23 February 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 9 - Close to Home

Week 9 of the #52Ancestors challenge already? How can it be that I am already 1/6th of the way through the year? (Yes, I know that 9 isn't 1/6th of 52, but 2 months IS 1/6th of a year)

The challenge set for this week is

Week 9 - Close to Home. Which ancestor is the closest to where you live? Who has a story that hits "close to home"?
My focus this week is on a story which is a "There but for the grace of God go I" one. My ancestor this week is Gertrude Agnes Beak 1909 - 1972 my great aunt (sister-in-law of my grandmother). Aunty Gert, for much of her life lived in Sydney, Australia in suburbs less than an hour from where I live today (so also physically Close to Home)
Aunty Gert was born in Lambeth, London at the General Lying In Hospital York Road London. Her mother, Minnie, was a Mother's Help (domestic). There is no father listed on her birth certificate.

Aunty Gert at a Christening in 1968
I'm not sure what happened to Minnie, but on the 1911 census Gert (surname incorrectly spelt Beck) is a "boarder" living with Anna Coe, a shopkeeper, Anna's daughter and 2 other "boarders". It seems that Gert had, by the age of 2, become a Barnardos Girl.
Gert came to Australia as part of the 2nd group of Barnados Girls in 1924. She sailed on the SS Euripides leaving London on January 4th. Girls were sent to Australia at this time on the understanding that they had to serve as domestics for at least two years

Passenger Lists Leaving UK from www.findmypast.co.uk which they sourced from the UK National Archives

Photo courtesy of Cliff Remmer www.theremmers.com Used with permission

Photo courtesy of Cliff Remmer www.theremmers.com - Used with permission.

This last photo states that the group of girls went to Buckingham Palace to be farewelled - I've written to Buckingham Palace to see if they have any details of the visit - such as who was present, and more especially to see if they were farewelled by King George V himself.

I haven't yet been able to access the records of what Aunty Gert did on her arrival and who she worked for. I know that mystery would be solved if I was allowed to look into her Barnardos file here in Australia or purchase a copy of her file from Barnardos in the UK (apparently reports were sent back on a quarterly basis), but as I am not Gert or her next of kin, these records would normally be closed to me.

However.... I spoke to Aunty Gert's son recently (Feb 19, 2015) and he has agreed to provide me with the documentation and permission that will grant me access to the records - in just a few weeks I should have a lot more information to add to Aunty Gert's file!

Anyway, we meet Gert again in the NSW State Electoral Rolls - certain years are online on the Ancestry website. She is sometimes listed as Beak and sometimes as Beake. From 1930 until 1943 she is found in 3 different places in the Sydney suburb of Drummoyne and each record lists her occupation as "Home Duties". I am sure though, that the Home Duites Gert was providing were for employers nearby. e.g. Ida Isabel Backhouse is listed at the same address as Gert also with an occupation of Home Duties across all the same years.

One of the places Gert lived, from 1935 - 1937, was Flat 8, Drummoyne House, Wrights Rd, Drummoyne. Here is an article about Drummoyne House and its owners.

Gert married my Great Uncle Andy in 1944. Uncle Andy was a Hairdresser - following in the steps of his father Nicholas, whom I wrote about in week 4 of this challenge and they soon after moved from Drummoyne to Glebe where Andy had a hairdressing shop on St John's Rd. (Andy and Gert's son also became a hairdresser)

Some time between 1954 and 1958 they moved to Woy Woy - which then was a very rural town on the central coast of NSW. Woy Woy's claim to fame is that the comedian Spike Milligan was a regular visitor.

I remember visiting Uncle Andy and Aunty Gert (and also Andy's brothers Jim and Ted who lived with them for many years). Their house was on the banks of Brisbane Waters and had a wonderful view. I loved stomping up and down the jetty and was fascinated by the tidal flow of the water. They had what seemed to me to be a very big plot of land and grew all sorts of vegetables. They also kept geese - which terrified and terrorised my sister. I was always thrilled to be allowed to play Gert and Andy's pianola, but always horrified to have to use the outhouse (the memory of the smell lives on over 40 years later)

