Sunday, 14 September 2014

Genealogy Notes 5-14 Sep 2014 exciting new resources

Just back from a relaxing week long holiday at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast where I revisited many of my childhood holiday haunts. Over 50 years on there is a lot of change but it is amazing how simply being in a place can bring back memories long forgotten. But then some things haven't changed and you wonder how they have survived all the development around them. Fleay's Wildlife Park is now under National Parks Management and surrounded by suburbia but is an amazing refuge for some endangered species and they still have their platypus display, one of my most vivid childhood memories.

The only genealogy (apart from childhood memories) I did was to check in with Twitter and Facebook each morning to note any exciting news (more in a moment) and to take time to vote in John Reid's (Canada's Anglo Celtic Connections) Rockstar Genealogists survey. Voting is now closed so it will be interesting to see the results of his third year of doing this global survey. The other thing I had to do was thank Alex Daw (Family Tree Frog) for nominating Diary for a Lovely Blog Award - see my response here.

I know some people think that spending time on social media is a waste of time but it is where I catch up with most of my genealogy news. For example, through Facebook I found out that now has the NSW will and testament books online from 1800 to 1952. Totally fantastic news and now that I am home, looking forward to some serious searching.

Another exciting resource is the 1894 and 1897 women's suffrage petitions which were indexed by the Queensland Family History Society in a project with the Queensland Parliament and now all online to search free. Again discovered via Facebook.

Through Cassmob's blog Family History Across the Seas, I discovered that Diary was listed in Jill Ball's (Geniaus) list of  50 Best Genealogy Blogs published in the latest issue of Inside History Magazine. Given that I was away from home, I had to wait patiently till we got home and collected our mail. There are some great blogs on the list and I don't know how Jill manages to keep it to 50. It is an honour to be among such great company.

One of my Twitter discoveries was Connected Histories 22 digital resources for British History 1500-1900 and one of the ways I pick up these genealogy tweets is by looking at Jill's The Australian Genealogists Daily. I find this so useful as a catch up that I retweet it each day and also post it to Facebook.

This weekend was the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies annual conference and this year it was hosted by the Illawarra Family History Group with the theme Illawarra Remembers 1914-2014. This is a conference that I try to get to every other year and as I went to the one in Canberra last year, Illawarra was just a little too hard to get to this year. However, next year it is being hosted by the Port Macquarie & District Family History Society which is where we almost settled. I think everyone enjoyed the conference as I have seen some very happy faces on Facebook.

This coming week I have to seriously finish all my talks for the Unlock the Past 6th cruise in October (5 talks) after which I am going to the UTP Norfolk Island Conference (another 5 talks). Some are revamped talks but I am also doing some totally new talks and that takes a good deal of preparation.

I also want to get back to my personal blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 and regular Diary updates. And perhaps a spot of research with some of those lovely new resources. Happy researching until next time.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Lovely Blog Award

Diary is usually my blog for my genealogy news and adventures and my other blog SHHE Genie Rambles is where I place all my personal stories and write about my families. However I have to make an exception as my long time geneafriend Alex Daw of Family Tree Frog has nominated Diary for a Lovely Blog Award which is really exciting. Alex's enthusiasm for genealogy is as keen as mine and it is always terrific to visit her library and give talks to all her genealogy library members. Thanks Alex.

Here are the Rules for the "One Lovely Blog Award":

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to that blog
  2. Share Seven things about yourself - refer below
  3. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire (or as many as you can think of!) - also listed below
  4. Contact your bloggers to let them know that you've tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award
Seven things about me:

1. Throughout my adult life, I have moved around a lot (at least 9 homes and 3 cities) and recently settled into our 'retirement' house on Bribie Island. Will it be the last? 

2. Our family always had a thing about visiting animal sanctuaries and it is something that I still do. And yes that is my one and only baby brother.

3. I always wanted to be a librarian but after leaving school I applied to the Brisbane City Council for a library position but was told that I was not the kind of person who worked in libraries. Disappointed I joined the Queensland Public Service, got married and a few years later discovered genealogy, which totally changed my life and a few years further on again, I found myself working at the State Library of Queensland with the person who told me that I was not the kind of person who worked in libraries. Small world!

