Tuesday 30 April 2024

Staggering additions to online collections, NFHM and other genealogy news: My Genealogy Weeks 22 Mar - 30 Apr 2024

 My holidays are fast approaching and as usual, all the things I have to do seems to increase. The last four weeks have flown.

Bribie Family History Association

As Hon President and unofficial Tech Girl, this keeps me busy every meeting day. I have to get the projector up and running, the remote controls and the speaker's presentation. At the same time I have to try and talk to the guest speaker and any members who want to chat to me. So far no one wants to take on the tech side of things and I can understand why no one wants to be out front as President. 

Still things are usually OK on the day. The May meeting will be interesting - I am Tech Girl, I am chairing the BFHA general meeting and then I am the guest speaker with a talk on finding my Irish family online. By the time the meeting finishes I will be somewhat wrecked.

The FamilySearch workshop I ran for the group was very successful. There are so many aspects within FamilySearch for researching and recording our family history. Booked out both sessions and some lovely feedback on both the morning and the afternoon. Feeling quite chuffed. A lot of work goes into preparing these workshops so it is really nice to see it appreciated.

  • All excellent, thoroughly enjoyed and learnt heaps
  • Shauna is an excellent speaker and knows her subject well
  • (enjoyed the most) depth of knowledge of speaker and humour in talk
  • Found out things I didn't know
  • All wonderful, enjoyed it immensely and very professional presentation
  • Took me to another level that I didn't expect
  • Very thorough and exactly what I didn't know I needed
  • Shauna is an excellent teacher and she makes the talks very interesting
  • Extremely well done Shauna is a wealth of knowledge

BFHA Book Club

One of our members has taken over the organisation of the club for me. This saves me additional visits to the library to pick up and drop off our book sets. Plus she will be suggesting the books which will be a surprise to me. So far we have had very different books each month. 

Our next selection is Judy Nunn's Khaki Town based around the bombing of Darwin in World War 2. Perfect holiday reading.

There is no May meeting as a couple of us will be away and the June meeting is put back a week so that I can attend.

Also loaded up my reading apps for the trip. Not ideal reading on my phone, but certainly beats carrying books around in my suitcase. I have enough Bluey books as it is.


Downloaded from Diahan Southhard So Far Genetic Genealogy: The first 25 years 1999-2024: Reflections from DNA Leaders and Luminaries. Yes another book to read (only 90 pages) but so interesting to see the changes in our own lifetimes. Although DNA has only been on my own radar since 2015 and that fateful test. 

Nick Vine Hall Awards

The awards closed on 30 April 2024. As the new convenor, on behalf of AFFHO, I am super excited to say that we have 22 entries from member societies. These have all been sent off to our three judges who will have the big job of reading and scoring the entries and then I collate the scores, organise the plaques and certificates and hand over to the AFFHO President. The Awards are announced during National Family History Month in August. 


I was somewhat shocked to read the latest newsletter from the British Newspaper Archive - they added half a million new pages in just one week. Staggering. Digitised newspapers are the gift that just keeps on giving as you find snippets or longer stores abour your ancestors and their families. What a great time to be researching your family history.

Another great mind explosion since last Diary was attending the FamilySearch 130th anniversary in Brisbane and finding out that they are using AI with free text collections. This will save enormous amounts of time indexing and will make everyone mentioned in a document accessible not just the primary person eg in wills. 

Here is an example from my FamilySearch workshop. The will is for Mary Hayes but I searched for Trevaskis and as you can see the words are highlighted in the transcript and in the original document. How good is that? Still experimental in their labs but coming soon.


Another great session at Noosaville Library on military ancestors just in time for Anzac Day. 

Just updated my website to reflect some of the new talks for the second half of the year. That includes events for National Family History Month in August, always a busy time for me. Go to the Events page of my website to see what is coming up - both in person and virtual.

What's Coming Up?

A mad week making sure I have everything I need for my trip. Ticking off a few items from my bucket list as usual - one of the big highlights is visiting Lerwick in the Shetland Islands (love Shetland the series) and a personal tour to Islandmagee in County Antrim where Dad's paternal family is from. The icing on the cake is seeing my little grandson and giving him his 2nd birthday presents in person. 

My 'to do' list for when I return is starting to look a little daunting and I always wonder should I slow down. Maybe in a few more years. Until next time, happy researching, Shauna

PS Next Diary will be the end of June. 

Sunday 24 March 2024

Nick Vine Hall Awards, Bribie Library & Other News: My Genealogy Weeks 1-21 Mar 2024

So much has been happening over the last few weeks and as per usual, I am behind with my updates. March is Women's History Month and I liked Trove's blog on Pioneering Women.


The Bribie Family History Association Book Club totally enjoyed Kate Grenville's A Room Made of Leaves.

Our next book is from one of our own members. Rick Desmier published his own family history in 2020 using NED the National E Deposit Library maintained by the National Library of Australia and searchable through Trove. The Desmier family history: an Anglo Indian family that has been in India for more than 200 years. 

Rick joined my U3A family history writing class in 2019 to undertake this and it is an inspiration to me to finish my own drafts. 

I like the fact that our book club seem to go between fiction and non fiction books. 

Genealogy Software

I had an interesting chat with Martin who is the developer of Forebears the easy to navigate family history app. It is available for both Apple IPhone/IPad and Mac. 

You can upload your family tree via gedcom and then carry it around on your phone or device.

