Friday 29 June 2012

Genealogy Notes 28-30 June 2012 - Expo exhibitors

The last three Diary entries, (Day One, Day Two, Day Three) have described what was happening over the three days of the Unlock the Past genealogy and history expo in Brisbane. This blog will have a look at all the exhibitors although I didn't get that much of a chance to look around because of all the good speakers and sessions.

This list is in no priority order just how I walked around the exhibition area. First up I saw the Royal Historical Society of Queensland of which I was a member for many years before moving south. They had their journals and publications on sale and tempting to many visitors. Next was the Genealogical Society of Queensland and their special interest group Convict Connections was especially eye catching and selling almost everything from soaps and Tshirts to publications including their latest release on the prison hulk Phoenix.

History Queensland was next and promoting the various member societies and around the corner was the State Library of Queensland with an array of their very useful and free guides on a wide variety of subjects of interest to genealogists. Find and Connect Queensland was next helping people who may have been separated from families in the past for a variety of reasons. Next door was Queensland State Archives and they had some interesting banners outlining German and Chinese history in Queensland as well as their handy fact sheets.

The National Trust of Queensland had quite a few interesting handouts on various buildings and I was particularly interested in the Queensland at War exhibit and was not aware of the website (so something else to follow up when I get back to Melbourne). As most of my ancestors were in a number of Brisbane's early gaols and prisons I have always had a fondness for the Queensland Prisons and Penal Historical Association and it was good to see their new publication and they even have a Facebook page.

The Friends of Toowong Cemetery Association were promoting their ghost tours and if I ever get back to Brisbane for a holiday then I will definitely try and do one of their tours. The Australian Scottish Community Association was a drawcard for anyone with Scottish ancestors and I particularly liked talking to the ladies from the Caloundra Family History Research Inc because Caloundra is one of the places on our short list of places to move to. I couldn't possibly live anywhere that didn't have a family history society close by.

The next part of the exhibition area was devoted to other local and family history groups including the Centenary Suburbs Historical Society, Ipswich Genealogical Society, Toowoomba & Darling Downs Family History Society, Nepean Family History Society (they were probably the ones that had traveled the greatest distance to be there), Baptist Heritage Queensland, the Gold Coast Family History Society, the Moreton Bay section of the Fellowship of First Fleeters, Genealogy Sunshine Coast, the Brisbane City Council Archives, the Professional Historians Association (QLD), Brookfield Historical Society, Coopers Plains Local History Group, Judy Webster (professional researcher), Genealogists for Families Project, and Graham Jaunay and his research business Adelaide Proformat.

On the Research Help Desk were Kerry Farmer, Eric and Rosemary Kopittke, Carole Riley and Helen Smith fielding questions most of the time and in that same space were Gould Genealogy and History with all their tempting publications including the excellent range of Unlock the Past publications. Jill Ball also had a table in that area where she capably demonstrated how easy the Flip Pal mobile scanner was to use and I saw lots of people walking around with them. At the end was Clean Cruising a partner in the Unlock the Past genealogy cruises.

Another area busy every time I looked was the Find My Past tables with Find My Past UK, Australia and New Zealand, Scotlands People and the British Newspaper Archive searches and questions. Inside History Magazine and Irish Wattle were also kept busy and I was interested to chat to a new group (for me). Blackbird reunites descendants of South Sea Islanders in Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Samoa and Peru. Foto Masters were helping people with photo restoration queries and I finally got a chance to see the new History Queensland magazine that I had heard about.

FamilySearch also helped people with on the spot questions and searches, Stephen Dando-Collins talked about his books and willingly sold and autographed copies to new fans, and the National Institute of Genealogical Studies was there promoting a range of courses (which reminds me that I need to finish my Google course before 15 July). Customised Heritage Tours were there and I was interested to see that they are taking a tour to WDYTYA Live Event next February and I would love to go but the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise doesn't really get back in time for me to get there.

