20 July 2016

The Battle of Fromelles


This is the gravestone of Amy Selina Weiss née Blanch, and Walter Herbert Weiss, her husband, in Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney. The gravestone also commemorates three of their sons - Frederick Albert Weiss and Erle Victor Weiss, who both were killed in action in World War 1, plus Harry Blanch Weiss, a POW in World War 2, who died while working on the Thai Burma Railway.

I am focusing here on Frederick Albert Weiss because he died in the Battle of Fromelles, which took place 100 years ago. Fromelles is a small village in France which, in 1916, was behind German lines. On the evening of July 19 1916 Australian and British forces attacked the German forces at Fromelles. By 8am the next morning the Allied forces withdrew, after the loss or wounding of some 5500 Australian and 1500 British soldiers. 

Private Frederick Albert Weiss, service number 3578A, was born at Anna Bay, NSW, in 1892, the second child and eldest son of Amy and Walter Weiss. Like his father, Fred was a school teacher - at the time of his enlistment he was an associate teacher at West Wyalong Public School, where his father was the headmaster.

He joined up at age 22 and he embarked for The Front in September 1915. After spending some time in northern Africa, Fred arrived in Marseilles on 28 June 1916. He was killed less than a month later on July 19th. An eyewitness from his battalion, Percy Dickson, stated that Fred was shot in the stomach, and then was probably blown up by the enemy's heavy shelling. They were unable to retrieve his body at the time due to the shelling. He was officially listed as missing in action on July 28, and this was updated to killed in action on September 2, 1917. His body was never recovered. DNA testing is being carried out on remains found in mass graves at Fromelles, and DNA from two Weiss family members has been submitted.

I am pleased that yesterday a close relative of mine was able to visit VC Corner at Fromelles, where Fred is officially commemorated, on the 100th anniversary of his death to pay her respects.

15 July 2016

Hints and Tips: Latin word resources for family history research

I've had photos of German Roman Catholic parish registers for ages that I've been meaning to go through and translate, and I'm finally getting around to it. Many old Roman Catholic registers are written in Latin, as are these.

My Latin knowledge extends mainly to those words used to describe plants (I'm a botanist), but not so much to those words which might be used in a parish register. However, I've found three very useful resources, which used in conjunction, I have been able to make sense of much of the entries I've been looking at so far.

The first one is the Latin Genealogical Word List from FamilySearch. It gives a great general overview of words that might come up in your family history research. 

The second one is a list of Latin place names. Without that I would never have guessed that Moguntiae actually meant Mainz, Germany.

The last one is Parish Register Latin: An Introduction, by C. Russell Jensen, available on Internet Archive. This one is a lot more comprehensive than the first resource listed here, and you could possibly teach yourself how to read the Latin reasonably well with it, if you had the time or inclination. For me though, the most useful part was the Latin-English Word List, starting on page 385. Often I can work out some of the letters in a handwritten word, and being able to look at words which might be used in the same context and/or start with the same letters can often help me decipher the likely word. 

Hopefully these resources might help you to make better sense of your Latin parish register entries as well!

14 July 2016

The Beringer mill

We were visiting friends up north, and on the way back we took a detour to visit where the Beringer family came from, in the Eltville area near Wiesbaden.

We found the old mill that used to be in the family on a street named "An der Lochmühle", on the way into the resort town of Schlangenbad. It has been rebuilt since my ancestors lived and worked there, though the general layout of the buildings on the land is very similar to what it once was. However it was good to see where it was, and imagine my ancestors there, and to walk past the creek that young Beringer children might have played in in summers of years gone by.



This plaque was on the side of the building behind the mill wheel. It reads:
"Lochmühle 
Als Mahlmühle erbaut 1698
Neu errichtet 1937 durch
Hein A. Moeller"
which translates as "Lochmühle. Built as a grist mill 1698. Newly built in 1937 by Hein A. Moeller."

As well as seeing the mill, I checked out some of the local cemeteries, to see if there were any remaining headstones of long gone relatives. I wasn't expecting much, because in Germany graves can be recycled every 30 years or so, but I was rather hoping they might have kept old headstones. I checked three local cemeteries - Rauenthal, Martinstal and Schlangenbad, but sadly nothing there appeared relevant. Rauenthal had only new headstones, Martinstal had a couple of older ones amongst all the new, and Schlangenbad was a very quiet cemetery, way off up the hill from the town, with a number of headstones remaining from the time of my Beringers, but still there was no luck. 

