Monday, 3 February 2020

Electoral rolls, conferences & DNA progress - Genealogy Notes 8-31 Jan 2020

How is it February already? It has been a terrible summer season with the drought and bush fires just about everywhere and now it looks like it is about to flood. Where I am it looks like it will rain for the next week so lots of indoor time to concentrate on my family history records reduction program. Stay safe everyone.


Before (but I kept the wardrobe door closed)
Month 2 report on my personal genealogy blogging challenge is up. Links to the original blog post and Month 1 are in that report.

Preparing your family history records for hand over to someone else is not a quick and easy task. A simple goal like scan photos could take weeks/months and I am finding that you have to be selective and ruthless. It is easy to get bogged down and I have quite a few issues parked because they are too big or I can't decide what to do.


Thanks to the generosity of one of my U3A students, I was able to go to the local secondhand bookstore and select a variety of books that might be useful to the family history or writing classes. I had no trouble finding items that would be of interest to both classes and of course they all joined my list of 'must reads'.

One would think being sick I would have more time to read - my trouble is staying awake if I lie down or even when sitting in the lounge chair! Do they purposely make drugs that cause fatigue to ensure you get adequate rest?


Everyone is excited about Family History Down Under which is 22-26 March 2021 (yes more than 12 months away) which will be held on the Sunshine Coast. There is an early bird rate which closes on 14 February 2020 so you have to get in quick for the substantial saving on the whole conference.

Check out the speakers and you will understand why people have already booked accommodation, airfares and registration. Not to be missed and look at the conference venue.

I'm also waiting for the Riding the Waves of History (Newcastle ACT/NSW) conference in September 2020 to open registrations. I don't want to miss that as I'm planning research on Dad's family at the same time.

The final Unlock the Past genealogy cruise  to Tasmania departs in just over a month from Adelaide and I'm looking forward to catching up with lots of friends and learning heaps from the speakers. Stay tuned for cruise reports in late March early April.


Herbert William White
from Wiltshire
Another first cousin has tested - this time in My Heritage and it has been quite a few years since we have seen each other. She is also on Mum's side.  Now that I have a few close matches with first and second cousins I can sort out the Prices from the Whites and the families back from them.

I'm still waiting for closer matches on Dad's side. No doubt all those DNA test kits for Christmas will start to filter their way online soon. Fingers crossed.


Thanks to Twitter I have been keeping up with additions to the Cornwall Online Parish Clerk's website. Quite a few of my parishes have been listed so time to have another look at my Cornish families for any new information.

Received the following media release from Queensland Family History Society. It can be more difficult to find information on living people and electoral rolls are one possible resource and 1969 is quite recent. The Society also has other information online that is exclusive to its members.

Commonwealth Electoral Roll (Qld) 1969
Queensland Family History Society ( has just launched online access to the Commonwealth Electoral Roll (Qld) 1969. All QFHS Members have access to this data that is not available on Findmypast, MyHeritage, FamilySearch or Ancestry.
This database provides details of more than one million people in Queensland who were registered to vote in the 1969 elections. It lists all the information recorded in the rolls of National Archives of Australia: BP94/2 (Commonwealth Electoral Rolls for Queensland).
The Electoral Roll is a unique source of public information on individuals at the time. Enrolment and voting were compulsory for those aged 21 or older, so Queenslanders from all walks of life are included. Combining the range of information with the search and sorting facilities can be especially useful for finding family groups.

There is a list of my talks coming up in April and May on the Events page of my website. Two talks for Moreton libraries and one for my local Bribie Island Family History Group. All on DNA matches which will be fun with lots of questions.

Our own Bribie Island Library DNA for Genealogists group starts meetings again this month so another opportunity to learn more and discover how others are going with their matches.

What's Coming Up?

My two U3A classes on advanced family history and writing family history keep me busy. There are a few new people in each class but it never hurts to do refresher classes as there are always new resources and websites.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I often wonder how my ancestors met - did they live near each other, go to the same church, or was it on the high seas travelling to Australia. I have few wedding photos so I can't even guess what kind of wedding it was. They don't rate a mention in Trove so I'm guessing small family affairs and if I'm honest, in a couple of cases the first child was on the way.

