A Short Farwell

To Everyone who follows what I do on the blog:

Does anyone else feel that “the Ancestors” have ganged up on them lately and decided to make life harder than it needs to be? 

I have piles of documents sitting in random order in random places in my office.  There are literally hundreds of photographs that need scanning and to be digitally filed in some sort of workable order. And of course – my Ancestry family tree is a mess with almost a thousand little green leaf hints to be looked at, pondered overed and a decision made as to whether it belongs, or doesn’t belong, with my relative.

If I were to drop off the planet today nobody would be able to walk into my mess and pick up where I left off, and I fear they would throw up there hands and toss all my hard work out.  I would need 48 hours in a day for weeks on end to do the “house keeping” of my research AND blog as well, so, it is with sadness that I must let you all know that I will be taking a bit of a break from blogging. 

Thanks for all the comments and encouragement over the last few years, just know I will be watching what you are all up to and working hard to clean up my work so that I can get back to writing stories about my wonderful family.

Cheers to you all – and happy blogging




TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1909 – Gold Fever

Gold Discovered

Every persons dream would be to find a substantial nugget of gold just lying around: it would be pay day heaven.  John Deegan was indeed a lucky man.  This find in 1909 comes quite a bit later than the actual gold rush to the Nundle area which my great, great grandfather, Thomas Duncan, had participated in during the 1850’s and 1860’s.  Hanging Rock is near Nundle which is situated roughly 60 kilometres from Tamworth.

Gold Discovery

I know the gold rush didn’t make my 2 x great grandfather wealthy so I wonder how things panned out for Mr Deegan?




Alphonsus Charles Allsop 1881-1920

Alphonsus Charles Allsop – 1918

Each Anzac Day I like to showcase one of the many in my family who served their country in either WW1 or WW2.  Alphonsus Charles Allsop is my husband Terry’s 1st cousin 2 x removed and was born on 23 Feb. 1881 in Maitland, New South Wales.  He has what I thought was quite an unusual World War 1 service record so I thought I would share it with you.

Alphonsus was the 3rd child born to Robert Rowland & Elizabeth Eve Allsop nee: Idstein.  He became an accountant and at the age of 18 he is listed in the New South Wales, Australia, Government Gazette (1853-1899)  as living in East Maitland.  On 16 Feb. 1907 he married Beryl Ethel Resleure in Sydney, New South Wales and they went on to have three children, all born in West Maitland: Bernice Elizabeth b. 1907, Yvonne M b. 1910 & Richard Roland b. 1915.  The Australian Electoral Rolls 1903-1980 have the family living in Hunter Street, West Maitland.

Richard, Yvonne & Bernice Allsop

At the age of 37 years Alphonsus joined the Australian Imperial Forces on 19 Apr 1918 and on his application he states that he and Beryl were living at 5 Walga Road,  Mosman in Sydney. After enlistment he was posted to the Liverpool Camp and ultimately was assigned to the 27th (NSW) General Service Reinforcements.  There is a good physical description of him which states that he had no distinctive marks or scars on his body, standing 5 feet & 11 inches tall, with blue eyes and auburn hair.  Interestingly, the record states that his teeth needed attention, although there is nothing to indicate that the dental issues would prevent him from enlisting.  On April 30th his record shows that he needed fillings in 2 teeth on the right and 1 tooth on the left, however the record doesn’t state if these teeth were on top or bottom.

He, along with many others, embarked from Sydney aboard the “Medic” on 2 Nov 1918. 

Just 9 days into the journey Germany signed the Armistice to end the war on 11 Nov 1918 however Alphonsus came down with Influenza and was admitted to the ships hospital on 23 Nov.  On the same day he was discharged from the ships hospital and admitted to a Quarantine Hospital where he spent the next 7 days.  He was officially discharged from the Quarantine Hospital on 30 Nov 1918 to a Quarantine Convalescence Compound.  There is a conflicting document in his medical history which states he had NO admissions. 

Beryl was notified by the Base Records Office in Melbourne, Victoria of his illness on 29 Nov 1918.

The “Medic”, crew and all soldiers were recalled to Australia on 12 Dec 1918 and Alphonsus arrived in Sydney on 23 Dec 1918, just in time for Christmas with his family.

Just 18 months later Alphonsus died on 4 Jul 1920 in West Maitland at the young age of 39 yrs.

In April and May of 1921 Beryl applied for a War Pension but his records don’t indicate if this was approved for her or not.

TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1909 – Death on a Train

Death on a Train 1

An unusual incident was written about during April of 1909 which I’m quite sure my grandparents, Edward Thomas & Ines Maud Bailey nee: Smith would have speculated about over the dinner table.  Duri (pronounced Dew-Rye) is just less than 20 kilometres from Tamworth with a station that is quite small.  The railway guard in this article, Thomas Deeves, was apparently discovered dead in the store van, and was brought to Tamworth for post-mortem/inquest into his death.

