Treasures in Hiding

A task I had set myself was to clean up the book cases in the spare room. I thought the book cases were just full of my old teaching materials and that most would go to the skip. When I started to clear the out I found the suitcase. A quick look showed a treasure trove of family history materials.

One of the many items found

In the case were merit certificates for my mothers great uncles, stories written by my grandmother, correspondence that is not always easy to understand the purpose, as they are a response to queries, newspaper cuttings, lists, birthday books, and photos.

One of the best finds was my grandmothers “Little Brighteyes Birthday Book a Christmas present to her in 1910 from Aunt Ettie. My grandmother used this book all her life. She added all her grandchildren and children’s birthdays. There are other names against days of the year in different handwriting. Did people write their own name in the book? Or was it one or two people who added them for my grandmother.

The front of the book.

The book was used to also record family history information. Some of which I can verify others which I know to be true, and some that may just provide me with a line of research.

The family history information.

We know that Thomas Gibbs came to South Australia in 1840 not 1850, but that may have been the date he first when to the South East and I am not sure where or what “Oakleigh” refers to. His wife Mary Irwin (Irvin) has always been a mystery. We thought she may have come on the Trafalgar, but it wasn’t in 1857 as she married Thomas in 1854. What bears further research is her parents name that are suggested as Samuel Irwin and Nancy Cowan. This may provide a lead to breakdown a brick wall. This was the first time I have seen the information. Some of the information about Anne Whalen I had heard before, certainly the name Seraphina. A quick look on Google hasn’t much helped with this story, so it maybe a case of sifting through and looking for information that may be close. A DNA match in America suggests that the Whalen family originated around Kilkenny area of Ireland and certainly this is where the Butler family were so may have provided a kernel of the story. No Seraphina married a Butler.

The case provides avenues for research, along with the need to determine the best way to preserve the information highlighting the need for a flatbed scanner. So that is my next task. Yes the bookcase continues to need to be cleared. I’m sure that will happen at some point.

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