Friday 30 December 2016

Getting Ready for Genealogy in 2017: Genealogy Notes 22-31 Dec 2016

2016 is drawing to a close and this is the last Diary post for the year. As usual I have been doing some reflecting on genealogy related events in 2016 and also reviewing what is coming up in 2017. Read 2016 Genealogy Reflections and 2017 Genealogy Expectations to see some of the highlights and where I will be in 2017.

The start of a new year also means the release of another year of BDMs so make sure you follow up any new clues. Most State Archives also do another year of access openings and Public Record Office Victoria put out a reminder in their blog 1 January section 9 record openings. There will be a full list of all opening on their website after 3 Jan 2017.  
Learning more about Denis Patrick Finn,
my underage AIF volunteer was a
2016 highlight.

Geniaus is also asking us to reflect on how good our 2016 genealogy year was in her annual Accentuate the Positive geneameme 2016. I haven't got to this yet but I usually do participate as the questions really make me think about everything I have discovered.

Through Facebook Thomas MacEntee gave us 10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Genealogy which is a good way to relook at your research and maybe even try something new. I've always found Thomas very motivating and posts like this do inspire. If you are not using Facebook and social media for genealogy then you are missing lots of great blog posts and other online news.

Katherine R Willson has compiled a list of all Facebook groups for genealogy including Australian sites and there are over 10,000 links. See her list here.

Here in Australia Alona is encouraging us to be part of the Genealogy and the 52 Week Challenge which aims to record all kinds of personal memories. Regular readers will recall I did my own 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 which extended into 2015 as I found it hard to keep up the weekly blog posts, illness, family issues and travel often change our priorities. Even so I think participating in a weekly or monthly blog challenge does tend to keep you more focused and inclined to blog regularly.

Max with some of his family history at the Amateur
Fishermen's Association Queensland cottage on
Bribie Island. 
Yesterday we had a nephew visit and he had never seen the family history before. Needless to say he was fascinated with all the Spencer stories, photographs, the previously unknown connection to Bribie Island and the family back in Staffordshire. Four hours went quickly and if he hadn't already booked a flight home, he might have stayed even longer. No doubt he will be emailing me soon as a lot of it is now in digital format. I still think flicking through the huge paper binder is somehow more exciting. Must be something about physically turning over the page!

Personally I'm looking forward to seeing what will be added to all the major databases online, both free and subscription. I've had some wonderful breakthroughs through indexing and digitisation and this can only increase. DNA testing also seems to be getting people excited and long lost cousins found. I will certainly be looking at more of this in 2017.

I'd like to thank all my regular readers and geneapals on various social media platforms. Through you my own genealogy research and knowledge is enriched as everyone shares their knowledge and tips. There has never been a better time to be doing the family history. I hope everyone has a wonderful year of genealogy research in 2017. Until next time

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Aussie blogs, Trove News, 2017 Events & Other News - Genealogy Notes 10-21 Dec 2016

The view from the study window
Last Diary saw me all excited about the approaching holiday season but a nasty bug has meant that I've missed parties, Christmas lights and I'm still to do the shopping. But there is something nice about bed rest especially if you have some good books and a tablet. Catching up on my reading has been good and that includes blogs.

Gould Genealogy & History News blog had an interesting post - 12 Australian Genealogy Blogs You Should be Following which lists some of my favourites too. I am also honoured to receive a mention on the list. It is authored by Alona who has her own blog Lonetester HQ which I would also include on a must read list of Aussie blogs. That kept me quiet for a while when I wasn't napping!

The other great way to spend enforced time in bed is to browse the digitised newspapers in Trove. Last time I wrote about a possible Jewsbury family connection to Bribie Island and I realised it was quite a while since I had done any updating on this family. I found heaps of new references and while I am yet to enter the details into my database and family history, I have had the luxury of simply searching and reading.

The good news for Trove is that in this week's mid year budget the government has managed to find $16.4 million over the next four years to digitise more resources and to maintain and upgrade infrastructure. Wonderful news. Launched in 2010 and with now more than 522 million items and 22 million unique users it is definitely a genealogy and history treasure.

One thing I have managed to do is update the Services & Events page of my website to show what events I will be speaking at in 2017. Additional events will go up as details are finalised but so far there is the Footsteps in Time genealogy conference at Southport in May, a day with the Coffs Harbour & District Family History Society, local talks and more. Check out the Services & Events page for details.

I had plans to do some new blog posts before January to end the year on a high. Now everything is being carried over into 2017 including some writing projects which are not going to make deadline. Since starting to work from home, I had forgotten what it was like to pick up a serious infection from someone else. Of course not having any grandkids local also helps to keep us immune too. Probably why this one took me by surprise.

There will be one more Diary to end 2016 which has been an absolutely brilliant year for me on a genealogy perspective. But more about that next time. Until then, happy researching.

Friday 9 December 2016

Index finds, DNA discoveries & Other News - Genealogy Notes 3-9 Dec 2016

The big catch up post holiday is now over, the new carpet is laid and slowly moving things back into their respective rooms. The study is looking neat and tidy although there are still lots of boxes out in the tiled hall way. It's like moving house and yet another opportunity to declutter and reorganise.

But as always it is easy to get side tracked by exciting genealogy news. As a member of the local Bribie Island Historical Society I have given a few talks on my ancestors who lived in this area from the 1870s. One of the committee members has been working on indexing local land records for the Island and came across an S J Jewsbury. As it is an uncommon surname she checked on Ancestry and found my public tree and contacted me.

Sarah Jane Jewsbury nee Finn, Truth, 26 Mar 1939 via Trove
While we don't know what those initials stand for on the land record (yet), I have a Sarah Jane Jewsbury nee Finn who was my great grandmother Mary Finn's sister. Mary married James Carnegie whose grandparents lived on the other side of Pumicestone Passage to Bribie Island. Either it is a huge coincidence or it is my Sarah Jane but now I have to try and work out what the S J stands for and if it is her, why and how did she come to own land on the island post World War One. You really can find information anywhere, as long as someone has indexed it!

