Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Performed by Abba 1980.
Copyright Polar Music International.

Goodbye 2012!

Well, some of the globe has already welcomed in 2013 and some still has to welcome it.

Here in the UK, at the time of writing we have just under 45 minutes to go.

2012 has been a strange year for this household. We have had two family bereavements, both on my side of the family, a cousin in May and another cousin over the weekend, so we role into 2013 with a funeral.

Work has been a challenge and 2013 is all set to be different on that front and as I often say, "on wards, and upwards"

We saw the amazing Jubilee in June and then in July and August the Olympics and Para Olympics. In September we headed off to see family in Australia and that has to be the high light of the year for me.

Across the year I have met some wonderful people, professionally, via on line in the blogosphere and through my local book group. We have lived here for over a decade and in that time I had sought a book group. A chance conversation in the library and bingo I not only found one, but they had space too!

I have read some great books and blog posts, involved myself in various actions both on line and off line and will continue on both of these fronts over the coming year.

As a couple we made some fairly big decisions and now look forward to putting our plans into action and moving forward with those plans.

I hope that where ever you are and whether you are celebrating with a glass of something sparkling or doing as I am and heading off to bed with some fruit, a book, a cup of tea and Alfie our beloved Border Terrier that you can "park" all the horrid bits of your personal 2012 and enjoy the memories of all those good bits. and look forward to a new and exciting year.

Happy New Year everyone!

100 Word Challenge - Week 71

Joining the weekly 100 words challenge for Grown ups. This week the prompt is to use the following prompt. Total word allowance - 103 midnight struck

They stood hand in hand just by the pier. Just the two of them. From where they were they would hear the bells of the church chime and they would know the New Year would be upon them. The only sounds they could hear was distant party goers and shouts of “Happy New Year” and the waves very gently lapping upon the sand on the beach.

As midnight struck, and the church bells sang they shared a very gentle kiss and they hoped that the New Year would yield much happiness and all they wished for. A bright new year was before them.

Taking part in the 100 word Challenge for Grown Ups – Week #71

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Positive 2012 Geneameme

My dear blogging genefriend, Genaus has devised the last Genememe for 2012 - gosh what a mouthful!

So here goes! - Thanks to Genaus for the balloon graphic!

1. An elusive ancestor I found was - I don't know about elusive, but one that springs to mind is a link to my Ellis line from Geelong Victoria Australia. When I established that one of the family played for the Geelong Football Club.

2. A precious family photo I found was - Whilst visiting family in NSW, my Cousin produced 3 photograph albums that had belong to her mother. I didn't share any blood line with my Cousin's mother,(my line was through her father). What was wonderful was the photographs that had been kept. All those sent from my Aunts to Australia including one of my own wedding that I had not realised had crossed the pond. The precious action was that my Cousin let me borrow the photographs and I spent two hours one afternoon with another cousin scanning the photographs. Many of these were of the German/Prussian side of the family. A true treasure and discovery.

3. An ancestor's grave I found was - After 20 years I revisited the Ellis graves at Mount Duneed Cemetery in Geelong back in October.

4. An important vital record I found was - The answer to this is really a collection of photographs and a revisit to some graves in Victoria and re-reading an out of print book.

5. A newly found family member who shared - (not applicable!)

6. A geneasurprise I received was - Whilst I was in Australia I celebrated a birthday. My young cousin presented me with a fantastic present of a beautiful album which included photos of her children and one of all us together as we celebrated the birthdays of her Dad and myself.

7. My 2012 blog post that I was particularly proud of was - During 2012 I wrote several posts as contributions to the Jubilee Time Capsule.  One of those posts was about Kiva and the contribution the Families for Genealogists Team makes with a particular slant towards the Commonwealth (which was a requirement of the Time Capsule) You can read that post HERE and a slightly more generic one HERE

8. My 2012 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was - Back in April I took part in the A-Z Challenge. I based my posts for the month on my love, ancestral and genealogical links to Australia. I loved it and judging by the comments and amounts of hits I received other people did too! You can read the posts HERE

9. A new piece of software I mastered was - nothing wonderful with bells and whistles! In fact is in very simple - Google Docs. Simply valuing them for being just so easy and versatile to use, especially in a travelling situation.

