Wednesday, 12 December 2018

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Week 52 Prompt: ‘Resolution'

Week 52  Prompt: Resolution

My New Year’s Resolution for 2019, is to follow the learnings of the course below, in my family history research this year.

( I wrote this entry below in April 2015)

Just prior to Christmas 2014 - an advertisement on the Tassie Facebook page caught my eye for a free University Course being held online from The Uni of Tasmania named “HSP 105 Introduction to Family History”.   It was only for 9 weeks over the Summer Semester running from 08 Dec 2014 to 13 Feb 2015. 

The Unit objectives included:

  • Understand family history planning, research, and recording
  • Evaluate primary and secondary sources of information
  • Conduct genealogical investigations
  • Analyze genealogical problems and develop plans for solving them
  • Present the findings of your applied genealogical work. 

On reading these I thought It sounded really good - after all, wasn’t I already doing most of them?  I thought it would be interesting to do some study on the subject and hoped to learn some good new ways to break down some brick walls.

Although we would be slowly travelling down south to Victoria by car when the course started, my husband and I both decided to enroll.   It might be hard going back to Uni. study, but we would help each other. We packed our laptops with our own current family history information, memory sticks, backup hard drives, and power cords. 

Hobart city in the foreground. Hobart Uni Campus is below the Casino tower R Foreground.

Apparently, Uni. of Tas was swamped with people interested - and thousands enrolled.  However, out of us all, I think there were only about 550 who finished.   
This online way of study is really taking off and is available all over the world now. 

We had no idea of what involvement there would be.  The course outline had suggested 4-5 hours study per week, but once we got to Melbourne and heavily into the course it would have been at least that much per day !!

We had to learn first of all how to navigate the University study site - online student centre, e-student email and the catacombs of the MyLO (My Learning Online) environment.  Luckily there are service desks and Info. Tech. assistants on hand to help !

Dr. Dianne Snowden was our Coordinator and was a very helpful, learned researcher.  Those who went down to the conference recently in Canberra may have met her. 
Dianne Snowden joint authored ‘Patchwork Prisoners’ about the convicts on the ‘Rajah’ and making the Rajah Quilt. 
We were given weekly topics in the MyLO units content and discussions.  We needed to view the lectures and/or video interviews with well-known researchers about the topic then read the recommended texts.  Any recommended resources had to be read or checked and then complete the related self-tests online. 
We were divided up into groups of about 20 students with a dedicated mentor. We could discuss in the group how we were going or any questions or relevant info we had. This was important as at the end of the course we had to comment on how our weekly posts and replies in the group discussions had helped others and added positively to the topic
There were also other ‘Discussion’ areas we could join in - such as - Technical, Weeks topic, DNA, Brick Walls, etc. - that were all very interesting.  However, with thousands of posts it was too overwhelming to participate in many, plus get all the work done.  
The course covered many topics:

Week 1: Introduction and getting started - family information, evidence, trees, charts, forms, logs. 

Week 2: Oral History.  Plan an Oral History interview with a family member.  Types of questions, Interview, Record the interview and then write up.

Week 3: Planning your Research.  Aim, List of repositories and records to use for conducting research.  Primary and Secondary sources. Critical evaluation. The Research Process.   With your plan include a completed Ancestral Chart up to current knowledge using info from your oral interview.

Week 4: Conducting your Research.  Follow a methodical Research process. Tips on Research and evaluating sources. Critically analyze genealogical problems. Develop plans for solving them .

Week 5:  Maps and supporting materials. Reading handwriting.  More Problem Solving. Overcoming Brick Walls. Timelines. Mis-transcription. 

Week 6:  Discussions and further Problem solving.

Weeks 7 & 8: Presenting your family history - reunions, creative presentations, traditional, books, online blogs and presentations.  Guides to writing Family History. Preservation of materials.

Week 9:  Presentation of our Research Report.  Becoming an Independent Researcher.  Family History Groups. Introduction to Convict Research. 

By about week 6 we had returned home which made it a lot easier to study and check our own manual information.

