Saturday, 2 October 2021

A Geneafeast of Conferences & Other News: Australia and New Zealand Genealogy News September 2021

What a wonderful month for even more virtual genealogy events. 

One weekend I was trying to watch three different events and I didn't want to miss any of the talks. Luckily most events now record and allow you to watch over the next week or so.

Plus it is now spring time down under and there are flowers everywhere. 

My favourite double hibiscus. It keeps flowering all year.


Now reading the final (5th) volume of Conn Iggulden historical saga on the family history of Genghis Khan through to his grandson Kublai Khan. A great read and hard to put down at times. It was a hard life for their women and children and I especially found the details around camp life interesting. 

Bribie Genealogy

September saw us permitted to meet in person again which was good. David Barnes shared at the Friday meeting how he organises his family history records and at the Monday night he walked us through the Tier One level of Gedmatch for DNA results. 

Good to see everyone in person again and some of us even shared a lunch.


The NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies conference With Conviction was virtual but hosted by Port Macquarie. There were some interesting talks and I really liked Michelle Patient's Celebrating Cousins and Cate Pearce's Using DNA for Aboriginal Family History. In the virtual goody bag, you could download handouts provided by speakers, a digital copy of Traces magazine and other useful leaflets and forms. Next year will be in the Maitland/Newcastle area and I really hope to make this one in person. Although I have been to Newcastle many times, I never knew that it was the home of Dad's biological families. Will also spend additional time for family research and see what more I can learn.

The Professional Historians Association Queensland conference also went virtual and I missed a weekend stay in Brisbane. All the papers were interesting and stimulating and it was not surprising to me to see that so many professional historians now use genealogy resources. Probably because there is so much more online now.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars declared it Webtember with free webinars throughout the month. Some great sessions were on offer. Personally I have a subscription as it is such a good learning resource and not that expensive. Makes a good birthday/Christmas present each year if the family are looking to buy you something. 

Finally I went to the Irish Lives Female Finds virtual conference hosted by the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Society, Canada. Don't you just love the capability of Zoom. Sessions were recorded so I didn't have to stay up all night. The Irish DNA talks were related to my own family research on Islandmagee, Antrim and I won one of the lucky door prizes, a year's full subscription to MyHeritage.

New Resources

It was exciting to see the list below of new digitised newspapers at Findmypast, especially if you have London ancestors. Every time I see these updates I want to do new searches but I try to limit it to a couple of times a year. Below is the notice in the Leicester Chronicle on 31 January 1846 reporting on the death of Paul Spencer's first wife. Elizabeth was only 24 years old, and it also gave her father's name. So much information can be discovered in newspapers.

  • Chelsea & Pimlico Advertiser covering 1860-1863 and 1865-1866
  • East London Advertiser covering 1862-1866
  • Kingsland Times and General Advertiser covering 1860 and 1862-1863
  • West London Times covering 1860-1861, 1863-1864 and 1866-1867
  • Westminster Times covering 1863

While additional pages have been added to the following titles:

  • Albion from 1852
  • Birkenhead News from 1914
  • British Banner from 1850-1851, 1854 and 1856
  • Croydon Times from 1934-1947, 1950 and 1952-1961
  • Daily Director and Entr’acte from 1860
  • Daily News (London) from 1922-1923, 1925 and 1927
  • Limerick Reporter from 1849
  • Liverpool Daily Post from 1858-1859
  • Morning Herald (London) from 1808
  • Sheffield Independent from 1929


As we come up to the end of the year I only have three more talks - all virtual even though two of those talks are in Australia. All talks are listed on the Events page of my website. 

What's Coming Up

At the October evening meeting of Bribie Genealogy I am doing a presentation Downsize and Pass On Your Family Research based on my own experiences of trying to downsize 45 years of personal genealogy. 

I first started the project two years ago and progress is not as fast as I expected. Time is not always our friend, even in lockdowns. Making decisions and simply sorting papers and digitising photos takes time.

My other task is to follow up all the tips I wrote down during all those September webinars. Perhaps I won't watch so many in October? 

Take care and stay safe and happy researching. 

Saturday, 4 September 2021

National Family History Month & Other News: Australia & New Zealand Genealogy August 2021

 Wow what a fantastic month for genealogy. So many great events and with so many virtual, it was easy to attend events without travel costs. National Family History Month (NFHM) is over but with ongoing lockdowns and nowhere to travel to, we still have plenty of time for family history.


