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Saturday, May 20, 2017

(Up to) Five Faves Geneameme

Jill Ball at Geniaus has kicked off another geneameme – Five Faves.

To participate, just share a blog post “sharing details of five books written by others that you have found most useful in your geneactivities” and let Jill know about it.

The types of books that I find useful are the ones that give me ideas or provide essential reference material.

I found the first two easy to pick:

Family History Nuts and Bolts:
Problem-Solving through Family Reconstitution Techniques
by Andrew Todd, third edition

This little book was an instant favourite on my first reading. Don’t be put off if you think the title sounds advanced, or the subject matter dry. I would recommend it to genealogists with any level of experience.

The book is readable and provides practical methods for both tracking down elusive family members, and making sure you have it right. It’s helpful for projects as ambitious as a one-name or one-place study, or as simple as learning who your ancestor’s siblings were.

Writing Interesting Family Histories
by Carol Baxter

I’ve read a few how-to-write-your-genealogy books, and this is my favourite. Family history narratives (no matter how well structured and researched) can be dull. If you’re not one for a fictionalised account (for the record, I’m not), what can you do?

Carol’s book is choc full of ideas to enliven a family history narrative while keeping it factual.

Then it gets harder to choose. This post had several alternate endings until eventually I decided that I had spent enough time on it and simply wasn’t going to be able to make up my mind!

I will be reading other lists submitted with interest. I think my growing genealogy book shelf is about to expand even more.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Take a squiz at what I’m researching

Have you ever had the experience of being totally focused on a research task for one part of your tree – when suddenly another part of your tree robs your attention?!

Here I was, working away diligently at the task of cleaning up narrative sentences for my Bennett family. I was focused, I was determined. I was going to get the job done!


A cousin shared a book she had found with my Allsop descendants group on Facebook: Khaki Crims and Desperadoes.

It turns out that my 1st cousin three times removed, Charles Edward Allsop, was pals with the notorious gangster, Squizzy Taylor.

If Trove has noticed an increase in hits over the last day or two, it’s probably due to us Allsop descendants!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Trove Tuesday: Letters to “Aunt Connie”

The Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 - 1954) ran a regular column of letters from children called “They Young Folks” by “Aunt Connie”. These letters from my grandfather’s sister, Bessie Ada French, describing her life at Avoca Lead were among them.



FOR THE COT. (1906, September 15). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 - 1954), p. 43.
Retrieved January 14, 2017, from

Avoca Lead, 26th August.— Dear Aunt Con-
nie, — This is the first time I have written to
you, and I hope you will accept me as a
niece. I have six brothers and three sisters.
My eldest sister is married, and she has two
little girls. I have to walk two and a half
miles to school. I like going to school very
much. My three brothers have been working
on a cyanide plant. They are carting wood
to the Avoca Lead dredge now. There are a
lot of dredges about here. It makes the place
very lively. I always read the "Young Folks' "
page, and I think the letters are very nice, es-
pecially Hilda Russel's, We have a few fowls
and a pig, two horses, and seven lovely snow-
white ducks. The golden wattle is out in
bloom now. I love to go out in the bush and
gather bunches of the blossom. We are mak-
ing a garden at our school. There are about
200 children going to the Avoca school. I
am sending 3d for the Cot. With love to Uncle
Ben, Cousins Connie and Florrie, not forget-
ting yours, I remain, your loving niece,
BESSIE FRENCH, age 10 years. Please,
Aunt Connie, may I write again?
(I am pleased to have you for a niece,
Bessie. You may write again.— Aunt Connie.)



TOO STONY FOR FLOWERS. (1907, January 26). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 - 1954), p. 35.
Retrieved January 14, 2017, from

Avoca, 16th January. — Dear Aunt Connie, —
This is the second letter I have written to
you. I have been staying at my sister's for
the last three weeks. Mr brother is working
at Donkey Hill on a cyanide plant. He only
comes home once a week, as it is ten miles
from home. We begin school again on Mon-
day. I am in the third class at school. We
have a flower garden at our school, but the
flowers do not grow very well, as it is situ-
ated on a stony hill. I will be eleven years
old on the 1st of February, and my little
niece will be four on the 4th, so we are go-
ing to keep both birthdays up on the same
day, and have a tea party. We are having
some warm weather now. With love to Cou-
sins Connie and Florrie, Uncle Ben. and your-
self,— I remain, your loving niece, BESSIE