Sunday 24 March 2024

Nick Vine Hall Awards, Bribie Library & Other News: My Genealogy Weeks 1-21 Mar 2024

So much has been happening over the last few weeks and as per usual, I am behind with my updates. March is Women's History Month and I liked Trove's blog on Pioneering Women.


The Bribie Family History Association Book Club totally enjoyed Kate Grenville's A Room Made of Leaves.

Our next book is from one of our own members. Rick Desmier published his own family history in 2020 using NED the National E Deposit Library maintained by the National Library of Australia and searchable through Trove. The Desmier family history: an Anglo Indian family that has been in India for more than 200 years. 

Rick joined my U3A family history writing class in 2019 to undertake this and it is an inspiration to me to finish my own drafts. 

I like the fact that our book club seem to go between fiction and non fiction books. 

Genealogy Software

I had an interesting chat with Martin who is the developer of Forebears the easy to navigate family history app. It is available for both Apple IPhone/IPad and Mac. 

You can upload your family tree via gedcom and then carry it around on your phone or device.

It is not connected to any of the online databases and it is easy to add to and share with family members. No one has access to your data except you.

The Forebears app is free to download and use. I found it easy to use and it managed Mum's rather large gedcom file. 

It is certainly convenient to have it on my phone without having to log into a website. Like any app or software program it is what best suits your purpose. Only by trying different things do we know what works best for our own research needs.

During my playtime with this app, I realised just how many places my tree is online. Also many are quite out of date and I really should either update or take down. An online tidy up just went on my to do list. How does everyone keep their trees online up to date?

New Resources - DNA update

Ancestry have updated their DNA communities and I now have Queensland (no surprises there), Eastern Australia (from Jervis Bay down to Eden and almost out to Griffith and Wodonga and the ACT. Wish I had known that when I lived there! Obviously Dad's family.

Further afield I have northern Ireland and south western Scotland, again aligns with Dad's family. No real surprises on Mum's side but a designated Western Cornwall now. 

Interesting to see how these ethnicity fields are refined over time.  

Nick Vine Hall Awards for AFFHO

As the new convenor for the NVH awards, I have been busy accepting early entries for the 2023 awards, answering queries, liasing with the judges and getting organised for a Zoom session for members after Easter. Read more about the Awards on the AFFHO website.


The Genie Chats on English Genealogy keep me busy each week and hard to believe another term is almost over. Next term it will be looking at a few brick wall case studies as I will be away for quite a few weeks.

PhD Update

Griffith University have now finished my working database for my colonial women in Queensland gaols. Now all I have to do is enter my data on women already researched and continue working on the thousand plus still to go. I have used one of my favourite photos as a backdrop - it might have my great great grandmother in it.

Every book or article I read sends me in even more directions and it is amazing how much relates to my own personal family history. 


It was nice seeing familiar faces at my talk for the Bribie Island Library. The session was on the 1921 census for England and Wales which is available on Findmypast at the Library. So many new features that you wish were available for the earlier census records. 

What's Coming Up

Easter can you believe it? My trip to Sweden and my grandson's second birthday is also getting closer. So many things to finalise before I head off for another trip of a lifetime. A quick circumnavigation of the UK and Shetland Islands is also in the plan as well as stopovers in Amsterdam and Doha.

Over Easter I hope to do a tidy up of my website. One tends to set the pages and then forget that they might need a bit of an update from time to time.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter break with family or friends. Try not to eat too much chocolate. And try to find a little time for your own personal family history research. 

Take care until next time 


Wednesday 6 March 2024

RootsTech, Talks, & other genealogy news: My Genealogy Weeks 15-29 February 2024

Summer is over and autumn is upon us. Although here in Queensland we are still sweltering in the heat and the gardens look like they need more water. 

I have finally created a blog for Bribie Family History Association. There is still content to add and I need to establish regular posts, although that is easier on our Facebook page.

Beautiful flowers every table

Keeping this blog every fortnight is hard going as I seem to be going off Island a lot lately. Morning tea at Miegunyah in Brisbane followed by an afternoon with the Brisbane History Group celebrating the sesquicentenary of Brisbane. Managed to buy a couple of books discounted down. 
Who can resist cake and scones?

Big shout out to Moreton Libraries as I have been able to get some of my PhD reading through their library system or via interlibrary loan. So good and I only have to drive down to the Bribie Library to collect. So many books to read and take notes from. I will never remember where I got what piece of information/evidence if I don't write it down. 

Reading Kate Grenville's A Room Made of Leaves for our Bribie Family History Association book club. I will be interested to see what other club members think.


RootsTech 2024 is over, a weekend that went very fast. Fortunately a lot of the classes are still on the website and we can watch them at home for free. I would like to have been there in person but coming from downunder it is an expensive weekend with flights, accommodation, meals, taxis and other expenses. If I do it again I will factor in serious time at the FamilySearch Library for material that I cannot get online, all those lovely books not yet scanned.

The AFFHO 2025 Congress planning is going well and the website has information on all aspects of the conference. There is also a call for papers out at present. 

The last Unlock the Past genealogy cruise sails in December 2024. Not too late to join other like minded people on what looks like a fantastic program.
Brisbane History Group publication

Nick Vine Hall Awards, AFFHO

There have been a few entries so far but I will be doing more publicity over March and into April. Any member society of AFFHO can submit one of their journals from 2023 for judging in the Awards. 

Also working with our new judges on the judging criteria and marking system so that we will have consistency over the three judges. As convenor I collate the results. All very exciting and a big part of National Family History Month in August.


My visit to Noosa Libraries was very successful with a great group of people. The evaluation sheets were encouraging and always suggestions for what else could be done. 

Weekly Genie Chats on English Genealogy also keep me busy at the moment. Only four more weeks to go this term. There won't be a second term as I will be away for most of it. 


The Family History Academy ran a three week workshop on AI for Family History with Fiona Brooker and Andrew Redfern. This certainly opened up my eyes to what can be done with AI not only with my genealogy/family history but also with my PhD and lengthy criminal trials. 

What's Coming Up?

A talk at Bribie Library on the UK 1921 census on Findmypast. It is interesting following up siblings lines in the UK as I often find a connection then with DNA matches. 

RootsTech 2023 - will I get there in 2025?

I know it can be hard for some, but try to find a little family history time for yourself and use some of the new resources or watch some RootsTech 2024 classes.

Take care, stay safe and happy searching until next time. Shauna