Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Master, master, old news! And such news as you never heard of.' William Shakespeare [The Taming of the Shrew]

Newspapers and family history

Hail! the digitalisation of newspapers. Not only is it fascinating to read 'old' news but for family historians, newspapers are a treasure trove of information about family members. Online newspaper archives have saved me hours of travelling and made searching so much easier. Although (it is fitting to say this immediately following 'follow a library' day), I absolutely adore libraries, I do have to admit that a search of the London Times, online, has made my search for ancestors in the UK so much easier.

[I would never suggest that an online search facility for newspapers could ever replace the good old library. Whether it is the smell of 'cut grass', 'mould', 'history', or whatever else it is that attracts one to libraries or archives.. I just love them. In fact, my children have to physically restrict me when walking walk past any library, just to prevent me from entering.] I digress... back to my topic of newspapers [which, I must add have been digitalised for the most part, by our wonderful libraries.]

The stories of my ancestors have been become more personal and so much more interesting through the chronicles of 'news' I have collected from newspapers. There is a wealth of information that newspapers can provide, about the everyday happenings, adventures, affairs (literally) and escapades in the lives of our ancestors. The photograph above, from the Brisbane Courier Mail in 1954, is the only picture that I have of my parent's marriage. This is much more than just a picture, as it tells me that my parents' wedding reception was held at a place called Whytecliffe. Since both of my parents died quite young, I would never have known this. Thanks to this newspaper photograph , I have since researched Whytecliffe to discover that it was was a beautiful home which was taken over by the military during the second world war for use as barracks for the WAAAF and then used for wedding receptions after the war had ended.

On my paternal side of the family, it is common knowledge that my great grandfather, John McDade, was killed by a falling branch as he walked through a park on his way home from work. He actually died the next day, after a hospital sent him home declaring him fit and well. But as family lore states, 'well', he was not the next morning. His obituary does not tell this story, however I was fortunate to have a reliable first hand account from my grandfather. From my maternal side of the family, I have no oral accounts of anything, so I have been reliant upon documents such as marriage and death certificates for information. Despite having received from New Zealand, a copy of the death certificate for my 2 time great grandfather, James Berry Hoyes, I had no idea that he, also, had been involved in an unfortunate accident until I searched the New Zealand National Library's digitalised newspaper site On entering the name James Berry Hoyes, I discovered a number of headings, including 'Old Man Killed', Casualties', and 'Fatalities'. The Evening Post, on
December, 24, 1910, reported that James had been fatally struck by a bicycle as he alighted from a tram in Queen Street near Fort Street at 3 pm on that afternoon. The Hawera and Normanby Star reported that James was aged 76 years old and was a resident of Devonport.
This news article also explained that he had succumbed to injuries at 5.30 pm and added that the 'cyclist had 'received a nasty tumble.' The Poverty Bay Herald also ran the story and added the further information that named the cyclist as a Mr Bush and with a more personal touch the journalist from this newspaper reported that James Berry Hoyes was on his way to buy his wife a bonnet for Christmas. Thanks to these newspaper reports, I was able to learn so much more about the sad and untimely death of my great great grandfather.

I had always assumed that the same James Berry Hoyes had immigrated to New Zealand for religious reasons given that he and his wife, Elizabeth, were part of the missionary group, the Albertlanders, however, as I mentioned in a previous story, the London Gazette, provided me with a new motive for the family's move. James Berry Hoyes, a miller from Houghton, Lincolnshire, was declared bankrupt in October of 1862, the year before he left England for the new colony of New Zealand. This news makes me appreciate all the more, the impressive way in which he made such a success of his life in new Zealand

It is often quite seemingly insignificant fragments of information that one finds reported in newspapers that fill in some missing gaps or provide us with a more accurate picture of someone from the past. From a search of the national Library of Australia's Trove website, I have discovered that my 2 times great grandfather, John Gottlieb Nargar [Nerger], who lived in Maryborough, was a keen breeder of finches. He entered his birds in a number of agricultural shows, the results of which were printed in The Queenslander and The Brisbane Courier Mail in the early 1900's. I now have a quite different picture in my mind of my tough, strict, German timber-getter, great great grandfather. He was a gentle nurturer of tiny birds. I see that there was a devoted and caring side of him now. Each, small morsel of information we can gather about our ancestors helps to make them become more real to us.

