Thursday, 11 January 2018

Worcestershire archives, historical children's books & other news - Genealogy Notes 6-12 Jan 2018

Thanks to everyone who commented on my new look - we are all agreed that headings are useful and they do help me to remember what I want to comment on.

It was good to see other bloggers getting back into Trove Tuesday challenges and quite a few are doing the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. If bloggers are using hash tags you should be able to Google and find some of these posts. Tuesday came and went before I even realised it and a weekly blog challenge has to wait until all the family dramas are behind me.

However I did manage to complete my review of the Worcester Archives and Archaeology Service's new e-publication - read Discovering Worcestershire Archives and see what you might be missing in English county archives. The types of records and access are similar so it has broad appeal. It is available to download for £6.

Whenever I am holidaying in Bargara (at least once a year) we pop into the local Vinnies to get some reading material. For $1 there was a copy of Bryce Courtenay's The Family Frying Pan. The title caught my eye and I am a fan of Courtenay but I hadn't seen this book before.

While fiction, it is based on the story of Mrs Moses who escapes from Russia pre WW1 and the stories of those who make the trip with her. Every night they gather around the camp fire and tell the story of their life over whatever they have managed to cook in the frying pan.

The book's dedication gives a clue as to why you should read this novel - to my two sons Brett and Adam who would not be who they are if their great great grandmother had not walked across Russia carrying a large cast iron frying pan. A great read and I couldn't put it down.

While we might not have Courtenay's writing skills, we should all be trying to capture our own family stories before they are lost in the mists of time.

This week saw the return of a new UK series of Who Do You Think You Are? A must watch series even though we know it is much harder than it looks and most of us don't have the money to just pop off and do a spot of research in another country. Hard to believe this is the 13th series, where do the years go.

This week it was Sir Ian McKellen and coming up are Sophie Raworth, Sunetra Sarker, Greg Davies, Liz Bonnin, Danny Dyer, Cheryl, Ricky Tomlinson, Warwick Davis and Amanda Holden. Some of these celebrities I haven't heard of but there is usually something you can learn from most episodes. On SBS and I won't give the time  as we are all on different time zones.

WDYTYA reminded me that I still haven't read the January 2018 issue of the WDYTYA magazine. I did a Q&A for them and was sent a complimentary copy of the issue. One of the main articles is 50 Websites to Watch in 2018 and while I was familiar with quite a lot of them, there were some that I had never heard of and some that were definitely of interest to my own research. Now all I need is a rainy day to do some research instead of spending hours hosing my gardens in this incredible heat. While it's nice to live on a quarter acre, you do have to keep the vegetation alive plus the birds and other wildlife appreciate our little oasis in suburbia.

Social Media
Open Culture highlighted the release in a blog post of 6,000 historical children's books all digitised and free to view online. I can vaguely remember my own children's books (Enid Blyton was a first love) and all the old fairy tales but by the time of my son it was definitely Thomas the Tank Engine and friends. At least that was more entertaining than Spot the Dog. But what books did my mother read as a child or her mother? I have no idea but we can explore these questions with this new resource. I also love just looking at all the old time illustrations.

If you have ever struggled to work out Land Grants in NSW 1788-1856 then this online guide by State Archives and Records NSW will certainly help. It's much more complex than I ever realised. But then most land records are not easy to identify or access.

What's Coming Up?
Caloundra talk, 2017
I've been invited to attend the next meeting of the Waves in Time conference which will be held in Caloundra on 24-26 May 2019. It is being hosted by Caloundra Family History Research. There will be a website coming soon and some of the people who organised the very successful conference at Southport last year are on the organising committee. So save the date and watch out for updates.

Caloundra are a fun group and their members all wear purple shirts. I give a talk there every year which means I too must wear purple. My next talk for them is in April - must start looking for a new purple shirt!

Unbelievably I am now preparing my classes for the advanced family history sessions at Bribie U3A - holidays and terms seem to go super quick. The class will be a mix of ongoing students plus some newbies and should be a lot of fun.

Until next time, happy searching.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

New Year, New Look & Lots of News - Genealogy Notes 27 Dec 2017 - 5 Jan 2018

Christmas 2016 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Happy New Year everyone. Still wondering where 2017 went but looking forward to a big genealogy year in 2018.

My first blog challenge for the year was Jill Ball's annual Accentuate the Positive 2017 challenge - read my year in review here. When you stop and consider the questions, you really have done more genealogy than you first think. It is also good to read what others have been doing as there are lots of ideas out there and Jill will be collating responses in January. Stay tuned.

I'm back doing blog posts for The In-Depth Genealogist and my first post was on Discovering the Ryerson Index and there have been quite a few comments, adding to the history of the index. It was also picked up in three genealogy blog roll ups:

I am a fan of those who do these blog compilations as it is hard to keep up with everything published and these summaries often contain useful posts I'd miss.

I've been asked to review Worcester County Council's new digital Explore the Past publication which looks at how to trace your ancestors in Worcester. It's 70 pages and available for 6 pounds and looks very comprehensive. My review should be finished in the next week.

Over the holidays I read Winston Graham's The Angry Tide - I come from a long line of Cornish tin miners and first read Graham's Poldark series back in the late 70s (somehow that doesn't seem as long ago as the 20th century). Of course, I am also watching the new Poldark television series and The Angry Tide picks up where the last series ended so I won't give any spoiler alerts.

It's always exciting when a new history/genealogy magazine starts up and I have just received Issue 1 of Traces: Uncovering the Past which is published in Australia. I took advantage of the 50% introductory offer last year but I noticed (just now as I write this) that the offer is still on the website. So if you are interested, be quick.