The inquest into his death stated that he had a dislocated neck, which may have been caused by the jolting of the train; that must have been some jolt though!   I didn’t even realise that you could dislocate your neck – as opposed to breaking it.

Death on a Train 2

What a freak accident for a man just going about his work.





My Mother Said – Interview with Kim Davidson

Kim will be sharing with us some memories she has of her mother Madeleine Ines Di Salvia nee: Bailey.

Our Mum – Madeleine Di Salvia

Can you describe your mum for us please Kim?

My mum was Madeleine Innes Di Salvia nee: Bailey and she was born on 20 Sept 1913 at Winton, NSW.  Mum was a small woman in stature (not petite) and had grey/white hair with brown eyes. She was olive skinned and always kept her fingernails short.

Can you tell us some of the activities that your mother enjoyed.

Mum was pretty typical of her generation and had all the usual skills of females her age like sewing and knitting.  She also enjoyed raising her chickens and gardening.  I remember having to help in the garden in Tamworth.  The earth was so rocky that Mum paid my sisters and I 10 cents a bucket for all the rocks and pebbles we could dig out.

I can remember mum buying a knitting a machine.  She really loved learning what she could make on it, progressing from plain cardigans and jumpers to fair isle patterns, cable knits and lace knits.

Mum made home made ginger beer and it was always a favourite.  It was such fun waiting to see if the bottle would explode during the waiting period for them to be ready to drink.

Mum also enjoyed being involved with the local Tamworth Seventh Day Adventist Dorcas Society and was, for a lot of years, the local Dorcas leader. With Dad driving we spent many a weekend travelling to all different towns to help support other Dorcas Societies in the region.  She was very dedicated to helping those in need whether it be with clothing, food parcels or whatever their needs were. She continued with this calling until she was unable to keep it up due to age.

Mum use to make up doll bassinets to fund raise for the Dorcas Society. Dad would make up the collapsible wooden  frames & mum, along with the the volunteer Dorcas ladies would sew up mattress bedding and lovely girly dressings. They would then be sold at stalls that mum & the ladies would hold in the town centres.

Please share a recipe from your childhood that you remember your mum cooking for you.

There are a few favourite recipes that I remember.  Macaroni, which I also made for my family growing up, Tomato Frick, Sally’s Lemon Dumplings, Gramma pie (YUM – which I don’t know how to make).

Mum made mostly vegetarian dishes like Sweet and Sour TVP (a Sanitarium vegetarian product), home made ice cream and Rice and Tomato Mould (recipe here) which we would have with salad and her home made mayonnaise made with condense milk, vinegar, salt & pepper, and which is still a regular staple in our house.

Probably the recipe that I still cook the most and really enjoy would be mum’s Macaroni.


Macaroni – 3 cups cooked

1 x  810 gm can of either crush of diced tomatoes 

Grated cheddar cheese – approx 1 cup – more if you like

Butter – about a heaped tablespoon

Salt & pepper to taste


Cook and drain macaroni, then return to saucepan

Over low heat add butter & tomatoes & mix well to combine & heat through.

Add cheese and continue stirring until melted & bubbling gently.

Season with salt and pepper to taste

NOTE:  It does make a sticky mess of your saucepan but easily cleans off with a soak, and really –  who cares!  It’s yummy on the day of making but the leftovers are sensational on toast the next day.

2 Sisters Marry 2 Brothers

There are a number of times in my tree where sisters from one family have marry brothers from another family, but in nearly all incidences the siblings are quite close in age.  I also found that, except for this one instance, this type of event usually took place in smaller regional towns. 

Agnes Ellen Buck b. 16/3/1884 is my 1st cousin 2 x removed.  She married her sweetheart John Michael Earls on 2/10/1920.  John had been born in 1873. 

Jessie Gertrude Buck was 4 years younger than Agnes but married her sweetheart Arthur Herbert Dalton Earls in 1913. 

Jessie’s marriage took place a good 7 years before her older sister so presumably, the sisters were not dating the brothers at the same time. Both weddings took place in Sydney and all four people were born in Newtown, a bustling suburb of Sydney.  In this one case I found that one brother in this story is 8 years older than the other and the sisters were just over 4 years apart in age.

TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1909 – Local Business

Local Business Advertising

This page of advertising was found in Freeman’s Journal (Sydney) not the local town paper.  Nevertheless, I found it gave me a real insight to the businesses that were operating in Tamworth at the time my grandparents Edward Thomas & Ines Maud Bailey nee: Smith were living here.   It also gave me quite a thrill to think that I had a sneak peak into their lives on the days they “went to town”.

Did Grandad buy Granma’s engagement and wedding rings at Canter Bros. Jewellery?

Could Granma have bought material for dresses and shoes at P. G. Smith & Co whilst grandad looked for new boots at J. T. Briggs store.  They may have frequented T. S. Pullman Pharmacy for their medicinal needs and then stopped by the Great Northern Bakery before getting into their horse and cart for the trip back to Gidley. 