Happy ancestor searching until next time.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Blogs, Memes & Other News - Genealogy Notes 15 Dec 2019 - 7 Jan 2020

Welcome to 2020 and another year of genealogy and learning more about our ancestors. Sadly this will be set against a horrifying backdrop of fires in every state. The loss of life, homes, businesses and our native wildlife is almost inconceivable and they say it is not over yet. Stay safe everyone and this is a good time to make sure you have everything backed up some place else.

Katherine R Willson
hand made card 2019
A belated Christmas surprise was a hand made card from Katherine R Willson which I was delighted to receive.

Katherine maintains that wonderful Facebook list of everything to do with genealogy (as at May 2019 there were over 4500 links). I love just browsing it as there are so many different groups that may be useful to our research. Check out her Social Media Genealogy site.


GeniAus (aka Jill Ball) challenged us to an Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2019 and you can read my response here. Other participants are also adding their posts to Jill's original challenge and it is a good way to learn about new things such as books and software.

Thanks Jill for getting us all motivated so early in 2020.

The binders have gone - discover where in forthcoming
Month 2 update
My personal blog challenge on Preparing Your Family History for Hand Over in the Future continues and another update (Month 2) is due next week.

I'm steadily working away at various things although with Christmas/New Year and a household visitor progress has been slow. But all  systems go now with that Month 2 update looming.

To assist me with this challenge and in particular, the writing up of my ancestors stories, I thought about participating in Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog challenge.

However we are almost at the end of Week 2 so I'm not doing so good. However, like all challenges you don't have to keep up as everyone has family/personal lives which take priority. But it is a motivator so stay tuned.


The latest issue of Traces: Uncovering Australia's Past was part of my holiday reading. So many great stories out there and we can definitely learn from other's research.

Which brings me to a huge issue in my genealogical blog challenge mentioned above. As I used to move homes every 5-10 years, I regularly just gave away all my journals to genie societies rather than pack and move. I did this with no hesitation. It just had to be done.

Which is why I'm puzzled by my current struggle to let go of all the journals and magazines I have gathered here in the last 7 years. I will even confess that some are over 20 years old so obviously some have more appeal than others.

What I am finding now is that without the pressure to pack and move, I am rereading/skimming and deciding that I need to follow something up. Sitting here scratching my head over the dilemma doesn't work, that just means more bits of hair on the laptop. I've moved to 3 weekly chemo (much better than weekly) but still losing what little hair I had left.

My motto in the blog challenge is be ruthless - so three boxes have just come down from the shelf and now to find them new homes or use them in my U3A classes.


Remember 1 January is when many BDMs and archives update their catalogues with another year of information. There is always something new to discover. Here is what's new at Public Record Office Victoria in 2020.

December is also a month when various groups/companies give a round up of the year's achievements. Check out what FamilySearch did in 2019.

January is also a time when those same people start to tell us what's coming up in the new year. I think 2020 is going to be amazing and a follow on to DNA in 2019 - it seems to me that was the topic that interested everybody last year.

What's Coming Up?

Port Arthur from the UTP Feb 2014 cruise

My website Events page has a list of my talks for 2020. There are four talks so far and I agreed to do something for the GSQ DNA group but no date has been set yet (or not that I can remember).

There is even one on the final Unlock the Past genealogy cruise Adelaide to Tasmania. Hard to believe I was last there 5 years ago.

A bit sad that this is the last one and hope to see many of the UTP regulars as well as meeting new geneacruisers.

I am also involved with the DNA for Genealogists group that meets in Bribie Island Library on the 3rd Thursday of the month, February to November.

My two U3A classes are still running - Advanced Family History & Writing Family History so that will keep me busy.

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe 2020. Let's find those elusive ancestors now!

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Saving & Writing Family History, BDA Online Update & Other News- Genealogy Notes 22 Nov - 14 Dec 2019

Another three weeks went past in a blur of medical 'stuff'. However now at the 3/4 mark with chemotherapy so the end is in sight. Treatment will go on but it won't be that week after week of not feeling all that good.

