Thursday 25 February 2016

Genealogy Cruising & Trove Funding - Genealogy Notes 12-26 Feb 2016

Hard to believe that two weeks have passed but I have been having lots of fun on the 10th Unlock the Past genealogy cruise touring round New Zealand and across to Sydney and then on to Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle. While in New Zealand I went technology free, my annual rest period from social media, but we are now back in Australian waters and I have turned the wi fi back on.

Since the last Diary I have flown to Auckland, New Zealand and spent two nights at the Kiwi International Hotel, sightseeing on Auckland Harbour and taking the ferry over to Devonport. In future I think we need to ask where others are staying as I found out afterwards that another geneablogger and Facebook friend was also at the Kiwi International.

Celebrity Solstice at Tauranga, New Zealand
It has been good catching up on Celebrity Solstice with some of the regular cruisers and meeting new cruisers with some from the UK and the US as well as Australia and New Zealand. I have done a separate report on Days 1 to 6 and it is on my SHHE Genie Rambles blog site. Read about the first six days here.

With no online access, I slept better and longer although that might also have something to do with daylight saving in New Zealand. Even the sun doesn't get up until 7.15am! I am reading more and not feeling like I am chasing myself with lots of things to do.  So totally relaxed.

Of course the downside is I have no idea of what has been happening in the geneaworld or what new records are now online.  Or what my geneafriends are up to. Hopefully it won't take me too long to catch up once we are back home.

One thing that has distressed me is the proposed funding cuts to the National Library of Australia and the future of Trove and its ability to keep giving us wonderful content. Read Tim Sherratt's post on #fundTrove for more detail on the funding cuts and how we can voice our concerns. 

This update is from a cloudy Melbourne and stay tuned for cruise updates, hopefully from Adelaide in a couple of days time. With a full program of genealogy lectures on sea days it is often hard to find the time to write blog posts too. Until next time happy searching.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Genealogy cruising and NFHM 2016 - Genealogy Notes 5-11 Feb 2016

Well I will start with the good news. From tomorrow I will be winging my way to Auckland where I will be joining Unlock the Past for its 10th genealogy cruise. I have already seen Facebook posts re Judy Russell (aka The Legal Genealogist) arrival and touring around SE Queensland and meeting other geneabloggers. Judy is one of the key presenters on the cruise and I am really looking forward to meeting her and listening to her sessions.

Paul Blake from the UK is another key presenter and Louis Kessler from Canada who I have met on an earlier UTP genealogy cruise. Plus quite a few of our leading Australian and New Zealand speakers which is just as well as it is an 18 night cruise with 8 full days at sea with presentations from 9am to 8pm. For days when we are in ports, there are after dinner presentations. All up 72 topics in a single stream so no gut wrenching decisions on whose talk to miss out on. Plus there will be 4 Research Help Zone periods for one on one questions, or maybe even small groups.

I'm giving 8 talks, 3 of which are after dinner so I hope I can stay awake. I remember on the first cruise saying that after a long day of touring or talks people would not turn up for evening sessions. On the cruises I have been on, the evening sessions are always well attended so I totally underestimated people's passion for genealogy! Which is a bit silly in hindsight as I am one of those who usually turns up!

For those of you not doing the cruise, there are shore sessions in the various ports in New Zealand (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin) and Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane post cruise). Both Judy and Paul plus some other speakers will be doing sessions - check here to see places, dates and programs.

We will probably do another trip on the
Wellington Cable Car, New Zealand's only funicular railway. 
During the voyage I might get a blog or two written (finding time is the hard part plus internet access is not cheap on board) but once back in Australian ports I should be able to use my wifi. There will be an overall cruise report at the end but with an 18 night cruise I will need to break up the detailed reports into smaller posts. Plus I am looking forward to seeing those New Zealand cities again as it has been a few years since we were last there.

