Sunday 26 May 2013

Genealogy notes 16-26 May 2013 anniversaries & family visits

Well the other half's trip to his brother fell through so there was no 4-5 days of pure genealogy bliss by myself but I've managed to get a few things done. I'm off this week to Maryborough for the 140th & 150th anniversary of immigrant ships into Maryborough, Queensland. My Gundersen ancestors arrived on the Humboldt in 1873 so I'm participating in a cruise down the Mary River to Hervey Bay (the trip in reverse). The anniversary celebrations have been organised by the Maryborough Family Heritage Research Centre and the cruise leaves on Saturday there will be displays of family tree charts and other memorabilia associated with the various voyages.

I've also spent a bit of time (well ok a lot of time) on Trove looking up reports on the arrival of the Humboldt. I did look at newspapers back in the old microfilm days but it's obvious that I didn't pick up everything! It is so much easier now just putting in a keyword, a date or even the name of the newspaper. I'm really looking forward to the trip and the anniversary celebrations.

From Maryborough it's on to Bundaberg to visit Max's 92 year old aunt and hear her stories of the Burstow family on Bribie Island. I've dragged out the Flip Pal mobile scanner just in case she has any photos or documents. It's funny if I don't use something regularly I forget how to use it! Still the scanner is easy to use and it's just a matter of getting back into the swing of scanning. Something I should seriously do when we get back.

Max's brother is bringing their father's WW2 photo albums up with him when he visits in June so I'll definitely have to do those. That also reminds me that I still have to get my Uncle Gordon's WW2 albums from Mum to scan. I'm starting to hope that Bribie Island does have a winter so that I can stay indoors and do some of these tasks but so far the weather has been absolutely perfect and we are still in shorts and t shirts and I even went swimming a day or so ago.

I'm still rolling out National Family History Month but there is still only a trickle of events coming in even though I know of societies who have already organised NFHM events - but they haven't added them to the calendar yet. I'm hoping a full page advert in the next Australian Family Tree Connections will get people started to talk about it more (thanks to AFTC for their sponsorship) and I know that other sponsors and are both featuring NFHM in email newsletters to their subscribers.

I've been spending some time working on new research guides but you can spend a lot of time thinking and writing and still have little to show for it at the end of the day. Then when I think I have all my URLs up to date I find something has changed - still I would never want to go back to researching pre internet!

The events section of my website has been updated to show what talks I have coming up June to December 2013 and it's a bit quieter than usual for this time of year but then people don't know me as much up this way! I'm happy to have two talks in NFHM - in Canberra with the Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra and also here on Bribie Island at the Bongaree Library. The thought of Canberra in winter brings back some chilly memories for me but it also coincides with a WW1 advisory committee meeting at the National Archives of Australia. It will be a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues. And of course there is the launch of NFHM in Brisbane so August will definitely be a travel month.

I've just downloaded our photos from the cameras and put them on the chargers and am now about to back up the laptops in preparation for the trip. I've got a small pile of genealogy journals and magazines that I wanted to catch up on not to mention all the e-copies on my laptop and tablet! It's only a short but busy trip but I'm still hoping for a few hours of quiet time. Housework in a caravan doesn't take as long as at home!

As I walk in my ancestors footsteps this coming week, I hope you all find time for a little genealogy research too! Until next time wish me luck on finding some old family photos this trip.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Genealogy notes 3-15 May 2013 hooked on digitised newspapers

Well the last fortnight has made me realised what's wrong with living in paradise! Living on Bribie Island is like being on a permanent holiday - the weather has been fantastic so lots of swimming, fishing, walking, biking etc not to mention the pubs and clubs with their cheap meals and free entertainment. Not surprisingly we have had three lots of visitors in the last fortnight (funny no one ever visited us at Hoppers Crossing) so not much genealogy has been done!

As we are about to head off to Bundaberg to visit an elderly aunt to capture her memories of holidays to the family cottages here on Bribie Island in the 1920s and 30s, I have spent a bit of time on Trove looking for bits and pieces on the Burstow family to help stimulate her memory. Although on the phone she seems totally with it for someone who is approaching her 92nd birthday but then her sister is heading for 103 this year and she is an inspiration! Definitely good genes in that family.

But Trove, although wonderful, is a trap. I managed to spend the whole day looking for info on the ten Burstow children and their families and I found all kinds of information which then sparked searches in online BDMs for both Queensland and New South Wales, as well as online cemetery databases in Brisbane and Moreton, not to mention the Queensland State Archives and State Records NSW. In fact I had so many leads I then spent the next day doing more Trove searches and before I knew it, it was dark and I was fumbling around in the dark trying to remember where the light switches were. Two days gone!

If the other half hadn't out bike riding and fishing I probably wouldn't have spent so much time but now that more regional newspapers are online in Trove, I really need to do that kind of searching with all my families.

We went to the Bribie Island historical society meeting and I was fascinated to chat with someone who knew a lot about my Carnegie ancestors and what is in the Society's database on them. It seems they know info I don't and of course, I have info that they haven't but I have promised them copies. When I was doing this research back in the 1970s and 80s the Society didn't even exist and it wasn't established until 2008 which is quite late for a historical society. Most local areas have had a historical society for decades. Again this highlights that you do need to revisit your research as things change, especially over 35 years.

The other thing I realised after going through my paper files of documents on the Carnegie family is that I haven't put all the info into my family history program and I've forgotten a lot as well. There are lots of things I could follow up now that weren't easily searched way back then. So as I sort my info out for the historical society, I'm also going to input the data myself and follow up some of the new leads. If I do that for all my families, my son's and my partner's, I'm going to need more than another 35 years!!

