Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Miracle Cure All?

The Evening News, Friday February 26, 1897 - Page 3
Source: Trove
1898 (2)
" 5250 Incurable Discharged from Hospitals and Given Up by Doctors have been CURED by DR. WILLIAMS'S PINK PILLS"

Recently my Aunty Jean was telling me that she was a small, thin and pale young girl, until she started taking Dr Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People, which made her grow.  
This intrigued me, so I decided to find out more!

The wonder drug was sold from the 1890s to the 1950s(1) in over 80 countries around the world. 

"The Pills, to begin with, give strength purity and richness to the blood, and thus root out a whole host of diseases which depend on poor or viated blood" (2) 

There are pages and pages of reported cures! In 1986, a 40 page book was dedicated to the stories of cures. It makes very interesting reading.

Aunty Jean was about 10 years old, when her mother sent a family photo to Grandma Pilgrim.  When Grandma Pilgrim wrote back, she commented that Jean was too little and thin!

Don, Jean, Joy and Rob
Was this the photo that my grandmother sent to her mother?

Gran promptly took Aunty Jean to the chemist (who was also a trained doctor) and he prescribed Dr Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People.

A year later, Aunty Jean does look to have grown
 considerably in comparison to her elder brother.
Could the Pink Pills be the reason?
Source: Science Museum London

The range of reports is quite impressive; from the soldier who was discharged with "incurable paralysis" who was "made perfectly well by our pills" to the young girl who was "gulping up large quantities of blood" but through "the use of the pills, gradually rose from a bed of suffering and sickness until she once again attained robust young womenhood". (3)

The list of ailments purportedly cured is extraordinary;
Anaemia, Asthma, Chlorosis or Green Sickness, Dizziness, Heart Palpitation, Nervousness, Headache, Loss of Appetite, Indigestion and Dyspepsia, La Grippe, Eruptions and Pimples, Sick Headache, Pale or Sallow Complexion, Swelling, General Debility, Rheumatism, Depression, Insomnia, Paralysis, Muscular Weakness, Shortness of Breathe, Locomotor Ataxia, Neuralgia, Chronic Erysipeias, Kidney Troubles, Catarrh of the Stomach, Nervous Fits, St Vitus' Dance, Consumption of the Bowels and Lungs, Swelled Glands, Scrofula, Fever Sores, Irritability of Temper, Rickets, Fevers, Acute Diseases, All Female Weakness, Tardy or Irregular Periods, Leucorrhoea, Suppression of the Menses, Loss of Vital Forces, Loss of Memory, Ringing in the Ears and Hysteria.

Aunty Jean believes that she took the pink pills for a couple of years.  Did they work?  She believes that she grew substantially after taking them.
Jean and Joy in 1953
Do you think the pink pills made a difference?

1895 Canadian Advertisement

So what was in Dr Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People?
The recipe was a secret but according to the Kansas Historical society, it seems they were iron oxide, epsom salts and magnesium sulfate based.

This post was prompted by Sepia Saturday.  Please click to read other posts.

(1) According to advertisements in Australian newspapers as researched on
(2) As stated by the Manager of  Dr Williams' Medicine Company and reported in the London Newspapers and repeated in the Healesville Guardian and Yarra Glen Guardian, Saturday 20th August 1898, page 3 - Trove
(3) Book: Dr Williams pink pills for pale people - published 1986

Saturday, January 17, 2015

3 Alcohol Related Deaths in the Scott Family

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA; 1931 - 1954)
Monday 20 September 1943, page 3

Burnside Fatality Inquest Finding
The adjourned inquest into the death of William Adam Bissett Scott, 62 laborer, of Waterfall Gully road, Burnside, who died in Royal Adelaide Hospital after having been found on September 2 with severe body injuries, with his bicycle beside him near his home, was concluded by the Acting City Coroner, Mr Ziesing, on Saturday.
The Coroner found that deceased came by his death from extensive injuries sustained when he was struck by a vehicle being driven my a person or persons unknown.  "On the evidence before me," he added "I do not make any positive finding as to the type of vehicle which caused the death of the deceased, or the circumstances in which the impact occurred."
Mr  D Waterhouse for Scott's relatives: Messrs H G Alderman KCand RH Lake for insurance interests.

