Aug 24, 2014

Posted | 3 Comments

My 31 Activities for Researchers in National Family History Month – Nos 16-31

I designed this challenge to help others think about what they might do during National Family History Month. Also as voluntary coordinator of NFHM, it is my job to help promote NFHM and the fantastic sponsors who support it and allow it to continue in August each year. See the list of 31 Activities for Researchers and 31 Activities for Societies on the Resources page of my website.

Read the responses to Nos 1-15 here.

My responses to Nos 16-31 challenges for August 2014 follow.

No 16 Attend/listen to a webinar or Google + hangout  – why not join Google + and see what other Aussie genealogists are doing? – When I originally wrote this I never imagined that I would end up doing my own webinar with MyHeritage, one of the major sponsors. Read about it here. I still plan to attend Geniaus‘ Google + hangout at the end of NFHM – see details in the online events section of NFHM web calendar.

No 17 Early NSW ancestors? – have a look at the Biographical Database of Australia www.bda-online.org.au - prize sponsor – This is a relatively new website so I was interested to try this out. You can search for free and I put in one of Max’s convict ancestors Samuel Pyers and there were several references to him and his family. To see and do more you need to have a subscription which is $30 per year. As we have a number of convicts in the family it could be useful to take up the subscription and see if there is more than what we already have from various convict resources.  Having all the references linked together in a single report could also be revealing especially if you have a convict with a common name and you are trying to sort out which one is yours.

No 18 Read a family history blog or start your own genealogy blog writing stories about individual ancestors or families – I have been blogging my own family stories for some years now but I also like to read other family blogs and you can find Australian bloggers listed in Geneabloggers or Unlock the Past also have a list of Australian and New Zealand genealogy bloggers on the Resources page of their website.

No 19 Have another look at that brick wall – construct a time line of known facts and relook at everything. I’m offering a prize to assist in brick wall demolitions if I can. See NFHM sponsors page but note prizes giveaway closes 26 August at 5pm AEST. – One of the talks I have been giving at Moreton Bay Region Libraries throughout NFHM has been on Demolishing Brick Walls and you can see the presentation on the my website Resources page, scroll down to Presentations.

No 20 Visit your local library and explore the genealogy and local history sections. Or visit your local historical society or a virtual visit to an historical society near where your ancestors lived. This is one activity that I have not done yet but I have identified a book on Moreton Bay oyster farmers and I located a copy at my local library in their local history collection which is not for loan. Therefore I have to find some time to visit and spend an hour or so to see if there is any reference to my ancestors in it. A post NFHM activity.

No 21 Enrol in one of the free online genealogy courses offered by the National Institute of Genealogical Studies www.genealogicalstudies.com - prize sponsor (details of three courses offered are on NFHM sponsors page). I have done some of these courses already as I accepted the offer at a genealogy conference a while back.  If you have ever wondered what it would be like to do an online course, now is the opportunity to do one for free. So why not, but offer closes on 31 August at midnight AEST.

No 22 Make a start on scanning all your old photographs. Remember to identify and file the images as you go. This is actually an ongoing project for me although I have not done too much during NFHM but usually I try to do a couple of hours scanning photos or documents each week. Having started researching in 1977 I have an amazing collection of paper documents which need to be copied.

No 23 Visit your local newsagent and see what genealogy and family history magazines they have. Australian Family Tree Connections www.aftc.com.au and Inside History Magazine www.insidehistory.com.au - both prize sponsors. I did this activity in Canberra when I was there for the launch. I was interested to see if they had more magazines than my local Bribie newsagent and I was surprised to find that my local had a wider variety than the Canberra newsagent I went to. Given that Bribie is a sand island in Moreton Bay and Canberra is the nation’s capital I had expected a different result so why not see what is in your local newsagent?

No 24 Findmypast www.findmypast.com.au may be available at a local council library or genealogy/family history society library – book a session time and see what you can discover – prize sponsor. Findmypast actually has a fantastic half price offer during August so if you have ever considered having your own subscription now is the time to take it out during August. For the 50% prize offer use the link here.

No 25 Check out the Gould Genealogy & History www.gould.com.au online catalogue and be ready when the family ask what you want for Christmas/birthday etc – prize sponsor. I buy most of my genealogy books through Gould and during August they have a 10% off discount on all orders. See the online events section of the NFHM web calendar to get the offer code to claim your discount.

No 26 Explore FamilySearch https://familysearch.org and perhaps do one of their online tutorials. Major sponsor. I am a regular user of FamilySearch and when you consider they have billions of names across hundreds of collections chances are you are going to find something on your ancestors. I also use their library catalogue, digitised books and wiki so if you have not explored those areas why not do it for NFHM.

No 27  Join Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au and correct newspaper text after you make that exciting family discovery! Why not add tags or make a list of your discoveries? Another site where I am a member and often correct text, add tags and create my own lists. Hard to imagine doing Australian genealogy without Trove and I don’t think anyone would want to go back to using newspapers on microfilm. BUT remember not everything is digitised yet so that ancestral story may still be on microfilm!

No 28 Plan to attend the next AFFHO congress in Canberra in March 2015 www.congress2015.org.au – Major sponsor and prize sponsor. I have been a regular attendee at AFFHO congresses over the years and it is always a good time to hear some great speakers, catch up with genie friend and learn lots of new things and meet new people. Check out the speaker list for next year – it is fantastic!

No 29 Make sure all your photos are identified (both print copies and online) and explore Picasa’s facial recognition capability http://picasa.google.com.au. I love scanning old photos and having Picasa attempt to identify them for me. This is how we picked up the fact that my 18 year old niece looks like I did way back when I was 18 yet none of the family saw the resemblance until I let Picasa run through my digital and digitised photos. It takes a little bit of effort to name and identify your first photos but after that it is just a matter of saying yes or no to Picasa’s suggested identification for future photos.

No 30 Why not plan to attend the NSW/ACT conference in Wollongong in September www.conference2014.org.au - prize sponsor. This is another conference I usually try to attend every few years or so but unfortunately I am not going this year. But I am planning to attend next year’s conference which is in Port Macquarie and a little closer to home.

No 31 NSW ancestors – why not look at transcriptions as an alternative to certificates with Joy Murrin transcription agent www.joymurrin.com.au – prize sponsor. Transcriptions are a cheaper alternative to buying certificates and I have used Joy’s services in the past.

Congratulations on completing the 31 activities or as many of them as you chose. I hope that you have made some great research discoveries this month! Remember to enter the NFHM sponsors prize draw – details on the NFHM home page www.familyhistorymonth.org.au and on the NFHM Sponsors page www.familyhistorymonth.org.au/sponsors. Entries close on Tuesday 26 August at 5pm AEST.

Enjoy the rest of National Family History Month 2014.



  1. Don’t know how you managed to anything else apart from your organising tasks during the month. Kudos to you, Shauna.

    Co-incidentally I have just finished a blog post reporting on my success with the 31 activities but will schedule post for later in the week.

  2. I think you’ve been tarting up your site.

    Looking schmick.

  3. Shauna Hicks says:

    Thanks Jill – it has been a busy month that is for sure but I would not have it any other way! Your support is appreciated.

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