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!


  1. Look forward to more fun today and a geneabloggers photo.

  2. Thanks for the recap, Shauna. Sounds like a great event.