Congress 2015

I’m having a great time at Congress it’s Saturday night so we’re half way through, there are still two days to go.  The talks I have been to have been of a very high standard and have given me much food for thought and new avenues for research.

In the main auditorium

In the main auditorium

From Helen Smith’s talk on Friendly Societies I learnt about their role in society, what some of the acronyms stand for IOR -Independant Order of Rechabites and the OFG – Order of Free Gardeners and where I may be able to find records.

Carol Baxter’s talk on surnames has me thinking of names more in the way they sound rather than how they’re spelt.  Carol told us that to an illiterate person their surname has no spelling.

Following The Gold by Carole Riley had special significance for me because so many of my ancestors were miners and I now know more about the gold mining process and the areas where Australia’s gold mines were located.

Richard Reid spoke eloquently and touchingly in Stories of the Western Front relating stories of Diggers who lost their lives as well as ones who returned.  He also told us about records we could access other than the National Archives’ attestation papers such as the Red Cross records.

Another talk focusing on WWI was by Jennie Norberry.  Jennie covered a lot of ground in her talk from defence force records to personal record collections.  She told me that to find out more about my grandfather’s WWI service I should contact the National War Memorial for help with finding Unit Diaries for the Anzac Mounted Division Signal Squadron.

Speaker’s profiles

In the exhibition hall are the stands and tables for lunch

In the exhibition hall are the stands and tables for lunch

Family Photos

I recently got a big bag of family photos from my cousin Glenda, here are just a few.


Dad, Nan and Uncle Bill

Dad, Nan and Uncle Bill circa 1950


Nan with Favorite Chris and Lightning Larry

Nan with Favorite Chris and Lightning Larry

I knew that my Uncle Bill trained greyhounds as did my Dad but I didn’t know how early he started.  This photo is from 1948.  I found Favorite Chris’ pedigree online but not Lightning Larry’s.


Great Grandma Elizabeth Willison nee Reid

Great Grandma Elizabeth Willison nee Reid

Elizabeth and William (photo below) came to South Australia from Scotland on board the Loch Fyne in 1879.

Great Grandpa William Willison

Great Grandpa William Willison

William had a farm at Para Hills (South Australia) for many years.

Nan Daphne Willison nee Scadden

My Nan, Daphne Willison nee Scadden

I’m not sure where Nan worked as a nurse.

Saving Graves South Australia

It’s been an exciting and busy time with Saving Graves this week.  As we prepared and researched for a newspaper article we had no idea the media storm it would raise!  I’m lucky to be part of a great team who have taken up the cause with gusto and stepped up when needed. Kirrily Burton has been our spokesperson this week and is carrying on her Mum’s, Catherine Crout-Habel’s, legacy as it was Catherine who started the group. Kirrily didn’t feel that she could handle the interviews but she did a wonderful job! Maybe she was channeling Catherine just a bit.

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Kirrily being interview by Channel Nine News at Centennial Park, Adelaide.

Here are links to the articles and interviews.

The Advertiser story by Miles Kemp
Kirrily Burton’s interview with Chris Smith from 2GB Sydney
Mornings on Channel 9
Sunrise on Channel 7
Channel 9 News this is another news story they did for us, I haven’t got a copy of the interview with Kirrily yet.

We have a petition up on which we are asking everyone to sign!


Leases are expiring on our Diggers’ graves and those graves will be reused if families don’t know about their expiry and/or cannot afford to renew leases. We need urgent action to prevent the graves from being reused. This affects soldiers who survived the war and returned home and later died from injuries unrelated to their military service, all others are protected by the Office of Australian War Graves. All South Australians whose grave or niche has an expired lease which has not been renewed after two years can have their site reused. This involves the ‘lift and deepen’ process whereby the human remains are excavated, placed in an ossuary, reburied deeper in the grave and a new burial is placed on top leaving no record of the earlier burial.

We need the support of as many people as possible to show the Government that we don’t want graves being reused in South Australia. Saving graves in South Australia is saving our heritage, culture and history. Cemeteries are sacred places where families can go to mourn and remember their loved ones as well as researching local and family history. What heritage are we leaving for future generations? Sometimes Gets A Bad Rap

Please note: I don’t have any affiliation with and I don’t receive any money from them at all I simply like their product.

I feel that sometimes gets a bad rap and it’s not necessarily all deserved. I’ve used over the last eight or nine years of researching my own and others’ family trees and yes I’ve fallen for beginner mistakes however I like to think I’ve learned from those mistakes and found a way to make Ancestry work for me.


I have some basic rules which I stick to:

– I don’t use Ancestry’s tool for merging someone else’s tree with mine because this is how errors are copied from one tree to another. I write down any information I didn’t have before and then click on Ignore Hint. I can always go back and look at it at a later time because Ancestry keeps a list of your ignored hints. The things I’ve written down from other trees I can then investigate for myself.



– Birth, death, marriage, census and electoral roll hints. I try to remain sceptical, and look for any inconsistencies in the information provided and what I already have. Ancestry gives you loads of hints but remain sceptical and research the hint before accepting it. I use other websites such as,, newspapers eg. Trove or the Gale News Vault, local libraries, history centres, visiting cemeteries, books etc. to either prove or disprove the information.

Two of these hints are about a lady in New Zealand instead of Australia.

Two of these hints are about a lady in New Zealand instead of Australia.

– Cite your sources. This is a general research rule which is largely overlooked by people using and I’m not really sure why as it can be as simple or as complicated as you would like. You can use the Add A New Source Citation button (as in the picture below) or use the description field to add source information.




– If you’re not sure then don’t do it.  If it’s information you’ve gathered and you’re not sure whether to add it or not then keep a record of it and you can return to it later.  There is no rush to add new information to your family tree.  I have a pin up board on the wall near my computer and sometimes I will pin notes there and as I do more research I will often go back to those notes and find out that they either do or don’t fit with the new information I have.

In January, Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers fame suggested a Genealogy Do-Over .  I’m not doing a do-over but I am, when I have time, revising all the branches of my family tree to root out my errors which have crept in along the way.


Movember Ancestors

Two Brothers

Following the lead of Alona Tester on her blog lonetester HQ and supporting men’s health I thought I would post some photos of my moustachioed ancestors too.

William Chapman Jnr

William T Chapman

I’ve posted photos of William T Chapman before, he’s my 2x great uncle.  In this photo he’s looking rather distinguished and a bit bleak but I have another photo of him in which he looks very cheerful and jolly with a lovely twinkle in his eyes.

George Chapman

George Chapman

George is my 2x great grandfather and brother of William.  He kept a quite detailed diary for many years which one of my cousins is transcribing.