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.

Tuesday 16 August 2016

NFHM Update & Auckland Expo - Genealogy Notes 8-16 Aug 2016

I'm now back home from attending the Auckland New Zealand Family History Fair and Expo which was fantastic. I gave five talks at the Expo and another one for Auckland Library the day after. All talks are on my website Resources page, scroll down to Presentations. It was great being a keynote presenter alongside Dick Eastman from the US. A full report to follow soon.

Seonaid Lewis, family historian at Auckland Library
welcoming attendees to the afternoon seminar
New Zealand also celebrates National Family History Month in August but there is no single website like we have for events across the country.This morning I added another six events to the Australian NFHM web calendar and entered more people into our prizes giveaway. With less than two weeks to go till the end of National Family History Month, I will be spending quite a bit of time blogging about it and encouraging people to make the most of the last weeks.

But I'm a bit ahead of myself as usual. Before I left, I gave two talks at the Caloundra Library which were well attended. Both talks are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. Each talk was aimed at helping people look at their brick walls differently, and judging from the questions, just about everyone has a brick wall or two.

I had hoped to get Week 2 of the NFHM blogging challenge done before I left but simply ran out of time. So that's on the list for this week along with Week 3. I haven't got to my own 31 Activities for Researchers in NFHM yet but it's on the list - you can do any or all of the activities. The deadline for my regular blog and article for The In-Depth Genealogist is also looming so lots of writing coming up in the next week.

I have a new Android tablet which I took to New Zealand with me. I am slowly getting used to how it works but I keep trying to use it like my IPad. Luckily I was staying with someone from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists computer group and he helped me grasp some of the basics. I managed a few Facebook posts while at the Expo but the free Auckland wifi was a bit taxed over the weekend. Still it is a nice size for my handbag so I think it will be a frequent traveller with me.

There has been no chance to keep up with emails, enewsletters and journals through the mail. So a bit of catching up there too.

I've got two more events to attend for NFHM - a full day seminar with Genealogy Sunshine Coast where I am giving five talks and one talk at Noosaville Library to celebrate the end of NFHM. We will also be drawing the prizes giveaway at  the Library so don't forget to get your entries in. See the Sponsors page of the website for what's on offer and how to enter is in the Terms and Conditions.

The other big news is that I have decided to go to the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Organisations annual conference Cowpastures and Beyond which is in Camden in September. I will need a little mini holiday by then and it will be good to catch up with lots of geneacolleagues.

I hope everyone is enjoying National Family History Month and either attending events or spending more time on their own research. Until next time, happy searching.

Sunday 7 August 2016

National Family History Month 2016 local talks & more - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Aug 2016

Well at the end of the first week of NFHM 2016 I am already a little weary. Events are still being added to the National Family History Month web calendar and entries for the prize giveaway are arriving daily. Remember to read the terms and conditions on the Sponsors page as they include how to enter the giveaway.
Yesterday I attended the Family Discovery day at the Forest Glen Family History Centre which is very new and a great venue to host a day of genealogy talks. There were two streams of talks throughout the day except for my session which made for a huge audience. I think there were about 120 attendees. My talks was Demolishing Brick Walls and this was the same talk I gave in Perth last weekend. You can see it on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. I received some great feedback and lots of people went home determined to break down their brick walls.
Forest Glen Family History Centre
 The first session I went to was a demonstration on how to use FamilySearch's family tree program and attaching photos, stories and documents. I always like to see how other people organise their family history, usually experiencing some jealousy. People who have only started in 'computer times' mostly have all their research contained within their program whereas those of us who have been doing it for some decades, it seems to be a mix of paper and computer. I just need to stop doing everything else I do and even then, I'm not sure I'd have enough time.

There was a soup and fruit lunch after my talk but I was caught up with people wanting to ask me questions for the whole of the lunch break. A very nice person brought me a cup of soup and I managed to find a few pieces of orange still on the fruit plate. Why don't people like fruit with skin? I love oranges and they were so sweet. Even while I was having my soup and fruit there were still people asking me questions or talking to me. It's nice to be popular.

Somewhat fortified I caught the end of the How to use Ancestry better which was a video with Christa Cowan explaining various tips. I'm obviously not making the most of Ancestry, especially if I don't find what I'm looking for first up. Note to self - explore the Advanced search in more detail and don't forget to use those wildcards. Ironic really because I mentioned both those things in my Demolishing Brick Walls talk!

One of the lecture areas
The last session I went to was a talk by Mike England on the different calendars and how these could impact on your research if you get back to the 18th century. While I was aware of the different calendars, Mike's examples made me much more conscious of how it could be very different within the UK due to the Protestants and the Catholics having different calendars. I first met Mike in Kingaroy some 30 odd years ago so good to see him again.

That's one of the nice things about attending genealogy events, there is usually someone you know and I met up with quite a few people from the Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Kingaroy. Wonderful to see that people did travel for this event.

There's no rest for the wicked (not that the voluntary national coordinator of NFHM is wicked) but I'm off to give two talks at Caloundra Library this week before flying off to Auckland, New Zealand for their family history expo with Dick Eastman and others on the program. I'm giving six talks over there before heading home. There will be a full report on the expo when I get back so stay tuned.

It's not all talking for NFHM, I have also agreed to take the Alex's NFHM blog challenge which is an online event. Week 1 was on the Census and my contribution was simply called Census Night. I wrote about my discovery in the 1901 Irish census. The Australian History Bloggers now have a Facebook Fan page and you can read more NFHM blogs there and Alex will be bringing all the challenge blogs together at the end.

It's another busy week coming up and then there will be the last two weeks of NFHM which are usually busy too, not just with talks but also managing the prizes giveaway. I hope that people don't leave it all too the end as that just makes it harder for me. The prize draw is after my final NFHM talk at Noosaville library on 31 August and I expect to be seriously exhausted by then. So my treat will be a nice night at one of my favourite spots (Mooloolaba) going to one of my favourite restaurants and simply chilling out with fine food and wine.

Continue to enjoy NFHM 2016 and my 31 Activities for Researchers is there for anyone stuck for ideas. Until next time, happy searching.