Monday 12 December 2022

2022 Genealogy Goals & Looking to 2023: My genealogy weeks 26 November - 13 December 2022

 We come to the end of a calendar year again and as usual, I have no idea where the year went. 

I do know that I gave 40 talks in 2022 so I need to stop talking. Goal number 1 for 2023, learn to say No. 

Excited to know 'Farmor' is coming

I also know that a new twig was added to our family tree - my first ever grandchild, Theodor who lives in Sweden with his Mum and Dad. Goal number 2 is visit them and this is an easy one to tick off. This afternoon I am flying out to Sweden via Dubai and Copenhagen to spend Christmas and New Year with them. I am also hoping for a White Christmas and to tick off another bucket list item.

During 2022 I spent quite a bit of time working on all my family history drafts for each of my major families. These range from smallish, 10000 words to largish 20000 words or huge over 25000 words. They include illustrations and sources/citations, bibliography etc. Not yet indexed as they are not yet finished. I have been saying that for decades. Goal number 3 will be to make them all first editions and publish them via a PDF on Trove (through NED) and the Internet Archive. Free for all or at least those interested.

Just needs a 2023 update then finis

2022 was the year that we returned to face to face meetings and conferences and how good was that. I am a confessed genealogy conference junkie and I love planning my year around conferences. Goal number 4 is to attend at least one overseas conference and one Australian conference. In 2023 I am already booked to attend RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. This will tick off a few bucket list items including a visit to the Salt Lake City FamilySearch Library and attending RootsTech, the largest genealogy event on the planet. Although it will again be hybrid like so many conferences now. For my Australian conference I would like to attend the annual conference in NSW which I understand will be on the Central Coast. The NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies' website is not working this morning so I can't check. I still want to visit Newcastle and do some research on Dad's family so that will be a double bonus if I drive down. 

That's enough goals for 2023. Back to 2022.


Currently reading Nathan Dylan Goodwin's latest in the Venator series, catching serial killers using DNA evidence. It's amazing how you can actually learn tips of how to manage DNA matches while reading a novel. I can't put it down so I think it will be reading material on the plane tonight.


Although I inferred above that I would not do as many talks in 2023, I seem to have not grasped that message. In February 2023 I already have 5 talks - 2 virtual and 3 in person. There are only 4 booked for the rest of the year so perhaps it will be OK. Where I am speaking is on the Events page of my website. When I checked that link I discovered that my security certificate had expired two days ago. No reminder notice which is odd. So hastily purchased one and hoping I can get it all sorted before I leave this afternoon. Otherwise you will see a not safe message until I return. Although it is safe, not hacked but a nuisance at this late notice.

What's Coming Up?

First term at Bribie U3A will be a repeat of our Advanced Irish class last held in 2021. Lots of new things since then so that will keep me busy.

But first I am going to have an amazing time in Dubai, Copenhagen, Lund (Sweden) and Singpore. Plus time with my family where I will be called 'Farmor' although I think I prefer Nanna. Then there's Swedish cuisine and Yule time traditions and possibly even snow to make it truly magical.

Time to go and pack that suitcase and try and get in my presents for the family too. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday season. Stay safe and well and I hope to catch up with everyone in 2023. 


Thursday 24 November 2022

Review FHDU 2022, new books, new resources & other news: My genealogy weeks 6 - 25 November 2021

Wow time does fly when you are having fun. So much has happened since my last post.


Family History Down Under was definitely a temptation for me and I ended up buying 6 books from authors such as Chris Paton and Penny Walters. Plus one of my favourite authors Nathan Dylan Goodwin sent a review copy of The Sawtooth Slayer, the latest in his Venator cold case series. 

Which book to read first? 

The 4th book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, The Drums of Autumn, has slowed down my list of books this year. Why are all her books so big and with small print? I can't put it down but at the end of the day my eyes are not as sharp. So I am going to sleep earlier and getting up earlier so I can still get my hour of reading done.


Well FHDU was a big success and I really loved seeing everyone again in person. There were some great speakers and talks and lots of catching up with what's new. My to do list is a mile long! For a longer report on the conference see my blog post Report on FHDU 2022.

