Friday, 6 February 2015

Postcards, NFHM 2015, Congress - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Feb 2015

Another big week as I try and finalise sponsors for National Family History Month 2015. Our first event has been listed on the NFHM web calendar - thanks to State Library of Victoria for adding their annual Family History Feast. There was a Skype meeting of the AFFHO council this week and I gave an update on progress so far.

The first part of the meeting was frustrating as I could hear everything but they did not think I was there. After 30 minutes I just hung up and that's when they realised I was there and called me back so that I could have my say. The technology is fantastic but you do get little hiccups from time to time. Anyway from this month you can look forward to more updates on NFHM on the website, the Facebook page of NFHM and through this Diary. I am again voluntary coordinator so make sure the whole of August is in your calendar, it is going to be our best yet.

Seated Thomas and Elizabeth Price, Charters Towers ca 1913
Postcards was the topic this week of my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015 and I am really glad that I picked that topic. I went back through my collection of family postcards and selected a few to talk about and made some new discoveries which is always exciting. But it also led me to rethink about mysteries I have not thought about in years. Who is that woman in the portrait with my great grandparents Thomas and Elizabeth Price? She must have some significance or why include her in the photo. Why have her standing there?

There are now over 400 people registered to attend Congress 2015 in Canberra next month. It is not too late to register and join us for a wonderful four days of genealogy, fantastic speakers, perhaps a little buying frenzy in the exhibitors area, networking and socialising. It is the last chance until 2018 as Congress is only held every three years.

I have received a new book to review - Jayne Shrimpton's Fashion in the 1940s and it looks fantastic. Some great family photos and some great advertisements from magazines and newspapers. For some reason I always like to look at the photos in a book before I read the text. Stay tuned for that review.

My course at the 3UA on Bribie Island history is going well and even when you think you know a lot about a place, it is amazing what you can still learn. After last week's session, I asked about the Amateur Fishing Association and its records as Max's great uncle was President at some point (that clue courtesy of his funeral notice located via Trove). This week the lecturer brought in the AFA's published history and there are lots of references to Adkins Robert Spencer so no guesses what I am reading this week.

It is also timely as I am finishing up a new research guide on sporting ancestors for Unlock the Past and I was including a piece on Spencer and the AFA so now I have even more information to include. This is a perfect example of why you should visit the local historical society to see if there is any information on your family in their library or collection. By the way, sporting ancestors is one of my topics at Congress 2015, I am hoping to inspire people to look for their sporting ancestors. It wasn't all work and no play!

I have received another challenging expert query for Inside History Magazine which I definitely need my thinking cap on for. The Society of Australian Genealogists have asked me to do a webinar on Queensland genealogy for them in May. These webinars are only available to their society members but I think it is great that the Society is trying to meet the needs of members who can't attend talks in person due to distance or other factors.

On the home front the last week has been challenging. My partner broke his leg in two places while walking his brother's big dog who simply pulled him over in his excitement at going for a walk. So lots of time taken up with medical appointments, driving him places and doing things he normally does around the house. I guess we don't really realise who does what until someone no longer does it. His friends have been really good and even mown the lawn for me. And help and support from the brother, owner of the big dog? So far a couple of cheap pizzas so I didn't have to cook dinner one night!

On the plus side I can now manhandle a wheel chair into the back of our car and take Max for a walk/ride along the beach and he can sit and watch the boats and people fishing, although not quite the same as being out in his own boat. Better than sitting in the house and going stir crazy and thank goodness we didn't buy a place with steps. The study chair on wheels is a nice little vehicle to get around inside the house although some of the walls may need a paint touch up when he is mobile again. The chair is a bit like a shopping trolley, with a mind of its own.

Although I have been quiet on this topic my mother has been in hospital since before Christmas. Yesterday we found out that she was being released and sent home which is what she wants. But my brother is overseas at present so I will be doing a few trips up and down the highway while I try and look after both my charges. Mum's neighbour is very good  and will do daily checks but we are not convinced that she is really up to living alone now. We couldn't even persuade her to have a holiday on Bribie as it would be easier to get her here than Max down there. Plus there is no room for all of us in her small townhouse and we have a spare bedroom here. Mum just wants to be at home, her place.

It is sad to see your parents grow old and lose their independence. As babies we are dependent on them but then we are too young to really know what that means. When we are older, we know the value of independence and what it's loss means. Even Max who is now dependent on me and others for the next couple of months is feeling that loss of independence because he simply can't do what he wants to do. Someone has to help him. I hadn't meant to say all this but obviously it is at the forefront of my thoughts and will probably remain there for some time.

Thank goodness I have genealogy to distract me in my spare moments! Happy researching this week.


  1. Thanks for your post Shauna - I also have aging parents who insist on staying in their home and are a constant worry - I know about independence also - stay strong.

  2. Thanks Helen for your comments. It is something we all have to face at some point.