So, the big day arrived when we had to post our final project.  We had to write a report of our genealogical investigation, using all the tools we had been taught.  The report had to include the aim, sources, a biographical report of 1000 words including conclusion.  There had to be an ancestral chart completed for the relevant individuals and a completed Family Group Sheet for the main selected individual.  All of the sources had to be defined as Primary or Secondary. All due on Friday the 13th !! of February.

We had passed the other assignments during this first unit - but this was the one we had put all our time into and fashioned into a University standard works of art with referencing, etc.  What a relief for us both to finally get it finished.

And wouldn’t you believe it - I hadn’t been able to find a birth certificate or baptismal record for my main individual - and a week after we handed in the assignment, I had a reply email from a church in Melbourne I had given up on. They had found the baptismal record proving that none of the secondary sources of information stating his birth date were correct, in fact I don’t think he would have even known his own real birthday, himself!

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 51 Prompt: ‘Nice'

Week 51 Prompt:  'Nice'

I think for this prompt I will write up a couple of 'nice' memories that come to mind. I can always add more later.

When my mother and father were having a house built out on the new orchard in Grahamvale, Victoria the builder asked my mother if she wanted the cut-out piece of timber from the sink space to use as a kitchen board.  Her answer was "Yes please" and the photo shows the result.   
What a great way to obtain a pastry board - part of your own kitchen - can't imagine that happening today
On looking at it I can see that the builder/carpenter also 'prettied' it up a bit by cutting our circular corners, possibly to match the starter holes for sawing the rectangle. 

There are old red rubber stoppers screwed into the four corners of the base to keep it from slipping - they are in the early stages of perishing.  

I do not know what timber it is - I thought pine by the colour - but it is a little heavier than I would have thought pine would be.  Will have to look at what timbers builders were using for kitchen structures around 1948.  Did they use Tassie Oak?  I love this board as I can immediately see us kids, all of us girls in aprons - 'pinnies', helping Mum knead dough for bread, roll and cut out scones.  
If it was pastry then the left over bits we could roll in to long sausage twirls with a little homemade jam in the middle - a real treat.  The smells arise straight away and my tummy rumbles.  
The glass rolling pin - these were common then and there is always some flour attached on the inside !  It is heavy glass sealed at one end and with a strong cork at the other - I believe you could put cold or hot water in to assist with the process of rolling that you required at the time. I imagine cold water in Summer and maybe warmer in winter !  I have never tried this - will have to experiment.
I just love the memories that come with these household articles that I have inherited.

Pre-school days I would have been about 3 or 4 years old. We have this beautiful big Collie dog called “Lassie” and she will let me ride her around the yard.  We go up to the gate together, about 100 yards, to meet my older brother and sister in the afternoon when they return home from school. They hop off their bikes and we all walk home together next to the irrigation channel beside the road.  When it is too hot and dusty, we wade through the water cooling  off and squeezing the mud between our toes like happy little piglets.  

Remembering now what it was like as  a child - I recognize that we had a good childhood - living in the country - on an orchard, with our pets, the dogs, cats, hens and chickens.  School was a rideable distance from home.  We all travelled in a posse as the kids from different families turned off to their own homes along the way.  We were the last ones on our road.

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 50 Prompt: ‘Naughty'

Week 50  Prompt: ‘Naughty’

When my sister (Fran) and I were young girls living on the orchard in Grahamvale  Victoria, we celebrated Christmas as a family affair at home in the morning and later with the extended Pearce families.  Santa Claus filled our little unbleached calico sewn stockings that Mum had made, with netting fronts and our names penned at the top.  There were nuts in shells and some sweets, little paper blowing trumpets or tin animal clickers, and nice big fruit. We had Christmas presents under the decorated tree from Mum and Dad and each other.  FIne glass trimmings were handed down the family. Coloured concertina Chinese paper lanterns hung around the Big Room amidst streamers we had made.
The rest of the day we went out to the original Pearce orchard where matriarch Grandma Pearce lived with  Aunty Tibbie, Uncle Jim and Aunty Muriel and children next door and Aunty Ray and Uncle Ray down the road a bit with their family Jim and Isobel.

