Monday, 30 December 2013

Matrilineal Monday: Myrtle Gow (1887 - 1946)

Myrtle in 1921/1922, Sydney.

Myrtle Gow was the eldest child of Robert William Gow (Great Uncle) & Mary Agnes Ryan. She was born May 19, 1887, in Sydney, New South Wales. She never married, and died when she was 59 on September 1, 1946, in Sydney. She is buried with her father in Macquarie Cemetery.

While researching my family history, I’ve become quite fond of Myrtle. I’ve heard from other family members that she might have had a learning disability. Her death certificate states that she was an ‘Invalid Pensioner.’ I am still hoping and trying to find out more about that.

Myrtle with her father Robert, 1902/1903, Sydney
The grave of Myrtle Gow, Macquarie
Cemetery, Sydney.

I think of Myrtle often. I’m not sure why I’m drawn to her, but I guess it’s a good thing! I even named my Cactus after her. Myrtle’s name was the first I thought of when I was deciding what to name her. Yes, I named my plant & refer to it as a her. Myrtle was my Poppa’s cousin. Poppa was not that close with his cousins, but my Aunt remembers him talking about Myrtle quite a bit. I wish I could ask him questions about her as she intrigues me.

A Mother & Sons.

My Great Great Grandmother Mary Frances Smith (1861 - 1955) with her sons. Corsicana, Texas, 1940s.

Left to Right: Great Grandfather Roscoe Eugene Renfrow (1892 - 1982), Ernest Bascom Renfrow (1888 - 1979), Arthur Otis Renfrow (1894 - 1982), Frank Daniel Renfrow (1897 - 1962), Luther Marvin Renfrow (1887 - 1965).

A Cute Bunch.

This photo was taken in Corsicana, Texas sometime during the 1940s.

Left to Right - Grandad (Living), Walter Paul Kessinger (1930 - Unknown), June Kessinger (1932 - Unknown), James Calvin Renfrow (1926 - 1990), Launa Renfrow (1902 - 1999) & Vivian Renfrow (Living).

How they are all related?

  • Grandad & James Calvin Renfrow are brothers.
  • Walter Paul & June Kessinger are also siblings. 
  • Grandad & James are first cousins with Vivian.
  • Walter & June are the children of Cleo Renfrow, who is a first cousin of Grandad, James & Vivian. Therefore, Walter & June are their first cousins once removed.
  • Launa is Grandad, James & Vivian’s Aunt, and Great Aunt of Walter & June. 

Fact: Vivian is the only remaining first cousin of my Grandad’s, and I met her at a family reunion in 2011!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Isabella Gow Reddoch

Isabella Gow Reddoch, was born in 1885, in Ardoch, Perthshire, Scotland. Her parents were Isabella Gow & John Reddoch, & her mother died when she was 12 years old. She was the middle child with four older siblings & four younger siblings. According to her death certificate, she was a nurse & never married. Isabella Gow Reddoch died at the young age of 33 on December 26, 1918 at the Reddoch’s home, Tullibardine House, in Kinross, Scotland. Her father, John, had died three years earlier in 1915.

The death certificate of Isabella Gow Reddoch (courtesy of Scotlands People).

Death Certificate of Isabella Gow Reddoch (Source: Scotlands People)

Isabella Gow Reddoch, Nurse, Single.
December 16, 1918. 10:15pm. Tullibardine House, Kinross.
Female. 33 years.
Father: John Reddoch, Builder (Deceased)
Mother: Isabella Reddoch, M.S Gow (Deceased)
Cause of Death: Phthisis Pulmonalis.
Informant: James Reddoch, brother.

Isabella died of Tuberculosis, which affects the lungs.

Seen below is the funeral card from her brother, James.

Funeral Card for Isabella Gow Reddoch
From my personal collection

Friday, 27 December 2013

Accentuate the Positive 2013 Geneameme

Jill, a.k.a GeniAus, has challenged us to think about our genealogy achievements this year by responding to the following set of questions. We can write as little or as much as we like.
Enjoy! ^_^

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was    

This year I didn’t find any elusive ancestors. However, I am still on the trail of my Great Great Aunt Jeannie Gow (who I found last year!), and what happened to her children after she died.

2.  A precious family photo I found was

The Smith Family, taken in Union County, Mississippi, in 1906. It is of my Great Great Great Grandmother Louisa Clementine Smith nee Brister and many of her descendants, including my Great Great Grandmother Mary Frances Renfrow nee Smith.

Smith Family, Mississippi, 1906.
Image from my personal collection.
My Great Great Grandmother, Mary, is the lady in the 2nd row, 2nd from the left, with the little girl in front of her. The little girl is my Great Great Aunt Launa. My Great Great Great Grandmother Louisa is also in the 2nd row, 4th from the left.

3.  An ancestor’s grave I found was

I found so many of my ancestor’s graves at the beginning of the year in January when I was in Bowraville, NSW. Many of my Nanna’s family are buried there including her parents, brothers-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great grandparents etc. I also found my Great Great Uncle’s grave, as well as his wife and children’s graves in July.

Here’s a photo of me & my Great Great Uncle Robert Gow’s grave. He’s buried at Macquarie Cemetery in Sydney, and is buried with his daughter Myrtle.

