Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Red Cross files, DNA talk & other news - Genealogy Notes 8-15 May 2017

A huge week with lots on and getting ready for the Footsteps in Time genealogy conference on the Gold Coast this coming weekend. Should be a wonderful time catching up with geneamates and learning heaps of new things.

Where to start? Bribie Island hosted a talk by Chris Schuetz from Queensland Family History Society on DNA last Thursday. It was a packed session with lots of questions and obviously people are interested in this aspect of family history. Chris continually reminded people that it is a tool and that it does not replace traditional research and a paper (digital) trail. Chris also recommended Kerry Farmer's DNA for Genealogists, 4th edition and see below for details.

Given my own DNA discoveries, Chris kindly lent me The Genetic Strand: Exploring a family history through DNA by Edward Ball. It is the story of the author's journey after finding locks of hair belonging to his ancestors. I have to return it at the conference so desperately trying to find the time to read it before then.

This week I received an email from the University of Melbourne Archives (sometimes I do miss living in Melbourne) telling me about a new digitised collection. In their words:

In 2016 Red Cross Australia donated their historical collection to the University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) as a ‘Gift to the Nation’. Part of this collection included the Missing, Wounded and Prisoner of War Enquiry Cards dating from World War Two to 1973. Since the transfer, UMA has been working to make all of the cards relating to World War Two available online. There are now over 58,000 cards available through UMA’s online catalogue. To find a card, just type the surname into the search box. For further enquiries, please contact UMA at archives@archives.unimelb.edu.au or 03 9035 4337. For more information about the series, see the wonderful article on our blog, ‘A Humane and Intimate Administration’: The Red Cross’ World War Two Wounded, Missing and Prisoner of War Cards by Senior Archivist Fiona Ross.

I had a look at a few of the cards and wonderful information, some cards more detailed than others. None of my WW2 people were reported missing, wounded or prisoner of war so I randomly looked at names. Most only have initials so best to search on surnames and to see the actual cards click on the PDF symbol.

John Finn, the family patriarch
from County Wicklow
Today is Trove Tuesday and I managed to do a blog post - Frederick John Finn, a sad victim of Murphy's Creek. Some of my Finn families have incredibly sad stories, not a lucky family. I'm not sure if there is anyone still with the Finn name as two sons never married after serving in WW1, one son only had a daughter, one son died without issue and the remaining son had two sons who died and the only surviving male was Daniel Finn, brother of Frederick John Finn. I have not been able to trace him since WW2 but perhaps he married and had sons. One to follow up.

Tomorrow's U3A class is all about using social media and Facebook for genealogy and family history so that should be a stimulating session. The small group works well as people can ask questions as we go.

I've seen on Facebook people posting about the last issue of Inside History Magazine. Mine must still be in the mail as they say! I hope it arrives soon but sad to know it is the last issue. Time to go back and look at all the wonderful stories and items of interest.

Not that I have a lot of reading time as my standing order with Gould Genealogy & History for Unlock the Past research guides means that I now have another three guides to read: Neil Smith has just published Australians in Peril: Tracing Your World War Two Australian Military Ancestors; Rosemary Kopittke has a 3rd edition of Scotlands People: the place to launch your Scottish research and Kerry Farmer has a 4th edition of DNA for Genealogists. All timely publications given all my news above.

Making sure I have everything I need for the Footsteps in Time conference is now the top priority. My presentation has already been sent but I also like to take a back up plus my trusty notebook (paper) and pen. My over the shoulder bag so that I can carry all the bits and pieces I pick up at the Fair on the Friday. It's only three days but there will also be the conference satchel to pack into the suitcase. Luckily I'm driving down so I don't have to watch the weight I carry back. Look out for the blog posts when I return.

Have a wonderful week researching and if you are at the conference, come up and say hello. Until next week, have geneafun!  

Monday, 8 May 2017

Irish Tour Downunder, Archives Day & More - Genealogy Notes 1-7 May 2017

There seems to be a number of overseas speakers visiting downunder over the next few months which is wonderful. First up is the Australia and New Zealand lecture tour by Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt from the Ulster Historical Foundation between 18 May and 4 June 2017. They are visiting New Zealand, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and the Sunshine Coast. To see dates and venues click here. Unfortunately for me I will be giving a four talk seminar in Coffs Harbour when they are on the Sunshine Coast. Can't go to everything!

Then there is the Unlock the Past tour with Chris Paton and and Dirk Weissleder finding European and British ancestors. They are visiting Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth throughout August - to see dates and venues click here. This is a wonderful list of events for National Family History Month (NFHM) which always occurs in August.

The Brisbane date is the day after we get back from the Papua New Guinea Unlock the Past genealogy cruise so I'm hoping that I still have the energy to make the trek back to Brisbane to hear the Chris Paton talks.

Speaking of NFHM I've also agreed to do some talks for the Sunshine Coast Libraries during August so my month is looking quite busy too. For all my speaking engagements see the Events page of my website.

But before August we also have International Archives Day 9 Jun 2017 and David Fricker, Director General of the National Archives of Australia is calling on archives around the world to be part of the celebrations. Watch out for archive events and news on 9 Jun 2017. Read more about it here.