OpenBook Howden was there for anyone interested in publishing their research, the Ryerson Index (deaths and obituaries) is always worth a look and finally Johansen Systems for anyone with European ancestry. As you can see there was something for everyone and I think most people bought at least one book and everyone took home lots of flyers, leaflets and guides. I know my suitcase is going to be heavier when I pack it later tonight.

For me the value of a genealogy expo is not only the speakers and the exhibition area, it is also the ability to talk to and meet new friends and colleagues and to be part of the overall buzz that always seems to be present at a genealogy event. Now that I have done all my reporting type blogs I will start to think about my overall review of the expo and that will get finalised after I return to Melbourne tomorrow.

On Monday I'm participating in the Audrey Collins tour event at the State Library of Victoria so I'm looking forward to that. Some months I just seem to be on a never ending family history merry go round! But I love it!

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Genealogy Notes 27 Jun 2012 - Day 3 Unlock the Past Expo Brisbane

Well the first  two days of the Unlock the Past Brisbane expo went amazingly quickly and the cold rainy weather has continued but that hasn't stopped all the eager attendees who are swarming around the exhibits and waiting outside presentation theatres. Day 3 was also a full on day with presentations in all three theatres and the Research Area going all day.

I had heard Carole Riley's talk on social media for genealogy before so my first session was Stephen Dando-Collins talking about his books including 'Captain Bligh's other mutiny' the Rum Rebellion. He's an interesting speaker and makes writing books sound very easy!

For my second session I decided to go to one of the free sessions and I'm glad I did. Jill Ball gave a great three part presentation on webinars (GeneaWebinars), Flip Pal mobile scanners and Picasa for genealogists. It was a practical session with Jill taking the mystery out of these areas and showing how simple it really is to use these great tools for our family history research. My only gripe was that it should have been longer and part of the paid talk series so that more people could have had the opportunity to attend. The great news is that Jill's slides for all three talks will be on the Unlock the Past Resources page soon.

Other sessions were Audrey Collins on the English census, Rosemary Kopittke on government, police and education gazettes and in the Research Area Kerry Farmer was demonstrating Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic.

Session 3 I gave my mining ancestors talk so I missed another Dan Lynch live from the USA talk on Google,  Pauline Williams from the Genealogical Society of Queensland on writing your family story, Lee Butterworth spoke about Find and Connect, and in the Research Area Graham Jaunay helped date photos and Rosemary Kopittke demonstrated Family Photo Books.

If I wanted lunch and  a bit of a break I had to skip the next session and the lure of those potato pies was too great so I happily settled down to one of those and a jumbo size latte to help keep the cold at bay. The great thing about the lunch area was that you were able to talk to others at the table and some people seem to have travelled quite a distance to attend. Just a pity that the weather wasn't more friendly!

Lunch meant that I missed Paul Parton talking about Family SearchStephanie Ryan from State Library of Queensland on military records for WW1 and WW2, Sue Reid from Queensland Family History Society on finding people who died in Queensland and Clean Cruising talking about the Unlock the Past genealogy cruises. Jill Ball was in the Research Area giving all kinds of techno advice to people.

My sixth and last talk of the Expo was next with It's Not All Online with the other sessions being Graham Jaunay on old handwriting, Dan Kelly on book typesetting and printing, Rosemary Kopittke on Scotlands People and Carole and Helen demonstrating The Master Genealogist in the Research Area.

The final session was Audrey Collins talking about will forgeries, organised crime and identity theft in the 1840s and Eric Kopittke on internet resources for German research. I opted for Eric's talk which came with a useful handout of resources and as always Eric makes it all sound quite simple if you approach it in a logical fashion. Some of his online map sites were amazing.

I went back into the Exhibition area to say goodbye to people and while it is sad seeing everything packed up, it's also good to know that you will probably see them all again next year or every second year depending on how often a particular event is held. As we are genealogical gypsies/grey nomads we are able to attend more of these events than others plus it gives us the opportunity to visit families in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory. Yes that's right, we have family and friends in every state which is probably why we can't pick a place to settle down ourselves!

