Saturday 16 September 2023

NFHM, guest blog, talks & other genealogy news: My genealogy months 16 July to 16 September 2023

Two months have disappeared just like that. But there were very busy months.

National Family History Month is over for 2023. I hope everyone had a great time at their local family history society or online with the many virtual offerings. I gave two talks - one at Caloundra on convicts and criminals in the family and the second at Noosaville on making the most of archives. Both days were well attended and with good feedback.

If you haven't seen the opening presentation by Hamish Maxwell-Stewart and Andrew Redfern it is still on the website until the end of September. All about AI (artifical intelligence) and using it for genealogy.

An added bonus for the month was that my family were visiting from Sweden and I got to spend some special time with my little grandson.

Blogs & Draft Family Histories

Sometimes I think I have lost my blogging mojo. Even if I have spare time, I don't seem to want to write smaller pieces. The exception there is my guest blogs for the Genealogical Society of Queensland. My next post is entitled The Agony and the Ecstasy with all due reference to Michaelangelo. Here is the link to my guest post 

Honestly my writing time is taken up with sorting and updating my sources in my draft family histories. I was truly slack in the early days about citing sources especially births, deaths and marriages. Still nothing finalised but working on several at the same time. When I get bogged down or bored with one, I swap to another. At this rate I won't finish anything. 


My usual love of reading is now coupled with reading for my PH D on women in colonial gaols in Queensland in the 19th century. Almost a reverse of my Masters thesis which examined female philanthropists in colonial Queensland who helped fallen women. 

Now there really isn't enough time in the day.

However I must mention Kate Grenville's Searching for the Secret River an ebook I borrowed from my local library. The Secret River was a fictionalised account of her family history and this ebook tells how she went about finding her family history. An insight that we can all relate to.


So many good geneacruises
I have booked on the next Unlock the Past genealogy cruise but that is not until December 2024. It is the 18th cruise and Chris Paton is the key speaker with a host of other overseas and Australasian speakers. 

Before then we have RootsTech 2024 from 29 February to 2 March and sadly I am not going in person. 

Instead I am thinking of hosting a live pyjama party here so that we can watch live sessions in the middle of the night! 

That might be better than watching on Zoom by myself and risk falling asleep in front of the computer.

Registration is now open. It seems a long way off but will be here in no time if the past year is an indication. 

Nick Vine Hall Awards

These awards are an AFFHO initiative to promote the publication of society journals and family stories. Previous winners are on the website. I have just taken over the organisation of these awards as I have fond memories of the chats I had with Nick Vine Hall over the years and especially when we were both in Melbourne. Lunch on the lawn outside the State Library of Victoria dodging pidgeons. Those were the days. 

I will be doing a review of the criteria for judging the NVH Awards and finding three new judges, preferably not associated with a society that publishes a journal either in print or ecopy. Once that is all sorted then it will be time to promote the Awards to societies and encourage them to enter. How hard can that be?


Thomas Price died
at the Wee McGregor mine in QLD
My last talk was for the GSQ on the Midland Counties of Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. It is interesting to have indepth looks at individual counties. 

The next one is for Legacy Family Tree Webinars on Gold Fever and Finding Miners Down Under. That is 4 October at 11am Brisbane time. The dreaded daylight saving time will be back by then.

What's Coming Up

We have a trip to China in October and I was last there in 1996. Excited to be seeing the Great Wall of China again. So spectacular and I love Chinese food. That will be our last getaway for the year. 

Finally, I have just had another basal cell carcinoma cut out of my face, just to the left of my nose. The other one was on the right side of my face. 

Seriously thinking I should have done a new speaker portrait before the surgery but too late now. All will be revealed next Thursday when the stitches come out. 

Make sure you find time for annual skin checks, so important in our country.

Until next time, happy searching


Friday 21 July 2023

Blogs, talks & other genealogy news: My Genealogy Month 12 June to 15 July 2023

 Another month has flown past. My cataract surgery went very well and I can easily see distance and read without glasses. Makes a big difference when I am giving talks. 

However my brain seems to be a bit dithery as I wrote this a week ago, but never hit the publish button!


Some nice feedback on my GSQ guest post in June. In case you missed it, here it is again. Does researching our family history change us? How do we want to be remembered?

My brother and myself ca 1960


I was super lucky on a recent visit to the second hand bookshop on Bribie. I managed to pick up both volumes in excellent condition of Lost Brisbane published by the Royal Historical Society of Queensland for only $8 each. If only they didn't weigh so much I could read them in bed. Fantastic for anyone interested in the history of Brisbane. 

Genealogy Cruising

Exciting news hot off my email but too good to leave until next time. There will be another Unlock The Past genealogy cruise in December 2024. It leaves from Sydney to Hobart to Kangaroo Island to Adelaide to Melbourne and returns to Sydney. Chris Paton is the lead presenter for the cruise. Read more about it here.

National Family History Month

Not long now until August and NFHM when there will be a range of genealogy activities across Australia and New Zealand. The opening and closing presentations have been announced. 

My involvement kicks off early on 5 August with a convicts seminar at Caloundra Family History Research where I am giving a talk on Discover your family behind bars: were they convicts, criminals, victims or witnesses?

Check out the NFHM website for other events and remember that there are virtual events as well as in person events. Plus some great prizes to win.

RootsTech 2024

In person in 2023

I am pleased to say that I have been appointed to the RootsTech Media program for 2024. I doubt that I will get there in person next year, but I will be participating from home. Get the latest updates here.


My talk at the Bribie Family History Association monthly meeting went well. It was A is for Alias and was a case study of families who change their surnames. It involved my Carnegie family of Pumicestone Passage which separates Bribie Island from the mainland.

What's Coming Up?

