Sunday 28 September 2014

Genealogy Notes 23-30 Sep 2014 - LibraryThing & Guest Blogging

Extreme satisfaction this week as I am finally tackling something that has been on my To Do list for years if not decades. But more on that later. First up I want to start with some blogging news. Week 23 Electoral Rolls was this week's challenge in my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014. I am a big fan of electoral rolls for solving where people move to.

I also did a guest blog for the Genealogical Society of Queensland and took the opportunity to convince a few more people to start blogging their family stories. Read my post here. It really is a fantastic way to find lost lost relatives and get to know other Geneabloggers.

From time to time I am asked to do a book review and past reviews can be seen on the Resources page of my website (towards the end of the page). My next book review is a bit out of the ordinary as I have been asked to review one of Nathan Goodwin's genealogical crime mysteries which sounds absolutely fascinating. Hiding the Past is Nathan's first book in this series and a review on Amazon said A good reminder that you just never know what you will find once you embark on an ancestral hunt! I know that feeling so looking forward to a good read.

Which brings me to what I have been doing most of the week.

In the last 40 years since I left home, I have carted my genealogy, history and other cannot part with books, including novels and cookery books from home to home, city to city, state to state. Packing up and moving nine times you tend to jettison a lot of stuff along the way, so I hate to think what my house would have been like if I had not had a wanderlust.

So now that we are in the home we are never moving from, I am fulfilling my lifelong ambition to have all my books catalogued and easily findable no matter what bookcase they are in throughout the house. One of the attractions of this house was that two walls of the study have built in book cases, in fact I could not go past this house once I had seen the study which also overlooks the swimming pool area and our palm and fruit orchard. Although the birds are a bit of a distraction!

Over the years people have given me all kinds of suggestions on how to do this but I have gone with LibraryThing which is free and many geneafriends also use. I think there is something nice about being able to see (virtually) what other people have on their bookshelves and already I have two LibraryThing friends.

Setting up the account is easy and to add your books you simply select a group of libraries that you think will have the books and then you enter the ISBN and hopefully one of your libraries has the book and you get all the library cataloguing details which saves a lot of keying in of author names, titles etc. You can add your own tags and there is a private comments field where I enter the Bookcase number and shelf number.

I gave all the bookcases and shelves numbers which allows me to know which shelf a particular book is located on. Many of my research guides and other finding aids are small pamphlett size and hard to spot so this means I will be able to grab something quickly once I look it up on LibraryThing.

So all very positive and exciting and somewhat addictive. I have spent hours doing this and rearranging my books. But like everything, there are two sides to cataloguing your library collection.

I am using the National Library of Australia (NLA) as my main library choice with support from various State Libraries for my Australian books and similar libraries overseas for my New Zealand, UK and USA books. With legal deposit I expected to find most of my books in the NLA or the relevant State Library but I am surprised at how many of my books are not where I expect a copy to be held. With one of my books, in desperation I tried the University of Queensland and they had a copy so universities are now my fall back position.

You can enter books in manually but I prefer to have all the cataloguing details as well and it is quicker if you can find it already in a library somewhere.

But that is not what is taking me the longest time. I am rediscovering each and every one of my genealogy reference books and some of them are quite ancient and precomputer and internet times. It is fascinating to read them and see how we did genealogy in those far off days. At one point I was going to say they were all superseded and simply toss them, but there is some good advice and the records are the same, just the way we look for things has changed. So the weeding and decluttering  is not quite going to plan.

It will probably take me months to do all of my books so I will give updates from time to time on progress. LibraryThing is my new best friend and we won't be parted anytime soon!

For those in Brisbane don't forget the Queensland Family History Society seminar on Saturday with Pauleen Cass (Family History Across the Seas) and myself talking about asylums, hospitals and prisons. Should be a great seminar and if you are in the Gold Coast area, I am also attending the Angling for Ancestors seminar although I am not talking. Graham Jaunay and Jan Gow are the two speakers for that day long genealogy fest so I can just sit back and soak up all their genealogy knowledge! Blog posts to come on both seminars.

Until next week, happy genealogy searching or in my case, LibraryThing.

