Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Genealogy Notes 4 -11 Mar 2014 presenting a life story

Well another week over in the blink of an eye! A good part of my days were spent scanning, editing, naming and searching for photos. The end product so far is a Powerpoint presentation of 49 slides (multiple photos on most slides) to show the family at my mother's 80th birthday party in a month's time. It seems so little for so much time spent and it is still not quite finished as there are some gaps I would like to fill. It might have been quicker just to write her life story but then it probably would not be as interesting.

Photos are always more involving than words and they seem to invoke more memories than words. Having smuggled some of Mum's early photo albums and more recent photos out of her house for the project, I am finding that it is also a trip down memory lane for my brother and I. Sorting through all the photos took hours as there was no real order (most were just stuffed into plastic shopping bags) and then there were the frequent stops to remember the times the photos depicted. Both good times and bad times.

Mum's life has been fairly typical and nothing out of the ordinary - she went to school, married, had a family, worked, retired, became a widow, enjoys seeing her grandchildren grow up and has spent the last few years battling ill health. She looks older than her 80 years and I look younger than my years but in some of the photos I found for the early to mid 1970s we could have been sisters, we looked so close in age.

In the presentation I have early photos of Mum and her siblings, there is the engagement and wedding and early photos of my brother and I, then our school years, teenage years, our marriages (multiple) and our children from babies to adults. I also tried to get photos of Christmas for most years but there are gaps for various reasons. I have tried to have photos of everyone at different stages of their lives and I really do think that the family will enjoy seeing it at the 80th birthday surprise party.

Mum never wants a fuss and for those who might think I have just spilled the beans, Mum would never touch a computer and I do not think she even knows anyone with a computer. Which is a shame as I think she would be able to communicate a lot more with her family if she had an IPad, email, Facebook and so on. Anyway I have another few weeks to tie up some loose ends make sure it all flows smoothly on the day.

I am still keeping up with my personal blog challenge, 52 weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014, and Week 9 is on inquest records.  I have been fortunate (in a black humour kind of way) in that many of my direct ancestors and their siblings or other descendants have died in accidents, died in asylums or died suddenly resulting in a magisterial enquiry into their deaths. Witness statements in inquest files can provide some fantastic information so it is always worth following up if you suspect an inquest was held.

There is a fantastic seminar coming up on 11-12 October. The Gold Coast Family History Society is holding Angling for Ancestors and guest speakers are Jan Gow QSM and Graham Jaunay in a full day of talks. I have heard both speakers before so it should be a great day. On the following day there are tours to the Mudgeeraba Light Horse Museum and the Gold Coast Hinterland Heritage Museum, both places I would like to visit. So we have booked ourselves in a for a Gold Coast weekend.

My talk at the Redcliffe Library as part of the Moreton Bay Region Libraries genealogy program went well and a lady came up to me afterwards and said that she had first heard me speak at North Brisbane in 1981! That is 33 years ago and the only time I ever start to think I might be getting old is when people say things like that to me. Or I look at my adult son. One of the nice things about talking in South East Queensland again is that people still remember me so there is usually at least one friendly face in the audience. The final talk is next week at the North Lakes Library.

Just a reminder that the National Library of Australia's Community Heritage Grants 2014 applications are now open and close on 2 May 2014. The grants are provided to assist with the preservation of locally owned, but nationally significant collections of materials that are publicly accessible including artefacts, letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and audio visual material.

I'm way behind with my reading, both in print and digital but on a positive note I have had new family contacts as a result of putting my family stories on my website and using them as examples in my blog series. It is proof positive that advertising your family through blogging works yet at the Redcliffe talk yesterday only the librarians put up their hands to reading or writing blogs. It would be really nice to know how many people went home to check out my blogs and other links I mentioned.

Tonight is my presentation on the Carnegie family to the Bribie Island Historical Society. In some ways it is similar to what I have done for Mum's 80th. It tells the story of the family but I have also included slides on neighbouring families to make it more interesting to a wider audience. Doing this has highlighted some gaps in my research, uncovered new information and made me question some of my earlier assumptions. I had previously written up in draft form the whole Carnegie story but trying to condense it down into dot points and images really does make you focus on critical points. Perhaps this is something I should do with my other families as I revisit my research? Till next time, happy researching.


  1. Inspirational as always, thank you. I am learning so much from your 52 Genealogical records series

  2. Pleased to see you didn't have time to pine while Max was away.