My goodness. How the year flies by! But what a wonderful year it’s been. Though my blog posts still remain sporadic, behind the scenes, family history research is still very much a dominant factor in my life.
So what have I been up to this year?
Brickwalls were finally broken when I discovered my Great x 5 Grandfather, George Vandeput Crosbe (Playing Detective). As I delved into his life I was amazed and incredibly proud to learn of all that he achieved as a Lieutenant Commander within the Royal Navy (I promise he’ll be featured in a future blog post).
I was out and about more often this year; visiting the Midland Railway Workshops Heritage Day, Open House Perth and Heritage Perth weekends. I also visited the State Library of Western Australia a lot more and had to contain my excitement when I held in my hands (and then photographed the entire contents) a day book written by my Great x 3 Uncles. This day book has since been dubbed the ‘Hurst Day Book’ and throughout the year I’ve been carefully transcribing it, creating an index of the entries and adding footnotes to provide more detail on the people mentioned within it. It’s taken an awful long time but I’m exceedingly proud of the work I’ve done so far.
I also broadened my research efforts. I went on two family history trips down south with Matt, poured over page after page of newspapers on Trove and I started to purchase and read more books which related to my ancestors in order to gain a better understanding of what their lives were like and what they may have experienced (I definitely recommend The Bride Ships by Rica Erickson). I’m learning that it’s important to remember that though your ancestor may not be mentioned in a particular book or article, the information within is still likely to be relevant and should not be ignored.
I made contact with some wonderful people (cousins!) both in person and online. I’ve loved meeting some of them face to face to collaborate on research and I love the regular emails I receive from those who live outside of Western Australia. These emails always make me smile and it’s wonderful knowing that I have people out there in the world who I can bounce ideas/theories off of with the click of a button and a quick tap-tap-tap on my keyboard. Technology and it’s ability to connect people never ceases to amaze me.
Of course despite the highs, there have also been moments of frustration and as I’ve researched some lines (as usual, it’s mostly Mum’s side) I’ve lamented the fact that I didn’t (and my Mum didn’t) ask my Nan and Pop questions that now plague my mind. I was only a teenager when they passed away and at that age family history was a very distant thought. I can’t turn back time; I can only keep digging.
So, to my lovely readers and followers out there, thank you for your continued support throughout the year. Despite the limited quantity, I hope you find the blog posts entertaining and informative. To my family, thank you for putting up with me waffling on about theories or simply wondering ‘why?’ I know my incessant questioning can sometimes be a pain in the butt, but thank you for listening anyway. To Matt, thank you for continuing to push me out of my comfort zone. It’s making me braver and it’s making me a better researcher. I promise I’ll get the Nicholsons eventually.
To everyone, please don’t ever stop asking questions. And if you have stories that should be told but no one is asking you questions, tell them to your loved ones anyway. If talking about it is difficult, write it down. Believe me; they’ll be someone out there who’ll be immensely grateful that you did.
Take care and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and joyful New Year!
And yes, that is me (about age 7) and my brother in the above photo. I also still remember how this photo came about. Having been scared of Santa for many years, on this particular day, I put on my brave pants and said to Mum “I think we should get our photo with Santa today.” So we walked over and had our photo taken…just in our everyday clothes…which also explains the cheesy ‘I’m feeling proud of myself grin’.