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