Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Irish Genealogy, Winter Blues, New Resources & Other News: Australia and Zealand Genealogy News June 2021

 During June I had a couple of private genealogy research jobs and both involved lots and lots of convicts going back to the First Fleet. Such a confusing time with so many convicts sharing the same name, no civil registration and a lack of newspapers in those early days. The Biographical Database of Australia can help to sort some of the convicts out but often there are still doubts and questions. 

Anyway I felt mentally drained so we decided to have a few days away and with uncertainty around border closures, we ended up holidaying at Caloundra and could see the northern tip of Bribie Island from our balcony. There is lots of history in the area and a day trip up to Rainbow Beach was a breath of fresh air, literally. No masks required and hard to get used to again on our return. 

My badges from 2018 Congress

July is a busy month workwise - one research enquiry, one genealogy mentoring client, preparing for the 9 week Irish genealogy class at U3A and doing presentations for National Family History Month in August - two are on Norfolk Island as part of the AFFHO Genealogy Congress (in person) and one for Caloundra Family History Research via Zoom. Finally, someone who won one of my two hour genealogy sessions at an earlier event has worked out where she needs help. Just hope that I will be able to help her.


The nice thing about a few days off is that you can escape with a good book or two. My brother has talked me into reading the five (large) volume work by Conn Iggulden on the history of Genghis Khan and his family. Fascinating, addictive and hard to put down once started. 

Back in 1996 I travelled through Inner Mongolia and China and found the history, architecture, costumes, culture and food so different from our own. In some ways the books are like a family history because they give such detail on the daily lives of the individuals and how they lived. And probably more like family history on steroids!

Irish Genealogy

My great grandmother - her
parents were from Wicklow

With the discovery that Dad's biological family were Irish, I have been more interested in Irish genealogy. One half of his ancestors are from County Antrim, one quarter from County Wicklow and the other quarter from Scotland (Angus). I have found so many interesting websites and resources that  I have turned it into a 9 week U3A course on researching Irish genealogy. The best part is that I am using my own family examples to highlight how the resources help to establish a family timeline from cradle to the grave. Plus I am looking forward to those attending sharing their own knowledge of Irish genealogy. 

New Resources

As usual, lots of new resources were released during June by the big database companies. FamilySearch added more entries to their Papua New Guinea and Samoa collections. 

Ancestry added more to their Australian records including one of my favourites - Sydney, Australia, Anglican Parish Registers, 1814-2021. Many people think this is just for Sydney but it is the Sydney Anglican diocese which stretches north, south and west of Sydney, much further than you might think. 

Check it out if you have Anglican ancestors as it is possible to see baptism and marriage registers. Certainly cheaper than paying for a certificate.

SHHE (Shauna Hicks History Enterprises) Free Enewsletter

With the demise of Feedburner as a enews reminder that a new edition of Diary is out, I have decided to start up my own free genealogy enewsletter. This will go out when there is a new Diary post or a post from my Genie Rambles blog on my website. Other news may also be included. You can subscribe for free from the Home page.

I would like to thank all those who have followed Diary via Feedburner over the years. The support was always encouraging and I hope to continue informing and inspiring readers for many more years. 

I have missed a few weeks of this but if you have a free Tuesday evening then think about joining #ANZANCESTRYTIME – an online event for Australian & New Zealand family historians to meet up on Twitter to chat, share ideas and help each other. Join Fran Kitto, Sharn White and Pauleen Cass for a chat on Tuesday evenings 7pm Brisbane time.  You need to sign up for Twitter, but you do not have to be an active participant just listen to what is being discussed.  Although it is hard not to want to add your own two cents worth. 

Convict connections on a
previous visit to Norfolk Island

What's Coming Up

My trip/holiday to Norfolk Island for the launch of National Family History Month and the AFFHO Genealogy Congress, covid permitting. 

U3A classes and my Zoom session with Caloundra on letters and diaries for family history research. Plus my second guest blog post for the Genealogical Society of Queensland is due in July. 

