Thursday 29 May 2014

Genealogy Notes 22-29 May 2014 - genealogy seminar report

It is a busy time with lots of writing happening. I always do a first draft quickly then take time to revise and make sure I have said everything I want to say. Then I sit on it for a few days to see if it really is OK. So some new articles will be winging their way to Inside History Magazine and I have almost finished a new piece for Irish Lives Remembered. I am also near the finishing end of the new course on newspapers and biographies for the Australian Records Certificate with the National Institute of Genealogical Studies.

The weather here has been absolutely glorious and you would not know that winter is only three days away. I have been swimming every day and I even managed a bit of a pink colour up today as I did not realise it was so hot. The swimming helps refresh me in between writing bouts!

Trove that fantastic Australian genealogy resource has had an upgrade and you can read all about Trove 6.1 here.

Last Diary I mentioned I was going to the Genealogical Society of Queensland's annual seminar at the weekend and it was a great day. I did a full report on it in my SHHE Genie Rambles blog on my website. You can read the report here.

My next genealogy event is a meeting of the Queensland branch of the Guild of One Name Studies this coming weekend. Really looking forward to that and really happy that they decided to hold the meeting on Bribie Island. For once I don't have to travel far.

My next talk is for the Queensland Family History Society's seminar day in June - Where There's a Will: Wills and Associated Matters in Queensland, Australia and the UK. I am doing the talk on Australian sources other than Queensland. So this coming week I will be working on that presentation, one reason why I focused on writing so much this week. Talks take a lot of preparation but at least I can usually recycle them with a little bit of revision and updating.

June is History Month and I have been looking at the print catalogue of Boolarong Press (a Brisbane book publishing company who support local authors). In the history section they have some really interesting books on Brisbane and Queensland history that I would like to read should I ever find time. My pile of books to read is now almost a bookcase on its own and I have been so healthy lately that I have not even had the need to stay in bed and catch up on all my backlog of genealogy journals, magazines and newsletters. 

One of the casualties of my busy week and other looming deadlines is my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of  Genealogical Records in 2014 which appears on my website. Week 16 was on Naturalization and Citizenship Records and I promise Week 17 will appear within the next week. 

Regular readers will know I am a genealogy cruise addict and my next Unlock the Past genealogy cruise is their 6th cruise, a three night cruise sailing in and out of Sydney. There are no ports of call so just a genealogy conference at sea - what could be better? I am also going to their Norfolk Island conference which is just after the 'taster' cruise and Norfolk is a really beautiful place and another perfect place for a genealogy conference. Two conferences in the space of a fortnight - true bliss!

As someone who plans their life around their genealogy interest, I have been looking at the UTP cruises for 2015 and there are some really tempting cruises but I can't go to everything. No point living in Paradise if I don't spend anytime here! So at this stage the cruise I am really thinking about going on is the 9th cruise, a Trans Atlantic one in Nov 2015. This occurs at the same time as a significant birthday for me and I cannot think of a better present plus I have always wanted to cross the Atlantic. It is provisional at the moment as UTP are still looking at options but 16 days from Southampton, Boston, New York, Bermuda, Port Canaveral and Miami, Florida is really tempting me. It is relatively cheap too compared to some of the others. So here's hoping it gets confirmed soon.

Well enough dreaming. Time to start getting dinner ready and feed the troops. Happy researching everyone. 

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Genealogy notes 16-21 May 2014 - webinars and talks coming up

It is going to be a busy few weeks with lots of genealogy talks coming up. I am excited to be finally doing one of the Society of Australian Genealogists webinars. You have to be a member to participate and that is one of the reasons I keep my subscription but being a bit slack, by the time I get around to reading the news they are usually booked out. So looking forward to tomorrow night's webinar with Martyn Killion on Genuki, one of my favourite UK and Ireland genealogy portals. Martyn's talks are always excellent so I am sure I will learn heaps about how to use this site better.

