Saturday, 17 August 2019

NFHM, DNA DownUnder and other news - Genealogy Notes 1-14 Aug 2019

August is always a fantastic month in Australia - lots of genealogy events to mark the end of winter, not that we have had much up here but our friends down south have certainly seen a bit of snow and cold times.

National Family History Month (NFHM)

It's National Family History Month with lots of genealogy and family history events in Australia this month. I've been giving talks around various Moreton Region Libraries and there have been wonderful attendees with lots of questions. My presentations on some of my favourite English and Irish genealogy resources are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

Check out the NFHM website for any events still to come in your area. Also don't forget that DNA DownUnder is still touring with events in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. I went to the Brisbane seminar and you can read my report on it here. In just under two weeks I will be in Sydney for the 3 day event.

There are genealogy bargains out there this month. Queensland Family History Society is offering a special membership price that includes access to MyHeritage at home plus other benefits and resources on offer to their members. The Society's open day is on 24 August from 10am to 3pm with displays by the special interest groups and volunteers to answer your questions. Something for everyone. More information on their website.


FindMyPast have added some more Scottish newspapers - two new titles for the Moray area, the Forres News and Advertiser; the Northern Scot and Moray & Nairn Express; the Renfrewshire Independent 1858-1877 and the Devon Valley Tribune (Clackmannanshire) 1890s to 1950s. I'm particularly interested in the Moray area.

FamilySearch added Toowoomba, Queensland prison index which is also available via Queensland State Archives. Having the index in a bigger, more widely searched database might mean more people discovering a criminal ancestor. My GG Grandmother is in that index.


We had another meeting of the Bribie Island Library DNA Genealogists Group and I gave a presentation on how I am tracing my biological grandfather's family.

As I mentioned above, my presentations Irish Genealogy Resources Online and English Genealogy Resources Online are on my website, go to the Resources page and scroll down to Presentations. There is only one more talk for Moreton Libraries and that is the Strathpine Library just before I leave for Sydney.

By the end of August I will need a holiday. At least I will have more time to watch the local bird life from my office window (which sadly does not move around as much as my other geneacolleagues). Still, a bird in the hand.....

What's Coming Up

I have missed a few of my U3A classes due to the talks and travel but next week we are having another look at Sources & Citations. After Sydney I will be reporting on my DNA adventures to both my U3A class and the Bribie Island Library DNA Genealogists Group. Maybe September will be busy too!

Enjoy the rest of National Family History Month and I hope you make some exciting discoveries. Until next time

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Memories of Dad, DNA hunting & other news - Genealogy Notes 1-31 Jul 2019

July saw me totally fixated on my father's family. Confirming DNA matches with traditional genealogy methods. It has been enlightening for all kinds of reasons. Certificates are more expensive than when I first bought them 42 years ago but now they arrive seconds after my visa card payment goes through.

The ease of checking indexes and looking at digitised records is way different from back then. My trouble now is that I just want to keep going with my searches and at times it almost seems like a scattergun approach. Look everywhere and check anything that looks like the name I am chasing.

Time to pull back and look at it from a fresh viewpoint. My next task is a timeline to make certain that it all fits together logically across Ireland, NSW and QLD.

July is also a month of many memories of Dad - he was born in July, married in July and died in July. A late 1950s photo of me and Dad plus koala with Mum, my baby brother and baby koala. I can't remember the outing but the photo certainly tells me it was a day out to Lone Pine in Brisbane.


Full on research meant that I didn't get around to any blog writing this month. I was also sad to learn that The In-Depth Genealogist is not going to publish Going In-Depth anymore. I enjoyed doing regular articles and monthly blog posts for them over the last few years. The plan is that I now put that time into more blog posts on my own website.

National Family History Month

August is NFHM and there are lots of exciting events around the country. Check out the website to see what's on in your area. I'm giving eight talks across August at various Moreton Bay Libraries which will be a lot of fun on English and Irish genealogy. See the Events page of my website for details.

In addition I'm going to the one day Brisbane DNA Downunder event plus the three day conference in Sydney. Lots of geneamates seem to be going to that too so a good chance to catch up with everyone plus learn more about DNA.

The Bribie DNA Genealogists Group has me as their local speaker at the August meeting. Basically it will be explaining my DNA discovery and how I have traced my father's family. We are hoping to have a NFHM dinner after the meeting - it will be a first for Bribie!

New Resources

In the latest South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society journal I read about all the amazing records that FamilySearch are digitising for South Australia. So far I have loved the shipping, school and prison records but there is more planned. It is not the easiest state to research but digitisation is changing that.


