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My grandparents

I don’t think I’ve ever posted a single post about my grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents. As there are too many for one single post, I’m going to split them into a series.

This post, the first of the series, recognises my grandparents. Of course, I have four grandparents. Two of whom, I was lucky enough to have until I was an adult and two who passed away long before I was born.

My mother’s parents are the grandparents I knew. My father’s parents died when he was a young child.

THOMAS ALBERT MORRISON was born in Echuca in 1904 and died in Shepparton in November 1978.

LEOLA WATERS was born at Rochester East in 1905 and died in Shepparton in 1995.

Thomas Albert Morrison and Leola Jean Waters married in Echuca in 1926.

Following is a reblog of a post that I wrote about my grandparents in 2011:

Thomas Morrison and Leola Waters married in 1926 at the Salvation Army in Echuca. They spent their married    life in Shepparton, raising their family of two daughters,  Verna, and my mother, Eunice.

Last weekend was  the weekend of the annual Shepparton Agricultural Show. For some reason, not sure why, I’ve been thinking of my memories of the Show as a child. These memories very quickly brought me to memories of my grandparents. My grandfather was caretaker of the showgrounds in Shepparton from  about 1950 until about 1975

For us kids, this meant a free ticket into the Show which was a big deal back then. Also there was much excitement watching the “showies” set up their rides and sideshows.

We called our Grandfather Dad, probably because we heard our mother call him Dad. Not to be confused with Dad, he was Daaaad, pronounced with an elongated vowel. Dad spent the week before the show, helping to set up and was always given free tickets for rides which he passed on to us lucky kids. During the show he would water the track with the water tanker that he towed behind a tractor. We spent many happy hours sitting on the back of the watertank, behind the tractor, as it went round and round the arena. After the show was over, there we would be, on the Sunday morning,  following Dad around on the clean up looking for anything of value that had been lost.

The showgrounds was our backyard when we visited our grandparents, and we spent many happy hours playing all sorts of games in the pavilions and kiosks. My most vivid memory of the showgrounds is the rabbits. They were everywhere, but we never could catch one. Dad told us that the way to catch a rabbit was to put salt on its tail, and we spent many happy hours trying to do just that. For some reason, we never did catch one of those rabbits. My grandfather passed away suddenly  when he was aged 74.  It makes me feel sad that he didn’t live longer so my children could enjoy him. He had a very funny sense of humour and would have given them many laughs, as he did me and my sisters and cousins.

My grandmother was a tiny, birdlike, some might think quite frail looking lady. But looks are deceiving, as she was actually as tough as old leather boots. She worked at Cleckheaton woollen mills on the factory floor until she retired at about age 73, riding her bike to and from work every day. I seem to remember she was not at all happy about retirement. I’m sure it wasn’t her decision to give up work. Her passion in life was horses and horseriding. As long as I remembered she always had a horse and would ride it to visit us. She rode until her mid 60’s.  I can remember her as always hustling and bustling about and always busy. When I was small I loved having a sleep over at her house as she would cook us poached eggs for breakfast. Never mind that she dragged us out of bed in the dark to eat them. Maybe that’s why I’m an early riser now. If so, she did me a big favour as I love the early mornings,.

We all called our grandmother Othermum.  This started when my cousin, as a small child, was trying to differentiate between her real Mum and the other Mum. She became Othermum to all her grandchildren and great grandchildren.  As she became older, Othermum would walk down the street to do her weekly shopping. I’m sure there were offers to help, but her independence was important to her.

Sadly when she was in her late 80s, she was run down by a cyclist and suffered injuries that put her in hospital for a time. She was never the same after that accident, and lived a quieter life until she was aged 90.

Below are photos of Thomas Albert Morrison and Leola Jean Waters.



A Christmas Poem 1858

Here’s a repost from Christmas 2011. Every year at Christmas time, I’m drawn to this poem.


My ancestors JOHN TAYLOR and MARTHA LLOYD came to Australia from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales in 1841. As I’ve been to Wales  and seen the beautiful countryside that it is,  I often wonder what it must have been like for them to leave the rolling green hills of Wales and come to hot dusty Australia.  I just cannot imagine how they must have felt as they said goodbye to their family and friends, knowing that they probably would never see them again.  What did they thing of Christmas in Australia? Surely they must have yearned for the northern hemisphere at Christmas time. This poem that I came across on Trove helps to answer some of those questions.