Then on Sunday I am attending the Genealogical Society of Queensland's annual seminar on Hidden Treasures: Secrets from the Documents. The program looks fantastic with great speakers and topics. My two talks are on the Australian Joint Copying Project and Court of Petty Session Records. I will be there for the whole day so look forward to a report on it next week.

The following weekend the Guild of One Name Studies Queensland Branch is having their meeting on Bribie Island which is very exciting and great that I don't have far to drive! My Burstow one name study is seriously neglected but hoping to find some more time to get back to that in June. No doubt speaking to other local GOONs will fire up my enthusiasm but time will still be the tricky bit.

The weekend after that it is one of the Queensland Family History Society's seminar days and this one is Where There's a Will: Wills and Associated Matters in Queensland, Australia and the UK. I am doing the talk on Australian sources other than Queensland. I will be writing a report on that day too. That is on the Saturday and on the Sunday we are going to Fort Lytton for the annual History Alive festival which is all things military including colonial reenactments. The program looks fantastic and it is years since I went to one. The rest of June is also busy but I will save that for a later Diary.

Events for National Family History Month August 2014 are slowly coming in but I would really like to see that more active. Just hoping societies and organisations don't leave it till the last minute to add their events to be in the running for the various prizes from our sponsors. Two reasons - people need time to put events into their diaries and plan to attend and I don't want to be rushed putting events up as I have to do it manually. So spread the word and get those events coming in now.

My personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 continues and Week 16 was on Naturalization and Citizenship Records.

Most of my time has been going into writing a course for the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. You start out thinking that it is achievable but as you go along it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Realistically you cannot put everything into six modules but cutting back is harder than not including in the first place. Plus knowing the audience will all be at various levels of knowledge is also tricky. Make it too simple and you bore them and make it too complex and you lose them. A bit like doing talks only on a much bigger scale! Still it is a new experience for me and we all learn as we go. I know it is a way off yet but I will be interested in the feedback on this.

It is my son's birthday today, one of the few days when I actually think I am getting older. He came into the world 27 years ago and honestly those years have simply flown past. I have been looking at baby photos, school photos, university photos, girlfriend photos and it is easy to see the changes as he has grown up. He is currently in Europe with his partner so we will celebrate when they return. While he is into social media, he was a bit horrified when I suggested we could be friends on Facebook!

Watching the most glorious sunset here on Bribie Island. Tomorrow I am taking Mum home from hospital again and hoping that there will be no more yo yo visits - she seems to have been toing and froing for months but she is looking better than she has for a while and I know she is looking forward to being back in her own home.  Her 80th birthday party is still on hold and will probably be early June when my son is back from Europe.

Well I hope everyone has a great genealogy weekend planned. Until next week happy researching. 

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Genealogy notes 9-15 May 2014 - genealogy in Adelaide, South Australia

Now back home on Bribie Island after a great few days in Adelaide. It was good to see the families and to watch the grandkids play netball and soccer and to have dinner with them. We even caught up with Max's cousin and some friends too. Just wished they all lived a bit closer to each other, you don't realise how big Adelaide is until you start to travel around it!

But I also managed to fit in the genealogy aspects of the trip. On Saturday afternoon I attended the last quarter of the Unlock the Past researching and writing history seminar with Carol Baxter, the History Detective. It was also good to see Brisbane friend Helen Smith also there and her blog on the seminar is a must read - see here. Alona from Gould Genealogy & History was there selling Unlock the Past publications and I picked up copies of the two latest guides - Chris Paton's British and Irish Newspapers and a second edition of John Donaldson's So You Are Totally New to Family Tree Maker. I must say that all the UTP research guides spread out on the sales table looks impressive, it doesn't seem that long ago that they were publishing the first guide, my What Was the Voyage Really Like?.

