Aunt Emma

I share a love of Trove* with Metan of Buried Words & Bushwa. Metan posts about quirky historical newspaper articles, I trawl through Trove for family history snippets.

Trove came to the rescue last week, during a Facebook discussion within the Murrurundi Memories group.

RM: there was a swinging bridge there and a lady called miss button made our clothes for my nan when we stayed anyone recall this lady

Aunt Emma's paintings c 1911
Aunt Emma’s paintings dated 1911

LB: Yes I can… Miss Button made me a dresses for the balls that were held out at Timor. I worked for Mr Abbott at the BP garage and NRMA depot. He was Miss Buttons brother…

CC: …miss button made our communion dresses she used to give us cookie and fresh cows milk

CC: Miss button made my girl guide uniform that was a long time ago

RM: My time with miss button was between 1959 and 1962

GC: how could Mr Abbott be Miss Button’s brother?

LB: He told me it was his sister…

EllaDee: Miss Button was Emma Button who was my great, great, aunt. Their residence was next to the Royal Hotel. Hopefully this link will work** Harry Button was my great grandfather on Dad’s side. Uncle Mark had the dry cleaners in Scone but he is buried in Murrurundi Cemetery. I have & treasure 2 paintings done by Emma in 1911.

**Article 30 Jan 1953 – Mr. A .T. BUTTON A popular figure in sporting circles, Mr. Arthur Trevor Button, of John Street, passed away at the Dangar Cottage Hospital yesterday afternoon. Mr. Button suffered a heart complaint which forced him to relinquish his saddlery business last year. Born in Murrurundi 69 years ago, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Walter Button, of that district, he came to Singleton about 1907. Settling here, he served his apprenticeship as a saddler with Mr. Milton Frith. Several years later he set up his own business in the town. In his early days he was a keen sportsman and prominent athlete, and these interests persisted up until the time of his death. Mr. Button is survived by his wife. Mrs. May Button, and leaves a daughter and four sons. They are Audrey (Mrs. R. Campbell, of Singleton), Rodney and Mervyn, Singleton, and Arthur and Easter, of Nowra.Mr. Button is also survived by three brothers and sisters. They are Fred, of Wentworthville, Harry and Mark, of Scone, Lil (Mrs. Hocking), Dosie (Mrs. Gordon) of Enfield, and Miss Emma Button, of Murrurundi. After a service at All Saint’s church this morning at 11 o’clock, the late Mr. A. T. Button was laid to rest at the Church of England Cemetery, Whittingham, where the last rites were performed by Canon W. Holmes. Messrs. H. J. Bartrop and Son carried out the funeral arrangements.

CC: I know miss button had a brother in scone

LB: I must have misunderstood Mr Abbott …sorry

EllaDee: Emma’s other brother Harry (my Poppa Button) was also in Scone, he was a tailor.

It was so very special to hear these great memories of Aunt Emma (b. 1890), who I don’t remember, although I knew and was very fond of Uncle Mark.

My great grandparents Poppa (Harry) Button and Nanna (Hazel)
My great grandparents Poppa (Harry) Button and Nanna (Hazel)

My post art of the heart mentioned Aunt Emma’s paintings.

“The paintings came from my grandparent’s farmhouse living room. From 1975 – 2010 they adorned the walls of my uncle & aunt’s living room, with me uttering very quietly to myself upon seeing them, “I’d wish I’d chosen those”… but at 9 years old, I chose a tall blue & purple vase which is still mine, and would be the first item I grabbed if I had to evacuate.

In September 2010 I received a call from Dad who when it counts is quick on the uptake. My aunt was renovating and wanted fresh unadorned walls, so my uncle rang Dad to obtain details of the Murrurundi Historical Society. The paintings were painted in the early 1900′s by Aunt Emma on Nanna’s side who was a seamstress in Murrurundi, so my uncle thought they would be of local historic interest. They were. To me. Quick as a flash I was on the phone and organised to pick them up that weekend. So complacent had my uncle, aunt & cousins become that none of them wanted the pictures and were bemused I did. They now hang in the back room at TA. I think it was at this time my Dad christened our house the museum.”