(Written on Christmas Day 1858)

‘Twas  noon and brightly shone the summer sky;  Sol’s burning rays struck scorching on the plain;

The hot north wind in parching gusts swept by – ‘Twas Christmas Day, and yet no signs of rain.

Christmas, upon that scorching plain, how drear; How sadly changed from home’s domestic hearth,

Where friends collect to bless the coming year, And each contributes to that season’s mirth.

Beneath a gum tree’s shade a traveller lay,  With listless weary eye he gazed around;

One gushing sigh his longing thoughts betray,  ‘Twas home he thought on “home” that magic sound.

He thought of childhood’s days of peace and joy,  Of scenes of boyish pleasures far away,

When a mother’s hand caressed her darling boy,  And in holy accents taught him first to pray.

Oh, home, cried he, dear home, what happy years,  What hours of innocence I’ve spent in thee,

E’re sorrow marked my brow or woke my fears,  The future then was bright and fair to me

My spirit now released to roam at will,  Back to those scenes of peace and love it flies,

Where in death’s sleep upon that sunny hill , The sacred ashes of my father lies.

He was a father kind in every sense;  He was a christian good as he was kind;

He served his God, and when he called him hence, He died, nor left another such behind.

Sadly the wind blows over his cold, cold bed , Silent he sleeps, nor heeds it’s passing swell;

For coldly pillowed lies his honored head, Unconscious now of those he loved so well.

A child he watched me with a fathers care, A boy he blessed me in my joyous mirth,

A youth he left me for a better sphere, E’re manhood’s years could comprehend his worth.

Oh what is life, or what is wealth, or power, Those toys we strive so much for here below?

Our’s today, they’re gone in one short hour, Snatched from our grasp by death’s unerring blow.

And Christmas, happy days of joys bygone, Thy presence now but aggravates despair;

For lost to gladness, you but lead us on, To brood over what we are and what we were.

Thus far the traveller had wandered on, Where bright old Sol, his power now on the wave,

Reminds him that the scorching heat has gone, Then sinks in state behind a golden screen.

He now calls back his fancy from those scenes, Of fairy visions fled, for ever gone;

Six miles are yet the town and him between,  And stern reality must urge him on.

Sadly he rises from the gum tree’s shade, Takes up his gun and sway and then – what then?

Why soon in far famed Melbourne he has made. A unit in that crowd of busy men


7th July 1859

       from The Launceston Examiner, Thursday 14 July 1859

Jake Dempster – my grandson

Jake Dempster is my grandson.  He is now 10 years old and is the eldest son of my son Steven and his wife Kellie.  One of Jake’s favourite things to do is to make videos for Youtube. He’s been doing it for a couple of years ago, and I’ve noticed that he’s becoming more skilled, with each video being a bit more professional than the last.

The video below did make me chuckle, so I thought I’d share it. The other thing I’ve noticed  in each video is how much he is maturing and growing up.

John Taylor is the oldest Taylor ancestor that I have been able to find. He was born in 1782. Jake is his GGGG Grandson. Thinking about that really does put in perspective how much life has changed in 235 years.



Ancestors Geneameme reborn

As I have said previously, I do love a genealogy geneameme. In 2011 I answered the call by GeniAus  and completed her Ancestor’s Geneameme. I noticed today that US geneablogger, Linda Stufflebean, has revisited that geneameme, with permission from Geniaus, of course, and expanded on it.

There are 70 questions on this new, updated geneameme, which at first I found a little daunting.  For the past three months, I have given myself time out from genealogy research and blogging, mainly due to changing jobs and needing to re-organise myself around increased work hours.

After giving some thought to Linda’s geneameme, I realised it was exactly what I need to revisit my ancestors and to help me re-focus again on genealogy and the research tasks that need to be done. I’m sure it will also help me to recognise the gaps in my research.

My responses are listed below. Those that I have already done are in bold.

