Frederick William Thomsen – The Postcard From France

Postcard – Frederick William Thomsen to his Mother Julia Thomsen (formerly Bailey) nee: Duncan

Just to add to yesterday’s #52Ancestors post.  I found this beautiful vintage postcard in the postcard collection of my grandfather Edward Thomas Bailey.  It was sent to  Mrs F. F. Thomsen (my great grandmother Julia) by her son Frederick William Thomsen from France during WW1.

That my grandfather had it in his postcard collection provided further proof I think that some, if not all, of Julia’s belonging stayed in the home of my grandparents where Julia was living at the time she passed away.  This card carry’s weight to the argument that my heirloom brooch may have in fact been purchased by Frederick for my great grandmother Julia during WW1 and passed into my grandfather’s possession upon her death.

One thing to note about the postcard is the picture in the top right hand corner.  Would that be Frederick William?  If it is Frederick, why isn’t he in uniform?  We do know that he did spend a good deal of time in England recovering from injuries, so could this be a picture of him during that time?  It would seem a little bizarre to put a picture of some else on the card, wouldn’t it?  Any thoughts?

Every time you find a small piece of information – it leads to more questions!!!

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#52Ancestors – Week 8 – Heirloom

Granma’s Pretty Brooch

I have a very pretty brooch that belonged to my mother Madeleine Ines Di Salvia nee: Bailey, and her mother before her – Ines Maude Bailey nee: Smith. I have often wondered about the brooch though – just who gave it to who?

The brooch is “dipped” in gold and silver and shows the word Mother set at an angle across a wishbone.  The little “diamond” doesn’t sparkle too brightly because it is just cut glass.  In 1995 I had it “re-dipped” and polished and added the safety chain so that I could wear it on my winter coat or a jumper.

The word Mother suggests that this was a gift, but from whom?  I know that my own mum didn’t give this to my grandmother.  After doing a little research on “the net” it appears to have been made in the early 1900’s and was commonly purchased by a son going off to war during 1914-1918. 

After looking at who from my family went to war I discovered that my great uncle Frederick William Thomsen (my Grandad’s 1/2 brother known as Will) served in France during WW1 and was wounded in 1916, married in England in Sept 1919 and was again living in New South Wales in 1920.  Sadly Will passed away just a couple of years later on 23 Dec 1922.

Grandad corresponded with Will during the war, and then later in life their mother Julia Thomsen nee: Duncan lived with Grandad until her death.  This puts the brooch in my grandmothers house.  I am almost sure that this gorgeous little brooch belonged to my great grandmother Julia Thomsen (formerly Bailey) nee: Duncan who is the very person responsible for my obsession (yep!) with family history.  Will was the only soldier in the family that I can place into the lives of my grandparents Ines and Edward Bailey.

Regardless of it’s value, to me it is a priceless heirloom and I just love it.  It’s a bonus to think it most likely belonged to my great grandmother Julia.

TROVE Tuesday – It happened in Tamworth in 1908

My Grandmother Ines Maude Smith would most certainly have disapproved of the crimes that took place in Tamworth during the month of February of 1908.  I can see these sorts of things being discussed around the dinner table amongst the men, and I do hope that my female relatives were included in these community minded and engaging conversations.   I have chosen 3 such crimes to showcase here; those of assault, drunkenness and theft.

Feb_Crime_Kicking Feb_Drunkeness

Feb_Theft_Hospital

Certainly kicking a man when he is already on the ground is “un-Australian”!! as any Aussie would tell you, but drunkenness  was very common in the country, particularly amongst young adults and those without employment.  In relation to the crime of theft; I suspect that throughout history there have been people that believe they are entitled to take what is not theirs, and that will never change.

Sources:

Alleged Kicking While Down:  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14937303

Police Court: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article192959238

Robbery at Tamworth Hospital:  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238098468

#52Ancestors – Week 7 – Valentine

Valentine would have been an unusual name to bestow upon a child in almost any period of history to date, but my 7 x great grandfather, Valentine Baily,  was baptised on Sunday 17 Mar 1675 at Kings Cliffe in Northhamptonshire, so it must have been a particularly unusual for that era.

Peasant Feasting 1670’s

At the time of Valentine’s birth King Charles II was ruling England.  Just days after Valentine was christened HMY Mary struck rocks off Anglesey on 25 Mar, in thick fog.  There were a number of births of relatively famous people – for instance  William Somervile (Poet), and of course a number of deaths of equally important individuals.

One would have to wonder though, whether Valentine’s family were at all concerned with politics, disasters or gentry, or whether his family was in fact just getting by on hard work and meagre wages.  I don’t really know.  I cant find any mention of the man in peerage books, there is no mention of him in Poll/Electoral registers and no mention in convict, criminals, land and will documents.  Surely this means that he didn’t live on the wrong side of the law and he was a commoner. 

