Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The small things

This piece of jewellery was handed down to me from my great grandmother, via my grandmother.  My mother tells me that for many years as a child and teenager she asked to have it but was always denied it.  In turn, from when I was a toddler my grandmother tried to give it to me.  My mother always felt a little crabby that she was never the “keeper of the charm”.[1] It is a teddy bear charm, made in the silver repousse style with articulated arms and legs.  
It measures approx. 2.5x1cm considerably larger than modern charms that are usually around 1cm in size, or a circular bead style like the Pandora charm.


Figure 1. Kelli Schultz, Repousse style teddy bear charm front, 2017, digital image.
Figure 2. Kelli Schultz, Repousse style teddy bear charm back, 2017, digital image.

It is not known if my great grandmother was gifted the charm or whether she bought it herself, it may well have been handed down to her from her mother.  Alice Maude Thynne, nee Bracken lived all her life in Launceston so it would have been likely that it was purchased in Launceston.  Neither the Brackens nor the Thynnes were wealthy families and it is the only piece of its kind to have been passed down through generations.  Alice was born in 1872[2] and died in 1936[3]; so she grew up during the latter part of the Victorian Period when charm bracelets were all the rage, especially repousse and articulated style charms.  Perhaps she was given a bracelet at her christening or first birthday.  There is no way of knowing how or when she received the charm and we only have the word of my late grandmother, Mary Kathleen Thynne that it did indeed come from Alice in the first place.

Although charms have been used for thousands of years in conjunction with superstitious beliefs; and were commonly found in ancient Egyptian tombs and thought to be used by the early Romans to ward off evil[4]; their modern revival as part of a decorative bracelet rather than a superstitious belief could be said to have started with Queen Victoria in the mid 19th century.  Albert gave her a bracelet with a heart shaped charm engraved with the birth year of their first child.  He repeated this practice after the birth of each child. Victoria is said to have loved wearing, designing and gifting jewellery; in particular, charm bracelets.[5] 
The Victorian period of jewellery fashion is often divided into the Romantic Era (1837-60) and the Grand Era (1861-1901); the latter was Victoria’s mourning period after Albert’s death until her own death in 1901.[6]  Repousse jewellery became very popular toward the end of the romantic era.  Repousse translates literally as “pushed out” and was commonly made with sheets of silver cut into shape with patterns pressed into them using a variety of metal or wooden tools. As the process sometimes stretched the metal care had to be taken not to distort the shape of the original design, this was done by folding edges over on themselves, and can be seen in a side view of the bear.[7]

Figure 5. Kelli Schultz, Side view of repousse bear charm, 2017, digital image.
Repousse patterns were usually a floral design, presented as light and feminine. A popular style of charm at the time was also the articulated charm, with moveable parts.  This was seen in bears such as mine and cancan dancers with moveable legs.[8] 
Although the Grand era, was a mourning period for Queen Victoria, meaning that she wore only black clothing and black jewellery it was actually a period of rising popularity in repousse pieces for the rest of society.  Historians attribute this to the general public wanting a “reminder of happier times”.[9]
When searching online for this charm I came across a few second hand dealers selling the same piece and it appears to be highly collectable and somewhat rare; fetching quite a good price. This is indicative of the popularity of charms in modern society[10].  Although styles have now evolved to the more common “Pandora” style charm, which became popular in the mid 1980’s[11], the older style charm is still available to buy and collectors are still sourcing Victorian and Edwardian era designs.[12]
For me personally, the value is purely sentimental. My grandmother was already 63 when I was born and died when I was 21, for most of that time she was affected by dementia.  I was fortunate to have spent quite a bit of my early childhood with her and value that time immensely.  This small piece of silver is a connection directly from her to me.  I think she placed great value on this charm and the fact that she was adamant that I be given it out of all her children and grand children honours me greatly. I feel blessed to have this piece of silver, regardless of its dollar value.

[1] Genevieve Schultz, interview by Kelli Schultz, written record, Bicheno, 14 April 2017, in author’s possession.  
[2] Birth registration of Alice Maud Bracken 20 July 1872, Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office,  RGD 3/1/50 no.987
[3] Examiner, 31 Jan 1936, p1 (Alice Maude Thynne)
[4] The Charm Works, The History of Charms and Charm Bracelets: A Short Introduction by David Clark, https://www.thecharmworks.com/HistoryofCharms, accessed 29 April 2017
[5] Collectors Weekly, Charms and Charm Bracelets, http://www.collectorsweekly.com/fine-jewelry/charms , accessed 29 April 2017
[6] Periods of Jewellery History – Victorian Era: 1837-1901, https://www.kalmarantiques.com.au/articles/periods-of-jewellery-history-victorian-era-1837-1901/, accessed 29 April 2017
[7] Ganoksin: Jewellery making resources, https://www.ganoksin.com/article/goldsmithing-repousse-chasing/, accessed 29 April 2017
[8] Collectors Weekly, Charm and Charm Bracelets.
[9] Hesse, Rayner W, Jewelry Making Through History: An Encyclopedia, Westport, Greeenwood Press, 2007,  p.192-3
[10] A History of Charms and Charm Bracelets, http://www.mymotherscharms.com/history.htm, accessed 30 April 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

update well overdue

oh gosh, this is very out of date.  I have been plodding along with my family history and completely neglecting this blog.