  1. Can name my 16 great-great grandparents
  2. Can name my 32 great great great grandparents
  3. Can name over 50 direct ancestors
  4. Have photos or portraits of my 8 great grandparents
  5. Have an ancestor who was married more than three times
  6. Have an ancestor who was a bigamist
  7. Met all four of my grandparents
  8. Met one or more of my great grandparents
  9. Bear an ancestor’s given name/s
  10. Named a child after an ancestor
  11. Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland
  12. Have an ancestor from Asia
  13. Have an ancestor from continental Europe
  14. Have an ancestor from Africa
  15. Have an ancestor who was an agricultural laborer
  16. Have an ancestor who had large land holdings
  17. Have an ancestor who was a holy man – minister, priest, rabbi
  18. Have an ancestor who was a midwife
  19. Have an ancestor who was an author
  20. Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21. Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones
  22. Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  23. Have an ancestor with a forename beginning with Z
  24. Have an ancestor born on 25th December
  25. Have an ancestor born on New Year’s Day
  26. Have an ancestor who shares your day and month of birth
  27. Have blue blood in your family lines
  28. Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  29. Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  30. Can trace a direct family line back to the 18th century
  31. Can trace a direct family line back to the 17th century
  32. Can trace a direct family line back to the 16th century
  33. Have seen signatures of some of my great grandparents
  34. Have ancestors who signed with an X (or other mark)
  35. Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university
  36. Have an ancestor convicted of a criminal offense
  37. Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime
  38. Have shared an ancestor’s story online or in a magazine/periodical
  39. Have published a family history online or in print
  40. Have visited an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries
  41. Have a family Bible from the 19th century
  42. Have a family Bible from the 18th century or earlier
  43. Have an ancestor who was part of a multiple birth (twins, etc.)
  44. Have a family member who closely resembles an ancestor
  45. Have an ancestor who owned their own business
  46. Have an ancestor who belonged to a trade guild
  47. Have an ancestor who moved more than 100 miles away from his/her birth home, EXCLUDING emigration to another country
  48. Have an ancestor who gave birth to twelve or more children
  49. Have an ancestor with a rare/unusual/uncommon forename
  50. Have an ancestral family who changed their surname
  51. Have a passenger list or travel manifest for an ancestor
  52. Have an ancestor who was adopted
  53. Have an ancestor who adopted a child
  54. Have a naturalization record for an ancestor
  55. Have an ancestor who received a military pension
  56. Have a school record or school census for an ancestor
  57. Have an ancestor with a gravestone still in existence from the 18th century
  58. Have an ancestor with a gravestone still in existence from the 17th century or earlier
  59. Have an ancestor who had only one child who survived to adulthood
  60. Are descended twice from one couple
  61. Are descended three times or more from one couple
  62. Are descended from an American president or other political figure
  63. Are descended from a person famous in history, other than in politics
  64. Have an ancestor with a rare/unusual/unique surname
  65. Have an ancestor who you have found mentioned in a pre-1870 newspaper
  66. Can name the ship on which at least one ancestor emigrated
  67. Have a female ancestor who worked outside the home pre-World War II
  68. Know of at least one ancestor who returned to the ancestral home after emigration
  69. Know of at least one ancestor who permanently returned to the ancestral home after emigration
  70. Have an ancestor who was survived by 50 or more grandchildren


Repost – Joseph Henry Jones alias Joe The Quacker

My great great grandfather Joseph Henry Jones died on about 7th November 1895 at Gaffney’s Creek. In honour of the recent anniversary of his death, I am reposting a post I wrote in  2011, as I feel that his obituary is worth reading.

Repost – August 26, 2011

Today I was very excited to see  my very first article was published in Australian Family Tree Connections Magazine,  September 2011 Issue.

I decided to submit this article because I think that my Great Great Grandfather Joseph Henry Jones has the best obituary I have ever read. They definitely don’t write them like this any more.

Here is the obituary and my article as published.

