Wednesday 18 October 2017

Digital tools, Open Data, Rockstar Genealogists & Other News - Genealogy Notes 11-18 Oct 2017

It's been a soggy week in south east Queensland which means lots of time indoors. I've now got my family history database on the new laptop and brought all my photographs across. It would have been easier to just copy everything across but it is amazing how many programs I have that I no longer use or there are newer and better versions. I am also tidying up my file directory and deleting things that I don't need anymore. A true spring clean and of course a nice little list of things to do later. 

The professional development day of the Queensland Professional Historians Association in Brisbane was a great success and I learnt about some digital tools for organising research so that you can find it again later. Of course Evernote was one that was mentioned, Air Table and also Zotero which I had forgotten about and how you can use it with Trove. The Department of Natural Resources and Mines has a new Queensland historical map viewer coming soon which will allow us to use the historical digital maps already in open data easier. It looks fantastic and here's hoping that the testing phase is completed soon.

My talk was on social media for historians and how it can be used for finding and sharing information as well as networking. It was a long day but good catching up with some people I've known for decades - I guess that's when we realise the years are passing. The venue was the Queensland Art Gallery theatre and I really must get down to Brisbane and spend some time in the Gallery, Library and Museum as they have all changed greatly since I worked there in the 1990s.

In the small world category, one of the attendees who I have known for years, had just spent time with a friend who is my distant cousin on the Carnegie side of the family and while she was visiting, they Googled some of the family names and found my blogs.  Naturally I said please have her contact me and we can share more family stories but I was also fascinated by the personal recollections she had of Toorbul. When you start to share your family stories online you really do start to connect up with others.

John and Helen Carnegie's grave
at Toorbul (my GGG grandparents)
Going to U3A twice a week for advanced family history and local Bribie history takes up time but it is also another opportunity to share information and learn from others. My talk on the Carnegies of Pumicestone Passage went well at the Bribie Island Historical Society Meeting and everyone was amazed at how much additional information I had found over the last three years. How I solved the brick wall with so many people using aliases left some just shaking their heads but it was something that took me years to solve and only 45 minutes to explain. It's always easier in hindsight.

I have just accepted my first talk for 2018 with Caloundra Family History Research, apart from my two talks at the Bridging the Past & Future Congress in Sydney in March. Speaking of talks, John D Reid (Canada's Anglo Celtic Connections) is again hosting his annual Rockstar Genealogist survey and voting is now open. I'm honoured to be nominated and there is a great line up of Australasian genealogists as well as some of the overseas genealogists who have visited our shores in the last few years. Check out their websites/blogs and be prepared to learn lots.

Talk of Christmas parties seems to be everywhere at the moment but I also like this time of year as I don't have any talks, so no travel and just time to catch up on projects and do some writing. Of course it helps that it is raining so no garden, pool or walks along the beach to distract me. The bookshelves need a tidy up with all my new books (some still to be read) plus print copies of journals and magazines.

We have been here 5 years in January so that means quite a few boxes have magically appeared in the study cupboards. The only time I find it easy to weed my magazines and journals is when I am moving house and then it's a necessity. Now that I am staying put, I'm hoarding again. It might be time to bundle some of them up and take them along to those Christmas parties!

I'm looking forward to a nice quiet week of research and writing and perhaps weeding those magazines. Have a great genealogy week and until next time, happy searching.

Monday 9 October 2017

Conference report, NSW webinars & Other News: Genealogy Notes 15 Sep -10 Oct 2017

Well an action packed few weeks and I have a new laptop. My old one had been experiencing blue screens of death for some time, the odd one and then more frequently but as the last few months have been so hectic I kept putting off doing anything. I was still using Windows 7 and Microsoft 2007 so just getting used to Windows 10 and Microsoft 2016 has been daunting, not to mention copying everything across and setting up the new laptop with all my other programs. But there comes the time when you simply have to do it. I always back up in a number of ways so no data files have been lost but it has been a time consuming exercise. My fingers are still getting used to the new keyboard which is slightly smaller and I have to check for typos more often.

Exhibitors located throughout Orange Library
Catching up on my emails I realised that I had won a prize at the recent Unlock the Past Researching Abroad roadshow. My prize was one years membership of Victorian GUM (Genealogists Using Microcomputers) which was a blast from the past. When I was living in Victoria I was a member and went to some of their meetings and I particularly liked their journal which mainly focuses on using FamilyTreeMaker and Legacy. They were established in 1984 and we have come a long way since those early computer times. It is going to be good getting their journal again.

It was a long drive down to Orange for the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Organisations (and back home) but I am really glad we made the trek. It was a really good conference and a number of speakers that made you sit up and think. My blog post on the conference is now on my website - read Report on Recording Your Family Story. My great grandparents Thomas and Elizabeth Price were in Orange in the late 1870s and early 1880s so it was good to visit and try to imagine what the town looked like back then. The conference venue was the Civic Theatre which is right next door to the Library which is where the Fair was held on the Friday and the exhibitors were located during the weekend. Next door to that was the Gallery and the Museum so during breaks you could explore the local history which was excellent and I really liked the old photos of Orange in the Museum.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Orange (did my ancestors attend here?)

One thing I have picked up on is that State Archives & Records New South Wales webinar program and the next one is on 7 November 10am (obviously NSW time so if you are in a different time zone remember to make the adjustment). It will be on NSW probate records which are a little complicated to work your way around so a webinar to tune into. If you forget or can't make the live webinar, remember you can always view earlier webinars in the library. There is also a quick start tutorial if you are not sure what a webinar is or how to access them.

For the 4th term of Bribie U3A I am again doing an advanced family session class with the first one last week. It is a 9 week term which must mean that Christmas is fast approaching and 2018 just around the corner. I can only hope that there will be less family drama next year although my son has announced (finally) that he is getting married. So I have a date that must be kept clear!

James Carnegie and Mary Finn
(my great grandparents)
Tomorrow night at the Bribie Island Historical Society meeting I am giving an update on my Carnegies @ Pumicestone talk which I gave in March 2014. Thanks to a few blog posts and sharing my brick wall, I have got lots of new information which reveals all the family secrets. Plus I even have some photos to share so blogging definitely pays off.

Not surprisingly I haven't done any family history research or even made a start on all the photos and albums I cleared out of Mum's house. The hardest part is always starting but I also need to digitise as my brother wants some too. Mum and Dad always took photos of our children (their grandchildren) when they babysat so lots of photos that neither my brother or I have copies of.

Touching my wooden desk, life should return to normal for me and I will get back into a nice routine of household chores, family history and gardening. Perhaps even a bit of exercise and social activity. Have a great week searching and Diary will get back to regular reporting. Until next week.