Sunday, 29 November 2015

Family reunion idea: Family history book - take 2

Okay, after some thought I think I have come up with a good approach. The working title for the book is The Footsteps of Amos: From Stretford to Melbourne and it will cover the period from when the first Bannister moved to Stretford up until when my great-great-grandfather, George Amos BANNISTER emigrated to Australia. I will include events up to and including his death, but no further. This will tell an interesting story of the "Stretford years" and should allay some fears that had previously been expressed by some family members over their privacy. Time permitting I will try to produce a couple of smallish pamphlets covering some of the more interesting stories from the Melbourne clan as I have a lot of newspaper articles from Melbourne newspapers in the late 1800s and early 1900s which I would love to share. I will also attempt to produce a chart showing George Amos' descendants, but with no dates - I think it would be good to know where we all fit into the tree and what our relationships to each other are.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Family reunion idea: Family history book

I am looking for ideas for our family reunion next year and one idea I would like to explore is creating a family history book. I have traced the Bannister line back to the early 1700s in Cheshire and Lancashire in England. In the course of my research I have uncovered a number of interesting stories and anecdotes about our ancestors and their families. If I were to start with the earliest researched ancestor and produce a family group chart for each generation, I could then intersperse the family groups with relevant stories. While I don't have any photographs of any of my English ancestors I do have a large number of parish registers, newspaper articles, wills and other documents that I could include.

To help make things more relevant to the attendees at the reunion, I could include all descendants of my great-great-grandfather, George Amos BANNISTER, who was the first of "our" Bannisters to come to Australia. With luck we will have most of George Amos' descendants at the reunion, so I a, sure there would be some interest in such a book...

However... I don't think I would be able to produce a complete descendant chart in the time available, so I may have to make a decision on a cut-off point. Perhaps up to and including my grandfather's siblings would be good enough? I will have to give some thought to just how far up and down the tree I go with this book...

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Returning to action...

Sometimes life throws you a curveball, sometimes it throws several. I have been absent from here for too long but now it is time to make a return to my genealogical efforts. In a nutshell, I stopped updating this blog some months ago due to a series of family issues and a(n as yet unresolved) health issue. My mother moved house and is now five minutes away as opposed to being seven hours away. This coincided with a visit from my sister who lives on the other side of the country and, well, this blog got pushed aside while I reconnected with my family. At around the same time I received some troublesome results from a blood test and my health became my number one priority. Then I guess I hit a brick-wall - not a genealogical brick-wall, more a motivational one. 8^/

Anyhow, family matters have settled down somewhat and while my health is still a bit of an issue I am starting to get back into the swing of things. Of course it doesn't hurt that I now have a new project to keep me interested. I am currently planning (with my father) a Bannister family reunion which will be held in March next year. We are inviting our immediate family, and all the cousins, aunts and uncles we can contact. We expect about 50 or 60 people to turn up and I am really looking forward to catching up with everyone.

We have come up with a few ideas for things to do at the reunion:

  • A family reunion guest book: Dad wants everyone to sign a guest book, which is a good idea, but I think we can make it better with a little effort. Instead of an actual guest book, I will print out some template pages with spaces for names, signatures and a short message. Then I want to photograph everyone who attends. After the reunion I plan to scan in all the signed sheets and paste in the photos, as well as a small family tree (parents, spouse + children where appropriate) and print out copies of the reunion guest book for anyone who wants. I think this will make a nice keepsake.
  • Custom placemats: We will gather lot of old family photos, newspaper clippings, and maybe even some old parish registers and other old documents, print them out and laminate them. These can then be put on the tables to be used as placemats. A few years ago my father and I were invited to a function at the Hazelwood-Churchill Football Club where they printed copies of old newspaper clipping about the club and used them as placemats. This was a good way of stimulating discussion as people read their placemats and shared the stories with others on the table. We just need to choose which photos/documents to use - I have way too many to pick from!
  • Slideshow: We will borrow a projector and create a slideshow of old photos and documents. This can be left playing all night and will be easy enough to put together.
  • Unidentified photos: I want to print out old photos we have with unidentified faces, pin these photos on a noticeboard and ask guests to identify the people they know. I am sure this will generate some intense discussion as people try to remember the names of the faces in the photos and it will help fill in some gaps in my records.
  • Photo sharing: We will be contacting all invitees to ask them to bring along any scanned photos/documents they have, along with blank USB sticks. I will have a computer (or two) set up in a corner where people can copy photos.
I also plan on asking invitees to bring along any documents (birth/marriage/death certificates, etc) so I can scan copies. Hopefully this will help me flesh out my own document collection.

In the interim I will be reviewing my family tree and looking for any interesting stories I can pull out. I am not sure if I will try to compile the information into a book, but that is also an option. I guess I have my work cut out for me. ;^)