My Morrison great great great grandparents came to Sydney, Australia in 1878. I knew little of their lives except that they, for some reason relocated to Queensland in the 1900's and died in a town called Cooroy in 1927. They are Pioneers of Cooroy. Since the launch of the National Library's Trove site I have slowly built up a truly amazing story of my 3 times great grandfather, John Morrison from Aberdeen, Scotland. From articles in The Sydney Morning Herald I have ascertained that he was a well respected builder in Sydney, having built a number of impressive projects for architects such as Blackett Bros and others. (The Blackett brothers were the sons of colonial architect Edmund Blackett). Chapter House which adjoins St Andrew's Cathedral was built by John Morrison, builder, of Strathfield. John also built the Strathfield Council Chambers, St Enoch's Presbyterian Church at Newtown, Burwood Presbyterian Church and a large number of villas and homes all around Sydney. Advertisements in the SMH show the whereabouts of his construction sites as do advertisements and tenders for for tradesmen for his projects.

The Sydney Morning Herald also led me to discover that in 1890, John Morrison was contracted by the NSW government to build a large number of rail carriages. I discovered through newspaper articles that he had a large tram and rail carriage building works at Strathfield Station, where the Tafe College now stands. By all accounts, the evidence from newspaper reports showed this man to be a most successful and productive citizen of Sydney. Then, according to advertisements in 1895 in the SMH, John Morrison lost everything he had worked hard to achieve. Large advertisements in the SMH, announced that household goods and carriage works equipment would be sold at auction.
The reason for the sale was reported to have been the cancellation of an order of 180 rail carriages which the NSW government had ordered. Because of this, John Morrison was ruined. Reading the list of furniture and personal items in the newspaper almost brought me to tears. How devastated must my 3 times great grandparents have been to lose their beautiful things. They had two grand pianos, top quality furniture and paintings by renowned artists, jewellery designed by well known jewellers and ladies riding equipment. These advertisements for the auction of the Morrison's personal possessions illustrated the lifestyle they had become accustomed to, living with their 10 children, in the beautiful leafy suburb of Strathfield.

Through the Brisbane Courier Mail, I followed John Morrison's journey to Ipswich, Queensland where it was reported that he acquired the position of foreman in the South Eastern Railway Works. The social pages of the same newspaper reported holidays that the Morrison family members went on, especially several of their daughters who became nurses and one a matron of her own hospital in Cooroy. A delicious little tidbit of gossip such as the following report in the Brisbane Courier Mail, November 30, 1925, which announced that ' Nurse Vinna Morrison (Cooroy Hospital) left by this morning's mail for Sydney and Cobar', sent me on a search for the reason that Vinna would have travelled to Cobar. There I found another Morrison daughter, Inez, also a nurse and a whole new line of family.

The Morrison family deserve an entire blog of their own and so I will leave them for now, except to say that when the NSW State Rail Museum at Thirlemere opens after its huge renovation, in March of 2011, I will be there, with bells on to see several of my 3 times great grandfather's rail carriages, beautifully restored. ( His first carriage unrestored pictured right at Thirlemere).

You don't need to have a builder or a finch collector in the family, to find your ancestors in newspapers. In fact, if your forebears engaged in any criminal activities, you can be certain that they will appear somewhere in a newspaper . I might have believed forever that my Irish convict great great grandfather, Michael Frayne had reformed himself and become a model citizen had he not appeared so frequently in so many newspapers engaging in such wicked acts as to entice a man to his home on the pretence of selling a bed, drugging the fellow and stealing his wallet and money. Michael and his first wife Bridget, appeared so many times in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Maitland Mercury and the Brisbane Courier Mail, with detailed accounts of their wicked escapades, that I was left with no illusions as to the unfortunate character of this particular ancestor (who I must proclaim that I do not resemble in the least!).

