Monday, 30 December 2013

Genealogy notes 22-31 Dec 2013 final thoughts for 2013!

Christmas at Mum's place was voted the best in years - we managed to have all the family present, the kids (now all adults) plus the adults all got on, our small gifts to each other all hit the mark and showed a lot of thought in the selection and we didn't overeat or drink. Mum was even convinced to turn the air con on! This is really similar to other years so I'm not sure why we all felt that it was the best but I do have some nice photos of everyone around the table having a good time.

Since then we have been busy catching up with friends on Bribie Island and taking delivery of our new boat and taking it for a spin or two. I'm very pleased and proud to say that I was the first to catch a fish in it too! It's going to get a lot of use once some of the tourists and holidaymakers return home. Pumicestone Passage is always busy this time of year.

We've also started to re-landscape the back garden and putting in some new plants. It's all hard work but once we have the gardens looking the way we want we can sit back and relax (or do our hobbies without feeling too guilty).

I haven't done too much genealogy but I did realise that I had forgotten to mention that National Archives of Australia has a new research guide - Commonwealth Government Records about Tasmania which will be launched and available in late January 2014. It is compiled by old friend and colleague Michael Piggott. I've been sent an advance review copy but so far I haven't had time to do more than flick through the pages but it looks good.

Module 3 of my Connecting with Families course with the National Institute of Genealogical Studies was easier than I thought it would be as I already use timelines as part of my normal genealogical research but I wasn't aware of some of the website tools so I will spend a bit more time looking into them. The other major focus of the written assignments was gravestones, another area that I have done a lot of work in. But again I was surprised by websites that I hadn't come across before, although some are just American focused - I should look at them for my Norwegian ancestors who went to Minnesota in 1851. Module 4 is next and then the exam - all to be finished by 19 January!

I also found time to do My Genealogy Aspirations 2014 which included a review of my 2013 aspirations and as yet I haven't participated in Geniaus' Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2013 blog challenge. I did her 2012 challenge and I always find it surprising how much genealogy I have done when I think about the questions Jill poses in the Geneameme. So that will be an early 2014 blog challenge!

As I indicated in my Aspirations I want to get back to writing blogs about my families and other genealogy topics so I have been working on my own blog challenge that reflects my archival background. It's not easy coming up with 52 topics that involve genealogy, archives and records but I have a list of sorts and I'm hoping to kick that off during the first week of 2014 and then every week thereafter. The other hard part is coming up with a catchy name for it! Wish me luck.

Tonight is New Year's Eve and we have booked into the local bowls club for their dinner/dance so that should be good. We decided to skip the fireworks this year and as it seems to be threatening to rain, perhaps that was a good idea. I hope everyone has a terrific 2014 genealogy year ahead of them and that we all progress our research or at least learn a little more about our ancestors. Until next time.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Genealogy notes 15-21 Dec 2013 exciting news

You would think that in the lead up to Christmas (only 4 days away now) things would slow down but I've had two bits of really exciting news in the last few days as well as the usual genealogy news! I was thrilled to receive a request from the National Library of Australia to archive this blog in their web archive Pandora. I talk about Pandora (accessible through Archived Websites in Trove) in my talk Genealogy Treasures of the National Library of Australia and I've been a big fan of it for years. It also saves me from having to archive it myself which is really good!

Then I received an invitation from Unlock the Past to be part of their 6th genealogy cruise which is three nights out of Sydney (virtually a genealogy conference at sea) and there is an optional five day Norfolk Island extension post cruise. We went to Norfolk Island a few years ago to be part of the 200th anniversary celebrations of the closing of the first settlement and the removal of everyone to Tasmania. We have often said it would be nice to go back again so 2014 looks like the year this will happen.

I've now put the dates and places I am speaking at between January to June 2014 on the Services and Events page of my website. There are seven talks with the Moreton Bay Region libraries as well as seminars with the Genealogy Society of Queensland and the Queensland Family History Society plus the 4th Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. I've been busy working on my five talks for that as it is now only six weeks away! How exciting. The Bribie Island Historical Society have also asked me to talk about my Carnegie family who settled on Pumicestone Passage in the 1870s - I find myself thinking about them a lot, especially when I'm walking along Banksia Beach and look across the passage to where they lived back then.

The National Archives of Australia celebrated International Migrants Day on Twitter and Facebook (18 December) and they are looking for stories from migrants who came here post World War Two for their new exhibition A Ticket to Paradise. NAA are asking people to relate their personal experiences of migrating to Australia after WW2 - the journey, the arrival, staying in hostels, their first jobs, how they fared, how they established communities and so on. If this interests you, send some details to by 31 January 2014.

I received the 3rd edition of the Family History Journal from the Queensland Registrar of BDMs and it seems that during 2013 they added 95,000 images to their website. A list of what is now available is on the family history page of their website - see here. The quarterly newsletter is free and a great way to keep up with all the new releases if you have Queensland research interests.

With family visiting this week (son, daughter in law, granddaughter and not quite 2 year old grandson) I haven't been able to get into Module 3 of my Connecting with Families course with the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. But fortunately in the spirit of the season they have given us an extension of time and I will be able to get back into it tomorrow after the family fly home. It is amazing how fast time flies, it seems like they only arrived yesterday and now they are getting ready to go home. At least they missed all those really hot temperatures in Adelaide this week! Queensland has been really beautiful with low temps and humidity and the kids really loved the pool and all the birds that visit us.

In December 2012 I wrote about my Genealogy Aspirations for 2013 and it is interesting to look back on what I thought I would focus on during the year. I am happy to say that progress was made on all of them plus there were other successes that came up as a result of new record releases and new digitised material online. What ever did we do before Trove? I am now pondering what my 2014 aspirations will be so stay tuned.

We are spending Christmas with my family in Brisbane so that will be good to catch up with everyone - so much easier when everyone is in the same place! Then we will be farewelling 2013 a huge year for us and welcoming 2014 which should be much easier, at least we have no plans to move house again! I hope all my readers have a safe and happy Christmas with their families. There will be one more Diary blog for 2013 so until next time, happy researching everyone.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Genealogy notes 4-14 December 2013 - Genealogy learning online & other news

So much for getting back to normal, I should have remembered that December is the month for lots of distractions. Christmas parties at the local historical society and the family history group made me realise that just about everyone on Bribie Island is either doing their family history or interested in doing it. I even made contact with someone who may be able to give me some photos of a family for whom I have no photos whatsoever. Fingers crossed!

I also realised that I had signed up for my free online genealogy course with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS) on Connecting Family: Online and Virtually. I picked December as I knew that I would be home for most of the month but the first two modules were already underway before I opened up my online briefcase. Fortunately they were both fairly easy and things I have already done or am currently doing so I could catch up very quickly. Module 3 is where it starts to get more new and interesting for me so I'm looking forward to that next week.

Also next week, on 18 December, is International Migrants Day and the National Archives of Australia are asking people to contribute their migrant stories for an exhibition. They are looking for contributions from now until 31 January 2014. I'll have more info next week and will be sending some tweets and links etc.

