Sunday, 28 April 2013

Roman toes

Now I doubt that this cartoon doing the rounds of the internet would stand up to the scrutiny of the History Cold Case team (although, maybe they could add it to their repertoire!), it's still a bit of fun. I've methodically and very scientifically surveyed my family (like this: "Hey, what shape are your toes??" followed by a stunned silence) and come up with the following results:

Both of my parents have Roman toes, and so do 3 of their 5 children. The other 2 have Egyptian, even though we don't have anybody that wasn't of English, Irish, or Scottish origin for the past 300 years. So the Romans invading/settling Britain (depends on your perspective I guess, whether you ask the current Aussies or the Aboriginals for example) must have really influenced our feet. How the Egyptian bit got into the mix I have no clue.

My husband also has Egyptian toes, but both our daughters have Roman toes like me. Is one type more genetically dominant??

I wonder if the Egyptians have Egyptian toes and the Italians have Roman toes????

A Convict In The Family?

On Saturday 13 April I went to the Museum of Sydney for the opening of Mine Konakci's exhibition A Convict In The Family? It was wonderful to hear Mine speak about her inspiration for the photographs, and it was fun to spot the faces in the crowd who were also featured in Mine's photos. I saw another two photos that are linked to families that I am researching for friends, the Butt(s) and Cable families, but didn't get a chance to speak to the subjects. One lady I did catch was Anne, who is descended from a convict also named Anne (there were two with matching names of the 40 images). Her ancestor was a convict of the Second Fleet's Neptune, and my 5xg-grandfather James BRACKENRIG, was a soldier on the same ship, which arrived in 1790. Anne's ancestor went on to marry another soldier off the Neptune. I wonder if there was any power imbalance in those relationships that started in such sad and possibly violent circumstances.

The exhibition is related to a previous blog post that I wrote in October 2012.

Here I am with Mine's photo of me

Missing headstones and Michael Caton's inspiration to me

I loved watching the Michael Caton episode of Who Do You Think You Are last week. His ancestor was friends with the bushranger, Thunderbolt, who is buried at Uralla Old Cemetery, right near my ggg-grandfather, Henry CRUCKSHANK and his wife Sarah Brownlow DIXON.

Michael's ancestor ended his days at an asylum in Sydney, and was buried in an unmarked grave there, along with many others. What struck a chord with me is that Michael left a small stone behind to show that someone had been there - I presume this is the basis of the same Jewish tradition. Many times I've searched for the final resting place of an ancestor, and bemoaned the fact there was no marker of any kind there eg Julia MOONEY (nee HOWE) at Campbell's Hill, Maitland, and Esther BIGGE (formerly SALAMON SPENCER FITZ STUBBS & counting!). When I win Lotto I'll put up headstones for every ancestor that's missing theirs. I think I'll take a leaf from Michael Caton's book and go to the site anyway, and give thanks to that ancestor for giving me life, because without them I wouldn't be here today. And to let them know that they're still in the thoughts (of at least one!) of their descendants.

So I'll have to plan a day to Sydney to look at the grass where quite a number of my people are buried. Luckily it's only an hour away, but then a lot of traipsing around each cemetery. A few years ago now another Cruckshank descendant and I did a weekend trip to Uralla to visit Henry & Sarah's grave, which took 5 hours/420kms. It was about this time of year, and the weather was perfect.

Henry's brother, Frederick CRUICKSHANK (yes, spelled differently), is buried out on a property he worked on at Gostwyck on the Salisbury Plains, right near the gorgeous All Saints Chapel, and his headstone is laying flat now and gets covered over with every flood, when there aren't sheep or cows walking all over it. His isn't the only grave on that property but only one of two stones visible - the other one has fallen over on it's face, or else it's so badly weathered it's now illegible. A few of us would love to have it moved to be near Henry's grave at Uralla. Do we leave him to rest there with the stone, or move the stone so that it's not completely buried and never to be seen again by anyone? Fred and his wife Helen Brownlow DIXON (yes, 2 brothers married 2 sisters) had no children, so it's Henry's descendants that would be able to visit. Presuming the property owners and Uralla Council were to give permission. Hmmmmm, what to do.