Explanatory Notes

Wednesdays at Number Ten

In this post we are stepping back from our collection of FAMILY STORIES to write specifically about this site: its origins, our plans for it and a little about how to use it.

‘Recollections’ evolved from our desire to fill in the gaps. Its purpose is not only to tell the stories that make up our shared family history but to give the lives of the current and successive generations an historical context and a sense of their place in history.
We will sometimes give a snap shot of ‘the times’, and place the events that tell stories into an era or into an historical context. We hope this will round out the characters of our family and give a glimpse of the very different worlds in which our family has lived. Michael and Catherine Bourke of Limerick in Ireland were the first to arrive in Australia in the late 1830’s. The story begins there… but not our telling of it.

We were not the first family members to record family stories. In 1990 our mother, Alice Bourke and her sister, Marge Rostos, both in their late sixties, armed with a cassette tape recorder, sat together in Alice’s unit and remembered. The task they set themselves was to record all that they could of family stories, personalities and relationships from 1850 to 1950. By this time Alice was blind, and it was up to Marge to make notes and organise the structure of their reminiscences. The result was five hours of undifferentiated audio.

Intro photo Alice  copyIntro photo Marge copy

Alice (top photo) and Marge’s rememberings did not cover anything past our early childhood. They specifically passed the baton to “someone else” to tell the rest.

We are obedient and dutiful daughters.

Beginning in early 2015, we met nearly every Wednesday, feeling our way with the subject matter, unsure about the final structure and nervous about the emotions dredged up by childhood memories. Initially we worked towards the vague notion of a “website”.
The five hours of Alice and Marge’s tapes tended to shape all our decisions. For instance we couldn’t use the readily available simple, free software to build our site. Instead we had to embark on the massive task of learning to use a professional web site building program. We grew quite fond of Ryan, the man who produces Rapidweaver's on line tutorials, many of which we watched multiple times.
It seemed likely that it would be years worth of Wednesdays before we had enough material, and had learnt enough about using Rapidweaver to actually publish.

M and S working
Photo by Aurelia Wild (fifth from the top in the 2000s section of the Whos’ Who chart)

And then there was the light bulb moment! We could write it as a blog.The idea of creating the site as an unfolding series of stories, in random order, was hugely liberating.
No longer were we trying to cram the square peg of our task into the round hole of the technology. No longer were we forced to deal with all the material at once, before we could get any of it out there.
No longer did we have to make difficult editorial decisions immediately, or work out how to navigate emotional mine fields, in advance.

Most information will be stored in the FAMILY STORIES section of our site. It can be navigated by date of posting, by category or by tags, which will be the names of people and places mentioned in that particular story. Some posts will focus right in on a detail, others will cover a broad sweep of history.
We have also created space for a PHOTO GALLERY and for other RESOURCES such as family letters, links to further information and other things as they arise.
The WHO’S WHO section is a quick guide to most of the people mentioned in the stories. It is laid out in generations, with groups of siblings separated by a space. It is not intended as a full on family tree, and cannot do more than fit that person into his or her generational time slot.

We may attempt some sort of family tree that shows relationships, but ours is not an
Ancestor dot com task. Neither do we pretend to cover every single event, person, place…. some are too hard to research, some are just boring and some encroach on living people’s privacy.
The technology we are using stretches us! There will be things we would like to do that will be beyond us. For instance, at this point in time we still do not know which of several options we will use to make Alice and Marge’s five hours of tapes available.

We invite you, our readers, to use the comments section at the bottom of each post.
We welcome suggestions and feedback. At the bottom of every page of the website is a link to our Recollections email address. Click on it to email us. Our email address is
[email protected].
We hope sometimes to have guest bloggers. For example, apart from setting up the RSS feed, we don’t know much about clever ways to alert you that a new post is up. We could learn, or… we can ask Michael (third from the top in the 1980s section of the Whos’ Who chart) to write about it it as a guest blogger.

We hope you will read our evolving family history as a series of intertwining stories originating in other parts of the world and continuing here in the new world, hence our choice of Logo. The
Triquetra combines a number of interconnected loops that are the FAMILY STORIES. The loops combine as the stories do, to form the symbol and in our case the FAMILY HISTORY. The symbol is also known as the Trinity Knot and is of Celtic origin as are many of our ancestors.

Triquetra symbol for blog post

Now, on with the stories…..