Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Genealogy notes 6 July 2011

Well today didn't go to plan. Melbourne was freezing and got worse as the day went on. I can't function in the cold - must be my Queensland blood!

My goal today was to finalise my Colonial Irish talk for the Wodonga Family History Society and the Genealogical Society of Queensland seminars I am speaking at in the next few weeks. The talks feature various anecdotes from my own Irish ancestors - I am 25% Irish (Counties Cavan, Armagh and Wicklow).

Most of my Irish research was done back in the late 1970s and early 1980s and then I put it into the too hard basket. So it has been quite a while since I dragged my Irish families out of the filing cabinet. To illustrate my talks I had planned to show various documents highlighting my ancestors' exploits while under the influence of alcohol. The talk is actually called The Colonial Irish Liked A Beer or Two: Checking Out The Evidence.

My first shock was that the photocopies of various government records that I had done in the early 1980s had faded - badly - but then that is nearly 30 years ago. The next shock was that some of the documents had been stapled and the staples had rusted - badly. The final shock was that there was information in the documents that was really relevant to me today but obviously I either had not realised its significance back then or I had not read the documents carefully enough at the time. In my own defence, I suspect I know more now than I did back then.

However, what this all means is that instead of just finalising my talk, I ended up spending the day removing rusty staples, scanning what are now poor photocopies and rereading and rethinking my Irish family research. The day just went past in a blur.

The sad part is I think I probably should do this with all my paper files - and I have been doing it with some files but more as time permits rather than as any dedicated project. It is probably the type of task we should all do on a regular basis, especially if we have been researching for decades and have multiple filing cabinets of information.

It's now past my bedtime but I plan to read Inherit Issue No 47 June 2011 which is the free e-newsletter from the Heritage Council of Victoria and they have some interesting new stories on the built environment on the Culture Victoria website. Lots of interesting things on that website that may be relevant to family historians researching in Victoria.

The other e-newsletter I plan to read tonight is from the National Trust of Australia (Victoria branch). In their June newsletter there are lots of suggestions for the school holidays, offers for members and one that particularly intrigues me is Spookspotters' Twilight Ghost Tours at Como House.

Tomorrow is supposed to be even colder than today but I do have to go out so most of the day will be out and about. I've also got a lot of genealogy tasks on my to do list - focus will be my mantra tomorrow!

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