Thursday 27 June 2013

Genealogy notes 20-27 June 2013 free Irish searches & more

We have just said goodbye to yet another lot of friends visiting us - so many of our friends now seem to be holidaying up here and escaping the cold down south. While I love catching up with everyone it does take me away from my laptop and then I go into email and internet withdrawal. I'm not sure if it's the approach of National Family History Month in just four weeks time or if people seem to do more genealogy when it's colder but there is certainly lots happening at the moment.

Don't miss the findmypast free Irish records searching from 27-30 June - this is to commemorate the loss of almost all of the 19thC Irish census records. To quote from their media release the  "Ashes to Archives initiative which will provide Australians free access to its Irish Birth, Death and Marriage Records. Available from 27 until 30 June, 2013 Australians will not only have free access to over 21 million Irish birth, death and marriage records, but also plenty of useful resources for piecing together their Irish ancestry, notoriously one of most difficult genealogies to track." 

Another new website to check out is the new Unlock the Past cruises website. Their media release says it all but in short there will be more cruises with different itineraries, prices to suit everyone and I'm already tempted by the Baltic cruise in 2015. I've got ancestors from that part of the world and I've always wanted to go there. Although regular readers will already know I'm a genealogy cruise addict. I find them more preferable than a land based genealogy conference as everything is on board and you don't have to travel to the venue each day or wonder where you will eat that night.

It was nice to see that I'm already listed as a blogging partner and I'm one of the presenters on the Feb 2014 cruise to southern Australia. I'm particularly excited to be catching up with Chris Paton again and meeting Thomas MacEntee for the first time, although I feel like I already know him from various social media interaction over the years. There are other new speakers as well as some of the regular favourites so it looks like being another great cruise. Roll on February!

I'm starting to get back into Queensland mode having connected up with Brisbane's Living Heritage Network. It's a great way to quickly see heritage locations within Brisbane and also outside Brisbane. So many places to revisit and even some new ones. I'd also forgotten about the Brisbane History Group and it's good to see that they are still organising events and looking into Brisbane's history. I probably should also rejoin the Royal Historical Society of Queensland too although it's a bit far to be attending meetings.

National Family History Month in August is keeping busy at the moment - the main task is putting all the events into the web calendar and I expect that will get a bit busier between now and August. The launch is under control and I've got all my travel plans organised for my trip to Melbourne to attend the 10th anniversary of Family History Feast at the State Library of Victoria and then on to Canberra to speak at the Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra and attend the National Archives of Australia's advisory committee meeting on the centenary of WW1.

Of course before I do all that jet setting, I'm off to Chinchilla in two weeks for two talks, together with Sue Reid from the Queensland Family History Society. Max and I will also visit Miles while we are out that way. Why? Because that's where his dad met his mum, at the Miles Hotel during WW2. We got some nice photos of his parents from his Aunty Joyce while we were in Bundaberg -the handsome soldier and the hotel keeper's daughter!

But more immediate is my talk on Sunday at the annual Genealogical Society of Queensland seminar. The presentation is all done and I've been contemplating a hair cut but I think I'm in the 'grow in long again frame of mind'. One day I might find the perfect hairstyle for me but I'm not holding my breath.

I should also mention that I've done my final article in a 12 part series for Irish Lives Remembered on Irish Loved Ones Missing Downunder. That will be in the July issue but June is now on their website. I don't really know where the last 12 months went but moving from Victoria to Queensland and being homeless for five months was a big part of it. Looking back now I can't believe that I managed to keep the series going while travelling.

Finally I've been asked to host a Q&A session on National Family History Month for Inside History's regular  Thursday night Facebook session. I haven't done one for ages but it will be a good opportunity to do a last minute plug for NFHM and get people checking the web calendar for events near them. It will be on 18 July so put that date in your diaries. Inside History is one of the many sponsors for NFHM and we are grateful to their support.

July is going to be a big month but I'm hoping to be a bit more regular with this Diary just to keep people informed of what's happening out there. If you can spread the word about NFHM in any way I will be very grateful. Until next time, happy genealogy searching.


Tuesday 18 June 2013

Genealogy notes 9-19 June 2013 lots of genealogy news

The last ten days have been full of genealogy news and events and I've had a hard time trying to keep us as our visitors stayed for ten days and then we had two other lots of friends visit on consecutive days. So I'm behind with the housework and gardening but that can wait as I need to catch up with all my genealogy before I forget! Where to start?

I almost missed Ancestry's free British records over the June long weekend because with people in the house, I wasn't logging on every day. Findmypast have secured the rights to publish all of the registered wills from New South Wales from 1800 to 1952 so I can't wait to see that project finalised! Also FMP have some free seminars coming up in August in Melbourne and Sydney with Joshua Taylor.  Bookings are essential and it almost makes me wish I was still in Melbourne. The best way to find out about all these free offers and what is happening is to subscribe to the free e-newsletters from Ancestry and Findmypast (and of course you need to find time to read them)!

