Friday, 5 February 2016

Rootstech from afar & other genealogy news - 29 Jan to 4 Feb 2016

Well who has been following Rootstech on social media? I know quite a few of the this year's Aussie contingent plus a few from the UK and the USA. I have been following tweets and Facebook updates and it really is quite staggering. Some Aussie friends are also listening in via live streaming of some sessions.

Apparently there are over 26,000 attendees with 7,000 under the age of 18 and from 37 countries all gathered together for a 4 day genealogy conference in Salt Lake City with its snow and minus temperatures. With the live streaming of sessions who knows how many people are 'attending' this conference.

Our own AFFHO Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry every 3 years probably gets about 500 people on average with some from overseas countries, although they are mostly speakers. We probably have over 250,000 people who are members of genealogy and family history societies in Australia and then there are all those people who do not join societies. Yet we can't get anywhere near the size of an American genealogy conference.

A venue is probably an issue plus the sheer size of our country but it is only once every 3 years. Our next Congress is Bridging the Past and the Future in Sydney in 2018, two years away so perhaps we should all start planning to get there for our own fantastic genealogy conference downunder. Put it in your calendars now!

I think I will also put Rootstech 2017 in my calendar too - 8-11 Feb 2017 - it would be really something to see and experience it for myself. Not to mention popping in to the FamilySearch Library while I am there. That's on my bucket list so two birds, one flight!

John Finn born 1856 Ballygannon
Findmypast's Friday news was the release of nearly 5 million Norfolk parish records. Sadly I don't have any Norfolk family but it really is incredible how much is now being put online for easier searching. One of the big announcements from Rootstech this week was that Findmypast are adding 10 million Irish Catholic parish register records. Now that is something I will be getting excited about as my Catholic Irish family hasn't gone backwards in the almost 40 years I have been researching. I am hoping for big things with my John Finn born 1856 in Ballygannon, Wicklow.

My big drama for the week was realising that my National Library of Australia library card had expired. Why is it that you only become aware of expiry dates when you really want to use something. But thanks to the Library's wonderful efficiency it was simply a matter of hitting the renewal button, updating my details and within seconds my card was renewed. They even had logged me into the site.Wonderful eResources.

Otherwise it was a busy week checking talks for the Unlock the Past cruise in a week's time, finishing off my March blog and article for Going In-Depth and an expert query for Inside History Magazine.

As I will be away I also need to do the April blog and article for Going In-Depth before I leave and I would like to do another Trove Tuesday blog post to keep to my at least once a month schedule. Packing might take some thought as we will be in possibly colder climes and perhaps some hotter ones depending on February's weather which seems a bit all over the place at the moment.

This time next week I will be in Auckland, New Zealand but there will be a Diary update before I leave and perhaps one or two while I am away. It will depend on how fun I'm having on the genealogy cruise! Until next time, happy searching.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Celebrating Australia Day & Other News - Genealogy Notes 22 - 28 Jan 2016

Sunshine Coast Antique Car Club on Bribie for Australia Day
Having a guest for the Australia Day weekend was good but it did mean that my laptop was in rest mode for a lot of the time. On Bribie there is always a full day of activities and we went along to check out the market stalls, watch the lamington eating contest, admire the vintage cars and generally observe everyone having fun in the park and on the beach. The only dampener (no real pun intended) was that there was an extremely heavy shower mid morning which did see a few people pack up and go home.

During the rain the cafes and shops seemed to do lots of business and with no available tables out of the rain, we purchased our lamingtons and retreated home for coffee and cake. After drying out, my friend had a look at the new National Family History Month website which is a work in progress. Lots of good suggestions have been passed on to the designer and I am really looking forward to the new look for 2016.

My Australia Day blog tribute was to my maternal great grandfather Herbert William White from Farley in Wiltshire - read his story here. The reason he was my choice was the family story is that he had red hair and that is why some of his descendants have red hair, me included.
Herbert William White is on the far left in this family photo.

My writing  this week has mainly been focused on a piece for Inside History Magazine and my regular blog and article for Going In-Depth for The In-Depth Genealogist.

On Facebook I have been quietly watched geneamates from all over the world make their way to Rootstech 2016. I will be looking out for their tweets and Facebook posts as it always seems to be a great event. One day I will get there myself.

