About this blog
As a young girl probably about 12 years of age, I remember visiting my paternal great grandmother in her country house, (which was an underground house, still with kerosene lamps, and her only speaking German). One visit I wandered into the old run down wooden & tin shed barn. It was a wonderland. An old double 4 poster bed with a handmade quilt on it, boxes of what I remember as being old newspapers & letters? written in German. My great grandmother’s daughter came in & yelled at me saying “get out!!! mind your own business, a child has no excuse being in here, you nosy girl”. I was always a little scared of this aunty. To this day I am so sad about this, and not long after my grandmother was moved to a warmer drier house in the town. I was told by my father that the barn had been burnt down with everything inside of it. The memory of that old barn is I am sure, one of the stand out moments that began my fascination with history and especially my family history. How sad that the documents were destroyed and no one ever talked about the history behind them. So I write this blog in honour and awe of my amazing Heneker family, their pioneering spirit, their hard work, their trials. I began researching my family history 30 years ago when I was quite young. Before the days of internet, and digitised records. Working at the State Library of SA helped, and starting my career there in the State Archives was a bonus.
I have made contact with some wonderful family connections, whom I otherwise would not have known about, other than perhaps names on a family tree. This has been mostly via online genealogy sites, or word of mouth and I gladly share any information. I will always, where possible, add my sources, e.g. newspapers, word of mouth, books etc. If I am not sure of a connection I will either not publish it, or will advise that I am still researching for further information.
19 thoughts on “About this blog”
How I wish I started researching 30 years ago. As I’ve often said, “what I would give for 24 hours, and a video camera; with my ancestors. – Colleen
Hello Colleen and thanks for the message. Very exciting for me. I am doing the blog for me, but so nice to have someone take a look. I decided I had so much info and liked to idea of being able to easily add pics and general history information. I have so much to add though, and finding it slower than I thought. Mostly as I want to get the posts in a general order of posting, but I am now thinking it won’t happen sequentially, if I want to do that I will never get it done. I work night duty as a nurse so time is a bit limited too. Wish all the info and the net was available back then. I was lucky as I started my work in the archives which at the time were part of the State Library of South Australia so I had chances to find information. So much easier now to access overseas sites for further information. Yes, wouldn’t it be great to be able to walk among our ancestors and see how they lived and what their lives were really like. Not easy I would guess. They can do it in movies!!! Cheers and thank you again.
Hiya Vicki. Great blog. I wanted to thank you for your review of our book “Granny Was A Brothel Keeper: 50 Family History Traps” on goodreads. Glad you enjoyed it and the review is much appreciated (please keep spreading the word). Just to let you know that the companion volume “Grandad Did A Dastardly Deed: 50 More Family History Traps” is about to be published (just awaiting distribution as we speak, August 2014). You will note that the title has been changed from the intended “Grandad Was A Dwarf Strangler” (but rest assure the book still contains the story about the strangled dwarf – which of course was the dastardly deed!).
My co-author, Kate, and I think that the bizarre and funny findings of family history should be celebrated more, and our books are our way of doing this. After all, most of us have at least one black sheep or someone who was downright weird (or perhaps this is just our families?).
Thanks for your comment. Yes, I just loved your book and tell many people about it. I knew there was another one about “Granddad” but hadn’t been able to find it, so thanks for the information, I will definitely be buying a copy. I could not put your book down, I learnt so much extra information from it, and it was so readable. I still pick it up and just read bits n pieces or chapters or the whole book again and again. It is looking a little worn even though I have only had it for about 1 year. Interestingly, here in Australia, the National Library of Australia has made accessible most newspaper free online, going back to almost the settlement of most states, and they are still adding From that, I have found quite a few family skeletons, in fact one in particular I am loathe to put on my blog, as I don’t want to upset the family, in fact the daughter of the couple involved, who although she would probably never read my blog as she is quite elderly now, you just never know. It is a hard decision to know, and one I never thought I would be faced with. I knew the story briefly, but not the full details until I saw the story and court outcomes in the newspaper of the times, and it was quite an upsetting story and very sad. Although the people involved weren’t brothel keepers!!! Your book also gives me a laugh at times, so keep up the good work. Once again thank you for your comments. Cheers, Vicki in Adelaide, South Australia
I’m so glad you found it helpful as well. We wanted to write something that people could actually read from cover to cover (unlike most family history books where you read the first chapter or two and then it becomes a reference book). We also tried to put in things we had never seen elsewhere but we had found useful in our research – but tried to keep it friendly and light hearted…so it is so lovely to know that the book seems to have fulfilled its brief.
