presented by Chris Paton. Chris is a professional genealogists, author, international speaker and a good bloke. Born in Northern Ireland, he now lives in Scotland.
Chris, busy writing.

Chris and I.

                                                    Chris, in presenter mode.
Chris presented four fantastic talks, starting with A beginner's guide to British and Irish genealogy. Now I don't class myself as a beginner but it is always great to revisit things and have them refreshed in your memory. You might also learn something new, I know I did. Chris gave an overview of important dates and while I had read about them, hearing them explained, made it gel.

Discover Scottish Church records was next and I feel that I'm finally getting an understanding of what happened in Scotland and why there mightn't be any records.

His next two talks were about Irish records, one dealing with online records, good for me as I don't see atrip to Ireland happening, soon. The next one was on land records and again, whilst I had read about the different divisions, having it explained made it sink in.

Heather from SAG, gave an overview of what we can find in their collections and how to access them.

Eric Kopittke presented the My Heritage talk, as Rosemary had a sore throat.

Living DNA had a short video on how they do their DNA tests, great as I am waiting on my results.

Dinner ended the day and it was good to sit and chat. Thank you to Alan Phillips, from Unlock The Past and Gould Genealogy for organising the two days.

Kay, from Teapot Genealogy.

The Gould Genealogy stall.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Researching Abroad. Day One

Today was day one of the Unlock The Past, sponsored genealogy feast.
Part of the audience.

Today was German research, with Dirk Weissleder presenting four informative talks. I have German ancestors and the information Dirk gave, will help me go further with my research. Giving us the German words for the different records will be very useful.

Dirk is the President of the Federation of Family Associations. He is also a genealogy consultant and national chairman of the Deutsche Arbeisgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbande  www.dagv.org  This society is the umbrella organisation for genealogy and heraldry for Germany.

Kerry Farmer gave a great talk on DNA. I have heard Kerry give similar talks but today it started to sink in. While I don't know how many connections I will find, I'm am going to try another company and compare my results and maybe make a connection.

Rosemary Kopittke gave a presentation about My Heritage. I haven't look at this site but it sounds interesting.

It was good to catch up with friends and browse the stalls. I added to my collection of books.

Momento  photo books. They are stunning.

Sylvia from Families In British India Society.

Heather from SAG. Heather also presented a talk on what the society holds for European research.

The view from the window was of Old Government House, in Parramatta Park.

It was a wonderful day and I'll do it all again, tomorrow, when Chris Paton talks about Scottish and Irish research.

Bye for now,