But what has been really nice about this massive overdose of genealogy research over the last few days is that I'm still as passionate about it as I was when I started back in 1977. The only real difference is that now it is more instantaneous and you can follow that trail now instead of waiting for the mailman!

I still have some research enquiries, reviews and articles to do and I'm procrastinating there because I really like the research more than writing but I do need to keep this part time business moving along. Plus I'm partway through a couple of new books which I should finish but I seem to get to a certain point and then I start to procrastinate over the finish. I'm obviously not an athlete as I'd never get to the finish line!

The other half is planning a trip to see his brother and will be away for 4-5 days which will be the perfect opportunity for me to catch up on the business side of things or will I succumb to the lure of Trove and my own personal research?

On the reading side I simply loved the latest edition of Inside History magazine with its Irish theme. I only have two more parts to my Missing Irish Loved Ones Downunder for Irish Lives Remembered which is a bit sad as I've loved doing that series. I took out two books on medieval genealogy from the local library as I love that period of history and have a few Cornish lines that wander into that era. Research and reading - probably my two biggest time consumers!

Lastly just a quick mention of National Family History Month - I've finished the campaign letter and poster and sent it off to all key genealogy and family history umbrella groups for further dissemination but sadly no influx of events on the NFHM calendar yet. The campaign letter and poster will next be sent to key historical society bodies and archives and libraries as I'm hoping to raise the profile in a variety of sectors. So don't forget to make your local society aware of NFHM and ask them to do an event this year even if it is something as simple as calling the August monthly meeting 'NFHM meeting'!

Well that beautiful sunshine is calling me for an afternoon walk to the beach - it's either that or bring up Trove again and I really should get some sun and exercise after the last few rainy days. Until next time happy searching.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Genealogy notes 20 Apr - 2 May 2013 military tributes

Well the last two weeks have flown and we enjoyed our time in Maryborough although getting both the caravan and the motorbike back took us a few days. We also decided it was time to finish unpacking the boxes we had hidden inside wardrobes and cupboards. So with laptops unplugged we have been sorting ourselves out more in the new home and also tackling the garden which is a lot more high maintenance than our previous place.

The upside of this was that we found Max's outdoor work boots which we have looked everywhere for (but not in amongst the photo albums which is where we found them). How they ended up in there will probably remain a mystery but the unpacking of all his photo albums meant time out for a trip or two down memory lane. It also reminded me of how much I still have to scan as I haven't even finished my own photos and albums! Now hoping for some cold rainy days but today is simply gorgeous and I have other things to catch up on.

I have managed to get some genealogy in and participated in the Trans Tasman ANZAC Day blog challenge and my entry this year was on John and Sarah Finn's three sons, John, Robert and Denis Patrick who all enlisted and served overseas in France during WW1. You can read their stories on my website here.

While reading the latest Lost Cousins enewsletter (they have been going for nine years now, amazing how quickly that has gone) I realised that I've never added Max's families to this database. No one has ever contacted me about my own families but he seems luckier than me so that's another job on the never shrinking genealogy to do list.

After we got back from Bali Max had a 'spooky' incident in that he saw someone who looked just like his brother walking down the road here on Bribie. He stopped because the resemblance was too great not to ask a question or two. It turned out that the man and his wife were visiting from England and had been staying with friends at Ningi and it was their last day before leaving. Not only was there a strong visual resemblance but his surname was Spencer, the same as Max. How incredible that the surname was the same!

The sad thing was he didn't know his family history but his daughter had been doing some research. So when Max came home to tell me about this almost surreal incident, the first thing I asked was 'what was his name, address, how could we contact them' etc but in his excitement Max hadn't thought to ask but he did give them his name and email address so let's hope they contact us when they get home. Although I might add his Spencer names into Lost Cousins and see if I can find the daughter. Nothing like that ever happens in my family!

Most of my spare genealogy time has been spent on National Family History Month 2013 contacting sponsors and organising prizes for our lucky drawer for genealogy and family history societies who enter their NFHM event on the web calendar and promote it as part of NFHM. It's looking good so far and I already have almost a dozen events on the calendar but only from Queensland and Victoria.

I have almost finished the 2013 campaign letter and flyer which I will be emailing out to libraries, archives, historical societies and genealogy and family history societies next week. With a $0 budget I will be asking people to print their own flyer to put on their noticeboards and to spread the word about NFHM to their own networks.

I'd also appreciate it if all my online friends could mention NFHM to their societies or libraries because word of mouth is also a great way of spreading the news that all of August will be focused on genealogy and family history! Not to mention those great prizes for participating societies.

The other thing I have been working on is the list of 31 genealogy activities for individuals and 31 activities for genie societies - this will be optional and people can choose how much or how little they want to do during the month.

On the good news front the local Bribie Island branch of the Moreton Bay Region Libraries has said that they would be keen to do something in August for NFHM so that is great. We are still organising a date for me to give a talk and they will probably do other talks as well. So one library on board, more to follow.

More good news is that the National Archives of Australia Brisbane office have agreed to hold a launch for NFHM so I'm busy arranging a speaker and thinking about a program for the launch. It will be nice to see the launch held outside of Melbourne where it has been launched for the last six years. Also nice that I'm organising it for my home town and I can invite all my old genie friends!

Next week is shaping up to be the busiest genie week I have had in some time. On Monday there is the Bribie Island U3A family history meeting, and on Tuesday and Thursday the Bribie Island family history interest group (no website) meets and on Wednesday night the Bribie Island historical society meets. They are all monthly meetings but just happen to all fall into the one week in May!

I'm still surrounded by unpacked boxes in my study so enough rambling and back to the unpacking I go! At least next week I'm guaranteed genealogy time with all those meetings to attend - stay tuned and happy researching.