Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Grandma's Wedding Scrapbook

My Mum returned from a month's holiday in Texas last week. She had a wonderful time visiting her family who she hadn't seen in a few years. There were two things I requested she bring back - Texas Trash, and stuff from Bath & Body Works (please open a store here!). However, there was one gift from my Uncle that I wasn't expecting - my Grandma's wedding scrapbook. I was over the moon! I still am.

If you have been following me for a while, you might remember that my Grandma passed away before I was born. My Grandma was also how I caught the genealogy bug. Genealogy has become my connection to her - if that makes sense? Until recently, I had only seen a handful of photos of her. I also have letters that she wrote to my Grandfather's parents in the 1960s, a gorgeous pink vase, and a ring. To add my Grandma's wedding scrapbook to the collection is amazing. All of these things I will treasure forever.

Grandma, Nancy Robinson
Born: 3 Dec 1932, Texas, USA
Died: May 1980, New Mexico, USA
[Source: Personal Collection]
Before I move on, here's a link to the letter I wrote her on her birthday last year.

My Grandparents married in Texas on September 14, 1950, so the scrapbook is quite old. My Mum and I need to figure out the best way to preserve it. I plan on doing all the usual things - photographing each page, transcribing all the articles and descriptions, and scanning it. I would love to hear any other suggestions out there.

Here are a few photos I took during my excitement the other day.

A napkin from the reception!

I cannot thank my Uncle enough for passing this down to me! 

Definitely true!

Monday, 25 July 2016

William Gow's Police Badges

Yesterday, I found police badges that belonged to my Great Grandfather William Gow (1868 - 1943). As you can imagine, I was quite excited by this unexpected discovery! I took a few snaps of them this morning to share with y'all.

Now, I am only assuming they are badges. If you have other ideas, I'm all ears. I have no idea how William would have worn them with his uniform. The large ones could have also been worn for special occasions. I have e-mailed the NSW State Archives in the hope for further information (after e-mailing the NSW Police).

Great Grandfather William Gow, 1889, Sydney.
[Source: Personal Collection]
A little background information about William's police career -

He joined the police force in Sydney in November 1896 (he left Scotland and arrived in Sydney in 1886). On his application form, he stated that he had been a gardener and fruit grower for 14 years. He was a Probationary Constable for 12 months. In November 1897, he became an Ordinary Constable. In 1905, William was promoted to First Class Constable. According to William's obituary, he was well known throughout the Traffic Department of the Police for 16 years. In 1912, he resigned and returned to farming. He was requested to reconsider his decision but believed farming was his true occupation.

Large police badges

A handful of small police badges

Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Importance of Cemeteries

One of my successful Trove finds the other day was the transcription of my 4x Great Uncle's father-in-law's headstone. But his was not the only one - over 20 headstones in Wingham Cemetery (formerly known as Bungay Cemetery) had been transcribed and published in this 1922 article. I found myself quite excited that someone in 1922 was ensuring the details were recorded. Then I read the beginning...

[Source: Last Resting Place. (1922, June 9). The Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer
(NSW : 1898 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved May 28, 2016, from

Here's what it says...
"Nothing can be more instructing to a man of sensibility and feeling than a stroll through a graveyard, among the peaceful repositories of the dead. While gazing on the silent and sad mementos of mortality he learns how to appreciate his own condition, and reflect upon and sympathise with the fate of those who have departed before him. He sees, while conning over some exaggerated eulogy engraved by friendship or affection on the mouldering stone, the vanity of human exploits, and cannot but reflect that before a century will have passed away, every vestige of what lies before him will be gone, and not even a decaying particle of a monument will remain. Time will sweep relentlessly over every portion of the burial ground, and the ashes of friends and enemies, of the opulent and poor, of the proud and lowly, of the parent and child, will become mingled with the dust which enshrines them, and their resting-place will be undistinguished and unknown. 
(Compiled by E. McC. S. Hill, Fellow of the Society of Genealogists of London)— Wingham, N.S.W.
These records are being furnished to the Historical Society, Sydney, as well as to a similar body in the Old Country. In other parts of the State similar work has been done, and is still being done."
Did you love that first section as much as I did? I thought it was beautiful. Whoever wrote that deserves a medal.

An applause for the author.
[Source: Giphy]
While a lot of graves have lasted over 100 years, they do decay and can be damaged by weather and other means. Inscriptions become less visible and harder to read. It is exactly why going to cemeteries, taking photos, and transcribing details are so important. Some headstones are full of information other than the usual name and dates, such as occupation, native place and year of arrival. I do my best to contribute by transcribing headstones on Billion Graves. My favorite Australian cemetery website is the Australian Cemeteries Index. Both Billion Graves and the AusCemIndex rely on volunteers to transcribe and take photos of headstones. When I visit cemeteries, I take many photos - not just the grave I'm looking for, but of as many graves as I can.

