Unlock the Past logoToday’s Unlock The Past Roadshow was in Brisbane so it was really good to catch up with a number of my old genealogy colleagues and to listen to local talks. First up was Sue Reid from the Queensland Family History Society (QFHS) talking about the benefits of membership and how they can help people with their research. The Society has a wide range of publications and an impressive online bookshop which includes their many publications.

Next up was Anne Swain who gave a fascinating presentation on Linking Family History and Genetics. Some of the scientific ‘stuff’ went over my head but I do remember being impressed that Genghis Khan is believed to have over 16 million descendants! Anne stressed that all lines need to be researched to produce a medical pedigree and that included recording miscarriages and still births. Anne gave out a useful handout with explanations of some of the terms used in genetics and on the other side was a list of possible inherited conditions which was fascinating and much longer than I would have thought.

I also sat in on John Graham’s talk on the Ryerson Index and he gave the history of its development and how volunteers index a range of papers for BMDs, obituaries, probate and so on. Unfortunately he didn’t have any slides actually demonstrating how the search works or the type of results you might get. If you haven’t used Ryerson before, then it is definitely worth a look and don’t forget to look at the coverage as it is strongest for NSW but the other States may also be useful depending on your research areas.

Pauline Williams from the Genealogical Society of Queensland (GSQ) gave a talk on how a family history society can add value to your research which included the resources in their library, their volunteers, their education classes and so on. I liked the way Pauline ended her talk – only a genealogist regards a step backwards as progress!

The final local speaker was an old friend Helen Smith who gave an excellent talk No Medicare For Them! which looked at how our ancestors would have looked after themselves and what hospitals and doctors were like back then. When Helen started talking about Friendly Societies and the Independent Order of Rechabites records held by the John Oxley Library, it brought back many memories as I was the person who processed those records way back in the early 1990s. Helen will have a handout which will be on the Unlock The Past website next week.

Both the GSQ and the QFHS had display tables with their publications for sale and volunteers on hand to answer questions. Good to see Queensland State Archives (QSA) were there with a display table and lots of handouts. It was a shame that Niles Elvery’s talk on QSA was scheduled at the same time as my talk, as I would have liked to listen to it and catch up with what is new at QSA. Niles and I did manage a quick chat but he seemed to be very busy on the stall most of the day and we never got another chat in.

Elaine Collins, Louise St Denis, Dan Lynch and Rosemary Kopittke in the main stream all gave the talks that I have previously commented on in Days 1, 2 and 3 so if you haven’t been reading the earlier blogs, have a look.

The venue was the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane and my parents were early members so my mother, just recently out of hospital, took the opportunity to catch up with me for a belated birthday lunch and drink, and also to visit her beloved club. I did wonder if she should be out and about but she travelled by taxi and I sent her home for a nap after lunch!

While in Brisbane I was able to do a round trip on the City Cat (travels up and down the Brisbane River) with Louise St Denis and as we were returning just on dusk, we saw the flying foxes come down river which is always an exciting event for me. I had dinner with my son and his girlfriend which was great and by coincidence they are also going to Christchurch on Sunday, although different plane and different time. My son is about to meet his girlfriend’s father and other relatives and I just know he will love New Zealand as much as I do.

As usual it will be sad for me to leave Brisbane yet again but I do seem to be struggling with the humidity this morning – how quickly we forget when we live in less humid climes. By this afternoon I will be in Sydney, another one of my favourite cities. Till the next Roadshow, good luck with your research.