Sunday 17 November 2013

Genealogy notes 5 -18 Nov 2013 new talks & QLD BDM news

Well I'm now officially a year older and it's been a super busy fortnight, including a trip to Brisbane and a few days with my Mum! I returned the photo album I had been scanning and took down one of my father's mother's old albums hoping Mum could tell me who the family was. My grandmother always denied having any old photos and she fought with everybody so we don't really know much about the people on her side of the family. I can recognise my father as a child and the woman with him must be Granny but I would never have picked it. The older male in the photos Mum thinks is Granny's father, my great grandfather James Carnegie and perhaps some of his sons. It's not much info but more than I had and I still live in hope of discovering what some of my ancestors looked like!

While in Brisbane I was pleased to be invited to attend a users' forum at the Queensland Registry of BDMs. I really loved the behind the scenes tour and the whole process of providing certificates as well as their huge digitisation project.  I have to say I'm impressed with the new online search engine too - it's a while since I done any searching in Queensland and I found it easy and very user friendly. And I'm not just saying that because they put on a nice lunch too! It's really fantastic being able to order and get an historical image quickly - no more waiting for the postman! They even have a family history journal and after a simple registration process the latest journal was emailed to me.

While there I also took the opportunity to promote National Family History Month 2014 and they seemed very open to the idea of doing something in NFHM. It would be good to get the BDM Registries behind NFHM and I love it when Queensland leads the way (sorry but State pride seems to be to the fore now that I'm back home). While on NFHM I still haven't had any feedback from AFFHO on my 2013 report and recommendations even though they have held their meeting to discuss it. Hoping it is soon as I really want to get moving on promoting NFHM 2014 (actually I've organised a NFHM 2014 flyer to be printed in their December issue of Newsflash so keep an eye out for that). Everyone is welcome to put their events into the NFHM web calendar which is now open and waiting!

I gave my last two talks for the year to the Bribie Island Family History Special Interest Group (BIFHSIG) - I would use the acronym but I don't think anyone would guess it. A whole new talk on Searching & Searching (different search techniques) and Google Tools (a revamped version of an earlier talk). As usual both talks are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. We had a lunch at the RSL after the talk and a good genie chat!

I was feeling a bit sad after the talks as I have been turning down requests for talks in Victoria (just a bit far to travel these days) and my calendar is looking a bit empty for 2014. And then the phone rang - Moreton Bay Region Libraries wants to schedule some talks next year and we will firm up dates and places in early December plus I already have some seminars lined up with the Genealogical Society of Queensland and the Queensland Family History Society. And the BIFHSIG want me back too so maybe it will end up being another busy year!

The last week has been flat out finishing up yet another research guide for Unlock the Past - that should mean two new titles out for Christmas or at least before the 4th UTP genealogy cruise in February. The arrival of another royalties notice also cheered me up as people are still buying my previous titles which makes all the hard work of writing worthwhile. I finished some more pieces for Inside History magazine and the ongoing series for Irish Lives Remembered also kept me busy. An email from the Irish Group of Genealogy SA let me know that they are fans of the series and they have offered me some help when I get to the article on South Australia. I really do like getting feedback and knowing people read what I write.

My next trip is in early December - back to Canberra for a meeting of the National Archives of Australia's advisory committee for the centenary of WW1 which is focussing on the new Discovering Anzacs website. Due to the timing, I'm also able to attend the HAGSOC Christmas party which will be good as I really did enjoy my years in Canberra and being a member of HAGSOC. I've also got a trip to the Australian War Memorial planned as I want to do a spot of research there.

So even though the year is winding down there is still lots happening. Enjoy the coming week and try to find some time for a little genealogy research! Until next time.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Genealogy notes 22 Oct - 3 Nov 2013 family memories

Oops this Diary is a bit behind but the last 10 days have been action packed. We've finally finished all the modifications to the side of the house, the shed is finished, the electrician is gone and I can now start to tidy up all the gardens surrounding the driveway. Having various tradesmen on site meant I couldn't hide away in the study but I did manage to get some photo scanning done using my handy Flip Pal. It is so good that you can take it anywhere and just sit and scan photos while overseeing the pouring of concrete!

One of the things I've been wanting to scan for a while is an old album of my mother's. She turns 80 next year and I'm putting together a bit of a show and tell of her life. There are no baby photos as most were lost in various Brisbane floods but I do have some interesting ones from her teens including some early photos of Dad too. There was even an early birthday party (not sure who's party) but quite a few of my cousins were in it as children.

