Friday, September 19, 2014


One Lovely Blog Award

I have been nominated for the ONE LOVELY BLOG award by the very talented Debra Watkins of the Pocket Full of Family Memories blog. Thank you Debra for taking the time to read my blog FamilyHistory4u and for deeming it worthy of this award. I am most grateful and at the same time humbled. I must recommend that if you haven't yet read Debra's  blog to visit via the above link. I am certain you will enjoy her fascinating stories and her beautifully presented blog.
It is always rewarding to know that other writers appreciate one's writing and for that reason, awards such as this are a wonderful way in which to show our appreciation as bloggers for the effort that others put into their blogs. It is also an excellent opportunity to share and showcase other blogs that we enjoy reading and follow ourselves.  

Here are the Rules for The One Lovely Blog Award.

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to that blog.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire, or as many as you can think of.
4. Contact your bloggers to let them know you have tagged them for The One Lovely Blog Award.

Image Sharn White ©

 Seven Things about Me

1. I Love to Write

Since I was a child I have loved to write. When other children in my school classes were groaning at the thought of writing an essay, or composition as we then called the stories we wrote, I was already far away in my own world of  imaginative thoughts. I wrote fictional stories and poetry mainly, but also kept diaries from a young age. Unfortunately, I no longer still have any of these childhood anecdotes, as my mother, who had early Alzheimer's Disease (in her 40's) threw them away, unaware of what she was doing. My mother was my inspiration when it came to writing. She impressed upon me her own love of writing and language, as well as her creative imagination. I wrote stories in my spare time and filled note books, complete with illustrations. Drawing and painting were my next great love. My mother was my greatest fan when it came to my stories, often contributing with her own ingenious ideas for plots. Together we fashioned some fabulous fictional characters and colluded over melodramatic and marvelous story lines. It is my passion for writing that enticed me into blogging in 2009. 
My beautiful mother was my inspiration. Image SharnWhite ©

2. I am a History Fan!

My father was a keen history buff and I feel certain I inherited his infectious passion for history. My favourite school subjects were Ancient History and Art History and I have continued that love of the past into my adult life. I have studied Ancient History at university and I am currently studying a history degree through a university, off campus,(although I may end up holding a record for the world's oldest university student at the rate I am going...) I especially enjoy Australian Colonial history and in particular Convict history, possibly because this ties in well with my family history. I am quite fascinated by Medieval history as well and have a large and ever growing collection of medieval history books. I love nothing more than to trace my family back to the Middle Ages and beyond. I suppose really I am curious about anything from the past.

3. Genealogy is an Obsession of Mine

I have more than one hobby so it is difficult to find enough time to research my family history. Many late nights are the result of limited time, but I delight in following clues and unearthing ancestors. Whenever I find new forebears, it is never enough to just know their names and dates of birth, death and marriages. I am compelled to research the places where they lived and to place their lives within the historical context of the times in which they lived. These diversions often mean that instead of finding ancestors, I am off researching in depth things or places that related to the life of an ancestor, such as a heritage listed water mill in Lincolnshire, UK, a butter factory in Cooroy, Queensland,  an old house that was once a hospital  operated by a nursing great great great aunt, an 1870's rail carriage built by a great great grandfather, a family sheep farm and the graves of ancestors. Family history connects us individually to our collective world history and it is that aspect which makes history become personal and relevant. Although family history digs up the past, one of the most exciting aspects of it is connecting with and meeting new relatives in the present. Through my family history, I have many new cousins, both near and far who have become my best friends. Last but not by any means least, the genealogy community is a generous and very friendly place to be a part of. I have made some exceptionally good friends through  associating with generous and caring people worldwide who share my passion for family history.

4. I Have Lyme Disease

This is not an aspect of my life, that I find easy to speak about, however, with recent controversy raising its head yet again in Australia, regarding the existence of Lyme Disease, I feel it is now time for me to speak about my own experience.  Far from being in any way  'poor me' related, my comments are my way of raising awareness about the existence of this debilitating Tick born illness. I hope also, to show, that despite handicaps in life, one can still achieve, maybe not every goal but many. I have been listening to the 'Lyme Disease does not exist in Australia'  argument for 21 years since I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease (with a positive Western Blot test which had been sent to the USA). I spent two months in intensive care and a year in and out of hospital, so desperately ill that I wasn't expected to survive. I wrote letters to my children, expecting not to see them grow up. When I became ill, I presented with encephalitis, myocarditis, neurological problems, partial paralysis, swollen joints, breathlessness to the point that I couldn't walk, and many other symptoms. Lyme Disease is often referred to as The Great Imitator! It is not a pleasant disease. What makes it more difficult to deal with is the lack of help available for sufferers in Australia. 

