Saturday, 4 June 2022

Sands of Time at Redcliffe & Other Genealogy News: My Genealogy Weeks 16-31 May 2022

For Queensland we have been having some very wet,cold and windy conditions lately. This time last year we were still swimming in our pool and enjoying the sunshine. My son turned 35 and I reflected on where those years went. I did receive a birthday photo of my new grandson minus his father (I must admit I don't like myself in photos but my son takes it to extremes). 
Three weeks old and I'm predicting
he will be tall like his parents

The threat of being stranded by floodwaters meant that I couldn't attend the History Queensland AGM in person and had to deliver my talk via Zoom. Talking about one's life and career is not easy but it is a really good way of stimulating memories.


Still no blogging mojo and in that spirit I took part in Pauleen's Merry Month of May blog challenge. She asked a series of questions to see what our new norm is post covid. Read about My New Norm

Most of my spare time has been spent on writing up my family histories for my various family groups. This is more in line with my project to ditch the heavy binders that no one will want in favour of print/bound or PDF copies of a family history. Either format is easier to share and distribute to libraries and genealogy groups.


THE Genealogy Show Summer event in July is fast approaching and I am giving a talk on Australian convicts. I'm looking forward to hearing the other speakers and learning more about a range of different topics.

The NSW/ACT conference this year (Riding the Waves of History) in September is virtual again, a legacy from covid times. Which is a shame as I had been looking forward to taking some extra time for researching the family in Newcastle. That will have to be a holiday sometime in the future. 

Sands of Time is coming up in October and it will be in person at Redcliffe. That is under the umbrella of History Queensland which hosts a conference every two years. I like these conferences because they are usually close to home. I am pleased to say that I am an Ambassador for Sands of Time. Registration is now open so don't miss out on our wonderful Queensland genealogy conferences.

November sees Family History Downunder 2022 in Sydney with some well known overseas speakers. An event not to be missed in person or online. Hybrid events are here to stay I think.

New Resources

Not exactly new, but I have been having a wonderful time with Ancestry's digitised Wiltshire records. I have managed to push a couple of lines further back and get copies of relevant baptism, marriage and burial records. I still get a sense of pride when I see an ancestor could sign their name but equally, if there is an X for their signature, I wonder what it was like not being able to read or write. 

My great grandfather, Herbert William White, on the far left,
was from Pitton & Farley in Wiltshire. 

As we move on from Covid I am still accepting talks for 2022 which is good to see. Road trips are always fun and it will be good to see people I haven't seen in a couple of years. Details of where I am speaking and when are on the Events page of my website. 

In June I am off to Strathpine library for the first time since covid. I wish the Bribie Library had the same facilities to host our genealogy group but not to be. Strathpine are always an enthusiastic audience so I am looking forward to that.

I'm also speaking at Monash Library in Melbourne - not in person although a trip to Melbourne again would be nice. This event is via Zoom and last time I spoke to them they had lots of questions. So another great genealogy group based in a library. 

What's Coming Up

My advanced English genealogy class at Bribie U3A has been a success and I find myself now doing an advanced Scottish genealogy class in Term 3. One benefit is that I learn more myself while preparing class notes so it is a win/win. Most of the English genealogy class are now members of Bribie Genealogy which is also good.

The latest health threat here on the Island seems to be 'the flu' but I have had the flu shot and fingers crossed I stay healthy. I really hate sneezing and having a runny nose. 

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

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

New twig on the branch & Other news: My Genealogy Weeks 1-15 May 2022

This fortnight saw me add a little twig to my own family tree. At last I am a grandmother to little Theodor while friends tell me they are great grandmothers. Proof that we can't always guess generations in family history. Some people marry and have children early while others are late starters and my son followed in my footsteps. 

Theodor lives in Sweden and it will probably be Christmas before I see him in person when I finally have the White Christmas I have been talking about since 2019. Until then we have various platforms where I can see him and his parents and chat - not quite the same as in person but where would we be without the internet? 

Makes me wonder about our own ancestors who left home to come to Australia - their parents may never have heard from them again. Perhaps photos were mailed home but goodbye back then was a final moment in a family's life and history. Do you ever stop and think about those left behind? 


Since I have been talking about the Ela of Salisbury mysteries - on to the last book in the series and hoping that the next is not too far away - people have been suggesting other authors too me. 

Bernard Knight is the latest suggestion and a quick look online tells me he wrote 15 Crowner John mysteries.  The series is set in Devon and  Cornwall in the 10th century and one of  Mum's family lines was from Cornwall.  Knight is a Welsh author and a former Crown pathologist in the UK, and who doesn't like a book written by a coroner. 

The bad news is that Moreton Libraries only has two books in this series and not the earliest. I always prefer to read a new mystery series in order as that lets the characters develop and is less confusing in my opinion. Of course it is available on Amazon ebooks but slightly dearer than the Ela series. There should be a discount for the whole series. I might try my local second hand book shop first. 


Ancestry has again updated ethnicity estimates and mine is starting to get really interesing. On Dad's side there are three unknown biological ancestors - a grandfather, a great great grandfather and another great great grandfather all on his biological father's line. While I have been able to work out paternal ancestors further back on one unknown, the other two are still a bit of a mystery. 

I know that Mum is the England & Northwestern Europe and she has no family lines outside of that area. I believe Dad is mostly Irish and Scottish. Some of his Irish is Antrim in Northern Ireland which could account for some of the higher Scottish percent. So Norway and the Baltics is one of my mystery great great grandfathers possibly. Given that Scotland is 31% I am now wondering if the other unknown great great grandfather is possibly Scottish. Now to try and identify possible matches and families that might connect up with me. 