The Oaktree seedling Grandma and Grandpa had brought out from Scotland in 1912, was now a large spreading tree and was decorated with coloured light bulbs and streamers each year. We all shared Christmas lunch and leftovers for dinner.  I can remember Aunty Muriel telling us kids to go away for a bit when they were preparing the meal.  She was cutting up the chicken and I reached for a fragment (as Mum let us) and she brought her carving knife down just short of my finger – making a definite point that stayed in my mind forever.  The kids ran free and swam in the channel.  In the evening, once dark, we were handed presents from the tree, including the orchard workers still around.

The Pearce Christmas tree all lit up for gift time


However, one year we learned of a different celebration. We had a family emigrated from Holland who came to live over the road.  They invited Fran and me to attend their Dutch Club Christmas celebrations in the lead up to Christmas day.

And so, we met ‘Black Peter’ for the first time.  An energetic young fellow with painted black face and hands. It was explained to us that he dealt with the children who had not been good during the year.  We were petrified of him and remembered all the naughty things we had done the past year.  He ran down the street ahead of the truck with St Nicholas on it. He took some of the boys aside and spoke to them.  We were so relieved when he didn’t come to us.

‘Taking away the naughty children’,  Source: J. Schenkman 1885.

St Nicholas’ truck stopped at the hall and he handed out gifts to us all – Fran and I were surprised that we were included (I don’t know how that happened still). 
I received a wonderful little china doll’s tea-set in a pretty box and loved it. I treasured it so much over the years. When I had my own first daughter I eventually reneged and let her play with it.  She did love it too, but gradually pieces broke or went missing until there was only a little cup, saucer and jug left.  All well and truly gone now – but the memory of being thought of so sweetly on that day lives on.
As well as not being naughty so ‘Black Peter’ doesn’t come after me.

Some information about St Nicholas and ‘Black Peter’(Zwarte Piet)


According to Hélène Adeline Guerber and others,[3][4] the origin of Sinterklaas and his helpers has been linked by some to the Wild Hunt of Odin. Riding the white horse Sleipnir, he flew through the air as the leader of the Wild Hunt. He was always accompanied by two black ravens, Huginn and Muninn.[5] These helpers would listen, just like Zwarte Piet, at the chimney, which was just a hole in the roof at that time, to tell Odin about the good and bad behavior of the mortals below.[6][7]
The introduction of Zwarte Piet did coincide, by and large, with a change in the attitude of the already existing Sinterklaas character, who had been quite severe towards bad children himself, and had in fact often been presented as a bogeyman when he was still a solitary character;[9] moreover, some of the same terrifying characteristics that were later associated with his servant Zwarte Piet were often attributed to Saint Nicholas himself.[13] The depiction of a holy man in this light was troubling to both teachers and priests. Sometime after the introduction of Zwarte Piet as Sinterklaas' servant, both characters adopted a softer character.[14]
The lyrics of older traditional Sinterklaas songs, still sung today, warn that while Sinterklaas and his assistant will leave well-behaved children presents, they will punish those who have been very naughty. For example, they will take bad children and carry these children off in a burlap sack to their homeland of Spain, where, according to legend, Sinterklaas and his helper dwell out of season. These songs and stories also warn that a child who has been only slightly naughty will not get a present, but a "roe", which is a bundle of birch twigs, implying that they could have gotten a birching instead, or they will simply receive a lump of coal instead of gifts.
Reference:Wikipedia: ‘Zwarte Piet,, Accessed 09 December 2018.