During the week I managed to take part in Trove Tuesday with a blog post Why You Should Repeat Trove Searches. With new titles being added from time to time, it is quite possible that you will find new articles. I was quite excited by this find about my GGG grandparents when they were living in Grafton, NSW under an assumed name. It's no wonder we can't find our ancestors sometimes!

James Carnegie and Mary Finn
I also managed to write my review of Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Missing Man, the fifth installment of the adventures of fictional forensic genealogist, Morton Farrier. Read my review here. Other reviews and presentations can be found on my Resources page.

Going to the local U3A for the advanced family history classes and the local history sessions is also keeping me busy. So many people have wonderful family stories and this Friday I will be giving my Carnegie @ Pumicestone talk which is all about my GGG grandparents who settled here in the Toorbul/Bribie area in the late 1870s.

There hasn't been any time for new research and next week is the History Queensland Footsteps in Time conference on the Gold Coast. I am really looking forward to that and catching up with lots of genealogy friends.

Until next time happy searching!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Conferences coming up & other news - Genealogy Notes 22-30 Apr 2017

Wow the 1st of May already, where did April go? Time goes when you are busy and last week was fantastic with all kinds of news and events.

First was the exciting news that I have been selected to present two talks at AFFHO Congress 2018 in Sydney next year. Bridging the Past & Future will be held from 9-12 March 2018 and there is a great range of speakers and topics over the four days.  Make sure the dates are in your diary as this is Australasia's main genealogy event and it only happens every three years.

The next bit of exciting news was the invitation to speak at the NSW & ACT annual conference which is being held in Orange, NSW. My great uncle Solomon Price was born in Orange so I was doubly excited to have a reason to accept. It is on between 22-24 September 2017 and the conference theme is Your Family Story: Telling, Recording & Preserving. Registrations open today and the program should be going up this week. Something to look forward to.

Last week's presentation at Ipswich Central Library was well attended with lots of questions. One lady told me she remembered me from 35 years ago when I worked at the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland and that she still enjoys my talks. She is now 87 years old and still doing the family history which is wonderful to see. It has to be one of the best hobbies because so many of us have been doing it for so long. The passion never goes away. The talk was Warning Warning: Avoiding Common Genealogy Mistakes and as usual the presentation is on my website. Go to the Resources page, and scroll down to Presentations.

I have another presentation in June for Ipswich Libraries and next time it will be at the Redbank Plains Library. To see where I am speaking and the topic go to the Events page of my website.

My sessions at the Bribie U3A are going well and it is interesting working with a small group of people as you can focus on individual genealogy problems and factor in their interests to the talks.

The other big thing occupying my time this week is my presentation for the Footsteps in Time conference on the Gold Coast which is now less than three weeks away. The final presentation is due Friday so definitely a priority. It should be a great time with lots of interesting sessions and catching up with geneamates and making new friends.

The following weekend I am giving four talks for the Coffs Harbour District Family History Society at an all day seminar. It is a few years since I last spoke there so I am looking forward to catching up with everyone again.

So May is going to be a busy month with lots of talks and travel. There has been no time for any genealogy research or blogging as preparing and delivering presentations takes time. I'm hoping for some more free time this coming week as the other half is away on a fishing trip.

Happy researching until next time.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Outback History, Archives & Other News - Genealogy Notes 15 - 21 Apr 2017

My Ancestry DNA  profile
A big week with lots of interesting things happening. Friend, genealogist and DNA expert Helen Smith visited me in my Island paradise over Easter and helped me to understand my DNA results better. I have done autosomal tests with Ancestry DNA and Family Tree DNA and had my brother do a Y DNA test with Family Tree DNA.

If I am going to puzzle out my father's origins then I also need to get Mum and my brother to do autosomal tests too. The order is placed and hopefully they will both agree so that I can narrow down possible connections on Dad's side.

While analysing some of my top results we did find a second cousin on my mother's side. I had researched that line back in the 1970s and nobody was that interested then but now someone has done some research and DNA testing so I need to get back in touch. They are descended from my grandmother's eldest sister. So I can see how DNA can be used to locate more distant cousins. It was a very useful few hours and I really did appreciate the one on one chat about my own results. Thanks Helen.

Moya Sharp asked me to do a guest blog post on her Outback History website which I was pleased to do. Quite a few of my ancestors went to Western Australia during the 1890s gold rushes and I have found references to them on Moya's site. It is free to search and there are lots of resources for the WA goldfields. Read my blog post Queenslanders in Western Australia to get some more tips on using the site and tracing mining ancestors.

I was a bit teary when I read the proof of my last article for Inside History Magazine, although totally honoured to be part of the very last issue. As I reported last week, the Magazine is stopping publication although their website will continue with news and other information from time to time. I won't spoil the surprise of what my last article is about but I hope it generates lots of discussion.

Chocolate & wine - thanks Caloundra
My annual trek to Caloundra Family History Research to talk at their monthly meeting was as usual a wonderful afternoon. If nothing else, I should join just so that I can savour those wonderful home cooked slices they serve at afternoon tea. On a more serious note my talks was on Archives You May Not Know But Should and quite a few people said they hadn't realised there were so many archives and that they had such wonderful records. It definitely is not all online. As usual my presentation is on my website, go to the Resources page and scroll down to Presentations.

