A Bouquet of Roses

Week 6 of the #52Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge, invites us to discuss a favourite name in our family’s history.

A few years back, my mother and I were visiting the grave of my great, grand aunt Rose Ryan nee Quinn, when I just happened to comment “Haven’t we got a lot of Roses in our family? I like that.” Ever since then, my mother has called me Jacqui-Rose. It’s not my legal name, just more of a pet name that Mum has for me. My (Fairy) Godmother soon picked this up, and calls me her own version, which is simply “J.R.”.

Rose GibsonOn my father’s side, my great grandmother was Rose Hannah Gibson (1880-1967). Rose was born in Binalong, New South Wales in 1880 to parents James and Harriett Gibson nee Randall. Her grand-daughter, my aunt, was Betty Victoria Rose Attridge (1925-2003), and her great great grand-daughter (my 1C 1R), is Angela Rose.

On mum’s side – There was Rose Ryan (c1836 – 1915) my great grandmother Isabella’s sister. Born Rose Ann Quinn in Co. Tyrone in the 1830s, it’s quite possible she was actually a Roisin (pronounced Ro-sheen), the Irish version of Rose Ann. Rose Ryan called her 2nd daughter Rose. Generally, following Irish naming conventions, the 1st daughter is named after the mother’s mother, the 2nd daughter after the father’s mother, and the 3rd is after her mother… However, Rose and her husband Edward’s mothers were both called Margaret (Rose’s mother was Margaret Isabella also known as Isabella or Bella), so they called their first daughter Margaret…but their 2nd daughter was christened Rose Ann Ryan (1873-1968).

Rose and Edward had a son, Robert Patrick (1868-1947), and in turn Robert and his wife Nora, called their daughter Rose Mary Ryan (1905-1987). This meant that Robert’s mother was Rose Ryan, his sister was Rose Ryan and his daughter was Rose Ryan … and he also had a first-cousin who was known as Rose. It was no surprise to find out that he called his property at Norwin (on the Darling Downs), Roselands.

My husband’s great, great grandmother was also Rose. Rose Phillips nee Greenhalgh (1851-1928), was born in Broughton Creek, now known as Berry in New South Wales, to convict parents Thomas and Mary Greenhalgh nee Lenehan.

In recent times, I have also connected with my 3rd cousin Maureen Rose, through DNA testing.  Maureen would be the great, grand niece of Rose Ryan nee Quinn. (or great, great niece depending on which term you like to use).  My cousin’s great grand-daughter, (that would make her my 2nd cousin 3 times removed 2C3R), is called Harper Rose, when her real name is Harper Ava.  My cousin’s daughter, Alicia, chose Rose as her confirmation name when she was about 10 years old. So, the essence of Rose lives on.

HouseMy great grandmother Bridget Schwartz nee Ryan (yes lots of Ryans and lots of Roses), was born in Rosegreen in County Tipperary, Ireland, and when she came to Australia, she called her first home, in Victoria Street, West End, (Brisbane), Rosegreen Cottage.

So there you have it. A very special bouquet of Roses.

An Invitation to Dinner

Week 4 of the #52Ancestors challenge is “An Invitation to Dinner”.

Following on from my previous post about the Schwartzs of Copenhagen.  I’ve been using a combination of google translate, along with my Scanmarker Air to translate Jorgen Bast’s 1951 book “Schwartzerne I Sværtegade”, from Danish to English.  Both of these methods give a less than perfect translation but they are good enough to get the general idea of the text.  If you have never used a Scanmarker Air digital pen or similar, I thoroughly recommend them (and I don’t get commission).

There is a chapter in the book called “Arbejde – Men Også Fest” which translated means “Work – but also party“.  I like to think “All work and no play, makes Johan a dull boy”. This chapter explains that Johan Georg Schwartz was recognised as an excellent craftsman and hard worker, but given his clientele, he was invited to many dinners, balls, masquerade balls, carnivals, concerts and the like, by those I like to call the “rich and famous”.  Fortunately, he kept memorabilia from the events he attended (must be where I get my ‘hoarding’ gene from), and a menu found in his belongings, has been reproduced in Bast’s book, see below.