My next adventure will be RootsTech 2023 which I will be attending in March 2023 in person for the first time. Can't wait. I'm also lucky to be one of the Influencers for RootsTech next year. 

New Resources

It was interesting to see in the FamilySearch October 2022 update that they have now included some more UK cemetery records. Both in counties that I am researching. Another thing on the to do list. 

Findmypast added a number of new and updated digitised newspapers and again there are things that I want to research. It really is never ending. The 1868 Staffordshire Sentinel is calling me.


Only five more talks this year. Four of them will be at Coffs Harbour & District Family History Society annual seminar this weekend. Looking forward to that as it has been a few years since I was last there. I'm donating a copy of my Australian Genealogy Online as the lucky door prize.

My final talk for 2022 will be at Bribie Genealogy - they are expecting my annual Christmas quiz but this year I am going to look at setting some goals for 2023. We all need to start thinking about how are we going to leave our research for the future. 

What's Coming Up?

My trip to Sweden and my first catch up with my son and his family since they moved there in 2019. Also my first cuddles with my only grandson the adorable Theodor. It is snowing there at the moment so perhaps I will be able to have my first White Christmas and tick off another bucket list item.

I still have two weeks here so there will be another Diary post before I leave. 2022 has just gone so quickly. Well I must be off to Coffs Harbour which is about a six hour drive from here. Have a great weekend and try to get some genealogy research in. 

Until next time, stay safe and well.

Saturday 5 November 2022

Review Sands of Time & other genealogy news: My Genealogy Month 6 October - 5 November 2022

What a huge month for genealogy. I gave talks, went to conferences and just tried to keep up with all my genealogy reading. The last four weeks have been a bit of a blur.

It is also my birthday month and I was able to celebrate with friends from U3A and Bribie Genealogy and Mia Bennett from the UK who was able to stay with me for a couple of nights. Mia kindly gave me two books from one of my favourite authors - Ian Mortimer and these were the Time Traveller Guides to Restoration Britain and Regency Britain. I love his Time Traveller series.


Image 1993
via Wikimedia

Tackling Diana Gabaldon's Voyager at the moment - the third volume in the series. It is so big and heavy it is a real struggle trying to read it in bed, especially with my arthritic thumbs. 

For lighter reading I have various enewsletters and ejournals from societies to read.

Bribie Genealogy

We were thrilled to have Mia Bennett from the UK attend our meeting and give a talk on Using DNA to Support Family History Research. There were lots of DNA questions after the coffee break. We had a good turn up of members plus some visitors from Caloundra Family History Research. 

My only regret is that I was so excited I forgot to take a photo of Mia and the group. We will just have to do it again another time!

The Sands of Time cookie


Sands of Time at Redcliffe went very well and you can read my review of the conference here. The highlight for me was being able to talk to people again in person. The talks were good and I still have to work my way through the handouts. 

I am off to Family History Down Under 2022 this coming week and that will be a mega feast of talks. Plus afterwards we can watch the sessions we couldn't attend plus the bonus talks. Attending in person means that I can catch up with more friends and experience the vibes that don't quite make it in a Zoom environment. 

Looking further afield I have decided to go to my first ever in person RootsTech 2023. Flights are booked and I will have to plan some research at the Salt Lake Research Library. Or perhaps I will just wander around in amazement. The Dinosaur Museum is also on my agenda that week.

Another bonus is that I have been appointed a RootsTech 2023 Influencer complete with a badge.

New Resources

I have finally got Ancestry's Side View where DNA matches are assigned to either paternal or maternal sides of your family. 

There are 6929 matches assigned to Dad, 4978 assigned to Mum and 7548 unassigned. 

I am finding this fascinating and very distracting as far as time goes. It is like a magnet to me. 


I am doing two talks at FHDU 2022 - Australian genealogy online and Why Can't I Find It. 

After that I am doing a recorded talk for the Society of Australian Genealogists for their religious seminar which will be fun. Sadly I can't do it in person as that clashes with the all day seminar I am doing with the Coffs Harbour District Family History Society on 26 November.

