15 December 2009

Lost Relatives Regained

Unlike the unhappy ending of Madama Butterfly in Puccini's opera, many people today are able to be reunited with long lost children or long lost parents.

Even for those who cannot trace close living family members, more distant relatives might be discovered.

04 December 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Here is the logo of Kreativ Blogger, which you may have seen on a few of the other blogs you have visited, whether genealogical or on some other topic. Thank you to Michelina for giving me a Kreativ Blogger Award for Ancestors Within.

I am very pleased that Michelina has been in touch with me because she has a wealth of knowledge to share through her own blog, Preserving Heritage.

22 November 2009


Hello to everyone who may have found this blog through the GeneaBloggers.com website. It is very nice of you to visit.

27 October 2009

Finding Your Ancestors Where You Are Now

There are several reasons why it is important for each of us to explore the aspects of the past that have made us who we are today (as individuals and collectively). One reason is that much of our sense of identity derives from the past, especially as we reach full maturity/middle age.

Children, teenagers and people in their twenties and early thirties are especially confused by their continually changing sense of identity. It is one of the reasons why I have written a blog especially on the topic of identity. You can find it here.

If you would like to explore this topic further, please visit my By Any Other Name blog when you have a spare moment or two.

Many people who arrive at this Ancestors Within blog are usually interested in researching their own family history, genealogy, ancestry, whatever you want to call it. My interest is in enriching that process, deepening the experience and making it more meaningful, here and now, and in the future (even for future generations of your family).

This is especially beneficial for those who are trying to encourage reluctant family members to take more interest in exploring (and valuing) their heritage.

21 October 2009

Amazing Genealogical Discoveries

You may be wondering why this blog has not been updated for a while. Well, I have been in Europe for a couple of months visiting archives, libraries, museums, family members, genealogical researchers, town halls, churches, interpreters, towns and villages. It has all been very worthwhile.

27 August 2009

Important Years in History

Have you managed to work out the most important years in the history of your family? Why are particular years so important?

Your own year of birth is probably very important to you, as might be the years of life's significant milestones. How might wider social and political events feature in your family's story?

18 July 2009

Community, Commonality and Family History

Do you sometimes feel as if you have little in common with the people around you? In what circumstances are you more likely to feel that way?

12 July 2009

Working Families and Genealogical Studies

Although working families has become an overused populist slogan in Australia in recent years, I think of it in terms of the past rather than the future. Families are groups of people who do more than work, at least in my idea of a good society.

06 July 2009

Songs My Mother Never Taught Me

Have the musical traditions of your family been lost? What was the music your family knew one hundred years ago?

05 July 2009

From Ossolaro to Australia - Italian Family History Research

This blog has already introduced the little village of Ossolaro in Italy.

The village is about 50km as the crow flies from where one of the most important battles in Italian history, and world history, was fought.

04 July 2009

Superstitions and Traditions

Why did my grandmother Dorothy cover mirrors whenever there was a thunderstorm? Why did my grandfather Harry believe he saw a ghost of an old lady when he visited a big old house in Shropshire?

What are the superstitions and traditions followed in your family? Which stories are passed on from generation to generation?

03 July 2009

Flemish Ancestors

Back in February this year, I wrote an introductory blog post about my Flemish ancestors.

Some of my family came from Lier, not far from Antwerp. Others were from Brussels and the villages around there, most of which are really sprawling cities in their own right today.

Do you have Flemish ancestors?

01 July 2009

A Man from the Mezzogiorno - Viggiano to Melbourne

Who is or was your most enigmatic relative? Who has had the most mysterious life? What would you like to find out most about that person?

This photograph is of Vincenzo Galito. He came to Australia sometime in the 1880s and was later joined by his wife Mattia and daughter Carolina.

23 June 2009

A Shropshire Lad called Harry

This is Harry (1906-1988), one of the most important people in my life. Harry was the Shropshire lad who managed to survive until he reached old age, unlike his elder brother Arthur who died of double pneumonia at the age of fifteen.

Arthur died in 1917. Harry's father died the following year, so Harry left school as soon as he was old enough to do so and helped his mother to make ends meet.

10 June 2009

Understanding Your Ancestry, Genealogy and Heritage

Do you know the difference between nature, nurture and knowledge?

06 June 2009

Liberty, Normandy June 1944

I wonder if my mother's uncle, Bertie Harris, would have had much liberty in his life before his contribution to the liberation of Europe in June 1944. Today marks the 65th anniversary of his landing at Gold Beach.

The reason I began exploring my family history towards the end of 2007 was because my mother wanted to know what happened to her uncle. She had not mentioned much about him before, except to say that he had been killed during the Second World War.

05 June 2009

Connect to Your Heritage

If you have visited this blog in recent weeks, you will have noticed it contains quite a lot of links. The right hand column has been quite cluttered as a result so I thought I'd put a few of the main links in this blog post instead:

The origins of your family name

Migration museums around the world

19 May 2009

Names and Literacy

Being able to read blogs is something people with computers can easily take for granted. How would you feel in front of a computer if you were unable to read and write?