I spent five years in total, bedridden, on oxygen unable to walk. With the help of two exceptional doctors who believed in Lyme Disease, and who were willing to experiment with unconventional treatments, I began to slowly improve. I was unable to have the recommended anti-biotic treatment for Lyme Disease as I had anapylactic reactions to all anti-biotics. Before my diagnosis I spent a long time being taken to many specialists whose reactions to my symptoms included (quote) "You are obviously a frustrated housewife. Go home and quit your bitching".  It was a frustrating time, not just medically, but for my family as well. The youngest of my four children was only three years old and the eldest eleven. They had to do without my mothering significantly, for seven years, I was fortunate that I had and still have an amazing and supportive husband and the most courageous and resilient children any mother could be fortunate enough to be blessed with. Well, apart from one inventive child who decided that cooking mince with banana sauce could be a regular contribution! 

I find it most concerning to see that little has changed regarding medical opinions in the 21 years since my diagnosis. I have lost friends to Lyme Disease in that time because they were denied medical treatment. Many doctors who might be tempted to treat the disease feel they must refuse, because of the risk of being struck off the medial register. These days I am, for the most part, well,  and I maintain the attitude that Lyme Disease will not stop me from doing the things I most love. I travel, although I often end up spending weeks if not months bedridden with fatigue, arthritis, severe vertigo and neurological symptoms when I return. My Lyme Disease riddled immune system has caused  my body to attack my own organs. So I am missing a few - but nothing so far that will deter me from living life to the fullest. I suffer, as do many Lyme patients, from dyslexia so it may seem strange that I have chosen to follow my passion for writing combined with history in my blogging. My blogs may not be published as often as I would wish but when one has to edit every word  because each one is completely jumbled or missing the first letter, writing  anything is time consuming. Writing, for anyone with Lyme Disease, is a mammoth task. Writing, for me is made more complicated by the fact that my blogs are always very wordy. Despite this, I love blogging and I am most honoured that my blog posts are enjoyed by others and my hope is that everyone who reads post this might make just one other person aware of Lyme Disease. AND I AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO MY FRIENDS WHO KINDLY EDIT MY POSTS... WITHOUT THEM I WOULD NOT HAVE A 'ONE LOVELY BLOG' AT ALL.

5. I Love Books

You might notice that I didn't say 'reading'. My zeal for reading closely matches my enthusiasm for family history and history however, I said books because I am a collector as well as a reader of books. I suspect that I will never have time in my lifetime to read the many books I have. I have bookshelves groaning under the descriptive weight of my bounteous books, and tsundokus (a wonderful Japanese word for piles of unread books) reposing by my bed. I cannot walk past a book store. I love the smell of books, the touch of the paper and the allurement of the covers. Sometimes one simply does have to choose a book by its cover! My largest collection by far, is of history books but I collect children's classics, books about places and gardens and architecture and antiqarian books that take my fancy.

Image available under Creative Commons License ©©
6. I could not live without Social Media!

Social Media, in my opinion, is the best thing invented, in my father's words, 'since sliced bread'. Every day, on Facebook I am able to 'talk' to my family and friends who live far away from me. I am constantly moved by the kind gestures I see posted, and the positivity that is spread around the world. Just this week I joined a group of people posting 'happy flowers', (a picture of a flower each day simply to spread good cheer). There are of course, negative aspects of all social media but I try to overlook negativity. For me, the positives far outweigh any antagonism. I keep in touch with events occurring in the world and in the genealogy community as they happen, via Twitter. I find this a wonderfully informative media platform. I choose wisely whom I follow and the resources available through this social medium are boundless. Google Plus is another of my favourite social media platforms, although I have yet to make the quantum leap into the world of Google Hangouts. I will get there, Jill Ball! Google Plus introduced me to an annual event called the Google Plus Photographic Walk. This increasingly popular gathering was launched in 2011. I attended the very first Google Plus Walk in Sydney and proudly donned my Google T-Shirt to walk around the city  of Sydney in a groups, photographing buildings, the Botanic Gardens, the  beautiful Harbour among other things, whilst receiving helpful tips about photography on the way. Eager photographers use everything from a smart phone to expensive cameras but all are welcome. In 2012 I completed the Google Plus walk in Adelaide since I was attending  the 13 th Genealogy and Heraldry Congress there at the time. On both walks I was accompanied by my geni friend Carole Riley who is as keen a photographer as I am. 

