Thursday, 1 December 2016

Family History Fiction, Bendigo Petitions & Family Search Indexing - Genealogy Notes 7 Nov - 2 Dec 2016

Birthday cake courtesy Tuscan Grill on Celebrity Millenium
Funny how holidays always seem to go faster than every day life but I'm back, safe and sound from my decade changing birthday holiday. Even our cruise ship Celebrity Millenium got into the spirit of it with this personal birthday cake. It was delicious!

Three weeks without a computer, internet, phone or social media - I slept better, got more exercise and still managed to be busy most days! Only managed to read, and enjoyed, two books, both fiction but with a family history focus. Robyn Davidson's Ancestors is an interesting twist on how our ancestors can influence our lives and Victorian Purman's The Three Miss Allens throws light on challenges placed on women by society and how easily our family histories could have been changed by events. Both authors are Australian so there is an Australian flavour to both books.

Of course being totally disconnected means you come home to a small mountain of emails, enewsletters and paper journals and magazines, not to mention Facebook, Twitter and lots of my favourite blogs. There is lots of news including the National Library of Australia's announcement that Dr Marie-Louise Ayres will be taking over as the next Director General of the NLA from 2 Mar 2017. Dr Ayres is taking over from Anne-Marie Swirtlich AM who has been at the helm since 2011 and given us the wonderful Trove during that time.

Another exciting snippet that caught my attention was the news that the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre has digitised over 600 petitions from Bendigo and district residents between 1870 and 1899. Currently 284 petitions with 14,240 signatures and addresses have been indexed and are available online. The whole project is expected to be finished in 2017 with over 35,000 names. My families had left Bendigo by then but this is great for anyone with Bendigo ancestors in that date range.

FamilySearch is celebrating 10 years of web based volunteer indexing with 5.5 billion historical records now online for free. I remember this coming in while I was still at Public Record Office Victoria and we made use of it to index the wills and probates that FamilySearch were digitising in a joint PROV/FamilySearch project. The technology is amazing and such a wonderful tool for family history research. You can read the whole media release here and there is a free downloadable I Love Families images.

Vietnam's orchids rival Singapore's!
So after the technology excitement of Trove, BRAC and FamilySearch I had to order some certificates from Western Australia, something I haven't done for a while. The WA indexes are online but that is as far as it goes. To obtain copies I had to print out order forms for each certificate, hand write my details and then surface mail the forms to Perth. The copies should arrive in a couple of weeks.The only good news was that uncertified digital images are $20. With Queensland and Victoria  you can order certificates online and have the copy within seconds, although sometimes that is just an encouragement to spend more money quicker. Obviously patience is still a required genealogy skill!

On the good news front, I've received a few enquiries to speak at various venues in 2017 so the year is starting to fill out quite nicely and not too busy. This year has been quite frantic with 31 presentations which must be an all time record for me. Next year is definitely going to be more relaxed! I just have to remember to say No and factor in things like travel time.

The rest of this month is dedicated to finishing the Education Records module for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies Australian certificate. This is my fifth module in the last few years and I will be taking a break from this too as they are quite labour intensive. On the plus side I always learn a lot myself but with two cruises already booked for next year, I need to be realistic about work loads.

Singapore's most amazing building - a cruise ship on top of three hotel buildings.
We stayed at a place a little more down market!
No doubt lots of other things happened in my absence but for those interested in where I have been, read on. A few days in Singapore then off on a 14 day cruise to Vietnam (two ports - saw the Chu Chi tunnels and Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang and Hoi An), Hong Kong, The Philippines (two ports - Manilla and Boracay) and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia before heading back to Singapore for a few more days. A great trip with no drama until our flight home was delayed - supposed to fly out at 8.50pm but didn't leave until 2.00pm the next day. We were given overnight accommodation and breakfast but didn't get to the hotel until 2.00am and we didn't arrive home until 11.00pm so for two days we were like zombies!

Snowman in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia - saw them in every country
we visited. Who knew they could live so close to the Equator?
We had prebooked a transfer back to Bribie Island and when they saw the flight was delayed they made the most remarkable assumption that we would no longer need the transfer. So there was no one to meet us at the airport - obviously we had to arrive back sometime, even if it was the evening instead of the morning! Being stranded at Brisbane airport late at night is no fun and perhaps travel insurance would have covered the rather large cost of a taxi to Bribie but I recently put Uber on my phone (thankfully I took it with me in case I needed it on return). Within 7 minutes we had a Uber driver happy to take us home and the cost was quite a bit cheaper than our usual Island airport transfer. I know who we will be using next time!
Entrance to the largest shopping centre in Manilla -
time to get out our Christmas 'decs' but where to find a snowman?
Anyway it is now back to a more quiet lifestyle in the lead up to Christmas. Until next time, have a great genealogy week.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Dentists, Cornwall & Other News - Genealogy Notes 30 Oct - 6 Nov 2016

My first overseas trip in 1975
With Melbourne Cup, my birthday and getting ready for a holiday it has been pretty much a non genealogy week at least on my own family history research. I have been busy finalising some client reports so that I can go away with a clear conscious.

My December article for Going In-Depth is already there and I probably should also do the December blog post to avoid a mad rush when I get back. Remember you can see a few free issues from 2013 under the Back Issues link. There has been another Q&A for Family Tree Magazine UK and I'm always amazed at some of the brick walls people encounter.

