Wednesday 26 July 2017

Family memorabilia, DNA results & Other News - Genealogy Notes 12 -31 Jul 2017

The last few weeks have been a blur with the clearing out of Mum's house. Just when I thought I had discovered all Mum's secrets (and regular readers will know that Mum kept some amazing family facts from me) I find yet another family treasure where you would least think to look. What was hidden behind the kitchen drawer with all the cooking bits and pieces?

Mum's 1947 pocket diary
It was a 1947 (used in 1948) pocket diary with a picture of Perry Como pasted on the front cover. I knew instantly it was Mum's as she had a thing for him as a teenage girl. Sure enough inside was her name and address and it starts off with "Saturday 20 December 1947 Mervyn kissed me for the first time". Now I know when my parents first kissed although I already knew that they started going out when they were 13 years old.

I wonder what other secrets will be revealed if I continue past the first page! The handwriting is not the best and a bit small at times but I will save it for when I have more time. Why was it in the kitchen drawer and not with her photo albums or even in a bedroom drawer? Seems an odd place to put it and once I have scanned it, the diary can go with my other family memorabilia.

Mum's DNA results are back and I managed a quick look comparing people who match closely to me and it turns out they are not related to my mother. Which means they must be related through Dad's side and so far no common names so perhaps that means on my unknown grandfather's side. Unfortunately no time to really sort results at the moment so something to do in August during NFHM in between my speaking engagements.

In my spare time I finished my five talks for the Unlock the Past cruise to Papua New Guinea which departs tomorrow. National Family History Month also took up some time as I approved events and made changes for various people. Last minute details for the launch were finalised and it looks like being a fantastic August. Remember the prize giveaway opens on 1 August and no entries before that date will be accepted. I'm giving 13 talks in various places in south east Queensland - to find out where see the Events page of my website.

Thanks to Chris Paton for pointing out the National Archives UK online guide to digital microfilm - these types of guides for any archives or library are a fantastic way to quickly see what is available on particular topics. Remember that Chris is touring Australia during NFHM - see dates and venues here.  I'm looking forward to his talks in Brisbane.

The next five weeks for me are almost non stop genealogy events and as usual I will be doing blog posts about each event that I attend. My presentations will be on the Resources page of my website (after the event) and I hope to progress my DNA results as my NFHM activity. With so much on the time will go quickly.

I've taken this blog post up to the end of July as I won't have regular internet. The next post will be after I return from the genealogy cruise.

Have a great start to National Family History Month and remember there are online events too if you can't get to anything close by. Until next time, happy searching.

Monday 10 July 2017

Masonic archives, NFHM 2017, & other news - Genealogy Notes 2-11 Jul 2017

Another week taken up with family issues but we have finally managed to get Mum into aged care and here on Bribie Island. That will certainly cut  travel time with no more trips down the highway to Brisbane. We have also spent lots of time going through Mum's things and deciding what to keep, donate or toss. So many memories are in a home and furnishings. At least Mum is still with us to explain when and how something came into her possession.

For example, the crystal duchess set was an engagement present to her from her mother, my grandmother. How many of us have captured that kind of background information on our own possessions?

Provincial Grand Masters Regalia
RW Bro Thomas S Burstow
Brisbane Masonic Memorial Centre
Jul 2017
While in Brisbane I took some time out to visit the Masonic Memorial Centre where an old friend has taken on the job of voluntary archivist. It is always good catching up with friends but it is even better being able to have a behind the scenes look at an archive.

Many organisations save their old records but quite often they don't know what to do with them so the records are stock piled around an organisation. It is a huge job and I'm looking forward to her progress reports.

I also came away with some information on two Masons in the family. Seeing something that was once worn by an ancestor is amazing and it gives you a greater insight into their lives and what occupied their time.

Read more about my visit here and find out what I discovered.

There is an AFFHO meeting tonight where I will be giving an update on National Family History Month for 2017. There are 157 events so far in every state and territory with the exception of the Northern Territory.