I still have to write up the exhibitors and doing my overall review but hopefully that will be in the next day or so. Today is a rest day and we are taking my mother and my ex mother in law to lunch for a catch up chat and last night we visited Max's Aunty Mavis who has just turned 101 and is still up and about and loving life in Sinnamon Village. Truly inspiring and the stories she tells! Until next time.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Genealogy notes 26 Jun 2012 - Day 2 of Unlock the Past Brisbane Expo

Well Day 2 of the Unlock the Past expo was another full on day and I had trouble finding time for lunch and the group Geneabloggers photo.

My first session was Audrey Collins talking about online newspapers and periodicals and I just love the information you can find in digitized newspapers these days. The other session was Graham Jaunay with an introduction to family history research.

From Session 2 there were 4 choices for the rest of the day making it hard to decide what to go to. I had no choice as I was doing Family History  on the Cheap with other options Cassie Mercer talking about Captain Starlight, John Graham on the Ryerson Index, Geoff Morgan on Finding Frank and Horace and Graham Jaunay helping to date photos.

I missed Session 3 as I was chatting to people after my talk and I was also a bit desperate for a cup of tea (all that talking). Choices were Rosemary Kopittke on Find My Past Australia and New Zealand (and I had wanted to hear that as the site has changed considerably recently but I will probably catch that talk elsewhere on the Audrey Collins tour); Carole Riley on Australian land records; Jill Ball talking about Google+ and Blogs (and some expo photos are now appearing in her blog)  and I really would like to learn a bit more about how Google+ works and finally in the Research Area Kerry was demonstrating Legacy Family Tree and Eric and Graham were doing Reunion for Mac.

With no scheduled lunch break in the program attendees had to decide which of the next two sessions they would miss if they wanted time out. I went to Graham Jaunay's sesson on Irish genealogy but other choices were Kerry Farmer on convicts, Alan Phillips on the next Unlock the Past genealogy cruise and Saadia Thomson-Dwyer on immigration records at Queensland State Archives.

Session 5 for me was an Ask an Expert hour which turned into 90 minutes with 3 people asking me about various things. I was especially pleased to be able to tell one woman the name of the ship and date her ancestor arrived on as she had been unable to find it. As he was of Swiss origin and had arrived in Victoria, I thought of checking the National Archives of Australia naturalization records. There was a reference to him and even better they had digitised the memorial (5 pages) and it gave her all the relevant details. It's really nice when you can do that for someone on the spot.

However I missed the live presentation on Google your family tree from Dan Lynch in the USA, Eric Kopittke on German ancestry, Neville Buch on writing professional history and Jill Ball on Picasa and Flip Pal mobile scanner. As my expert session went over time I also missed the next session with Audrey Collins talking about the London Gazette (which I have used myself), Jack Ford on Brisbane in WW2, Stephanie Ryan on family history at the State Library of Queensland, Paul Parton on Google Earth for family historians and in the Research Area Graham Jaunay was again doing dating photographs.

I couldn't miss the last session because I was giving my talk on the National Library of Australia and using TROVE but that meant I missed Judy Webster on Black sheep and vanishing relatives, Helen Smith on online learning and Rosemary Kopittke on MyHeritage. I received some lovely feedback on my talk as people left and I wandered out to find that it was still chilly and still raining. It seems the weather will start to improve at the weekend but by then I will be on my way back to really cold Melbourne!

Throughout the day I managed to say hello to various people and even made one of the Geneablogger photos. Hopefully we will link all our various expo posts so that you can see what other bloggers thought of sessions I missed. Day 3 is starting in a few hours so I need to get my skates on, get dressed, breakfasted and through the Brisbane traffic in time for Stephen Dando-Collins talk at 9.30. Max told me his first talk was good so I don't want to miss this one. 

