Thursday, 30 April 2015

Serendipity & new resources - Genealogy notes 23-30 Apr 2015

I am starting this week's Diary post with one of the best blog posts for genealogy/family history societies I have seen in a while. It is Long Lost Relatives aka Susan Petersen's An open letter to genealogy societies and I can relate to all of her points and mostly agreeing. Although regular readers will know that I am still pretty much a paper based reader but then that is probably because I do most of my reading in bed and the only technology in the bedroom is the ancient clock radio. I am a member of five societies at the moment and renewal is coming up and I am seriously thinking of letting my membership lapse for some of them. Why pay for something that you don't use or get value for?

Part of the Anzac Day parade on Bribie 2015
Anzac Day was huge on Bribie Island and Max also had his RAAF reunion here so there was lots of social activities over the weekend. The parade on Bribie was bigger again this year and it is great to see all the schools involved too. For a small island, Bribie has two primary schools and one high school and an amazing number of children when seen all together. The distance was too far for Max and his walking stick but we watched the parade and attended the service at the Bribie RSL.
Max before the service at Bribie RSL

Last week I wrote about her I was trying to see if Mum was the last of her generation and I said there were two olders cousins still unaccounted for. The very next day I received an email contact via Ancestry from the son of one of those cousins (which was a little spooky or is that serendipity) to say that his mother and her older sister are still alive. Wow. Since then he has updated me on that side of the family as I have not been in touch with them since the 1980s.

Finding cousins (several times removed) is so much easier these days, especially if they have put their family history interests online in a subscription database or one of the free sites. If they are blogging their family stories that is another plus as Google can search and find them for us. I find it ever so much more effective than the old genealogical research directories that we paid to put our names into together with a broad date range and county.

In the last month I have been contacted on three different family lines because they have found my interests online somewhere. The information all three has filled gaps in my own knowledge of the family and I am going to meet one of them in a few weeks to see family memorabilia in person. We live a few hours apart but will be meeting somewhere in the middle. All very exciting.

Serendipity also played a role in my Week 37 Military Histories and Unit War Diaries entry in my personal blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015. While I knew about those resources I had not used them before so if I hadn't gone to the talk, I would not have been inspired to look. We never know when and where we are going to find clues for our family history. If you have not seen or used these resources read my Week 37 post.

Work continues on my Occupations course for the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. When you start to focus on a particular subject area it is amazing how many 'new' resources you discover as one thing always leads to another. This is my way of saying I am easily distracted by fascinating websites and start looking for my own families instead of keeping up the writing. Really the internet just has to be the most fantastic resource for family history but it's not all online yet.

Updating my talk on what the voyage was like for Sunday's seminar at Southern Suburbs Branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland also made me realise how much easier research has become as I first gave a version of this talk back in the 1980s. Newspapers are now digitised and online (but not all), as are photographs of ships, many shipboard diaries have been digitised and again, I was distracted and went looking for information on my families. However, my talk now has some fascinating new snippets on my own research so a win win.

My next blog post and article for The In-Depth Genealogist were finished just in time (end of the month is the deadline). The blog is a series of posts on some of my favourite research institutions in Australia and as we have so many great archives and libraries I suspect it will go on for quite some time. With the articles I am taking a subject approach and like the examples above, I am finding new information myself just researching and writing these posts and articles.

I am pleased to say that some events are starting to come through for National Family History Month which is now only three months away. Next week I will be doing a blog post on it to let everyone know what is new this year and what they can look forward to in August. Remember to remind your local society to add their August events into the web calendar to be eligible for the wonderful sponsors prizes for societies.

It is a very wet weekend here so I have stacked up all my paper genealogy magazines received over the last couple of months and am planning a nice time sitting back reading. I also have quite a few digital copies to read too but sitting at this desk is not quite as appealing as the recliner lounge. I must learn to use my IPad better - I do have some digital books on there but most of my magazines are on the laptop.

No doubt there will be lots of things I will want to follow up from my reading so I'm guessing before too long I will be back at my desk, one of my family history folders on the table beside me, looking up a website to see if I can find anything on the family that I have not already got. Just as well we need to eat, drink and sleep otherwise I would always be at this desk!

Only one more month of autumn then winter will be upon us. But then winter up here is not quite like it is down south. While I miss those wonderful autumn colours, I don't miss those frosty mornings. Have a great genealogy week and I hope you are making as many exciting discoveries as I am. Until next time.


  1. Great post, funny, I was going to post on some serendipitous events related to ANZAC day that I have experienced over the past month. I think the WW1 commemorations, have stirred the family tree pot

  2. I have to agree with you Shauna. Susan Petersen's post was so topical and right on the mark. I think all societies could use her points as an evaluation tool

  3. Shauna, another busy week for you. I too agreed with Susan Petersen's comment on hints societies should consider changing, updating or even dumping. Th is for including this link as I had missed her post. I will ask if our society is adding to the FHM event list. Fran