Jerrems Family Newsletter February 2006 Edition 10
The Jerrems Saga moves to Australia
Enjoy "True Confessions" by Ray our dedicated genealogist. He neglected to mention the extent of research needed into state and county records or the federal census information in various countries. (We will include that probing aspect in a future edition.)

The April edition of the Jerrems Journal will become our annual "Humor Issue". It will be light and lively. If you have a family story to tell (embellished or not), send it in.

Ray's Method of Research
Ray Jerrems, Family Genealogist   Confessions of a Genealogist
Although I had always been moderately interested in family history there was an element of mystery about the origins of the Jerrems family. Vague stories about the Huguenots were not much use to me when I did not even know where my great grandfather had come from and I had only heard rumours that there were Jerrems people in Victoria, Queensland and the United States.

The big breakthrough came when Ian Harrison (one of our Newsletter readers from Melbourne) contacted me by letter asking me where I fitted in. He had written to all the Jerrems people he could find in the Australian telephone books. Most importantly he had the results of Noel Burns’ research starting from the early 1700s. This research finished in the 1850s for all families except the Melbourne families, where Noel had taken the research up to the 1960s.

Noel’s research was a revelation. I passed it on to my relatives, including Doug and my late Aunty Vi. I then thought “I wonder who else would be interested in Noel’s research”, knowing that this was a unique opportunity. Noel and his wife Laurel (both in their eighties) had carried out a piece of research which would never be repeated.

I exchanged notes with Ian, who said that he had not received much enthusiasm from his side of the family or the Melbourne families. So, at Aunty Vi’s suggestion, I started looking in the United States for relatives who may be interested. She remembered an American uncle and aunt who she had met in the mid 1920s (Recall JJ September 2005).

So (to cut a long story short) I took a leaf out of Ian’s book and used the Internet to find out the phone numbers of Jerrems people in the US. I rang the few that had listed numbers, like Jerry, Cathy and Donald, and was welcomed with astonishment.

What was even more surprising was that, similarly to the position in Australia, most of the people did not know that the others existed, or at best only had only heard rumours. After 3 years I have now located everybody in the United States. They have all received the results of Noel’s research, and I have fitted them into that research by filling in the intervening 3 or 4 generations. Noel’s research would not have been much use to them if there was such a large gap. To fill this gap I relied on people’s recollections, the internet and the records of the Mormon Church.

Noel was surprised when I told him what I was doing, commenting that it was a far bigger task than he had ever undertaken.

Bearing in mind my original plan to pass on Noel’s research to people who would be interested in it I concentrated on finding people in the US with the current surname “Jerrems” because they are the people most likely to be interested. But if I happened to locate people with Jerrems ancestry (eg a Jerrems daughter who had married) then I contacted them also.

A genealogist seeks out actual dates of birth, death and marriage etc, draws up a family tree, puts it all in a folder and then probably treats the job as finished. But having reached that stage (except for the Melbourne families, where that job is not quite completed) I am now looking for the “family stories” to put the proverbial flesh on the bones. Sometimes called the “human interest” component. These stories come from anecdotes passed on to me, the internet and source materials such as books, plus an element of reconstruction.

Examples of this are the story of the “Jerrems Tailors” tailoring empire in the US (1870 to 1930), the story of four generations of the original Jerrems families in England (1730 to 1850) and the story of my great grandfather Charles Jerrems (1850 to 1930).

Don’s suggestion in mid-2005 that he start up the Jerrems Newsletter came at an opportune time because I had already started drafting articles drawing together all the snippets of background information that I had gleaned. Instead of merely sending the articles to the relevant families I now have a wider audience and a lot more motivation. Don is holding a number of such stories for future Newsletters and more are in the pipeline.

Importantly, readers like Ari, Lance, Chick and Jess have contributed major items which would not otherwise have come to light and other readers have provided supplementary material on published articles.

The importance of keeping one’s ears open for items of interest for your family history cannot be emphasised too much. By way of example I have received a lot of vital information from our “elder statesmen” like Jerry, Eva, Allis, Charles and Aunty Vi. Ideally you should record such items for posterity. What might seem to be humdrum today may be interesting to later generations.

Don's Notes: Using Internet sleuthery, Ray actually emailed me (not telephoned) in the fall of 2003. Even though we are on the opposite sides of the world (and 300+ emails later), we complement perfectly: Ray has the research content and I have the distribution system.