To round the year off, I will be doing a Christmas Quiz with Bribie Genealogy at our December meeting.

What's Coming Up

The end of the year very quickly. For once I might have a white Christmas/New Year as I will be visiting my son and baby grandson in Sweden. There are no guarantees of snow but one can hope. One thing I can count on is that it will be colder than here!

Babe in the Woods

I have been saying that I don't want to be as busy as I was this year with talks but already I am down to give nine talks. 

That's a bit shy of the 39 this year so perhaps I will achieve a less busy year! 

What I really want is for the years to slow down. Where has 2022 gone?

Until next time happy searching 

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Loving Wiltshire records, Sands of Time, FHDU 2022 & other news: My Genealogy Fortnight 23 Sep - 7 Oct 2022

 My two week break from teaching at U3A Bribie went super fast but I managed to get some writing done on my individual family histories. To do the scanning of documents and photos I may have to chain myself to the chair as I always seem to come up with an excuse not to do it. 


Over the last two weeks I have been reading Larissa Behrendt's books that she talked about at the Norfolk Island conference. Both books have to go back to Moreton Library so it is fortunate that we have had a few wet cooler days which are just perfect for reading.

Bribie Genealogy

This month on Friday 7 October we have Helen Smith talking about dating photographs. This should be a fantastic talk and very practical. Most of us have photos that are undated and usually not named or identified by place.

Bribie U3A

Term 4 is all about Brick Walls and we are going to tackle real student brick walls. 

Not sure how it will go but I started the term with a discussion on how probate records in Wiltshire (via Ancestry) helped me to trace back to my 13th great grandfather.  Also used baptism, marriage and burial records to identify the various family groups.


Hard to believe that Sands of Time is now only a few weeks away. One of my favourite speakers Michelle Patient is talking about Where to Next with DNA?

This is a marvellous opportunity to listen to some great speakers, meet new friends and network with like minded people. Please come up and say hello.

The Coffs Harbour seminar has been moved back to 26 November. That will be a great way to end the genealogy year. I am giving four talks at the day long event, I hope to see some of you there. When regional societies host these seminars, it can be worth the drive if you live not too far away. 

FHDU 2022 is early November and I have my flights and accommodation booked. I'm giving two talks there but I am more excited at the great range of international speakers to listen too. If you can't make it to Sydney, there is also a virtual option. 

New Resources

FamilySearch have added three new Irish collections which is exciting:

  • Ireland Court of Chancery Bill Books 1627-1884     1,217,591 records
  • Ireland Dublin Poor Law Unions Board of Guardians Minute Books, 1839-1924     892,325 records
  • Ireland National School Registers 1847-1954             152,829 records

What's Coming Up?

Attending conferences in person is so exciting and meeting weekly to discuss genealogy brick walls at U3A means that I will be living the genealifestyle again. It always motivates me to do more on my own family history research.

If you get the chance to do your own research, happy searching and hopefully I will see some of you at Redcliffe or Sydney. Until then, take care Shauna 

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Sands of Time Speakers, FHDU 2022 & Other Genealogy News: My Genealogy Week 15 - 22 September 2022

There is so much happening at present that a few extra Diary posts are needed.

Bribie Genealogy

We have been an informal group that grew out of the genealogy group at Bribie U3A and went onto Zoom during Covid. We met weekly and motivated each other. Since the end of lockdowns we have gone back to in person monthly meetings at Bribie RSL. Now I am part of a working group that is looking at incorporation for the group. There are advantages to this not least the ability to apply for grants. I would love to see a genealogy fair on Bribie. As well as the constitution and by laws there is the discussion over what will our logo be? Interesting times.

Bribie Genealogy September meeting


Sands of Time at Redcliffe on 21-23 October 2022 is almost here. Just four weeks away! I am so excited about a local conference so close to Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Not to mention that it is a good excuse for a holiday in Queensland. As Ambassador I have had the pleasure of interviewing some of our speakers and presenting them through this blog. Check past blogs for Michelle Patient, Eric Kopittke and Liesl Harrold.

