Sunday, March 31, 2013

Military Monday - 2013 Trans Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge

Some members of my family tree who have been to war

Taking advantage of  the Easter Break and a little R and R time, I have been catching up with some blog reading and came across the blog by Auckland Libraries' Kintalk Whānau Kōrero: family history blog, which challenges bloggers to share their family military stories, on the 2013 Trans Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge.  

 The aim of the challenge is to share stories of family members who served in military conflitct, their experiences and how their story has shaped your family history.  The challenge is designed to coincide with the upcoming ANZAC day celebration on the 25th April, however your story could be on family members who served in other wars other than WW1 or WW2.

What a Great opportunity to share some of our family's military tales!!

The Kintalk Blog points out that it is very easy to participate, just follow these steps: 
  • write a story about an Australian or New Zealander serviceman or woman's family and the impact the war had on their family history
  • Post a comment with the URL to your blog on the comments section of the
    2013 Trans Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge  page, or if  don't have a blog and would still like to participate you can send your story to
  • Publish your post by Anzac Day, 25 April 2013. 
Kintalk Blog will post a summary of all the postings on their blog after Anzac Day.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Follow Friday - An accumulation of my weekly research - 9

This week I managed to post my next Alphabet challenge.  G is for Gravestone.  I have to admit that it is taking me a longer to wend my way through the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge  than I first imagined. The great upside of this project is the discovery of new resources, genealogy sites and blogs as I research each topic. When I started the post G for Gravestones, I thought would be quick and straight forward, but no!! I was amazed at the number of sights/blogs that either provide the history of gravestones through the ages, the different types of gravestones or grave markers, the sad and whimsical stories associated with particular gravestones, the historical events related to particular cemeteries, photos and inscriptions from cemeteries,  war cemeteries and their history and the meanings of the markings and symbols on gravestones to mention a few.

St Michael's, Alnwick
I really have to thank the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge for providing me with the motivation to explore new and interesting topics. This brings me to the point of today's blog, to share with you some of the sites and blogs I have discovered associated with gravestones, headstones and cemeteries.  I am sure this is just a drop in the ocean so would welcome input from anyone who knows of further interesting sites on this subject.

Australian Cemeteries:
 Australian Cemeteries;
Australian Cemeteries Index:
Wikipedia List of Australian Cemeteries:
Cora Web: Cemetery Records Australia:
Other Cemetery Sites Cemeteries on line:
Gravestone Photographic Resource:
International Jewish Cemetery Project;

War Graves
War Graves Photographic Project:
American Cemeteries Around the World: 
The Canadian Headstone Project:
World War 1 Cemeteries:

Other Sites
History from Headstones:
How to do a Headstone Rubbing:
Tips for Photographing Gravestones:
Exploring Cemeteries:
Gravestone Symbolism:
History of Headstones:
The Association for Grave Studies:
Historic Graves:

Carol's Headstone Photos:
Mad about Genealogy: Gravestone Photos:
A Grave Interest:
Buried in History:
Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek:
Grave Encounters:
Headstones and Family History:
Sleeping Gardens:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Friday's Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge - G is for Gravestone

Picture this!!  Warm summer day, husband armed with camera, wife wending her way through the overgrown graves of the country cemetery of Braidwood in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.  “Oh we should get a picture of this one” she calls, as her husbands, wipes the sweat from his brow, brushes away the flies and snaps another picture of an old crumbling headstone.  Yes my husband laments as he tells this story to sympathetic friends.  The trials of being married to someone who is constantly on the look out places to research the family tree even if it means tramping through long grass and avoiding the insects, spiders and snakes who have made the local cemetery their home.

This story leads me to my next post for the  on Friday's Family History through the Alphabet Challenge , for the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.  G is for Gravestone!!  I guess there are many families who have someone who likes to wander amongst gravestones searching for information on passed relatives.  In pre-internet days I found searching cemeteries a most valuable resource and much to my children’s dismay would plan a family excursion or holiday around the possibility of being able to check out the local cemetery for further clues.  

The gravestone, or headstone, or tombstone is a grave maker.  It can be made of stone, marble or in the cases of those without sufficient funds it could just be a small wooden cross. The gravestone not only marks where our ancestors were buried, it is a memorial to past family members and it's inscriptions can provide information on the deceased name, date of birth and death, names of family members who mourn them and possibly a small quote that will give some indication of their personality, or standing in the community.  Often a number of family members a buried in the same grave or in close proximity to each other, thus providing information of family links and relationships.

While researching information on gravestones I came a cross a quote that describes the importance of graveyards as a place for research, "Graveyards are outdoor museums and the most accessible source for studying the local community and its history.".

If you are just starting to research your family, a visit to the local cemetery is a great way to begin your search.  The local cemetery, or cemetery of the town that your family came from is one of the most accessible sources of information on local history and our heritage. The inscriptions on the gravestones contain information of generations of families, with details of their relationships, friends, neighbours, tragedies, religion, occupations and memberships of different societies. The size, and more elaborate gravestones may also indicate the status or wealth of a family member.

To finish this blog on "G is for Gravestone" I would like to share with you two of my favorite gravestone pictures.  The first was taken on the day (mentioned above) that my husband and I traipsed through the Braidwood Cemetery and found the grave of my Great-Great Grandfather Lynn Shepherd II and the second one is taken thirty years ago, when I visited the cemetery in Nelligen with my parents and took a photo my father standing behind the gravestone of his father and my grandfather Malcolm Michael Shepherd. 

Gravestone of Lynn Shepherd (1829-1903) Braidwood Cemetery

Malcolm Michael Shepherd (1892-1932)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Sharing Memories - School of the Air

Recently, I was looking through some more of my father's old slides and found two photos that bring to life the story I wrote early this year, Sharing Memories - Early School Days in the Bush - School of the Air. 

The first picture is of all the children lined up in front of the school bus in their school sports uniform., just before they all climbed on the bus and headed off for the Annual School of the Air Picnic.  

The second picture is of all the parents and children socialising outside the hall at the Annual School of the Air Christmas Party.  I love all the ladies dressed up in their best with their hats.  These two events were the highlights of the year for the parents and students of School of the Air, many would travel between 200-100 kms to attend these events.  

School of the Air, Broken Hill - Children line up ready to go to Annual School Picnic, about 1959

School of the Air Christmas Party - Broken Hill circa 1960