I don’t recognise any of the business names from the main street of Tamworth today, although we have a number of great bakeries, clothing & shoe stores, pharmacies and jewellers stores.




Unusual Names In My Family Tree

I love to read our local paper from front to back and over the last year or so I have noticed that many babies these days are being given quite unusual names.  Such names as Nay’oh’mee, Calypso and Thor feature amongst them.  It made me wonder what unusual names I might find in my own family tree, so I went searching. 

On the whole, I found that blessing a daughter with a different sounding name was much more acceptable in my family.  Most of the males in my tree from years gone by have been pronounced to the world as John’s, Henry’s or Edwards.

I chose 2 male and 2 female names that I thought were really different for the time in which the person was born and came up with:

Jack Fabian Carter    b. 1902 1/2 First Cousin Twice Removed
Nigel Victor Dark    b. 1925 4th cousin once removed
Keziah Mills    b. 1776 4th Great Grandmother
Light Amelia Arney    b. 1861 3rd Great Aunt

In 1903 FABIAN was used only 42 times per 1,000,000 births – so it was definitely uncommon.   I know that it is used more frequently these days though.  Jack Fabian is the only person in my tree to carry the name of Fabian.

In 1929 NIGEL was used 5 times per 1,000,000 births making this male name even rarer than Fabian.  Having said that, there are actually 4 Nigel’s’ in my family tree of 9,000 people!

The name KEZIAH also appears 4 times in my tree.  The other Kezia/Keziah’s were born in 1688, 1852 & 1894

I actually have 2 Light Amelia’s in my tree, and I’ll bet that there aren’t too many other children named Light out there!  Light Amelia’s little sister, also Light Amelia b. 1857 & d. 1857, was actually named after the ship on which she was born, Light of the Age.  Perhaps the second Light Amelia b. 1861 was named after her deceased sister.

Naming a child is always such a personal thing for parents to consider, and when it came to naming our sons we took the responsibility very seriously, trying very hard to think of strong male names.  Currently in Australia we see an advert on the television where a father – Mr Murray – is asked what he plans to call his newborn son.  He replies – “We’re thinking Callum” ………. Callum Murray!!!!  I laugh every time I hear it…..




TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1909 – Fire

This article jumped out at me as I was trawling the newspapers for the month of April in 1909.  The farm of C. J. Britten mentioned was in Gidley, an area just outside Tamworth.  My grandmother, Ines Maud Bailey nee: Smith lived on a property at Gidley, and actually married my grandfather Edward Thomas Bailey there.  For this reason alone, I am presuming that my grand parents, and perhaps my great grandparents John Edward & Mary Ann Smith nee: Whiteman, Ines’s parents, would have known the people and the farm involved.

The community of Tamworth and area was still quite small by today’s standards and it can be said with certainty that help would have been offered by all nearby neighbours.

At the very end of the article it mentions that a tramp may have slept there overnight and accidently started the fire but on doing some research I found that straw, or hay, can spontaneously combust – given the right conditions, and that, oddly, it is damp hay that is most likely to do this.  Did my grandparents & great grandparents know that spontaneous combustion was even possible?

It is worth mentioning that there had been reasonable rainfall in the  weeks previous to this event,  which included the time of harvest.  These days we know that spontaneous combustion of hay can take place when the water content of the stacked hay is greater than 22º.




Not Forgotten – Eric Joseph Di Salvia

Graves of Joseph, Christina & Eric Di Salvia. Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney
Aug 2001

It seems so sad to think that babes who died long ago may not be thought of by some folk in terms of what they can add personally to a family history, so because I want them to be remembered in my family tree, this year I will be blogging about our “Not Forgotten” children.  Had he survived I would have grown up knowing Eric as my Uncle and he would have been a big brother to my father Ronald Norman Di Salvia.

Eric Joseph Di Salvia was the 4th child born to Joseph Di Salvia and his wife Christina nee: Hastings on 8 May 1912, just 3 weeks after the sinking of the Titanic made world headline news. His parents may not have been aware of the news as they prepared for the birth of their baby.  They lived a simple life and the only wealth they possessed was love they shared.

The Di Salvia family were living in their home in Celia Street, Granville at the time, and life would have seemed good to the family, having been blessed with 3 sons and a daughter.  But, it would soon have become obvious that something was wrong with dear little Eric.  Initially, he may have presented as a “cranky” baby, demanding to be fed, but as his illness progressed he would have lost weigh & become very lethargic.  Eric was only 6 months old when he passed away on 21 Nov 1912 and is buried at Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney, Section Methodist New 03B, Grave No. 968.  He is buried in an unmarked grave with his mother and father.

The cause of death is listed as Marasmus and I had no idea what that might be – so I Googled!  This poor little angel simply “starved”.  There would have been an underlying medical condition which saw him either unable to digest protein efficiently, or perhaps a malformation of the digestive system of some kind.