Monday 22 September 2014

Genealogy Notes 15-22 Sep 2014 more lovely awards & great blogs

Well it has been a big week for receiving some wonderful tributes for my blogs and my presentations. First up I received a One Lovely Blog Award from Alex Daw (Family Tree Frog) for this Diary blog and if you have not seen my response, read it here. My second One Lovely Blog Award was from Helen Smith (Helen Smith's Keyboard) for my other family oriented blog SHHE Genie Rambles and my response is here.

As part of the Awards we each nominate other blogs that we like to read or admire and that  way we all get to find out about all the fantastic blogs out there. It really is good to see so many people using blogs to tell their family stories and make them accessible via Google.

The highlight of my week was finding out that I was the Gold Medalist Rock Star Genealogist in Australia and New Zealand in John Reid's (Canada's Anglo Celtic Connections) annual survey. The Top Ten list for ANZ is also a line up of some of our best bloggers and speakers although a few northerners also made the list probably due to their down under tours with Unlock the Past in the last few years.

All this recognition has inspired me to get back to blogging and I have managed to restart my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014. Week 22 is on Family Letters and Correspondence and I share two family letters that I am fortunate to have found during my research.

My Ancestor was in an Asylum: Brief Guide to Asylum Records in Australia and New ZealandMy next big project is a new research guide and I am trying to get a section each day as well as finalise my two talks for the Queensland Family History Society seminar on 4 October. One talk is on asylum records and I have done a version of this presentation on a number of occasions as it is based on my guide My Ancestor Was In An Asylum: Brief Guide to Asylum Records in Australia and New Zealand.

My second talk is on prison records and I was surprised to find that the last time that I only spoke about prison records was in 2002! Normally I combine it with convict records so my October talk is a reworked version of one of my most popular talks over a decade ago. It has been interesting updating it (although my family stories haven't changed) but so much has changed online!

My talks for the next Unlock the Past genealogy cruise and Norfolk Island genealogy conference in late October are also done but I will probably keep tweaking them between now and then. I have a couple of new talks which is always a little nerve wracking as you never know if people will like them and find them useful.

At the weekend I took my own advice and finally decided to tackle my Irish brick walls (yet again). In 37 years of researching I have yet to learn anything more about my Irish GGG grandparents apart from their names.In my brick wall talks I tell people to try tracing siblings if you can't track back a direct ancestor so over the years I have managed to identify some siblings but never traced them.

So using the National Archives of Ireland for wills and census records, Findmypast for a wide range of Irish records for County Wicklow, FamilySearch, Ancestry and Roots Ireland I managed to put together a reasonable framework for two of the siblings. If I purchase marriage certificates it should prove they are siblings but that won't advance me back. It is unfortunate that Irish death certificates are not more informative. I now have possible deaths for all four of my Wicklow GGG grandparents but unless a family member was an informant purchasing a copy may not actually confirm it.

I have always been a bit of a gambler so I will apply for photocopies (the cheaper option to certificates) and see what I get. Nothing ventured nothing gained so wish me luck. I still have to look at my four GGG grandparents in Northern Ireland but that will have to wait for another free weekend.

There have been lots of useful Tweets and Facebook posts too and quite a lot of these are picked up in Geniaus' The Australian Genealogists Daily which I subscribed too as it usually provides a good snapshot of relevant tweets.

Time for some lunch and exercise - some days it is too easy just to sit at the laptop and do that last bit of research or read one more blog or check Twitter for new sites! Until next time happy researching.

Sunday 14 September 2014

Genealogy Notes 5-14 Sep 2014 exciting new resources

Just back from a relaxing week long holiday at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast where I revisited many of my childhood holiday haunts. Over 50 years on there is a lot of change but it is amazing how simply being in a place can bring back memories long forgotten. But then some things haven't changed and you wonder how they have survived all the development around them. Fleay's Wildlife Park is now under National Parks Management and surrounded by suburbia but is an amazing refuge for some endangered species and they still have their platypus display, one of my most vivid childhood memories.

The only genealogy (apart from childhood memories) I did was to check in with Twitter and Facebook each morning to note any exciting news (more in a moment) and to take time to vote in John Reid's (Canada's Anglo Celtic Connections) Rockstar Genealogists survey. Voting is now closed so it will be interesting to see the results of his third year of doing this global survey. The other thing I had to do was thank Alex Daw (Family Tree Frog) for nominating Diary for a Lovely Blog Award - see my response here.

I know some people think that spending time on social media is a waste of time but it is where I catch up with most of my genealogy news. For example, through Facebook I found out that now has the NSW will and testament books online from 1800 to 1952. Totally fantastic news and now that I am home, looking forward to some serious searching.