There are even some online events including a blogging challenge and no doubt more events will be added between now and 1 August when the fun begins. So far 31 genealogy/family history societies have added events along with archives and libraries. It will be another great month.

Lost Cousins newsletter for this week had some interesting pieces, especially around DNA. I felt better when the editor said "I've still got thousands of matches to analyse". I'm not alone!

I feel a bit inundated at the moment with DNA matches, smart matches and record matches and possibly my own fault as I have posted my family information on a number of sites. Some connections are really distant but good if you are wanting to find every descendant of an ancestor in Australia. Others are more recent and might be good to meet up with and some I can't work out what the connection is in the first place. It is really time consuming but perhaps things will be less hectic once I get NFHM over for another year.

This coming week I have to finalise my five talks for the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise to Papua New Guinea coming up in two weeks. I also have to work on my talks for National Family History Month as I start giving talks as soon as we get back from Papua New Guinea. Although I am taking time out to go to Brisbane for the Unlock the Past two day seminar on Researching Abroad: Finding British Isles and European Ancestors. August is full on and to see all the places I am speaking go to the Events page of my website.

Have a great genealogy week and start planning what you will be doing for NFHM2017. Until next time, happy searching.

Saturday 1 July 2017

Talks & Conferences Coming Up & Other News - Genealogy Notes 25 Jun -2 Jul 2017

It's been a busy week and all I seem to have done is make travel arrangements to attend genealogy events coming up. I have now booked my accommodation for the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies annual conference in Orange, NSW. It is on 22-24 Sep 2017 and the theme is Your Family Story: Telling, Recording & Preserving which is really relevant and there are some great speakers on the program.

I'm now an ambassador for the Researching Abroad: Finding British Isles and European Ancestors tour around Australia and New Zealand with Chris Paton and Dirk Weissleder. This is between 8 and 26 August so a perfect event for National Family History Month. It's straight after I get back from the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise to Papua New Guinea so a very busy couple of weeks of genealogy talks and networking with geneamates.

Just as well P&O sent me a reminder about the need for a travel visa to Papua New Guinea - just print the form, fill it in and hand in at check in. So simple, but lucky I saw the email and didn't delete as advertising.

I've also committed to the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise to Alaska next year. Having never traveled to the US or Canada before this is my big opportunity to resist the lure of Asia and Europe. Chris Paton and Dick Eastman are the keynotes on the cruise and they are always good value and entertaining sessions.

Unfortunately I can't go to everything but for those able to get to Cowra, NSW easily you should think about attending this year's Royal Australian Historical Society conference.  It's on 28 - 29 October 2017 and the theme is Finding Lost Places, Lost People.

The Trove Tuesday blog challenge was successfully met this week with my Did the Family Ever Make Contact Back Home post. In the absence of surviving family letters how can we prove or even guess that our ancestors kept in touch with the family members they left behind. Trove can sometimes throw light on this question and in my case, it was through a court appearance.

National Family History Month is now only 4 weeks away and I have been busy approving events on the NFHM web calendar. There is always room for more events and it is really good to see the National Library of Australia hosting two events this year plus other local libraries and genealogy/family history societies across Australia.

Scotland's People announced the release of Presbyterian church records which was exciting but didn't lead to any Scottish breakthrough.

FamilySearch announced the discontinuation of their microfilm services which was no surprise as they continue to digitise their microfilm holdings and either make them available online or through their Family History Centres. I can still remember visiting the LDS Library (as it was then) in Brisbane in the late 1970s early 1980s and using microfilm on really awful microfilm readers and having a sore right arm from hand winding for days afterwards. What we have today with the internet and digitised records is truly amazing.

This coming week I'm off to Brisbane for a visit to the  United Grand Lodge of Queensland, Masonic Memorial Centre to check out their archives. One of my uncles was fairly high up in the Masons and so was Max's great grandfather so it will be interesting to see what I can find out. I have also got to finish my five talks for the PNG cruise and keep monitoring the NFHM website and promoting it to all.

Enjoy the coming week and if you are attending any of the above events, I look forward to catching up with you. Happy searching until next time.