Thursday, August 30, 2012

Follow Friday - An accumulation of my weekly research - 2

Where did the week go??

This week I have had writers block and have spent most of my spare time searching the web, looking at blogs and sites that write about or provide information on the history of women.

 The focus of my research is not Womens fight for "freedom and rights", eventhough I do agree this is important, but more on their achievements, way of life, interests and escapades.

I was pleasantly surprised at the abundance of interesting blogs and helpful sites available.  Here is a brief summary of some of my interesting discoveries:


Womens History Network,

Scandalous Women, , What a great title, and amusing read.

Women's History Sources,, This is a collaborative blog that serves as a current awareness tool for anyone who is interested in primary sources at archives, historic sites and museums, and libraries

Womens of History,, Dedicated to the women who have graced the pages of history, from ancient to modern times

Writing Womens History,, Weird, wonderful and random bits of women's social history.  (I have really enjoyed reading some of these stories, and look forward to reading more)


The Womens Library,, is a cultural centre housing the most extensive collection of women's history in the UK

Notable Women Ancestors,, stories and photos about everyday women.

National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame, I like their slogan "History is her story too...".

The Australian Womens History Forum,

National Womens History Museum  I like the quote on their home page, "A better world awaits the generation that absorbs what women and men have to share about life from a joint perspective. Together, all things are possible."

This list is just the tip of the iceberg, if you have any that you sites that you have found interesting please let me know.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Christina Carriage and Hazel Herbert

My Grandmothers: Hazel Herbert (nee Palin) and Christina Carriage (nee Lee)

In my blog The Other Half of My Family Tree - stories of my female ancestors, a project in which I aim to tell stories of the women in my family tree, I have so far written about both my grandmothers, Edna Hazel Palin and Christina Sterland Lee.  Last night while I was searching through an old album of my fathers for photos for the final chapter on the story on Edna Hazel Palin, I found the picture above.  It is a rare picture of both my Grandmothers, which must have been taken around the time my parents were married and Hazel and Roy Herbert (my mothers parents) came all the way from Broken Hill to Milton on the coast of NSW to visit my fathers mother, Christina and step father,  Lionel Carriage.  Such a great find!!! I had to share it on Wordless Wednesday.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Family Recipe Friday - Recipes from the Past

I would like to share some recipes from a very very old recipe book that was given to me when I was visiting a great aunt in my teens. I  think my Aunt was so amazed that a teenage girl would be interested in the old book that she gave it to me for safe keeping.  The book, which had been passed down through the family was old and battered and without its cover. It is called Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book, by Lizzie Heritage (Holder of First-Class diplomas in Cookery and Domestic Economy), and was published by Cassell and Company, Ltd in 1896.

It is worth noting a small part of the preface, which starts:

"The great development of intercourse between different nations, considerable advances in the methods of preparing and serving food, and the modern tendency to examine into the principles and foundations of things, have not only brought about a large increase of books upon cookery, but perceptible changes in their character.  Of these developments, the present work is an example.

To the first cause we owe in that the art of cooking has now become to a large extend cosmopolitan.  Differences in local products and climates will always maintain, to some extend, national "schools" of Cookery.  but as much of the French cuisine has long become the common property of civilisation, so an intelligent cook is now expected to know something of the best dishes from the German, Italian, Indian, and American schools, and does not disdain contributions from even more distant fields. It has been said, with truth, that "the most scientific chef who ever served up a Parisian banquet could probably learn something new from the ignorant savage, who chews strange herbs to help him to digest the meat which his intellect has not sufficiently expanded to enable him to cook." Modern Cookery draws both viands and methods from all countries." 

Wow!! You have to take a step back and remember this was written in the 1890's. 

Today, keeping with the International theme of the preface I have chosen to share with you a recipe from the book is:

American Cheese Salad

Required:  shrimps, cheese, oil, seasoning, and garnish as below.  Cost, about one shilling.

This is also known as mock crab.  Put a quarter of a pound of sliced or grated cheese in a mortar, add a tablespoonful and a half of oil or cream, and a scant teaspoonful of mustard, the same of white pepper, salt as required - the cheese regulates the amount - and a pinch of grated nutmeg, with cayenne to taste.  Half a pint of chopped shrimps and a squeeze of lemon juice are added last.  Serve in the shell of a crab, should one be handy; or in scallop shells, and garnish with cress and celery.  the mixture is sometimes put in the centre of a bed of salad on a flat dish.

A simple and delicious dish from the past.

Follow Friday - An accumulation of my weekly research

As I research my family tree and information for my blogs I find that each week I discover new and interesting resources. I save these links into my Delicious Account as described in by blog "Delicious and Genealogy - A Great Family Tree Research Tool" .   To follow on from this I though it would be a good idea to share my weekly discoveries with other family tree researchers by posting a weekly summary of the sites that I have stumbled upon over the past week.  So here goes!!  I hope you find some useful information or resources in my first of my weekly, "Follow Friday - An accumulation of my weekly research" posts. I would also like to encourage other researchers to share related sites that they have come across in their research.
The focus of my research this week has been on the life of Women in Broken Hill, are a number of sites that I have found both interesting and useful as I search for more background information on my maternal grandmother Edna Hazel Palin who was born in Broken Hill.

This site includes some great pages with a history of women, and stories of influential women and a wonderful collection of old photos. 


