Tuesday 17 December 2019

Saving & Writing Family History, BDA Online Update & Other News- Genealogy Notes 22 Nov - 14 Dec 2019

Another three weeks went past in a blur of medical 'stuff'. However now at the 3/4 mark with chemotherapy so the end is in sight. Treatment will go on but it won't be that week after week of not feeling all that good.

Birthdays & Family Histories

Someone close is turning 70 in March and has suggested it would be nice if I wrote up his family history similar to what I usually do for clients. This gives me two months (not allowing for any health delays) but most of the research is done. Nothing like a challenge. Or another one!


On the positive front I made great progress with my personal genealogy blog challenge - here's the first month progress report in my Preparing Your Family History Records for Hand Over in the Future.

If you are thinking about doing this, just note that it takes way longer than you expect as each task generates other tasks.


Being sick is the perfect excuse to curl up in bed or a lounge chair with a stack of things to read. I've got genealogy society journals, family histories and even a few items in e-format and this is where the I Pad comes in handy.


Breaking news is that the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Congress in 2021 is being held on Norfolk Island (a place I love going to and reconnecting with convict ancestors who lived there before being despatched to Van Diemen's Land). The dates are 30 July to 6 August with the actual Congress on 3-5 August. The usual way to visit Norfolk Island is a weekly accommodation package as the planes don't fly in daily.

Another major event in 2021 is the Unlock the Past Family History Down Under event which is being held on the Sunshine Coast (very handy for me) on 22 - 26 March. There are 7 key speakers with some really big names revealed so far. Check out the website and sign up for the enewsletter for all the latest news.

I'd better start saving for 2021!

In the meantime I am hoping to go to the NSW & ACT annual conference which is in Newcastle in 2020. I have family links to the area so some research combined with the conference sounds perfect. Dates are 11-13 September 2020 and the theme is Riding the Waves of History.

Decluttering my family history records

Two empty file drawers - how good is that?
This is the subject of my blog challenge above and I have to admit that I'm enjoying the whole process. It's not easy but looking back on 42 years of family history research I can see a lot of achievements.

Memories of excited finds, sore arms from winding microfilm machines, frustration at trying to find things on microfiche, waiting months for replies/ certificates from government agencies and all the other hassles of a not online world.

Researching today in a digital environment is fantastic - looking back how did we ever manage to do research?

New Resources

Each month we see wonderful new records online.

One of my favourite 'boutique' online databases is the Biographical Database of Australia (BDA Online). There is a modest subscription but you can search for free. Anyone who has early convicts/settlers it is definitely a place to look. Release 8 is coming up soon and will include the following datasets:

Births, deaths, marriages, church records:
-Baptisms Goulburn NSW C of E 1833-1865
-Baptisms Wollongong NSW C of E 1834-1864
-Deaths at Sydney Hospital 1811-1826

Convict records:
-Applications for convict workers NSW 1826-1828
-List of uncollected convict pardons NSW 1850
-Lists of convicts recommended for pardons NSW 1826-1856
-Lists of convict tickets of leave cancelled NSW 1832-1870

Shipping & passenger records:
-Lists of passengers sailing Sydney to California 1849-1851 in search of gold in the USA
-List of Shipowners NSW 1849

Military & biographical records covering most rank & file in British garrisons in Australia to 1837: 
-4th Regiment 1832-1837
-17th Regiment 1830-1836
-Veteran Companies 1828-1832
-Royal Staff Corps 1826

Miscellaneous lists & databases:
-Colonial Secretary letters to Sheriff NSW 1828-1850
-Norfolk Island victualling records 1802-1809
-List of Norfolk Island residents-1825-1855

What's Coming Up?

Norfolk Island history & spectacular scenery
Christmas and New Year and then someone told me to expect hot cross buns in the supermarkets shortly thereafter. I hope they are wrong but I wouldn't be surprised to start seeing Easter eggs too.

2019 didn't end the way I thought it would but like anything, there are positives and negatives. The real positive for me was that it made me take seriously the issue of handing my research on before it is too late. Better for me to do it myself than risk it all ending up in the bin.

I hope all my readers, friends and colleagues have a safe and happy Christmas with family and friends. I look forward to catching up with many of you in 2020, either online or in person.

Thanks for being part of my 2019 genealogy adventure.