I am currently studying family history through the University of Tasmania and I am half way through the unit Writing Family History and for our weekly assignments we have had to write a short 250 words story using the Who, What, Where, When approach and use that in our writing, we were able to use fiction a non fiction, so I applied a little of both based on all the facts that I have found to some of the stories I wrote.
Here are a few I have done so far..
Charles Bernhardt Hahnel
Charles Bernhardt Hahnel was just 20 years of age when embarking on the Journey of a lifetime, a young and impressionable man ready to take on the next chapter of his life. Leaving his hometown of Chemnitz in the Saxony region of Deutschland, travelling to Antwerp, Belgium’s bustling port city in the summer of 1886. Charles was heading to Australia, seeking a better quality of life far removed from the political unrest after the depression left behind by the Franco-Prussian wars.
Charles found work as a miner in the Victorian goldfields of Maryborough, where he had met and fell in love with the gorgeous Hannah Gribble. The two were married late in the year of 1890 and not long after followed the birth of their first child, one of nine children. This first child would be my great-grandmother, Lily. Another three of their children were born in Timor Victoria before the call of the Western Australian goldfields called them. By the year of 1897, Charles was working at the Princess Margaret Gold Mine in Bulong Kalgoorlie for 13 shillings and 4 pence per shift.
Charles became an Australian citizen on the 16th of May 1904, the same year his 6th child, Albert was born. Charles lived a short life, reaching the age of 68, he lived to see one of his children pass before him. Charles was a cheerful man, he lived life, travelled, experienced two vast gold rushes in Australian mining history, a big family and a happy life living in Kalgoorlie Western Australia.
Standing in the courtroom Albert was watching his sister-in-law give her deposition on the events that had followed his oldest brother running off and skipping the country. He was not proud of his actions, in fact, he was disgusted in what happened, but this woman was infuriating. Does she not understand her husband has left and is not coming back? The coward has a history of deserting, remember that time he was wanted for ditching his duties as a seaman on the Catherine Adamson? She cannot run this business, Richard had handed his share over to John before he ran off for San Francisco. This woman has no business sticking her nose into the family business.
Albert turned his attention into what Elizabeth was talking about, she was describing the moment that Albert had seized her by the throat, violently and was pushing his thumbs into her windpipe. “…and he said BEEP you, I will strangle you if you don’t leave off”. Not his finest moment, but the anger he felt at his brother shirking his responsibilities again was almost too much to bear. At least John was a hard worker like himself, those oysters don’t sell themselves! Elizabeth explained to her counsel that that evening Albert had returned with John and broke her door with an axe and entered the house she once shared with her husband and refused to leave…This is what led to Albert being committed to trial in Sydney in the spring of 1868
Farming someone else’s land for a living was not much of a living. The three of us bringing in wages was not enough to feed us all. Poor Johnny and little Ellen always whining they were hungry. Silvester even took on the coal mine to help Ma and Pa, yet it’s still not enough. Now Pa and me are standing here hiding in me eldest brother’s semi. I can hear them rallying about trying to spring us. We are about to get nicked.
My heart is beating faster as I try to make myself sink lower and further into the pantry… I can hear them. They are talking to William. They are asking if he has seen us. They are now walking about the house, searching, they are going to find us any moment now. We are done for.
The door of the pantry has sprung open and standing before me is the feet of the uniformed officer reaching in to pull my Pa and me out… “You filthy bleedin beggars! Hiding like cowards, you’re done for now!” My heart sank as I was yanked out of the pantry and half dragged to an open area where I was put in shackles. I didn’t resist, there was no point. I know me fate. “William, you got to look after Ma and the kids” I shouted over to my brother as Pa and me are led out of his house. I would only see my brother again for a moment in the courtroom as Pa and me were tried for grand larceny.
Lavina Younger (Nee Osborne)
Months at sea on board the Scottish built Iron full-rigged ship The Eastminister, Lavina Osborne finally stepped on to solid land. She was being herded with the other single woman to C.P.S in Gympie so they could get her processed and into her new lodgings where she would soon begin her work.
The port of Maryborough was an enthusiastic scene compared to spending so long with the same faces' day in and day out with nothing but choppy watery landscapes to gaze at. It was a refreshing change.
Once Lavina emerged from the cabins, she could feel the hot, humid air surrounding her. Little droplets appeared on her forehead as she took in her surroundings. It was a whole other world, unlike her home farming village of Martock, where mills and factories were starting to pop up all over the place.
It was cold, wet and miserable in England when she had boarded the ship, nowhere in Queensland it was hot and humid with what would look like temporary docks and bays to greet her, compared to the industrious Port of Plymouth.
A man in a fine-looking suit guided the woman who had assisted passage over to a roughly made tin shelter where he was rambling on about the lodgings the girls were to take for the night. Looking around her surroundings, Lavina could see past the shelter on the dockside looking out towards the town of Maryborough, she could see the town was recovering from a recent flooding and hoping her new home of Gympie was more inland and a little less wet.
There are two more weeks of writing activities before we have the big essay to write when University resumes after the new years celebrations, which I will update this blog with :)
If I don't say hi before Christmas, I wish every one a bright happy Christmas with lots of family and food and the best start to the new year!
I was browsing my tree last night, filling in some information here, there and anywhere, when I noticed that my grandfathers (Aubrey Shearer) cousin had lost 3 of her children in the one year, I clicked on one of their names and looked at the obituary and thought how sad, maybe they were sick.
My name is Davina and I have been researching my family history since 2011. I started with almost nothing but ended up with a wealth of information and I needed an outlet to show and display all the information I have found.