Sunday 30 December 2012

Genealogy Notes 25-31 Dec 2012 Sailing in Ancestral Footsteps

Well the Christmas week has gone remarkably quickly and it's now New Year's Eve. It's been a great week catching up with family and friends and I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my Scottish great great great grandparents who oyster farmed here at Toorbul back in the 1870s. We did the sunset cruise on the Bribie Island Ferryman and sailed right past their property which is the first time I've had a good look at it from the water. It still looks like it must have done back then with no development although the land is for sale with a multi million dollar price tag for future development. However the whole of Pumicestone Passage is within a Marine Conservation Park so perhaps that development may never happen.

All I know now is that it was a fantastic trip up the Passage past Toorbul, Donnybrook and Mission Point before we turned around after a spectacular view of the Glass House Mountains at sunset. The whole time I kept thinking that they too must have sailed up and down the passage, fished and crabbed and tended their oyster leases. There's not a lot of people there now and there would have been a lot less back then. It's times like this that I really wish we could travel back in time and meet our ancestors, rather than recreate their lives through various government documents.

The further up the Passage you travel there is less evidence of people and more and more bird life not to mention the lack of noise except for the odd boat or two. Even the dolphins turned up which was exciting for those tourists on board. I'm a bit blase now as we get to see them most days from our kitchen window!

I managed to review and update my genealogy aspirations for 2013 and you can read about them here. I was really pleased with all the comments and encouragement from my blogger friends. Since then my friend Geniaus has thrown out another one of her geneameme challenges Accentuate the Positives 2012 which makes us look at all the positives in our genealogy year rather than all the things we might not have done or finished. As usual I can't resist these, so I will have to put my thinking cap on and see if I can answer her 20 questions (positively).

I've been happily reading Issue 3 of Circa: the Journal of Professional Historians which is an annual publication by the Professional Historians Association of Victoria and the Australian Council of Professional Historians Associations. Each issue gets better and better and there are some great articles highlighting the work of historians today. I've always maintained my membership of the Queensland branch, perhaps I knew I would come back some day!

I've also applied to join the Cornish Association of Queensland rather than renew my membership of the Cornish Association of Victoria. Their meetings are in Brisbane but it's not that far, especially if it's during the day. I'm still fascinated by the Cornish culture and once I get into my new house in January I want to start practicing making the Cornish pastry recipe I learnt at the Cornish Cultural Celebration in Shoalhaven back in October, hosted by the Southern Sons of Cornwall.

My January 2013 issue of Queensland Family History Society's email newsletter Snippets arrived in my inbox this morning so starting a new habit (I hope) I have read it already and noted all the helpful news and hints. Back issues are on their website here. I find with email newsletters and journals I put them into a To Read Folder but then don't always find the time to read them. A bit like the physical To Read Pile which I now have in a wardrobe. So my new habit is always to read/scan something before I file it away. Wish me luck with that one!!

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter is another one that I regularly try to read and if you don't keep up with that on a daily basis it can get away from you. Although a lot of the news is US or Canada related, it is a great way to keep up with what's happening in the genealogy world.

My other regular reads include the UK Lost Cousins monthly newsletter and Irish Lives Remembered which is a much bigger read. I also get the newsletters from FindMyPast and Ancestry to try and keep up with all the new material coming online. That also applies to the enews from Public Record Office Victoria, State Records NSW and Queensland State Archives which are the three main archives I regularly research in.

On the eve of a new year I would like to take the opportunity to thank all my regular readers and to wish them good luck with their ancestor hunting in 2013. Now I'm off to think about that geneameme challenge!

Sunday 23 December 2012

Genealogy notes 8 -24 Dec 2012 - Christmas thoughts

Regular readers will know that we have been very busy buying our new house on Bribie Island and getting ready for move in day on 14 January plus organising ourselves for Christmas this year. To make it all more complicated I had a very painfall fall in the bathroom just over a week ago. I slipped on wet tiles and down I went so this Diary has been delayed and I've spent quite a few hours visiting doctors and getting x-rays. No permanent damage luckily just stiff and sore.

I had thought I might get lots of genealogy reading done but the pain killers seem to put me to sleep which is probably a good thing but it isn't reducing my reading pile by much. I was excited to learn that Inside History magazine has a new digital only annual volume out so I quickly downloaded their app and my copy for a very modest price. I still like reading a paper copy I think but reading it on the IPad was almost as good and easier than trying to read on the laptop.

One thing I did have to finish after my fall was the 6th instalment of my Missing Down Under series for Irish Lives Remembered which is a great free e-magazine for Irish genealogy. All previous issues are available online so you can catch up if you haven't previously seen it.

I was going to review my 2012 genealogy resolutions as I do every year but that hasn't happened yet. It was almost impossible this year to achieve my goals after our sudden decision to sell up and leave Melbourne. I think I need smaller more achievable type goals or break them down into monthly goals. Otherwise I'm never going to get all my old photos scanned, organised and listed!

