Saturday 29 October 2016

Specialist websites, NAA charges & Other News - Genealogy Notes 22-29 Oct 2016

It's been a strange week - it feels like I'm on a treadmill and not going anywhere. Or a Groundhog day. Still we can't always progress in leaps and bounds.

Dorcas Trevaskis
Following up on one of my discoveries from the recent Unlock the Past expo in Adelaide, I previewed Verity's soon to be published Veryhistoric Yorke Peninsula website (stand by for the URL) as my GG Grandparents James Henry Trevaskis and Elizabeth Rosewarne married there in 1865 and my G Grandmother Dorcas Trevaskis was born there the following year. I first met Verity on an Unlock the Past cruise so she was aware of my family interest in the area and I knew that she was into One Place Studies. It is simply amazing how much she has pulled together including photographs and newspaper articles for some of the places on the Yorke Peninsula. It is a work in progress and like anything, some places have more information than others. There are also links to sites of interest for all South Australia.

Her other website Dusty Docs is also quite amazing and I had thought it was only for the UK and Ireland but there are also pages for Australia and New Zealand. Just go to the Choose a Country option and both are in the drop down menu. I always find portal sites fascinating as the compilers bring together all kinds of websites, some of which are obvious and others you would probably never think to look for or even stumble over. Of course once you start exploring unfamiliar links, there goes a few hours!

It is coming up for two years since I started writing articles and blog posts on Australasian genealogy topics for the digital genealogy magazine Going In-Depth, published by the The In-Depth Genealogist. Although published in America, it has authors from around the world so that in any issue there can be lots of interest. As usual I was behind in my reading, or even flicking through, so I was unaware that many of my articles actually make the front cover. I was quite chuffed (is that a word) and like all writers and bloggers, I often wonder does anyone read what I write. To be featured on the front cover is a tangible expression that people like my topics.

There is a six month exclusivity period with the publishers but after that I am free to do what I like with my work. So I have over 12 months of articles and blogs that I am thinking of updating (if necessary) and putting on my website for wider use. I've covered lots of Australian archives and libraries as well as some of the usual, and not so usual, genealogy topics. This has appeal as I'm not writing totally from scratch but it will also be a useful measure to see how much has changed since I first wrote the piece.

The big news this week is the increase in the National Archives of Australia's copying charges - see Fact Sheet 51 for the new prices which are effective from 24 October 2016. There has been a sharp increase in the cost of files between 11 to 100 pages which is probably a truer reflection of the costs to digitise the files. If you can visit the Archives office where the records are, you can usually use your own digital camera to take copies. However, if you can't visit, then depending on what you are researching it may be cheaper to get a local record agent or whoever to look at the file first.

Me and my baby brother
This coming week we have Halloween (yes even on Bribie Island), Melbourne Cup and my birthday which used to be the old Guy Fawkes night. Apparently Mum watched the fireworks from her hospital window before giving birth to me! I have some good early birthday memories from when you could have bonfires and fireworks in your own back yard. It was never the same after they moved it to June and then eventually banned it.

Perhaps I'm just suffering birthday blues or Mum continually telling me she can't have a ?? year old daughter is having an effect. Apparently I'm making her feel old! Mind you I'm wondering where all those years have gone too. A good reminder to get all those family stories documented now before time speeds by and our memories fade.

Have a good genealogy week and happy searching.

Thursday 20 October 2016

Victorian Inquests, Facebook & Other News - Genealogy Notes 15-21 Oct 2016

Another big week. Lots of exciting news including that one of my talk proposals for the Footsteps in Time  genealogy conference on the Gold Coast in May 2017 was accepted. That means I have to send off the photo and short biog to the Committee and the deadline is 30 October. Hopefully that means the conference program will be up on their website some time in November. Being so close to home I was always going to attend, but the program is also a big attraction. Can't wait to see who else is speaking.

Towards the end of my time with Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) we were digitising inquest files in collaboration with FamilySearch. It was exciting to read Suzie Zada's blog post Victoria, Inquest Deposition Files 1840-1925 online. The project was huge so nice to see that we can start to see some of the files. Suzie's post was also a reminder that PROV has a new Beta website. On first glance it looks more exciting and inviting but I haven't had a reason to look for anything yet.