Now meet Mark Finnane Professor of History at Griffith University in Brisbane.

Tell me a little about yourself and your interest in history?

I am an academic historian, Professor of History at Griffith University. For me history is a fundamental knowledge, most basically it’s about the stories we tell about ourselves in the world we live in. And just as the world is constantly changing, the stories we tell also change, helping to explain ourselves to others as well as provide a way of thinking about our place in the present and the kind of future we want or wish to avoid.

With my colleagues in this presentation (a number of staff and students associated with the Harry Gentle Resource Centre and the Prosecution Project, both hosted at Griffith University) we are providing an overview of the ways in which academic history is using, and producing, records that are commonly also used in family and community histories more generally.

Your talk sounds fascinating - what led to your interest in this topic?

As researchers who are working every day with archives and genealogical sources in our various projects we thought it would be useful to reflect on our work for an audience that is different from the academic world in which we collect and interpret historical sources. We want to highlight the work that historians do in contextualising the data we access. We want to demonstrate also some of the products of this work, especially in digital form, accessible to all those able to access the web.

What do you hope to experience/learn from attending Sands of Time?

We are particularly interested in hearing from those using genealogical sources about the kinds of challenges they face in accessing material that answers their questions – and what they know that might be useful in our future research collecting and making accessible data about individual, family and community histories

Is there anything else that you would like attendees to know?

We are keen to let people know about resources we are working on that provide information that may be useful for family and community histories – particularly the new Harry Gentle Resource Centre Dictionary of Biography focussed on the peoples who lived in colonial Queensland. We are also interested in highlighting the role of community volunteer historians who assist in the transcription of historical sources including data for the Prosecution Project.


Next is my keynote address at the Sands of Time conference at Redcliffe.

I have four talks for the Coffs Harbour & District Family History Society at the end of October.

At Family History Downunder 2022 in Sydney in November I am giving two talks. So many of my favourite speakers all in the same conference venue. 

Choosing which session to attend will be hard but I can always watch the others later. Plus the chance to catch up in person with so many friends and colleagues.

That will then make a grand total of 37 talks in 2022! Perhaps I talk too much!

U3A Bribie

For the 4th term we are going to try something new. Instead of me just sitting there lecturing the group we are going to try and tackle brick walls together. There is good wifi access so we will be able to do live searches and a white board to note key points. It should be a good interactive learning experience for all. The hard part will be getting people to not be too shy in putting forward their thoughts/experiences. 

By popular demand Irish Genealogy will be the focus of Term 1 2023. Why am I not surprised?

What's Coming Up?

Christmas at a fast pace but I don't mind so much this year as I will be in Sweden having a white (hopefully) Yule time with my son and baby grandson. We haven't seen each other since they moved there three years ago so it will be a wonderful catch up. 

Before then I hope to get more of my draft family histories completed and printed for final edits. I cannot edit without a red pen in my hand and a paper copy. Talk about a dinosaur but reading on paper just highlights errors for me. 

Have success with your searching or whatever other genealogy activity you do this week. Until next time Shauna

Theo at four months, supercute.

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Sands of Time earlybird extended & other genealogy news: My Genealogy Fortnight 1-14 September 2022

 Attending genealogy conferences and expos always motivate me. I come home and I'm superexcited to follow up on the tips and tricks from the speakers. What else can I find out about my ancestors? But new research always takes me away from downsizing and tidying up my 45 years of research. My writing up of the family histories falls by the wayside as I chase new records. This month the plan is to do more scanning and writing and less research - not sure I can do that but that's the plan.


No missing our hotel!
Finally got around to writing up my notes from the AFFHO Congress on Norfolk Island and the family history expos in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand. Read Geneatravel in National Family History Month.


The trouble with reading Diana Gabaldon's books is that they are so big and with small print. That takes up a lot of reading time. Still I am almost at the end of the first book Cross Stitch aka Outlander and I have the second book from the library. I will have to tackle that in case someone else wants to reserve it. I would hate to return a book I hadn't finished reading!


