Monday, 14 December 2015

New family discoveries & other news - Genealogy notes 8 - 15 Dec 2015

This Diary was written in Adelaide where we have been visiting family and friends for a few days. Very dry here with some very cold mornings and hot days. The extremes in temperature remind me of when we lived in Melbourne whereas Brisbane does not have those wide variations in a single day.

Fred and Doug Spencer
On most visits to Adelaide we visit one of Max's older relatives and talk about the family history, On this trip she surprised us by bringing out photo albums we had not seen before. The motto here is 'keep on asking' because even though we have visited lots of times and asked lots of questions each time, this was a first.

Sadly most photos were not identified and she could not remember who people were. But there was one of Max's father Doug as a young boy which he had never seen before and quite a few of his grandmother at an older age.

One photo took my eye - it was a family sitting outside a house - a mother with a baby on her lap and two young boys either side of her. On the back someone had written Ada, Clint, Fred and Tom but no date. If Fred was the baby then Clint was his half brother from Ada's first husband and Tom was her stepson from her second marriage. It helps that there is only one Tom and one Clint in the family as that helps to date it around 1911-1912 but it is hard to guess the boys' ages. Because Tom is in the photo we believe it is in Adelaide and not Tasmania where Fred was born. If this is correct it helps date when the family left Tasmania for South Australia but not why.

On the back is Ada Clint Fred Tom
I took some images with my camera not having the Flip Pal with me this trip but next visit we will definitely have to spend some time scanning the photos, even the unidentified ones in case something else turns up later.

Now to try and prove our theories. Coincidentally we have arranged to visit one of Tom's sons in Brisbane on our way home. We only recently tracked them down and perhaps they also have some photos or other family information to prove this is the right Tom. Stay tuned.

We also went out to Hamley Bridge to visit a long time friend and it was sad to see the devastation caused by the huge Pinery fire the other week. So much farm land burnt out and so many houses destroyed. It was good to see that Blaze Aid was in town and helping the farmers rebuild fences and other similar work. I had not heard of Blaze Aid before but it is fantastic that they all volunteer their time to help communities get back on their feet after devastating fires.

Perhaps the biggest genealogy news of the week was that Ancestry will not be selling their popular genealogy software Family Tree Maker after the end of 2015 and they will only be supporting existing versions through to the end of 2016. Read more about it here Ancestry to retire Family Tree Maker genealogy software.

I don't use Family Tree Maker so the decision does not impact on me but others have been upset. What has surprised me is the number of people who don't seem to have a copy of their own data outside of Ancestry and Family Tree Maker. I have my full family data offline and only some parts of it online in Ancestry, My Heritage, Genes Reunited and Findmypast so that distant family members can find me.

The other exciting news is that Queensland State Archives has a new Executive Director and State Archivist, Mike Summerell who commences on 7 March 2016. Mike is coming to Queensland from his current role as General Manager at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland. Prior to that he was head of the Holdings and Discovery directorate within Archives New Zealand.

Heading home today and back to a more normal routine. Hard to do much when staying with others, and doing family and touristy things. We will do a quick visit to Mum's on the way through and discuss who's doing what for Christmas Day lunch. This year we will have all the family at Mum's - there are only nine of us (all adults no littlies) so not a big gathering but great that we can all be there.

Have a great genealogy week although I suspect most will now be caught up in the holiday season. If visiting family, remember to keep asking about photos and other family memorabilia - I'm certainly glad we did this trip! Until next time.


  1. Nice post

  2. I share your amazement re the photos... we recently visited an elderly family friend, one who had grown up with my father and his siblings. We were shown around 8 huge albums, thankfully, with many of the photos named/labelled, but what really was astounding was the newspaper clippings she had also included, wherever they were relevant.

    Being the Trove Tragic that I am, I had seen some of the clippings, but there were so many others. From them, I discovered though we aren't directly related to this lady, we share so many distant cousins.. all news to me.

    I'm looking forward to the next visit, when she wants to show me the remaining 8 albums... who knows what treasures they hold.

    Have a wonderful, relaxing Christmas and New Year, may 2016 be without illness or accident for you.