Another exciting resource is the 1894 and 1897 women's suffrage petitions which were indexed by the Queensland Family History Society in a project with the Queensland Parliament and now all online to search free. Again discovered via Facebook.

Through Cassmob's blog Family History Across the Seas, I discovered that Diary was listed in Jill Ball's (Geniaus) list of  50 Best Genealogy Blogs published in the latest issue of Inside History Magazine. Given that I was away from home, I had to wait patiently till we got home and collected our mail. There are some great blogs on the list and I don't know how Jill manages to keep it to 50. It is an honour to be among such great company.

One of my Twitter discoveries was Connected Histories 22 digital resources for British History 1500-1900 and one of the ways I pick up these genealogy tweets is by looking at Jill's The Australian Genealogists Daily. I find this so useful as a catch up that I retweet it each day and also post it to Facebook.

This weekend was the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies annual conference and this year it was hosted by the Illawarra Family History Group with the theme Illawarra Remembers 1914-2014. This is a conference that I try to get to every other year and as I went to the one in Canberra last year, Illawarra was just a little too hard to get to this year. However, next year it is being hosted by the Port Macquarie & District Family History Society which is where we almost settled. I think everyone enjoyed the conference as I have seen some very happy faces on Facebook.

This coming week I have to seriously finish all my talks for the Unlock the Past 6th cruise in October (5 talks) after which I am going to the UTP Norfolk Island Conference (another 5 talks). Some are revamped talks but I am also doing some totally new talks and that takes a good deal of preparation.

I also want to get back to my personal blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 and regular Diary updates. And perhaps a spot of research with some of those lovely new resources. Happy researching until next time.

Monday 8 September 2014

Lovely Blog Award

Diary is usually my blog for my genealogy news and adventures and my other blog SHHE Genie Rambles is where I place all my personal stories and write about my families. However I have to make an exception as my long time geneafriend Alex Daw of Family Tree Frog has nominated Diary for a Lovely Blog Award which is really exciting. Alex's enthusiasm for genealogy is as keen as mine and it is always terrific to visit her library and give talks to all her genealogy library members. Thanks Alex.

Here are the Rules for the "One Lovely Blog Award":

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to that blog
  2. Share Seven things about yourself - refer below
  3. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire (or as many as you can think of!) - also listed below
  4. Contact your bloggers to let them know that you've tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award
Seven things about me:

1. Throughout my adult life, I have moved around a lot (at least 9 homes and 3 cities) and recently settled into our 'retirement' house on Bribie Island. Will it be the last? 

2. Our family always had a thing about visiting animal sanctuaries and it is something that I still do. And yes that is my one and only baby brother.

3. I always wanted to be a librarian but after leaving school I applied to the Brisbane City Council for a library position but was told that I was not the kind of person who worked in libraries. Disappointed I joined the Queensland Public Service, got married and a few years later discovered genealogy, which totally changed my life and a few years further on again, I found myself working at the State Library of Queensland with the person who told me that I was not the kind of person who worked in libraries. Small world!

4. Fishing is another one of those long term passions I seem to have inherited and my father was a keen fisherman all his life. He would have really loved the boat we recently purchased to fish around Bribie Island which is where Dad first taught me to fish.

5. Another lifelong passion is reading and I can read anything but losing myself in a good book is a fantastic way to spend a few hours. Over the years I have bought thousands and every time I move, lots go to the local charities. I have always been a member of a library and regularly borrow books but somehow having to give them back seems wrong. Which is probably why I keep buying books! 

6. My son seems to be following in my footsteps and I do not expect to see grandchildren any time soon. My parents used to despair that they were never going to be grandparents as both my brother and I were tardy but then we did not know that cancer would come along and take those years from our father. One of my favourite shots of Dad taking photos of my son dancing with Mum at my brother's wedding.

7. Travel is also something that I have done all my life and I am currently writing this in a unit at Surfers Paradise where I used to go with my family in the early to mid 1960s. It does not seem like 50 something years ago but then I look outside the window and yep, a lot of years have changed this place. Amazingly the Pink Poodle is still here!