As well as writing up Day 3, I have to do a round up on the exhibitors and as usual I will do an overall expo review which will be posted on my website. Stay tuned.


Monday 25 June 2012

Genealogy Notes 25 Jun 2012 - Day 1 Unlock the Past Queensland Expo

It's hard to believe that I'm sitting here in the pre dawn hours writing up the first day of the Unlock the Past history and genealogy expo in Brisbane. Yesterday went so fast and it's only the chilly room around me that tells me that I'm not dreaming! Even my cup of tea is cold already!

After arriving at the Expo yesterday about lunch time, I wandered around the exhibitors for a couple of hours, not only seeing what was there but catching up with many old friends and colleagues. As I have to get ready and go to today's sessions soon, I will leave talking about the exhibitors to when I have more time. We didn't get home from the expo until late last night so there wasn't time to start writing this blog then.

I didn't attend the first session of lectures for two reasons - one I was so immersed in the exhibition area I forgot the time and two, both sessions I had heard previously. Kerry Farmer spoke on DNA and Genealogy and Stephanie Ryan from the State Library of Queensland talked about immigration records for Queensland.

I followed Stephanie in the main theatre giving my Warning Warning talk which is about the basics and remembering the golden rules of genealogy to avoid creating brick walls and what to do if you end up with one. (There are earlier versions of my talks on the Resources page of my website and PDF copies of these expo talks will make their way soon too). The other main session was long time friend Ann Swain talking about Scottish ancestors. In the free talks theatre another old colleague Niles Elvery talked about Queensland State Archives and Helen Smith spoke about the Guild of One Name Studies. In the Research Area Graham Jaunay was helping people date their photographs. So lots of choice in that session and not an easy one to make!

In the third session I opted to hear Audrey Collins from the National Archives UK talk about the GRO indexes and this interested me from an archival view point as she talked about the history of the indexes and how they were created, transcribed and indexed from returns sent in. I couldn't help thinking that there was lots of scope for errors to creep in and in the last section of the talk, Audrey highlighted error rates so no wonder we can't always find something. Other choices were Rosemary Kopittke talking about the Find My Past World Collection, Steinar Johansen on Scandinavians and Ancient Genealogy, Dan Kelly on publishing your book and Jill Ball aka Geniaus demonstrating Family Historian.

The last session before dinner I missed as I was at the Ask an Expert table but only had one person seeking help. Not surprising given that the talks were Graham Jaunay on identifying photographs, Helen Smith on talking about what our ancestors died of, Pauline Williams on researching at the Genealogical Society of Queensland and Jill Bill demonstrating the Flip Pal Scanner and Picasa and the final choice was Rosemary Kopittke demonstrating Family Photo Book.

I don't think anyone can complain that there wasn't something of interest for everyone. Then there was a dinner break and the local school canteen catered with a variety of simple hot meals, sandwiches, cakes, cold drinks and tea and coffee. Over my pie I caught up with Cassmob from Darwin who is down here on family business but was still able to attend the Exp which was great.

The evening sessions were also full on with Audrey Collins talking about scandals in the family, but I listened to Beryl Roberts and Cassie Mercer from Inside History Magazine talking about writing local and family history books, magazines and newspaper articles. This was full of practical advice and it really does pay to write about your ancestors stories as it is amazing who contacts you with more information on them.

I gave my Ancestors in Church talk at the next session and so had to miss Stephen Dando Collins' talk on Crack Hardy: From Gallipoli to Flanders to the Somme which I really would have liked to hear. My partner Max said I missed a really good talk which didn't make me feel better but I will  be able to hear Stephen again as he is also a speaker on the next Unlock the Past genealogy cruise in February 2013.

The final talks for the night were Helen Smith talking about breaking down brick walls and Paul Parton on Family Search, both talks I have heard before. Over in the Exhibition area the Research Help Zone was answering questions from those who didn't attend talks and there were attendees still going round the various displays and chatting with exhibitors.

