Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Trove Tuesday: Kathleen's birthday

Today is the anniversary of the birth of my grandmother Kathleen Cudmore, who was born 27 June 1908, 109 years ago. She died 11 June 2013, aged 104.

An action snapshot of Miss K. Cudmore, who returned a card of 95 at Seaton [Royal Adelaide Golf Club] yesterday in the second round of the club championship.

Women Golfers At Seaton: Low Tide At Millbrook: Picturesque Links: Thrills Of The Speed Track: Shot From A Bunker (1930, June 18). The Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA : 1929 - 1931), p. 12. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54236180

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Sunday, 18 June 2017

250 posts later

In writing on the Web about my family - I have just submitted my 250th blog post - I try to go beyond just listing names and dates and adding relatives to my tree.

How have I gone about my research and what have I noticed along the way?

My method is to be thorough. When I prepare a blog, I revisit any earlier work I might have done and check my notes and the original records. There's always more to know on any subject, and often there's something new to say, though I do feel that despite more research I can't help thinking that I don't know and understand my more remote ancestors any better than I did. I certainly don't feel more Scottish or Irish, for example, despite confirming Celtic DNA in my blood.

More than any other topic, I have written about my forebears and relatives who have my maiden name Champion de Crespigny. Because this surname is uncommon it's easier to research. People with the name Champion de Crespigny are certainly related to me and to one another.

I have enjoyed being inspired by 'Sepia Saturday' prompts and by 'Trove Tuesday'. It's great fun to explore the immense digitised repository ofthe National Library of Australia, especially its digitised newspapers.

For the last four years I have joined in the 'A to Z Blogging Challenge' in April. Trying to find ideas for every letter of the alphabet is not easy but it has lead to some fascinating research. For example, in the first Challenge, I was wondering what to write for the letter Z. My son suggested the Zulu wars. I knew my paternal grandmother's Mainwaring relatives were in the army and sure enough I found a second cousin of mygreat great great grandfather who fought against the Zulus. I had heard of the Zulus, of course, but the blogging challenge led me to learn much more. It was fun and satisfying.

I used to enjoy historical novels, but now I can find real life history in my own family researches. Who needs fiction!?

And it's everywhere. For example, next week our family is travelling to the Northern Territory for a short holiday. One of the main streets of Darwin is named after my great great grandfather Wentworth Cavenagh. I visited Darwin many years ago and knew of Cavenagh Street though I only learned about the family connection afterwards.

I've looked in Trove to learn more. On 13 January 1869 the SouthAustralian Advertiser, and other newspapers,  published instructions from W. Cavenagh, commissioner of Crown Lands, to Mr Goyder, the Surveyor-General, giving guidance to Goyder in his expedition to survey the Northern Territory. These instructions had been tabled in Parliament. The document was more of a mandate to proceed than detailed instructions. The SouthAustralian Register of 13 January 1869 notes that the instructions were in keeping with the Strangway's Government's laconic style. It was interested to see what Cavenagh's role was and how it was interpreted by newspapers of the day.

In the unlikely event that someone asked for my advice about writing family history I'd say just go ahead and do it. It's great fun.

Wentworth Cavenagh who, after being Commissioner of Crown Lands, served as Commissioner of Public Works of South Australia from 1872 to 1873. Image retrieved from the State Library of South Australia id  B 5622/17

Cavenagh Street Darwin photographed in 1915 by Ted Ryko: Chinese shops at the north west end of Cavenagh Street, Man Fong Lau in foreground. Photograph retrieved from Territory Stories ID PH0135/0045

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Trove Tuesday: MCG not available for 1956 Olympics

Harry Lawson (1875-1952) was the cousin of my great grandmother Beatrix Champion de Crespigny née Hughes (1884-1943).

Lawson was a politician from Castlemaine, Victoria. He served as premier of Victoria from 1918 to 1924 and later, from 1928 to 1934, a senator in the Federal Parliament.

He was also a trustee of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

In 1952 the trustees of the Melbourne Cricket Ground refused to make the MCG available for the Olympics. They were concerned that "there was no guarantee that the ground could be reconsolidated afterwards, and this would upset cricket and football"

The trustees and politicians managed to come to an agreement early in 1953 and the MCG was the main stadium for the 1956 Olympics.