As a Sands of Time ambassador I have the pleasure of introducing another one of the speakers at the conference in October in Redcliffe. 

Meet Liesl Harrold

Tell me a little about yourself and your interest in history?

I grew up listening to my family discussing family history and brick walls. By the time I was in high school, I was doing family history research unsupervised and getting close to 100% in history. At university, I completed a Regional and Town planning degree which included writing a thesis titled, The Recycling of Public Heritage buildings for commercial purposes: A [Queensland] Treasury building case study. I have worked in historical and statistical research roles including managing the work histories team which was tasked with researching the histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to support their claim for the Stolen wages class action. I have also completed both the certificate and diploma courses with the Society of Australian Genealogists and taught various family history courses.

Your talk sounds fascinating - what led to your interest in this topic?

In working with beginner researchers, I have found that mistakes are often made because their methodologies are missing key elements. The missing elements are vital for unlocking evidence and proof. Left long enough, the omission becomes habitual and we find ourselves forever looking but never finding. My presentation aims to showcase the essential elements of the proof standard, research cycle and research techniques which will hopefully help the researcher make discoveries.

 What do you hope to experience/learn from attending Sands of Time?

I am looking forward to the opportunity of hearing from some great speakers and share some of my adventures in research. I am especially looking forward to meeting people face to face and having a good yarn about all things history.

Earlybird registration has been extended to 23 September so don't miss out. It will be at Redcliffe (close to Brisbane), Queensland on 21-23 October 2022. 

New Resources

FamilySearch have added two expanded Australian collections :

  •  Australia, Albany, Inward passenger lists 1873-1924 (also available from the National Archives of Australia website)
  • Australia, Victoria, Wills, probate and administration files 1841-1926 (also available from the Public Record Office Victoria website)
The British Newspaper Archive added more new titles including:
  • Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Commercial Daily Advertiser 1846-1849, 1851-1872, 1874-1876, 1880, 1885-1897, 1899
  • Harrogate Advertiser and Weekly List of Visitors 1865,1877,1880, 1889
Note the missing years. It is always necessary to check coverage to see if the dates that you want are covered by whatever database you are searching.


Sally Romano our September 
guest speaker
The September meeting of Bribie Genealogy had Sally Romano from Brisbane telling us all about writing a family history. Sally shared how she had written her own Days of Yore and gave tips and tricks that she learnt from that experience. She also stayed to lunch with some of our members and it was good to socialise again.

It seems I am having a rest from talking in September (apart from U3A). But I do have my keynote session at Sands of Time in October to finalise.

Also in October I have the road trip down to Coffs Harbour in northern New South Wales. Giving several presentations on the Saturday for the Coffs Harbour District Family History Society. 

Also a bit strange to be booking in talks for 2023 but I now have some for Moreton Libraries and one for the Association of Professional Genealogists. 

What's Coming Up Next?

Fourth term of Bribie U3A will be about Family History Brickwalls. I'm hoping that as an interactive class we might be able to help each other solve our genealogy mysteries. Sounds better than me doing all the talking all the time.

Bribie Genealogy 
Our October meeting of Bribie Genealogy has Helen Smith as our guest speaker talking about dating photographs. This is a topic of huge interest to our members so it will be great to have Helen in person. Last time covid reared its ugly head and we had to Zoom. 

As I said at the beginning, I am ignoring all bright shiny objects for the time being, and doing some serious family history writing this month. And scanning, which is not as interesting as writing but just as important. Wish me luck. 

Happy researching until next time. Shauna

Sunday 4 September 2022

Geneatravelling, NFHM & upcoming geneaconferences & other news: My Genealogy Weeks 1-31 August 2022

 Where did August go? There was a feast of genealogy events across Australia and New Zealand and I hope that you managed to attend at least one or two.

Auckland Expo



Christchurch Expo
in the Library 
Thanks to all my travelling over the last four weeks I haven't written anything. But I have notes from the AFFHO Congress on Norfolk Island and the family history expos in Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand.

 Next on my list of things to do is a write up of the three events which were excellent. Some great speaker sessions and so good to talk to exhibitors in person again. 

