Monday, 2 July 2012

Genealogy Notes 1-3 Jul 2012 - Audrey Collins in Melbourne

Well flying back home to Melbourne from Brisbane was a bit of a shock - Brisbane was 21C and Melbourne was 2C! As we had been away for 10 days the house was even colder but we have thawed out now. Yesterday was the last Unlock the Past Audrey Collins seminar in Australia and I was fortunate to be one of the speakers with her at the State Library of Victoria.

However to get into Melbourne on time, I had to leave home early to catch a train and because I have been away, I didn't realise that the system had converted over to Myki at the weekend! I wasn't alone and there was quite a bit of confusion at the local train station with a poor Metro official trying to help everyone in the freezing cold. Eventually I bought a Myki card, topped it up with enough money for the day trip into Melbourne and arrived in time for the first talk.

Audrey's first of three talks for the day (she deserves a medal for the overall number of talks she did on the trip) was on tracing Irish ancestors at the National Archives UK. I found this really interesting and was surprised at the number of Irish records or records with Irish people in them and there are a number of references I want to follow up. You can read Audrey's adventures in Oz on her blog The Family Recorder.

After a break I finally managed to hear Carole Riley's talk on Australian land records (and the subject of her new book with Unlock the Past). A very complicated subject which is different for every State and Carole helped simplify it by showing the types of documents that could be found and the amazing detail that can be gleaned from land records.

The third session was Audrey again with nonconformist records in England and Wales which was another interesting talk although not all that relevant to my own research. Then it was lunch time and I was pleased to have lunch with Nicole from Cobram (I think she might have traveled the further-est if that's really a word).

The afternoon kicked off with a brief chat from Alan on Unlock the Past, planned webinars and of course the genealogy cruise in February 2013. Then a representative from the Genealogical Society of Victoria spoke for a few minutes on the benefits of belonging to a genealogy/family history society. When he asked who was already a member of the GSV I was really surprised to see most of the audience put up their hands. Obviously it was a seminar that appealed to GSV members in Melbourne.

I then gave my talk on Ancestors in Church and there is a copy of the talk on my website Resources page. Again I received good feedback and I'm happy to say that my next book on this topic is about to go to Unlock the Past for publishing. It should be available within a month or so and definitely in time for the  Queensland Coast roadshow.

Audrey's final talk in Australia was an interesting story on will forgeries which she also gave in Brisbane, but I missed it up there so it was good to have the opportunity to hear it in Melbourne. For someone who has given so many talks in a relatively short time, Audrey appeared to be still quite cheerful and energetic whereas after roadshows I'm usually worn out! I must ask what her secret is!

After a short break Rosemary Kopittke talked about the new FindMyPast Australia and New Zealand website. This was another talk I missed in Brisbane so really good to have a second chance at hearing how to use the new site effectively. From 17 July there will be a new range of subscription options combining the various FindMyPast sites which will be good and the other amazing bit of news is that there will be another 50 million records added to the Australia and New Zealand site.

Then it was time to head back to the train station and the long ride home thinking about all the new information and ideas. I still have to write up an overall review of the Brisbane expo including Audrey's seminar in Melbourne. My talk for Family History Feast is due in two weeks so I need to finalise that - it's a new talk taking another look at using various Google tools and resources for genealogy and my five talks for Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries during National Family History Week also have to be finalised. It might be cold but there is lots of genealogy happening over the next month or so. Just the way I like it!


  1. I missed all of the talks in Brisbane but can look forward to hearing yours on the cruise in February.

    Audrey is a trooper all right. I found her Irish talk in Sydney fascinating - lots more leads to follow when next I get a chance to visit Kew.

  2. Shauna, I have nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award. Please read about it here: