Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grave Tales :: Story of Strange Butson Hartigan

This is the first in a series of Grave Tales, from Brad Argent and his travels across the land and its many burial grounds. He may be a little nuts about cemeteries but aren't all historians!


For most suburbanites, cemeteries are large well laid out affairs located on the outer reaches of the city or town, but what many don’t realise is that there might be a smaller, quainter, necropolis just around the corner.

Tucked away in the quiet back streets of the Inner-western Sydney suburb of Canterbury is a cemetery.  Like many of the smaller suburban cemeteries still around today this one is attached to St. Paul’s Anglican Church – a beautiful building from 1859, designed by Edmund Blacket who was also responsible for the Great Hall at Sydney University.

Residing in this cemetery is the wonderfully named Strange Butson Hartigan, the third son of Reverend Edward and Elizabeth Florence Hartigan (nee Eyre).  At the age of about 19 Strange left his 12 brothers and sisters and joined the West India Regiment, ultimately rising to the rank of Captain.  A military life must have suited him as he pops up in the US Civil War records in the early 1860’s.  At this point he is married to a music teacher, Ellen Sandars and living in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1865 he’s back in Ireland, this time marrying a Margaret O’Dea in Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland.  What happened to his first wife, Ellen, is unknown, but it’s possible she died in the US.  Strange and Margaret make their way to Australia later that same year and arrived in Sydney, via Adelaide, on February 22, 1866.  Strange died 12 years later on October 10, 1878.

I’ve yet to find out about the life of Strange once he arrived here, whether he had children, when his wife died, etc. – I only recently stumbled upon his existence.  But to think that 145 years ago a world weary ‘soldier of fortune’ came to spend his quiet years just around the corner from where I currently live is pretty awesome.

Take a closer look at your neighbourhood cemetery, there might be some strange things there too.

Read the 2nd instalment in the series - The murder of William Hird!

Brad Argent is content director at Ancestry.com.au. Australia’s leading family history website, Ancestry.com.au contains more than 930 million records in its Australian and UK collections. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Winners of our Issue 9 giveaways!

In Issue 9 we had a bumper crop of giveaways and now winners! Find out who won all the history below, maybe it was you! 

[1] Government House and WA Society 1829-2010, from UWA Publishing
  1. Margaret Morfitt, Mandurah WA
  2. Kevin Evershed, Noranda WA
  3. Katrina Cowen, Caulfield VIC
  4. Kay Weaver, Moss Vale NSW
  5. Tracey Cosier, Angle Vale SA
[2] Government House Sydney, from Historic Houses Trust NSW
  1. Fiona Archinal, Botany NSW
  2. Gloria Hough, Lavington NSW
  3. Ian Stewart, Elermore Vale NSW
  4. Lyn Brennan, The Gap QLD
  5. Valerie Marshall, Glen Waverley VIC
[3] Writing A Non Boring Family History, from Hazel Edwards
  1. Tony Wright, Kenmore QLD
  2. Judith Russell, Lilyfield, NSW
  3. Philip Benstead, Epsom VIC
  4. Marjorie Morkham, Apollo Bay VIC
  5. Beryl Patullo, Lalor, VIC
[4] A Very Short War DVDs, from Madman Entertainment 
  1. Kerryn Dixon-Ward, Parkdale VIC
  2. David McAndrew, Alexander Heights WA
  3. John Sparrow, Eumundi QLD
  4. Elizabeth Pardy, Cootamundra NSW
  5. Roslyn Allan, Paddington NSW 
[5] Who’s Been Sleeping In My House? DVDs, from ABC TV
  1. Glenys Hatch, Marangaroo WA
  2. Robert Hocking, Abbotsford VIC
  3. Daniel Anderson, Canadian VIC
  4. Julie Regan, Inverell NSW
  5. John Sutton, Bathurst NSW
Thanks to all our amazing supporters for making our giveaways possible!

Don't forget our Issue 10 giveaway! Our friends at Gould Genealogy are giving away a Flip-pal mobile scanner. Click here to find out more!

HMB Endeavour returns to Sydney

On Monday, May 21, the HMB Endeavour returned to Sydney from its 2011-12 circumnavigation of Australia. Part of the Australian National Maritime Museum collection, the HMB Endeavour is a 44 metre Australian built replica of Captain Cook's ship Endeavour. She was built based on the 18th century survey completed by the Royal Navy service and held at the UK's National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. We all know about Captain Cook but do we know that his epic world circumnavigation of 1768-71, which took in Tahiti, Pacific Islands, NZ and Australia, was a voyage of scientific discovery and not all about expansion of the then British Empire?

The HMB Endeavour is now mored in Darling Harbour but is closed for refit, getting ready for its' next voyage for the Transit of Venus to Lord Howe Island. Don't worry though, she will be open to the public again in July.

Stay tuned for more stories on the HMB Endeavour and 18th century sea travel soon! Until then, here are our photos from the Endeavour's return.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Issue 10 Giveaway :: Flip-pal Winner Announced!

