Friday 27 November 2015

Momento competition, book reviews & new digitising projects - Genealogy Notes 21-28 November 2015

As foreshadowed last Diary, most of this week was taken up with trips to Brisbane and medical appointments. Seriously hoping that 2016 is a better year health wise. Not a lot of writing done, in fact not one blog post although I am about to send off my regular monthly blog contribution to The In-Depth Genealogist. My contribution is a series of blog posts on Australasian archives and libraries useful for genealogy and family history if you have not seen it yet.

My article for their digital magazine Going In-Depth is also nearing completion. It is good to be getting back into writing for them after my three month 'holiday with a broken right elbow'. I find that writing a regular monthly article seems to speed up the month as no sooner do you finish one article then the next deadline seems to be nearing. A bit like weekly blog posts speed up the week for Diary. Perhaps I need to be more irregular and lose track of time.

My review for the Australian Society of Archivists on Personal Archiving: Preserving our digital heritage edited by Donald T Hawkins was completed antod sent off to the editor. It will be published in the next issue of their journal Archives and Manuscripts and after that I will be able to put the review on my website. I picked up some useful information for my own family history research and there is probably a blog post or two coming up as I explore that more.

I received Nathan Dylan Goodwin's new book The America Ground (another Morton Farrier forensic genealogist adventure) which I am really looking forward to reading. We head to Adelaide soon to catch up with family and grandkids so I might keep it for the plane trip, if I can wait that long.

I also received Hazel Edwards' OAM new book, Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author, for review. It is a memoir and takes it's name from Hazel's best selling children's book There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake. Her memoir will be interesting as I have known Hazel for years and am a fan of her How to Write a Non Boring Family History.

There are some great digitising projects on the go at the moment. I was excited to see the announcement that Ancestry is working with the Anglican Church in Sydney to digitise baptism, confirmation, marriage and funeral registers from 1824 to 2005 and in return, minute books from diocesan boards and Synods will be scanned by Ancestry for preservation in digital format. Read more about the announcement in the Sydney Anglican News here.

I first picked up that announcement via Facebook but another way I find out what is actually new online now is reading the What's New Online section of Inside History Magazine. While some are familiar via social media, there are other sites I would have missed. For example, in the Sep-Oct issue there was a reference to of the Catholic Parish Registers 1740s to 1880s at the National Library of Ireland

John Finn born ca 1856 Ballygannon,
County Wicklow
These were actually released the week I went overseas back in July and I was going to look them up when I returned home. But breaking my elbow, subsequent surgery and recovery over the following three months meant that these records had dropped from my priority view. The magazine reminder had me visiting the site and looking for my Catholic parishes. I have never really progressed my Catholic Finn and Fegan families of County Wicklow since I first started researching back in 1977. Wish me luck as it would be fantastic to push them back a generation or two. I only have approximate years and not sure of the parish and as there is no index yet I have to scroll through original parish registers.

As I mentioned last week, one of our Australian National Family History Month sponsors Momento has a Christmas competition closing on 30 November 2015. Momento is offering a $150 gift voucher for a Christmas giveaway. So there are just two more days to get your entry in. So if you are in Australia just email me at shauhick @ (without the spaces) 25 words or less about "how you manage your photos" by 30 November and you could win. See how easy it is to create a unique Christmas photo book gift, card or personalised stationery with Momento's software here.  The winner will be announced in early December.

Apart from more medical appointments this week, I also have the Bribie Island Historical Society committee meeting to look forward too. Their last meeting for 2015 is the following week and is also a Christmas breakup, bring a plate function.

Have a great genealogy week, until next time

Friday 20 November 2015

Immigrant health, Baltic geneacruising & other news - Genealogy Notes 12 - 20 Nov 2015

A busy week with a few medical appointments in Brisbane which really take up whole days what with the drive there and back plus waiting time in doctors surgeries. This time I took some of my printed reading material backlog and there is some fascinating reading which a lot of people won't see because it is not online. For example, in the Royal Historical Society of Queensland August 2015 journal there was an interesting article by John Pearn Emigrating to Queensland: medical advice for intending colonists. On a similar theme was Duncan Richardson's Breaching Quarantine: the Flying Cloud Incident 1864. It also talks about the health of Brisbane in the early 1860s which was when a lot of my families arrived. Lots of good context for placing my families in that early Brisbane environment.

It's funny how one thing often leads to another with family history research. I also caught up with my National Trust magazine Trust News Australia and in the May 2015 issue there was an article on the historic Queen's Wharf in Brisbane. This neatly tied in with the two articles from the RHSQ journal! Thousands of immigrants first stepped ashore at Queen's Wharf and it now has its own website with lots of Queen's Wharf stories.

Those who have heard my talks in the last couple of months will know that I have had a bit of a family history crisis. Well I have finally ordered a DNA kit from Family Tree DNA and my brother has agreed to do the test for me. This is following up on my earlier test with Ancestry DNA which was just me taking the test. It will be interesting to see the results and there just might be a sequel to my Love Sex & Damn Lies talk which is now booked twice for next year already.

