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Before updating my Library Thing, the plan was to deaccession ie remove books no longer current or useful.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.