Saturday, September 20, 2014

Letters of 1916

A couple of days ago I came across the Letters of 1916 website. I was quite excited when I read about this project.

The Letters of 1916 project is the first public humanities project in Ireland. Join the hundreds of people who are helping us create a crowd-sourced digital collection of letters written around the time of the Easter Rising (1 November 1915 – 31 October 1916) by contributing copies of letters to the database or transcribing previously uploaded letters.

In my collection of letters written from Ireland by my Dawson family I have two letters that fit the timeframe. The first written in November 1915 from Eleanor Dawson to her niece Louisa Spinks who lived in Whittlesea north of Melbourne. The second, was written in June 1916 by Eleanor's daughter Maude to her cousin Louisa.

Today I added the first of these letters to the website. My only disappointment so far is that I can't seem to be able to transcribe my own contribution. Hopefully it will be available for transcription soon.

Monday, August 25, 2014

My WW1 soldiers (2) - Ernest Lee Dawson

Ernest Lee Dawson (1885 - 1968)



This is the second post in a series of posts over the next few years to remember all the men in my extended family who enlisted in World War 1.

So far I have identified 26 soldiers who enlisted between 20 August 1914 and 2 November 1918 and I feel sure I have missed some. Of the twenty six, five were killed overseas or died here in Australia.

My aim is to publish these posts on the 100th anniversary of their enlistment.

Ernest Lee Dawson (my great uncle) was the eldest child of William Henry Dawson and his wife Bridget Mylan. He was born in the Cooma district of NSW in 1885.

On 25th August 1914, less than three weeks after the outbreak of the First World War Ernie, a farmer who lived at Old Bonalbo enlisted in the 2nd Light Horse Regiment in Lismore.

Ernie had previous military experience. In 1906, he answered an advertisement to join the Shanghai Municipal Council Police Force, as a recruit. He was appointed on 10th January 1907, with four others, for an initial three year contract. This was part of a big increase in the force, sixty being recruited that year, as part of a total overhaul of its structures and procedures. The Shanghai Municipal Police was a British run police force founded in 1854 to police the International Settlement at Shanghai. This area was administered by international merchants and bankers who paid taxes to, and controlled the municipal council.  The role of the police

was to provide an orderly environment for Shanghai’s foreign trade and commerce.     Their prime responsibility was to collect intelligence on political demonstrations, strikes, labour and social unrest, foreign and domestic subversive activities and areas of dispute between the International Settlement and the Chinese government 

Reference (This link is no longer appears current)


Captain's Parade at Shanghai Racecourse


Ernie would have learnt to speak Shanghainese, as this became compulsory in 1903. Men were expected to study for an hour each day in their own time, and were given an extra day’s leave each month. Cash bonuses were received when they passed language exams. Language proficiency was a requirement for promotion. (Bickers, R. Empire Made Me, p. 80-81). Ernest was appointed Sergeant in 1909 and became a 2nd Class Sergeant before he left Shanghai in 1912. (Bickers, R. Correspondence with Sharon Brennan). 

Ernest Lee Dawson, 2nd Light Horse Regiment



The 2nd Light Horse had been raised at Enoggera in Queensland on 18th August. Most of the recruits came from Queensland but many, like Ernie were from northern New South Wales. They sailed from Brisbane on the transport ship Star of England on 25th September and disembarked in Egypt on 9th December. 

The 2nd Light Horse Regiment deployed to Gallipoli without its horses and landed there on 12th May 1915, joining the New Zealand and Australian Division. It played a defensive role for most of the campaign but did attack the Turkish trenches opposite Quinn’s Post, one of the most contested positions along the ANZAC line. The first assault was mown down and fortunately the officer commanding the attack had the wisdom and courage to call it off. The 2nd was withdrawn from the front line in September and left the peninsula on 18th December. (Australian War Memorial)
) 

Suffering from enteric fever (typhoid) Ernie Dawson was evacuated from Gallipoli on 5th August 1915 and taken to No 21 General Hospital in Alexandria. He was then transferred to London aboard the Letitia on 2nd October and admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley England on 12th October. He also spent time at Perham Downs, a small brigade camp hospital. He was reported ill in The Sydney Morning Herald on 12th November, 1915.