Forgotten Family Factoids and Jerrems Trivia
Ray Jerrems   But don't call me Bill!
Did you know that there has been a “William” in the Jerrems family in every generation since the 1720s?

They are William Jerom (born about 1725), William Jerrems (born about 1752), William (born 1782), William (born 1823), William George l (born 1843), William George ll (born 1869), William George lll (born 1904), William George lV (“Jerry”) (born 1926), and William George V (“Jerry”) (born 1950), William Scot Jerrems b: Dec 8, 1949 d. July 13, 1999.

This makes 9 generations!
Commemorative U.S. Coin
Coin Submitted by Chick Jerrems, Kansas; research by Ray, Jerry and Sue   What's a Jerrems image doing on a U.S. Coin? 
Dear Readers

Recently Chick Keller sent me a large bronze medal commemorating the Diamond Anniversary of the American Numismatic Association. Chick’s grandfather William is one of three people shown on the medal. I asked our Historian, Ray, to research its history. Here is what he wrote to me.

Hi Donald

Your request to me to research the history of the A.N.A.’s Diamond Jubilee Medal has turned up some interesting information involving the Jerrems family in the US.

The following article, published in the August 1966 edition of “The Numismatist” (the official journal of the American Numismatic Association) describes the finalisation of the Association’s plans to produce the Association’s Diamond Anniversary Medal (pictured above). My thanks to Jerry and Sue who obtained a copy of the article from the Association.

A.N.A. Diamond Anniversary Medal

The last hurdle appears to have been crossed, as of the Fourth of July Holiday, in getting the Association’s Diamond Jubilee medal into production. As previously reported, Congress passed a bill to have it designated a national medal and for its production by the U.S. Mint. In due course President Johnson signed the bill and mint artists submitted proposed designs for the obverse and reverse, most of them based on sketches previously made by the A.N.A. medals committee.

The Mint’s sketches were circulated to members of the A.N.A. board, who made the selection of the two designs to be used. After minor alterations, these were submitted to the Fine Arts Commission in Washington which gave its approval just before the end of June. Work was then started on preparation of the models from which striking dies will be produced.

The obverse side of the 3-inch bronze medal will carry bust portraits of Dr. G.F.Heath, founder of the A.N.A., W. Jerrems, its first president, and J.Hooper, first vice president. The reverse side will feature the Association’s official seal with the symbolic lamp of knowledge on a book of ancient history in the center.

Taking into account production costs (all of which must be borne by the Association), plus handling, mailing to purchasers, etc, the board has set the selling price of the medals at $5.00 each. The authorization of Congress was for a maximum of 50,000 medals, with none to be struck after December 31, 1967. All will be bronze and 3-inch diameter size.

The “W.Jerrems” referred to in the article was William George Jerrems. But what is the American Numismatic Association? The website of the A.N.A. gives us the following information:

The American Numismatic Association is located at 818 North Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903-3279. Founded in 1891, the Association received a Federal Charter by the United States Congress in 1912 and had it renewed in perpetuity in 1962. The ANA maintains the distinction of being one of the very few organizations in the United States to operate under a Federal charter.

The purpose of the organization, as stated in its Charter, is to advance and promote the study of coins, paper money, tokens, medals and related numismatic items as a means of recording world history, art, economic development and social changes, and to promote greater popular interest in the field of numismatics.

Today, with about 28,000 members, the nonprofit, educational group is the largest numismatic organization of its kind in the world. It is supported entirely by membership dues, gifts and the sale of its publications and services.

The Association had modest beginnings. Its inaugural meeting, called by Dr G.F.Heath, was held in September 1891 in a small hotel in Chicago and about 12 people attended (an interesting contrast to its current membership of 28,000!). William Jerrems was elected President on Dr.Heath’s nomination. Dr Heath, a leading authority on coins, had asked the 21 year old William to stand for the position of president because “he wanted the younger men to do the pushing and he would stand behind them”. William was president for a year and was then elected a Trustee.

But which Wiliam Jerrems is shown on the medal? There have been at least nine people named “William” in the Jerrems family spanning nine generations (almost 300 years) so I better explain which “William” I am talking about. This William was the son of the William who migrated from Gainsborough to Australia in 1859. Our William was born in Sydney in 1869 and migrated to the US with his family, arriving in Chicago in 1883. He is known by our US readers as “William George Jerrems ll”.