All excited before the cruise!
During the week I managed to write two blog posts - I finally did my report on the Unlock the Past Baltic cruise last July which I really enjoyed despite breaking my right elbow - read the report here. The other post was Week 43 Geographical Places Names in my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015. If I am going to finish the series this year I need to write at least two a week from now on.

Momento were one of Australian National Family History Month's prize sponsors and they are now getting ready for Christmas. Momento is offering a $150 gift voucher for a Christmas giveaway. Only open to Australia so if you are in Australia just email me at shauhick @ 25 words or less about "how you manage your photos" by 30 November and you could win. See how easy it is to create a unique Christmas photo book gift, card or personalised stationery with Momento's software here. There is a 25% discount for books and boxes until 26 November. The winner will be announced in early December.

Momento gift ideas

Further to the mention of National Family History Month, I have some very exciting news to announce soon. In the meantime, I hope everyone has August in their calendar marked as NFHM and that you remind your society, library or archives to have an event and be part of NFHM 2016. It will definitely be bigger and better, especially if everyone helps me to spread the word.

During the week I often look at sites suggested by friends on Facebook, Twitter or Google +. As part of my new look for Diary in 2016  I will be including a few links that I find useful. The hard part will be selecting just a few. For example this morning I have been reading about Rosemary Kopittke's exciting finds in the new freemason membership registers for the UK on Ancestry. After I finish this I will have to investigate.

My next week has more medical appointments in Brisbane but I still have to write some articles for The In-Depth Genealogist and Inside History Magazine. Plus I must keep working on my church records module for the Australian certificate with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.My book review on personal archiving for the Australian Society of Archivists is almost complete and that has given me lots to think about to in regard to my own personal family archives.

We are in the middle of a heat wave here at the moment so staying inside and writing is a good option but the pool looks awfully tempting too! I hope everyone has a good genealogy week and remember when the family asks what do you want for Christmas, think of something that you need in your research. Otherwise it will be perfume and chocolates! Until next week.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Rockhampton Seminar & Travelling the Burnett - Genealogy Notes 28 Oct - 11 Nov 2015

Yes I have been away from the keyboard for a while. A week's holiday (and I actually did no work, blogging, writing or anything much else) at lovely Bargara near Bundaberg. Max has a 94 year old aunt that we like visiting - she has some great memories and stories of his mother's family. We also spent some time with her youngest son.

Keen members of the Central Queensland
Family History Association 
As Bundaberg is only about 4 hours from Rockhampton it was a great opportunity to present an afternoon of talks to the Central Queensland Family History Association. I did two talks before afternoon tea and two after and although four talks is a stretch, everyone was still really enthusiastic at the end. As usual I have put the four presentations on my website, go to the Resources page and scroll down to Presentations.

By doing this, it takes away the need for the attendees to madly note urls, points of interest or whatever, they can simply sit back listen to the talk knowing they can go home and look at the slides again. In the four hours I covered lots of different kinds of archives, church records, knocking down brick walls and finding online pictorial collections. I also gave away as lucky door prizes one of my books and some issues of Inside History Magazine, kindly donated by them which also had people enthused.

Our display of Unlock the Past titles was appreciated and there was some keen buying with authors Chris Paton, Thomas MacEntee and myself as the popular authors of the day. The Unlock the Past genealogy cruise to the Great Barrier Reef next March was also promoted by the Society as quite a few of their members are planning to go on it as part of their 30th birthday celebrations. I am a bit sorry now that I am not going on that one as they are a great group of people and will be enthusiastic geneacruisers.

The Big Orange at Gayndah
We spent the next day looking around Rockhampton, Max was last there with the army in 1968, and we also went down to Yeppoon and Emu Park. As we didn't want to travel back home the same way we decided to do a leisurely trip down the Burnett Highway. There wasn't a great lot of traffic so not a lot of tourists which is a shame as there is so much history along this highway. I was going to include our adventures here but it became too wordy so now a separate blog post on my website - read it here.

Although we were travelling I still followed social media as that is where you can learn all kinds of new information. Only today I found out that Victorian BDMs have now removed the search fee from their site. A quick test for some of my names and it seems to be an improved search too. But if I hadn't seen the posting on Facebook I would not have realised it had changed. Of course these exciting news snippets tend to sidetrack you from whatever you originally started out to do.

I subscribe to the Queensland BDMs free enewsletter which has updates on what is happening along with some interesting stories. Read the latest issue here and it includes a link to subscribe.

A big development, at least for us, is that we have finally decided to get a landline again to have greater internet capacity. The mobile wi fi has served us well but most months I was running out of data and going slow. I am still keeping the mobile wi fi at a reduced level as we still trip around or head down to Mum's and need it then so together slightly more expensive but way more data. I can feel a few more webinars, podcasts and other exciting adventures coming up.

As usual I have come home to a mountain of everything to catch up on so until next week, have a good genealogy time and have lots of exciting discoveries.