“Squatter ” Jones Revisited

Back in 2016, I published an account of my great-grandfather William Thomas “Squatter” Jones. Since then, I started the Diploma of Family History through the University of Tasmania and required to write a 1000 word essay on an ancestor, I chose to revisit “Squatter”. The essay is different from the original Blog story given there were certain ‘academic’ strictures and objectives to be complied with and achieved. Continue reading

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The Office Clean-up

Lorelei carried out her threat and emptied out the office and NJS Family History Archive. It took us together over a week to clean up and reorganise. Here are the before photos:

Despite my general untidiness, I do have an OCD streak! For some time, I have been playing around with LibraryThing – a computer program for small libraries – and had catalogued about 175 books. A further 150 books have now been catalogued and all have been labelled according to the Dewey Decimal system. This is just the office library!

Out in the lounge room, there is another collection of non-fiction including biographies, and Chinese, political and military histories to be added over time. This will cause some physical shift in book location. LibraryThing also catalogues by ‘tag’ as well as by author, title, and number. The program works very well, so finding books is quite easy. I have also recorded some e-books and digital articles held in the computer files.

For a book and magazine hoarder, I made the difficult decision to ditch a huge quantity of family history magazines. Having a complete collection of the Australian publication Inside History, I kept that along with Traces, to which I currently subscribe, as well as Who Do You Think You Are. Putting feng shui principles into place, turning the desk around did cost some space and also meant there was sunlight glare on the monitors necessitating new curtains.

The end result is pretty good and one of which Lorelei is also justly proud. After two weeks of working in the new space, it remains tidy with everything in its place! “One day” – when the deck is built, the office/study can extend there and become truly luxurious. Now for the photo archive!

The after photos:

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Bits and Pieces – 2019 in review


I have been a very bad Blogger in 2019! That does not mean a lack of activity when it comes to family history research because it has been a very busy year indeed. While I am out of practice in using Word Press, here I go with a summary of family history and research events in 2019.

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2017 Bits and Pieces

I have been very recalcitrant! Almost a year since my last blog post! What can I say?

2017 has been thus far been a year of travel: January to Bali for pure relaxation and pleasure; April/May to Sydney and Arrowtown in New Zealand; June/July to Singapore/China/Singapore/Bali. More about China later. Continue reading

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2016 Bits and Pieces

My blogging activity in 2016 has not been great but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been active on the family history front. Continue reading

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“Squatter” Jones – Farmer


Week two of the National Family History Month weekly blog challenge set by Alex Daw takes your ancestor’s occupations as the theme. For me, that has to be farming or shearing – my cousin Billy and I were the first of our family to be neither shearers nor farmers. Continue reading

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1971 National Census, Territory Style

Some time ago, I read an amusing fictional account “The Census Taker Cometh”[1] describing the travails of census enumerators calling at a German immigrant household in Illinois over a 60-year period and concluding with the question “Ever wondered why some census entries look like creative accounting?” This reminded me of my own experiences providing me with an opportunity to impart a personal story about my involvement in the 1971 Census of Population and Housing. I did not get that far at the time but now I am rising to Alex Daw’s weekly blog challenge for National Family History Month.   Continue reading

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Those who served in World War I: From the Jones-Sexton Family Tree (Part 1)

I decided long ago to publish in 2015 what I have discovered about the World War I veterans in my family trees.  Slowly I have worked towards this objective over the past couple of years and now suddenly time is upon me.  There were many more to find than I ever anticipated and I am sure I have not found them all.

As a child I knew that a few of my family were involved in World War I and of course, due to Anzac Day observances, knew something of Gallipoli and the Western Front.  My interest then, being an aviation buff, was primarily about the Second World War and I read copiously everything I could my hands on, not to mention Commando and War comics.  I also worked for time, as a teenager, on the farm of Brigadier Arnold Potts where both wars were often the subject of dinner conversation.

