Saturday 4 September 2021

National Family History Month & Other News: Australia & New Zealand Genealogy August 2021

 Wow what a fantastic month for genealogy. So many great events and with so many virtual, it was easy to attend events without travel costs. National Family History Month (NFHM) is over but with ongoing lockdowns and nowhere to travel to, we still have plenty of time for family history.


First pair of shoes, still in the wardrobe!

I managed to do two blogs during August. First there was Genealife in Lock Down and I followed that up with Tossing Out the Binders which was the result of last year's lock downs. Both are on the blog page of my website. 

When I look around at everything still in my study, I don't think I am doing too well with this downsizing project. Plus there are the memorabilia you don't know what to do with - do I take photos of Mum and Dad's 21st keys and then toss the originals? What about Mum's wedding dress? 

Every time I open the study wardrobe, my first pair of shoes are there on the shelf Why can't I toss?

But when I look at my achievements, I realise how far I have come in what is basically a very slow process when you have 44 years of research to downsize.  


Weeding the bookshelves is part of the overall project and many books have been given away or put aside to give to others. It's not a rash decision in that the piles stay there for a week or so to allow me to change my mind. There is also a small pile that I want to read or read again before making a decision. Of course, at the end I will have to go into my LibraryThing account and update my books and shelving locations. 

Does anyone else pick up a book and wonder why they bought it? Or believe the price they paid for it? Why have I got so many unread books? 

Bribie Genealogy

Both of our August meetings were cancelled due to Covid lockdown and we managed to Zoom the Friday meeting with Helen Smith who spoke about doing DNA plans for research. Sadly there was no lunch post meeting which is always a fun time with our guest speakers. For context on a segment later in this post, Bribie Genealogy does not have a physical home but we have free use of a room at the local RSL for our monthly meetings, complete with wifi. We don't have subscriptions or a journal/newsletter and we usually send out slides from presentations to members, or Zoom recordings if no physical meeting. So we are a virtual society with physical meetings when we can.

Fingers crossed that the September meetings go ahead.


Who was my Dad's father?
Excited to learn that I have a 2nd cousin on Dad's side and it looks like my hypothesis and prime suspect might be correct. Although I would like to see more matches on that family line. Interestingly they share more DNA with me than my brother. It is good to do the comparisons.

New Resources

My main source for what's new or new to me this month has been all the webinars or Zoom meetings that I have attended. I always try to learn at least one new thing from a talk but lately I am ending up with a page of 'must follow up' notes. 

For example, Fiona Brooker gave a good talk on the 1939 Register (UK) and that made me realise I have not gone looking for any descendants of common ancestors for most of Mum's families. No doubt that would help with DNA matches too.


My advanced Irish genealogy course continued via Zoom as Bribie U3A never opened up for third term due to Covid restrictions. Not quite the same as in person, round the table but certainly better than nothing. The other plus is that I can record the sessions and attendees can play them back and do their own searches at the same time.

My talk at the opening event of NFHM is still on the Webinars page until the end of September if you want to watch. It was looking at the future of genealogy post Covid and what role societies might have. It certainly caused a lot of discussion on the night and afterwards I suspect. I loved this comment from a New Zealand person: I was most impressed with Shauna's presentation (clever intelligent Lady) even more so, with how Bribie local Genealogy Societies and how they cope without a main Genealogy Society or base.

Mum's teenage diary 
I gave a Zoom presentation to Caloundra Family History Research on using diaries and letters for family history which was well received. Although I do like travelling to their meetings as their afternoon teas are pretty good but Covid put an end to that. The slides are on the Resources page of my website.

My last talk was a tips and tricks Zoom session on how to use Australian archives which I offered as part of NFHM. Attendees got the recording afterwards so that they could just relax during the talk.

What's Coming Up

The Association of Professional Genealogists conference is virtual over three months so that more people can attend and I have enjoyed the first two days. 

Another Zoom session, this time with Family History ACT on Writing and Sharing Family Stories which is a four speaker seminar. My session is on blogging family stories but other sessions are on charts as stories, doing a book using Family Tree Maker software and what is involved in self publishing and how to set up your manuscript. 

The Professional Historians Association Queensland conference has moved to virtual but that will occupy me over a weekend. The part I really miss is catching up with people in person and I was looking forward to a couple of nights in Brisbane. 

Similarly I am attending the NSW & ACT conference in Port Macquarie via Zoom instead of the long drive down. They decided early on to be a virtual event which proved to be the right decision given NSW's current Covid situation. 

I know a few family history people out there that still do not want to learn to Zoom or attend live webinars. However, I honestly don't think life is going back to how it was before. We have to adjust to the changing times and take advantage of technology as now is, in some ways, another boom time for genealogy. Attending overseas conferences has never been easier or cheaper. Try it and you won't be sorry for learning yet another techno skill.

Until next time, happy searching. Stay safe and well.