The history of Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, and  Zwarte Piet.
The Dutch Sinterklaas looks at first glance very much like Father Christmas. On closer inspection though, Sinterklaas is a tall skinny serious-looking bloke with a long white beard and a miter on his head wearing a floor-length red robe over a pontifical dress - which makes sense because he is actually a bishop.
On his birthday, the 5th of December, he hands out presents to all the Dutch children that have been good. Adults get nothing.
He precedes the American-led legend of Father Christmas or Santa by about 50 years, having been introduced in the 1850s in the United States by Dutch immigrants.
Sinterklaas is more stern than Father Christmas. Not only does he cut a statelier figure, he is also a grounded man who transports himself on a white horse, not reindeer.
While he does ride the Dutch rooftops at night to deliver the presents through the chimneys - a feat in itself for such an old man - you won’t catch him flying through the air with a bunch of reindeer (who are notoriously untamable) in a magical sleigh.
Their outfits are Renaissance in style, complete with bright colourful fabrics and tight tights and puffy pants. Black make-up is painted thickly on their faces.
Adorned with black curly wigs, big golden earrings and red lipstick, the Zwarte Piets jump around throwing candy (pepernoten) into the crowds and generally play silly buggers with everyone, except for with Sinterklaas – who is their boss, and they, his helpers.
The key difference in the blackface debate come to his helpers: Father Christmas has an army of elf helpers, Sinterklaas has servants - black servants. (Some say from the Moors, others from going down the chimneys. 
As the tradition of 'Sinterklaas' or 'St Nick's Day' is celebrated ... by Dutch nationals all around the world, the topic of Santa's sidekick, the blackface character known as 'Zwarte Piet' or 'Black Pete', continues to divide the Dutch community - even in Australia.  It now causes quite a commotion with Anti-Racist riots due to the wording ‘Black’ and the painting of the faces.
[St Nick's] servants are all, without exception, called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), which many people still proudly dress up as every year.
In the Dutch legend, Sinterklaas actually lives in Spain, and the Zwarte Pieten are ‘Moors’ who live in Spain. Once a year he gets on a steamboat and sails to the Netherlands to celebrate his birthday with all his Zwarte Pieten.

Monday, 10 December 2018

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 49 Prompt: 'Winter'

Week 49 Prompt: 'Winter'

Snow covered train in Saskatchewan 1947.  Photo by Krista Wilson, posted on Pinterest, 'Saskatchewan my home',

"In Saskatchewan, a train was halted in a blizzard that raged from, Jan 31 - Feb 09, 1947.  The train was then buried completely by a snowdrift, 1 km long and 36.7ft deep.  It was called the worst recorded winter conditions in the railroads recorded history.  All roads into Regina were also blocked in with snow as was all of Saskatchewan, and the rest of the prairies didn't fare much better either.  Many people were trapped in their homes for over a week."

Winter always reminds me of my second cousin - Melvin Pearce who had described the freezing snow of Canada, to me.  My Aunt Tibbie had organized for me to be his pen friend when I was at secondary school.  We wrote for a couple of years and then I heard no more from him.  I later found out that he had died in a home accident.

Melvin had told me that he had a hen house and run, and was proud of his hens and having eggs to collect for the family.  He sent me some photos of the henhouse - possibly lost now :(        I will keep a watch out and post if I find them.

Winter had been freezing and now the weather was warmer, the hens were laying well again.  But apparently the eggs were going missing and one night he went out with his gun to shoot the suspect fox.  However, something went wrong, and he was accidentally shot dead by himself. 

This was a great shock to me.  Melvin was two years older than I was and was sixteen years old when he died. Death of a friend was not a common thing for me at that age, and it left a lasting impression. I wanted to leave a remembrance to Melvin on my blog.

RIP Melvin Pearce: 02 May 1944 - 19 Jun 1960. 

Melvin’s family background: 
His grandfather was James Arthur Pearce (Jim) a younger brother of my grandfather George Francis Pearce who was 18 years older.
Jim was born 04 Sep 1881 in Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, Scotland.
He married Margaret Helen MANN, daughter of  Allan Mann and Sarah HEARST in Canada. Sarah was born 05 May 1890 in St. Joe Township, Nth Dakota, USA.
Jim died seven years after his grandson on 04 Jun 1967, age 86 years and Margaret died 21 May 1978 age 88 years.