It was a full on afternoon/evening and it starts up again in just a few hours. So time for me to have breakfast, get ready and brave the Brisbane traffic as I head out for another great genealogy adventure in my home town!

Sunday 24 June 2012

Genealogy notes 18-24 June 2012 - Getting Expo Ready

The last week was the usual mad blur of too many things happening at once. As I'm in Brisbane for the Unlock the Past history and genealogy Queensland expo, I also had to leave the house neat and tidy for the real estate agent to show people through. Apparently they don't like seeing bits and pieces around (this includes kettles, toasters, salt & pepper and other things I leave out for daily convenience) so trying to think about potential buyer need was a distraction.

An exciting interlude before I left was an interview with Michael Lund from Brisbane's Courier Mail who was doing an article on family history to be published on 23 June. We seem to talk for ages and he had lots of questions but it's a really good article and you can read it here. I managed to finish my talks and I always print a copy, save to two USBs as  well as the copy on my laptop and the master on my remote back up drive.

As well as getting used to my new laptop, I also decided that I really did need an IPad to help me report on the Expo as the laptop is to heavy and big to carry around the exhibitor tables as well as take notes during sessions. Not to mention any social media activity! So that meant setting it up which wasn't too bad but I still haven't worked out how to transfer my calendar and contacts to it and I also discovered that my IPhone doesn't seem to talk to the new laptop so I haven't been able to sync that either.

The technology is great but for non techno people like me it always seems to be a little bit trickier. Luckily the Expo gives me three days to ask questions with a whole range of experts. Setting my new Telstra wi fi was not so straightforward either but thanks to the two technicians at the local store they sorted out my problems and I'm all systems go with that and it talks to the IPad and laptop so I'm happy.

Lots has been happening on my personal genealogy front with certificates arriving from the UK and I've ordered some wills too which should get here soon. The only trouble is that I don't have time to sit down and process all the new information. When I get home I've got to finalise talks for National Family History Week in just four weeks time, including State Library Victoria's Family History Feast and five talks with the Yarra Plenty Regional Library. Still it's going to be an exciting time.

Over the next three days I hope to do a daily blog of the expo and at the end my usual overview blog of the entire event. It doesn't finish until late tonight and I have to be up early and get across Brisbane in the morning so getting Day 1 out on time might be tricky but we will see how we go. I'm also looking forward to catching up with Geneablogger friend (and I remembered to pack my genealogy blogger beads) and also the Genealogists for Families Project members.

Stay tuned as the next three days are going to be full on genealogy. So excited!

Saturday 16 June 2012

Genealogy notes 4-17 June Brisbane genealogy expo next!

Almost two weeks of being frantic - photos with the real estate agent, people walking through the house, just keeping the house neat and tidy while at the same time trying to finalise my talks for the Unlock the Past Queensland genealogy expo in Brisbane on 25-27 June, finishing some complex client reports, putting the finishing touches to a new research guide and my poor old laptop decides its had enough!

Just what I needed, a few days without my laptop but I've got it back but I also took the opportunity to get a new one which is a lot faster - maybe I'll work faster too! But there has been the added time to set up this new one and move my data across and all that goes with making new laptops look like your old one.

Other distractions were the arrival of my new Flip Pal mobile scanner from Gould Genealogy & History which is another thing I have to learn how to use effectively but I'm hoping for a few lessons from my friend Jill at the Brisbane expo. She will be talking about it and doing live demos so that should help. A more worrying distraction was that I realised that I hadn't received my latest issue of Inside History Magazine and on checking with them, I found it had been dispatched but not arrived. They said another copy would be in the mail but over a week later it's still not here. I know it's a good read but I hope it hasn't been waylaid again!