More good news and this time from the Queensland Registrar of BDMs. They have released AIF deaths abroad for World War One with 9169 records and Registrations of Death on the War Service Act 1942 (World War Two) with 4905 records. It's really sad when you look at those numbers and realise that is only for Queensland. So many families were impacted by the wars. have brought back Family Tree Week - every day between 26 December and 1 January they will be sharing hints and tips on starting your family tree and making the most of their records. As I have been doing my family history for the past 36 years you may be wondering why I would even participate in beginner level activities. So much has changed over the last four decades (scary thought) plus it is always good to go back and revisit your research or look at different aspects of it. Christmas is often the time when we catch up with family members so remember to ask see all those old photo albums and whatever else they have hidden away at the back of cupboards.

As always I was pleased to see the December issue of Irish Lives Remembered as it is a great free online Irish genealogy magazine but this month the focus is on Armagh records. My great great grandmother Maria Jeffers was from Portadown County Armagh and I've never really been able to trace her family back, but I always live in hope. So I will be having a close look at that article over the holidays.

I've also been busy writing a piece for Inside History Magazine, another one of my favourite genealogy magazines and Moreton Bay Region Libraries have asked me to do eight talks early next year on Google Tools and Online Newspapers. Once the dates and places are confirmed I will put the details up on my website under the Events tab so watch out for that in the next week or so.

The other thing that I must start working on is finalising my talks for the 4th Unlock the Past genealogy cruise which is now only about seven weeks away. I'm doing five talks and some of them are totally new talks and the others updated versions of my popular talks. I'm getting excited as it will be great listening to Chris Paton again and I'm a fan of Thomas MacEntee so hearing him in person will be fantastic. One of Thomas' many interests is Hack Genealogy and there are all kinds of free and interesting resources on that website. As it is an Australian cruise I should be able to do Diary blogs on board (when in port) assuming there is a little spare time to write. It looks a full program!

We are off visiting friends this weekend and next week we have Max's son and his family staying with us for eight days. It will be strange for us to have children in the house for that long a period, especially a two year old so we have been trying to make the house a  little more child proof and of course, lots of Christmas decorations and lights.

Most of our Christmas preparations are done although I do have to finalise some Christmas cards for those relatives not online. I'm still not sure where 2013 went but it's been a big year and 2014 is looking like another great year (minus the big house move). I hope everyone else is preparing to enjoy the festive season and catch up with their families and loved ones. Until next time.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Genealogy Notes 19 Nov - 3 Dec 2013 - travelling in ancestral footsteps again

Regular readers will be wondering where I have been the last fortnight but we decided to take a holiday, and like all my holidays there is a genealogy motive behind it. As well as being a genealogy addict, I may have to confess to being a cruise addict (even beyond the genealogy cruises run by Unlock the Past).

We went on an 11 day cruise of the Queensland coast starting in Sydney with stops at Newcastle, Cairns, a cruise by Willis Island in the Coral Sea destroyed by Cyclone Yasi but being rebuilt, Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, Brisbane and back to Sydney. Now why would a Queenslander want to do a Queensland trip and visit their home city, Brisbane?

While I do have ancestors who arrived in other colonies, quite a few of my families came direct to Queensland and they sailed down the Queensland coast and I have often wondered what they thought as they got closer to their new homes. This was a chance to follow that same route.

Visiting Sydney and Circular Quay always makes us think of our convict ancestors and Newcastle also has a genealogy interest for me. My convict ancestor Richard Walker's daughter Maria Walker married Alfred Hill Austin who in 1844 was Harbour Master and Pilot at Newcastle. Alfred left that position in 1846 and I haven't found where they went too. Their story was part of my thesis for the Diploma of Family Historical Studies with the Society of Australian Genealogists in 1992 and that was over twenty years ago! As we traveled in Newcastle's historic tram to the old lighthouse and harbour area I resolved to revisit this as perhaps now I will be able to establish what happened to the Austin family.

From Newcastle it was a two day cruise to Cairns - I knew it was a long way as I have flown and driven to Cairns many times (a father in law used to live there in the 80s). This gave us a chance to enjoy the comforts and entertainment on board Rhapsody of the Seas which is smaller than Voyager of the Seas which we travelled on for the 3rd Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. I enjoyed the smaller ship, less chance of getting lost, and while I thought I would miss genealogy lectures I still found plenty to do on the days at sea.

The two days in Cairns we spent in the city itself, an easy walk from the cruise terminal. However others took advantage of the tours to the Great Barrier Reef and the Atherton Tablelands, the Kuranda Railway and even Port Douglas. We did however tour a trip around Cairns Harbour, the Inlet and Wetlands on That's Awesome to see the mangroves and perhaps a crocodile or two (no luck that day but do you really want to see them so close to Cairns)? My family connection to Cairns (apart from the father in law) is John Finn, my great grandmother's brother who went to WW1, came home and moved north to work as a cane cutter before finally dying in Cairns. He never married and I've always wondered if his war experiences led him to move so far from his family in Brisbane. Read his story here.

The next stop was Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, another area that I have been to numerous times over the years. This time the family connection was more personal, in fact my own history. My first ever travel trip was in 1971 and it was a school group tour to North Queensland including Cairns, the Tablelands, Townsville, Rockhampton and the Whitsundays. Back then we spent a couple of days out on Daydream Island and I have always been fascinated by islands (we've even been to places like King Island in Bass Strait, Norfolk Island and of course we now live on Bribie Island). So the cruise also reawakened a lot of my early personal travel memories.

From Airlie Beach it was another two day trip back to Brisbane and it seemed a long way to us, so it must have been even further for my various ancestors who travelled down the Queensland coast in a sailing ship way back then. Herbert White disembarked in Townsville, Anders and Aose Gunderson disembarked in Maryborough sadly without their two sons who died on the voyage, my Irish ancestors Adam Johnston, Maria Jeffers and John and Sarah Finn all went to Brisbane at various times. See Letters Home - My Irish Families.

But it was my Scottish ancestors who I was thinking about most as we approached Brisbane. John and Helen Carnegie eventually settled at Toorbul near the Glass House Mountains (and Bribie Island) and I was interested to see that area from sea as the only way into the port of Brisbane is to sail between Bribie Island and Moreton Island. As luck would have it, we woke about 3.30 am and a look out the porthole showed what looked like the lights from the Sunshine Coast. If that was the case we were arriving much sooner than the 6.00 am we had set the alarm for.

Hastily dressing we raced up to the top deck in time to see the Glass House Mountains (named by Captain James Cook when he sailed past in 1770) opposite and we could easily see Woorim, the ocean side suburb of Bribie (thank goodness for no daylight saving in Queensland, it was already light at 4 am). We then zig zagged down the shipping corridor and it was fascinating to see the wrecks on Moreton, Tangalooma, and Redcliffe on the mainland side. Due to the ship's size it had to dock at the Fisherman Island cruise terminal and not the usual cruise terminal further up river at Hamilton.  We took the opportunity to visit old friends from Darwin who have recently bought a river side apartment in the Brisbane CBD and after a great lunch, they took us back to the ship. On the way out of port we sat up on the top deck and watched the ship sail past Bribie Island while our friends on the Island flashed their car lights so we could see them fare-welling us!