My great uncle was hit by a car at the age of seven, in Toowoomba in Queensland. Now in his 90's, he does not recall the incident and but for the newspaper report in 1924, the family would never had known. My maternal grandfather rode a motorbike in the 1920's. I know this because of the number of fines he received for speeding, that were published in the Brisbane Courier Mail. My Irish paternal grandparents were well respected members of the Darling Downs farming community and received a hearty and musical farewell by the townsfolk of Kaimkillenbun in 1920. The article in the Dalby Herald details the recitations and songs that were sung at an afternoon reception in their honour.

The adventures of my great uncle Rex Morley Hoyes, with MI5 and the Nizam of Hyderabad, his illegal gun running and trial for bribery and corruption, not to mention his escapades with Australian pilot Sidney Cotton or WW11 double agent, Eddie Chapman, his home, Marwell Hall once owned by King Henry VIII and huge steam yacht 'Warrior 11', his numerous divorces, name changes and a mysterious title, along with a speed boat with the racy name of 'Miss x' would all have been lost to me, but for the fascinating availability of online searches of digitalised newspapers. Thanks to the London Times, I know the very address where great Uncle Rex conducted his affair in 1933, with Lady Waleran, and the details of the two divorces which followed this pubic disclosure.

Newspapers occupy an irreplaceable place in family history research. The information found in news reports can trace and colour the lives of our ancestors in a way that is beyond the imagination.

'Well, all I know is what I read in the newspapers.' Will Rogers 1879-1935: in the new York Times 1923

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Five Generations

Five Generations

'Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations'.

On a warm October afternoon in 1955, many family members gathered together in Maryborough, Queensland, to celebrate the 88th birthday of Barbara Lena Nargar (nee Häberling). It was a special day for the tiny Swiss born lady, but not only because it was her birthday. In the same year, 1955, she had became a proud great-great grandmother and the eldest of five generations of family who were all together on this day in her honour.

A photographer from the Brisbane Courier Mail was present to record and celebrate the wonderful day when five generations of mothers and daughters were together. Since I was only eight months old and the baby in the photograph above, I do not recall the party, however, it is a wonderful treasure to have this photograph of my mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother and myself pictured together. I kept this yellowed clipping from the Courier Mail in a 'treasure' box when I was a child and it is this same picture which led me to become interested in family history many years ago. Barbara Nargar, my 2 times great grandmother, was the first family member whose ancestry I set off in search of. Sadly, she died on October 30, 1957, two years after this photograph was taken and before I was old enough to know my 'little nana' as she was called. (Barbara Lena is pictured seated front right). From the script accompanying the photograph, I knew the year in which my 2 times great grandmother was born, however, my search for her arrival was somewhat misled, by her age being given as eight years when she arrived. She was, in fact, four years of age - but what is the journey in genealogy about without a few challenges thrown in!

Born, Barbara Lena Häberling, she was the second youngest child of Jacob Häberling, a bootmaker, and his wife Anna (Bosshard) from Zurich in Switzerland. Jacob and Anna Häberling departed from Hamburg, Germany and arrived in Maryborough, Queensland Australia on board the Reichstag in 1871. Travelling with their parents were their 5 surviving daughters, Rosine (14), Amalie Dorothy (9), Bertha Martha (7), Barbara Lena (4)and Herminnie Adele (2). Two children, Jacob and Rosetta had died in Switzerland before the family departed for Australia to make a new life for themselves.

Although I have successfully traced the Häberling family as far back as 1520 in Switzerland, I will leave that story for another day and write about the five generations of women pictured above. Barbara was a clever girl who spoke five languages, German and French amongst them. She worked as a court translator in Maryborough. Her talent for languages would have been a useful skill, as Maryborough was a popular destination for immigrants in the 1800's. On December 31, 1884, Barbara Lena Häberling married John Gottlieb Nerger [later changed to Nargar]. The couple first lived at Bazaar Street, Maryborough, near Brennan & Geraghty's General Store, which is now a National Trust Museum. John was away from home quite a lot as he worked as a timber getter at Tinana. Eventually Barbara settled in Howard Street, in a little home which she nostalgically named 'Zurich' and where she lived until her death in 1957.