First pair of shoes, still in the wardrobe!

I managed to do two blogs during August. First there was Genealife in Lock Down and I followed that up with Tossing Out the Binders which was the result of last year's lock downs. Both are on the blog page of my website. 

When I look around at everything still in my study, I don't think I am doing too well with this downsizing project. Plus there are the memorabilia you don't know what to do with - do I take photos of Mum and Dad's 21st keys and then toss the originals? What about Mum's wedding dress? 

Every time I open the study wardrobe, my first pair of shoes are there on the shelf Why can't I toss?

But when I look at my achievements, I realise how far I have come in what is basically a very slow process when you have 44 years of research to downsize.  


Weeding the bookshelves is part of the overall project and many books have been given away or put aside to give to others. It's not a rash decision in that the piles stay there for a week or so to allow me to change my mind. There is also a small pile that I want to read or read again before making a decision. Of course, at the end I will have to go into my LibraryThing account and update my books and shelving locations. 

Does anyone else pick up a book and wonder why they bought it? Or believe the price they paid for it? Why have I got so many unread books? 

Bribie Genealogy

Both of our August meetings were cancelled due to Covid lockdown and we managed to Zoom the Friday meeting with Helen Smith who spoke about doing DNA plans for research. Sadly there was no lunch post meeting which is always a fun time with our guest speakers. For context on a segment later in this post, Bribie Genealogy does not have a physical home but we have free use of a room at the local RSL for our monthly meetings, complete with wifi. We don't have subscriptions or a journal/newsletter and we usually send out slides from presentations to members, or Zoom recordings if no physical meeting. So we are a virtual society with physical meetings when we can.

Fingers crossed that the September meetings go ahead.


Who was my Dad's father?
Excited to learn that I have a 2nd cousin on Dad's side and it looks like my hypothesis and prime suspect might be correct. Although I would like to see more matches on that family line. Interestingly they share more DNA with me than my brother. It is good to do the comparisons.

New Resources

My main source for what's new or new to me this month has been all the webinars or Zoom meetings that I have attended. I always try to learn at least one new thing from a talk but lately I am ending up with a page of 'must follow up' notes. 

For example, Fiona Brooker gave a good talk on the 1939 Register (UK) and that made me realise I have not gone looking for any descendants of common ancestors for most of Mum's families. No doubt that would help with DNA matches too.


My advanced Irish genealogy course continued via Zoom as Bribie U3A never opened up for third term due to Covid restrictions. Not quite the same as in person, round the table but certainly better than nothing. The other plus is that I can record the sessions and attendees can play them back and do their own searches at the same time.

My talk at the opening event of NFHM is still on the Webinars page until the end of September if you want to watch. It was looking at the future of genealogy post Covid and what role societies might have. It certainly caused a lot of discussion on the night and afterwards I suspect. I loved this comment from a New Zealand person: I was most impressed with Shauna's presentation (clever intelligent Lady) even more so, with how Bribie local Genealogy Societies and how they cope without a main Genealogy Society or base.

Mum's teenage diary 
I gave a Zoom presentation to Caloundra Family History Research on using diaries and letters for family history which was well received. Although I do like travelling to their meetings as their afternoon teas are pretty good but Covid put an end to that. The slides are on the Resources page of my website.

My last talk was a tips and tricks Zoom session on how to use Australian archives which I offered as part of NFHM. Attendees got the recording afterwards so that they could just relax during the talk.

What's Coming Up

The Association of Professional Genealogists conference is virtual over three months so that more people can attend and I have enjoyed the first two days. 

Another Zoom session, this time with Family History ACT on Writing and Sharing Family Stories which is a four speaker seminar. My session is on blogging family stories but other sessions are on charts as stories, doing a book using Family Tree Maker software and what is involved in self publishing and how to set up your manuscript. 

The Professional Historians Association Queensland conference has moved to virtual but that will occupy me over a weekend. The part I really miss is catching up with people in person and I was looking forward to a couple of nights in Brisbane. 

Similarly I am attending the NSW & ACT conference in Port Macquarie via Zoom instead of the long drive down. They decided early on to be a virtual event which proved to be the right decision given NSW's current Covid situation. 

I know a few family history people out there that still do not want to learn to Zoom or attend live webinars. However, I honestly don't think life is going back to how it was before. We have to adjust to the changing times and take advantage of technology as now is, in some ways, another boom time for genealogy. Attending overseas conferences has never been easier or cheaper. Try it and you won't be sorry for learning yet another techno skill.