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was - Librarything. Now that is possibly a rather usual tool, but it engages me with other book minded people including Genealogists and enables me to catalogue my study - fiche, books and CDs.

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was - I took part in the online version of the Guild of One Name Studies Conference. I was able to watch the conference from the comfort of my study. This was an experiment from the Guild and one that was great to participate in.

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at/to - Now, I am not naming names, but I was in the audience at a  meeting. The speaker was a no show and the committee were in a bit of a panic. I was approached and asked if I could get home and cobble together a quick presentation from anything that I had on file. Rather than go home, and in the past I have had to produce some off the cuff professional training events I agreed to pull something out of the bag. After and hour or so I had managed to deliver the presentation and take questions and emails addresses as some of those present wanted further details. Being a bit of a reflector I have decided to pull something together which will appear in the blogosphere in the New Year HERE

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was - My first post at the Graveyard Rabbit's On line Journal

14. I taught a friend how to - discover the wonder of researching her own ancestry and how to record her discoveries.

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was - I was, whilst down under lent two books. Now I had seen and read both of these books previously,but that was 20 years ago! The books sadly out of print and focus on two branches of my Cousin's ancestry on his mother's side that migrated from Silesia in Prussia to South Australia and then gradually moved to NSW. It was as I said a second (and perhaps third) read and I again discovered something new.

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was - The Mitchell Library in NSW.

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was - In a NSW newsagent I stumbled across a selection of Australian and New Zealand magazines all aimed at family history. They looked great and as I could not make a decision on what one to buy I bought them all! Shhh, it has to be a secret from him indoors!

18. It was exciting to finally meet Judy Webster, the lady behind the wonderful and inspiring Genealogists for Families Project. We spent a lovely afternoon together in Sydney.

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was - A wonderful visit to the War Museum in Canberra with my Cousin and her daughter. Seeing the wonder on an 11 years face as she was told the story behind a name on the memorial. The name was of her Great Great Uncle. To steal a phrase from the London Olympics 2012 - "Inspiring a Generation"

20. Another positive I would like to share is - That from January 2013 I shall be writing a regular column and blog post for The In-Depth Genealogist & continuing writing for the Graveyard Rabbits On line Journal

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Sending Christmas Wishes

"Remembrance, like a candle,
Shines brightest
at Christmastime"
Charles Dickens

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Greetings

Well, in the UK we still have a couple more hours of Christmas Eve although my friends and family in the Southern Hemisphere are already on Christmas Day!

The weekend has passed in a flash. We were busy doing the usual almost Christmas grocery shopping and then wrapping presents.

My beloved spent today cleaning the oven for me and I spent the day at work. Working before a holiday is always stressful and today was no exception. We had a steady flow of patients until about 5.30pm. A local Doctor had been in surgery this morning looked absolutely shell shocked when I saw them this afternoon. We commented that when did it all get so bad? and after agreeing that we actually could not remember, we parted ways with wishes of festive greetings.

We had the usual GP prescribing disaster, the patient who realised that they have no medication, the patient who refuses the medication and many patients who were simply glad that we were there, to talk to, offer advise, support and conversation. Never, have I been so glad to see the end of the working day. Actually, that is a lie, I can recall the last day I felt like that, and that is exactly the point. Whereas, really bad days were few and far between, they are now the norm rather than the exception.

Now I am home to a rather exhausted husband, a sleeping dog and a gleaming oven! We have had dinner and the gammon joint is in the oven. I am writing this quick post and then I plan to enjoy a cup of tea in front of the TV and simply relax and unwind.

However you spend Christmas and where ever your spend Christmas have a wonderful one. Watch lots of rubbish on the TV, read a few books, chat to friends and family, eat, drink and enjoy the fact that we get to experience the love of our friends and family.

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Who am I?

Last week, Vikki over at The View Outside mentioned that some one suggested at her Faber class that people do the Who Am I? process. This is a recognised psychological test.