7.  I am a Keen Photographer! (see above).

Pauleen Cass, who was on the 4th Unlock The Past Cruise in February this year with myself and about 200 other genealogy and history buffs, will attest to my obsession for taking photographs (which possibly equally matches her own enthusiam). An example of our collective craziness when it comes to snapping photos, was while walking the foreshore of Hobart. Suddenly we both stopped and with a simultaneous  'oh look!' from both of us, we headed wordlessly across the street. I turned to Pauleen and asked, " Are you heading toward the boats or that seagull in the puddle?"  "Seagull" was her quick reply.... Well, it was a great reflection photo! We could easily have missed our cruise ship so distracted were we then by some crab pots.....

My Seagull Photograph,Image Sharn White ©


There are far more than fifteen blogs which I admire and some of those have already been nominated for The One Lovely Blog Award. Here are my nominations:

    The following quote is an example of Jacqi Steven's engaging style of writing, which makes her blog so easy and enjoyable to read, " There are two kinds of genealogical research: the reasonably exhaustive search and the wild goose chase. Sometimes, you can't know which one is which until it is all over." 

    Helen's blog posts are always well researched and brimming with fascinating information. A must read. 

    I have followed Nancy Marguerite Anderson's captivating Hudson's Bay Fur trade blog for some years. Nancy began writing about her ancestor Alexander Caulfield Anderson and his expeditions but her blog has evolved and in it she describes the lives of many people, places and events  connected to the fur trade in Canada. This blog is well worth reading.

4. Andrea's Ancestors - If you are interested in some fascinating information about DNA, then this is here well researched and  comprehensively written blog for you. 

An interesting blog about the lives of 89 men listed on the town of Newquay War Memorial in Cornwall. Of you have an interest in WW1 then you will enjoy reading this well researched blog.

    Anne Young has written about many topics on her family history blog. Her lovely style of writing and her excellent pictures demonstrate how to research your family history. A great read.

Titles like 'Nan's lemon Butter' and 'Granite Town - Links with Sydney Harbour Bridge won't disappoint when you read Diane Hewson's well researched and entertaining blog. This is a blog I have followed for some time and I highly recommend it. 

    Catherine Crout-Habel, founder of this blog, passed away in July of this year.  Catherine has been sorely missed in the genealogy community. Catherine's daughter, Kirrily is continuing in her mother's footsteps with her own unique voice. I would like to wish Kirrily well and to honour her mother with The One Lovely Blog Award.

    Frances Owen's blog,  began as the tracing of her ancestor convict, Nicholas Delaney. This has been one of my favourite blogs for some years. Frances has since broadened her always fascinating blog to include a wider range of genealogy topics. A must read!

    A beautifully presented and very informative blog, especially if you have New Zealand ancestors as I do. Whether you have NZ ancestry or not, this blog is well researched and well worth reading. 
     I discovered Pat Spears genealogy blog when looking for tips on how to research my Swiss ancestors, although this is just one interesting topic that this resourceful blogger covers. Pat writes her blog to share her family stories, successes, techniques and to share resources with others. 

     This blog is an excellent resource if you have Scottish or irish ancestors. Although it often focuses on American Scots-Irish, there are some really interesting information which might assist you in your search for Scottish and Irish forebears.

      Donna is a professional genealogist specialising in Irish ancestry. Her blog is a must read for those with Irish ancestors.

      Maria Northcote's blog is another I have followed for a long time. Maria's eye catching titles and well research blogs are always a great read.

    Another blog on my list of favourites is Jackie Van Bergen's extremely well researched and well written and informative blog. A recommended and always interesting read. 

I know I have left out some of my very favourite blogs, however, some have been nominated by others and limiting my nominations to 15 was a difficult task. Thankyou again Debra for thinking enough of my blog to nominate me for this lovely award which I very much appreciate. 
I will notify these 15 blog owners as soon as possible.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


'It's a Grand Mistake to Think of Being Great...' Benjamin Franklin with apologies for borrowing only an exerpt of his quote.

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. 

GRAND UNCLE  noun Another name for Great Uncle   (British Dictionary)

Have you ever found a distant relative and had difficulty in determining whether he or she is a third cousin once removed or a first cousin three times removed? One only needs to peruse numerous online family history discussions, to discover collective confusion about how to calculate family relationships based upon a common ancestor. As a family historian, when compiling your family tree it is important to familiarise yourself with family relationships and to understand the terms which accompany them. A number of family history programs will provide those calculations for you, to assist you in determining who is a first or second cousin, a first cousin once,  twice or thrice removed, or whether your relative is a 5 times great aunt or a 5 times great grand aunt.. Because terminologies used by family history websites and programs vary, you can resolve any confusion by acquainting yourself family relationships.

