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

Friday 14 January 2022

More Downsizing, Blogging, New Resources & Other News: My Week in Genealogy 8-15 January 2022

With Omicron on our Island, we have stayed at home although we did venture out to Caboolture on the mainland for our booster. The good thing about not having fixed appointments to go to, means that once you have done the chores around the house, the rest of the day is free. So lots of photo sorting, writing and preparing talks for February. It will be the same next week but I will get back into my usual routine from 24 January 2022. 

At the end of the week I will take another photo to show my progress. Note the orginal photo below is November 2019 and there has been a lot of procrastination in this part of the wardrobe. But someone has to sort it, and it is preferable that I do the selection and preservation of photos that should be part of our family history.

Not a great photo but this is the
cupboard I'm working on. Four
shelves of photos, binders & memorabilia. 


Week 2 of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks was about an exciting find. Although it was 45 years ago now, I can still remember how excited I was to discover that Mum's maternal grandmother Dorcas Trevaskis had Cornish parents. It sounded quite exotic. Read my post on my GG grandmother Elizabeth Rosewarne and her two husbands, James Henry Trevaskis and George Guy both Cornishmen here

The Genealogical Society of Queensland has asked me again to be a guest blogger and that is due early February. They never give me a topic and I usually just sit here hoping for inspiration to strike me. Stay tuned!

Bribie Genealogy

Our proposed speakers have all been contacted and most have got back to us confirming dates and titles of presentations. It looks like an exciting and varied year for our members. Because I was so slow at getting the invites out, I will have to do the February meeting. It will be on Making the Most of FamilySearch which looks at more than just searching for a person's name. 

New Resources

Well this week I can't really go past the launch of the 1921 UK census on Findmypast. It will be really useful for tracing my son's paternal grandfather's side of the family. John was born Ivor Henry Andrews Speed in 1921, spent time as John Ivor Conroy and died as John Sackville West in 1993. He was a very interesting individual.

It is the one side of my son's family tree that I have not yet traced.  Now that I have a grandson on the way, I better get my skates on and find out about that side of the family. It's a complicated story with given and surname changes and may be one that I write up for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog challenge. For the record, my daughter in law's family is a very long line of distinguished Dutch families. I think they even have a crest.

John was a passionate advocate for the
right to die with dignity. Photo Courier Mail 23 August 1989

At the end of the year, most of the subscription companies do a summary of what's new during the year. I always like to browse these as its impossible to remember what you see or it is possible you missed the notice during the year. Perusing Ancestry's list of what's new in 2021 had me diving into different record collections. For example, the South Australian Police Inquest Registers 1885 - 1953 was one that I was intrigued by. Not everyone who dies has an inquest, but if there is an inquest there is usually a lot of additional information on the deceased. These records are digitised and the witnesses have also been indexed. Your ancestor may have been a witness to someone's death. It all adds to the family story.

The big news from FamilySearch this week was the addition of the New Zealand electoral rolls 1865 -1957. 


All my February talks are now drafted and just need some fine tuning which is a big relief. See the Events page of my website for talks I am doing throughout 2022. 

I have even done Week 1 of my English Genealogy course at Bribie U3A. Hoping it doesn't get cancelled due to Omicron on the Island.

What's Coming Up?

Next week will be a quiet week with more downsizing, writing, scanning and tidying up the study. Once speaking engagements start and U3A and Bribie Genealogy gets underway my free time will drop off accordingly. 

Stay safe and well and try to do a little genealogy each week. Salami tactics, a slice at a time. I can definitely see more room in my study cupboards, but there is a way to go yet.Until next time, happy searching.

Saturday 8 January 2022

More searching tips, RootsTech 2022 & Other News: My Week in Genealogy 1-7 January 2022

The first week of 2022 has gone in a blur and the Christmas decorations are all packed away until December. I won't mention that there are hot cross buns in the shops but that is so wrong in my opinion. We should have time to savour each of the seasons and the special events in the year. 


My Diary blog made the Top 100 genealogy blogs  - a number of other well known Aussie bloggers are also included so why not try and find some new bloggers to follow in 2022.