"What you do is ask someone Who Are You 20 times and they have to respond with a different answer each time."

Now, I have done this before, but about 15 years ago. I can't remember what I answered each time, and I have not looked back through journals to see what I said. 

I have redone the series of questions. I have simply written a list, in no particular order and the list is simply as the answers came to me. When I had to stop and think a bit hard I have indicated that with a ===

Here are the answers this time round.
  1. Julie
  2. A wife
  3. A daughter
  4. A line manager
  5. A professional
  6. A Librian
  7. A family member
  8. A Godmother
  9. A friend
  10. An equal
  11. A Genealogist
  12. A writer
  13. A challenge
  14. An Italian - (well half Italian!) - ===
  15. A book reader and book lover
  16. A collector
  17. A contemplater
  18. A reflector
  19. Under challenged
  20. A dog owner - ===
  21. A journal keeper
  22. A hoarder
  23. A planner
  24. A member
  25. A thinker
  26. A blog writer
As you can see, I managed to come up with another 6 items. I might repeat the process in June of next year to see if there are any changes.

In the meantime, have you ever done this? and were you surprised by the responses you gave?

Friday, 21 December 2012

Postcard Friendship Friday - Australia Christmas Greeting 1917

Submitted as part of Postcard Friendship Friday hosted by The Best Hearts are Crunchy 

Advent Tour - 21st December 2012

This is the second post for the 2012 Advent Tour I have written.

I did the same last year, and you may recall that my husband, who has his birthday today had a special one last year, you know, the sort that end with a zero! - Well the shock of all that is over and he has toddled off to work and then is out this evening for his work Christmas meal and we are celebrating tomorrow.

Unless you have been living under a rock you can not have failed to have heard stories of prediction that the world was going to end today. We have passed the "magical hour" and I can confirm that those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are still here as are those in the Southern - I received several posts via Face Book earlier confirming it!

In the Northern Hemisphere, the 21st December is the shortest day of the year. From today, day light remains for a little longer as we trundle through the rest of Winter into Spring and then finally, hopefully Summer!

The BBC reported that more than 5,000 people arrived at Stonehenge to mark the occasion of the Winter Solstice. A quick peek on YouTube revealed the following video

Wherever you are, Happy Winter Solstice and its just days away from Christmas! And also a very special Happy Birthday to my beloved!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Virtual Advent Tour - A 100th Birthday!

I am delighted to once again take part in the Virtual Advent Tour hosted by Marg & Kelly.

Last year I wrote THIS post about my late Grandmother and how I was giving to Kiva, via being part of the Genealogists for Families Team as a way of commemorating her birthday.

Likewise, I shall make a further loan as part of the team as today would have been my Grandmother's 100th Birthday.

She was, at least to me a very special individual. We spent lots of time together and her last Christmas was spent with myself and my husband, her visit last 6 weeks and we loved every minute of it.

My husband recorded some of our conversations as she reminisced about past Christmas', She recalled events from her own childhood, her parents, her siblings and her time spent as a newly wed during the early years of the Second World War. She remembered being so cross with my Grandfather for volunteering, when he could have worked at the farm where his brother's worked. Those video tapes are still here and have been transferred to DVD, yet I still can not watch them 17 years later.

She was a huge influence in my life and I dreadfully miss those conversations we had, the laughs, jokes and advise she gave.

I was incredibly lucky to have had her as my Grandmother and to have had such a wonderful relationship with her.

Here she is, in what is my favourite photograph of her. This was taken on her 21st birthday, so it does somehow seem rather fitting to share it here.

Incidentally, her present for her 21st birthday was a 24 carat gold bangle. I never saw her wear it, but she obviously treasured it as I am now the proud owner of it.

Lilian Edith Butcher nee Matthews
18th Dec 1912 - 21st April 1995

If you wish to join the Genealogists for Families Team, whose motto is  "We care about families, Past, Present & Future" please click HERE

Monday, 17 December 2012

Tracing Your Caribbean Ancestors by Guy Grannum

A few months ago I was given the chance to review this book. I do not have any direct ancestral links to the Caribbean or West Indies, but in recent years I have established that an individual that slots into my One Place Study migrated with one of his children to Jamaica. Bearing this in mind I was interested to read the latest edition of Guy’s book, and I was not disappointed.

