Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Middle Earth

I've been a bit caught up with what is happening in Welly this week, instead of doing a bit of family tree research. So I thought I would see what I could find related on Trove.

We're a bit quirky here, and its a bit like any excuse for a party, or to get dressed up, or just congregate with a bunch of strangers and soak up the atmosphere. Wellington has been transforming into Middle Earth again ready for the premiere tomorrow of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit". I thought I'd share some of the photos for others to see how we have gotten into the spirit.

The Hobbit Artisan Market in Waitangi Park - where you can buy authentic cloaks, swords and other items made by the artists who have created them for the set and the actors. Plus watch the 3 LOTR movies on the big screen with your friends and family and relive the magic.

At the airport - you can collect your bags from Bag End !! How cool is that  ? And upstairs there is Gollum

And back in town, where the red carpet will be walked tomorrow an advertising agency has encased their building with an image of Middle Earth

and Gandalf is waiting outside Bilbo's front door at the Embassy Theatre for the show to begin

There are hobbits and orcs and wizards and elves and gnomes all over the place, its getting all a bit magical.

I couldnt find much on Trove  - but I did find this

Chronicle (Adelaide SA  1895 - 1954) Thursday 10 January 1952 page 28 article93869947-3-001

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

An Inheritance Lost ?

Totally on a tangent this week - I have become entangled with the family of my VC winning cuz as I try to unravel the connections and find where that Army Chaplin from ANZAC Day fits in.

I discovered by chance that Pte Thomas Cooke's sister Catherine had had children before her death from influenza in 1918. None were mentioned in her death notice in the paper, so I had had no leads to follow there. Thanks to google, I found on ancestry a file uploaded by a genealogical group detailing the grandparents of members - and there was Catherine ! I was interested to see that Catherine's father in law had been born in Geelong, Victoria.

On the National Library of New Zealands digitised newspaper site Paperspast I found a couple of items about Catherine's husband Charles Albert Oldman and his brother. They were apiarists and lived at Waiau which is inland from Kaikoura. One year seems to have been a bumper year for honey production and Charles got caught for being a bit clever looking for solutions to process all the honey his bees had provided.

The Auckland Star, New Zealand, Friday May 11 1934 page 3 AS19340511_1_3

But then I thought, why not see if I can find anything about his Dad on Trove, before he migrated to New Zealand - only one result was returned that pertained to the family.

Examiner (Launceston Tas 1900-1954) Tuesday 25 August 1931 page 6 article53934332-5-003

What a shame the judge made the decision he did - or have I interpreted this incorrectly, and he did order the money to be divided between the beneficiaries ? I'm sure it wouldn't have been too difficult to track the people down - they had the names of two of them, after all. If they missed out, I wonder if they can get the money back now (with interest) ? Victor Albert was Catherine's father-in-law. It would also appear that Catherine's husband's grandmother Agnes Oldman had just a little bit in common with Catherine's grandmother Mary Cooper - leaving the family home and taking a couple of kids to another country.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Remembrance Day

Private Thomas Cooke. Source: www.anzacday.org.au
Sunday was Armistice Day and I was reminded of the story I heard at the Dawn Service at ANZAC Day this year. It wasn't a new story to me, I knew a lot of the details myself - but I didnt know the person telling it that morning.

Thomas Cooke - Kiwi, Aussie, Hero - was born in Kaikoura, Marlborough, New Zealand on 5 March 1881. His mother Caroline was an elder sister of my great grandfather, and the sixth child; fourth daughter of John and Mary Cooper (nee Barratt) - you might remember Mary from an earlier post, she left her family in New Zealand and went to Australia and changed her name.

Thomas grew up in Kaikoura amongst a large extended family. His father was a builder, and Thomas followed him into the trade. Rumour has it my great grandfather, Thomas' uncle was apprenticed to Thomas' father as well. Thomas was the eldest of four children born to Caroline and Tom and sadly none would survive past 35 years.

Thomas moved to Wellington after finishing high school when he was 17, where he worked as a builder.  He was a keen musician and was a member of Jupp's band and the Garrison Band. He married a local Wellington girl, Maud Elliott in 1901 and they had three children. Around 1912 his family moved to Melbourne where he continued to practise as a builder, besides taking an active interest in brass bands and the Ancient Order of Foresters.

