Monday 20 November 2023

Travels, books, workshops & other news: My Genealogy Weeks 16 Oct - 17 Nov 2023

Half this month was spent travelling in China. We did the usual things in Beijing and then went to the older areas of Hangshou and Souchou before ending in Shanghai. It was supposed to be autumn and cool but while we were there, they had some of their hottest days in years.

Touring the Imperial Palaces

The Great Wall of China

So many people, cars, bikes and very few accidents that we saw. Traffic was heavy but not gridlocked as their road systems are amazing and mostly above the ground. You only go off the freeways if you want to visit a particular place.

AFFHO & the Nick Vine Hall Awards

One of my new challenges for 2024. I have agreed to convene the NVH awards and I have a report for Council consideration at the November meeting. The plan is to have regular articles in the AFFHO newsletter to remind societies about the Awards which recognise published articles and society journals in Australia and New Zealand.


Bribie Library is closed for some repairs so I ordered in a few books to tide me over until the end of January. A mix of easy reading by the pool to more heavier tomes for my PhD thesis.

Plus the book I selected for the inaugural Bribie Family History Association Book Club via Moreton Libraries also arrived. Thankfully that is not due back till February so I have time to recruit a few more people to make up our ten.

I used to hope for rainy days so I could stay inside and read. Now I turn on the aircon for these incredibly hot and humid November days.

New Resources

Roots Ireland have added some new Cork records - the exact details are in their blog post. I was hoping for earlier records but they all seem to be more later releases.

I've registered for the next Scottish Indexes conference - they are free but with excellent speakers and topics you can give thanks by making a donation. Each presentation is shown twice so you watch all the sessions at a reasonable time no matter where you live.

A Christmas wish to find a photo of my Scottish GGG grandparents John & Helen Carnegie,
buried Toorbul cemetery

We are coming up to the end of the year so not a lot happening. However, one exciting new speaking engagement for me was an appearance at the Really Useful Family History Show held in the UK but virtual. You had to buy a ticket but lots of great talks over last weekend. My slot was Saturday night and all about researching family history in Australia. From the virtual exhibition area I was able to download a society journal from a number of exhibitors and I'm looking forward to having a good read.

2024 calendar is starting to fill out and with the PhD commitment plus my local Genie Chats, I don't want to be too busy with talks. Always hard to say no when it is usually a friend asking for their society. Or it is a paid presentation as that all helps to pay for my travel expenses.

What's Coming Up?

The Christmas tree with lights is already up and all that is left is to put  some more presents under the tree. Even if it is only for us and our inner child.

Love the lights changing colours

My Genie Chats finish for the year next week and I have decided to resurrect the Christmas party at home with the traditional goodie bag. This was something I did back in the day when we were Bribie Zoom Genies. That should be a fun morning.

The last meeting of the year for Bribie Family History Association is a Christmas Quiz hosted by Judy Lofthouse. Afterwards a number of us are staying on for lunch at the Bribie RSL restaurant Botanic. I always feel lost with no meeting in January but as we meet on the first Friday that is early in the month and too close to New Year's Day.

Until next time, stay safe and happy researching. Shauna


Tuesday 17 October 2023

Books, Resources, Talks & Other News : My Genealogy Weeks 1-15 Oct 2024

As I write this we are having a very hot spring day and have had little rain for weeks if not months. 
The garden is suffering even though we have bore water. 

Our beautiful native birds are visiting to drink and swim in our bird baths (fresh water), a real distraction from writing this blog post. There is a bird bath just outside my office window. But I am off to China so this blog post needs to be finished. 

My Ph D thesis is in sync with my family history, so every book or article I read is relevant to one of my family lines. The temptation is to then do more family research. Plus there are so many other resources mentioned in the References and Bibliographies that I don't know what to read next. My PhD completion date is at the end of 2026 so the next three years will be fascinating. 

For example, Janet McCalman's Vandemonians is a great read for anyone with Tasmanian convicts, especially if they then went over to Victoria. 

The Brisbane History Group's publication Brisbane Diseased: Contagious Cures and Controversy (see cover photo below) has a number of relevant articles on alcoholism and venereal diseases. 

My thesis looks at prostitutes, female vagrants and female habitual drunkards in colonial Queensland gaols. One of those was my GG grandmother and I have even found one of Max's distant cousins on the Billson family line. 

We are booked for the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise for December 2024. It is also called the Celebrity Edge Australian Wine Cruise so I will be able to indulge both my passions. 

Seriously it leaves from Sydney, then Hobart, then over to Kangaroo Island, Adelaide, on to Melbourne and finally back to Sydney. Four at sea days devoted to good speakers and topics. May need a holiday after that!

New Resources 

Now here are some serious distractions. 

If you get the Trove newsletter, you find out what is new for the month. For example, the September list of New South Wales digitised newspapers included:

Findmypast released three more Oxfordshire record sets, more baptisms, marriages and burials. Plus almost 100,000 paged from digitised newspapers. My Sweatman and Cooper families were from Deddington, Oxfordshire and my Prickett family were from Fritwell, Oxfordshire. Definitely will have to check these updates out.


There have been talks for Strathpine Library, Legacy Family Tree Webinars and Queensland Family History Society. 

Yesterday was a talk at Caboolture Library on Gedmatch and when I get back from China I am giving a talk Researching in Australia at the Really Useful Family History Show in the UK (virtual). That is looking like a really good weekend of genealogy with some excellent speakers and topics.