William Adam Bisset Scott(2)
Circa 1890
My Great Grandfather, William Adam Bisset Scott was born in the small country community of Kiata, Victoria, Australia, on Remembrance Day, 11th November 1880.  He is named after both his grandfathers.

After his father died in 1892, Bill (as he was known) finished school at the age of 12 , to help his mother on the farm. (1)

He married my grandmother, Agnes Foy, at Dimboola in 1906.

He continued farming for many years, at various properties across the Wimmera.  In 1925 he is listed as owning farmland at Lot 33 Manya North, near the South Australian Border. According to Electoral Rolls, he remained on the property until 1936, when he was 56 years old.

Source: State Library of Victoria Maps
Manya, County of Weeah 1925
Prior to his untimely death in 1943, he worked for the Burnside Council as a ranger (3).  

From family photos, we know that he also worked as an "Overseer of Road Works"

Bill Scott (far left) - "Overseer of Road Works"

News (Adelaide, SA; 1923 - 1954)
 Monday 6th September 1943, page 6

There are many Newspaper articles on Trove about Bill Scott's accidental death and the subsequent inquest.

My Great Grandfather was returning home from the Waterfall Gully Hotel when he was "struck by a vehicle", which resulted in his untimely death on 5th September 1943.

He is not the first person in his family to die after having a few drinks!  

His Grandfather, Adam Bisset Scott, collapsed and died in a pub in South Leith, Scotland, on 15th November 1872 (congestion of the lungs). (4)

His Grandmother, Catherine Glass, was also returning from the hotel, when she died from "suffocation through intoxication".

Source:  Death Record - Scotlands People

Better Times
William and Agnes Scott & Family  - Circa 1916
Allan, William, Donald (back) Wally (front) Agnes and Agnes

(1) Certificate Number 29016 issued by the Education Department Victoria on 12th August
(2) Spelling as per Birth Certificate
(3) News (Adelaide, SA; 1923 - 1954) Saturday 18th September 1943, page 3
(4) Death Recrod - Scotlands People

This Post was prompted by Sepia Saturday
Please click for more posts.

Monday, January 12, 2015

How do you record your research leads for follow up?

Have I already researched that record?  Where did I put that copy?  Did I follow that up before?

Sound familiar?

How do you record your research leads for future follow up? 

Over the years, the amount of research and leads in my records has grown substantially.   Initially I printed out any potential leads for future follow up and research.  However the house soon became a fire hazard with all the paper that I had everywhere!  So I have tried to go paperless, except for important records and certificates, which are scanned in to the computer and stored in folders.   On my computer I have a folder "To be Done" with sub folders for every surname I am researching.  This worked well for several years.

However, I now find that I have too many leads to follow up and find myself researching leads that I am sure that I have looked at previously!

Therefore I spent several hours over the weekend and have commenced "sorting" my leads and summarising them into an Excel Spreadsheet.  Excel is my preference as I can easily sort/locate/find information in future.

For me, I have two workbooks; one for maternal ancestors and another for paternal ancestors.  There is a tab for each family name that I am researching.  It was easy to copy the record so it is listed under both the birth name and also the married name tabs.

In the example above, you will see that I have leads for John Walker Snr, Elizabeth Walker and John Walker Jnr.  The details of each lead are also summarised; Record Date, Record Type, Location, Source, Details, Actions Required and Comments.  There is also a column indicating if I have copied the source document/information to Family Tree Maker. 

When a document or lead has been discounted, I have changed the colour to red, but will leave it visible so that I do not order or research again in future.

Those in yellow are my best possibilities and are to be followed up first.

