Friday 22 November 2019

Saving & Writing Family History, WDYTYA & Other News - Genealogy Notes 1-21 Nov 2019

Although I said that this  blog would become fortnightly again, it is obvious that may not be possible. An unplanned trip to hospital, more tests and treatment meant that a week disappeared. So it may be more random but I will try for regular posts.


Purpose built shelves & filing cabinets
As I indicated last Diary, I have set myself a 12 month genealogy project (although realistically it will take me longer).

The challenge is Preserving Your Family History Records For Handover in the Future. Read what I have planned and the aim is to reduce down and tidy up my family history. There will be monthly updates on what is being tackled and how I go about it.

Here are a couple of photos of what the study looks like presently.


Findmypast added more Northumberland and Durham records, another 15 parishes in the Greater London Burial Index and almost 100,000 pages of new British and Irish newspapers. Only one new title The Banffshire Reporter and additions to 13 other titles.

Ancestry added records for Bristol, and increased the England and Wales death index from 1989 to 2018. I wish we could search deaths within the last 30 years. Still amazing what we can access online at home.


Really enjoyed the Olivia Colman espisode of WDYTYA Series 15 on SBS this week. I loved watching her in Broadchurch and it was so good to see her reactions as her family's unknown history unfolded. I hope the other episodes are as interesting.

Somehow I missed episode 1 with Michelle Keegan but luckily I can catch up with SBS on Demand for WDYTYA.
Even the wardrobe has family history records

Writing Family History

Throughout 2019 I have tutored a writing family history class at U3A. Basically encouraging people to write their stories either as small/large articles, blogs, or even substantial family histories. As well I provide feedback on such things as citations, sources, editing, grammar and spelling.

It has been really rewarding seeing some of the finished works. Everyone has said that it took longer and was more challenging than they first thought but worthwhile.

I received this feedback this morning from a student who is not continuing in 2020 as she has finished what she wanted to do - the story of her grandmother's life as told through her grandmother's eyes.
I wasn't expecting that my story would get such an emotional response (from family)
So Shauna,  thank you for the opportunity.  
And if you hadn't held your creative writing class, I'd never have thought to tell some of the stories. So it's been invaluable. 

What's Coming Up?

Very little happens in December and January, our hot summer months so that will give me lots of time to work on 'saving my family history records' project. I also want to get back to tracing Dad's family and sorting those DNA matches. The nice thing about genealogy is that there is always something to do and you are never bored. At least I'm not!

Until next post have a wonderful time researching your family history.

Sunday 3 November 2019

New personal blog challenge & Other News - Genealogy Notes 16 Sep - 31 Oct 2019

Six weeks since my last post. Numerous tests, three operations and now into a weekly chemotherapy routine and a new look. Fortunately the future looks positive although the path there is long and tough. I'm still managing to do most things although I do seem to be sleeping more.

Thanks to everyone who have sent virtual cards, hugs and kisses and to all those who have visited and left chocolates, flowers, books, tea towels, procrastinator pencils, a worry doll and crystals. You have all made the last two months much easier.


I haven't written anything but as my treatment will span 12 months, I have given a lot of thought to a new personal challenge. For years I have been gradually reducing my paper research, scanning photos and certificates, writing draft family histories and organising my digital records. But always in fits and starts because I get bored or something else hijacks my priorities.

My illness has made me focus again on what happens to my research in future - no one in the family wants it. Therefore I need to get it all into a more manageable and accessible format. Books, magazines, paper files, photographs, albums, memorabilia, erecords, emails, digital family histories and of course the genealogy database.

To keep me on track over the next 12 months, the plan is to do a monthly blog on my progress with the end goal that all my research will be in a more portable format to pass onto others. How hard can that be? First task - to think up a catchy title for the blog challenge.


It's been a good chance to catch up with my backlog of genealogy print and ejournals and the pile of must read novels and other genealogy or local history books. The big challenge is not to fall asleep reading!


Webinars/videos are also a great way to learn more. Check out the RootsTech 2019 Salt Lake City sessions, do a search of YouTube for 2019 London RootsTech, or the regular FamilySearch monthly webinars and also some free ones on Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Of course, these just encourage me to do more research at a time when I am trying to finalise and tidy up, not create new records.

Herbert William White
from Pitton & Farley, Wiltshire
As part of my cleaning up paper files, I am discovering new resources online. Thanks to Ancestry's Wiltshire parish records I've managed to get digital copies of many of my baptisms, marriages and burials. I've even pushed back a few lines another couple of generations. It is amazing how many ways Forder can be spelt/indexed - but when you look at the handwriting from the 1700s it is not surprising that the indexers couldn't identify the surname.

And why did I start with the letter F? I randomly opened a filing cabinet drawer and pulled a file out without looking. This way there is an element of surprise and it won't be easy to see how much has been done or still to go. Whereas with A to Z it would be a negative until after I passed the half way mark in the alphabet. Although some letters do have more family names than others.


I had to cancel my presentation to the Genealogical Society of Queensland DNA Group but I managed to do a small talk on Ancestry matches to the Bribie Island DNA for Genealogists Group at the Library.

There are also a few talks booked for next year that I am looking forward to.

I am still tutoring my U3A class for Writing Family History every Tuesday fortnight but I have had to give up tutoring the Advanced Family History class as it clashes with the weekly chemo. Still the class will be back next year, something else to look forward to.

What's Coming Up

In some ways getting sick at the end of a year is not too bad as the genealogy world slows down in December and January and by February I should be past all the hard yards. Diary should now go back to a regular fortnightly blog post and I'm hoping for another couple of Trove Tuesday blog posts before the end of 2019.

Until next time, happy searching.