Thursday 18 April 2013

Genealogy notes 14-19 April 2013 Immigration anniversaries

This post on Diary is coming live from Maryborough Queensland where I am currently staying onsite at the Ulysses AGM 2013. Regular readers will know that Max is the motorbike enthusiast not me but while he is out riding, I can usually be found doing genealogy! This is my first full time AGM mainly because it was also an opportunity to visit the area where my Norwegian gg grandparents lived when they first arrived in Queensland.

While chatting to my long time friend Kay at the Maryborough Family Heritage Research Institute, she reminded me that 2013 is the 140th anniversary of the arrival of the Humboldt into Maryborough carrying my Norwegian ancestors Anders and Aase Gunderson. Sadly their two children died on the voyage out and we can only imagine their grief and their confusion arriving in Queensland, a land very different from where they came from in Norway.

The Humboldt wasn't the only ship arriving in 1873 and to celebrate their 140th anniversaries plus the 150th anniversaries of the ships arriving in Maryborough in 1863, the Institute is organising a cruise on the catamaran Spirit of Hervey Bay (normally does whale watching tours during Jul-Nov) down the Mary River followed by dinner at the Hervey Bay Boat Club at Urangan and a bus trip back to Maryborough! It's on Saturday 1 June and we simply couldn't resist this commemorative event so we have booked two seats and will travel back up this way in late May. Descendants from the various ships are being encouraged to send in family trees for display on the day so I need to get onto that when I get back home next week. Anyone interested should contact the Institute.

The weather has been absolutely perfect here and we visited the Maryborough Heritage Markets on Thursday and witnessed the discharge of the cannon at 1pm (a regular event). Only this time there were hundreds if not thousands of Ulysses members also checking out the markets and Maryborough's various heritage sites. There was even a competition for the best themed Ulysses shop front window which were good to see and most places were offering discounts to members as well.

Max even made it into the local Fraser Coast Chronicle after he test rode one of the latest Honda Gold Wing motorbikes. He was so excited we bought 3 copies of the paper and ordered the photo from the newspaper! It will look good in his family history.

There are almost 4000 Ulysses members at the AGM so that's a fair bit of money they are contributing to the local economy at shops, accommodation, petrol stations, hotels and where ever else one spends money. When we went down to Hervey Bay for the afternoon, the Esplanade was simply swarming with motorbikes exploring the Bay. The Maryborough Show Grounds is an excellent venue with lots of casual dining places, a temporary restaurant Bayfusion serving excellent meals, an internet kiosk, and even an IGA.

There are a huge number of traders selling all sorts of motorbike stuff but there are also fishing, massage, soaps, clothing and other trade stalls. Most attendees are in tents but there are also quite a few caravans, motorhomes and other RV vehicles. Others are staying off site at motels and other accommodation venues. The AGM dinner has seating for 1200 also on site in a temporary pavilion and the Piazza also seats about 1200 for more informal dining and happy hour.

I'd like to see a genealogy conference organised like that!

I came up here thinking I would get lots of research done but I've spent more time sight seeing and talking to people. I did manage to send off my next installment on Irish Loves Ones Downunder to Irish Lives Remembered and I've been working on my 2013 Trans Tasman ANZAC day blog challenge by Kintalk (held every year). This year it will be on my father's three uncles John, Robert and Denis Patrick Finn who all went to WW1.

Kay also lent me Bryan Sykes The Seven Daughters of Eve (the astonishing story that reveals how each of us can trace our genetic ancestors) but I don't think I will get that finished before we leave. I'll have to bring it back when we come up again for the immigration anniversaries.

Needless to say I haven't had much opportunity to do anything more with National Family History Month 2013 but hopefully people are starting to think about how they can get their local society, library or archive more involved now that it is over the whole month of August.

Next week is also shaping up to be a busy one but at least I will be home with the computer set up all the time! I know it doesn't take that much time to get the laptop out and set up the modem but when it's a beautiful day like today, the temptation is to be out and about. Or even have a quick Nana nap (these late nights are a bit taxing)! Till next time.