Jim had left Scotland as a 22-year-old young man and arrived in 1904, settling in Tisdale, Saskatchewan. He became a farmer there.  The family corresponded with their niece Aunty Tibbie in Australia, who was a  prolific letter writer all her life. 
At wintertime, they wrote that they were completely snowed in.  I couldn't imagine what that was like from here in the area I lived in, in Victoria as it was never cold enough for us to have snowfalls.

Jim and Margaret had a son Ronald Stuart Pearce born about 1916 in Saskatchewan. (He died sometime after 1974).
Ronald was the father of Melvin Pearce.  (I have not yet researched the rest of the family yet, so have not discovered who Ronald's wife was or if they had any other children.  I don't think Melvin had mentioned any.)

History of Tisdale:
English explorer Henry Kelsey passed through this area in 1690 during his exploration of the Carrot River.

The post office of Tisdale, provisional District of Saskatchewan, North West Territories was created on February 1, 1904. The community was originally known as "Doghide" after the Doghide River that flows through the town, but with the arrival of the railway, the community was renamed "Tisdale" in honour of F.W. Tisdale, an employee of the Canadian Northern Railway.[3]

So it would seem that Jim may have been an early settler there.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 48, Prompt: ‘Next to Last'

Week 48 Prompt:  'Next to Last'

The last thing we do is die, so I want to thank my mother again before that happens.

In Memory of MY MUM xx - Lilian Agnes Pearce née Cottam
 24.08.1913 - 02.08.1996 

When I think of my mother (and I do often) - my brow softens, my face relaxes, I smile and I have a big sigh.  
I love my mum and always will - she was my mainstay for most of my life.  
She was calm, unbiased, honest, loyal, dedicated, thoughtful and loving,  
She was always a very hard worker, especially on the orchard and taught us to be the same. 
Our brother was her favourite I think - not that it mattered as we were Daddy's little girls.  
One strong memory I have is of her leaning over the basin in the laundry on the verandah at Grahamvale - washing her long hair.  It was the only time we saw it out loose. She would then go out into the sunshine and brush it dry - how it shone. Then back into 2 plaits and once again coil it up around her head.  I don't think she had it cut short until we moved to town in the late '50s.  Then it was my turn to set her hair in rollers !  
My mother suffered - she spent many years sick from her 40's through to her 60's but then thank heavens seemed to settle into a healthier place. 
I was the one closest to home and she loved it when any of us were with her.  
My mother was a letter writer.  She wrote religiously every week to my brother away at college in the city. And she was always so excited when his letters arrived back.  She would call us in and read them out to us. When I left home, she wrote to me or phoned me every weekend. (By then phones were accepted for general use).  
She missed my brother and sister who moved overseas to live permanently - and continued her weekly corresponding.  Her letters were not fanciful or clever but in a nice way - mundane - telling of the week's doings - so it was more the finding of them in the letterbox with that beautiful script that touched our heartstrings.  Often, she put in a little cutting from the local newspaper she thought we would be interested in.  Later when we had children, she included little puzzles and colour-in pictures for them.  
I love that I was able to visit her quite a bit in later years and grew very close to her. My husband and I could do little things for her to make her life easier and return all the favours I owed.  
She loved me to massage her back which often ached, and she would lay there whilst we nattered, and I rubbed.  
She spent a lot of her time in her latter years on her old Singer sewing machine doing voluntary mending for the Blue Nurses Nursing Home and patients.

There is so much more I could tell you about my darling Mum - but I will leave it there for the time being

Love you and miss you Mum x

Thursday, 22 November 2018

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 47 Prompt:’Thankful'

Week 47: 'Thankful'

This prompt causes me to think of everyone and everything that has helped me in my genealogical journey
Giving me information, word of mouth stories, photos, books, records, and diaries.
Through this, I have made wonderful discoveries – Uncle Claude Palmer’s autobiographical notes; Wills for Shanks family members; photos of some of my great-grandparents (and other relatives) so I now know what they looked like -which is just so magical. 