Sadly Sarah Jane lost her son Ronald in 1939 as a result of a tetanus infection and the inquest made the local newspapers. As well as information on the family, there were photographs of Sarah Jane and Ronald.

Another exciting bit of news was that while I was away my blog post on City of Sydney Archives made Genealogy a la Carte, a Canadian blog list compiled by  Gail Dever.  This is part of a series of blogs I have been doing for The In-Depth Genealogist for the last two years. It is always nice to know someone has read a blog post, but to also have it listed for others to note is great. I am know thinking I should be saying that it is Sydney (or wherever) Australia as there must be lots of places called Sydney in the world.

Personally I'm not a fan of organisations changing names and websites but it is the times in which we live. State Records NSW new corporate name is State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales. Thankfully the URL is the same and it is nice to see Archives back in the corporate name. Read more about the name change here.  

There has been no time to do any research,  but Family Tree DNA did notify me that my results were now available. Although I did the Ancestry DNA test  in 2015, I wanted to do the same test with FamilyTree DNA just in case the last year has just been one horrible nightmare. So it was with some trepidation that I looked at the results and they were even more conclusive than the Ancestry results. So if I hadn't got suspicious then, I would certainly be suspicious now with 0% Scandinavian. Interestingly my Ancestry percentages have also changed, dropping from less than 8% Scandinavian to less than 1%.

I guess in some respects I'm lucky that Mum is still alive and could explain my 'surprising' results. On the other hand, if I hadn't been expecting Norwegian heritage, then I may never have known the truth.Still trying to work out where to go next as my 40th anniversary of family history research comes up in March 2017. Where would my research be now if everyone had told me the truth 40 years ago? By the way, I notice that there are now MyHeritage DNA home testing kits so it definitely looks like being a part of our genealogy research in the future.

In the lead up to Christmas there are lots of Christmas parties and yesterday I went to the Bribie Island Family History Special Interest Group meeting. I took along some books and magazines to have an impromptu raffle and there were some excited members while I had some more space in my study. We all discussed Christmas memories and it was interesting to see how many people used to leave a beer and nuts out for Santa not to mention those who left gifts for the 'dunny' man!

Some of us then went on to lunch in the Bribie RSL which had several Christmas parties in full swing. You simply can't go past beer battered flathead and chips!

This coming week is very quiet apart from the Christmas party for the Bribie Island Historical Society so which family to choose to do some new searches on. Trove never disappoints and often I find new information on Ancestry and Findmypast so it is always worthwhile to relook at direct and collateral lines.

Until next time, happy searching.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Family History Fiction, Bendigo Petitions & Family Search Indexing - Genealogy Notes 7 Nov - 2 Dec 2016

Birthday cake courtesy Tuscan Grill on Celebrity Millenium
Funny how holidays always seem to go faster than every day life but I'm back, safe and sound from my decade changing birthday holiday. Even our cruise ship Celebrity Millenium got into the spirit of it with this personal birthday cake. It was delicious!

Three weeks without a computer, internet, phone or social media - I slept better, got more exercise and still managed to be busy most days! Only managed to read, and enjoyed, two books, both fiction but with a family history focus. Robyn Davidson's Ancestors is an interesting twist on how our ancestors can influence our lives and Victorian Purman's The Three Miss Allens throws light on challenges placed on women by society and how easily our family histories could have been changed by events. Both authors are Australian so there is an Australian flavour to both books.

Of course being totally disconnected means you come home to a small mountain of emails, enewsletters and paper journals and magazines, not to mention Facebook, Twitter and lots of my favourite blogs. There is lots of news including the National Library of Australia's announcement that Dr Marie-Louise Ayres will be taking over as the next Director General of the NLA from 2 Mar 2017. Dr Ayres is taking over from Anne-Marie Swirtlich AM who has been at the helm since 2011 and given us the wonderful Trove during that time.

Another exciting snippet that caught my attention was the news that the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre has digitised over 600 petitions from Bendigo and district residents between 1870 and 1899. Currently 284 petitions with 14,240 signatures and addresses have been indexed and are available online. The whole project is expected to be finished in 2017 with over 35,000 names. My families had left Bendigo by then but this is great for anyone with Bendigo ancestors in that date range.

FamilySearch is celebrating 10 years of web based volunteer indexing with 5.5 billion historical records now online for free. I remember this coming in while I was still at Public Record Office Victoria and we made use of it to index the wills and probates that FamilySearch were digitising in a joint PROV/FamilySearch project. The technology is amazing and such a wonderful tool for family history research. You can read the whole media release here and there is a free downloadable I Love Families images.

Vietnam's orchids rival Singapore's!
So after the technology excitement of Trove, BRAC and FamilySearch I had to order some certificates from Western Australia, something I haven't done for a while. The WA indexes are online but that is as far as it goes. To obtain copies I had to print out order forms for each certificate, hand write my details and then surface mail the forms to Perth. The copies should arrive in a couple of weeks.The only good news was that uncertified digital images are $20. With Queensland and Victoria  you can order certificates online and have the copy within seconds, although sometimes that is just an encouragement to spend more money quicker. Obviously patience is still a required genealogy skill!

On the good news front, I've received a few enquiries to speak at various venues in 2017 so the year is starting to fill out quite nicely and not too busy. This year has been quite frantic with 31 presentations which must be an all time record for me. Next year is definitely going to be more relaxed! I just have to remember to say No and factor in things like travel time.

The rest of this month is dedicated to finishing the Education Records module for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies Australian certificate. This is my fifth module in the last few years and I will be taking a break from this too as they are quite labour intensive. On the plus side I always learn a lot myself but with two cruises already booked for next year, I need to be realistic about work loads.