6 Bloggers I admire

This is tricky as the genealogy blogging world is a very supporting community and many of the people I regularly read have already been nominated . I tend not to read other blogs as I simply do not have the time but one area that I do dip into is Australian history. So although I am allowed to nominate up to 15 bloggers, I am going to do 3 history and 3 genealogy. But check out everyone who has been nominated for a Lovely Blog Award as there are hundreds and hundreds of interesting blogs out there.

1. Stumbling Through the Past by Yvonne Perkins - Yvonne has just moved to Singapore and fortunately we met at the Australian Historical Association conference in Brisbane in July 2014 just before she left. Yvonne's posts often alert me to new Australian history books that I want to read and exhibitions that I might want to go to as well as all kinds of other Australian history news. 

2. History and Philosophy in Queensland by Neville Buch - This is a brand new blog with only the Welcome blog and a piece on why it has been set up. However it is one that I intend to follow as I recently met Neville through the Professional Historians Association of Queensland and again at the AHA conference in July. We have been discussing the value of blogging and social media and the lack of it within the professional history arena in Queensland so I hope that his fellow Queensland historians take note. 

3. Historians Are Past Caring by Marion Diamond - Marion was one of my Australian History lecturers at the University of Queensland and I managed to meet up with her at the AHA conference in July and personally tell her how much I like reading her posts. She did not remember me, not surprisingly amongst all those students she must have had, but her lectures were always interesting and I am happy to say her blog posts are equally interesting.

4. Geneabloggers by Thomas MacEntee - this has probably been nominated by many others but it is almost the bible for anyone wanting to find a blog, look for blogging prompts or simply to find out what is happening in the blogging world. 

5. Inside History Magazine Blog by Cassie Mercer - one of my favourite history and genealogy magazines all rolled into one and often they feature past stories as guest blogs. This allows the stories a much wider audience as Google can search them and I have had some amazing feedback on stories I wrote that were published a couple of years ago but are now more accessible online.

6. The British GENES Blog (GEnealogy News and EventS) by Chris Paton - I have had the pleasure of meeting Chris a number of times on his trips down under and find his blog an excellent way to keep up with all the news in the UK. 

One final word from me, if you have not tried blogging your family stories, why not think about it. The new family contacts and new friends both in person and online have all made blogging a fantastic experience for me. Thanks again Alex for nominating me for the Lovely Blog Award.

Thursday 4 September 2014

Genealogy Notes 27 Aug - 4 Sep 2014 NFHM 2014 ends

Sorry Diary is a couple of days late but my internet had a melt down (too much use over National Family History Month) but full service now restored. Plus I have been super busy notifying all the prize winners and letting the sponsors know too.

The NFHM sponsors prize draw was done after my talk at Redcliffe Library. Here is a happy snap of the audience listening to my talk on the Golden Rules of Genealogy and Demolishing Brick Walls.  After the talk we had a lucky door prize draw for one of my books and some Inside History Magazines and Australian Family Tree Connections magazines and then some of the audience stayed to assist with the NFHM sponsors prize draw. Good fun all round. Photos courtesy of Moreton Bay Region Libraries.

I received some very excited emails from the lucky winners and some thanks and feedback on organising the whole month for AFFHO. You can read about the winners in my NFHM wrap up blog and it also includes some statistics on number of events and participating organisations. I thought it was a bigger month than last year and the numbers proved that. 

Then the next big thing I had to do was a report  for AFFHO and already I am thinking about what we can do next year to continue to build on this success. All suggestions welcome. 

I am still adding some items to the NFHM Pinterest board when people draw my attention to activities that I haven't picked up myself yet. 

Tomorrow I am heading to Brisbane to give a talk on Ancestors in Church to the North Brisbane Branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland. I have known some of them for decades so it will be a good catch up. Then I am planning a few days of rest!

I also hope to get back to my personal genealogy blog 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 which I had to suspend due to all my NFHM activities. It will be nice to get back to some research and writing just for my own pleasure. 

One blog that was brought to my attention was John Reid's Canada's Anglo Celtic Connections. John does the Rockstar Genealogists survey and you can see the 2014 nominations here. Other nominations/suggestions welcome but close 6 Sep 2014. There are quite a few Aussie speakers and bloggers that I like here as well as some that I have cruised with on Unlock the Past Cruises.

NFHM wrap up has consumed most of my time this last week so nothing much else to report but my genealogy life should go back to normal in the next week or so. Happy researching while I lose myself in a good novel or two and the odd nanna nap!