09 December 2010

A Genealogical Look Around

Have you had a genealogical look around an atlas recently?

Online atlas with an interesting way to compare the history of Europe

Online atlas of world history

Online historical atlas of the 20th century

There are also many local maps, street directories, archive resources and other materials to explore.

I am especially interested in the connections my husband's Italian ancestors had with various Australian places in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their stories are unusual.  Few Italians migrated to Australia until after the Second World War.  Several of my husband's family members ran businesses in Australia between the 1880s and 1940s.

Perhaps I might find something useful and interesting through the following:

City of Sydney Map Collection

Queensland Historical Atlas

Melbourne University Map Collection

There are a few family history blogs and local history blogs with information I find useful - when I find the time to take a look that is.

Here are two I have found of particular interest:

Moonee Valley Family and Local History Blog
(Even though I have no known family connection with Moonee Valley itself, the blog has a wide range of useful themes and resources providing me with inspiration for my own research)

Anglo Italian Genealogy Research
(Even though I am mainly of Anglo ancestry with no Italian connection and my husband is only of Italian ancestry with no Anglo connection - except for marrying me of course - it is interesting to hear about non-Italian speakers experiences when attempting to obtain information from Italian sources)

I am also always on the lookout for people who may have research interests in common with my own, and particularly those who may already have done the searching I am intending to do.

It saves a lot of time and effort, and sometimes even money, if someone else has already done the work. I don't then need to do it myself.

Perhaps you can recommend blogs and people who may be of interest to me:

Do you have Italian ancestors who came to Australia before the Second World War?

Do you have Belgian ancestors who went to England in the 19th century?

There are so many online resources that save time and money, too, especially when considering visiting a place (or not being able to afford a trip there).

I wrote an earlier blog post about the ways I use Google Street View to explore places in a virtual way.  It is very convenient when I am trying to find out where my own ancestors lived.

It is especially nice to be able to avoid the expense of going there in person. I enjoy travelling the world imaginatively - without airports, jetlag, motorways, unpleasant weather and noisy hotels to contend with:

Research and nostalgia through Google Street View

Another very useful source, and one that I use quite often for all four of my blogs, is Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Commons Category: Maps of the history of the United Kingdom

Wikipedia Commons Category: Old maps of the United Kingdom

You may also find videos online of where your ancestors originated.

Have you taken a look?


A video about my cultural heritage

But I did mention in my last blog post that I was going to take a break from writing blogs. What has happened to that?!

I thought I needed to tidy up and sort through my findings, yet again. For this reason, this is a very long blog post. It contains an overview of the whole of my research so far. Perhaps it is itself like an atlas!

It is also a time of year when I send out a great many more family history emails than usual.

Do you map the past with the help of emails?

Do you share photographs and information across distances of time and space?

An invitation to explore my approach to tidying up in a genealogical way

An invitation to reflect upon domestic views on being neat and tidy

You can probably see quite a few family photographs in the right hand column of this blog. They are of some of the people who will be featured in my postings next year.

In the top picture, you may recognise my grandparents, Harry and Dorothy.  The little girl is my mother and the boy is her late brother.

My grandmother is wearing a blouse we think came from Hungary. We do not know how Dorothy came to have a beautiful, embroidered Hungarian blouse, though. Do you know if it is Hungarian, and which part of Hungary it came from?

I would be interested to know if you write about your family history in the same way I write about mine.

In the right-hand column of this blog is the London Heritage picture of the Ginn family in 1901.  That family is part of my father's ancestry. The Ginns have already been mentioned a few times here.

Are any of your own relatives linked to the Ginns of Huntingdonshire, especially around St Neots?

Here are my three earlier Ginn blog posts:

Family discoveries in the Dardanelles

Being earnest with Alice in wonderland

Huntingdonshire heritage

Here are some more blog posts mentioning my great grandmother, whose maiden name was Annie Ginn:

Working families

My fair ancestors in Mayfair

Faces from the past
(from my By Any Other Name blog)

I also have a photograph of a mystery house I am still trying to identify. Perhaps you can help.

To me, the house looks as if it is in a neo-Renaissance style, meaning that it was likely to have been built when that style was still fashionable. The house may be in England or it may be in the United States.

Here is a Wikipedia article about the architectural style

I have also mentioned the topic of ancestry several times on my other blogs. Here are a few posts you might enjoy reading:


Growing older in Australia

Earth hour every hour

Sacred mountains

Age and identity

Cultural identity

The real world

Then there are the three family history series I have written here at Ancestors Within, and elsewhere. Have you seen them?


