Sunday, 22 February 2015

Asylum records, upcoming talks and new records - Genealogy notes 16- 21 Feb 2015

A week that did not go according to plan. I was supposed to give three talks for the Maryborough Heritage Institute at the weekend and we were going to have a short holiday in Bargara nee Bundaberg just before going to Maryborough. On the second day at Bargara we were told that we would have to evacuate due to Cyclone Marcia heading for the Queensland coast. This also meant that the Institute had to cancel the seminar as cyclones are too unpredictable with lots of wind and rain. So our little trip north was cut short and we headed back home to avoid getting trapped by floodwaters.

The Maryborough seminar is now on 11 April so keep that date free and I do have one photographic memory of our less than successful trip to see the turtles at Mon Repos (near Bargara).  The weather was against us but I managed one walk on the beach near the resort we were staying at. Just near the stairs to the beach I came across a nest of turtle eggs that had been exposed by the high tide and surf. You can see the steps on the right and the nest on the left of the photo.




Mon Repos is a turtle sanctuary but some of the turtles go to nearby beaches and you can be lucky and see them at Bargara. When the weather is bad, volunteers go round trying to find exposed nests so that they can save the turtle eggs until they hatch. Apparently they don't mate until they are 30 years old which is probably why so many of them are facing extinction, especially when cyclones and high tides wipe them out before they are even born! Another amazing fact is that the baby turtles remember where they were born and they go back there to lay their own eggs, year after year.

Wouldn't it be fantastic if our own ancestors were as predictable! Genealogy wise, I have been amazed at all the Scandinavian records (millions) that MyHeritage have added recently. My direct line is Norwegian and I researched it back in the 1980s the hard way. This time I put my great great grandparents names into MyHeritage and up came their marriage certificate information. I think it cost me a fair bit back then as I had to find it, purchase it, have it translated and then wait however long for it to arrive from Norway. Now it is instant, although you don't get the certificate, just the facts!

As I am going on the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise to the Baltic in July, I thought it would be good to do a bit of sightseeing in England. Although I have been to the UK before, there are lots of touristy places I have yet to go to. My friendly and efficient travel agent Kelli at the Flight Centre on Bribie Island has booked me into a nice hotel for 3 nights and 2 coach tours so that each day I can tick off some of my must see places in England bucket list. Usually do all my own bookings but with limited me time at the moment, it was nice to be organised and spoilt by somebody else. Thanks Kelli. So looking forward to a bit of R&R and me time!

Somehow I managed to keep my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015 going. Week 32 is on asylum records and I have got amazing information on some of my ancestors because there were admitted to asylums at some stage. It is not a place you would instantly look for people, but they could go into an asylum for all kinds of reasons. The biographical information collected on admission is similar to hospital and prison records and fantastic, if all the details are known.

This week sees the start of my series of genealogy talks at Moreton Bay Region Libraries. Woodford and North Lakes are on my travel itinerary this week and Albany Creek next week. It will be good to visit all those libraries again as there is usually a good attendance at talks. Details of upcoming talks are on the Events page of my website.

As most of my time is spent behind the wheel of a car lately I am behind with my newsletters and blogs  and seem to be getting most of my genealogy news via Facebook and Twitter. In just over four weeks time there will be lots of genealogy happening at AFFHO Congress 2015 in Canberra. Hope I am not too exhausted to enjoy it - imagine going to sleep in some of those brilliant speaker sessions! After the fantastic lunches is always a worry, but the general air of excitement and anticipation usually keeps everyone awake and taking notes.

More medical appointments tomorrow for the other half and his broken leg, so instead of reading all those dated magazines in the waiting room, I have a couple of genealogy magazines and journals in my bag this time! Until next week happy researching.




Saturday, 14 February 2015

Photographs, Rootstech & New books - Genealogy notes 8-15 Feb 2015

Not a lot of spare time this week due to the additional nursing and chauffeuring I have been doing. Thank goodness for the internet and social media. I had originally planned to attend Rootstech 2015 along with other Aussie geneamates but Mum's health was a concern and I never envisaged that Max would break his leg so just as well that I decided not to go this year.

