2 June 2020

May 2020, May or May Not

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 full or partial lock-down?
I have missed face to face interaction with friends and acquaintances through both formal and informal meetings.

Has your hobby sustained you during this time?
My genealogy and sewing hobbies have both had some extra time devoted to them. Some more photos have been sorted and named and some more data added to ancestors on my husband's family tree assisted by the cooperation of some of his relatives. Free access to Ancestry and FindMyPast provided by local and State Libraries has been invaluable. 
My sewing cupboard has been sorted with some material donations ready for appropriate organisations.

deserted pathways

Have you been exercising more or less?
Exercise became a priority to prevent endless hours hunched over screens or buried in books or puzzling out sewing patterns. It has been a pleasure to walk uncrowded paths and enjoy the quiet beauty of our surrounding areas. My bike has had more use in traffic free areas too. Two YouTube channels I have found particularly useful for seniors are The Girl with the Pilates Mat and More Life Health Seniors. Both these channels provide simple and sustainable short exercise sessions for seniors.

Has the refrigerator been your friend or foe?

Have you been participating in virtual gatherings with friends or family?
I have a regular virtual Friday morning coffee session with four friends, we will resume face to face in the real world in the coming weeks.

Have you taken up new hobbies during the lockdown?
I have been teaching myself how to use LibreOffice Base via online tutorials. While I have been a long time user of a wide variety of databases, I have never had to set one up from scratch.

Are you cooking or gardening more?
No, we are both regular cooks and share the load so have seen no need to change that pattern. The garden mostly bumbles along with occasional interference for maintenance.

Have you shopped more or less? Online or offline?
We have shopped less often for groceries tending to make a list rather than popping down to the supermarket on a whim. I have probably bought a few more titles on Amazon when I have run out of titles to read via the online libraries to which I have access.

Have you found the changes and experience stressful/anxious/worrying?
Not particularly apart from the distressing news from around the world as the death tolls increase.

How have the closures affected your local community?
As this region depends on tourism several businesses have closed permanently and many are under severe financial stress. The local libraries, often a haven for seniors and parents with young children, have been quiet and closed while still providing their online services. They have been targeting the young with online story times. A click and collect service has been available now for two weeks for those wishing to borrow paper books. Our local genealogy society reopens in a limited manner today after 2 months closure. The local playgrounds were still off limits during this last weekend 

Have in-person meetings been replaced with virtual meetings via Zoom, Skype etc?
As mentioned above, a virtual coffee morning via Zoom has replaced the real thing.

Do you enjoy the virtual meeting format?
It is suitable for a wide range of circumstances and is useful for sharing factual information. Face to face interaction allows for more personalised interpretation of body language and its accompanying gestures.

Have your habits changed over the past months?
I have watched more online educational content through YouTube.

Have you had to cancel travel plans for pleasure or family? Do you think you’ll be able to travel in 2020?
We had to cancel travel plans in April but are hoping to visit family south of Sydney before the end of the year.

Have you/others been wearing masks when out and about in your area?
I have seen very few masks out and about. Early on I did make one, but have never worn it.

Will you change your lifestyle after this experience?
I will continue with the exercises provided through YouTube rather than attend gym classes. Overseas travel may be a casualty after this Covid-19 experience.

My sympathies are extended to those severely affected by Covid-19, I am well aware of the privilege of living free from debt, infection and any major inconvenience. 

This post first appeared on earlieryears.blogspot.com by CRGalvin

6 May 2020

So that was April

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 retirees we might miss the companionship of friends, social activities and visits to family but we have much to be thankful for, good health, good food and weather, and good spirits.

Thank you to those who commented on my blog posts. 

Family History blogs I followed

Anne's Family History An excellent series on the London of Anne's ancestors
Family History Across the Seas In depth look at gratitude across one lifetime and those of ancestors
Genealogy Challenges Some really interesting ancestors occupations here
GeniAus A wide range of a convict's descendants
Molly’s Canopy Awed by how much she can recall of her primary school years
The Curry Apple Orchard A very readable family history retold in story form

Other blogs of interest I enjoyed

Black and White Words and Pictures A fascinating series on English nursery rhymes and their block printed illustrations
A Heep of Everything Postcards received
Best Bookish Blog Book reviews, many already read and some I'll seek to read

Will I do April A to Z again? It does require a significant commitment of time, of which I had plenty this April. The positives - it commits one to writing, the negatives - artificially finding something to fit each letter of the alphabet is limiting but challenging. Yes, it was a quieter month than usual but I am satisfied to have finished the posts and to have found some new directions to research.

This post first appeared on earlieryears.blogspot.com by CRGalvin

30 April 2020

If you do nothing - Zero

So many stories of ancestors and relatives are mentioned in the newspapers of the past. During April 2020 for the A - Z blog challenge, I am listing the types of stories or information I have found in newspapers with examples for each letter of the alphabet. My clippings include a variety of articles about relatives of my children's ancestors.

The end of the series

If I had done Zero, nothing, perhaps these newspaper snippets may have remained unseen by descendants.

If you have Australian or New Zealand connections try Trove and Papers Past. A wealth of stories awaits.

If you do nothing else but locate some interesting family clippings, store them in a list, tag some names and places, correct the text so the search is easier for the next person.