I listened to the session from Genealogy SA on what they can offer researchers and I was so impressed I joined up but more about that later! Then it was my talk on Newspapers: Finding Online Family & Local History News and as usual I have put the slides on the Resources page of my website - scroll down to Presentations. I do this so that people don't have to madly write while I am speaking, they can go home and go through it all again at leisure and I suspect after nearly two days of seminars, they were fast approaching brain overload.

I have attended one of Carol Baxter's writing seminars before but I still learnt some tips from her two last sessions on Sensory Writing (how to make it all more interesting using our five senses) and Publishing.(geared more for professional publishing which most attendees won't use but I did find the self publishing tips helpful). For information on the other sessions read Helen's blog - link above.

It was really good to see Genealogy SA there as well as the State Library of South Australia with lots of leaflets, guides and two staff to answer questions. A personal presence is always the best way I think to give people an idea of what they can get when they visit - it can be quite intimidating walking into somewhere like the State Library and not knowing where to go or even if you can ask questions. State Records SA and National Archives of Australia Adelaide Office were there on Friday and had left their information leaflets for any Saturday attendees like me.

We managed to visit all the cemeteries on my list and find the graves we were looking for. So much easier now with the cemetery data and maps all online. I printed everything before we left so we just parked near the relevant sections and followed the maps (although it does help if you orientate the map the right way to start). We took photos of all the graves and headstones although there was no headstone or plaque on Max's grandmother's grave which seemed a bit sad as it was surrounded by some impressive headstones.

From there we went to Genealogy SA's reading room where I joined up, they have some good services for interstate members and I like their online members area. I am now a member of GSV, GSQ, QFHS, SAG and Genealogy SA which almost takes me back to the late 1970s when I was a member of everything as that was the only way to find anything out. Although these days we have Google and the internet but that does not quite match some of the services these societies are now offering online to members.(I just have to give up more lattes (or bottles of wine) to pay for the subscriptions!

As I had done my homework before the visit, I was armed with a list of things I wanted to do in a very short space of time. Thanks to the friendly volunteers I managed to achieve most of it. My most urgent items were some death and marriage certificates and it is really good to see these without having to pay for a certificate. The Society has the district copies which people can use but printing is not allowed so it was a quick transcript. For those who can't visit in person the Society offers a transcription service which is also a lot cheaper than an official certificate.

One of the marriage certificates (a son from the first marriage) gave me a light bulb moment on a direct line. I have been trying to find where a Palmer family fits into the Spencer family and I think this certificate is the key to unlocking that mystery. I need to do a little more research on what I found at the weekend but it may be mystery solved! Interestingly when we caught up with friend after leaving Genealogy SA one of them said he was having trouble with his main family line. He even thought he might be tracing the wrong line so my first question to anyone with a brick wall or problem is 'have you got all the certificates' step by step going backwards. In this case he had only been buying the birth certificates so I'm looking forward to an update when he gets some marriage and death certificates which should solve the confusion.

On the Monday we treated ourselves to a wine tour of the Barossa Valley with Taste the Barossa. They pick you up from your accommodation and then drive you to the four wineries and some scenic sites such as the Whispering Wall and Mengler's Hill Lookout. We had a delicious ploughman's platter style lunch at Peter Lehmann's winery and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip as it is such an historic area dating back to the 1840s. Some of the little villages/towns still look the same and there are lots of ruins scattered around as well.

So a great research and family weekend and I have been busy adding all my new data into my software and working out what needs to be done next. As much as I like just doing my own research, reality steps in and I now have to finalise my two new talks for the Genealogical Society of Queensland seminar on 25 May - looking at the AJCP and court of petty session records. Plus I have articles due for Inside History Magazine and Irish Lives Remembered. My personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 has suffered with all the travels but that will be back next week.

I hope everyone else has had a successful genealogy week. It is such a good feeling when things start to fall into place. So don't give up, and happy ancestor hunting this week!