I have retained my "to be done" folders but the documents contained within each folder are being linked to the relevant person in Family Tree Maker.

I created a new Fact in Family Tree Maker 2012, which I called "Research Leads"

I have then attached/linked each research document and the spreadsheet to each of the relevant people in Family Tree Maker. 

Now I have my leads summarised and easy to locate and follow up!  It works for me anyway!

How do you keep track of your leads?  Do you have an easier method?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Furry Faced Farm Friends

My Grandmother, Eva Pilgrim, grew up on a farm at Winiam, Victoria, Australia.  She wrote "I love horses and working dogs, but not lap dogs".

The photo below, taken in 1919 when Gran was nearly 9 years old, is an early indication of her love of animals.  It is a tiny photo at only 6cm X 4cm.  

It looks like they have been digging in fox holes?

Eva Pilgrim - June 1919
Does this say "Tugandtoil" Horsham?
I think it could be a property name? 

I am very fortunate that my grandmother took a large number of photos around the family farm "Almond Dale" with her Box Brownie. Here is a small selection of her photos, which give a really good indication of the animals on the farm;

James Pilgrim -  Almond Dale 1928
Almond Dale  Pigs - September 1929

Lorna Pilgrim - Almond Dale 1931

Almond Dale Cows - August 1929

Edna Pilgrim, Freda Presser, Lorna Pilgrim and Eva Pilgrim
Pearl in the cowyard at Almond Dale - 1929

It seems that Pearl was a favourite pet as the Jersey Heiffer appears in a large number of photos

Pearl and the twins - September 1931
Lorna Pilgrim feeding Pearl (and Rosie) apples
May 1930

" An apple a day, keeps the doctor away, but these cows will take as many apples as they can get"
Eva Pilgrim

French Rabbits  - November 1929
Jim Geyer (cousin) and Kangy
Almond Dale - October 1931

Lorna Pilgrim with Mags and Cocky
Almond Dale - October 1931
Almond Dale Dogs - November 1929
Butcher, Jack and Joker

Joker and Bower must have been the favourite dogs as there are more photos of them than the other dogs.

Gran wrote that although their farm dogs were working dogs, they were regularly patted.

Lorna Pilgrim and Ginger
August 1932

Hazel, Edna and Lorna
Joker on left and Bower on right

Almond Dale Horses - 1928

Coral Wohlers and Edna on Dolly - Hazel and Lorna on Bennie
September 1932

"A catch in a crow trap. A dead sheep is placed in the enclosure.
The crows go in through the top, where the bag is thrown over.
July 1930"

Vermin, which ate crops or killed animals were regularly captured on the farm.  I have shown photos of an eagle and a snake previously.

I initially thought that this was a makeshift aviary but on reading the back of the photo, it is a Crow Trap.
The design was published in The Weekly Times.

This post was prompted by Sepia Saturday.  Please click for more posts

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The House that Granddad built!

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt encourages us to take a closer look at the backgrounds in our photos.  The details in the background can often tell us a lot more about when or where the photo was taken.

The photo below was labelled "Wallace Mottram 1944".

Wallace Mottram - 1944
Cousin to my Grandfather
You are probably thinking "What is so special about the background?"

Well it was a very special place to me in my childhood!  The first time I saw this photo, I immediately recognised this path and front doorstep as my grandparents home in Moe, Victoria. 

Let me take you on a tour of the house from my early memories;

As you enter the front door, there is a small hallway.  Directly ahead is an antique crystal cabinet against the wall in the corner, which I now know belonged to my Great Grandmother, Mary Walker (nee Mottram).  There was a photo in a frame on the top of it.  Behind this photo,  Nanna would hide lollies for us kids.  I was just tall enough to stretch and reach to find a bag of jelly beans to share with my sister.  I remember being scared and upset as Mum yelled at me for "stealing" the lollies but then Nanna knelt down to my level and gave me a big cuddle, telling Mum that it was OK as they were for us anyway.  I was only little but I could tell that Mum was angry at Nanna but she said nothing more and I wasn't in trouble anymore!  I thought Nanna was wonderful!