The entries have gone into the Inside History hat and the winner is... Congratulations to:

  • Natalie James, Wanneroo, WA 

What was Natalie's best history discovery she's captured with a scanner?

"I have been helping my father research the history of my great-grandfather, a Methodist Minister from WA who faked his death and ran away with the maid to Canada. He was a highly regarded member of the Western Australian Methodist Church.... Our research unearthed some hidden certificates in a relatives basement; an invitation for the Reverend and his wife to attend the opening of Parliament and an evening soiree after the opening. These are by far my best history discovery and we scanned the documents before sending them to a conservator for preservation. Unfortunately, we do not believe he attended the event".

Order your Flip-Pal from Gould Genealogy and History today and start exploring and preserving your family history! Thanks again to Gould for making our giveaway possible!


Where would family history be without scanners? If you agree, then don't miss our Issue 10 giveaway! Win a Flip-pal mobile scanner, valued at $219!!!

Digitisation of records to enhance our ability to research family trees has been well underway for years. But how often have you been at a library and wanted to scan a document for your personal records in a high-quality format? Or attended a family gathering and wished you could scan images there and then? Meet your new BFF (best friend forever)!

Flip-Pal is a light, compact scanner that captures what you want in seconds, at either 300 or 600dpi. It loads the image to a flash card ready for you to download to your computer. Have a document bigger than the 10cm x 15cm screen? No problem — just scan each part and Flip-Pal’s clever software will stitch it together seamlessly! We have a Flip-Pal mobile scanner valued at $219 to give away, thanks to Gould Genealogy and History.

To enter the draw, simply tell us the answer to the following question:

Q. What’s the best history discovery you’ve captured with a scanner?

Send your name and contact details to Inside History, Flip-Pal Giveaway, PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 or email cass@insidehistory.com.au by 5pm, June 26, 2012. If you can’t wait until then, order your Flip-Pal from Gould Genealogy and History and get scanning!

Terms and conditions: Entries close 5pm, 26/06/12. One name will be drawn at random and the winner notified by 31/07/12. Please indicate if you would like to opt out of our mailing list. Inside History won’t share your details with a third party. Prize is not redeemable for cash.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Remembering HMAS Kuttabul :: About the midget submarines

Each issue we find that we have more and more to fit into our magazine and Steven Carruthers article on the 1942 attack on Sydney Harbour was no different. Now we have a way of showing you so much more.

Our iPad version allows us to include galleries of images, audio and video that simply can't go into our print edition at the newsagents.

As part of our article to commemorate the 1942 attack and those brave men lost in the sinking of the HMAS Kuttabul and the Japanese midget submarines, the talented people at Headland Creative have produced superb animations that take you back to those terrible days 70 years ago and show us something of the Japanese perspective.

Beneath the waves & in the air
Inside the Japanese midget submarine
Be part of the Kuttabul Commemoration:
The lunchtime re-enactment cruise is an endorsed fundraising event in support of Legacy. Organisers wish to bring into the public eye the great work performed by Legacy year round, for the widows and orphans of our deceased servicemen and women. The Kuttabul Commemoration Project’s Sydney Harbour Cruise is a major event on the 70th anniversary calendar in remembering the events of 1942.

Tickets for this solemn and memorable event are available through Gary Traynor. Tickets are $80 and numbers are limited. Gary is the founder of a not-for-profit website called Medals Gone Missing. This site helps to reunite families with war service medals that have become lost. Visit Medals Gone Missing and click on “Events”, or like it on Facebook - Kuttabul Commemoration Project for more on the project.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Entering the genealogy blogosphere :: Our top 50 blogs

Seen this badge? Then you're looking at one of our top 50 genealogy blogs.

In our current Issue 10, Australian blogger Jill Ball outlines our top 50 blogs that every genealogist needs to follow including libraries, societies, personal historians, speciality topics, international sites and organisation blogs. You can read the full article in Issue 10 or click here for a sneak peak.

Genealogy blogs can  be a wealth of information for family historians, as the immediacy of content is just an upload away. Jill Ball looks at the growth of blogs, and the best 50 to follow. The collaborative nature of blogging should not be underestimated; bloggers get a real buzz when someone makes a comment on one of their posts! If you read and enjoy a post please take the time to make a comment.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Issue 10; May - June is now available!

Inside History is for people passionate about Australian and New Zealand genealogy, history and heritage. In our May–June edition (issue 10):

  • We’re looking at cemeteries, preservation success stories, and new resources. 
  • Did your ancestor travel to the Klondike to strike it rich in the 1890s? Read our exclusive new research.
  • Meet the volunteers who’ve traced the descendants of those who died on HMAS Kuttabul in 1942.
  • Explore The Australian Women’s Weekly, digitised on Trove.
  • Find out how Phryne Fisher creator, Kerry Greenwood, researches her murder mysteries. 
  • Plus, there’s a fantastic Flip-PalTM scanner to be won! 

And much more – in fact, 76 pages of terrific features, practical information on genealogy, chances to network with other family historians, and book and app reviews. On sale now.