Singapore's most amazing building - a cruise ship on top of three hotel buildings.
We stayed at a place a little more down market!
No doubt lots of other things happened in my absence but for those interested in where I have been, read on. A few days in Singapore then off on a 14 day cruise to Vietnam (two ports - saw the Chu Chi tunnels and Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang and Hoi An), Hong Kong, The Philippines (two ports - Manilla and Boracay) and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia before heading back to Singapore for a few more days. A great trip with no drama until our flight home was delayed - supposed to fly out at 8.50pm but didn't leave until 2.00pm the next day. We were given overnight accommodation and breakfast but didn't get to the hotel until 2.00am and we didn't arrive home until 11.00pm so for two days we were like zombies!

Snowman in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia - saw them in every country
we visited. Who knew they could live so close to the Equator?
We had prebooked a transfer back to Bribie Island and when they saw the flight was delayed they made the most remarkable assumption that we would no longer need the transfer. So there was no one to meet us at the airport - obviously we had to arrive back sometime, even if it was the evening instead of the morning! Being stranded at Brisbane airport late at night is no fun and perhaps travel insurance would have covered the rather large cost of a taxi to Bribie but I recently put Uber on my phone (thankfully I took it with me in case I needed it on return). Within 7 minutes we had a Uber driver happy to take us home and the cost was quite a bit cheaper than our usual Island airport transfer. I know who we will be using next time!
Entrance to the largest shopping centre in Manilla -
time to get out our Christmas 'decs' but where to find a snowman?
Anyway it is now back to a more quiet lifestyle in the lead up to Christmas. Until next time, have a great genealogy week.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Dentists, Cornwall & Other News - Genealogy Notes 30 Oct - 6 Nov 2016

My first overseas trip in 1975
With Melbourne Cup, my birthday and getting ready for a holiday it has been pretty much a non genealogy week at least on my own family history research. I have been busy finalising some client reports so that I can go away with a clear conscious.

My December article for Going In-Depth is already there and I probably should also do the December blog post to avoid a mad rush when I get back. Remember you can see a few free issues from 2013 under the Back Issues link. There has been another Q&A for Family Tree Magazine UK and I'm always amazed at some of the brick walls people encounter.

I've also been catching up on watching the latest Australian series of Who Do You Think You Are which I have enjoyed a lot. One celebrity even has a dentist in the family and as Max comes from a chemist/dentist UK family I discovered some new places to look. The British Dental Association has an online museum and there are all kinds of fascinating things to look at and read about. Even if your ancestor was not the dentist, they may have gone to one. Did you know that toothbrushes as we know them only appeared about 200 years ago and even then they were usually too expensive for ordinary folk.

Thanks to Facebook I discovered the Cornwall Forever website and its down to fully explore when I return. It looks at the people, places, history and all kinds of other interesting facts. The current series of Poldark has also been a must watch as I imagine my own Cornish tin miners working in the mines. With the food shortages, lack of jobs and the incredible winters depicted in the series it is little wonder that so many of them came out to South Australia in the early years.

The Office view
When we moved here we decided we could live with the carpet. Four years on we still haven't managed to get it clean (must be the black sand although the beaches are white) and the original cream colour is not what it was when the house was first built. The front lounge is OK as I don't think they ever used that room and we don't either. So the four bedrooms are down to be recarpeted on our return. No big drama except that I have to move the big bookcase in the third bedroom and clean out everything in my study - bookcases, filing cabinets, desk and everything else. It's just like having to move again!

The Office view
Looking around me I can't imagine how I have managed to accumulate so much more 'stuff' since I first unpacked here four years ago. For a person who keeps saying no more books and magazines I seem to be some sort of magnet for them. Speaking of magnets, even the filing cabinets are again covered in magnets from my travels in the last few years. The rest of them are still unpacked in the wardrobe. I started collecting them when I moved to Canberra in July 1999, must have been for something to remember during the cold dark winters!

This post includes two views from my study window. And people wonder why we left down south?

There may be another Diary before I leave but possibly not as there are only three days left  and I'm still hoping for a trip up to Fort Bribie depending on the tides. After my holiday with no work, not even emails, I will be totally relaxed and looking to do some serious family history in the lead up to Christmas. I find that if I can take something along, almost like show and tell, I can get other family members to remember things.

Have a great genealogy few weeks and I'll be back soon.

Saturday 29 October 2016

Specialist websites, NAA charges & Other News - Genealogy Notes 22-29 Oct 2016

It's been a strange week - it feels like I'm on a treadmill and not going anywhere. Or a Groundhog day. Still we can't always progress in leaps and bounds.

Dorcas Trevaskis
Following up on one of my discoveries from the recent Unlock the Past expo in Adelaide, I previewed Verity's soon to be published Veryhistoric Yorke Peninsula website (stand by for the URL) as my GG Grandparents James Henry Trevaskis and Elizabeth Rosewarne married there in 1865 and my G Grandmother Dorcas Trevaskis was born there the following year. I first met Verity on an Unlock the Past cruise so she was aware of my family interest in the area and I knew that she was into One Place Studies. It is simply amazing how much she has pulled together including photographs and newspaper articles for some of the places on the Yorke Peninsula. It is a work in progress and like anything, some places have more information than others. There are also links to sites of interest for all South Australia.

Her other website Dusty Docs is also quite amazing and I had thought it was only for the UK and Ireland but there are also pages for Australia and New Zealand. Just go to the Choose a Country option and both are in the drop down menu. I always find portal sites fascinating as the compilers bring together all kinds of websites, some of which are obvious and others you would probably never think to look for or even stumble over. Of course once you start exploring unfamiliar links, there goes a few hours!

It is coming up for two years since I started writing articles and blog posts on Australasian genealogy topics for the digital genealogy magazine Going In-Depth, published by the The In-Depth Genealogist. Although published in America, it has authors from around the world so that in any issue there can be lots of interest. As usual I was behind in my reading, or even flicking through, so I was unaware that many of my articles actually make the front cover. I was quite chuffed (is that a word) and like all writers and bloggers, I often wonder does anyone read what I write. To be featured on the front cover is a tangible expression that people like my topics.