My first session as a U3A tutor on advanced family history went well and the 90 minutes went super fast. I'm not sure that an afternoon session is best as I am a morning person but it was the only time slot available. It's a keen group of people and I'm looking for this week's session too.  I will be gathering their wish list of what they want to see discussed and hopefully it can be incorporated into our sessions. I've also asked for any brick walls as actual exercises so that should be fun too.

It's a fishing weekend so I have been able to sit down and read Nathan Dylan Goodwin's latest novella The Missing Man in a single sitting. What bliss as they are usually hard to put down once you start. I haven't done the review yet but probably by next week.

Coming up this week I have the first of two talks for Ipswich City Libraries so anyone in the Ipswich area is welcome to join us at the Central Library on Thursday 27 April at 10am. It's free with details here.

National Family History Month is a bit quiet with only one society entering their genealogy events for August 2017 so far. I certainly hope we get some more participation soon. Societies who do participate usually report that they get more new members and more people visiting their premises and attending their sessions so it does pay to advertise.

Another busy week coming up with the trip to Ipswich, tutoring at U3A and hopefully writing a blog post or two. Have a great genealogy week and good luck with your searching. Until next time.

Friday, 14 April 2017

WDYTYA Speaker handouts, Inside History Ends & Other News - Genealogical Notes 7-14 Apr 2017

Happy Easter everyone. We spent yesterday helping Mum celebrate 83 years and catching up with other family members. Family occasions seem to be where you most notice the passing of the years. It has been a while since I last saw my nephew and he is now sporting a moustache and looking much older. Yet I can still easily remember him as a baby and surely he was only at school last year. Mum is talking about wanting to see a great grandchild but none of the three grandchildren look like settling down anytime soon. But then my brother and I were a bit tardy there too so we will be waiting a while to be grandparents. Every family is different but we should all be recording these family stories while we can.

Photo courtesy of Noel and Del Bergman
On Thursday I went to the Bribie Island Family History Group meeting to hear the talk on the 1865 voyage of the Susanne Godeffroy from Hamburg Germany to Moreton Bay. Noel and Del Bergman gave a fascinating talk on their research which led to a 522 book The Passage of Time: the 1865 voyage of the Susanne Godeffroy not only on the voyage but also all those on board the ship.

Some of the case studies were fascinating. Noel and Del gave some really good research advice during the talk including the following points:

  • you need to visit archives and libraries (it's not all online)
  • you need to visit cemeteries - online indexes, transcripts or photos still don't give you context of who is buried close by (and that's true for any record series)
  • you need to use more that just the usual family history resources - they mentioned some of my favourites including police gazettes (it really is staggering how many different resources there are when you see them listed in a publication).
My only regret was that I didn't have someone on the Susanne Godeffroy. If you get a chance to hear the Bergman's talk, definitely go and you can also visit their website on the Bergman/Eckersley family history. A small group of us stayed on to have lunch at the Bribie RSL and continued talking about research. A great day out.

On a sad note I received an email from Inside History magazine this week advising that the next issue will be their last. We can all appreciate how hard it must be to continually produce and publish such a quality print and digital magazine and it is a shame that it was not financially sustainable. I have been a supporter from the beginning and had the pleasure of writing many articles, blogs and expert queries for them over the years. I was especially honoured to be part of the last issue. Cassie wrote:

I would like to thank our subscribers and advertisers who believed in Inside History from the start; without your support the magazine would not have lasted as long as it did. I would like to thank our talented contributors, who generously gave their time and expertise to write for us. And to our readership, all 60,000 of you across our print, digital and social platforms, thank you for reading the magazine, and for telling us how much you loved each issue.  We’ve loved hearing your stories, how we’ve helped you overcome research brick walls, and connected you with new family members.

I would just like to say to Cassie that Inside History magazine will be greatly missed and on the positive side, it is really good news that the Inside History website will continue and be updated from time to time. They are also working on an exciting photo dating website which will be launched later this year. Sounds fascinating.

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WDYTYA 2017 - photo courtesy Alan Phillips
Who Do You Think You Are 2017 looks like it was another fun event and it is good to see the social media posts and photos even if we can't get their ourselves. I followed Alan Phillips' (from Gould Genealogy & History and Unlock the Past)  photos on Facebook. So many different exhibitors and such a large venue. It's on the 'must do' list for the future.

Of particular interest is that the handouts from the various speakers are available free on the website. While it is not as good as hearing someone's talk you can still learn a lot from the handouts. There were some interesting sessions - check them out here. You can also see 2014 and 2015 talks as well. Why not binge out on WDYTYA handouts instead of Easter chocolates?

I have been sent a review copy of Nathan Dylan Goodwin's new book The Missing Man so I am looking to find some quiet time to read uninterrupted. From what I have seen on social media, this one is another 'you can't put it down' book.

A busy week coming up with a talk at the monthly meeting of the Caloundra Family History Research, my advanced course in family history starts at the Bribie U3A and my ongoing local history course starts up again after the holiday break.

Have a safe and happy Easter, and if you do find time for some genealogy research, good luck. Until next time, happy searching.

