Thursday, 1 December 2016

Family History Fiction, Bendigo Petitions & Family Search Indexing - Genealogy Notes 7 Nov - 2 Dec 2016

Birthday cake courtesy Tuscan Grill on Celebrity Millenium
Funny how holidays always seem to go faster than every day life but I'm back, safe and sound from my decade changing birthday holiday. Even our cruise ship Celebrity Millenium got into the spirit of it with this personal birthday cake. It was delicious!

Three weeks without a computer, internet, phone or social media - I slept better, got more exercise and still managed to be busy most days! Only managed to read, and enjoyed, two books, both fiction but with a family history focus. Robyn Davidson's Ancestors is an interesting twist on how our ancestors can influence our lives and Victorian Purman's The Three Miss Allens throws light on challenges placed on women by society and how easily our family histories could have been changed by events. Both authors are Australian so there is an Australian flavour to both books.

Of course being totally disconnected means you come home to a small mountain of emails, enewsletters and paper journals and magazines, not to mention Facebook, Twitter and lots of my favourite blogs. There is lots of news including the National Library of Australia's announcement that Dr Marie-Louise Ayres will be taking over as the next Director General of the NLA from 2 Mar 2017. Dr Ayres is taking over from Anne-Marie Swirtlich AM who has been at the helm since 2011 and given us the wonderful Trove during that time.

Another exciting snippet that caught my attention was the news that the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre has digitised over 600 petitions from Bendigo and district residents between 1870 and 1899. Currently 284 petitions with 14,240 signatures and addresses have been indexed and are available online. The whole project is expected to be finished in 2017 with over 35,000 names. My families had left Bendigo by then but this is great for anyone with Bendigo ancestors in that date range.

FamilySearch is celebrating 10 years of web based volunteer indexing with 5.5 billion historical records now online for free. I remember this coming in while I was still at Public Record Office Victoria and we made use of it to index the wills and probates that FamilySearch were digitising in a joint PROV/FamilySearch project. The technology is amazing and such a wonderful tool for family history research. You can read the whole media release here and there is a free downloadable I Love Families images.

Vietnam's orchids rival Singapore's!
So after the technology excitement of Trove, BRAC and FamilySearch I had to order some certificates from Western Australia, something I haven't done for a while. The WA indexes are online but that is as far as it goes. To obtain copies I had to print out order forms for each certificate, hand write my details and then surface mail the forms to Perth. The copies should arrive in a couple of weeks.The only good news was that uncertified digital images are $20. With Queensland and Victoria  you can order certificates online and have the copy within seconds, although sometimes that is just an encouragement to spend more money quicker. Obviously patience is still a required genealogy skill!

On the good news front, I've received a few enquiries to speak at various venues in 2017 so the year is starting to fill out quite nicely and not too busy. This year has been quite frantic with 31 presentations which must be an all time record for me. Next year is definitely going to be more relaxed! I just have to remember to say No and factor in things like travel time.

The rest of this month is dedicated to finishing the Education Records module for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies Australian certificate. This is my fifth module in the last few years and I will be taking a break from this too as they are quite labour intensive. On the plus side I always learn a lot myself but with two cruises already booked for next year, I need to be realistic about work loads.

Singapore's most amazing building - a cruise ship on top of three hotel buildings.
We stayed at a place a little more down market!
No doubt lots of other things happened in my absence but for those interested in where I have been, read on. A few days in Singapore then off on a 14 day cruise to Vietnam (two ports - saw the Chu Chi tunnels and Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang and Hoi An), Hong Kong, The Philippines (two ports - Manilla and Boracay) and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia before heading back to Singapore for a few more days. A great trip with no drama until our flight home was delayed - supposed to fly out at 8.50pm but didn't leave until 2.00pm the next day. We were given overnight accommodation and breakfast but didn't get to the hotel until 2.00am and we didn't arrive home until 11.00pm so for two days we were like zombies!

Snowman in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia - saw them in every country
we visited. Who knew they could live so close to the Equator?
We had prebooked a transfer back to Bribie Island and when they saw the flight was delayed they made the most remarkable assumption that we would no longer need the transfer. So there was no one to meet us at the airport - obviously we had to arrive back sometime, even if it was the evening instead of the morning! Being stranded at Brisbane airport late at night is no fun and perhaps travel insurance would have covered the rather large cost of a taxi to Bribie but I recently put Uber on my phone (thankfully I took it with me in case I needed it on return). Within 7 minutes we had a Uber driver happy to take us home and the cost was quite a bit cheaper than our usual Island airport transfer. I know who we will be using next time!
Entrance to the largest shopping centre in Manilla -
time to get out our Christmas 'decs' but where to find a snowman?
Anyway it is now back to a more quiet lifestyle in the lead up to Christmas. Until next time, have a great genealogy week.

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