That will be my last talk for 2023. The fastest year ever but then I did a lot of travel and the PhD takes up time too.

What's Coming Up?

Christmas! Not quite yet but at Bribie Family History Association we have asked Judy Lofthouse to run her Christmas genealogy quiz at our December meeting. Plus stay on for our Christmas lunch at the RSL's Botanic restaurant.

I have also mapped out our 2024 speakers and members meetings. Maybe that is why I feel that the years go quickly? Planning the next one before the end of this year.

My first and last visit to China was back in 1996 so it will be interesting to see the changes in Beijing and I have not been to the other places on our trip. So all new and exciting.

Until next time, stay safe and happy researching. Shauna

Sunday 1 October 2023

Genie books to read, DNA cousin date & other genealogy news: My genealogy weeks 17 - 30 September 2023

Gorgeous spring weather, the only thing missing is some rain occasionally. My orange crucifix orchids are just beautiful at the moment. The hippeastrums are starting to flower too.

Yet anothe attempt to get back to a fortnightly blog post. Only a couple of days late.


It has been a Kate Grenville feast this fortnight as I finished The Search for the Secret River and Sarah Thornhill the sequel to The Secret River. Both books hard to put down but you need to have read The Secret River first.

Also started reading and finished Ancestry by Simon Mawer. What a great way to write a family history. I was engrossed from beginning to end.

Borrowed all those books from the local library. Did have to put in a request as they were not on Bribie but still within Moreton Bay City Libraries collection. 

So many good books, so little time.

Bribie Family History Association

The next meeting is on Friday 6 October at 9.00am at the Bribie RSL in the Anzac Room. Our speaker is Caroline Jamieson with a talk on writing your own story. Most of us probably think we lead boring lives but we all have stories to tell and leave for our grandchildren and those that follow them.

I have been busy organising the 2024 speaker program and where has this year gone.


This week I met a 4th cousin of my Mum's and we went out to lunch and chatted about all kinds of things. However, we are not sure where the DNA link is. It is only one segment and 14cM in size. The interesting thing is that neither my brother or I inherited that piece of DNA. 

A search on Gedmatch revealed that there are 111 matches to both Mum and her 4th cousin. Sorting through those might give us some clues but as the cousin has Uren in the family, then my guess is a Cornish connection. Mum's 7x great grandmother was a Uren but that seems a long way back and perhaps the connection is closer. Stay tuned.

New Resources

Had an interesting time looking up my North Ireland families in Findmypast's new 1912 Ulster Covenant collection. There are nearly 500,000 names in the dataset. My families were out here in Australia by then but they did leave brothers and sisters behind, as well as parents.

RootsTech 2024 

I'm not going to Salt Lake City in person in 2024 (planning a trip to England and Ireland instead). 

Hard to believe but I have agreed to host a pyjama party, either live, hybrid or virtual at some point during the weekend next year. It is hard to get excited watching a conference session by yourself. Also given that the sessions will mostly be when we are asleep, the idea of a nightime party suggested itself. More thought is needed to keep myself and guests awake. Stay tuned.


Received some lovely feedback from my session on Gedmatch to the Strathpine Library family history group.Th City of Moreton Bay libraries has a wonderful local and family history program throughout the year, and free to attend.

Thank you so much for presenting your talk on GEDmatch at Strathpine Library on the 12th of September. We had some lovely feedback: 

 Lots of new information on a subject I know little about

Easy to understand presentation

The information shared was helpful.

Great Speaker
Shauna Hicks can always be relied on to give a clear explanation of the topic. She explained features of the site and showed information from the pay to view and use section which was interesting.

The speaker is always very knowledgeable and presents the information in a clear logical interesting way

Shauna Hicks presented an excellent summary of how We could use Gedmatch.

Presenter systematically explained the topic in detail, including examples.

I am giving the Gedmatch talk again to the Caboolture Library family history group in October.

Also excited about my October webinar on Legacy Family Tree. All about gold fever and looking for miners down under. That is on this Wednesday 4 October and you can register for free and watch for a week after.  Whenever I see the photo below I wonder if that's what my great grandfather looked like when he first came out from Wiltshire to the gold fields of Charters Towers.

Image courtesy State Library Queensland

My 2024 list of talks is slowly being added to. Trying to avoid being too rushed next year as my Ph D research is taking up more time than I expected. Five days a fortnight doesn't sound much but fitting that in with family events and work needs and talks is tricky. My thesis topic is fascinating, colonial women in Queensland gaols, has lots of scope and I'm discovering so many stories of women who have largely been forgotten by family and history.  

What's Coming Up?

China! Going on a 10 day trip taking in Beijing (and the Great Wall), Hangchou and a trip on the fast train, then      and finishing up in Shanghai. I first went to China in 1996 for an archives conference so it will be interesting to see any changes in Beijing. All the other places on this trip will be new to me. So excited but then I like travel and seeing different cultures and eating different foods.

Another birthday as I inch closer to one of those birthdays with a 0 on the end. Yet I still feel like I am in my 40s except for the arthritic thumbs and a few other aches and pains.

Then it is Christmas and we will be sharing a week's holiday in the Gold Coast hinterland with one of Max's sons and his family. They are all athletic and looking forward to bushwalking, swimming, golfing, kayaking etc. I am taking a stack of books to read and exercise my brain.

Have fun researching this week. Until next week, take care Shauna