Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Maryborough, Memories & the Unexpected - Genealogy Notes 11-16 Apr 2015

Maryborough Family Heritage Research Institute
Maryborough Family Heritage Research Institute
This week's Diary is a little early as it is Mum's 81st birthday party this weekend and I know I won't get time to write this at her place. The three talks went well in Maryborough (QLD) and I think there are some lessons for all genealogy and family history societies in my trip. So I blogged about the experience, why not read Genealogy Society Seminars - Why You Should Have Them. As usual, I put the talks online and you can find them on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

After last week's Diary I was thrilled to receive some advice on including photos in my mother's draft family history from fellow geneablogger Library Currants. It sounds so easy reading her notes, but when you are working alone at home things can seem difficult and too hard. So remember there is an online circle of geneafriends out there to seek advice from and this is yet another example of how blogging can pay off.  Yes it is great for cousin bait but we can also seek assistance from others who are doing the same things we are.

I neglected to mention that I took Nathan Dylan Goodwin's Orange Lilies with me to the AFFHO Congress in Canberra. The plan was that I would read it at night before bed but each night I arrived back at the hotel too tired to read anything. Anyway I have now managed to catch up with the adventures of Morton Farrier, forensic genealogist (fictional) and his investigations into his own family history. Now I can't wait for the next book to come out.

I also managed to finish The Convict Theatres of Early Australia, 1788-1840 by Robert Jordan recently republished as an e-book by Currency House. Read my review here. I didn't think this book would have anything directly relevant to my own family history research but I was wrong. There is a whole chapter on Norfolk Island and as we have a convict family in the First Settlement this started me wondering if they were theatre goers.

Tonight there is a Google Hangout with Geniaus looking back on Congress which I am planning to attend. It is a little easier now as daylight saving has finished and it is a more suitable time for me. Plus I won't get confused as to what time it really is on. Details here.

As well as Mum's party at the weekend, I am also going to the Colleen Fitzpatrick (real life forensic genealogist) seminars in Brisbane, co-hosted by the Genealogical Society of Queensland and the Queensland Family History Society. There are three talks which I have not heard before and an opportunity to catch up with my Brisbane geneafriends. No doubt both societies will also be selling their publications so temptation will probably be present as well.

The other major occupier of my time is Trove as they have now started to release some of the digitised issues of the Brisbane Telegraph and there are literally dozens and dozens of references to my families in the newspaper. Some of the information I have already got from the Courier Mail but in a lot of cases there is more information in the Telegraph or it is only in the Telegraph. This means I need to check every reference. Some entries are not yet available and some look really exciting so I have asked to be emailed when they go live.

anzac poppies AWM 2Next week I have to do my contribution to Kintalk's Trans Tasman ANZAC Day blog challenge and on the ANZAC day weekend there is an RAAF reunion on Bribie Island so we will be going to quite a few functions between Friday and Sunday. The march is on Saturday but Max won't be walking this year as his ankle and leg are still recovering from his fall at the end of January. I have offered to wheel him in the wheelchair or he could go with the older guys in the community vehicles but that is not quite the same as marching himself.

The must do item on my list is to continue the Australian occupations course I am writing for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I had been doing quite nicely with that but Max's broken leg, Congress and Easter were all big distractions. Hopefully I will slip easily back into where I was up to and complete it over the next few weeks. I need to clear the decks as National Family History Month will be gaining momentum from May onwards as I add events to the web calendar and start doing some publicity. How quickly a year passes!

Until next week, happy searching.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Blogs, Awards and Progress - Genealogy Notes 4-10 April 2015

An interesting week with some genealogy research progress. While at Congress I had asked Sylvia from FIBIS (Families in British India Society) about our Tasmanian convict who died in Darjeeling India and since then she has helped me learn a bit more about the Oakley family in India.

