Friday, 19 July 2013

Genealogy notes 12-19 July 2013 seminars, cruises & #NFHM13

This past week has been a bit more like my life of old - where I did genealogy seven days a week! The trip out to Chinchilla was good and we tend to travel off the main highways to see more of the real countryside. So we usually stop at Yowie Park in Kilcoy for lunch and to watch the amazing bird life around the lake. For those not familiar with a yowie, check out Wikipedia entry for yowie.

The Coff & Co bakery opposite Yowie Park has some of the best pies we've ever eaten. In the last year we have probably stopped there at least four times and have never been disappointed. Next stop was Chinchilla where we were booked into the very convenient Downtown Motor Inn which was across the road from the RSL which was the venue for the seminar.

Sue Reid, former President of Queensland Family History Society presented two talks on using online newspapers and I had heard both of these earlier in the year at a QFHS seminar. But it's amazing how much more you take in on hearing something a second time. Sue concentrated on the big four, Trove, Papers Past, the London Gazette (with links to the Edinburgh Gazette and Belfast Gazette too) and the London Times via the National Library of Australia's e-resources.She had a handout which saved some mad scribbling down of URLs and I was again reminded that I really should look for my American and Canadian families in the many newspapers Sue included in her talk.

My two talks were on Trove and other NLA treasures and Google for Genealogy and as usual I put the slides up on my website Resources page, scroll down to Presentations. By the end of the day there was information overload but I think they will all be spending more time on their computers in the coming weeks. One brave person is also following me on Twitter. Both Sue and I had a range of Unlock the Past books for attendees to check out and I spent a few frantic moments signing my books!

The next day we left Chinchilla and went out to Miles which is where Max's mother and father met during WW2. She was the daughter of the Windsor Hotel licensee and he was the handsome soldier working in the area. If he hadn't gone in for a beer they might never have met and Max would not be here. It always makes me think to consider how random it was for some of our ancestors to actually meet up. As luck would have it the Windsor Hotel has recently changed hands and it was not open. However, an enquiry at the bottle shop soon saw us permitted inside to have a look at the downstairs rooms and the old photos on the wall. We also have some old photos of the family's time in Miles but it was good to walk around the streets and get a feel of what life was like back then. We also spent quite a few hours at the Miles Historical Village which has some amazing buildings and collections. We even found Max's Uncle Len's police uniforms and record of his career there!

We hadn't been able to contact Max's cousin in Kingaroy so we ended up spending the night in Esk and had a great dinner at Sticky Fingers (fantastic name for a restaurant). The next morning we explored the various antique shops in the main street and I managed to pick up some quirky things for the house. From there we went to Wivenhoe Dam and then on to Somerset Dam before arriving back at Yowie Park in Kilcoy for afternoon tea. The local tourist info centre was having a plant sale and I managed to pick up a few more bromeliads for our rainforest out the back.

Then it was home to Bribie Island as the next day we were having a luncheon cruise on the Lady Brisbane which is recreating the trips of the Koopa to Bribie in the pre bridge days. As Max's family used to come over on the Koopa we again felt like we were walking in our ancestors footsteps. It was fascinating to see the bottom end of Bribie from out in Moreton Bay - as a sand island it is very flat but it almost disappears off the horizon the further out you go. It was also good to see Brisbane's skyscrapers in the distance too. It's a small world on Bribie and we knew a few people on board so we all went for coffee after the cruise.

Most of my time at home has been spent on National Family History Month adding events to the website, liaising with sponsors and making sure the launch is progressing. It seemed ages away a little while ago but is now only 12 days away. There are some great events across Australia so I hope everyone can get to at least one event. I'm also going to be putting up my 31 activities for researchers and 31 activities for societies next week so everyone will have something to do in August.

This morning I went to my local newsagent just to see what genealogy magazines they have in store and I was pleased to see that they had Australian Family Tree Connections and Inside History Magazine - both active sponsors of NFHM. There were also some UK magazines as well and I couldn't help myself, I bought the May issue of Family Tree Magazine. After I got home I made a cup of coffee and settled down to have a good read and who is looking up at me from the page? None other than my friend Jill Ball and Thomas Macentee in a photo taken at Rootstech 2013. How's that for serendipity! I'm looking forward to meeting Thomas on the 4th Unlock the Past genealogy cruise next February and of course Jill is another one of the speakers on the cruise. In fact there are going to be quite a few Geneabloggers on that cruise. Can't wait for that.

I've received some more book royalties from the sale of my books published by Unlock the Past and I've received an exciting publishing offer which I'm still considering. The last part of my series on Irish Loved Ones Downunder was published in the July issue of Irish Lives Remembered - that 12 months went very quick. I suspect I won't get too much personal genealogy done in the next few weeks as NFHM will take up most of my time. Plus I have genealogy trips to Melbourne and Canberra coming up too but more about that next time. Happy searching.


  1. Canadian relatives? Did any come to Western Canada, Shauna?

  2. Hi Diane from what I know so far New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan, I've picked them up in census records