Friday, 1 February 2019

National Archives of Australia news, Waves in Time & Other News - Genealogy Notes 16 -31 Jan 2019

A busy start to 2019. There has been time for some new research - what I find is that in preparing  for my U3A sessions, I am locating new information on my own families to use as examples. A win win as they used to say in my old work environment. A lot of the websites I am looking at are old favourites, but there is so much new information since I last looked. Reviewing your families on a regular basis is essential. 

Archive News 

Reception area, Brisbane Office NAA
Here is the exciting news from the Queensland Office of the National Archives of Australia (NAA). I usually just take a few camera images when I visit but this will be much better. The instructions are straight forward and now I just need to organise another visit.

The Queensland Office of the National Archives is testing the feasibility of allowing self-service digitisation of selected records by the public in a controlled reading room environment. Note that this is a service being trialled in the Queensland Reading Room only, from 8 November 2018 to 30 April 2019. If you wish to participate in this trial and digitise a record for your own use:
1. Ask the Archives Officer on duty if the file you wish to digitise is suitable for this service. The Archives Officer will allow digitisation of files that are robust enough to handle the process with minimal risk of damage.
2. The Archives Officer on duty will ensure the scanner is ready to operate. If in doubt, ask.
3. Do not change any scanner settings. The scanner is set to the Archives digitisation standards.
4. Digitise each page
a. Start at the front file cover.
b. Press the green button on the scanner, or click the ‘Scan’ button on the screen.
c. Scan every page, starting from the top page and continuing to the bottom.
d. Place the page in the centre of the glass – the scanner will align the image automatically
e. Include the back of any page that has information regardless of its significance
f. If you make a mistake, just repeat the scan and inform the attendant.
g. Once you have finished, return all pages to the file pin.
h. It is important that the pages are returned in their original order.

5. If you have any questions, ask the Archives Officer.
6. If you wish to digitise more than one file, inform the Archives Officer. After each file is complete, the Archives Officer will collate the images into a file folder.
7. Once completed, the Archives Officer will download the images to a usb for you to take with you.

Please be aware that the images you create may be processed and loaded to the Archives’
RecordSearch database where they can be viewed by the public. The images will be subject to quality assurance before they are loaded. Some files may be rejected.


No time for blogging. My only writing during the fortnight was my final assignment for the Writing Family History course with the University of Tasmania. The first draft didn't take long, it was all the rewriting and fiddling to make it interesting, not boring. Some of those new skills will be handy when I get back to blogging.

My topic was a brief biographical account of my great great grandfather John Finn. Trying to fit his wide ranging life into the assignment word length was not easy. You have to pick just the events you really want to include and succinctly. Perhaps I should have picked a less colourful ancestor.

I did manage to do my regular monthly article and blog post for The In-Depth Genealogist. Fixed deadlines definitely motivate me.


My parcel of genealogy books from Amazon (Christmas present) arrived and were eagerly unwrapped. Now there is a small mountain waiting to be read and I can't even decide what order to read them in.

A number require me to then put into practice what the book suggests so that will be challenging. All to be reported here when I get myself organised. Not surprisingly that is the subject of one of the books - any guesses what the book is?


Since last time I have had another two invitations to speak - both for National Family History Month in August. One clashed with another event so sadly I had to turn that down. It is always a busy month but an exciting time for genealogy and family history. Where I am speaking can be found on the Events page of my website - still to add all the August talks. Hopefully next week.

What's Coming Up?

Next week is super busy. There is a committee meeting for the Waves in Time conference on the Sunshine Coast in May. I always enjoy these and catching up with other committee members over lunch.

U3A first term is underway so there are my weekly advanced family history sessions plus my new beginners writing family history group. This will require me to put aside dedicated writing time on a family history story to discuss/share at the fortnightly sessions. It will be good to see what others in the group do too.

To end the week there is an exhibition launch at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum. The new exhibition is on Bribie Streets and how/why they were named. A local member of the Bribie Island Historical Society will also give a talk. The morning teas are always good but I need to get away early. I'm enrolled in a 5 week course to learn to use my smart phone more/better.

I am almost exhausted just thinking about next week but it will all be great fun. Take some time to do some genealogy searching or simply review what you have done to date. Until next time enjoy

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Australian Websites, Trove Finds & What's Coming Up - Genealogy Notes 1-15 Jan 2019

2019 might just be going faster than 2018, this is already a few days late. So much has happened but let's hope it is just new year madness. There have been invitations to speak and participate in projects, planning for U3A, endless hosing the gardens and lawns as it refuses to rain (we have bore water), and trying to read all the books I received for Christmas. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday period.


My favourite 25 Australasian websites was the first blog post for 2019. It is amazingly hard to narrow down to your favourites and of course it can vary depending on what you are currently researching. It was good to see this listed in Gail Dever's Creme de la Creme list for 19 January. I love lists that are compilations of weekly blog posts - it is easy to scroll down and see what others are writing.

