Saturday, 13 October 2012

Genealogy notes 4 - 13 Oct 2012 Deniliquin Genealogy Muster

Well we made the trek back down the Newell Highway for the 5th time in the last few months. Instead of staying at Toowoomba and Goondiwindi like we normally do, we did a bigger day and stayed at Yelarbon for two days. Yelarbon is a very tiny town not too far from Goondiwindi and used to be on the now closed railway line. The local council has set up the old railway station with toilets and a shower and the town are trying to attract caravaners and motorhomers to stay there for a night. At only $10 a night with power it's a good deal and it certainly brings revenue into the town as most of the people staying there also go to the shop, the pub for a great meal (we had one of the best ever pizzas), and buy petrol. A great way to try and keep some of these small country towns going!

From there we moved on to Narrabri again (so that we could have dinner again at the RSL's wonderful Outback Shack restaurant) and Forbes where the temperature dropped to zero and we realised we had left all our warmer clothes and blankets back in Queensland. Amazing the difference in temperatures within a few days of travel! From Forbes it was an easy drive on to Deniliquin for the genealogy muster.

On a sad note we came across an injured emu and called the local wildlife rescue who were very prompt coming out but unfortunately couldn't do anything for the poor emu. At least it didn't continue to suffer in the cold and wet conditions. The bird life out in western NSW is amazing and we have seen so many baby birds but of course not all make it. We've even discovered babblers who are really cute and have a very distinctive call.

But on to the muster. There was a welcome function for speakers and exhibitors at the council library on the Thursday night which was well attended and it was great to catch up with quite a few old friends and colleagues. The Friday was full on with speakers during the day and the evening plus all the exhibitors to wander around. The venue (Deniliquin RSL Club) was great as there was lots of room and even with a couple of hundred people each day it never seemed really crowded and with meals onsite it was a good choice. We even had dinner there both nights as it was two for the price of one if you ordered before 6pm and the meals were huge and great value.

In fact it was a very cheap genealogy event all round as it was only $10 to get in each day and you could attend all the talks if you wanted to. Ancestry and FindMyPast were available free for the two days and lots of the exhibitors had records and resources that you could use not to mention asking them questions. There were lucky door prizes every so often and the big raffle drawn at the end. I didn't win anything but then I never do so I wasn't too disappointed.

I went to Joy Roy's talk on Scottish emigration which was a wide ranging historical account of why the Scots left their country which was interesting but I prefer talks which have a more direct relevance to my own research. From searching in Scottish newspapers I know that my Carnegie ancestors came to Queensland because the Emigration Commissioner had been over in Scotland telling everyone about the free acres of land they would get if they came to Queensland. It was a deal they couldn't refuse!

I had heard Mark Grealy from Archival Access Victoria before so I wandered around the exhibitors before heading to lunch with some Yarrawonga friends. After lunch it was Rosemary Kopittke on the world collection of FindMyPast which I heard in Townsville the previous week so I skipped that one too and spent time talking to David Evans from the Guild of One Name Studies (GOONS). I got so caught up in our chat that I missed John Cann's talk on court and prison records held at State Records NSW. However I did end up joining the GOONS and registering one of Max's family names (Burstow) as a one name study, something that I have been wanting to do for some time.

After dinner I went to David's talk on how to do a one name study while others went to the Family Tree Maker workshop.  The last speaker of the night was Neil Smith on an overview of Australia's military heritage. It was a very big day but I think everyone went home quite happy.

The Saturday followed the same pattern with speakers and exhibitors keeping the crowds interested. I started with Anne Burrows talk on genealogy at the State Library of Victoria and my talk on Google Genealogy:Are You Making the Most of Google?  was the second talk of the day. This received really good feedback and attracted a very full room which was great. In the afternoon David Berry from State Library NSW was on but I unfortunately missed his talk as I was trying to sort out a problem with my Legacy Family Tree program with Rosemary (I was doing something silly but then it's always easier once you know how). The final talk of the muster was Wayne Doubleday on the Charles Sturt University Regional Archives and I've always been a fan of regional archives and I have even been there a few times too so it was good to see Wayne promoting the amazing range of records they have there.

The only hiccup I noticed was the laptop going out during Rosemary and Anne's talks on both Friday and Saturday. This was a technical issue with the battery going flat so it pays to make sure the laptop is actually connected to power! From my own recent experience I know how disconcerting a flat battery can be to a speaker trying to give a presentation.

 It was a really great two days and as always I've learnt new things, made new friends and want to know when the next Deniliquin Genealogy Muster will be! The organisers did a fantastic job and are to be sincerely congratulated. They also brought a fair bit of revenue to the town too I suspect with people paying for accommodation, food, petrol and so on. Well done everyone involved!

As this Diary entry is getting a bit big I'll save all my comments on the exhibitors for another Diary entry, hopefully tomorrow. We are off to Yarrawonga to stay with friends before heading to Wagga Wagga where I am speaking at the monthly meeting of the Wagga Wagga & District Family History Society. Happy researching!


  1. Welcome to the Guild and the joys of doing a One-Name Study!It is a very rewarding past-time and you find so many different resources that you would never have perused in the course of doing your direct family research.

  2. Thanks Helen as you know I have been looking at doing this for a while and of course, now I come under your Queensland group!

  3. The Genealogy Muster sounds like it was an interesting event - I Hope they will hold another sometime.

  4. Hi Shauna,
    Welcome to the world of ONS< I just wish I was retired t spend more time with mine.I currently come under the QLD group but am finding it difficult to get involved due to other commitments
    Regards Chris Reed

  5. Sounds like a great event. Thanks for the report.

  6. Thanks for posting about it Shauna. Like Chris Reed I wish I was retired then I could have attended as I only live an hour or so away from Deni. Hopefully I'll be a bit less tied down and can attend the next one.