I have been following Rootstech via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and blogs so I know what I fantastic time everyone has been having. When everyone gets home I look forward to many blog reports - who to look out for? Geniaus (aka Jill Ball), Helen Smith, Alona Tester, Pauleen Cass, Caitlin Gow to start with. No doubt they will refer to others there as well.

Check out Rootstech 2015 and note that some of the sessions were recorded and you can view them. There was also live streaming but you had to be in the right time zone or prepared to watch at odd hours. It would be fantastic to see Rootstech downunder one day but at least we have Congress 2015 coming up at the end of March. Hopefully Max will be out of his leg cast by then although he will still have to be careful about what he does.

Week 31 of my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015 was on Photographs. Again it was a great challenge as I relooked at one of my grandmother's early albums of mostly unidentified people. I could pick my father in some of them so I am trying to date them that way and then try and work out who the other people are. Dad (Mervyn Gunderson) is on the left, he was always tall and skinny and easy to pick out in photos.

With all my running around after other people I had not visited the post office box for a while and was pleasantly surprised to find some new books to read (in that mysterious space called spare time). Carol Baxter has a new book called Help! Historical and Genealogical Truth: How do I separate fact from fiction? which should be really interesting.

I have a standing order for new titles from Unlock the Past so I was pleased to see a second edition of Chris Paton's Irish Family History Resources Online and a new guide from Noeline Kyle on Nurses & Midwives in Australian History: a guide to historical sources. I have Irish ancestors so Chris' book will be one to work through and Noeline's more of a read as I don't have any nurses or midwives in the family. It will be good to know more about the historical context of nursing and midwifery.

My three talks for the Maryborough genealogy seminar next weekend are finalised and ready to go. I will also have some of the Unlock the Past titles with me for sale as people do like to see things before they buy. It must be coming up for two years since I was last there so I am looking forward to seeing old friends.

Next week looks equally full on with everything except genealogy but hopefully I will get some time to at least keep up with the Rootstech news and blogs as my Aussie friends make their way home. Until next week happy researching!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Postcards, NFHM 2015, Congress - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Feb 2015

Another big week as I try and finalise sponsors for National Family History Month 2015. Our first event has been listed on the NFHM web calendar - thanks to State Library of Victoria for adding their annual Family History Feast. There was a Skype meeting of the AFFHO council this week and I gave an update on progress so far.

The first part of the meeting was frustrating as I could hear everything but they did not think I was there. After 30 minutes I just hung up and that's when they realised I was there and called me back so that I could have my say. The technology is fantastic but you do get little hiccups from time to time. Anyway from this month you can look forward to more updates on NFHM on the website, the Facebook page of NFHM and through this Diary. I am again voluntary coordinator so make sure the whole of August is in your calendar, it is going to be our best yet.

Seated Thomas and Elizabeth Price, Charters Towers ca 1913
Postcards was the topic this week of my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015 and I am really glad that I picked that topic. I went back through my collection of family postcards and selected a few to talk about and made some new discoveries which is always exciting. But it also led me to rethink about mysteries I have not thought about in years. Who is that woman in the portrait with my great grandparents Thomas and Elizabeth Price? She must have some significance or why include her in the photo. Why have her standing there?

There are now over 400 people registered to attend Congress 2015 in Canberra next month. It is not too late to register and join us for a wonderful four days of genealogy, fantastic speakers, perhaps a little buying frenzy in the exhibitors area, networking and socialising. It is the last chance until 2018 as Congress is only held every three years.

I have received a new book to review - Jayne Shrimpton's Fashion in the 1940s and it looks fantastic. Some great family photos and some great advertisements from magazines and newspapers. For some reason I always like to look at the photos in a book before I read the text. Stay tuned for that review.

My course at the 3UA on Bribie Island history is going well and even when you think you know a lot about a place, it is amazing what you can still learn. After last week's session, I asked about the Amateur Fishing Association and its records as Max's great uncle was President at some point (that clue courtesy of his funeral notice located via Trove). This week the lecturer brought in the AFA's published history and there are lots of references to Adkins Robert Spencer so no guesses what I am reading this week.