Sunday Mail 23 Nov 1952 via Trove
My Trove Tuesday post was Karisma Estate, Toorbul & the Carnegie Family. This was a bit of local history and family history and we really should explore our families in the context of the communities in which they lived.

I also was included in Gail Dever's This Week's Creme de la Creme blog round up (12 Jan 2019) with The Prosecution Project for The In-Depth Genealogist.


Finally managed to sit down and read Kate Grenville's The Secret River which is based on one of her convict ancestors. It is a fictional account and a gripping read. If you want to know what life was like for early convicts in Sydney find yourself a copy. My local library had it as she is a popular Australian writer.

Rereading Hazel Edwards classic How to Write a Non Boring Family History. So many good tips but of course the main thing is to simply set aside time to write, and then rewrite and rewrite.


National Archives of Australia Brisbane office
My talks for 2019 start with a QFHS seminar Taking Your Australian Research Further.

My first session is what's in the archives for Australian family history that you don't know about and the second is what other resources are you not using for your Australian family history research.

The other speaker is Janice Cooper and how to place your families in their local communities and historic times. Should be a good day.

Moreton Region Libraries have asked me to do a series of talks for them in National Family History Month (August). Seems ages away but probably here before we know it.

My first talk for them this year is in April on Convicts and Criminals at the Bribie Island Library.

What's Coming Up?
Amazingly I am almost at the end of the Writing Your Family History course with the University of Tasmania's Diploma in Family History. The weeks have just flown past and I have read so many interesting family stories from other students in the course. Some weeks you just don't have time to keep up with all of them. I haven't decided yet if I will do any other subjects.

Many years ago I did the Society of Australian Genealogists Diploma in Family Historical Studies and that was a good way to make progress on my own research. Just need more hours in the day!

Until next time happy searching.

Monday, 31 December 2018

January 1 new archives resources & other news - Genealogy Notes 16-31 Dec 2018

2018 has ended and its been a year of lots of small family discoveries. No major breakthrough but lots of facts about individuals discovered through newspapers, wills and buying the odd certificate to confirm a lead. In the coming year I want to spend more time writing the stories rather than continuing to gather new information. That's the plan.

It wasn't a big year for blog posts but I managed at least one post a month and occasionally two if there was a lot happening, like the Alaska genealogy cruise with Unlock the Past. The last fortnight of 2018 saw two blog posts - a Trove Tuesday John Finn Charged With Incendiarism (now there's a candidate for a good story as poor John had so many things go wrong in his life) and I finally did a DNA post on Finding Truth in Family History which explains why after 42 years of family history research, I am now looking for a biological grandfather.

I'm currently reading Kate Grenville's The Secret River. It's an historical novel but inspired by her convict ancestor Soloman Wiseman who settled in the area now known as Wiseman's Ferry.

None of my ancestors did anything famous or have anything named after them but I can't help thinking about what kind of historical novel could I write about their lives. Or should I just try for a straight family history although one has to make that an interesting read too.

We have formed a genealogy writing group at the local U3A so these will be the kind of questions we can discuss and motivate each other  with.


One of the last things I did in 2018 was to have a professional photo shoot with a local photographer Deb Neill. She does some really lovely photos of Bribie which I see through various Bribie Facebook sites. I have been wanting to update my profile picture for a while but I hate getting my photo taken and I can never really find one that I like. That's why I am still using the 2014 photo taken of me while in Inverell for a talk. Deb has done a series of photos that I can use on social media, website, blogs, books or seminar flyers. The hard part is trying to decide which one to use as there are a couple that I really like or maybe I should use different ones on different sites. Anyway there will be a new me coming soon!

Conferences & Talks

The events page of my website has been updated with talks and conference sessions I'm doing in 2019. As the year progresses new dates will be added. For me the most exciting event will be the Waves in Time conference at Caloundra under the auspices of History Queensland and Caloundra Family History Research. It is only an hour or so up the highway but I will be staying up there to maximise the time at the family history fair and the conference.

New Resources - 1 January record releases

Remember that a new year means new archives & BDM resources as another year comes into the open access period. It was good to see the ABC News story on Public Record Office Victoria's newly opened mental hospital files. Some states like New South Wales update their BDM indexes throughout the year while others simply update at the end of the year. It is always worth checking for any new births, deaths or marriages and it is a great way to keep your research current.

What's Coming Up?

My U3A classes in advanced family history (weekly) and writing family history (fortnightly) will keep me busy and motivated. Plus I have even enrolled in how to use a smart phone as I'm sure there are lots of tips and tricks to learn. That's only a 5 week course.

The first genealogy seminar for the year is with the Queensland Family History Society with the theme Taking Your Australian Research Further. I am looking at what you can discover in Australian archives and other resources people might not be using for their family history research. Janice Cooper is the other speaker on the day advising us how to place our families in their communities and in the times they lived.

Until next time, I hope you find time for some genealogy research with lots of exciting discoveries.