Tuesday, 28 July 2015

52 Ancestors - Week 30 - Challenging

I have quite a few challenging subjects in my family tree but consider myself quite lucky to have found out as much as I have about my direct ancestors.

I have already written about some of my more challenging subjects.

My great-great-great grandmother Margaret MASON nee CARSTAIRS for whom I have never found death information.

My great-grand uncle David ADAMS who seems to have disappeared.

My great-great-grand uncle George MUSSON whose death is unknown.

What happened to the family of my great-great-grand aunt Bridget CLARK nee MORGAN ?

One great-great-grand uncle I haven't written about is Edmond KELLY, a younger brother of my great-great grandmother Alice MORGAN nee KELLY.

Edmond was born in 1838 and baptised on the 16th of September 1838 at Dualla, Ballysheehan, Tipperary, Ireland.  His parents were Cornelius KELLY and Mary MULLOUGHNEY.  Sponsors at Edmonds baptism were Thomas RYAN and Julia KELLY.

Nothing further is known about Edmond and Irish research is becoming a little easier now although it is still quite CHALLENGING.

BUT .. I read a sign somewhere that said 

Genealogists do not like
to let challenges
defeat their research!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Lance Corporal William Arthur MITCHELL

William Arthur MITCHELL was the son of James MITCHELL  and Janet "Jessie" nee Mason.  He was born at Stawell in 1896, the second youngest child of five siblings and eight half-siblings. Jessie MASON was a younger sister of my maternal great-great grandmother, Agnes MASON.

He enlisted as a private in the 5th Battalion, 2nd reinforcements at Broadmeadows, Victoria on the 30th of October 1914.  He was 19 years and 2 months of age.  Next of kin was his mother Jessie MITCHELL of Princes Street, Stawell, Victoria.

William was five foot nine inches tall and weighed eleven stone one pound.
His complexion was dark with brown eyes and dark brown hair.

For some reason, he has two attestation forms and two service numbers, 1389 and 1266.  One attestation form lists his father James Mitchell as next of kin but has no service number, unit information or date joined although the form itself was dated the 30th October 1914 at the bottom of the page.

war service records at National Archives of Australia

The second attestation paper gave next of kin as his mother, Jessie MITCHELL of the same address as James.

war service records at National Archives of Australia
William was admitted to hospital several times during his service.  

In June 1915 at Dardanelles on the Gallipoli Peninsula, he sustained a slight gunshot wound to the scalp and was admitted to the 15th General hospital at Mudros.

In August, he suffered a bout of dysentery and then in September 1915 embarked to England on the HMT Huntsend. Later in September he was admitted "sick" to the 1st southern general hospital Birmingham.

In early April 1916 he was back in Alexandria also on the HMT Huntsend and a couple of days later was back in hospital in Cairo.

By the end of April 1916, William was suffering "Fits" perhaps from the gunshot wound to his head.  He was admitted to hospital again, this time at Heliopolis and was discharged due to epilepsy.  On the 10th of June 1916, he embarked from Suez to Australia on HMAT Itonus.

Photo of the HMAT Itonus from the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/28533
A.I.F Project
In 1917, William married Edith Alberta BOYLE and they  had three sons.  Jack Stirling Mitchell b 1918, Ivor William Mitchell b 1920 and Roy Douglas Mitchell b 1921.  Edith died at Stawell in 1928 and William remarried Hazel Joan ROBINSON in 1939.  They had one son.

In a form dated 12th July 1967 William's widow Hazel, since remarried and with surname Moy, applied for his Gallipoli medallion.
On the bottom of the form Hazel writes - I have Anzac Star, General Service and Victory Medals, in my keeping for my son Allan George Mitchell for whom I am claiming the Gallipoli Medallion.

On the 18th of July 1967 a letter was sent to Central Army Records Office from Mr R.D. Mitchell 16 Railway Avenue Ashwood, also applying for the Gallipoli medallion.
 Dear Sirs,
I hereby apply for the Anzac Medallion as mentioned in the newspapers. My father, William Arthur Mitchell, served with the fifth Battalion in the first Word War.
Army Nos 1389-1266, William Arthur Mitchell.
yours truly Roy Mitchell.  

I don't know who got the medallion.  It would have been whoever was classed as the closest relative.  Perhaps Roy being the eldest son may have.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

52 Ancestors - Week 29 - Musical interview by Allan FLEMING.

I don't have any musical ancestors but in looking for news articles written by my mum's cousin, journalist Allan FLEMING, I found an amusing interview he had done in 1939 with the famous harmonica player, Larry Adler.