The description given in the book says that this is a “menu card from the royal dinner at the stock exchange”.  The date of the dinner was 10 July 1862.   The royal exchange or stock exchange is known in Danish as the Børsyn or Børsbygningen.  The photo at the top of this page is a modern day event taking place in the very same room where Johan Georg participated in the Royal Dinner.  There is a sketch of the dinner in Bast’s book, and in comparison, it looks that little has changed except for the big round lights. You can do a virtual tour of this opulent building by clicking on this link   http://english.borsbygningen.dk/hist.htm

I haven’t been able to translate all of the gastronomical delights offered on the menu, but I can tell you that the first item Skilpadde Suppe, is turtle soup, and that some of the items translate to green peas, ham, fillets of young turkeys, cabbage, champagne jelly, and cake.  I think I may have passed on the turtle soup, but this was certainly one dinner I would have liked to have been invited to.

Ironically, at the same time as my Danish ancestors were living the grand life in Denmark, my Irish great grandfather was enduring a horrific voyage from Ireland to Australia on board the Erin-go-Bragh, after being evicted from his home.  The Erin-go-Bragh arrived in Moreton Bay just two weeks after this fine dinner had been served in Copenhagen.

Scanmarker Air – I mentioned in this week’s blog that I was using a Scanmarker Air. These amazing digital pens allow you to transfer information from a typed page into a word document (or similar) simply by running the marker along the text.  They also have a translate function, so that as you run the marker along the Danish text (in this example), it prints the English translation on to your screen.  It also has a function that reads the text out loud to you as you scan the text.  Here’s the link for more information – Scanmarker Air.


Bast, Jorgen, Schwartzerne I Sværtegade, København, 1951.

Børsbygningen, http://english.borsbygningen.dk/hist.htm, viewed 27 January, 2018.

Burke, Alexander James McInnes, Gunyah, Grit and Gantry, A Saga of the Erin-Go-Bragh and of an era of pioneer settlement & shipping in Queensland, Milton, 1985.


The Schwartz Family Business

The challenge for week 3 of the #52Ancestors challenge was – LONGEVITY.

Many of my ancestors have lived long and meaningful lives well into their 90s – but this blog is not about any of them, it is about a family business that traded from the same location in Copenhagen for over 175 years, with the business being handed down over many generations.

Johan Adam Schwartz (1751-1835) was my fifth great uncle.  As a young man, he travelled from his family home in Büdingen, Germany to Copenhagen in Denmark to become an apprentice “kunstdrejer”.  It is difficult to find an exact definition of the term kunstdrejer, but the best way I can explain it is a “turner”.  A kunstdrejer was considered an artist; a person who made fine items from materials such as ivory, narwhal tusk, whale bone, and tortoise shell by turning them on a lathe.

After completing his apprenticeship, and marrying his master’s widow (yes that’s right), Johan Adam opened the doors of his business at number 170 Sværtegade, Copenhagen in Denmark.   This family business was operated from the same premises for 177 years, closing in 1983.  

Johan Adam handed the business down to his nephew Johan Georg Schwartz (1789-1864) (brother to my 3 x great grandfather), and the business officially became I.G. Schwartz and Son.  I know you’re wondering “If his name was Johan, why was it I.G. Schwartz?” – well, long story cut short, Iohan is the Scandinavian version of the German Johan. To confuse matters more, Johan Georg then named his son Johan Adam (1820-1874), and he was also involved in the business, receiving a knighthood for his contribution to Danish art.JG Schwartz

I.G. Schwartz and Son, employed many craftsmen and artisans, including my third great grandfather, Carl August Schwartz who was responsible for the beautiful chess set shown in an earlier blog. The items produced by the company included chess sets, billiard balls, umbrella handles, canes, drinking horns, and paper knives. They were also regarded as specialists in the field of producing medical instruments. 

I.G. Schwartz & Son’s clientele included royalty, and the rich and Napoleonfamous, including Prince Napoleon

and Queen Alexandra (daughter-in-law of Queen Victoria).  The beautiful ivory fan pictured at the top of this blog, was designed by Christian Carl Peters (1822-1899) and made by the craftsmen of I.G. Schwartz & Son.  It is made from carved and pierced ivory with applied gold, and features a gold pin with turquoise head.  The fan was given to Princess Alexandra (later Queen) in 1863, by a group of Danish ladies, as a wedding gift.