The second eldest of Barbara and John's five children was my great grandmother, Lillie Herminnie Nargar, pictured back left in the photograph. Lillie was born in Maryborough on October 1, 1888. She married William Joseph Weston on the 23rd of August, 1907. They settled on a sugar cane and banana farm at Bauple not far from Maryborough. Lillie and William had three children, Hilda Lillian, Mervyn William and Dorothy May. Lillie was a strong woman and her faith and involvement in the Baptist church, saw her through some very difficult times. In about 1920, the family moved to Brisbane where they ran a fruit shop in Fortitude Valley. Not long after this move, William took up with another woman, whom he left Lillie for and who he later married. Lillie was left on her own with three children under the age of 11 and a fruit shop to run by herself. She became a well known and respected figure in Brisbane as the first woman to own and operate a green grocery store. During the Second World War, Lillie used her knowledge of the land to help the war effort by joining the Women's Land Army. Lillie eventually remarried, but sadly she died of cancer in July of 1966. My great grandmother, Lillie was a wonderfully caring role model for me as a child and I loved to visit her home at Lutwych to play in her rose garden.

Hilda Lillian Weston, my grandmother, was born on the 9 th of July, 1908. (She is standing at the rear on the right of the photograph). Hilda married Ian Cuthbert Reece-Hoyes in Brisbane in 1929. My mother, their only child, was born on the 24 th of September, 1931. Hilda and Ian took their young baby daughter to live in Auckland New Zealand when she was only a few months old. The marriage was not a happy one and Hilda divorced my grandfather in 1933 in New Zealand. Hilda was a champion figure skater on ice, and toured new Zealand, performing publically. Life was difficult with a young child to rear on her own and so Hilda returned to Brisbane, Queensland in 1936 where she lived with her mother Lillie so that she could work to support her young daughter, Alwynne Jean,( my mother) pictured right in New Zealand aged 5 years. Hilda Lillian died on the 4 th of September, 1992 aged 84.

My mother, Alwynne Jean Reece-Hoyes never really knew her father, Ian. Her stepfather, David Andrew Schmith became her role model and she retained a close relationship with him until his death in his 80's. Dave, as she called, him adopted Alwynne when she was 10 years old, although she always insisted that her name was Reece-Hoyes. Alwynne married Colin John MacDade in March, 1954 and I was the first of their three daughters. She was a dedicated music teacher and a devoted mother to her daughters, who were the focus of her life. Family was very important to my mother, and we made quite a few journeys to Maryborough to visit our relatives. Tragically, Alwynne became ill with Alzheimers Disease in her early forties and died on the 29 th of October 1995, having not recognised her family for more than thirteen years.

Pictured right, are three generations of family, my grandmother, Hilda Lillian, my mother, Alwynne Jean and myself, (and sister) at Maroochydore, on the Sunshine Coast where Hilda lived when I was growing up in Brisbane. This photograph was taken in about 1960.

My journey into family history began with a photograph entitled 'Five Generations'. The photograph may have inspired my passion for genealogy, however, the strong, self reliant and loving women in the picture, are my inspiration in life - my brave great great grandmother who brought five children accross the world to make a better life for them, my great grandmother, who raised her children and ran a business on her own and proudly wore the uniform of the land Army during World War II, my grandmother, with whom I spent all of my school holidays, and who shared my great love of books and reading, and my mother, who always put others before herself and sadly did not live to know her grandchildren.

Pictured right, are myself, my mother and my sisters, standing on the steps of the house named 'Zurich' in Howard Street Maryborough. With us is one of Barbara Lena's daughters, Elsie and her husband who lived in the house after Barbara died. This is the last trip we made to Maryborough before my mother became ill.

I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,

And leaping from place to place
Over oblivion.