Our next book does talk about the scenario you described. What you normally find is that people are really pleased to have a skeleton or two in the cupboard, but they want it to be at least two generations back – any nearer relationship and it is too close to home, which is what you describe with the person concerned being a daughter. It is a tough call.
Like you I find the newspapers a wonderful resource, they can really help flesh out a family history and put some meat on the bones. I’ve found so many good things in them, that otherwise would not have been known. Thanks again, Toni, Essex, England.
Toni, this incident is about an event that caused the death of a young wife, leaving 2 girls behind, who became part of my mother’s family. The circumstances are very gruesome, I am a nurse, but even I found it horrific and so very sad. I know hardly anyone read’s my blog so far and especially family, so I am pretty sure they won’t see it, but….?????? what to do, it is part of the family history, although this will be on a different blog as it is on my mum’s family’s blog which I have only done a heading and that is all so far lol. I can’t wait to read the other book and see your thoughts on this dilemma. I am also glad you and your co author are English, as both my mum and dad’s family are from the UK. Dad’s family came out in 1839 and were from Kent, Mum’s family lived in East End of London right at the time of Jack the Ripper. Funny, I always had an obsession with Jack the Ripper, maybe there was more to it than I realised….
Yes, so much extra information I have found via the newspapers that I would never have known due to the time that has passed and of course, a bit like chinese whispers, stories get altered along the way, so the newspapers really do give us dates and events. I find the English books written (and the magazines) more relevant to Australian family history (unless of course we have ancestors from the USA).
Thanks once again.
Oh what tough judgement call. Could you give just a more palatable overview of the incident in your blog – and a link to the newspaper articles with a warning that it is not a nice story at all? Have you spoken to the daughter concerned and see what she feels about the whole thing? She may be ok with it (assure her she will not be named etc). Could she be identified from the story? Alternatively you could just allude to the incident and suggest people contact you direct if they want to know more.
I did decide to put a fairly recent story in ‘Granny Was A Brothel Keeper’ that was connected to my family (the train driver who was drunk and crashed his train) – I did agonise over whether it would offend that branch of the family, but decided in the end that it was in the public domain already with lots written about it. But I’m not sure what course of action I would take in your case.
My father’s family also came from Kent (surname Acott) from places like Yalding and West Farleigh, and I also have East End connections. The Ripper story also resonated with me, but that is probably inevitable if you enjoy history and had family connection with the area. BTW do you get an English TV series called “Ripper Street” in Oz? It is not so much about Jack the Ripper but about life and crime in the East End at that time – it is all very seedy, but gripping (and I suspect realistic) all the same.
Thanks Toni, I will think about your ideas, good to have someone who has so much experience advice.
Yes I saw a few episodes of Ripper Street but missed most working afternoon shifts, hopefully they will be replayed. There was only the 1 series here, so if they have made more I think we will get them eventually. Another series which the same thing happened was “Whitechapel” I saw a few but hope they will replay. I am addicted to East End London, and also the Jewish side as my mum’s family were Joseph’s and Jacobs, but I have so far traced them back to early 1801 so obviously they weren’t there from persecution in the 1940’s but I have read that Jews were in England for centuries, but they certainly lived in the Jewish areas of the East End and married in the Synagogue’s.
I was in Uk in 2008 and went to Kent, it is so green and pretty. But think it would be too cold for me, we had 0.6 deg C last night and I am freezing and can’t wait for summer, so even though I love anything English and the programs from the BBC on the countryside and the history I would probably freeze to death….!!!! thanks again…Vicki
I was searching the web for anything on lime burners in early Adelaide as Thomas Heneker was one for many years in the Magill area and came across your fabulous blog on the Henekers. James & Mary Ann are also my great great grandparents. My direct line comes from Jane Heneker born 1851 who married Charles Baker. My info comes mainly from Trove & what I have managed to collect over the last 2 years. Like you I am somewhat reluctant to put it all out there but have a wikitree family tree which is still incomplete. I am a member of the SA Genealogy Society where I source a lot of material through the websites & library. Hope we can connect & maybe exchange info.Cheers
Hello Rev, yes I only found out about Thomas being a lime burner through Trove. It is very useful for so much information. Did you see my latest post about Jemima? being called Mary as well. I am 100% sure they are the same person, as in the UK the records of the children born there show Jemima as the mother, but here in Australia show Mary as mother of children born here, I can only think maybe she wanted to be called Mary after her mother or Mary was her middle name. I have a copy of her baptismal record and she was definitely baptised as Jemima. Yes I am a member of SA Gen Soc as well. I used to work at the State Library and in the Archives when they were still there, but I decided I wanted to be a nurse ….could kick myself sometimes but that’s the way it goes. You can email me at email@example.com if you like. Cheers Vicki nee Heneker.