In one of my talks I tell people not to have tunnel vision and to broaden out their thinking. This is MY example of tunnel vision because Sylvia also said I could have found out some of this information earlier by doing a Findmypast search. When I use FMP I think of the UK, Ireland and Australasia but of course it is much more than that. I feel a little silly now but that is one way we learn, by talking to others about our research and by making sure we make the most of websites we visit. No matter how many years of research we have under our belts, it is hard to keep up with everything new and sometimes we forget the obvious.

My other big learning exercise for the week was tackling my mother's draft family history in Word. I have made some good progress on revising text, style and I have inserted lots of photos. And that is where I started to come unstuck. I have always had trouble with images in Word and adding captions seems that little bit harder. Previously I had all the end notes at the end of the draft but I thought it would look better at the end of each chapter. That's not quite working out either. But then again I have learnt lots of other things about Word so still making progress.

I have started writing Australasian articles and blog posts for the In-Depth Genealogist and my first article appeared in the March issue of Going In-Depth and two blog posts have been published. I need a better way of raising my notifications about when they are published as I keep missing them. It is probably in my settings and with the Congress rush I haven't had time to sort myself out. I have also been exploring the resources on their website and although mostly US centric at the moment, there are some resources I want to explore further when time permits. And there is my GGG grandfather in Minnesota to follow up.

My personal genealogy blog challenge continues and Week 36 was on Hospital Records. Kintalk's Trans Tasman Anzac Day genealogy blog challenge is on again and I have already chosen which military ancestor I will write about this year. Anyone can join in and honour one of their military ancestors. Alexander Thomas Davis is also featured in a military display at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum and as he has no descendants, I will write up more about his military service and how he died of wounds not long after he arrived back home at Toorbul

A good bit of my time was again spent on National Family History Month (NFHM). I now have all the new sponsors information on the website and details of the prizes to be won in August. That's a reminder that the competition does not start until 1 August although I know there are some eager people out there already!

I also sent an invitation email to 186 genealogy and family history societies throughout Australia so I hope some of them decide to participate if they don't already. I also have another 50 or so societies for whom I don't have an email address so I am still working on those. Why not encourage your society to participate too, simply refer to all your August activities as NFHM events and enter them into the NFHM web calendar.

I once jokingly said that I needed a medal for all the work I do for NFHM voluntarily and now I have my medal, but not quite for NFHM. Back in 2009 I was awarded AFFHO's (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations) meritorious service award for my family history endeavours in QLD, ACT and VIC over the years. The award is actually a trophy but from this Congress they are also giving a medal which can be worn at AFFHO events which is a nice way of recognising past recipients. Look out for me wearing mine this August!

Tomorrow I am in Maryborough giving three talks for the Maryborough Family Heritage Research Institute and I believe that there are also attendees from other groups as well. Should be a great day but after three talks and however many questions I will be looking for a quiet Sunday. Perhaps even a spot of research or more work on Mum's family history book. Until next time happy searching.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

AFFHO Congress wrap up - Genealogy Notes 28 Mar - 3 Apr 2015

It has been a huge week since last Diary. The AFFHO Congress 2015 is over and most of us have returned home and have been busy writing up our post Congress blogs. I had so much to say that it is a three part review. Part One was Days 1 and 2, Part Two was Days 3 and 4 and Part Three was Social Events and Exhibitors. Click on the links to read each part.

Photo taken by Mr Geniaus
As well as my own blogs I have been busy reading what others had to say and there were lots of geneabloggers there. To assist us in finding all these bloggers Geniaus (aka Jill) is compiling a pre, during and post Congress list of blogs. Jill's Geneabloggers at Congress- Reflections has all the links although there might be still more to come. Geniaus and Mr Geniaus are obviously a dynamic duo as he came in to Congress to take the Geneabloggers photo and I think we were mostly all there. That's Jill second from right at the front and you can see the lovely blogger beads that Jill supplied as with. It was a great way to instantly see who was a Geneablogger!