I've also been catching up on watching the latest Australian series of Who Do You Think You Are which I have enjoyed a lot. One celebrity even has a dentist in the family and as Max comes from a chemist/dentist UK family I discovered some new places to look. The British Dental Association has an online museum and there are all kinds of fascinating things to look at and read about. Even if your ancestor was not the dentist, they may have gone to one. Did you know that toothbrushes as we know them only appeared about 200 years ago and even then they were usually too expensive for ordinary folk.

Thanks to Facebook I discovered the Cornwall Forever website and its down to fully explore when I return. It looks at the people, places, history and all kinds of other interesting facts. The current series of Poldark has also been a must watch as I imagine my own Cornish tin miners working in the mines. With the food shortages, lack of jobs and the incredible winters depicted in the series it is little wonder that so many of them came out to South Australia in the early years.

The Office view
When we moved here we decided we could live with the carpet. Four years on we still haven't managed to get it clean (must be the black sand although the beaches are white) and the original cream colour is not what it was when the house was first built. The front lounge is OK as I don't think they ever used that room and we don't either. So the four bedrooms are down to be recarpeted on our return. No big drama except that I have to move the big bookcase in the third bedroom and clean out everything in my study - bookcases, filing cabinets, desk and everything else. It's just like having to move again!

The Office view
Looking around me I can't imagine how I have managed to accumulate so much more 'stuff' since I first unpacked here four years ago. For a person who keeps saying no more books and magazines I seem to be some sort of magnet for them. Speaking of magnets, even the filing cabinets are again covered in magnets from my travels in the last few years. The rest of them are still unpacked in the wardrobe. I started collecting them when I moved to Canberra in July 1999, must have been for something to remember during the cold dark winters!

This post includes two views from my study window. And people wonder why we left down south?

There may be another Diary before I leave but possibly not as there are only three days left  and I'm still hoping for a trip up to Fort Bribie depending on the tides. After my holiday with no work, not even emails, I will be totally relaxed and looking to do some serious family history in the lead up to Christmas. I find that if I can take something along, almost like show and tell, I can get other family members to remember things.

Have a great genealogy few weeks and I'll be back soon.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Specialist websites, NAA charges & Other News - Genealogy Notes 22-29 Oct 2016

It's been a strange week - it feels like I'm on a treadmill and not going anywhere. Or a Groundhog day. Still we can't always progress in leaps and bounds.

Dorcas Trevaskis
Following up on one of my discoveries from the recent Unlock the Past expo in Adelaide, I previewed Verity's soon to be published Veryhistoric Yorke Peninsula website (stand by for the URL) as my GG Grandparents James Henry Trevaskis and Elizabeth Rosewarne married there in 1865 and my G Grandmother Dorcas Trevaskis was born there the following year. I first met Verity on an Unlock the Past cruise so she was aware of my family interest in the area and I knew that she was into One Place Studies. It is simply amazing how much she has pulled together including photographs and newspaper articles for some of the places on the Yorke Peninsula. It is a work in progress and like anything, some places have more information than others. There are also links to sites of interest for all South Australia.

Her other website Dusty Docs is also quite amazing and I had thought it was only for the UK and Ireland but there are also pages for Australia and New Zealand. Just go to the Choose a Country option and both are in the drop down menu. I always find portal sites fascinating as the compilers bring together all kinds of websites, some of which are obvious and others you would probably never think to look for or even stumble over. Of course once you start exploring unfamiliar links, there goes a few hours!

It is coming up for two years since I started writing articles and blog posts on Australasian genealogy topics for the digital genealogy magazine Going In-Depth, published by the The In-Depth Genealogist. Although published in America, it has authors from around the world so that in any issue there can be lots of interest. As usual I was behind in my reading, or even flicking through, so I was unaware that many of my articles actually make the front cover. I was quite chuffed (is that a word) and like all writers and bloggers, I often wonder does anyone read what I write. To be featured on the front cover is a tangible expression that people like my topics.

There is a six month exclusivity period with the publishers but after that I am free to do what I like with my work. So I have over 12 months of articles and blogs that I am thinking of updating (if necessary) and putting on my website for wider use. I've covered lots of Australian archives and libraries as well as some of the usual, and not so usual, genealogy topics. This has appeal as I'm not writing totally from scratch but it will also be a useful measure to see how much has changed since I first wrote the piece.

The big news this week is the increase in the National Archives of Australia's copying charges - see Fact Sheet 51 for the new prices which are effective from 24 October 2016. There has been a sharp increase in the cost of files between 11 to 100 pages which is probably a truer reflection of the costs to digitise the files. If you can visit the Archives office where the records are, you can usually use your own digital camera to take copies. However, if you can't visit, then depending on what you are researching it may be cheaper to get a local record agent or whoever to look at the file first.

Me and my baby brother
This coming week we have Halloween (yes even on Bribie Island), Melbourne Cup and my birthday which used to be the old Guy Fawkes night. Apparently Mum watched the fireworks from her hospital window before giving birth to me! I have some good early birthday memories from when you could have bonfires and fireworks in your own back yard. It was never the same after they moved it to June and then eventually banned it.

Perhaps I'm just suffering birthday blues or Mum continually telling me she can't have a ?? year old daughter is having an effect. Apparently I'm making her feel old! Mind you I'm wondering where all those years have gone too. A good reminder to get all those family stories documented now before time speeds by and our memories fade.

Have a good genealogy week and happy searching.