There is a six month exclusivity period with the publishers but after that I am free to do what I like with my work. So I have over 12 months of articles and blogs that I am thinking of updating (if necessary) and putting on my website for wider use. I've covered lots of Australian archives and libraries as well as some of the usual, and not so usual, genealogy topics. This has appeal as I'm not writing totally from scratch but it will also be a useful measure to see how much has changed since I first wrote the piece.

The big news this week is the increase in the National Archives of Australia's copying charges - see Fact Sheet 51 for the new prices which are effective from 24 October 2016. There has been a sharp increase in the cost of files between 11 to 100 pages which is probably a truer reflection of the costs to digitise the files. If you can visit the Archives office where the records are, you can usually use your own digital camera to take copies. However, if you can't visit, then depending on what you are researching it may be cheaper to get a local record agent or whoever to look at the file first.

Me and my baby brother
This coming week we have Halloween (yes even on Bribie Island), Melbourne Cup and my birthday which used to be the old Guy Fawkes night. Apparently Mum watched the fireworks from her hospital window before giving birth to me! I have some good early birthday memories from when you could have bonfires and fireworks in your own back yard. It was never the same after they moved it to June and then eventually banned it.

Perhaps I'm just suffering birthday blues or Mum continually telling me she can't have a ?? year old daughter is having an effect. Apparently I'm making her feel old! Mind you I'm wondering where all those years have gone too. A good reminder to get all those family stories documented now before time speeds by and our memories fade.

Have a good genealogy week and happy searching.

Thursday 20 October 2016

Victorian Inquests, Facebook & Other News - Genealogy Notes 15-21 Oct 2016

Another big week. Lots of exciting news including that one of my talk proposals for the Footsteps in Time  genealogy conference on the Gold Coast in May 2017 was accepted. That means I have to send off the photo and short biog to the Committee and the deadline is 30 October. Hopefully that means the conference program will be up on their website some time in November. Being so close to home I was always going to attend, but the program is also a big attraction. Can't wait to see who else is speaking.

Towards the end of my time with Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) we were digitising inquest files in collaboration with FamilySearch. It was exciting to read Suzie Zada's blog post Victoria, Inquest Deposition Files 1840-1925 online. The project was huge so nice to see that we can start to see some of the files. Suzie's post was also a reminder that PROV has a new Beta website. On first glance it looks more exciting and inviting but I haven't had a reason to look for anything yet.

I personally hate new websites because it can be a challenge to find information you could once find easily. A good example is State Records New South Wales new website which thankfully they are working towards getting things right although I still struggle to find things. For example, I had difficulty finding their guides on asylums, not under A, not under H, but under M for Mental Health Facilities. Some asylums are benevolent, destitute or children so it seems odd to now put them all under M and not A for the more generic asylums. Even an old fashioned see reference would help. I liked them on the old site.

Another blog post that I liked this week was Alona's  Update Australian Facebook + Genealogy. Alona has been compiling a list of all Australian Facebook sites that relate to genealogy and family history. It is quite amazing how many there are and how much traffic some of them get. Lots of people are asking for advice and making connections online.

But like anything online you do need to check that what you have been told is correct and follow through with original records. I remember one time someone told me that they had been advised that a particular series of records had been destroyed. Having worked in archives for most of my life that seemed strange as they were significant records, so I checked the catalogue and easily found the series which had been indexed and I was able to give the person a direct reference to ask for. A bonus for me was that I hadn't thought to look at that series myself, and I found a file for my mother in law.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of hearing Paul O'Keefe talking about his family connection to Ned Kelly. From memory the talk was called The Girl Who Loved Ned Kelly and it was the story of Ettie Hart, Paul's great great grandmother. It was fascinating and I'm pleased to see that the whole story is now a musical Ned Kelly My Love and showing in Brunswick, Melbourne in November. One of the few times I wish I was still living down south!

Some of my ancestors lived interesting lives but no one is going to write books or musicals about them. Therefore it is always exciting to see this happen to people I know.

Tomorrow I'm going on the Kookaburra River Queen, a paddle wheeler that goes up and down the Brisbane River while offering morning and afternoon teas, lunches and dinners. We are down for the buffet lunch for Chris' Blarney lunch. Chris writes a number of blogs (how does she keep them all up) but I particularly follow her That Moment in Time which is a weekly round of interesting blogs, Irish news, what's new on Findmypast and other places. If you are short of time it's a good place to look. I know a few of the people going but others will be new. It should be a good day and the weather is fantastic at the moment.

Lots of genealogy reports, articles and blog posts coming up again this week. Some weeks there is nothing but then it gets super busy with requests. Still I love challenges. Have another great week of genealogy searching. Until next time, good luck.

Thursday 13 October 2016

Adelaide Expo report, Book review & Other News - Genealogy Notes 8-14 Oct 2016

My little trip to the Unlock the Past Genealogy & History Expo in Adelaide last weekend was fantastic but not without drama. I'm actually wondering if they are good for my health or am I just a little accident prone. We flew in on Thursday afternoon and I noticed that the rings on my fingers were very tight and there was a bit of swelling. My partner was the same and we both thought it would go down in the evening as Adelaide was hot and humid that afternoon.

Before bed I managed to get all but one ring, my engagement ring, off. The finger was still swollen and the ring was very tight. Hoping that all would be well in the morning we went to sleep until I woke up in a fair bit of pain and an extremely swollen finger about 12.30 am. We didn't hire a car so we couldn't drive to a hospital and there was no night reception so after a chat with the Ambulance folk they suggested we probably needed the Fire Service to cut the ring off. To cut a long story short, I was the one wearing only a nightie, with bare feet on the footpath on Anzac Highway in the wee hours of the morning while the lovely firemen worked every so carefully to cut me free without further damage to my finger. While I was extremely embarrassed at having to call on their services, they graciously said it was good to come out and be able to help someone.  Emergency services people really are wonderful. Thank you all.