Most likely, as he grew to be a man, Valentine worked the land for a lord so his life revolved around the farming calendar and working from dawn to dusk.  Just making enough money to pay taxes/rent, and also tithe to the local church would have been hard enough, but to then put a roof over the children’s heads and food in there belly’s would have been a fine achievement for a peasant farmer in medieval England.

Food consisted mainly of grains and vegetables, with little to no meat.  It is most likely that Valentine lived in a Cruck House – a wooden framed structure with a thatched roof and mud/straw walls.  Windows were just holes in the sides of the structure as glass was expensive to buy, and the floor would have been covered in straw.

Cruck House

If ever I think my life may be difficult I am going to try to think of just how far we have advanced and how comfortable life really is!

 

Sources:

https://www.wikiart.org/en/adriaen-van-ostade/feasting-peasants-in-a-tavern
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/medieval-england/the-lifestyle-of-medieval-peasants/

TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1908

Most of the reported news for Tamworth and area during the month of February of 1908 centred around stock sales, advertising of businesses and the weather, all of which would have been of significant use to my farming family.  But headline events were few and far between for my grandparents Edward Thomas Bailey and Ines Maude Smith who would marry later in the year.

Weather reports about the drought breaking rains were featured in every days reporting.

Rain_1Rain_2

On the business front Garvin & Cousens (still known in Tamworth today) advertised their Horse Sale:

Garvin_Cousens

And the Tamworth Gas Company posted it’s half yearly report.

Gas_Company

I wonder if the home of my grandmother received electricity at this point.  I think not, as the property was around 7 kms out of town near the sight of the current Tamworth Airport.  How strange to think of such a time – no electricity would just about kill the residents of Tamworth during summer these days with temperatures between 35 and 43 degrees – no air conditioning!!!

Sources:

Glorious Rains:  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article79654752

Messrs Garvin & Cousins: Guyra Argus ((NSW1902 – 1954) Thursday 13 February 1908, page 4

Tamworth Gas Company: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14913476

#52Ancestors Challenge- Week 6 – Favourite Name

I dedicate this post to the wife of my 1st great uncle – Mabel Gertrude Hastings nee: Eggins and to my husband’s 1st great aunt Mabel Alice Harris nee: Allsop – the only two Mabel’s I have a photo of.

Mabel Gertrude Hastings nee: Eggins 1911

Mabel Gertrude Eggins was born on 7 Jul 1883 in Tumut, married my great uncle George Gatt Hastings in Tumut in 1904 and proceeded to have 3 sons and a daughter in the years that followed. I think the picture shows a woman with kind eyes, and I can see an inquisitive nature – perhaps with a bright and enquiring mind. The picture was taken at a point late in the year 1911 and is part of a larger Hastings family photograph. Her youngest son is on her lap. Mabel died at Hornsby, NSW on 24 Sept 1968 at the ripe old age of 85 years.

 Mabel Alice Allsop was my husband’s great aunt and was born on 29 May 1889 at Singleton, NSW. We believe this gorgeous photo was taken at her sister Rhoda’s wedding in 1909, and again it is only part of a larger photo. Mabel shows a gentleness not often captured in photography of the era, and an elegance that seems to radiate from within. She married Leonard Harris on 14 February, 1911 (yes! Valentine’s Day) in Singleton, NSW and over the next 12 years delivered a son and daughter. She passed away in Bonalbo, NSW on 25 Aug 1965 aged 76 years.

Mabel Alice Harris nee: Allsop 1909

If you had asked me during my teen years what some of my favourite names were I would never have told you that one of them was Mabel. At that age I could never imagine naming any child of mine Mabel as to me, it was so dreadfully old fashioned – and not in a good way. Thirty to forty years later I have changed my mind.

I currently have 8,481 people in my family tree and 18, just .2% if I have my figures correct, have the name Mabel – it was clearly not a favourite name of very many folk at all. Back in the 1980’s my husband and I were watching television one evening and the name Mabel came into the program in such a beautiful way that I had to rethink how I saw not only the name Mabel, but other older names in general.

For the life of me I can’t remember the name of the television program, but the story was of a newly married couple living in a large American city, navigating their way through those first years of marriage. The program ended when the couple brought home a precious baby daughter and just as they opened the door to their apartment they paused before entering. To that point they hadn’t named their daughter, but they wanted her to have a name before she crossed the threshold into her family home.

I remember the young mother looking up at her husband and saying she wanted to name the baby Mabel, explaining to her husband that someone had told her the letters of the name stood for Mothers Always Bring Extra Love.