Findmypast released two new indexes which interested me. 

Lancashire, Oldham Workhouse

This brand new collection sees over 150,000 records from Oldham Workhouse in Lancashire published online. These records cover over 130 years, from 1800-1936, and include both admissions and discharges. The transcripts provide standard biographical information, as well as the admission or event date. While the original record images include details such as notes on the inmate’s state at arrival (including health conditions and financial situation), whether they were on a regular diet or 'infirm' diet, religious persuasion, and reason for discharge.


Huntingdonshire Marriages 1754-1837 index

Though this collection was originally released as a browsable collection, Findmypast now transcribed these records and released them as a fully searchable index for the first time. The records include full names of both spouses, the year of marriage, and sometimes extra details, such as occupation or whether the spouses were previously widowed.

FamilySearch expanded the following collections which are good for those with non-conformist ancestors:

  • England, Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1642-1996 1,750 records
  • England, Herefordshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1583-1898 166 records
  • England, Lancashire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1647-1996 212,301 records
  • England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988     15,024 records
  • England, Northumberland Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1920 58,798 records


Giving presentations is certainly keeping me busy this year. I'm averaging about 6 presentations a month either in person or via Zoom. At the beginning of May I gave an entertaining look at family history downunder for the Virtual Genealogy Association birthday party. This can be seen on YouTube here plus any of the other presentations on the day.

Another trip to Noosa for two talks. The first on mining ancestors was at Noosaville Library and the second was at the Cooroy Tewantin Genealogy Research Group meeting. It was a look at how to maximise your searches in various online Australian archives catalogues. Presentation slides are available on the Resources page of my website.

Brisbane office, National Archives of Australia

Thanks to yet another wet weather event, I was unable to attend the History Queensland meeting in person at Queensland State Archives. But I was there via Zoom and oversaw the election of the new committee and gave my talk on how I ended up working in archives and libraries. It's interesting looking back at your own life story and seeing where the turning points were. 

Plus two English genealogy classes at Bribie U3A and it has been really interesting walking through various brick walls presented by those in the class. 

Check the Events page for 2022 talks.

What's Coming Up

My next talk is not until 14 June 2022 at Strathpine Library with a presentation on convicts. This means I have a couple of weeks to get back to my downsizing my genealogy records and writing up family stories. Resisting the urge to do more research will be the hard part. 

Until next time, take care and stay safe and happy family history researching.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Awards, ethic inheritance & other news: My Genealogy Weeks 13 - 30 April 2022

Time goes even faster with Easter followed by two long weekends in a row. Short weeks and it's hard to know what day of the week it is. But I have been putting this extra time to good use and doing more family history writing and tidying up of my digital files. Tossing out binders is satisfying but the next challenge is making everything accessible in a digital format. 


I was delighted and honoured to receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the Association of Professional Genealogists for my work in establishing and maintaining the Australian and New Zealand chapter during the pandemic. During that time we also had approved our own member's logo. I also host our monthly meetings via Zoom.


No blogs written but I have a blog that never really developed (no time) and I am now considering turning it into a site for my written family histories. Having attended the Society of Australian Genealogists webinar with Danielle Lautrec on creating websites for family history I was inspired to think about this more. It is a great way to have your research available in the future and searchable by Google. Setting up the design will be the hard part.


Still reading the Ela of Salisbury books with a little Jo Nesbo on the side for something a bit more dark. 

Keeping up with genealogy magazines and society journals always a challenge but I have now drawn up a schedule of when they become available and I can tick it off when read. Also a good way to remember how many societies I belong to!

Bribie U3A

It is good to be back at our weekly meetings and this term it is English genealogy. Each week I talk about three themes and relevant websites. Attendees also submit a brick wall which I then walk them through strategies to perhaps solve it. No solutions yet but I have turned up new information and places to look. A great way to keep up your research skills.


Ancestry's new tool to sort out parents ethnicity without the need to have them tested is a bonus. I can readily identify Mum as she is mostly English (Parent 2) and Dad is showing as mostly Scottish but I believe his paternal line is in Antrim, Ireland which might skew things.

Dad's ethic inheritance is 41% Scottish, 5% Irish , 3% Norwegian and 1% North African. That last one is intriguing and the high result for Scotland has me wondering if my unknown biological GG grandfather was Scottish. My GG grandmother Helen Carnegie was born in Scotland and emigrated with her parents John and Helen Carnegie to Queensland in 1865. It would make sense if they made friends with Scots out here. 

I have another unknown biological GG grandfather who had a child with my Irish GG grandmother and maybe that is where the Norwegian fits?

Three unknown biological ancestors within five generations on Dad's paternal line is simply not fair!

New Resources

Do you check out the free webinars each month with FamilySearch? In May they have quite a few on how to use FamilySearch more effectively plus beginner sessions. Go to FamilySearch webinars.

Similarly Legacy Family Tree Webinars are free to join or watch within a limited time. There may also be free webinars in their online library. A subscription also makes a good birthday gift too.

FamilySearch added more non-conformist church records to their Gloucestershire, Lancashire and Northumberland collections as well as more from Middlesex parish registers. You really do need to review your research on a regular basis or risk missing that clue to break down those brick walls.