Wearing a mask was still a pain but I have managed to successfully dodge covid so far.


I have finally discovered Diana Gabaldon's series of books on historical Scotland. Currently reading Cross Stitch (title in the UK) but more commonly known as Outlander in the US. The local second hand bookshop had a number of titles in the series so I scooped them up and managed to get Book 2 from the Bribie Library.

Of course everyone just says why don't you just watch the series? My preference has always been to read the books first. Often I am disappointed in the television version. Although one exception to that would be the Poldark series with Aidan Turner! I had heard of the series Outlander but never felt compelled to watch.

Sunset on Norfolk Island
before theconference fish fry

The opening speaker for National Family History Month (more later) was Larissa Behrendt and she gave an excellent address on writing fictional family history. I had not come across her books before so I checked out the local Moreton Libraries and there were two sitting on the shelf in other libraries. 

My reservation of both books meant they were delivered to Bribie Library the next day. Amazing service. The only bad news was Moreton Libraries didn't have her first book and again I am a bit of a stick in the mud. I like to read books in order. Might buy the ecopy if there is one.

Either way I have a heap of books to read.


Our own Sands of Time Conference is coming up quickly on 21-23 October. Early bird registration has been extended so not too late to make plans to attend. Redcliffe is a bayside suburb of Brisbane and just across the waterway from Bribie Island so I won't have to travel far. I have been working on my keynote talk and also undertaking my ambassador duties for the conference. 

November sees me travelling to Sydney for the Family History Down Under 2022 conference which will be mega. Check out the program and it is a hybrid so you can participate from anywhere. 

National Family History Month

Both the opening and closing events for National Family History Month are available under the Videos tab on the home page. I really recommend both events if you want to hear some thought provoking views of family history.

During August Alex Daw (aka Family Tree Frog), and coordinator of NFHM, ran a blogging challenge. See her first post outlining the challenge here.


I seem to have done a lot of talking lately at Norfolk Island, Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand and Noosaville the day after I got back home. No rest for the wicked. As usual the slides from the presentations can be seen on the Resources page of my website.

I have also been giving my sessions on Scottish Genealogy to the Bribie U3A group.

What's Coming Up Next?

In two weeks we have the Riding the Waves of History Conference which is the virtual conference from the NSW &ACT Association of Family History Societies.There is an excellent program to be enjoyed from the comfort of your own homes. 

Term 4 at Bribie U3A will be all about demolishing family history brick walls. I wonder how many will sign up for that class?

Plus I want to find some more time to write my own family histories and continue my scanning saga of documents and photographs. I also need to resist the urge to do additional research which is why I never seem to finish any family history draft. 

Enjoy all the geneaoffering available online and I hope you make some exciting discoveries with all the new resources.

Until next time, take care and stay safe. Shauna

Thursday 28 July 2022

Sands of Time speaker Eric Kopittke, National Family History Month & genealogy travels at last & other news : My Genealogy Weeks 16 - 31 July 2022

Norfolk Island 2007 holiday
In a few days time I will be once again geneatravelling to in person events in New Zealand and on Norfolk Island for the AFFHO congress. 

Catching up with friends and colleagues over a cup of coffee (or a wine or two). Seems like forever since the last geneaevent which was the last Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise to Kangaroo Island and Tasmania. 

Although we didn't end up getting to Tasmania as we were turned around by Covid. Thankfully we managed to get back to Queensland before it all got worse.


There hasn't been much time lately for blog writing but there is a National Family History Month blog challenge by Alexandra Daw, the NFHM coordinator. If you want to take part, it is simply a matter of doing a blog post every Sunday in August. For each week there are suggestions of what to blog about focussing on one of your ancestors. For more details see Alex's post here.

I hope to take part but will be away most of August so it will depend on how good all that free wifi is in the various places we are staying.

Bribie U3A & Bribie Genealogy

This term we are doing Scottish Genealogy at Bribie U3A. In doing the preparation for the weekly classes, I am happy to say that I am finding out new information on my own Scottish families. A bonus. A  few class members have already submitted their Scottish brick walls, so that will be challenging towards the end of the term.

