Friday, 13 January 2017

Mining Ancestors, Archives and Conferences - Genealogy Notes 8-14 Jan 2017

A great week with lots happening and exciting news on some new projects.

For many years I have been a fan of the Outback Family History website which is dedicated to Western Australian goldfields. Quite a few of my Queensland miners also went to the WA goldfields in the 1890s. This week the Outback Family History people sent out a news release about a new Western Australian Virtual Miners Memorial which  will be a permanent memorial for anyone who had died because of a workplace accident or from diseases such as 'miners lung' in Western Australia. All types of mining will be included.

Every mine death in Western Australia will be recorded in the database at no charge but if you want to add photographs or text there is a small fee of $15.00. This profile allows for unlimited text and up to 10 images which you can update and add to at any time through a secure log in. There is a Western Australian Virtual Miners Memorial Facebook page and the website launch is happening on 28 Jan 2017.

Foyer of National Archives of Australia,
Brisbane Office
During the week I made the trek to the National Archives of Australia Brisbane Office to look at a file. I was tempted to just order a copy but I wasn't sure how big the file was and their new price structure does make you stop and think. So glad I went as it turned out to be a rather large file with lots of wonderful information which I could copy for free with my camera. Some of the treasure included copies of a passport, birth certificate, citizenship certificate and  personal letters. The service was great and one of the other items I wanted was wrongly barcoded, and they went away and found the right item and rebarcoded it while I was going through the larger file.

On the way home I  popped into the Queensland Family History Society library and was warmly welcomed. I quickly found the book I was looking for and did my look up and then chatted to the volunteers who work on some amazing projects mostly on immigration or school records.Such a bonus for those of us with Queensland ancestors.

One of my regrets from when I lived in Canberra was that I never managed to get to one of the Galong Irish weekends - there was always something else on or I was someplace else that weekend. Now I live two states away and it is even harder to get to Galong. Sadly they are not doing any more Irish weekends but the Yass and District Historical Society has organised a Galong Conference program Whole Histories: Keeping the Stories Alive which includes some of my favourite speakers. Three days of local and family history in April, a fantastic opportunity for those living down that way.

Transmission by Death Notice,
Courier Mail 18 Dec 1939 via Trove
During the week I managed my first Trove Tuesday blog post for 2017 on Transmission by Death Notices. I have always liked them because they give  details of freehold land when someone dies and usually you had to look for them in government gazettes. Now with digitised newspapers it is easier to find and access them in newspapers.

Here on Bribie Island we had our own excitement this week with a visit from a 15th century (1480s) caravel, Notorious (not to be confused with Johnny Depp's The Black Pearl which has been seen out and about on the Gold Coast). I tried to get a photo of Notorious with the Glass House Mountains in the background to prove it really was Bribie. But the wind and the tide were determined not to let me get a broadside view.

Notorious in Pumicestone Passage
with the Glass House Mountains in the distance
Notorious' owner and builder was inspired by the legend of the Mahogany Ship from south western Victoria and I was familiar with this from my time in Victoria. It was last seen in 1886, having first been seen by Europeans in 1836. It was thought to have been a Spanish or Portuguese caravel from 1522 which is long before Captain Cook sailed up the east coast of Australia in 1770. Notorious launched in Port Fairy in 2011 and has now sailed between Hobart and Port Douglas and various ports in between. Of course it has its own Notorious Facebook page so that you can follow her adventures.

In the coming week we have family visiting and a couple of grandkids running around so I'm not too sure how much time I will get in the study. I still have to find time to finish a big writing project and a few smaller research queries to do. No doubt there will be exciting new links through social media that I will want to follow up and already I have a small pile of paper journals and magazines to read. Perhaps the family will all  want an afternoon nap! Until next time have a great week of genealogy.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Genealogy Good Habits, Geneamemes & New Records - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Jan 2017

Well the first week of 2017 went by in a flash. Last week I mentioned the nephew with the interest in family history, well he emailed and a spent a bit of time organising information to send him along with an ancestors chart and descendants report. It is so easy when you use genealogy software and email. Now I'm hoping he will come back with some information on his branch of the family.

There have been lots of genealogy announcements and the good news from the Ryerson Index to death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers from 1803 to almost the present.  There are now nearly 6 million entries in 320 newspapers but remember to check the coverage for the newspaper you want. The really good news is that they now have a new facility whereby you can search on the given name only. This should make it easier to find women with uncommon given names and you don't know their married name.  It can also help if a male has an uncommon given name. Other filters include year, state and name of newspaper.

I enjoyed participating in the Accentuate the Positive Geneameme in 2016.  Everyone should take the time to reflect on what progress you have made on the family history over the year. In some ways I'm lucky that I do this regular blog because I usually tend to include any exciting news on my own family history. I also have my SHHE Genie Rambles blog where I tend to write up some of my new discoveries although I didn't do as much family history blog writing in 2016. It was more reporting on genealogy events I attended which are also good to look back on.

