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Research leads to TV Talk Show 6th August 2008 Family History
My husband and I have just become proud grandparents of twin grandsons, born to our daughter on December 19th. They have two older brothers who have second names for father and grandfather. The babies are Hudson Joseph; the Joseph is for our son in law's beloved Granpa Joe, whilst the second twin is Mackenzie Barton, which would delight my mother so much, were she alive.

My mother was born Elizabeth Barton Harle in 1905, the twelfth child of a gold miner and his much younger wife, also named Elizabeth Barton Harle, nee Farr. Her father was named William Barton Farr and his mother was Elizabeth Barton. The Barton has been used regularly as a second name since. All my grandmother's siblings had it, as did one of my own mother's older brothers, being James Barton Harle.

My daughter became interested in the family long before I did, when as a secondary school student she had to research family war casualties and went to my mother for information. She was well rewarded and hooked for life when she found that as a WW1 Australian soldier James was killed on June 26th 1916. June 26th is my daughter Joanne's birthday! It was a given that she therefore inherited Uncle Jim's war momentos, plus trinkets and cards which had been sent home to his family, and had been lovingly kept since that time.

James Barton Harle's war service has been well researched since by Joanne's young sister in law, who also studied WW1 during her final school year. She was fortunate enough to go on a school excursion to Gallipolli and French theatres of war engaging Australian soldiers, and had been well prepared prior to her departure with all of Uncle Jim's details, which we were able to obtain from the Australian War Museum in Canberra. She took photographs of his place of death and his grave stone in the well tended war cemetery. Upon her return she and her fellow researchers were interviewed for an ABC TV talk programme where they told of their experiences and the affect they had upon their young lives. It is such a wonderful idea and must be working as Gallipolli is one of the most popular overseas destinations for young Australian travelers.

So, while my daughter does not dig deep into the Northumberland mines and archives like I do in the pursuit of our gold miner grandfather's ancestors she has certainly done her bit to maintain the links to her forebears in her own school research, her influence of her sister in law's choice and in the naming of her children, particularly her newborn sons. We cannot really ask for much more than that, can we?

Heather Brain

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