I personally hate new websites because it can be a challenge to find information you could once find easily. A good example is State Records New South Wales new website which thankfully they are working towards getting things right although I still struggle to find things. For example, I had difficulty finding their guides on asylums, not under A, not under H, but under M for Mental Health Facilities. Some asylums are benevolent, destitute or children so it seems odd to now put them all under M and not A for the more generic asylums. Even an old fashioned see reference would help. I liked them on the old site.

Another blog post that I liked this week was Alona's  Update Australian Facebook + Genealogy. Alona has been compiling a list of all Australian Facebook sites that relate to genealogy and family history. It is quite amazing how many there are and how much traffic some of them get. Lots of people are asking for advice and making connections online.

But like anything online you do need to check that what you have been told is correct and follow through with original records. I remember one time someone told me that they had been advised that a particular series of records had been destroyed. Having worked in archives for most of my life that seemed strange as they were significant records, so I checked the catalogue and easily found the series which had been indexed and I was able to give the person a direct reference to ask for. A bonus for me was that I hadn't thought to look at that series myself, and I found a file for my mother in law.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of hearing Paul O'Keefe talking about his family connection to Ned Kelly. From memory the talk was called The Girl Who Loved Ned Kelly and it was the story of Ettie Hart, Paul's great great grandmother. It was fascinating and I'm pleased to see that the whole story is now a musical Ned Kelly My Love and showing in Brunswick, Melbourne in November. One of the few times I wish I was still living down south!

Some of my ancestors lived interesting lives but no one is going to write books or musicals about them. Therefore it is always exciting to see this happen to people I know.

Tomorrow I'm going on the Kookaburra River Queen, a paddle wheeler that goes up and down the Brisbane River while offering morning and afternoon teas, lunches and dinners. We are down for the buffet lunch for Chris' Blarney lunch. Chris writes a number of blogs (how does she keep them all up) but I particularly follow her That Moment in Time which is a weekly round of interesting blogs, Irish news, what's new on Findmypast and other places. If you are short of time it's a good place to look. I know a few of the people going but others will be new. It should be a good day and the weather is fantastic at the moment.

Lots of genealogy reports, articles and blog posts coming up again this week. Some weeks there is nothing but then it gets super busy with requests. Still I love challenges. Have another great week of genealogy searching. Until next time, good luck.

Thursday 13 October 2016

Adelaide Expo report, Book review & Other News - Genealogy Notes 8-14 Oct 2016

My little trip to the Unlock the Past Genealogy & History Expo in Adelaide last weekend was fantastic but not without drama. I'm actually wondering if they are good for my health or am I just a little accident prone. We flew in on Thursday afternoon and I noticed that the rings on my fingers were very tight and there was a bit of swelling. My partner was the same and we both thought it would go down in the evening as Adelaide was hot and humid that afternoon.

Before bed I managed to get all but one ring, my engagement ring, off. The finger was still swollen and the ring was very tight. Hoping that all would be well in the morning we went to sleep until I woke up in a fair bit of pain and an extremely swollen finger about 12.30 am. We didn't hire a car so we couldn't drive to a hospital and there was no night reception so after a chat with the Ambulance folk they suggested we probably needed the Fire Service to cut the ring off. To cut a long story short, I was the one wearing only a nightie, with bare feet on the footpath on Anzac Highway in the wee hours of the morning while the lovely firemen worked every so carefully to cut me free without further damage to my finger. While I was extremely embarrassed at having to call on their services, they graciously said it was good to come out and be able to help someone.  Emergency services people really are wonderful. Thank you all.

Thankfully the rest of the weekend went better and you can read my Day One and Day Two reports for all the details. It really was a good event with lots of lectures, exhibitors and networking with friends and colleagues. My partner spent the time with his son and grandkids so a great weekend all round.

While in Adelaide I went without checking emails, spent practically no time on social media and generally did things the old fashioned way. I managed to read Nathan Dylan Goodwin's new book The Spyglass File and you can read my review here. The trouble with his fictional forensic genealogist Morton Farrier is that I want to read all his adventures straight away but of course, each book takes time to research and write. If you are only just discovering Nathan's books, there are three earlier Morton Farrier adventures and a novella. May the fifth book appear as soon as possible.

The University of Tasmania is offering a family history unit over Spring and Summer as part of their Diploma of Family History, entitled 'Writing Family History'. The unit is fully online and has a 100% HECS scholarship for domestic students, meaning that you will not incur a tuition fee or debt for studying the unit. It provides an introduction to writing non fictional and fictional narratives based on genealogical records. Applications are open now and you can apply here.