The graves of my 3x Great Grandparents, Dr William Simpson Robinson &
Mariah Adelaide Riggs. Dresden Cemetery, Navarro County, Texas.
[Source: Personal Collection]
A snap I took while exploring Berrima Cemetery, New South Wales, in 2014.
I discovered this fallen & water filled grave at St Patrick's Cemetery, Parramatta,
New South Wales, in 2015. I wonder whose grave it is. 
Cemeteries are also important because they can tell us who lived in the area. None of my ancestors are buried near me - the closest is a four hour drive way. However, I love walking around my local cemeteries and reading the headstones. Sometimes a headstone will peak my interest and I'll do a search on Trove that night to try and find any stories about them.

And yes, I am that person who will excitedly yell out 'CEMETERY!!!' whenever I drive past one with family and friends. I've even shouted it a bit too loudly on the plane once.

So, have you been to a cemetery recently?  

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

One Hundred.

I would like to tell you a few things about Eunice Hazel Dyer if I may...

She was born the 3rd of May, 1916 in Bowraville, New South Wales, where her parents had a farm.

Eunice in 1949
[Source: Personal
She was the second child, and first daughter to James Albert Dyer (1887 – 1966) and Eva Florence Mackay (1888 – 1976).

She went to Missabotti School in her early years.

In the late 1920’s, her family moved to Kempsey so she and her eldest brother Claude could go to school.

Her parents pulled her out of school at the end of Grade 9 and returned to the farm.

She loved, and I mean loved learning. She was disappointed about having to stop going to school and work on the farm instead.

She had one older brother, two younger brothers, and two younger sisters. The boys have passed away. Her sisters are still living.

She pronounced ‘digest’ incorrectly until a teacher told her how. She pronounced the ‘dig’ as in dig, like you are digging a hole. She always laughed about it when she told me. 

In 1939, she went to the Sydney Sanitarium and Hospital where she spent four years training to be a Nurse – and she was successful! She graduated on December 28th, 1942.

On the 10th of September, 1944, she became qualified as an Obstetric Nurse.

Eunice Dyer, Graduation Photo 1942, Sydney Sanitarium & Hospital
[Source: Personal Collection]
Eunice Dyer, Obstetrics Certificate, 1944
[Source: Personal Collection]
Just over a month later, on the 12th of October, 1944, she married William D. D. Gow (1910 – 2003) in Sydney. They met on the beach at Nambucca Heads where he was a lifeguard. She chatted him up!

Wedding of Eunice Dyer & William D. D. Gow, Sydney, 12th Oct 1944.
[Source: Personal Collection]
Eunice & William rode a motorbike from Sydney to Melbourne together
before they had kids.
[Source: Personal Collection]

She had two children, a girl and a boy. While she was a stay at home mum, and more so once the kids were at University, she ran a private hospital from her home and cared for family friends in their time of need.

Her children playing in the backyard.
[Source: Personal Collection]

She was very proud of her children and instilled in them the importance of education, one that she never fully got. Her daughter became a Doctor and her son a University Lecturer.

She had two grandchildren, a girl and a boy, and she absolutely adored them! They made lots of wonderful memories together.

Soon after the birth of  their Grandson in January 1994.
[Source: Personal Collection]

She loved being in the kitchen and cooking for her family. She would never let anyone wash the dishes – that was her thing! If you attempted to wash the dishes, you were swatted away like a fly!

She loved watching the tennis, something which she got from her father and brother who played tennis in Bowraville and hosted tournaments. She loved talking about who was hot or not in the tennis world.

She loved chatting to her friends, and would want to know everything they were up to.

When her husband fell ill, she cared for him until he passed away in 2003.

William D. D. Gow & Eunice H. Dyer on a night out.
[Source: Personal Collection]
She was kind.

She was caring.

She was beautiful.

She had a wicked sense of humor.

She had the cutest giggle.

She made me J-walk with her once, and this was at a time when police were cracking down on J-walkers. An 80-something year old lady J-walking! Who woulda thunk it? 

But more importantly, she was my Nanna and we were close as anything. I would call her at the most random times of day purely because I felt like talking to her, or I saw something that reminded me of her. 

I adored her!
[Source: Personal Collection]
She passed away in Sydney on the 4th of June, 2012, 

I miss her. More than anything.

Happy 100th Birthday Nanna! I hope you and Poppa are rockin’ up there.

Nanna's 94th Birthday, 3rd May 2010
[Source: Personal Collection]

Monday, 18 April 2016

Oh My, Miss Mary Prince.

On Sunday, I was reviewing the information and sources I had for Harriett Helena Gill (1869 – 1953), her husband John Charles Prince (1855 – 1930), and their children. This led me to a very interesting find, but first, some background information for you. 

Harriett is my 3x Great Aunt, being the sister of my Great Great Grandmother Elizabeth Lucilla Gill (1867 – 1905). Harriett was born in the Macleay River area of New South Wales (NSW) in 1869. In 1891, she married John Charles Prince (originally from England) in Nambucca, NSW. They had 8 children together – Christopher, Mary, Louisa, Emma, John, Hadden, Alma, & Gladness. After their youngest was born in 1912, Harriett and Charles moved to Melbourne, Victoria with all but Christopher who had moved to Queensland. Charles passed away in 1930, and Harriett in 1955. They are buried in Box Hill Cemetery, Melbourne.