Time really flies when you are interested in family history. Until next time, happy searching.


Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Genealogy education, new resources & other news: Australia and New Zealand Genealogy News May 2021

 Winter already. I am not a fan of the shorter days and getting up in the dark and the cold. These days you are more likely to find me curled up in bed until the sun is up but I'm happy with my digital genealogy magazines on my IPad. Finally I am embracing the idea of reading online and not stacking up paper mags in the study.


I have been a member of Library Thing for many years and have catalogued a good number of my study books in it. The last couple of years I have not been diligent plus I have moved things around since allocating the original shelf number. 

Before updating my Library Thing, the plan was to deaccession ie remove books no longer current or useful. The problem with that is every time I take a book down, I think I should read it again or use if for reference. Going to be a slow process!

For example, Mark Herber's classic Ancestral Trails: complete guide to British Genealogy & Family History. My edition is the updated one and reprinted in 2003 but still 21 years old. All the information is still valid but how we access a lot of those records has now changed enormously. I want to read it again but my arthritic wrists are groaning in pain under the weight of the book and my eyes, even with reading glasses are struggling with the small font. When did I get old?

Sitting at the dining table with a cup of tea and the book lying flat on the table seems to be the way to go. Given that it is over 700 pages (even with that small font), 30 chapters and 11 appendices - I suspect that a packet of chocolate biscuits will be needed too. Wish me luck as I try to read a chapter a day during June.


The Genealogy Show is coming up this month and I am super excited to be presenting two talks at this virtual event. Plus lots of other great speakers and topics. Thanks to Covid we are able to see these shows more easily in a virtual world as it means no airfare and no accommodation fees. Not to mention that long plane flight!

My first trip in a plane/overseas (during Covid times) is coming up with the AFFHO congress on Norfolk Island. National Family History Month (August) will also be launched there this year so it will be very good to see people again and chat over cups of tea. Quite a few people I know will be there and we always love a visit to Norfolk Island with its history and beauty.

Continuing Education

James Carnegie & wife Mary Finn
I have just finished a course on The Life of Our Ancestors from the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. This was a freebie that I signed up for at the virtual RootsTech 2021. It was six weeks and all about writing family history which was most apt for what I am now doing with my own research. Now working towards a final draft of my Carnegie and Stratton Scottish families.

Suitably motivated I had the occasion to look at the FutureLearn free six week genealogy course and I was surprised to find that I did this back in 2016. Five years ago and time has just flown since. On the spot I decided to do it again as a refresher. Just completed Week One and it is good to look at your research with fresh eyes.

If you are looking for something less involved, why not check out FamilySearch's free webinars - click here to see what's on in June. The program for July and August is also available at that link.


No really exciting new matches on Dad's side but I have been experimenting with the new Tier One tools in Gedmatch

I found the closest match clusters tool very interesting. I have a number of groups that are on Dad's side and they appeared as clusters. By selecting the multikit analysis I was able to work out how the groups were connected. In most of the cases, each group related to a single chromosome triangulation. Now to work out the common ancestors for each group which must be further back than six generations. 

Mum's side is so easy as there are no illegitimate births, and I have managed to do a complete tree back five generations which means that I can generally identify most of my matches for her. Plus more people seem to have tested on her side. 

New Resources Australia & New Zealand

The fantastic Trove has added more titles including:

  • Various titles in the Australian Jewish Newspapers Project - see here for link to titles
  • South Australia : Port Lincoln, Tumby and West Coast Recorder, 1904-1909
  • South Australia : West Coast Recorder (Port Lincoln) 1909-1942
  • New South Wales: The Campbelltown News 1920-1929
  • New South Wales: Ingleburn News 1953-1954
  • Victoria: The Bacchus Marsh Express 1866-1943
  • Victoria: The Express, Bacchus Marsh 1943-1954
FamilySearch added more:  
  • Australia - Victoria wills probate and administration files 1841-1926
  • Kiribati vital records 1890-1991
  • Papua New Guinea birth records 1888-2004
  • Papua New Guinea vital records 1867-2000
  • Samoa vital records 1846-1996
  • Tuvalu vital records 1866-1979


During May I gave my final talk to the Noosaville Library on Irish genealogy and two talks to Moreton Region Libraries on sorting your DNA matches. Good audiences at each event and some lovely feedback too. This was really nice to hear from someone at the Moreton library talks.

