Noticing things

It’s funny what you notice when you’re not really looking.

I’ve been both a bit disheartened after Kew and busy with other things, so haven’t been actively looking for anything in the family history for weeks. However, some time ago I made a list of things I should be doing in this field, one of which was to track down the nursing credentials of Mary Ann Foster. I had another cursory look today and there’s still nothing showing on any of the records of Australian nurses at the Boer War. A bit disappointing but not unexpected.

Anyway, I started to look at it from another angle given that there were a number of nurses who travelled to South Africa from Australia but were not part of any official party. Passenger lists are an obvious option and I was about to start searching for them but then I got distracted. Just going over things known, I was reading the reports of her father’s demise when it struck me that she wasn’t there – the reports only mention her younger sister Margaret and later the husband of her older sibling, Sarah, as pall-bearer. Mary Ann would have been 26 by this time and although still single could, in theory, be anywhere in the world, so the chances that she would show up on any official Australian list of nurses becomes more slight not better. Just the sort of puzzle one needs to kick-start the research juices.

The game is afoot!


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