Generally I have not gone further than the second cousin relationship but there are some, those on the twigs of the trees, I have included simply because I found the story or connection interesting in the family history research sense.  Some of the discoveries have caused me to be side tracked – like an Australian born relative serving in the German Army in World War I – see Delving into Diversions and Deviations.

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Delving into Diversions and Deviations – An Australian in the German Army

As Family Historians we are urged to stay focussed and stick to the research plan that we should have already worked out.  But we delve into the diversions and deviations that frequently appear in our quest – searching the internet and books for time and place material, tracking who else lived in the street and what was their trade in the 1861 census and, if you are an Ancestry member, getting inundated with tips that seem totally irrelevant.  No – Mary Ann Carey was born in Brisbane, Queensland not Delaware, Ohio!  Along the way however, there is always something to pique the interest and the grass often seems greener in someone else’s family tree!  In this manner, I discovered an Australian citizen serving in the German Army in World War I. Continue reading

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Congress 2015

This a first and last post.

The first being is this is a first time experience writing a post on the fly from a hotel room on iPad. The last because I am determined to become a better writer and this is the last post without an adequate writing structure. You see – I have comer under the spell of Carol Baxter, author of Writing INTERESTING Family Histories, among many other publications.

Having to make the difficult choice of which sessions to attend several weeks prior to the Congress, I opted for Jennie Norberry from the Austrlalian War Memorial’s Research Centre over Carol’s Help! What information is correct? After all, it was Jennie who had telephoned me personally to respond to my logged in query about copyright on a book I wished to cite.  Anyway, I met Carol – had an interesting chat and purchased her book. Now  all I need do is buy Blogging for Dummies!

The 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Caberra is the first such event I have ever attended.  While somewhat intense, it has been thoroughly enjoyable and I have learned a lot. The Congress itself went off like clockwork – every session  timed perfectly, lunch ready on time, no speakers going over their allotted time and just enough time for a quick coffee (and a fag- fortunately there a couple of others and so the opportunity for  deeper conversations)  between sessions.  The welcome function at the Anzac Hall under the wings of the famous Lancaster bomber “G-for-George”  adjacent to the gallery of WWI fighter planes was special. There I met the the ladies from the Western Australian Genealogical Society (WAGS). And wags they were too!  I got myself assigned to their table for the Congress Dinner at Parliament House on the Saturday night. Later – the next day, not that night – I had an one-on-one session with Margaret, the foremost authority on the Enrolled Pensioner Guard in WA’s convict era.  Through my 3 x great grandfather Patrick Brennan, I am eligible for membership of the WAG Enrolled Pensioner Guard Special Interest Group.

All of the presentations were excellent and thoroughly educative.  Naturally, some stood out.  Joshua Taylor from FindMyPast (and several other other USA and Canada organisations), David Reacher from FamilySearch.org and Paul Milner,  born in England but resident in USA, were simply brilliant and the stand-outs for me. David Rencher’s Irish census and substitutes and Chasing the poor and the landless, Richard Reid’s If you are ever going across the sea to Ireland and Perry McIntyre’s  The infernal villian will be sent way are particularly useful for my planned Irish research. Including how to plan that difficult research. I attended both of Kate Bagnell’s sessions on Early Chinese Families and Researching your Chinese Roots which have given me a few clues on how to expand the project on my mother-in-law ‘s  Chee Quee family.  Did you know the first recorded legal marriage between a Chinese man and Caucasian woman  took place in New South Wales in 1830, an era when there were only two Chinese women in Australia?

Perhaps the most inspirational address for me was Paul Milner’s  Tracing your PreWWI British Soldier – I’ve made some progress with the four or so that I am researching and now I know how to take that further.  An honourable mention must go to Grace Kersens with her Men, women, sex and desire: family history history on Australia’s  frontier which amply demonstrated Carol Baxter’s maxim – ” … A bad ancestor is more interesting Than a good one.”  

All in all, a great five days and now it is back to work to finance this rather expensive hobby.  All we needed was Jess to bring the average age down!





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