Shauna Hicks does a professional, informative presentation and by allowing access to her website attendees can look things up from home after the workshop.

Caloundra Family History Research have just booked me to do a Zoom event during NFHM (National Family History Month). The topic they picked is one of my favourites - Diaries and Letters : Fleshing Out the Family History. 

More details about where I am speaking is on the Events page of my website.

What's Coming Up

Bribie Genealogy has its two meetings on the 1st Friday (day) and 1st Monday (evening). The June day meeting has one of our locals talking about how he put his family history online using blogger and on the Monday night we will be looking at FamilySearch. Preparing for both of these keeps our small organising group busy.

My primary task is preparing my talk for the AFFHO Congress - Finding Love in Paradise. The story of two convicts and their life together on Norfolk and later in Van Dieman's Land. There is also a short talk for the opening of NFHM month about where is genealogy and societies going in the future. For that I may need a crystal ball. 

Happy researching this month, stay safe and well and hopefully we will all catch up somewhere in person again.

Monday, 10 May 2021

New Resources, Talks & Other News :Australia & New Zealand Genealogy Notes April 2021

April was all about Easter, ANZAC Day and another short lock down just prior to Easter. For someone who is hearing impaired, wearing a mask just makes it all that much harder to understand anyone. Thankfully it was only for a short time and certainly better than having Covid 19 out and about in the community. It must be so hard for all those people in other countries who have been living this nightmare for over a year now. 

Horse arena with snow
(outside my son's place in Sweden)
Did the Messenger chat with my son for Easter - he lives in Sweden and is just getting over their winter which is decidedly colder than anywhere here in Australia. I'm still hoping for a catch up and a white Christmas but I'm not going to hold my breath for 2021. 

The photo was taken early January 2021 so I will need to be there at least a few weeks I think.

My son and his wife want to come back for a visit too and see family and friends but they are realistic about it all. Stay safe and well everyone.


Finally managed to get my book review of Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Chester Creek Murders up on my website. See the Resources page of my website. 

A friend recommended I start reading the Steve Robinson Jefferson Tayte genealogy mysteries and I managed to find three in the Bribie Library. I had reserved one as there were none when I ordered but two more were on the shelves when I went to collect. 

Also a good read but his main character genealogist seems to risk life and limb every story. I certainly don't have that much adventure when researching for clients. I like the way the story lines are in both the present and the past and show how things are handed down and influence the present. 

Bribie Genealogy & Bribie U3A

Our April meeting was on Good Friday so we couldn't meet in person. For those at a loose end on Easter Saturday we did a Zoom catch up. I gave a talk on military resources for locating widows and children after World War One. It was recorded so that other members could download for later. 

My beginners class at U3A is going well with a small but eager group of very new to research people. I am having to rethink some of my week's lessons as we pin down the basics of searching for births, deaths and marriages. Tracing people back is second nature to me but I now realise that it can be quite foreign to anyone totally new. We are doing some case studies so that they can see the process and work on their own families. 


My next speaking at a conference is The Genealogy Show in the UK on 25-26 June 2021 which is virtual. There is a great line up of speakers including two other Aussies - Jill Ball and Sharn White. That will be a full on weekend. 

Then it is the AFFHO Congress 2021 on Norfolk Island  and the launch of National Family History Month in August while we are over there. It has been so long since I have been in an airport or on a plane, it will be a very strange experience. Still I love Norfolk Island and it will be an opportunity to catch up with lots of friends. 

The next History Queensland conference is 21-23 October 2022 at Redcliffe (just north of Brisbane). Mark that in your diaries now and cross our fingers that it will be in person. 


