Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Nancy Bird Question.

Nana's 100th birthday was on the 7th of October and at a party of 130 odd people, the question most often directed at me was

"Are we related to Nancy Bird?"

My answer - "Well Nana says so but I am not sure how" was met with little satisfaction on the part of the questioners, so for those who wished for further elucidation on the topic, here is a more extended answer.

Rita Muffett (nee Bird and her brother Neville
Is this Nancy Bird's place in the background?
For those of you who may not know, Nancy-Bird Walton was a pioneering Australian Aviator who operated an Air Ambulance service in Outback NSW, founded the Australian Women Pilots' Association, was patron of numerous charities and was one of those people considered to be national treasures.

Basically she is the the kind of person that if you find in your tree you tell everyone. So yes I have done some digging, and Nancy Bird's tree - as near as I can figure -looks like this.

Nancy Delow Bird b 1915 d 2009
daughter of 
William Raymond Bird b 1888 d 1969
son of
Frederick John M Bird b 1851 d 1902
son of 
James Bird b c1821 d 1883

So really the question is not "Are we related to Nancy Bird" it is "Are we related to James Bird?"

Is it possible to find a link between this James Bird and our earliest certainty in this line Robert Bird b c1819 d 1882. They were certainly in the same vicinity in the 1850s and 1860s but so was another James Bird and a William Bird and a Thomas Bird and a - well you get the idea. Proximity does not equate to consanguinity, and as Robert Bird and the correct James Bird are both proving somewhat elusive - um -

"Well Nana says so but I am not sure how"

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

New Year, Same resolution.

Every New Year I make the same resolution - I resolve to be more organised. To actually start writing things down, to stop relying on my often scattered memory (thanks thyroid) and to be a better correspondent  (ie actually reply to people, instead of just thinking I have). 

I can't guarantee that this resolution will stick this time because I really am rather terrible at it but I have started yet another Notebook to substitute for my brain and 3 days in to 2017 am still remembering to write down ALL THE THINGS, so chances are if you contact me within the next week you may actually get a response. Hey I may even manage more than 4 blog posts a year if I actually get organised in my research (and stop being a post work zombie)!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

DNA Mapping again

This time of my paternal ancestry. I threw the kit at Dad and told him to spit.

So from Ancestry:

No surprises there; well actually I was expecting it to be a little more homogeneous because his first cousin's looks like this:

The German on Dad's maternal side makes all the difference it seems.

What did surprise me is how similar mine and Dad's FTDNA maps are.



The southern European that I assumed must all be from my maternal side; seems to reflect what I am guessing may be from Dad's maternal as well. I think I may have to throw my other half's science brain at the problem because numerical data analysis is not my strong suit.  

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Biscuits & Beer

I have mentioned before that the Sinclair branch of my family tree has links to a certain iconic Australian biscuit maker, but it seems that same branch also has links to another iconic Australian.

Samuel Robert Sinclair b.1882 d. 1964 - the (half) nephew of Monica Sinclair, the first wife of William Arnott - a Blacksmith at Bermagui was the inspiration for this logo

Well, at least according to a footnote in this book. So there you go, Arnotts & Tooheys. Biscuits & Beer.

Monday, 1 February 2016

"Grandpa doesn't really look like his dad"

On the train home from work tonight I checked my email and was happy to see that the NAA had finally completed digitisation of the Naturalisation papers I requested. When I got in I immediately fed the cat (I value my life too much to not feed her straight away) and then grabbed my laptop. 

Happy became grinning stupidly. Then ringing my mother at quarter to nine at night to inform her that grandpa doesn't really look like her grandpa. Which she knew. But anyway. A nice chat later I've hung up and looked at my grandpa (her dad's) papers. 

Yep. Back on the phone.

"Grandpa's mum's name is Francesca Josephina and she was Maltese" 

Sometimes, it is the little things that make you ridiculously happy. Like working out your Mum was kind of named for her grandmother :)

Friday, 1 January 2016

Fish in a barrel; or why small populations are brilliant

I will admit that everything fell to the wayside last year when I found myself working full time with a 3hr round trip daily commute. I love my job but doesn't leave much time for anything other than sleep and housework on the weekends. So with a week or so off at the end of December/beginning of January I was looking forward to settling in and getting some prime genealogy and crafting time in. If I have a limited number of days to devote to research I really want the most bang for my buck.

Now this is Shetland. Current population: 25,000ish. Historic population: about the same.

Shetland UK relief location map

The biggest island; that's Mainland. The one directly above it; that's Yell. Current population: 800ish. Historic population: 1000 in a good year. 

Yep; having had generations of ancestors born and raised in Yell - or more specifically North Yell - is like shooting fish in a barrel. 2 days, 240 scotlandspeople credits and not a single miss. 

Ok. I admit I didn't go into the search completely blind. I have sketched out that branch of the family tree previously using (by far the best transcripts of Scottish Census's available online) and Tony Gott's excellent Shetland Family History which is invaluable as a starting point for anyone with Shetland roots. It has - as of the 27/12/2015 update - details of 436, 585 individuals of Shetland heritage. Seriously, start there.

So by the time I hit scotlandspeople I had names and dates to target (which is pretty damn important when you are paying per search) and came away with census pages, birth, death and marriages and valuations rolls that I know are for the people I wanted with the added bonus of the other people on the images are either related or neighbours as well. 

I could easily shell out for another 240 credits and in a couple more hours be still hitting related people. It is tempting. Not sure my credit card will thank me though. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Grandma Fibbins

In yesterday's post I mentioned that the daughters of Jane Clifton and Frederick Charles Brown were were raised by their father's relatives on his maternal side, including someone known as 'Grandma Fibbins.'

I'm not sure exactly who Grandma Fibbins is. Well, I know what she looks like. This is Gran Fibbins and Ethel Brown/Clifton.

And this is Gran Fibbins and Dorothy May Brown/Clifton.

But who exactly is Gran Fibbins?

Frederick Charles Brown (b. 1861 d. 1936) was the son of John Brown (b. c1814 d. 1881) and Mary Ann Fibbins (b. c1835 d. 1901). The daughters depicted in these photos were born in 1890 and 1897 respectively. So Gran Fibbins is not Mary Ann, likewise Mary Ann's mother Sarah Ann Watkins (b. c1814 d. 1890) is ruled out.

A postcard sent to Ethel from her sister Lola (b. 1893) shows that Ethel at least was living with David Fibbins, either her great uncle or his son. (Lola is marked with the x)

If only we could make out a date on the postcard, my best guess from the clothing is somewhere before 1910. So perhaps Gran Fibbins is David Fibbins' (b. 1844 d. 1927) is second wife Ellen Gloucester Bell (b. 1871 d. 1945)?  Maybe I will get lucky and someone will recognise her!