Two Grandfathers

The other week I requested the National Archives digitize the WWII service records for my maternal and paternal grandfathers. I’ve just received emails pointing me to their files. My maternal grandfather, Kenneth Donald Dyke – we called him Don – was 23 years 11 months and a journalist in Sydney when he joined up. He … Continue reading

On discovering my family’s papers

Researching my family history might be something I’m not supposed to admit as a professional historian, but it was the thing that reminded me how much I wanted to return to work in history when I felt I would not be able to get out of teaching in schools. And I’m discovering, as I meander … Continue reading

Heritage GONE: Trans Hotel, Northam

Another semi-regular post which explores the heritage that has disappeared in recent years… In 1894 the following advertisement appeared in the West Australian: The hotel was managed under a few different licencees until 1926 when Fred Wilson, his wife Mollie and their two daughters Freda, 9 and Maple, 8 moved there to take over the lease. Much later … Continue reading

Digital Story: Mollie Coates Mapleson

This is Mollie Coates Mapleson when she was 16. She is my great grandmother and the subject of my latest digital story. I wanted to see if family history could translate into the digital story format. I was concerned that it can be so intricate and heavy on detail and names and who did this … Continue reading

National Family History Week

Next week is National Family History Week – if you didn’t know already, family history is H-U-G-E in Australia. The success of Who Do You Think You Are? has popularised it, but it has always been a big deal. I tend to think that, although genealogists are ridiculed by “serious historians”, the discipline has some spectacular skills (which … Continue reading