4. Fishing is another one of those long term passions I seem to have inherited and my father was a keen fisherman all his life. He would have really loved the boat we recently purchased to fish around Bribie Island which is where Dad first taught me to fish.

5. Another lifelong passion is reading and I can read anything but losing myself in a good book is a fantastic way to spend a few hours. Over the years I have bought thousands and every time I move, lots go to the local charities. I have always been a member of a library and regularly borrow books but somehow having to give them back seems wrong. Which is probably why I keep buying books! 

6. My son seems to be following in my footsteps and I do not expect to see grandchildren any time soon. My parents used to despair that they were never going to be grandparents as both my brother and I were tardy but then we did not know that cancer would come along and take those years from our father. One of my favourite shots of Dad taking photos of my son dancing with Mum at my brother's wedding.

7. Travel is also something that I have done all my life and I am currently writing this in a unit at Surfers Paradise where I used to go with my family in the early to mid 1960s. It does not seem like 50 something years ago but then I look outside the window and yep, a lot of years have changed this place. Amazingly the Pink Poodle is still here!

6 Bloggers I admire

This is tricky as the genealogy blogging world is a very supporting community and many of the people I regularly read have already been nominated . I tend not to read other blogs as I simply do not have the time but one area that I do dip into is Australian history. So although I am allowed to nominate up to 15 bloggers, I am going to do 3 history and 3 genealogy. But check out everyone who has been nominated for a Lovely Blog Award as there are hundreds and hundreds of interesting blogs out there.

1. Stumbling Through the Past by Yvonne Perkins - Yvonne has just moved to Singapore and fortunately we met at the Australian Historical Association conference in Brisbane in July 2014 just before she left. Yvonne's posts often alert me to new Australian history books that I want to read and exhibitions that I might want to go to as well as all kinds of other Australian history news. 

2. History and Philosophy in Queensland by Neville Buch - This is a brand new blog with only the Welcome blog and a piece on why it has been set up. However it is one that I intend to follow as I recently met Neville through the Professional Historians Association of Queensland and again at the AHA conference in July. We have been discussing the value of blogging and social media and the lack of it within the professional history arena in Queensland so I hope that his fellow Queensland historians take note. 

3. Historians Are Past Caring by Marion Diamond - Marion was one of my Australian History lecturers at the University of Queensland and I managed to meet up with her at the AHA conference in July and personally tell her how much I like reading her posts. She did not remember me, not surprisingly amongst all those students she must have had, but her lectures were always interesting and I am happy to say her blog posts are equally interesting.

4. Geneabloggers by Thomas MacEntee - this has probably been nominated by many others but it is almost the bible for anyone wanting to find a blog, look for blogging prompts or simply to find out what is happening in the blogging world. 

5. Inside History Magazine Blog by Cassie Mercer - one of my favourite history and genealogy magazines all rolled into one and often they feature past stories as guest blogs. This allows the stories a much wider audience as Google can search them and I have had some amazing feedback on stories I wrote that were published a couple of years ago but are now more accessible online.

6. The British GENES Blog (GEnealogy News and EventS) by Chris Paton - I have had the pleasure of meeting Chris a number of times on his trips down under and find his blog an excellent way to keep up with all the news in the UK. 

One final word from me, if you have not tried blogging your family stories, why not think about it. The new family contacts and new friends both in person and online have all made blogging a fantastic experience for me. Thanks again Alex for nominating me for the Lovely Blog Award.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Genealogy Notes 27 Aug - 4 Sep 2014 NFHM 2014 ends

Sorry Diary is a couple of days late but my internet had a melt down (too much use over National Family History Month) but full service now restored. Plus I have been super busy notifying all the prize winners and letting the sponsors know too.

The NFHM sponsors prize draw was done after my talk at Redcliffe Library. Here is a happy snap of the audience listening to my talk on the Golden Rules of Genealogy and Demolishing Brick Walls.  After the talk we had a lucky door prize draw for one of my books and some Inside History Magazines and Australian Family Tree Connections magazines and then some of the audience stayed to assist with the NFHM sponsors prize draw. Good fun all round. Photos courtesy of Moreton Bay Region Libraries.