Friday, 7 April 2017

New Wiltshire records, more newspapers coming & Other News - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Apr 2017

There is nothing more exciting than finding out about new collections online. All of the major databases have free enewsletters or blogs that alert you to what's new which can be distracting. To be honest anything would take me away from the housework at the weekend.

Findmypast announced in their Friday 7 April update that there are new Scottish Roman Catholic parish records and new Wiltshire parish records online.

My great grandfather Herbert William White (on the far left in the photograph) was from Pitton & Farley in Wiltshire. I have a few lines in Wiltshire and neighbouring Hampshire that are stuck so this was welcome news.

I've discovered a few more things but one family still eludes me in the 1841 census. I know they are there but I simply can't find them in any of the transcript/indexed sites.

Not even using approximate ages and given names only. The surname is Pragnell and that can be written in lots of different ways.

Another area where I can spend lots of hours is digitised newspapers and the list of titles coming to Trove includes the following:
  • Daily News (Tweed Heads, NSW: 1938-1940) ); [State Library of New South Wales Digital Excellence Program]
  • The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW: 1879-1906); [State Library of New South Wales Digital Excellence Program]
  • Labor Daily (NSW: 1924 - 1938); [State Library of New South Wales Digital Excellence Program]
  • Millthorpe Post (1900-1901); [Millthorpe and District Historical Society]
  • Tribune (Communist Party of Australia: 1955-1974); [State Library of New South Wales Digital Excellence Program and The Search Foundation]
  • Moreton Mail (1886-1889); [Moreton Bay Regional Libraries]
  • The Citizen (Port Adelaide, SA: Nov. 1938-May 1940); [Renewal SA]
  • The Gateway (Port Adelaide, SA: 30 Aug. 1946-29 Nov. 1946); [Renewal SA]
  • Port Adelaide District Pictorial (14 Mar. 1952-14 Jan. 1954); [Renewal SA]
  • The Progressive Times (Largs North, SA: 16 May 1949-Feb 1951); [Renewal SA]
  • Seaport News Review (21 Jan. 1954-29 Apr. 1954); [Renewal SA]
  • The Evening Echo (Ballarat, VIC: 1914-1918); [State Library Victoria]
  • The Star (Ballarat, VIC: 1856) [Ballarat Library]
  • Hamersley News (180-1987) [State Library of Western Australia]
I'm particularly excited about the Moreton Mail and the South Australian titles. Now to be patient until they are finished. 

This coming week there are meetings of the Bribie Island Historical Society and the Bribie Island Family History Group and there will be a talk on the Susanne Godeffroy which arrived in Brisbane from Hamburg, Germany in 1865. Not one of my family ships but I always enjoy hearing about different voyages. 

There are two of my own talks coming up this month in Caloundra and Ipswich so I need to finalise those talks. To see where I am speaking over the next few months visit the Services and Events page of my website. I have started writing again for Going In-Depth, an online genealogy magazine published by The In-Depth Genealogist. I had a few months off as it is not always easy coming up with articles on a regular basis. A bit like blogging.

Trove Tuesday is a regular blog challenge and this week my piece was titled Why You Can't Find Someone because I finally found a newspaper report on my great grandfather Thomas Price's accidental death. He is the dapper gentleman on the right in the photo. 

Why did it take so long to find, given that I had a date? Because it was recorded as William Price and I wasn't searching for a William! Read the post for the whole story and how I found it.

Easter is next weekend and it will be a chance to catch up with the family and celebrate Mum's 83rd birthday. Seems like only yesterday we were planning the big 80 and now the big 85 is looming. Should be a good time. Cake and Easter eggs together!

Enjoy the coming week and try and find the time to check out all the new resources coming online. 

Until next time, happy searching.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Perpetual copyright ends & Other News - Genealogy Notes 22-31 Mar 2017

I'm busy writing this as strong winds and heavy rain swirls around us and its been like that since early this morning. And it will get worse in a couple of hours - ex cyclone Debbie has to be one of the biggest storms ever to impact so much of Queensland over the last few days. I hope everyone stays as safe as they possibly can and that damage is minimal.

Perhaps the best news ever was that on 22 March 2017 the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill was introduced to the Australian Parliament. The Bill will end perpetual copyright for unpublished materials and as a result millions of historical manuscripts will be freed into the public domain on 1 January 2019.

This is fantastic news - how often have we found something in manuscript or archive collections that would be wonderful to share with others but it has been almost impossible to establish copyright. All those old letters sent to government departments or shared between family and friends decades ago. 

The Australian Libraries and Copyright Committee released a statement on the tabling of the Copyright Amendment Bill - read more about Captain Cook’s Diaries Free Thanks to Copyright Bill. Remember we just have to wait now until 1 January 2019.

Deniliquin is also famous for its Ute Muster
- our favourite from last visit
For those in western New South Wales or norther Victoria, or perhaps even Adelaide you might want to note that Deniliquin Genealogy Society is having another one of their famous Family History Expos on 13-15 October 2017. They have some fantastic exhibitors already lined up and some speakers over the weekend. I went to the first one back in 2012 and had a fantastic time. Just a pity that Bribie Island is so far from Deniliquin. Almost makes me wish I was back in Victoria.