I have been a member of the Virtual Genealogy Association for some years and agreed to give a talk at their 4th birthday celebrations on 30 April. As it was a party, I tried a more lighthearted approach talking about immigrants, my own families while trying to provide information on resources. As I guessed most of the members are in the Northern Hemisphere, I ended with a chat about some of our unique animals. The presentations can be viewed on the YouTube channel.

What's Coming Up

Another trip to Noosa with a talk on mining ancestors at the Noosaville Library and in the afternoon a talk on using Australian archives effectively with the Cooroy - Noosa Genealogical & Historical Research Group at Tewantin.

The next History Queensland meeting is being held at Queensland State Archives and I have been invited to talk about my long family history/archives career (45 years last March). The genealogy bug really did take over my life! Must admit though, I am finding it hard to talk about myself and my experiences. It's a bit like doing your own eulogy.

Have a wonderful time researching your families and take care and stay safe. Until next time, Shauna

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Is it really Easter? : My Genealogy Weeks 22 March -12 Apr 2022

That was a speedy three weeks and Easter is upon us. I can't believe how busy it's been with presentations and preparing for my English genealogy class at Bribie U3A. I have done very little research or writing which was going to be my priority in 2022. Time to stop talking!


Mum & Dad early 1950s

Week 8
of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks was completed - Branching Out - Courting which was a look at my own parents and how they met. Week 9 was about Women and my focus was Helen Carnegie my GG grandmother. Click on the links to the week to read those stories. 

Although I have enjoyed the first nine weeks of the blog challenge, realistically I know that I can't keep up a weekly blog at present. Maybe when I retire!


Perhaps my fascination with the Ela of Salisbury medieval murder mysteries is one reason why I am not writing very much. Totally love this easy to read series and Book 3 The Lost Child and Book 4 Forest of Souls were both fascinating. 

What I like most I think are references to what they ate (jellied eels) and how they spent their days in 12th century Wiltshire. With four books read, I'm half way through the eight books in the series. Next is The Bone Chess Set which will be my Easter reading.

If my medieval Cornish genealogy is correct (compiled by someone else last century), then one of my ancestors was a Sheriff of Cornwall around the same time. He would have led a similar life to Ela. The big difference, of course was that Ela was a woman and very unusual for her time. 

My research guide Australian Genealogy Online is available for sale from Gould Genealogy & History. Click here for details. Managed to sell a few at events but thanks to Covid no one seems to carry cash anymore. I just hope they all follow up and order online with a credit card when they get home.

No exciting big matches but Bribie Genealogy held a workshop for Gedmatch Tier One Tools which was very good. Finding the time to sit down and play with the new concepts hasn't been easy. Plus my notes never seem to make sense a week later. 

New Resources

Findmypast added 169 new and updated newspaper titles to its collection this week. It is almost impossible to keep up with digitised newspapers. New titles means perhaps more on our ancestors so we do have to have another look. 

Never ending indeed but super exciting at the same time. Who knows what you will find. 


I was honoured to be part of the History for Ukraine 24 hour genealogy event on 27 March that raised money for the British Red Cross. So many great speakers and talks over the weekend.

Trips to Noosa are always fun and it was a good audience for my military talk at Noosaville library. Back there again next month with a look at mining ancestors. The presentation is on the Resources page of my website. 

Recorded my first ever webinar for Legacy Family Tree Webinars - My Top 20 Free Genealogy Websites. That got some good feedback too and it is now part of a number of talks I have on their platform. Sessions I do for The Surname Society are also recorded and added to the offerings from Legacy Family Tree Webinars. 

Finally I went to THE Genealogy Show Spring Event and gave a talk on Australasian probate records. Plus I am still trying to watch some of the other sessions before the link expires.

What's Coming Up?

Remember to check my website for talks coming up over the next few months. Go to the Events page of my website for all the details.

Have a good Easter with family and friends, stay safe and take care until next time. Shauna

Monday, 21 March 2022

Women's history month, History For Ukraine & Other News: My Genealogy Week 15-21 March 2022

More or less back to weekly recording. Can't believe how many talks I committed to in the first three months of 2022. For those who like statistics I did six talks in February - 2 in person and 4 via Zoom. I also will do six talks in March - 1 in person and two recorded and three live webinars. Thank goodness U3A 1st term was cancelled or I would be talked out. 


Finished my blog post on my RootsTech Connect 2022 experience and you can read it here. Of course with the sessions online until next year, it hasn't really finished. My plan is to try and watch at least one a week to get through my playlist of talks. 

Catching up with 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks will be my next blogging challenge. I have done Weeks 1-7 so far and you can see them on my website's blog page.


At the Bribie Library I found the latest Louise Penny book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series. Book 16 no less so I grabbed it off the shelf. How could I resist? Currently reading and enjoying All the Devils Are Here. The really good news is that Book 17 is on the way.

After that it will be back to Book 3 in the Ela of Salisbury series. 


I have just confirmed that I still want to be a speaker at Family History Down Under 2022 in November and I will be doing two talks. Certainly hoping that this will be an in person event as well as the online stream. It has been way too long since we have had a megafest of genealogy in Australia. 

The beauty of Norfolk Island

Before that I will be enjoying the AFFHO Congress on Norfolk Island in August. I hope I remember how to find my way around the airport. 


I have volunteered to give a presentation at the History For Ukraine 24 hour history/genealogy fundraising event. My session is on Ukrainians in Australia and I will be using documents from the National Archives of Australia to tell some of their stories.

Other downunder speakers are Fiona Brooker, Michelle Patient and Rachel Croucher. Fiona, Michelle and Maggie Gaffney are also co hosting the down under session. Check out all the details and times on the History for Ukraine website. Thanks to Michelle for working out the correct times for us.