It is also timely as I am finishing up a new research guide on sporting ancestors for Unlock the Past and I was including a piece on Spencer and the AFA so now I have even more information to include. This is a perfect example of why you should visit the local historical society to see if there is any information on your family in their library or collection. By the way, sporting ancestors is one of my topics at Congress 2015, I am hoping to inspire people to look for their sporting ancestors. It wasn't all work and no play!

I have received another challenging expert query for Inside History Magazine which I definitely need my thinking cap on for. The Society of Australian Genealogists have asked me to do a webinar on Queensland genealogy for them in May. These webinars are only available to their society members but I think it is great that the Society is trying to meet the needs of members who can't attend talks in person due to distance or other factors.

On the home front the last week has been challenging. My partner broke his leg in two places while walking his brother's big dog who simply pulled him over in his excitement at going for a walk. So lots of time taken up with medical appointments, driving him places and doing things he normally does around the house. I guess we don't really realise who does what until someone no longer does it. His friends have been really good and even mown the lawn for me. And help and support from the brother, owner of the big dog? So far a couple of cheap pizzas so I didn't have to cook dinner one night!

On the plus side I can now manhandle a wheel chair into the back of our car and take Max for a walk/ride along the beach and he can sit and watch the boats and people fishing, although not quite the same as being out in his own boat. Better than sitting in the house and going stir crazy and thank goodness we didn't buy a place with steps. The study chair on wheels is a nice little vehicle to get around inside the house although some of the walls may need a paint touch up when he is mobile again. The chair is a bit like a shopping trolley, with a mind of its own.

Although I have been quiet on this topic my mother has been in hospital since before Christmas. Yesterday we found out that she was being released and sent home which is what she wants. But my brother is overseas at present so I will be doing a few trips up and down the highway while I try and look after both my charges. Mum's neighbour is very good  and will do daily checks but we are not convinced that she is really up to living alone now. We couldn't even persuade her to have a holiday on Bribie as it would be easier to get her here than Max down there. Plus there is no room for all of us in her small townhouse and we have a spare bedroom here. Mum just wants to be at home, her place.

It is sad to see your parents grow old and lose their independence. As babies we are dependent on them but then we are too young to really know what that means. When we are older, we know the value of independence and what it's loss means. Even Max who is now dependent on me and others for the next couple of months is feeling that loss of independence because he simply can't do what he wants to do. Someone has to help him. I hadn't meant to say all this but obviously it is at the forefront of my thoughts and will probably remain there for some time.

Thank goodness I have genealogy to distract me in my spare moments! Happy researching this week.







Thursday, 29 January 2015

Military, Podcasts and Congress - Genealogy Notes 24-31 Jan 2015

What a week, four days without internet due to a provider issue. Nothing worse when you have a problem, make a complaint and then it does not get acted on. When you contact them again they are surprised that it isn't fixed, on checking it seems that it wasn't actioned so yes not fixed. Now resolved but it did make me realise how dependent we are on the internet. Some times I deliberately turn off and tune out, but this last week I was running to a few deadlines and it was inconvenient.

But where there is a will there is a way and I wrote various pieces without the internet and then once it was back, all I had to do was check and confirm links and do some blog posting.

It is sad to think that in two months time AFFHO Congress 2015 will be over and we will be waiting for 2018 and the next Congress which will be in Sydney. But before then we still get to attend 2015 and my interview with speaker Carole Riley is here. She is doing four sessions including land records, gold miners, social media and technology such as Dropbox and Evernote. I have heard Carole's talk on Evernote and it was very inspiring and to be honest, I was a little amazed at all the things she does with it.

I found time to write Week 29 in my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015. This week's topic was on Military Records and there are just so many aspects to this topic so I focused on dossiers as they have been indexed and digitised and are online free courtesy of the National Archives of Australia for the Boer War and World War one.

I remembered to check the January podcast from Genies Down Under as Maria had asked me to contribute a tip or two to Episode 39: Mistake stuff for genies - what to avoid to increase the quality of your research. Maria also asked me to contribute to Episode 40 on Superstar stuff in family history - messages from Aussie family history gurus which will be available in February. Lots of great advice coming up.

