First (52 Ancestors)

A new year, and a new attempt at the #52Ancestors challenge. Last year I only managed to stick at this for two weeks, so let’s see how far I get this year!

With the theme of first I’m going to take a look at the first official documentation I reviewed when starting my family tree research. It was this physical record, that my great grandparents had actually touched and signed by hand, that made me excited to continue digging and progressing my research.

As most people no doubt do when beginning their family tree, I started with my brother and I, then my parents and then my grandparents. I was quite lucky that my mum had a copy of both her parents’ death certificates and my aunt had the marriage certificate of my great grandparents. These were the first original records I reviewed for any ancestors in my tree.

Although my mum and aunt could tell me about my great grandparents and had a rough idea when they were born, it was through these documents that I was able to record the first official facts about Eileen and Leonard Carver. Holding their marriage certificate in my hands made them feel more real and tangible and I really started to feel excited about tracking down my more distant ancestors.

Sample of Eileen and Leonard Carver’s marriage certificate.

I was particularly surprised by the amount of information I was able to capture from a marriage certificate. I learned that Leonard was from Drysdale, in Victoria, and Eileen came from North Melbourne. This aligned with stories mum had told me which was reassuring.

They married in 1921 at St Francis Church in Melbourne. Leonard was a farmer, and Eileen a saleswoman. I later learned through Australian Electoral Rolls that after their marriage Eileen tended to home duties. They continued to live near Wollert, where Leonard remained a farmer, until around 1943 when they moved to Mooroolbark. Leonard gave up farming at this point and became a packer of some sort.

St Francis Church where Eileen and Leonard Carver married (Source: Rose Stereograph Co, c1920-1954 held at State Library Victoria)

After reviewing this first certificate, I became very eager to uncover further marriage certificates in my family, and they became a key resource in progressing to the next generation of ancestors. From here I was able to research their parents Catherine and Henry Carver and Margaret Ellen and William O’Connell, and grow my family tree.

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Hi Derek, I started the 52 Ancectors last year in June and only lasted one week, felt as if I was too late, glad decided to give it another try with all the enthusiastic people starting new, good luck, I will watch your progress, maybe that will spur you on to keep at it.
Regards Ann-Marie Nielsen.

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