I received some very excited emails from the lucky winners and some thanks and feedback on organising the whole month for AFFHO. You can read about the winners in my NFHM wrap up blog and it also includes some statistics on number of events and participating organisations. I thought it was a bigger month than last year and the numbers proved that. 

Then the next big thing I had to do was a report  for AFFHO and already I am thinking about what we can do next year to continue to build on this success. All suggestions welcome. 

I am still adding some items to the NFHM Pinterest board when people draw my attention to activities that I haven't picked up myself yet. 

Tomorrow I am heading to Brisbane to give a talk on Ancestors in Church to the North Brisbane Branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland. I have known some of them for decades so it will be a good catch up. Then I am planning a few days of rest!

I also hope to get back to my personal genealogy blog 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 which I had to suspend due to all my NFHM activities. It will be nice to get back to some research and writing just for my own pleasure. 

One blog that was brought to my attention was John Reid's Canada's Anglo Celtic Connections. John does the Rockstar Genealogists survey and you can see the 2014 nominations here. Other nominations/suggestions welcome but close 6 Sep 2014. There are quite a few Aussie speakers and bloggers that I like here as well as some that I have cruised with on Unlock the Past Cruises.

NFHM wrap up has consumed most of my time this last week so nothing much else to report but my genealogy life should go back to normal in the next week or so. Happy researching while I lose myself in a good novel or two and the odd nanna nap!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Genealogy Notes 20-26 August 2014 - National Family History Month nearly over

It seems to have been a really good National Family History Month so far. I have seen lots of reports on various social media sites with people sharing what they have done and learnt at the various events around the country. Make the most of the last few days of August by reading some of the blogs and follow up on the tips. One that I am going to be looking at this week is from one of my favourite online resources. Trove Tips for Family Historians by Catriona Bryce from the National Library of Australia is a must read and it was great to see that the tips came from a brainstorming session with Liz Pidgeon from Yarra Plenty Libraries.

Liz was one of my geneabuddies when I was living in Victoria and her enthusiasm for family history is fantastic and she is a source of lots of great tips. The beauty of the internet is that I can still keep in touch with Liz (and others) by simply following their blog, or on Twitter, Facebook or wherever. In some ways once we embrace social media it does not really matter where we live.

In the first two days of this week I have done three talks in three libraries and while I am starting to feel a bit all talked out, I still have one more talk to do for National Family History Month. Today I am at the Redcliffe Library and afterwards we will be drawing the sponsors prizes giveaway which closed yesterday. We are all organised and with the help of attendees I will have some good news for the lucky winners tomorrow. Good luck to all those who entered for the various prizes and thanks to Moreton Bay Region Libraries for their fantastic support in NFHM.

There is still time to register for one of the three online genealogy courses offered by the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. You can choose from Google for the Wise Genealogist or Social Media Tools for the Wise Genealogist or Connecting Family: Online and Virtually. To register for your complimentary course send an email to with the following details - your name, mailing address, email address, course name and start month. The courses start the first Monday of each month and you can select which month best suits you eg September, October etc.

I have also managed to complete Nos 16-31 of my 31 Activities for Researchers in National Family History Month. You can read Nos 1-15 here and it has been good to see others also blogging what they have been doing. A couple of examples include Geniaus with her #NFHM2014 Report Card and TravelGenee has been blogging each of the challenges.

There hasn't been much time to do anything else except NFHM related things and I will probably find myself at a loss of what to do next week. Not really because the next Unlock the Past cruise is looming - a 3 night cruise out of Sydney and the genealogy sessions without the distraction of foreign ports. It will be just like a genealogy conference and I am really looking forward to it. It is also a great opportunity to simply have a fantastic long weekend on board a luxury ship with no cooking, no housework and you don't have to make your own bed!

But for now it is time to get ready and head off for Redcliffe. I must add up how many kilometres I have travelled this month around South East Queensland and of course if I add in the trip to Canberra for the launch it will be in the thousands. Enjoy the rest of National Family History Month. Until next time.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Genealogy notes 13-19 August 2014 - More National Family History Month news

Another busy week with one talk for Moreton Bay Region Libraries and a webinar (my first ever webinar presentation) for MyHeritage. I found it a bit strange just sitting in my study talking to my laptop knowing that there were about 120 people out there listening to me. More new technology mastered or at least experienced!

