Thursday 30 June 2016

5 Years of Genealogy Notes 23-30 Jun 2016

Tomorrow 1 July marks the 5th birthday of this blog. Five years have gone incredibly quickly and there are so many new resources available online. Like any Diary it is good to go back and see what has happened and there have been lots of fantastic genealogical adventures and discoveries. I have made some wonderful new friends both in Australia and overseas and lots of happy memories are captured within this blog.

I am also grateful to the National Library of Australia who in 2013 selected this blog for permanent preservation within the Library's web archive Pandora . Thanks to the Library's wonderful Trove, my blog posts are searchable through Trove and Archived Websites (Pandora). This is in addition to Google so more people can find my family stories.

This blog started as a result of my telling others that blogging was easy and anyone could set up a blog in half hour. It was easy to set up but thinking of a name was much harder. In some ways I didn't really expect it to continue but it has grown into a real genealogy diary. Some of Australia's biggest genealogy conferences, seminars, cruises and library talks are all recorded in its pages. As well as my own genealogy success stories and discoveries.

Where to next? I still have a week to decide if I want to change what I am doing. If anything I would like it to be more than once a week but some days fly past so daily is probably too optimistic. Of course some days nothing exciting happens and I don't always do any research. Hopefully inspiration will come just as it did 5 years ago.

This week has been super busy with lots of people adding events to the National Family History Month web calendar. The early bird prize for genealogy/family history societies closed 30 June so I will be sending out the National Institute for Genealogical Studies gift certificate to them this week. The certificate can be used for fundraising during NFHM or to reward a society volunteer.

Plans for the launch in Perth are progressing. While over there I am participating in the Western Australian Genealogical Society's Making History seminar. One of NFHM's major sponsors Finders Cafe will also be there.

My next task is my regular article and blog post for The In-Depth Genealogist and I have a few research enquiries keeping me busy. Doing research for others can be fascinating as you often have to look at resources that you don't use for your own research. Never boring which is why I like genealogy so much I suspect.

The warm sunny blue sky winter days have seen me out and about in the garden. Two full trailer loads of palms and other foliage have gone to the tip but looking at our backyard you would never know. It's still a jungle but at least some of the taller palms leaning over sheds and fences have gone. The last storm saw a lot of trees come down on Bribie so best to tidy up before the next one. I would really like to remove the really tall palms between the house and pool but that would take away the tropical ambiance somewhat. Why do they have to lean towards the house?

Until next time, have a great genealogy week.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

An ANZAC Experience, National Family History Month 2016 & Other News - Genealogy Notes 16 - 22 Jun 2016

A few days spent in Brisbane gave us the opportunity to visit the Spirit of ANZAC Centenary Experience which is a travelling exhibition touring Australia. It is currently in Brisbane for two weeks, finishing 30 June. Tickets are free but you need to book, probably to keep control of numbers at any one time.
Everyone is given a headset and you wander through listening to the commentary or background sounds. Max's distant cousin Archie Barwick is one of the soldiers who features in the exhibition as his war diaries are very detailed. The diaries have been digitised by State Library of New South Wales so I have looked at them before and it was good to see them used again in this context.

The combination of sound, visual and props makes this quite a moving exhibition because you can almost imagine yourself at Gallipoli or the Western Front.

At the very end there is a section with all the countries that were involved in WW1 and the number of their military war dead. Staggering and that didn't take into account any civilian casualties.

One of my distant cousins Frederick Trevaskis was killed in the 3rd battle of Ypres. I found this part of the exhibition extremely sad as over 6,700 Australians died alongside of him.

Very glad we made the effort and if it is coming to a city near you, make it a priority. The next stop is Mackay so heading up the Queensland coast. Book early as some times were booked out. We ended up late afternoon and went to dinner afterwards at South Bank at the historic Ship Inn built in 1865.

If you can't see it in person there is an interactive virtual tour that you can do. Full details on the website.

While in the South Bank area, we also popped into the Queensland Museum which is another place to spend a good few hours. I can never go past the Queensland dinosaurs and they seem to have added quite a few since I last took my young son there over 25 years ago! Wandering around South Bank also reminded me of Expo 88 which I also took him to, but at 12 months old I suspect his memories of that are a bit vague. Hard to believe that was almost 30 years ago.