There was also a trip to Brisbane as I was speaking at the North Brisbane branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland. I told them all about my favourite Google tools for genealogy including Alerts, Blogger, Images, Videos, Maps, Language Tools, Picasa, Books and My Library. Most of the attendees had not used any of these tools so I hope they all do a little experimenting with some of them. As usual the talk is on my website Resources page (scroll down to Presentations). I only have one more talk for the year and that is for the Bribie Island family history special interest group on 14 November. It's a two parter - first up I'm doing a new talk on Searching & Searching (highlighting different ways to search on familiar sites) and the second part is the Google tools talk.

I also spent some time doing amendments and indexing my new book for Unlock the Past. Their editor, Rosemary Kopittke, can spot a comma out of place at sixty paces! If I've got a typo, she will find it as well as make suggestions on wording if something is not quite clear. It is great to work with someone that focussed and efficient. I have another couple of research guides still in draft mode and I'm still hoping that they will be all finalised in time for the 4th Unlock the Past cruise next February. I just wish there were more rainy days, all this beautiful sunshine and blue skies makes me want to be out in the garden or in the pool instead of labouring over a laptop!

Blogs that I've caught up on include some of my state archive favourites - Public Record Office Victoria often lists new additions to their online catalogue as well as small stories on various resources. The November blog is on immigration and famous people of the past and they have Dame Nellie Melba and Saint Mary Mackillop of the Cross on passenger lists - see them here. State Records New South Wales (SRNSW) has Archives Outside which is a blog for people who 'love, use and manage archives' and there is always something interesting. I also like their newsletter Now & Then which is for researchers and is published every two months. Check out the October issue here.

Writing about SRNSW reminds me that I received my copies of my GG grandmother's probate file and also the probate file for her second husband. Charles Chick predeceased Helen Chick and not surprisingly, left everything to her. Readers may recall I was particularly excited to find that Helen had left a will as I hoped it would finally throw some light on Helen's relationship to her only child, my great grandfather James Carnegie. Well I'm still very much in the dark!

Helen left everything to her sister Clara and if Clara had predeceased her, Helen's estate was to go to her nephew John Carnegie Davis, Clara's son. Clara was still alive so she inherited but why no mention of James. Did James ever know his mother Helen? Was he simply raised by his grandparents John and Helen Carnegie as their son, but then he is not mentioned in their wills. Yet he did work with his grandfather on their oyster leases in Pumicestone Passage (thank goodness for detailed oyster inspector reports or I wouldn't even know that fact). I'm not sure if I will ever know but this discovery has given me more information so perhaps there is still more to discover, somewhere!

Another must read blog is Geniaus and I was interested to see that she hosted a Google+ hangout during the week. I had every intention of listening in but the builders distracted me by staying late, which meant dinner was late and of course, I forgot about daylight saving time. From what I've seen elsewhere on social media it was a big success. Read about Geniaus' account of the event's success here. I have this neat little device now which allows me to plug into my laptop and the sound is transmitted direct to my hearing aids so I can hear easily. I'm not sure if the microphone is good enough for a Google+ hangout, something to experiment with I suspect. At least it allows me to hear webinars and podcasts better too so all was not lost in planning to join the hangout even if I totally ended up missing it.

It really is exciting all this modern technology and different ways to research now. When I started in 1977 I was writing letters using carbon paper so that I would have a copy myself, and it was snail mail overseas with international reply coupons. You had to visit libraries and archives in person (usually during the week which meant a sickie from work) and you had to find what you wanted in the card catalogue without the benefit of indexes. The microfilm copies were wet copies which have now totally faded beyond all recognition and the staples have rusted! Definitely not the good old days!

This coming week sees me edge closer to another one  of those milestone birthdays but it's also a time to remember my grandmother who died on my birthday 19 years ago. This year it again coincides with Melbourne Cup so we're off to a Cup Day function to celebrate but I still think I prefer all those early birthdays when it was still Guy Fawkes Night (Mum apparently watched the fireworks at the Exhibition grounds before having me that night). Each year Dad used to make a bonfire down the back with a scarecrow and lots of fire crackers (we backed onto bush land so we were always ready with the hose but still a bit risky which is probably why the authorities changed it to a day in June before totally banning it). Still great memories of birthdays past.

I've got a couple of tricky brick wall queries to immerse myself in this week and I'm looking forward to doing some serious research as well as some more writing for Irish Lives Remembered and Inside History magazine. A busy week ahead and best wishes for your research too!