Cassie Mercer who we all loved as editor of  the now defunct Inside History is a consultative editor and the first issue has some of my favourite authors including Jayne Shrimpton and Helen Smith.

Social Media
Alona has been busy updating her very useful lists of Australian Genealogy Facebook sites and there are now over 1100 links. Read about the update here and to download a copy - but don't hit the print button as it is 42 pages.

This is not a new resource but I sometimes forget how useful it can be. The University of Leicester's online Historical Directories Collection is free to access. It covers local and trade directories for England and Wales from 1766 to 1919. The website contains at least one directory for every English and Welsh county for each of the 1850s, 1890s and 1910s. A wonderful resource.

What's Coming Up?
Even though I said no more travelling, no more talks, I find that I've already agreed to give 10 talks in 2018 and that involves some travelling. At least it's less than previous years. To see where I will be presenting in 2018 check out the Services/Events page of my website.

The really megaevent this year is the Bridging the Past & Future conference in Sydney in March. There will be over 500 attendees with lots of great talks, exhibitors and time to catch up with old and new friends. I'm giving two presentations and currently putting the finishing touches to the papers which are due on Monday.

Until next time, happy searching.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Convict Records, new conferences & blogs - Genealogy Notes 19 Nov - 26 Dec 2017

I had a wonderful break and it is actually harder to sit and do nothing than you think. Sitting and watching mother nature is fascinating and I never realised just how many different types of sand crabs come out to play/feed at low tide and there are more birds than just seagulls at the beach. The determination of female turtles is amazing - they wait 30 years before first heading back to the beach they themselves hatched on to lay their own eggs. Then they swim away and do it all again the following year. The sad part is that over the last 30 years that I have been doing this, erosion has taken away many of the sand dunes and now the Rangers and volunteers try to move the eggs to higher ground so that the eggs are not lost to the next incoming tide. A very worthy project and great to see so many tourists supporting turtle conservation.

Totally refreshed I am now getting ready for 2018 and making sure I don't double book any speaking engagements and that they don't clash too often with my Advanced Family History class at Bribie U3A. Quite a few of last year's students are returning and I'm pleased to say that two of them broke down brick walls after we discussed them in class. It definitely pays to discuss a brick wall with others and get alternative views and suggestions.

An old, but still relevant and interesting article about the destruction of convict records in NSW in 19th century - article was written by Christine Shergold and it is available online at State Archives and Records NSW where Christine worked for many years.  It is a timely reminder that if you are looking at a specific group of records, take the time to read any online guides about the records for background information and context. It might just explain why you can't find a particular record.

This last week of 2017 I'm busy finalising my two papers for the Bridging the Past & Future Congress in Sydney in March 2018. I'm really looking forward to four days of amazing talks and meeting new and old friends. My airfare and accommodation is all booked and paid and it is within easy walking distance of the venue. More time for looking at the exhibitor stalls or catching up with people for coffee and a chat.

There is another new conference on the Australian scene in 2018. There is the inaugural GAGHA conference in Adelaide on 17-19 August - if you are like me, you hate acronyms and are sitting there trying to work out what it is. Pat yourself on the back if you got German - Australian Genealogy & History Association which will be exciting for all those with German ancestors. The call for papers is open until 31 December 2017 so be quick if you want to present a paper but otherwise note the dates and plan a trip to Adelaide. Registration opens in February and I imagine that they will also be promoting it at the Sydney Congress.

I managed to get one more Trove Tuesday blog post done for 2017 and its about The Queenslander Cot Fund which helped the Hospital for Sick Children in Brisbane. Amazingly this one newspaper article mentioned my GGG grandmother, my GG aunt, her two sons and my G grandfather and his fiancee, later my G grandmother. Three generations of a family connected in time and place by one newspaper article. Thanks Trove and if you want to know what titles are coming up in 2018, click here. It's a bit disappointing that there are no Queensland titles but I am excited about the Ballarat ones.

After a break, I have started writing blogs and articles for The In-Depth Genealogist again and my first blog post was Introducing The Ryerson Index. It gives just some of the reasons why and how I use the Index for genealogy and family history. Check out other In-Depth blog posts here. I'm also happy to say that my article on Starting Out in Australian and New Zealand Genealogy made it onto the front cover of the December issue of Going In-Depth.

Unlock the Past have a new range of Handy Guides which are low cost 4 page guides on a range of topics and these are in addition to their guide books where there are now over 80 titles. I'm looking forward to checking these out in Sydney in March. My absolute favourite Unlock the Past activity in 2018 is their Alaska cruise in September. I've not been to America before so I'm also looking at a post cruise trip but so many places to consider.

My son ca 1991 - now he is getting married
and moving to Europe to live. White Christmas coming up!
Christmas lunch was out our place this year and my brother and his family joined my son and Mum for a magnificent seafood feast which literally went on for hours as we tasted oysters, crab and a range of different prawns with avocado and freshly baked rolls. Followed by a yummy creamy fruit pavlova for dessert. For the traditionalists we also cooked a piece of port with our best ever crackling. All I managed for Christmas dinner was a cup of tea and a shortbread biscuit! Given the heat yesterday we were all glad that we had broken with tradition although Mum did keep saying it really didn't seem like Christmas.

There are lots of exciting things on my genealogy agenda for 2018 and I look forward to sharing them with everyone. Enjoy the last week of 2017 and try to squeeze in some family history, especially if you have relatives visiting. Until 2018 have fun.