Helen Wagstaff traced her family tree after inheriting the family bible. Promoting a trace your family history beginners day' workshop on Feb 16. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Helen Wagstaff traced her family tree after inheriting the family bible. Promoting a trace your family history beginners day' workshop on Feb 16. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK180113shistory

Family items reveal history and ignite a new passion

AFTER Helen Wagstaff's grandmother died she ended up with a box of treasures that included old certificates, a fob watch and the family Bible.

That was the start of a trip down memory lane for the Rockhampton resident that took her back to her origins.

"Just from these old certificates I ended up going back four generations and I wanted to know more."

Helen, nee Roberts, joined the Central Queensland Family History Association Inc in 1989 and found a whole wealth of information on her family, including birth dates, what ship they emigrated on, occupations, where they lived and were buried.

"There is a eureka feeling when you discover something."

Helen discovered her great-grandmother on her mother's side, Ellen Morris, came to Australia at the age of 10, travelling from Ireland in 1863 with her parents and seven siblings.

Ellen married at the age of 21 and lived in Gympie with her husband, a hotel keeper.

Helen Wagstaff traced her family tree after inheriting the family bible. Promoting a trace your family history beginners day' workshop on Feb 16. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Helen Wagstaff traced her family tree after inheriting the family bible. Promoting a trace your family history beginners day' workshop on Feb 16. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK180113shistory

She had five children before he died, and took over the job of hotel keeper, remarried and had two more children.

"Finding Ellen Jew ran a pub in Gympie was a surprise."

Records state that Ellen's second husband, Helen's great-grandfather, died of "alcohol exposure to the sun" in 1906.

Helen also found records of her father's grandparents who came from Cornwall, passing through Rockhampton on their way to Copperfield.

"They went by boat to St Lawrence then walked to Copperfield, out near Clermont."

Besides discovering she was a fourth generation Australian on every line of her heritage, Helen has also researched her husband's side of the family, who moved from Germany directly to Rockhampton in 1862.

Helen described research as a fascinating and fun step back in time.

"It is a bit overwhelming when you think of what they went through."

 

Helen Wagstaff with a fob watch that belonged to her ancesters. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Helen Wagstaff with a fob watch that belonged to her ancesters. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK180113shistory

Her search for history continues, particularly on her husband's side of the family, searching for information on his great-grandmother, who left her husband and family in the early 1900s and vanished.

 

"No one seems to know where she went."

Would you like to trace your own family history?

The Central Queensland Family History Association Inc is holding a two day beginners workshop in February.

The beginner's workshop will give advice on:

How to get started

Next steps to start research

Where to look

Ensuring you have the right family history

When: February 16 and 23, from 9am to 12pm.

Where: Renshaw St, Park Avenue.

Cost: $10 each day.

Phone: 4928 2575. Bookings essential.

 

About CQ Family History

The Central Queensland Family History Association Inc. has its own extensive library.

CDs: Electoral rolls, school admission records, births, deaths and marriages.

Microfiche: Qld records including full dates of births, deaths and marriages.

Books: Cemetery records

 

The library is open Tuesdays 1-4pm, Thursdays 9am-12pm, Fridays 1-4pm and Saturdays 1-4pm.

www.cqfamilyhistory.org.au



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