Issue 10 is available in newsagents nationally - click here to see where. You can also request us at your local newsagent, and we'll make sure that our next Issue 11; Jul-Aug 2012 is sent there for you!

Authors to look out for in Issue 10:
  • Australian genealogist :: Jill Ball @geniaus
  • Military historian :: Steven Carruthers
  • Australian genealogist :: Cathy Dunn @historianCathyd
  • Author :: Hazel Edwards @muirmoir
  • Journalist :: Miranda Farrell
  • Journalist :: Barry Gittens
  • Journalist :: Paula Grunseit @PaulaGrunseit
  • Australian genealogist :: Barbara Hall @Irish Wattle
  • Australian genealogist :: Carolyn Harris
  • New Zealand genealogist :: Helen Leggatt @GenealogyJourno
  • Charles Sturt University historian:: Robin McLachlan
  • City historian Sydney :: Lisa Murray @SydneyClio
  • History SA historian :: Mandy Paul @HistorySA
  • Australian genealogist :: Annie Payne @annie_histheart
  • University of New England historian :: Andrew Piper
  • Australian genealogist :: Sandra Playle
  • Military historian :: Matt Smith
  • Journalist :: Emma Sutcliffe @littleriveremma
  • Australian genealogist :: Kerry Waight
  • New Zealand genealogist :: Mark Webster @macnzMark
  • University of New England historian :: Janis Wilton

Have a sneak peak inside our new magazine; Issue 10; May-June 2012.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Another grave tale from the Klondike by Robin McLachlan

The grave of Norman Nicholas Graeber in Canada. Photo courtesy Robin McLachlan.

Welcome to my Klondike blog. I expect you have come here after reading "Grave Stories from the Klondike" in the May-Jun 2012 issue of Inside History. As promised, the story of Norman Nicholas Graeber is told below.

As I recounted in the article, my prospecting wander through the Dawson City cemetery in Canada brought me to Graeber’s grave, a find that inspired me to delve into the story of Australians and New Zealanders on the Klondike. Norman Nicholas Graeber is unusual in that he didn’t drift off to another goldfield after a season or two, but put down roots in the Klondike. He is very likely the “Nicholas Graeber” on No.10 Soap Creek, a claim that was “in the pay”. In the summer of 1902, the mine was employing a crew of eight men and future prospects looked good.

By 1904, Norman had done well enough to trade the hard life of the miner for that of a Dawson City businessman. He bought the Bonanza Livery Stables. It was also around this time he may have courted Catie Couture (born 1880), a French Canadian girl from Selkirk, Manitoba. Catie was on the Klondike with members of her family. Norman and Catie (her full name being Sarah Anne Catherine) were married in Dawson’s Roman Catholic Church on 10 July 1906. Her brother Alfred was a witness.

Marrying Catie may have presented Aussie Norm with something of a culture shock. She was from the sizeable French Canadian community on the Klondike, socially separate in language and culture. Even Dawson’s Catholic Church was largely a French Canadian institution, with priests from Quebec and records kept in French. If Norman was not bicultural at the time of marriage, lessons in French culture surely followed.

There was time, however, for recreational activities other than just French Canadian folk dancing. A son, Anthony Gerald, was born on 23 June 1907. Aunt Eléonore Couture was godmother at his baptism on 6 July. Norman’s story reads as a classic gold rush tale of hard won success opening the way onto a happy and full life. Alas, life can be like the run of quartz reef that for a time gives much but in truth promises nothing. Baby Anthony lived for only a month. His tiny grave lies only a few rows away from that of his father, who died from appendicitis in April of the following year.

Norman and Catie's son, Anthony, died when he was just four weeks old. 
Photo courtesy Robin McLachlan. 

But for a few words in the church register, I might have ended my tale here. The register for St Mary’s Church, or Église Ste-Marie, records in French that Norman was a widower, "vf de Helen Cameron”, at the time of his marriage. When this entry is combined with other fragments of evidence, the suspicion arises that Norman Nicholas Graeber may not have been perfectly truthful about his past. He may have been Nicholas J. Graeber, a former Omeo hotelkeeper and father of three. In 1896, the divorce court had granted his wife, Ellen (Cameron), a legal separation on the grounds of his repeated adultery. Ellen died in 1942, as the widow of Nicholas. If Norman is Nicholas and Helen is Ellen, then Catie has a bigamist as her husband.

Taking on a new identity was not unknown on the Klondike, where even today you wait for an invitation before asking too many questions. Perhaps given the passage of time we can though take the liberty of asking Norman and Nicholas whether they are the same Mr. Graeber.

I have created “family histories” for both men on ancestry.com.au where you will find the sources used for this blog together with evidence for their common identity.

Norman Nicholas Graeber is just one, or perhaps two, of more than 700 Australians and New Zealanders who went to the Klondike in 1897-99 so far identified by the Diggers on the Klondike project. If you should know of an Australian or New Zealand Klondiker, you are invited to contact me on rmclachlan[at]csu.edu.au.