During my down time I also took the opportunity to input more of my own family data into Family Historian from scratch. Some of the certificates I entered I haven't look at in nearly 40 years and it really is amazing what you forget. My own birth certificate has the name of the doctor and nurse who delivered me and I was surprised to see that it was my old family doctor that I remember from childhood. He was assisted by Nurse Snowball which I thought was an odd name, unusual in itself but also odd for Queensland where it snows very infrequently and then mostly in border areas.

My mother, me and baby brother 
However I have to say redoing your data entry from scratch is very time consuming, although I was also getting used to Family Historian my new genealogy program. I am quite impressed with some of the features and I am scanning certificates and photos and linking as I go so that takes a bit more time. I did a Legacy Family Tree GEDCOM of my son's paternal side and simply imported that into Family Historian which was a much easier option but that was without any tidying up for consistency or looking for missing citations from an even earlier genealogy program. At some point I will have to do a clean up but for the moment the focus is still on reentering all my own family, including citations and standardising place names.

My article and blog for the Going In-Depth digital genealogy magazine published by The In-Depth Genealogist is due tomorrow. I have had both pieces written for about a week but keep tinkering with them as it is a bit nerve wracking writing for a new magazine who may not be so familiar with my style. Also their style and procedures are a bit different to what I am used to, but once I get into the swing of it perhaps those nerves will go away. There are a few 2013 issues on free access here if you are not familiar with this online magazine.

The other exciting thing for the week was that I joined the Bribie U3A (University of the Third Age) and enrolled in a Bribie Island history course. While one of my families were part of the Island's history, there is a lot that I don't know or have not thought about for years. So I am really looking forward to this in Term 1. The topic is so popular they have a ongoing group which also meets each term to talk about new discoveries, anniversaries, and anything else connected to the Island and surrounds.

I couldn't go on the 7th Unlock the Past genealogy cruise to WA but I have been enjoying Helen Smith's blog posts (plural so don't miss any) on the cruise and associated shore events. It is not quite as good as going yourself, but reading about it and seeing all the photos that Helen has taken is the next best thing.

I was also pleased to see that Helen is giving a talk at Bribie Island Library in June so that is in my diary as Helen's talks are always full of info. The Your History Our History program from Moreton Bay Region Libraries has lots of great genealogy talks from Feb to Jun so if you are in the area, all of their libraries are hosting talks.

Well that is my week in review and if there are no more internet dramas, I have a list of personal research follow ups I want to spend time on next week. I love the research, not so keen on the data entry but I love the option to press a key and generate great reports. Till next week, happy researching.




Thursday, 22 January 2015

Tombstones, Trove and Doing Over: Genealogy Notes 16-23 Jan 2015

Well I seem to be in the group of doing big changes and this week I started another one. I have been thinking about changing my genealogy software for some time and have been talking to others and reading up on what is available. Back in the 90s I started out with Brothers Keeper and after many years I swapped over to Legacy Family Tree. My conversion didn't go quite to plan and I had to do a lot of manual changes and I said I would never swap again.

However over the last 20 something years of having my family history in a database I have changed how I record things, what info I capture, style, citations and so on. So to tidy everything up I either had to do a major rehaul of my Legacy databases (38 years of research) or start again in new software.  Another friend lost all her data in a computer crash (not sure where her backups were but then do we ever check that our backups would work in the event of a crash) and she reentered all her data. I'm not sure that I totally believe that it didn't take her that long to reenter, but I can see the advantages of starting fresh and being consistent.

So I downloaded Family Historian V6 which I know many geneafriends use and I listened to Jill Ball's Google +hangout (recorded on Jill's You Tube channel) with Jane Taubman, a speaker on the Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruises, on using FamilyHistorian. While it was on I had Family Historian opened and added myself and my parents while Jane was talking. I was surprised to see that it came up with matches to My Heritage (which are probably mine but I will check).

I am now thinking of perhaps only doing a complete reentry of my own family line and using a gedcom conversion for my son's family line on his father's side. I forgot about the arthritis in my fingers and wrists or perhaps it is just the wet weather we have been having this week! This is part of my participation in Thomas MacEntee's genealogy do over project for 2015.