In April I did two talks for Noosa Libraries at Noosaville on Scottish and Irish genealogy resources. Good audiences both times and some excellent feedback. Both of those talks and my two earlier talks for Noosa are on the Resources page of my website.


Still tinkering with the new website and after all the hassles of being hijacked I am wondering if it is all worth while. Why do people have to scam and make the internet less safe for people who just want to use it for good things? By the end of May I will complete it and move onwards and upwards. Motivation plus. 

What's New in Australia & New Zealand

Only three new newspaper titles in Trove for April but they are good if you have ancestors in those places and time periods.

  • Queensland - Catholic Advocate (Brisbane) 1911-1938
  • South Australia - The Prospector (Fitzroy) 1978-1984
  • Victoria - Great Southern Advocate (Korumburra) 1889-1940

FamilySearch continues to add new records and here are a few examples from the Pacific region.

  • Kiribati Vital Records 1890-1991
  • Micronesia Death Records 1970-1986
  • Papua New Guinea Vital Records 1867-200
  • Samoa Vital Records 1846-1996
  • Tuvalu Vital Records 1866-1979
  • Vanuatu Vital Records 1900-2001
Ancestry updated its fantastic Sydney, Australia, Anglican Parish Registers 1814-2011 and added Australia, Army, Military Service Records 1901-1940.

What's Coming Up?

    The Reading Room way back when!
     Looking forward to seeing the new QSA.
    There are two talks for Moreton Libraries in May at Redcliffe and Burpengary on managing DNA matches. See the Events page of my website for details on dates.

    History Queensland is having its AGM and 6 monthly meeting at the Queensland State Archives on 8 May. As Patron I will be attending and it will be good to visit QSA again. 

    Hard to believe I left there almost 22 years ago to go and work in Canberra at the National Archives of Australia. Where does time go? 

    Niles Elvery will be giving a short presentation on how to use the new online catalogue. 

    Until next time, stay safe and well and good luck with your genealogy searching.

    Saturday, 10 April 2021

    FHDU 2021 megafest, new resources: Australia & New Zealand Genealogy Notes March 2021

    Wow a huge month with more genealogy webinars to watch than programs on television! 

    Plus I sneaked away for a week's holiday with a Canberra HAGSOC (now Family History ACT) friend to the Sunshine Coast. Lots of genealogy discussion over that week too. Had lunch with geneamates at Buderim which was good, catching up in person. Got home just before we went into the snap lockdown. 

    Without fail my Easter orchid continues to deliver year after year. The colours are gorgeous but I think it is time to divide and have two Easter orchids next year. Or a bigger pot!


    Also on holiday with me was Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Chester Creek Murders: A Venator Cold Case which is the first installment of his new book series. 

    I have yet to do my review but as usual Nathan has written a gripping read and I predict the series will be as big a hit as his Morton Farrier series. 

    It was also a pleasure to listen to Nathan speak about how he does his research in the FHDU Methodology stream. Thankfully the motel's free wi fi was up to letting me watch it live.

    During the month I also received the latest Traces magazine, Discover Your Ancestors No 9, and a number of digital genealogy journals and magazines. The paper ones sit on the chair, and the digital ones disappear out of sight. Despite my best intentions. 

    My latest thoughts on how to manage my digital reading is to list items as they arrive in my inbox and then tick them off when I have read them. Also with the intention of reading them within 7 days so that they don't become a serious backlog. Discipline - not a strong point for me with so many other things to capture my geneattention.

    Bribie Genealogy & Bribie U3A

    Our March meeting was a success with Pauleen Cass our guest speaker giving us lots of tips for our Irish research. Pauleen also had a very useful handout for members.

    Somehow I was talked into taking over the Bribie U3A beginners class. My fear is that I will be too much for them so I am making my weekly classes as basic as I can. I suspect that the attendees will have varied experience which just makes aiming the level of the class that much harder. Still it should be fun. The idea is that attendees will go from the beginners class to joining Bribie Genealogy

    Our April meeting falls on Good Friday so I organised a military talk via Zoom for those interested. 


