Monday, 21 October 2013

Genealogy notes 15-22 October 2013 - Australian archives conference

I've been a bit quiet the last week or so as I went to the Australian Society of Archivists conference in Canberra and came home extremely tired and still trying to shake my chest cold. As it was the Bribie Festival at the weekend I spent a quiet couple of days in bed so I wouldn't miss any of the festivities and I'm happy to say I'm feeling much better.

But back to Canberra which was my home for a number of years and I always love going back. This time I stayed at the Capital Executive Apartments (free mini Kit Kats in the fridge every day) which was only a couple of blocks from the free bus stop that takes visitors around to the major tourist attractions including the National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the National Film and Sound Archive and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House to mention just a few stops. It was a great way to travel around Canberra and to get to the conference venues.

I had planned to tweet during the archives conference but for some reason my Twitter app and my phone are no longer compatible (even reloading didn't help) so I missed out on tweeting and seeing tweets from other attendees. The hash tag was #ausarch2013 so you can see what others posted there, including photos. The irony was that for the first time I decided to travel light and left the IPad at home, otherwise I would have used that.

You can read my report on the archives conference here and I have to say that the catering at the conference and the social events was so good and so plentiful that I didn't bother with dinner at night, but then I was also struggling with the time difference as well. It's funny it took me years to get used to daylight saving, now I'm having trouble getting used to not having it!

The conference satchel was a useful reusable shopping bag and had all kinds of brochures including a copy of Wartime, the official magazine of the Australian War Memorial plus a copy of the ASA's Archives Matter! publication  (copy online free). I also arranged for the inclusion of a flyer on National Family History Month 2014 as I hope to encourage more archives to participate in NFHM next year.

From a genealogy perspective I found a number of the sessions interesting as the National Archives of Australia and the National Library of Australia talked about their future directions. Trove is just going to get better and better and it will be harder than ever to drag ourselves away from our laptops. was the principal sponsor and Inside History Magazine was another sponsor together with a number of universities and the major archival institutions.

An onsite exhibitor was Gale Cengage Learning and most of us would be familiar with the digitised collections of Gale newspapers that we can access with our e-resources cards from the National Library of Australia and our local State Library. It's been a while since I looked at the Gale products and they had paper copies of information sheets including Nineteenth Century Collections Online, State Papers Online Eighteenth Century 1714-1782, Archives Unbound, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, Part II: New Editions, Daily Mail Historical Archive 1896-2004 and later this year they are releasing The Chatham House Online Archive. Gale subscriptions are not cheap and you usually can access them via your local library or State Library and perhaps via e-resources as mentioned earlier. I usually only look at the London Times Digital Archive 1785-2007 but its quite obvious they have many more resources of interest to family historians. Browse their extensive catalogue and don't just look under Biology and Genealogy, there is also lots to interest under History and other topics. Then see what's available at your local library.

The first weekend of the Bribie Festival was great and we went to a 1960s cocktail party on Saturday night at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum. Some attendees came in 60s fashion and that brought back many memories! On the Sunday we went to the expanded markets and watched the dragon boat races and other activities. There are events all week and more markets next weekend so lots of visitors to the Island this week which is good.

All the dreadful fires in NSW at the moment are bringing back the memories we have of the Canberra fires in 2003. Even now I still feel the fear that we had that day when we were hosing our house and gardens and trying to watch out for embers. Fortunately for us they were able to stop the fire from crossing the main road and into our street. While living in Melbourne we were nowhere near a natural forest but I had my escape plan and what I would save all ready to go. Here on Bribie we have also decided not to live too close to the national park but I haven't as yet set up a new back up system and escape plan with what I definitely want to try and save. House fires sadly happen too so this has gone on to my must do list. We can only hope and pray those brave volunteers get the fires under control soon and some rain would be good.

I have emails to catch up on, blogs to read, articles to write and my new research guide to index. But I have my new issue of the Journal of One Name Studies from the Guild of One Name Studies so I think perhaps a cup of tea and a nice read is in order. Happy researching this week.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Genealogy Notes 5-14 October 2013 - genealogy magazines

Never thought I would say this but I've done very little genealogy over the last week or so as I've still been laid up with whatever the dreaded virus was! I've even lost interest in Twitter, Facebook and blogs so if you've been wondering where I've been, it's only been my bed, not very exciting.

But there has been a little excitement here and there and I did drag myself down to the local newsagent to buy a copy of a new Australian genealogy magazine Family Tree Tracker but apparently it's a once only publication. I was alerted to it when I read Alona's blog Family Tree Tracker Hits the Shelves and she gave a detailed description of the contents. Alona is a great person to follow as she always knows what's going on! I was a bit surprised that a once off magazine was actually in a Bribie Island newsagent but I happily paid my money and of course couldn't resist looking at the UK magazines they have.  As usual one had an article on an area of interest so that was two magazines but at least I had more to read in bed.

It's not cheap buying one off UK magazines and I was looking at some of the US genealogy magazines online and noted that I could get a year's subscription (digital) for US$19.95 which is approximately $22.00. I have a GGG grandfather in the US and a GGG grandfather in Canada so it will be interesting to see what information is in the magazine over the next year. My Oct/Nov 2013 issue of US Family Tree Magazine arrived promptly and with a free digital gift - 49 Ways to Discover Your Roots. Now I might finally track down when those two GGG grandfathers died.