I have stumbled over two new convicts, found out that many of my father's ancestors were actually Tasmanians who moved to Victoria.

Visited a few Schultz cousins during a road trip that took me to Bendigo, Horsham and Melbourne last year.

Knocked out a few bricks in a wall on my mother's side that was doing my head in for years!

This year I have signed up to do the Diploma of Family History through UTAS.   The first unit I am doing is called Place, Image, Object and I am a bit excited about using my brain for something different.  I am also enrolled for a unit on Convict history too.

This year I decided to become more involved in the Launceston Historical Society by accepting a place on the committee.  I look forward to learning more and being involved in some projects locally.  I am also involved (with my 12yr old daughter) in the Launceston Mechanics Institute project.  We will be researching artifacts from the old institute and documenting them in a photography project and researching their history.  I also plan on doing an oral history project later in the year for the same group.  It is all happening!   Along with volunteering in the archives at Launceston LINC.

This week I have had to give thought to an image or object for study.  Sadly most of my family were not hoarders so this has left me with very few objects from the past and even less photographs.

My mum did hand over these treasures today though so I am trying to decide what I will concentrate on.  The small book is a prayer book given to my grandmother by my mother in 1957, the ruler was my grandfathers, who was a carpenter/builder and the large book is a book that belonged to by great grandfather on 'how to be catholic'.

This next picture is of a charm or pendant that belonged to by grandmother's grandmother.  It is very old, but I don't believe it to be very valuable, it doesn't look to be made from actual silver but I have never had it looked at professionally.  The book is a 1891 copy of Great Expecttions and The Uncommercial Traveller by Charles Dickens. This book belonged to my great grandfather and was the only book he ever read.  Seriously, he would finish it, turn it over and start again!  That is dedication for you.

Anyway, I hope to update a little more often from now on.  I have a few stories to share of various ancestors and a couple to update.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Thynne Family beginnings

John Patrick Thynne
Our Tasmanian Thynne story begins with John Patrick Thynne.    John was born to Edward Thynne and Ann (surname unknown).  Edward’s details are unknown but it seems he died before 1837 as he didn't travel out to Tasmania with the rest of his family.  It is difficult to find records for John’s family in County Clare as Thynne is a very common name and records are very scarce.   I haven’t managed to find where in County Clare our Thynne family have come from, much less birth or death records for them.
John travelled to Tasmania with his mother Ann and younger brother Martin aboard The Persian, arriving on 31 October 1857This ship is well known for having been in quarantine in Impression Bay near Port Arthur as it was infected with the typhoid fever.  Many Scottish immigrants died on board so John and his family were very lucky to have survived the journey.  They were released from quarantine and travelled by coach to Green Ponds (now Kempton) on the 21st Jan 1858.  The travel documents for the ship indicate that all three travelled through to Green Ponds, however this is the last record found for Martin.  There is no death or burial record for him so it is a bit of a mystery as to what happened to him.  At the time of their immigration John was 21, Martin was eight and Ann was 45.  Shipping records show they were sponsored by a Bridget Conway. 

I found a Bridget Conway aged 23 arriving in Hobart 29th September 1854 on the ship Caroline Middleton, with John Thomas Conway aged 25 from Clare. He is described as an agricultural labourer and she as a housemaid, general servant, and cook/dairy maid.  John and Bridget were sponsored by Mr John Clarke of Elizabeth St. Hobart.  There is a Mr J Clarke listed as the licensee of the Black Prince Hotel at the time of their arrival.  I haven’t as yet looked into whether this is the same Bridget Conway, or if she is related to the Thynne family.  
The latter is a possibility as Ann Thynne’s death notice in the Launceston Examiner on 17th May 1877 states that she died at her daughters’ residence in St Georges Square, Launceston.
A newspaper obituary for Bridget in 1904, states that Thomas died the year after arriving in Tasmania and she left a son.   I haven’t found any marriage records for her son or death records.  There is two John Thomas Conway’s living in Launceston at the same time.  One is the son of the prominent architect, Harry Conway and the other Bridget’s son.  News articles of a John Thomas fighting and in court I believe are referring to her son as around the same time another notice appears which I find quite amusing:

Rental records confirm this address at the time of her death.  They show the property as being leased by Mr Thomas Conway, suggesting her son was named after his father and also lived with Bridget at the time of her death.