Thursday 8 May 2014

Genealogy Notes 30 Apr - 8 May 2014 - genealogy research trips

It is funny how things seem to all go together - I had not been to a funeral or a hospital for years yet over the last few weeks I have found myself at the Royal Brisbane more often than I would like and all funerals seem to have gone high tech in celebrating a loved one's life. While it is good to see all those happy photos  (accompanied by some trendy song) on the big screen illustrating a person's life, and listening to the eulogy that highlights so many memories, I also find it quite sad. I am left wondering what I would like to see at my own funeral. A bit morbid I guess but it must be hard for the families to  write a eulogy and put a photographic presentation together at a time of loss. Perhaps as the family historian I should do it all in advance and save the family stressing out later. And really, when I think about it, I am the best person to tell my own story and they can always add their own memories in if they want.

So what have I been doing with the rest of my time? Today's talk on tracing mining ancestors at the Bribie Island Family History Group was well received  and I am always pleased when people say I have given them lots to think about. The talk is basically the same one I gave on the Unlock the Past cruise in February and the only URL that had changed was for the Ballarat & District Genealogical Society which has finally got its new website up (and it looks fantastic). The talk is on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

Last week in Diary I wrote about the Inverell trip and military seminar, and if we had not had the need to return home, I would have liked to stay on for the Australian Celtic Festival as this year it was Cornwall. It is usually held the first weekend in May at Glen Innes (Celtic Country). In 2015 it is Wales. The Festival has been on my list of things to attend for many years, a bit like the Kernewek Lowender Cornish festival in South Australia. It is only held every two years (next one 2015) but some day I will manage to get the timing right. My Cornish great great grandparents have always fascinated me and I find attending Cornish cultural events interesting or perhaps it is just my fondness for Cornish pasties!

Tomorrow I am off to Adelaide as I am giving a talk at the Unlock the Past researching and writing history seminar. This trip I have also left a little time for some research. The Adelaide cemeteries are online so I have a nice list of where everyone is buried/cremated and we will be hiring a car to get around. Although we have been to Adelaide many times we have never taken the time to visit the cemeteries so this time we are definitely doing it. Doing all the preparation at home is great and will save us so much time when we are over there.

I also want to visit Genealogy SA as I have found quite a lot of references in their online database so although it is Mother's Day on Sunday I am hoping that they will still be open. Re-examining Max's families in preparation for the trip made we realise that there are a few key certificates we still need to get and another trawl through Trove produced lots of new stories. Henry Spencer had three wives and children to them all and we have been slowly tracing the descendants with each new discovery giving further clues.

So I have a pile of new information to key into the database - I love the research and the thrill of the chase but am not so keen on the data entry and filing! We will be also visiting his living cousins as well as the grandkids and taking our own happy snaps. Really looking forward to the trip and a bit of down time after the seminar talk.

The latest issue of Inside History Magazine features an article I wrote on Lutheran archives and I was thrilled to get feedback via Facebook from Footnote Maven who is a blogger and social media friend in the USA. She gets the magazine as an e-magazine and I received her nice comments before I had even got my paper copy through the mail. It really is amazing how we can communicate and share genealogy information in the 21st century!

The May issue of Australian Family Tree Connections has my article on National Family History Month in August 2014 and I am hoping that this will generate a lot more events on the web calendar and some more Likes on the NFHM Facebook page too. AFTC is one of the NFHM prize sponsors (as is Inside History Magazine) so check out the website and see all the other sponsors and prizes that can be won this August. Why not ask what your local society is doing (they cannot win a society prize if they do not have an event listed in the web calendar)?

My personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 has fallen a bit behind with all the family issues but Week 15 was on Civil Registration & Certificates. I also managed a bit of a website update (and changed my profile picture) with most changes behind the scenes but it has helped with the rather heavy spam attacks lately.

Everything else has totally fallen behind but that is the nice thing about genealogy and family history - you can put it down for a while and pick it up again when you have more time. I have a nice stack of genealogy magazines to take on the plane so until next time happy researching.