“From: Jamieson Chronicle, Saturday, November 9, 1895

Our representative at Gaffney’s Creek, The Other Vagabond reports:  One of those horrible discoveries, which makes the most hardened of us shudder, was made on Wednesday last, by Mounted Constable Polmear.  He had that morning received information that a man named Joseph Jones, an alluvial miner who was ‘a hatter’, on the Goulburn River, a few miles above Knockwood, had not been seen at his home for nearly 3 weeks.  The energetic constable at once set about finding the missing digger.  The result of shrewd and careful inquries caused him to take an old and unused bush track leading from Luarville, to the German Spur.  Mr. James Cadam accompanied Mr. Polmear, and they had not proceeded more than a quarter of a mile from the Commercial Hotel, when the gruesome spectacle of poor Joe’s dead body, in a very advanced stage of decomposition, barred the way.  The unfortunate man, who was known by the sobriquet of ‘Joe the Quacker’, had taken this track as a shortcut to his temporary home on the Goulburn River, never dreaming, no doubt, that instead of reaching his camp in good time, he would never see it again; that he would die a lonely and miserable death, within sight of the houses and active bustling humanity.  He was about 60 years of age and though not of robust constitution, was lively and active but….Ah, the but….Joe had periodical failings. ‘Tis the old, old, very old story; an empty whiskey bottle; an empty pain killer bottle; a grinning corpse; a ghastly spectacle; a  noisome thing; a hideous putrid mass to be tumbled into a coffin to fill a pauper’s grave; just one more nameless mound, which will for a short time mark the spot, where a little of the flotsam and jetsam of the bush were covered up out of sight.  But the remains of unfortunate Joes are not buried as I write.  The putrefactive remnants lie in an outhouse at the Commercial Hotel awaiting official enquiry. 

My Great Great Grandfather Joseph Henry Jones, for many years, was my brickwall. I had followed his life until he seemed to disappear, after the death of his wife, Ellen Virginia Lowe,  in 1872. This was followed soon after, by the death of  his youngest child, Avonia, who was only 4 months old at the time her mother passed away.  Sadly Avonia died from starvation, or  ‘want  of breastmilk’, as stated on her death certificate.

Joe was left with seven children to care for, ageing from 16 years down to Avonia aged 4 months.  Unfortunately there was more tragedy and sadness for Joe in the coming years.  In 1974,  daughter Catherine Virginia passed away from epilepsy, age 12, followed by their son William Lowe at age 18, in 1893.

I had given up searching for any trace of Joe, after losing his trail, until another researcher alerted me to the death of his oldest child, Thomas James in a mining accident at Darlingford, Victoria in 1893.  It was both exciting and sad to read the evidence he gave at the inquest. It seems father and son had been working side by side in the mine. While Joe went to put the billy on there was a landslide in the mine, and his son lost his life.

This led me to his death certificate, where I found that  sadly, Joseph had been lying dead in the bush for a number of days before his death was discovered.

The lesson in this story of my brick wall is to keep in contact with other researchers who are following other branches of  your family.  You just never know what tiny snippet of information might  be exactly what you are missing. This is the only way I found old Joe again. If not for comparing our research and keeping each other up to date with our progress, I would never have found Joe or read his obituary.

And what an obituary it is.  I love the colourful writing and the dramatic tone of this obituary. How the obituaries we read in old newspapers differ from today.  They make much more interesting reading than those of today, and definitely leave us feeling that we know the person being remembered”


The Jamieson and Woods Point Chronicle, Saturday November 9, 1895
Victorian BDM Records
Victorian Inquest Records

Blogging hiatus is over

I am very surprised to see that my last post was on 05 August. That’s three months ago! I can’t believe that I’ve neglected my much loved blog for such a long time.

So to my excuses – life has been busy as I’ve been adjusting to a new job. This new position has me working in the evenings quite often which has thrown me out a bit. Also I’ve been training for  The Bloody Long Walk Melbourne  This is a 35k walk which requires hours of training most days. The event is on this weekend so it won’t be long now until I get some time back. Also it’s spring and my large garden has been taking up much of my time.

Due to all of the above, I have also put all my research aside for the now.  Really looking forward to getting back to it. Today is as good a day as any to do my first blog post in some time.

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the death of my son. I have written many posts about him over the years so today in his memory, I thought I would republish a post that I wrote in 2011.

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This is Craig my second child born on July 14, 1977. Craig was the middle child, born between Steven and Lisa. The photo of the older Craig here, is not good quality, and quite blurry, but it’s a favourite of mine as it was taken from a video which was filmed two weeks before his death,  in 1995. The quality isn’t good, but it’s best that they could be done with what was a grainy film.

