Saturday, July 23, 2011

Go To Sleep My Baby

And of course Billy Blunder reminded me of an even more special song - a lullaby in fact. My mother used to sing it to me when I was little, and I sang it to my daughter and my grandchildren when they were babies. Apparently it is the chorus to a song called "Wyoming". The midi that follows is the whole song, but about a third of the way through it goes to the chorus - and these are the words:
Go to sleep my baby
Close your pretty eyes
Angels up above thee
Watching dearie from above the skies
Great big moon is shining
Stars begin to peep
'Tis time for little picaninnies
To go to sleep

Still brings tears to my eyes to hear it. I hope I can sing it to Susan's children one day.

Billy Blunder

This blog may well turn out to be a bit of a history of my own life, as well as being about my family history journey. Doing some surfing on the net this morning - well, actually, I was looking to update a couple of links on this blog - and I suddenly remembered a song I used to sing when I was in Prep grade at school, and which I subsequently taught to my own infant classes. It was Billy Blunder, although I don't know that I ever knew it by that title - I think we called it Big, Black and Shiny or maybe One Rainy Morning.
Here's the words:
One rainy morning
Without any warning
A large umbrella crossed the street
Big, black and shiny
Covering someone tiny
And all that we could see were two small feet

In and out the traffic
Dodging here and there
That umbrella went with a Don't-Care air
I said in wonder
Who is that down under
Hugging that umbrella like a teddy bear

Apparently there are more verses, and it was actually a road safety song, but these are the only two verses I ever remember singing. Tried to find an audio version, but no can do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Another exciting discovery

I didn't make this discovery - rather it was made by Terry Cantwell and the Southern Ocean Exploration team. They discovered, after 76 years, the wreck of "TSS Coramba". This was the ship which foundered with all hands lost on 30th November 1934. My grandfather, John Loring SULLIVAN, lost his life along with 16 other crew members including the Captain.
This newspaper article tells the story.

However, there is more to tell. While we were on holiday I saw, for the first time, a life buoy from the "Coramba" at the Maritime discovery Centre in Portland. Then, on the day the above article was in The Age I actually touched the bell of the "Coramba" at the History Centre in Port Fairy. There was also another life buoy at Port Fairy. These, and the bell, and a derrick, had been washed up on the shore of Phillip Island after the "Coramba" sank.

Exciting find

While we were on our recent holiday to the Western District we went to the old Wool Store complex in Portland. There was a market, a furniture store, and an antique shop in the complex. As we walked through the main entrance I noticed a large photographic print for sale, hanging on the wall. It was of an old sailing ship, with sails furled, tied to the wharf at Portland. Closer inspection revealed the name of the ship - "Joseph Sims". My heart skipped a beat, because my great grandfather, John Joseph SULLIVAN, had been Master of the "Joseph Sims" (and I later realised my grandfather, John Loring SULLIVAN, had also served on her.) Trouble was, the print was priced at $400, and was somewhat 'fuzzy' because it had been blown up too large. So although I was very tempted we didn't buy it.
When we got home my dear husband began searching the internet for an image of the "Joseph Sims" - lo and behold, after much searching, he found one on the State Library of Victoria site. It was beautiful, and out of copyright. I now have a 20" x 30" print on my wall!

My wiki

(click on the image to go to the wiki)
The other family thing that has kept me busy is my wiki. I was looking for a way to easily share information with fellow researchers. I decided on a wiki. I'm rather proud of my Branches and Twigs. It is so simple to update, if a little time consuming. But I am learning shortcuts all the time.
Originally I password protected the pages so I could maintain some control over who saw the content. But I have, after much deliberation and soul searching, removed the password. Several reasons - my main concern was that people might misuse the information if it was open to anyone and everyone. But then I discovered that a Google search would return the actual documents from the wiki (rather than the wiki page itself) which effectively by-passed the password requirement. And there was nothing to stop someone who had been given the password from misusing the info, or claiming the research as their own. I have had this happen when I gave a lady access to my tree on GenesReunited - she copied the lot into her own tree and put it onto her website with nary a mention of where she got the information. Worse still, she has refused to respond to my messages to her. At least with the wiki everything would have to be hand entered, as I don't add GEDCOMS, only pdf documents and web pages. Also, I have been contacted by several previously unknown fellow descendants and by making the wiki too private I would miss these opportunities. I have told all fellow researchers that if they want anyone privatised I can do that on an individual basis, rather than supressing details for living people as that makes the resulting reports very clumsy and quite useless. Most people are happy to see where they fit into the descendants. Also, I never add current addresses or phone numbers (except my own) so it is only names and dates that could potentially be used for identifying purposes - and perhaps surprisingly I have more unknown birthdates for living people than I do for those gone before. Hope I'm not being naive, but I think I have made the right decision to remove the password. I am still contemplating paying for my wiki so I can make it that only members can look at it - but apparently that also prevents search engines 'seeing' my wiki so I wouldn't get hits from people who don't already know about the wiki. A real problem to know what to do for the best.

It's been a while

Well, I started this blog in response to a post (somewhere) about family Christmas memories. But I haven't touched it since. Thought it was about time I did. I have certainly been involved with family history research this year - so much so that I am beginning to suspect my husband is right and I have developed RSI in my right arm. Something is certainly giving me curry, and I hate the thought it might be the computing, meaning I should cease and desist for a while.
I have really got into lately. I've been a member for a few years, but really only used it as a source for information. I hadn't uploaded a family tree. But then I became intrigued by the adverts promoting the notion of 'hints' so, as the ad said - I typed in a few names and up popped a little leaf....! I soon made connection with lots of other trees which contained the same people I was researching, and in many instances I was able to add new people to my tree.
But I also found a) it was too easy to become a name collector - I was adding people so remotely connected it wasn't funny - did I really want these people in my tree, did I need them? I'm still in two minds, because they ARE connected. But b) I was also finding obvious errors - even in families of which I had no direct knowledge. But certain facts just didn't 'jell'. And there were lots of cases where people had obviously added the information from a 'hint' without really reviewing what they were adding. For instance,my great grandfather was shown in a couple of trees as having a total of four wives - one (correct) married in England and then moving to, and having children in, Australia. But at the same time as the Australian children were being born he was supposedly in Canada, marrying (at different times for each) three other women, and having children, in Canada, with them. A jet-setting bigamist in the late 1800s - I don't think so! There are many other cases where the wrong place of death or birth has been recorded - the real event might have been in Newcastle, England, but a hint has shown Newcastle, USA, or because someone of the same name died in the same year but in a different country they have assumed it is the same person. I fear for the future of online genealogy when these sort of mistakes are being perpetrated and more worryingly perpetuated as people add incorrect and unchecked information to their own trees. The internet is a blessing for family historians in so many ways, but it is also a trap for the unwary. Thank goodness allows Comments to be added to individuals in trees so at least others can be alerted to the errors.