Friday, 2 August 2013

Genealogy notes 27 Jul - 3 Aug 2013 National Family History Month

I live a normally busy if not hectic lifestyle but this last week has completely tuckered me out! It's only the third day of National Family History Month and I'm exhausted but it's a fantastic feeling. I've put up so many new events on the NFHM web calendar although we still don't have anything happening in the Northern Territory yet. Hopefully that might change as the month progresses.

I was also busy finalising everything for the launch which was on Thursday in Brisbane. It was a fantastic day - we travelled to Brisbane early so that we could collect Kerrie Gray, President of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) from the airport on our way through to the National Archives of Australia, Brisbane Office for the launch. I've done a blog post on the various speakers and also gave an account of the changes to NFHM 2013. The winners of the 2013 Nick Vine Hall awards are also included and don't miss all the news from National Archives of Australia. You can read about the launch and speaker talks here. NFHM is quite different from previous years and I think that we have more events than ever before but I haven't had time to count them.

The last few days have seen me give three radio interviews about NFHM - one with Christy-Lee Macqueen, Mornings Presenter with ABC North West, one with Ed Cowlishaw on Riverland Today with ABC Riverland and Mallee and one with Natasha Mitchell on the program Life Matters on ABC National. That was an interesting one hour session titled Framed: the family portrait. There is something a bit nerve wracking about doing live to air interviews - I always have the fear that the questions will be tricky or that I will have a complete mind freeze. But they all went well and I was amazed at how many people actually heard the shows, especially the Life Matters session. I'm not a big radio person myself but others obviously are.

I'm now about to pack for my trip down south. First stop tomorrow is Melbourne where I will be attending Family History Feast at the State Library of Victoria. This will be a bit of a trip down memory lane as it is the 10th anniversary since Anne Burrows (SLV), Anne Piggott (NAA) and myself (then PROV) started what has become a must attend event in NFHM. This year is another full house which is fantastic and myself and the two Annes will celebrate over dinner that night. Really looking forward to catching up with them.

From Melbourne I'm heading up to Canberra (another one of my old homes) to be the NFHM speaker at the August meeting of the Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra (HAGSOC). I'm having dinner with a few of my old HAGSOC friends before the talk so I will have to stick to one glass of wine with dinner or there won't be a talk! On Wednesday I'm catching up with an old colleague from NAA and on Thursday it's a meeting of the NAA's advisory committee for the centenary of WW1 which should be interesting. I love hearing about all the projects on the go for next year.

Somehow I will try and blog these events while I'm on the road and I know I did say that I would be doing blog posts on my 31 activities for researchers and 31 activities for genealogy/family history societies during NFHM but there may be a bit of a delay. Once I'm back on Bribie Island I'll be able to catch up again.

It's been great to see all my social media friends promoting NFHM and I really think that by the end of August everyone will know what genealogy and family history is all about. Thanks everyone. I'm also learning new skills and managed to put up some photos of the launch on the NFHM Facebook page and the number of Likes has gone up to 434 which is still a long way short of the 1000 Likes I would like before the end of August. The NFHM sponsors have all been fantastic in helping to promote the month too.

Have I done any of my own genealogy in the last week? Not a lot but one thing that was interesting is that I visited the genEbooks website (one of the NFHM sponsors) and noticed that they have a free ebook each month. So I registered which is a simple process, selected the free ebook and proceeded to check out and within a minute or so I had received the ebook via email. I also did a survey for the Unlock the Past genealogy cruises and by leaving my name I received a 50% discount on an ebook before 31 August. So when I come back I will take up that offer but sadly it will probably just go into my virtual pile of ebooks to read. The good thing is that they don't gather dust like the pile of real books I have to read!

Breaking news from AFFHO! Our Australasian Really Useful Information Leaflet is now available. This is a free, 20 page initiative of the UK based Federation of Family History Societies in association with Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations and the Society of  Australian Genealogists.

Well I have to go and finish packing and this afternoon I've been invited to a Tupperware party and I don't think I've been to one of those in over 20 years if not longer.It's a gorgeous day here on Bribie Island and I also have to water all my new herbs, flowers and other plants as they are predicting even warmer, dry days while I'm away. I'm trying not to think of those much cooler temperatures in Melbourne and Canberra!

Enjoy the next week of NFHM and remember to keep checking the web calendar as events might still be added as the month progresses! Happy researching.


  1. Shauna, many congratulations on such an outstanding start to National Family History Month. The effort you are making to ensure its success has not gone unnoticed. Please keep taking your vitamins and make sure you get your beauty sleep for the rest of August .

    If I may, I have a comment about getting more Likes on the NFHM Facebook page which I sincerely hope will not be misunderstood by anyone who reads it. My experience is that a great many long-standing family historians and genealogists don't have time to embrace Facebook and other social media channels in their busy lives. Any spare time they have [after family, friends and work commitments] is usually spent on research and communicating directly [in person, by phone and email] with those connected to or interested in their family history research.

    If my perception is correct, it suggests that Facebook and other social media channels are chiefly attracting relative newcomers to family history. Again, if correct, I sincerely hope it does not reduce the number of potential members of family history organisations, many of which urgently need new members to remain viable.

  2. Thanks Michelle I take the vitamins every morning. Yes not everyone embraces social media and it is those that don't I find the hardest to engage with quickly at times like NFHM. Often they don't find out about things until after it is all over which is why I'm trying to encourage more to at least try some of these new media and to follow key people and then it is only a quick/simple matter to check on a regular basis. I believe if genealogy/family history societies had Facebook pages for example, they would attract new followers and perhaps even new members. We live in exciting times!

  3. Hi Shauna, congratulations on a busy month and successful program. I suspect the NT does theirs under Seniors Month (funding?)

  4. Thanks Pauleen Now that National Family History Week is now a Month it incorporates Seniors Week so societies can do both with the same event/s if they want. I'm hoping more will realise that and plan ahead for next year as AFFHO have decided to keep it a month which is really good news.