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News > Presidents Blog > From the President - Apr 2010

From the President - Apr 2010

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1. Societies, Family and ANZAC Day

What a busy month April has been, first with Easter and then Anzac Day. In between these two important events Ralph and I squeezed in a private trip to Victoria which included a Family Reunion and a visit the Genealogical Society of Victoria (GSV) Library.  

GSV

After an email to Alan Fincher, one of the people I met at the AFFHO Congress in Auckland last year, he arranged for me to meet a number of people who are involved in a variety of roles at GSV. It was good to see how another Society operates and to discuss a variety of issues that are common to family history societies. Everyone was very willing to share information and I came away with a lot of good ideas.

While Alan was showing me how their catalogue works I typed in my Mum's maiden name, Diggins, and lo and behold there were many references to Diggins in Gaffney's Creek - the area where my ancestors lived! Just before I left for the day I finally had a moment to look at the book .... to my amazement I found a sketch of my great great grandfather! I didn't have any photos of him - how lucky can you get!

The GSV Library is very conveniently situated in Collins St in the centre of Melbourne and my visit was very worthwhile. Did you know that WAGS have reciprocal rights with a number of family history societies? Just take your current membership card as proof that you are a financial member of WAGS. Likewise we often have members from other societies visiting the WAGS Library. Each Library contains unique information that is relevant to that area and like my visit you never know what you will find!

Family Reunion

The main reason for the visit to Victoria was a family reunion! We only heard about the family gathering two weeks before the date and it was for the descendants of my great grandfather's brother. We thought this opportunity to meet new relatives was too good to let pass, and we did have the same great great grandparents! So after a phone call we were invited!

This reunion was on my Dad's side of the family (the Greene family) and there were about 50 family members present. Our contact was, Bernie, a wonderful person we met a few years ago (by leaving flowers on a grave in Ballarat ... but that's another story). We thought he would be the only person we would know at the picnic but it turned out there was someone else there that I had met in Perth about 50 years ago!

I was amazed that quite few people knew the names of our great great grandparents, Simon and Sara, who arrived in Victoria in 1854. I took a folder of the information that I had prepared about the Greene family and it was great to see other family members looking at it. Some of our family members are getting older and it was good to meet them and hear about their lives in Victoria. My Dad was 12 years old when both of his parents had died he would be amazed that I was meeting his second cousins, relatives he never knew.

As a consequence of us going to the reunion Bernie, (he is 88) is coming to Perth in May for a few days and we will be meeting some other relatives that live here! I recommend that you take the opportunity to attend family gatherings when ever possible.

ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day is such an important day for Australia and New Zealand, a day to think about what so many men and women gave up so we could live in a free country.

As someone who has never been directly affected by war it can be hard to imagine what hardships were encountered. In 2008 Ralph and I went to Gallipoli and it was incredible being at Anzac Cove and seeing what a difficult task it would have been for our soldiers. We attended the Dawn service and the Australian service at Lone Pine. The group we were touring with were all from Australia and many told stories of their grandparents who were involved and read articles about what happened at the various battles. It was quite an emotional time.

As genealogists we are forever learning about the lives of our ancestors. On ANZAC Day we can reflect on our countrymen, be proud of our country and be thankful that we live in such a wonderful place.

Until next time, good luck with your research.

Liana Fitzpatrick
WAGS President

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 21:29

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