Which one of Harriett’s children is the focus of today’s post? Mary! Full Name - Mary Alice Helena Prince. Mary was born in 1894 in Macksville, NSW. She originally relocated to Melbourne with her parents, and is listed as living with them in the 1924 Electoral Roll for Victoria. 

Mary Alice Helena Prince listed in the 1924 Electoral Roll
for Camberwell, Kooyong, Victoria
[Source: "Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980",]
By 1930, Mary had moved back to New South Wales and was living at Little Billabong Station, near Holbrook and Little Billabong. She remained there until at least 1949; the last Electoral Roll I have found that has her living at Little Billabong.

Mary listed in the 1930 Electoral Roll for Holbrook, Hume, New South Wales
[Source: "Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980",]
Map showing location of Little Billabong Station
and NSW/Victoria border
[Source: Google Maps]
I was searching Mary’s name on Trove to see if I could find anything about a marriage for her. I did not. But I found a whole lot of something else! I was amazed. I was filled with shock, confusion, laughter, and intrigue as I read article after article. Which article do I show you first? I think this one…

Oh, Mary's suing...
[Source: ENGAGED FOR 21 YEARS—FIANCEE (1953, May 13). Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]
In summary, Mary is suing John James McLaurin, a grazier at Little Billabong to whom she was engaged for 21 years, for breach of promise. Well, now I know why she lived at Little Billabong for so long! 

[Source: WOMAN SUES GRAZIER (1953, May 14). National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 - 1954),
p. 4. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]

But wait, there's more!

They were even questioned about their kisses!
[Source: HOLBROOK MAN SAYS HE ENDED ENGAGEMENT IN 1929 (1953, May 15). Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]

This title is sure to grab anyone's attention...

Oh my goodness...
[Source: Breach-Of-Promise Suit (1953, May 15). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 - 1954), , p. 4. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]
So what happened? What was the result of the court hearing? Mary was granted $1000 in damages for McLaurin's breach of promise. The result even made its way into the newspaper in Western Australia...

[Source: AFTER 20 YEARS SHE WAS JILTED (1953, May 23). Mirror (Perth, WA : 1921 - 1956), , p. 6. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]
And that my friends, was my Sunday night discovery. I know I know, you want to know what happened to Mary after all that kerfuffle. I'm still figuring that out too! I do know she returned to New South Wales. In 1963, she was living in Castle Hill, Sydney, except her surname was now Lawson. In 1968, she had moved to Swansea, Newcastle, NSW. In both Electoral Rolls, there is no other Lawson at her address. I have not been able to find a marriage for Mary to a surname Lawson in Victoria or New South Wales. Did she really marry? Or did she change her surname for protection of a sort? Mary passed away in 1971 in Newcastle, and I am going to order her death certificate soon to find out.

Monday, 11 April 2016

National Siblings Day

Sunday was National Siblings Day. I have not posted a photo for the occasion yet...that is what this post is for! I have one sibling - a younger brother. He does not like it when I post photos of him on social media, so I shall be a good sister (for once?! Haha!) and respect his privacy. Instead, here are a few photos of some other siblings in the family.

1. My Dad & Aunt hanging about in their backyard in Sydney, New South Wales. Yes, that is my Dad in the tub. This photo would have been taken in the 1950's. 

Rub A Dub Dub, My Father's In The Tub

 2. My Great Great Grandfather Alexander Mackay (1856 - 1937) with his five children -  Alice, Eva (My Great Grandmother), Lottie, Archie, and Elizabeth. This would have been taken in the late 1920's/early 1930's, in or near Bowraville, New South Wales.

L-R: Elizabeth, Alice, Alexander, Eva, Lottie & Archie

3. My Great Great Grandmother Mary Frances Renfrow nee Smith (1861 - 1955) with 6 of her 7 children - Luther Marvin, Ernest Bascom "Bass", Roscoe (My Great Grandfather), Arthur, Frank & Launa. This was taken in the 1940s in Corsicana, Texas. Mary's third child, Lula, passed away in 1941.

L-R: Roscoe, Mary, Bass, Launa, Arthur, Frank & Marvin

Thursday, 31 March 2016


My geneamate J Paul Hawthorne (GeneaSpy), did a little thing last week that went viral on social media in the geneaworld. He created a spreadsheet showing five generations of birth places, but what made it more interesting was that the birth places were color-coded. J Paul was kind enough to share a Dropbox link to his template so we could all do one...and we sure did! Since last Thursday, my news feed on Facebook has been flooded with these pretty charts. You can access J Paul's template by clicking through to his blog post.

I had a lot of fun creating mine! Please note that it includes my maternal Grandmother's adoptive family.

5 Generation Chart of Birth Places (Template courtesy of J Paul Hawthorne)
That's right - I'm a first generation Queenslander!

I decided to use the same template but for death places instead. I think it is neat to look at the two images side by side. It makes it easier to see where people moved to compared to where they were born.

5 Generation Chart of Death Places (Template courtesy of J Paul Hawthorne)
Thank you J Paul, for creating a fun activity and filling our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds with colorful ancestry charts. 

Have you done yours? Don't forget to use #mycolorfulancestry when sharing it on social media.