I am thankful for all the resources now available on the internet. It has made research so much easier and with so much less travel.  I am thankful to all the willing and supportive helpers at my local Family History Society and for all those new friends on Facebook Genealogical and Family History sites. 

I am thankful to my brother who started research years ago and continued in his travels of Great Britain.  He left a large package of Family History documents for me.  Also, my Aunt Tibbie who wrote stories of the Pearce family.  My cousins - Jim who provided documents and his sister Isobel who has so many family photos.  Bev and George also supplied photos and oral stories, as did Lorraine and Wal, and on my mother’s side – Rosemary, my cousin in Tasmania.  Other family members have been interested and supported me in my ventures. My sister Frances in the USA - I check some of my memories with, as it is reassuring to both be on the same page, or to hear her version of things, after all, she was on the earth 3 years before me, so knew the older family members before I could.

Thank You all


Friday, 16 November 2018

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 46, Prompt: 'Random Facts'

Week 46 Prompt: Random Facts

I never knew that I had relatives who lived in and around Wales – the Monmouth area.
In 2004, my brother was on a retreat and caretaking a house in Wales for an English friend.  He suffered from Myasthenia Gravis and on deteriorating took himself to the hospital in Abergavenny where he unexpectedly died not long after on 09 October.  He was 63 years old and had been ill intermittently for a few years.  
Neville Hill Hospital, Abergavenny, Wales

So, when I was researching and found that my grandmother Palmer Mum’s mother’s side of the family originally came from Ross on Wye and lived in and around that area, I felt like my brother had completed a family circle. Wales/Herefordshire to Australia and back to Wales.


My grandmother Violet Palmer and I also have something in common.  I only found out on a Trove search (good old Trove).
When I was four years old, I had a machinery accident.  My family was visiting an orange orchard near Mildura, the Vic/NSW border.  My sister and I were in the packing shed and should have been safe there as we had a similar environment at home.  However, being a bit bored whilst the adults talked, we started getting rid of the foliage caught at the feeding end of the grader.  Next minute my left arm was dragged into the machine through the rotating cogs. 
It could not be removed so they had to reverse the machine and support it coming out.  What a mangled mess – hanging together by some skin.  Mum held my tightly wrapped arm on her lap and cuddled me as best she could in the front seat of our Holden car. As we were nowhere near a doctor Dad drove frantically to a town where one was available, and he checked my arm. Bleeding was stopped, and bandages applied with a splint. I guess I was given painkillers too.
Then Dad raced back to Mooroopna Hospital near Shepparton and Dr Dickman operated on me.  He saved my arm from amputation – apparently, I was in theatre for hours. He was a brilliant surgeon to be working in a country hospital and I was very lucky to have him.

Thus, to come across the following article in Trove was a real surprise as no-one had ever mentioned it – and maybe didn’t know.

“A little girl two years of age, the daughter of Mr. A.S. Palmer, of Jindivick, had her right hand nearly cut off by a chaff cutter which she and her brothers were playing on Friday evening last. She was attended on Saturday morning by Dr. Herberts. of Warragul, and under his able treatment there is every reason to hope that her hand will soon be all right again, although, at first sight, the doctor thought amputation would be necessary.”

Trove. Violet Palmer accident - Warragul Guardian, Thursday, Nov 17, 1881. Page 2 Article.

Grandma Violet Palmer (Crop from wedding photo, Jan 1904)

Friday, 9 November 2018

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 45, Prompt: 'Bearded'

Week 45 Prompt: Bearded

Meet George Shanks and his full beard

This week I am introducing my great, great, uncle: Mr. George Shanks of Poyntzpass, Co Down, Northern Ireland. He has great fluffy white whiskers and a pleasant face- he would make a rather good ‘Father Christmas’ don't you think?

I cropped this photo from the family one below.  I only received it a year ago from a relative in Victoria and I was so thrilled as I have very little personal information about the Shanks family and have been desperately following all leads trying to attain more, especially photographs.

