Thursday, 8 March 2012

Genealogy notes 1-8 March 2012 - Kyabram seminar talks

What a hectic week starting with my partner's birthday on the 2nd. We went down to historic Queenscliff the day before and had a great time looking at some of the very grand hotels and homes as well as the Fort Queenscliff Museum. It's also a seafood haven and we had some great meals including local mussels and fish. Then it was back home to get ready for the Kyabram Regional Genealogy Society seminar where I was giving three talks as well as selling some Unlock the Past publications.

Given all the awful flooding in north east Victoria we weren't too sure if we would even get there but Kyabram was just outside the flooded areas although a number of people who had booked couldn't make it because they were either already flooded or were afraid they wouldn't make it back home. It was still a great afternoon and my talks on Google for Family History, It's Not All Online and Archives You Should Know left most of them a little bit overwhelmed but in those talks I'm aiming to broaden their view of family history beyond the usual suspects. It's meant to give them lots to think about and I do put copies of the slides on the Resources page of my website.

I haven't done an evaluation of my talks for a while so I asked everyone to complete an evaluation form which most did. Even though they are anonymous, people still feel strange/reluctant about providing written feedback. The verbal feedback was good and I was kept busy with questions right up until the organisers were showing us out the door! Written feedback was more on the venue, a big hall with no microphone so I encouraged people to move their chairs closer to me but that didn't really help with the 'echoing'. It didn't help that I left my remote and laser pointer at home so I had to stay close to the laptop to change slides.

One person thought the seats too hard - I have seen people bring their own cushions to events so obviously they have been caught out by hard seats before! Also there were some beginners so a few requests for more basic talks but it is always hard to know at what level to pitch those kinds of talks. Hopefully they will join/ask their local society for help too.

One person said my three talks was a marathon effort and it did feel that way towards the end and a number found the Google talk 'enlightening'. I think a lot of people don't realise how much more to Google there is than just a search engine. One person said it was 'well worth driving in the rain for' and as it was a three hour drive there and three hours back for us that made me feel that it was worth our effort in appalling weather. I will give the final comment to the person who said 'loved it all - just what I wanted and needed'.

After that I veged out for a few days and devoted time to continue to pack and sort out which books I will keep and which will go. I contacted the Religious Collections Special Interest Group of the Australian Society of Archivists (they've got a great new website) to see if some of their members would be interested in having my library and archives books. Most of them are volunteers or part time and don't have access to work libraries and they were most enthusiastic. So I will drop off three boxes of books and then they can work out who wants what and I will be happy knowing that my books are still being put to good use.

I treated myself to a visit to the State Library of Victoria and it really is a great genealogy resource and they weren't that many people in the Genealogy Centre that day. I was surprised when one of the librarians told me they hate cruise ships visiting Melbourne - apparently a lot of people make a beeline for the Library to do their genealogy while in port! And these aren't even genealogy cruises, just ordinary cruises but people still take their genealogy away with them. Not sure why I was surprised really, I do that kind of thing myself!!

We have friends coming for the Labour Day weekend - we met them on the last Unlock the Past genealogy cruise and in January we stayed with them near Paynesville in the Gippsland Lakes and now they are checking out western Melbourne and the Bellarine Peninsula with us. There will probably be lots of genealogy talk over the weekend while our partners discuss their boats and fishing!

Next week I'm heading to Public Record Office Victoria for their Women, Children and Welfare History in the Archives free seminar which should be good. I've also got to finish and send off my two presentations for the AFFHO genealogy congress in Adelaide at the end of the month. I always look forward to the congress (every three years) as it is a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues. The next one is in Canberra in 2015.

Don't forget St Patrick's day next week - I always do an Irish family blog and have had great success with finding relatives in previous years so fingers crossed! Until next time.

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