LARRY ADLER, the quiet, dark haired young man who has made the mouth organ — or rather, harmonica — a classical instrument, needed a sense of humour when he first set out to prove a harmonica was equal to Beet hoven, because some said 'Phooey' and some said, 'Really, what an extraordinary ideah."
But his genius proved it. And his sense of humour is as quiet and entertaining as you could wish. Before he left the theatre to go to his hotel he put on a smart, loose-fitting brown coat. 'I bought it in Sydney,' he explained, 'because I was told that it was a real Australian jacket. But it looks as if I'm the only one who wears a real Australian Jacket.' 
Gaol — Nearly! We were walking toward the Bellevue. 'Let's cross over here on to the shady side,' he said at an intersection. And he began to make a course for the corner diagonally opposite. I explained that it would be safer, in case a policeman disagreed with our tactics, to cross in two stages. ' 'Oh!' he said. And that reminded him . . . A girl who wrote to him when he was in Melbourne claimed that first he had nearly put her in gaol, and then he had 'gotten' her out of gaol. He was playing at the Tivoli Theatre, and the girl had been to see the show with a friend. On the way out of the theatre the girl was demonstrating to her friend just how Larry Adler managed to conduct an orchestra and play the harmonica as well. 'He did it this way.' she said, and, in spite of the interest she was exciting in the street, she began to move her hands and arms to make her explanation clear. The explanation was very absorbing, and she didn't notice the traffic lights against her. The red sign showed, but she began to cross the street without noticing it. Half  way across she saw an obstruction and looked up to see a gargantuan policeman looming over her. 'And what do you think you're doing?' said the Policeman. 'What do you think?' the girl asked, rather sharply. 'I was trying to explain to my friend how Larry Adler played.' 'And what do you know about it?' said the policeman, still looming. 'Well, I'll show you,' she said. 'He plays with his hands this way.' And the girl began to move on while the policeman ceased to loom and began whetting his appetite for an argument. They walked to the tram stop, discussing their points of view, and when the tram came the policeman, now a good friend, helped the two young women on to the tram, touched his helmet, and said, 'I hope to meet you again.' 'Of course, I don't know whether the story is true.' Larry Adler said, with a smile. 'But that is what she said in the letter.' 
Policeman's Weakness That wasn't the end of the policeman stories. There was an incident in England that he could vouch for because he was concerned in it personally. He was driving along a country road when a big car in front of him swerved. He ran straight into a baby car that suddenly swam into his ken. Up came a policeman, flourishing a notebook and hungering for details. 'Could you let me see your licence?' he asked ominously. "Yes. Here it is."   "Adler, hey?"  "Yes."  "You're not the Larry Adler who plays the mouth organ?" "Yes". "Well, fancy that. My boy plays a mouth organ. He gets all your records and he plays them so perfectly that you would think, if you heard him, that you were listening to yourself.' 'Well, you don't say so.' 'Yes, it's a fact.' Larry Adler took a harmonica from the pocket of his car. 'Give this to your son as a present. It's a good one.' 'Well, now, that's grand. Thank you very much. On you go. sir!' said the policeman, beaming. And that was the end of that. 
Barman's Dream By now we were at the Bellevue, sitting in the tree-shaded garden enjoying the breeze. Swaying back and forth perilously on the two back legs of his seat, with his thin, sensitive fingers flicking his chin or bending and unbending, Larry Adler began to talk of other letters he had received since he came to Australia. Some of them, he admitted, were amusing. A young Melbourne man had written to him on these lines: 'I am better looking than Robert Taylor. . . .' Then there was what Mr. Adler described as a coy, parenthetic note. . . 'If I am to believe others.' The letter proceeded: 'I can act much better than Taylor, because I have that certain extra added something. I have acted in stock com panies, and although the veterans with me have been acting for years and years I out- shine many of them. 'I don't know whether I would like you or your playing, because I haven't bothered to listen to you on the radio. Before long I'll probably meet you somewhere and we can have a talk about things.' But as Mr. Adler does not drink, and as the man was a barman, the meeting appears to be a long way off. A man in Sydney had the idea that Mr. Adler used a mouth organ once and then threw it to the audience. He wrote to say that on Tuesday afternoon he would be in the second row wearing a red blazer, and would Mr. Adler please throw one of the mouth organs to him. 
Got 'The Bird' Most artists get 'the bird' at some stage in their career. Mr. Adler cheerfully told the story of the time he got it at Stockton, in England. "The town, was in the heart of the mining district. There had been no work there for years. They chose to open a huge cinema there. They needed the cinema as much as I need another leg. And I was to play at the opening! "I went on to the stage in a white tie and tails. I started to play 'Rhapsody in Blue.' Firstly, they didn't want 'Rhapsody in Blue,' and secondly, they didn't want anyone in tails. 'After about 15 bars I got a definite rasp berry from the gallery. It was the first time I had ever heard that particular kind of music. 'Still, it turned out all right in the end. . .' Another incident in England was his bet of £20 with two famous musicians that he could stand by the queue outside a theatre, play the mouth organ, and not be recognised. He went along to the theatre on a Saturday night. Alas, there were other musicians on the Job already. He quietly slipped them a pound note to induce them to go away. Then he walked up and down playing 'My Wild Irish Rose.' No one paid any attention for a while, then five pennies were thrown. They hadn't recognised him. and he was well on the way to winning the bet.  But he made a mistake— he didn't pick up the pennies. That made the queue interested, and the game was up. He would have lost his £20, only his two friends decided that consider- ing the circumstances they would call it square. 
Taxis and Fogs There was a sequel to that story. He had been dressed for the part in ragged clothes, and had a dirty face and tousled hair standing on end. A magazine which made a practice of publishing humorously-contrasted pictures side by side seized the idea, It published a picture of tousle headed, 'Larry Adler, King of Mouth Organists,' side by side with that of a tousled, ugly-looking Zulu chieftain 'M'Bongo M'Bongo, King of the Zulus.' 'The likeness,' said Mr. Adler, 'was too good to be comfortable.' His first notable experience in England, however, concerned taxi-drivers. He had come across on the ship With Mr. C. B. Cochrane, famous producer, and his. wife. In-between games of shove ha'penny on the way over ('I was never any good at it,' Mr. Adler admits) Mr. Cochrane tried to dispel the legend of London as a city of fogs. The day they arrived London was having its thickest fog for years. Mr. Adler went to his hotel in Park Lane, and in the evening called a taxi to take him to Mr. Cochrane's. They travelled for a long time, and the fare was 9/6. He arrived at Mr. Cochrane's. 'Did you walk?' he was asked. 'No. Why walk? I've been travelling for hours.' 'But this place is just at the back of your hotel,' they told him. 'Apparently.' said Mr. Adler, 'the taxi driver recognised a strange accent, and thought he might as well get some back payment on the war debt.' 
A Gramophone? Sometimes an artist hears criticism in a roundabout way. Mr. Adler's wife, sitting in the audience, has heard people whisper: 'Of course you know that he's not really playing at all. 'It's a record backstage.' Sometimes, on the other hand, appreciation or doubt can be read on the faces of the listeners. One of his special performances was before the King of Sweden at Monte Carlo. It went like this: He played one of the most difficult of classics. The audience applauded gingerly. He played 'Caprice Viennois.' The audience applauded politely. He played 'Cheek to Cheek.' The audience applauded sincerely. He played. 'The Music Goes Round and Round.' The audience cheered. Tennis Partner THE fact that Mr. Adler went to see the fight in Brisbane on Friday night is an indication of his interest in boxing. He has often worn the gloves himself. Since he came to Australia he has been playing tennis. When he was leaving Melbourne a friend brought a lady along to the train. 'I would like you to meet this lady.' said his friend. 'Her husband could give you some good practice. This is Mrs. Jack Crawford. . .' Well! 'Jack Crawford was away while I was In Sydney.' Mr. Adler explained, "and I had a coach. But the coach confided to my wife that I seemed to have a style of my own and he couldn't do anything about it. He thought he'd better leave me alone. 'And it seems that that's the way it is with the mouth organ.'
The mouth organ, the tin whistle, and the kazoo were toys in the years B.A. (Before Adler). Now the mouth organ has left the tin whistle and the kazoo lamenting. It can rise to Bach as easily as it can stay with "Pollywolly Doodle All the Day."        
52 Ancestors Challenge 
  by Amy Johnson Crow at 
"No Story Too Small"

