Thursday 15 October 2020

#ANZAncestryTime, DNA, Webinars & Talks - Genealogy Notes 1-14 Oct 2020

It has been a huge fortnight with so many things happening. Time truly flies when you are doing family history or Zooming around the world. 

The Australasian Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists has been reactivated and I am the new Chapter Representative. Currently reviewing bylaws and regulations and working out a social/professional development program for members. Happily there are a number of others who want to assist. Zoom will make it much easier for Australian and New Zealand members to meet so monthly meetings are now an option. Before we were rather limited to genealogy conferences where a few of us were able to attend and have a get together. Looking forward to progressing the Chapter over the next 12 months.


This is the new must follow Twitter tag for Australia and New Zealand genealogy. It happens every Tuesday night from 7-8 pm Brisbane time. Just use a time converter to make sure you have the right time for your place. 

What is it? It is where a group of enthusiastic genealogists come together to pose a series of questions over the hour. Everyone at home answers the questions with their tips, resources and expertise. It is the fastest hour I have ever spent. To try and keep up with all the posts I use TweetDeck so that I can follow the hash tag and still tweet myself and see any notifications that mention me. 

One thing about getting involved with these events is that it does force you to learn new technology (TweetDeck in my case) and you get to learn from a wide variety of other genealogists. Even though it is set for Australasian time, people follow from all over the world.

Why not join us next Tuesday night?


Still not doing any blog writing but I have managed to do this Diary almost on the fortnight.

I think part of the problem is that I'm being tempted by all these Zoom meetings and webinars, instead of writing. 


I have registered for the Family History Down Under 2021 conference in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. Now booked out under current Covid restrictions. If Queensland eases restrictions, the venue will be able to host more people. Fingers crossed.

Also happy to accept being an Ambassador for the conference. Let's hope Queensland stays relatively Covid free and we can get all together again next year. The sessions are also being recorded before hand, just in case it becomes a virtual event. 

So hard to plan anything for next year and overseas travel is certainly not on the agenda.


Mary Finn and
James Carnegie on their
wedding day in 1906

It was exciting to see a first cousin once removed turn up in MyHeritage on Dad's maternal side. This will help me to further identify my Carnegie/Finn families. We share 11 segments and 197.6cM. They triangulate with my brother and I in a number of places.

Remember to go back and check for any new matches. 

New Resources

Another plus for me was seeing the City of Westminster, London Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1558-1812 and the Marriages and Banns 1754-1935 appear in Ancestry's latest additions. That's almost 4 million records. 

Also in Ancestry, the England and Wales Death Index has been expanded from 1989 to 2019. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have access to recent death indexes in Australia?


Thanks to the magic of Zoom I was able to listen to Cyndi Ingle on Building a Digital Research Plan courtesy of the Temecula Valley Genealogical Society in the USA. It was a great session and I always learn something new. 

My own sessions with the Bribie Island Zoom Genies continue and the weekly sessions certainly keep me busy. We are having an in person workshop this week for something different, although we still have to abide by all the covid regulations. 

The  Deniliquin Ute 2012

I am also excited to be hosting a couple of talks for the Deniliquin Genealogy Society - not as good as their usual Deniliquin Genealogy Expo which was cancelled due to Covid 19 - but it will still give the weekend a genealogical buzz. 

Sessions are on Irish Resources and DNA Matches Using Host Tools.


I watched courtesy of Legacy Family Tree Webinars Blaine Bettinger's Advanced DNA Techniques: Deductive Chromosome Mapping and found it very useful. I have Mum and my brother's DNA so I will be trying this out. I will need to watch it again as it is definitely not for beginners. Finding time will be the problem.

What's Coming Up?

Next week is my last cancer treatment and another operation in early November. By Christmas I will be looking forward to 2021 and all the exciting things already on my agenda. I definitely feel more positive and excited. Queensland has been lucky in that the effects of Covid 19 have been minimal in this state apart from the initial lockdown at the beginning. 

Just checking the calendar and I also have the Genealogical Society of Queensland's annual seminar and this year it is Irish Ancestry on 24 October via Zoom. I even purchased raffle tickets virtually. Dad's side is mostly Irish with a bit of Welsh and Scots so I'm hoping to learn some new tips and resources. 

Until next time, happy researching and remember #ANZAncestryTime every Tuesday on Twitter.


Friday 2 October 2020

Online genealogy, back ups & other news - Genealogy Notes 21 Sep - 1 Oct 2020

Our first visit to Norfolk Island in 2007

Still trying to break free from my Covid fog and days that just seem to run into each other. I know it is Tuesday because that is when we have our genealogy Zoom sessions here on Bribie. But the other days could be any day. 

But there is a lot to be excited about coming up in 2021 with conferences both in person (Sunshine Coast and Norfolk Island) and virtual. 

