Saturday, 10 April 2021

FHDU 2021 megafest, new resources: Australia & New Zealand Genealogy Notes March 2021

Wow a huge month with more genealogy webinars to watch than programs on television! 

Plus I sneaked away for a week's holiday with a Canberra HAGSOC (now Family History ACT) friend to the Sunshine Coast. Lots of genealogy discussion over that week too. Had lunch with geneamates at Buderim which was good, catching up in person. Got home just before we went into the snap lockdown. 

Without fail my Easter orchid continues to deliver year after year. The colours are gorgeous but I think it is time to divide and have two Easter orchids next year. Or a bigger pot!


Also on holiday with me was Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Chester Creek Murders: A Venator Cold Case which is the first installment of his new book series. 

I have yet to do my review but as usual Nathan has written a gripping read and I predict the series will be as big a hit as his Morton Farrier series. 

It was also a pleasure to listen to Nathan speak about how he does his research in the FHDU Methodology stream. Thankfully the motel's free wi fi was up to letting me watch it live.

During the month I also received the latest Traces magazine, Discover Your Ancestors No 9, and a number of digital genealogy journals and magazines. The paper ones sit on the chair, and the digital ones disappear out of sight. Despite my best intentions. 

My latest thoughts on how to manage my digital reading is to list items as they arrive in my inbox and then tick them off when I have read them. Also with the intention of reading them within 7 days so that they don't become a serious backlog. Discipline - not a strong point for me with so many other things to capture my geneattention.

Bribie Genealogy & Bribie U3A

Our March meeting was a success with Pauleen Cass our guest speaker giving us lots of tips for our Irish research. Pauleen also had a very useful handout for members.

Somehow I was talked into taking over the Bribie U3A beginners class. My fear is that I will be too much for them so I am making my weekly classes as basic as I can. I suspect that the attendees will have varied experience which just makes aiming the level of the class that much harder. Still it should be fun. The idea is that attendees will go from the beginners class to joining Bribie Genealogy

Our April meeting falls on Good Friday so I organised a military talk via Zoom for those interested. 


FHDU 2021 was the big event in March and was in the end a totally virtual event. But that saw more talks offered. Four streams on DNA, Abroad, Australia & New Zealand and Methodology meant that people could attend one, two or all streams. 

Being the geneaddict that I am, I have all four streams to watch. Now to find the time. Bit like my digital reading! Plus I need to write a blog post. 

In case you missed it and are interested, it is still possible to purchase access to the different webinar streams. See the link above.

My next conference is the AFFHO Congress 2021 on Norfolk Island. I am giving a paper on the Pyers/Johnson family. AFFHO have also asked me to speak at the launch of NFHM 2021 which is an honour. That should be an amazing week in a place that I love for its beauty and simplicity of lifestyle. 


I talk too much! I was pleased to accept a last minute offer to give a talk at The Surname Society's AGM and seminar day. Basically I reworked one of my previous talks into how to find surnames in archives downunder. It was also a good opportunity to hear talks on Library and Archives Canada, (now to look for more of my Canadian cousins), National Archives UK and Archives New Zealand presented by Fiona Brooker. A great tour of their online catalogue Archway.

Talks are coming up at Noosa Libraries, Moreton Libraries and other places but I can't mention those yet. Details of my upcoming talks are always on the Events pages of my website.

Plus those close by can come along to Bribie Genealogy on the 1st Friday of the month, 9.15am at Bribie RSL.


There hasn't been much action on my website in recent months as I was hijacked and it cost a small fortune to remove malware and whatever else. I am truly grateful to my IT person for sorting it all out and now I just have to start blogging again. 

There will also be a fresh look to reflect on my new approach to life post cancer and covid, although the latter may still be around for a while yet.

What's New in Australia & New Zealand

Do you subscribe to the Trove enewsletter? It is the easiest way to see what newspaper titles have been added to Trove during the month. For example in March 2021 they added: 

  • Sunraysia Daily (Vic: 1920-1927)
  • The Mildura and Merbein Sun (Vic: 1921)
  • The Mildura Irrigationist (Vic: 1892-1893)
  • The Merbein Irrigationist and Murray Valley Soldiers' Gazette (Vic: 1919-1920)
  • The Mildura Irrigationist and Murray River Agricultural Times (Vic: 1888)
  • The Mildura Irrigationist and Murray River Cultural Advocate (Vic: 1891 - 1892)
  • Noosa News (Qld: 1968-1974)
  • Noosa Advocate (Qld: 1911-1929)
  • Noosa Advocate and Cooroora Advertiser (Qld: 1929-1934).