Times for the Down Under part of the program

There are some great speakers from all over the world and it is a very worthy cause. This coming weekend so make sure you find some time and join us if you can.

New Resources

Trove is celebrating Women's History month in March and their latest blog is Remarkable Women in Trove which features three interesting women. 

Back in 2016, I wrote a Women's History month blog post on my four great grandmothers. Read about them here. Have you researched your female ancestors this month? If not, there is still a week left in March. 


I have prerecorded a talk on Australasian probate records for THE Genealogy Show Spring Event 1-3 April. That same week I will be doing a live webinar for Legacy Family Tree Webinars on free genealogy websites. Plus at the end of the week another trip to Noosaville Library for a session on military ancestors. A mega week for me. Check the Events page of my website for details.

Denis Patrick Finn my 2nd great uncle was underage when he enlisted in WW1

The good news is that the rest of April is free from speaking engagements. Although I will be tutoring a 9 week course on English genealogy at Bribie U3A.

What's Coming Up?

Don't miss the History for Ukraine event. It starts 10pm Brisbane time on the Saturday night 26 March and my session is 5pm on the Sunday 27 March afternoon. 

Tidying up my records is temporarily halted as I have rediscovered my medieval ancestors (thanks to Ela of Salisbury). Some decades ago now I was given our Cornish family history back to William the Conqueror (yes I know its perhaps dubious). However I still find it fascinating and of course now there are more online resources for me to check the accuracy of the previous research. 

Have a wonderful week of research, webinars or simply reading a good book. Until next time, Shauna

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

RootsTech Connect & Other News: My Genealogy Fortnight 1-14 March 2022

What a fantastic fortnight which included the geneamegafest of RootsTech Connect. It was good to watch some live stream but my personal preference was to watch in my own time. I hope you all had a chance to participate and remember the sessions will be available for the next 12 months. 

I also liked the Connect with Relatives and managed to have a few good connections on Mum's side. Should help with some of my DNA matches. 


Well behind with my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks genealogy blog challenge but I do have some posts drafted. My main problem is trying to find images to suit the posts. I mostly have to go with images of places as I don't have many photos of my families. 

A week away with limited internet plus I try to have down time when away, meant I did more touristy things than genealogy. 

Meet the Big Pelican at Noosaville. A great restaurant strip nearby on Gympie Terrace.

Bribie Genealogy

Given all the flooding and the uncertainty of the weather, we changed from an in person meeting to a Zoom meeting. 

Our guest speaker was Judy Lofthouse and she spoke about using Findmypast and also looked at the 1921 census. I like that we can record Zoom sessions with the speaker's consent but I also miss the in person chat and lunch afterwards.

Bribie U3A

First term was cancelled due to covid, but second term is going ahead and I agreed to do English Genealogy this term. Most of the sessions have been completed as it was meant to be last term. Although I will have to check as there have been changes to a number of sites since then. It will be nice working with a group of people again and trying to help them with their English genealogy.


Finally read The Foundlings by Nathan Dylan Goodwin and really enjoyed it. 

Now onto the Ela of Salisbury medieval murder series by J G Lewis. I like starting a new author and book series as I know that there are more books to follow when I finish one. Or at least until the series runs out. 

One of the things I really did enjoy on the hols was having a number of the Ela books on my Ipad. Now on to Book 3. 

Spotted this cute little houseboat while cruising on Noosa River - imagine how many books you could read there uninterrupted.

The Ela mysteries have also led me to dig out my medieval family lines as they cover the same time period which makes it even more fascinating to me.


Just going back to RootsTech, Fran Kitto (fellow member of Caloundra Family History Research) posted a blog RootsTech 2022 Conference Update to remind our members that the sessions are still available. All societies should encourage their members to have a look at the sessions. So much to learn.

 I attended the Scottish Indexes Conference last weekend which was really good as usual. The handouts are useful to refer back to. The next conference is on 3 September 2022 which seems ages away. Registration is already open and its free - although if you value these conferences, a donation is always appreciated.


My two sessions at RootsTech were Mining Ancestors and Making the Most of the National Archives of Australia. There is a handout for both talks as well.

My first talk for Moreton Libraries in 2022 will be at Caboolture Library on organising your DNA matches without the headache. 

I have also agreed to give a short talk on Ukranians in Australia as part of the History for Ukraine 24 hour event. It will be on 26 March.

My talks and where they are being held are listed on the Events page of my website. 

What's Coming Up Next?

My new research guide Australian Genealogy Online is now available for sale from Gould Genealogy & History. Click here for details. My copies should arrive this coming week. Looking forward to seeing the final result.

Also excited about some new work projects which should kick off in late March.

Should be back to weekly updates now that I am home.

Have a wonderful week researching and until next time take care and stay safe. Shauna

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Shipboard diaries, ancestral epidemics & other news: My Genealogy Week 22 - 28 February 2022

February is always a short month but it still went faster than anything. 

We were trapped at home by floodwaters and almost driven mad by incessant rain for six days. Watching all those who lost their homes and businesses all the way along the south east Queensland coast was heartbreaking. The weather event is still going on in NSW with towns flooded and isolated. Brisbane is starting her big clean up. 

Mother Nature in February at her worst. Also a very stark reminder to make sure our family history records are backed up, stored safe and accessible to others.