But first my last week or so.

Back Ups

Like many people I do a back up of my computer files and genealogy databases on the 1st of every month. Sometimes I may back up during a month if I have done something substantial but otherwise it is a could habit to get into. First of the month, back up.


It was nice to see my last Diary post mentioned in Interesting Blogs in Friday Fossicking at That Moment in Time 25 Sep 2020. Chris' round up of blog posts is always interesting and covers a wide variety of subject areas.


My AFFHO Meritorious Service Award
- would be nice to get another personal 
chance to wear this.

Family History Down Under 2021 has a new venue in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast and the program has just been released. I paid my early bird registration this week as attendee numbers are limited by the new venue and covid regulations. Of course that may change again if we can move past covid in 2021. 

The AFFHO Congress is on Norfolk Island in 2021 which should be covid free but it is so difficult to make future plans amongst the uncertainty of travel plans. 

I love visiting Norfolk Island and would like to see what the program is before I make any decisions.

On the virtual front we have RootsTech 2021 which is going to be massive with so many people and countries participating around the world.

New Resources

Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch and MyHeritage have all added new records to their already super databases. Now might be the time to check again for any missing ancestors or families that have been tricky to find. As more and more records are indexed, it can be easier to locate them, especially if they are not where you think they should be. People did move around.


I have another Facebook Live session with MyHeritage on 12 October at 4pm Brisbane time. 

Plus my weekly Zoom sessions with our little Bribie Zoom Genies. For something difference we will be hiring the Bribie Arts Centre for a 3 hour in person workshop on a number of topics. Members will be bringing their laptops for hands on searches or genealogy software questions. Should be fun and good to see people in person although we do have to meet all the covid requirements. 


Ancestry Time Australia and New Zealand @ANZAncestryTime is starting up on Tuesday 6 October from 7 pm Brisbane time. Come along and join everyone for a live hour of genealogy on Twitter. Other time zones for around the world are on the home page.

What's Coming Up?

I have a couple of clients at the moment keeping me busy. 

Me in Oct 2019

I am also one of the moderators for the new @ANZAncestryTime and I'm not too sure what that involves, but I will be there every Tuesday night 7 pm Brisbane time.

My revamped website is almost in the final stages. Some of you might have seen some of the changes throughout the year - what should have been a lot quicker kept getting delayed by my illness, broken shoulder and family losses. 

I am really looking forward to moving on post cancer. What a difference a year makes - only one more treatment to go!

Another thing some of you may have noticed, earlier in the year (before everything else happened) I set up a Facebook page for my business. 

The intention is to separate out my personal life from my genealogy life although I suspect the two are intertwined. We shall see.

Until next time, stay safe and well and have fun genealogy searching.

Saturday 19 September 2020

Family, COVID & Genealogy Online Boon - Genealogy Notes 11 Aug - 20 Sep 2020

 Have you ever wondered about the term 2020? I have always associated it with perfect vision so to me it suggests something wonderful. Yet this year has been anything but, not only for me, but many people around the world. 

My intention to get back to a regular writing routine after last Diary was thrown by the unexpected deaths of both my mother and mother in law within a three week period. I showed a 60 photo Powerpoint of Mum's life at her private family service and was quite pleased to hear some of my mother in law's family history read out at her service. It really brought home to be that I can't ask any more questions of that generation. We really need to capture our family stories before it is too late.

L-R Maren, Adam & Val (my Mum) 

I find family history research therapeutic and a distraction from the world's woes at present. The introduction of COVID 19 into our lives has brought many changes but there is one aspect that I really do like. Many events have gone virtual and we are able to attend in real time, or watch later if sessions are recorded. 

Just this weekend I have been following the Back to Our Past Irish conference which only cost me $17AU to attend. What a bargain for three days of genealogy talks on all aspects of Irish family history. 

My Irish GG grandfather,
John Finn from Wicklow

It is kind of funny watching people presenting from their own homes and occasionally you get to see another family member pop up, the door bell chime or somebody talking in the background! Mute those microphones when attending a session!


New ethnicity results from Ancestry have not made a big difference to my previous ethnicity but I am still wondering where my Australian region has gone. Without that I would not have found my father's family in New South Wales and narrowed down my DNA family.

I did see a new feature called Story Scout which purported to be stories about my ancestors and all three stories were totally wrong and not consistent with the known facts on my trees. There was an invitation to share. At the time I was dealing with family matters so I noted to follow it up. Now when I search my Ancestry menu I can't find it at all. 

Does anyone know what Story Scout is?

The by product of this futile search, was that I ended up exploring the Ancestry Academy which has lots of different videos on a wide range of topics. Another rainy day activity! If it ever rains again on the Island.


