Saturday 30 January 2016

Celebrating Australia Day & Other News - Genealogy Notes 22 - 28 Jan 2016

Sunshine Coast Antique Car Club on Bribie for Australia Day
Having a guest for the Australia Day weekend was good but it did mean that my laptop was in rest mode for a lot of the time. On Bribie there is always a full day of activities and we went along to check out the market stalls, watch the lamington eating contest, admire the vintage cars and generally observe everyone having fun in the park and on the beach. The only dampener (no real pun intended) was that there was an extremely heavy shower mid morning which did see a few people pack up and go home.

During the rain the cafes and shops seemed to do lots of business and with no available tables out of the rain, we purchased our lamingtons and retreated home for coffee and cake. After drying out, my friend had a look at the new National Family History Month website which is a work in progress. Lots of good suggestions have been passed on to the designer and I am really looking forward to the new look for 2016.

My Australia Day blog tribute was to my maternal great grandfather Herbert William White from Farley in Wiltshire - read his story here. The reason he was my choice was the family story is that he had red hair and that is why some of his descendants have red hair, me included.
Herbert William White is on the far left in this family photo.

My writing  this week has mainly been focused on a piece for Inside History Magazine and my regular blog and article for Going In-Depth for The In-Depth Genealogist.

On Facebook I have been quietly watched geneamates from all over the world make their way to Rootstech 2016. I will be looking out for their tweets and Facebook posts as it always seems to be a great event. One day I will get there myself.

The Findmypast Fridays are always interesting as they release new records but last Friday's was really relevant to anyone with Queensland connections. They have added over 39,000 more Queensland funeral records as well as over three million New Zealand births, deaths and marriages. Plus other UK records and more newspapers. I should set Fridays aside to explore any new records instead of making a list of what to check when I have more time.

The amount of material coming online now is really quite exciting. Don't forget to also look at UK county archives as only this morning I checked to see what was online for Gloucestershire. The Gloucestershire Archives catalogue is online and there are individual names to be found. I was researching for a query and even though I have no Gloucestershire interest myself, I still found it fascinating to browse.

In two weeks time I will be in Auckland waiting to board the Celebrity Solstice for the next Unlock the Past genealogy cruise around New Zealand and southern Australia. I have started to gather all the bits and pieces I want to take and my eight talks are finished so that is one less job to do.

The coming week sees a return of the Bribie Island Historical Society committee meetings, and the following week the Society starts up its monthly evening meetings. So 2016 is well and truly happening. Follow Rootstech on social media over the next few days and be prepared to be amazed with new genealogical developments. Until next time.

Friday 22 January 2016

Trove Tuesday, PNG & other news - Genealogy notes 51-21 Jan 2016

Well it is now official, my website has been archived by the National Library of Australia into Pandora. This Diary was added a few years ago and I can now put this button on both sites to indicate that they are in Pandora. There are some great websites there and while some are still current, many are archived because they are no longer in existence. Why not check out what's already in Australia's web archive, Pandora!

I have been working on my talks for the next Unlock the Past genealogy cruise which leaves in about three weeks. As usual I am amazed at how many websites have changed since I last checked links or how much has been added to sites. It is so distracting because I often hive off to check something out instead of  working on the presentation. I remember we used to joke about genealogy being never ending back in the 80s - that was a self fulfilling prophecy especially with the introduction of the internet.

Gordon Price, WW2
The other distraction re genealogy cruising is that Unlock the Past have started advertising their July 2017 cruise to Papua New Guinea which has long been on my list of places to visit. My uncle Gordon, a Rat of Tobruk. spent time their during WW2 (read Gordon's story here) as did Max's father and my grandfather Henry Price was also sent there in WW1. Read Henry's story here. So a strong family and history connection ties us to that part of the Pacific. No surprises that I booked a cabin this week!

It was only after I had paid the deposit and confirmed everything that I realised I would be away for the start of National Family History Month 2017 which is  due to launch in Sydney. Well perhaps I won't be the voluntary coordinator by then or I do what I inadvertently did in 2015, not attend the launch. I have to get through NFHM 2016 first before I need to make those decisions. My approach to sponsors is going well and most of last year's sponsors have agreed to sponsor again which is fantastic.

