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.