Sunday 31 July 2016

Perth Western Australia & the start of National Family History Month 2016 - Genealogy Notes 24 -31 Jul 2016

It's been a huge week. Last minute things for National Family History Month which starts on 1 August and we now have events in every state and territory. Fantastic. Most of Thursday was taken up with travelling - first to Brisbane and the airport then the long flight across Australia to the west coast and Perth. Usually when I fly over the view out the window is of a dry, barren country with lots of salt pans and sand dunes. This time for quite a good part of the way there seemed to be lots of green and even some waterholes and creeks. Must be all that winter rain that Queensland has been getting.

It was lovely being met at Perth airport by Lorraine from Swan Genealogy who kindly boarded me during my stay in the west. This meant I didn't have to worry about how to get to venues, just simply sit in Lorraine's car. I hadn't realised how spread out Perth was but it seems to have a very interconnected freeway system.

L-R Shauna Hicks, Shannon Lovelady and Lorraine Clarke
Friday morning I managed to catch up with two archival colleagues and we had coffee and then lunch while we discussed what is happening in archives and libraries today as well as reminiscing about the good old days. One of my friends suggested we should do it more than once every 10 years - has it really been that long since I had seen them?

The afternoon was dedicated to the launch of NFHM at the Perth Office of the National Archives of Australia. I'm glad Lorraine knew the way as it is a little out of the city. Here it was good to catch up with old work colleagues from my time working for the NAA. I also met up with other launch attendees and one of NFHM's major sponsors Finders Cafe. The Perth Office Director of NAA gave a brief talk on Project Albany and the keynote speaker was Shannon Lovelady talking about the Western Australian Gallipoli and Western Front Dead. Then there was a delicious afternoon tea and time to chat and peruse some of the NAA treasures. My full report is a blog post on my website and you can read it here.

One half of the audience at the WAGS seminar
Saturday was another full on day with the Making History seminar with the Western Australian Genealogical Society at the City of Perth Library. There was a presentation by Finders Cafe and I gave three talks - Love Sex and Damn Lies, Demolishing Brickwalls and It's Not All Online. Copies of my presentations can be seen on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.
From the verbal feedback I think everyone had a great day and then it was time to relax.

A pineapple sling
A small group of us went to the historic Treasury building where I enjoyed a lovely cocktail, complete with purple straw and violets. Then it was on to a wonderful Chinese banquet with some of the WAGS committee. I slept very soundly that night.

A mint hot chocolate and truffle
Sunday was a day of rest and although a bit cold and wet we headed out to the Margaret River area where I enjoyed the delights of the Margaret River Chocolate Factory and other foodie places. We had lunch at the historic Guildford Hotel which has been restored since a disastrous fire last year. There was even opportunity to taste some of those wonderful Western Australian wines.

Today I start the long trek home and with luck will be arriving just in time to go to bed. I'm not even sure what is coming up this week but I will regroup tomorrow. I know there are more talks coming up  and I really should blog some of my 31 Activities for NFHM plus a meeting of the Bribie Island Historical Society committee first thing tomorrow so perhaps one day at a time during this busy time might be best.

I hope everyone has a chance to do something during National Family History Month 2016. Until next time, happy researching.

Saturday 23 July 2016

National Family History Month 2016 - Genealogy Notes 17-23 Jul 2016

This last week has all been about National Family History Month 2016. There was an AFFHO Skype meeting during the week where I outlined how arrangements for the launch in Perth are going and some of the events. As of today there are 247 events being held around Australia and online. We would love to have more!

Check the website for events in your state or online - the event tally at the moment is:

  • Victoria 97
  • Queensland 62
  • New South Wales 47
  • Tasmania 22
  • Western Australia 20
  • Australian Capital Territory 5
  • Online 4
  • South Australia 4 
  • Northern Territory 0
When I haven't been uploading events to the website, I have been working on my presentations - to see where I am speaking see the Events page of my website. While it was good to be asked to do 18 presentations, I am a bit weary from working on the talks. Some are repeated at different venues but I also like to make each talk relevant to the area as well so all have to be tweaked. 

I'm also getting excited about participating in New Zealand's National Family History Month. I am one of the speakers at the Auckland Family History Expo along with Dick Eastman from the US and Jan Gow a NZ speaker popular on the Unlock the Past genealogy cruises and other local speakers. The three day program looks good and with multiple sessions, it will be hard to decide which talks to go to. Dick Eastman and myself are also giving another talk at a session at the Auckland Library post Expo so I am hoping to learn lots. 

Jan and myself at the 2012 AFFHO Congress in Adelaide
- photographer Jill Ball aka Geniaus
This coming week will be more of the same with adding events, and getting ready to start the NFHM prize giveaway which starts on 1 August. I will be revealing how to enter the giveaway and once that is done, entries will be accepted until 28 August. The prize draw will take place at Noosaville Library on 31 August. Please read the terms and conditions on the NFHM sponsors page and the giveaway is only open to Australian residents.

We have had amazing weather here and it is more like summer than winter. On these beautiful blue sky days I really want to be out and about, not chained to a laptop working on Powerpoint presentations. But I'm glad to have resisted temptation as I can now sit back and simply enjoy NFHM. If you want to get an early start on NFHM have a look at my 31 Activities for Researchers which is a different suggestion for every day of August. It also features all of the giveaway prize sponsors so you can think about which prizes you might like to win. 

Next Diary will be from Perth and include a brief report on the launch and the Western Australian Genealogical Society's Making History seminar. I will do a full report once I am back home. Until next time, happy searching.