Remember, the new series of Every Family Has A Secret with Noni Hazlehurst on SBS starts this Tuesday 22 September. Sadly there are only three episodes and if you miss one you should be able to catch on up SBS on Demand. Wish we had more shows like this, I never tire of watching how people research.

What's Coming Up?

My weekly Zoom sessions with Bribie Zoom Genies is a real motivator. We are even planning a three hour in person get together workshop for 20 October. I wrote that date out as 20/10/20 after the meeting ended and wondered was that really a good date for it? 

There is another Facebook Live with MyHeritage in October and I have been accepting talk dates for 2021 - some in person and some online. 

My latest selfie is at right - seems strange to be getting haircuts and washing my hair again. So much easier just pulling the turban on. Only two more cancer treatments (last one 21 October) and some surgery in November and by Christmas it will be over. Just in time for 2021.  Let's all hope the world is in a better place by then.

Until next time, happy searching


Sunday 9 August 2020

Books, NFHM, WDYTYA, & Other News - Genealogy Notes 14 Jun - 10 Aug 2020

Another seven weeks have slipped past me. Most of this year has slipped past me.

Breaking my left shoulder at the end of May meant that I could not do too much physical work around the house so I just kept on doing family history research and tidying up my records. There was some client work, and a couple of talks to groups via Zoom and Go To Webinar. Lots of reading ejournals (family history of course) and listening to genealogy webinars. 

My motivation to write is still somewhat missing in action and the reason there have been no Diary or other blog posts. It is probably my response to the shutting down of everything due to COVID 19. I miss the personal interaction with people and that was a great motivator to start this Diary all those years ago. U3A here on the Island is not resuming until 2021 so that is disappointing.

I must admit that the cancer treatment over the past year has also worn me down a little. But I am pleased to say that I have had my first haircut in over 12 months and there are only three more treatments to go. My last one is on 21 October and I plan to have a big bottle of bubbly chilled for the occasion.

The end is in sight and I am currently revamping my website (for the new healthy me) and looking to 2021. Already I have six talks in my calendar for next year - hopefully they will all be in person!

Now for a selection of what has kept me busy.


Graeme Davison's Lost Relations: Fortunes of my family in Australia's Golden Age is an excellent read combining elements of his family history with social history in England and Australia.

Genealogy Software

I have been a Legacy Family Tree user for many many years, having moved to it from Brothers Keeper. A migration that was not without some grief.  Here on the Island I am surrounded by people using Family Tree Maker so to challenge myself, as I said I would never move software again, I have moved my own family tree to Family Tree Maker. The move was quite painless and I found that the main tidy up area was around inconsistent use of sources over the decades. A bit of time was spent on that and I did find sources easier to do in FTM.

My partner's and my son's family history are still both in Legacy Family Tree. By using both I will be able to do a good comparison. I just hope I don't get too confused. 

National Family History Month

August is NFHM in Australia and the website has online events (very few in person in Australia at present). This makes it much easier to attend as there are no travel costs although some events may have a fee. Check out the website for details.

Another great way to celebrate would be to watch some of the free Legacy Family Tree webinars or treat yourself to a subscription. Lots of educative videos on You Tube as well. No excuse to be bored this August. 

This afternoon I am doing a Live Facebook with MyHeritage on Australian Records as part of National Family History Month. It will be my first Live Facebook and coincidentally, MyHeritage asked me to do my first webinar, some years ago now but also during NFHM.

Society Membership

I finally got around to joining Caloundra Family History Research. They are my closest society and I don't have to battle Brisbane traffic. 

Love the fact that they have purple shirts - I fitted right in everytime I visited to give a talk.

The half price membership (due to COVID 19) was another draw card but I was also attracted to their incredible Zoom program of events each month. All the special interest groups meet via Zoom and have guest speakers plus they are running a fortnightly Meet & Chat in addition to the monthly meeting. 

Incredibly active Society and I hope their inspiration and motivation rubs off on me. There are quite a few events in my diary for the next month.

I am still a member of Queensland Family History Society and the Genealogical Society of Queensland and both groups are now talking merger. 

Plus I have memberships with the Genealogical Society of Victoria and the South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society. So many benefits to society memberships.


During the time since last Diary, I have managed to catch up with a number of episodes from the latest Australian series of Who Do You Think You Are

The stories are interesting and I can usually relate to various aspects of my own family history. Plus I love seeing friends and colleagues helping the celebrities discover their family stories. Celebrities were Lisa Wilkinson, Bert Newton, Cameron Daddo, Lisa Curry, Denise Scott, Kat Stewart, Julie Bishop (I have never seen a celebrity change clothes and earrings so often) and Troy Cassar Daley.  If you have missed an episode catch up with SBS On Demand.

