Monday, 27 August 2012

Genealogy notes 18-28 Aug 2012 busy busy!

Well as the title suggests it has been 10 busy days since I last logged on. Everything seems to happen at once. I've had all the dramas of packing up the house, getting ready for my Sydney trip, finalising my next two publications for Unlock the Past and to complicate life I cracked a filling in my tooth needing a visit to the dentist, had to visit the doctor for another mole removal (fast growing and changing colour), a biopsy and thankfully not malignant this time and a specialist visit which I had put down as unnecessary but the CT scan showed something not quite right so I'm now considering when can I schedule in an operation which involves drilling a little hole in my head!

I had also been congratulating myself on having got through winter with hardly a sniffle when in the last few days I seem to have come down with a nasty chest infection. By this time tomorrow I need to be on a plane to Sydney so lots of fruit and vegies today! I'm actually looking forward to  my two talks  at the Society of Australian Genealogists as it gives me a chance to catch up with Sydney friends. I've got some meetings arranged, dinner with an old friend and after my talks I'm spending the weekend with a friend at her unit right on the Harbour to relax before the big move next week.

During the last week or so I have been doing a little experiment with the National Family History Week Facebook site (I'm the new co-ordinator in case you missed that news) and by placing a couple of messages on that site and my own Facebook site I managed to have a rather dramatic upsurge in statistics for the site, mainly thanks to my cyber friends. It would be really good if those reading this could also visit the NFHW Facebook site and hit the Like button (if you haven't already) as I am trying to prove the power of social media in promoting events like NFHW. I'm working on a strategic plan for 2013 and I'm hoping that we can make the week bigger than ever.

Now that all my family history files are packed away in boxed I feel quite empty. Although I have most of the data in my software program I don't have all my paper documents or photographs scanned yet so I can't just pop up and look at something. I'm also a bit worried that we won't find another home with a study as big as this one. When we do finally resettle somewhere, it will be a toss up what I unpack first - the domestic stuff or the family history!

Observant readers will notice that I've added a few pages to this blog - one on My Families and a more direct link to my other website and finally a page on the Genealogists for Families project which is a really good way of supporting families around the world.

The other thing I managed to do was finish the next installment of my articles on Irish Loved Ones - Missing Down Under for Irish Lives Remembered. The new issue is due out on 5 September and remember it is free online.

For anyone on the Queensland Coast don't forget the Unlock the Past road show is heading your way in the next few weeks. All details on my Events page and I hope to meet lots of new people on the trip.

Although it's a way off I've also been planning for my trip to Rootstech 2013 next March, looking at airfares, accommodation and registration. I've always wanted to go to Salt Lake City so this is a good chance to do it and go to what promises to be a great genealogy conference too.

Anyway the rest of the packing won't finish itself plus I need to sort myself out for the Sydney trip, will it be cold and wet like last time or will I see some early spring? Till next time.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Genealogy notes 15-17 Aug 2012 Q&As & new role

It's been a hectic few days. From time to time I am a guest 'expert' on Inside History Magazine's regular Thursday night Facebook genealogy Q&A session at 8.30pm. This week the topic was all about BDM certificates and the session will be summed up in Inside History's blog and it was good to see Jill and Helen also sharing their experiences as well as some of the people asking questions. Who would have guessed to look under Author for Arthur or my own example of where the certificate recorded the name as Union but it was really Onions (you need to sound that one out).

It's a great hour and all things being equal, Inside History will be hosting it every Thursday night at 8.30pm EST. Next week it is two people from the reference area of National Archives of Australia so start thinking about what questions you might have for them.

The next day I had to make the trek into Melbourne as I had been asked to do a family history segment on ABC Radio Australia with Clement Paligaru. They have an international audience mainly in Asia and the Pacific but  no matter what country you are researching the basics are largely the same, home sources, national archives, libraries, genealogical societies, local historical societies and of course these days the internet. Oral history also plays a big part in Asian and Pacific cultures too. The announcer was particularly taken with the idea of genealogy cruises and the next Unlock the Past cruise to Fiji in February 2013. The session lasted for 20 minutes which was a bit longer than planned but it's hard to talk about how to do it in that short time.

In the last Diary I mentioned that there was an announcement coming and of course I have since tweeted the exciting news that I have been appointed Co-ordinator of National Family History Week (NFHW) taking over from Lesle Berry who started it in 2006. It's a voluntary position and although all the action takes place over one week in August, there's lots to do during the year talking to sponsors and getting societies and others involved. NFHW has a website and a Facebook page and I have taken over administration of both.

Looking at the Facebook page yesterday I noted that there were 177 likes and this morning after I had posted a message about trying to do more PR via social media that number had gone up to 187 thanks to some of my cyber friends. It's a bit like ripples in a pond, it keeps spreading out and the more people who participate the more NFHW will be known and followed. I'd like to thank my cyber buddies who have already offered to assist and once I have had time to think about how I want to progress NFHW in 2013, I will definitely be in touch.