150 years in the business….
In 1951, a book was written by Jørgen Bast entitled “Schwartzerne I Sværtegade” which celebrated 150 years of the business and its achievements.  I am lucky enough to have a copy if anyone would like to see it.  Several other books and articles have been written about the accomplishments of the various Schwartzs and the craftsmen who worked for them.

The original house where the business was located was built in 1738 (50 years before the First Fleet even arrived in Australia) and had several extensions added to it over the years to follow.  In 1847, my ancestors had the building converted to a shop, office and workshop. To the rear of the showroom, was a workshop, warehouse and accommodation for apprentices.  In the 1980s, these buildings were renovated into offices, and in 2010, architects Bertlesen and Schewing were commissioned to restore and transform the building into a restaurant, hotel and office space.  Their website features some of the history of the buildings along with photographs and drawings. Over the centuries, with changes in town planning, the building’s number has changed to No.3 Sværtegade. The picture above shows the shopfront prior to the 2010 renovations, and comes from the 1001 Stores of Denmark website.  Sadly, the I.G. Schwartz & Son sign has been removed and replaced with the name of the new owner.

Fischer painting

1001 stories of Denmark, “Schwartz Shop in Sværetegade”, http://www.kulturarv.dk/1001fortaellinger/en_GB/schwartz-shop-in-svaertegade, viewed 26 January 2018.

Bast, Jorgen, Schwartzerne I Sværtegade, København, 1951.

Bertelsen and Scheving, “Kalejdoskopæstetik I Snørklet Byhus”, http://bsarkitekter.dk/renovering-svaertegade-3/ viewed 26 January, 2018.

Gyldendal Den Store Dansk, “Georg Nygaard: J.G. Schwartz”, http://denstoredanske.dk/Dansk_Biografisk_Leksikon/Kunst_og_kultur/Kunsth%C3%A5ndv%C3%A6rk/Kunstdrejer/J.G._Schwartz  viewed 26 January, 2018.

Royal Collection Trust, “Princess Alexandra’s Danish Fan”, https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/themes/exhibitions/unfolding-pictures/the-queens-gallery-buckingham-palace/princess-alexandras-danish-fan viewed 26 January, 2018.

Wikipedia, “J A Schwartz”, https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/J.A._Schwartz, viewed 26 January, 2018.


#52Ancestors Challenge Week 2

My favourite photograph

Recently, I accepted the “52 ancestors in 52 weeks” challenge #52Ancestors.  Each week this year, we will be given a topic or subject to write about as part of the challenge.  I missed out on week 1 when the topic was “start”.  Here, in week 2, I’ll be combining “start” with this week’s subject “My favourite photo”.

When I was a child, I was raised by my mother and her eldest sister, and a whole lot of extended family including aunties, uncles and cousins.  Aunty Carmel (Carmel Cross nee Hill) was the oldest ‘girl’ in a family of 11, and mum (Lorraine Hill) was the youngest, which meant that there was a 23-year gap between them.  Aunty Carmel was widowed when I was 10, and my mum was what was known back in those days as a “deserted wife”.

Aunty Carmel had an extensive collection of old family photos, and my love of family history started by spending long hours just staring at those photographs, which in those days she kept either in the cutlery case (more about that soon), or in what we called the “hot water cupboard”.  I was an only child, and at every opportunity, I would ask Aunty Carmel to bring out the photos.

The photo I’m writing about today, is of Aunty Carmel as a young woman, and her brother Frank, or “Tiger” as the family called him.  One of the reasons I chose this photo is that today, 15 January 2018, would have been Aunty Carmel’s 105th birthday.  Aunty Carmel passed away in 2012 at the age of 99, in her own home where she was still living independently.

All of mum and Aunty Carmel’s brothers raced motorbikes, and in this photo you can see Uncle Tiger kitted out in his racing gear.  The photo was taken at Kingston in Logan City, and Aunty Carmel had ridden there on a motorbike with her husband-to-be, Jim Cross.  A woman in trousers would have been a rare sight in those days.