The other free e-newsletters I like to get and read regularly are the ones from the various State archives and there is always information about new records and resources. For example, Public Record Office Victoria now has a new guide on Looking For A Person which is quite useful - Provguide 31.

At night after everyone was tucked up in their beds, I at least had some time to peruse the latest books in the Unlock the Past (UTP) publications series. I was particularly excited by some of these titles as they are on my own areas of research interest. Neil Smith has two new publications - Finding the Family Redcoat: Tracing Your British Military Ancestors in Australia and That Elusive Digger: Tracing Your Australian Military Ancestors and I'm really looking forward to reading both of those. Noelene Kyle is a long time friend from my Queensland Family History Society days and she has a new book out titled Finding Florence, Maude, Matilda, Rose: Researching and Writing Women into Family History and at first glance this looks like a great overview of all the places to look for women. Another must read. Graham Jaunay has another book out on Tracing Your English Ancestors which is arranged by types of records and the final UTP book that I have to find time to read is Rosemary Kopittke's Scotland's People: the Place to Launch your Scottish Research. All publications are available from Gould Genealogy & History.

I've been steadily plugging away at promoting National Family History Month and keeping sponsors up to date with what is happening. Events are slowly going up on the web calendar and yesterday I did a blitz on Facebook to encourage more Likes and to remind people to put their events into the web calendar. There are some great prizes from the sponsors for the genealogy and family history societies who put their events into the calendar and help to promote NFHM. I'm lucky to have genealogy mad friends because they all hit Like and have helped to spread the word more. It's a bit like ripples in the pond but at least the message is getting out there. I'm doing two talks in August - one in Canberra and the other here on Bribie Island and the details are on my website under Services & Events.

More immediate is my talk at the annual Genealogical Society of Queensland seminar which is on 30 June so I've managed to do a draft presentation on Immigration in the 19thC (including those who swam). Now all I have to do is finalise it and make sure it fits within the allotted time (the hard part). I'm looking forward to catching up with all my GSQ friends. In July we are heading out to Chinchilla for a one day seminar organised by the Chinchilla Family History Society and they have asked for two of my more popular talks. But I always need to refresh my talks as websites change so often and there is always new information to include.

I've been following up on some of the new info from Max's Aunty Joyce that we got a couple of weeks ago in Bundaberg and it now looks like that I might be related to some of his cousins through a marriage back in 1885. Talk about six degrees of separation! His Spencer family is from the same village as my mother's family back in the 1850s so I'm starting to wonder how many more connections we might find. When his brother visited, he brought up their father's WW2 albums (four in all) so I have to find some time to go through them and compare them to his National Archives of Australia army dossier. No rest for genealogists!

What I am finding is that my new home is quite a distraction and it's like being on a permanent holiday at the beach. Currently the sun is shining, the sky is blue and it is warm outside. For the last week I have even been having a daily swim (admittedly in the middle of the day) even though we are in the depths of winter. It makes me wonder why we lived for so long in Canberra and Melbourne when we could have been back here in sunny Queensland! No more minus 8 degrees and sliding on the ice and frost to get the morning paper for me although locals are telling us that we will acclimatise and by next winter we will be looking for our jumpers! 

Perhaps the turtle doves know something too. When I go for my swim there are about four doves who regularly line up on the pool fence and watch me swim. Are they simply sitting there soaking up the warm sunshine or are they asking themselves who is this mad woman who has taken up residence? I'm actually planning to put a table and chair up at the pool so I can work up there and I certainly enjoy reading by the pool but the deck chairs are a bit too comfy and I have a tendency to dose off in all that warmth!

Well it's almost swim time again so if you haven't Liked the National Family History Month Facebook page please do so and if you have a genealogy event in August please add it to the web calendar. The more we spread the word about NFHM in August 2013 the more events we will have to choose from and it will be a great month for genealogy in Australia. Plus don't forget that New Zealand also has NFHM and their main celebration is the Family History Fair in Auckland 2-4 August 2013. Happy researching until next time.


Friday 7 June 2013

Genealogy notes 27 May - 8 Jun 2013 - discovering relatives & photos

Well our two weeks of travel went well but I was surprised to find that for most of the time I was without mobile phone access (thank goodness that contract is up in August) and even my wi fi struggled just outside of Bundaberg even though we were only a 5-10 minute drive from the CBD! As it was a family history trip I wasn't too concerned with online access as we were kept busy visiting places our ancestors lived and talking to relatives and looking through old photo albums. I've come home with some cute baby photos of Max, photos of his parents in their courting days not to mention their wedding photo and even some photos of his maternal grandparents. His maternal grandmother's photo album has ended up with his aunt's eldest daughter who lives in Kingaroy so there is another trip on the horizon as that is the album most likely to have photos of their Bribie Island home and holidays there.