I am currently looking at web proofs for the new revamped NFHM website - so hard to make those design type decisions. I like a bit of that one and a bit of the other one which of course doesn't help the designer. But I will say it looks 100% better than the old website. All will be revealed soon and the site will be open for new events in February. The launch is in Perth this year so definitely spreading the word across Australia.

Although I have no new resolutions for 2016, I have always wanted to participate in Trove Tuesday blogging. Lots of other bloggers have been doing it for years but rather than commit myself to every Tuesday I am going for at least one Trove Tuesday post a month. More if time permits. My first ever Trove Tuesday post was on my great grandfather James Carnegie and I found a fantastic report on his retirement from Brisbane River Ferries in 1946. Read the whole story here.

The really bright spot in the week was a royalty notice from Unlock the Past for the 3rd quarter of 2015. My biggest selling guide was Where Do I Start? closely followed by my Tracing Mining Ancestors guide. Book sales still outnumber e-book sales and I even have a few overseas sales which is interesting. So print publishing not quite out of the picture yet.

With a guest arriving tomorrow I have spent time gardening, cleaning and decluttering rather than researching or writing. Sad but true. But next week it will be back to more research fun.  In the meantime it is the Australia Day weekend although some people do have to work on the Monday before the holiday on Tuesday.

This Australia Day I am going to pick one of my first immigrant ancestors who I have not written too much about yet. Herbert William White came out from Wiltshire in the early 1880s and married a South Australian of Cornish descent in Charters Towers, Queensland. Stay tuned for his story!

Enjoy Australia Day and the coming week. Good luck with any genealogy searches. Until next time.

Saturday 16 January 2016

Pandora, Aussie blogs & other news - Genealogy Notes 8 - 14 Jan 2016

Wow the second week of 2016 went past in a blur and with all my rehabilitation I didn't get time to do much. But it was a week when three good things happened from a genealogy viewpoint and just a shame I couldn't write about them all at the time.

First up I was alerted to a blog post by State Library of New South Wales about the second edition of my book What Was The Voyage Really Like? It was fantastic to see one of my books being used to help people who go into SLNSW. It is part of their popular questions blog series. Thanks to a number of geneabuddies I was alerted to the post otherwise I might have missed it. Read their post here. My books are for sale online through Gould Genealogy & History and are part of their Unlock the Past guide series.

The second piece of good news was a couple of days later with an email from the National Library of Australia asking permission to archive my website Shauna Hicks Historical Enterprises into their web archive Pandora. This is a great honour and I was thrilled. This Diary blog was added to Pandora back in 2013 so now both my websites will be available into the future.

Through Facebook posts I discovered that many Aussie geneabloggers have been added to Pandora recently which is a fantastic recognition of some great blog writing on genealogy in Australia. Congratulations to all those selected. Unfortunately the Library can't archive everybody but this is a great start.

I am a member of a closed group on Facebook for Australian Local & Family History Bloggers and GeniAus compiled a list of everyone's blogs and it is amazing at just how many blogs there are. Not everyone fits the criteria for membership of this group so there are other Aussie genealogy related blogs out there. We could easily spend all day just reading blogs! If you are short of time I always check out GeniAus' GAGS (GeniAus' Gems) - read her round up for 15 Jan 2016.

That might be my excuse for not doing any blog writing myself yet but it is more that other things have higher priority just now. Every time my specialist says it is a 12 month rehab program I just want to say bring on 2017! Perhaps the first month is the hardest and it will get easier.

Back to my good news. The third item was a message from the Post Office to come and collect a parcel. A bit late for Christmas so I went down and was very pleased to discover that I had been sent a lovely tote bag from The In-Depth Genealogist for being part of their writer's team for Going In-Depth, their digital genealogy magazine. It is the only one of its kind in Australasia although some of my Aussie geneamates going to Rootstech in February will bring one back too.