Friday 12 April 2013

Genealogy notes 6-13 Apr 2013 National Family History Month

Well the last week has flown and all the things I thought I would do, I didn't end up doing. It turned out to be visitor week first with my brother coming up for a couple of days and then 3 friends from where we used to live in Melbourne. They are travelling by motorhome and motobike on their way up to Maryborough on the Fraser Coast for the Ulysses 2013 AGM there next week. As it is so wet here on Bribie Island, they are having a few dry nights with us and then will all be heading up to Maryborough together tomorrow. So next week's Diary will be live from Maryborough, Queensland not to be confused with Maryborough, Victoria in the central goldfields area!

I haven't done much personal genealogy this week as I have been wearing my voluntary coordinator hat for National Family History Week  and I'm pleased to announce that this has just been extended to the whole month of August! This also brings us into line with New Zealand who have had a NZ National Family History Month for some time.

So now we have to remember National Family History Month (NFHM). The last week has seen me struggle to learn how to manage a Joomla website and emails plus the website content. All so different from my own website but I seem to have done all the changes and I must thank the previous coordinator Lesle Berry for all her help with my numerous questions this past week. The only things not changed yet are the domain name and the Facebook page name which both take a bit longer to do.

As NFHM doesn't have it's own blog (yet although I'm hesitant to start yet another blog) I will briefly outline here what will be happening. I will be approaching various sponsors (or hopefully some will approach me) for prizes to go into a big draw for all genealogy and family history societies who put a NFHM event into the NFHM event calendar. Each Australian state and Territory has its own calendar and there is also one for New Zealand. Societies don't have to be a member to enter into the prize draw. I'm hoping this will encourage more societies to repackage their monthly meeting or a library open day into a NFHM event/s.

I would also like to see lots of libraries and archives hold an event/s over the month as well and remember it is important to add these events to the NFHM event calendar so that everyone can see what's on in their local area. Don't forget to check the surrounding postcodes as there may be a great event in a neighbouring suburb.

To keep enthusiasm and awareness high throughout the month I'm working on a list of 31 activities for individuals to help further their own genealogy research and another list of 31 activities to help genealogy and family history societies raise their own profiles and hopefully attract some new members over the month. It would also be good to have more societies join AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations).

As well I'm hoping that all my geneablogger friends will be doing their blogging,  Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and whatever other social media they are into. I think this is a great opportunity for us to really make genealogy and family history a focus during August because for me a week was too short and it was over before I realised it. Plus there were often competing events in the shorter time period. Now it will be a true feast of genealogy over 31 days as I'm sure some of the physical events will also appear in attendees blogs and other social media.

I'm happy to take on any suggestions and already I have had one person ask that headstones and the information on them be highlighted. This is a great idea as I have some wonderful examples in my own research of information I would never had known if not for the tombstone.

Well I have to get back to packing for Maryborough, so put your genealogy thinking caps on for what you are going to do in NFHM in 2013 and don't forget to ask your local societies, libraries and archives what are they doing. Don't forget to add the events to the NFHM calendar and if you haven't yet ticked Like on the Facebook page, please do. I want everyone talking genealogy and family history in the lead up to August this year. Please join me! Till next time safe travels!

Friday 5 April 2013

Genealogy notes 27 Mar - 5 Apr 2013 Canberra news

Well it's been busy on the home front and my recent visit to Canberra has made life even more hectic but I'm fast realising that my life in retirement on Bribie Island is never going to be less than action packed. Over Easter we finally go to do the 6 hour eco cruise on The Ferryman and I just love sailing past my Scottish ancestors home on the Toorbul side of Pumicestone Passage. As there was 6 hours of sailing we went almost to the tip of Bribie Island and could easily see Caloundra. The bird life is amazing and must have been even more amazing back in the 19thC before the settlers arrived.

It's a great trip and amazing value as it also included morning tea (hot cross buns, chocolate ones no less), a delicious roast chicken and salads lunch  (and I must get the wombok salad recipe it was amazing) and afternoon tea with home made cakes which were so good. I don't think we have ever eaten so much in a single place before! Well done Ferryman and I hope others do the trip because the 6 hours goes very quickly with so much to see. Definitely worth a day trip from Brisbane.

Easter was also a time to catch up with family and a visit to Mum ended up with us coming home with a car load of pot plants and all her African violets as Mum is no longer able to care for them. This was all great for our new home but it did mean that we then had to spend a couple of days planting them out in our orchard/rainforest or repotting them for indoors! My son has also been doing amazing things in his new house and has tackled his overgrown yard with amazing vigour and it is good to see them settling into their new home. We also took the opportunity to give them a few more boxes of our unwanted goods but no matter how much I declutter, we still seem to have heaps of stuff.