Thankfully the rest of the weekend went better and you can read my Day One and Day Two reports for all the details. It really was a good event with lots of lectures, exhibitors and networking with friends and colleagues. My partner spent the time with his son and grandkids so a great weekend all round.

While in Adelaide I went without checking emails, spent practically no time on social media and generally did things the old fashioned way. I managed to read Nathan Dylan Goodwin's new book The Spyglass File and you can read my review here. The trouble with his fictional forensic genealogist Morton Farrier is that I want to read all his adventures straight away but of course, each book takes time to research and write. If you are only just discovering Nathan's books, there are three earlier Morton Farrier adventures and a novella. May the fifth book appear as soon as possible.

The University of Tasmania is offering a family history unit over Spring and Summer as part of their Diploma of Family History, entitled 'Writing Family History'. The unit is fully online and has a 100% HECS scholarship for domestic students, meaning that you will not incur a tuition fee or debt for studying the unit. It provides an introduction to writing non fictional and fictional narratives based on genealogical records. Applications are open now and you can apply here.

I'm thinking of enrolling in this unit but the last time I enrolled in one of their family history subjects I broke my right elbow (on another Unlock the Past event) and had to withdraw. Thanks to the 'firies' I still have my finger on my left hand so perhaps all will be well this time.

Last night I gave a presentation to the Bribie Island Historical Society on the early Presidents of the Amateur Fishermen's Association of Queensland, giving it a family history twist. There was lots of interest and questions and my research on the Presidents will expand to take in all the suggestions. It was my last talk for the year. A quick count shows that I did 28 presentations in 2016, that may be an all time record and they can be seen on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

It's been a full on week and I'm still catching up on research reports, blog and article writing, and the online Education Records module. This week will also have my fingers on the keyboard as I have a holiday coming up in November and I want to go away with a clean desk!

Until next time, have another great week geneasearching.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Genealogy Expo Bound & Other News - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Oct 2016

This Diary post is being written in advance as I am about to leave for Adelaide and the Unlock the Past Adelaide expo on Friday and Saturday. It will be genearaging while you read this. Wondering if this will get me another entry in Geniaus' geneadictionary? Last week's geneaenvy made it and if you haven't caught up with Geniaus' latest inclusion, read it here.

I'm giving two talks at the Expo - one on digitised newspapers which seems to be the most popular talk after the organisers did a survey of who was attending what session. Sadly my other talk on sporting ancestors didn't poll as well and I'm now in a smaller room. Most people automatically assume they have no sporting ancestors but the reality is that they have probably never looked. It's not just cricket! All those fishermen, hunters, shooters, swimmers and others must belong to someone. My book is available from Gould Genealogy & History and on sale at the Expo.

Usually I try to do daily posts when I attend these types of events, but since breaking my right elbow last year travel has been more complicated. It's hard to tow a suitcase, laptop and handbag with only one arm so I need to become more techno with the tablet. I have an old model IPad but was given a smaller Android tablet which I haven't quite got the hang of yet.

I could do photos easily with the IPad but the new tablet only seems to take selfies and I'm not quite into that. You can't seem to turn it around and take photos and see what's in the frame. Others have looked and confirmed its not just me being silly. I could use my phone but then I have to get my reading glasses out and as they are a new addition to my wardrobe, I quite often find they are at home!

There will be a full report once I get back but in the meantime I'm sure there will be lots of tweets and Facebook posts from other geneabloggers at the Expo. As well as local South Australians, I know others travelling from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria so it will be a busy time with all the talks, exhibitors and catching up with geneafriends.

If you want time to go fast then get involved in following a daily blog or challenge. I'm a fan of Amy Johnson Crow and she is currently doing 31 Days to Better Genealogy with a different post each day. It's National Family History Month over in the USA and it's similar to what I have done here as a NFHM online event for the last few years. The timing is not great for me with the trip to Adelaide and other projects but each day gives new ideas from someone else's perspective. I can always follow up at a more leisurely pace. The first five days have gone so quick that when I see the email pop up I can't believe it is 24 hours later!

This week saw me send off my monthly blog and article for The In-Depth Genealogist. These are always on Australasian topics and the blog posts tend to favour archives and libraries (no surprise there) and what you can use online.

Max and I as part of the 200th anniversary of
the closure of the First Settlement 2007

We are thinking of going back to Norfolk Island (for a third trip) with some of our Bribie friends. It seems we have raved so much they now all want to experience it themselves. A friend on Norfolk Island reminded me that next year is the 10th anniversary of our convict reunion over there. Seems like 2017 is the year to go back but where have the last 10 years gone?

Last week the family were hassling me about Christmas but now they seem to have twigged that I'm about to enter a new decade, which I had thought I could slip quietly into. I wonder if the swinging 60s still applies or, now that 60 is the new 40, is it back to the 40s? Not sure that I could deal with another mid life crisis.

Either way over the last few weeks of my 50s I thought it might be interesting to try and find photographs from each decade. This might keep the family amused if they insist on the big party. The hard part is that having been a gypsy for a good part of my life, there is not a great photographic store to choose from. Perhaps some of you who have known me through family history for the last 40 years have some interesting photos of me?

Have a great genealogy week and if you are in Adelaide, do say hello. Happy searching until next time.

Friday 30 September 2016

Geneaenvy, research queries & other news - Genealogy Notes 22-30 Sep 2016

Geneaenvy - I'm not sure if there is such a word but I think I have it.Perhaps I need to stop following some people on Facebook but it seems that a lot of my US and Canada geneafriends are going to genealogy conferences, seminars, cruises and other events every weekend.Whereas most of us here in Australia only get to a geneaevent maybe once or twice a year.

The AFFHO genealogy congress is held every three years and we have to wait until 2018 for the next one - Bridging the Past & Future to be held in Sydney. The call for papers closes on 31 October and I put in three proposals this week so I'm hoping one gets up. History Queensland has a conference every two years and the next one is 2017 on the Gold Coast with a theme  of  Footsteps in Time. The NSW & ACT Association of Family History Organisations holds an annual conference with the next one in Orange, NSW with a great theme Your Family Story: Telling, Recording, Preserving.  Unlock the Past usually has a genealogy cruise once a year with the next one heading to Papua New Guinea in 2017 and occasionally they have an Expo with the next one in Adelaide just a week away.