Another blogger I like to read is Cassmob and her blog Kenya and Kiva on her recent travels to Kenya caught my eye as I've always wanted to go to Africa (I blame John Wayne in Hatari for those who can remember that far back). I'm also a member of Kiva's Genealogists for Families Project and as I had enough credit for another loan I decided to help a Kenyan woman this time. At the moment Kiva is offering free loans (funded by other benefactors) so if you want to know more check out Amazingly I'm on my 37th loan of $25, most of which has been with my original $25 plus a few free gift loans and it all does amazing work helping other families.

The really exciting news is that I submitted two papers for the 2015 AFFHO Congress and both papers have been accepted. Lots of other well known speakers have also said that their papers were accepted so it looks like being a great event in 2015. Start planning to go now.

I'm off to Canberra tomorrow for the Australian Society of Archivists conference. I wish I was a bit more perky but it will be good to see all my old colleagues and to hear all the latest news. is the principal sponsor and Inside History Magazine is also one of the sponsors. Looking forward to catching up with both of them. It seems to be a lot cooler down that way again so trying to work out what to take in my little carry on bag is a bit of a challenge.

Well have a good time researching and I hope to return fit and well from Canberra in time for the Bribie Island Festival at the weekend. Until next time.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Genealogy Notes 25 Sep - 4 Oct 2013 digitised newspaper success

Just as well I wrote up my two reports of the NSW & ACT conference quickly (here and here if you missed them) as I've been laid low with a dreaded virus since. On the good side I've managed to catch up with all my unread issues of the QFHS Queensland Family Historian and the GSQ Generation plus I have been reading Oceans of Consolation by David Fitzpatrick. This book is based on personal accounts of Irish migration to Australia from 14 families and no, I'm not lucky enough to have my ancestors within that collection. But what those various families experienced is probably similar to what my Irish ancestors went through so it is good background information and helps to provide more context to my research.

I also indulged myself with some genealogy searching in my more wide awake moments and I'm so glad I did. Trove is forever turning up new things in my family history as new papers are being digitised and added online all the time. I'm sure I've looked for my gg grandmother Helen Chick/Ferguson/Carnegie many times before but this is the first time that I've found a probate reference for her which was two years after her death. She died in Queensland where she spent most of her life but she did spend a few years in New South Wales with her second husband Charles Chick. I've not thought of looking for a will and probate for her in QLD or NSW (as she never appeared to have had any property or to settle anywhere for long) but the references in Trove quickly sent me to the State Records NSW website to check their online catalogue for probate references to Chick. Not only was there a probate reference for Helen but there was also one for Charles so after a quick dash for the credit card, I order both probate packets and I now sit patiently waiting for the postman.

The news that now had Irish newspapers also aroused my interest and a quick search for Jeffers of Portadown revealed a number of entries which I believe belong to my gg grandmother Maria Jeffers' family. Being able to do a keyword search on a digitised newspaper is so fantastic as we probably wouldn't find some of these stories simply winding through microfilms. When I feel a bit better I'm going to spend more time looking for some of my other ancestors.

While on the subject of historic newspapers, there is an offer (until the end of the year) from Historic Newspapers - they are offering a UK 5  pound credit with with every newspaper order. More information on the offer here. Readers may recall I was offered a review copy from Historic Newspapers last year and I have to say they do make an unusual and different present for someone as they even come packaged in tissue paper in a gift box. Christmas is fast approaching!

Speaking of presents for genealogy loved ones, I also received display copies of the latest releases from Unlock the Past. I always have the UTP titles for sale at my talks and seminars and of course, the first two UTP titles were my own books! Now there are dozens of titles from a whole range of authors. You can check out all the new (and existing) titles here. Some of them are even available as e-books. I was supposed to have my new book with them by the end of September but I simply haven't been able to think, let alone write, with my stuffed up head!

I did manage to put up a new blog post on my website, Researching the State Library of Victoria from Afar which was a guest blog for their Family Matters blog. It really is amazing just how much information is available on our State library websites so check them out for whatever States your ancestors were in.

For those who don't follow me on Twitter and Facebook I'm going to start recording in this Diary some of the links I share through those social media forums. Perhaps I will just simply list them:
The Community Archive: National Register of Archives and Manuscripts, New Zealand
Founders and Survivors (Tasmanian convicts project)
Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches Genealogy (some great genealogy sayings and often funny and true!

Finally I would like to thank my two Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra friends for helping me out with a National Family History Month 2014 task. I've arranged for a special flyer to go into the conference satchel for the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) Conference which is in Canberra in just over a week. Being sick I hadn't got around to getting the flyer printed and posted off to meet their deadline. My two friends arranged the printing and delivery for me for which I'm really grateful. As national coordinator for NFHM, I'm a one person band but that doesn't work so well, when the band needs a tune up! I still haven't heard from AFFHO about my evaluation and recommendations post NFHM 2013 but I'm hoping to set up the 2014 website soon.

After being sick for over a week, I'm off to the doctor's again - I'm rarely sick these days and I find it frustrating not having a clear head and more energy. Still catching up on my reading and lying in bed with the IPad and Trove isn't all that bad either. But I am attending the ASA conference week after next so I do have to get better for that. Happy researching!