Lawson had died in June 1952 so was not party to the resolution of the issue.

Newspaper items 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Five books I refer to constantly when researching my family history

Jill Ball has suggested writing about five books  especially useful in your family history research.

One of my favourites is the Road to Divorce: England 1530-1987 by Lawrence Stone. Stone's insights on marriage and divorce at different times in history have helped me enormously.

I referred to The Road to Divorce extensively when I was trying to understand the 1849 divorce of my great great great grandmother Charlotte Champion de Crespigny née Dana formerly James. In those days divorces were heard in two courts, the Court of Arches plus a suit for criminal conversation brought before the Queen's Bench,  and also required an Act of Parliament by means of presenting a private bill before the House of Lords. It was extremely expensive to go through the process, and there were only about four divorces a year in England.

In 1987 Fairfax, Some and Weldon published Australians: A Historical Library. While there have been criticisms of the series, for example a 1988 review by Jenny Lee, I have gained a lot from the Historical Statistics volume edited by Wray Vamplew and to lesser extent to of the Events and Places volume. The statistics volume was useful to me when I was trying to understand more about the age at which women marry.

A most encouraging statistical picture of the reduction in the deaths as a result of pregnancy between 1908 and 1980 (click on image to enlarge). 

some statistics on education (click on image to enlarge)
I have often referred to Angus Watson's Lost & Almost Forgotten Towns of Colonial Victoria. I cited it in my post on Carngham. I bought this book direct from the author some years ago. It is now selling on-line for five times what I paid for it.

The page referring to Lamplough - there is a lot of history in the few facts and statistics. (click to enlarge)
I think reading about the context of our ancestor's lives can be most illuminating.  At the moment I am reading London in the 18th century: A Great and Monstrous Thing by Jerry White. I borrowed it first from the library in an attempt to curtail my spending on books - but had to own it, it is so full of information and well written.

My husband Greg is reading Michael Cannon's The Land Boomers which was passed recently to me by my father. He says it is fun. My turn next.

I constantly refer to the family histories written by my relatives. As a way of passing on family history, nothing beats a book!

Some of the family history books written by my relatives
I use LibraryThing to keep track of my books and  the books in my study are organised by the Dewey system.

So many books! So much reading! 

Greg tells me however, that the Chinese say, 书山有路勤为径,学海无涯苦作舟, which means, roughly, 'There is a path through the mountain of books. Work hard to find the way. The ocean of learning has no limit. Work hard to build a boat.'

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Saturday, 13 May 2017


James  Cross (1828 - 1882) and his wife Ellen Cross née Murray (1837 - 1901), the great great grandparents of my husband Greg, moved to Carngham between the births of their first and second children. Frederick James Cross, their oldest son, was born on 1 April 1857 at Green Hills near Buninyong. Their daughter Ellen was born on 27 May 1859 at Carngham. James and Ellen had nine more children all born at Carngham. James Cross died at Carngham in 1882. Ellen Cross died in Ballarat in 1901.

View Larger Map

From Lost and almost forgotten towns of Colonial Victoria : a comprehensive analysis of Census results for Victoria, 1841-1901 by Angus B.Watson.

Carngham, 27 km west of Ballarat, about 30 km from Buninyong, and 4 km north of Snake Valley, was a mining township, surveyed and proclaimed in 1855. State School number 146 operated at Carngham from 1856 until 1911.

Snake Valley was not proclaimed a township. It was a mining centre, surveyed as a hamlet. State School number 574, which began in 1854, is now part of the Woady Yaloak school.

According to the census of 29 March 1857 there were 459 people in Carngham, 292 males and 167 females. This figure probably includes the population of Snake Valley. In 1854 there had been 58 people, 15 males and 13 females.   There are no 1854 figures for Snake Valley. In 1861 there were 22 dwellings counted in Carngham with 92 people of whom 54 were male and 38 female. Snake Valley had 204 dwellings housing 714 people: 454 males and 260 females. In 1871 Carngham and Snake Valley were counted together, with 384 dwellings housing 1,693 people of whom 958 were male and 735 female. In 1881 there were only 133 dwellings housing 611 people, 313 males and 298 females. In 1891 Carngham had 30 dwellings housing 126 people and Snake Valley had 92 dwellings housing 333 people. Watson, Angus B Lost & almost forgotten towns of colonial Victoria : a comprehensive anaysis of census results for Victoria, 1841-1901. Angus B. Watson and Andrew MacMillan Art & Design, [Victoria, Australia], 2003. Pages 84, 408.