Trying to keep up with my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks genealogy blog challenge. Here is Week 7 which looked at my GGG grandfather Robert Fegan/Fagan from Glasnarget South, County Wicklow, Ireland. Week 8 will be next after this blog post. 

There was also an additional blog post this month as a guest blogger for the Genealogical Society of Queensland. I do this twice a year. The topic for my first 2022 post was ancestral epidemics. My ancestor was the only one in her family to survive a cholera epidemic. Do you ever think about all the coincidences in life and brings us to where we are today? If she had died, I wouldn't be here and that is probably repeated in other family lines. Enough philosopy, read about the 1832 cholera epidemic in the UK Midlands here. 


Back in December as a Christmas present to myself, I had a buying spree on Amazon and purchased Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Foundlings and the seven book series Ela of Salisbury medieval mysteries by J G Lewis as ebooks. Then promptly forgot about them as ebooks are not the same as print books piled up on the bedside table to read. 

Almost finished The Foundlings and as always a great Morton Farrier story. The Ela of Salisbury books I purchased as my White family were from the Salisbury area and I liked the Brother Cadfael mysteries. Plus Ela was a real person and has an entry in Wikipedia Ela of Salisbury. The series is next on the list to read.

Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, founded by
 Ela of Salisbury in 1229 via Wikipedia


RootsTech Connect is almost upon us and I will be giving two talks. There is an amazing range of topics and speakers plus they are offering some talks from 2021 as well. 

I also love the Relatives at RootsTech app and when I first looked I only had 50 connections, then that jumped up to 187 connections but none closer than 4th cousin once removed. Some were even from Australia and New Zealand which was interesting but most were in the USA. That can be useful for working out the more distant DNA matches.

New Resources

Front cover of the Yelland diary
that I received decades ago 
During the week I was contacted by someone who reads my blogs. Nothing new there but her ancestors were on the same immigrant ship as my John Finn and Sarah Fegan. Her ancestor wrote a shipboard diary of his time on the Mairi Bhan and she sent me a copy. 

I already had a copy from another descendant and was able to share that. Shipboard diaries are not that common and we have two for the 1878 voyage of the Mairi Bhan. While similar, both diarists commented on different aspects of the voyage. 

If I didn't blog, I would not have this exciting new insight into my GG grandparents voyage to Queensland. Everyone should be blogging their stories.


No talks this week but I did prep some talks for March.

I also hosted on Zoom the monthly meeting of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Australia and New Zealand. It is always good to see each other and catch up on the news.

What's Coming Up?

My new research guide published by Unlock the Past is now available from Gould Genealogy & History, either in print or ebook. So that is very exciting news. 

Bribie Genealogy's March meeting is on Friday 4 March and we have Judy Lofthouse from Brisbane talking about the 1921 Census. There will be our usual lunch afterwards which is a good way to end a busy week.

I have also had a bit of a breakthrough on the unknown biological father of my great grandfather James Carnegie. I have now connected a DNA match to that family line so it is now a matter of trying to work out how and where the intersection happened. That should keep me busy!

Happy researching until next time. Stay safe and well, Shauna

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Cornish Families, 52 Ancestors, Talks & Other News: My Genealogy Week 15-21 February 2022

Still playing catch up this week. There is just so much happening at the moment. I may have overcommitted myself to talks in February and March. Still it is nice to see people in person again as well as via Zoom.


Managed to complete Week 6 of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - theme Branching Out and Maps - picked my GGG grandfather John Carnegie to write about. Although his life could almost be a book. 

If only we could buy land there now for that price!

Working on Week 7 with theme Branching Out and Landed. As there is no landed gentry in my family ancestors, I have gone more with the idea of obtaining land in a new country. 


Last minute editing changes for my book Australian Genealogy Online. It should be good to go next week from the publisher Unlock the Past.

My thanks to the wonderful editing skills of Rosemary Kopittke. She can spot inconsistencies with words or font sizes at 60 paces I think. The good thing is I learn something new from her every time. 


At the weekend I attended the Family History Show and listened to some great talks by Debbie Kennett, Mia Bennett and others. In the Goody Bag there was a compendium of all the Discover Your Ancestors monthly magazine for 2015. Just what I wanted - more emagazines to read. Still a great gift which cost me nothing as I received a free ticket to attend as a subscriber to The Genealogist

RootsTech Connect is just a week away now so I hope you have registered. It is free. The Relatives at RootsTech feature indicates that I have 50 relatives attending so far. However they are all in the US and no closer than 6th cousin. But they might help to explain some of those more distant DNA matches. Plus more people may register over the next week.

Family Stories

Putting the finishing touches to the family history of the Spencer Family of Cosby, Leicester and Max wants several copies done for his family. 

It was good to print a paper copy for last minute amendments, corrections and whatever other changes were needed. I seem to see errors and inconsistencies more when reading a paper copy than an ecopy. Not sure why, may be just a habit I can't shake.


My 2022 talk fest continues and you can always see where I am speaking on the Events pages of my website.

The Why Can't I Find It? talk at Caloundra Family History Research ended up being via Zoom. I had been looking forward to seeing everyone again in person. That said, it was still a good session and I think they all went away with some new ideas. 

I still have my membership cup!
My talk on the Cornish in Queensland to the Cornish Association of Victoria via Zoom also received good feedback. There were questions about how/why I try to see myself in the places of my ancestors through images, books and newspaper accounts. To me context is important - we need to know what their lives were like, otherwise they are just names, dates and places. It was lovely to see faces from my days of living in Melbourne. 