From there it was another full day at sea before arriving back in Sydney and the plane trip back to Brisbane. As I said earlier I wanted to think about what it was like for my ancestors sailing down the Queensland coast (although they didn't have onboard shops, casino, swimming pools etc). Shipboard diaries and newspapers can help us build up an image of what the trip was like and this desire to know was the reason behind my first ever guide with Unlock the Past - What Was the Voyage Really Like? I think I have a much greater understanding now and I'm really glad I did the cruise.

I also took the time to have my yearly break from all e devices (no mobile phone, laptop, tablet, email etc) and yes it is possible to survive. But you do come back to a mountain of emails, enewsletters, blogs to read, Facebook and Twitter posts to catch up on. However one new piece of information I will pass on now is the extension to the Public Record Office Victoria online index to wills and probates - it's now 1841-2007 which is great news for anyone with Victorian ancestors. AFFHO have accepted and approved in principle my report and recommendations so I can start to promote National Family History Month 2014 so watch out for that.

As I get back into the swing of things I'll have more genealogy news and Diary will start to be more regular (and less lengthy) again. If you don't know what to tell people when they ask 'what do you want for Christmas' then read Geniaus' really useful blog Gifts for the Girl who has Everything. Until next time!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Genealogy notes 5 -18 Nov 2013 new talks & QLD BDM news

Well I'm now officially a year older and it's been a super busy fortnight, including a trip to Brisbane and a few days with my Mum! I returned the photo album I had been scanning and took down one of my father's mother's old albums hoping Mum could tell me who the family was. My grandmother always denied having any old photos and she fought with everybody so we don't really know much about the people on her side of the family. I can recognise my father as a child and the woman with him must be Granny but I would never have picked it. The older male in the photos Mum thinks is Granny's father, my great grandfather James Carnegie and perhaps some of his sons. It's not much info but more than I had and I still live in hope of discovering what some of my ancestors looked like!

While in Brisbane I was pleased to be invited to attend a users' forum at the Queensland Registry of BDMs. I really loved the behind the scenes tour and the whole process of providing certificates as well as their huge digitisation project.  I have to say I'm impressed with the new online search engine too - it's a while since I done any searching in Queensland and I found it easy and very user friendly. And I'm not just saying that because they put on a nice lunch too! It's really fantastic being able to order and get an historical image quickly - no more waiting for the postman! They even have a family history journal and after a simple registration process the latest journal was emailed to me.

While there I also took the opportunity to promote National Family History Month 2014 and they seemed very open to the idea of doing something in NFHM. It would be good to get the BDM Registries behind NFHM and I love it when Queensland leads the way (sorry but State pride seems to be to the fore now that I'm back home). While on NFHM I still haven't had any feedback from AFFHO on my 2013 report and recommendations even though they have held their meeting to discuss it. Hoping it is soon as I really want to get moving on promoting NFHM 2014 (actually I've organised a NFHM 2014 flyer to be printed in their December issue of Newsflash so keep an eye out for that). Everyone is welcome to put their events into the NFHM web calendar which is now open and waiting!

I gave my last two talks for the year to the Bribie Island Family History Special Interest Group (BIFHSIG) - I would use the acronym but I don't think anyone would guess it. A whole new talk on Searching & Searching (different search techniques) and Google Tools (a revamped version of an earlier talk). As usual both talks are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. We had a lunch at the RSL after the talk and a good genie chat!

I was feeling a bit sad after the talks as I have been turning down requests for talks in Victoria (just a bit far to travel these days) and my calendar is looking a bit empty for 2014. And then the phone rang - Moreton Bay Region Libraries wants to schedule some talks next year and we will firm up dates and places in early December plus I already have some seminars lined up with the Genealogical Society of Queensland and the Queensland Family History Society. And the BIFHSIG want me back too so maybe it will end up being another busy year!

The last week has been flat out finishing up yet another research guide for Unlock the Past - that should mean two new titles out for Christmas or at least before the 4th UTP genealogy cruise in February. The arrival of another royalties notice also cheered me up as people are still buying my previous titles which makes all the hard work of writing worthwhile. I finished some more pieces for Inside History magazine and the ongoing series for Irish Lives Remembered also kept me busy. An email from the Irish Group of Genealogy SA let me know that they are fans of the series and they have offered me some help when I get to the article on South Australia. I really do like getting feedback and knowing people read what I write.

My next trip is in early December - back to Canberra for a meeting of the National Archives of Australia's advisory committee for the centenary of WW1 which is focussing on the new Discovering Anzacs website. Due to the timing, I'm also able to attend the HAGSOC Christmas party which will be good as I really did enjoy my years in Canberra and being a member of HAGSOC. I've also got a trip to the Australian War Memorial planned as I want to do a spot of research there.

So even though the year is winding down there is still lots happening. Enjoy the coming week and try to find some time for a little genealogy research! Until next time.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Genealogy notes 22 Oct - 3 Nov 2013 family memories

Oops this Diary is a bit behind but the last 10 days have been action packed. We've finally finished all the modifications to the side of the house, the shed is finished, the electrician is gone and I can now start to tidy up all the gardens surrounding the driveway. Having various tradesmen on site meant I couldn't hide away in the study but I did manage to get some photo scanning done using my handy Flip Pal. It is so good that you can take it anywhere and just sit and scan photos while overseeing the pouring of concrete!

One of the things I've been wanting to scan for a while is an old album of my mother's. She turns 80 next year and I'm putting together a bit of a show and tell of her life. There are no baby photos as most were lost in various Brisbane floods but I do have some interesting ones from her teens including some early photos of Dad too. There was even an early birthday party (not sure who's party) but quite a few of my cousins were in it as children.

There was also a trip to Brisbane as I was speaking at the North Brisbane branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland. I told them all about my favourite Google tools for genealogy including Alerts, Blogger, Images, Videos, Maps, Language Tools, Picasa, Books and My Library. Most of the attendees had not used any of these tools so I hope they all do a little experimenting with some of them. As usual the talk is on my website Resources page (scroll down to Presentations). I only have one more talk for the year and that is for the Bribie Island family history special interest group on 14 November. It's a two parter - first up I'm doing a new talk on Searching & Searching (highlighting different ways to search on familiar sites) and the second part is the Google tools talk.

I also spent some time doing amendments and indexing my new book for Unlock the Past. Their editor, Rosemary Kopittke, can spot a comma out of place at sixty paces! If I've got a typo, she will find it as well as make suggestions on wording if something is not quite clear. It is great to work with someone that focussed and efficient. I have another couple of research guides still in draft mode and I'm still hoping that they will be all finalised in time for the 4th Unlock the Past cruise next February. I just wish there were more rainy days, all this beautiful sunshine and blue skies makes me want to be out in the garden or in the pool instead of labouring over a laptop!

Blogs that I've caught up on include some of my state archive favourites - Public Record Office Victoria often lists new additions to their online catalogue as well as small stories on various resources. The November blog is on immigration and famous people of the past and they have Dame Nellie Melba and Saint Mary Mackillop of the Cross on passenger lists - see them here. State Records New South Wales (SRNSW) has Archives Outside which is a blog for people who 'love, use and manage archives' and there is always something interesting. I also like their newsletter Now & Then which is for researchers and is published every two months. Check out the October issue here.

