Monday 23 September 2013

Genealogy Notes 21-24 September 2013 NSW & ACT Genealogy Conference

It's been a busy few days and this Diary update is covering my time at the NSW & ACT genealogy conference in Canberra, hosted by HAGSOC. My report on Friday's Family History Fair is here and my report on the conference sessions is here. There was just so much happening I've divided it up into smaller pieces.

The conference is a full day on the Saturday and a half day on the Sunday which allows some of the attendees to get home the same day depending on where they live. The venue for all the sessions was the Hellenic Club and they also did the catering which was plentiful and delicious. Morning and afternoon tea was a treat and lunch had a great variety of sandwiches, wraps, rolls and fruit as well as tea and coffee.

During the breaks everyone was busy either catching up with others or visiting the exhibitors (see my Fair report above for who was there). I particularly liked catching up with some of my social media friends who I have never met before but instead of calling them by their real names, I tend to still think of them as per their blog or twitter names! Here are a few of them and they have also done blog posts so check some of their conference posts out too!
Geniaus (aka Jill Ball) who also posts lots of photos as well
Helen Smith (From Helen V Smith's Keyboard) also a keen photographer
Branches Leaves and Pollen (aka Amy Lehmann)
Jenny Joyce (Jenny's Genealogy Blog)

The conference dinner was really good - 3 courses with two soups to start with, then either chicken or steak for mains and dessert was apple crumble or berries. Everything came out smoothly and got cleared away just as efficiently. It was buy your own drinks and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The live entertainment was also good but the microphones didn't seem to want to behave so I felt for the performers who just went ahead without the microphones. The show goes on as they say!

It was a bit of a late night, I'm usually an early to bed, early to rise person so I was a bit weary the next morning. I remembered to check out of the hotel and take my suitcase with me as I was going straight to the airport after lunch. It was all a bit hectic over lunch with everyone trying to eat and then head off. Exhibitors were trying to pack up and people saying their goodbyes. I missed catching up with a few to say goodbye, especially some of my HAGSOC friends but they were all busy or celebrating the end of the conference.

The taxi ride to the airport was uneventful, I had time for a quick glass of champers in the Qantas Club then I was on a very small plane back to Brisbane. After collecting my luggage which seemed twice as heavy as when I left, I had to find my way to where the buses picked people up. Brisbane is still a new airport for me and this was my first time getting a bus home. Found the right spot and the bus turned up about 30 minutes later. Then it was an easy drive up the Bruce Highway to Morayfield where I left the bus to be collected by the Bribie airport shuttle who then drove me to Bribie Island, and right to my door! A very long day.

The last two days I've been writing up all these blogs and diary entries as well as looking at all the information I brought home, the books, brochures and my notes. I've also been reading other people's blog posts on the conference and it is good to see what they have noted, especially if I didn't get to the session myself. There is enough here to keep me busy for weeks! Hope you have enjoyed these conference write ups and do check out some of the links, there are some great genealogy sites out there. Happy researching.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Genealogy notes 19-23 Sep 2013 Day One of NSW & ACT conference

The last three days have been genealogy packed as I attended the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies annual conference in Canberra - Limestone Plains to Marble Halls. My Friday started before sunrise as I got up early to make sure I had everything before the Forrest Airport Shuttle Transfers arrived at 5.55am. They had another pick up at Beachmere so I enjoyed the scenic drive till we picked up the other passenger then it was back to the highway and straight to the airport. A quick breakfast in the Qantas Lounge then onto the plane for Canberra. There were no delays this time and I arrived to a wet and chilly Canberra where I realised I'd forgotten to pack a jumper but I did have a shawl in my suitcase.

A quick taxi ride had me at my hotel the Quality Inn at Woden just a few minutes walk from the Hellenic Club where the conference was being held. It was too early to check in so I left my suitcase and headed to the free family history fair which was held in conjunction with the conference. There were free talks every half hour throughout the day from 10am to 3.30pm and I missed the first four as I didn't arrive until about 11.30am.