Today Carngham amounts to little more than a few houses where the Snake Valley - Trawalla road crosses the route from Ballarat to Beaufort.  Snake Valley is still the larger settlement. Overlooking Carngham is a cemetery where James Cross, his wife Ellen and some of his children and their families are buried.

The name Carngham is said to derive from the Wathawurrung people's word for house or hut.  In 1838 James and Thomas Baillie squatted there and adopted the Aboriginal place name for their property. The local clan was the Karrungum baluk or Carringum balug. Clark, Ian, and Toby Heydon. "Historical Information - Carngham." VICNAMES. Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (State Government of Victoria), 2011. Web. 01 Oct. 2013. <http://services.land.vic.gov.au/vicnames/historicalInformation.html?method=edit&id=3226>.

Snake Valley is said to have got its name when a gold miner found snakes in a shaft he was sinking. Clark, Ian, and Toby Heydon. "Historical Information - Snake Valley." VICNAMES. Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (State Government of Victoria), 2011. Web. 01 Oct. 2013. <http://services.land.vic.gov.au/vicnames/historicalInformation.html?method=edit&id=5118>.In turn citing Porteous in Smyth 1878b: 179. 

The Ballarat Star reported on the gold rush to Carngham in November 1857. CARNGHAM. (1857, November 23). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 2. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66045316

Saturday, 6 May 2017

2017 A to Z blogging challenge

This is my fourth year participating in the A to Z blogging challenge.  This year I wrote mostly about places associated with my family history.

The places were mainly in England and southeastern Australia. Maps compiled using mapalist.com.

  • A is for letter from Anzac : my great grandfather Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny (1882-1952) was a doctor on Lemnos near Gallipoli. He was mentioned in a 1915 letter from the journalist Keith Murdoch to the Australian prime minister  bout conditions at Gallipoli.
  • B is for Borneo : my third cousin four times removed, Claude Augustus Champion de Crespigny (1829-1884), spent much of his life working in Borneo and researching its natural history and geography.
  • C is for caught in Caen during the Reign of Terror : In 1792 my 6th great grandparents Constantine Phipps (1746-1797) and Elizabeth Phipps née Tierney (1749-1832) were living in Caen, France. That year they took a trip to back to England and left six of their children behind. The parents were unable to return to France and the family was separated for more than five years because of hostilities between he two countries.
  • E is for Eden Park, home of Wentworth Cavenagh : 'Eden Park' was the Adelaide home from 1867-1892 of my great great grandparents Wentworth Cavenagh (1822-1895) and his wife Ellen Jane Cavenagh née Mainwaring later Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1845-1920).
  • G is for Gretna Green : in 1804 Eliza Champion Crespigny (1784-1831), my 5th great aunt, was married at Gretna Green over the border in Scotlandto Richard Hussey Vivian (1775-1842)
  • J is for jail: Bankruptcy of William Pulteney Dana : William Pulteney Dana (1776-1861), my fourth great grandfather, was jailed for bankruptcy in 1840. The prison was known as the Dana, after his father the Reverend Edmund Dana (1739-1823). It is still called the Dana.
  • O is for Oakleigh, a suburb of Melbourne, where my mother-in-law Marjorie Sullivan was born in 1920.
  • Q is for Queenscliff in 1882 : the birthplace of my great grandfather Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny in 1882. His mother, Annie Frances Champion de Crespigny née Chauncy (1857-1883) died there after his birth.
  • S is for the Snowy : some photos of my husband Greg working on the Snowy Mountains Scheme
  • T is for Talbot in 1869 : my three times great grandfather Philip Champion Crespigny (1817-1889) sold his farm near Talbot, Victoria
  • U is for Unibic biscuit tin : On a biscuit tin commemorating World War I is a 1917 photograph of my great grandfather Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny (1882-1952) escorting Queen Mary  on a visit to the war hospital he commanded.
  • Z is for Zehlendorf the district of Berlin where my grandparents Hans Boltz (1910-1992) and Charlotte Boltz née Manock (1912-1988) first lived when they were married in 1937.