Before I left for Canberra I sent in to the local newspaper a small article on my Carnegie family at Toorbul hoping that they might publish it. They say it pays to advertise and I was really excited to find that it was published in the Island and Mainland News  and they included the two pictures of my ancestors tombstone in Toorbul cemetery. It's the only one left in the historic cemetery. This also led to me being contacted by the Bribie Island Historical Society and I will be going to their next meeting on Wednesday. So I'm really looking forward to that.

While in Canberra I met up with the president of AFFHO to discuss this year's National Family History Week and I have big news there but all the members of AFFHO have to be notified first so stay tuned. All I can say at this point is that NFHW 2013 will be bigger and better than ever before and I hope everyone will also follow us on Facebook NFHW as well as putting their events on the website calendar. I will also need everyone's help to promote it as we are operating on a real shoe string budget this year. Still I'm a firm believer in the power of social media and I know I have some great online geneafriends.

But now for the real reason for my Canberra trip. I'm on the National Archives of Australia's advisory committee for the centenary of WW1 so we were there for a progress report on their new Wartime Australia website. The draft pages look fantastic and are user friendly so that everyone can add in their own stories. It was also good to hear about the activities being undertaken by other State Archives and places like the Australian War Memorial. It's going to be easier than ever to trace our military ancestors and most of these projects and activities will start to roll out in 2014 and then continue through to 2018.

Another new website and exhibition planned by the NAA will feature forced adoption stories and they are calling for expressions of interest for anyone interested in assisting with the project. It is due for launch in 2014 on the anniversary of the Government's formal apology. Read the media release for full details.

While sitting in the Qantas Club waiting for my flight home I was really surprised, and delighted to find the new paper issue of NAA's Your Memento Highlights Vol 2. This paper edition features the more popular stories from their Your Memento free online e-magazine and I do have to say that I prefer reading the paper issue. All too often with the digital notifications, I file the e-mag or e-news and then don't go back to read it whereas the paper copy sits there in a pile on my cupboard making me feel guilty until I read it.

Also spotted was a new glossy paper magazine from the National Museum of Australia simply called The Museum: Behind the Scenes and Vol 2 is a great read with some really good photos and stories. I'm only sorrow that I didn't see Vol 1 but all is not lost. The issues (some articles only) are also online and Vol 3 is now out as well! Like libraries and archives, museums are also great places to find background information and context on our ancestors and where and how they lived.

An email from the local Bribie Island Family History Special Interest Group (no website) also got me quite excited as it included news from the local Bribie Island (Bongaree) Library. They have a series of free genealogy talks planned for the rest of the year under the banner Finding Your Family: Who Are You? There are workshops on handwriting (reading all that old colonial writing), Irish ancestors, beginners sessions and even a session on Bribie's WW2 bunker and other military records. So I will be booking in for most of those! For those interested see their what's on calendar.

I rejoined the Genealogical Society of Queensland and received a very nice welcome back including a paper journal which has joined the pile on the cupboard! I also received my renewal notice for the Genealogical Society of Victoria and as I like using their online resources, I will be renewing but I am glad that I am a lifetime member of Queensland Family History Society as that is one less subscription to pay. Still being a member of key societies is so worth while and really does help further your family research not to mention make new friends.

Instead of buying the family Easter eggs this year, I decided to take out another $25 loan with the Genealogists for Families project and as I had received repayments on previous loans, I was able to make two further loans to needy families overseas. I'm still surprised how easily this project sustains itself. Once you have made a few loans the repayments then allow you to fund still more loans. Of course you can take back the repayments if you want, but I've never missed the original $25 I used for my first loan so why not let it keep on helping others. Occasionally I make additional loans to mark special occasions like Christmas and Easter and since I joined the Genealogists for Families project I have made 28 loans! So that's 28 families I have helped with whatever their loans were needed for.

As usual I have made this Diary too long and I really am going to have to do it more regularly (like I used to before the big move)! I've got a genealogy to do list beside me that I really must tackle. Plus the other half has just left for fishing so now is the perfect time to do some research - trying to decide what new lead to follow up is the problem. There's so much new information out there! Wish me luck and as always, best wishes with your own research.