Firstly, this is not a how do you research your ancestry type book. It is a guide which really does provide a solid foundation on which to establish your research or interest.

The book is laid out into a series of 11 chapters. Starting with how to get going, then progresses the records of the Colonial Office, Migration, Life Cycle records (Isn't that a nice way of putting Birth, Marriages and Deaths?), Land and Property records, Military Records, Slave and Slave Holder Records, Civil Servant Records. The final chapter that deals with the life in the Caribbean looks at migration from the region and then the final two chapters of the book feature each individual country of the British West Indies and records of the Non West Indies such as the influence on the region of Countries such as Cuba, Denmark and France just to name a few.

The book contains illustrations, details on where records are located, in many cases providing the classification number and then steers readers to further sources such as books, websites and societies. The final pages of the book provide a very detailed Bibliography, Name and Addresses section and a comprehensive index.

This is a great resource to those researching their Caribbean roots, and for those interested in general researching the region and for those interested in the social, and economic development of the Caribbean.

This is a revised edition and takes into account recent changes in access to documents and research in the region.

Disclaimer - I was provided with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher – National Archives Guide, Bloomsbury Press
ISBN – 9781408175699
Publication – September 2012, (3rd Edition) 208 pages

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Advent Calendar 2012 - Fruitcake – Friend or Foe?

My Grandmother spotted this Christmas Cake recipe in a copy of Woman Magazine, and since then both my Mum and I  have used it.

The photograph is of the actual page from the magazine, which does look in rather a sorry state! The actual date is gleaned from a book review on the reverse of the recipe - 1983!

This post is also being shared with Weekend Cooking which is hosted by Beth at BethFishReads

Friday, 14 December 2012

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop
Book Blogger Hop is the creation of Jen from Crazy for Books. Since October, the weekly hop has been hosted by a variety of book bloggers all across the globe and this week the host is Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

The question this week is a good one - I wish I had thought of it!

What bookmarker are you currently using? 

I love bookmarks.

They are easy to carry as a memorable present if you just want a little something to remember something by, without the fuss of a larger present. They are easy to carry and are affordable. I have quite a few book marks including a few with my name on and what my name means.

With that it mind, it saddens me to confess that my current read is The End of Life Book Club by William Schwalbe and the book mark is the Amazon invoice that came with the book.

I know, it is shameful!

A Parcel of Ribbons by Anne M. Powers

Back in the summer I had the opportunity to interview Anne M. Powers, author of the fascinating book A Parcel of Ribbons. You can read that interview HERE

Anne also very kindly sent me a copy of her book to read and review and what a treat it was! I am only sorry that it has taken so long to post the review.

The catalyst for the book was a series of letters that have survived the test of time. Anne was given access to these letters and they have been lovingly transcribed and form the foundation for the book.

What has developed, is a really beautiful story of the Lee family and their time in Jamaica. Their story has not only been recorded and survived, but has been further explored which absolutely enhances the experience of understanding the social, International and domestic situation of the time.

The book contains a few illustrations along with a very comprehensive bibliography and index.

The research has been thorough and there is a huge attention to detail within the confines of the cover. If you wish to research, record and publish your own ancestry then aspiring to produce a book just like this one would be a wonderful way to preserve your ancestry.

A Parcel of Ribbons - The Letters of an 18th Century family in London & Jamaica was published in July 2012 and is available from HERE

Anne's website to accompany the book is at

Postcard Friendship Friday - Santa Border Terrier

Submitted as part of Postcard Friendship Friday hosted by The Best Hearts are Crunchy 

Blog Caroling

Inspired by a post at Footnote Maven. The idea is to share your favourite Christmas Carol.

Well, being married to a Christmas baby, I can not escape the almost weekly viewing of the film Home Alone. Four films were made, we have all four, but films one and two are the favourites. Anyway, one of the Carol's sung on the film is simply lovely and I had a real challenge trying to find out what it was called and had to resort to getting the film and playing the credits!