Great news for those with Mildura, Victoria or Noosa, Queensland families. My son's GG grandfather John Barrow Atkinson was one of the early people to buy land at Noosa. If only the family had held on to it!

Similarly I subscribe to the enews from various state archives to see what has been indexed or digitised. In the March Now & Then from State Archives and Records New South Wales I discovered that the  Protestant male orphan school register 1850-1886 has been digitised and is online. These enewsletters are easy to read and often contain useful hints on searching or advertising a new webinar on a family history topic.

While not Australasian, the FamilySearch enewsletter each month has new records from around the world and is always worth a browse. There were new French and German collections and some for various English counties. By knowing what has been added, you can simply search that collection if it is relevant to your ancestral search areas.

April is a big month for talks, more doctor visits (check ups), U3A beginning family history classes, a 4 day visit from my brother, the Bribie Historical Society meeting and setting time aside to watch some of my FHDU webinars. I wonder what bright shiny object will grab my attention this coming month? 

Take care and stay safe. Happy geneasearching until next month. 

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Short month, lots of genealogy: Australia & New Zealand Genealogy Notes February 2021

Wow the 28 days of February went past so quickly. But a huge month for doing nothing but watch webinars. One of the reasons this blog post is a week late.


Hard to believe but I still haven't started The Chester Creek Murders by Nathan Dylan Goodwin. I have been waiting for some extra spare time so that I can read uninterrupted. I have a week away at Noosa and Caloundra at the end of March. It will be perfect motel reading. 

Bribie Genealogy

Time was spent on putting together an email list (doubles as membership) and preparing for the March meeting. 

Our April meeting is Good Friday so we will be having a Zoom meeting on Easter Saturday instead. We have even started to think about having a second meeting a month in the evening. It is really good to see so many enthusiastic people.


This is where most of my time has been spent. Finalising handouts for the FHDU conference in March as well as trying to record my presentation using Powerpoint rather than Zoom. I found it really limiting and stopped the flow of my usual style when giving a talk. Still a learning exercise and technology continues to get better and better. Now that it is virtual, the overall package is cheaper than it was in person. That's a plus but I will miss the personal catch ups.

Of course RootsTech Connect took up three days and nights and it was amazing how you could get caught up in the frenzy of trying to do everything. I scored a few freebies in the Exhibition Hall but will do a blog post soon on how I found the whole experience. The Twitter #ANZAncestryTime topic last week (Tuesdays 7pm Brisbane time) was on RootsTech so I picked up more tips to follow up. 

The talks are still online and if you search for Oceania you will pick up most of the Australia and New Zealand talks. My talk on Australian Archives was well received and there were a few people in the chat room and one person even found her ancestor after hearing one of my tips on spelling variants. 

All RootsTech Connect speakers were sent a gift package which was unexpected and a lovely way to end an amazing experience. Thanks to all the people behind the scenes. 

Plus on the spur of the moment I decided to attend The Family History Show on 20 February which was only about $10AU. I have done a blog post on the conference and it is funny how it took about to 2011 and an article I wrote for Discover Your Ancestors. Small world. Read the report here


My talk at Bribie Island Library on What's In A Surname was well received and the Where Do I Start beginners session at Noosaville Library has a very enthusiastic audience. Both events booked out. Another talk on Using Ancestry's DNA Tools is coming up for Noosaville. I have been asked to do a webinar for The Surname Society in March. 

I'm also back at U3A as the person doing the beginners course can no longer do it. Therefore in Term 2 I will be trying to confine myself to beginner methodology. Hope they don't find me too overwhelming. Actually it will be good to get back to basics. Another plus is that  they can come along to Bribie Genealogy meetings. 

See where I am speaking on the Events page of my website. 

What's New in Australia & New Zealand

If you subscribe to the free Trove enews, you can get the latest on what's new in Trove. There is also a link to the enews on the home page of Trove. For example, the February news was that four newspaper titles for each of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia were added, varying date ranges. 

I was interested in these three in particular:

  • Nowra Colonist (NSW) 1899-1904
  • The Telegraph and Shoalhaven Advertiser (NSW) 1879-1881
  • Windsor & Richmond Gazette (NSW) 1888-1961.
Two of my great grandmother Elizabeth Price's children were born in the Shoalhaven area in the 1880s. 
Sign up to Trove at the bottom of the February newsletter

Also remember it is a new calendar year and many of the BDM indexes are now available for another year. Some states like NSW update through the year, while others don't. This also applies to state archives and that means another year of closed series is now available. You really do need to go back and check for additional records at the start of each calendar year.