I will get to Rootstech one year but this time I am on the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise around New Zealand and southern Australia in Feb/Mar. While at the post office I was surprised to find another parcel waiting for me.  Yes my tickets and booklet for the cruise so not long now, less than four weeks. I just have to finalise my eight talks before then!

One news item I picked up this week was the release of WW1 hospital diaries by the National Archives UK. It is not only UK forces but also Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand. Read more about the records here.

Next week is busy. I have a good friend from Canberra coming up for a visit over the Australia Day weekend so it will be a great catch up and she can see our lovely Island. My friend is going to Rootstech so I might see if she will bring me back a souvenir! Another visit to the surgeon, not so thrilling but a routine 4 week check up. And as we have a visitor coming, I really should do some housework which has been neglected since my December hospital visit. Or should I just call up the cleaners we used when I had my broken elbow (which is still in therapy mode too)? Decisions decisions.

Have a good geneaweek and check out some of the Facebook sites for Australian genealogy or follow some of the Aussie geneabloggers - always lots of tips and new resources to follow up. Until next time.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

New Access Releases, Book Reviews & Other News - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Jan 2016

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016. Diary has had a bit of a makeover and when I can decide on a personal new look, I will post a new image of me too.

I love the first week of January because BDM Registries and State Archives open up another year of records to access. Already I have some new data from Queensland BDMs which I then use to search Trove. This often allows me to pin down an exact date of birth, marriage or death (assuming I haven't already found it in Trove) or to discover the names of children born in collateral lines.

This year Public Record Office Victoria received some excellent coverage from ABC News with their new releases for 2016 but then with a headline 'Bigamy Madness Murder: 75 year old files opened' it was sure to get people's attention. If you missed it, read about it here.

What this means is that we should all have a look to see what's new. A bit time consuming every yearas I have research in most States but there are lots of exciting new finds waiting to be discovered.

I finished my book reviews - somehow they take longer to write up than actually reading the books. Both were a great read and as usual I could not put down The America Ground: a genealogical crime mystery by Nathan Dylan Goodwin. It is the fourth Morton Farrier, forensic genealogist story and I can't wait for the fifth. Read the review here.

The other review was Hazel Edwards memoir, Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author which was easy to read and inspirational. It triggered many memories from my own life and family experiences and it shows that memoirs do not have to be written from birth onwards in chronological order. Read the review here.

So far I am sticking with my resolution to not commit myself to anything ongoing this year but I have been very much tempted by Dear Myrtle's Finally Get Organised weekly checklists for 2016. The first week looks good so I will probably follow on an ad hoc basis rather than signing up.  The benefit of registering is that it does make you more aware of keeping up with the checklists and how much you do always depends on you but with last year's health issues dragging into 2016 I need to be more of an observer.

There are other great blogging participation programs out there so have a Google or check Geneabloggers. A real Aussie one is Trove Tuesday where people blog about their finds on Trove every Tuesday using the hash tag Trove Tuesday. Speaking of Trove, there are lots of great new titles coming up in the next six months. Have a look here to see what will be available by June 2016. The North Queensland papers will be fantastic for my own research.

Where I am speaking between January and June 2016 is now on my website Services & Events page and although I have only have three events listed I am giving ten talks! The second half of the year will be busier including talks during National Family History Month.

Speaking of which, this coming week I have to really start thinking about National Family History Month in August and the new website we will be showing off at the end of January. There has been a good response from some of our usual sponsors but I still need to follow some up and of course, new sponsors are always welcome. I feel sure that our new logo and website will make NFHM 2016 the best ever yet.

It's been a big week with some welcome rain and for the first time in the three years we have been here, we have seen green frogs. Full grown not just babies so very exciting and I have to report they are not the easiest to photograph. Every time I tried to take a photo he hopped further away, it was almost as if he knew.

A big day of gardening down the back revealed a dreaded cane toad, thankfully we have not seen many. It was humanely dispatched according to RSPCA guidelines. The coming week will be warming up so I'm planning on staying inside and doing some genealogy research in the new resources. Have a good genealogy week and hopefully some exciting discoveries! Until next time.