Friday, April 18, 2014

"One of the nicest gardens in the Wimmera"

Try to imagine this photo in colour!

James Pilgrim's Garden at Winiam
Unknown child

In 1888 Alexander Sutherland wrote in the Book Victoria and its Metropolis about  "The People of Victoria, who are making a difference"

"Pilgrim , James, Winiam , was born in Essex, England, and was apprenticed
to the trade of stonemason , but meeting with an accident had to give
it up and took to gardening and farming . Coming out to Melbourne in 1862,
he tried digging at Castlemaine for four months, after which he went to
Adelaide and followed gardening and farming for four years. He carried on
farming operations on his own account at Cockatoo Valley for seven years
and at Wasley's for a similar period. Returning to Victoria in 1882 he
selected 320 acres of land in the parish of Winiam, where he has also purchased
35 acres ; he crops 200 acres and has an average yield of wheat of 12
bushels to the acre. Mr. Pilgrim, who has had charge of the Winiam
post-office for some time , has one of the nicest gardens in the Wimmera,
 fruit trees, grape vines and flowers growing luxuriantly".

James Pilgrim (kneeling in centre) and family member in the orchard at WIniam.
Unfortunately, the photo above is not good enough quality to positively identify each individual pictured.  My Great Great Grandfather, James Pilgrim, settled at Winiam in 1882 and notes indicate that it took five years to clear the land and prepare the orchard.  The trees look quite young so I would guesstimate that this photo was taken in the late 1880s or early 1890s.

1904 Country Directory
James Pilgrim and his two eldest sons (twins Bob & Bert, who were 21) were listed

Every generation since James has had a "greenthumb" but I didn't inherit that gene!

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You can read more about James Pilgrim here and here

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Seeking Sylvie

My grandmother collected cards for the "nips" to look at when they were unwell.  This folding postcard was among my grandmothers possessions.

To Eva Pilgrim from Sylvie Lord
Photographic Souvenir of Albury
Dear Eva
With Love
Sylvie Lord Xmas 1929

Albury, NSW, Australia on Google Maps 2014

Eighty Years later, I was working in Albury and decided to take photos of the images contained in the postcard.  Most of the scenes pictured in the postcard in 1929 still exist today.  The bridge over the river Murray is different as is the old hospital, but otherwise I was able to replicate the photos.

Albury  1929 vs 2009
Soldiers Monument
Avenue, Botanical Gardens
Albury 1929 vs 2009
High School
Regent Theatre
The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 8th February 1928, page 10

The school cost £26,000 to build in 1928

Albury 1929 vs 2009
Dean Street from Monument Hill
Albury 1929 vs 2009
Post Office and Globe Hotel

Albury Botanical Gardens
1929 vs 2009
The statue above has been moved as it is facing the opposite direction..  In the top photo, Monument Hill is in the background but in 2009 the statue is facing Monument Hill.
I then started to wonder more about Sylvie Lord, who sent the card to my grandmother as I had seen the name elsewhere.  I soon located a photo of her that my grandmother had taken;
"Digging out a fox burrow at Roy's
Lorna Pilgrim, Uncle Bob Pilgrim, Sylv Lord, Uncle Bert Pilgrim
Aug 1931"
Then there are other photos of Sylv Rowett.  Is Sylv Lord the same person and Sylv Rowett? 
Do you think that these photos are also the same person?  
My grandmother (centre) is 12 years old.
Dorrie Westendorf, Eva Pilgrim, Sylv Rowett
1922 Winiam Sunday School Concert - Little Pansy Faces
Eva Pilgrim & Sylv Rowett
Sylv must have been proud of her new car as my grandmother also had a photo of it.
Sylvies new car - Tallangatta
The first three photos were taken in the Nhill area, which today is about a 7 hour drive from the Albury area.  Tallangatta, where the above photo was taken, is near Albury so it seems that my grandmother's friend moved away to the Albury area or holidayed there?  Or was she originally from the Albury area but in the Nhill area temporarily?

I wondered if the word "Gulson" on the postcard was a clue?  Gulson is a car yard near Canberra but then I also found the following:
Could this be the same person who was friends with my grandmother in the 1920s?  
Sylvia Gulson (nee Lord) was born in Mitta Mitta (near Tallangatta) and lived in the Albury area until at least 1980, according to Electoral Rolls.  Francis was not listed in 1980.  Could Sylvia have remarried and taken on the surname Rowett later in life?
In researching, you should never jump to conclusions but it can be useful to follow up hypotheses,  assumptions and clues to confirm or discount information.  If Sylvia was a blood relative, I would continue to search and order the marriage certificate to find more information.

