Friday 31 August 2018

Bound for Alaska & Other News - Genealogy Notes 16-31 Aug 2018

The last day of winter which has been extremely mild here. So perhaps it is good that I am off to cooler places.


The Genealogical Society of Queensland have asked me to be a guest blogger in October and the topic will be about the wonders of genealogy cruising using my Alaska trip as an example. My regular blog for The In-Depth Genealogist made the deadline but there hasn't been any other blogging time this month.


Still reading Lynette McDermott's 3rd book in The Garth Trilogy but preparations for the trip have side tracked me so the review will be finished after my return.


All booked for the Seattle Unlock the Past conference which is also being live streamed as reported last time in Diary. That should be a great day.

The following day many of us will be going on board the Explorer of the Seas for the Unlock the Past Alaska cruise. This is going to be a lot of fun as quite a few past cruisers will be there plus quite a few newbies so a great opportunity to chat and network. Not to mention shore excursions to Juneau and Skagway in Alaska and Victoria in Canada.

I will be blogging about the Seattle conference and the Alaska cruise on my return. Stay tuned.


Went to a session on writing memoirs and biographies at the local Bribie Island Library which was motivating. Amazing how everyone says just start writing but of course that is the hardest part. We all have stories that only we know and if we don't put them in writing they will be lost.

I have already started to accept talks for 2019 and it looks like another great genealogy year coming up. Remember Queensland is having its Waves in Time conference next May and there is nothing better than a holiday on the Sunshine Coast combined with a genealogy conference.

Updating my website is another task on the to do list when I return.

What's Coming Up

With all the travel excitement I haven't given the rest of the year much thought but there are a few talks plus my advanced family history class with Bribie U3A.

Until next time, have a great fortnight of research - I certainly will be!

Sunday 19 August 2018

NFHM, conferences & other news - Genealogy News Notes 1-15 Aug 2018

Wow National Family History Month has simply been a blur and you can read about the events I have attended so far in the link below. Also coming up fast is my trip to Alaska and the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. Only two weeks away now and I am doing a list of all the things I need to do before I leave and what I want to take with me.

Conferences - Live Streaming of Seattle Unlock the Past Conference
I am going to this Unlock the Past seminar day in Seattle but fantastic news - now it will be live streamed for all those not able to go in person. Plus it will be available as a series of 10 recorded webinars. Here is the media release.

Unlock the Past Cruises announces that the Unlock the Past in Seattle full-day two-stream conference (previously announced) will now also be available to watch live online – and for a limited time after as a series of 10 recorded webinars.

Date & time: Thursday 6 September 2018, 9am-5pm (Pacific Daylight Time)
Venue: - watch in your own home - from anywhere in the world - attend in person at Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA
Cost: - US$65 – Unlock the Past in Seattle Livestream - US$45 – attend in-person at Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA - US$20 – upgrade from in-person attendance to add access all 10 recorded sessions after
The program will feature 10 presentations in two streams – a DNA stream and an Irish/general stream The presenters 
• BLAINE BETTINGER (USA) – Blaine is a professional genealogist specialising in DNA evidence. He is the author of the long-running blog The Genetic Genealogist and the books The family tree guide to DNA testing and Genetic genealogy.
• DR MAURICE GLEESON (UK) – Maurice was voted Genetic Genealogist of the Year 2015 (SurnameDNA Journal) and Rockstar Genealogist, Ireland 2016 (Anglo-Celtic Connections). He runs a variety of Y-DNA Surname projects and organises the DNA Lectures at Genetic Genealogy Ireland. • CYNDI INGLE (USA) – Cyndi is the creator and owner of the award-winning web site Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet, a categorised index to more than 333,000 online resources. In its first three years, Cyndi’s List was voted the best genealogy site.
• WAYNE SHEPHEARD (Canada) – A retired geologist, Wayne now spends most of his time on family history research. This has resulted in the pioneering publication Surviving Mother Nature’s tests: The effects climate change and other natural phenomena have had on the lives of our ancestors.

For details and bookings go to

As I will be hearing all about DNA in Seattle and on board the Alaska genealogy cruise, I need to spend some time organising myself to maximise any chats I manage to have with people more knowledgeable than me on analysing results.

A cousin on Dad's side has agreed to do an Ancestry DNA test so once the results are in I will know the truth with no shadow of doubt. I am reasonably convinced Mum's story is probably true but after three years of wondering, now is the time to know, one way or the other. At least this time, the result won't be a total shock.

National Family History Month
Talking at FamilySearch Discovery Day
 photo courtesy Pauleen Cass
So far I have attended three events and my blog post Review of Talks Attended  has some of the things I learnt or was reminded of. Sometimes I sit in on a talk thinking there won't be much in it for me and then I am totally surprised at different approaches, things I had forgotten about and new resources. Then there are all the tips that you can pick up talking to others over lunch or tea breaks.

There is one more NFHM event for me before Alaska and that is a session on writing and publishing memoirs and biographies at Bribie Island Library.