Friday 15 July 2016

National Family History Month 2016 & Other News - Genealogy Notes 9 - 16 Jul 2016

With only two weeks to go till August and the start of National Family History Month 2016, I have been working mostly on NFHM tasks. Approving events for the web calendar takes time and as of today, there are 95 events in VIC; 32 in QLD; 31 in NSW; TAS 22; WA 20; Online 4; ACT 3; SA 2 and NT O. That makes a total of 209 events across Australia and no doubt more will be added in the next two weeks.

Launch arrangements in Perth are progressing and I've started finalising my 18 talks during August. Fortunately there are no new talks so it is more a matter of updating and amending existing talks for audiences that have not heard them before. I will be travelling to Perth, home for a few days then off to Auckland for the Auckland Family History Expo and then back home for some presentations at various venues on the Sunshine Coast. A full list of talks and where is on the Events page of my website.

I will be putting the details of how to enter the NFHM prizes giveaway up at the end of July. Entries for the giveaway open on 1 August but n the mean time, you can check out the prizes for both individuals and societies on the NFHM Sponsors page. Only 24 societies took advantage of the early bird prize for putting events up before 30 June. Their prize will be winging its way to them next week.

A year ago I had just broken my right elbow while overseas which required surgery back home. It meant that I missed the launch in Adelaide but I still managed to keep NFHM going during August, including my presentations. Looking back I wonder how I did it with only one arm and post surgery rehab. Touching my wooden desk, I'm hoping for a less dramatic NFHM 2016.

What a difference a year makes
Thanks to Helen Smith for capturing this photo the day after my fall.
It's a wet and surprisingly cold weekend here so the plan is to do some of my own family history. I have been working on a Momento photobook trying to tell a person's story using just photos. There are just so many different templates, colours and looks but the quality of some of my photos are not good. But they are the only ones I have so it is more a question of how to use them to best advantage. This is where I wish I hadn't failed art classes at high school!

Not being involved in any blog challenges at the moment has meant that I have not been writing up family stories, no pressure to meet certain time frames. I'm definitely one of those people who need a theme and challenge to follow. Even Trove Tuesday seems to fly past before I notice. Once NFHM is over and I have recovered I will be looking for an ongoing blog challenge to focus on telling more of the family stories.

There's the usual mountain of catch up reading to do but that usually leads to the laptop to look at new URLs or new resources online. Or I list them down on a to do list and never get back to them. The internet has certainly changed how we do research. My two recent visits to the archives has reminded me of just how much is not online and ideally we should spend equal time there too. But on cold wet days, the laptop and the internet win! Until next time, happy researching.

Friday 8 July 2016

World Indexing, DNA, NFHM & New Publications - Genealogy Notes 1 - 8 Jul 2016

This Diary is a day late due to a research trip to Brisbane and the National Archives of Australia Brisbane office. Again I was amazed to see that there were few other researchers but I have decided that's OK. It simply means that I get the staff's undivided attention and records get delivered quickly.

While waiting for the files, I used the old microfiche electoral rolls for a query. What a pain, a different fiche for every year then finding the right spot on the fiche. How much easier is it now just to type in a person's name. By the time I finished looking, my files were ready to collect.

Vincent Carnegie 1946 
I had already worked out what I wanted to look at - six files located using name searches and the files were all who I thought they would be. One document, an application for a seaman's document of identity, had a photograph of the person I was researching. I only have vague memories of Dad's Uncle Vince and an older photo of him. I had not seen a photo of him as a young man so I was very happy. He was a seaman and the document was part of his application to leave Australia. My digital camera came into use again capturing key documents.

I had also promised a friend a look up in return for an earlier favour. Her document was an Italian passport, complete with photo and of course all in Italian. I took a few photos but have no real clue as to what the pages mean.  I hope she has some experience reading Italian.

It is really amazing the diversity of records within the National Archives of Australia. It was a great visit and I'll have to plan another trip soon.

A trip to the post office was also rewarding with new Unlock the Past publications:

  • Neil Smith - Understanding Australian Military Speak
  • Noelene Kyle - Researching Your Ancestor's Childhood
  • Janet Few - Harnessing the Facebook Generation
So some reading to catch up on. 

The NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies next conference is in Camden on 9-11 September and the program is now up on their website Cow Pastures and Beyond. I had been thinking of going but it is a long road trip from here and even if I fly, I can only get to Sydney or Canberra and then have to hire a car to get to Camden. If I still lived in Canberra I would definitely be going as Camden is a lovely little town. I hope somebody will be tweeting, blogging or posting on Facebook highlights from the conference.

FamilySearch have a World indexing event for 72 hours from 15 - 17 July and anyone can participate. The more records indexed, the easier it is for us all to find our ancestors and knock down brick walls. They are hoping to get 72,000 team mates and you can do as few or as many batches as you want or have time for. I've joined the team and put a note in my calendar so that I remember on the day.

I was pleased to see that my blog post for The Indepth Genealogist on the State Library of Queensland made That Moment in Time's Friday Fossicking 30 Jun 2016. It is always good to know that people benefit from reading a particular blog post.

Finally my big news is that my brother's DNA results are back from FamilyTree DNA so now to get my head around what the results tell me and to see if we match up with anyone.

National Family History Month is continuing to keep me busy approving events for the website and organising the launch which is now only three weeks away. I have entered my two regular NFHM online events - 31 Activities for Researchers and 31 Activities for Societies. With 18 talks during August I suspect there won't be much time for me to blog my own activities but I hope to do some. For a full list of all the talks and where I am speaking see the Events page of my website.

This coming week will be processing all my new information into my files and database. I also have a new tablet to set up - it is smaller than my I Pad and will be easier to travel around with. And of course NFHM is going to get busier as we are now only three weeks away from one of the most exciting months of our genealogical year. Until next time happy researching.