Thursday, 28 April 2016

More photo success, ANZAC Day blogs & other news - Genealogy Notes 22 - 28 Apr 2016

A fantastic week of new discoveries in sources previously searched but not under names I was expecting. I've always looked for variant spellings but sometimes it is hard to know if something is the right entry. And sometimes we need a little prompt to try again.

I am so glad that I went to State Library of Queensland's WW1 White Glove Experience at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum last Friday. Not only was it a chance to catch up with my old Library colleague Niles Elvery but also to see up close some of the Library's WW1 treasures. It's been a while since I have worn the 'white gloves'.
Niles Elvery Regional Coordinator
of Q Anzac 100 program
WW1 treasures on display
in regional areas
 In chatting to Niles afterwards I mentioned that I could only find one of my three Finn brothers in the WW1 soldiers portraits database which contains nearly 27,000 Queensland soldiers. He agreed that it was odd so I went home to have another look. Since last searching the database I had been lucky enough to find a photo of all three brothers in The Week, a digitised newspaper now in Trove. As usual I only searched on the Finn surname as there are not that many and as I looked at the photo of I Finn it looked very much like the photo of John Finn in The Week. Yes the I should have been a J and the error was made in 1917 at the time of publication in The Queenslander.

I was so excited about this discovery that I used it for my  post for the Trans Tasman ANZAC Day blog challenge - The Finn Brothers. Lots of other bloggers also did the challenge so have a look and maybe discover some new military tips and resources. I still have to find a good quality image of Robert Finn but at least I have images of all three now.

The Anzac Day parade and service on Bribie was bigger again this year and thankfully it was a bit cooler than last time. For most of the service there was cloud cover and not full sun. At least Max could participate in the march this year, last year he was still walking with a cane after breaking his leg in late January.

Max with his RAAF buddies
on the march
Bribie Island RSL

There is a 'we're part of NFHM' logo and I have put a copy on the Participate page of the website so that those organising events can download it. I am hoping to see lots of it in the months leading up to National Family History Month in August. When you think about it, that is only three months away!

I finished the University of Strathclyde FutureLearn free online course on genealogy. It was a well structured course and I found the six weeks went incredibly fast. While a lot of material was familiar to me there was some new information and lots of people put tips and resources in their comments. Perhaps its main benefit to me was that it inspired me to relook at some of my research and over the last few weeks I have made new discoveries and solved some old stumbling blocks.And it was free so it doesn't get better than that. There is a 'register interest' button on the website so they must be thinking of running the course again.

The History Queensland Footsteps in Time family and local history conference and fair 19-21 May 2017 website is now up. Definitely a conference to pencil into your calendars for next year! There is also an invitation to speak so if you want to be part of the program, submit your proposal before 30 August. The date's a bit tricky for me as it is also my son's 30th birthday - maybe I can pop in on my way back from the Gold Coast.

It's a rainy day here for a change so I am doing a little blog writing in between filing all my new information into my database and folders. I might pick another family I haven't looked at for a while and see what's new in Trove. That might even give me next Trove Tuesday's blog post!

Have a good genealogy week. Until next time.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Distant Cousins, Blogging Success & Other News - Genealogy Notes 13 - 21 Apr 2016

A super busy week which is why this is a little late. Mum has not been well again and there have been lots of trips up and down the highway so little chance to blog or do research. But it is amazing what you can squeeze into those spare moments.

Some months ago I discovered two divorce files for my great uncle Denis Patrick Finn, a German prisoner of war in World War One. Read his story here. There was no chance of my getting down to State Records NSW in the near future so I used the services of Marilyn Rowan who was quick and efficient. I was aware that she did NSW transcriptions but not that she also offered a document service. It was a simple matter to place my order for the two divorce files (flat fee) and within a week I had digital copies of both files (one 32 pages and the other 44 pages). Dropbox is used to deliver the files due to their size. Sadly no photographs or certificates but I did learn some new info which made me feel even sorrier for Denis.

On the way back from one of our Brisbane visits, we called in to see one of Max's first cousins, Neville Spencer - a descendant from the second marriage of his grandfather, Max is descended from the third marriage. We had never met before and the Spencer likeness was well and truly evident. We took some photos and they kindly lent me some documents to copy. I will be dropping in again next Tuesday to return their documents and to give them some of our family information. It really does pay to track down long lost cousins.