It was only after we got home that I realised that Easter was this weekend and we had one of Max's sons popping in for a short visit, hence the mad effort to finish my blog posts before Easter. We also have a trip down to Brisbane to see Mum and other family members. Easter is the time when my orchids start to flower and I am particularly pleased with this one. The others took a bit of a battering in the storm we had while we were in Canberra.

As always after a Congress, or any genealogy event, I am super motivated and as Mum's birthday is coming up I dragged out my draft family history on her Price family. I originally wrote it back in 2002 when I was in Canberra and of course since then I have added bits and pieces, the usual never ending story. After talking to David from Openbook Howden at Congress, I realised that I could print a few copies for family members at a relatively reasonable price, especially if I just give him a PDF. Of course this means I have to do layout, editing etc myself or they can do it but that costs more. It will depend on how clever I am!

My Easter genealogy exercise is to reread it, do amendments, additions and add in some charts and photographs with the aim of an almost final work by Easter Monday night. It is limited to three generations so I have not mentioned any living people except Mum and I believe she is the last of her generation. I will have to get someone else to read it as you can never pick up all your own mistakes.

Already I have doubts about this goal as so far today I have found new information courtesy of Trove (what else!). Two photos of Mum's uncle, William Price, who went to the Boer War twice and eventually settled in South Africa have surfaced in Trove. Now we finally know what he looked like. If I recheck Trove for everyone mentioned in the Price family draft, then I might just need more than the Easter weekend to finish.

Plus there are the new genealogy books and magazines I bought home to read (see Congress blog posts for titles), not to mention all those Congress papers. I have some new prize sponsors for National Family History Month 2015 so I need to make some more changes to the website and post Easter I am starting the NFHM PR campaign in earnest.

Next weekend (11 April) I will be in Maryborough (QLD) giving three talks for the Maryborough Family Heritage Research Institute - this was the event cancelled back in February due to Cyclone Marcia. Looking forward to that as they are always a good crowd.

Have a safe and happy Easter and where possible, try and sneak in some genealogy time, especially if you are catching up with family members. Happy searching until next time.

Friday, 27 March 2015

AFFHO Congress news: Genealogy notes 23-27 March 2015

It's not quite a week since the last Diary but I thought there should be at least one Diary post during AFFHO Congress 2015. I'm still adjusting to the new time zone and waking up late as my body is programmed to wake at the same time each day. But I'm putting it to bed later than usual so I could be a bit of a zombie today.

It was a long trip here but we arrived safe to be greeted by a Congress welcoming committee who were our friends when we lived here many years ago. Then we were taken to the Mantra on Northbourne where we are staying and although we were early (before 2 pm), they found us a room that was ready and we were unpacked and having a reviving cup of tea within minutes.

I needed it because then it was the shortish walk to the Canberra National Convention Centre to collect my conference satchel (to be described in a later blog post) and meet up with lots of old geneafriends and a few of my new social media friends also came up and introduced themselves. I am going to have to stop thinking of people in terms of their blog names and remember their real names!

After I collected my blogging beads from Jill there seemed to be a whirlwind of photos with various people. No doubt some of those will surface on blog posts or social media. Then it was the walk back to the Mantra to get ready for the meet and greet at the Australian War Memorial. Fortunately I met long time friend Sue (now a member of the Caloundra Family History Group) and she offered to drive Max and myself there as he is still having a bit of trouble walking following his recent broken leg drama.

At the meet and greet we met up with lots of other people from our Canberra days but also from our genealogy cruises with Unlock the Past Cruises, other genealogy conferences and our days of living in Melbourne and Brisbane. Once you have been to one geneaconference, you know that there will always be someone to talk to at the next one as it is so easy to meet new people and to meet again regular attendees.

The first day of Congress talks was excellent and that will be a separate post too when I have more time. The venue is excellent and the Royal Theatre has three screens so that everyone can see everything. This is lots of room in the exhibition area and so far I have not bought anything. Early days yet. This was another opportunity to catch up with old friends while enjoying the excellent catering. There seemed to be lots of food at multiple stations so no overly long delays in getting lunch and tea and coffee.

