Friday, April 1, 2011

Keeping it in the family

"Family faces are magic mirrors.  Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future."          Gail Lumet Buckley

These last few days I've had an overwhelming fascination with my heritage - namely my ancestors on my mum's side.  

So far I've looked online through state records (births, deaths and marriages), national archives and shipping lists and have found out a heap of information about the people I have only heard about in stories told by my mum and aunt.  Some information I know to be true - my great-grandfather was one of the first pupils at my primary school when it first opened back in the 1800s, my grandfather was a blacksmith who worked in the gold mines of Queensland, a small island on the Sunshine Coast is named after my great-great-grandfather who moved timber logs from ships and barges to shore for transport to sawmills, my great-great-grandmother had a strong Scottish accent.....all stories that fire my imagination and feed my need for more information!

I have photos of my grandparents and great-grandparents.....only a few - predominantly wedding photos - from time when photographers were the only people to own cameras and photos were of special family occasions to be treasured and handed down through the family (unlike today where we all have a digital camera in our back pocket and take photos of the opening of a door!).
(L-R) my grandad's parents Charles & Annie; my grandparents Charles & Catherine; my nana's parents William & Millie
All my life I've felt an affinity with mum's side of the family.  I remember my nana's mum (Millie) - I called her Nana Mac.  She was a lovely old lady who was still alive when I was a little tyke.  I remember receiving a knitted beanie from her one year for Easter.  It was accompanied by a letter and was in response to a card that I had made for her.  I think I would have been no older than 5 at the time.  I still have them both - the letter and the beanie - treasured possessions still.

feel an extra special connection to my great-grandmother Annie - it is her ring I wear as my engagement ring.  Family scuttlebutt is that it wasn't my great-grandfather who gave this ring to her....* gasp *... the scandal!!!  Makes me curious to know who gave it to her...  Mum says that she was a lovely lady - softly spoken and lady-like with all the time in the world for her little grand-daughter.  Unfortunately she passed away before I was even a twinkle in my dad's eye - I so would have liked to meet her.

I have never been in doubt that I am my grandparents' descendant - I only have to look at the wedding photo of Annie and Charles and see my mum - Annie could be my mum dressed in period costume! - and since I have been told all my life that I am the spitting image of my mum and it goes without saying that I would resemble Annie too.  I had to see how much of her is in me for myself.....
My great-grandmother Annie on her wedding day and me at my Deb Ball....blood runs true!
...yep, I'm of her blood!  

I've still got more looking to do into this side of the family tree.  My next move is to see how far back I can trace - I'm eager to know if I'm of convict or free-settler stock!  My money's on free-settler - mum's betting convict!   Let the investigation continue!!!

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