Monday, 21 October 2013

Genealogy notes 15-22 October 2013 - Australian archives conference

I've been a bit quiet the last week or so as I went to the Australian Society of Archivists conference in Canberra and came home extremely tired and still trying to shake my chest cold. As it was the Bribie Festival at the weekend I spent a quiet couple of days in bed so I wouldn't miss any of the festivities and I'm happy to say I'm feeling much better.

But back to Canberra which was my home for a number of years and I always love going back. This time I stayed at the Capital Executive Apartments (free mini Kit Kats in the fridge every day) which was only a couple of blocks from the free bus stop that takes visitors around to the major tourist attractions including the National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the National Film and Sound Archive and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House to mention just a few stops. It was a great way to travel around Canberra and to get to the conference venues.

I had planned to tweet during the archives conference but for some reason my Twitter app and my phone are no longer compatible (even reloading didn't help) so I missed out on tweeting and seeing tweets from other attendees. The hash tag was #ausarch2013 so you can see what others posted there, including photos. The irony was that for the first time I decided to travel light and left the IPad at home, otherwise I would have used that.

You can read my report on the archives conference here and I have to say that the catering at the conference and the social events was so good and so plentiful that I didn't bother with dinner at night, but then I was also struggling with the time difference as well. It's funny it took me years to get used to daylight saving, now I'm having trouble getting used to not having it!

The conference satchel was a useful reusable shopping bag and had all kinds of brochures including a copy of Wartime, the official magazine of the Australian War Memorial plus a copy of the ASA's Archives Matter! publication  (copy online free). I also arranged for the inclusion of a flyer on National Family History Month 2014 as I hope to encourage more archives to participate in NFHM next year.

From a genealogy perspective I found a number of the sessions interesting as the National Archives of Australia and the National Library of Australia talked about their future directions. Trove is just going to get better and better and it will be harder than ever to drag ourselves away from our laptops. was the principal sponsor and Inside History Magazine was another sponsor together with a number of universities and the major archival institutions.

An onsite exhibitor was Gale Cengage Learning and most of us would be familiar with the digitised collections of Gale newspapers that we can access with our e-resources cards from the National Library of Australia and our local State Library. It's been a while since I looked at the Gale products and they had paper copies of information sheets including Nineteenth Century Collections Online, State Papers Online Eighteenth Century 1714-1782, Archives Unbound, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, Part II: New Editions, Daily Mail Historical Archive 1896-2004 and later this year they are releasing The Chatham House Online Archive. Gale subscriptions are not cheap and you usually can access them via your local library or State Library and perhaps via e-resources as mentioned earlier. I usually only look at the London Times Digital Archive 1785-2007 but its quite obvious they have many more resources of interest to family historians. Browse their extensive catalogue and don't just look under Biology and Genealogy, there is also lots to interest under History and other topics. Then see what's available at your local library.

The first weekend of the Bribie Festival was great and we went to a 1960s cocktail party on Saturday night at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum. Some attendees came in 60s fashion and that brought back many memories! On the Sunday we went to the expanded markets and watched the dragon boat races and other activities. There are events all week and more markets next weekend so lots of visitors to the Island this week which is good.

All the dreadful fires in NSW at the moment are bringing back the memories we have of the Canberra fires in 2003. Even now I still feel the fear that we had that day when we were hosing our house and gardens and trying to watch out for embers. Fortunately for us they were able to stop the fire from crossing the main road and into our street. While living in Melbourne we were nowhere near a natural forest but I had my escape plan and what I would save all ready to go. Here on Bribie we have also decided not to live too close to the national park but I haven't as yet set up a new back up system and escape plan with what I definitely want to try and save. House fires sadly happen too so this has gone on to my must do list. We can only hope and pray those brave volunteers get the fires under control soon and some rain would be good.

I have emails to catch up on, blogs to read, articles to write and my new research guide to index. But I have my new issue of the Journal of One Name Studies from the Guild of One Name Studies so I think perhaps a cup of tea and a nice read is in order. Happy researching this week.

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