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

My grandfather's beloved pigs.

"Old Gran" and family
Go that way

It is also a little ironic that my grandmother who took all these photos was a great granddaughter of Alexander MORGAN from near Keady, Northern Ireland.  There is still a P.J. MORGAN who has a family butcher shop in Bridge Street, Keady and is quite likely related.

Read more Sepia Saturday posts here

Monday, 13 July 2015

52 Ancestors Week 28 - Road trip

After his arrival in Australia from England in 1855, my 3rd great grand-uncle, Edward HULME, wrote about his epic road trip from Melbourne to the Beechworth goldfields.


I started alone with swag, blankets, billy, pannikin, etc., in orthodox style, for a 200 miles' tramp through the bush. (See frontispiece.) This, however, was not much of an undertaking for me, as I was a great pedestrian, could do my six miles an hour easy, and often over 50 miles per day on my sketching tours in the “Old Country ;" being tall (fully six feet), I had a good stride. At that time the Sydney Road was only formed a few miles out of Melbourne, and from the Rockey Waterholes to the foot of the Big Hill (commonly then called Pretty Sally's Hill) was swamp ground. I found a difficulty in getting over this; I had to tread the thistles down for miles to prevent bogging, and it was raining fast. The contractors were just forming the road, and on the first rise on the other side of the swamp the camp was formed. The men had knocked off on account of the rain. Just as I was level with the camp, I heard my name called out in true Irish accent, and out ran one of our shipmates to greet me. He occupied the next berth to us on board ship and was ill a great part of the way. He had been a tradesman in Dublin. He was lively enough now, as he grasped my hand and cut a real, Irish caper, with “Hurrah! for Australia and I4s. a day, and wood and water”! He was driving one of the contractor's drays. He wanted me to stay, as it was far into the afternoon, but no - my allotted mileage was not done, so I marched on.

