It’s been awhile since I let you know what I’ve been up to. In just under two weeks (or hopefully before) I will submit a thesis, a history of the Harman family, to the Society of Australian Genealogists for assessment. It’s been a crazy 12 months and if I had known some of the things life was going to throw at me over the year, I would probably would not have started it. But I did and I’ve almost made it and I know it will be worth it.
Mania has made its presence felt lately and that’s not just me as I finish my Harman history. Rather, the two mystery children of my ggg uncle Jonathan Harman have bestowed their mania upon me. A few months back I wrote about Looking for Mary Ann. Well I found her. She did not die as a baby as many Harman researchers have assumed, including myself. Instead, in the years after her mother’s death in 1884, Mary Ann sunk into a deep depression before her admission to the Ararat Asylum in 1893 where she was a patient for six years. Thirty two years later her brother Jonathan was also admitted and remained there for 15 years.
Since my suspicions were confirmed I have felt so sad for their father Jonathan. Despite the death of his wife Mary Oliver at age 41, 46 years before his own death, two children dying as babies and one as a teenager, two children in the Ararat Mental Asylum and an illegitimate grandchild, he was a kind man with a happy demeanor. I’ve actually grown quite fond of him. I’ve also been struck at how his life evolved so differently to his brother’s, my ggg grandfather James Harman. Both settled and farmed in Byaduk until old age and each had 10 children but that’s where the similarities ended. Yet Jonathan appears to have accepted his lot in life and maybe his Methodist beliefs enabled him not to have feelings of regret or envy toward his brother. Instead they were close to the end.
While there have not been many new posts in the past few months , Western District Families has still been passing a few milestones.
Recently the blog passed 100,000 page views and is now well on the way to 110,000. There are now 162 of you following the Western District Families blog and 264 people “like” the Facebook page. Thank you to everyone who has subscribed to the blog or liked the page. I’ve been delighted with Western District Families’ rise this year and I think the Facebook page has a lot to thank for that. While I may not have time to write a blog post, I can always find a moment to share a photo or link or post one of the 300 posts from the past three years.
During August and September I have posted regular articles from the Hamilton Spectator to the Western District Families Facebook page. The articles are about WW1 but not news from overseas. Rather they are about the war related happenings in Hamilton during that time. I’m interested in the residents’ first responses, their changes in attitude toward the war and toward the many people of German descent living in nearby towns such as Tabor and Hochkirch . I do know that anti-German sentiment did grow resulting in a change of name for Hochkirch to Tarrington, a safe Anglo-Saxon name taken from the nearby estate once owned by Stephen George Henty. I’m also keen to see how The Hamilton Spectator reported those matters.
In around two weeks I hope to hit the ground running with some new blog posts and I can’t wait. I’ve missed it but I have 20 draft posts in various stages of completion and I’m itching to share them. For “Trove Tuesday” fans, there is also a long list of “Trove Tuesday” type articles ready to go. So thank you for hanging in there and I’ll be back with you soon.