Sunday 28 May 2017

Gold Coast Conference review, Coffs Harbour talks & Other News - Genealogy Notes 16-29 May 2017

Apologies for no Diary update last week but health and family issues took priority and it was all I could do to turn up where I was supposed to. It's been an exhausting two weeks and the next few aren't looking any easier.

Still I did manage to go to the excellent Footsteps in Time conference on the Gold Coast and caught up with lots of friends, colleagues and new people. My report on the conference is a blog post on my website - read it here. Well done to the organisers and volunteers who made it such a success. The next History Queensland conference will be in Caloundra in 2019.

I  can now reveal that my talks accepted for #Congress_2018 (note the hash tag and watch out for announcements) are What's In a Middle Name and The Public Curator: Guardian of Family History Treasure.

The keynote speakers were revealed at the Southport conference - check them out on the Congress website. Early bird registration opens soon and I know some people have already booked their accommodation! Not one to miss.

The Welcome Desk
at Coffs Harbour District Family History Society
The 6 hour drive to Coffs Harbour for my presentations at the weekend was a bit of an ordeal with traffic and roadworks and even longer on the way back home. However the day spent with the lovely Coffs Harbour District Family History Society was really good. I do love country cooking and they put on a delicious lunch as well as morning tea. They finish early so that those travelling from outer areas can still get home easily. Some great feedback on my talks, lots of raffles and happy winners. My four presentations are on my website Resources page, scroll down to Presentations.

On the Sunday before driving home I popped into the Society's research rooms which are a wonderful resource for their members. It was great to see such an enthusiastic group. Just a shame I couldn't stay for a couple more days but I'll be back!
The Computer Area

This Wednesday is Week 7 of my advanced family history class for Bribie U3A - time is flying with only another three weeks and it will all be over. It's been nice working with the smaller group. Due to National Family History Month preparation I'm not doing anything in Term 3 but I might consider it for Term 4 depending on how all the current health/family issues settle. We really need more societies, libraries and archives to start adding their events for August NFHM. I'm sure people have events already planned but its important to advertise them too so that potential new members here about them.

 I even managed to forget to renew my subscription to Dick Eastman's Plus Newsletter. I get the free daily updates but I also like to read the plus articles. So that was my first job today and all renewed in time for next week's edition.

There hasn't been much time for anything else but I did like Alona Tester's blog post Yes Folks, Genealogy Does Cost Money! We do have to buy certificates and documents and I do like viewing digitised records at home when I want without having travel time/costs and other expenses. Without commercial providers we wouldn't have many of these resources and do we really want to go back to those days of no easy access? Read Alona's well thought out post.

So far I only have two trips to Brisbane this coming week and a bit more time at home to catch up on everything, especially NFHM 2017. Enjoy any genealogy time you get and good luck with your searches. Until next time.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Red Cross files, DNA talk & other news - Genealogy Notes 8-15 May 2017

A huge week with lots on and getting ready for the Footsteps in Time genealogy conference on the Gold Coast this coming weekend. Should be a wonderful time catching up with geneamates and learning heaps of new things.

Where to start? Bribie Island hosted a talk by Chris Schuetz from Queensland Family History Society on DNA last Thursday. It was a packed session with lots of questions and obviously people are interested in this aspect of family history. Chris continually reminded people that it is a tool and that it does not replace traditional research and a paper (digital) trail. Chris also recommended Kerry Farmer's DNA for Genealogists, 4th edition and see below for details.

Given my own DNA discoveries, Chris kindly lent me The Genetic Strand: Exploring a family history through DNA by Edward Ball. It is the story of the author's journey after finding locks of hair belonging to his ancestors. I have to return it at the conference so desperately trying to find the time to read it before then.

This week I received an email from the University of Melbourne Archives (sometimes I do miss living in Melbourne) telling me about a new digitised collection. In their words:

In 2016 Red Cross Australia donated their historical collection to the University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) as a ‘Gift to the Nation’. Part of this collection included the Missing, Wounded and Prisoner of War Enquiry Cards dating from World War Two to 1973. Since the transfer, UMA has been working to make all of the cards relating to World War Two available online. There are now over 58,000 cards available through UMA’s online catalogue. To find a card, just type the surname into the search box. For further enquiries, please contact UMA at or 03 9035 4337. For more information about the series, see the wonderful article on our blog, ‘A Humane and Intimate Administration’: The Red Cross’ World War Two Wounded, Missing and Prisoner of War Cards by Senior Archivist Fiona Ross.

I had a look at a few of the cards and wonderful information, some cards more detailed than others. None of my WW2 people were reported missing, wounded or prisoner of war so I randomly looked at names. Most only have initials so best to search on surnames and to see the actual cards click on the PDF symbol.

John Finn, the family patriarch
from County Wicklow
Today is Trove Tuesday and I managed to do a blog post - Frederick John Finn, a sad victim of Murphy's Creek. Some of my Finn families have incredibly sad stories, not a lucky family. I'm not sure if there is anyone still with the Finn name as two sons never married after serving in WW1, one son only had a daughter, one son died without issue and the remaining son had two sons who died and the only surviving male was Daniel Finn, brother of Frederick John Finn. I have not been able to trace him since WW2 but perhaps he married and had sons. One to follow up.

Tomorrow's U3A class is all about using social media and Facebook for genealogy and family history so that should be a stimulating session. The small group works well as people can ask questions as we go.

I've seen on Facebook people posting about the last issue of Inside History Magazine. Mine must still be in the mail as they say! I hope it arrives soon but sad to know it is the last issue. Time to go back and look at all the wonderful stories and items of interest.

