Week 7 of 52 Ancestors 2021 – Unusual Source

Week 7 (Feb 15-21): Unusual Source

It’s taken me awhile to write Week 7’s story (as it is now the 27th of Feb).  I have been trying to rack my brain for an unusual source but nothing comes to mind.  I have more of an Unusual Place.  Well even the place is not that unusual to get information from but you don’t expect to accidentally run into living relatives there!

As you can probably tell I am meaning a Cemetery. Woden Cemetery in Canberra to be exact.

I have been a member of Ancestry for many years now and I had started with separate trees for all the different branches. That started to get too hard to answer messages when people would ask me how we were related. I decided to start a new combined tree and TRY to stick to just my close relatives instead of getting lost in hints and ending up miles away from my direct line.  I am sure all Ancestry users would know that feeling. LOL

I got to a particular part of the tree and then realised that they had all lived in Canberra.  As I visit my husband nearly every fortnight since he moved to Canberra for work reasons, I finally had a chance to take photos of their final resting place myself.  Unfortunately most of my ancestors are from Victoria and having lived in New South Wales since 2007, I don’t usually get a chance to actually take the photographs myself.  I have to rely on sending photo requests through the Find a Grave website and hope someone can fill it for me.

So off I went early in the morning on Saturday 9th of May 2020 to take photos of my McEwan family who were buried in a few of the different cemeteries around Canberra.  Quite a few of them happened to be at Woden Cemetery. I found most of them really easily but just couldn’t seem to find one.  It was becoming quite frustrating and then a massive storm hit and I had to abandon my search. I had already sat in the car for a while during an earlier brief shower but it looked like this rain was settling in.     

Being an early riser I am always up well before my husband and daughter, so the next morning (Sunday 10 May), I decided I was going to go and find this last headstone before they got up.  Woden Cemetery wasn’t far from where I was so I would be back in no time! I also wanted to re-take one of the other headstones as the image had come out a bit blurry.

As I neared the headstone I was going to retake the photo of, I noticed a man seemed to be working around the plots I was heading for.  As I got closer I realised he was actually cleaning the graves. So of course I had to ask him if he was a relative!  Yes he definitely was. He was a  grandchild.  I told him that I was related as well.

He then informed me that his mum and sister were on their way to the cemetery and that I should stick around.  Of course I was not going to go anywhere knowing this.  So we chatted while we waited.  When they arrived they had brought chairs and food with them.  Apparently every Mothers Day they came and have morning tea at the cemetery with their late parents/grandparents!

It was so great to sit, chat and eat as we worked out how we were related.  I was also told that I looked very much like one of their nieces/cousins.  I thought I always took after my paternal grandmother and not really like anyone on my mum’s side.

So thanks to a hard to find grave, massive rainstorm and a blurry photo, I got to not only meet relatives but also add a few more branches to my tree.  I did also find the missing headstone. I had actually been so close to it the day before I just went the wrong way.

As all genealogists know it’s not that easy to find out information on the generations that are close to you.  You need to know someone who knows that part of the family or simply run into them at a Cemetery!

My new found relatives L-R Michelle, Irene & Geoff (noticed what we used as the table – bottom left of photo)

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I have been researching my family history since 2009. I am interested it the family names Shingles, McEwan, Snowdon & Witt around Gippsland and Wodonga areas of Victoria, Australia

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