Lots of societies hold an annual seminar day but these are usually are smaller, mainly local and don't attract people from a greater distance. So depending on where you live, you may not even get to some of the larger events. Webinars are starting to get more popular here but to me don't have the same ambiance of being in a room with a lot of like minded people. I suspect that our population would not support any more geneaevents so thank goodness for social media. We can read blog posts, tweets and Facebook links from those who are lucky enough to have a geneaevent every week.

There have been a few research enquiries over the past few weeks which have taken me to places my own research doesn't go. Always good to learn new things and I have to say NSW Family History Transcriptions run by Marilyn Rowan is excellent. Within a few days of placing my order, the transcripts were in my inbox. So much cheaper and quicker than certificates. The Biographical Database of Australia is also good if you have early NSW research. You can search for free but to see the full entries you need to subscribe but it is a modest amount and worth it if you find lots of interest in the searches.

I rejoined the Genealogical Society of Victoria (I knew I should never have let it lapse when I moved to Queensland) as I was missing their journal and access to their online member resources including GIN, (Genealogical Index of Names). A lot of what is available on there is not available elsewhere making it a great resource for Victorian ancestors.

Henry Spencer's brother,
Adkins Robert Spencer,
image courtesy
State Library of Queensland
It's good to revisit blog posts from time to time and this week I added the Search for Henry Spencer to my own website. It was originally written for a brick wall site in Sep 2010. Since then I have managed to find long lost cousins, learn lots of new things about the family and discover exciting photos not seen before.

Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Spyglass File is on my weekend reading list and if it hooks me like the earlier works, then not much else will get done.

The first part of this week will be busy writing modules for the Education Records online course and working on research reports. But then it will be off to Adelaide for the last big geneaevent in Australia for this year. The Adelaide Expo program has just been revised with more exhibitors and some changes of rooms to accommodate attendees at some talks. With five streams it's a bit tricky at times to work out which sessions to go to plus I want to leave time to visit all the exhibitor stands. A full report will follow once I'm back home.

The family have started talking about what are we doing for Christmas this year - I'm still trying to work out where has this year gone. It's been a brilliant year for new family history discoveries, so much so that I haven't kept up with updating all my draft family histories. Perhaps that's a job for the quiet end of the year when societies close down over the summer holidays. But then the internet never closes down so no real down time for genea addicted people like me.

Until next time, have a great genealogy week.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Scottish discoveries, Adelaide Expo, Book review,& Other News - Genealogy Notes 15-21 Sep 2016

It's been a week of catching up on lots of things. My reading pile has been reduced and lots of journals and magazines neatly filed on the bookshelves. Just about everyone one that I read had an idea to follow up or URLs to check out. Which of course then leads to those distractions as you check out new information. For example, a site that I had not come across previously was Scotland's Places which searches three national databases to access historical resources for places in Scotland.

My great grandfather James Carnegie -
his mother Helen was born in Montrose
Looking for Montrose, Angus where most of my Scottish families were from led me to maps, photographs and references to various resources . I hadn't seen horse tax rolls before, not that I think my ancestors had horses but lots of people seem to have. In fact under historical tax rolls there were male and female servant tax rolls, cart tax rolls, dog tax rolls, clock and watch tax rolls, and all kinds of other tax rolls mostly for the 18th century but some earlier or later. Some documents you can see but others you need a Scotland's People subscription. You can also offer to help transcribe some of the documents! Lots to explore and do in Scotland's Places if you haven't already done so.

My two talks for the Unlock the Past history and genealogy expo in Adelaide next month are now done. Every time I look at the program and list of exhibitors it has grown and it will be a mega geneaevent. Lots of friends are also planning to travel there and it seems a few of us have booked into the same motel, the closest to the venue. It's an easy walking distance so I get some exercise as well!

If anyone else is going, let us know and perhaps we can organise drinks or a dinner on Friday or Saturday night.

I've finished reading Me & My Family Tree by Jackie Moss and my review is on the Resources page of my website - direct link here. With Christmas coming up, it would make a nice present for any young grandchildren who share a love of books and are interested in the family. If they are not already interested, they will be afterwards.

I'm making good progress on the Education Records module for the Australian certificate offered by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. It's amazing what I learn myself along the way, especially what is available online. Until you actually go looking for something you don't always know that it is online. Students should find it quite interesting (available early next year).

At the AFFHO Skype meeting on Monday night I gave my final report on National Family History Month 2016. I hadn't realised that the June issue of AFFHO's Newsflash had not gone out. This meant that societies were not given my final reminder to get their events into the web calendar and to remind members to enter the prizes giveaway. It probably explains why our numbers were a little down on last year's.

Adkins Robert Spencer via Trove
Next month's meeting of the Bribie Island Historical Society will be where I present my research on the early Presidents of the Amateur Fishing Association of Queensland which has its headquarters at Bongaree on Bribie Island. Max's great uncle Adkins Robert Spencer was the 3rd President so there is some family history in my talk. I've also looked at the families of the other Presidents up to 1950 and it is wonderful what you can learn about people when you only know a name and a place. Trove has given me clues that were easily followed up in other resources and I've been able to find out quite a lot about most of those early Presidents.

There's a nice quiet week ahead and I'm hoping for some research time possibly on my Cornish families - a bit of a review before the Adelaide Expo. One of the key speakers that I really want to hear is Philip Payton an expert on Cornish history and the Cornish in Australia. So it would be nice to have all of my Cornish research fresh in my mind before attending his talks. Otherwise it is back to some serious writing time.

Until next time, happy searching. 