My experimenting with a NFHM board on Pinterest has been working really well (if I can say that) as I did a Google trawl looking for items about NFHM and found some interesting pieces which I was able to pin to the board. Quite a few people are following and some have even pinned my pins on to their own boards.

This week was the deadline for my next article for Irish Lives Remembered and I was sent a proof of an article I wrote for Inside History Magazine which is looking good for the next issue.

I have added a few more events to the NFHM web calendar and continue to add individuals into the sponsors prizes giveaway. There are a fantastic list of prizes to be won by individuals including 10 Ancestry subscriptions, 2 Findmypast subscriptions, 2 MyHeritage subscriptions, 2 AFFHO Congress 2015 registrations, 2 $100 genEbooks vouchers, 3 NSW transcriptions from Joy Murrin, 1 Momento photo book valued at $150, 2 Unlock the Past cruise vouchers at $200 each and $150 research services with yours truly. How to enter is on the home page of NFHM and please read the terms and conditions. The prize giveaway closed in one week - 26 August at 5.00pm. Links to all the sponsors are on the Sponsors page.

Also on offer is a free online genealogy course with the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. There are three courses to choose from and instructions on how to enrol in the course of your choice is on the Sponsors page of NFHM.

There are still lots of events to go in the last two weeks of NFHM so check out your local area and remember to see what is online as there are some interesting offers there too.

My 31 Activities for Researchers and 31 Activities for Societies in NFHM is on my Resources page and I did manage to write up my first 15 activities and you can read it here. The other 16 will hopefully be later this week.

I also managed to take up another 3 Kiva loans with my repayments from previous loans, all part of the Kiva Genealogists for Families project. That is also a good activity to do during NFHM and I must remember that for next year.  You can join me at

Tomorrow I am speaking at the Deception Bay Library on Family History on the Cheap and I have not been to that Library before so probably all new people. Next week I have four talks to finish off NFHM and of course the sponsors prizes giveaway draw on 27 August at Redcliffe. I really like that I can spread some of my major NFHM  activities around - launch in Canberra, talks throughout Moreton Bay Region and the prize draw at Redcliffe. Just as well I don't mind a bit of travel.

For those not familiar with Redcliffe it was Queensland's first European settlement and September 2014 marks the 190th anniversary of settlement in the area. So a nice historical place to end my NFHM! For those reading this overseas, we really are a very young country.

I think that is all I have done the last week but then I am a bit weary! Planning a nice week off post NFHM with a week's holiday at Surfers Paradise. I haven't been there since I was a teenager so it will be interesting and something a bit different, not our usual exotic places.

Keep on enjoying NFHM and happy researching.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Genealogy Notes 6-12 August 2014 National Family History Month is nearly half over already!

Time does fly when you are having fun! I have given 6 of my 11 talks for Moreton Bay Region Libraries already and there have been some great audiences. Lots of people have gone home to try out some of my ideas for Demolishing Brick Walls or doing Family History on the Cheap. As usual I have put the presentations on my website Resources page, scroll down to Presentations.

At the top of the Resources page are my 31 Activities for National Family History Month (for individuals and societies) and it has been good seeing some people do all or only a few of the activities. One person  I know is blogging all of her activities and Fran (aka Travelgenee) has done some interesting posts on her adventures so far this NFHM. It is always surprising how people interpret a challenge and I usually pick up new ideas as well.

Pauleen (aka Cassmob) has done a NFHM 2014 geneameme challenge and again I find it inspiring to read what others are saying in response to the prompts. Read Pauleen's response to her own challenge here. Geniaus (aka Jill) has introduced us to the concept of 'geneacave' where we do our family history at home. Sure beats 'study'! And she has introduced me to the PIP process - read all about it here. Pauleen will be collating all of the responses so why not give it a go or at least read a few of them. My NFHM geneameme response is here.

Surprisingly I am still adding a few events to the NFHM web calendar and of course I am busy with entries for the NFHM sponsors prizes giveaway which closes on 26 August. So far there are no entries from TAS, WA or the NT and only one from SA - what does this mean?