Trove Tuesday blogging is starting to get me hooked! I had a great time trying to tie up some loose ends with another one of my Carnegie families. I knew a little from family stories but not any real detail. So after a few keyword searches on names, I was able to determine the date of death of his first wife and his marriage to his second wife. Both the funeral notice and the marriage notice mentioned his WW2 service but I have never been able to find his army dossier. So this led to another search for it and the discovery of an indexing error. Read all about how I found John James Carnegie's army dossier here.

I firmly believe that one of the main reasons we can't find some people is simply because of indexing errors. This is another great example of it and of course, the trick is discovering what it has been indexed under. I love people with middle names!

In some of my spare moments I have also been trying to keep up with Pauleen Cass and her A2Z blogging challenge in April. I know others have been doing it too but Pauleen always has catchy titles  (S for Stories and Serendipity and who doesn't love serendipity) and I find myself clicking links to find out more. See Pauleen's posts here.

Thursday afternoon I gave a talk to the monthly meeting of Caloundra Family History Research - my talk Love Sex and Damn Lies went down real well. It is always surprising when people come up afterwards and say they have similar stories. I guess we all have very human ancestors. As usual my talk is on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

Tomorrow I am going to the Bribie Island Seaside Museum to hear Niles Elvery talk about and display WW1 items from the State Library of Queensland's collection. Niles and I used to work together in the John Oxley Library back in the early 90s so a good chance to catch up too.

My ANZAC Day tribute this year will be to the State Library's QANZAC100 project so stay tuned for that. It is a fantastic tribute to Queenslanders who went to WW1. It is how I found my army photo of Denis Patrick Finn but unfortunately his two brothers Robert and John were not captured in this digitisation project. I must investigate further because I would love good quality images of them all.

I still have to do Week 6 of the University of Strathclyde FutureLearn online genealogy course. It is the last week so hopefully I will catch up and finish by the end of the weekend. It has been a good course and considering it was free, excellent value.

This coming week should be a little less hectic and only one planned trip to the hospital with Mum on Tuesday . As the end of the month nears I know that my deadline for my blog and magazine article for The In-Depth Genealogist is due. That will probably focus my writing time along with the ANZAC Day blog. Have a great genealogy week!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Lots of Blogs, NFHM & Upcoming Events - Genealogy Notes 6 - 12 Apr 2016

Most of my weeks fly past in a blur but the other day I had to sit down and start planning out my movements in July and August. This is one of the busiest times of the year for me as National Family History Month starts to happen. As the voluntary coordinator on behalf of AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations) I arrange the launch and usually give a few talks throughout the month.

The launch this year is in Perth and we will have a seminar day with the Western Australian Genealogical Society. Its a long flight so it makes sense to do something else for NFHM. I am also at an all day seminar at Nambour for  Genealogy Sunshine Coast and one talk for Noosa Library Service, both north of Brisbane but I can drive to both places and return in a single day. I will also be flying to New Zealand to be part of their NFHM expo (details to come soon) so another long flight and several days away from home.

A couple of other events are under discussion and if they happen I will be the most traveled person in Australia that month! Maybe I should start eating spinach now.

It is good to see that some societies and libraries have already entered their events into the NFHM web calendar but we would love to see more events.

Last week's Diary was mentioned in Friday Fossicking with That Moment in Time. I love these collated posts as someone else has pulled together interesting blogs to read, new URLs to check out, and as Crissouli also has some Irish blogs, there is usually Irish news. Another collation post I try and read regularly is GeniAus' Gems and the post for 10 April  made me smile - it starts off 'some weeks just get away from me'. We all know that feeling. Again a nice selection of blogs to read.

For anyone who hasn't got the blog habit yet, you really should think about. Just this morning I received yet another email from a distant relative who had found my blog post and then my website through a Google search. It simply has to be the easiest way to make contact with distant relatives.

I've had various family dramas this week and have spent a bit of time travelling to Brisbane and back again. My hope of following up some of those new Scottish leads in last week's Diary has not happened yet but the file is still on my study table, in my line of sight.

This coming weekend is the Kiama Family History Centre Expo which will be good for everyone down that way. Caloundra Family History Research are having a military seminar on 2 July with four fantastic speakers including Helen Smith with her talk on the Health of the ANZACS: From Galliopoli to the Western Front which I heard on the recent Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. Unlock the Past are having a history and genealogy expo in Adelaide on 7-8 Oct 2016 which will also be good to attend. Someone should invent 'beam me there' technology!