Happily I did manage to contribute to Cassmob's Christmas geneameme and my contribution is here. I like these kind of challenges as they make you think back and dredge up long forgotten memories.

My seminar with Sue Reid on digital newspapers for the Queensland Family History Society in February is almost sold out which is fantastic. Obviously a popular topic and everyone is keen to get researching in 2013.

I've accepted an invitation to speak on the 4th Unlock the Past genealogy cruise which is going to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart. It is doing two things I've always wanted to do - sailing through Bass Strait and doing a run from Hobart to Sydney (just like the Boxing Day race only in reverse). Plus there are some exciting overseas speakers too so I wouldn't want to miss this one.

Well I've been sitting for too long so it's time to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas with their families and loved ones. I'm spending it with my mother and other family members in Brisbane and it will be traditional as Mum thinks that is the only way to have a good Christmas. I'll just have to have the prawns and crabs on Boxing Day! Take care and enjoy yourselves until next time.

Friday 7 December 2012

Genealogy notes 19 Nov - 7 Dec 2012 - Canberra news!

The last couple of weeks have been a blur. We moved into the rental unit and carried our stuff up all 27 steps but at least there is more room than the caravan. We finally found our 'dream' house and pending the pest and building inspection on Monday, we will settle on 14 January and then we will have the awesome job of unpacking our two container loads of 'stuff' now in storage in Brisbane. I have found it really hard writing articles for Inside History Magazine and Irish Lives Remembered without easy access to my own research files. It's not all in my database!!

We are getting into the swing of island life and attended the Blessing of the Surf at Woorim last weekend and have been sampling the various restaurants and clubs on the Island. Somehow when you are not in your own home, it seems that you are always on holidays even though we are not! The weather has been hot in south east Queensland but we always seem to have a breeze and are a few degrees cooler than Brisbane. However that didn't prepare me for two days in Canberra where it was 3 degrees in the mornings and snowing on the Alps.

Getting to and from Canberra was a bit of a marathon with the distance and time differences but it was all worthwhile. I attended the first meeting of the National Archives of Australia's advisory committee for the centenary of World War One. They really need an acronym for that! It was good to hear what they have planned between now and April 2014. The main project is a new website and the working title is Wartime Australians which will build on the existing Mapping Our Anzacs website but will include a lot more records than just the service dossiers. There will be lots of opportunities for individuals to input their own stories as it progresses so stay tuned.

As part of the overall briefing we were reminded about the various features of the Mapping Our Anzacs website and also a brief look at their Destination Australia website (which I first heard about back in August at the State Library of Victoria's Family History Feast day - you can hear Mark Brennan's talk here).

One of the hazards of this gypsy life I have been living is that I have missed all sorts of family history news and about a month ago NAA launched their ArcHive project which is where they have digitised accession consignment lists to increase access to collections. There are the usual OCR problems so they are asking the public to help them transcribe the lists (a bit like correcting newspaper texts on Trove) and quite a few people have already signed up. Another worthy project to be associated with and they have prizes!

It was strange being back in the Parkes building and attending a meeting in the Bruce Room and it brought back lots of good memories of my time with NAA - if only those winters weren't so cold! I also ran into a few old colleagues and found out whose doing what these days.

The other meeting I managed to squeeze in during my brief time in Canberra was with the President of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) and we chatted about National Family History Week (NFHW) which is in August each year. As the new co-ordinator I have written a discussion paper which highlights some issues and which I hope will get lots of comments and feedback. An edited version has been published in the December 2012 issue of NewsFlash and can be read here.

If you haven't yet liked the NFHW Facebook page you can do so here.

Historic Newspapers UK invited me to trial one of their newspapers so after some thought I selected the date my  GG grandfather Robert White died in Wiltshire and as I like illustrated newspapers I picked one of those. I don't expect to find any reference to him but it is just after the end of World War One and I thought it would be good to see what the news was at that time. The copy arrived quickly and I haven't had a chance to open the box but I might put it under the Christmas tree as a present to myself - I suspect none of the other family members would think of a present like that for me!

With most of January taken up with our move into the new house, I have started to give some thought to the talks I am giving on the next Unlock the Past 3rd genealogy cruise which leaves in February 2013. I'm already excited about going on the Voyager of the Seas as I have seen it on the news and current affairs programs not to mention the newspapers. So that plus the exciting genealogy program lined up means it will be another great trip.

Finally I've gotten behind with my KIVA Genealogists for Families project news because my email program was filing all the updates in the Spam folder. I've got quite a lot of repayments which means I can now take out new loans and help others. If you would like to join the project team click here for my invite link.

With Christmas fast approaching I'm not sure how much genealogy I will manage but at least I can now stop looking at real estate sites. So that must mean some free time! Until next installment, happy researching.