The University of Tasmania is offering a unit entitled Convict Ancestors and it is covered by a full HECS scholarship, meaning that you will not incur a tuition fee or debt for study of the unit. See the home page for more information.
Have a look at the old woman on that page - her face has just so much character and you can't help thinking what stories could she tell.

I'm tempted to do some of their courses myself but I have just agreed to run an advanced family history course at the local Bribie U3A in second term. There will be dedicated subject areas for the first six weeks and then for the remaining four weeks we will look at Australia, England, Scotland and Ireland. We will look at topics that students suggest over the course. Should be good. I've attended local history courses but this will be the first time as a U3A tutor.

My blog writing has been a little haphazard of late and I have been asked to do a guest blog for Outback Family History which is one of my favourite sites. Anyone with mining ancestors who went to WA should really look at this site. With all the rain forecast, now might be a good time to start that. I have a number of families who chased the gold so I might write about them. Coming up with the catchy blog title is always the hardest part.

Although Trove Tuesday blog challenge comes around every week, somehow I always seem to miss Tuesday. Must be Island time but my aim is to at least write one a month so next Tuesday is now a yellow post it note on my desk!

It's a busy week coming up with a couple of trips to Brisbane, assuming all the roads are open again on Monday. There are two talks coming up in April which I have to prepare not to mention the U3A course. Maybe I should try and get more done over the next few very wet days, assuming we keep the power on. Stay safe everyone in SE Qld and good luck with any genealogy searching in the coming week. Until next time.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Female ancestors, NFHM 2017 & Other News - Genealogy Notes 15 - 21 Mar 2017

Dorcas White nee Trevaskis
March is Women's History Month and I was going to write a blog post on my great grandmothers. But as I started thinking about what to write, it felt very familiar. You know that feeling - I've done this before. On my website I have a page for My Families and under that all the family names I am researching. It is here that I link my blog posts to my family names to keep track of what I have written about. Searching under my grandmothers' names I couldn't find the post yet I was sure that I had done something similar at some point.

When in doubt, Google. I found it by searching for my own name and 'my grandmothers'. Obviously I forgot to put links to the post on My Families pages. What's even worse I only wrote it 12 months ago so my memory is also going! Read Women's History Month - My Four Great Grandmothers and I have added 'check blog post links' to my 'to do' list.

Recently a friend also commented that she had started doing reminder notes to herself and she is only a year older than me. We lead such busy lives with lots going on that you almost need them for everything, not just shopping lists. When I revisit a family that I haven't looked at for a while, I like to see that I have left a note about what needs to be done next. Or sometimes it is good to relook at everything. I do that all the time with Trove and last time I turned up some interesting snippets on distant cousins. Everything from car accidents to petty court appearances - not just births, deaths and marriages.

I'm happy to say that we seem to have the National Family History Month web calendar working again so it is now open for anyone to add their events for August 2017. The Genealogical Society of Queensland were first off the mark and I hope lots of other societies, libraries and archives add their events to the calendar. The major sponsors this year are Ancestry, Momento and MyHeritage as well as our Prize Sponsors and our major sponsors are also offering prizes.

Heading to Queensland State Archives tomorrow to do some research and hoping that no one asks me if I like their new website. I don't and it took ages for me to find what I wanted. There are some records relating to my great grandparents Thomas and Elizabeth Price that I really want to find - but it is correspondence in a top number system so only hope that I can track it through and that the correspondence is at the end of the search. A few other bits and pieces on microfilm to occupy me while I wait for records to be retrieved and I must remember to take some food with me this time. You can drive up to the shops for lunch but that all takes time and I try to maximise my time with the records.

My brother and I many moons ago!
Easter is fast approaching and it will be Mum's 83rd birthday. Seems like only yesterday we had the 80th birthday party and I did my Powerpoint presentation on Mum's life. It will be a chance to catch up with all of the family again so I'm thinking about putting together another slide show of early family photos as the kids (really all adults now) love seeing their parents as youngsters!

There is not much on my agenda next week now that I have sorted out NFHM so perhaps I will get to do some family history research. Time to blog a few more family stories too. Until next time, have a great geneaweek.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

St Patrick's Day, NZ conference & Other News - Genealogy Notes 8-14 Mar 2017

Well it was another week of geneaenvy when I discovered via Facebook that quite a few geneamates are heading for Auckland for the New Zealand Society of Genealogists conference in June. I have been to quite a few of their conferences and expos over the years and they are always good value. Dick Eastman is again on the program, he must like going to New Zealand and who wouldn't, and Judy Russell who I first met in person on an Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. You could easily sit and listen to Judy talk all day. There are other speakers and some great topics so check the program out here. I'm seriously tempted to go but I already have one geneaconference on the Gold Coast in May, plus the geneacruise to Papua New Guinea in July and lots of talks lined up in August for National Family History Month. So lots of exciting things already in my calendar.

With regard to National Family History Month we are still trying to fix the bug in our events calendar so it is a slow start to promoting it this year. But I can't really ask for events when last year's are still showing as current. Hopefully we will work out a solution soon. In the meantime I now have 8 talks during August and this will probably increase as I still need to find an event for the drawing of the sponsor's prizes at the end of the month. Stay tuned.