    FHDU 2021 was the big event in March and was in the end a totally virtual event. But that saw more talks offered. Four streams on DNA, Abroad, Australia & New Zealand and Methodology meant that people could attend one, two or all streams. 

    Being the geneaddict that I am, I have all four streams to watch. Now to find the time. Bit like my digital reading! Plus I need to write a blog post. 

    In case you missed it and are interested, it is still possible to purchase access to the different webinar streams. See the link above.

    My next conference is the AFFHO Congress 2021 on Norfolk Island. I am giving a paper on the Pyers/Johnson family. AFFHO have also asked me to speak at the launch of NFHM 2021 which is an honour. That should be an amazing week in a place that I love for its beauty and simplicity of lifestyle. 


    I talk too much! I was pleased to accept a last minute offer to give a talk at The Surname Society's AGM and seminar day. Basically I reworked one of my previous talks into how to find surnames in archives downunder. It was also a good opportunity to hear talks on Library and Archives Canada, (now to look for more of my Canadian cousins), National Archives UK and Archives New Zealand presented by Fiona Brooker. A great tour of their online catalogue Archway.

    Talks are coming up at Noosa Libraries, Moreton Libraries and other places but I can't mention those yet. Details of my upcoming talks are always on the Events pages of my website.

    Plus those close by can come along to Bribie Genealogy on the 1st Friday of the month, 9.15am at Bribie RSL.


    There hasn't been much action on my website in recent months as I was hijacked and it cost a small fortune to remove malware and whatever else. I am truly grateful to my IT person for sorting it all out and now I just have to start blogging again. 

    There will also be a fresh look to reflect on my new approach to life post cancer and covid, although the latter may still be around for a while yet.

    What's New in Australia & New Zealand

    Do you subscribe to the Trove enewsletter? It is the easiest way to see what newspaper titles have been added to Trove during the month. For example in March 2021 they added: 

    • Sunraysia Daily (Vic: 1920-1927)
    • The Mildura and Merbein Sun (Vic: 1921)
    • The Mildura Irrigationist (Vic: 1892-1893)
    • The Merbein Irrigationist and Murray Valley Soldiers' Gazette (Vic: 1919-1920)
    • The Mildura Irrigationist and Murray River Agricultural Times (Vic: 1888)
    • The Mildura Irrigationist and Murray River Cultural Advocate (Vic: 1891 - 1892)
    • Noosa News (Qld: 1968-1974)
    • Noosa Advocate (Qld: 1911-1929)
    • Noosa Advocate and Cooroora Advertiser (Qld: 1929-1934).

    Great news for those with Mildura, Victoria or Noosa, Queensland families. My son's GG grandfather John Barrow Atkinson was one of the early people to buy land at Noosa. If only the family had held on to it!

    Similarly I subscribe to the enews from various state archives to see what has been indexed or digitised. In the March Now & Then from State Archives and Records New South Wales I discovered that the  Protestant male orphan school register 1850-1886 has been digitised and is online. These enewsletters are easy to read and often contain useful hints on searching or advertising a new webinar on a family history topic.

    While not Australasian, the FamilySearch enewsletter each month has new records from around the world and is always worth a browse. There were new French and German collections and some for various English counties. By knowing what has been added, you can simply search that collection if it is relevant to your ancestral search areas.

    April is a big month for talks, more doctor visits (check ups), U3A beginning family history classes, a 4 day visit from my brother, the Bribie Historical Society meeting and setting time aside to watch some of my FHDU webinars. I wonder what bright shiny object will grab my attention this coming month? 

    Take care and stay safe. Happy geneasearching until next month. 

    Saturday, 6 March 2021

    Short month, lots of genealogy: Australia & New Zealand Genealogy Notes February 2021

    Wow the 28 days of February went past so quickly. But a huge month for doing nothing but watch webinars. One of the reasons this blog post is a week late.