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Rockstar Genealogists, Camden Conference & Other News - Genealogy Notes 8-14 Sep 2016

What a huge genealogy week! I'll start with the really exciting news first. Each year, John D Reid (Canada's Anglo Celtic Connections) conducts an online poll for Rockstar Genealogists around the world. It is always an honour to be nominated in the Australia/New Zealand category along with other well known speakers and bloggers. This year I was excited to learn that I was the Silver medallist while Jill Ball (aka Geniaus) took out the Gold and Michelle Patient and Helen Smith tied for the Bronze. The top ten is also a who's who of well known Australasian genealogists. It is also interesting to see the other Country categories and we have been fortunate down under to have some of the medallists give presentations here.

I am also indebted to Michelle Patient for designing this wonderful badge and I have already seen other medallists using it. Thanks to everyone who voted for me and all those who received nominations are winners too and if you get the opportunity, try to attend their presentations or read their blogs.

Before the exciting news broke, I was in Camden New South Wales for the annual NSW & ACT Family History Organisations conference. It was a great event, with good speakers, exhibitors, venue, food and was definitely a chance to catch up with lots of geneamates. My Report on the Camden Conference goes into more detail about the three days.

Reading Room, AIATSIS Sep 2016
While briefly in Canberra (which was cold and wet and I remembered clearly why I left there) I visited AIATSIS, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. There have been changes since my last visit some 15 years ago, but there is a lovely reading room looking out over Lake Burley Griffin. The online catalogue allows you to work out what you want to look at and there is also an online family history tool kit. A great place to start researching Indigenous family history and it's also useful to everyone doing family history.

A friend contacted me this week asking me to check the local paper for any death or funeral notice for a relation who had died in nearby Redcliffe. I'm forever telling people that not everything is online so it is a bit ironic that I couldn't find the notice in the paper. Instead I found it online on one of my favourite sites for recent funeral notices. Heaven Address can be used to look for recent funeral notices (Memorials) or for Resting Places

The postman delivered Chris Paton's new Unlock the Past guide A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy so another book on the pile to read. Still waiting for Nathan Dylan Goodwin's new genealogy crime mystery The Spyglass Thriller - I ordered it a couple of weeks ago but obviously on a slow boat. Nathan has since offered me two copies for lucky door prizes at speaking events so I will have to work out where and when.

This coming week is catching up with family, seems ages since I saw my brother and mother but then it has been a couple of hectic months. Some quiet writing is also on the cards now that I have finished bits and pieces of research. It is much easier to write when not distracted by lots of other things. Until next time, happy researching.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Exciting Irish News, Camden Conference & Other News - Genealogy Notes 3-7 Sep 2016

The Society logo
Tomorrow I head off for Canberra and my visit to AIATSIS (Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) before heading to Camden in New South Wales for the Cow Pastures and Beyond genealogy conference and family history fair. It is organised by the Camden Area Family History Society and I love their logo. As well as ACT and NSW friends, I also know that some from SA and QLD will also be there. A great three days coming up and a report will follow next week.

My week has been spent catching up on some genealogy magazine reading and exploring lots of new URLs. That's probably the main reason I never catch up with the reading because an article sends me to the laptop. Of course that also happens with tweets and Facebook posts too. This was going to be written this morning when I saw Chris Paton's British Genes Blog post and it totally hijacked my day.

Why? The headline was Historic Irish BMD Records Freely Available Online and how could anyone with Irish ancestors go past that. Several hours later I have managed to find out a lot more about my GG Grandmother's sisters family in Ireland. Sarah Finn nee Fagan had a sister Mary Fagan who married Patrick McCormack and they looked after my GGG grandmother Sarah Fagan nee Cane in her old age. As it was a collateral line I have never bothered to get certificates, relying on the 1901 and 1911 census records for the family. Now thanks to these new records online, I have Mary and Patrick's marriage certificate, birth certificates for all of their children and death certificates for Patrick and Mary.

I believe my great grandmother Mary Carnegie nee Finn was named after her aunt Mary McCormack nee Fagan. They never met and I wonder if Sarah ever wrote back home to her sister Mary? No letters survive here but now that I have more information on the McCormack's, perhaps I should try and track down any descendants?

I haven't been as successful with my Finn and Beakey families - I've got some possible entries but the certificates are not online yet. Once they are there might be enough information for me to confirm a relationship. Plus I've been jumping all over the place in my excitement, looking for quick hits. A more steady approach is required, not to mention some spelling variation searches. In the past I have found Finn under Funn. Still that will have to wait until I get back home again. As will entering all the data into my genealogy program.

The other thing I get from magazines and journals are blog post ideas and now that NFHM is over for another year I want to get back to some blog writing. Also high on my priority list is a new course module for the Australian Certificate offered by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. It is on Education Records and I am looking forward to it as education records have long been a favourite of mine. One of my popular presentations is on school records and I use lots of my own family discoveries.

I'm also half way through a new research guide for Unlock the Past which was also abandoned for NFHM. Hopefully after I reread what I have done so far, it won't take too long to finish. Perhaps I need to stop checking social media for new releases?? Those people who don't use social media for genealogy and family history are missing out but then they probably get more other things done like housework, gardening and food shopping.

Time to go and pack a suitcase and get all my travel documents together for an early start tomorrow. The Bribie shuttle is picking me up at 5am to get to the airport on time. Traffic on the highway is always the unknown and I would prefer to have breakfast in the Qantas Club than be stuck in Brisbane's early morning traffic and worrying about missing the flight. Enjoy the weekend and if you are in Camden, come up and say hello.

 Until next week, happy searching!

Friday 2 September 2016

End of National Family History Month 2016 & Other News - Genealogy Notes 25 Aug - 2 Sep 2016

A super big week and this blog is a little late but I have been busily notifying excited winners in the National Family History Month sponsors prizes giveaway. The draw took place after I gave my 18th talk for the month at the Noosaville Library. It was my Love Sex and Damn Lies talk which generated a good deal of chat afterwards. All of my talks for August can be found on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

Noosaville Library generously agreed to host the drawing of the prizes and I offered two lucky door prizes - one was Jackie Moss' Me & My Family Tree which is a children's book introducing them to family history. Every time I have used one of Jackie's books as a NFHM prize, the grandparents in the audience are all keen to win one. The other prize was a copy of my own Discover Your Sporting Ancestors - so many people assume that their ancestors didn't play sport. Everyone has sporting ancestors who fished, hunted, attended gun clubs, or played local cricket or football. School sports days are another place to find ancestors involved with sport.