This coming week I will be speaking at the Caloundra Family History Research monthly meeting so that's a trip up the highway plus there will be another couple of trips to Brisbane which is down the highway. Lots of drive time but fingers crossed there will also be a few moments for some genealogy research and maybe a blog post. Have a great genealogy week. Until next time.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

NFHM 2016, Scottish finds & other news - Genealogy Notes 30 Mar - 5 Apr 2016

A big week but I am happy to announce that the new National Family History Month website is up and running and we have events already from NSW and VIC. The behind the scenes is a bit different from what I am use to but gradually working it out. Much easier and quicker for me adding the events, more just an approval process. NFHM even has its own blog - read the first post here.

So technically I will have some 'free time' now that the NFHM website is finished. Despite this tempting thought I decided not to participate in the April Blogging from A to Z challenge. Many of my geneamates are doing it but I'm behind in a few things because of the NFHM website and I really need to catch up. However I am enjoying reading some of the posts so far.

Trove Tuesday was yesterday and this is another blogging challenge that I am trying to do at least once a month in 2016. It really is worthwhile because you need to think about what to search for and then write about whatever you discover. So I am using the opportunity to revisit my research. Earlier this year I focused on Herbert William White as my Australia Day Tribute 2016 so I decided to try and find something in Trove on Herbert's son Robert James White.

Herbert White is on the left and
Robert White is standing at the back, ca 1912
Robert died aged 30 years in Charters Towers, Queensland but there were not many results except notices of the filing of probate documents by the Public Curator. What I did find was an account of Herbert's death in Richmond, Queensland where Robert was working at that time. This account in the newspaper raised a number of questions about what was happening in the family in the four months between Herbert and Robert's deaths in 1924. As Trove is adding new information all the time it can really pay to revisit your searches as my Herbert William White Obituary Trove Tuesday post shows.

I am about a half a week behind now with my Future Learn beginning genealogy course  and I was catching up nicely when I was side tracked by an offer from Scotland's People of free credits at the weekend. Who can resist free and as we had been talking about Scottish records in the course I had been thinking of my own Scottish families and where I was stuck with my research. Again revisiting my research with new ideas paid off.

My GGGGG grandmother was Mary Fraser/Frazer who married James Ferrier in 1812 in Craig By Montrose in Forfar/Angus. The marriage record said both of this parish. But I had never been able to find out anything else about Mary. Common names and looking for James and Mary in the Scottish census was a bit like a needle in a haystack. This time I looked for their children as a few of the children had what looked like surnames as middle names. So Andrew Ferguson Ferrier led me to my Mary in the 1841 census. She was a 60 year old widow living on Rossie Island with two of her adult children.

In the 1851 census I picked her up again under the surname Farrier (watch those surname variants) and this finally gave me a birthplace of Pathen (although I think that should be Rathen) in Aberdeenshire ca 1783 as she was listed as 68 years old. No wonder I couldn't find her in Forfar/Angus. Her occupation is pauper and salmon net weaver and she is still living with an invalid daughter.

Mary is gone by the time of the 1861 census and a search for her death gave numerous results but none that looked like her. As registration was only introduced in 1855 she may only have a burial record but again nothing definitely her. But perhaps as a pauper on Rossie Island there is no record. Her invalid daughter is in the 1861 and 1871 census and I think that if Mary was still alive, she would have still been living with the daughter. I need to look into this more.

From only knowing her name I have now gone to knowing where she was born, a more accurate year of birth, she was widowed early, had no money, was a salmon net weaver, lived on Rossie Island and cared for an invalid daughter.  A sidetrack from my studies definitely worth doing.

Having a good time with
Caloundra Family History Research in 2015
This month I am giving a talk to Caloundra Family History Research and they are always a great group to visit. I could probably get there quicker by boat from Bribie Island but in a car I need to go out to the highway, then up the highway then turn back towards the coast. Must start looking for a new purple top (the group's colour).

The Unlock the Past 13th cruise to Papua New Guinea now has a preliminary program up for those who have been wanting to see what talks will be given during the 10 night cruise. I am giving five talks and there are a number of military talks as well as a good spread of genealogy talks. Good to see Helen Smith giving some DNA talks as I still need to understand that a bit more.

Well back to my FutureLearn course. Week 4 started on Monday so must finish Week 3.  As I have said previously, if you want the weeks to fly, enroll in some genealogy education course or blogging challenges! Until next time have a great genealogy week.