Thomas Hardy 1840-1928 'Heredity' 1917

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Norwegian Naming Patterns

This blog is for anyone planning to trace Norwegian ancestors. Before you set off on your journey to 'grow' your Gulbrandsen, Olsen, Petersen, Henriksen, Elstad or Hansen family tree way back to the Viking days - be prepared for a challenge! The surname by which you know your Norwegian family, very likely, only dates back to the early 1900's. Prior to 1923, there were no fixed Norwegian surnames. Compulsory surnames were introduced in Norway between 1923 and 1925. Before the early 20th century, most Norwegian families, especially rural families, did not use surnames or family names in the way that we understand surnames, which is to identify patrilineal or matrilineal kinship or lineage.

The Norwegian tradition of naming was a patronymic system, derived from the father's name, but unlike other naming systems, a family name or surname, was not passed on from one generation to the next, to identify lineage or bloodline. This is where the difficulty lies in tracing Norwegian ancestry and why Norwegian naming patterns can be described as nothing short of a family historian's worst nightmare. So, unlike your MacDonalds from Scotland, your Jenkinsons from England, or your Sieglers from Germany, your Norwegian Håkonsen family cannot be traced backwards by its surname before the early 20th century. Fortunately for anyone hoping to research a Norwegian family tree, the Norwegian authorities have kept excellent records, however it is important to understand Norwegian naming practices, if you are to successfully trace your ancestry in Norway.

Once you are familiar with the Norwegian patronymic naming system, there are some excellent sources of Norwegian genealogical data online to help you to trace your family, such as the Norway Historical Data Centre ( ) and Norway Marriages, 1600's-1800's, which are available on (, My experience is, that without some idea of the Norwegian naming system, before you embark on your search, you might find yourself spending much more time cursing, than searching! Having a book of Norwegian/English translation on hand, will be useful as well, since the censuses on the Historical Data Centre website are written in Norwegian.


In ancient times, people in Norway were known only by a first name. Old Norse forenames were composed of two parts: a prefix and a suffix. There was a strict pattern to this system. Boys' names were constructed from a given list of prefixes and suffixes, and the same rule applied to the names for girls. Below are some examples of the most common prefixes and suffixes used to make up Norwegian names.

Male Prefixes

Alf, Arn, As, Berg, Bjorn, Bryn, Dag, Ei, Finn, Gaut, Geir, Gud, Halv, Har, Hen, Hjalm, Ing, Iv, Jard, Jarl, Jo, Jor, Jør, Kol, Lid, Lod, Magn, Malm, Mar, Mod, Nid, Nor, Odd, Orn, Os, Ragn, Reid, Ro, Se, Sig, Stein, Svein, Tor, Trygg, Ulf, Val, Ve, Tyg, Øy, Ås.

Male Suffixes

alf, ar, bein, bjørn, brand, dan, e, fast, finn, gar, geir, grim, id, ik, kjell, leif, leik, ljot, mund, mod, ne, odd, rød, stein, tor, ulf, ung, vald, vard, ve, vind, vor.

Examples of Norwegian Boys' Names:

Half/dan, Gud/brand, Bjørn/ar, Gunn/ar, Gul/brand (God's Sword, from gud meaning God and brand meaning sword).

Female Prefixes

Aud,Bjørg, Frid, Gull, Gunn, Heid, Hild, Inga, Mild, Møy, Mål, Rag, Sal, Sne, Sol, Svan, Unn, Yn.

Female Suffixes

borg, bjørg, frid, gerd, gunn, ild, møy, nild, rid, run, siv, unn, veig, vild.

Examples of Norwegian Girls' Names:

Gunn/ild, Bjørn/ild, Aud/berg, Rag/nild, Ingabjør

It was a popular tradition in Norway for parents to give children the names of ancient Kings, mythological figures, weapons and animals. The old Norse people believed that a child would be protected from evil if named after a brave figure such as a mighty warrior king, a sword or a fierce creature.

Examples of Norwegian forenames:

Halfdan was the name of King Halfdan the Black.
Gudbrand meant God's (God) sword (brand).