I could have done much more exploring in the area, but we still had a good number of hours' drive before we would be home, and the kids were getting restless so I had to leave it at that. Maybe another time... 

06 July 2016

Walter McIndoe part 2

I'm still trying to sort out Walter McIndoe. I truly suspect that the Walter McIndoe born to Robert McIndoe and Bethia Duncan in Strathblane, Stirlingshire on 7th July 1763 is NOT the Walter McIndoe who lived and worked on Ladrishmore Farm, Kilmaronock, Dunbartonshire.

The Parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants (Smith, 1886) states on page 46 that "Walter McIndoe, son of Robert McIndoe and nephew of James McIndoe, last [laird] of Carbeth, was a merchant in Virginia, US, and died unmarried." 

According to A Dictionary of Scottish Immigrants to the USA (Whyte, 2009, p286), Walter McIndoe, nephew of James McIndoe of Carbeth, Stirlingshire, settled in Petersburg, Virginia, before 1821, and worked as a merchant. 

Walter McIndoe is listed for Petersburg in the Personal/Property Tax Lists for 1790 and 1799. As a result of the American Revolution a Loyalist Claim was placed by a W. McIndoe in Virginia in 1806 - it wouldn't be unheard of for a Scot to side with the British Crown. Walter McIndoe was still living in Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, in the 1830 US Census, but no longer there by the 1840 Census, presumably because he died during that decade. Although none of these particular records  confirm this Walter McIndoe is Scottish, it all certainly fits in the timeline.

So, I am willing to provisionally accept that Walter McIndoe, son of Robert McIndoe and Bethia Duncan, did emigrate to America, and therefore that Walter McIndoe of Ladrishmore Farm is not the son of Robert McIndoe and Bethia Duncan. 

So this means I need to make some adjustments to my family tree, and find new parents for Walter McIndoe of Ladrishmore Farm. I'm not expecting it to be easy!

22 June 2016

Walter McIndoe

I've never really done a lot of research on the MacIndoe/McIndoe family in Scotland, because I am aware of so many others who have done the research already. However, I've been going through my family tree, checking info, just to make sure there is enough evidence, in my mind, for these people.

And I've come across Walter McIndoe, my 4x great grandfather, who was married to Jean Andrew, and lived in Dunbartonshire, but was supposedly born in Strathblane, Stirlingshire, to Robert McIndoe and Bethia Duncan, on 7 July 1763. Jean Andrew was allegedly born in New or East Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire, to William Andrew and Jean Reid on 7 August 1761.

However, I want evidence. I can't find a marriage record for Walter and Jean, which might have given me further information on where Walter was from (though quite possibly not). I also can't find a death record, nor any will which might list brothers and sisters and where they live, and thus show any links to Strathblane.

The children of Walter and Jean that I have found records for are in the table below (with some large variations on the spelling of the surname!):

Date Name Parents Location
23 Jan 1784 Jean Walter McIndoe, Jean Andrew Cloberhill
28 Apr 1789 Margaret Walter McAndue, Jean Andrew Ladrishmore
10 Sep 1791 Walter Walter McAndue, Jean Andrew Ladrishmore
14 Sep 1793 Walter Walter MacIndoe, Jean Andrew Ladrishmore
12 Feb 1794 William Walter Macanduie, Jean Andrew not specified in record, but recorded in Kilmaronock parish
5 Feb 1796 Hugh Walter Macanduie, Jean Andrew not specified in record, but recorded in Kilmaronock parish
2 Mar 1801 Agnis Walter Macanduie, Jean Andrew not specified in record, but recorded in Kilmaronock parish
8 Apr 1805 John Walter McCandie/Macandie, Jean Andrew Ladrishmore

I am reasonably willing to accept that the Jean Andrew married to Walter McIndoe may well be the one born in 1761 to William Andrew and Jean Reid, partly because one of the kids is named William, but largely because the first (known) child was born in the same parish as where Jean's parents lived. Cloberhill was a farm in East/New Kilpatrick, situated on current-day Cloberhill Road, Glasgow.