In 1939, Aunty Carmel and Uncle Jim won a 16-hour motorcycle observation trial, which was 16 hours of continuous riding from Rosewood to Gympie and return.  They competed in the race on a Harley Davidson 730cc “outfit” (motorcycle and sidecar).  Navigating from the sidecar, she was the only female competitor in the race.  First prize was a case of silver cutlery which had been donated by J. Groom.  The presentation was made by Mr Wacker, the grandfather of the current owners of Morgan and Wacker’s Motorcycle Shop in Brisbane.  That case later became the place where beloved family photos were kept.  When she passed away, I inherited the wooden cutlery case.

After completing the 1939 race, Carmel and Jim rode back to Toowoomba where Jim had a couple of hours sleep before riding back to Brisbane on the Monday morning to go to work.  All up, he covered about 800 miles that week-end on a rigid frame motorcycle.

They featured in a newspaper article in The Telegraph on 9 October 1939.

Aunty Carmel’s stories of the ‘motorbike days’, inspired me to become a racer myself.  In the 1970’s I raced flat-track, moto x, and junior speedway, and my love for motorcycles and motorcycle racing continues even today (Go! Valentino Rossi).  Her strength of character certainly influenced the person I am today.  Happy Birthday, Aunty Carm.

Jacqui Rose Brock DipFamHist

150th Wedding Anniversary

This year will mark the 150th Anniversary of the marriage of my great grandparents, Thomas “Tom” Hill and Isabella Quinn.

On 18 January 1868, my great grandmother Isabella Quinn and her sister Rose married two ‘mates’, Thomas “Tom” Hill and Edward Ryan.  The weddings took place at St Patrick’s Church, Toowoomba. Tom and Isabella witnessed the marriage certificate of Edward and Rose, and vice versa. The ceremonies were performed by Father Denis Byrne.  Father Byrne, was a Dubliner and was described by Archbishop Duhig (in a newspaper article) as being a man with great polish and funds of good, clean Irish wit.  So, I’d like to think, that a good time was had by all.

Tom Hill and Edward Ryan, natives of Kings County in Ireland, had arrived in Australia a little over five years earlier on the 2nd August 1862 on the Erin-go-Bragh. The “Erin” was well known for its long and troubled voyage to Australia.  Fifty souls were lost on that voyage and both the ship and its passengers were in a very bad state by the time the “Erin” staggered into Moreton Bay 200 days after it had sailed from Ireland.  Tom and Edward, who I presume were friends or even possibly relatives ‘back home’, travelled to the Darling Downs together, and in 1863, they both purchased land at Drayton.

Isabella and Rose Quinn, arrived in Australia on the Earl Russell in 1866, along with their sisters Ellen and Margaret. Records show that they were sponsored by their brother Robert Quin, who had already settled at Spring Creek near Drayton.  Given the close proximity of Spring Creek to the property owned by Tom Hill and Edward Ryan, and the fact that they were all Irish Catholic ‘boys’, new to this country – I like to imagine that they were good friends or at the very least acquaintances, and that is how it came about that two of Robert’s sisters married Robert’s friends.

Tom and Isabella settled at Drayton and built the family home on the the corner of Ball and Gipps Streets.  The family home was called “Ballymena” after Isabella’s home town of “Ballymenagh” in county Tyrone. Together, they had two sons and three daughters.  Their first born son died in infancy, and their other son Thomas Robert grew to become my grandfather.  None of the girls ever married.

Edward and Rose eventually settled at Athol, about two miles from Westbrook Homestead.  They had one son and two daughters.  Coincidentally, neither of their daughters married either.  Rose (junior) went on to become a nun, Sister Mary Aquinas, and Maggie stayed at home with her parents until they passed away.

So, on the 18th January 2018, please spare a thought for these two pioneering couples, as we celebrate their 150th wedding anniversaries.

The image at the top of this page is a drawing of St Patrick’s Church, Toowoomba ca 1880.  This church was erected in 1863 and expanded in 1880, only to be burnt down the day after completion in 1880.  The fire was believed to be arson following a sermon on Temperance.  Thanks to the State Library of Queensland website for this image and information.