Writing about SRNSW reminds me that I received my copies of my GG grandmother's probate file and also the probate file for her second husband. Charles Chick predeceased Helen Chick and not surprisingly, left everything to her. Readers may recall I was particularly excited to find that Helen had left a will as I hoped it would finally throw some light on Helen's relationship to her only child, my great grandfather James Carnegie. Well I'm still very much in the dark!

Helen left everything to her sister Clara and if Clara had predeceased her, Helen's estate was to go to her nephew John Carnegie Davis, Clara's son. Clara was still alive so she inherited but why no mention of James. Did James ever know his mother Helen? Was he simply raised by his grandparents John and Helen Carnegie as their son, but then he is not mentioned in their wills. Yet he did work with his grandfather on their oyster leases in Pumicestone Passage (thank goodness for detailed oyster inspector reports or I wouldn't even know that fact). I'm not sure if I will ever know but this discovery has given me more information so perhaps there is still more to discover, somewhere!

Another must read blog is Geniaus and I was interested to see that she hosted a Google+ hangout during the week. I had every intention of listening in but the builders distracted me by staying late, which meant dinner was late and of course, I forgot about daylight saving time. From what I've seen elsewhere on social media it was a big success. Read about Geniaus' account of the event's success here. I have this neat little device now which allows me to plug into my laptop and the sound is transmitted direct to my hearing aids so I can hear easily. I'm not sure if the microphone is good enough for a Google+ hangout, something to experiment with I suspect. At least it allows me to hear webinars and podcasts better too so all was not lost in planning to join the hangout even if I totally ended up missing it.

It really is exciting all this modern technology and different ways to research now. When I started in 1977 I was writing letters using carbon paper so that I would have a copy myself, and it was snail mail overseas with international reply coupons. You had to visit libraries and archives in person (usually during the week which meant a sickie from work) and you had to find what you wanted in the card catalogue without the benefit of indexes. The microfilm copies were wet copies which have now totally faded beyond all recognition and the staples have rusted! Definitely not the good old days!

This coming week sees me edge closer to another one  of those milestone birthdays but it's also a time to remember my grandmother who died on my birthday 19 years ago. This year it again coincides with Melbourne Cup so we're off to a Cup Day function to celebrate but I still think I prefer all those early birthdays when it was still Guy Fawkes Night (Mum apparently watched the fireworks at the Exhibition grounds before having me that night). Each year Dad used to make a bonfire down the back with a scarecrow and lots of fire crackers (we backed onto bush land so we were always ready with the hose but still a bit risky which is probably why the authorities changed it to a day in June before totally banning it). Still great memories of birthdays past.

I've got a couple of tricky brick wall queries to immerse myself in this week and I'm looking forward to doing some serious research as well as some more writing for Irish Lives Remembered and Inside History magazine. A busy week ahead and best wishes for your research too!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Genealogy notes 15-22 October 2013 - Australian archives conference

I've been a bit quiet the last week or so as I went to the Australian Society of Archivists conference in Canberra and came home extremely tired and still trying to shake my chest cold. As it was the Bribie Festival at the weekend I spent a quiet couple of days in bed so I wouldn't miss any of the festivities and I'm happy to say I'm feeling much better.

But back to Canberra which was my home for a number of years and I always love going back. This time I stayed at the Capital Executive Apartments (free mini Kit Kats in the fridge every day) which was only a couple of blocks from the free bus stop that takes visitors around to the major tourist attractions including the National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the National Film and Sound Archive and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House to mention just a few stops. It was a great way to travel around Canberra and to get to the conference venues.

I had planned to tweet during the archives conference but for some reason my Twitter app and my phone are no longer compatible (even reloading didn't help) so I missed out on tweeting and seeing tweets from other attendees. The hash tag was #ausarch2013 so you can see what others posted there, including photos. The irony was that for the first time I decided to travel light and left the IPad at home, otherwise I would have used that.

You can read my report on the archives conference here and I have to say that the catering at the conference and the social events was so good and so plentiful that I didn't bother with dinner at night, but then I was also struggling with the time difference as well. It's funny it took me years to get used to daylight saving, now I'm having trouble getting used to not having it!

The conference satchel was a useful reusable shopping bag and had all kinds of brochures including a copy of Wartime, the official magazine of the Australian War Memorial plus a copy of the ASA's Archives Matter! publication  (copy online free). I also arranged for the inclusion of a flyer on National Family History Month 2014 as I hope to encourage more archives to participate in NFHM next year.

From a genealogy perspective I found a number of the sessions interesting as the National Archives of Australia and the National Library of Australia talked about their future directions. Trove is just going to get better and better and it will be harder than ever to drag ourselves away from our laptops. was the principal sponsor and Inside History Magazine was another sponsor together with a number of universities and the major archival institutions.

An onsite exhibitor was Gale Cengage Learning and most of us would be familiar with the digitised collections of Gale newspapers that we can access with our e-resources cards from the National Library of Australia and our local State Library. It's been a while since I looked at the Gale products and they had paper copies of information sheets including Nineteenth Century Collections Online, State Papers Online Eighteenth Century 1714-1782, Archives Unbound, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, Part II: New Editions, Daily Mail Historical Archive 1896-2004 and later this year they are releasing The Chatham House Online Archive. Gale subscriptions are not cheap and you usually can access them via your local library or State Library and perhaps via e-resources as mentioned earlier. I usually only look at the London Times Digital Archive 1785-2007 but its quite obvious they have many more resources of interest to family historians. Browse their extensive catalogue and don't just look under Biology and Genealogy, there is also lots to interest under History and other topics. Then see what's available at your local library.

The first weekend of the Bribie Festival was great and we went to a 1960s cocktail party on Saturday night at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum. Some attendees came in 60s fashion and that brought back many memories! On the Sunday we went to the expanded markets and watched the dragon boat races and other activities. There are events all week and more markets next weekend so lots of visitors to the Island this week which is good.

All the dreadful fires in NSW at the moment are bringing back the memories we have of the Canberra fires in 2003. Even now I still feel the fear that we had that day when we were hosing our house and gardens and trying to watch out for embers. Fortunately for us they were able to stop the fire from crossing the main road and into our street. While living in Melbourne we were nowhere near a natural forest but I had my escape plan and what I would save all ready to go. Here on Bribie we have also decided not to live too close to the national park but I haven't as yet set up a new back up system and escape plan with what I definitely want to try and save. House fires sadly happen too so this has gone on to my must do list. We can only hope and pray those brave volunteers get the fires under control soon and some rain would be good.

I have emails to catch up on, blogs to read, articles to write and my new research guide to index. But I have my new issue of the Journal of One Name Studies from the Guild of One Name Studies so I think perhaps a cup of tea and a nice read is in order. Happy researching this week.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Genealogy Notes 5-14 October 2013 - genealogy magazines

Never thought I would say this but I've done very little genealogy over the last week or so as I've still been laid up with whatever the dreaded virus was! I've even lost interest in Twitter, Facebook and blogs so if you've been wondering where I've been, it's only been my bed, not very exciting.

But there has been a little excitement here and there and I did drag myself down to the local newsagent to buy a copy of a new Australian genealogy magazine Family Tree Tracker but apparently it's a once only publication. I was alerted to it when I read Alona's blog Family Tree Tracker Hits the Shelves and she gave a detailed description of the contents. Alona is a great person to follow as she always knows what's going on! I was a bit surprised that a once off magazine was actually in a Bribie Island newsagent but I happily paid my money and of course couldn't resist looking at the UK magazines they have.  As usual one had an article on an area of interest so that was two magazines but at least I had more to read in bed.