Within five years the family had moved to the Kilmarnock parish, as the tenants on a farm named Ladrishmore (or Lederishmore), almost next door to the farm where their son Walter built Ashfield House years later.

There is nothing in the records that I have found that points to Great Great Great Great Grandfather Walter McIndoe being the son of Robert and Bethia McIndoe. In fact, I tend to think that the absence of any children of Walter and Jean's named Robert or Bethia supports my guess that they may not be Walter's parents. There is also information that I have found saying that Walter McIndoe, son of Robert and Bethia, actually emigrated to the US.

I haven't located any other potential parents for my Walter McIndoe, but that doesn't mean there weren't some. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who could prove or disprove this theory of mine. Please get in touch if you think you can help!

06 May 2016

James Sheldon's ancestry

I love it when everything falls into place, after struggling to make sense of something!

A distant relative contacted me recently - a descendant of James Sheldon, who was married to Adelaide Catherine Gustavia Martha Weiss, the first child of Charles Nicholas and Benigna Catharina Weiss. James Sheldon was a Church Missionary Society missionary in Kurrachee, India (now Karachi, Pakistan). I've been able to find out a reasonable amount about him and his family in India, and then in England, after they returned from the mission field, but not much of his ancestry. Just that he was from Walsall, Staffordshire. So armed with a little bit more information from James' descendant, I went digging.

I collected so many bits of information from all over the place that I put it all into a timeline in a spreadsheet, to try and make sense of it all. I coloured-coded information about different people, to make it easier to note where the information about a certain person seemed to end (helps to target a timeframe for a death/burial notice).


We knew that James Sheldon was born in Walsall on 7 Oct 1828, and from his marriage record, that his father's name was also James Sheldon (henceforth "James Sheldon senior" here). We also suspected his mother's name was Ann Hannah Middleton. I had found him in the 1841 Census living with James and Ann Bullock, and his sister Mary, and brother Humphrey Jarvis. Humphrey was still living with James and Ann Bullock in the 1851 Census, and was named as their grandson. I also found information that suggested James Sheldon had a brother called John.

So we had to make sense of the surnames of Sheldon, Bullock and Middleton. On FreeReg I found baptism records for the four known Sheldon children, which confirmed that their father was James Sheldon, publican, their mother was Ann, and they lived in Park St during the period those children were born. The Sheldon family seemed to be involved in running pubs in Walsall (of which there were many), so I focused on that. I found information from historical directories - it turned out there were Middletons and Bullocks running pubs too - and put it all in my timeline. I also found info on a very helpful website about the historical pubs of Walsall (and other areas in Staffordshire). 

After I had found all the information I could about who ran which pub, I started searching in historical newspapers for any information on either Joseph Middleton (who apparently ran the Royal Oak before James Sheldon senior took it over), James Sheldon (senior), and James Bullock. And that was where I really struck gold. Advertisements about James Sheldon senior selling land, pubs, goods, going bankrupt, then dying "in the prime of life", and then Ann taking over the pub he was running before he died. Apparently James wasn't too good at running a business, and perhaps the stress of it killed him. 

Further research revealed an application for a marriage license for Ann Middleton, widow, to marry James Bullock. Ann Middleton was widowed... who was she previously married to? The penny dropped... Joseph Middleton? Had he already died by then? Yes! I searched for a marriage record... yes! Was the Ann who was married to James Sheldon senior actually Ann Middleton, daughter of Ann and Joseph Middleton? Yes! I haven't found any information on her having a middle name of Hannah, so we'll discount that middle name. I searched further and found marriage and birth records to corroborate what I suspected. I also found that James Sheldon senior's widow Ann remarried, to a Charles Holmes, and they went on to have children of their own. This helps to explain why her children with James weren't living with her in 1841, but instead with her mother and stepfather. I also discovered that the maiden name of Joseph Middleton's wife Ann was Jarvis. And she happened to have a brother called Humphrey - there's the answer to the mystery of the strange name of James Sheldon's brother "Humphrey Jarvis Sheldon".

Now I just have to work on James Sheldon senior's branch of the family tree. I suspect his father was John Sheldon, and his mother Margaret, but I haven't yet found proof.




12 December 2015

William Rich, Crimean War Veteran

My great great grandfather William Rich was, according to his funeral notice, a Crimean War veteran.