I was also pleased to see a couple of people in their twenties also commenting on the page. Brought back memories of when I started in 1977 and how much younger I was to everyone else. With the internet and social media it is much easier now for everyone to trace their family history and I think it would be really good if we good get more younger people involved too. I'm keen to get feedback from people on what we can or should be doing with NFHW so please let me know your thoughts.

This weekend I have to continue the dreaded packing of the study but I also want to make sure my talks for the Society of Australian Genealogists are all up to date and ready to go. I've got a huge stockpile of e-newsletters to read -I think that's worse than a stockpile of physical newsletters as it is almost invisible and it's so easy to flick an e-newsletter into a folder thinking that you will get back to it but lately I don't seem to be doing too much reading. At least a physical pile of reading makes me feel guilty every time I look at it.

Until next time.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Genealogy notes 10-14 August 2012 Yarra Plenty again

In between my two engagements with Yarra Plenty Regional Library I got stuck into packing up my study. The genealogy books are fairly easy but I certainly slowed down when it came to my filing drawers and of course my photographs and other memorabilia. It's unrealistic to think that I can do much more scanning given that we only have three weeks left here and part of that time I will be in Sydney talking at the Society of Australian Genealogists. So with some concern, I am boxing parts of my family history records in smaller boxes to go inside the bigger moving boxes. That might even help with the unpacking side of it later on. I hope we find a place reasonably quickly.

Monday was a beautiful day in Melbourne and there was hardly any traffic on the Western Ring Road as we went first to the Thomastown Library where I gave a talk on Caring for Your Family History Archives. From there we then went to the Ivanhoe Library where we had lunch at a very nice cafe nearby (latte, chicken foccacia and a carrot cake to die for). Suitably fortified I gave my talk on What Was the Voyage Like to an almost full house and then had a lengthy Q&A session. It was interesting to see that some people came to all five of my talks for Yarra Plenty.

As usual, I have place copies of my five presentations on my website on the Resources page, scroll down to Presentations. I've also been encouraging attendees to check out my blogs SHHE Genie Rambles and this Diary as there were few hands in the air when I asked who read genealogy blogs. It will be interesting to check my stats next week.

I was also pleased to learn about Wikinorthia which is a partnership between Moreland, Darebin and Yarra Plenty library services which provides their communities with the opportunity to document life in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. At each library I also checked out their genealogy and local history collections and it's really good that people have access to services like this near where they live. The libraries also have and and both get heavily used.

Then it was a sad farewell to Liz as I won't be seeing her as often once I'm back in sunny Queensland. She did an excellent job of organising my five talks and getting me to each library on time and making sure I was suitably refreshed in between sessions.

I've updated my website Events page to include my remaining talks for 2012 including details and booking information for the Queensland Coast Roadshow which will see me talking in Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Townsville, Mackay, Gladstone and the Sunshine Coast - should be great! It kicks off on 25 September so we will have about two weeks to look at houses before we head off on that adventure.

However for now my priority is finalising my talks for the Society of Australian Genealogists on 30 August and 1 September - details on the Events page. I've also just been reading the proofs of an Ask an Expert question I did for the next issue of Inside History magazine and I have to write part 2 of my Irish Loved Ones Missing Down Under series for the free online genealogy magazine Irish Lives Remembered. has given me a sneak peek at some new records they are releasing soon. No relevance to me but I'm sure some people will be excited. The trouble with sneak peeks is that you just want to blurt it all out but can't. Last night I watched the UK 2009 series Who Do You Think You Are episode with David Mitchell on SBS and of course today I just want to do family history research and find interesting stories on my ancestors!

Well I can feel more cardboard boxes calling me so I'd better get back to the packing!

Stop Press - just had a really exciting phone call but I can't say anything yet until it is officially announced! Two secrets in two days - I'm too excited to just go and pack now! Looks like I will just have to settle for a cup of tea and a biscuit!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Genealogy notes 7-9 Aug 2012 - talking at Yarra Plenty

Monday had to be one of the wettest, coldest, windiest days I've ever experienced in Melbourne but when you are booked to give three genealogy talks on the other side of the city you can't stay in bed just because you don't like the weather. I was also giving myself extra driving time because every time I go on the Western Ring Road it is chockers and I wasn't disappointed. Getting up to about 30km an hour was about as exciting as it got and at one point I thought I wasn't going to make it to the first venue. But once past the airport it did get a bit faster and amazingly I found the first venue without getting lost once.

Yarra Plenty Regional Library has a number of libraries within it due to the sheer population numbers in this part of Melbourne. My first stop was Lalor Library and the talk was basically a beginners type talk on researching Australian ancestors. As usual I will be putting up PDF copies of the Yarra Plenty talks on the Resources page of my website, under Presentations (scroll down). I'll probably wait until after the last talks next Monday to do it. There are a few other priority items on my to do list today!

