Locked-in for Genealogy

Hard at work

Hard at work

 26 patrons, 9 staff and volunteers, two hours and a locked library, equates to one hectic evening of family history research!
 As part of History Week ,the Library ran a Genealogy Lock-in where we offered the Library’s family history resources, combined with expert hands on assistance from our Library staff and family history volunteers. 
Dips, cheese and juice satisfied hungry appetites and the informal atmosphere put the participants at ease quickly and made the two hours pass in what seemed like minutes. 
It was a great opportunity to ‘show off’ our free resources and make them available to people who are unable to come to our weekly help days in the Library because of work commitments.  Many patrons said they will be back to continue their research.   Staff and volunteers, exhausted by questions and advice, went home weary but pleased that more people are catching the genealogy bug!
We will be holding another lock-in on the 4th August, 2009.

SA History Week

HWSA History Week runs from 22 – 31 May and has over 300 activities listed in the programme.  Everything from open days, bus tours, exhibitions, workshops  and school programmes.  
History Week programmes can be picked up from the Library.

The City of Tea Tree Gully has planned some events aimed at promoting the local history of the area and family historians.  Details of all the sessions can be found on the Library website.
Book now to avoid disappointment.

When War came to Tea Tree Gully

We tend to think of the big battles on Anzac Day, the great sacrifices and the huge loss of life but at the local level,  war has provided instances of real drama, sacrifice, patriotism and strangely enough, humour.

The story of the Harper brothers in World War 1 is touching and typical of a tragedy played out across the nation. Aged 19 and 22 when they enlisted in August 1915, James and Robert were both killed in the Battle of the Somme just over a year later. Harpers’ Field, an area of open land near the Golden Grove Uniting Church, has been named in honour of them.

In World War 2, the McEwin family of Glen Ewin also suffered the loss of a child when Joan, serving in the Middle East with a Voluntary Aid Detachment, died of an illness at the age of 29 years. An avenue of poplar trees was planted on Lower Hermitage Road near Glen Ewin, in her memory.

Despite these awful tragedies, war also supplies some inadvertent humour, especially from the safe vantage point of modern day. During World War 2, local residents were keen to do their bit so at the outbreak of the war signboards were taken down and stored in Council’s shed. This was done in the hope of confusing the enemy should they invade Tea Tree Gully. No doubt it confused more “friends” than “foes” until the signs were restored in 1942 when the threat of invasion had receded.

Streetlights were also “browned” out for the same period. To achieve this the globes were either painted black or shading was used over the light.

A Volunteer Air Observer’s Corps was also established and a telephone installed in the back room of the old Council chambers for the volunteers to use if they spotted anything untoward. The post was manned 24 hours a day.

Tea Tree Gully was not immune to the food shortages and rationing that was the norm elsewhere across the country. The Glen Ewin factory at Inglewood was busy throughout the war supplying canned vegetables to the U.S.Army. They had begun their connection with the military by supplying jam to troops involved in the Boer War.

With the end of war in 1945, a grateful Council stood for a minute’s silence to remember the fallen at the start of the Council meeting. This was to become a tradition that was to continue for the next 20 years.

In all, 245 men and 20 women from the District had served during the war with 11 dying on active duty.

Lest we forget.poppy1

What’s in a name?

Have you ever wondered how South Australian place names or typical South Australian words came about? 

 Fritz: The nickname of Fritz for a German was transferred to German sausage in SA.

Modbury: Robert Symons Kelly (1817-1893) encouraged the development of a village on his land, which he named ‘Modbury’ after his birthplace in Devonshire.

 There are several books in the Library that deal with South Australian nomenclature.

Visitation by God

Medical terms in family history

When researching your family history, have you come across causes of death that leave you bewildered?  Have you heard of death by ‘visitation by God’? Do you know what ‘teething’ really means, or ‘senile decay’?

We have two books in local history which will be of help in deciphering terms no longer used.

Deadly details, a guide to some causes of death listed in death certificates  by Patricia Lay 

A Dictionary of medical & related terms for the family historian   by Joan E. Grundy

‘Visitation by God’ means death by natural causes with no previous illness, probably a stroke.

National Women’s History Month

whm2March has been designated as National Women’s History month.  To celebrate women in history, Tea Tree Gully Library is hosting two events; Australian Women’s Archive Project and Researching the maternal line.

Australian Women’s Archive Project on Tuesday 3rd March from 11am -12 noon, will look at how to preserve women’s stories and how you can contribute to the online register. 

Researching the maternal line will be held on Sunday 15th March from 2 – 3.30pm.  Conducted by Graham Jaunay it will look at the tracing the maternal line with more confidence.

Both events are free.

Tools of the trade

Occassionally items and stories pass through the Local History Room of the Library which make you go Wow! 
Today a patron who has been using the Library to research his family history, brought in some architectural tools img_55241that had come into his possession. 
It was a box of rulers, compasses and other items that was presented to John Murdoch in November 1881. 
Who was John Murdoch I hear you ask?  He was a Surveyor with Walter Burley Griffin who designed Parliament House in Canberra. 
The tools will soon be making their way to the National Museum where they will be on display.  Once there you won’t get to look or touch as we got to do today!

The other Anzacs

The Other ANZACS: Nurses at War 1914-1918 by Peter Rees was a book I was hesitant to pick up. 

The Other Anzacs

The Other Anzacs

Being a fat, non-fiction book I didn’t think I’d finish it.  However, Peter Rees uses many snippets from nurses diaries, so it does not read like a boring history book.  It tells of the horrors the nurses faced, the hard conditions  in which they worked and the men they nursed.  The nurses story highlights their professionalism and bravery in an horrific environment.
Many books have been written about the ANZAC soldiers but in recent years several books have been written about the ‘other ANZACS’. 

Russian ANZACS in Australia history by Elena Govor and German ANZACS and the First World War by John Williams give a different perspective of the First World War.

What’s on in 2009?

2009 programmeOut now, the programme of events for local and family history for 2009!
Packed with mainly free events ranging from historic bus tours of the area, family history courses, hands on internet training, lock-ins for family historians and much, much more.

Pick up a brochure next time you are in the Library or view one here.