What's Coming Up?

The weekly Zoom meetings with the Bribie Zoom Genies will now continue until the end of the year as U3A is closed until next year. We are a small group but we have fun and all look forward to seeing each other regularly. 

The Bribie Historical Society is resuming meetings this month so it will be good to see all of those members again. I haven't stood for President again as I was away/sick more often that I was there in the the last 12 months. Not that we had physical meetings for four months.

We are certainly living in unknown times and fortunately most of Australia is keeping the pandemic at bay. Victoria and New South Wales to a lesser extent are struggling and I really hope that all my friends and colleagues in those areas stay safe and well. 

Finally there are only three weeks of winter left - it doesn't really get cold here and there is no visual seasonal change like there is down south. Spring always seems brighter and I am already resolved to exercise more and enjoy the sunshine. 

Stay safe everyone and happy searching until next time.

Friday 12 June 2020

ANZAC Memories, DNA updates & Other News - Genealogy Notes 22 Apr - 13 Jun 2020

The last seven weeks have been a struggle to keep up my motivation, at least for blogging. I have done lots of research and tidying up but I am definitely missing seeing people in person. 

Just as we appeared to have a little more freedom, I went and slipped in the kitchen. Broke my left shoulder and confined to a sling and only using one hand for about six weeks. Definitely part of the reason for this delayed blog post which started back in April.

A new look me with my hair growing back and my fashionable black sling.

A very different day this year but I think the people gathering in their driveways was a more personal tribute than a larger gathering, although I did miss watching the local parade.

George Price from
Charters Towers
I was prompted by a few Facebook posts to recheck information on some of my WW1 relatives. This was a great idea as I found a soldier portrait of my mother's uncle George Price in the State Library of Queensland's Soldier Portraits website. It was listed under G Price and that may be why I hadn't seen it previously. Remember to check initials and all variations of names.

A feature is the Queensland Registrar General's historic source images for those Queensland soldiers who died overseas. All of their deaths were registered in 1922 after the then Registrar sought information from all the families. In some cases this may only be a death certificate completed by the family and in others cases it may also contain letters from the family. Not all events have historical source images but it is worth a look.

A snippet from their Facebook tribute to an inspirational man:
As we approach Anzac Day, we acknowledge the efforts of George Porter, former Registrar-General, who painstakingly took it upon himself to record the deaths of Queensland’s fallen WWI soldiers. George wrote to the families of every fallen soldier to compile the records. The families’ responses have been digitised, along with the records, and these are available to search and download.

Only one of my family died overseas and when I looked at Frederick Trevaskis' entry it showed that there was an historical source image. It is the same cost as a digital image of the death certificate but with the possibility of other family material. I purchased a copy (instant delivery) and it was only the handwritten certificate completed by Frederick's mother in 1922. How hard was it for her to do that six years after her son had been killed on the Western Front?

Blog Posts

My genealogy tidy up continues and my Preparing Your Genealogy Records For Hand Over Month 5 Progress Report records my success to date. It is almost never ending as each task seems to generate more research, which is the part I like most.

On 1 June I was guest blogger for the Genealogical Society of Queensland with my post Genealogy in COVID 19 Times was Amazing and Never Boring. Thankfully I had finished writing it before my accident. Some of my activities for the last month or so are recorded there.


During my enforced rest I was fortunate to have The Sterling Affair, the latest Morton Farrier Forensic Genealogist crime mystery by Nathan Dylan Goodwin to read. 

Thoroughly enjoyed it but my book review will be a few weeks until both hands are working again.


In April I attended the Genealogical Society of Queensland DNA group meeting via a Go To meeting platform. You can see people if they turn their webcams on, see slides from the presenters and watch the organisers speak. Overall I heard reasonably well and I made quite a few notes to follow up because as always the DNA world is a moving feast. We looked at small DNA matches (and how they may not be true matches), clusters and how to use them and WATO (what are the odds) on the DNA Painter site.

Join a Family History/Genealogy Society

Even in these stay at home times, it is useful to belong to family history/genealogy societies as most of them are now online for monthly meeting and special interest group meetings. Many are providing even more information online to members including access to major subscription sites. Various societies that I am a member of have given me access to Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage and The Genealogist all without leaving home. Some of us may not want to go back to pre coronavirus days with all this wonderful access at home.


On 21 May I gave a talk via Zoom on Online English Genealogy Resources for Caloundra Family History Research which was a first for me. I missed the audience but from a technology viewpoint it is a good way for societies to keep members involved. As usual the presentation is on the Resources page of my website.

The other thing missing was the photo opportunity after the meeting. As I give a talk there each year, it is a useful guide to how I have changed over the years. This is last year, 2019. Me with hair seems so odd and I suspect I may not go back to longish hair!