At the end of the day I attended the AFFHO AGM where I was given the opportunity to talk about National Family History Month 2015 and to encourage all AFFHO societies to participate. There will be more about NFHM once I have all my Congress posts written. It is the next big thing on the Australasian genealogy horizon.

The day ended with a great Chinese dinner at Kingston (the China Plate) with Dorothy from Wagga Wagga & District Family History Society and Rosemary from HAGSOC (Canberra), both long time geneafriends. It was a wide ranging geneadiscussion.

Well if I don't stop writing this update and get ready I will miss Josh Taylor from Findmypast and the first keynote speaker of the day. My talk on sporting ancestors is one of the last talks of the day so another long day and we have the conference dinner tonight at Parliament House! If you aren't at Congress, have fun watching us on social media with #affho #genealogy or follow the usual suspects. Until next time, happy searching.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Google, photos, sporting ancestors:Genealogy notes 16 - 22 Mar 2015

Last week's Diary brought the news of an exciting discovery of a WW1 ancestor's photograph. I'm happy to say that I have just been sent a photo of my great great grandmother's sister. As we have no photos at all on this line I am super excited as she looks just like my grandmother or is that wishful thinking? Or do all little old ladies look like that?

This exciting discovery came about because someone (my third cousin once removed) Googled our common ancestor John Carnegie of Toorbul and found all my blog posts on how I eventually knocked down the brick walls around this family. I've dashed off a quick email to say hello!

I have to say that Google is perhaps the most exciting genealogical discovery of all time BUT you still need to be blogging your family stories to be discovered and contacted by long lost cousins. I really don't know why everyone doesn't have a geneablog. It is a wet rainy day here and when I logged on to write this Diary post, there was the email and the photos. How easy is that?

Week 35 of my personal genealogy blog challenge is Sporting Records and that is also one of the topics I am talking about next week at the AFFHO Congress in Canberra. I'm also happy to say that my new research guide Discover your sporting ancestors: it was not all work and no play is also now available. There are so many aspects of our ancestors lives that we can explore and I have really enjoyed tracking down some of these sporting stories.

My first blog post for The In-Depth Genealogist was this week and not surprisingly I was writing about the AFFHO Congress and how we will all be using social media to share what is happening in Canberra over five very exciting days and nights. Only four more sleeps for me!

Although Congress is now occupying most of my thoughts I need to keep in mind that the weekend after it I am heading back up to Maryborough for the genealogy seminar cancelled courtesy of Cyclone Marcia. I am giving three talks and the seminar is being organised by the Maryborough Family Heritage Research Institute. I'm really looking forward to catching up with them as I first started giving talks there in the 1980s!

My book review of Jayne Shrimpton's Fashion in the 1940s is here. It gave me some great ideas to follow up on my female relatives during WW2.

During a quick visit to Brisbane I was lucky enough to have a look behind the scenes at the Queensland Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. Plus they are one of our new prize sponsors for National Family History Month (NFHM) in August 2015. The list of sponsors prizes is looking good and thanks to AFFHO and Ancestry for being major sponsors this year (new/additional sponsors may also join between now and August). Keep up to date by visiting the NFHM website or this Diary as I am the voluntary coordinator again!

There must be other news but I really want to get back to my Carnegie research and look at the two pages of information sent along with the photos. Although looking at the time, the family might be expecting me to cook dinner! Perhaps they won't be hungry tonight? Happy researching and blogging, let people find you.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

WW1 Soldier Portraits, the first AFFHO Congress and women - Genealogy Notes 9-15 March 2015

I love blogging. I actually relax when I write and this week I managed to do two blogs. Week 34 in my 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015 is on Maps another fascinating resources for genealogy and family history research. The second blog was Thoughts on the 1977 AFFHO Congress (the first ever Congress) and its proceedings and speculating on how many people who went to that will be at the 14th Congress in Canberra in a week or so.