It's not cheap buying one off UK magazines and I was looking at some of the US genealogy magazines online and noted that I could get a year's subscription (digital) for US$19.95 which is approximately $22.00. I have a GGG grandfather in the US and a GGG grandfather in Canada so it will be interesting to see what information is in the magazine over the next year. My Oct/Nov 2013 issue of US Family Tree Magazine arrived promptly and with a free digital gift - 49 Ways to Discover Your Roots. Now I might finally track down when those two GGG grandfathers died.

Another blogger I like to read is Cassmob and her blog Kenya and Kiva on her recent travels to Kenya caught my eye as I've always wanted to go to Africa (I blame John Wayne in Hatari for those who can remember that far back). I'm also a member of Kiva's Genealogists for Families Project and as I had enough credit for another loan I decided to help a Kenyan woman this time. At the moment Kiva is offering free loans (funded by other benefactors) so if you want to know more check out Amazingly I'm on my 37th loan of $25, most of which has been with my original $25 plus a few free gift loans and it all does amazing work helping other families.

The really exciting news is that I submitted two papers for the 2015 AFFHO Congress and both papers have been accepted. Lots of other well known speakers have also said that their papers were accepted so it looks like being a great event in 2015. Start planning to go now.

I'm off to Canberra tomorrow for the Australian Society of Archivists conference. I wish I was a bit more perky but it will be good to see all my old colleagues and to hear all the latest news. is the principal sponsor and Inside History Magazine is also one of the sponsors. Looking forward to catching up with both of them. It seems to be a lot cooler down that way again so trying to work out what to take in my little carry on bag is a bit of a challenge.

Well have a good time researching and I hope to return fit and well from Canberra in time for the Bribie Island Festival at the weekend. Until next time.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Genealogy Notes 25 Sep - 4 Oct 2013 digitised newspaper success

Just as well I wrote up my two reports of the NSW & ACT conference quickly (here and here if you missed them) as I've been laid low with a dreaded virus since. On the good side I've managed to catch up with all my unread issues of the QFHS Queensland Family Historian and the GSQ Generation plus I have been reading Oceans of Consolation by David Fitzpatrick. This book is based on personal accounts of Irish migration to Australia from 14 families and no, I'm not lucky enough to have my ancestors within that collection. But what those various families experienced is probably similar to what my Irish ancestors went through so it is good background information and helps to provide more context to my research.

I also indulged myself with some genealogy searching in my more wide awake moments and I'm so glad I did. Trove is forever turning up new things in my family history as new papers are being digitised and added online all the time. I'm sure I've looked for my gg grandmother Helen Chick/Ferguson/Carnegie many times before but this is the first time that I've found a probate reference for her which was two years after her death. She died in Queensland where she spent most of her life but she did spend a few years in New South Wales with her second husband Charles Chick. I've not thought of looking for a will and probate for her in QLD or NSW (as she never appeared to have had any property or to settle anywhere for long) but the references in Trove quickly sent me to the State Records NSW website to check their online catalogue for probate references to Chick. Not only was there a probate reference for Helen but there was also one for Charles so after a quick dash for the credit card, I order both probate packets and I now sit patiently waiting for the postman.

The news that now had Irish newspapers also aroused my interest and a quick search for Jeffers of Portadown revealed a number of entries which I believe belong to my gg grandmother Maria Jeffers' family. Being able to do a keyword search on a digitised newspaper is so fantastic as we probably wouldn't find some of these stories simply winding through microfilms. When I feel a bit better I'm going to spend more time looking for some of my other ancestors.

While on the subject of historic newspapers, there is an offer (until the end of the year) from Historic Newspapers - they are offering a UK 5  pound credit with with every newspaper order. More information on the offer here. Readers may recall I was offered a review copy from Historic Newspapers last year and I have to say they do make an unusual and different present for someone as they even come packaged in tissue paper in a gift box. Christmas is fast approaching!

Speaking of presents for genealogy loved ones, I also received display copies of the latest releases from Unlock the Past. I always have the UTP titles for sale at my talks and seminars and of course, the first two UTP titles were my own books! Now there are dozens of titles from a whole range of authors. You can check out all the new (and existing) titles here. Some of them are even available as e-books. I was supposed to have my new book with them by the end of September but I simply haven't been able to think, let alone write, with my stuffed up head!

I did manage to put up a new blog post on my website, Researching the State Library of Victoria from Afar which was a guest blog for their Family Matters blog. It really is amazing just how much information is available on our State library websites so check them out for whatever States your ancestors were in.

For those who don't follow me on Twitter and Facebook I'm going to start recording in this Diary some of the links I share through those social media forums. Perhaps I will just simply list them:
The Community Archive: National Register of Archives and Manuscripts, New Zealand
Founders and Survivors (Tasmanian convicts project)
Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches Genealogy (some great genealogy sayings and often funny and true!

Finally I would like to thank my two Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra friends for helping me out with a National Family History Month 2014 task. I've arranged for a special flyer to go into the conference satchel for the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) Conference which is in Canberra in just over a week. Being sick I hadn't got around to getting the flyer printed and posted off to meet their deadline. My two friends arranged the printing and delivery for me for which I'm really grateful. As national coordinator for NFHM, I'm a one person band but that doesn't work so well, when the band needs a tune up! I still haven't heard from AFFHO about my evaluation and recommendations post NFHM 2013 but I'm hoping to set up the 2014 website soon.

After being sick for over a week, I'm off to the doctor's again - I'm rarely sick these days and I find it frustrating not having a clear head and more energy. Still catching up on my reading and lying in bed with the IPad and Trove isn't all that bad either. But I am attending the ASA conference week after next so I do have to get better for that. Happy researching! 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Genealogy Notes 21-24 September 2013 NSW & ACT Genealogy Conference

It's been a busy few days and this Diary update is covering my time at the NSW & ACT genealogy conference in Canberra, hosted by HAGSOC. My report on Friday's Family History Fair is here and my report on the conference sessions is here. There was just so much happening I've divided it up into smaller pieces.

The conference is a full day on the Saturday and a half day on the Sunday which allows some of the attendees to get home the same day depending on where they live. The venue for all the sessions was the Hellenic Club and they also did the catering which was plentiful and delicious. Morning and afternoon tea was a treat and lunch had a great variety of sandwiches, wraps, rolls and fruit as well as tea and coffee.

During the breaks everyone was busy either catching up with others or visiting the exhibitors (see my Fair report above for who was there). I particularly liked catching up with some of my social media friends who I have never met before but instead of calling them by their real names, I tend to still think of them as per their blog or twitter names! Here are a few of them and they have also done blog posts so check some of their conference posts out too!
Geniaus (aka Jill Ball) who also posts lots of photos as well
Helen Smith (From Helen V Smith's Keyboard) also a keen photographer
Branches Leaves and Pollen (aka Amy Lehmann)
Jenny Joyce (Jenny's Genealogy Blog)

The conference dinner was really good - 3 courses with two soups to start with, then either chicken or steak for mains and dessert was apple crumble or berries. Everything came out smoothly and got cleared away just as efficiently. It was buy your own drinks and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The live entertainment was also good but the microphones didn't seem to want to behave so I felt for the performers who just went ahead without the microphones. The show goes on as they say!