Grave of Robert Gow & his daughter Myrtle Gow.
Macquarie Cemetery, NSW.
Image from my personal collection.
I’d been trying to find his grave since I started researching my family history in 2009! My Nanna & Poppa (Robert was his Uncle) are buried at Macquarie too. Poppa died in 2003…and this whole time Robert has been buried quite close to him. Robert’s name never came up in the online index for Macquarie Cemetery because his last name was listed as ‘Tow’. That has now been fixed, and no future descendants of Robert’s or mine, should have difficulty finding him in the index!

4.  An important vital record I found was

The birth certificate of Martin McFarlane, Great Great Aunt Jeannie’s youngest child. He was only 2 when she died. A lovely lady who got ‘hooked’ on my article about Jeannie in Scotlands People did some more research and found Martin’s birth certificate which I had been unable to find. The census records I have list his name as Malcolm….

5.  A newly found family member who shared

Carolyn who provided me with the Smith Family photo above, and Carole (a relative of the husband of my relative), who provided many photographs of my Gow ancestors.

6.  A geneasurprise I received was

Oh goodness! Three of them are Scotlands People wanting to publish my article, Thomas MacEntee interviewing me for How I Hack Genealogy & Shauna Hicks inviting me to the launch of National Family History Month.

7.   My 2013 blog post that I was particularly proud of was

This one:

8.   My 2013 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was

This photo for some reason:

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was.

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was

Facebook, Twitter & Google+.
Oh, and Google Hangouts which is a new toy for me (well, most of us I think). Yay for Pat (DearMYRTLE) & Jill’s (GeniAus) Hangouts!

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was

I attended the launch of National Family History Month this year! I learned about The Hive, which is the NAA’s new thing where you can transcribe records for them, particularly World War 1 records.

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at/to

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was

Scotlands People published my article on my Great Great Aunt Jeannie! You may find it here:

14. I taught a friend how to

Use the Victorian BDM website!

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was
16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was

The Queensland State Archives! I went on a private behind the scenes tour which was amazing! Check out my video review here.

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was

18. It was exciting to finally meet


19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was

The Father/Daughter genealogy day I had with my Dad in January, the cemetery day I had with my Aunt in July & the tour of the Qld State Archives I had with Mum in November.

20. Another positive I would like to share is

Thank you for all your support and friendship this year. It means a lot, especially to a young one still trying to find her way in the genea-world. I love being a part of this wonderful online community, and I’m hoping to meet a few of you in 2014. ^_^

LET’S BREAK THOSE BRICK WALLS IN 2014! *karate-genea-chop*

And just because it’s been an awesome year…

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas in Brisbane.

What’s Christmas like in Brisbane you ask?  Have a read of this!

Christmas in Brisbane, The Queenslander, 3rd Jan 1903.
Source: Trove
It was published on the 3rd of January, 1903 in The Queenslander (discontinued in 1939). I think it’s such a beautiful little article. I couldn’t help but smile, nod & agree with it! This really did warm my heart. Thanks to Trove for gracing me with this article’s presence. (Trove really is a miracle!).

On another note, I hope all my lovely followers out there have a wonderful Christmas & festive, holiday season, where ever in the world you are. <3

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Kids at Christmas.

How cute are these kids!

Christmas 1956, Texas.
From my personal collection,
L-R: Aunt Molly, Mum, and their cousins Jim & Mike.
December 1956 in Corsicana, Texas.
Mum was 23 months old, as she would have turned 2 at the beginning of January.

Video: Christmas Series #3


The third video in my Christmas Series for Geneabloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Santa Claus

A cute Santa Claus story published in The McIvor Times & Rodney Advertiser on 19 December, 1901. How sweet!

Santa Claus
The McIvor Times & Rodney Advertiser
19 Dec 1901
Source: Trove

Video: Christmas Series #2


This is the second video in my Christmas Series which I’m doing as my response to Geneabloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Video: Christmas Series #1


Two videos in one day, aren’t y’all lucky!

This is my first video in my Christmas series which I’m doing as my response to Geneabloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. 

And if any of you would like to see a 10 second clip of me terribly singing Six White Boomers, then you should definitely watch this video. And perhaps subscribe to my YouTube Channel while you’re watching pretty please?

Video: Archives Adventure

My adventure at the Queensland State Archives last Thursday. I went on a private behind the scenes tour! So awesome!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A letter to Grandma.

Dear Grandma,

Happy 81st Birthday in Heaven! <3
I wish I could have known you. You were taken away from us too soon.

I know you’d be so happy that I caught the genealogy bug from you. You’d be amazed at all the technology, and the discoveries I’ve made about my ancestors. I think you would have loved being part of the online genealogy community, but you would still have used your traditional methods ^_^ How I would have loved to go to court houses, churches, cemeteries and Civil War Battlegrounds with you. We would have had so much fun together, especially with all the genealogy happy dancing I’ve been doing lately!

For most of my life I knew you through a small number of photographs and stories. Then came June of 2011. That was the first time I ever saw video footage of you. No words. Silence. It didn’t need words. I saw you moving, walking and smiling. I don’t think anyone in my family really knows just how happy I was, seeing the videos of you.

This year, in October, Aunty sent Mum some old letters that you had written to my Great Grandparents in the 1960s. For the first time, I was reading things you had written. For the first time, I was reading what you were thinking. Your thoughts. That’s something I never thought I’d get to discover.

Thank you for giving me this love that I have for genealogy.

I love you.
My Grandmother, Nancy Robinson.
Author's personal collection.
Nancy Robinson
Born: 3 Dec 1932, Texas, USA.
Died: May 1980, New Mexico, USA.