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 April 1927, p11.

And according to the funeral notice under the one his family placed in the paper, he was also a member of the United Imperial Navy and Army Veterans' Association of NSW. What was that? I've never heard of it!

I did some research on Trove, and also in the Sydney Morning Herald archives (1955-1995). The first mention in the Sydney Morning Herald of the the United Imperial Navy and Army Veterans' Association of NSW was in 1908, and the last was in 1960.

From the research I have done, it appears that the organisation pre-dates today's Returned Services League (RSL), which was formed in 1917. The RSL is for those who served or are serving in the Australian Defence Forces, whereas The United Imperial Navy and Army Veterans' Association of NSW appears to have been for any British veteran who had seen service up to and including 1885. Members of the latter organisation had served in many different conflicts including in the Crimea, the Sudan, and India. I contacted the RSL and they confirmed that they are unrelated to the United Imperial Navy and Army Veterans' Association of NSW. It seems to me that the United Imperial Navy and Army Veterans' Association of NSW possibly just died out once all the old veterans had died.

A write-up of the Veterans Christmas Dinner of 1923 mentions William Rich; "Nine of those present were over 80 years of age, two of the oldest being Mr. William Rich, 89, who fought at the Crimea in 1854, and Mr. Charles Kidd, 80, who fought in the Indian mutiny three years later." (Sydney Morning Herald, 24 December 1923, p10). At a veterans gathering for Empire Day in 1926 "The Governor General was the principal speaker... [and] hailed as "comrade" the hardy old soldier, William Rich, who served in the Crimea, and is marching - if more feebly than of old - towards his centenary." (The Telegraph, 29 May 1926, p12.) At the Christmas dinner after William Rich died he was mentioned: "Since the last dinner their oldest member, William Rich, who had served in the Crimea, and almost reached 100 years, had died" (Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December 1927, p10).

From these articles we learn that William Rich was in the Army, not the Navy, as he is referred to as a soldier, not a sailor, and that he fought in the Crimea in 1854. One wonders why it was only 1854, as the British were still in the Crimea in 1855 - was he invalided out?

I also learnt in my research that William Rich lived at the Veterans' Home at La Perouse, on Bare Island. This explains why he did not live with his wife towards the end of his life - a question that I have wondered about for some time. 

The gravestone of William Rich, at Waverley Cemetery, Sydney.

18 November 2015

Samuel Henry Baumgarten

A while ago I accidentally discovered a new child of Samuel Christian Frederick Baumgarten and Mary Joynes who had been hidden from me by bad spelling! I discovered Samuel Frederick Baumgarten's baptism record, though his surname was spelled Baumgerten.

Further research has revealed that Samuel Frederick Baumgarten actually went by Samuel Henry Baumgarten for the rest of his life... In my research into the Baumgarten family I had come across Samuel Henry Baumgarten and his descendants regularly, but had found nothing to link him to my Baumgarten family. Actually, the only way I was ever able to work out that he was the same as the person who was baptised Samuel Frederick Baumgarten was through reading some centuries-old legal documents at the National Archives UK.

It would seem that one of the reasons why I didn't realise Samuel Henry Baumgarten was related to my Baumgartens - even though Baumgarten was an extremely uncommon surname in 18th and 19th century London - was that he was disowned by the rest of his family over a dispute over an inheritance.

Samuel Henry Baumgarten was the firstborn of Samuel Christian Frederick Baumgarten and Mary Joynes. His maternal grandfather, Henry Joynes, died in 1754, leaving an inheritance to his two surviving children: his son Samuel Joynes and his daughter Mary, Samuel Henry Baumgarten's mother (or her children in equal shares in the event of her death).

Samuel Joynes died in June 1770, leaving the residue of his estate to his sister Mary, and in the event of her death, in equal shares to her children. However, Mary died less than a month after her brother, and being intestate, and following the law of primogeniture, her firstborn Samuel Henry Baumgarten inherited everything.

Taking into account the wishes of Henry Joynes and Samuel Joynes, the rest of the Baumgarten family, lead by their father Samuel Christian Frederick Baumgarten, obviously felt they had a case for contesting the allocation of the entire inheritance to Samuel Henry Baumgarten, and they took him to court. A succession of court cases over many years followed, which eventually resulted in the inheritance from Mary Baumgarten née Joynes being split equally amongst her surviving children. Sadly, it appears that relations between Samuel Henry and the rest of his family irreparably broke down as a result of these court cases.