I'm thinking of enrolling in this unit but the last time I enrolled in one of their family history subjects I broke my right elbow (on another Unlock the Past event) and had to withdraw. Thanks to the 'firies' I still have my finger on my left hand so perhaps all will be well this time.

Last night I gave a presentation to the Bribie Island Historical Society on the early Presidents of the Amateur Fishermen's Association of Queensland, giving it a family history twist. There was lots of interest and questions and my research on the Presidents will expand to take in all the suggestions. It was my last talk for the year. A quick count shows that I did 28 presentations in 2016, that may be an all time record and they can be seen on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

It's been a full on week and I'm still catching up on research reports, blog and article writing, and the online Education Records module. This week will also have my fingers on the keyboard as I have a holiday coming up in November and I want to go away with a clean desk!

Until next time, have another great week geneasearching.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Genealogy Expo Bound & Other News - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Oct 2016

This Diary post is being written in advance as I am about to leave for Adelaide and the Unlock the Past Adelaide expo on Friday and Saturday. It will be genearaging while you read this. Wondering if this will get me another entry in Geniaus' geneadictionary? Last week's geneaenvy made it and if you haven't caught up with Geniaus' latest inclusion, read it here.

I'm giving two talks at the Expo - one on digitised newspapers which seems to be the most popular talk after the organisers did a survey of who was attending what session. Sadly my other talk on sporting ancestors didn't poll as well and I'm now in a smaller room. Most people automatically assume they have no sporting ancestors but the reality is that they have probably never looked. It's not just cricket! All those fishermen, hunters, shooters, swimmers and others must belong to someone. My book is available from Gould Genealogy & History and on sale at the Expo.

Usually I try to do daily posts when I attend these types of events, but since breaking my right elbow last year travel has been more complicated. It's hard to tow a suitcase, laptop and handbag with only one arm so I need to become more techno with the tablet. I have an old model IPad but was given a smaller Android tablet which I haven't quite got the hang of yet.

I could do photos easily with the IPad but the new tablet only seems to take selfies and I'm not quite into that. You can't seem to turn it around and take photos and see what's in the frame. Others have looked and confirmed its not just me being silly. I could use my phone but then I have to get my reading glasses out and as they are a new addition to my wardrobe, I quite often find they are at home!

There will be a full report once I get back but in the meantime I'm sure there will be lots of tweets and Facebook posts from other geneabloggers at the Expo. As well as local South Australians, I know others travelling from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria so it will be a busy time with all the talks, exhibitors and catching up with geneafriends.

If you want time to go fast then get involved in following a daily blog or challenge. I'm a fan of Amy Johnson Crow and she is currently doing 31 Days to Better Genealogy with a different post each day. It's National Family History Month over in the USA and it's similar to what I have done here as a NFHM online event for the last few years. The timing is not great for me with the trip to Adelaide and other projects but each day gives new ideas from someone else's perspective. I can always follow up at a more leisurely pace. The first five days have gone so quick that when I see the email pop up I can't believe it is 24 hours later!

This week saw me send off my monthly blog and article for The In-Depth Genealogist. These are always on Australasian topics and the blog posts tend to favour archives and libraries (no surprise there) and what you can use online.

Max and I as part of the 200th anniversary of
the closure of the First Settlement 2007

We are thinking of going back to Norfolk Island (for a third trip) with some of our Bribie friends. It seems we have raved so much they now all want to experience it themselves. A friend on Norfolk Island reminded me that next year is the 10th anniversary of our convict reunion over there. Seems like 2017 is the year to go back but where have the last 10 years gone?

Last week the family were hassling me about Christmas but now they seem to have twigged that I'm about to enter a new decade, which I had thought I could slip quietly into. I wonder if the swinging 60s still applies or, now that 60 is the new 40, is it back to the 40s? Not sure that I could deal with another mid life crisis.

Either way over the last few weeks of my 50s I thought it might be interesting to try and find photographs from each decade. This might keep the family amused if they insist on the big party. The hard part is that having been a gypsy for a good part of my life, there is not a great photographic store to choose from. Perhaps some of you who have known me through family history for the last 40 years have some interesting photos of me?

Have a great genealogy week and if you are in Adelaide, do say hello. Happy searching until next time.