Returning A Family Heirloom To Its Rightful Owners

Is it odd that my genealogical fantasies include stumbling across local, 19th Century glass negative plates at a 2nd hand market or that someone contacts me about some amazing long, lost family heirloom? Unfortunately, this hasn’t come true, but I was able to make it happen for a lucky lady in England!

Earlier this year I visited a 2nd cousin of mine who is into genealogy as much as I am and just before leaving she brought out the most amazing old book that she purchased from an antique dealer many years ago.antique heirloom book found

The large, earthy, marbled tome was a bit tattered, but it contained over 300 pages of musings, thoughts, poems and events of a woman living through the mid to latter half of the 1800’s. Continue reading

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Colouring Old Photos

One of my favourite hobbies would have to be colouring old photos. To put some colour into the cheeks of an image over 100 years old, suddenly brings them to life and lets you see them in a whole new (colourful) light.

I use Adobe Photoshop to colour them, with each colour a separate layer. With up close portraits I use a combination of colours for the skin; the usual flesh and blush tone, but also blues, yellows and even greens!

When I first started, it was landscapes that caught my fancy, especially streetscapes of my hometowns of Perth and Fremantle.

Wellington Street, Perth, c.1906

Corner of Wellington & Barrack Street, Perth, c.1906

View image here if animation does not load.

But when I started on portraits, especially ones of my ancestors, it was truly amazing to be able to see them in a new way. Just adding colour seemed to give them a more multidimensional feel that also gave a feeling of knowing them just that little bit better.

Coloured Photo c.1945

Coloured Photo c.1945

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FamilyTreeDNA’s New Origins Estimates

So I checked my familytreeDNA origins results again last night after hearing they’d upgraded their population sample databases and there were some big changes!
Here’s my two to compare, one from last year and now.

dnacompare

Scandinavian has really shot up. Since this seems to be centred around Norway, I would expect a bit from my 2x GGF from the Viking-raided, Outer Hebrides in Scotland, but not this much, especially since I only inherited 19% of his granddaughters DNA! If it includes Danish Vikings then I could have a bit more from the Norfolk area, but still, it seems like a lot!

Annoyed that my Eastern European has dropped off, since that’s my direct maternal line to SW Poland, though it’s possible they had Germanic origins.

British seems quite low. Except for 2x GGP’s from Austro/Italy and Prussia, all my other lines are UK, though I suspect the Western European infiltrated through my Kent and Cornish lines.
South-east Euro has jumped, on other sites I was between 2-7% Mediterranean which seemed about right for my Austro-Italian 2x GGF.

Comparing between the different companies at AncestryDNA and 23andMe shows massive differences so we’re obviously still a fair way off the technology being accurate % wise.

dna3

My paper trail estimates are 53.12% English, 34.38% Scottish, 6.25% SW Polish & 6.25% Austro-Italian, so at least the locations are reflected in all the results!

75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin, when on the 19th Feb 1942, the Japanese raided the top end, bombing all infrastructure so that the allies no longer had a close base to SE Asia.

Recently for a Uni course we were asked to write a short historical fiction story about a family member and I chose my Pop and his time during the air raid. Many details from the story were taken from interviews I recorded with him in 2008.
You can read more about his time in Darwin with the Army in this post.

georgeww2The Darwin Air Raid

Heat radiated off the metal oil tanks that his earth-anchored Lewis gun protected, forcing him to wipe the sweat from his brow every few minutes. George had been in Darwin just 6 weeks as part of the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Battery, sent there from Perth after rumours abounded that the Japs were going to invade Australia. But so far it had all been training exercises, croc hunting and the pilfering of tinned lobster from the Yanks to supplement their meagre rations.

George turned his gun northward to give his bare back relief from the morning sun. Sitting high up on the hill, the sea breeze was a relief from the tropical humidity.
The view was incredible. Battleships gleamed in the turquoise harbour, a vivid reminder that he was indeed in the middle of a war. Black dots hovered on the horizon. Must be the Yanks returning from Singapore, he thought. Continue reading

Making a Descendants Facebook Group

Depending on how immersed you are in family history research, a descendants group on Facebook might be something you could create if you yourself have already researched the family in depth or, if a group already exists, something that could help you immensely if you’re just starting out in your genealogy journey.

Usually the main point of creating one is to gather all your family contacts in the one place to easily share research and photos, discover new contacts and uncover previously unknown information about the family.

Facebook is also a great tool for tracking down distant family members who may have previously unknown info or photos and having a group makes it easier for that new family member to quickly legitimise your request and hopefully create enough intrigue for them to go research and unearth their own info on their family line.
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The History of Photography in Perth

To tell the history of Perth photography involves a little history about the art of photography itself. The thought of capturing an image had been around for a few hundred years, with even a fictional tale detailing an accurate developing process in the late 1700’s. But the 1820’s was the pivitol point when photography as we know it came into crude existence through Frenchman, Nicéphore Niépce. It was his associate Louis Daguerre who later used a polished silver plate covered with silver iodide and exposed it to light through a camera lens to invent the Daguerreotype process, that was the first to be commercially introduced in 1839.

1853ssevansIt took 7 years for the first known ‘Daguerreotype Artist’ to visit Western Australia, when Robert Hall visited Perth, staying for a few days at Mrs Leeder’s Hotel. He charged 1 Guinea for a photo with a frame or £1/ 5s for a photo in a pressed tin, ‘Morocco’ casket, thus restricting his patronage to only the most wealthy colonialists. Unfortunately none of his captures have survived.

Being a remote outpost on the other side of a busier east coast hindered the amount of photographers who visited Perth and it wasn’t until the 1850’s that permanent studios started to pop up. New Yorker, Samuel Scrivener Evans appears to be the first in 1853 when he opened a Daguerreotype Gallery at the Castle Hotel in Fremantle before later moving to Perth. None of Evans’ photos appear to have survived either.
Evans was followed in November 1857 by the Duryea Brothers of Adelaide, working from St George’s Terrace and later Hay Street, charging 10s/6d per sitting and Frederick Herbert who set up shop in Howick Street, Perth.
They were quickly followed in August 1858 by a Mr Curtis setting up business from his home at Bazaar Terrace, Perth. Continue reading

The Basics of DNA Genealogy Explained

This post doesn’t encapsulate everything about DNA Genealogy but serves to cover some of the basics for people interested in taking a test.

So this is my attempt at explaining DNA Genealogy. These days it all makes sense to me but I remember it was a massive learning curve as I got my head around Haplogroups, Segments, Centimorgans, Genomes etc. I’m still learning new things about it even now and there are definitely a lot more people out there who really delve deep into it, but I will try and explain the basics to help you understand how it works and what you can expect.

There are currently 3 main DNA testing companies out there at the moment, that deal with the genealogy aspect of it. There are more but these 3 are the most well known. Ancestry.com (autosomal test only) 23andme.com (autosomal test only) and FamilytreeDNA.com (autosomal, yDNA (direct paternal) & mtDNA (direct maternal)).
There is a 4th company MyHeritage who have just started  DNA testing, but at this point in time I wouldn’t recommend them until they iron out some kinks and get a larger database.
All have their pro’s, con’s and various price differences.

A lot of people also upload their results from these 3 companies to Gedmatch.com which is a free site that allows people to compare tests against others from different companies and also has some pretty good tools to use.

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