In February 1915 he became a member of the Australian Expeditionary Forces, enlisting with the 8th battalion. He sailed on 26 November 1915 with the 7th Australian Reinforcements arriving in Egypt on New Years Day. From there he went to France with a machine gun section and saw a lot of action. The first major action they saw in France was at Pozieres where 81 lives were lost. Thomas was killed in action on 25 July 1916 at Pozieres, France and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. At some point he had been promoted to Acting Corporal, but was awarded the Victoria Cross for action at Pozieres, France whilst serving with 8 Battalion, 2 Brigade, 1 Division as a Private. The citation in the Supplement to the London Gazette September 9, 1916 reads

"No. 3055 Pte .Thomas Cooke, late Aus. Infy.
         For most conspicuous bravery. After a Lewis gun had been disabled, he was ordered to take his gun and gun-team to a dangerous part of the line. Here he did fine work, but came under very heavy fire, with the result that finally he was the only man left. He still stuck to his post, and continued to fire his gun.
        When assistance was sent he was found dead beside his gun. He set a splendid
example of  determination and devotion to duty."

There is extensive coverage about this on Trove,

The Argus (Melbourne Vic 1848-1956) Monday 11 September 1916 page 8 article1611874-3-001

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW 1842-1954) Friday 2 February 1917 page 6 article15734182-3-001

(complete with typos ! the Sydney Morning Herald article has Gallipoli instead of Pozieres - woops) and also in the New Zealand papers at PapersPast

The Evening Post (Wellington New Zealand) 15 September 1916, page 8

as well as on the Australian War Memorial site, New Zealand History online in the Australian Dictionary of Biography and many more. Google is a great help when researching.

It appears that his widow had drawn out negotiations with bureaucracy claiming her pension, from the correspondence I discovered on his file at National Archives of Australia , back and forth between Australian and New Zealand officials. His Victoria Cross is held in the collection at the National Army Museum in Waiouru.

The Army chaplin telling his story on ANZAC Day had visited Gallipoli and toured the battlefields to walk in the steps of his great uncle, I still dont know exactly where he fits into the family - I feel he is more likely related through the Elliott or Cooke families, since  we can account for most descendants on the Cooper side. I hunted him down at the breakfast between the dawn service and the citizens service at St Paul's cathedral but couldnt do much more than share our family connection and thank him for sharing the story.

I have wondered since discovering my other Cooper relations in Melbourne whether Thomas met them. From the electoral rolls they didnt live too far apart. Did his mother Caroline keep in contact with her mother - the mysterious Mary Cooper, nee Barratt also known as Nicholls ? or her younger siblings now married and starting their own families in Melbourne ? I might have to keep wondering about that for now.

Victoria Cross. Source: http;//medals.nzdf.mil.nz

So, there is the tale as it exists now of Thomas Cooke VC my 2nd cousin 1x removed who I feel wholly embodies the ANZAC spirit; being born a Kiwi and serving as an Aussie. Both countries can feel proud of this soldier.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest we forget
Laurence Binyon

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A sad end in the tale of Joseph Dickinson's life..

Last week I posted about the Cameron's and McIntyres, this week my story is about Joseph Dickinson who was the father of Sarah Ann who married Alexander McIntyre. Here is what I knew until Trove gave me a hint.

Joseph was a plasterer, he is mentioned in Errol Lea-Scarlett's book "First light on the Limestone Plains". He lived in the Queanbeyan area, at Bungendore, Braidwood, Garryowen, Micalago and at one point at Willaroo, Lake George. From what I have discovered Willaroo was a homestead owned by the Cooper family - maybe he was employed there ? But that apparently is where his family was living when Sarah was born around 1846. Not that I have been able to find a birth record for her. From Sarah's marriage certificate in 1862 I also learned that her mother was Ann, nee Blackman. So I had two names to try to find a marriage for the next step backward - but no luck. I've not been able to find any births for other children of Joseph and Ann either, using various spelling options for Dickinson. Judging by the size of all the other families on this side of the tree I felt sure she must have had siblings. Sarah went on to have 15 children of her own, from her marriage at age 17 until after the arrival of her first grandchildren 27 years later.