After the talk Liz (organiser of the talks as part of their National Family History Month, they can't fit everything they want to do in a single week so a month makes sense) wandered across the road (trying to ignore the rain and wind) to the shopping centre where we indulged ourselves with a pie and latte. I had a pepper one hoping it would warm me up from the inside.

After lunch it was off to Mill Park Library and I was very grateful to Liz for allowing me to follow her as I don't think I would have found my way on my own. Although trying to keep together without other cars coming in between or being separated at traffic lights was a bit tricky in the rain. Mill Park library is stunning and I actually thought it was some sort of convention centre and I even found myself thinking about how good it might be to go back to work in a place like that, especially their local history collection room. The talk here was on It's Not All Online, Where Else Can I Look which was well received by an enthusiastic audience.

After that Liz and I wandered across to the local La Porchetta for an early dinner and I again went for a warming type meal - calabrese tortellini with lots of hot salami and chilli in a great tomato sauce with another latte. We had a great genealogy/library discussion and the two hours went very quick. Then it was back into the cars for the drive to Watsonia Library and by this time I was well and truly lost as I have never been to that part of Melbourne before.

The evening talk was on researching Victorian ancestors and was well received despite a few technical difficulties at the beginning. By the end I was starting to feel a bit weary and after checking on the best way to get back on the Western Ring Road for the long drive home, I was on my way. Luckily that time of night it is not as busy as during the day but even so it still took just over an hour before I was unlocking the front door.

The other half was back from Bali and having slept all afternoon was keen to tell me all about his adventures which were definitely more exciting than my tales of packing up ready for the move which is now less than four weeks away.

I managed to get in some of my news as well including that I had an article published in the August issue of Irish Lives Remembered and I had spent time doing talks and publications. I still have two more talks to do for Yarra Plenty next Monday - details are here. These will be my last genealogy talks in Victoria which is a bit sad.

Yesterday I made a determined attach on starting to pack up my study and I'm trying to keep everything in the order it is currently in but of course that doesn't always suit the nature of the packing boxes. Because books and paper weigh so much, the boxes are smaller and I'm now surrounded by little towers of boxes! Whatever house we end up buying, it has to have a study as big as this one or bigger!

Today I'm doing some publication checking and indexing along with more study packing so I better get back to that. The day's already half gone but I've also done the domestic goddess type work as well, washing, cooking, cleaning, yes the other half is definitely back!

I hope others are having more genealogy fun than me at the moment. Till next time.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Genealogy notes 31 Jul - 6 Aug 2012 still talking genealogy

Well National Family History Week 2012 went very quickly!  Even though the week is officially over I still have five talks to give for Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries - Wednesday 8 August and Monday 13 August. A list of libraries I'm speaking at, the topics and when are here. Makes me wonder if we should have National Family History Month like New Zealand has. Anyone else had similar thoughts?

I've been busy putting the finishing touches to a new Unlock the Past research guide on using the National Library of Australia and in particular Trove its national discovery service. Hopefully that will be published before the Queensland Coast Roadshow along with my other new guide Finding Ancestors in Church Records (out soon). asked me to do a guest blog on an Olympian so I went back to the 1912 Olympics and was fascinated to learn about Cecil Patrick Healy. He is also our only Olympian to have ever been killed in action. Healy was killed in 1918 just 74 days before the end of the war.

I've also got an article in the August issue of Irish Lives Remembered on Missing Persons Down Under which I'm excited about. It should be due out this week and remember it is free to view! There are so many interesting stories just waiting to be told.

As if I'm not busy enough, this week also sees the start of a free National Institute of Genealogical Studies course that I signed up for a while back. It was part of an introductory offer to attendees at an Unlock the Past expo. I can't resist free offers and this one is on genealogy methodology. Although I've been doing my own family history for 35 years it doesn't hurt to go back to basics especially when so much is changing in the genealogy world these days.

Hazel Edwards has sent me a copy of her latest book on Authorpreneurship: the Business of Creativity for review (that's two books now I have lined up to review when I finish packing). I'm looking forward to reading this as Hazel told me a little about it while she was still finishing it. In a nutshell is is about investing in your creativity to increase your professional opportunities. The back cover states that Hazel has written over 200 books so she is probably well qualified to talk about authors building their own brand.

The other half is due back tomorrow from Bali and I don't know where those ten days went. I'm looking forward to some help with packing up the house. I've spent the last few days just packing up all my books and I've started on the study. The hard part is trying not to pack something that I might need over the next few months but then again you can only fit so much in a caravan! There seem to be lots of houses for sale on the Sunshine Coast so hopefully we won't be homeless for too long.

It's a nice, sunny, but cool day here in Melbourne so I might make the most of it and go for a walk now before the weather changes!