Where appropriate slides from my presentations are on the Resources page of my website. I have done this for the last 10 years as I know how hard it is to listen and write at the same time. The slides are for personal research use only NOT to download and hand around the place or put up on other websites. I try to make it easy for my listeners to just sit back and enjoy my talks. The copyright is still mine and anyone who wants the slides for another purpose should ask me. Rant over.


It was fun and interesting to be part of the first @ANZAncestryTime on Twitter for 2022. It is now only on the 3rd Tuesday night of the month starting at 6pm Brisbane time. Why not come along and be part of the online discussion and share your family stories and knowledge with others. We use the hash tag #ANZAncestryTime to keep all the tweets together and Sue @tasteach writes up the summary for us. 

What's Coming Up?

I'm currently busy with my talk on Australasian probate records for THE Genealogy Show in April. Not only to I have to write and present the talk, I have to prerecord it. 

There is something strange about sitting in a room and delivering a presentation to yourself and trying not to watch yourself in the camera. It usually takes a few attempts and I have to try not to run over time. 

As I mentioned earlier, RootsTech Connect is not far away but my two talks for that have already been recorded and are waiting to go live. I will be checking the chat for both talks during the weekend. If you want to learn more about mining ancestors and using the National Archives of Australia online catalogue come along to RootsTech. Registration is free.

March has another three talks - all live with one in person for Moreton Libraries and the other two via Zoom. 

Stay safe, take care and keep on genearesearching. Until next time, Shauna

Friday, 18 February 2022

Talkfest, New Resources & Events: My Genealogy Week 8-14 February 2022

Well I should have known that once I went back to work (my business) I would have less time to do all the fun stuff I have been doing over December and January. While I enjoy giving talks they do take time to prepare and then present, either in person or via Zoom. This week there were three talks so there was no time for blogging. Also the reason why this weekly blog is a few days late.

Need to catch up with Weeks 6 and 7 of my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks or I will be spilling over into 2023. If you missed my Weeks 1-4 they are on my blog page. There is no necessity to keep up as the idea is more to encourage us to write about our ancestors. However I do love a challenge.


One of the big distractions for me over the last week is finalising my new book, Australian Genealogy Online. It will be my 12th research guide and published by Unlock the Past and available through Gould Genealogy. I am really excited to see the final product which might be some time this week. Plus there should be a few more spare minutes in the day.


It has been a while since I got excited about travelling but August is shaping up to be a huge National Family History Month. First I am speaking at the AFFHO Congress on Norfolk Island which will be a great opportunity to see people in person. We first went there in 2007 then again in 2014 and were meant to go in 2021 but delayed due to Covid.

From our first visit to Norfolk Island 2007

I am also contemplating a trip to New Zealand for the Auckland Family History Expo and then the following weekend, the Christchurch Expo. I have been to the Auckland one a few times over the years and been to the Christchurch one virtually. Fingers crossed that borders stay open and that the pandemic is really on the way out.


During the week I gave the Genealogical Society of Queensland five boxes of books to either use, toss or resell for profit. The really sad part is that looking around my bookshelves in the study you can't even see where any are missing. My LibraryThing needs a total overhaul but I think I still need to do another cull and pass on books that may be useful to others. 

New Resources

MyHeritage have recently released their new online genealogy course for beginners in their Knowledge Base.  Pleased to say that I am one of the lecturers in the Australian section of the course. Although aimed at beginners there are probably tips and refreshers for more experience researchers. 

This week Ancestry has the following update, especially interesting for Southt Australian researchers 

  • New South Wales index to deceased estate files 1859-1958 
  • South Australian passenger lists 1845-1940
  • South Australian Destiture Asylum ledgers and admissions to industrial and reformatory schools 1849-1913
  • South Australian prison registers 1838-1912
  • South Australian Supreme Court criminal records 1837-1918 and reports to the Police Coroner 1842-1967
  • South Australia select tax and financial records 1838-1928 and returns of 1841 census
  • South Australia Adelaide Hospital admission registers 1841-1946
Some really early dates there for South Australia. My Trevaskis family arrived in Adelaide in 1864.


On Thursday I actually drove up to Noosa Heads to give my presentation on Where Do I Start? in person to a group of enthusiastic people at Noosaville Library. 

On the way home I called into Sunshine Coast Hospital to see my surgeon and get the results of my latest tests. Reading the local newspaper while waiting, I came across this advert for my talk to Caloundra Family History Research.

My other talk this week was to the Port Macquarie & District Family History Society via Zoom. We almost settled there but ended up moving further north. Still love the place. My presentation was on using DNA to search for biological ancestors. A great audience and some lovely feedback.

Remember that you can see the slides of some of my presentations on the Resources page of my website. Where I am speaking is on the Events page.

What's Coming Up

This coming week is the Caloundra talk mentioned above plus a talk to the Cornish Association of Victoria on the Cornish in Queensland. Both sessions are via Zoom. I haven't spoken to their group since I left Victoria in 2012 and probably even a few years before that. But I still have their gift to me as a speaker.

That will be my last talk for February (six talks, not quite a record) so I can rest my voice for a little. Three talks coming up in March plus my two RootsTech Connect sessions. Don't forget to register for RootsTech as it is free and a huge range of speakers and talks. 

Hopefully I will find some time to get back to writing up those family history drafts now that I have a few other projects out of the way. 

Wishing you success with your genealogy research this week, take care and stay safe, Shauna.