Uncles Andy and Ted in their garden

2 February 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 8 - Good Deeds

This is my eighth post in the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge set by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small.
This week's challenge:Week 8 (Feb 19-25) - Good Deeds. Does this mean a generous ancestor or one you found through land records? You decide.
I'm not aware of any Altruistic Ancestors - none of them had any money to give away, though one cousin did start to train to be a Nun and I was a missionary. Neither of us are ancestors though, so those are stories for the next generation to write.
Also, as far as I'm aware, it is mostly recent generations that started to own property, so no historic land records to research.
But Scotland does have Valuation Records and one ancestor is recorded as living at the same property (as a Tenant Occupier) across many years, so this week my focus is on William Howie Dempsey, my great grandfather's brother.
William is yet another of my many ancestors who served in the military - but, as you will see, he had more service than most, so let's call that a Brave Deed.
Born in 1869 he is the son of Thomas Dempsey and Mary Howie. Thomas died in 1878 and Mary in 1880, so by age 11 William is an orphan. In the 1881 census he has 2 siblings still living of the 7 he had: Mary, aged 20, who is a Domestic Servant and Thomas, aged 17, a Coal Carter/servant. William is not living with either of them. There is a William Dempsie (note spelling) aged 11 listed as a boarder living with a family in Campsie Stirlingshire, who was born in Glasgow - and this may well be "my" William, but there is no way to tell.
William firsts enlists in the Military in 1886 at age 17 and serves for nearly 8 years. He then becomes a Shipyard Labourer. His discharge papers have him going to the Reserves
In 1895 he has a daughter, Alice, with Helen/Ellen Harvey who he later marries. He has at least 6 other children with Helen. The last recorded child, Mary, was born in 1911 when William was 42.
William is called upon to serve in the Reserves for 12 months from 1900 - 1901 and then re-enlists in 1902 when he serves until 1905.
Immediately after this 3rd discharge, he enlists again and stays until 1907. He goes to both Halifax and India in this service period.
In 1914, at age 45, he enlists for a 5th time and serves until 1917. During this time he apparently serves as part of the British Salonika Force in Greece. He was wounded in action and at age 48 eventually discharged as being unfit for service.
Those are some Brave Deeds.
Now on to those other deeds - the land ones. Not as lengthy a story here, but an unusual one for most of my Scottish ancestors who seemed to move at the drop of a hat (though mostly in the same area and often in the same street). William and Helen lived at 129 Abercromby Street Glasgow from at least 1911 until 1951 (Helen being there the last 8 years as a widow after William's death).
That's 40 years in the same place! The Dempsey's house was owned by the North British Railway Company (later the London & North Eastern Railway Company). In 1915 the rent was £8 a year. By 1920 it had increased to £10 5s and in 1925 £11 15s.
Unfortunately the house is no longer there and has been replaced with part of the Bridgeton Health Centre - per this Google Maps image.

1 February 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 7 - Love

With Valentines Day coming up, the week 7 theme of the 52 Ancestors challenge is Love:
Week 7 - Love. Which ancestor do you love to research? Which ancestor do you feel especially close to? Which ancestor seemed to have a lot of love?

I have 2 families on my tree whose names I love: the McLuckies and the Winlos. In a previous blog I mentioned how protective I am of "my" McLuckies, so that's who I will feature for this challenge - I'll save the Winlos for later. 

Hey Jim - if you're reading this, you still haven't taken "my" McLuckies off your tree even though they don't belong there!

Don’t you just love the name McLuckie? Every time I say it, it makes me smile.

My 1st encounter with the McLuckies is with my Great-Great Grandmother Rosana McLuckie. Listed on the birth records for my Great Grandmother Rosanna Hunter. (Rosana married Alexander Hunter in 1858.

Rosana McLuckie was born about 1840. I haven't been able to find a baptism record for her, so she is first recorded on the census of 1841.

Rosana is the 3rd of 4 children I have found for John McLuckie with his 2nd wife Margaret Ure. She also had an older 1/2 sister from the marriage of her father to Margaret Dick.

John was the first of 4 children of George McLuckie and Mary Malcolm. George was one of the 9 children that William McLuckie and Jean McLuckie had (yes, that is her real last name - her father was also a William McLuckie).

William and Jean were married in 1746 in Drymen, Stirlingshire Scotland and they are about as far as I have been able to go back so far.

Rosana had a sister called Margaret and two brothers - George and James. George is the only one of the 4 siblings I can find a baptism record for and it's a strange one. George was born in 1838 but he isn't baptised until 1846. I don't know what happened in the 7 years in between or why Margaret, Rosana or James have no baptism records. That's a mystery for another day - perhaps when I am in Scotland at the end of this year.

Anyway, George was baptised by Reverend Leitch. Occasionally I type in the minister's name to see if anything comes up - and this time I was "lucky" on my McLuckies. Reverend Leitch had a book written about him "An Earnest Pastorate: Memorials of the Rev Alexander Leitch MA minister of the south church Stirling""An Earnest Pastorate: Memorials of the Reverend Leitch MA minister of the south church Stirling" by Rev Norman L Walker in 1871. The book says "He wore out his life in quiet work, beneath his Master's eye". Reverend Leitch was a minister in Stirling from 1832 until 1868, firstly with the Church of Scotland and then as a minister of the Free Church of Scotland from 1843.

Many of you will have posted your family trees on one or more of the various online sites available out there "in the cloud" and received hints or matches to other family trees. One such match for me was to George McLuckie, Rosana's brother. I was matched to a gentleman by the name of Douglas S..... And this is the sort of stuff that makes detectives out of genealogists. Douglas is my great grandmother's aunt's daughter-in-law's grandson. 

Phew what a mouthful that is!

So here's the connection. George married Marion Neilson (she's my great grandmother's aunt). After George died, Marion married Henry Scully. They had a number of children one of whom was Leslie Scully. Leslie's 2nd wife was Janet Hodge Farman (the aunt's daughter-in-law). Janet married Matthew Campbell after Leslie died and they had a daughter named Elizabeth Neilson Campbell. Elizabeth's son is Douglas S.... (the grandson of the aunt's daughter-in-law - though of course technically not related to the McLuckies at all).

When I was in Scotland in 2010 I was able to meet Douglas S.... and we had a lovely lunch together in Edinburgh.

One last story about the McLuckies for his post. Tonight as I was researching I decided to put Rosana McLuckie’s name into the search function at www.FamilySearch.org – and I got an unexpected result – a daughter for Rosana and Alexander I hadn’t “met” before: Margaret Hunter born just 4 months after Rosana and Alexander married and my new oldest child for that family (which I confirmed by looking at the "certificates" avail able on the Scotland's People website)

So now a new great great aunt to research. I just love the McLuckies!