  Image State Library Qld In Public Domain. Wikimedia

There are numerous family relationship charts available online, to help you to understand and determine your confusing family relationships. I find it practical to keep several of these charts on hand to familiarise myself with cousin, grandparent, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, step, half and the general befuddlement of all family relationships. It has put an end to nights lying awake, almost pulling my hair out whilst trying to  contemplate the exact nature of relationship between myself and the daughter of a daughter of the brother of a four times great grandmother. You might be wondering why I think it essential at all to understand distant kinships. And I can only admit by my own confession, that, one day, like myself, you just might be caught out, describing your relationship to an uncle incorrectly, on an international television program... and by jove you will wish you had made more of an effort. (For more on my misadventure, read on...)

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Now, if cousins aren't confusing enough, family historians invariably encounter other relatives on a grand scale. Some relatives... if you perchance to descend from Nobility... are undeniably grand, but there is still that perpetual genealogical pettifog concerning uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews and whether or not they are great or grand... or both! And it is this very confusion between grand and great which recently caused me to execute a grand familial faux pas, whereby I called an uncle by less than the number of greats he deserved. Of course, no one would be the wiser regarding my error, but for my broadcasting it here in this blog post, however, as a researcher I believe that my mistakes can become learning tools which might assist others their own research.

In Australia, the word grand is not commonly applied to uncles and aunts, nieces or nephews. The only grand relatives I possess, are the parents of my parents and the children of my children - grandparents and grandchildren. As for my great aunts and uncles, no matter how much they have notions of grandeur, and despite's dedication to confusing me, they remain as great family members. After saying this, I must admit that I personally, have come to regard the use of the term 'grand' for uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces, as quite useful for genealogical purposes, however, the use of different terminologies can lend itself to some frustration unless you understand them. bestows the nomenclature, grand, upon my uncles and aunts on my public tree. Since is an American based company, I assumed that the use of Grand, was a specifically American terminology for Great. GREAT, according to dictionaries, is indeed interchangeable with GRAND for the siblings of grandparents, however, my many and widely dispersed American cousins have assured me, that my McDade kin in the USA have for generations been GREAT but definitely not GRAND. Intrigued by the origins of the now, in my mind, 'Great Grand Debate', I turned to Irish, Scottish and English genea-friends for help. To  further muddle my mind, they  have all unanimously confirmed that their British and Irish aunts and uncles may be great but not one is the slightest bit grand.

Recently I was confronted with a great/grand conundrum after taking part in the filming of an episode of a television series, where throughout the filming I referred to a convict relative as my great great great uncle. The episode focused in part on the second penal settlement on Norfolk Island and in particular on a convict, to whom I am related.  I have also referred to the same convict in my blogs as my great great great great uncle or 3rd great uncle. Lawrence Frayne was the brother of my convict three times great grandfather, Michael Frayne. No doubt those who have conscientiously studied their relationship charts will note my error immediately! In hindsight, (which always makes its appearance far too late) I see now that I did not give the relationship the thought that it deserved. Nor had I taken the time to determine accurately the relationship. Sometimes, however, it is not until we are actually confronted with a reason to do so, that we bother to to calculate family relationships correctly. Everyone is a cousin or an uncle and in a busy life with limited research time, that seems to suffice!

After filming and during the editing of the episode, I was asked to confirm the relationship with my uncle, as there appeared to the show's researchers to be some confusion. They had determined me to be the great great great grand niece of my convict relative, whereas I, (a family historian who should have known better), had referred to him as my great great great uncle. Although I had on my late nights awake, given a great, perhaps even grand deal of thought to my cousins, I had sadly neglected the aunts and uncles on my family tree. After a number of emails back and forth, further confusing everyone, I consulted relationship charts, several of which seemed to disagree. Finally, I drew up my own chart for my 3rd great grandfather, Michael Frayne and beside him, his brother, Lawrence... and discovered my error!  I found that I am indeed the three times great grand niece of Lawrence Frayne. If I do not wish to use the term grand, then I am this convict's four times great or great great great great niece. I have no idea how many times throughout two days of filming I called Lawrence Frayne my three times great uncle but all I can say is,,,,thank heavens for editing! 

My Great Grandmother Florence Reece-Hoyes nee Morrison. She looks rather grand I think!


