Monday, 23 April 2012

Genealogy Notes 17-23 April 2012 - Online or Offline

When you are travelling it's easy to lose track of the days and fall behind if you don't log on everyday. In my last Diary entry I was excited about going to the Society of Australian Genealogists' (SAG) library in Sydney and I did have a great day. What wasn't so much fun was the 'rain episode' Sydney had while I was there and I managed to get quite a bit damp as I walked to SAG and other places around the CBD over those few days.

I found the SAG library fascinating and managed to spend all day there, stopping for some lunch and a coffee with Heather. Like most older libraries SAG still has card indexes that have not yet been keyed into a database (although there are ongoing projects but it takes time and volunteers) so these indexes were a priority for me to check and I found some interesting references. I can't wait until they are all keyword searchable online as cards can only be filed in one place or only under a person's name and not by place or other identifier.

My next activity was to have a look at some of their books which I had previously looked up in the SAG online catalogue and again I made some interesting finds. You can save a lot of time by doing your catalogue searches at home before visiting a library, certainly beats the 'old days'. However for most of the morning I was the only one down that end of the room, everyone else was up the other end on the computers. Not everything is online but perhaps they had already looked at all the non online materials?

After lunch I could stand it no longer and I went down and took up a terminal, only to be surprised that there were over 1100 items to choose from! My purpose was to look at SAG's Australian Genealogical Computer Index (AGCI) four CD ROM's which have a wide variety of material on them but I could see others using FindMyPast, Ancestry, Origins and the older gentleman next to me was even using TROVE - I hadn't thought about those members who might not have a computer at home to do free web searches let alone access all the different subscription databases and material on CD ROMs. Fifteen minutes before closing I made a terrific find but of course there was no time to follow it through so I will need to access the AGCI CDs again either at the Genealogical Society of Victoria (GSV) or perhaps even the State Library of Victoria.

SAG's volunteers on duty were very helpful and as a new (rejoined) member they kept asking me if I was ok or if I needed any help which was great. It always mystifies me that more people don't join their local society as you can learn so much from the library volunteers not to mention all the great resources you can access in the society library. I'm currently a member of three societies, SAG, GSV and the Queensland Family History Society (QFHS) which somewhat reflects my own nomadic lifestyle but also that of my ancestors.

The following day there was even more rain so I bunkered down in the hotel room and consolidated my notes and did some online searching of digitised newspapers on TROVE. It's very easy to lose a few hours of time that way and even when I poked my head outside for lunch and a bit of a walk, my umbrella was not up to the winds whipping down Oxford Street!

Thursday was my flight home to Melbourne and Friday was a catch up with the housework, shopping and washing and all the mail, including a large envelope from London. Rosemary Morgan of London Roots Research has been doing some research for me and she found the death of someone whose death had been eluding me. His wife was called a widow in the 1851 census but not the 1841 census so I had assumed (that often fatal word) that he had died between 1841 and 1851 but without finding him. Rosemary took it back to the birth of his last child and it turned out he died in 1832! Some times it pays to get professional assistance with brickwalls, especially when you have looked at everything you can think off. Someone else's view and approach may be quite different from our own.

The weekend was wet here in Melbourne so I tackled some more decluttering and identifying items for our garage sale at the end of May. We have so much 'stuff' piled up everywhere it will be good to see it go, either at the garage sale or to a charity afterwards. We've also given away a lot to our children, friends and neighbours and also to some charities. Yet there still seems like a lot of 'stuff' left.Wherever we end up moving to, we have to make certain that we don't end up rebuying all this 'stuff'!

Over the last week I've been in discussion with a couple of people about doing talks later in the year so once details are finalised I'll be able to put those up on my Events calendar. I'm also putting some finishing touches to some new research guides for Unlock the Past - I have a tendency to want to include everything but that's not always possible so completing a guide is always hard for me. My ANZAC Day blog this year will be on my mother's eldest brother who was a Rat of Tobruk and he also served in New Guinea as well as the Middle East. Time to get back to work!

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