It takes quite a while to draw all of the individual prizes and only one lady stayed to the end, apart from the librarians so I gave her one of my Finding Ancestors in Church Records for her assistance. Since then I have put the winners names up on the website, made announcements in social media, notified winners and sponsors by email and started to write up a final report on NFHM 2016 for AFFHO.

Week 4 of Alex Daw's NFHM 2016 blogging challenge was on places and landmarks. My contribution was Family Places and I think my own research is the richer for having travelled to see some of my own ancestral places in Australia.

John D Reid from Canada's Anglo Celtic Connections is again conducting his Genealogist Rockstar awards and voting is now open. It is exciting and humbling to see my own name amongst so many great Australasian speakers and bloggers. Not to mention all those US, Canada and UK people. Everyone is worthy of an award. If some names are new to you, check out their blogs/websites or maybe even listen to one of their webinars.

It has been a long month as voluntary coordinator of NFHM and I felt I deserved a reward (considering I can't go into the prizes giveaway). I ordered a copy of Nathan Dylan Goodwin's fourth volume on the fictional adventures of his forensic genealogist, Morton Farrier in The Spyglass File. It's quicker and cheaper to get the ecopy but I have all the others as paperbacks, plus I am still one of these people that like to curl up in bed with a good book.

By the end of the this weekend I hope to get back to doing some more of my own research. With the various events I attended during the month, I have quite a list of things to follow up. My desk also needs a good tidy up as I have piled lots of things collected during the month for a closer look or read.

Next weekend is the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Organisations annual conference Cowpastures and Beyond at Camden. It will be a great opportunity to catch up with old geneafriends and learn new and exciting things. I'm hoping to visit AIATSIS in Canberra before heading off to Camden. At Noosaville the other day two of the questions were about Indigenous genealogy and it's a while since I last visited AIATSIS.

Another busy week ahead and I might try and get another Diary done before I go, otherwise it will be late again. It is just too hard trying to keep up with blogs and social media while travelling and attending events. I hope everyone had a great NFHM 2016 and make sure August is in your calendars for next year. Until next time, happy searching.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

New books, blog posts, talks and NFHM 2016 update - Genealogy Notes 17-24 Aug 2016

During the week I managed to write up my review of the Auckland Family History Expo and did Week 2 Working Forebears and Week 3 Military Ancestors for the NFHM 2016 blog challenge. I rather like the blogging badge, we can use it again next year! There is still Week 4 to do, my 31 Activities for Researchers in NFHM and my blog and article for The In-Depth Genealogist. My keyboard is in danger of wearing out!

The last two times I have been to the post office there have been parcels waiting for me. First there was Jackie Moss' new book Me & My Family Tree which introduces children to family history. It's been a while since I have read a children's book but I'm looking forward to it. It looks modern, colourful and on a topic dear to my heart. There will be a review post soon. Jackie also sent a few more copies for me to use during National Family History Month.

The other parcel contained Carol Baxter's latest 'how to' guides - a new edition of Writing Interesting Family Histories and a follow on Writing and Publishing Gripping Family Histories. At first glance I'm not sure what the difference between interesting and gripping is, but I will be reviewing both books. No doubt I will be inspired to relook at my own draft family histories and perhaps even publish them. Although after last year's DNA revelation, I'm glad I didn't publish earlier.

So some nice reading to look forward to in September. For the last week of NFHM 2016 I have an all day seminar with five talks at Genealogy Sunshine Coast. It should be a great day, although I might be a little hoarse by the end. I've got some sponsor prizes for a lucky door giveaway so some attendees will be even more happy. My final talk (and it will be my 18th talk) of NFHM is at Noosaville Library where we will also be doing the NFHM prizes giveaway draw. Then the only thing to do will be write up a final report for AFFHO and thank all the sponsors after notifying the lucky winners.

If I am voluntary coordinator of NFHM again next year, I don't think I will be doing 18 talks and travelling to Perth or Auckland, New Zealand all in 31 days. I'm getting too old or I need to be a bit fitter! In 2017 the launch will be in Sydney but I will be missing it regardless, as I have already booked to be on the Unlock the Past Papua New Guinea cruise.

It's Sydney next year because the AFFHO Congress  Bridging the Past & Future is in Sydney in 2018 and this is a chance to help promote Congress during NFHM. Hopefully I will find someone to volunteer to be chair at the launch. I have been thinking about doing some sort of event at the end of NFHM 2017 in a regional area, just for something different. But anyway, that's next year and I still have to finish NFHM 2016.

The post also brought a very nice thank you letter from WAGS (Western Australian Genealogical Society) for my three talks in Perth. Usually it is an email thank you so nice to see a hand signed letter for a change. I have to share some of their kind words because it simply sums up what I had tried to do with my presentations.

Part of the enthusiastic audience at the WAGS seminar
The President wrote "The number in attendance and the enthusiasm of the audience reflects the quality of your presentations. Your first talk, Love Sex and Damn Lies demonstrating the strong link between family history and local and social history, set the scene for your later talks on demolishing brick walls and looking beyond online resources".

A thank you like that makes it all worthwhile.

As I mentioned above this coming week sees six more talks, and trips to Nambour and Noosa, both in South East Queensland but north of Brisbane for overseas readers. Travel time up and down the highway is always problematic but arriving in time is more important than the trip home. So one more busy week then a nice little rest before I head off to the NSW & ACT genealogy conference Cow Pastures and Beyond in Camden.

Enjoy the final week of NFHM 2016, get your entry in for the prizes giveaway before 28 August (see the Sponsors page and how to enter is in the terms and conditions) and happy searching until next time.