The August meeting of Bribie Genealogy will be a Zoom meeting with Queensland State Archives telling us all about their records and how to have a successful visit. Like anything, it is all in the planning.


The second half of the year is a virtual (no pun intended) feast of genealogy conferences both online and in person.

I have already booked for the virtual Riding the Waves of History conference in September. Great value for money and you don't have to leave home. It is the annual conference of the NSW &ACT Family History Organistions.

Next is the Sands of Time conference at Redcliffe over the weekend of 21-23 October 2022.

I am both an Ambassador of the conference as well as one of the keynote speakers so I am really looking forward to spending a few days at Redcliffe. 

Meet one of the other great speakers, Eric Kopittke as he tells us a little about himself, his talk and what he hope to take away from the conference sessions.

  1. I have had a broad interest in family all my live having grown up amongst numbers of relatives from both sides of my family and have been actively researching my family history for nearly 40 years. Although most of my ancestors had origins in the former German Empire, my maternal grandmother was the daughter of English immigrants from Sussex and this has provided me with the opportunity to research and compare church and civil records from England and Germany.
  2. As part of a course with NIGS (National Institute for Gnealogical Studies) I read an article about the use of signatures to distinguish families of the same name in the West Country of England. Some of the men concerned had signed documents in their role as church wardens. I initially thought that the article was not relevant to my situation since I had not found any church wardens amongst my agricultural labourers, but I subsequently found that one of my ancestors signed three different marriage records.
  3. Attending a conference such as Sands of Time is a great way to catch up with other researchers and learning more about the history of our local area.

In November we then have the Family History Downunder 2022 event in Sydney. Another mega geneafeast which will be both in person and virtual. 

National Family History Month

Remember that August is National Family History Month in both Australia and New Zealand. With Covid still lurking around, many events are virtual. Check out the NFHM calendar for events that might interest you.

I'm starting off the month at the sold out AFFHO Congress on Norfolk Island. My presentation is Finding Love in Paradise: the Samuel Pyers/Sarah Johnson story. 

Then off to Auckland New Zealand for their annual Family History Expo where I am giving two talks - one on Trans Tasman mining ancestors and the other on Discovering Australian Convicts in the family. While there I will also give at presentation on It's Not All Online: Where Else Can I Look. The second half of the trip will be attending the Christchurch Family History Expo on the South Island. 

A busy NFHM for me this year. 


There have been a number of talks lately both in person and virtual. The last one was for the Genealogical Society of Queensland and was titled The Tail End of England: Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset. There was some lovely feedback from attendees and I do like giving people a different way of looking at their research.

What's Coming Up?

The next few weeks will be exciting as we enter airports again for the first time since March 2020. It's interesting to note that we are travelling with almost a pharmacy with our RAT tests, cold and flu tabs, lozenges, masks not to mention our usual medications. Times have changed and this will be our new norm I guess. 

If you are at any of the events I am attending, please come up and say hello.

Hopefully I will write a blog post or two about geneaevents I'm attending and keep you all up to date with geneanews. Take care, stay safe and until next time, happy searching. 

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Sands of Time keynote speaker Michelle Patient, AFFHO Congress 2022, NFHM & other news : My Genealogy Weeks 1-15 July 2022

Where did June disappear too? And now it is almost halfway through July. I have been totally absorbed in my project to downsize my family history library and family folders and binders. Not to mention trying to sort boxes of photographs and work out who is who in family albums. Most have been inherited from my grandmother and mother and simply put into the too hard basket. It is amazing how fast time goes when you are totally focussed on something. Plus it has been too cold to do anything outside. Can't remember when Queensland was last this cold!


Obviously I haven't written anything in the past month but I have committed to doing the National Family History Month blog challenge. Alex Daw is the new coordinator for NFHM in August and to support a good friend, I put my hand up. Most of August will be away from home in Norfolk Island or New Zealand, also on NFHM activities, but I will take a laptop and hope for some quiet time.

