Monday, 23 July 2012

Genealogy Notes 20-23 Jul 2012 - Cemeteries & Copyright

Last Friday I attended the AGM of the Victorian Association of Family History Organisations (VAFHO) and after the AGM there were two excellent speakers. Unfortunately it was not a huge crowd for this free seminar which was a shame as both speakers really deserved a much wider audience. Perhaps it was the fact that it was at the AGM and that always frightens people off as they think they might get 'volunteered' for something.

The first speaker was Celestine Sagazio, historian and manager of the Cultural Heritage of the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust talking about the history of the Melbourne General Cemetery and highlighting some of it's more famous citizens. Like all cemetery talks there were the sad ones but more often than not, the audience was laughing at the epitaphs and Celestina's photographs were equally interesting. I don't have any interest in the cemetery but her time went very quickly.

The second speaker, after a short break for refreshments, was Lesle Berry talking about copyright and family history. Lesle had also done a handout of the various points in her talk so that made note taking much easier. Not surprisingly there were lots of questions at the end of the talk with people wanting individual advice. Some people also confused privacy requirements with copyright and of course there is also reproduction rights usually exercised by libraries and archives. The Australian Copyright Council has a great range of brief guides and even one for family history in their Find an Answer section.

I forgot to mention last week that the National Library of Australia asked me to take a sneak preview of their new family history video which was great to see and I'm looking forward to seeing more over time. It has now been launched along with can I borrow from the library, what's online and can I get copies of items from the library. Check them out here.

The other exciting thing I'm trying to catch up with is the launch of FindMyPast Australia and New Zealand's long awaited World Collection with access to 'billions of international records all in one place'. It now includes Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland and the United States of America. The press release also said that Australian and New Zealand content will soon be doubling so I'm looking forward to that announcement.

I'm still working on my talk for the launch of National Family History Week on Friday and all of these new online developments has me reflecting on what it was like starting my family history 35 years ago next month. The possibility that I could one day sit at home and have access to all this fantastic material online would have been more in the realms of magic than reality.

For those following our moving saga, we now have the quotes from the removalists and the news that we still need two shipping containers (despite all our giveaways and garage sale). I now don't really need to keep trying to thin down my study and book collections. It won't make any difference to the cost and I feel that I've already gone through enough pain parting from much loved areas of my life. So now it's just a matter of packing and trying to keep out anything that I'm likely to need in the next few months or more. How hard can that be?

Till next time and don't forget to check out all the exciting events coming up in the next few weeks on the National Family History Week calendar for your State or Territory.

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