Caloundra have asked me to do a similar talk on Irish Online Genealogy Resources for their special interest group in July. This is also the year that I finally join the Society as I enjoy their meetings and it is easier and quicker to drive to Caloundra than to Brisbane. 

What's Coming Up?

U3A classes are still on hold but I have been hosting Zoom meetings for most of the advanced genealogy group each week. That is keeping us in touch with each other and allowing us to share information and success stories.

I have another three weeks in my sling so physical activities will be minimal. It might be a good opportunity to sort through all my old genealogy journals and magazines. You can't keep everything but it is so hard to part with things. Hopefully some of my U3A students will be interested in browsing them.

Stay safe everyone and continue to enjoy all the online resources at home. Until next time.

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Online Genealogy Everywhere - Genealogy Notes 1-21 April 2020

My Hibiscus - a gorgeous colour
Now completed five weeks mostly at home except for my medical appointments and a bit of grocery shopping. Luckily I have always had a pile of books I want to read, our place has a swimming pool with solar heating, there is a quarter acre of gardens to tend and I like cooking my own meals.

So I can escape into the backyard and watch the birds, butterflies and the very occasional plane fly overhead. In fact I was in the pool when I spotted it and started shouting 'there's a plane, there's a plane'. Then it dawned on me how much our lives have changed in 2020.

Thankfully Australia locked down early and we are not seeing the same spread of the virus and loss of life overseas. So sad and no end in sight just yet.

The other bright spot in my weeks now is the wonderful online access we are seeing from archives, libraries, commercial companies and others. Family history research and learning has never been easier (but remember not everything is online). Some of these new access points are mentioned below.


I have spent a lot of time building trees on all descendants for an immigrant couple to help me further identify where some of my larger matches fit into my family. This is especially true for Dad's unknown paternal side as I have previously tried to trace all Mum's relations in Australia.

It is amazing how you can use the information online to build these trees and then trace where the families moved to. The big question is - why did they always have to have 10 or more children? It is no wonder I have so many matches that fall within the Ancestry NSW cluster in my ethnicity. Given that previously I did not think I had any ancestors in New South Wales, this has to be Dad's family.

I've also been using DNA Painter to match up chromosomes to complement the trees. Lots of pieces are falling into place but it does take time. The stay at home message has been really good for my DNA research.

The view from my office window

The latest Spring edition of Irish Lives Remembered is now available. Remember too that you can see/download back issues for free.

I was missing my free Lost Cousins newsletters and discovered them in my Spam folder. Not sure why this has suddenly started happening but I hope that my 'not spam' correction works.


If you are a member of a family history society or genealogical society, then you may have access to some of the major commercial databases at home. For example, through Queensland Family History Society members can access Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage and The Genealogist from home. I have always said people should join a local society and there is no better time than when we are bunkered down at home.

I have also seen similar offers from my local library, State Library and National Library so check out what is available in your area.

Trove has added lots of newspapers, and I was excited by all the new Western Australian titles, and left wishing that the State Library of Queensland would do similar for Queensland newspapers.

Just this morning I spent hours on The National Archives UK Discovery website as they have made access free to all online documents. I now have 6 wills to read/transcribe so why not have a look for your ancestors. Not everything is digitised or at item level, but you may find some treasures like I did.

So many webinars, zoom meetings and online events are on offer. I find Facebook is where I see most of these notices but I also receive enewsletters from various archives and libraries. Some conferences are now being held in the virtual world, no need to travel anywhere. Although for me one of the best things about a conference, is meeting up with all your friends and colleagues.
Another frequent visitor

What's Coming Up?

My talk to Caloundra Family History Research on 21 May has not been cancelled. Instead the group now hold their meetings via Zoom. So I will give the talk using technology but I will miss the friendliness of the group and of course the chats over afternoon tea.

That is also my son's birthday so it will take my mind off him (he lives in Sweden and I am trying not to be concerned by the Swedish government's approach to coronavirus).

I also want to get back to blogging but my motivation seems to be quite lacking. I found a really nice article in Trove a couple of weeks ago which was going to be my Trove Tuesday contribution. But it is still pending as is the next update in downsizing my family history research.

As someone who usually enjoys writing, I am struggling to focus. Self imposed deadlines are not working but I guess this is just a sign of the times we live in. Every day is the same unless I am 'lucky' enough to be going to a medical appointment.

Stay safe everyone and enjoy the luxury of searching these new online resources while we have the opportunity. Until next time

Thursday 2 April 2020

Genealogy projects for 2020 - Genealogy Notes 1-31 Mar 2020

Well March did not go as planned and the world has changed a lot since my February blog post. Most of us are now at home with limited exceptions to going out and about. My medical treatments continue but other appointments were cancelled until a later date. All the genealogy events we were looking forward to have been cancelled but there are new online options with greater access to various collections and webinars. Plus we have all that time to spend on our family history research. I have already made some wonderful discoveries tracing Mum's cousins in England.