I've been trying to get my other half to go to Bali with me again for some time out and he keeps saying no we've been there and we don't have time etc etc. His son rings up and says 'Dad you want to go to Bali with me' and you guessed it, the other half said yes straightaway! While I think it will be good for the two of them to spend time together, it couldn't be at a worse time for me as it is during National Family History Week 2012 (NFHW) and I have so many events scheduled where the other half was going to be doing my book selling. It really is too hard to give talks, then take questions and try and sell books at the same time so I'm missing him already. Plus I will still be here in chilly Melbourne and he will be lazing on a Bali beach eating seafood.

Still I think NFHW this year is going to be fantastic - I've been asked to do the opening at the Victorian Archives Centre on 27 July where Hanifa Deen is talking about her new book. I'm also speaking at the State Library Victoria's annual Family History Feast (bookings open 18 June) plus Yarra Plenty Regional Library have got me giving presentations at five of their libraries. So that's a few more talks I've got to start thinking about!

I'm leaving for Brisbane on Thursday which is a few days before the Expo so that I can catch up with family and friends. Mum's looking forward to seeing us and I'm hoping to try out that Flip Pal scanner on some of her old photo albums which she doesn't want me to take away. I'm also staying a few days after the Expo but have to be back in Melbourne for the Audrey Collins Australian tour on 2 July.

The next few weeks are going to be full on genealogy (half of me is hoping the house won't sell just yet) and as usual, I will be blogging events and sharing the experience with readers who can't get to the talks themselves. I hope to meet a few people in Brisbane and catch up with other UTP speakers and as always feedback is appreciated. Enjoy your research time!

Sunday 3 June 2012

Genealogy notes 21 May - 3 June Moving & Genealogy Talking

Well it's amazing how much time it takes to get ready for a monster moving garage sale, then there were the two days (cold but not wet) that we lived in our garage watching other people snap up our preloved items, then the trip to the Salvos with what was left. We hadn't even had a chance to relax when the real estate agent said he wanted to show someone through and of course we have boxes of books and other 'clutter' all over the place. I still had to finalise my talks for the Yarrawonga GMAGs seminar and we were leaving on the Saturday.

Somehow we managed it all and the seminar went well. I gave four talks - Ancestors in Church, Australian Government Archives Online, Resources for Photographs, and PROV's Nooks and Crannies plus I staffed a small books sales table with Unlock the Past publications. Archival Access Victoria was the other speaker and Mark gave lots of examples of the types of records that can be found at PROV and the copy services they offer.

With approx 50 people I was kept busy selling and talking but still managed to eat some of the wonderful country cooking that is always on offer at these events. But that night I was more that a bit weary so it was just pizza with the chardy and an early night.

As usual people asked me to put the talks on my website so I still have to PDF the talks and place them on the Resources page under Presentations. I've allowed myself a few days to do it just in case it takes longer than I anticipate or I get distracted with other priorities!

It was great to see so many people from Deniliquin and I'm looking forward to their Deniliquin genealogy muster in October. It's a first for them so I'm hoping that it is going to attract lots of people from surrounding areas. We're taking the caravan up and will spend a few days exploring the area as usually we are just passing through on the way to someplace else.

There's no rest for the wicked and tonight I'm the guest speaker at the Yarrawonga Family History Group meeting doing a Q&A session. Some members have already sent their questions via email so I will spend today doing some preparation. From tomorrow I get to relax for a few days and hope to go on a cruise of Lake Mulwala in a paddle steamer. I have to be back in Melbourne by Friday as there is a meeting of the Victorian Association of Family History Organisations and I'm on the committee.

I have so many emails and enewsletters in my inbox I don't think I will ever catch up plus I have to check/amend the talks I'm giving at the Unlock the Past Queensland Expo in Brisbane in a few weeks. That will be a great event and a chance to catch up with some of my favourite speakers.

If our house sells quickly and we become homeless (apart from the caravan) life will become really interesting. At least most of my family history is now on the laptop although I still have a lot of documents and photos to scan. I'm sure it will work out eventually. Until next time.