My first night's ”bushing” was a strange experience. Rolled up in blankets, at the foot of a gum tree, I had not turned down long (I cannot say turned in) when I was conscious of something being upon my shoulder, and, cautiously turning round saw an animal perched quite innocently there. It was an opossum. I presume he did not recognise me from a log.
He appeared quite content to sit there until I gave him a can't and sent him some distance off.
This " camping out" is not at all an unpleasant experience, as many might think, and this was a splendid moonlight night. At that time it was far more safe to keep clear of restaurants and shanties as they were the resort of the vilest characters. Neither was it safe to camp out alone with a fire at night, as this was an attraction, and you were pretty sure to get objectionable company. The plan, therefore, generally adopted, was to boil the billy for tea, then, after tea, leave, and go on a little distance in the dark, and turn off the road or track into the silent bush, and roll up in your blankets; thus you avoided unpleasant company. I got through in about seven days. I passed through the famous “Woolshed Diggings," where the rich claims were, and where the men had to wash the gold off their boots when they left work. There was a “ strike'' on just then. The claim_holders wanted to reduce the wages to £I per day.  I was interviewed, and offered work at that price, but of course, I refused, as I was on my way to join my wife's brothers. I then went on through Beechworth – Spring Creek diggings. The scenes on the diggings were strange and novel to me. Beechworth was the chief centre of the mining district, and the other diggings around were named by the distance from Beechworth, thus – “ The One Mile,"  “ The Three Mile," and “The Nine Mile." This last was my destination. It was also called "Snake Valley," from the  winding course of the creek. It was late in the evening when I arrived, quite dark and pouring rain, and there had been a long rain before, so that the roads in the township were wretched. At the crossings of the creek it was impassable, and was only indicated by side logs, on which I had to crawl. The worst of it was, I had to wander up and down the creek to find my brothers' hut. The storekeepers knew them by sight, but could not say where they lived. I was directed to a large restaurant, about a mile down the creek. There were about 40 diggers, just at tea. I walked up and down between the tables, and I think they were the finest, strongest, and roughest set of men I ever saw. I did not see my brothers, though. Came back, enquired at the police camp, also to no purpose. Over the creek again, when at last I found a butcher who pointed out on the bank, on the other side of the creek, the light shining through the calico top of their hut. He lent me a piece of candle to cross the creek with, and I managed to work my way among the holes and sludge, etc., to the other side. And glad I was to get there, and I was as “wet as a rat," and pretty well tired out. I soon got  “a shift " however, and such a fire as they had never saw before; enough to roast a bullock; at which also I got a good roasting; and after a good supper of beef, damper and tea, soon felt all right. This for my first tramp in Australia.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

52 Ancestors - week 27 - Independent

The American declaration of Independence took place on the 4th of July in 1776.  

As I have no direct ancestors that I know of in America I've decided to write about an ancestor who was born in that year.

According to the 1841 census my 4th great grandmother, Agnes CUNNINGHAM, was born in 1776 at Largo, Fife, Scotland.   I don't know who her parents were.

She married Andrew MASON on the 15th of May 1795 at Kemback, Fife.
Andrew and Agnes MASON had 14 children born at Largo, Fife over the next 23 years, including 3 sets of twins.

  1. John Berwick - 4 Feb 1798
  2. Andrew - 16 April 1800
  3. Euphemia - 9 July 1802
  4. David - 27 June 1804
  5. Jean - 29 Oct 1806
  6. Thomas - 31 July 1808
  7. Grizal (Grace) - 27 July 1810
  8. Andrew - 30 June 1812
  9. Peter Webster - 17 Sept 1814 d 1 March 1892 Bendigo, Vic. (my ggg grandfather)
  10. Robert - 17 Sept 1814
  11. Archibald Goodsir - 8 July 1816
  12. Janet Goodsir - 8 July 1816
  13. Anstruther - 30 Dec 1818
  14. James Durham - 30 Dec 1818
Agnes (CUNNINGHAM) MASON died at Largo on the 11th of June 1854 aged 78 which I think is an amazing acheivement for that time, after so many children and three lots of twins to boot! 
Her husband Andrew had predeceased her by thirteen years.

52 Ancestors Challenge 
  by Amy Johnson Crow at 
"No Story Too Small"

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