Hi Vicki. I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you, a thousand times for the amazing research that you have completed here. I have just returned from a trip up to the Bletana and Blinman areas with my family (3 kids and wife). I was hoping to find some more details and stories about my relatives who all lived around those areas in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, with the last being my Great Grandfather, Geoffrey George Gunter to be born in Blinman. Anyway, long story short… I discovered the burial place of James Heneker when I was at Beltana. I was so excited… I hadn’t really got as far as researching him, as I was trying to find information about his daughter Martha who is my Great, Great, Great Grandmother ( I am 35). That makes James my Great, Great, Great, Great grandfather. The line goes, James and Mary Ann, Martha and Henry Gunter (her second marriage was to George White after Henry died, Samuel Gunter and Emmeline Annie (nee Roberts), Geoffrey George Gunter and Catherine (nee Corlett), Ronald George Gunter and Dorothy Joan (nee Whittington) Raymond Ian Gunter and Linda Joy (nee Bunce) and there is me, Scott Raymond Gunter. I am now know as Scott Raymond Carson due to my father being quite a drunk and drug addict and I took on my step father’s surname. My mother is Linda Carson now also and my wife and kids also have that surname. It is very exciting for me to find some relatives higher up in the tree who seemed to have it together.
I would love to see any information from the Heneckers down and I am very happy to share what I have with you.
Blessings an with Excitement,
I really love your banner pic – SO South Australia!
Thanks bushmaid. Sometimes I think I will change it, but then, I look at it and think, yes it is true so S.A. I love this country. Later (in a few years) I am tempted to pack up and go up to Hawker to live…I love it there, my dad was born there and my rellies live in Pt Augusta, so the pic keeps me focussed. Cheers Vicki
J Alec Robins
As one of the few (only 5) younger Heneker line (Jack and Edith May) I was somewhat surprised and very happy to see that a start has been made on recording some of the family history for prosperity ——- I should really get off my butt and add to the already compiled data —– the last assembly of the of the clan (or part thereof) that I was present at was held in the showground hall at Clare many years ago —– I do not have any pictorial material (maybe one or two pics) but l do have lots of memories for recording or passing on —— today I was just updating my own records to ensure my own two sons will have correct records when I shuffle off —– lost my mothers (Ivy Lucy Christina) birth date so I just googled it to see if it was on record somewhere — very happy with what I have found —- perhaps if I could get an E/mail address I could add a bit here and there Cheers Alec
Hello J Alec Robins,
I don’t know how I missed your email to my WordPress site about the Heneker Family. I was born Vicki Heneker and James Heneker sen was my 3 x g grandfather. I just realised you sent the email in 2017. Sorry I have been sick for awhile and been getting treatment so haven’t really spent any time on this blog. If you get this email I would love to hear from you. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Alec, I sent you a FB add which you accepted so thanks. Also I sent a reply to your comment you left on my blog all the way back in 2019, which I think I might not have replied to. So I resent a message to you and don’t know that I actually pressed the send button on this blog which I only just realised. So my email address is email@example.com if you wanted to get back in contact. Cheers Vicki Heneker
Hello, I am a descendant of James Heneker Junior, Australian born son of James Heneker Senior. This is how I’m related:
Mother: Kerry Walkley
Her Mother: Margaret Dixon
Her Father: William Edward Dixon (Heneker)
His Father: James Heneker Junior
His Father: James Heneker Senior
Thanks for compiling this info!
Hello Robert..thanks for the comment….have you spoken to Harold Boddy, he has been researching William Dixon and others due to finding out some info re his DNA…!!! I am happy to let him know, or vice versa so you can email him if you would like. Thanks again. Vicki
Hi I’m related to William Henry Henneker of port adelaide, my father is Peter Henneker his Last living child. If you could contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com we can not find any email address for you
Cheers Melissa Henneker