When Christianity was introduced to Norway, in about the 10th century, people began to give children 'Norwegianised' biblical names as well as the names of Saints.

Examples of 'Norwegianised' biblical names:

Johannes (John)

The giving of christian names for children in Norway usually followed a pattern:

  1. The first son was named after the paternal grandfather.
  2. The second son was named after the maternal grandfather.
  3. The third son was named after the paternal great grandfather.

  1. The first daughter was named after the maternal grandmother.
  2. The second daughter was named after the paternal grandmother.
  3. The third daughter was named after the maternal great grandmother.

Traditionally, the formula for the name given to a child was :

Christian name + father's name + appropriate suffix.


Henrik Gulbrandsen( son of Gulbrand Olsen) has a family. His first son would be named:

Gulbrand (christian name) + Henrik (father's name) + sen (suffix = son)

Henrik's first born son would be named Gulbrand Henriksen.

If Henrik had a daughter she would be named:

Ragnild (christian name) + Henrik ( father's name ) + datter (suffix = daughter)

Henrik's first born daughter would be named Ragnild Henriksdatter . (The name Ragnild would probably be the name of the child's maternal grandmother.)

Just to confuse matters more, it was not uncommon for children to assume the mother's 'family' name i.e. the name of her father. In Norway a wife was allowed to keep her father's name rather than to adopt the name of her husband. So if Henrik's wife was named Ingabjørg Evensdatter - her father being Even Tillesen- the children could be alternatively named Evensen and Evensdatter, instead of Henriksen and Henriksdatter. (datter is usually written in an abbreviated form as dttr i.e. Henriksdttr).

To illustrate the naming system, let us assume that Henrik Gulbrandsen and Ingabjørg Evensen had two sons and one daughter.

  1. Gulbrand
  2. Eiven
  3. Ragnild

Below are examples of the surnames that Henrik's children might have.

Example 1. Patronymic naming system

Henrik Gulbrandsen

Ingabjørg Gulbrandsen

Gulbrand Henricksen

Eiven Henriksen

Ragnild Henriksdttr

Example 2. Use of mother's surname:

Henrik Gulbrandsen

Ingabjørg Evensdatter

Henrik Evensen

Eiven Evensen

Ragnild Evensdatter

Now, just as you are probably quite confused enough, I will introduce you to Norwegian 'Farm Names'. Many Norwegian surnames that became fixed after 1925, were farm names. Farm names in Norway were adopted when a family worked and lived on a farm. The family often assumed the name of the farm instead of the father's or mother's name. Farm names are a very old tradition in Norway and most date back more than 200 years. Norwegian surnames which end in stad, set, heim, um, land, tveit or tvedt are always farm names. If Gulbrand Henriksen worked on a farm named Kolstad, his family would assume the 'surname' of Kolstad instead of Gulbrandsen. If the family moved to a farm of a different name they would usually assume the name of the new farm.

Example 3. Use of farm name:

Henrik Gulbrandsen Kolstad

Ingabjørg Evebsen Kolstad

Gulbrand Kolstad

Eiven Kolstad

Ragnild Kolstad

Farm names were registered so if your Norwegian surname is Kolstad or Elstad, you will possibly be able to locate the farm where your ancestors lived in Norway.

If you are now confused and thinking twice about doing the Norwegian family tree, don't be discouraged by the complicated Norwegian naming system. Tracing your family in Norway will be a most interesting although challenging project.

Some Tips for searching for Norwegian ancestors.

  1. Study the naming system until you are familiar with it.

  2. Use the naming system to try to work backwards eg. Ole Hanson's father would most likely have been named Hans Olsen if Ole was the eldest son. Ole's grandfather would most likely have been named Ole. If Magnus Hansen was your ancestor and you don't know his position in the family, don't dispair! You know his father's christian name was Hans.