I have another talk coming up in August at the Noosaville Library on researching at Australian archives. That is also part of NFHM events.

Apart from that I have been steadily working on my family history drafts and finalising endnotes. The temptation not to keep adding bits and pieces is really hard. Maybe I am not meant to finish them.

Sunday 11 June 2023

Guest blog, blurry eyes, DNA update & other genealogical news 8 May - 12 June 2023

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get back to weekly blog posts. Life keeps throwing curve balls which have their various challenges. 

For some time, I have had blurry vision - was it the medication I'm on (a known side effect), am I spending too much time on a computer, did I just need to upgrade my glasses script and get new glasses (both reading and distance). After much procrastination I went to the optometrist and discovered that I had cataracts in both eyes and the left eye needed urgent attention and the right wasn't far behind. In the last three weeks both eyes have been done, I've worn sunglasses to meetings, and I hate the taste of the eye drops which seem to seep down from the tear ducts and into my throat. On the plus side I can now read all that information on food jars and tins from across the kitchen. I kid you not! Everything is so much brighter and clearer. Very pleased with the results.


Writing blog posts has definitely dropped off over the last twelve months or so and I am now wondering if part of the issue was not being able to see clearly? 

First day at school & no clue
what I wanted to do when I grew up

Getting back on track with this one and I have done another guest post for the Genealogical Society of Queensland. Does Researching Our Family History Change Us? How Do We Want To Be Remembered? It's a continuation of a post I did for them last November. 

Books & Journals

These too have dropped off in favour of ABC and SBS crime dramas. I definitely think it was easier to watch TV then to read books and ejournals on my IPad. The question now will be what will win - the big stack of books I have to read or all the drama titles I have listed to watch. I've been loving the Swedish ones and the original Wallander series was filmed near where my son lives today in southern Sweden. It has hardly changed in the 20 something years since it was first filmed. 

I have also been watching and enjoying, the latest Australian series of Who Do You Think You Are? You can catch up with the episodes on SBS on Demand. 


Not much to update on my own DNA research, but Max has an intriguing 2nd cousin match on his father's paternal side. It is in the UK and I have researched those lines back multiple generations and nothing jumped out at me. A puzzle for a quiet afternoon and probably several cups of tea.


Author photo May 2023

On 20 May we went for a private tour of the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology followed by a delicious morning tea. The Museum is not that far from where we live and each year, they host the Medieval Festival which attracts large numbers from all over Australia. 

The Abbey Church has some very significant stained-glass windows brought over from England and they are truly beautiful with the sun behind them. A shame that bullet proof glass is necessary on the outside, but a sign of the times we live in no doubt. Never have understood vandalism.

History Queensland had their AGM in Caloundra last month and I gave a small session on visiting RootsTech in person as well as virtual attendance. Societies can have their own groups watching live or recorded sessions. 

The only drawback to live was that it would need to be a pyjama party due to the time difference. But what fun for 2024!

I also attended the AFFHO AGM and noted that Rosemary Mckenzie from the ACT is the new President. Some committee positions are vacant and I'm sure that she will be able to fill those positions shortly.

The Bribie Family History Association Inc has regular board meetings and they kindly fit my surgery schedule into our committee meetings. We have about 45 members which is good considering we only formally established in February this year. Monthly guest speakers bring people in and in July I am the guest speaker with A is for Alias (all about ancestors who change their names and how you can find them again).

New Resources

Findmypast have released a new set of records Britain: School and University records which contains almost 152,000 records unique to Findmypast and spanning from 1264 to 1926. I wonder how many people can trace back to the 1200s? Plus, they added six more Yorkshire newspaper titles. 

The Genealogist added an intriguing release of records for Guilds, Societies and People of Note. So if you have Freemen, Liverymen, Aldermen, members of the Masons and Oddfellows or Worthies then this is a collection to search. I was curious to know who were included as Freemen and they seemed to be tradespeople - pewterer, draper, glover, smith, cooper, weaver, hatmaker, shoemaker, tanner, capper, baker, butcher, merchant and so on. The Rolls of Freemen reminded me of directories which are always good to search for occupations. 

MyHeritage introduced Reimagine a mobile app for both iOS and Android that lets you scan photo album pages and restore, enhance, colorise and animate your photos easily. I haven't used it and must admit that I do find colorising and animating old photos a bit creepy but I can see how those features make it more interesting when telling stories. Being a mobile app makes it ideal when visiting relatives and they bring out the old photos.


Since my last diary update, I have spoken at the Noosaville Library. I never get tired of watching all the fruit bats in the trees around the Library but do take care not to park under the trees. So noisy for such small creatures.

Plus I tutored a few sessions on advanced Irish genealogy at Bribie U3A. 

What's Coming Up?

Quiet time! Apart from the talk at Bribie I don't have anything planned for July.  

The time is going to be spent on scanning docs/photos, writing, editing, adding/checking citations and perhaps even doing a little bit more research on my draft family histories. There are five family history drafts that I would like to see self-published as a first edition on my website and perhaps even in Trove. They are:

  • Carnegie including Davis/Ferguson (Scottish- Angus)
  • Guy, Rosewarne and Trevaskis (English - Cornish)
  • Finn and Fegan (Irish - Wicklow)
  • Price including Pollard (English - Staffordshire)
  • White and Titt (English - Wiltshire)
The hardest part is trying to stop myself looking for new/missing information. Plus, early citations are not what they should have been, so I often have to look them up again. 

I first started each of these when I lived in Brisbane, 24 years ago. Since then, they have travelled to Canberra, Melbourne and now here on Bribie. For someone who started researching her family history 46 years ago, it's time to publish something! Wish me luck.

Until next time, happy researching. Shauna