It would be good to share the photos with a family member of Sylvia.  Maybe one day someone shall read this and contact me for copies of photos.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Don't believe everything that you read

Any family history researcher has visited a lot of monuments in their search for more information.  
My one wish upon death, is to have a headstone that will last centuries so my descendants can read it!  

Winiam Cemetery - where many of those interred are related to me.
Photo taken 2009
Grave of James E Pilgrim (my great grandfather)
Winiam Cemetery
21 Aug 1950

My Great Great Grandparents Grave
Maryborough (Vic) Cemetery
Never believe everything you read.  Mistakes are made often. You will note on the headstone above, that Alexander Walker died 12th June 1930.  This is the date that the majority of family trees have recorded.

As researchers, we are taught to verify information, which is why I like to order certificates (which are often incorrect too!) .  Alexander's death certificate states he died a day earlier, 11th June 1930.

Alexander Walker death extract

The date is confirmed elsewhere on the certificate too as the death was also registered on 11th June 1930 and Alexander Walker was buried on the 13th June 1930.

When I started researching I was doing it "on the cheap" and was only interested in free information.  However, I soon found that certificates (especially Australian certificates) provide so much useful information, which is unavailable elsewhere.  Now I have a monthly budget for certificates.  So what does it cost me?  Nothing really.  I just take my lunch to work everyday instead of buying it!

In addition to the date and cause of death, the certificate also provided me with the following details (or confirmed details already held):
  • Age on Death and therefore approximate Birth Year
  • When and where buried
  • Occupation
  • Parents names (and mothers maiden name)
  • Fathers occupation
  • Religion
  • Wife and 15 Children's names and ages
  • Where Born
  • Number of Years in Australia (therefore approximate immigration date)
  • Where and When Married
  • Son's address
  • Place of Death (and residence)

Alexander Walker died at 30 Napier Street, Maryborough, Victoria
(Picture taken 2012)

Click to visit more Sepia Saturday posts.  This weeks prompt relates to statues and monuments.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

In the Backyard

The following two photos look to be the same backyard but are silent as to where and when. By looking at other "clues", I am trying to work out where they were taken. 

My Grandfather, Gordon Walker on  the left
From other photos, I recognised Reg Alford in the centre
but the man on the right remains unknown.

My Grandmother, Rita Walker nee Jones
 My grandparents were married at Ararat, Victoria on the 23rd September 1925.  You can see a wedding photo of them here.  They moved to Gippsland soon after.  Two separate newspaper articles indicate that my grandfather arrived in Yallourn in 1925, where he commenced work at the SEC (State Electricity Commission) Yallourn.

It is likely that Granddad had secured this employment prior to getting married and then my grandmother followed after they were married.

I know from the photo below that Reg (pictured in the top photo) worked with my grandfather at the SEC in the 1920s.  Reg was born in the Gippsland area so it is unlikely that the top photo is in the Stawell area.  My grandfather worked at the SEC until 1948, when he commenced a business with Wally Bennie, also pictured below.

I think my grandfather looks slightly older in the photo below but it is hard to tell? What do you think?
1920s SECV Yallourn Workshop Carpenters and Joiners
Gordon Walker is front row, second from left
Reg Alford is beside him, second from right.
In December 1926 my Aunty was born at Yallourn.  In the photo below, I think my grandfather looks about the same age as the top photo?  However the wooden walls look to be different to the top photo.
Gordon Walker with Phyllis Walker
early 1927
I have been through all my photos and  there is only one other picture that could be the same fence as the top two photos;

Gordon's brother, Frank Walker
 & his wife Edna and son Robert.

I know that my grandparents lived in Yallourn (now an open cut) in 1931.
1931 Electoral Roll:  Source

So back to the photo above of Nanna.  Is she pregnant?  This would certainly help me date the photo. I zoomed in but cannot tell for sure.  However she is seated and holding her hand on her stomach so could be?  There are no children to be seen in either of the two photos.  

I cannot be certain, but I hypothesise that the first two photos were taken in 1925/1926 at Yallourn.

To finish, I include a photo,  from many years later (also undated but pre Sept 1973),  of my grandparents in a backyard that I do remember.

Gordon & Rita Walker
lived at 89 Lloyd Street, Moe from 1936.

Sepia Saturday is great to prompt research of photos and family that you may not have otherwise.
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