Not that I have a lot of reading time as my standing order with Gould Genealogy & History for Unlock the Past research guides means that I now have another three guides to read: Neil Smith has just published Australians in Peril: Tracing Your World War Two Australian Military Ancestors; Rosemary Kopittke has a 3rd edition of Scotlands People: the place to launch your Scottish research and Kerry Farmer has a 4th edition of DNA for Genealogists. All timely publications given all my news above.

Making sure I have everything I need for the Footsteps in Time conference is now the top priority. My presentation has already been sent but I also like to take a back up plus my trusty notebook (paper) and pen. My over the shoulder bag so that I can carry all the bits and pieces I pick up at the Fair on the Friday. It's only three days but there will also be the conference satchel to pack into the suitcase. Luckily I'm driving down so I don't have to watch the weight I carry back. Look out for the blog posts when I return.

Have a wonderful week researching and if you are at the conference, come up and say hello. Until next week, have geneafun!  

Monday 8 May 2017

Irish Tour Downunder, Archives Day & More - Genealogy Notes 1-7 May 2017

There seems to be a number of overseas speakers visiting downunder over the next few months which is wonderful. First up is the Australia and New Zealand lecture tour by Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt from the Ulster Historical Foundation between 18 May and 4 June 2017. They are visiting New Zealand, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and the Sunshine Coast. To see dates and venues click here. Unfortunately for me I will be giving a four talk seminar in Coffs Harbour when they are on the Sunshine Coast. Can't go to everything!

Then there is the Unlock the Past tour with Chris Paton and and Dirk Weissleder finding European and British ancestors. They are visiting Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth throughout August - to see dates and venues click here. This is a wonderful list of events for National Family History Month (NFHM) which always occurs in August.

The Brisbane date is the day after we get back from the Papua New Guinea Unlock the Past genealogy cruise so I'm hoping that I still have the energy to make the trek back to Brisbane to hear the Chris Paton talks.

Speaking of NFHM I've also agreed to do some talks for the Sunshine Coast Libraries during August so my month is looking quite busy too. For all my speaking engagements see the Events page of my website.

But before August we also have International Archives Day 9 Jun 2017 and David Fricker, Director General of the National Archives of Australia is calling on archives around the world to be part of the celebrations. Watch out for archive events and news on 9 Jun 2017. Read more about it here.

During the week I managed to take part in Trove Tuesday with a blog post Why You Should Repeat Trove Searches. With new titles being added from time to time, it is quite possible that you will find new articles. I was quite excited by this find about my GGG grandparents when they were living in Grafton, NSW under an assumed name. It's no wonder we can't find our ancestors sometimes!

James Carnegie and Mary Finn
I also managed to write my review of Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Missing Man, the fifth installment of the adventures of fictional forensic genealogist, Morton Farrier. Read my review here. Other reviews and presentations can be found on my Resources page.

Going to the local U3A for the advanced family history classes and the local history sessions is also keeping me busy. So many people have wonderful family stories and this Friday I will be giving my Carnegie @ Pumicestone talk which is all about my GGG grandparents who settled here in the Toorbul/Bribie area in the late 1870s.

There hasn't been any time for new research and next week is the History Queensland Footsteps in Time conference on the Gold Coast. I am really looking forward to that and catching up with lots of genealogy friends.

Until next time happy searching!

Monday 1 May 2017

Conferences coming up & other news - Genealogy Notes 22-30 Apr 2017

Wow the 1st of May already, where did April go? Time goes when you are busy and last week was fantastic with all kinds of news and events.

First was the exciting news that I have been selected to present two talks at AFFHO Congress 2018 in Sydney next year. Bridging the Past & Future will be held from 9-12 March 2018 and there is a great range of speakers and topics over the four days.  Make sure the dates are in your diary as this is Australasia's main genealogy event and it only happens every three years.

The next bit of exciting news was the invitation to speak at the NSW & ACT annual conference which is being held in Orange, NSW. My great uncle Solomon Price was born in Orange so I was doubly excited to have a reason to accept. It is on between 22-24 September 2017 and the conference theme is Your Family Story: Telling, Recording & Preserving. Registrations open today and the program should be going up this week. Something to look forward to.

Last week's presentation at Ipswich Central Library was well attended with lots of questions. One lady told me she remembered me from 35 years ago when I worked at the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland and that she still enjoys my talks. She is now 87 years old and still doing the family history which is wonderful to see. It has to be one of the best hobbies because so many of us have been doing it for so long. The passion never goes away. The talk was Warning Warning: Avoiding Common Genealogy Mistakes and as usual the presentation is on my website. Go to the Resources page, and scroll down to Presentations.

I have another presentation in June for Ipswich Libraries and next time it will be at the Redbank Plains Library. To see where I am speaking and the topic go to the Events page of my website.

My sessions at the Bribie U3A are going well and it is interesting working with a small group of people as you can focus on individual genealogy problems and factor in their interests to the talks.

The other big thing occupying my time this week is my presentation for the Footsteps in Time conference on the Gold Coast which is now less than three weeks away. The final presentation is due Friday so definitely a priority. It should be a great time with lots of interesting sessions and catching up with geneamates and making new friends.

The following weekend I am giving four talks for the Coffs Harbour District Family History Society at an all day seminar. It is a few years since I last spoke there so I am looking forward to catching up with everyone again.

So May is going to be a busy month with lots of talks and travel. There has been no time for any genealogy research or blogging as preparing and delivering presentations takes time. I'm hoping for some more free time this coming week as the other half is away on a fishing trip.

Happy researching until next time.