It was a bit of a late night, I'm usually an early to bed, early to rise person so I was a bit weary the next morning. I remembered to check out of the hotel and take my suitcase with me as I was going straight to the airport after lunch. It was all a bit hectic over lunch with everyone trying to eat and then head off. Exhibitors were trying to pack up and people saying their goodbyes. I missed catching up with a few to say goodbye, especially some of my HAGSOC friends but they were all busy or celebrating the end of the conference.

The taxi ride to the airport was uneventful, I had time for a quick glass of champers in the Qantas Club then I was on a very small plane back to Brisbane. After collecting my luggage which seemed twice as heavy as when I left, I had to find my way to where the buses picked people up. Brisbane is still a new airport for me and this was my first time getting a bus home. Found the right spot and the bus turned up about 30 minutes later. Then it was an easy drive up the Bruce Highway to Morayfield where I left the bus to be collected by the Bribie airport shuttle who then drove me to Bribie Island, and right to my door! A very long day.

The last two days I've been writing up all these blogs and diary entries as well as looking at all the information I brought home, the books, brochures and my notes. I've also been reading other people's blog posts on the conference and it is good to see what they have noted, especially if I didn't get to the session myself. There is enough here to keep me busy for weeks! Hope you have enjoyed these conference write ups and do check out some of the links, there are some great genealogy sites out there. Happy researching.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Genealogy notes 19-23 Sep 2013 Day One of NSW & ACT conference

The last three days have been genealogy packed as I attended the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies annual conference in Canberra - Limestone Plains to Marble Halls. My Friday started before sunrise as I got up early to make sure I had everything before the Forrest Airport Shuttle Transfers arrived at 5.55am. They had another pick up at Beachmere so I enjoyed the scenic drive till we picked up the other passenger then it was back to the highway and straight to the airport. A quick breakfast in the Qantas Lounge then onto the plane for Canberra. There were no delays this time and I arrived to a wet and chilly Canberra where I realised I'd forgotten to pack a jumper but I did have a shawl in my suitcase.

A quick taxi ride had me at my hotel the Quality Inn at Woden just a few minutes walk from the Hellenic Club where the conference was being held. It was too early to check in so I left my suitcase and headed to the free family history fair which was held in conjunction with the conference. There were free talks every half hour throughout the day from 10am to 3.30pm and I missed the first four as I didn't arrive until about 11.30am.

A full report on the fair and all of the exhibitors is on my website blog SHHE Genie Rambles.

After the fair finished I caught up with some genealogy friends at the Hellenic Club bar while we waited for the Meet and Greet which kicked off the conference. It was well attended and there was lots of finger food and buy your own drinks. Lots of talking and catching up with people.

I have to admit I slipped out about 8pm for a couple of reasons. It had been a long and tiring day plus it was a Friday night and I'm a Phryne Fisher fan. I simply love Kerry Greenwood's series on the female detective and usually I don't like TV or movie adaptations of my reading loves, but this TV series on Phryne Fisher is an exception. This episode was set in Queenscliff in Victoria, one of the places we liked to go when we lived down that way.

Then it was a good night's sleep as the next day was full on and the conference dinner in the evening. Stay tuned for more news.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Genealogy notes 12-18 Sep 2013 Victorian Resources Online & more

Another busy week and although I no longer live in Victoria, my thoughts have been all about Victorian family history research this week. Why? You may recall that I was doing a guest blog for Family Matters, the genealogy blog of the State Library of Victoria. Good news, Using the State Library of Victoria from Afar is now published. It's written for all those who can't personally visit the SLV and it highlights some of the great genealogy resources they have online for free. If you want still more Victorian links check out the very end of the Resources page on my website - it has a list of all my favourite Victorian websites for family history.

Still want more Victorian resources - Findmypast now has the index to Victorian passenger lists 1846-1899 online and I am always amazed at the variety of Australian and New Zealand records that is now searchable in their database - see latest list here. Public Record Office Victoria also has a lot of online indexes and digitised records including wills and probate records so another great free site to visit.

I've always been a fan of the One Place Studies website and now there is a society that you can join if you are researching a one place study. Family history and local history often intersect so check out if anyone is doing a study of one of your places of interest or if you have lots of information on a particular place, you might want to see what others are doing with their studies.

Online e-newsletters received during the week include Queensland State Archives' qsa bulletin highlighting some great new indexes and other news (latest issue here) and Lost Cousins another free online e-newsletters with a broad range of info on the UK and elsewhere (latest issue here). I also received my back issues of History Queensland magazine - somehow the renewal of my subscription went astray during the big move so I have four issues to catch up on with that!

It's probably obvious (in hindsight) that this Diary doesn't capture all the info links I share via Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus and I know that not everyone follows me in all those media so some people are not aware that I was nominated in the recent Rockstar Genealogists survey. This is organised by John D Reid through his Anglo-Celtic Connections blog.

Can't think why I didn't mention it in this Diary as I was quite excited at the time that someone had nominated me. Well I was even more excited this week to find out that I had won the Silver Medal in the Australia & New Zealand section with good friend Chris Paton picking up the Bronze Medal (even though he lives in Scotland). I was really delighted to see another good friend Jill Ball announced as the Gold Medal winner! I noticed that Chris picked up the Gold Medal for Canada as well (he does seem to get around)! Getting nominated is great recognition and picking up a medal is a true honour and I'd like to congratulate all the nominees, and medal winners in all the different countries and John for organising the poll and having a Downunder category.

Quite a few of those nominees and winners will be on the 4th Unlock the Past genealogy cruise next February so I think that's going to be a fantastic trip and I'm already excited at the thought of listening to great speakers and learning more about all kinds of genealogy and family history resources.

In two days I'm going to be at the NSW & ACT Family History Organisations annual conference, this year in Canberra with the theme Limestone Plains to Marble Halls. I will be posting on Twitter and Facebook while at the conference and when I get home I'll write up a report on the conference as usual. There is a family history fair on the Friday and my plane arrives early enough for me to spend the afternoon there so it will be interesting to see how many books I buy! One thing about travelling by plane, it does make you think about how you will get everything home.

I've another great weekend of genealogy ahead of me so now for a spot of grocery shopping and housework so that the family doesn't miss me too much while I'm gone! Until next time happy researching.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Genealogy notes 4-11 Sep 2013 - news from genealogy journals

Amazing another week gone and I'm happy to say I've been catching up on my genealogy magazine reading, in print and online! I tried to make a resolution that I would read everything the day it arrived, no more stockpiling but of course that isn't realistic. Some days I don't log online and I only collect the mail once a week from the post office so already I have mini stockpiles! Still I've tried to read everything that has come in this past week, or at least flicked through it before adding to the reading pile.

September is probably a bad month to start this new resolution as that's when my quarterly journals arrive - so I have the latest issues of Generation from the Genealogical Society of Queensland, the Queensland Family Historian from the Queensland Family History Society, Ancestor from the Genealogical Society of Victoria, the September issue of Australian Family Tree Connections and the Sep/Oct issue of Inside History Magazine. That's a lot of reading and a lot of new things to look at online as well if you follow up the tips you find reading these types of journals.

