Monday, 6 October 2014

Genealogy Notes 1-7 Oct 2014 Online but Not Online

Another super big week but a highlight was the Queensland Family History Society seminar on asylums, prisons and hospitals at the weekend. I gave two talks Family Skeletons or Just Old and Sick: Looking at Asylum Records and Missing an Ancestor? Try Looking Behind Bars. As usual both my presentations are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. The other speaker was Pauleen Cass on hospital records and her presentation can be found on her blog Family History Across the Seas under the Presentation page.

Alex (Family Tree Frog) has done an in-depth review of the day (read it here) so I won't repeat any of that here. What I do want to say is that I took the opportunity to do a quick survey of the audience and their online habits. When asked the general question is everybody online most hands went up, although surprisingly a few people still don't use computers. My next questions were about who used Twitter, read or wrote blogs, Google+ and Facebook and Facebook was the only one where more than a few hands went up. It seems that most only used their computers for email, web searching and not for social media although both Pauleen and I did try to encourage them during the day.

I also took the opportunity to mention that Pauleen, Jill Ball (aka Geniaus) and myself are the official bloggers for Congress 2015 in Canberra in March 2015. This is the must attend genealogy event in Australia/New Zealand every three years. We will be using social media to promote Congress and its wonderful sponsors over the coming months. But if people don't use social media it is hard for us to get all the exciting messages out in a timely way.

After every talk I usually pick up a few followers or my blogs are viewed by more people so obviously some people do go home and at least have a look. I have been using social media for just over five years now and can't imagine how I could possibly learn about all the great new resources without finding out through social media. In Australia the genealogy community does not seem to have embraced social media. Do people know what they are missing out on?

I noticed this lack of engagement with social media during National Family History Month too. Or have I got it wrong? Is it there and I just haven't picked up on who to follow?

Pauleen also took the opportunity to mention that we are both members of the Kiva Genealogists for Families project and it was good to see a few other hands go up for that. If you would like to join us follow this link. $25 can make a big difference to other families and I have relent my $25 over and over.

A great day. QFHS have really embraced the online world - they even sent Pauleen and I virtual thank you cards by email using Jacquie Lawson notecards.

This coming weekend I have the Angling for Ancestors genealogy weekend with the Gold Coast Family History Society with key speakers Jan Gow QSM and Graham Jaunay. I am not speaking so will be quietly sitting back and absorbing the knowledge. There will be a review of the day coming up next week.

Week 24 of my personal genealogy blog challenge is on post office directories - read about it here.

My LibraryThing cataloging is going slowly and having to do three trips to Brisbane took away a lot of time. It is not that far but an hour there and back plus time waiting around for appointments means that virtually a whole day is gone by the time we get back.  Now that the weather is so gorgeous I have been swimming every day and doing some more gardening. No rain also means time spent hosing all our gardens, thank goodness we have bore water.

It is just over a week until my next Unlock the Past cruise so the focus will be finalising my five talks for that plus I have another five talks for the Norfolk Island conference to finalise too. My two papers for Congress 2015 are due at the end of November and while I have been thinking about them  I have yet to put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard to be more specific.

Amazing how fast this year has gone. Until next week, enjoy your genealogy research and why not try and encourage more of our Aussie geneamates to try social media. If we all recruited just one person that would make a difference. Until next time.


  1. The unfortunate thing is that we are mostly preaching to the converted but the good news is that we are reaching out to quite a number of younger genealogists - anad they are our future.

  2. thanks for mentions Shauna...the show of hands surprised me too. It's good to see more younger genies taking up our hobby though and they are more tech savvy. I also hope we get some converts to kiva GFF.

  3. Thanks Jill and Pauleen. If we get some new followers each time we rave about our online geneacommunity then there is the ripple effect! Plus having younger people involved too is fantastic.

  4. I did the hands up poll at my talk yesterday. Everyone was online, about half were on Facebook and there was no-one who used other social media sites.

  5. Thanks Jill that really suggests that most Aussie genies are not using social media either to learn about new resources/methodology or to look for their own families or seek help online. I wonder why - is it just new technology, or lack of time, or not aware of the benefits or ??? Unless they get into social media we may never know.

  6. I find that it can be hard to find blogs, Facebook accounts etc which are targeted to your own interests. There's a lot of stuff out there on the internet and it's not all worth reading! Anyway I have taken your advice and started a family history blog, "Leaves on my Faily Tree"