I have spoken before about Mr BG’s passion for genealogy. I had a friend remark- oh, once you start, you never stop! Oh no, I thought confidently, this is just a flash in the pan obsession that Mr BG would have- right up there with sea monkeys, marbles (when he was boyfriend BG), and obsessive collecting of Jamaican ska, bubblegum pop, and lounge musical genres.
Sadly, it’s not a flash in the pan for him, it’s more like malaria- it lies dormant, then strikes when you least expect it.
Mr BG called me at work, an occurrence unusual enough for me to ask “What’s wrong?”.
“Oh nothing, just wanted to let you know I’m related to someone who was at Port Arthur,” he said breezily. This great-great grandfather, on his maternal grandmother’s side was yet another convict to add to his collection (I think we are up to about 8…).
We received an invitation to a family gathering/reunion, about a 20 minute drive from Ballarat in the Ascot locality. It was to commemorate the laying of a memorial stone at the Coghills Creek cemetery where 5 members of the McKay family were buried. This family emigrated to the area in 1859, whereupon a daughter married Mr BG’s great grandfather, begat a huge family, which then spread from south west Victoria to western New South Wales.
Fittingly, the reunion and cemetery were held on St Andrew’s Day, the patron saint of Scotland’s feast day, as the McKays hailed from Skye (as did Mr BG’s great grandfather). There was also a piper at the cemetery when they unveiled the memorial stone.
Mr BG met a second cousin, who had done extensive research and they compared notes, and travel stories of being in Skye. I
made the mistake and left Mr BG to take the kids to another engagement while he stayed on, and further fanned the genealogy obsession smouldering away.
Special mention must of course be made to the ladies of Ascot who were engaged to provide catering. The date scones, sandwiches, handmade pasties and slices were amazing!