The Findmypast Fridays don't always include records relevant to my research, but last Friday I was thrilled to see Ireland Petty Sessions Court Registers with over 227,700 new entries. There are now 22.8 million entries in this record series and last time I looked there were lots of references to my GG grandfather John Finn. He liked a drink, and then a fight or perhaps just a bit of swearing or disorderly behaviour. Even after his marriage and emigration to Queensland, as I have found references to him in court records here. While it's a tad embarrassing, bad boy ancestors leave more interesting records!

I subscribe to the free email newsletters from Findmypast, Ancestry, MyHeritage and FamilySearch so that I can see what new collections have been added. We are so lucky having these big companies working on giving us more access to Australian and overseas records. Remember too that Trove is adding new material and so are our state archives and libraries. Following them on social media or their blogs are great ways to keep up with what is happening there.

The Brisbane Office of National Archives of Australia
This coming week I have a planned trip to the National Archives of Australia, Brisbane office and on the way home I want to visit the Queensland Family History Library so it will be a big day out. At least in summer I can still get home in daylight, although it is good if I can miss that peak hour traffic on the highway in the morning and the afternoon.

2017 is my year of genealogy good habits and my first habit is to get into the regular practice of backing up on the first of the month. A lot of people do this and should the worst happen, you only lose one month of your work. The first of the month is easy to remember and  you can put a little reminder in your calendar/diary/phone or whatever you use.

My back up at the moment is more irregular - if I have added lots of data to my genealogy software I do a back up to a remote hard drive and I also use Backup My Tree a free online program which automatically does it when I'm online. With all my other work and emails I tend to do it at least once a month, or more often if I am working on something big and important and don't want to risk losing it. What is your back up plan?

I am finally getting to the end of the modules for the Education Records course in the Australian certificate for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Then it will be the rereading and editing stage, checking links and writing exam questions. But should all be done and dusted by the end of January.

Which will be good because I need to start focusing on National Family History Month 2017 and updating the website, seeking sponsors and finalising details for the launch in August. This year it will be in Sydney as a prelude to the AFFHO Congress, Bridging the Past & Future in Sydney in March 2018. When we were all gathered in Canberra for the 2015 Congress, 2018 seemed so far away. Now it is just next year so I hope it is in your calendars and you are making plans to attend.

Until next time, have a great genealogy week.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Getting Ready for Genealogy in 2017: Genealogy Notes 22-31 Dec 2016

2016 is drawing to a close and this is the last Diary post for the year. As usual I have been doing some reflecting on genealogy related events in 2016 and also reviewing what is coming up in 2017. Read 2016 Genealogy Reflections and 2017 Genealogy Expectations to see some of the highlights and where I will be in 2017.

The start of a new year also means the release of another year of BDMs so make sure you follow up any new clues. Most State Archives also do another year of access openings and Public Record Office Victoria put out a reminder in their blog 1 January section 9 record openings. There will be a full list of all opening on their website after 3 Jan 2017.  
Learning more about Denis Patrick Finn,
my underage AIF volunteer was a
2016 highlight.

Geniaus is also asking us to reflect on how good our 2016 genealogy year was in her annual Accentuate the Positive geneameme 2016. I haven't got to this yet but I usually do participate as the questions really make me think about everything I have discovered.

Through Facebook Thomas MacEntee gave us 10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Genealogy which is a good way to relook at your research and maybe even try something new. I've always found Thomas very motivating and posts like this do inspire. If you are not using Facebook and social media for genealogy then you are missing lots of great blog posts and other online news.

Katherine R Willson has compiled a list of all Facebook groups for genealogy including Australian sites and there are over 10,000 links. See her list here.

Here in Australia Alona is encouraging us to be part of the Genealogy and the 52 Week Challenge which aims to record all kinds of personal memories. Regular readers will recall I did my own 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 which extended into 2015 as I found it hard to keep up the weekly blog posts, illness, family issues and travel often change our priorities. Even so I think participating in a weekly or monthly blog challenge does tend to keep you more focused and inclined to blog regularly.

Max with some of his family history at the Amateur
Fishermen's Association Queensland cottage on
Bribie Island. 
Yesterday we had a nephew visit and he had never seen the family history before. Needless to say he was fascinated with all the Spencer stories, photographs, the previously unknown connection to Bribie Island and the family back in Staffordshire. Four hours went quickly and if he hadn't already booked a flight home, he might have stayed even longer. No doubt he will be emailing me soon as a lot of it is now in digital format. I still think flicking through the huge paper binder is somehow more exciting. Must be something about physically turning over the page!

Personally I'm looking forward to seeing what will be added to all the major databases online, both free and subscription. I've had some wonderful breakthroughs through indexing and digitisation and this can only increase. DNA testing also seems to be getting people excited and long lost cousins found. I will certainly be looking at more of this in 2017.

I'd like to thank all my regular readers and geneapals on various social media platforms. Through you my own genealogy research and knowledge is enriched as everyone shares their knowledge and tips. There has never been a better time to be doing the family history. I hope everyone has a wonderful year of genealogy research in 2017. Until next time