Oct 13, 2014

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Angling for Ancestors Seminar Report Oct 2014

Gold Coast Hinterland Heritage MuseumAngling for Ancestors was a two day seminar organised by the Gold Coast Family History Society and held at the Bicentennial Community Centre at Nerang. Day one was talks and displays while day two was visits to local museums and heritage centers.

Over a hundred people enjoyed some great talks and spent time at the various display stalls around the seating area at the venue. The welcome goodies bag had note pad, pen, sticky notes, info leaflets, Gold Coast souvenirs, chocs, mints, bottle of water, old copy of Rootes, the journal of the GCFHS and plenty of room to house all the goodies people seemed to be buying around the room.

It was good to see the National Archives of Australia and the Queensland State Archives supporting the function with both a display and a staff member to answer questions. Other societies with stalls included Queensland Family History Society, Logan River & District Family History Society and Gold Coast FHS had an amazing second hand book stall which had lots of temptations. The Guild of One Name Studies, Unlock the Past and the Ryerson Index were represented as were the Convict Connections group from the Genealogical Society of Queensland.  The program allowed time to visit all of the stalls so that was good.

Helen Smith was the MC for the day and kept everything to time which was a bit amazing as the two speakers both used their own laptops which had to be switched over at the end of each talk. Luckily there were no technical hiccups or none that I saw. Now for the important part of the day, the two speakers.

Jan Gow from New Zealand started off with Ten Ways to Research Your Computer, With and Without a Computer. Surprisingly there was not a lot of difference but of course with a computer it is much quicker and cheaper! Although not everything is on line. A delicious morning tea of cakes and biscuits (all home made I suspect) followed with time to catch up with friends or visit the stalls.

Then next speaker was Graham Jaunay from South Australia on Research in England Prior to Civil Registration in 1837.  This was a look at some of those nice things found in parish chests but sadly are not readily online and available to us here in Australia. Graham had small research guides on all three of his topics which he had for sale on the day. Then it was back to Jan for Delving Deep in FamilySearch and although I have used a lot of the things Jan mentioned – labs, maps, wiki, catalog, books – she still mentioned areas I had not previously looked at. Most people seem to only use FamilySearch to search historical records but really there is so much more. Take the time to explore every link, you may be surprised.

Then lunch time and a plentiful and delicious spread of sandwiches, wraps and fruit. Again time was allotted for browsing or chatting and I managed to pick up a few interesting secondhand bargains. Who can resist a book for 20c? No wonder my luggage always weighs more when I go home. Before the next sessions, Helen gave a small presentation on the Unlock the Past genealogy cruises and as a fellow genealogy cruise addict, I can see why she is so excited about some of the up and coming cruises.

Graham was next with Researching the Maternal Line and this was a topic quite relevant to me as I am currently trying to help someone do just that and she has tried quite a lot of what Graham was suggesting. We are almost at the miracle/serendipity stage but still a couple of long shots to look into. Jan’s next talk was Saint Serendipity on Duty and was quite apt following Graham’s talk on tracing some of our elusive female ancestors. Jan demonstrated with a case study how much easier it is now to do something that previously might have taken us 30 years to research. I know quite a few of my own brick walls have come down with the new online resources.

After afternoon tea and our final chance to visit the displays, the raffle was drawn and there were some very happy people. The final talk of the day was Graham on Identifying and Dating 19th Century Photos which I have heard before but there is so much to take in. I have a copy of his book for handy reference whenever I find time to try and sort my own photos. Then finally there was a brief presentation on the 2015 Queensland State Conference In Time and Place.

Quite a few attendees went to the dinner at the Town & Country Restaurant and it was a great night.

Mudgerraba Light Horse MuseumThe second day of the weekend was a visit to the Mudgeeraba Light Horse Museum were we had several informative chats and displays along with morning tea. Then it was off to the Gold Coast Hinterland Heritage Museum which was fascinating and a sausage sizzle topped off a great weekend.  Some people took the opportunity to visit the Gold Coast Family History Society library and do some research.

Then it was the long drive back to Bribie but a stimulating weekend and I am inspired to follow up on all the tips I have written in my little notebook. The organisers are to be congratulated as it all went smoothly and it was a great venue too. Definitely worth the trek!


  1. G’day, I enjoyed this post which I have included in GeniAus’ Gems this week at http://geniaus.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/gags-geniaus-gems-17-october-2014.html

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