My GG grandmother Maria Johnston's 1887 deposition

My GG grandmother Maria Johnston’s 1887 deposition

Yesterday I gave a presentation at the Queensland Family History Society education session on criminals and victims, other speakers were Rosemary Kopittke and Helen Smith. It was a great morning and an enthusiastic crowd.

Adam Johnston statement 1887

My GG grandfather Adam Johnston’s 1887 deposition





I started with my talk Ancestral Dirty Linen in Queensland Courts of Petty Sessions and as usual my slides are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. A number of my families had marital issues which spilled over into the courts of petty sessions. The deposition statements provide lots of details on the families although reading the writing is often a challenge.

There were quite a few questions and lots of questions afterwards. There were so many that I thought I might miss morning tea but eventually managed to grab a cup of tea and a biscuit or two as they were my fav, Arnott’s orange slice. Mum apparently ate packets of them while she was pregnant with me which I think accounts for my addiction to them!

Rosemary was next with a talk on Australian police gazettes and although I have heard Rosemary give this talk a few times before, there is always something new. There was a handout explaining what the gazettes are and what kind of information you can find. Rosemary also explained availability and Findmypast has NSW and SA 1862-1900, QLD 1864-1900, TAS 1861-1900 and VIC 1855-1900 with some gaps. Ancestry has NSW 1854-1930 and the State Library of Western Australia has placed online gazettes 1876-1900.

I have had great success looking in police gazettes for direct ancestors, quite a few who went to gaol (see my talk above) but recently I have started looking for collateral lines and my ancestors’ siblings. Rosemary always talks about her ancestor having his pushbike stolen, well my great uncle Solomon Price had his pushbike stolen on two separate occasions in Townsville. It really is amazing what you can learn from police gazettes.

Helen was the last speaker and she spoke about criminals and court records in the UK. Not surprisingly, the same types of records are available over there in archives and libraries. She also had a handout including the URLs mentioned in her talk. There were some sites that I had not come across before and one was the cause papers searchable database for the Church Courts in the diocese of York. It covers the period 1300 to 1858 and has more than 14,000 cause papers. If you have anyone from that part of England it could be worth searching.

As usual, I learnt new things from both speakers and attendance at an education seminar is always worthwhile.  Seminars are reasonably priced given that there are three speakers. Upcoming seminars include Irish ancestors in June and Newspapers in August. Details on the QFHS website.

There is also a Forensic Genealogy seminar in April with Colleen Fitzpatrick which I am going to. She is giving three talks, different from those she is giving at the AFFHO Congress 2015 in Canberra at the end of March. I heard Colleen speak at the Adelaide Congress so it will be fantastic to hear her again. This seminar is being jointly hosted by QFHS and the Genealogical Society of Queensland.

So lots to look forward to and if you have the opportunity to attend education seminars, you will definitely find them worthwhile. Thanks to all the QFHS volunteers yesterday who kept everything running smoothly, including the book store which seemed to be doing big business. Well done everyone.

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