Pacific Aria off Kangaroo Island, South Australia
During March I managed three blog posts. Two report on the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise which was meant to go to Tasmania. However before we got there, the cruise was cancelled and we turned around and went back to Adelaide. Disappointing but we did visit Kangaroo Island (which was a bucket list item) and we still had the two full conference days at sea.

Not too many talks were missed and you can read more about the trip and the speakers. Part One and Part Two are a summary of the talks I attended. There were two streams and we had to make the painful choice of which one to go to. As usual I came home with lots of notes and things to follow up.

My other blog post was a report on Month 4 of my personal genealogy blog challenge on Preserving Your Family History for Hand Over. As I was away for a couple of weeks there wasn't a lot of progress but now that I am home all the time, there should be a lot more tidying up achieved.


I was honoured to have been chosen as one of the Ambassadors for the Family History Down Under event on the Sunshine Coast in March 2021. Where else can you see Cyndi Ingle, Maurice Gleeson, Judy Russell, Chris Paton, Blaine Bettinger, David Rencher and Paul Milner all at the same time? It will be mega and after all the cancellations this year, it will be an event not to be missed.


What can I say here? There are so many online opportunities now to help all those at home. For example, British History Online has made its entire collection free for individual users. Previously you could search and see some things for free but others were behind a pay wall.

Similarly I know some people have been able to access Ancestry from their local library if you have a library card. Remember too that you can also access British newspapers through EResources at the National Library of Australia (apply for a library card if you have not already got one). You may also be able to access them via your State Library. Click on the link to see a blog post about using the new portal if you haven't looked since September 2019.

There are lots of free webinars and you may be able to catch up with some of the RootsTech presentations and Legacy Family Tree webinars are worth checking out. Your local Society may also be providing online access to records or webinars although you will have to join.

Facebook and Twitter are great social media avenues for discovering what's new - simply search for genealogy or family history or use a hashtag. Sometimes I think there are just too many things out there and it is easy to get distracted. Why not list some research projects and prioritise them?

What will you have achieved six months down the track when we hopefully return to a more normal lifestyle?

What's Coming Up

All my talks have been cancelled and events I was hoping to go to also cancelled. But I have a long list of webinars that I want to watch, books to read, DNA results to organise, writing up various family histories and still downsizing my family history.

I definitely need a plan or a list of things to tick off each day.

For example, today was write this blog post, and finish up tracing a line of Mum's family that I did not know had come to Australia. This should help me to identify some of those close DNA matches of Mum's. I will try not to be distracted by something on Twitter or Facebook and just note it down to be followed up another day.

Tomorrow I want to set aside as a day to simply write up one of my family histories. Probably too big a task for one day but at least I will have started and if I do a bit each week, it may be completed by the end of the year.

There are some draft family histories in the cupboard which date back to about 2009 - so just a matter of updating and completing! How hard can that be?

The day after will be concentrating on downsizing all my paper files. That's been a slow process but now down to just one 4 drawer filing cabinet. And the list goes on.

Of course I will get distracted (I'm human) but each week I will see progress and all this extra time will have been worthwhile.

Remember that there are lots of opportunities to communicate with each other online via email, messenger, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. This blog will be fortnightly during the next six months. My Hand Over challenge reports are every month. Stay safe everyone and let's make the most of our genealogy time over the next few months.

Friday 6 March 2020

Back ups, Women's History & Other News - Genealogy Notes 1 - 29 Feb 2020

Summer has finished and it was just a total blur for me. Autumn is starting well with the Unlock the Past Tasmanian cruise which will leave me totally motivated to get back into a more disciplined approach to everything I do. In some ways I have let my life be dictated by all the medical appointments and the heat and humidity certainly got me this summer. All those afternoon naps did not help either but as treatment does not finish till October, I will still have to factor the appointments in.

Back Ups

One of my promises for the year was to do regular back ups and it is already common practice within the genealogy world to back up on the first day of the month. It is easy to remember that date,  although I find a note in my diary also helps me not to forget. When was the last time you backed up your family history database and other digital records?


In February I managed two blog posts. First I was asked to be a guest blogger for the Genealogical Society of Queensland for their March post. As it is Women's History Month, there was no better topic to write about.

At the time of writing this Diary post, GSQ has a problem with its website which they were trying to fix. Here is the link to their blog and my post was about celebrating women who were wives and mothers. You do not have to be famous to have a history and be remembered.