I started researching my own family history in March 1977 so I have been lucky to hear many of Australia and New Zealand's top conference speakers since then. Plus I have always bought the proceedings to refer to later. The genealogy world has changed so much since then.

The State Library of Queensland has been digitising soldier's portraits from WW1 as published in The Queenslander as part of their QANZAC 100 Memories for a new generation project. They are doing detailed images and as such the images and soldier's names are much clearer than what is in Trove. For example, I have been unable to find Denis Patrick Finn's photo in Trove but thanks to the SLQ's project, I now have his image and the reference to the page and date of The Queenslander. Denis was wounded and served time in a prisoner of war camp so I am really glad to now have a photo of him in uniform. He looks so young but then he was only 17 years old. I have more WW1 soldiers to find so that is another project I am closely following.

March is Women's History Month and my geneacolleague Hazel Edwards (author of How to Write a Non Boring Family History) sent me some wonderful ideas from her annual Witty Women's lunch and this year guests had to bring a plate of food to share with a quote from an historic female. Hazel has been doing this for 36 years with different themes, that's a lot of celebrating women of the past. Here are some examples and I have tried to keep to a family history type theme:
  • Actress & inventor Hedy Lamarr developed a patent for frequency hopping now used in Wifi & Blue Tooth
  • DNA researcher & biologist Rosalind Franklin, was mentioned three times, with double helix fruit platter, corkscrew cheese sticks and rice rolls in genetic patterns. Her male colleagues Watson, Crick & Wilkins got the Nobel Prize for the double helix model in 1962.
  • Family historian Kath Ensor wrote ‘The Blue Family history with Indigo and Skye’ 
  • Nurse Florence Nightingale was quoted in connection with ‘Notes on Nursing: What It is, and what it is not,’ translated as having a little of what you fancy, has and always will, do you good.’ 

Reading Hazel's list of women, food and quotes started me thinking about my female ancestors and could I associate them with a food or a quote. Something to work on for next year's women's history month. Thanks Hazel for the reminder of all those talented women from the past and present.

Two talks this week and both on Bribie Island which made a pleasant change from all the driving I have been doing lately. It is always nice to speak at my local library (part of Moreton Bay Region Libraries) and it was a good turnout with some new and familiar faces. Plus a blast from my past - the 60s - a lady came up and introduced herself as the daughter of the family who lived across the road from us in Bardon (Brisbane suburb) back then. There is also a family connection as her brother married my cousin and they and their two children lived two doors up from us in the same street.

My other smaller talk was at the monthly meeting of the Bribie Island Historical Society. It was a members night and a number of people got up and talked about various families and events. My focus was on Max's Burstow, Eldridge and Spencer families and their connection to Bribie in the 1920s and 30s. It was amazing how many of the members stories interconnected. Max has now met one of his Eldridge cousins still living on the Island and we have swapped notes over a yummy carrot and walnut cake which I made. I As I have been a bit stressed with all his medical issues, I reawakened my domestic goddess as I do find cooking and creating meals relaxing.

Regular readers will remember that I was going to be involved in a mini genealogy do over based on promptings from Thomas MacEntee. I was really shocked yesterday when I looked at where I was at - Week 3 - and when I visited his website they are up to Week 11. If you ever want time to fly, nurse someone with a broken leg. So I'm a bit behind there and the other thing I missed out on finishing was my free trial of Family Historian. That month is well and truly over and I had only really started looking at it when priorities shifted. But my mind was almost made up to purchase and swap over so that will be a post Congress task.

In my spare five minutes I always try to do a quick search in Trove and without fail, I am turning up new articles on my families. Some of the new titles added recently have just been fantastic. The Brisbane Telegraph is coming soon and that is going to be a geneafest of family info.