There were two things that struck me flicking through Ancestor - one is that they have a new CD which is a digitised version of all their newsletters and journals since 1948 to 2011. I love these digitised compilations as you can still have all the issues (without them occupying heaps of space) and it is all easily searchable. I already have copies of both GSQ (30 years of Generation) and QFHS (1979-2010 compendium) journals on CD which is great as every time I moved over the last two decades I've given away my print journals. I'm now thinking of buying the GSV Ancestor journals on CD, although I don't have too many print copies with me as I only moved twelve months ago. I only kept the last few years.

The second thing I noticed was that GSV now have a membership category for young members (18-25 years of age) and they are referring to them as Next Generation Genies. I think this is a great idea and I don't know if any other Australian societies have done the same. Anyone know? I've been saying for ages that societies need to look at attracting more younger members and to start using social media as that is where you find them. This was something that really struck me during National Family History Month and the lead up to it. There are some interesting young people out there reporting on their genealogy research via social media. One person I was pleased to finally meet up with was Caitie who uses Tumblr to record her research, has a Facebook page, uses Twitter and even records genealogy research videos on You Tube. Find her on Twitter here.

Inside History Magazine isn't something you flick through so I've saved that for a quiet time (ie no one else around) so I can curl up on the lounge with a cup of tea and my mag!  Of course I can't do that (at least not easily) with my online magazines as I usually read on my laptop, although sometimes I'll use my IPad. The free September issue of Irish Lives Remembered focus is on Cavan where one of my Irish ancestors came from so that was a must read. This issue also has the start of my new series on Finding the Irish Downunder and the first part is on Queensland. I also caught up with my news from Ancestry and Findmypast and Dick Eastman's blog gives me a daily update - there is just so much new information coming out all the time.

I wrote a guest blog for Family Matters, the genealogy blog from the State Library of Victoria so that should be coming out soon. I was contacted by some distant relatives because they are finding me through my blog writing - my Finding My Long Lost Jeffers Cousins Online just keeps on giving me new relatives despite the fact I wrote it in Feb 2010! I did a follow up titled Letters Home My Irish Families and that put me into contact with even more relatives. The other contact was related to Max via his Barwick grandmother and she actually writes a family genealogy newsletter so she sent some samples and they are fascinating and full of information on the family. So we are signing up for a subscription. More to read!

I also finalised the evaluation report for AFFHO on National Family History Month and included a number of suggestions and recommendations for NFHM 2014. It will be interesting to see what they think of my report and my plan for a 12 month approach to planning NFHM in future. Looking at my diary I realised that next week is the NSW & ACT family history associations conference Limestone Hills to Marble Halls in Canberra. I'm already registered with accommodation close by so that I can easily walk to the venue each day. It will be great to catch up with all my old friends and colleagues as I missed last year's due to our big move.

Last night was the Bribie Island Historical Society meeting which was interesting as usual and we have the Bribie Festival coming up in October along with the 50th anniversary of the Bribie Bridge. We're going to the 60s cocktail party which should be a buzz, pity I didn't keep any of those memorable clothes! I'm off now to the Bribie Island Family History Group meeting where Dawn Montgomery from the Queensland Family History Society is going to be talking about one of my favourite indexes - the Ryerson Index (death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers). Tomorrow we have a heritage walk at Godwin Beach which will be interesting - there really is a lot to do if you are interested in history, genealogy and heritage.

I hope everyone is finding some time for their own research and until next time, keep on top of that reading!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Genealogy notes 30 Aug - 3 Sep 2013 Last days of National Family History Month

Friday was a big day with the exhibition launch of the Bribie Bridge exhibition at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum in the morning and my last talk for NFHM at the Bribie Island Library in the afternoon. There was a great turn out for my talk on It's Not All Online: Where Else Can I Look? which is based on my book It's Not All Online: A Guide to Genealogy Resources Offline. As usual I have put a copy of the slides on the Resources page of my website - scroll down to Presentations. There were lots of questions and the Library provided afternoon tea.

But before that I took the opportunity to draw the NFHM sponsors prizes draw and the Momento photobook competition and the winners were:
Winner of the Momento Photo Book competition - Melissa Haddon, VIC
Winner of a one year world subscription - Newcastle Family History Society, NSW
Winner of an one year subscription - Botany Bay Family History Society, NSW
Winner of an one year subscription - Yarrawonga Family History Group, VIC
Winner of a Gould Genealogy & History voucher - Port Macquarie & District Family History Society, NSW
Winner of a 2 year subscription to Inside History Magazine - Holroyd Family History Group, NSW
Winner of a 2 year subscription to Inside History Magazine - Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra, ACT
Winner of a 1 year subscription to Australian Family Tree Connections - Genealogy Sunshine Coast, QLD
Just so those in the audience didn't feel too left out, I had a lucky door prize with a copy of my last book Finding Ancestors in Church Records: A Brief Guide to Resources and some copies of Inside History Magazine.

Saturday was the last day of National Family History Month and I took Geniaus' Bloggers Geneameme challenge. Here is my response here - all about how we got into blogging in the first instance and how and why we do it. For the full list of those who took up the challenge click here and it was great to see and read so many responses.

Sunday was Father's Day and both our fathers have passed on and Max's kids live in SA, NSW and the NT so there were phone calls, Skype talks and text messages. What did we do before technology? To amuse ourselves, we went to various markets open and doing good business by the number of people around. I did try to take him to lunch at the RSL but it was bookings only and then we thought fish and chips on the beach, but all the take aways had queues out the door!  There were more people than we have ever seen at all the beaches and picnic spots on both sides of the Island. Who would have thought Bribie Island got that busy?

Monday was spent contacting the various NFHM sponsors and prize winners and putting them in touch with each other. There were some very happy and excited winners and not everyone seems to have caught up with the various changes I've made to NFHM this year. I'm currently writing an evaluation for AFFHO and making some recommendations and once that is all approved I will start promoting NFHM 2014 so that sponsors, individuals and researchers can put it in their diaries.

Today I have spent time looking at the proofs of the first part of my new article series for Irish Lives Remembered. I've also done some brief reports on NFHM for Inside History Magazine and Australian Family Tree Connections, both sponsors of NFHM. The rest of the day I'm going to finalise my report to AFFHO as I'd like them to discuss it at their next meeting.

Tomorrow I hope to get back to working on my next couple of books. I've got two on the go and they've been seriously interrupted first by our big move and second by NFHM which took up more time than I originally thought but it has been worth it.For those who like stats, there were 244 events held by 91 organisations listed in the NFHM web calendar - I know there were other events as well but there is no easy way to identify all of them. I hope everyone enjoyed the month and remember August 2014 is NFHM next year and the new URL is Happy researching until next time!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Genealogy notes 27-29 August 2013 - 31 activities for NFHM & more

On the news last night I was shocked when the weather person announced only 3 more days of winter (what winter here in the ever sunny blue skies north) but that means only 3 more days of National Family History Month! So I put my skates on and finished my blogs based on my 31 activities for researchers and 31 activities for genealogy/family history societies challenge during August. The final 16 challenges for researchers will give everyone something to do way past August as will the final 16 challenges for genealogy/family history societies.

