Monday, 21 September 2015

Some updates

Thanks to everyone who has written to me or commented on this blog site since it started in February 2015!  Here are a few of the updates, amendments or corrections that have come to light:

Joe BROWN, Perth (blog post of 12 February 2015).  Thanks to Žydrė Pember, I now realise that the man who had introduced my father to Australian horseracing in Perth way back in February 1948 was probably Joseph Brown, born in Scotland in 1915 and the son of Juozapas LAZORAITIS, who had lived in Scotland for around 35 years before arriving in Australia with his family in 1928.

Alexander (Ksaveras) SKIERYS (post of 12 March 2015).  Thanks to Rosemary (Petraitis/Peterson) Mitchell for forwarding this great photo of Alex Skierys and Ellen (Petraitis) Skierys with their first two children Alex and Nelly, taken in Sydney in 1917.  Rosemary has some great family stories which I hope to share in due course.

Nathan WATCHMAN (post of 19 March 2015).  Thanks to Dana Grigonis for alerting me to additional information on this Lithuanian Jewish Anzac and to Simon Hill for agreeing to share the following:
Nathan Watchman was born Notel-Kalman Pelts on 2nd February 1884 in Virmenai, Telsiai, Kovno, son of Aron (Orel) Pelts and his wife, Iudes. They were part of an extended family of Peltses who lived in Nevarenai and the surrounding area, having come there in the 1870s from Plunge. Before going to Newcastle [UK] (to embark for Australia – see 1911 UK Census), Nathan visited his second cousin, Shneyer Peltz, in Dublin. Shneyer had gone to Dublin in the 1880s to work for a Mr Wachmann, and had changed his name because it was easier, to Simon Watchman - after this, any members of the family who came to Dublin had to change their names to Watchman, to avoid awkward questions! Simon Watchman was my wife's maternal grandfather.  Nathan’s birth details come from the Telsiai records. 

Jonas BALAIKA (post of 27 July 2015).  Balaika had returned to Lithuania in 1925, taking out Lithuanian citizenship and thus losing his Australian (British) citizenship.  He married and raised a family, surviving the Second world and the Soviet annexation of the country, but in 1947 expressed a desire to return to Australia with his family. An anonymous contributor has advised that she is Balaika's great granddaughter and that three of Balaika's daughters are still alive; it would be valuable to learn more of that family's story (please!).

Norman McLEOD (post of 10 August 2015).  The Latvian Government appointed Norman McLeod (not 'J McLeod' as recorded elsewhere) as the Honorary Consul for Latvia in Sydney in July 1931.  McLeod also attended Australian Lithuanian Society functions in Sydney as a guest of honour and served as Latvia's Honorary Consul until his death in June 1958.

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