Sunday, November 4, 2012

Z is for Zig Zag

Many people have followed a theme through the Family History through the Alphabet Challenge, however I have Zig Zagged my way through the last 26 weeks, writing about a variety of subjects, family members, places and topics.

When I started the Family History through the Alphabet Challenge I had a proposed list of A-Z educational topics that I intended blogging about.  However it soon became evident that those viewing the blogs had more experience than I have, so didn't need me to tell them what they already knew.

As a newcomer to blogging, I really enjoyed reading stories about others research and ancestors. Additionally, I never tire of looking at photos from the past.

This prompted me to change my approach.  I used each letter as a prompt to research and write about something that I may not have otherwise. 

Thank you to Alona and Gould Genealogy for initiating the challenge, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.  I also thank everyone who has read and followed my blogs.  I would be very interested to know which blogs you enjoyed most and why.

For those who have regularly read my blog, you would know that I like to include family photos and memorabilia. Continuing this theme, I would like to share another Zig Zag related story and photo with you. 

I come from a long line of female ancestors who sew.  Prior to over lockers, Zig Zag was the stitch used to finish edges.  

In 1904, my great grandmother, Mabel Pilgrim (nee Geyer), purchased a Wertheim Sewing Machine for £11, 15 shillings.  It took her nearly two years to pay it off.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

click on the picture to see more "Z" posts

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Y is for YPRES

Ypres (Ieper) in Belgium, near the French border, was the site of many battles during World War 1.  It is the resting place of thousands of soldiers.

At least four of my relatives are memorialised at Ypres.  Melville John Pilgrim, Roy Richard Weir and Gilbert John Blythman are all listed on the same panel at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, which lists the names of those, whose graves are unknown or where there was no body remaining to bury.  The memorial bears the names of over 54,000 men.

Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial, Belgium

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, the traffic is stopped at 8pm each night while members of the local fire brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the memorial's arches.

One day I shall visit and pay respect to my relatives who lost their lives during World War I.

Melville John Pilgrim
Source: Mapping our Anzacs
My first cousin, 3 x removed, Melville John Pilgrim was born the 6th October 1892 at Stone Hut, South Australia.  He was a salesmen when he joined the Defence Force. Melville had just turned 25 when he was killed (blown up) by a shell at Broodseinde Ridge, Belgium on the 9th October 1917.

Broodseinde Ridge - 1917/1918

Broodseinde Ridge - Present

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website provides more details about Melville and the memorial plaques at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

The Red Cross Wounded and Missing List on the Australian War Memorial Website provides many statements from witnesses to his death, including the one below;

The final resting place of my second cousin, 3 x removed, Ernest William Warner, is at Ypres, Menin Road South Military Cemetery .   Ernest was born at Hanging Houghton, Northamptonshire on the 21st January 1892.  Unfortunately he was killed in battle on the Western European Theatre (France & Flanders) on his 24th Birthday, 21st January 1916.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission allows you to create a memorial PDF, which summarises the details of the soldier.  You will note on the certificate below, it also gives details of parents and an address.

An example of the certificate, which can be created
on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Roy Weir
Roy Richard Weir is memorialised on the same plaque as his 2nd cousin, Melville John Pilgrim (mentioned above), at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial Belgium.

Roy was born 21st August 1897 at Kinimakatka and grew up in the small farming community of Winiam. His birth certificate states his name as Richard Royal James Weir but all documents thereafter state Roy Richard Weir. He attended the same primary school at Winiam as most of his cousins, including my grandmother.

At least eight of the children in the picture below are relatives.

Winiam Primary School - circa 1906

Back; Arthur Schultz, Frank Steer, John Steer, Clarrie Wohlers, Victoria Gniel, Hilda Fiegert, Elsie Wohlers, Florence Weir
 Centre: Edward Gneil, Roy Weir, Harry Triplett, Henry Westendorf , Ethel Weir, Gladys Weir, Nell Miles, Edie Schultz
 Front:  Garn Weir, Arthur Steer ,Perce Pilgirm, Linda Pilgrim, Irene Fiegert, Mabel Shurdington, Ollie Oldfield, Vera Wohlers
Teacher: Miss Fanny Box
Roy was employed as a plumber when he joined the Australian Imperial Forces at only 17 years old.  His mother had signed a letter giving permission. He was killed by a shell at Polygon Wood, Belgium on the 25th September 1917.  He had just turned 20.

Gilbert John Blythman is also memorialised on the same plaque.  He was a labourer from Nhill when he joined the Australian Infantry Forces.  Gilbert was born 9th August 1888 and died at the Western Front in France on the 4th October 1917, age 29.  He left a wife and two children at home.

The AIF Project is another good source of obtaining information about ANZACs. You can read more about Gilbert on the website.

Photo by International War Graves Photography Project

Ev & Rene Blythman lost their father
when they were aged four and two respectively.
Useful websites when researching those who went to war;

Click for my "Y" posts