    Hard to believe but I still haven't started The Chester Creek Murders by Nathan Dylan Goodwin. I have been waiting for some extra spare time so that I can read uninterrupted. I have a week away at Noosa and Caloundra at the end of March. It will be perfect motel reading. 

    Bribie Genealogy

    Time was spent on putting together an email list (doubles as membership) and preparing for the March meeting. 

    Our April meeting is Good Friday so we will be having a Zoom meeting on Easter Saturday instead. We have even started to think about having a second meeting a month in the evening. It is really good to see so many enthusiastic people.


    This is where most of my time has been spent. Finalising handouts for the FHDU conference in March as well as trying to record my presentation using Powerpoint rather than Zoom. I found it really limiting and stopped the flow of my usual style when giving a talk. Still a learning exercise and technology continues to get better and better. Now that it is virtual, the overall package is cheaper than it was in person. That's a plus but I will miss the personal catch ups.

    Of course RootsTech Connect took up three days and nights and it was amazing how you could get caught up in the frenzy of trying to do everything. I scored a few freebies in the Exhibition Hall but will do a blog post soon on how I found the whole experience. The Twitter #ANZAncestryTime topic last week (Tuesdays 7pm Brisbane time) was on RootsTech so I picked up more tips to follow up. 

    The talks are still online and if you search for Oceania you will pick up most of the Australia and New Zealand talks. My talk on Australian Archives was well received and there were a few people in the chat room and one person even found her ancestor after hearing one of my tips on spelling variants. 

    All RootsTech Connect speakers were sent a gift package which was unexpected and a lovely way to end an amazing experience. Thanks to all the people behind the scenes. 

    Plus on the spur of the moment I decided to attend The Family History Show on 20 February which was only about $10AU. I have done a blog post on the conference and it is funny how it took about to 2011 and an article I wrote for Discover Your Ancestors. Small world. Read the report here


    My talk at Bribie Island Library on What's In A Surname was well received and the Where Do I Start beginners session at Noosaville Library has a very enthusiastic audience. Both events booked out. Another talk on Using Ancestry's DNA Tools is coming up for Noosaville. I have been asked to do a webinar for The Surname Society in March. 

    I'm also back at U3A as the person doing the beginners course can no longer do it. Therefore in Term 2 I will be trying to confine myself to beginner methodology. Hope they don't find me too overwhelming. Actually it will be good to get back to basics. Another plus is that  they can come along to Bribie Genealogy meetings. 

    See where I am speaking on the Events page of my website. 

    What's New in Australia & New Zealand

    If you subscribe to the free Trove enews, you can get the latest on what's new in Trove. There is also a link to the enews on the home page of Trove. For example, the February news was that four newspaper titles for each of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia were added, varying date ranges. 

    I was interested in these three in particular:

    • Nowra Colonist (NSW) 1899-1904
    • The Telegraph and Shoalhaven Advertiser (NSW) 1879-1881
    • Windsor & Richmond Gazette (NSW) 1888-1961.
    Two of my great grandmother Elizabeth Price's children were born in the Shoalhaven area in the 1880s. 
    Sign up to Trove at the bottom of the February newsletter

    Also remember it is a new calendar year and many of the BDM indexes are now available for another year. Some states like NSW update through the year, while others don't. This also applies to state archives and that means another year of closed series is now available. You really do need to go back and check for additional records at the start of each calendar year.

    FamilySearch added New Zealand electoral rolls 1865 to 1957 adding just over 3.5 million names to the records for New Zealand. With trans Tasman families there's another search I need to do. 

    Findmypast added quite a few interesting records for my English and Irish families and Ancestry updated its Australia and New Zealand Obituary Index 2004 to the present. Also some UK WW1 pension records which interest me. 

    If you subscribe to the free enews from the archives, libraries and resources that are of interest to your research it really is easy to see what's new. However, beware of bright shiny objects which may tempt you away from a planned research strategy. 

    Have a wonderful research time in March. Stay well and safe.