What a gorgeous way in which to associate a name with a saying. And that’s it really, isn’t it….. a name will become a favourite if we associate happy experiences with it. I have lots of favourite names, Mabel is just one.

I associate Mabel with this delightful saying, and every time I see it crop up in my family history I wonder what type of mother they became; did they have that warm and loving nature that I mentally link to their name?

Both the women in my family tree appear worthy of their pretty name.

 

TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1908

Once again I’m am visiting the year 1908 in Tamworth history to find out what was happening locally in the lives of my grandparents Edward Thomas Bailey and Ines Maude Smith.  What were they reading about; what events did they live through?

So – I’ll get back to the Fijian cricket match that was held in Tamworth back in January of 1908 (read here).  You will remember that the original fee for the Fijians cricket team to play a local side was 30 Pounds but on the day the game was played the Fijian manager asked for 70% of the gross gate takings instead.  This meant that the amount due was 50 Pounds instead of the agreed up 30 Pounds which resulted in the Fijians leaving Tamworth with no payment at all.  The story continues…………

Feb_Fijian_Cricket

There you have it, a favourable result for all after arbitration.  Perhaps it was a case of seeing the number of Tamworth folk pouring through the gates to watch the match that alerted the Fijian manager to the fact that he could make a considerably larger fee by requesting a percentage of the gross gate takings.  I wonder if they were ever invited back to Tamworth to play again and did my grand parents Ines Maude Smith and Edward Thomas Bailey attend the match?  I know that both my mum Madeleine Ines loved cricket, as do I.

Sources:

The Sydney Morning Herald, (NSW 1842 – 1954) Thurs 6 February, 1908, page 11

TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1908

 

Sadly, some things never change.  To this day, homes go up in flames however it is comforting to know that these days our fire brigades have a fighting chance of saving property.  A “comedy of errors” lead to the wooden family home of Mrs McCulloch burning to the ground – the fire bell wasn’t functioning and the reels were too late! 

To my knowledge Mrs McCulloch was unknown to my grandparents Ines Maude Smith and Edward Thomas Bailey.

Source:  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238092340

#52Ancestors – Week 5 – In the Census

College_Street3The 1901 Australian Census told me something I didn’t know about my Great Grandparents Giuseppe (Joseph) Di Salvia and Hannah Stevenson nee: Strathdee.

My family has hunkered down in the western suburbs of Sydney for many years and so it just never occurred to me that Giuseppe and Hannah had lived in the Inner City. The address of 17 College Street, Newtown is clearly given in the census.

I suppose they were boarding there as the census says that there are 2 males and 11 females in the dwelling, although these days the house has been converted to a 3 bedroom and one bath semi-detached home, of approximately 150 square metres.  If only they had owned the property – being located in the inner city would ensure that it was worth a considerable sum these days…..

Newtown is located approximately 4 kms south west of the central business district of Sydney and was first named in 1832 after John and Margaret Webster named their store “New Town Stores”.

By the time my grandparents lived in the Newtown area in 1901 it had prospered greatly and was quite a nice place to live.  I believe my great grandfather was working on the railways at the time as a conductor, so this location was very close to his working environment.

NewtownI don’t know how long Giuseppe (Joseph) and Hannah lived in Newtown but it is possible that my grandfather Joseph (Jnr) was living with them at the time, as he was unmarried and only 19 years old. Maybe he is the other male listed as being in the house.  It is interesting to note that Giuseppe (listed as Joseph) had his surname spelled wrong!  Di is listed as his middle name, when in fact, Di is part of the surname – Di Salvia.

It is probably of no interest to anyone other than me – but I swear the hand writing of the census taker looks identical to my fathers handwriting.  My dad was Ronald Norman Di Salvia and he use to write with elegance and with flourish, particularly with the Di and S!

There are only a few small details, but the information found in this document is just another snippet of history that I can add to my family tree.

Sources:

1901 Australian Census  1901  https://www.ancestry.com.au

By Unknown-postcard, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=551158

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mylifeonedayatatimeblog

The Journal of Julie Preston

Narrandera Garden Club

Friendship through Gardening

The Family Kalamazoo

A genealogical site devoted to the history of the DeKorn and Zuidweg families of Kalamazoo and the Mulder family of Caledonia

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

Andrew's Archives

Unforgetting family

douglust

she's a threadhead

More Than Greens

Mostly vegan/always vegetarian food, cruelty-free beauty, travel, and nature.

The Armchair Genealogist

The Preston & Di Salvia Family Trees

Hoosier Daddy?

The Preston & Di Salvia Family Trees