Clarifying and confirming details of our Ancestor’s lives is like putting flesh on their bones for a family historian. Remember a few posts ago, I was trying to ascertain which camp at Weymouth, my Great Grandfather had stayed at? When I read his records, I only caught a glimpse of the word “Weymouth”. However, there are several pages in the records that seem to a repeat of the one before. Anyway, this week I had reason to refer to the records and there, shouting out at me in blue ink were the words “Monte Video”. So, yes, I can say without a doubt that Monte Video was his home from mid November to early January when he left to re-join his regiment in Egypt.
My reason for actually reading the official records once more, was for sorely needed research in order to continue my current writing challenge online. The February Writing Challenges are a wonderful coming together of creative minds who are recreating the lives of their ancestors to preserve for future generations. Some are writing historical novels, others are putting together family stories and others like myself are trying to dissect the life of one ancestor.
By reading the works of others, has really helped my own writing. Simple words and phrases prompt memories that I have kept stored away for a lifetime. One gentleman who lives in Granada, is dissecting the life of his ancestors whose lives mirror those of some of mine. As he pulled my attention into the dusty canefields of Jamaica that were cultivated on the blood of slaves, I thought of George Deane, my Great Great Grandfather, who was the first canegrower in the Haughton River district. I have no idea whether the Deane family employed “black” labour in their canefields, however North Queensland was not immune to the slave trade. We selectively forget that the south sea islanders, known as “Kanakas” were brought to Australia to work the canefields.
So, from that one story, I feel compelled to write about my family the cane growing pioneers of the Haughton District. My Great Great Grandfather was a visionary man, whose great ideas for the future of the district became reality. When my current project is finished, I would like to dig a little deeper in the dirt to see what surprises I might uncover. It is all in a days work for a family archaeologist!