I would have liked more time myself to actually do some of the challenges I posed for others but keeping up the social media promotion of NFHM during August has kept me busy as well as the odd publicity opportunity. My talk at the Bribie Island library tomorrow made the Bribie Island and Mainland News including a photo of me and a blurb about NFHM and that it is all going to happen again in August 2014!

Well known geneablogger Geniaus has drawn up another geneameme to finish up National Family History Month - see The Blogger's Geneameme. I'm planning to do it on Saturday when I have my talk and the NFHM sponsors prize draw all finished and I can relax a little more.

Back in July I completed the Unlock the Past genealogy cruises survey and that entitled me to a 50% discount of an ebook purchase from their Gen-ebooks before 31 August.  As that date is fast approaching, I looked at their ebooks this morning and made my choice and even ordered their current free ebook offer. Within minutes of placing the order I had all my new ebooks (now safely placed on my virtual to read shelf)!

Now off to practice my talk for tomorrow and make sure I have everything I need for tomorrow. We are going to an exhibition opening at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum tomorrow morning so I need to be organised today. Enjoy the last few days of NFHM 2013.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Genealogy Notes 21-26 Aug 2013 Last week of National Family History Month

It's unbelievable how fast August has gone - we are now into the last week of National Family History Month. I hope everyone has been attending events, doing blogs, following people on Twitter or Facebook, finding time for some of their own research and anything else remotely genealogy related! Check out the National Family History Month web calendar and home page for ideas this last week. The Momento photo book competition closes today so it's not too late to put in an entry - details on the NFHM home page. I'm getting some great suggestions for NFHM 2014 so if you want to suggest something, enter the competition!

My last talk for NFHM is on this coming Friday at the Bribie Island library, this will be my first talk on Bribie so it will be interesting to see what the turn out will be. That's where I will also be doing the NFHM sponsors prizes draw and then contact all the winning societies and of course, promote the prize draw winners in the hope that we get even more genealogy and family history societies hosting events next year. Sponsors are also on my list to follow up and I'm even hoping to attract some new sponsors for my new ideas in 2014!

After that I have to write up a report for AFFHO on NFHM 2013 and include recommendations for 2014. I would like to see a whole 12 month awareness campaign so that everyone finds out about it in plenty of time to either host or attend an event. Many libraries and archives plan their event calendars twelve months in advances so we need to make it easier for them to participate.

History is in the air here on Bribie Island at the moment. At the Bribie historical society meeting the other night I bought the new book on the Bribie Bridge which turns 50 in October and at the weekend I bought another book on the Bribie Surf Life Saving Club which has just turned 90. We found lots of entries for Max's Burstow and Eldridge families as they were involved with the club back in the 1930s. The Club had a lot of its photos and other memorabilia on display at the clubhouse and a steady stream of visitors over the weekend.

I've received two UK certificates this week which confirmed what I knew but gave me details to go back another generation but still finding it a bit tough to find them in the census - common surnames should be banned! Still I keep chipping away at it. Every time I look at Trove I find new stories on the family and with new digitised newspapers coming online all the time, it's really worthwhile.

As part of my ongoing rearrangement of my new study, I'm going through all my old paper files and its amazing what I have forgotten I have on file (but it is 36 years this month since I bought my first filing cabinet so maybe it's just old age rather than too much stuff). Not everything has been entered into my genealogy software (mostly the basics) and I'm starting to realise I need to capture all the other bits and pieces of information as well. I've rearranged all the old photos and albums into a scanning priority order, another job I need to get back to now that we have resettled.

So that is my dilemma - I want to do more research on my families using all the modern resources (I can easily spend all day on Trove alone) but I really need to get e-control of all my paper based 'stuff ' before it's too late. Being surrounded by filing cabinets and book cases is a little intimidating not to mention overwhelming. It's not too hard, I just need to do it file by file, album by album (but the tricky part is that each one triggers new ideas to search and I get side tracked). The only good part is that I know I'm not alone and that others share this burden. I'm going to try for an hour a day (or at least 7 hours a week) - wish me luck!

Enjoy the rest of National Family History Month 2013!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Genealogy notes 13 - 20 Aug National Family History Month good news update

This Diary update was meant to go out last Friday but I lost my connection to the internet and it has taken five long days to get it back. It's been really frustrating with an upgrade of infrastructure here on BribieIsland. The Telstra tower is moving from 3G to 4G. We even put in a few, time consuming calls to their overseas call centre and it was only when we went to the local shop that we heard about the upgrade.This morning I checked with the shop again to be told it would be finished by tonight but as luck would have it, the call centre people gave us a follow up call and we found that coverage was back in our area and they helped us to tweak our wi fi to the new system and I'm back online. We don't realise how much we rely on the internet until we don't have it eg we needed a phone book at the weekend but we don't have paper copies as I simply look it up online!

Normally the downtime wouldn't stress me so much but as we are in the middle of National Family History Month and I've been trying to keep momentum going via various social media forums as well as answering enquiries and other emails which is a bit tricky without the internet. I probably should upgrade my phone too.

My two blogs on 31 activities for NFHM (researchers) - the first fifteen and 31 activities for (genealogy/family history) societies - the first 15 are now on my website and I should get the remaining 16 activities for both done before the end of August. I wonder how many other people have decided to do some of my suggested activities as part of NFHM? Full details on both lists here.

The weather here on Bribie Island has been simply amazing and I'm swimming most days with a pool temperature that has increased to 24 degrees and rising. Hard to believe this is winter! But I've discovered there is an advantage to swimming and getting wet - I'm not allowed back in the house until I'm completely dry as my little wet puddles through the house make the floor slippery and dangerous. So I have to take reading material up to the pool so that I can read and dry off at the same time - this is really a clever way for me to catch up on my genealogy journals and magazines!

I've read the last two issues of the Guild of One NameStudies journal and getting back to my own one name study of Burstow is high on my list of want to do things once National Family History Month is over. I've got a lot of data entry to do which is a bit boring but worthwhile if I want to start doing something with all the data I've collected over the years. I've also been reading Inside History Magazine which I usually flick through from cover to cover when I get it and then set aside for a more leisurely read. Excellent pool side reading! My copies of the free Irish Lives Remembered magazine are on my tablet and that is also very easy reading up by the pool.

My last talk for National Family History Month is at the Bribie Island Library on 30 August and it will be a presentation based on my research guide It's Not All Online: Where Else Can I Look? We will also be drawing the NFHM sponsors prize draw and the Momento photobook competition that day as well. One of the reasons I suggested making NFHM a month rather than just a week as it was previously was so that we could do more events but I'm finding that even the month has gone very quickly!

Which brings me to my good news - AFFHO has decided to make the month trial a permanent thing so it will be National Family History Month August 2014 next year and each year thereafter.  This should help everyone with their planning in future years as it will always be the month of August. AFFHO have also asked me if I would like to be the voluntary coordinator again and even though it has been a steep learning curve over the last few months, I've learnt a lot and have even more ideas to make 2014 even better.

I've got lots to catch up on now that I've got my email and internet access back again so until next time, enjoy these last weeks of National Family History Month 2013.