With my Library Thing project, I am finding it easier to rearrange the books into shelves first and then enter the books into Library Thing so I am surrounded by piles of books waiting to be data entered. I love it when the ISBN is recognised, saves so much time, but it is surprising how many titles I have that have to be entered manually.

Scanning photos and documents is still incredibly slow and I suspect there is no speedy way there!

Tombstones were the topic of this week's blog in my personal genealogy blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015. There are so many clues that we can get from tombstones, if we are lucky enough to have them.


I have been working on finalising a new research guide for Unlock the Past and I was looking for a good example using one of my families in North Queensland. Searching Trove for them made me realise that quite a few more northern newspapers have been digitised and added to Trove. I found some nice pieces for my book but temptation took hold, as it always seems to do in Trove, and I started putting in lots of names and finding lots more info. One discovery brought me to tears and will be the subject of a future blog post. And that was just one family.

I have been working on my three talks for the Maryborough Family Heritage Institute seminar in February and I am looking forward to going back there. It should be a really good afternoon and anyone in the area can attend, it is not just Institute members. My Norwegian ancestors settled near there in the 1870s and we will also take the opportunity to pop up to Bundaberg and see Max's aunty and cousins. Details of my talks in Maryborough are on the Events page of my website.

Another rainy day here so I am planning a big data entry session. To avoid distractions I am going to turn off Facebook, Google+ and Twitter so that I don't see all those tempting posts with exciting links telling me to look at this new resource or read this blog for inspiration and so on. Sometimes I wonder how we ever did research our families back in the 70s!
Happy researching until next week.




Thursday, 15 January 2015

Education records, AFFHO Congress interviews & More - Genealogy notes 8-15 Jan 2015

It is a scary thought but we are into the third week of 2015 and already I think I am talking too much! I have accepted another two talks, both in May. The first is part of an all day seminar on immigration organised by Southern Suburbs branch of the GSQ and the second is for the Genealogical Society of Queensland, a new date for my asylums talks which had to be postponed last November due to car problems. Dates have been added to the speaking calendar on the Events page of my website. That makes 17 presentations so far not counting the two Unlock the Past genealogy cruises in July and November (not sure how many I will be doing on them yet) and National Family History Month in August.

Yesterday I gave my first presentation for 2015 to Caloundra Family History Research group on School Days: education records for family history. They are a great group, laughed in all the right places and more importantly, hadn't really thought about how much education records can add to family history research. Most of them said they would be going home to see what they could discover on their own families. As usual I have placed the presentation on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

My AFFHO Congress 2015 interviews continue and the latest is with Mathew Trinca from the National Museum of Australia. It is only 10 weeks to Congress so before we know, we will all be meeting up in Canberra for a geneaorgy (I wonder if that will make Jill Ball's geneadictionary)?

The topic of this week's 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015, my personal genealogy blog challenge, was census records and I have made some interesting discoveries using the UK and Irish census records. Read the post here.

It really is hard trying to keep up with all the new digitised newspapers. Both Trove and the British Newspaper Archive made announcements of new titles and of course, they cover areas that I am interested in. Do I keep cataloging my library into Library Thing and reorganising and scanning my paper documents accumulated over nearly 40 years (both long term projects) or do I drop everything and see what exciting things I can find??

You guessed right! The lure of Trove was too strong but I was rewarded with an article on the retirement of my great grandfather James Carnegie. Sadly there was no image but it did talk about his career on Brisbane ferries. Thanks to the article I now know he spent 28 years on the ferries, traveled 200,000 miles, he smoked a pipe and weighed 16 stone! All things you are not likely to find in government documents and as he died before I was born, I never had the chance to know him.

These weren't the only temptations, there are always interesting links posted on Twitter, Facebook, in blog posts and the enewsletters I receive from state archives, libraries and so on. It is a wonder that I ever get anything done!