Monday, 7 February 2022

Seafood platters, looking for UK cousins, talks & other news: My Genealogy Week 1-7 February 2022

I'm starting to fall behind and it is still early days in the year. Where did the last week go? Time flies indeed. Max and I celebrated meeting in Canberra 21 years ago. I seriously don't know where those years have gone. 

My son has recovered from Covid and managed not to give it to his pregnant wife. A relief for all and the birth of the first grandchild is now only about two months away. Not that I am counting. 

I am in the midst of my six monthly health checks and travelling to doctors and doing tests all takes time. After the session on Friday at the Sunshine Coast Hospital we called into Mooloolaba and the See Restaurant for a seafood platter and a couple of cocktails. 2022 will be my year of the seafood platter.


I am just managing to keep up with the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog challenge. Week 5 was branching out and I decided to focus on my great grandfather Herbert William White and his siblings who all stayed in England. 

Using more modern genealogy resources helped me to identify who they married, any children and when they died. Although there are some gaps in the story as White is such a common name.

Diary is in tandem with the blog challenge so both are being written at the weekend when I have more time. Getting back to work has seriously dropped the number of hours decluttering, writing and researching.  

Bribie Genealogy

I was the first guest speaker for the year and it was all about FamilySearch and looking at all the different research strategies. You could easily spend days on their website. A small group then enjoyed lunch at Bribie Social at the RSL. I had the Juicy Lucy burger - turns out that has beetroot, bacon and egg plus the usual. Must have been the biggest burger I have seen ever. So shocked I forgot to take a photo.

Next month we have Judy Lofthouse talking about the 1921 UK Census which is on Findmypast.

Social Media

As I am weeding and tossing out my research files, books, binders etc, I have also started to look at social media. My target this week was Twitter and I had just over 1500 people I was following. 

When I checked their accounts many of them had not tweeted in years, even decades and some, sadly,  I knew had passed on. This shocked me to see their accounts still there. Obviously no one has closed the accounts down. 

I am now plodding through all the profiles and deleting any that have not posted within the last 12 months. As you can see I have already deleted nearly 500 accounts.

I also have to update my lists and include some of the more recent people I am in contact with in the Twittersphere.

I joined Twitter in September 2009 and I have never gone back and checked the accounts I was following. This has left me a bit depressed and it is another thing we have to remember to do - give someone your passwords and account names so that they can go in and turn them off. Or at least mark them closed if they want the account to be there forever. 

Will someone want to see my tweets in 50 years time? If I was doing a biography on someone then yes I might want to know what they were doing and posting about on Twitter. This topic is starting to broaden out into what should be archived!


Another invitation this week to do a presentation with MyHeritage in March. Getting back to basics using MyHeritage for research in Australia and New Zealand.

This morning I gave a talk to the Monash Library family history group on breaking down brick walls. The slides are on the Resources page of my website. They stay up for about six months.

A reminder that I am giving two talks at RootsTech Connect 2022 too in early March. Saw earlier today that they have 152,000 registered and it is not too late to join. And its free. So many sessions and speakers, somthing for everyone. 

All the events that I am speaking at are on the Events page of my website.

What's Coming Up?

A favourite photo of Dad with my son ca 1991
Two talks next week. 

Thursday sees me up at Noosa Library talking about where do you start which will be a refresher for the new year. I so much prefer in person talks. 

Finally at the end of the week on Saturday I am speaking at the Port Macquarie society meeting via Zoom. That will be about my search for Dad's biological father. 

A big week of talking!

On Wednesday I get the pleasure of listening to someone else speak at the Bribie Island Historical Society meeting. It will be good to see people again as the last time we all gathered was the Christmas party in December. 

Take care and stay safe. Happy genealogy finds too. Shauna

Monday, 31 January 2022

Blogs, Books, Talks & Other News: My Genealogy Week 24 -31 January 2022

The week has seen a major tidy up of my book shelves and a lot of the time it seemed to be just moving books from one room to another. But in the end I have a bag of books (mostly fiction) for the local secondhand bookstore and a few boxes of genealogy/local history books for one of the genealogy societies that I belong too. 

However, after taking my books to the local secondhand bookstore, I managed to come home with another six books for research purposes. Just a hopeless book addict!

I did get a few comments on Facebook about rehoming my books but you can only have so many books in one house. And at the end of the road, someone else will either toss them or call Vinnies or the Salvos. This way I can ensure the books that have an ongoing value will be rehomed with the right people. 

I had planned to do my laptops but they stayed in the too hard basket. Maybe next week.


Still keeping up with the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks and Week 4 was Foundations and Curious as a suggestion. I chose Mary Anthony later Hosking as she died aged 93 years in the Penzance Workhouse in Cornwall. I was curious about life in a workhouse. Read about Mary here.

I also completed my guest blog post for the Genealogical Society of Queensland, four weeks early. Inspiration hit me while doing some research and I just wrote the post there and then. At least I don't have to worry about it in February. 


I added more ebooks to Kindle on my IPad and noted that I know have quite a 'stack' there. I must start alternating between print and ebook. One that I definitely want to read is Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Foundling which I seem to have forgotten that I purchased. Not sure how I managed that as I normally read his books the day I get them.

Currently reading Carol Baxter's Breaking the Bank which provides a good backdrop to Sydney in the late 1820s. 

Bribie Genealogy & U3A

Meetings start up next week for Bribie Genealogy and we have the year's speakers planned out. I will start off with a megalook at what you can do at FamilySearch. So many people only search the database and there is so much more that is not indexed and included in the historical records database. We are still meeting at the Bribie RSL which means that to attend people must be double vaxxed and be able to show evidence of that.