Bribie Genealogy

Our June meeting had a guest speaker from the National Archives of Australia, Brisbane Office which went really well. There were lots of questions and with the help of my phone, we even did some online searches of the database. Afterwards one of our members can up to me and said that when she put in her maiden name, she came up with a reference to herself. You never know what you might find in the archives!

Bribie U3A

For third term we are looking at Scottish Genealogy so that will be a challenge. I have only researched in Angus and Kincardine which is where my Carnegie and Stratton ancestors are from. 

John Carnegie and his wife Helen Stratton came out to Queensland in 1865 and their grave in the old Toorbul cemetery is the only surviving grave. It is a solid concrete base and the tombstone now lies flat on the grave. Toorbul is across Pumicestone Passage and opposite Bribie Island where I live. Strange to think they settled there back in the 1870s.


I have booked my seat at the virtual NSW & ACT Conference Riding the Waves of History in September. There is a great line up of speakers and interesting talks and all very affordable with no travel costs or accommodation needed. I had been looking forward to doing some research in Newcastle on Dad's family connections but may have to be a separate trip now.

Sands of Time is coming up and I am an ambassador for the conference as well as a keynote speaker.

One of the other keynote speakers is a friend, Michelle Patient and her session looks at DNA and emerging technology and is titled Where to Next. Michelle has a very interesting background as the following bio outlines. What she hopes to gain from attending Sands of Time is also included.

"Descended from engineers, blacksmiths and mechanics it seems inevitable that Michelle has an interest in technology as a tool for researching family history. Apart from being a genealogist and DNA enthusiast, she has qualifications in Chemistry, Geology and Family History and has worked in engineering laboratories and IT.

Growing up with a grandmother whose family stories, photographs, and memorabilia sparked her life-long interest in genealogy. In 1987 Michelle began searching for her English half-sister whom she met in 1993, and in 2005 she reconnected her mother with her birth family. With ancestry ranging from Deep English on her paternal side, she has early Australian military and convicts, Australian & New Zealand early colonists on her maternal side, her personal research covers a wide range of British Isles Diasporas and early Down Under research. She has separated facts from fiction, uncovering stories of will disputes, adoptions, children being given away, bankruptcies, and murder-suicides.


Adding DNA research to her genealogy tool kit has increased the range of Michelle’s methods, revealed skeletons, and broken down many brick walls. Michelle is an active member of the Society of Australian Genealogists and the Guild of One Name Studies, is a member of APG and is the DNA consultant behind the Australian SBS TV series Every Family has a Secret . Since March 2020 Michelle co-hosts the fortnightly Talking Family History virtual lounge with Fiona Brooker."


What am I hoping for?

I hope my closing address will help motivate and inspire attendees to focus the information they have learnt over the weekend, improving their research skills and by applying new technologies, help gather new evidence and as well as become more efficient and effective in their genealogy practice.

Personally I am really looking forward to chatting with people in real life and feeling the vibe and buzz of the event, so excited to be able to being with so many from around Queensland, as well as interstate.


One thing I did do in June was talk and both in person and virtual. The lovely people at Monash Library in Melbourne asked me back for a session on online newspapers both in Australia and in Britain and Ireland.

It was great to visit the Strathpine Library family history group again and my talk there was on convicts. 

The slides to both talks are on my website under the Resources page. 

What's Coming Up?

In our convict outfits with the Commandant
Starting to get excited about the AFFHO Congress on Norfolk Island which is now sold out. We fly out at the end of July for a week and I have one talk on Max's convict ancestors Samuel Pyers and Susannah Johnson who married there during the First Settlement. 

We have been twice before but looking forward to another visit. 

After a quick trip home, we are heading out again to New Zealand for the Family History expo  where I am giving a session on Trans Tasman miners and a talk at Auckland Library on Where Else Can I Look.

 After some time at Rotorua it is down to Christchurch for there NFHM expo and some time at Queenstown before heading back home.

These will be our first trips overseas since covid so hopefully everything will go smoothly. I am really looking forward to catching up with friends and colleagues in person. Email and Zoom is not quite the same. 

Hoping everyone stays safe and well in this third covid wave. Keep researching and writing those family stories. Until next time, Shauna

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.