How often do you hear people lament over the missed opportunities to ask their loved ones all the questions they’ve wanted to know the answers to, but now it’s too late?
One thing I bring up with friends often is to make sure you interview your elderly loved ones. Ask them all the things you want to know before illness steals that memory or worse, they’re no longer around.
That information becomes such a valuable heirloom, not only for yourself but for generations to come.
The easiest way to do this is just to sit down with a cup of tea and ask questions while you record the conversation using a smart phone’s voice recorder, most have the app inbuilt these days.
If you want to go the extra mile, use a camera to film or even go the whole hog and create a mini bio-documentary like I did with my great aunt.
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.
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 →
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.
Corner of Wellington & Barrack Street, Perth, c.1906
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.
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.
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.
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!
Sally’s Fremantle Memoirs Sarah Agnes (Sally) Hundt (nee Mocken), provided by her daughter Robyn.
I was born on a bright summer’s morning according to my mother’s autograph book, July 19th, 1921. Ten pounds in weight and named Sarah Agnes. According to Mum, she told Dad to name me Hazel Rosemary but Dad, who till the day he died I’d never seen affected by liquor, got drunk with his shipmates on the way to the birth registry, couldn’t remember Mum’s names so named me after his eldest sister and his mother. I was always and still to this day, called Sally.
My Grandmother lived on the corner of Nairn & Market Street and we lived in a cottage on Collie Street, no. 22, now an estate agency.
In those days, 1921-1941, all around Collie, Nairn, Essex and Marine Parade (Terrace), there was a polyglot of nationalities; Italians, Yugoslavs, Portuguese, Germans, English, no Asians – white Australian policy was enforced then I believe. There was a Japanese laundry in Bannister Street and two Chinese fruit & vegetable shops in South Terrace though.
An Italian family, named Vinci, lived in 20 Collie Street and when they moved the Gumina’s came to live there. In 23, a Greek family named Anastas lived, in 26, another Italian family, the Rottendellas – red headed or as the Italians say titian headed. No. 26 is now a restaurant.
Next door to my Gran in Market Street was a wonderful Italian lady, Mamma Migliore. Mamma had seven sons and always yearned for a daughter. When she eventually had a daughter after 17 years the daughter was stillborn and Mamma died. Tony, one of her sons, was a very dear friend of mine till he died a couple of years ago. He was born a month after me and we always kept in touch through the years.
Mamma spoilt me rotten. Always, when I came down to Gran’s from Boulder, inviting me into dinner where huge servings of spaghetti was put in front of me and much pinching of the cheeks and ‘mia bellos!’ was the order of the day.
Hand-coloured or tinted photos have always been around since there have been photographs to colour. Sometimes it’s just a hint of a tint and in the more blatant efforts it looks more like the result of Homer Simpson’s makeup gun set to ‘whore’.
It’s hard to forget that the ‘olden days’ were full of colour and many a curious person looking at black and white photos has wondered “What did it really look like!?”
Over the years I’ve become self-taught in a number of computer programs but the one I have the most fun with is Adobe Photoshop. Combined with my interest in genealogy it wasn’t long before I starting figuring out ways to use old and historical photos. I started hand colouring (I figure I can still use the term since my hand is on the mouse!) some old photos in the family albums and was quickly hooked. Sometimes the end result could blow your mind as you flick back and forth from the original image.
Lately I’ve been colouring historical photos that have been popular on the Facebook group Lost Perth, widely successful in Western Australia where people having been digging up old photos of Perth’s yesteryears and posting them online for everyone to reminisce over.
My favourites are pre-1900 images. The further back the date of the photo, the harder it can be to imagine it in realities hue.
The first hand coloured photo that I posted was an image of the Old Men’s Depot that used to sit on Mounts Bay Road, right on the river. It’s such a beautiful image with all the elderly men relaxing by the foreshore and black swans swimming about. It’s not the clearest image and quite grainy, not ideal for colouring but it was a favourite that I really wanted to bring to life.
It was a bit hard to make it resemble reality due to the graininess but I think it turned out alright.
The next photo I chose is one of the oldest landscape photos of Perth and shows the Pensioner Guard Barracks just after they were built in 1865.
This was a popular choice as the Barracks were demolished in the 60’s with only the arch remaining so while the arch is a Perth icon, not many really knew about the Barracks as a whole.
In fact I coloured this photo twice. The first time I only had a cropped version and it wasn’t until I applied to the State Library of Western Australia for a hi-res copy of the original, that I saw all the wonderful things happening on the sides. On the left is a woman holding a baby. Another woman rests on a grassy mound. On the right are two boys tending their sheep, while a girl stands at the gate to her house. Three other children are also playing nearby.
Last week I was working on a distant line in my tree that centred around a notable figure, Rowland Taylor. Now Rowland himself is an interesting man. He was born in Northumberland in 1510, growing up under the reign of Henry VIII who separated from Rome forming the Church of England (only so he could divorce his wife and marry another).
Rowland went into the Ministry and became quite a popular pastor who tended the poor and believed in strong family foundations. But when Henry VIII’s successor, son Edward died young, the crown ended up in the hands of Queen Mary who quickly reverted the country back to Catholicism.