Another exciting event is Chris Paton (British and Irish research) returning to our shores in August and he will be touring with Dirk Weissleder (German research) as part of an Unlock the Past tour. Check out the tour dates here. They will be visiting Brisbane, Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth so lots of people will get the chance to see them. The issue for me is that the Brisbane event is the day after I get home from the Papua New Guinea cruise. Can I zip off again after returning home for only one day?

My great grandmother, Mary Finn
daughter of John Finn and Sarah Fegan
St Patrick's Day is coming up on 17 March so I will be celebrating my Irish ancestry - two great great grandparents, John Finn and Sarah Fegan from County Wicklow. My St Patrick's day blog post last year was about them and rereading it I'm surprised at how much more I have learnt about the family in a year. I recently saw a photograph of Sarah Fegan for the first time and I'm eagerly waiting for my cousin to send a copy. So until I get that, I won't update the blog post. Read how I traced my Finn and Fegan families in County Wicklow here.

Findmypast are making their entire Irish collection free until midnight 17 March (GMT) so that is a fantastic chance for people to look for any Irish ancestors. Read more about the offer here. Don't miss out.

There is so much happening in the genealogy world that it is hard to keep up with all the news,even spending time on social media only scratches the surface. To help myself keep up to date I have offered to do an advance class on family history at the local U3A in Term 2. They have been running a beginners course for years and students want to progress to beyond the basics. It should be challenging but with a smaller group you can focus on what people want to know about. Plus I will be able to learn from them too.

Finally one of my favourite authors, Nathan Dylan Goodwin has published another novella in his forensic genealogist series, The Missing Man again starring the fictional Morton Farrier. I have loved all the previous books, very hard to put down once you start, so I am looking forward to reading this latest adventure.

This coming week will be mainly finishing some research enquiries, attending the local history class at  U3A and catching up on my journal reading, both paper and e-journal. The paper ones are piled up on the floor and quite visible while the e-journals are out of sight which is not a good thing for me. I need to set a dedicated time to read everything that comes in, at least once a week.

Have another good week of genealogy researching and if you can attend any of those genealogy events listed above, enter the dates in your calendar now. Personal networking with others is one of the best ways to learn and have geneafun.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Presentations, heritage walks & other news - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Mar 2017

February is always a short month and hard to  believe that we are now in autumn.  Still some high temperatures here, blue skies and no rain so it still feels very much like summer.

Last Saturday's seminar with the Queensland Family History Society on Family History on the Cheap was very successful. There has been some wonderful feedback on the three presentations I gave with most people saying that they had not realised there were so many websites to research. Because I cover so much in my talks I have again placed the presentations on my website so that attendees can go through them at leisure. I find that it is just too hard to write down URLs and listen/watch a presentation. I also find that just having the URLs in a handout is not quite the same as having a visual image of what the speaker was talking about. Attendees seem to appreciate that they can see the talks again. To see the presentations go to the Resources page of my website and scroll down to Presentations.

My GGG grandmother's bible
A distant cousin was also at the seminar and she had found my research on the family by using Google and discovering my blog posts. Blogging really is cousin bait. We met up a while back and she came along this time with a photograph of my GGG grandmother Sarah Fegan from Glasnarget, County Wicklow, Ireland.

It was fantastic to see the original photo in its original frame and I am now looking forward to receiving a copy of the photograph. It is the same distant cousin who shared Sarah's bible with me. Now I know what she looked like as well as handwriting. It definitely pays to contact distant relatives because you just never know what has survived in families.

One of the changes while I was away was that both Queensland State Archives and Public Record Office Victoria have changed their websites. Although they both say their websites are now easier to use, I can't seem to find anything anymore, even reading the new instructions. I am still having difficulty with the New South Wales State Archives & Records website which changed last year so I'm not overly happy. I'm not sure what testing they do but it can't be with regular users because I'm not the only one grumbling.

Unlock the Past and MyHeritage have just announced a tour and genealogy conference in Israel which sounds interesting. They have even set up a website for Holy Land 2017 Tour & Genealogy Conference in late October. Two of my favourite speakers, Caroline Gurney from the UK and Judy Russell from the US are keynotes so I'm tempted but I've got the  Unlock the Past Papua New Guinea genealogy cruise coming up in July. As I keep telling myself, you can't go to everything!

Last week I said that I would be making changes to the National Family History Month website for 2017.  This is where I discovered that there is a bug in the events calendar and I have been trying to find a way to resolve it. I've made some text changes to the site but ignore any events as they are all 2016 even though they are showing as 2017. I manually changed some but can't do that for all 2016 events so I am still looking for a quicker way or a solution to the bug. Stay tuned!

Deception Bay heritage walk
I did a heritage walk at Deception Bay with the local U3A Bribie local history group. I thought it was only going to be a couple of hours and it ended up over four hours with a break for refreshments. The local council have put heritage plaques along the walk but we were lucky to have two long term residents with us and they told us lots of other stories as we did the walk.

They were so knowledgeable and such good story tellers the time went quickly but it was incredibly hot and humid with not a lot of shade. Local history really does complement family history. Also nice to see that Moreton Bay Regional Council has put all its heritage walks online.

This coming week will include a couple of research requests, working on my Inside History Magazine article and continuing with my new research guide. Lots of writing and research if I don't get distracted with look ups on my own family names as I go.