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Trove Tuesday: Nancy de Crespigny at Salt Creek 1936

Trove  is a repository of digitised data managed by the National Library of Australia.

Recently when I was researching Trove's digitised newspapers, I came across a newly-added photograph of my great aunt Nancy de Crespigny.

Miss N. de Crespigny, Salt Creek Image from State Library of South Australia PRG 1218/34/435

Nancy Champion de Crespigny (1910-2003),  the second child of Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny and his wife Beatrix née Hughes, was the sister of my grandfather Geoff. She was a close lifelong friend of my grandmother Kathleen, Geoff's wife.

Nancy went to Woodlands School in Adelaide and then attended the University of Melbourne, where she graduated in 1933 with a history degree. She studied archeology at the University of London and Newnham College of Cambridge University.

The photograph comes from the State Library of Australia. It was taken 8 March 1936 by Charles Pearcy Mountford (1890-1976) at Salt Creek, also known as also known as Winnininnie Creek, about 330 kilometres north of Adelaide.

The photo of Nancy is in the Mountford-Sheard Collection. In the same collection I found two shots of Nancy's future husband Hallum Movius (1907-1987) taken on the same day.

Hallam Movius, Salt Creek Image from State Library of South Australia PRG 1218/34/433B
Hallam Movius, Salt Creek Image from State Library of South Australia PRG PRG 1218/34/433A 

The Adelaide Advertiser of 11 March 1936 mentions Nancy and Hal's excursion. With them was the Adelaide anthropologist Charles Pearcy Mountford (1890-1907) .

PERSONAL (1936, March 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article35415220

A few months later, in June, Hal sailed from Australia. Nancy followed in July. In September the pair married in London.

Life on the Ocean Wave (1936, June 18). Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article152065161

Adelaide Archaeologist (1936, August 1). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 25. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48212356

DAUGHTER OF ADELAIDE DOCTOR MARRIED (1936, September 28). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48182227

Lighter Side of London Life Adelaide Girl Weds Young Archaeologist (1936, October 27). News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132025722

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Further reading

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Z is for Zehlendorf

My maternal grandparents, Hans Boltz (1910-1992) and Charlotte  Manock (1912-1988) were married in 1937.

Their first home was in Eschershauser Weg 27, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Berlin. Zehlendorf is a district in the south-west of Berlin near the Krumme Lanke lake, on the edge of the Grunewald forest.

They lived in a  flat (apartment) in a housing estate known as Onkel Toms Hütte, served by a  U-Bahn station named after the 1852 anti-slavery novel. The estate, designed by several by well-known architects, among them Bruno Taut and Hugo Härings, was built between 1926 and 1932 . The apartment blocks had communal back gardens that led into the forest.

My grandmother, Charlotte Boltz, outside her new home in 1937

Eschershauser Weg in 1937

Eschershauser Weg in the snow about 1937

from Google maps
A satellite view of Eschershauser Weg showing how it is set in the forest and the communal grounds surrounding the flats from Google maps

According to Google Maps a U-Bahn leaves for Berlin Zoo every ten minutes. The journey takes just over half an hour. Charlotte's parents lived near Berlin Zoo.

Public transport from Eschershauser Weg to Berlin Zoo from Google maps

Hans's parents lived at Florastraße 13 in Steglitz. His father, Fritz Boltz (1879-1954) was a live-in janitor at a school there. There is still a school at that address. Florastraße is about six kilometres away from Eschershauser Weg and it takes about half an hour to get there by public transport.

From Eschershauser Weg, Zehlendorf, to Florastraße, Steglitz per Google maps
I visited Eschershauser Weg in 1982

The back of the flats overlook a communal garden with a sand pit and play space. Each flat has a balcony. Photographed 1982.

The sandpit at the back of the flats in 1982

My mother playing in the sandpit at Christmas time. She was three years old.

My mother playing in the sandpit aged 4

My mother on her sled at Christmas when she was three years old. The balconies at the back of the flats can be seen.

My mother told me about tobogganing on her sled down a very steep slope with two stones at the bottom of the path that you had to avoid. I found the path and stones in 1982. The slope was not big but it must have seemed so to a small child.