I have mostly been catching up on my journal reading and paper copies go to bed with me so that in the morning I can read them before getting up to a chilly but not cold house. The mornings are getting lighter so spring can't be too far off.

Do you get your free copy of the latest digital issue of Irish Lives Remembered? This is definitely one to read on the laptop with a cup of coffee carefully off to the side.

The latest issue of the Australian magazine Traces arrived in my mail box and it features a Q&A that I was asked to do on dating a photograph. For those not familiar with Traces it is similar to what Inside History was and has excellent and varied articles on genealogy and history. A subscription makes a good birthday or Christmas present.

One of my U3A students commented that she told her family not to give her any presents that you could not eat as she had everything else. She ended up with seven boxes of chocolates. I have now suggested she ask for subscriptions to some of the great genealogy magazines out there. Definitely better than chocolate (but then I'm a cheese person).


My DNA talk to the local Bribie Island Family History Group was well received and many people said they were going home to try out my tips.

Dates of my talks at Moreton Libraries in August are on the Events page of my website and you do need to book. They are free but some libraries have limited seating so remember to book and check out the times of each talk as well.

In October I have agreed to give a talk on my Unexpected DNA Journey to the GSQ DNA group which meets in Brisbane.


I loved watching Every Family Has A Secret and hope there are more episodes on the way. If you missed it catch up on SBS. Wondering when we will see the new British episodes of WDYTYA? Trying to avoid any spoilers on Twitter or Facebook but it's a bit tricky.

What's Coming Up

Planning my two U3A courses has given me lots of new opportunities to expand my own knowledge.  Plus I'm still into researching Dad's family and I want to try the Family Tree Magazine (UK) challenge to write my family history in 1000 words. I suggested that to my U3A writing students so really should give it a go myself. Thinking about it more, the challenge would be good to do in NFHM.

As usual busy times - have fun with genealogy until next time.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

DNA, NFHM & Other News - Genealogy Notes 1-30 Jun 2019

June went by in a blur of medical type appointments and that's one of the reasons this post is for the whole of June and not my fortnightly updates. I'm hoping for a quieter and easier July. There is also a two week holiday from U3A so lots of time to sit in the beautiful warm, sunny winter outdoors. This is definitely the time of year I don't wish to be back in Canberra or Melbourne.

The last Waves in Time conference committee meeting was held at the end of June. It was a wrap up and review of the excellent feedback from attendance. In some ways it is sad that our group will no longer meet and have lunch afterwards. But hosting and organising a conference is a lot of work and everyone is looking forward to more spare time.


One thing I did manage to complete in June was my second blog post on the Waves in Time Conference. Part 2 covers the speakers on Saturday and Sunday. Here is the link for Part 1 again in case you missed it. An excellent three days and looking forward to the announcement of the next Queensland conference.


I have been making steady progress with my DNA matches and also helping a friend to work out her Ancestry DNA matches. It is definitely easier if you know all your relatives and there are no surprises.

My airfare and accommodation is booked for the DNA Downunder 3 day conference in Sydney in August and it sounds like it will be huge with lots of friends from across Australia saying they will see me there. I am also going to the one day seminar in Brisbane too. Don't leave booking tickets to the last minute as there is a strong chance some of these Downunder events will book out in different cities.

Our DNA genealogists group meetings at the Bribie Island Library are going well, although the cold weather sees many Islanders flee north during the winter months.  I will be giving a talk at the August meeting on my own personal DNA experiences.

National Family History Month

Remember August in NFHM and events are now being added to the NFHM calendar. Check out what might be happening in your state or city/town.

I have been asked to do a series of talks on English and Irish genealogy for Moreton Libraries during August. Full details on the Events page of my website.

New Resources

FamilySearch continue to make more South Australian records available - the latest were prison records which was interesting.


As usual I enjoyed the new Australian series of Who Do You Think You Are and now I'm enjoying the new series Every Family Has A Secret, also on the SBS on a Tuesday night at 7.30pm. There have been two episodes so far with another two to go. Each episode features two different stories and they are all fascinating. If you have missed them, you can catch up through SBS.

What's Coming Up?

Next week I'm giving a DNA talk to the Bribie Island Family History Group - it's in two parts - a matching exercise using Ancestry to show how you can colour cluster using their new tools and also ThruLines - and the second part is a progress update on the search for my biological grandfather's family - now found. I always enjoy the lunch afterwards as quite a few members stay and it's good to catch up.

Although it is holiday time at U3A I still have to do some third term planning for both the advanced family history class and the writing family history class. Two classes certainly make the term go fast or is that faster?

Until next time, happy searching.