You wouldn't necessarily expect to learn too much relevant to family history from the sometimes huge pieces of vellum that the court cases were written up on - or at least I naively didn't! However, as the court cases took place over many years, it was possible to track the births and deaths of children and grandchildren of the Baumgarten family over that time. I could work out which of the known children (from baptism records) died young, because they were or were not included in the parties bringing the case to court. I could also confirm Mary Baumgarten's death date, which I had not been able to find with certainty anywhere else. So its worth poring over ancient documents which might seem virtually impenetrable because of the old legalese and handwriting because you just might find some very useful facts!

10 October 2015

Some "new" family heirlooms

You never know your luck in a big city small German town, close to the French border. Today there was a handicrafts flea market in the hall behind my daughter's school. There were lots of balls of wool and ugly material that no one wanted any more, some old junky bits of sewing notions, and some beautiful old sewing things too.

I judiciously avoided the junk and found some old insertion lace, some old threads on beautiful wooden reels - so much more lovely than today's plastic reels, some antique copper monogram stencils (never seen anything like them before), an old tape measure and a random assortment of buttons. Because we are so close to the French border, some of the goods were of French origin, including from companies based in Mulhouse, historically an important textile manufacturing city, less than an hour away. Mulhouse is the home of the embroidery thread company DMC, and also my Weiss family.


Top left is a reel of sewing cotton made by DMC. Top middle is a ball of Cordonnet Spécial crochet cotton also made by DMC. As explained here, DMC stands for Dollfus Mieg et Cie, and I am distantly related to one of the founders, Jean-Henri Dollfus.

On the tape measure it says "Employez le 'Fil Schlumberger' pour la couture a la machine et a la main". Schlumberger is also a Mulhousien surname which is related to my Weiss family.

So I picked up some beautiful things, some of which have real family history significance to me. You never know your luck in a small German town, close to the French border.

08 October 2015

Who was Mary Ann Williams?

Mary Ann Williams was my great great grandmother. I know she was from Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, married John Wilkey in Bristol, and then they emigrated to Australia, where they had nine children.

Mary Ann Wilkey née Williams, undated.
Photo courtesy of Margaret Robinson, used with permission.

Who were her parents? According to her marriage record, her father's name was George Williams, and he was a labourer. According to her immigration records, her father was Joseph and her mother was Ann. Slightly contradictory!

Where was she born? I can only assume it was Bristol, Gloucestershire, as this is noted on her immigration records and also her death certificate. There is a baptism record which is potentially hers at St Philip and St Jacob's, Bristol, on 9 June 1844, with the parents listed as George and Ann (there is no baptism record in Gloucestershire with parents Joseph and Ann in the right timeframe). Unfortunately I have only been able to view a transcript of this record - I'd love to see if there was further information on the original parish record. There are many other Mary Ann Williams born around this time in Bristol, but the above record is the only one with a father named George, in the correct time period. Interestingly though, there is no obvious matching birth record for this baptism in the English Births Marriages and Deaths records.

Where did Mary live? On her marriage record in 1863 Mary Ann Williams' residence at the time of the marriage was Newfoundland Gardens. As they married only two years after the 1861 English Census, I checked the census records for any Mary Ann Williams living in Newfoundland St. Unfortunately the only Mary Williams living in Newfoundland St was 50 years old.

So we must therefore assume that Mary Ann Williams had moved residence between the 1861 Census and her wedding. There is no record for a Mary (Ann) Williams of the correct age living with a father George and/or mother Ann in Bristol in either the 1851 or 1861 Census. Was she orphaned? Did she have to go out and work from a young age? Or did she move away for a time?

There is a Mary Ann Williams of the right age living in New St in both the 1851 and 1861 Census, with James and Martha Vowles. Mary Ann is listed as their grandchild. It is just a coincidence that New St and Newfoundland Gardens are similar? If she was my Mary Ann Williams, this would mean that it was her mother who was James and Martha's child. However, I was unable to find a marriage record for an Ann Vowles and a George Williams anywhere. Similarly there was no marriage record for an Ann Vowles and a Joseph Williams.