Until next time, happy searching. Stay safe and well.

Friday, 6 August 2021

Australian Convicts, NFHM, New Resources & Other News : Australia and New Zealand Genealogy July 2021

At the end of July we went back to covid lock down which means more genealogy time in August which is National Family History Month in Australia and New Zealand. 

Check out all the events, most of them virtual. Remember too that there are excellent prizes to win from the various sponsors.

This is a round up of news in July which was a busy month. Also a disappointing month as the AFFHO Congress on Norfolk Island was postponed to 2022 due to Covid uncertainties. Many people couldn't attend and even some who still wanted to holiday found themselves unable to get there. Cancelled holidays, closed borders, masks and vaccinations. My second jab is in mid August. 


I haven't been blogging except for Diary but I am pledging to change this. For NFHM in August there is a blogging challenge - Genealife in Lock Down. Plenty to talk about there. Also I have collected some nice Trove articles and a Trove Tuesday blog is long overdue. 

Books & Magazines

I have genealogy magazines and journals stacked everywhere, some going back decades. Last year I gave away lots at my U3A genealogy sessions after flicking through them for anything relevant. I started that up again with the intention of sharing with my U3A students again but so far third term has not started due to Covid. In some instances I have digital copies of the magazines so no need to keep the paper copies. 

Bribie Genealogy

Pumicestone Passage
and theGlass House Mountains
Our July meeting was impacted by the snap Covid lockdown but our guest speakers Eric and Rosemary Kopittke agreed to speak via Zoom. Rosemary on Scottish Resources and Eric talking about walking in the steps of our ancestors. Both talks were excellent and it was just a shame we couldn't share lunch with them. 

As I write this, we are back in lockdown so we will miss having our August speaker Helen Smith in person. Helen is no stranger to Zoom so we will still go ahead but without lunch. 

Our  Monday night meeting is also cancelled so we postponed David Barnes and his session on Gedmatch to later and we will just have a Zoom chat session. 

New Resources 

There has been an update to the Biographical Database of Australia :
  • convicts in 1840s Victoria 
  • 21st Regiment soldier profiles 1833-1840 many in WA & TAS 
  • registers of convict deaths 1828-1879 & permissions to marry 1826-1851 (NSW, Norfolk Is & early Vic & QLD) 
  • 1830s notices re escaped convicts & Sydney City burials 1832-1856 
  • Coroners Inquests 1834-1859 (NSW + some QLD & VIC) 
  • Criminal Court records 1788-1833 (NSW + some TAS, QLD & Norfolk Is) 
  • NSW probate Index 1790-1876 (+ early TAS, QLD & VIC) 
  • a remarkable record of 17,000 people leaving Sydney by ship 1816-1825 
  • colonists & Aboriginal people mentioned in the Sydney Gazette 1803-1807 
  • index of NSW people mentioned in UK Colonial Office letters by historian Mathilde Deane.
Whenever I have a convict query, this is one of my favourite websites so fantastic it is still being added to from time to time. 


My photo collage in the PHAQ newsletter
Attended the Professional Historians Association Queensland AGM via Zoom and it was good to see people and to catch up on what some of the North Queensland members have been doing. 

For their newsletter a while back, I was asked for a photo collage. Since doing the collage, I have also thought it would be a good idea to do some on my ancestors. But it is not as easy as it looks. 

I spent a good couple of days watching webinars from The Genealogy Show in June before they were taken down. So many good speakers and talks and lots of ideas to follow up. Next year I won't leave it to the last minute! 

I have to do the same with the Family History Down Under 2021 conference as well before that is taken down in another month. Time flies and I don't think I am the only one who still has RootsTech 2021 webinars to watch either.


I spent time working on my talk for the opening of NFHM in August which will be a virtual event. My aim is to get a discussion going on the future of genealogy and what we want from our societies. Another talk in NFHM is for Caloundra Family History Research is on Diaries & Letters for Family History and it is a Zoom session. 

To be part of NFHM I decided to run my own Zoom event of Tips & Tricks with Shauna Hicks which is free. I have also booked to attend other virtual sessions so don't forget to check out the NFHM events page. More events could be added during the month as well.

To see where I am speaking during the year, check out the Events page of my website.

What's Coming Up?

Hopefully an end to Covid lock downs! Apart from that we do have NFHM and more time to spend on genealogy at home in August. Make the most of the free events and have a wonderful NFHM.

Take care and stay safe everyone.

Until next time