NSW & ACT Family History Fair Canberra Sep 2013

September 23rd, 2013

The NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies holds an annual conference each year and if it is somewhere I can easily get to, I try and attend. They started in 1984 and this was my 7th conference  (my 1st was 1994) and although now living on Bribie Island it was relatively easy to get to Brisbane and then fly to Canberra. A bit of a trek but I’m glad I did it as it was a great conference and good to meet up with old friends and meet new ones.

As there was so much happening over the three days I’ve decided to split this blog report on the conference into two parts – firstly the family history fair and a report on all the exhibitors. The second part will cover the conference speakers and their sessions. For the social side of the event I will include that in my Diary of an Australian Genealogist blog posts.

On the Friday there was a free family history fair with talks on the half hour between 10am and 4pm. I missed most of these as I didn’t arrive until almost lunch time and then I was busy trying to see all the different exhibitors as well as chat to people I knew.

Sessions included Early Church Records in NSW with Joy Murrin from Family History Services; Charting Your Family History with Barb Toohey from Eezy Charts; Treasures from the State Archives with Kaye Vernon from Teapot Genealogy; How to Prepare Document Files for Printing with Rick Cochrane from Bytes’n'Colours; Which Society Magazine had the Article About? with Joan Edwards from the Blue Mountains Family History Society; Flip Pal Scanner with Rosemary Kopittke; The Huguenots: the Almost Forgotten People with Robert Nash from the Huguenot Society of Australia; How to Find NSW Court Records with Gail Davis from State Records NSW; The Guild of One Name Studies with Karen Rogers from the Guild of One Name Studies; Treasures in the State Library of NSW with Anne Reddacliffe & Renne McGann from the State Library of NSW and DNA Found my Grandfather with Frank Atkinson from HAGSOC.

For a free event that was an amazing smorgasbord of family history topics and they could also see all the exhibitors in the half hour for lunch! Most of the sessions were fairly short but lots of information in the ones I attended. Also on the Friday were three Masterclasses (for a fee) and these were on Trove with staff from the National Library of Australia, NSW Land Records with Carole Riley and Writing a Non Boring Family History with Hazel Edwards.

I spent 4 hours looking at all the exhibitors, most of whom were there for the conference as well, but the conference sessions didn’t leave that much time for browsing hence I tried to do most of my looking on the Friday. There was a fantastic range of exhibitors and I’ll include them in the same order as the conference committee grouped them.

Under Research Services there was Bytes’n'Colours (book printing); Calvary eHealth; DatacomIT (digitising) ;Eezy Charts; FamilySearch; Finding Your Ancestors (charting); Findmypast.com.au; Inside History (magazine); Irish Wattle (Irish convicts/publishing); Joy Murrin Family History Services (NSW transcriptions); Lifeline Canberra (2nd hand books); transcriptions.com.au (Marilyn Rowan); and the Philatelic Society of Canberra.

Under Research Questions were the Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra (HAGSOC); the Ryerson Index; Shorelines and Shadows (heritage tours); Teapot Genealogy and Unlock the Past.

The really big section was family and local history societies and I will just list the places rather than full names for most of them. They included HAGSOC (Canberra); Blue Mountains; Camden Area; Central Coast; Coffs Harbour; Friends of Mays Hill Cemetery; Guild of One Name Studies; HAGSOC Legacy Users; Holroyd; Huguenot Society; Illawarra; Kiama; Newcastle; New Zealand; Parramatta Female Factory Friends; Parramatta; Port Macquarie; Ryde; ShoalhavenSociety of Australian Genealogists (SAG) and Wyong.

Under Archives and Institutions there were ACT Office of Regulatory Services; Australian War Memorial; Biographical Database of Australia; National Archives of Australia; National Institute for Genealogical Studies; National Library of Australia with Trove and Reader Services; Noel Butlin Archives Centre & University Archives; State Records NSW and State Library of NSW.

I’m almost exhausted listing them out so you can imagine what it was like walking around and looking at all their handouts, publications for sale and talking to them and getting your questions answered. (Does anyone ever click on my links or am I wasting my time doing them, I often wonder) Given all this wonderful, free genealogy offerings it was not surprising that there were about 400 people there throughout the day. I’m not sure what the official figures were for the day but there were a lot of people all having a good time.

There were lucky door prizes and a raffle and I’m very pleased to say that I won the 9th prize which was a copy of Geoffrey Rasmussen’s new book Digital Imaging Essentials published by Unlock the Past and donated by Gould Genealogy & History. I never win anything so I didn’t even attend the prize draw, too busy talking to exhibitors so I’m very grateful to HAGSOC friend Julie Hesse for getting the prize for me. I’m looking forward to reading it as I think it will be very useful.

I’m sitting here surrounded by the contents of the conference satchel which will probably take me days to read too. There were copies of Inside History Magazine, Australian Family Tree Connections, National Archives of Australia’s Your Memento, HAGSOC’s The Ancestral Searcher, pens, pencils, lollies, bookmarks, leaflets etc etc plus all the info I picked up on my travels around the exhibitors. The bottle of water was most welcome to keep up our energy and enthusiasm.

My next blog post will include a report on the two days of the conference including speakers and what I learnt from each session. The social parts will be in my Diary of an Australian Genealogist and I hope to finish everything over the next day or so. Stay tuned.





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