Ann Dickinson's death certificate in 1870 gave me her place of birth - Hastings Kent, and marriage place Sydney (whatever !) plus children - two daughters and one son. Names, I want names. A couple of years after Ann's death, Joseph remarried Sarah Ann Davis nee Finnegan, a widow. From this certificate I learned Joseph's parents names and his birthplace, London. With all this, I still cant find any record of either him or Ann arriving in New South Wales prior to Sarah's birth in 1846. I had a bit of a look for his death, but there was nothing obvious, so I had put him into the "one day" basket.

Then "one day" wiling away the hours searching on Trove for different surnames I came a cross a few accounts of him in the Queanbeyan Age. It would seem that Joseph was a bit of a drinker as 3 out of 5 of the articles about him comment on this.

The earliest mention of him (and possibly Margery McIntyre nee Cameron from last weeks blog) was on a list of subscriptions or donations towards assisting the Irish and Scots to emigrate to Australia in 1847. This was around Famine time in Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland. I knew about the Irish one from history at school, but the Scots one was new to me.

Sydney Chronicle (NSW 1846-1848) 11 Sept 1947 article31753309-3-002

The next article (so far) in 1864 found him mentioned in the inquiry into the death of a bullock driver Thomas Tinham of Charnwood. This article was the first mention of Joseph's relationship with alcohol "Dickinson was very drunk at the time of making this enquiry and could scarcely sit his horse"

Queanbeyan Age 30 June 1864 article30634852-3-001

Then in 1872 he seems to have had more trouble sitting on his horse again, as well as being nibbled on by some form of wildlife as he lay incapacitated on the road.

Queanbeyan Age 28 Mar 1872 article30582753-3-001

Since Sarah is the only child I know anything about, I wondered if she was the "lucky" daughter who had her father delivered to her doorstep. With six children under 11 and another on the way, I cant imagine she'd have been very impressed. About three weeks after this incident Joseph married the Sarah Davis, I wonder what she thought about the whole thing ?

I remember being pleasantly surprised to see Edwin and Harriet Tandy as witnesses to Joseph's wedding in 1872. Harriet (nee Jenner) was a half sister of his son-in-law Alexander McIntyre, so the marriage certificate was helping to build their story too. Joseph also appears in Greville's Post Office directory in 1872 as a plasterer in Queanbeyan.

In 1874 he was in court giving evidence about a former employee who had forged his signature and taken an order to the store to purchase items of clothing for himself.

Queanbeyan Age (NSW 1867-1904) 22 August 1874 article30596596-3-001

The Queanbeyan Quarter Sessions held on 21 October were reported in the Queanbeyan Age 24 October 1874. Charles Colman entered a plea of not guilty, after listening to the testimonies and seeing the evidence "His Honour, in passing sentence, said it appeared to him that the prisoner had had a very bad example set to him at home, but that his conduct whilst in jail had been very good. He had been in custody since the 20th August. Considering these circumstances, and the youth of the prisoner, he would pass as mild a sentence as possible - which was that he be imprisoned in Darlinghurst jail for two years. If, however, at the end of six months prisoner's conduct was found to be good, he would promise him, in the event of his presenting a petition to his Excellency, and that petition was referred to him, as in all probability it would be, he would recommend a remission of his sentence from that time"

The next article I came across was at the end of Joseph's life. It was a detailed account of his demise and included the testimony of his wife Sarah, although they were at this point estranged. But at last, thanks to finding this article with its tragic story I had a death date for him.

Queanbeyan Age (NSW 1867-1904) 7 December 1878 article30674671-3-002

To make it trickier his widow Sarah had registered his death with an extra christian name to try to throw me off track again. But I duly ordered the death certificate for GEORGE Joseph Dickinson, hoping it might gift me the names of at least one of his other children. But no, all I got was "No issue this marriage" and "2 children by a former wife" - what happened to the 3rd child mentioned on Ann's death certificate ?

So I'm still a little lost - but I do know a bit more about him than I did a couple of months ago. I wonder if the descendants of his other children are stuck in the same place as me trying to be found.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.