Although I have said this before, I want to keep developing all my draft family histories (one for each major family group eg the Carnegie's from Scotland, the Finns and Fegans from Ireland, the Prices from Staffordshire, the Whites from Wiltshire and of course all my Cornish families). These drafts all need a bit of updating with new information plus more context to make them interesting and more readable. So a writing session to finish up NFHM 2018 seems like a very good idea.

What's Coming Up?
Only two more talks at my advanced family history class at Bribie U3A - we are looking at shipping and Trove and then while I am away two other class members will each do a session. For the final talk of Term 3 it will be me talking about Seattle and Alaska and the fun genealogical time had by everyone.

Term 4 will then loom so I'm on the look out for some bright ideas. Ten weeks goes incredibly fast.

In the last quarter of the year I have some talks for Moreton Bay Region Libraries on blogging, a webinar for the Society of Australian Genealogists and I am also talking about Trove to the local Bribie Island Family History Group.

And then it will be Christmas and 2019 not far behind. I often wonder if time goes as fast for those not doing genealogy. But I am getting ahead of myself - still lots of genealogical experiences for 2018 to look forward to. Why not put NFHM 2019 into next year's diary now and start planning a fantastic August of genealogy?

Until next time, wishing you some excellent genealogy discoveries.

Thursday 2 August 2018

National Family History Month & Other News - Genealogy Notes 16 - 31 Jul 2018

Exciting news - this blog was listed by Feedspot in the Top 10 Australian Genealogy Blogs which also includes some of my favourite bloggers including individuals and genealogy societies.


I have started reading Lynette McDermott's third volume in her Garth Trilogy The Promise of Tomorrow and I'm hooked again. This time the setting is the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria. This is an area where we had some wonderful fishing trips when we lived down that way so I'm familiar with a lot of the places. I hadn't thought I would relate as much to the third volume as I had with the first (Norfolk Island) and second (Tasmania). The only problem is that it is an ecopy so I have to read on the laptop and not curled up in bed, my preferred reading spot.


Pauleen Cass, one of my fellow social media ambassadors for the Waves in Time conference on the Sunshine Coast in May 2019 has written a wonderful blog post on what's happening - read Catch a Genealogy Wave in Queensland for a total update and make sure you put the dates in your diary. It will be a conference not to be missed.


In a few weeks I'm off on the Unlock the Past Alaska cruise and it should be a really great time. There will be a few days in Vancouver, Canada then a few days in Seattle. While there I'm attending the UTP one day conference with Blaine Bettinger and other speakers. Then the 7 night cruise with lots of onboard talks and wonderful scenery and onshore days. I will be doing my usual post cruise blog with all the highlights and learnings.

Unlock the Past have started to publicise their next cruise which is from Sydney to Singapore and you can check out the key speakers and what else is happening here. If that one doesn't tempt you, then there is a second cruise in 2019 going from Southampton to the Mediterranean.

National Family History Month

I almost forgot that August is National Family History Month now that I have retired as voluntary national coordinator. This year I can just sit back and enjoy events and even enter the NFHM prizes giveaway. My big event for the month is attending the FamilySearch Discovery Day at Forest Glen where I'm giving two talks and listening to two of my favourite speakers. Looking forward to a great day of genealogy tips and motivation.

Moreton Bay Region Libraries have a range of free talks on offer during August and I'm booked to attend a DNA talk with David Barnes at the Caboolture Library and Helen Smith is coming to Bribie Island Library to talk about brick walls and breaking them down. It's a nice to sit back and enjoy NFHM.

Image courtesy Hazel Edwards
Well known children's author (and grandmother) Hazel Edwards is also known for her How to Write a Non Boring Family History.  Hazel is keen to interest children in history and their own family history and she is keen to see other families foster this interest in the past.

NFHM is a perfect opportunity to try some of Hazel's ideas - why not do a picture book with a few highlights of an event/s in the family. Create a special birthday book. Or help them to draw the family tree. I love  Hazel's grandson's family tree.

If you are stuck for ideas, or need some guidance on how to start, check out Hazel's handy hints.


Findmypast has added some Cheshire, Cumberland and Derbyshire records plus added more records to the 1939 Register and more newspaper titles. Ancestry and MyHeritage are major supporters of NFHM so remember to check out the Sponsors page to see what prizes are on offer during August.

What's Coming Up?

Another trip on my bucket list is to the Midlands area of England (I have been to London a couple of times and been to Oxford, Kent and Wiltshire but always seem to run out of time). Next year The Genealogy Show is in Birmingham in June 2019 so I have started to plan out a trip to see all my Staffordshire ancestral places and then head up to York, then Edinburgh and a trip to Montrose where my Carnegie ancestors hail from. I'd like to include Cornwall in this trip but it is at the opposite end of the country. Plus there are all those places in between!

There will be one more Diary before my Alaskan trip and on my return I hope to get back to regular blogging with a new theme. I need a focus to help me write those family stories. Until next time, have a great genealogy time during National Family History Month.