Hightville cemetery 2011, north west Queensland
where Thomas Price was buried in 1918

Read my Week 1 blog post on Thomas Price as part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Thomas Price was my great grandfather born in Wednesbury, Staffordshire and the father of 10 children. He was a miner and eventually settled in Charters Towers, Queensland. At the time of his death he was working for the Hampden Cloncurry copper mine.

Participating in a weekly blog challenge certainly keeps you on your toes. But I like the focus and motivation.

New Resources

1 January signals the release of more records in the public domain including Australian BDMs, archives and libraries. Time to update all your genealogy databases and follow the clues. 

Look for blogs from the archives about what is being released in the public domain. You may be surprised.

FamilySearch have a range of monthly free webinars with a variety of topics - check out January to March offerings here. Categories for the three months include General, using FamilySearch, United States and Canada. Often there are webinars for the British Isles and Asia too.


Do you use Findmypast for newspaper searches? Or do you use British Newspaper Archive? Which ever one you should use both if you can. I was looking for a marriage that took place in Ireland - Henry Andrews Speed a British sailor married an Irish girl Mary Jane Justice in 1852. I had no luck with Findmypast Irish newspapers. I tried the British Newspaper Archive as the groom was English and found numerous references to the wedding in various Irish newspapers in the BNA. 

People often ask me which subscription database should I join? The answer is all of them as they all have slightly different resources. However most of us can't afford that luxury.  A genealogy society membership might be useful as you can normally access subscription sites in their libraries or via home eresources. Or your local library may have Ancestry or Findmypast. See what is available locally and virtually.

The rule is - search everywhere!

Preserving Your Photographs

As a break from writing I am now sorting out all my photo shoe boxes. It is amazing what you forget you have in the back of the warddrobe. Granny died 25 years ago and that is probably the last time I look at her loose photos. I have dragged the two albums out since then but not all the loose photos I had in a shoebox. I was stunned to find so many younger photos of Dad which I can't remember seeing before. Out of sight out of mind or perhaps it is just old age catching me up.

Love Dad's hat

Dad always loved his motorbikes

Behind his father's black FJ Holden
- many a Sunday drive in it

  Not only do I have my grandmothers, but also my mothers and my own photos in shoeboxes. There is some overlap and they take up two shelves in my wardrobe. Going through and tossing those that are not family related or good enough for a final digital album takes an enormous amount of time. Each photo seems to generate its own memories.

More are kept than tossed but the next stage is to merge the three collections and dispose of duplicate photos. I need a bigger table! 

Then the process of scanning, naming and placing into the correct digital family albums will take even longer I suspect. This part is incredibly boring and I have started watching webinars while scanning. Although you have to be careful that you name and file as you go too and not mix things up.

Given the size of this project I think it will be interspersed with writing up those family history drafts. 

RootsTech Connect 

Amazingly it is not that long now to RootsTech 25-27 February 2022 which is again virtual. 

The organisers are starting to release the names of keynote speakers. No doubt the whole program will be fantastic.

It is free to register so if you want  to  be part of the world's biggest geneaevent, register now.

Searching Tips

This week I had to cross check when Lavinia Cleaves died - I had 1914 in Victoria and someone else had 1911. I knew my source was Victorian BDMs online so I tried to find it again. 

No Lavinia Cleaves or Cleves for 1911 or 1914. In the end I searched on Lavinia no surname and between 1910 and 1915. There were only 47 matches but it didn't take me long to find it under Cleanes! Have now made a note in my genealogy database in case I have to find it again. Don't you just love spelling variants.

What's Coming Up?

February is going to be a super busy month as I have a number of talks, both in person and virtual. See my website Events for details.

Plus I am doing a 9 week English genealogy term at Bribie U3A (omicron permitting). 

Bribie Genealogy starts up again in February and trying to plan speakers is tricky with speakers not wanting to travel here. So we are looking at the possibility of speakers zooming in.

Enjoy your genealogy searching this week. I will be having a dive into the 1921 England and Wales census. Hoping to progress my son's paternal line. As I write this there is a degree of uncertainty about omicron and any further restrictions. So stay safe and well everyone.