Searching back to the 1841 Census, I realised that although I wouldn't find Mary Ann because she wasn't born yet, I might find James and Martha Vowles. And there the plot thickened... Listed in New Street were the following living in a single house:

James Vowles, aged 40, Labourer, born in Gloucestershire
Martha Vowles, aged 40, born in Gloucestershire
Mary Weaver, aged 75, born in Gloucestershire
John Vowles, 14 (born c1827), born in Gloucestershire
James Vowles, 10 (born c1831), born in Gloucestershire
Eliz Vowles, 4 (born c1837), born in Gloucestershire
Mary Vowles, 3mths (born 1841), born in Gloucestershire
Ann Williams, 17 (born c1824), born in Gloucestershire
Louisa Williams, 11 (born c1830), born in Gloucestershire

It seemed very interesting that there were two girls with the surname of Williams tacked on at the end there. Particularly one called Ann. So perhaps they were daughters of Martha, from a previous marriage. But then the eldest Vowles son, John, was born between Ann and Louisa Williams.... so perhaps John Vowles was the product of a previous marriage for James Vowles. Did we have an early version of the Brady Bunch here?

Further research revealed James Vowles married Martha Williams on 30 January 1836 at St James, Bristol, and James' marital status was married (though perhaps it should have been widowed?) This suggests that John and James (jnr) were sons of James Vowles senior from a previous marriage, and Ann and Louisa were daughters of Martha Williams from a previous marriage.

So if Ann's maiden name was Williams, and her daughter Mary Ann's surname was also Williams, this suggests that Mary Ann was born out of wedlock. I wonder what Mary Ann's father George's surname was? I'd have to pin down a definite birth record to be able to find out, but Mary Ann's illegitimacy may be why it is hard to find - maybe Ann was sent away to have her baby and thus it was registered elsewhere. And what happened to Ann - why was Mary Ann living with her grandparents rather than her mother in the 1851 and 1861 censuses? Perhaps Ann died, or maybe she married and her new husband didn't want her illegitimate daughter living with them.

Mary Ann's wedding
On 6 April 1863 Mary Ann Williams married John Wilkey at St Paul's Bristol, by banns.


Both Mary Ann and John were listed as of full age but this was incorrect for both - John was 18 years old and Mary Ann was 19. It would seem that there were a few white lies on the marriage record: Mary Ann's father was listed as George Williams, however from the research detailed above it is unlikely that George's surname was Williams, though it was Mary Ann's mother's surname. Did their parents attend the wedding? Mary Ann's mother was possibly dead, and one wonders if she had any contact with her father. Both of John's parents were still alive, but they certainly didn't sign the register as witnesses. In fact, the witnesses were both employed by the parish of St Pauls - William White was the parish clerk, and Mary White, his wife, was the sextoness of the parish.

Emigration to Australia
Just over half a year after they were married, on December 15, 1863, John and Mary Ann Wilkey left  Liverpool, England for Australia on the Montrose. The Montrose arrived in Sydney, on March 27, 1864. The immigration records show that Mary Ann Wilkie (sic) was 19 years old, the wife of John Wilkie (sic), from Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, her parents names were Ann and Joseph, with her father dead and her mother living in Bristol, and it also noted that Mary Ann could read and write (interesting considering she signed the marriage register with her mark!) 

So if we have established that it was more likely that George was her father, where did this Joseph fit in? Had Ann married someone called Joseph? There is a marriage record for an Ann Williams, single, marrying a Joseph Cross on 11 May 1845, at St Paul's Bristol. The bride's father's name was James Williams. This all fits. And so it would seem that Joseph Cross didn't really want his new wife's daughter Mary Ann living with them, so she was sent to live with her maternal grandparents. 

Mary Ann clearly knew that Joseph Cross was not her father because he was not named as her father on her marriage record, and Mary Ann had retained Williams as her surname. Perhaps it was just easier to put Joseph down as her father on the immigration records. Unhelpfully, I can't find a definite death record for either Ann or Joseph, nor can I find Ann in the 1861 Census, where she should be if she were still alive a few years later according to her daughter's immigration records. Maybe she remarried, though I can't find anything that confirms this.

So, most of this is completely circumstantial, but it does all seem to fit together. And I'm not sure that there is any easy way to confirm any of this, though I will keep trying!