Friday 22 February 2019

South Australia probates, historical society journals & other news - Genealogy Notes 1-15 Feb 2019

This is late as a dreaded lurgy has been stalking me for the past couple of weeks - not sick enough to stay in bed but enough to slow me down. So all energy has gone into commitments and I am just realising that tutoring two family history related classes at U3A is a bit full on. Still I have enjoyed the interest and motivation coming out of the writing family history class. Everyone has a really great project to work on.


As an ambassador for the Waves in Time Conference in May, I will shortly be bringing you some blog posts about the speakers. We have a range of questions we are asking each person. We will get to know a little more about them and their areas of expertise.

My favourite question is why someone became interested in family history. Sometimes it is quite roundabout. Should be fun and starting soon.


I was excited to see that FamilySearch have added South Australian probate records. There are over 45,000 indexed names but no images according to the FamilySearch newsletter. But when I looked there were images and of course, the documents contain more information than the index. It is a series of probate and administration books which include transcribed wills rather than the ecclesiastical files themselves. Still better than nothing.

Another plus for me was the addition of Hampshire Parish Registers 1538-1980. Hoping to take a few family lines further back. Over 2 million names and again the newsletter indicated no images. I have Hampshire families and when I looked at the collection, there was an image symbol next to the entry. But when you click on it, there was a message saying it was not available at this time. Some of the entries also said it was available at a family history centre or an affiliated centre. If I can find enough references it would be worth the trip.

The Royal Australian Historical Society Journal is now available online via Trove. These journals have interesting articles on people, places, subjects and as the Society is based in New South Wales, anyone with NSW families should have a look.

The Royal Historical Society of Queensland's journal has been available for sometime via Text Queensland although the index is on the RHSQ's website. The Royal Historical Society of Victoria journal is available via State Library Victoria. Some journal articles can be discovered through Trove but I also like to check journal indexes and browse contents.

The Chyebassa (image courtesy State Library Victoria)
What's Coming Up?

There are several talks coming up in March and April starting with the Queensland Family History Society education seminar Taking Your Australian Research Further. I'm giving two talks on making the most of archives and other resources. The Chyebassa  was the ship my great grandfather Herbert William White came out to Queensland on. I have found some fascinating snippets on all my Australian families and these will be illustrating my talks at the seminar. It is amazing what is out there when you look.

Janice Cooper is the other speaker. It will be held at Gaythorne in Brisbane on 2 March. Hope to see you there.

U3A and my writing project will also keep me busy. I just need to shake my lurgy and get some more energy. Until next time, happy searching.

Friday 1 February 2019

National Archives of Australia news, Waves in Time & Other News - Genealogy Notes 16 -31 Jan 2019

A busy start to 2019. There has been time for some new research - what I find is that in preparing  for my U3A sessions, I am locating new information on my own families to use as examples. A win win as they used to say in my old work environment. A lot of the websites I am looking at are old favourites, but there is so much new information since I last looked. Reviewing your families on a regular basis is essential. 

Archive News 

Reception area, Brisbane Office NAA
Here is the exciting news from the Queensland Office of the National Archives of Australia (NAA). I usually just take a few camera images when I visit but this will be much better. The instructions are straight forward and now I just need to organise another visit.

The Queensland Office of the National Archives is testing the feasibility of allowing self-service digitisation of selected records by the public in a controlled reading room environment. Note that this is a service being trialled in the Queensland Reading Room only, from 8 November 2018 to 30 April 2019. If you wish to participate in this trial and digitise a record for your own use:
1. Ask the Archives Officer on duty if the file you wish to digitise is suitable for this service. The Archives Officer will allow digitisation of files that are robust enough to handle the process with minimal risk of damage.
2. The Archives Officer on duty will ensure the scanner is ready to operate. If in doubt, ask.
3. Do not change any scanner settings. The scanner is set to the Archives digitisation standards.
4. Digitise each page
a. Start at the front file cover.
b. Press the green button on the scanner, or click the ‘Scan’ button on the screen.
c. Scan every page, starting from the top page and continuing to the bottom.
d. Place the page in the centre of the glass – the scanner will align the image automatically
e. Include the back of any page that has information regardless of its significance
f. If you make a mistake, just repeat the scan and inform the attendant.
g. Once you have finished, return all pages to the file pin.
h. It is important that the pages are returned in their original order.

5. If you have any questions, ask the Archives Officer.
6. If you wish to digitise more than one file, inform the Archives Officer. After each file is complete, the Archives Officer will collate the images into a file folder.
7. Once completed, the Archives Officer will download the images to a usb for you to take with you.

Please be aware that the images you create may be processed and loaded to the Archives’
RecordSearch database where they can be viewed by the public. The images will be subject to quality assurance before they are loaded. Some files may be rejected.


No time for blogging. My only writing during the fortnight was my final assignment for the Writing Family History course with the University of Tasmania. The first draft didn't take long, it was all the rewriting and fiddling to make it interesting, not boring. Some of those new skills will be handy when I get back to blogging.

My topic was a brief biographical account of my great great grandfather John Finn. Trying to fit his wide ranging life into the assignment word length was not easy. You have to pick just the events you really want to include and succinctly. Perhaps I should have picked a less colourful ancestor.

I did manage to do my regular monthly article and blog post for The In-Depth Genealogist. Fixed deadlines definitely motivate me.


My parcel of genealogy books from Amazon (Christmas present) arrived and were eagerly unwrapped. Now there is a small mountain waiting to be read and I can't even decide what order to read them in.

A number require me to then put into practice what the book suggests so that will be challenging. All to be reported here when I get myself organised. Not surprisingly that is the subject of one of the books - any guesses what the book is?


Since last time I have had another two invitations to speak - both for National Family History Month in August. One clashed with another event so sadly I had to turn that down. It is always a busy month but an exciting time for genealogy and family history. Where I am speaking can be found on the Events page of my website - still to add all the August talks. Hopefully next week.

What's Coming Up?

Next week is super busy. There is a committee meeting for the Waves in Time conference on the Sunshine Coast in May. I always enjoy these and catching up with other committee members over lunch.

U3A first term is underway so there are my weekly advanced family history sessions plus my new beginners writing family history group. This will require me to put aside dedicated writing time on a family history story to discuss/share at the fortnightly sessions. It will be good to see what others in the group do too.

To end the week there is an exhibition launch at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum. The new exhibition is on Bribie Streets and how/why they were named. A local member of the Bribie Island Historical Society will also give a talk. The morning teas are always good but I need to get away early. I'm enrolled in a 5 week course to learn to use my smart phone more/better.

I am almost exhausted just thinking about next week but it will all be great fun. Take some time to do some genealogy searching or simply review what you have done to date. Until next time enjoy