FamilySearch added New Zealand electoral rolls 1865 to 1957 adding just over 3.5 million names to the records for New Zealand. With trans Tasman families there's another search I need to do. 

Findmypast added quite a few interesting records for my English and Irish families and Ancestry updated its Australia and New Zealand Obituary Index 2004 to the present. Also some UK WW1 pension records which interest me. 

If you subscribe to the free enews from the archives, libraries and resources that are of interest to your research it really is easy to see what's new. However, beware of bright shiny objects which may tempt you away from a planned research strategy. 

Have a wonderful research time in March. Stay well and safe.


Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Diary is Back : Australia & New Zealand Genealogy Notes January 2021

It's hard to believe that the last time I wrote Diary notes was in mid October 2020. 

Between cancer treatments and covid restrictions, I seem to have lost my blogging spirit. There were many times that I have gone to write something but didn't quite make it. The other night on #ANZAncestryTime on Twitter, I was a little embarrassed when @geniaus tweeted she always liked reading Diary. 

I think Diary lost its way a little when I stopped flitting around from conference to conference, and giving talks here there and everywhere. The awful truth is that my life at home is not that exciting. So I have been thinking what purpose does Diary serve now in 2021. 

As life returns to normal, there are some in person events as well as virtual conferences. Plus I am always doing something with my own personal history - either new research or trying to make it all virtual and writing up those family history stories.

No more excuses - Diary is back. 


Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Chester Creek Murders is next on my reading list. You can't go past a good genealogical crime mystery.

Genie friend Jenny has given me this book on Wicklow to read. Not one for going to bed with unless you are trying to knock yourself out when you doze off! It weighs half a kilo.

Bribie Genealogy

Bribie Zoom Genies are no more - we have merged with the Bribie DNA for Genealogists group to form Bribie Genealogy. We are an informal group meeting at the Bribie RSL once a month - 38 people turned up to our inaugural meeting and there were quite a few apologies too. 

March will be bigger again I suspect as we have Pauleen Cass as our first visiting guest speaker and she will be talking about Irish ancestors. Can't wait.

The group can be contacted via or we have a Facebook page - we are mainly for people living on Bribie Island and the mainland side of Pumicestone Passage. 


Let's not forget RootsTech Connect 2021 now just two weeks away in late February. It's free and virtual so why not register and enjoy a wide variety of speakers and subjects. I am honoured to be one of the speakers with a talk on Digging Deeper in Australian Archives

FHDU 2021 in March 2021 is now virtual and there are four streams to choose from or select all four. 

Prices vary so check out the website for the program and price structure. I have two presentations to record in the next few days - much prefer live audiences and the positive vibes in the venue. 


Not much has happened on the DNA front - I really need more close cousins to test so that I can work out all those non parental events. But slowly chipping away at Dad's biological families. 

Louise Coakley's monthly DNA newsletters are a must read for all the latest news on the testing companies, blogs to read and webinars to watch. 

Downsizing Project

This has continued even though I stopped writing up my progress. I am still weeding paper files, scanning photos and documents, tidying up my genealogy software and adding sources, and writing up the family histories. 

I think writing up the histories is becoming my preferred way to pass on my research. People are more likely to read the history than try to work it out from the database. Yes the software can print out all kinds of reports and includes images and citations but it seems artificial to me. Still writing it up is a lot of work too when you consider I have over a dozen immigrant ancestors. Currently working on Carnegie @ Pumicestone (front page at left and just over 15,000 words!


Over the next few months I am doing a series of talks in Moreton Libraries, (Bribie, Burpengary and Redcliffe) and for Noosa Libraries on the Sunshine Coast. To book a place you need to go to the Library websites.

It will be so good getting out and about again and talking to people about genealogy and family history.

What's New in Australia & New Zealand

A lot of work seems to have been done during 2020.

The easiest way I find to see what has been added recently to FamilySearch is to check by location. If you go to Location (use the map on the Records home page) and select Australia. Open up the list of 33 Indexed Collections and you can see what was added in 2020 and there are even some additions already for 2021. South Australia now has school records, prisons, passenger lists and wills and probates. 

Remember too that not everything is indexed yet in FamilySearch. Scroll down to the Image Only Collections and there are another four collections mostly for Tasmania.

Of course, Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage and The Genealogist have all been adding to their collections. The easiest way I find to keep us is to subscribe to the free enewsletters. 

Until next time happy searching. Stay safe and well.