Friday, August 17, 2012

"Family Recipe Friday" Nan's Stale Bread Cake

Food and family recipes can tells us so much about the times that our ancestors lived in.  I was delighted to see among the lists for GeneaBloggers Daily prompts for Friday the title "Family Friday Recipe". What a great opportunity to share one of my husband's mother's favorite recipes.  We all call it Nan's Stale Bread Cake. She loved to make this for the family and when we visited we always left with a parcel wrapped in foil to take home or to share with our work mates for morning tea.

Some say that this is a recipe to use up stale bread, which was originally devised when it was considered a sin to throw away bread because of the association with Christ. However, I think the recipe was carried on through difficult economic times when it was easy to obtain stale bread, nothing was wasted and the bread was used to make a cheap and delicious treat for the family. Earlier this year when my husband visited Nan and returned with the usual parcel wrapped in foil it also included a typed out copy of the recipe.  Here is Nan's stale bread cake recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does.

Nan's Stale Break Cake

(Note from Nan: "I have used this recipe for over 40 years, I don't measure anything")

1. A couple of loaves of stale bread, (soak till moist) about 5 minutes.

2. Squeeze out as much water as you can.

3.  Add mixed fruit (generally add about 1 kilo).

4.  Add 250 gm of margarine (I melt it in the microwave)

5. Add two cups of sugar.  (taste it to see if it is sweet enough).

6.  Mixed spice (a real good shake).

Mix well (If you find it too moist use some flour, (consistency of a fruit cake)

Grease a baking dish well, cook in a moderate to hot oven until baked.

(At the bottom Nan wrote me a little message:  It's easy, I added some rum to the one Steve gave you a tast of.  I get my stale bread from the bakery they only charge a $1.  I also used tea cake and sultana bread, ask your baker for stale bread etc.  any bread will do, except MULTIGRAIN! It's an easy recipe, good luck' it's lovely hot with custard).  Thanks Nan!!!

Footnote:  Nan passed away a couple of months ago after a prolonged illness, so it is nice to be able to share this recipe in her memory.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Interviewing your Family

As I put together notes for my next blog on The Other Half of My Tree - stories of my female ancestors I found I needed to find out a little more about my maternal grandmother. "I know what I'll do, I thought, I will give my mum a call.  She should be able to help me with this."

Forgetting that my mother, who is now 80, may not have a clear memory of her childhood years, I rattled a number of my questions over the phone to her.  "Oh Di,  I can't remember was her response".  I really had approached this the wrong way. " Don't worry Mum,  think about it a bit and I will talk to when I next visit".

I realised that I needed to be more considerate of her age and plan the "interview" more carefully if I was  to discover more about my mother's childhood.  Going back to basics, I started to develop an "Interview Plan" or some points that would help when interviewing family about their past.

These are the set of Points I thought I should consider

1. Notification  - Make sure you notify the person you want to interview of your intentions.  Fit in with their availability.  Either call or write a letter asking if they would prefer to meet, talk on the phone or correspond by mail.

2.  Background - Provide the relative that you want to interview with some details of your research so far.

3.  Be Considerate and Patient - Remember that the relative you wish to interview may not share your enthusiasm for researching the family tree.  Take time to develop a relationship of trust and if the relative is not comfortable with the interview, consider using a gatekeeper, e.g. a younger trusted member of the family or friend who will make them feel more at ease.

4. Be Prepared - Before the interview, ascertain the important pieces of information you would like to find out.  A good idea, if you have a long list of questions, would be to focus on 2-3 questions at a time and pace the interview over 2-3 sessions.

5.  Photos, Newspaper cuttings - take a collection of photos, newspaper cuttings, old cards etc with you to the interview, these will help to get the conversation flowing and also help trigger family memories.

6. Record Conversation - if the family member is happy for you to record the conversation, then you can  give full attention to your relative rather than being distracted by taking notes.

7.  Listen - take the time to listen to your relative, don't rush them or contradict what they have to say.  Allow them the freedom to explore their memories.  Don't worry if they get sidetracked from the information you are particularly interested in.  These wanderings from the topic may provide you with some interesting and vital information that you didn't even dream of discovering.

8. Be Sensitive - remember that these stories are personal and sometimes close to home, so don't pressure your relative to disclose stories that they are not comfortable talking about.

9. Group Interviews - an alternative method of interviewing could be gathering 2-3 relatives together for the one interview.  By sharing stories between them, they could spark memories and a more lively discussion on the family history.

10. Notes and a Thank You Note - make a copy of your notes/recording and show or send these to the person you have interviewed  with a thank you note.  Not only does this confirm your respect and thanks to the relative you have interviewed, it allows them to review what they have said.  These notes will give them the option to correct or make adjustments to what they have said and more importantly, may trigger more memories about your family.

With these points in mind, I pulled together some photos and newspaper cuttings (that I had found in TROVE).  Then I called my mother and eased slowly into the conversation about family, suggesting that she put some of her memories on paper to show me when I visited on the following weekend.  When I visited her, she had prepared a short story (about two pages) on what she could remember about her mother, then we sat and went through all the photos and I asked her strategic questions about friends, family outings, occupations etc.  This approach was far more successful than my first off-the-cuff telephone call.

I would be most interested to hear other tips from other family researchers on how they interview their family members.