Genealogy for some can be almost a science. Not me. Random thoughts and ideas pop into my head and translate via my fingertips into Google searches. The online world is a wonder for a family history butterfly… I flit from tree to tree gathering the remnant bits and pieces and colour of lives before mine.

*Trove is the National Library of Australia’s home “of over 342,775,686 Australian and online resources: books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more”.

26 thoughts on “Aunt Emma

  1. What a wonderful thing it must be to hear of Miss Button (what a glorious name for a seamstress) being discussed and there you have her paintings too.. wonderful.. c


    1. It’s an occupational surname I think, seamstresses & tailors through the generations 🙂 I was so happy they all remembered Aunt Emma with affection, as does my family.


  2. Trove sounds like a fantastic archive to be able to access. I have a family history down on and it’s so difficult not to be able to easily access anything that would provide little stories to add to the people I put on there. At my age there are no people from the generations before me to ask . The paintings look fantastic. I expect you should now be Ella Dee Museum Curator? xx Hugs xx


    1. Depending on how far back you are looking, various & many Google searches have provided me with so much info, and as with things such, people are sharing more and more on line, cemeteries are being indexed and photographed etc.
      There seems to be a growing interest in family history – maybe it’s just the baby boomers and it will fall off again but whatever the reason, I’m grateful. I’ve gotten to know my mother’s family history where I would never have been able to otherwise, and entertained myself by exploring many family trees for the G.O. & me.
      Online I found intriguing convict info for the G.O.’s gradmother’s line, which his granddaughter was able to later use for a family history assignment at school.
      Thank you – I co-curate with the G.O., and similarly as I keep acquiring family history info, we acquire more “museum” stuff. I feel sorry for whoever has to sort it all out in the end 😉


  3. Make a list of all the “museum” stuff – my grandmother did of all her “curios” which went to my mom then to me – I still have her list – with notations of things about the objects – if parts were missing or broken and what happened – or objects that were given away – really love that list and have made copies as it is fading – the stories there ( I was the youngest and she was the only grandparent I ever knew. Family stories are so treasured


    1. Ah, excellent idea, I will add it to my list of things to do when I get a life 😉 And, the list will eventually become a novel, as we continually find second hand stuff, or a family member produces another gem 🙂


  4. marvellous post elladee … so good to explore our family history and pass it on to someone … all those stories are a good reminder of life as it it was, something to compare with what we have now and what we might choose to create 🙂


    1. Thank you. It was lovely to have that piece of family history find me unexpectedly, and then Trove came up with a little more.
      Thanks for the comment. Bon Voyage 🙂


  5. Lovely post. 🙂
    Isn’t Trove fantastic for those bits of family history that have been completely lost by us. I have found many articles about my own ancestors, incidents from long ago that were never passed down. I never tire of reading them and I have even thought about printing lots of the old articles and wallpapering the loo in them! 😀
    I love that your Aunt’s name was Emma Button, she was destined to be a seamstress! (And she was a great painter too)
    “Random thoughts and ideas” I love your last paragraph, that is how I search too, and the genesis for my blog all that time ago! All those weird and wonderful things I found in my genealogical searches were too good, I couldn’t let them drift off into the ether unappreciated.

    PS: there is a link on Trove for a survey, fill it in and you could win a Trove tshirt (or a Coles voucher, I know which one I would prefer!)


