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



  1. All the best Shauna. This year has definitely been a challenge - for some people more than others. Still we are basically a resilient lot. I have not done a great deal of family history research recently, mainly because I find it difficult to focus on one thing - seem to be easily distracted. Today I am starting to write a new blog post so hopefully things will move forward again.

    1. Thanks Vicki. I am making a determined effort to get back 'in my groove'and making the most of every moment. If there is one thing I have learnt this year, good health and life are not forever. Good luck with the blog post which I look forward to reading. Shauna

  2. Do those genies up on Bribie know how fortunate they are to have such a committed and tenacious family historian in their midst? You are an inspiration - 2020 has not been kind to you but you continue to share your expertise here on your blog, locally and on zoom. I salute you.

    1. Thanks Jill. I think so as every time I start muttering that I don't stay in one place for long they start bribing me with coffee and cake! Zoom has been a wonderful tool during Covid stay at homes and we can still see and keep up with our friends online. The Back to Our Past Irish conference over the weekend was fantastic and you could download the talks to hear them again. All for $17 in the comfort of my own study. Take care and stay safe. Shauna

  3. Shauna, what a difficult year you're having. Losing a mother at any age (and a mother in law) in just a few weeks as well as dealing with the side effects of your chemo is a huge thing to cope with at any time let alone during this pandemic and yet, you're surviving. Lovely to see your hair coming back. Keep on!

    1. Thanks GenieJen. Yes 2020 seems to be a difficult year for many people. Roll on 2021.

  4. Congratulations! Your blog has been included in INTERESTING BLOGS in Friday Fossicking at
    Thank you, Chris
    Great to see you are still so involved... love your hairstyle, looks great...

    1. Thanks Chris for the inclusion. Hanging in there despite everything that has happened to me this year. Stay safe and take care - one day we will be able to meet up again!

    2. You're welcome... You have come so far... so pleased for you. We will certainly get together soon as these 'interruptions' pass. Keep well and safe...