There was also Month 3 of my personal genealogy blog challenge Preparing Your Family History Records for Hand Over. I'm still making progress but some of the decisions are harder than first thought. Everything is taking longer but I am concentrating on tidying up physical records as they take up space whereas digital records are just on the laptop (and various back up drives which probably need tidying up too).

Just keep chipping away at it. My Month 4 report will be more towards the end of March as I'm away geneacruising.


My Cornish
great grandmother
Dorcas Trevaskis
Wow so many exciting new records online. Findmypast excited me with new Hampshire and Welsh records and the Cornish Online Parish Clerk had new additions for some of my Cornish parishes.

My Heritage had everyone rushing off to colorise their old photos - read more about it here. So far I have resisted the temptation as it appears to be a very bright shiny object that would take me away from my tidying up.

There has been lots of news from RootsTech 2020, and you can read about Ancestry's update here. Amazing to think they now have 24 billion global records. These megadatabases certainly make researching our ancestors much easier.


During February I added more speaking engagements to my calendar for 2020. It is good to be getting back to what I love doing - for details see the Events page of my website.

What's Coming Up?

Super excited to be heading off to Adelaide for some research before we leave on the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise to Kangaroo Island and around Tasmania. Look at the line up of  speakers and lots of friends from previous cruises. There will be a blog post or two when I'm back at the end of March.

Shame it will be the last Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. Maybe there will be a comeback tour - everyone else seems to do it!

Also thrilled to be an Ambassador for the Family History Down Under mega geneaconference in March 2021 on the Sunshine Coast. With over 30 speakers, many from overseas, that will be a conference not to be missed. More about that soon.

Until next time, happy searching.

Monday 3 February 2020

Electoral rolls, conferences & DNA progress - Genealogy Notes 8-31 Jan 2020

How is it February already? It has been a terrible summer season with the drought and bush fires just about everywhere and now it looks like it is about to flood. Where I am it looks like it will rain for the next week so lots of indoor time to concentrate on my family history records reduction program. Stay safe everyone.


Before (but I kept the wardrobe door closed)
Month 2 report on my personal genealogy blogging challenge is up. Links to the original blog post and Month 1 are in that report.

Preparing your family history records for hand over to someone else is not a quick and easy task. A simple goal like scan photos could take weeks/months and I am finding that you have to be selective and ruthless. It is easy to get bogged down and I have quite a few issues parked because they are too big or I can't decide what to do.


Thanks to the generosity of one of my U3A students, I was able to go to the local secondhand bookstore and select a variety of books that might be useful to the family history or writing classes. I had no trouble finding items that would be of interest to both classes and of course they all joined my list of 'must reads'.

One would think being sick I would have more time to read - my trouble is staying awake if I lie down or even when sitting in the lounge chair! Do they purposely make drugs that cause fatigue to ensure you get adequate rest?


Everyone is excited about Family History Down Under which is 22-26 March 2021 (yes more than 12 months away) which will be held on the Sunshine Coast. There is an early bird rate which closes on 14 February 2020 so you have to get in quick for the substantial saving on the whole conference.

Check out the speakers and you will understand why people have already booked accommodation, airfares and registration. Not to be missed and look at the conference venue.

I'm also waiting for the Riding the Waves of History (Newcastle ACT/NSW) conference in September 2020 to open registrations. I don't want to miss that as I'm planning research on Dad's family at the same time.

The final Unlock the Past genealogy cruise  to Tasmania departs in just over a month from Adelaide and I'm looking forward to catching up with lots of friends and learning heaps from the speakers. Stay tuned for cruise reports in late March early April.


Herbert William White
from Wiltshire
Another first cousin has tested - this time in My Heritage and it has been quite a few years since we have seen each other. She is also on Mum's side.  Now that I have a few close matches with first and second cousins I can sort out the Prices from the Whites and the families back from them.

I'm still waiting for closer matches on Dad's side. No doubt all those DNA test kits for Christmas will start to filter their way online soon. Fingers crossed.


Thanks to Twitter I have been keeping up with additions to the Cornwall Online Parish Clerk's website. Quite a few of my parishes have been listed so time to have another look at my Cornish families for any new information.

Received the following media release from Queensland Family History Society. It can be more difficult to find information on living people and electoral rolls are one possible resource and 1969 is quite recent. The Society also has other information online that is exclusive to its members.

Commonwealth Electoral Roll (Qld) 1969
Queensland Family History Society ( has just launched online access to the Commonwealth Electoral Roll (Qld) 1969. All QFHS Members have access to this data that is not available on Findmypast, MyHeritage, FamilySearch or Ancestry.
This database provides details of more than one million people in Queensland who were registered to vote in the 1969 elections. It lists all the information recorded in the rolls of National Archives of Australia: BP94/2 (Commonwealth Electoral Rolls for Queensland).
The Electoral Roll is a unique source of public information on individuals at the time. Enrolment and voting were compulsory for those aged 21 or older, so Queenslanders from all walks of life are included. Combining the range of information with the search and sorting facilities can be especially useful for finding family groups.