Until next week, happy researching.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Genealogy Seminars Coming Up & Other News - Genealogy Notes 4-28 Feb 2017

Traditional fabric making, Dili, Timor-Leste
Well finally home from the holiday (highlights at the end of this blog post and photos to tempt you to read further) and catching up with all the news. I have just said yes to seven more talks in 2017 - one in June for the local Bribie Island Family History Group and six for Moreton Region Libraries during National Family History Month.

The list of where I am speaking in 2017 has been updated and is available on the Events & Services page of my website.

Speaking of National Family History Month I have heard from a few more sponsors and I will be updating the website in the next few days. It's a little nerve wracking as this is the new website and I just hope I can remember how everything works. It is quite different from my other websites so wish me luck.

Inside History Magazine have asked me to write an article on a very interesting and challenging topic. Looking forward to it but the deadline is a fairly tight - two weeks. I find deadlines useful as it helps to focus priorities and my main priority this week will be finalising my three talks for the Queensland Family History Society seminar this Saturday 3 March. The talks are all based around different aspects of my research guide Family History on the Cheap. Should be a great day and an opportunity to catch up with friends too.
World War 2 war memorial, Dare, Timor-Leste

For those in Adelaide or those who want an excuse for a weekend away in Adelaide, Unlock the Past is running a two day seminar on 5-6 May 2017. Titled Exploring and Writing  Family and Local History there are nine speakers, eight local plus Kerry Farmer from Sydney. As well as looking at writing family history, there are topics on DNA, immigration,  oral history, military ancestors, historical photos and more. Check out the program here.

I'm already going to the Queensland conference Footsteps in Time in May otherwise I might have been tempted to zip over to Adelaide. The UTP expo in Adelaide last year was really good and worth the trip. Can't go to everything!

Now for a few words on the latest trip which ticked a few items off the bucket list. Cruised out of Brisbane and up the Queensland coast to Port Douglas (a bit weird sailing past Bribie Island) then on to the top end of Queensland. I'd always imagined it was a pointy bit of land but it really is a whole series of islands which seem to go for a long way. Torres Strait is really quite narrow in places so a fascinating area to see and it makes me wonder how those early explorers and later immigrant ships ever found their way through the Strait and then down the Queensland coast with all those coral reefs everywhere.

Then to Darwin where we caught up with family before heading to Dili, Timor-Leste. Here we saw some local markets, cultural dancing and visited the WW2 memorial to the Australian and Dutch soldiers.  I didn't know that Timor was invaded by the Japanese the same day they bombed Darwin. Next stop was the highlight of the whole trip (for me) a visit to Komodo Island, a world heritage site and the home of the famous Komodo dragons.

These amazing animals wander freely around and have right of way on paths and given that they are carnivorous I can't imagine why you would want to challenge them. Local guides are all around to ensure people's safety but all they have are wooden staffs so definitely best not to upset a dragon. We even saw a baby one but as soon as it saw us it scooted back into the bush.

The start of the crossing of the Equator ceremony
The next port was Bali a place we always like to visit, do some shopping and eat some amazing food.

Crossing the Equator by ship has a long established ceremony which was interesting to watch, if a little messy. How they got people to volunteer to be part of it amazed me, but then those people are now in everybody's photos of the event!

We were even given a crossing certificate signed by the ship's captain and King Neptune, and who knew he was a merman. The things you learn travelling.

The skywalk at the Gardens by the Bay  
Singapore was the final port and we had a few more days there with the highlight being a visit to the Gardens by the Bay (doesn't sound much but truly spectacular) and we also visited Chinatown, did a river tour and dined at Clarke Quay. We stayed at Boat Quay, which was easy walking to Chinatown not to mention an almost endless stream of restaurants/cafes on the river either side of the hotel. Amazingly most of them were super busy for the three nights we were there. No one must eat at home!

While I love travelling it is always good to be home and I'm looking forward to a great genealogy year in 2017.

By next Diary I hope to be back doing some of my own research and blogging the family stories.

Until next time, happy researching.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Talks coming up - Genealogy Notes 29 Jan - 3 Feb 2017

This week is a bit short as I am about to leave on holidays and will be largely off the radar.

Most of my time has been spent contacting sponsors for National Family History Month August 2017 and I had hoped to have this finalised but not yet. It always takes a while and often sponsors are waiting for budget updates, meetings to discuss and everything else that goes with sponsorship. I'm excited that most of our sponsors from 2016 have already agreed to sponsor again.  When I return the NFHM website will be updated and societies and other organisations will be able to start entering their events from March 2017.

My conference paper for the Footsteps in Time conference in May 2017 was submitted on time. I am now registered and I even signed up for the two workshops on DNA - Beginners and Advanced. That cuts into the time I have to spare at the Friday Fair but should be good and help me to understand my results more.

My first seminar for 2017 is fast approaching with three talks based on Family History on the Cheap with the Queensland Family History Society. It is on 3 March and should be a good day.

Rootstech 2017 is about to start so watch out for posts on Twitter and Facebook from the Aussie contingent over there. They have snow and it seems to be cold. Where I'm going is hot although I can't imagine anywhere hotter than Queensland at the moment. It is has just been blue cloudless days with full sun forever and I can't even remember what rain is like.

