Over the last few weeks I have continued to refine my system and consistently sorted and filed the information I have on each of our ancestors, and their immediate families. I then entered this information into my computer family history program.
While tracing these ancestors from the present generation back generation by generation I have collected most of the pertinent birth, marriage and death certificates, from the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the various states in Australia, for each individual, who is a direct ancestor, However, having one reference or document, of an event, is not the whole story, nor can we consider it ‘proof’ of a correct ancestor.
I then embarked on the quest for other documents concerning the events of births, deaths and marriages to add further details of our ancestors. I first sort the baptism, marriage and burial entries in the church registers of our parents and grandparents. The marriage certificates of my paternal family stated that the services had been conducted by the Anglican Church in Murwillumbah, in northern New South Wales. There were no on-line indexes to search because the events were too recent, but I was able to find the relevant name, address and phone number to approach the Diocesan Church Archives, which confirmed they held the records for Murwillumbah. The records are not open to the public, but the archivist will carry out a search on an enquirer’s behalf. The fee schedule is available on request.
I must admit there were a few surprises for me on my family.
A search for my own baptism revealed that I wasn’t baptised soon after birth, but was four years old and was part of a ‘job lot’, where a younger sister and a cousin were also baptised on the same day.
A Confirmation Card amongst the family memorabilia shows that I was also confirmed in the same church.
My mother was also four years old when she was baptised with her younger sister, on a week day soon after the birth of the sister. Another surprise was the birth date on my mother’s baptism entry was not the same date as on her birth certificate, but it was the date we remember my mother always celebrated as her birthday. Which one do I entry into my family history? My mother’s older siblings were also baptised in the same church shortly after birth.
It would appear my father was not baptised. A search over twenty years revealed no entries for his family except two sisters, who were baptised as adults shortly before their marriages.
I then searched for relevant entries in newspapers for details of the births, marriage and deaths. I first searched on-line in the historical newspapers available through the National Library of Australia, where I found a brief obituary concerning my paternal grandfather. This had been extracted from a small provincial newspaper in the area my grandparents lived. That newspaper was not on-line, but I was able to access it on microfilm at the Richmond-Tweed Regional Library. I contacted the library and made an appointment and then spent several hours searching these newspapers. Not only did I locate the above mentioned obituary, but a funeral notice including a reference to a Protestant Lodge membership, which led me to believe the Lodge probably paid for his funeral. Confirmation may be among surviving archives concerning the relevant ‘Lodge’. Another item to put on my ‘to-do’ list.
Using dates from the ‘certificates’ I held, I was also able to locate a short report of the wedding of my grandparents in 1910, as well as a very full report of my parents wedding in 1946. These were great finds, as details not on the wedding certificates were found in the newspaper articles.. They were well worth the effort in seeking them out. More recent reports of deaths, inquests, funeral notices and obituaries in the newspapers have filled in further details of many family members.
Other records I sort concerning the death and burials of family members were Wills, Undertakers records, Municipal Cemeteries and Crematoriums, headstones and Memorial cards .Success concerning these has been very patchy.
This will be an ongoing process as I gather the story of each of our ancestors in Australia before I start researching overseas in the country of origin. In the majority of cases this means researching in Ireland.