Grandparents (the parents of your parents) are afforded the prefix GRAND not great. What I had forgotten, WITH REGARDS TO MY UNCLE, crucially, was that grandparents always have the prefix GRAND, which effectively means great. So when it comes to the siblings of grandparents GREAT and GRAND  MEANS THE SAME THING. Your GRANDfather 's brother is your GREAT Uncle or your GRAND Uncle.

Family relationships would be so much simpler if we had greatparents and great uncles or grandparents and grand uncles. GREAT and GRAND both signify a generation above your parents. So GREAT GREAT or GREAT GRAND would indicate two generations above your parents. Confusion often results from the interchangeable terms great and grand.

I have traced one branch of my Swiss family back to my 11th great grandfather, Christian Häberling, born in Zurich in 1527. Because the 'grand' in grandfather is interchangeable with 'great', my 11 times GREAT GRANDFATHER, in fact, possesses the equivalent of 12 GREATS. (11 greats + 1 grand)

From this logic comes the calculation that the brother of my 11 times great grandfather would also have 12 greats and therefore be my 12 times great uncle.  If I use the term GRAND to replace great, then the brother of my 11 times great grandfather is my 11 times great grand uncle.  The brother of my 3 times great grandfather is both  my 4 times great uncle and my 3 times great grand uncle.  Because of the confusion caused by the difference in the number of greats between grandparents and great uncles and aunts, I can see why Ancestry finds it much simpler to apply grand to  relatives sideways on your tree. 

Image Sharn WHite © My great grandmother in Glasgow Scotland and my great/grand uncle John McDade

In a recent discussion about the use of great or grand for aunts and uncles, genea-friend Kirsty Gray gave me the following excellent advice for remembering greats and grands. 'You have to be grand before you are great'.

I have decided that like the term GRAND. It seems logical to use when calculating relationships for genealogical purposes because grandparents and their siblings have the same number of greats plus one grand. The brother of my three times great grandfather is then my three times great grand uncle.

If you prefer to use GREAT for uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews, you simply need to remember to add one extra great for the grand that is your grandparent. The brother of my three times great grandfather  in this case, is my four times great uncle.


GRANDPARENT-----------------------------GRAND UNCLE


GRANDPARENT-----------------------------GREAT UNCLE

Image Wikimedia Creative Commons ©©

After an exchange of several confusing but ultimately humourous emails between myself and the film company, I reached the conclusion that I was not, as I had believed myself to be, the  great great great niece of Lawrence Frayne. He is of course, still my uncle, however, I had embezzled him of one great!  My direct ancestor Michael Frayne, is my three times great grandfather, therefore, I am the three times great grand niece of his brother OR, alternatively, I am his 4 times great niece. For the purpose of the tv series we went with great great great grand niece. And is time to revisit my old blogs to correct my blunder of familial bond and restore my uncle to one extra measure of greatness.

My error was that I had simply overlooked the significance of GREAT and GRAND and not taken the time to carefully determine this relationship accurately. I have learned from my mistake and now, having thoroughly familiarised myself with ALL relationships on my family tree,  will surely save myself from other stressful situations.  Then again, I take comfort from the words of  Bram Stoker who said in Dracula, 'We learn from failure not from success'.

Frustration.. Image Wikimedia COmmons


The origins of the usage of grand and great for relatives vary according to place, culture and language. The English language has evolved through time from Celtic, Germanic, Roman, Scandinavian and Norman influences.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, there are several theories as to the origin of the word GRAND in English.  The notion of a grand parent appeared around the 13th century in France and is believed is to be derived from the Old French words grand or graund, meaning of the highest rank. Grandfather in Old French was grand-pere. The word grand  in English could also have its origins in the Latin word grandis, meaning important or great. The Old English word great, implying big also has a similar sound and meaning  to the Dutch and Germanic words of similar meaning, groot and gross. In German a grandfather is Großvater. Great grandfather is der Urgroßvater. The word Gross or Groß means great or large, while the prefix 'ur' can mean ancestral or original.
In Anglo-Saxon English. the word for father was faeder, grandfather was ealdfaeder, great grandfather was known by the term pridda faeder, which quite literally translated as third father.
In Old English the prefixes used for grandparents were ealde (old) and ieldra (older).

In the 13th and 14th centuries grandsire became a more accepted name for a grandfather. The use of grandfather and grandmother is considered to have appeared in England in the 14th and 15th centuries to replace the term grandsire.

My  Irish Great Grandparents or Sheantuismitheoiraimorímór  Image Sharn White©