Bribie U3A has cancelled Term One due to Omicron on the Island. This means that the English Genealogy subject I was going to tutor is also cancelled. I'm still not sure what I will be doing in Term Two although getting to Sweden seems a bit remote at the moment.


Received another invitation to speak in February. This time it was the Cornish Association of Victoria and I haven't giving a talk there for over 12 years. However, I still have/use the lovely coffee mug they gave me last visit. My topic is the Cornish in Queensland and using my own Cornish mining families as examples. It will be nice to see some old faces as it will be via Zoom.

February is a busy talks month for me with six talks, three in person (Bribie, Caloundra and Noosa) and three via Zoom (Monash Library, Melbourne, Port Macquarie, New South Wales and the Cornish Association in Melbourne. 


Watch out for free offerings of well known speakers. I accepted the free offer to Legacy Family Tree webinars on 29 January and had the opportunity to listen to Cyndi Ingle, Lisa Louise Cooke, Thomas MacEntee and Teri Flack. All topics to help you stay organised with your genealogy information. Everyone provided detailed handouts so that saved some note taking.

Keeping on top of my emails is a major problem for me and speakers gave various suggestions. It still comes down to time. I delete many unsolicted emails as well as spam that still manages to get through the filters. 

What's Coming Up?

Always check the Events page of my website for where I will be speaking, both in person and via Zoom. I am really looking forward to getting back into talks as I love meeting new people, seeing old friends and talking about genealogy to people. So much better than talking to myself in my study which is what happens when I have to prerecord talks. I really miss audience feedback during a talk.

Stay safe and well, until next week, Shauna

Sunday, 23 January 2022

Tossing binders, Scottish conference & other news: My genealogy week 16 - 23 Jan 2022

The week has gone quickly and I have only left home for pilates, gym and to get milk and bread. Sadly still no toilet paper in the local store and I am still mystified with the connection between covid and the loo. We were going to do a trip to Brisbane to see my son's father but both he and his wife have covid. Then my son sent a text that he has covid from co workers in Sweden. Fortunately no one has really bad symptons as all are vaxxed.


Keeping up with Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog challenge. Week 3 was on a family photo and I don't have that many to choose from. I went with the marriage photo of my great grandmother Mary Finn and James Carnegie in 1906. 

I have her wedding ring and feel a connection to her although she died while I was very young. Read her story here.


Part of my downsizing and decluttering is finding new homes for some of my many many books. What it also means is that I come across something that I have always wanted to read, or something I should read for the family history. Sometimes I think I just move books from one shelf to another, or from one bookcase to another. That of course upsets all my cataloguing in Library Thing which I should really update with new purchases. 

Bribie Genealogy

All our speakers are now organised for the year and it is a good mix of topics. The workshops still have to be organised but at least the monthly meetings are set. It will be good to see everyone again as our last meeting was at the beginning of December.


A good part of last weekend was listening to the talks at the Scottish Indexes conference. I have now downloaded the handouts although not all speakers give a handout unfortunately. These conferences are free although you can make a donation to help the organisers keep them going. 

I am now setting aside tasks where I can watch a webinar and still achieve some activity such as sorting photos, going through folders and binders. That way I get something done while learning new things. There are usually free webinars offered by FamilySearch or Legacy Tree Webinars


So many smaller projects
inside this one cupboard
Last week I included a 2019 photo of the end shelves in the wardrobe. I have since tossed out 6 binders of different families and before anyone goes into total shock, I have the information in my genealogy software. I can print out the same information more or less (images still have to be added). 

The main difference is that with the binders you could sit there and turn the pages and see the family group sheets and information on each family. But those binders were heavy (each paper sheet in a plastic sleeve) and I don't think anyone has ever looked at any of them, except me. 

From the new photo of the shelves you can still see lots of family binders still to be despatched. They are now all in one place. There is a shelf for boxes of photos to be sorted and scanned. Smaller tasks for when I watch webinars. 

The only trouble with all in one place, it reminds me of how much I still have to do. 

Tossed binders 

Findmypast & the 1921 Census

I have been exploring the census and using my son's paternal ancestors to search on. Some I have found easily but have resisted the urge to pay for the image so far. Only $4.32 but I don't think it will tell me anything I don't know. 

There is another family who I know should be there but so far I haven't been able to identify them confidently enough to pay the additional charge for the image. 

No doubt after a certain time period the images will be available within Findmypast. If only digitisation wasn't such an expensive exercise. But I have to admit that the cost is less than a certificate.  

Comes back to your research plan and  what do you want to know!


All my February talks are done although I always like to do a last minute URL check. 

During February I will be speaking in Monash in Melbourne, Victoria, Port Macquarie in New South Wales, Noosaville and Caloundra in Queensland. The last two are in person but that may change due to any new covid restrictions. 

Check out the Events page on my website for my 2022 talks calendar. 

What's Coming Up?

The last week before I am out and about again will focus on organising my old IT equipment. 

I have a couple of old laptops that I take to the computer guy on the Island and he updates and rehomes them for those in need. Same with an old tablet. I even have Mum's mobile phone that needs to be disposed of responsibly. That will free up some space on the other work desk. 

Of course I need to check that I have removed everything I want from the hard drives.

I want to get in some more research on my son's paternal family. From Ancestry I can see that some lines go right back and others are a bit of a blank. There lies a challenge or two for me. 

Take care and stay safe if you can. Researching your family history helps when you need to take your mind off other things. 

Until next time, Shauna