Thirty years ago and I arrived in Australia to begin an adventure. I was exhausted from the traveling en-route, not to mention the jet lag. Within days I was presented with a book that I “might enjoy reading”.
I was staying at the home, of my late Mum’s first cousin who I will call F. He and his wife B married just after the Second World War. He was British and his wife Australian, together they raised a family of ten; the first born in the year my Mum was born and the last born just a few years before I was born.
The book related to B’s family, which was of German heritage. The family had migrated to Australia in the mid 19th Century, and had settled in South Australia. I read the book, made copious amounts of notes and to be honest thought very little of it. Though each time I subsequently returned to Australia would ask to borrow the book again, read it and make more notes along the way. Some notes were clearer than the original ones, some were new entries and some were simply replicas of earlier ones.
Over the coming months, I would meet various family members of B’s family, her brother and sister and numerous half siblings. I was welcomed with open arms, despite having no connection to that part of the family.
Eventually, the notes made it to my genealogical software and I promised that I would look into the family on a future Australian trip.
Fast forward to 2021 and I was working on creating a new course for Pharos; Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe (750). I was sifting through my notes and selecting the relevant case studies, before formatting those notes into a structured section in the lessons. Suddenly the word Noack jumped out from the page. I knew that name, and did not need to look up to check where I knew it from. It was the maiden name of B.
Researchers will be familiar with the sensation of wow, mixed with the realism of how did I miss this? Well I had that wow and realism feeling, moreover, I was and still am, rather embarrassed to say that I had not made the connection, even though I was acutely aware of the surname illustrated. I had the information looking me in the face and still managed to miss the connection <sigh>.
The one thing I am very sad of is that both F and B are no longer with us. I would so love to have shared this discovery with them both, though I know F would have rolled his eyes, before being ticked off by B.
As part of the new course, I have shared information about the group of people with whom the Noack’s identified with. In about six weeks the next running of the Practicalities of One-Name Studies (903) course will begin. During that, I shall be working alongside the students, taking the time to set up the structures for a Noack study and that will continue with the next running of the Introduction to One-Name Studies (901) course.
Over the coming weeks, watch the research on the surname unfold. You can find the Noack posts HERE.