A full report on the fair and all of the exhibitors is on my website blog SHHE Genie Rambles.

After the fair finished I caught up with some genealogy friends at the Hellenic Club bar while we waited for the Meet and Greet which kicked off the conference. It was well attended and there was lots of finger food and buy your own drinks. Lots of talking and catching up with people.

I have to admit I slipped out about 8pm for a couple of reasons. It had been a long and tiring day plus it was a Friday night and I'm a Phryne Fisher fan. I simply love Kerry Greenwood's series on the female detective and usually I don't like TV or movie adaptations of my reading loves, but this TV series on Phryne Fisher is an exception. This episode was set in Queenscliff in Victoria, one of the places we liked to go when we lived down that way.

Then it was a good night's sleep as the next day was full on and the conference dinner in the evening. Stay tuned for more news.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Genealogy notes 12-18 Sep 2013 Victorian Resources Online & more

Another busy week and although I no longer live in Victoria, my thoughts have been all about Victorian family history research this week. Why? You may recall that I was doing a guest blog for Family Matters, the genealogy blog of the State Library of Victoria. Good news, Using the State Library of Victoria from Afar is now published. It's written for all those who can't personally visit the SLV and it highlights some of the great genealogy resources they have online for free. If you want still more Victorian links check out the very end of the Resources page on my website - it has a list of all my favourite Victorian websites for family history.

Still want more Victorian resources - Findmypast now has the index to Victorian passenger lists 1846-1899 online and I am always amazed at the variety of Australian and New Zealand records that is now searchable in their database - see latest list here. Public Record Office Victoria also has a lot of online indexes and digitised records including wills and probate records so another great free site to visit.

I've always been a fan of the One Place Studies website and now there is a society that you can join if you are researching a one place study. Family history and local history often intersect so check out if anyone is doing a study of one of your places of interest or if you have lots of information on a particular place, you might want to see what others are doing with their studies.

Online e-newsletters received during the week include Queensland State Archives' qsa bulletin highlighting some great new indexes and other news (latest issue here) and Lost Cousins another free online e-newsletters with a broad range of info on the UK and elsewhere (latest issue here). I also received my back issues of History Queensland magazine - somehow the renewal of my subscription went astray during the big move so I have four issues to catch up on with that!

It's probably obvious (in hindsight) that this Diary doesn't capture all the info links I share via Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus and I know that not everyone follows me in all those media so some people are not aware that I was nominated in the recent Rockstar Genealogists survey. This is organised by John D Reid through his Anglo-Celtic Connections blog.

Can't think why I didn't mention it in this Diary as I was quite excited at the time that someone had nominated me. Well I was even more excited this week to find out that I had won the Silver Medal in the Australia & New Zealand section with good friend Chris Paton picking up the Bronze Medal (even though he lives in Scotland). I was really delighted to see another good friend Jill Ball announced as the Gold Medal winner! I noticed that Chris picked up the Gold Medal for Canada as well (he does seem to get around)! Getting nominated is great recognition and picking up a medal is a true honour and I'd like to congratulate all the nominees, and medal winners in all the different countries and John for organising the poll and having a Downunder category.

Quite a few of those nominees and winners will be on the 4th Unlock the Past genealogy cruise next February so I think that's going to be a fantastic trip and I'm already excited at the thought of listening to great speakers and learning more about all kinds of genealogy and family history resources.

In two days I'm going to be at the NSW & ACT Family History Organisations annual conference, this year in Canberra with the theme Limestone Plains to Marble Halls. I will be posting on Twitter and Facebook while at the conference and when I get home I'll write up a report on the conference as usual. There is a family history fair on the Friday and my plane arrives early enough for me to spend the afternoon there so it will be interesting to see how many books I buy! One thing about travelling by plane, it does make you think about how you will get everything home.