After returning home I had to spend quite a while adding lots and lots of events to the National Family History Month website. At the moment there are 98 events across Australia with no events yet in South Australia, Northern Territory or the ACT. Hopefully we will get some soon for those three states and even more events for the other states.

The early bird prize for genealogy/family history societies who add an event to the NFHM calendar closes on 30 June so only one more week. The prize is a gift certificate for any online course from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, from a choice of over 200 courses. The certificate can be used for fundraising eg raffles or lucky door prizes during August or can be used to reward a society member for their volunteer work and presented to them during August.

The NFHM Facebook page is also getting lots of visits but we would always love more Likes. If you haven't visited yet, pop over now and have a look. More information about NFHM and our sponsors and prize giveaway are on the NFHM website.

On 1 July 2016 this blog will be 5 years old. Where did that time go? I've been browsing some of the old posts and its been an amazing few years with lots of new personal genealogy discoveries. Technology and social media are definitely changing how we do family history. This time last year I was talking about changing the format of this blog but that never happened. You may remember I broke my right elbow last July and managed to complicate my life for just about the rest of 2015.

I'm still thinking of a revamp but don't want to tempt fate again this year. With a week to go to my blogiversary I'll give it some more thought. This coming week I have a few work jobs on so not that much time for personal research but there will be a visit to the Brisbane office of the National Archives of Australia coming up in early July. There are quite a few items I want to look at and given my success at Queensland State Archives the other week, I'm looking forward to it.

Until next time, happy genealogy researching.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Archives, Certificates, National Family History Month & Other News - Genealogy Notes 7 - 15 Jun 2016

It has been a crazy hectic week. The talk at Noosaville Library on Queensland Genealogy Resources Online went extremely well. It was a full house with no chairs vacant which was really great to see. The Library was so thrilled they collated the feedback and sent it to me later that afternoon. All positive and most people seemed to want more. As usual, the talk is on my website Resources page, scroll down to Presentations. Looking forward to going back there in August.

Reading room at Queensland State Archives, June 2016
The trip to Queensland State Archives was equally good and it was great to see other geneamates there for the convicts seminar. My research was also good, I simply love files that have certificates in them. Read my blog post on the whole day at Convict Queensland and visiting Queensland State Archives.

A new edition of Family History on the Cheap is now out which makes the third new edition I have done for this year. The others were What Was The Voyage Really Like? and Trove: Discover Discover Genealogy Treasure in the National Library of Australia. It is easier to update a guide than to write one from the beginning.

A while back I ordered an 1849 marriage certificate from the UK even though I knew most of the information. The names of the two witnesses don't mean anything to me at the moment. The real benefit was in the fathers' occupations. I knew one was a bailiff from the census records but the marriage certificate says William Adkins was the bailiff to the Marquess of Hertford. A quick look at Wikipedia and I found out all about the Marquess of Hertford and their property.

I then decided to look at Findmypast for British newspapers to see if their was anything on my person and I was rewarded with a brief death notice. He died at Arrow on 14 Oct 1859 of apoplexy and he was 'for a long time house steward to the Marquis of Hertford, aged 77 years'. The following year his son in law Paul Spencer as executor of William's will, called for any creditors. The other executor was William's son also called William but he had predeceased his father. So now I have more information on the son and a will to follow up.

The other father was Joseph Spencer (father of Paul in the last para) and his occupation was Inland Revenue Officer but those records are not online and no overall index for a quick lookup. I have the National Archives UK guide to tracing them so I will need to engage a researcher in London. We know nothing about Joseph apart from his name as we have never been able to locate him in the census. We have his family and it is not until the 1861 census that his wife describes herself as a widow. Perhaps his job took him away from home on census nights? It is too common a name to locate a death certificate without some parameters so his occupation may be our best chance to learn more.

One certificate at just under $20 and lots more to follow up on two family lines. Definitely worth getting!

The other thing grabbing my attention this week is National Family History Month and I have been busy organising the launch over in Perth. In a blog post Meet NFHM 2016 Major Sponsors I looked at the sponsors who help keep NFHM going. In future posts I will also introduce our prize sponsors and don't forget to add your events to our web calendar. Remember the early bird prize for societies ends on 30 June, don't miss out. Full details on the Sponsors page.

