Friday, October 23, 2009
From the Melbourne Argus, 18 March 1939. My great Uncle, George Patten, speaking on behalf of black Australia, a few days after the arrest of his brother, Jack (my grandfather), at Cummeragunja.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Over the next few weeks I’ll be presenting a series of articles. Each will be among those that I’ve found relating to various ancestors whose lives have been recorded in some small way, in the online newspaper archives of the National Library of Australia.
Due to the poor quality of some of the article scans, I’ll be reproducing the transcripts that I’ve placed onto the archive site.
In chronological order, I'll begin by posting the articles relating to the struggles at Cummeragunja (various spelling variants), and the eventual walk-off by a majority of the residents following my grandfather's arrest.
The following article is from the Melbourne Argus, Saturday - 4 March, 1939.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
As per usual, I’m late with my reply to the ‘Saturday Night Genealogy Fun’, as has been dished up by Randy Seaver over on his blog, but as everyone knows; it’s never too late to have fun!
In his latest offering, Randy asked:
1) Pick one of your four great-grandparents - if possible, the one with the most descendants.
2) Create a descendants list for those great-grandparents either by hand or in your software program.
3) Tell us how many descendants, living or dead, are in each generation from those great-grandparents.
4) How many are still living? Of those, how many have you met and exchanged family information with? Are there any that you should make contact with ASAP? Please don't use last names of living people for this - respect their privacy.
5) Write about it in your own blog post, in comments to this post, or in comments or a Note on Facebook.
1. I’ve chosen my great grandparent’s on my direct paternal line, John James PATTEN b. 1874 – d. 1942, and Christina Mary MIDDLETON b. 1885 – d. 1954.
2. I made a descendant chart in Family Tree Maker 2006 (I’ve tried every later version, and still prefer 2006).
3. Their descendants, as best as I can tell, number in each generation as follows:
1. Children: 16 (none living, last died in 1983)
2. Grand Children: 26
3. Great Grand Children: 39
4. 2 x Great Grand Children: 37
5. 3 x Great Grand Children: 5
4. With every generation there are gaps yet to be filled. Records have clearly pointed to my great parents having had 16 children, with only 6 of those having reached adulthood, but I can find records naming only 11 of the children.
The grand children are easiest to trace, but I know that there are still gaps in this generation.
I’ve met most of those that are still living, from each generation.
A busy few weeks, I’ve been dividing my time between work, studies and calm birth classes (we’re currently at week 29), so there hasn’t been a lot of time for genealogy. Despite that, I have slipped in a few moments here and there, including some time dedicated to helping a friend with her own research inquiry.
I’ve been digging through New South Wales and Victorian Police and Government Gazettes among other files, hoping to find traces of my great grandfather, and I’ve had some success, although, as expected I didn’t come across his photo anywhere.
Apparently, a photo of my great grandfather at one stage was on the wall of the police station at West Wyalong, in Western NSW, where he served as a tracker, but today there appears to be no trace. Hopefully that photo still exists, somewhere, and hasn’t been thrown out, like many photos are, ever so thoughtlessly.
My favourite site for research at the moment is the Australian newspapers website http://newspapers.nla.gov.au I’ve been checking it out, on and off since its inception, but until recently it has been of very limited use, containing a limited number of newspapers, focused on a particular swag of years, which are less than helpful.
That however has been changing lately with the introduction of Argus newspapers from Melbourne, and a greater number of files from the Canberra Times. In the last two days I’ve also noticed that the Sydney Morning Herald files for late 1842 to about 1846 (possibly further) are also coming online, once they have been checked for quality.
The Argus files have been a goldmine, with many articles dedicated to both my grandfather, “Jack” John Thomas PATTEN and his younger brother George Middleton PATTEN. Most articles relate to the Cummeragunja Walk-Off of 1939, the Aboriginal Day of Mourning, and both brothers speaking about Aboriginal Australia, pushing for citizen’s rights and for a chance to determine their own futures. In addition, I also found a few mentions of George having been an actor in a play.
I’ve yet to really find much on my mother’s side of the family in the archive, but I’m sure that I’ll be more successful as more editions of the Sydney newspapers and those from Western NSW come online.