I've another great weekend of genealogy ahead of me so now for a spot of grocery shopping and housework so that the family doesn't miss me too much while I'm gone! Until next time happy researching.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Genealogy notes 4-11 Sep 2013 - news from genealogy journals

Amazing another week gone and I'm happy to say I've been catching up on my genealogy magazine reading, in print and online! I tried to make a resolution that I would read everything the day it arrived, no more stockpiling but of course that isn't realistic. Some days I don't log online and I only collect the mail once a week from the post office so already I have mini stockpiles! Still I've tried to read everything that has come in this past week, or at least flicked through it before adding to the reading pile.

September is probably a bad month to start this new resolution as that's when my quarterly journals arrive - so I have the latest issues of Generation from the Genealogical Society of Queensland, the Queensland Family Historian from the Queensland Family History Society, Ancestor from the Genealogical Society of Victoria, the September issue of Australian Family Tree Connections and the Sep/Oct issue of Inside History Magazine. That's a lot of reading and a lot of new things to look at online as well if you follow up the tips you find reading these types of journals.

There were two things that struck me flicking through Ancestor - one is that they have a new CD which is a digitised version of all their newsletters and journals since 1948 to 2011. I love these digitised compilations as you can still have all the issues (without them occupying heaps of space) and it is all easily searchable. I already have copies of both GSQ (30 years of Generation) and QFHS (1979-2010 compendium) journals on CD which is great as every time I moved over the last two decades I've given away my print journals. I'm now thinking of buying the GSV Ancestor journals on CD, although I don't have too many print copies with me as I only moved twelve months ago. I only kept the last few years.

The second thing I noticed was that GSV now have a membership category for young members (18-25 years of age) and they are referring to them as Next Generation Genies. I think this is a great idea and I don't know if any other Australian societies have done the same. Anyone know? I've been saying for ages that societies need to look at attracting more younger members and to start using social media as that is where you find them. This was something that really struck me during National Family History Month and the lead up to it. There are some interesting young people out there reporting on their genealogy research via social media. One person I was pleased to finally meet up with was Caitie who uses Tumblr to record her research, has a Facebook page, uses Twitter and even records genealogy research videos on You Tube. Find her on Twitter here.

Inside History Magazine isn't something you flick through so I've saved that for a quiet time (ie no one else around) so I can curl up on the lounge with a cup of tea and my mag!  Of course I can't do that (at least not easily) with my online magazines as I usually read on my laptop, although sometimes I'll use my IPad. The free September issue of Irish Lives Remembered focus is on Cavan where one of my Irish ancestors came from so that was a must read. This issue also has the start of my new series on Finding the Irish Downunder and the first part is on Queensland. I also caught up with my news from Ancestry and Findmypast and Dick Eastman's blog gives me a daily update - there is just so much new information coming out all the time.

I wrote a guest blog for Family Matters, the genealogy blog from the State Library of Victoria so that should be coming out soon. I was contacted by some distant relatives because they are finding me through my blog writing - my Finding My Long Lost Jeffers Cousins Online just keeps on giving me new relatives despite the fact I wrote it in Feb 2010! I did a follow up titled Letters Home My Irish Families and that put me into contact with even more relatives. The other contact was related to Max via his Barwick grandmother and she actually writes a family genealogy newsletter so she sent some samples and they are fascinating and full of information on the family. So we are signing up for a subscription. More to read!

I also finalised the evaluation report for AFFHO on National Family History Month and included a number of suggestions and recommendations for NFHM 2014. It will be interesting to see what they think of my report and my plan for a 12 month approach to planning NFHM in future. Looking at my diary I realised that next week is the NSW & ACT family history associations conference Limestone Hills to Marble Halls in Canberra. I'm already registered with accommodation close by so that I can easily walk to the venue each day. It will be great to catch up with all my old friends and colleagues as I missed last year's due to our big move.