Here is the details from YouTube - The Song is Carol of the Bells written by John Williams.

Here are the lyrics

Hark! how the bells
sweet silver bells
All seem to say
throw cares away.

Christmas is here
bringing good cheer
To young and old
meek and the bold

Ding, dong, ding, dong
that is their song,
With joyful ring
all caroling

One seems to hear
words of good cheer
From everywhere
filling the air

O, how they pound
raising the sound
Oer hill and dale
telling their tale

Gaily they ring
while people sing
Songs of good cheer
christmas is here!
Merry, merry, merry, merry christmas!
Merry, merry, merry, merry christmas!

On, on they send
on without end
Their joyful tone
to every home

Hark! how the bells
sweet silver bells
All seem to say
throw cares away.

Christmas is here
bringing good cheer
To young and old
meek and the bold

Ding, dong, ding, dong
that is their song
With joyful ring
all caroling.

One seems to hear
words of good cheer
From everywhere
filling the air

O, how they pound
raising the sound
Oer hill and dale
telling their tale

Gaily they ring
while people sing
Songs of good cheer
christmas is here!
Merry, merry, merry, merry christmas!
Merry, merry, merry, merry christmas!

On, on they send
on without end
Their joyful tone
to every home.

On, on they send
on without end
Their joyful tone
to every home.

Taking part in Blog Caroling, hosted by Footnote Malven

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Library Loot - 12 - 18th December

This week has a tiny library loot of just one book!

My local book group meets at the local library. In December we do not discuss a book, instead rolling over the book to January as in December we have a rather civilised Christmas party.

Anyway, someone suggested that as our next meeting is at the end of January that perhaps we could have an extra read, which is how come I managed to be controlled enough to just have one book.

Inheritance by Nicholas ShakespeareThe book in question is Inheritance by Nicholas Shakespeare, an author that I recognised from our recent trip down under.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.

Head over to The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader to share your loot this week.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Advent Calendar 2012 - Traditions

Back in 2010 I wrote this post.

Traditionally, in my profession the lead up to Christmas is frantic, and this year will be no exception. I have to say, writing this post three days later than scheduled that if I see another prescription I shall go mad - well, at least until tomorrow! There is this endless thought process that I must have every drug ever prescribed dispensed before Christmas, and purchase every imaginable food for the Christmas period. Why is this the case?

I shall purchase my food shopping in the wee hours of 24 hour grocery shopping. Then get up and go to work as usual. Christmas Eve will be spent working with it going quiet around 2pm. Because of the field I work in closing early is not an option and I shall spend the last few hours working quietly, catching up on a few bits before closing and then coming home for the festive break.

As a child we always had gammon on the evening of Christmas Day. As time progressed, I have always cooked the gammon and had that for dinner on Christmas Eve with the remainder on Christmas Day during our finger buffet in the evening.  A colleague has suggested to me that a local pub has a Christmas Eve sing song around 6pm, so we thought that we might go, just for an hour and then head home.

How will you spend Christmas Eve? Do you exchange gifts on Christmas Eve?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sunday Salon - Books Down Under!

We recently spent 5 glorious weeks in Australia. One of the things I noticed was how expensive books are. I had no idea!

Being concious of the weight of books and the allowance I had for the plane I made a note of books I came across in book stores and in some cases took photos of the covers!

Here was the list of books I spotted, all linked to either Amazon or Fishpond.
  1. The end of your life book club by Will Schurable
  2. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
  3. In Tasmania: Adventures at the End of the World by Nicholas Shakespeare
  4. The House of Memories by Monica McInerney
  5. Ghost Gum Valley by Johanna Nicholls 
  6. Sincerely, a New Collection of Correspondence from Women of Letters by Michaela McGuire & Marieke Hardy
  7. The Shelly Beach Writers' Group by June Loves
Some great books and I had to be so controlled! Since I have been home, I have obtained two of the books. The first is Shantaram and the second is The end of your life book club which I have seen get some great reviews and I look forward to reading over the festive season, if I can wait that long!