  3. Search the Historical Baptisms for a Magnus Hansen born to a Hans around the date you believe to be the birth date.

  4. Search the Norwegian censuses.

  5. Search the Norwegian Marriage records as they will often tell you the names of both parents.

How to type the special characters in the Norwegian alphabet:

Æ - Press ALT while typing 0198

æ - Press ALT while typing 0230

Ø - Press ALT while typing 0216

ø - Press ALT while typing 0248

Å - Press ALT while typing 0197

å - Press ALT while typing 0229

Until the early 20th century Norwegian people (unless they were very wealthy or members of the clergy who sometimes did use surnames)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

'In a world full of audio visual marvels, may words matter to you and be full of magic.' Godfrey Smith 1926-

The Value of Family History Blogs

In December 2009, I wrote about the value of letters to the family historian in my other blog, ( ). So much information about our ancestors lives in the words which are written in letters and sent across the miles, between family members or friends. Letters are are full of memories of the past. Today we live in a technological world where, for most people, the humble letter is a thing of the past. There are many benefits that come with technology, however. Thanks to the internet, we can quickly and more easily (most of the time) find ancestors. We are able to make contact with relatives and others who share our interests, worldwide.

The internet has also become a marvellous medium for sharing our discoveries, our stories, and advice to others who are just beginning their search for their ancestry.

My 'families' sat in archive boxes for years, while I thought about how to 'tell' the stories of my ancestors' lives. Every solution I came up with had the same problem - it took up too much room! I already had boxes and 'piles' of papers stored in every possible nook and cranny, writing books about each family meant finding more storage space.

The computer made it possible for me to find and to print out much more information than ever before... and that's what made me think of recording my stories on the computer. Not just on the computer but on the internet. Genealogy is all about sharing. My motto has always been that two heads are better than one. Just when I think I know almost everything there is to know about an ancestor, along comes a relative ( often who I have never even met) with a new lead or a family story I haven't heard before. There are always new directions and new 'finds' to make.
Blogging is a wonderful way to record stories about your ancestors lives, 'talk' about your journey into genealogy, express yourself about your frustrating 'brick walls' and to communicate useful tips to help other people searching for family.

I now write my family anecdotes in my blogs and my family members all over the world can discover their ancestry along with me. I have family and friends who although are not interested in actually searching for ancestors themselves, love to find out about them through the blogs. I can add photos, records and documents to illustrate my anecdotes and sources to help others who may be researching in similar places.

Recently I was contacted through my original blog (where I record stories about family members who I have researched), by several people who are researching a yacht called the 'Warrior 11'. The people who contacted me, are writing a book about a large steam yacht which was built in 1901 for the American millionaire, Frederick Vanderbilt and which changed owners several times before being requisitioned by the British Navy during World War 11 and was sunk off Portsmouth in the English Channel in 1940. The yacht happened to belong to my great uncle at the time it was attacked by 50 German bombers and sunk, and I had spent considerable time researching both my uncle and his luxury yacht. I was able to help these people with their research and I am thrilled that they are having an old film which they found (in a car boot sale in the UK!) of a cruise the yacht took in 1937-1938, around the Mediterranean with my uncle and his guests on board (including members of the royal family). I am lucky also. to be receiving a DVD of the wreck of the Warrior 11 from a dive enthusiast who happened to read my blog as well and who appreciated reading the history of the yacht.

Through the same blog, I was contacted by another UK researcher who was looking for information, also about my uncle, but with regard to a secret airstrip he had built on his property, Marwell Hall in Hampshire, during WW2. He was responsible for converting seafire aircraft to spitfires and test flying them at the Marwell Airstrip.

Right is an estimation of where the secret airstrip was at Marwell Hall.

Marwell Hall the property in Hampshire owned by my great uncle and where he built the secret airstrip to be used to test fly spitfire aircraft.

I have many more stories to tell in my blogs. There are my own stories that I have pieced together about my ancestors as well as some interesting tales I have discovered whilst researching the forebears of others. I feel pleased that my research will not lie in boxes for years to come, but be able to be enjoyed by family members and friends through my blogs. I have enjoyed making new acquaintances through blogging and have appreciated the
experiences and advice of other family historians through reading their blogs.