Two of my great grandmothers were probably illiterate, as were several of my great, great grandparents. I do not appear to have had any particularly well educated ancestors at all!

17 May 2009

Objects or Subjects - You and Your Ancestors Observed

I find there is something rather unsettling about the work of historians, journalists and social scientists when my own ancestors are a topic of their interest.

16 May 2009

Civilian Internment in the Second World War

Internment is the imprisonment of people without trial. Were any of your relatives interned during World War Two?

13 May 2009

Dark Clouds and Black Sheep in Family Life and Ancestry

Who do you consider to have been black sheep in your family history, and why?

09 May 2009

The working lives of ancestors

From the late 1940s to the 1970s, both of my grandfathers, George and Harry, had arrived in Stafford, Staffordshire from different parts of England and went to work as engineers at English Electric.

21 April 2009

Family Discoveries in the Dardanelles

This Saturday in Australia, we will commemorate ANZAC day. I will be thinking about Arthur Tom Ginn who was born in Finsbury, London at 1.45 in the morning on 27 December 1892. He died in the Ottoman Empire on 25 April 1915, aged 22.

03 April 2009

02 April 2009

Ancestral Research and Nostalgia through Google Street View

Have you used Google Maps recently and clicked on a little yellow human-like figure situated just above the zoom feature?

In some ways Google Street View can be perceived as an invasion of privacy.  Anyone with access to the facility can wander virtually down your street and look at where you live.

Yet there are some great benefits for family history researchers when using Google Maps, and Google Earth. Satellite images of urban and rural landscapes where your ancestors lived can be explored in a relatively easy way.  It can seem as if you are flying over the area in a helicopter or on flying carpet or taking a journey along a road in a chauffeured limousine.

08 March 2009

Discovering Your Ancestral History and Heritage

What does your ancestry mean to you? What is your heritage?

16 February 2009

1870s Migration from Belgium to London

In the late 1870s, some of my father's family left Belgium in mysterious circumstances and went to live in Soho in London.

My great great grandfather's first name is written in various records as Johannes, Jan, Jean and John. He was a tailor by trade and was born in Lier, south of Antwerp, in 1830. My great great grandmother was his third wife.

11 February 2009

Staffordshire Miner becomes Prime Minister of Australia

Many people have heard of James Cook the 18th century explorer, who was a Yorkshireman, but fewer may be familiar with the name of Joseph Cook, a coal miner from north Staffordshire who became the 6th Prime Minister of Australia.

06 February 2009

The Mill in Ossolaro - part two

My face is a blue rose today, at least on my blogger profile. It represents the fact that we are having such strange weather here, and no-one really knows how this might affect us in the future.

I did not feel like seeing my smiling face shining back at me when we are expecting a scorching day tomorrow, with strong winds and the possibility of bushfires (wildfires to those of you in the northern hemisphere).

05 February 2009

The Mill in Ossolaro - part one

There is a small Italian village to the north of Cremona on the Lombardy plain, hidden during summer amongst fields of maize, except for the bell tower of the church. There are not many streets in the village. One to the north west, called Strada Comunale Paderno Ossolaro, leads to the larger village of Paderno Ponchielli.

03 February 2009

The Age of Reflecting on Age

What ages do you consider your ancestors to be in your imagination when you explore their lives?

02 February 2009

Family History - Ancestry and Privacy

Why is it that genealogy is a more common hobby in some countries than in others?

And why is it that many people in previous decades did not want to reveal much about themselves and their ancestors, even within families?

31 January 2009

Understanding the Influence of Your Ancestors on Your Life Today

How well do you understand your ancestors, and yourself?  What are the cultural and natural links and bonds between you and people of the past?

Cultural links

How do you think and why do you think as you do? What are your cultural links to the past? How much of you can truly can be identified as being purely of the 21st century?  Discovering answers may involve local history, aspects of identity, culture and environment - including political influences.

Natural links

Genetics is a very interesting topic. How might your genes have adapted to cope with the environment in which your ancestors lived rather than the one in which you happen to live at present?  An understanding of genetics may provide some answers.

28 January 2009

Identity Across the Centuries

Although I do not like to reveal too much about myself online, for reasons of privacy, I like to reflect upon my life and my journey into existence in the world.

18 January 2009

Finding Great Grandparents

Hello and welcome to my family history research experiences. This is my first ever blog post on the subject!

Are you a local history expert, or a relevant expert of some other historical kind?  

If, for example, you know about the history of...

~ the linen industry in Belfast,

~ the mining industry in the English Black Country,

~ life in East Shropshire in the 19th century,

~ the migrating musicians of Viggiano, or

~ the First World War experiences of people who lived near the Piave River in the Veneto...

...then please get in touch soon.

Do you know of any books on the above subjects, or better still, freely available online resources?

writetovia (AT) gmail . com