Thursday, May 25, 2017

Genealogy researching is more than sitting at your computer

Where People Start versus Where Genealogists Start
Most people today think genealogy is just signing up to a service like Ancestry and then filling out the forms and sit back and see what gets recognized by their services. What a real genealogist does is put the blood and flesh onto that soul whomever it might be. (This is the reasoning behind the name of this blog.) This means you have to get out from behind your desk and go in search of this information.

Yes, sometimes its going from one website to another looking for the information, but a person who wants to do the real research will get out from behind the desk. For myself, this is pretty difficult due to all of my relatives living in the USA while I live in Australia. However, I do get 'out and about' to collect this information. I visit various libraries, restaurants, stores, and festivals. Then there's the email's, online forms, letters and emails and the phone calls I've made and received. Then then there is the blog and DNA I've done as well. Anything to get information out there and ways for people to get to contact or communicate with me as well.

My husband, however, is lucky enough to be living in the place where we can get out there and do the researching. Usually, I go as well, so there's 2 people to hear information, make sure he gets information and ask other questions which I might think up.

In the last 18 months, we've had to lay off of doing things like this because first I had some medical issues which had to be straightened out, and then we had our nephew with us and it was difficult to do anything with a VERY active 2-3 year old with us, so we just laid off doing things. However, with changes that have been made we've been able to do a few genealogy trips in the last 6 weeks.

Out and About - Our Steps meet those of Hubby's Ancestor's

Trip 1 - Marysville Victoria
I was first introduced to Marysville when I worked for the Victorian State Government and we had a conference there in 2008 and we stayed at The Cumberland. Prior to my being hired, they had had other conferences there and liked how things were set up where there was a community area for people to sit together and have a great time.
Website credit
However, the bush fire storm we had in 2009, disseminated the area. As we worked with many local communities, and it boarded onto our region at work, it was a crazy and hectic time. We, and other local organisations and many individuals, gave time, energy, prayers, and this in turn gave them all the one thing money can't buy - HOPE.
Picture credit
Now nearly 10 years later, we went to visit the area. I went because I wanted to see how the area was going and how the town now looked as all but 14 of over 400 buildings destroyed and 34 souls were lost. I know the owners of The Cumberland lost her parents in them. As we neared Marysville and went through the area called Black Spur you could tell the bush fire had gone through but it looked like it had only been 1 or 2 years and not nearly 10 because the 2009 fires burnt that hot. This being said, new life was popping up - in shrubs, trees, ferns, and as we got nearer to the town - homes and businesses.

Why were we in Marysville?
Website credit
Hubby, who hasn't been there in either years or when he was very young, can't remember much about if and/or when he was there if at all. However, this being said, his cousins lived and died there years ago. One was burnt but they don't know if it was by accident or by suicide, but the authorities and newspapers have it as a suicide. The sister to this one went to visit her father and everyone believes she either got lost and then hurt and died. Her remains were never properly identified and within 5 years the courts had declared her dead. This is was the reasons why we visited Marysville.

We met up with a few people from the Marysville & District Historical Society to discuss the ancestry and exchanged what everyone knew about these ancestors. They never realized that the ancestors we were talking about were actually related to Lady Gregory in Ireland and were shocked to find out about this.
Example of Pitman Shorthand (website credit)

On the other hand, I never knew about the Pitman shorthand. When I was in school, I heard about shorthand and had even learned a few squiggles here and there, but never had any idea about who was the person who actually created and then later went and educated others about its use. These Pitman's were part of the reason why we were in Marysville.

We took and received some pictures we didn't know about, were taken to the Log Cabin house on sister lived in and was killed nearby, the hotel they had managed (Kooringa), and then were taken around where they think she had died and then to the cemetery where the one sister is buried.
Hubby's Maternal Ancestors plaque at Marysville. (Credit)
The other thing I learned was Marysville & District Historical Society are looking for any type of photos and memorabilia of the region because almost all of theirs are gone due to the 2009 Bush Fire Storm.

What can you do? (from the Marysville & District Historical Society website)

Please look in your photo collections if you or anyone you know have lived or visited this area. Go ahead and ask your parents or grandparents. ANY photos of the area - Marysville, Granton, Narbethong, Buxton, etc - are welcome. They do not need to be "old" photos - in 30 years your children will be asking "What did Marysville look like in 2009 before the fires?"

Trip 2 -  Albury New South Wales & Wodonga Victoria

The last trip we took while hubby was on holidays or vacation was to an area called Albury-Wondonga. This is 2 towns which are split by the Murray River and in 2 different states. This was also compounded by visiting with my father in law, his partner, and hubby's aunts and uncles. Then my hubby found he has a cousin, which we met up with, that he's recently started to have contact with.
Taken from this website
We were taken all around Albury - you have each of the addresses of various family members, looked at various places they would have had been around, the Anzac memorial there, and the cemeteries. It was a very busy day as we spent quite a bit of time visiting different things and then getting a commentary about the different ancestors.
Hubby's cousin Steve and my father in law at Steve's mother's gravesite. Copyright
One of the many places we saw during the daytime (website)

We then headed some place to sit down and compare paperwork. It was a very long day, but it was great to see so much information about them and exchanged with the person who knew about his side of the family.

Want more and in-depth? 
I've just briefly covered our trips. Hubby has a genealogy website for his side, and I don't see the reason why we really need a double up. After all, anyone who knows my hubby KNOWS he loves to be wordy and in other times - in depth. Here's his genealogy website for more info.

Why do this?
By doing this, you can put that flesh and bone on those souls you read about so much. Everyone is much more than just some names on paper. After all, if you look into yourself, aren't you more than just that if you think about it?
Picture taken from here
Also, sometimes in order to understand a person and their reasoning, you have to trace, or walk, in their steps. You get to learn so much about them by doing this. Its made so much better if you meet up with others that either knew them or have done a lot of researched about them.

I highly recommend getting up and away from the computer or tablet and go for a walk where you found your ancestors. I know I have plans to do this as soon as we go back to the US, and visit places like Poland, Germany and Denmark.
Picture taken from here