The Mill in Ossolaro part one

and part two.

Part three of The Mill in Ossolaro is continued within a Continual Journeys blog post called Why Travel?

You can also find out more about the story of the mill in my blog posts called Via the independent scholar and From Ossolaro to Australia.


The Spice of Life part one

Part two

Part three

Part four


At the Seaside part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

Part five

Returning to the right-hand column of this blog, you will see a picture of a very glamorous young woman under the heading of Australian Heritage. Her name was Mary and her husband's name was Joseph. I think that is quite an appropriate thing to mention at this time of year, though they did not have a baby called Jesus as far as I am aware!

A picture of Joseph (to the right, not the couple above!) is under the heading of Basilicata Heritage further down the column, with a family group in between called Lombardy Heritage.

Joseph and his sister Josephine were born in Australia.  Their parents were born in Basilicata. Josephine married a young man who came to Australia from Lombardy.  They became my husband's paternal grandparents.

Learn more about Josephine

Justice for Josephine

Unlocking Australia's past

Learn more about Josephine's family

Her maternal grandfather - A man from the Mezzogiorno

Her father - in search of - A better life

Her husband - Civilian internment in the Second World War

Another young man, who was born not far from where Joseph and Josephine's parents came from, may be familiar to you. He was known as Rudolf Valentino although his real name was Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Piero Filiberto Guglielmi. I think Joseph may have quite easily been a rival of his for similar roles in Hollywood, if Joe's parents had chosen a different migration destination.

We can often learn more about the lives of our own families by exploring the biographies of those who may have been more famous. My husband is not related to Rudolf Valentino as far as I am aware, though you may wish to see a photograph of the movie star on Wikipedia and compare him to Uncle Joe.

The Wikipedia article also gives an interesting background to conditions in Southern Italy during Rudolf Valentino's childhood - and perhaps it has cultural relevance to my husband's ancestry.

You may like to know that Joseph became a sailor, a dental mechanic and a very good golfer. Both he and Mary had a long and happy life together, too. I think Uncle Joe was very glad he did not become a movie star!

You will see in the right-hand column that there is a photograph entitled Belgian and British Heritage. The children look rather cold on the beach, don't they?! The picture was taken in the late 1920s, probably by their father Jack, whose own childhood is especially interesting to me:

A Carnaby Street childhood

Shadows of inheritance

1870s migration from Belgium to London

Flemish ancestors

Much of my Spice of Life series (mentioned above) also relates to Jack's family.

I have mentioned family life in a more general sense on my other three blogs and you may also find those posts useful while exploring your own family history:

A perfect afternoon tea


Family honour and freedom

Educational journeys

Imagine the sound of one world

Menial roles, higher goals and social enterprise

Stopping sectarianism


A respectful exploration of identity

Entertainment, friendship and identity

Theories of cultural identity

Special times

Virtual Via Nation

Of good moral character

Origins of family names

Uncertainty, rejection and art

World class

Quietly unfamous

Pro-social living


Another you

Naming or shaming?

I hope I have mapped my family history research quite well in this blog post. It will be one of my main reference points in the year ahead.

At the bottom of the right hand column is an In Memoriam picture of Arthur Ginn, who died at Galipolli during the First World War. The picture above that is of my husband's maternal grandmother and great grandmother, who were also on the front line at the time, but in Italy in the Veneto region.

Are your ancestors from the Veneto region of Italy, especially the Crocetta del Montello and Piave River area? Did they migrate to Australia after the First World War but before the Second World War? If so, you may like to get in touch with me and compare notes.

One of my tasks away from blogging will be to finish writing in a more private way (ie. not online) about the discoveries I have made over the past eighteen months or so, most of which have not been revealed here.  One of my biggest struggles is the fact that I do not speak any Italian, or any Italian dialect, and nor does my husband.

An introduction to my task for next year:

Amazing genealogical discoveries
(Which I have not yet had time to write about in much detail)

Well, this is a deliberately long blog post, meaning that (hopefully) I will not need to write another one for quite some time. It may also give you an indication of why I rarely have time to leave messages on other people's blogs!

Your comments on any of my posts are still welcome at any time, however, as are your email messages.

I wish you a very pleasant, peaceful and productive genealogical year in 2011.


  1. I have nominated your blog for the One Lovely Blog Award

  2. Hello Alison and thank you.

    You may also be interested in the Bisnonni Blogspot Award.



I especially appreciate historical insights.