I did purchase two books, one that was a very slim volume based upon a true story of a convict and a book written and published privately about our Ellis ancestors that migrated to Victoria in 1854.

Until next time, happy reading!

Advent Calendar 2012 - Grab Bag

A few years ago, I stumbled across a rather nice set of mugs made by Spode. Each Christmas, from 1998 until 2004, Spode released one mug featuring a Santa from a different Country.

Here they are in more detail -

In 1998 the First of the series was the British Santa

In 1999 Spode released the German Santa.

In 2000 Bishop of Myra was released.

Then in 2001, The Russian Santa was release, the only one that I am missing from the set.

In 2002 The Norwegian Santa made an appearance

In 2003, The French Santa was released

And finally, in 2004 to complete the series, the American Santa was released.

I think of all the set that I currently, have my favourite is the American Santa, because of the vibrant, festive colours. Which one is your favourite?

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Giving Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

Continuing the wonderful Elm Creek series. I had been eagerly awaiting the book's publication when I had the chance to review via NetGalley. My recently ordered hardback edition arrived a few weeks ago and now joins the rest of the series on my bookshelf.

In this latest instalment, we are in the week following Thanksgiving. This week is know at Elm Creek as Quilt Giving which is an opportunity to attend a retreat and quilt. At the end of the week the quilters donate their accomplishments to local charities.

We meet the regular Elm Creek Quilters - Matt and Sarah and their toddler twins, Sylvia and Gretchen. We also meet the quilters attending the retreat - Jocelyn,  mother of two children and a widow, Mona & Linnea, who are sisters, Michaela a student with her leg in plaster cast, Karen an employee of a quilt shop who had previously applied and been rejected to work at Elm Creek and Pauline a rather gifted quilter and a member of a rather prestigious quilting bee.

The story unfolds with a customary meal and the allocation of a Giving Journal, where the attendees are asked to record what they are thankful for and what they give to others (as well as receive). Each of the women, apart from the sisters are strangers and gradually they become immersed within the confines of the retreat and start to let down their personal barriers and each begins to share her story.

As each one shares and listens we start to see the foundations of friendships form and the love they each have for their families and their quilting.

I was not disappointed with the latest instalment and I look forward to the next visit to Elm Creek.

Advent Calendar 2012 - Christmas Cookies

Last Christmas I took part in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Exchange. I had planned to participate this year too, but the nominations were open whilst we were in Australia and I forgot to complete the form when we came back, so I shall await next year!

This post is a tweaked version of the original post. (The original post can be seen HERE).

I looked on line and through every cookbook I owned and still was undecided on what recipe. Then I recalled that one of my favourite books, which is part of a series and sits on the bookcase in the hall was a novel, interspersed with recipes. A quick look and I knew that I had found the recipe. It's very title sharing the ethos of the cookie exchange.

See what mean, it was meant to be! Each hardback edition of the series has printed within the covers the quilt designs shared within the book. These is the Friendship Square design.

So to cooking -

Firstly, heat the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water

While that was under way, I gathered the rest of my equipment and ingredient.

The little red measuring spoons were my Grandmothers, and despite having two much newer sets, I used my old faithfuls. I used a photocopy of the recipe, rather than have any spillages on my nice book!

Then in a bowl mix the sugar and 4 eggs. Then add the vanilla essence and lastly the mix of flour and salt. After a further good mix add the cooled chocolate.

Pour the mixture into a prepared 9 x 13 tray. Lightly greased with a sprinkle of flour and decorate with the choc chips, nuts and coconut you can see in the above picture.

Place in the oven at 190c or 325F for 25 minutes.

Here we are after cooking.

Make sure that the tray has more than a slight grease! Removal was tricky and I was quite worried about cooking casualties!  - Here they are on a plate just before packing and posting.

It is a lovely recipe and one I shall try again. I think next time I shall use cake cases and then add a small plop of chocolate drops or a walnut or two, as cleaning the baking try was a bit of an ordeal!

This post is also being shared with Weekend Cooking which is hosted by Beth at BethFishReads


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