Now for the not so good news. I had really hoped to unveil the new National Family History Month website before I left. It looks really good and I love the new logo and colours. Those of you who know me will already have an idea what the colour is! However I haven't really had a chance to test it all out, enter a few events not to mention learn how to do all the behind the scenes stuff. Rather than go away and hope it will all be ok, I would rather wait until I am back in a position to deal with any last minute hiccups, if any. So March looks like an exciting month and probably another steep learning curve for me.

The week has been busy doing text for the new NFHM web pages, writing my April article and blog for The In-Depth Genealogist and generally tidying up before I leave. The one bit of exciting news that I picked up via Facebook is that Trove 7 will launch on 25 Feb 2016. To do the changeover Trove will be unavailable from 5pm on 22 Feb so that is 2-3 days of no Trove.

I'm glad I will be at sea with no internet as I find that most days at home I am jumping onto Trove to look something up. I won't be impacted by being Troveless for a few days but if you are a Trove addict, plan something else for those few days.

Have a great time researching while I am away and look out for some geneacruise blogs either here or on my SHHE Genie Rambles blog. Until next time.

Friday 5 February 2016

Rootstech from afar & other genealogy news - 29 Jan to 4 Feb 2016

Well who has been following Rootstech on social media? I know quite a few of the this year's Aussie contingent plus a few from the UK and the USA. I have been following tweets and Facebook updates and it really is quite staggering. Some Aussie friends are also listening in via live streaming of some sessions.

Apparently there are over 26,000 attendees with 7,000 under the age of 18 and from 37 countries all gathered together for a 4 day genealogy conference in Salt Lake City with its snow and minus temperatures. With the live streaming of sessions who knows how many people are 'attending' this conference.

Our own AFFHO Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry every 3 years probably gets about 500 people on average with some from overseas countries, although they are mostly speakers. We probably have over 250,000 people who are members of genealogy and family history societies in Australia and then there are all those people who do not join societies. Yet we can't get anywhere near the size of an American genealogy conference.

A venue is probably an issue plus the sheer size of our country but it is only once every 3 years. Our next Congress is Bridging the Past and the Future in Sydney in 2018, two years away so perhaps we should all start planning to get there for our own fantastic genealogy conference downunder. Put it in your calendars now!

I think I will also put Rootstech 2017 in my calendar too - 8-11 Feb 2017 - it would be really something to see and experience it for myself. Not to mention popping in to the FamilySearch Library while I am there. That's on my bucket list so two birds, one flight!

John Finn born 1856 Ballygannon
Findmypast's Friday news was the release of nearly 5 million Norfolk parish records. Sadly I don't have any Norfolk family but it really is incredible how much is now being put online for easier searching. One of the big announcements from Rootstech this week was that Findmypast are adding 10 million Irish Catholic parish register records. Now that is something I will be getting excited about as my Catholic Irish family hasn't gone backwards in the almost 40 years I have been researching. I am hoping for big things with my John Finn born 1856 in Ballygannon, Wicklow.

My big drama for the week was realising that my National Library of Australia library card had expired. Why is it that you only become aware of expiry dates when you really want to use something. But thanks to the Library's wonderful efficiency it was simply a matter of hitting the renewal button, updating my details and within seconds my card was renewed. They even had logged me into the site.Wonderful eResources.

Otherwise it was a busy week checking talks for the Unlock the Past cruise in a week's time, finishing off my March blog and article for Going In-Depth and an expert query for Inside History Magazine.

As I will be away I also need to do the April blog and article for Going In-Depth before I leave and I would like to do another Trove Tuesday blog post to keep to my at least once a month schedule. Packing might take some thought as we will be in possibly colder climes and perhaps some hotter ones depending on February's weather which seems a bit all over the place at the moment.

This time next week I will be in Auckland, New Zealand but there will be a Diary update before I leave and perhaps one or two while I am away. It will depend on how fun I'm having on the genealogy cruise! Until next time, happy searching.