Showing posts from June, 2018

Saturday 30 Z for ZIGARIUS and ZYTHEPSARIST.

No, I haven’t been playing with a Scrabble board but these would be good words to use.
 So was is or are a zigarius and a zythepsarist? According to the book ‘A Dictionary of Old Trades, Titles and Occupations.’ By Colin Waters, a zigarius is a gypsy and a zythepasarist is a brewer. 
Dictionaries, like this one, are really useful in explaining old trades etc. that we know by totally different names, today.

Friday 29 Y for Y DNA.

Y DNA is carried by the males and is therefore passed, father to son.  The Y chromosome is one of the two sex chromosomes; the other is the X chromosome. Males have both the X and Y chromosomes, women have two X chromosomes.  Blaine T Bettinger has a book ‘The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy,’ that explains this a whole lot better than I can. I’m still learning the DNA side of genealogy

Thursday 28 X, the MARK OF AN ILLITERATE ANCESTOR. ( or was it?)

I have several marriage certificates that show an X, in place of a signature, often for both parties and have assumed that they were both illiterate. But you can be wrong. Sometimes, one would sign with an X, so as not to ‘show up’ the party, who couldn’t sign. Check further, for other documents and you might be surprised.

Wednesday 27 W for WILL.

Not everyone left a will, in times past, even today people die, ‘intestate,’ i.e. without a will. Wills are can be fascinating to read, with comments, appearing, like, ‘I leave nothing to my son Gerald, because he is a drunk and would squander it.”(My own thoughts.)Or listing every child, (wonderful), and how much each received. One ofthe wills, I have, states that if the widow re-marries, then the estate goes to the sons. This was usually to stop a second husband running of with the money, etc.

Tuesday 26 V for VISITATION of GOD.

This is a strange thing to find on a death certificate, I haven’t, but wish I did! So what exactly is Visitation of God?
Here is a simple explanation; Used in a more religious time than ours, it meant the death was inexplicable and it was thought that God had decided that it was time for the person to die.
So if you come across this, don’t despair, it is just that they didn’t have the knowledge we have, today. Besides, I think it is a cool description.

Monday 25 U for UNIFORMS.

I was looking for when uniforms might have been introduced and found that in the early days of nursing the uniforms were likely to be based on habits from religious orders and that the first recorded use of a school uniform is in 1222 in England.

I don’t have any nurses, to show off their uniform but I do have a cute photo of me, in my first school uniform. Grade Three.  

Saturday 23 T for TROVE.

For those of us here in Australia, Trove is a wonderful, magical place that we can get side-tracked in, very easily. So I hear you ask, what is Trove? Trove is the National Library of Australia’s digitised newspapers. Covering all states and territories, but not every newspaper, up to 1953, this website is a treasure Trove for family historians. Everything from births, marriages and deaths, to divorces, gossip and so much more. Have a look, you want be disappointed.  

The website also has useful guides, explaingin how to get the best out of your search.

Friday 22 S for SECRETARY HAND.

What might you ask is Secretary Hand?   Secretary Hand was a popular style of handwriting in the 16th and 17th centuries. Used  mainly for business purposes during  the  Tudor and Jacobean periods, in Britain.

Thursday 21 R for ROLL of HONOUR.

At the Australian War Memorial, in Canberra, there are two terraces, each with a Roll of Honour on them. One side is for World War 1 and the other for World War 2, with a section for other conflicts. These rolls have the names of all Australian service men and women killed in conflicts. People now place poppies beside the names and the walls look beautiful, with the sea of red poppies. Well worth a visit, when in Canberra. 

Australian War Memorial,

Wednesday 20 Q for QUONDAM.

QUONDAM, an unusual word, for this age but in ‘The first English Dictionary 1604,’ by Robert Cawdrey, it is defined as ‘heeretofore, in times past.’
 My favourite from this little book is QUERIMONIOUS,now this is a word you can use today as the definition is, ‘full of complaining, and lamentation.’

I picked up my copy from the National Library of Australia but have a look at this website;

Tuesday 19 P for PALAEOGRAPHY.