    Tuesday, 9 February 2021

    Diary is Back : Australia & New Zealand Genealogy Notes January 2021

    It's hard to believe that the last time I wrote Diary notes was in mid October 2020. 

    Between cancer treatments and covid restrictions, I seem to have lost my blogging spirit. There were many times that I have gone to write something but didn't quite make it. The other night on #ANZAncestryTime on Twitter, I was a little embarrassed when @geniaus tweeted she always liked reading Diary. 

    I think Diary lost its way a little when I stopped flitting around from conference to conference, and giving talks here there and everywhere. The awful truth is that my life at home is not that exciting. So I have been thinking what purpose does Diary serve now in 2021. 

    As life returns to normal, there are some in person events as well as virtual conferences. Plus I am always doing something with my own personal history - either new research or trying to make it all virtual and writing up those family history stories.

    No more excuses - Diary is back. 


    Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Chester Creek Murders is next on my reading list. You can't go past a good genealogical crime mystery.

    Genie friend Jenny has given me this book on Wicklow to read. Not one for going to bed with unless you are trying to knock yourself out when you doze off! It weighs half a kilo.

    Bribie Genealogy

    Bribie Zoom Genies are no more - we have merged with the Bribie DNA for Genealogists group to form Bribie Genealogy. We are an informal group meeting at the Bribie RSL once a month - 38 people turned up to our inaugural meeting and there were quite a few apologies too. 

    March will be bigger again I suspect as we have Pauleen Cass as our first visiting guest speaker and she will be talking about Irish ancestors. Can't wait.

    The group can be contacted via bribiegenealogy@gmail.com or we have a Facebook page - we are mainly for people living on Bribie Island and the mainland side of Pumicestone Passage. 


    Let's not forget RootsTech Connect 2021 now just two weeks away in late February. It's free and virtual so why not register and enjoy a wide variety of speakers and subjects. I am honoured to be one of the speakers with a talk on Digging Deeper in Australian Archives

    FHDU 2021 in March 2021 is now virtual and there are four streams to choose from or select all four. 

    Prices vary so check out the website for the program and price structure. I have two presentations to record in the next few days - much prefer live audiences and the positive vibes in the venue. 


    Not much has happened on the DNA front - I really need more close cousins to test so that I can work out all those non parental events. But slowly chipping away at Dad's biological families. 

    Louise Coakley's monthly DNA newsletters are a must read for all the latest news on the testing companies, blogs to read and webinars to watch. 

    Downsizing Project

    This has continued even though I stopped writing up my progress. I am still weeding paper files, scanning photos and documents, tidying up my genealogy software and adding sources, and writing up the family histories. 

    I think writing up the histories is becoming my preferred way to pass on my research. People are more likely to read the history than try to work it out from the database. Yes the software can print out all kinds of reports and includes images and citations but it seems artificial to me. Still writing it up is a lot of work too when you consider I have over a dozen immigrant ancestors. Currently working on Carnegie @ Pumicestone (front page at left and just over 15,000 words!


    Over the next few months I am doing a series of talks in Moreton Libraries, (Bribie, Burpengary and Redcliffe) and for Noosa Libraries on the Sunshine Coast. To book a place you need to go to the Library websites.

    It will be so good getting out and about again and talking to people about genealogy and family history.

    What's New in Australia & New Zealand

    A lot of work seems to have been done during 2020.

    The easiest way I find to see what has been added recently to FamilySearch is to check by location. If you go to Location (use the map on the Records home page) and select Australia. Open up the list of 33 Indexed Collections and you can see what was added in 2020 and there are even some additions already for 2021. South Australia now has school records, prisons, passenger lists and wills and probates. 

    Remember too that not everything is indexed yet in FamilySearch. Scroll down to the Image Only Collections and there are another four collections mostly for Tasmania.

    Of course, Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage and The Genealogist have all been adding to their collections. The easiest way I find to keep us is to subscribe to the free enewsletters. 

    Until next time happy searching. Stay safe and well.