A few weeks ago, I was on Wikitree when I saw in their chat feed called G2G (Genealogist to genealogist) a post about researching disasters in Australia as part of the Disaster Project worldwide. A couple of mining disasters were mentioned relating to Tasmania – the Breisis tin mine at Derby on the north east coast and the North Mount Lyell mining disaster at Gormanston on the west coast.
I replied back that I would start researching the Mount Lyell disaster as a few of my dad’s relatives were survivors back on 12 October 1912 – the Dawson brothers Albert, Henry and Alexander (dad’s actual grandfather on his maternal line).
The person organizing the Australian disasters set up the template for the page including a brief summary of the disaster and a table already including those who perished and known info about their family – this meant 42 new profiles to create and research. A couple of profiles had already been created by other people and they had started writing their biographies so I left them alone.
After creating the profiles, it was time to research each person and add sources onto their profile. I created the Research Notes section to add all the sources in. That meant other people could also use them to write their biographies if they wanted or were related. I already had some information about where the men might have been born, married or had children so I checked the BDMs in mainly Tasmania and Victoria where the majority of men were from. I added this information in the Research Notes area under a bold heading of Family information to be added then I started checking Trove for newspaper reports about the disaster and adding those sources to each man who was mentioned. Some newspaper articles mentioned lots of people so I added them just on the North Mount Lyell main page.
It was about this time that Wikitree was running a Connect-a-thon where we try to connect lots of new people to the worldwide tree and adding sources for the new information. Now was the time to add in the family members I had found and use the BDMs or newspaper reports as the official sources. I only got to add info for 10 of the men and their families.
I can see this project will keep me going for a long time, as I also want to add in the survivors and their families (second table created by me after following the coding from the first table). The Humane Society also gave awards to those who went back in to save trapped miners and bring up the bodies of those who perished. I have created a table for that and will add to these two tables as I find more information from newspaper reports.
Doing this project gives me the chance to head back to the west coast and re-visit the museum at Queenstown which is full of information about the disaster. Maybe when the weather gets warmer!
Readers: Did you have a relative who died in a mining disaster anywhere in the world?
PS: If you are a Wikitree member and had a relative die at Mount Lyell please feel free to take over as manager for their profile page.