Last night was the Bribie Island Historical Society meeting which was interesting as usual and we have the Bribie Festival coming up in October along with the 50th anniversary of the Bribie Bridge. We're going to the 60s cocktail party which should be a buzz, pity I didn't keep any of those memorable clothes! I'm off now to the Bribie Island Family History Group meeting where Dawn Montgomery from the Queensland Family History Society is going to be talking about one of my favourite indexes - the Ryerson Index (death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers). Tomorrow we have a heritage walk at Godwin Beach which will be interesting - there really is a lot to do if you are interested in history, genealogy and heritage.

I hope everyone is finding some time for their own research and until next time, keep on top of that reading!

Monday 2 September 2013

Genealogy notes 30 Aug - 3 Sep 2013 Last days of National Family History Month

Friday was a big day with the exhibition launch of the Bribie Bridge exhibition at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum in the morning and my last talk for NFHM at the Bribie Island Library in the afternoon. There was a great turn out for my talk on It's Not All Online: Where Else Can I Look? which is based on my book It's Not All Online: A Guide to Genealogy Resources Offline. As usual I have put a copy of the slides on the Resources page of my website - scroll down to Presentations. There were lots of questions and the Library provided afternoon tea.

But before that I took the opportunity to draw the NFHM sponsors prizes draw and the Momento photobook competition and the winners were:
Winner of the Momento Photo Book competition - Melissa Haddon, VIC
Winner of a one year world subscription - Newcastle Family History Society, NSW
Winner of an one year subscription - Botany Bay Family History Society, NSW
Winner of an one year subscription - Yarrawonga Family History Group, VIC
Winner of a Gould Genealogy & History voucher - Port Macquarie & District Family History Society, NSW
Winner of a 2 year subscription to Inside History Magazine - Holroyd Family History Group, NSW
Winner of a 2 year subscription to Inside History Magazine - Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra, ACT
Winner of a 1 year subscription to Australian Family Tree Connections - Genealogy Sunshine Coast, QLD
Just so those in the audience didn't feel too left out, I had a lucky door prize with a copy of my last book Finding Ancestors in Church Records: A Brief Guide to Resources and some copies of Inside History Magazine.

Saturday was the last day of National Family History Month and I took Geniaus' Bloggers Geneameme challenge. Here is my response here - all about how we got into blogging in the first instance and how and why we do it. For the full list of those who took up the challenge click here and it was great to see and read so many responses.

Sunday was Father's Day and both our fathers have passed on and Max's kids live in SA, NSW and the NT so there were phone calls, Skype talks and text messages. What did we do before technology? To amuse ourselves, we went to various markets open and doing good business by the number of people around. I did try to take him to lunch at the RSL but it was bookings only and then we thought fish and chips on the beach, but all the take aways had queues out the door!  There were more people than we have ever seen at all the beaches and picnic spots on both sides of the Island. Who would have thought Bribie Island got that busy?

Monday was spent contacting the various NFHM sponsors and prize winners and putting them in touch with each other. There were some very happy and excited winners and not everyone seems to have caught up with the various changes I've made to NFHM this year. I'm currently writing an evaluation for AFFHO and making some recommendations and once that is all approved I will start promoting NFHM 2014 so that sponsors, individuals and researchers can put it in their diaries.

Today I have spent time looking at the proofs of the first part of my new article series for Irish Lives Remembered. I've also done some brief reports on NFHM for Inside History Magazine and Australian Family Tree Connections, both sponsors of NFHM. The rest of the day I'm going to finalise my report to AFFHO as I'd like them to discuss it at their next meeting.

Tomorrow I hope to get back to working on my next couple of books. I've got two on the go and they've been seriously interrupted first by our big move and second by NFHM which took up more time than I originally thought but it has been worth it.For those who like stats, there were 244 events held by 91 organisations listed in the NFHM web calendar - I know there were other events as well but there is no easy way to identify all of them. I hope everyone enjoyed the month and remember August 2014 is NFHM next year and the new URL is Happy researching until next time!