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