Ernie was later transferred to the Australian Army Ordnance Corps (AAOC). The AAOC were responsible for providing Ordnance support to Australian operations in Egypt, Gallipoli, France, Belgium and Palestine. Although most soldiers were returned to Australia very quickly at the end of the war, as a member of the AAOC Ernie Dawson was required to remain and assist with collection of all equipment. As a result he did not return to Australia until  6 May 1920 aboard the Ceramic. (Reference)

Ernest Lee Dawson and Walter Waldo Seabrook were 3rd cousins, great grandchildren of  Henry William Seabrook and his wife Sarah White.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My WW1 soldiers (1) - Walter Waldo Seabrook

Walter Waldo Seabrook (1894 - 1971)


This is my first post in a series of posts over the next few years to remember all the men in my extended family who enlisted in World War 1.

So far I have identified 26 soldiers who enlisted between 20 August 1914 and 2 November 1918 and I feel sure I have missed some. Of the twenty six, five were killed overseas or died here in Australia.


Walter Waldo Seabrook (1894 - 1971)



My first post is for Walter Waldo Seabrook (107) who joined the 3rd Field Company Engineers  on 20th August 1914, less than three weeks after Australia joined the war. Walter,19 years old was the third child of Alfred and Emma Seabrook and was born at Augustus Terrace on 23rd September 1894. He had been named after his uncle Walter Waldo Kennedy who had died, aged 13 while boarding at The Friends' School in Hobart.

Walter's attestation papers state that he had spent 1 year in the Junior Cadets and 2 years in the Mililtia and he worked as a clerk. He was only 5 foot 6 inches tall and weighed 10 st 4 lbs. He was fair with blue eyes and brown hair. 

Walter was appointed to the 3rd Field Company A.I.F., 1st Division Engineers. Just over one month later Walter departed Melbourne aboard the Geelong on 22nd September 1914. 

While at Gallipoli he spent time suffering from influenza, bronchitis and pneumonia aboard the hospital ship Franconia. 

In September 1917 he was admitted to Northampton War Hospital, Duston, England suffering a mild gunshot wound to his left hand.

Walter was mentioned twice in dispatches.

On the evening of August  15 (1918) this NCO was engaged in running out direction tapes through the maze of trenches near Lihons Wood to the from line positions - finally marking these out also - in order to guide the troops of the relieving Division. A minor advance in the afternoon had extended the former CT 800 yds. In spite of enemy counterattacks with consequent shelling he reconnoitred the new positions and after being twice stopped by continuous enemy shelling successes in establishing complete communications to the rear. His devotion to duty and coolness under fire has continually been a fine example to the men under his command (AWM Honours and Awards.)

During the period 16th/17th September, 1918, and to the cessation of hostilities, Lance Corporal SEABROOK has done valuable work in organising parties and in the running out of direction tapes, in order to guide roops of relieving units. he has done reliable and constant work in reconnoitring of positions and securing valuable information in connection with water supply and material. His energy and devotion to duty has been a fine example to the men under his command (Commonwealth Gazette No. 113 6th October 1919, p. 146, London Gazette 3 June 1919, p. 6918, AWM Honours and Awards & Australian Honours List.) For this he was awarded The Meritorious Service Medal.

After the war, Walter took up land at Dover in Tasmania as a soldier settler. He married Kathleen Eady and they had three children. Walter enlisted again in the Second World War on 24th April 1942 and was discharged on 15th January 1946, as a Lieutenant from the 1st Battalion. He died while on holiday at Broadbeach, Queensland on 27th August 1971, aged 76.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

My World War 1 Soldiers

I have decided to write a series of posts over the next couple of years to highlight all the men in my extended family who enlisted in World War 1.

So far I have identified 26 soldiers who enlisted between 20 August 1914 and 2 November 1918 and I feel sure I have missed some. Of the twenty six, five were killed overseas or died here in Australia.