Now to tell you a little about George.   He was born about 1836 (estimated from death certificate age) as the fifth child of Samuel SHANKS and Margaret SHANKS. He had eight siblings, - Seven sisters and one brother.
Namely: Eliza, Mary, Martha, Agnes, Samuel, Sarah, Margaret, and Rebecca. 
His sister, Eliza the oldest in the family is my gg grandmother.

The Shanks family lived in the Townland of Lisnabrague and it seemed that George stayed there all his life, however on his son's (John) wedding registration in America it shows George and Eliza as being members of the household. I will have to research this further to see if they ventured overseas to attend the wedding.

Lisnabrague is a beautiful rich farming area of 563 Acres on the outskirts of Poyntzpass town, spreading across towards Loughbrickland.  Found in the Civil Parish of Aghaderg, the Barony of Iveagh Upper, Upper Halfand the Province of Ulster. The Poor Law Union: Banbridge.

Bann road, Lisnabrague 
which runs between the original farms of the Shanks' families
 Source: The Newsletter of Poyntzpass Family History Association

The Irish name for Lisnabrague is Lios Rátha Bréige.  There is some confusion over the meaning/origin of the name but it seems it could be: 'enclosure of the fort of the deceit' to do with the playfulness and stories of fairies. 

Map sketch of Lisnabrague and area
Source: The Newsletter of Poyntzpass Family History Association

In his thirty-second year, George married Eliza ALLEN, 25, daughter of James ALLEN and Mary Jane GLASSEY, on 10 Jun 1868 in Ballymore, Armagh, Ireland.

Source: Marriage Registration details from Ancestry
NB: The witnesses are Margaret Shanks - George’s sister and  David Irwin who were married a month earlier in the same year, 1868.


George SHANKS and Eliza ALLEN had seven boys and one girl, reversing the boy/girl ratio totally from the family George grew up in.

1.Samuel James born 19 Apr 1869. He died 09 Apr 1904.

2.John born 28 Apr 1871.

3.George  born 06 Apr 1873. He died aged 2, in 1875.

4.Margaret  (Maggie) born 29 Sep 1876.

5.William George born 24 Mar 1879. He married Salisbury Buchanan FLEMING Q2  1917 in Belfast.  He died on 11 Mar 1952 in 'Rose Cottage', Lisnabrague  

6.David Allen born 04 Jun 1881. He married Mary J Johnston about 1905. He died 23 Jan 1958 in Granville, Bradford, Pennsylvania, USA.

7. Thomas Henry born about 1886. He died in 1978.

8. Robert Charles born Q2 1888 (Army Records).

George and Eliza Shanks & family
 Photo may have been at Samuel's wedding Q4 1899 as they are wearing floral lapels.
 Those present could be:
Back row:   Samuel James, Maggie, William George
Middle row David Allen, George, Eliza 
Front row, seated: Thomas Henry, Robert Charles.


The census of 31 Mar 1901 for Lisnabrague shows George is now 65 years old. Eliza is 56 and they have 5 children with them. Maggie 24yo, down to Wm George 12yo.    (John had emigrated to the US and married in 1894 over there.  Samuel James married in 1899 and lived at East Belfast.)  

George lived only another 4 years after the census dying on 17 Aug 1905, aged 69, at home in Lisnabrague, leaving his wife and family.  His son William George was present. 

Death Registration for George Shanks


In the 1911 Census, Eliza his widow is still living at the farm in Lisnabrgue with two of her family - Maggie now 34 and William George 32.  They also have a servant living with them - 16yo Christopher Stevenson. 

NB: I am currently sorting through all the Shanks families of this area of Northern Ireland with other Shanks descendants around the world. The Shanks name derived from Cruikshanks or Crookshanks. (Must be why I am having trouble with my legs!)
 As yet we have not been able to go back far enough with facts to verify the connection.  Some of us are having DNA tests to try and find the links.  I would love to hear from any other Shanks descendants as we tease our way through the tapestry threads.