The Findmypast Fridays are always interesting as they release new records but last Friday's was really relevant to anyone with Queensland connections. They have added over 39,000 more Queensland funeral records as well as over three million New Zealand births, deaths and marriages. Plus other UK records and more newspapers. I should set Fridays aside to explore any new records instead of making a list of what to check when I have more time.

The amount of material coming online now is really quite exciting. Don't forget to also look at UK county archives as only this morning I checked to see what was online for Gloucestershire. The Gloucestershire Archives catalogue is online and there are individual names to be found. I was researching for a query and even though I have no Gloucestershire interest myself, I still found it fascinating to browse.

In two weeks time I will be in Auckland waiting to board the Celebrity Solstice for the next Unlock the Past genealogy cruise around New Zealand and southern Australia. I have started to gather all the bits and pieces I want to take and my eight talks are finished so that is one less job to do.

The coming week sees a return of the Bribie Island Historical Society committee meetings, and the following week the Society starts up its monthly evening meetings. So 2016 is well and truly happening. Follow Rootstech on social media over the next few days and be prepared to be amazed with new genealogical developments. Until next time.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Trove Tuesday, PNG & other news - Genealogy notes 51-21 Jan 2016

Well it is now official, my website has been archived by the National Library of Australia into Pandora. This Diary was added a few years ago and I can now put this button on both sites to indicate that they are in Pandora. There are some great websites there and while some are still current, many are archived because they are no longer in existence. Why not check out what's already in Australia's web archive, Pandora!

I have been working on my talks for the next Unlock the Past genealogy cruise which leaves in about three weeks. As usual I am amazed at how many websites have changed since I last checked links or how much has been added to sites. It is so distracting because I often hive off to check something out instead of  working on the presentation. I remember we used to joke about genealogy being never ending back in the 80s - that was a self fulfilling prophecy especially with the introduction of the internet.

Gordon Price, WW2
The other distraction re genealogy cruising is that Unlock the Past have started advertising their July 2017 cruise to Papua New Guinea which has long been on my list of places to visit. My uncle Gordon, a Rat of Tobruk. spent time their during WW2 (read Gordon's story here) as did Max's father and my grandfather Henry Price was also sent there in WW1. Read Henry's story here. So a strong family and history connection ties us to that part of the Pacific. No surprises that I booked a cabin this week!

It was only after I had paid the deposit and confirmed everything that I realised I would be away for the start of National Family History Month 2017 which is  due to launch in Sydney. Well perhaps I won't be the voluntary coordinator by then or I do what I inadvertently did in 2015, not attend the launch. I have to get through NFHM 2016 first before I need to make those decisions. My approach to sponsors is going well and most of last year's sponsors have agreed to sponsor again which is fantastic.

I am currently looking at web proofs for the new revamped NFHM website - so hard to make those design type decisions. I like a bit of that one and a bit of the other one which of course doesn't help the designer. But I will say it looks 100% better than the old website. All will be revealed soon and the site will be open for new events in February. The launch is in Perth this year so definitely spreading the word across Australia.

Although I have no new resolutions for 2016, I have always wanted to participate in Trove Tuesday blogging. Lots of other bloggers have been doing it for years but rather than commit myself to every Tuesday I am going for at least one Trove Tuesday post a month. More if time permits. My first ever Trove Tuesday post was on my great grandfather James Carnegie and I found a fantastic report on his retirement from Brisbane River Ferries in 1946. Read the whole story here.

The really bright spot in the week was a royalty notice from Unlock the Past for the 3rd quarter of 2015. My biggest selling guide was Where Do I Start? closely followed by my Tracing Mining Ancestors guide. Book sales still outnumber e-book sales and I even have a few overseas sales which is interesting. So print publishing not quite out of the picture yet.

With a guest arriving tomorrow I have spent time gardening, cleaning and decluttering rather than researching or writing. Sad but true. But next week it will be back to more research fun.  In the meantime it is the Australia Day weekend although some people do have to work on the Monday before the holiday on Tuesday.

This Australia Day I am going to pick one of my first immigrant ancestors who I have not written too much about yet. Herbert William White came out from Wiltshire in the early 1880s and married a South Australian of Cornish descent in Charters Towers, Queensland. Stay tuned for his story!

Enjoy Australia Day and the coming week. Good luck with any genealogy searches. Until next time.