The poor garden will suffer but we have topped up bird baths and given everything a good drink. Hopefully there will be some rain while we are gone.

Until my return happy searching. 

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Australia Day blogs & Other News - Genealogy Notes 22 - 28 Jan 2017

Some weeks fly past and with visitors in the house usual routines get left behind. We all went to Australia Zoo and it has become a lot bigger since I was last there. But then that was quite a few years ago. I could watch giraffes all day and the tigers are majestic and it was good to see the three tiger cubs all playing together in the pool with the trainers. I was a bit disappointed with the crocodiles but when you have seen crocodile shows in Darwin and Far North Queensland this was a little tame.

My Trove Tuesday blog post was Funeral Notices and Odd Fellows. My GG grandfather James Carnegie was an Odd Fellow and the only way I found out was from his funeral notice.

My intention to do an Australia Day blog post never happened but there seemed to be fewer this year. Perhaps we were all out and about. Geniaus did a round up  and you can read them here. I always enjoy Jill's list of blog posts to read and I have noted that she has promised to organise an Australia Day geneameme in 2018. I look forward to the challenge.

I always like reading my Lost Cousins enewsletter and the latest issue reports that Ancestry have now surpassed 3 million DNA kits so obviously DNA is going to be one of the big trends for 2017. I wonder what the stats are for MyHeritage and FamilyTree DNA. I still haven't had any direct matches although there are a few where we are connected, but haven't worked out yet what the connection is.

During the week I was reminded of the Internet Archive which is more than just lots of free digital books, movies and music. One of my favourite parts is the Wayback Machine where you can see earlier versions of some websites. It has been archiving my website since 2009 and I now realise it has been  capturing this Diary blog since 2011. It is really useful if a website has disappeared or content has been removed and there is a saved copy in the Archive.

A blog that caught my attention via a Facebook post was Gympie Regional Memories as I have lots of Gympie families.  There is even an interactive street map of Gympie with lots of the streets flagged and a short history of why they were named. Lots of old pioneers and information on some of the old mines.

This week I have to get a copy of my conference paper to the organisers of Footsteps in Time as they are publishing the papers. It seems ages away but May will be here before we know it. I also completed my registration and booked accommodation so I'm all set. Early bird registration closes on 1 March 2017.

There will also be lots of social media posts from those enjoying themselves at Rootstech. Quite a few have already arrived and lots of snowy shots of Salt Lake City. It's hot and muggy here and it is ages since it rained more than a light shower. Time for a swim. Until next time, happy researching.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Writing family history, genealogy events & other news - Genealogy Notes 15-21 Jan 2017

Transmission by Death notices
are good for discovering freehold land ownership
With visitors in the house it's not that easy to spend time quietly on the laptop pleasing oneself. I managed to write a Trove Tuesday blog post but was then persuaded to go swimming. By the time we came back I had forgotten that I hadn't published it. At least I won't have to worry about writing next Tuesday's post. To be realistic I think managing two posts a month is more manageable. My first Trove Tuesday's blog on transmission by death notices here if you missed it.

Some of my geniemates have already arrived in Salt Lake City for Rootstech so I'm a little envious. Although all those photos of snow on Facebook aren't doing a lot for me, but then neither is this incredible steamy heatwave we are having at the moment. Looking forward to more Facebook and Twitter posts about Rootstech  as it gets closer (8-11 February). Although I will be overseas then and miss most of it.

Finally managed to do my review of Carol Baxter's two books - Writing Interesting Family Histories and Writing and Publishing Gripping Family Histories, two companion works to help those wanting to write up their family stories in an interesting way. Read Writing Up The Family History With Carol Baxter.

Unlock the Past have a mega event coming up in National Family History Month in August. Chris Paton (Scotland) and Dirk Weissleder (Germany) are doing a 7 city Australian and New Zealand roadshow. I don't have any German research but I will probably make the trip to Brisbane for Chris Paton's talks. Read more about it here.

My GGG grandmother's handwriting from a distant cousin
Smart matching and handy hints seem to be all the go with many of the genealogy databases at the moment and to be honest I find most of them a distraction. Some are obviously not related and you wonder why they have come up as a match. Others are really obscure and while I'm all for contacting distant cousins as I have been sent some wonderful family treasure, some connections are just too obscure for me. The one that has me truly puzzled is  where the person is my grandmother's sister's partner's sister in law's grandmother. I don't even think that is a blood relation but then I must admit it has me confused.

We all love free stuff and I was reminded that GenEbooks often have a free download and I have got quite a few genealogy ebooks that way. This month's free offer is Etiquette in Australia 1902 by Mrs Erskine and I love these kinds of books which tell you how things used to be. Thankfully we don't have to dress up to go to the shops anymore! But I do miss some of those other manners and behaviours of the past.

Life will get back to normal from Australia Day, which reminds me I should do an Australia Day blog post. Which family to choose to write about? I've just done a Google search to see which ancestors I've written about previously (see the advantages of blogging) and I can't see one for my earliest ancestor born in Australia. So stay tuned for her story.

Have a great genealogy week and here's to some wonderful discoveries. Until next time, happy searching.

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.