At this stage, I don't have information about them at my fingertips. I don't know if they were all single or if some were married with children. I have photos for some of them, but not all. They enlisted in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

My aim is to post on the 100th anniversary of their enlistment.

My first post will be on 20th August 2014 and the final one in the series on 2 November 1918.

30 August
Tonight I have found another soldier. So my tally now is 27 soldiers of whom 6 were killed.



52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 17 Court Records

This is week 17 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

This week's topic is Court Records.

In my research my main contact with court records that I have is via a secondary source -  what is reported in local newspapers.

Since the advent of Trove this has become a relatively easy task. 


The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Saturday 18th April 1874, p. 4

Ludwig Glock found himself the victim of a robbery. George Parker was convicted of stealing £2, two boxes of matches, a handkerchief and a shirt from Glock. Parker, another man and two women came to Glock's house with alcohol. While there Parker "pulled Glock about" and robbed him. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment, with hard labour, at Maitland. Perhaps less drink would have kept him out of gaol.

This report in the Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser is an abridged version from the Armidale Express. I've added this to the list of things to investigate when I'm next in Armidale and have access to this paper. Perhaps it will give me more information about Glock that I can add, other than the fact he lived by himself in 1874.






Saturday, July 26, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 – Week 16 Naturalisation & Citizenship Records

This is week 16 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

This week's topic is Naturalisation & Citizenship Records.

In all my research of direct line ancestors there are only two families who were not from England, Ireland or Scotland. Members of the Glock family do no appear to have become naturalised.

However, naturalisation papers are available for Jacob Frederick Scheef. It would be more than twenty years since I first discovered Jacob's naturalisation papers. They provided a significant breakthrough in my research. Although I had searched shipping indexes I could not find Jacob's arrival in Australia. He seemed to be missing from the indexes. (Perhaps it was my inexperienced eyes searching for his name!)

Jacob's naturalisation record was a bonus as it informed me that he arrived as a 20 year old at Moreton Bay aboard the Grasbrook on 27th April 1855 and came from a town in Germany called Unterturkheim.  A search of the shipping lists for this ship finally discovered Jacob.

Going through my research for this blogging challenge I can see that I only have a handwritten copy of Jacob's naturalisation papers. I need to organise a photocopy of the record.



52 Weeks of Genealogical Records - Week 15 - Civil Registration and Certificates

This is week 15 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

The challenge for this week is civil registration and certificates.

My post is going to be a repeat of an earlier post as it's easily the best story I have about certificates.

My great, great grandmother Jane Smith McColm has 2 death certificates. When she died on 22nd January 1888 just 3 weeks after giving birth to her 7th child, Ethel Peel McColm, her husband Malcolm obviously didn't know where to register her death.

Sound strange to you? Jane died at the Railway Yard at Wallangarra on the Queensland-N.S.W. border. (I've just realised that the postcard I purchased a couple of weeks ago, has further meaning.) What did her husband do? He registered her death in both Stanthorpe (Qld) and Tenterfield (N.S.W.)

It is very interesting to compare the two death certificates.

The first one I discovered was the N.S.W. one. This stated that she was 40 years old and came from Wigtownshire in Scotland. Her father, James Fleming, was a druggist and her mother was Jane Milroy. Jane was married to Malcolm McColm and had no children. She died of puerperal fever. I wasn't happy with this certificate. I knew she had children - my great grandmother was one of them. Wigtownshire in Scotland also didn't give me the information I required.

A couple of years later I was browsing the Queensland indexes when I found her death registered again. I ordered the certificate and was delighted. The registrar in Stanthorpe was much more thorough than the one in Tenterfield.

Jane, 33, was born in Stranraer, Wigtownshire, Scotland and she had 7 children, Elizabeth 9, Samuel 8, James 6, Jane 4, Mary 3, and Ethel Peel 5 weeks and 2 days. Ethel's age doesn't tally with the duration of Jane's illness, but the certificate is typed and not a copy.

I am so pleased that Malcolm registered Jane's death twice. The experience left me wondering about the quality of information registered in Tenterfield at that time. A less than diligent Clerk of the Court!