William was a great collector of coins and other items, this will be explained in a later article.

So there you have it, Donald: an image of the Anniversary Medal, the story of how it was made and why William’s portrait is on it, and a summary of the A.N.A. and its genesis.


Don's Note: The coin was sent by Chick to Don, who scanned it on a flatbed scanner and edited the digital image for the JJ. The actual color is not quite as orange.

There are a few more Jerrems coin stories awaiting you in future JJ editions.

Review of “Girl in a Mirror”
Ray Jerrems, on Assignment as a Movie Reviewer   "Vale Street" - one of Carol's most iconic images.
Readers will recall that Carol Jerrems’ most famous photograph was entitled “Girl in a Mirror”. The documentary film about her has been named after the photograph (see opposite). The film, produced by Kathy Drayton last year, was screened at a number of major film festivals and was widely acclaimed. It has now been released on DVD.

A comprehensive newspaper review was published in a link to an earlier Newsletter (look it up on our website) so I will restrict myself to a handful of layman’s comments.

The film itself is about 65 minutes in length but a number of archival additions to the DVD bring the total viewing time up to 100 minutes.

Carol’s photographs were taken in black and white, and the film carries through this theme by being in black and white also.

Born in Melbourne in 1949, Carol died from an incurable blood disorder shortly before her 31st birthday. She photographed her last months in hospital, and in the film these photographs are central to the theme because they are the vehicle for a series of flashbacks to her earlier career.

A number of people give accounts of their experiences with Carol. These include the people in the famous photograph. The 2 boys in the photograph (they were only 15 at the time) and the model give details of the circumstances surrounding the photo. The boys were students at a Heidelberg High School in Melbourne where Carol taught, and the model was a friend of Carol’s.

Although using Carol’s hospital photos in such a pivotal fashion may sound somewhat offputting this is avoided by the aspect that Carol was quite philosophical towards the end that her death was only a question of time. She did not dwell on it. The interviews are leavened with amusing anecdotes and she is spoken of affectionately.

The subject matter of the film could have resulted in it being morbid and/or maudlin. Instead it is quite inspirational.

The DVD is available for about $25 Australian at major retail outlets like the ABC Shop, Dymocks and Borders, online at, and it can be bought or rented online from In Melbourne it can be rented from many major outlets like Block Buster.
Don, Editor   The Last Word, for Now
Don't forget to send in a repeatable Jerrems story. If it is humorous, we can put it in the April Issue. In the March issue we will start the story of the Jerrems migration from Gainesborough to Australia. Our Saga goes on.

Letters to the Editor

Thank you, it was fun to read. And being Illinois-born, I found the photo of the river touching.

When I'd just turned 21 I worked for a couple of months in a "circle stock" company that played the small towns in Illinois. Circle stock meant you were housed in one town and went out from there to a different town each week to do that week's show. This was 1949, and these companies were the last vestiges of the old time stock companies; when motion pictures came in they gradually bought up all the theatres in towns of any size, either to actually use them or just to keep them dark in order to keep out the competition of the live troupes.

In one town on the Mississippi we played in an old wooden building where the theatre was on the second floor, heated by a pot bellied stove in the middle of the audience and with a real upstage and downstage - that is, a stage actually raked so that the part closest to the audience was lower than the part farthest away. This was to help the audience better see the actors, of course, but theatres don't have that anymore, even though "upstage" and "downstage" are terms still used in staging plays.

Best regards to all - Caty (AKA Jeanne - but all that feels so long-gone.!) ================================
Donald (and Ray too!) I really do love your newsletters! I am so glad that you are taking the time to document so much Jerrems family history. You make me embarrassed that I'm not doing the same for Annadown or Leonard (my parents surnames), etc. This is a great project.

Leila Los Angeles
I am always pleased to receive your emails. Congratulations on keeping the Jerrems' spirit alive.

Ken Jerrems, Australia
Don/Ray, thanks for your good work.

Charles W. "Chick" Keller University of Kansas, Master of Engineering Management Program Overland Park KS
What an interesting issue this newsletter was, Donnie. I really enjoyed it. Hugs, JennyJ

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