Illuminating Blogger Award – is one of your favourites here?

This week has ended in the most wonderful way. Sharn of Family History 4 u has done me the honour of nominating A Rebel Hand for the Illuminating Blogger Award, set up by Food Stories.

Thank you so much, Sharn.

Illuminating Blogger Award

Illuminating Blogger Award

To say I’m thrilled is an understatement. I’m also greatly humbled, because I’ve been enjoying seeing some of my favourite genealogy blogs receiving this award and they are inspiring, well-written, fascinating and pretty much what I want to do when I grow up. *

The last week has been a tough one, with looking after a friend who’s just come out of hospital, having my phone stolen, lots of calls from kind police officers, and a leaking radiator making huge puddles on the carpet. So when Irish Lives Remembered published a two-page article on my ancestor Nicholas Delaney it was like the sun breaking through the cold and damp of this miserable excuse of a summer.

And then to be given this award… well, you can imagine how happy I am. In fact, I had a little cry touch of hay fever earlier on.

Enough about me. How to choose blogs to nominate for their illuminating, informative posts when there are so many around? I decided to give the awards to ones which haven’t already been nominated. So here they are (drum roll and trumpets, please):


Tanya Honey’s sense of humour, lively writing style and dedication to genealogy make My Genealogy Adventure a joy to read as well as a source of compelling Australian genie information. She talks tech as well, which I always find impressive and useful.

For eclectic expertise you can’t go wrong with The Family Recorder from Audrey Collins, a well-known and respected name among geneabloggers. She, too, has that gift of mixing impressive research with humour to make a compelling read.

At Shakespeare’s England the historian known as Dainty Ballerina writes with wit, erudition and an eye for the unusual about, well, England in the time of Shakespeare – and a lot of other Early Modern stuff as well. The 17th century is my secret vice, though I don’t blog about it. Obviously. Or it wouldn’t be a secret.

The Chirugeon’s Apprentice doesn’t call itself a blog but, with Lindsey Fitzharris’s regular posts about the bizarre and horrifying world of pre-anaesthetic surgery, it certainly behaves like one. Anyone writing about those (thankfully) far-off days could learn a lot from this meticulously-researched site. Riveting, but not for the squeamish.

I have no ancestors from the West Indies but I always enjoy A Parcel of Ribbons, Anne Powers’ intelligent, fascinating and beautifully-designed blog about Georgian Jamaica. Sometimes it’s good to get out of my own niche and look at other places, times and ways of life.

She’s only been blogging since January but already Nicola Elsom at The Genealogy Workshop is a favourite for her blend of family history and clear, succinct and readable genealogy and techie advice.

The next two blogs are must-reads for anyone researching genealogy in the British Isles. That’s because they trawl the latest news and developments and serve them up daily with a dash of humour and a huge dollop of expertise.  Trust these guys. Put your hands together for Chris Paton at British GENES and Mick Southwick at British & Irish Genealogy.

The same goes for Irish Genealogy News, where Claire Santry is the one to go to for information about news and events in the island of Ireland. I don’t know how she does it, but if something’s happening in Ireland, Claire knows about it.

… And I’m going to break my own rule. He’s been nominated already, probably dozens of time, but Thomas MacEntee deserves every award around for Geneabloggers. For creating a wonderful online genealogy community, for his encouragement, for his knowledge, wisdom and humour. I would have had a much duller time blogging if not for him and the other geneabloggers around the world.

* And here are some of those great blogs which have already won the Illuminating Blogger Award: Ancestor Chasing, Anglers Rest, Dance Skeletons, Diary of an Australian Genealogist, Family History 4 uFamily history across the seas, From Helen V Smith’s Keyboard, Genealogy in New South Wales, Geniaus, Inside History, lonetester HQ, On a Flesh and Bone Foundation, Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family, The Armchair GenealogistTwigs of Yore, Queensland Genealogy, Western District Families. I hope I haven’t missed any…

If you are nominated, then you have received the Illuminating Blogger Award Please follow these steps:
  1. The nominee should visit the award site ( and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners).
  2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.
  3. The Nominee should include a courtesy link back to the official award site ( in their blog post.
  4. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.
  5. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award. Many people indicate that they wish they could nominate more so please feel free to nominate all your favorites.
  6. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (
And you don’t need to wait to be nominated to give your favourite blog an award.  Just visit the award site and see how to do it.
 grave (Michael Wood 2011)

Sarah’s grave (Michael Wood 2011)

When I started this blog in November 2010, I planned to write about the background to Nicholas Delaney‘s life. He’s the Irish rebel and convict transported to Australia who started me off on the genealogy trail. Then I started using Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to connect with other people talking about the history of the people and places I was interested in and found there was a big geneablogging world in cyberspace.

It was a revelation! I learned a lot and got so much encouragement from the people I ‘met’ online. I grew bolder and explored other branches of the family tree. In fact my most popular post is about my finding out that another convict ancestor, Sarah Simpson (nee Marshall) was allegedly murdered and haunts a Penrith graveyard to this day. So they say.

So it’s wonderful to know that people find A Rebel Hand worth reading.

Old photo of man sending mail by boat (Wikipedia)

Oh – and one random fact about me. I once got the chance to go to St Kilda, or more accurately the island of Hirta, by helicopter. Since I’d read Tom Steel‘s book The Life and Death of St Kilda, I was really excited at going. It was an unforgettable experience. A few years later, I met Tom himself and was lucky enough to see him many times until his too-early death in 1997.

Thank you, Sharn, from the bottom of my heart, and thank you, CJ at Food Stories, for starting the ball rolling.

Update, July 16th: Serendipity! This evening at 1930 on BBC One there was an hour-long programme about St Kilda, the first of three. I enjoyed it.

Another update: BBC Radio 4 has broadcast a An Outcast of the Islands: Lady Grange, about the wife of James Erskine, Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland, who was exiled on St Kilda in the 18th century. A sad story.



 © Frances Owen and A Rebel Hand, 2010-2014

About rebelhand

A Rebel Hand is: about Nicholas Delaney, Irish rebel of 1798, transported as a convict to New South Wales, roadbuilder, innkeeper and farmer. My great-great-great grandfather. Other ancestors transported to Australia, like Sarah Marshall, John Simpson and James Thomas Richards, pop up as well. This blog's also about the historical background to their lives, in England, Ireland, and Australia. My respectable Welsh ancestors sometimes get a look in.
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5 Responses to Illuminating Blogger Award – is one of your favourites here?

  1. cassmob says:

    A well deserved award! The only problem with these awards is that it’s hard to narrow down the numbers when so many are well worth the honour. Great that it came at a time when you needed a little cheer in your life.


    • rebelhand says:

      Thank you – that’s high praise, coming from you. And it’s a consolation to know that my Mum knew and was pleased, since she was the one who got me addicted to genealogy.

      I could have nominated about 50 blogs…


  2. Pingback: History Blogs - time to go exploring » A Parcel of Ribbons

  3. Food Stories says:

    What a great acceptance post … Congrats 🙂


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