My memories of Craig are of a happy, slightly wild toddler, who grew into a laid back, laconic teenager with a true Aussie ‘she’ll be right’ demeanour, and a quirky sense of humour. Craig was very kind to animals and younger children loved him. It wasn’t at all unusual to find him out in the street with BMX jumps set up and organising the young kids from blocks around who rocked up with their BMX bikes when word got out that there was some bike fun to be had at our house.

Craig loved bikes. He was always in the garage messing around with them. Most days after work, I would go bike riding. Quite often, though, I would find my bike sitting there waiting for me with no seat or no chain or no front wheel or with some other vital part missing. My bike part would have been put onto some weird and wonderful bike project that Craig was building.

Craig loved animals. I can remember when we went for a family holiday in Tasmania, he w became besotted with the Tassie Tiger and for months would read anything he could get his hands on about them. Craig usually didn’t like to read, but we found a book about the Tassie Tiger, and he read it over and over.

Craig loved dogs.  When he was about 15, a neighbours dog had pups and he asked me could he have one. As we already had two dogs, I said no. The next morning,  I found him in bed asleep with one of those pups beside him.  I will never forget the impish smile on his face when he saw my shock.  Of course we kept the pup, and he and Jess became inseparable.

Craig died in a car accident, in which he was the driver at about 5.30pm on Thursday November 2, 1995. Most people assume, as he was 18, he was hooning or doing something stupid to cause the accident. But at the inquest,  the Coroner found that this accident was a rare true accident, where there was no speeding, hooning alcohol or drugs involved. The Coroner concluded that Craig must have been distracted, causing him to cross to the wrong side of the road. Perhaps he leaned down to adjust the radio, or was distracted by his dog which was always on the back seat when he was driving. Or maybe he turned to speak to his girlfriend, who, sadly died in the accident with him.

On this 16th anniversary of Craig’s death I remember him as a son that any mother would be proud of, who was beginning to show signs of becoming a caring adult when his life was sadly cut short.  To me, Craig will always be a carefree teenager”.

Today on the 22nd anniversary, I am remembering the day my life changed forever. Today I choose to remember the joy, laughter, proud moments and fun times during the 18 years Craig was with us. Very much a proud mum. 14.07.1977 – 02.11.1995

Ancestral Places Geneameme

Fellow Geneablogger Alona from Lonetester HQ has challenged us to another Geneameme, and as usual, I can’t resist joining in the fun

From Alona’s blog: ‘As family historians we come across all sorts of interesting people and places during our research. In this geneameme I wanted to focus on the places. The countries, the states, the counties or provinces, as well as the parishes, the towns and villages. Our ancestors have a connection to these places.
What places do your ancestors come from?’

National flags of the different countries of the world in a heap. Top view

A – Australia
B –  Bedfordshire, England (Waters)
C – Cowies Creek, Geelong, Victoria, Australia (Louden)
D – Donegal, Ireland (Boyle)
E – Echuca, Victoria, Australia (Morrison)
F – Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia (Taylor)
G –  Glenshiel, Ross-shire, Scotland (Morison)
H – Hobart, Tasmania (Jones/Lowe)
I – Ireland (Boyle, Gallagher, Calnan, Lowe, McClintock)
J – Jamaica (McQueen/McQuinn/McEwan)
K – Kilkenny Ireland (Calnan)
L – Lanarkshire, Scotland (Louden)
M – Mount Pleasant, Victoria, Australia (Gilmour)
O –
P – Pembrokeshire, Wales (Taylor/Lloyd)
Q –
R – Rochester, Victoria, Australia (Waters)
S – Shepparton, Victoria, Australia (Jones/Waters/Morrison)
T – Trelawny, Cornwall, Jamaica (McQueen/McQuinn/McEwan)
U – Uzmaston, Pembrokeshire, Wales (Taylor)
V – Violet Town, Victoria, Australia (Boyle/Calnan)
W – Wild Duck Creek, Victoria, Australia (Morison)
X –
Y – Yarrawonga, Victoria, Australia (Taylor)
Z –


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