It is not connected to any of the online databases and it is easy to add to and share with family members. No one has access to your data except you.

The Forebears app is free to download and use. I found it easy to use and it managed Mum's rather large gedcom file. 

It is certainly convenient to have it on my phone without having to log into a website. Like any app or software program it is what best suits your purpose. Only by trying different things do we know what works best for our own research needs.

During my playtime with this app, I realised just how many places my tree is online. Also many are quite out of date and I really should either update or take down. An online tidy up just went on my to do list. How does everyone keep their trees online up to date?

New Resources - DNA update

Ancestry have updated their DNA communities and I now have Queensland (no surprises there), Eastern Australia (from Jervis Bay down to Eden and almost out to Griffith and Wodonga and the ACT. Wish I had known that when I lived there! Obviously Dad's family.

Further afield I have northern Ireland and south western Scotland, again aligns with Dad's family. No real surprises on Mum's side but a designated Western Cornwall now. 

Interesting to see how these ethnicity fields are refined over time.  

Nick Vine Hall Awards for AFFHO

As the new convenor for the NVH awards, I have been busy accepting early entries for the 2023 awards, answering queries, liasing with the judges and getting organised for a Zoom session for members after Easter. Read more about the Awards on the AFFHO website.


The Genie Chats on English Genealogy keep me busy each week and hard to believe another term is almost over. Next term it will be looking at a few brick wall case studies as I will be away for quite a few weeks.

PhD Update

Griffith University have now finished my working database for my colonial women in Queensland gaols. Now all I have to do is enter my data on women already researched and continue working on the thousand plus still to go. I have used one of my favourite photos as a backdrop - it might have my great great grandmother in it.

Every book or article I read sends me in even more directions and it is amazing how much relates to my own personal family history. 


It was nice seeing familiar faces at my talk for the Bribie Island Library. The session was on the 1921 census for England and Wales which is available on Findmypast at the Library. So many new features that you wish were available for the earlier census records. 

What's Coming Up

Easter can you believe it? My trip to Sweden and my grandson's second birthday is also getting closer. So many things to finalise before I head off for another trip of a lifetime. A quick circumnavigation of the UK and Shetland Islands is also in the plan as well as stopovers in Amsterdam and Doha.

Over Easter I hope to do a tidy up of my website. One tends to set the pages and then forget that they might need a bit of an update from time to time.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter break with family or friends. Try not to eat too much chocolate. And try to find a little time for your own personal family history research. 

Take care until next time 


Wednesday 6 March 2024

RootsTech, Talks, & other genealogy news: My Genealogy Weeks 15-29 February 2024

Summer is over and autumn is upon us. Although here in Queensland we are still sweltering in the heat and the gardens look like they need more water. 

I have finally created a blog for Bribie Family History Association. There is still content to add and I need to establish regular posts, although that is easier on our Facebook page.

Beautiful flowers every table

Keeping this blog every fortnight is hard going as I seem to be going off Island a lot lately. Morning tea at Miegunyah in Brisbane followed by an afternoon with the Brisbane History Group celebrating the sesquicentenary of Brisbane. Managed to buy a couple of books discounted down. 
Who can resist cake and scones?

Big shout out to Moreton Libraries as I have been able to get some of my PhD reading through their library system or via interlibrary loan. So good and I only have to drive down to the Bribie Library to collect. So many books to read and take notes from. I will never remember where I got what piece of information/evidence if I don't write it down. 

Reading Kate Grenville's A Room Made of Leaves for our Bribie Family History Association book club. I will be interested to see what other club members think.


RootsTech 2024 is over, a weekend that went very fast. Fortunately a lot of the classes are still on the website and we can watch them at home for free. I would like to have been there in person but coming from downunder it is an expensive weekend with flights, accommodation, meals, taxis and other expenses. If I do it again I will factor in serious time at the FamilySearch Library for material that I cannot get online, all those lovely books not yet scanned.

The AFFHO 2025 Congress planning is going well and the website has information on all aspects of the conference. There is also a call for papers out at present. 

The last Unlock the Past genealogy cruise sails in December 2024. Not too late to join other like minded people on what looks like a fantastic program.
Brisbane History Group publication

Nick Vine Hall Awards, AFFHO

There have been a few entries so far but I will be doing more publicity over March and into April. Any member society of AFFHO can submit one of their journals from 2023 for judging in the Awards. 

Also working with our new judges on the judging criteria and marking system so that we will have consistency over the three judges. As convenor I collate the results. All very exciting and a big part of National Family History Month in August.


My visit to Noosa Libraries was very successful with a great group of people. The evaluation sheets were encouraging and always suggestions for what else could be done. 

Weekly Genie Chats on English Genealogy also keep me busy at the moment. Only four more weeks to go this term. There won't be a second term as I will be away for most of it. 


The Family History Academy ran a three week workshop on AI for Family History with Fiona Brooker and Andrew Redfern. This certainly opened up my eyes to what can be done with AI not only with my genealogy/family history but also with my PhD and lengthy criminal trials. 

What's Coming Up?

A talk at Bribie Library on the UK 1921 census on Findmypast. It is interesting following up siblings lines in the UK as I often find a connection then with DNA matches. 

RootsTech 2023 - will I get there in 2025?

I know it can be hard for some, but try to find a little family history time for yourself and use some of the new resources or watch some RootsTech 2024 classes.

Take care, stay safe and happy searching until next time. Shauna