I'm in the last stages of finishing up the Health Records course which is part of the Australian Certificate with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. It has been a fascinating exercise and I have learnt lots of interesting things along the way. The last part of any project is always the longest for me as I keep tinkering with the modules but it is due 30 June so that's focusing my attention.

I also want to update my database and files with all the new information from Queensland State Archives and plan another trip. Trying to file as I go instead of piling up for later. I need to apply that to my journals and magazines, both print and electronic. Perhaps I need more coffee breaks or is it that there are so many good things to read?

Until next time, have a great genealogy week. 

Monday 6 June 2016

Queensland Convicts, Visiting Archives, Talking & Other News - Genealogy Notes 30 May - 6 Jun 2016

My son visited for the weekend and we had a technology free weekend, just sitting around and talking rather than checking emails and social media. first day was hardest but by the second day I was more comfortable and of course most things can wait till Monday. It was also an opportunity to sit back and see just what emails I was receiving and I was a bit surprised to see that most were not that important and I simply hit the delete button. So an email tidy up is going on and I am unsubscribing to a lot of 'advert' type emails that I don't recall signing up to. My gmail account was worse than my primary email but both were receiving things I don't read and thankfully both my spam filters save me from a lot too.

This week is almost full on with two genealogy adventures. It is Queensland Week and I am heading north to Noosaville Library to give a talk on genealogy research in Queensland focusing more on what's online. I've put together the usual suspects with some other favourite not so usual suspects and everyone should learn something new.

The next day I am heading south (lots of freeway driving) to the Queensland State Archives (QSA). I have been promising myself a research trip for some time but setting a date was always an issue. But I received an invitation to Shackled - Queensland's First Female Convicts which is a half day seminar with Dr Jennifer Harrison talking about the 140 female convicts who came to Moreton Bay (and we can buy copies of Jennifer's new book, of the same title, Shackled - Queensland's First Female Convicts) followed by a talk on how to research convict records at QSA. Both talks should be interesting and morning tea is also included. All for free!

So with that motivation in the morning, I thought why not a little research in the afternoon before the long trek home. This may say something about my age, but I am Number 1 in the QSA researcher's system and I was really pleased to find out that they can reactivate my number when I visit. In preparation for the trip I have been searching the catalogue for series and item numbers as the system has changed and there are new numbers for my old favourite series.

I also did some name searches and even though there is not a lot of name identified data in the online catalogue (more in the online indexes), I discovered some really exciting references to my great great grandfather John Finn in two series that I would not have thought to look in. I also discovered a reference to Max's grandfather Henry Spencer, again in something I would not have checked. Indexed entries are fantastic. Imagine how much we could find is everything was name indexed if time and money were not critical.

Unfortunately you can't pre-order records at QSA, so I need to get there early and try and order before the talks start. My list of want to look at files is probably too long so a return trip will be necessary but I am looking forward to some wonderful new information on problem ancestors. The other distraction is that I will probably meet up with other geneafriends at the talks, although they might also be trying to fit in a bit of research too.Stay tuned.

My ethnicity map with Ancestry DNA
I haven't seen too much talk of DNA Nation on social media but I have been taping it and have just managed to watch the first episode. I did my matriarchal DNA some years ago with 23 and Me and more recently the Ancestry ethnicity test which revealed mostly a UK background. My brother has just done a full Y test with Family Tree DNA so I am waiting to get those results. DNA Nation looks at three Australians with diverse backgrounds and the first week looked at the matriarchal side of things. I found it interesting and helped confirm my understanding of female DNA. Now to find some time to watch weeks 2 and 3.

As it has been a busy week with some solid writing, I didn't get too much time to read blogs or follow social media. So one of my easy catch up tricks is to check out Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings which is a list of the blogs that he liked best last week. As usual there were some great blog posts listed for 29 May to 4 Jun - why not have a look and see what you may have missed.

A lot of travel time coming up but if those archive files are as exciting as I hope they are, it will be a serious genealogy research weekend coming up. By some good fortune it is also a fishing competition weekend so the house will be all mine with no distractions. Lucky me. It's also a long weekend for the Queen's birthday so perhaps everyone can fit in some genealogy research. Until next time happy searching.