I used articles from several lists to compile this series. If you wish to revisit any article or see it within the context of the news of the day these lists are housed on Trove.
  1. Galvin - Descendants of Michael Galvin 1833-1894 and Bridget Crotty 1840 - 1940 Includes articles and notices relating to Michael's siblings and their descendants
  2. John Michael Galvin The career of J M Galvin a newspaper perspective
  3. Payne  Related to the ancestors and descendants of Mary Agnes Walmsley and Edward John Payne
  4. Stirling - Ancestors of Phyllis Yvonne Galvin (born Stirling)
  5. St Patrick's Dramatic and Literary Society 1915 -1918 Adelaide SA

Short how to videos - less than 4 mins

National Library of Australia

Learning Webinars
These are about one hour long and cover a wide variety of topics. Some titles that may interest family historians are:
  • eresources: Newspapers for family history, 
  • Find the map you want
  • Finding and dating photographs
  • Ask a family history librarian
  • Discover Trove: How to navigate and effective research techniques
  • Trove for Family History
So that's it for the 2020April AtoZ put to bed zzzzzz.

This post first appeared on earlieryears.blogspot.com by CRGalvin

29 April 2020

Youth and yesteryears

So many stories of ancestors and relatives are mentioned in the newspapers of the past. During April 2020 for the A - Z blog challenge, I am listing the types of stories or information I have found in newspapers with examples for each letter of the alphabet. My clippings include a variety of articles about relatives of my children's ancestors.

The indiscretions of Youth may be captured in the news of the day. A driving fine, riotous behaviour or poor decision making. Young lives taken too soon are accounted for in accidents and illnesses.

The posts throughout this series have covered what I refer to as the Yesterdays and Yesteryears of the Galvin and Stirling lines in the family. Here's a timeline of some of the key events, places and years mentioned in this A - Z series. The variety of types of information gathered from articles indicates the value of newspaper research in reconstructing our family histories.


1842 - 1859 David Crosbie's tailoring business - New Zealand
1860 - 1890 Michael Galvin's immigration and subsequent bankruptcy - Sydney, NSW
1874 - Arrival of the Walmsley family via the Hydaspes and subsequent quarantine - New Zealand
1886 - A bankruptcy in New Zealand - EJW Payne
1887 - Edward John William Payne's gold explorations - Western Australia
1894 - Death of Michael Galvin - Sydney, NSW
1898 - Charles Edward Stirling and family attend court to retrieve their dog - Glebe, NSW

1902 - John Patrick Galvin and family move - Adelaide SA
1906 - John Michael Galvin passes a piano exam - Adelaide SA
1906 - John Patrick Galvin travelling photographer has a lucky escape - Casterton, Victoria
1909 - Grace Walmsley Payne - credit in music - Ballarat, Victoria
1910 - Marriage of Norman George Payne to Rosie Maude Briggs - Adelaide
1913 - Marriage of Natalia Cecelia Payne to John Lynch - Adelaide
1915 - 1917 John Michael Galvin and Grace Payne perform in the Literary Society - Adelaide, SA
1917 - Marriage of Edward John Payne to Kathleen Hourigan- Adelaide
1917 - Marriage of John Michael Galvin and Grace Walmsley Payne - Adelaide
1918 - Death of Cornelius Gothard at age 80 - New Zealand
1923 - Death of Catherine Galvin and sale of her household goods - Adelaide SA
1923 - Agnes Stirling end of marriage - Sydney, NSW
1927 - Photo: John Patrick Galvin appointed JP and Grand President of Hibernians in SA - Adelaide
1929 - Gordon Wallace Stirling of Glebe Point, NSW appears in wage case
1932 - John Michael Galvin, Federal secretary of Locomotive engine driver's union - Victoria
1933 - Wage inquiry involving William Francis Galvin - Adelaide SA
1934 - Death of Edward John Payne
1935 - Death of David Payne in Railway accident
1938 - John Dominic Galvin in aircraft crash
1940 - Marriage of John Dominic Galvin and Phyllis Yvonne Stirling
1940 - Death of Bridget Galvin - Randwick, NSW
1944 - Death of Francis Leo Payne by electrocution
1944 - Death of Kevin Francis Galvin on active service in England
1946 - 1955 Life in the Blue Mountains JD Galvin and family - NSW
1947 - John Michael Galvin appointed Conciliation Commissioner
1952 - Marriage of Kathleen Mary Galvin to Francis Mercovich
1954 - John Michael Galvin appointed Public Service Arbitrator
1954 - Death of Gordon Wallace Stirling
1970 - Photo:John Dominic Galvin entertains in Loxton, SA
1978 - Photo: Gerard Galvin CSM, Darwin, NT

sources: Trove, Papers Past, own family collection

 This post first appeared on earlieryears.blogspot.com by CRGalvin

28 April 2020

Unexpected finds

So many stories of ancestors and relatives are mentioned in the newspapers of the past. During April 2020 for the A - Z blog challenge, I am listing the types of stories or information I have found in newspapers with examples for each letter of the alphabet. X is always a difficult letter but I did come across something uneXpected while searching my husband's family tree.


My parents-in-law, John Dominic Galvin and Phyllis Yvonne Stirling married at St Brigid's Church, Coogee, NSW on May 11 1940 after an engagement of seven months. I have just received a photo of their wedding with Phyll dressed in an eXquisite gown., but that is not the matter of this post.

Phyll had been brought up by her paternal grandmother Maud Stirling after her parents separated when she was quite young. Phyll's parents were Gordon Stirling and Louisa May Lawson. I did not know where to look for Louisa as there was no divorce notice in the archives and she had been noted as deceased on the 1940 marriage certificate. Perhaps that notation was just a reflection of lack of contact through the years.

The unexpected

When Gordon Stirling died in 1955, I found Louisa via this notice as administratrix of his estate.

1957 'IN the Supreme Court of New South Wales.—Probate Jurisdiction.—
Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), 15 November, p. 3679. ,  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article220359306
There had been no divorce and Louisa had remarried her long term partner in January 1956 less than a month after her former husband's death. She died in 1973 on the mid north coast of NSW.

One never knows until one searches!

This post first appeared on earlieryears.blogspot.com by CRGalvin