NFHM is mainly promoted online with events around the country so are those places not following us on Facebook or Twitter or Google +? I have even placed notices on the main mailing listservs for all States and Territories just in case people are not into social media. But very little response for the effort of signing up to post the notice in the first place.

Or is it just because people don't want to win the NFHM prizes? It can't be that because I would love to win some of those prizes but because I am the person running the giveaway I can't enter! Sob. I hope people don't leave it till the last day or I will go demented trying to organise everything before the prize draw takes place at Redcliffe Library.

It is Ekka week here so we are planning a visit to Mum and then on to the Ekka which brings back all kinds of memories of going with my parents as a child and taking my own son to the Ekka too. At least now I don't have to contemplate those rides but I will admit to a certain fondness still for the showbags.

Next week I am doing another talk for Moreton Bay Region Libraries and my first ever webinar with MyHeritage. I am a bit spooked at this stage as I have still to master a Google Hangout so now to get myself organised and cool and collected before Monday. Deep breath needed and maybe even more than one.

The other new thing I am trying for NFHM is Pinterest and I am really surprised at how many people have shown interest in the NFHM board that I have done. The only way to learn and get to know about some of these social media sites is to dive in and have a look. You can't break anything or at least I haven't yet!

My 'geneacave' desk looks like a cyclone has hit it so time for a good tidy up before I move on to my next NFHM challenge. Have a great time this August researching your families in NFHM. Until next time.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Genealogy notes 30 Jul - 5 Aug 2014 Start of National Family History Month

I always knew the lead in to National Family History Month was going to be busy but I have been flat out like a lizard drinking! It was great to be in Canberra for the launch at the National Archives of Australia, sponsor of the launch since 2006. You can read about my report on the launch here. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with old NAA colleagues and friends from HAGSOC (nice to see the PR for NFHM on their home page).

I did not have to remember why I left Canberra as it was a bit snowy on the day of the launch, although I always did love seeing the snow on the Brindabellas and the flight home the next day was pretty with all the snow lying around in southern New South Wales. By the time I got home to Bribie the cold front had moved north and I still needed a cardy!

My 31 activities for individuals in NFHM are now on the Resources page of my website and there are also 31 activities for genealogy/family history societies there too. Nothing is compulsory and you can do as many or as few activities as you want during the month. Remember there are other online events in the NFHM web calendar. Also on the NFHM website are the giveaway prizes from NFHM sponsors and details of how to enter are on the Home Page.

When I agreed to do my 11 talks for Moreton Bay Region Libraries I was only thinking it was one hour talks not factoring in travel time. Moreton must be one of the bigger shires as the travel time varies from 8 minutes to the Bribie Library to almost an hour to the Arana Hills Library where I am speaking today. I am giving 5 talks this week but only one next week as it is Ekka time. The following week is also only one talk with the final three in the last week of NFHM. The giveaway prize draw takes place at the Redcliffe Library on 27 August and I do thank Moreton Bay Region Libraries for their fantastic support during NFHM. As well as myself, they have other speakers giving family history talks too.

State Library of Victoria asked me to do a guest blog on their Family Matters blog for NFHM and you can read it here. This will be the first Family History Feast that I have missed since we first started it back in 2004 so a bit sad. But fantastic that it continues even though two of us have retired! And of course they do podcasts of the speakers so I will be able to listen once the sessions go online. Something to anticipate!

Sadly I suspended my own personal blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 as I simply could not keep it up and still get all the events etc up for NFHM but I will return to it in September. Sharon (The Tree of Me) has been playing catchups with it and I have just put links to her posts on my website. It is always interesting to see how others approach a set blog post and it is great for finding new ideas.

I have promised to blog my 31 activities for the month but haven't done so yet. One new thing that I have done is set up a Pinterest account and have boards for NFHM and Diary of an Australian Genealogist. Social media is amazing and there are so many things you can do to express yourself and your interests online. Not only did I put some NFHM photographs on Pinterest but  I also put some on the NFHM Facebook page. HAGSOC member Jeanette Hahn took some photos of the launch and has given us permission to use them.

Time for me to head off to Arana Hills Library and my third talk for NFHM and I hope everyone else is having a great time this August. Until next time, happy researching.