I am forever grateful to my cousin (pictured below) for giving me the crystal cabinet, which is the first thing that you will see when you enter our front door. 

My cousin at Nanna and Granddad's front door
circa 1956

Standing with my back against the inside of the front door, my grandparent's bedroom is on the right and the lounge room through the large sliding door on the left.  When Grandad went off to work, my sister and I would sneak into Nanna and Granddad's bed.  Nanna, wearing her maroon chenille dressing gown (which I still own), would give us pencils and colouring books and she would make us a Milo to drink (very carefully) in her bed.   Something that our parents would never have allowed us to do at home!

My cousin, Cindy,  sister, Deanne, and I in the lounge room in 1969
The door behind us is Nanna and Granddads bedroom.
The crystal cabinet is through the sliding door, around the corner to the left.

There is a bedroom door to the right of the crystal cabinet,  My sister and I sleep in the two single beds on either side of the room.  This room was my fathers for a time when he was little and my cousin tells me that walls were covered in Football flags and awards.  There is a window, which opens on to an enclosed verandah.

The hallway goes around the corner to the right.  Next to the bedroom that we sleep in is another bedroom, which my parents sleep in when we visit.

At the end of the hallway is a bathroom.  A strange memory to have but I remember that there is a toilet in the bathroom (which was unusual to me) and there is a pretty doll sitting on the cistern, with a crocheted dress, the spare toilet roll is under the dress.
I think that the bath was pink and the tiles green but cannot be sure.  Maybe a cousin who reads this could help me out?  (My cousin later confirmed via Facebook that I was correct)

27 Princes Highway, Moe, Victoria
 Built 1935.  The land cost  "2 quid"
The Walker family lived at Becks Bridge until the floods of December 1934.
After the floods my Grandparents lived in a bark hut and the children were billeted out
separately until the new house was built.  Much of the timber was from the old house.

Back down the hallway and around the the left through the sliding door to the lounge room.  As a child it seemed huge but that was probably because I was so small!  There was a copper picture of a boat on the wall, granddads bar (a huge old globe of the world that opened to reveal glasses and bottles) and a domed green clock with moving parts at the bottom (sorry I cannot remember it properly or explain it).  We were not allowed to touch the bar or the clock!  The dancing ballerina in the bottle is the most vivid memory in the lounge room, as Nanna would wind it up over and over again for me.

The lounge room led directly into the kitchen area, which I also thought was large.  It must have been a decent size as I remember Christmas Dinner and a long table with pew like benches on either side, with our family, all the Aunts, Uncles and cousins making a lot of noise.  Nanna made an excellent Christmas Pudding full of threepence and sixpence.  I would eat so much that I felt that I would pop!

Later renumbered to 89 Lloyd Street, Moe, Victoria
Granddad is on the verandah and someone is sitting on the steps.

The back door to the right led out to an enclosed verandah.  On the other side of the verandah was a sleep out.  My Great Grandfather, Ambrose Walker, died in this room from a heart attack.  My uncle says that he could feel his grandfathers presence in the room when it was his bedroom.  My father later slept there too.  I seem to remember sleeping in here once but we were usually inside.

Out the back door, there was an outside toilet down the path to the right.  The cistern was up high (well it seemed high when we were kids) and there was a chain that needed to be pulled to flush the toilet (very noisily) but I couldn't reach it.

My grandparents, Gordon Walker and Rita Walker (nee Jones)
Dad tells me that a marker across the road indicated that it was 83 Miles to Melbourne

Now I cannot be certain but I think that the path directly ahead of the back door had shedding on the right and one of the rooms was the outside laundry.

There was a lemon tree in the back yard that was watered frequently by the men!

I have some wonderful memories of the visits to my grandparents house in Moe, which still looks good today (below is an image from Google Maps).

This post was inspired by Sepia Saturday. Please click to see more posts.