My Flip Pal mobile scanner got a work out and the batteries went flat but having learnt from past mistakes I had another set of batteries on hand! Now of course I have to upload all the images to the laptop, tag and label them which all takes time. However the trip proved you really do need to track down all the oldest living relatives because you just don't know what they may have that relates to your own direct families.

The trip down the Mary River as part of the anniversary celebrations for the 140th anniversary of immigrant ships to Maryborough was great and it wasn't hard to imagine what my Norwegian ancestors thought as they sailed up the river so long ago. There is still not a lot of development along that stretch of the river and it was amazing to see the flood debris so high up in the trees courtesy of the dreadful floods earlier this year. What really brought home the extent of the floods to us was the sight of a wrecked yacht in the middle of a cane field. The Maryborough Family Heritage Research Institute has already started planning for next year's anniversary celebration and we may try to attend again just because we had so much fun this time.

Of course coming home meant that I had lots of emails to catch up on and I was pleased to see a few more events for National Family History Month. Some states have quite a few events now but others have yet to list any. It was great to see Australian Family Tree Connections feature the NFHM banner in their June issue and in Genealogy News there is a piece on NFHM and the suggestion that local genie societies have a display at their local newsagents who usually stock all kinds of genie magazines. It certainly sounds a good way to advertise your society and perhaps even gain a few new members.

I have to put a few things into place next week which I hope will also capture researchers and societies attention and get more people talking about what they are going to do this coming August! Stay tuned.

One of the exciting pieces of news for me was the announcement that Queensland now has cheaper certificates ($28) and historical images ($20) which can be downloaded direct from the website. I haven't had a chance to try out the new QLD BDM website yet but I've always been a fan of Victoria's BDM online access and the ability to instantly follow a lead without having to wait for a certificate to be posted. Although you have to be careful to not get too carried away!

As usual I have my e-newsletters  to catch up on and I only wish I had some way of retaining a lot of this information easily although I do save them for searching later, assuming I can remember what newsletter I read it in.Not to mention the time it takes to look at all the URLs mentioned and going off on tangents!

For those who like to follow my travels we spent two days at Mooloolaba (where we almost ended up buying) and visited Underwater World and did a cruise on the canals which was fascinating. It even goes near Jake and Elle's home (runner up in recent My Kitchen Rules) and it just goes to show that local tourism benefits from having celebrities in the area. From there we were heading up to Hervey Bay (where the MKR winners were from) but we decided to spend a night in Tin Can Bay and visit Rainbow Beach as well.

We are members of Top Tourist Parks so we booked into the Tin Can Bay Tourist Park for one night and ended up staying for three nights as there is more to do in Tin Can Bay then you initially think. Next time we visit we will have to take the boat so that we can explore the waterways more. The owners advised us that it is actually easier to get to Fraser Island from there than going up to Hervey Bay so we booked into a Fraser Island Adventure Tours day tour to Lake McKenzie. It is only an 8 minute barge trip from Inskip Point to Fraser Island so definitely a quicker trip but I still managed to spot two dolphin pods on the way over.

The 4WD trip up the beach was great but it got a little bumpier once we started heading inland. We had a great BBQ at the lake and even spotted a dingo walking around Central Station (another tourist and picnic area) and as we came back out onto the beach for the trip home there was another dingo eating a coconut (or at least that's what it looked like). It was a great day and the bird life was amazing and you do have to watch those kookaburras - the man next to us had his BBQ sausage taken off his plate while the guide was busy warning us to watch out for them!

From our caravan park it was an easy walk to the foreshore and again the bird life was amazing and a guided walking trail helps you to know what the local trees are as well as some of the history. We also went down to the wild dolphin feeding at the Barnacles Dolphin Centre and this is a real draw card for tourism to Tin Can Bay. I hadn't realised they even did it there as I usually think of Monkey Mia in WA and Tangalooma here in QLD. It was a big crowd on Saturday morning and from there we headed up to Maryborough in time for the anniversary celebrations. Then we had a few days in Bundaberg before heading home.

It's great being able to travel and do genealogy things together but now that I'm home it's time to knuckle down as I have a talk on immigration records coming up at the end of the month for the Genealogical Society of Queensland and then two weeks later it is out to Chinchilla for two talks on Trove and Google. See my website Events page for details. They are predicting rain all next week so that is perfect weather to do some family history research and writing. I hope you find the time too!