Palaeography is the study of old handwriting with the aim of reading old documents. This book ‘Palaeography for Family and Local Historians.’ by Hilary Marshall, is a wonderful help. With so many different ways of writing a single letter, Hilary takes you through each letter and shows you the various ways it has been written. There are examples of various documents and their transcriptions, so you can learn to recognise different words and letter patterns. 

Monday 18 O for ONE-NAME or ONE-PLACE STUDY.

Do you have an unusual surname on your tree and want to find out all you can about it?

Have an interesting place, you want to know more about? Why not consider a One-name or a One-place study. I have two One-name studies, one for Abberton and one for Chasmar and they are both world-wide. I belong to both the Guild of One-Name Studies and The Surname Society. These two groups are of likeminded people, who are following their ancestral surnames. Fun, frustrating but well worth it.
I’ve yet to think about a One-place study but look at both their websites and see what is happening.  - Guild of One Name Studies, sometimes refered to as GoONS.  - Surname Society.   - Society for One Place-Studies

Saturday 16 N for NEWSPAPERS.

Newspapers are a wonderful source of information for genealogists. From Trove, in Australia, New Zealand’s Past Papers and the British Newspaper Archive, we can read about our ancestors lives, find out the weather and scan the advertisements, of the day. Here are links to these three, have a ‘play’ and see what you can find.

New Zealand's Past Papers, digitised newspapers and periodicals from 1839 to 1945,

British Newspapaer Archive,   This site has newspapers dating from the 1700's but is a subscription site.

These two little books might help with exploring newspapers.

Friday 15 M for MAPS.

Street maps, property maps, town or city maps, all have a place in our ancestors lives. Past maps, overlayed with modern ones, can give us the location of the family home or farm. Looking at street names can lead you to an ancestor’s door, the church where they worshiped or they grave yard, where they now lay.
This is a good link to use, for old maps.

Thursday 14 L for LAND RESEARCH.

What, might you ask, does land research have to do with my ancestors? Well, they had to live somewhere and even if they rented, the information about their abode gives you a look into their lives. Tracing land, back through generations, is like tracing ancestors, start with now and work back. Deeds and rate notices contain wonderful information.

Wednesday 13 K for KIRK SESSONS.

These are a body of church (kirk) elders, in Scotland who presided over a parish and its congregation. These records cover interesting information, like those asking for poor relief or being reprimanded. Chris Paton’s book, ‘Down and Out in Scotland, researching ancestral crisis.’ Has some information on what these records could hold.

Tuesday 12 J for JUSTICE of the PEACE, JUDGES and JOUSTER.

Justice of the Peace, (JP), would reside of local hearting for minor crimes.

The Oxford Dictionary of Law (2009), defines a Judge as A state offical with power to adjudicate on disputes and other matters brought before the courts for decision.  How many of our ancestors, stood before a judge?

What I hear you say is a JOUSTER??? Well if you find this occupation for one of your female ancestors, she had an interesting job. A Jouster is a travelling female fish seller.

Monday 11 I for IMPALING.

No I’m not getting gruesome. Impaling is a heraldic term for the halves of two shields, when they are displayed side by side, with a vertical line separating them.  Basically joining two shields together.
(Yes, it does also have a gruesome definition.)

                                                   This is a simple example of Impaling.
                                                  (image Wikipedia Commons)

Saturday 9 H for HUGUENOTS.

This is the name given to French Protestants, that fled persecution in France. In the late 1600’s and early 1700’s some 50,00 fled to Britain.

These two websites have wonderful information about the Huguenots and it is well worth investigating if you have Huguenot ancestors. Alas, I don’t.


This is a survey of property in Ireland and was taken from 1848 to 1864 and includes occupants.
I have been able to find several of my ancestors, using Griffith’s and you can also see who the neighbours were and who the landlord was.

'Discover Irish Land Records,' by Chris Paton describes how the valuation can be used.

Thursday 7 F for FAMILY BIBLE.