We are having a heat wave with high humidity at the moment and sweat is pouring off me as I look at the pool and the surrounding palm trees. Yes more temptation in paradise but before I can leap in, I have promised to attack the weeds that enjoyed all last week's rain. Why do weeds grow faster than flowers and herbs although the basil is looking great and it won't be long before the tomatoes start ripening. One of our beautiful hibiscus even flowered this morning. So off to do some gardening before I see some new genealogy temptation. Until next time, happy researching.


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Genealogy Notes 1-7 Jan 2015 - Off to an exciting new year

To me a new year is like spring cleaning and I know from reading some geneafriends blogs that they feel the same way as I do. For example, long time friend and library colleague Family Tree Frog summed up a lot of my own thoughts in her Resolutions, Reflections and Requiem post recently. I am not totally into the 'Do Over' but I am continuing my study tidy up which includes all my filing cabinets. My trouble is that one manilla folder of paper can generate a whole host of new questions, hours of searching on the laptop and then more time entering data or revising my draft family histories. It is a bit like Pandora's Box or is that Aladdin's Cave??

I did complete the Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2014 and once again, the questions made me remember family history discoveries during the year that I tend to forget about unless prompted. Of course a lot of my discoveries are also recorded in this Diary which is a good reason to have a family history blog. You can capture your findings while writing up your stories and sharing them with others. The best part is that Google searches blogs and some long lost cousin will find you and have exciting new information. It does happen, just ask any geneablogger!

It was good to get back into some personal genealogy blogging and Week 26 of my 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015 (carrying on from 2014) was on School Records, one of my favourite topics. I even included some of my newly scanned school photos! It was also a timely post as my first talk for 2015 is School Days: education records for family history and I will be giving that to the Caloundra Family History Research group next week. They are always a very keen and enthusiastic group with standing room only last time I spoke there. Anyone recognise this little girl on her first day of school?

As part of my study clean up there are bags of mixed genealogy magazines that I usually give away to the smaller groups that I talk to and Caloundra will be the first recipient in 2015. I find that rereading some of the older magazines or reading journals by other societies always gives me new ideas which is why I recycle my mags rather than simply tossing them in the bin. It is also a small test to see if any Caloundra members read this blog and if they find out in advance what I am planning next week. I try to convert at least one person to blogging (reading or writing) every time I talk.

There is another AFFHO Congress 2015 speaker interview with John Blackwood, a man of few words but President of the Genealogical Society of Victoria. Read my interview with John here. I still have three interviews on my lists and my official blogger colleagues Jill Ball and Pauleen Cass have also been doing their interviews. Click on the links to their names and scroll their posts to see the interviews they have been doing.

Hard to believe in three months time it will all be over for another three years, Sydney in 2018. However, I will be making the most of Congress 2015 and if you can't attend, watch out for all the social media posts as I know quite a few Geneabloggers will be there.

I have been working on finalising two more research guides for Unlock the Past and that has taken up a bit of time. I want to finish them as I have some new projects in line for 2015. I have agreed to write another Australian course for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and that is due before National Family History Month in August. Although there will be a bit of overlap there as NFHM is like a rolling project as I try to get everyone excited about it and events organised.

From March I am excited to say that I will be doing some articles and blog posts for The In-Depth Genealogist so that will be quite different. Some of the 2013 back issues of Going In-Depth are free online if you have not seen this internet genealogy magazine. Have a look here.

Sad to say I am about to send off my last article for Irish Lives Remembered after two years of writing articles for them. Time obviously does fly when you are having fun. This morning I received notice that the Jan-Feb 2015 issue of Irish Lives Remembered is online for free so have a look at that too if you have Irish ancestors.

I have four talks coming up in February so I also have to start thinking about those too, not to mention my two presentations for Congress in March. Just as well I like talking and writing.

There are so many great enewsletters out there to read as well as blogs and I can't list them all but if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook you will see some of the items I am sharing. One that is worth having a look at is GeniAus' Gems or GAGs as she affectionately calls them. It is a round up of the blogs that she has found interesting or useful.

Well my first week in 2015 was full on genealogy and tidying up but there is some housework and gardening looming as we have some more family members coming at the weekend. Although at the moment it is raining (for a nice change). Until next time, happy researching.