Birthdays & Family Histories

Someone close is turning 70 in March and has suggested it would be nice if I wrote up his family history similar to what I usually do for clients. This gives me two months (not allowing for any health delays) but most of the research is done. Nothing like a challenge. Or another one!


On the positive front I made great progress with my personal genealogy blog challenge - here's the first month progress report in my Preparing Your Family History Records for Hand Over in the Future.

If you are thinking about doing this, just note that it takes way longer than you expect as each task generates other tasks.


Being sick is the perfect excuse to curl up in bed or a lounge chair with a stack of things to read. I've got genealogy society journals, family histories and even a few items in e-format and this is where the I Pad comes in handy.


Breaking news is that the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Congress in 2021 is being held on Norfolk Island (a place I love going to and reconnecting with convict ancestors who lived there before being despatched to Van Diemen's Land). The dates are 30 July to 6 August with the actual Congress on 3-5 August. The usual way to visit Norfolk Island is a weekly accommodation package as the planes don't fly in daily.

Another major event in 2021 is the Unlock the Past Family History Down Under event which is being held on the Sunshine Coast (very handy for me) on 22 - 26 March. There are 7 key speakers with some really big names revealed so far. Check out the website and sign up for the enewsletter for all the latest news.

I'd better start saving for 2021!

In the meantime I am hoping to go to the NSW & ACT annual conference which is in Newcastle in 2020. I have family links to the area so some research combined with the conference sounds perfect. Dates are 11-13 September 2020 and the theme is Riding the Waves of History.

Decluttering my family history records

Two empty file drawers - how good is that?
This is the subject of my blog challenge above and I have to admit that I'm enjoying the whole process. It's not easy but looking back on 42 years of family history research I can see a lot of achievements.

Memories of excited finds, sore arms from winding microfilm machines, frustration at trying to find things on microfiche, waiting months for replies/ certificates from government agencies and all the other hassles of a not online world.

Researching today in a digital environment is fantastic - looking back how did we ever manage to do research?

New Resources

Each month we see wonderful new records online.

One of my favourite 'boutique' online databases is the Biographical Database of Australia (BDA Online). There is a modest subscription but you can search for free. Anyone who has early convicts/settlers it is definitely a place to look. Release 8 is coming up soon and will include the following datasets:

Births, deaths, marriages, church records:
-Baptisms Goulburn NSW C of E 1833-1865
-Baptisms Wollongong NSW C of E 1834-1864
-Deaths at Sydney Hospital 1811-1826

Convict records:
-Applications for convict workers NSW 1826-1828
-List of uncollected convict pardons NSW 1850
-Lists of convicts recommended for pardons NSW 1826-1856
-Lists of convict tickets of leave cancelled NSW 1832-1870

Shipping & passenger records:
-Lists of passengers sailing Sydney to California 1849-1851 in search of gold in the USA
-List of Shipowners NSW 1849

Military & biographical records covering most rank & file in British garrisons in Australia to 1837: 
-4th Regiment 1832-1837
-17th Regiment 1830-1836
-Veteran Companies 1828-1832
-Royal Staff Corps 1826

Miscellaneous lists & databases:
-Colonial Secretary letters to Sheriff NSW 1828-1850
-Norfolk Island victualling records 1802-1809
-List of Norfolk Island residents-1825-1855

What's Coming Up?

Norfolk Island history & spectacular scenery
Christmas and New Year and then someone told me to expect hot cross buns in the supermarkets shortly thereafter. I hope they are wrong but I wouldn't be surprised to start seeing Easter eggs too.

2019 didn't end the way I thought it would but like anything, there are positives and negatives. The real positive for me was that it made me take seriously the issue of handing my research on before it is too late. Better for me to do it myself than risk it all ending up in the bin.

I hope all my readers, friends and colleagues have a safe and happy Christmas with family and friends. I look forward to catching up with many of you in 2020, either online or in person.

Thanks for being part of my 2019 genealogy adventure.