I am very lucky to have two Family Bibles in my possession. 
The GALBRAITH family one is falling apart but it contains a wealth of information on the 10 children born to my grandparents, right down to the time of birth.

The SIGRIST family one is in German and has the births and deaths recorded in it. This one has been repaired and I think lost some of its character.

Wednesday 6 E for ELECTORAL ROLLS.

I love Electoral Rolls. Along with the Census, these can help you find that ancestor that wants to stay hidden. You might find that there was a boarder, in Granny’s spare room or that the job you were told Granddad had, was nothing like what was on the electoral roll. You might just find other family very close by.

Tuesday 5, D for DAGUERROTYPE

Daguerrotype, what is a daguerrotype???

Daguerrotypes  are the first photographic images, small metal photographs with reflective surfaces, In 1839, Louis Daguerre, a Frenchman invented them.  If you have any in your collection, you are very lucky.

I have found this book, 'Family photo detective,' by Maureen A Taylor, very helpful in dating old photos.

This link, Wikipedia gives some examples,

Monday 4, C for CEMETERIES

I love cemeteries!

I enjoy wandering around, reading epithats, looking at headstones and taking photos.  BUT cemeteries can contain lots of useful information about our ancestors. When you find a grave look around it - ALL sides, back, front and both sides. Who is buried there? Do the names ring a bell? Take photos as sometimes there is a connection, cousin, neighbour. You might just solve a mystery.

Saturday 2 B for BOUNDARIES.



Can’t find an ancestor? Found them but they aren’t where you thought they should be? 
Don’t worry it might be as simple as the boundaries might have been moved. Boundaries between countries, states, counties, parishes, even farms were often ‘moved’ for strange reasons and the people are right where they always have been. Get hold of an array of maps from different times and compare. Also look for name changes of the town, suburb or street. 
Have a read of Judy G Russell's post about bounderies and how that can change. ( Why not read Judy's blog anyway, she is a wonderful writer.)

This range of maps shows the changes, in Australia from 1788 to today.

( Jacaranda Primary Atlas, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd, 2001, p29. ISBN 0701636173)

Friday 1 A for ARCHIVES


Do you visit archives? Which ones?
Archives are very useful in your research, with most now having an online presence and searchable data bases. Nothing beats a visit to an archive and the thrill of holding and original document in your hands. 
These links are to, two of my favourite ones.   NSW State Archives.    National Archives of Australia.

12 Ancestors in 12 Months; Thomas Joseph Abberton JNR.

Thomas Joseph Abberton born 26 June 1910[1], died 29 February 1944[2]. A short live with much tragedy.Thomas was the only child of Thomas Abberton and his second wife Mary Naughton.I have yet to find out what happened to Mary, a mystery to solve but Thomas Snr died 5 May 1914[3], leaving Thomas Jnr an orphan. I do know that he was in touch with is half-siblings as both his sister and brother were listed as next-of-kin, on his records.
What little information I have about Thomas, is that he worked on a farm in the Forbes area of New South Wales. The only photo, I have, shows him being a larrikin.

He enlists on 31 May 1940[4] and is sent to Ceylon, where he is stationed until April 1942.He returns to Australia for a short period before being sent to New Guinea. Thomas dies from disease in February 1944 and is buried in the Bomama War Cemetery, New Guinea. He is commemorated on panel 36 East, Roll of Honour, Australia War Memorial.

His service record is interesting, as a woman comes fo…

June 2018 A-Z Blogging Challenge.

Blogging Challenge.

This challenge is usually done in April, but looking at this year's calender, I couldn't see how it could workout. There were five Sundays in the month and as you don't use the Sundays, it made it a day short and anyway I was to busy to do it then. June looked good, so here is the April Blogging Challenge in June.

Now what is a blogging challenge? 

Well you take the 26 letters of the alphabet and starting with A and the 1st of the month, if not a Sunday and for the 26 days write something that is related to that letter. Like this. Friday 1 June A is for Apple and so on.  It doesn't have to be genealogy related, it can be anything you feel like.

Here is the link to the original challenge. Why not have a go in 2019?  Blogging from A to Z Challenge.