Only one more week or so before I head down to Canberra so it will be a catch up/tidy up kind of week so that I am totally prepared to simply sit back and enjoy Congress. If you are there too, come up and say hello! Till next time, happy researching.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Crime, new books & a strange bird - Genealogy notes 1 - 8 Mar 2015

Another week with little time to think but an amazing range of genealogy activities. I guess there is always room to squeeze in what we like doing.

Collecting my mail from the post office is an easy way and I was thrilled to see that Unlock the Past has just published three new titles from some of my favourite speakers - Paul Milner with Buried Treasure: what's in the parish chest?; Chris Paton with Down and Out in Scotland: researching ancestral crisis and Thomas MacEntee with 500 Genealogy & Family History Tips. I can't decide which one I want to read first, I love Chris' "ancestral crisis" as that is what my families seem to do all the time and Thomas' is bound to have me zipping all over the web while Paul's looks like a gentle read but will have me wanting to be on the next plane to England!

There is another new title Til Death us do Part: causes of death 1300 - 1948 by Janet Few who is a UK speaker who I have not heard before. It looks fascinating and I must check out her website The History Interpreter.

I have also been asked to review another book The Convict Theatres of Early Australia 1788-1840 by Robert Jordan and now published by Currency House as an ebook. That sounds really interesting too and I am still working on my reviews for Jayne Shrimpton and Carol Baxter. Sounds like I need a nice quiet place to curl up and have a good read!

My personal blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015 continued with Week 33 on Church Records, another underused resource for finding out info on our ancestors, especially some of our female ancestors. Below is my great grandmother Elizabeth Price who was a deaconess at the Baptist church in Charters Towers.

It was a big week for talks with one at Albany Creek Library on Warning Warning: Tips & Tricks to Avoid Common Mistakes and one for the Queensland Family History Society on court of petty session records. Both talks are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. The QFHS talk was part of their seminar on Criminals and Victims and you can read my report on the day here. You can learn so much from attending education seminars like this as the speakers really know their topics.

I haven't done any feedback gathering on my talks for a while so with the Moreton Bay Region Libraries talks I have been asking people to fill in a quick survey form. I am happy to say that most people gave me 5s, said they could have listened to me longer and would attend another talk given by me. Plus some suggestions for future talks. This was great and confirmed verbal feedback on other occasions.

But there was one person who gave me 2s indicating that I was not clear, interesting or relevant. There was nothing else to give me a clue as to why I had been so disappointing for them. I know you can't please everyone but it would have been good to know why and perhaps there is something I can do to change their experience in the future.

The reason I raise this is that geneafriend Jill Ball called me a 'strange bird' in her post Going Out on a Limb. I have always placed the slides from my talks on my website so that attendees can go home and relook at the slides at their leisure and so that they don't have to madly write notes while I am talking. They can experience the talk in total and then go home and think about the detail. It also means that those who can't attend can at least see the slides even if they miss all the dialogue that goes with it.

Jill's point is that not many people do this and some even try to stop people taking photos of their slides rather than writing the points down. I did think about not putting my slides online last year after I heard that someone had reproduced one of my talks after taking out my footer and logo. I know my online practice is appreciated by people who attend my talks, why should they suffer because someone decides to copy my work. As Jill says, if someone is going to reproduce your work they can still do it by taking handwritten or typed notes so are we going to ban note taking too. I for one am happy to continue being a 'strange bird'.

This week I am talking at the Bribie Island library so not a long drive which is a refreshing change plus I am going to be talking about Max's families on Bribie in the 1930s at the Bribie Island Historical Society meeting on Wednesday night. It's been fun putting together  a bit of show and tell on his families and their connections to the Island way back then.

The absolute must do is finalise my talks for the AFFHO Congress 2015 which starts in Canberra on 26 March 2015. So much to say and so little time to do it. All the Congress papers are being published on USB although a paper copy will also be available for those who want to pay. It is going to be a fantastic four days catching up with friends, listening to some great talks and socialising.

Until next week try and get some genealogy searching in  or at least read some  fantastic blog posts, or a genealogy society journal.