There is a list of my talks coming up in April and May on the Events page of my website. Two talks for Moreton libraries and one for my local Bribie Island Family History Group. All on DNA matches which will be fun with lots of questions.

Our own Bribie Island Library DNA for Genealogists group starts meetings again this month so another opportunity to learn more and discover how others are going with their matches.

What's Coming Up?

My two U3A classes on advanced family history and writing family history keep me busy. There are a few new people in each class but it never hurts to do refresher classes as there are always new resources and websites.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I often wonder how my ancestors met - did they live near each other, go to the same church, or was it on the high seas travelling to Australia. I have few wedding photos so I can't even guess what kind of wedding it was. They don't rate a mention in Trove so I'm guessing small family affairs and if I'm honest, in a couple of cases the first child was on the way.

Happy ancestor searching until next time.

Thursday 9 January 2020

Blogs, Memes & Other News - Genealogy Notes 15 Dec 2019 - 7 Jan 2020

Welcome to 2020 and another year of genealogy and learning more about our ancestors. Sadly this will be set against a horrifying backdrop of fires in every state. The loss of life, homes, businesses and our native wildlife is almost inconceivable and they say it is not over yet. Stay safe everyone and this is a good time to make sure you have everything backed up some place else.

Katherine R Willson
hand made card 2019
A belated Christmas surprise was a hand made card from Katherine R Willson which I was delighted to receive.

Katherine maintains that wonderful Facebook list of everything to do with genealogy (as at May 2019 there were over 4500 links). I love just browsing it as there are so many different groups that may be useful to our research. Check out her Social Media Genealogy site.


GeniAus (aka Jill Ball) challenged us to an Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2019 and you can read my response here. Other participants are also adding their posts to Jill's original challenge and it is a good way to learn about new things such as books and software.

Thanks Jill for getting us all motivated so early in 2020.

The binders have gone - discover where in forthcoming
Month 2 update
My personal blog challenge on Preparing Your Family History for Hand Over in the Future continues and another update (Month 2) is due next week.

I'm steadily working away at various things although with Christmas/New Year and a household visitor progress has been slow. But all  systems go now with that Month 2 update looming.

To assist me with this challenge and in particular, the writing up of my ancestors stories, I thought about participating in Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog challenge.

However we are almost at the end of Week 2 so I'm not doing so good. However, like all challenges you don't have to keep up as everyone has family/personal lives which take priority. But it is a motivator so stay tuned.


The latest issue of Traces: Uncovering Australia's Past was part of my holiday reading. So many great stories out there and we can definitely learn from other's research.

Which brings me to a huge issue in my genealogical blog challenge mentioned above. As I used to move homes every 5-10 years, I regularly just gave away all my journals to genie societies rather than pack and move. I did this with no hesitation. It just had to be done.

Which is why I'm puzzled by my current struggle to let go of all the journals and magazines I have gathered here in the last 7 years. I will even confess that some are over 20 years old so obviously some have more appeal than others.

What I am finding now is that without the pressure to pack and move, I am rereading/skimming and deciding that I need to follow something up. Sitting here scratching my head over the dilemma doesn't work, that just means more bits of hair on the laptop. I've moved to 3 weekly chemo (much better than weekly) but still losing what little hair I had left.

My motto in the blog challenge is be ruthless - so three boxes have just come down from the shelf and now to find them new homes or use them in my U3A classes.


Remember 1 January is when many BDMs and archives update their catalogues with another year of information. There is always something new to discover. Here is what's new at Public Record Office Victoria in 2020.

December is also a month when various groups/companies give a round up of the year's achievements. Check out what FamilySearch did in 2019.

January is also a time when those same people start to tell us what's coming up in the new year. I think 2020 is going to be amazing and a follow on to DNA in 2019 - it seems to me that was the topic that interested everybody last year.

What's Coming Up?

Port Arthur from the UTP Feb 2014 cruise

My website Events page has a list of my talks for 2020. There are four talks so far and I agreed to do something for the GSQ DNA group but no date has been set yet (or not that I can remember).

There is even one on the final Unlock the Past genealogy cruise Adelaide to Tasmania. Hard to believe I was last there 5 years ago.

A bit sad that this is the last one and hope to see many of the UTP regulars as well as meeting new geneacruisers.

I am also involved with the DNA for Genealogists group that meets in Bribie Island Library on the 3rd Thursday of the month, February to November.

My two U3A classes are still running - Advanced Family History & Writing Family History so that will keep me busy.

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe 2020. Let's find those elusive ancestors now!