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A young life lost

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Remembrance Day 2020 When Kevin Francis Galvin was born in May 1923 in Unley South Australia, his parents John Michael and Grace Walmsley Galvin brought him home to their two young sons, John Dominic, 4, and Desmond Joseph, 2. The family were then living in Charles St. Forestville. Three years later, Kathleen a younger sister for the 3 boys was born and the new baby was brought home to their house in Randolph Street in Henley Park.   About 1929 the young family moved to Melbourne as John Michael rose in the ranks of the Locomotive Engine Drivers' Union. Youngest son Gerard was born there several years later in 1936. By this time John Dominic was 18 and was one of 14 selected from over 400 Victorians applicants for a Royal Australian Air Force cadetship. John went on to qualify as a pilot and his is a story for another day. Kevin Francis Galvin 25 May 1923 - 8 June 1944 It is not surprising then that younger brother Kevin was keen to enlist in the RAAF as aircrew when he was 18. He

Grave Tales and True

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Cemeteries, tombstones and memories In the course of examining the lives of the past, tombstone information found in cemeteries or graveyards can add vital details about ancestors lives. More than that however, cemeteries are special places of remembrance and over the years I've had the occasion to visit many, not just for funerals but for memorial services and to ponder on life in places of great beauty and significance. Here's a small taste of those experiences. Beauty in remembrance 1. Here are a few of the beautiful floral graves of Pietersfriedhof in Salzburg, Austria. Many will recognise this scenery from the "Sound Of Music" film. My 2014 photos do little justice to these nurtured mini gardens. 2. Overawed - War cemeteries of northern France and Belgium For 4 years my husband worked in Paris. In that period we visited a wide range of war cemeteries and attended many memorial services on the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium. The frequency of small cem

Forty four years later

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It was late spring, October 1898 when Catherine Mary Fitzgerald aged 32 celebrated her marriage to Francis John Smyth in the Marrabel Catholic Church.  This was just before the harvest season so Francis' parents Edward and Margaret along with his sister Elizabeth may have travelled the 25 miles (c. 38 km)from their home near Alma via Tarlee by  horse and buggy or perhaps they ventured further north towards Riverton where the eldest sister Catherine was now married to John Callery. We do not know if Francis' youngest sister Margaret attended the wedding as she had married James Byrne in January of 1898 and was living in distant Lameroo. St Agnes Catholic Church, Marrabel Catherine and Francis welcomed their first child Margaret Mary in 1899 followed by son Edward John in 1905. Catherine led an active life with farm and household chores, as well as church and local community events. As Francis was active in the Tarlee Hibernian group, Catherine was no doubt engaged in providing s

Farewell to the Smyths

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It must have been a difficult decision.  Francis John Smyth had lived and farmed the land "Hillside" near Alma in South Australia for more than 50 years. He had been born at Humphreys Springs in 1867 and now in 1946 at the age of 78, accompanied by his daughter Mary, he was leaving the farm and moving to Gawler.   Frank was the last remaining sibling in his family. His sisters Mary Christina, Catherine Teresa, Elizabeth Agnes and Margaret had all predeceased him. His wife Catherine had died in 1942.  His son Eddie was a priest and daughter Mary was now approaching 50, so there was no immediate relative to carry on farming. This report of a farewell function held in the Tarlee Institute appeared in the Kapunda Herald newspaper. A very large crowd gathered in the institute on Thursday evening to bid farewell to Mr. Frank Smyth and Miss Mary Smyth, who have been residents in the district for a number of years.  An excellent programme of items was arranged by Mr. Parker Hogan.

Where there is a Will

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The Last Will and Testament of John Horgan 1883 John Horgan arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "China". In 1863 he married Hanorah O'Leary and in 1883 at the time of his death he had 6 surviving children. Here he makes provision for them by leaving the distribution of his assets to his wife. The right of women to inherit land had only been passed in South Australia in 1883 which suggests that John was in tune with political developments of the time.   Extract - John Horgan 1883 This extract is from the will of John Horgan of Linwood. It reads:                                                    June 21st 1883 Last will and Testament of John Horgan Linwood near Tarlee South Australia. I John Horgan of Linwood near Tarlee Province of South Australia do hereby bequeath to my wife Hanorah Horgan (formerly O'Leary) all my worldly possessions which she will distribute among the children of our marriage. I further empower her in the said distribution to make

May 2020, May or May Not

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Personal experiences during Covid-19, May 2020 Since late March in Australia, everyone has had a variety of experiences as lockdowns were imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In response to a suggested blog post by fellow genealogist Pauleen this is a record of some of my experiences during May 2020 that may or may not be of interest to those in the far future! The questions supplied by Pauleen on her post serve to focus my thoughts about this last month.  What are you most grateful for during this Covid-19 crisis? The last two months have proved a torrid time for many people as restrictions imposed on daily life were compounded with job losses and business failures. I am very grateful that my husband and I are happily retired from the paid workforce and live a comfortable life with good health, in our own house and in a place of our choice. My gratitude extends of course to the health workers who dedicate their lives to caring for the sick. What have you missed most during the

So that was April

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A quieter month than usual River walk at sunset unusually quiet Empty roads and roundabouts Deserted pathways But what does one do when confined to #StayAtHome during the COVID-19 crisis? Record one's family history and our part in it. Wrote and posted 26 entries for the A to Z blogging challenge, this kept me busy for hours and finally committed me to writing something about my husband's ancestors Took daily walks,  enjoyed the stunning weather in this part of the world in April Bike rides, ideal weather and flat terrain for this oldie Read and read some more - total for the month 12 books, mainly fiction Enjoyed the company of visitors to our garden including this cheeky peewee who often sits just outside the window where I am writing Tidied some of the genealogy files and shared some research and photos with interested relatives As restrictions ease signs are less prescriptive In our house life is open for business as usual. For retir