On 30 Jan 1871 at the age of 36 John was married to Sarah Wenn in the Catholic Church.  There are discrepancies with details here as the marriage record states his age as 32. I wonder if he lied about his age as Sarah was only 22 at the time of marriage.  His surname is also spelt Thyne.  This isn’t overly surprising though as there was a well known Thyne family living in Launceston at the time so the writer may have gotten confused.

Residential locations
Little is known of John’s movements up until 1860 when his name starts to appear in assessment and valuation records.  Perhaps he and Ann lived with Bridget until their sponsorship contract ended?   In 1860 he was living in the Patterson Plains region (now known as St Leonards, this region used to take in the areas of St Leonards, Breadalbane, Elphin and White Hills) and renting from a Mr Edward Peat.  Further rental records show for 1865-1867 from Mr Henry O’Rourke, 1870 from Mr James Propsting.  Both still in the Patterson Plains region.  It is highly likely that John was working as a general farm hand at the time, but again there is little to find on his employment at the time.

In 1874 John shows up in rental records as renting property from Allan McKinnon at 1 St Georges Square in Launceston.     On James Patricks birth records in 1875 John is listed as living in Hagley.   From 1884-1886 John rented from Elizabeth Suitor at 2 Union St, East Launceston.  He moves to Frankland St in 1886, renting from a Mr Tyson and lives there until 1888 at least.   None of these properties still stand unfortunately.

John died at the age of 75, 26 March 1910 in Launceston.   There is no newspaper notice for his death or funeral, although there is one for Sarah’s death. 

Ann (Anne) Thynne

Again, due to lack of Irish records little is known about Ann.  I suspect she was widowed shortly before coming out to Australia and I also suspect that the family's sponsors, John Thomas and Bridget Conway were related.  Although there is little to no proof, I think that Bridget may have been Ann's daughter.  Firstly, it is very odd for a woman of 45 years to pick up and move her family across the worl, even with an adult son.  Ann's death notice published in the Examiner, 17 May 1877, states that she died at her daughter's home, St Georges Square.
Unfortunately there was no assessment and valuation registisr done for 1877 to be able to confirm rentals for this year.  However, there was one done in December 1876 but there are no relations recorded as tenants or owners for that address.  I did find a John Thomas Conway recorded for Balfour St in the 1878 register though.  Did they rent for a very short period of time or share a tenancy with an other family who were registered?

John and Sarah had seven children.  I assume all children were born in Launceston, however not all records can be found.  The only births I can find actual records for are Francis, Mary Ann, John Joseph and James Patrick.  The latter is my maternal great grandfather.

(excerpt from Maternal Family History - The Thynne and Ellen families of Launceston)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Another living ELLEN relative

I get sooooo excited when another person comes along who is researching the same family as me.
I had put the ancestry aside for a couple of months to give myself a rest and play in the real world with the living!
The other day I got a notification of a forum message on ancestry dot com and sure enough Yvonne turns up.  She is my second cousin and actually used to board with my grandparents in her late teens/early 20's.

It is so heartening to find someone else tracing the Ellen family as it seems we are a family line doomed to end soon through lack of males.

I think it is important that we record as much history as possible for future generations so get out there and ask where you are from!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The church that Charles built

St James Church of England at Jericho was built in 1888.  This was the second church to be built on the site as the first built in the 1840's was demolished as it had started to fall down.  
The building was designed by the well know architect, Henry Hunter and Walter Fish was responsible for the stonework with the woodwork being carried out by Charles Ellen, both of Oatlands.

Mum and I were fortunate enough to be given the key to the church so we could take a tour.  It is no longer in use as a church but still has all the original timber fittings that Charles made.  The beautiful leadlight windows were added some time after it was built and there is a small carved timber piece that was found on the tip in the 1970's LOL


Sunday, September 4, 2011

The House that Charles built

Last weekend I went to Oatlands with my mum.  We stayed at Jenny Wren cottage, a house that my g.g.g.grandfather, Charles Ellen built.   It was built for the stonemason George Aitchison who became a prominent land and property owner in Oatlands.  
Charles Ellen also rented this house and lived here for some time with his family.  Originally it was a small four room house but now has additions of a larger dining room and bathroom at the rear of the building.
I must say it felt a bit strange staying in a house that my ancestor once lived in and I feel some what closer to him now than I did before.