    1. Emma is in a long line of sewing Buttons! I created a Trove account, and also did the survey… I’m more and more hooked 🙂
      I love your idea of loo decor. I’ve been trying to come up with suitable but inexpensive “decor” for the G.O.’s very modest “back loo” at TA. You could be onto something 😉


      1. I want either news articles or random Shaun Tan illustrations in the loo. His pictures are usually sepia with splashes of colour and would be wonderful in there. Maybe both would be a happy compromise. 😀 If you are looking for bloke loo decor maybe you should print out some of the advertising for motorbikes and cars. That way you can paper it with things like pictures of the new handsome 1929 Norton…

        Good luck getting a tshirt, I hope we both win (and Catherine too, she was the one that originally put me on to it).

        Trove is an irresistible force isn’t it? The things we can find! I found a few reports of my dad’s mum’s side of the family, who he thought were good hardworking people, being complete ratbags and the reports were of them being dealt with in the courts. Wonderful stuff for me! 😀


        1. I checked out Shaun Tan’s illustrations – very cool. When I found the Emma Button article I also found a few clippings that suggested Murrurundi in the old days (not in my time of course!) was a wild frontier type place 🙂


        2. Those old articles give you a real feel for how remote some areas were. It amazes me to see places we consider quite suburban portrayed as rural outposts!


  6. I loved reading about your Aunt Emma. Now that Mum and Dad are gone, I don’t have any blood relatives here in Australia [well, apart from my daughter of course!]. Dad used to tell stories about the relatives back in Hungary, and I did meet some of them when I went back to visit, but I’ve pretty much lost contact with the few who still remain. I wish I’d nagged Dad into writing those stories down. You’re lucky you can trace your family back so far. 🙂


    1. Thank you – I imagine researching Hungarian rellies would be difficult. I tried to find info online re German friends of the G.O., and came up with nada.
      The proliferation of online ancestry etc benefited me greatly, as I was able to research Mum’s family who I don’t know well, and the G.O.’s grandmother’s. Even with all the online matrerial it takes a lot of time. I can’t imagine doing it without e-resources 🙂


      1. I once googled Dad’s family name and found literally hundreds – in the US. Was never quite brave enough to contact any of them though. Maybe one day.


  7. Wow, EllaDee! How fascinating to learn of others’ knowledge of an ancestor. And Trove sounds like an invaluable source of information for those seeking to trace their families. I can only imagine how thrilled you must have been when you first “discovered” your family in Trove’s records. I’ve used to do some searching but everything stops once the family line gets to Italy. That’s only 2 and 3 generations ago. Maybe I should go back there to do some field research. 🙂


    1. Thank you. Field research is the best. I have plans to do some of my own, there are a few rural places where visiting local museums and cemeteries would yield info. It’s always nice as well to walk in their footsteps 🙂


  8. Keep troving. I hope that someone from the current or next generation of your family emerges to take over and fully appreciate your museum one day. A family memeber with the same passion and energy that got you those paintings!


    1. Trove is addictive 🙂 I have siblings and other cousins and there is a next generation coming along, including the G.O.’s grandkids. I will do as PMOTH suggested and make a list as well with the info on what is what 🙂 I’d like to think the family stuff will keep on moving through the generations.


  9. What a lovely story, a how wonderful for you to read about your aunt’s history like that.
    I too have done quite a bit of genealogy research online, but nothing as interesting as finding folk who know of my ancestors.


    1. Thank you. I had gone off FB but the Murrurundi Memories group has been very successful and entertaining, and brought together online a lot of people who haven’t connected for years, sometimes decades.
      I hope to do a few more family history posts because from the Matthias & Eupham post I did prior, a couple of other descendents contacted me – the wonder of the online world, and sharing information has revolutionised geneaology.
      But as you say, coming across real life people is the best 🙂


  10. How cool that you knew all that about your family. And what a small world to learn your aunt was known to so many.


    1. When I saw the comment on FB… I went oh oh oh…. I know this! I don’t remember meeting Aunt Emma, but she was fondly spoken of by my family, so it was lovely to hear those memories from others also 🙂


  11. 🙂 Sometimes the stories that are told of relatives turn them into living legends. 😉 It’s amazing to think of all the lives she impacted and that she stills lives on in their memories.


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