Jun 5, 2011

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NSW History & Genealogy Expo, Coffs Harbour Day 2...

Day 2 of the Unlock the Past Northern NSW history and genealogy at Coffs Harbour expo was another great day. One of the reasons I have particularly enjoyed this expo is the great venue (the C-ex Coffs Services Club) – there was a bar area near both theatres selling reasonably priced sandwiches, cups of soup, tea, coffee, cakes and muffins which were all delicious. Even better, there was a breakout area with tables and chairs where you could...

Jun 4, 2011

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NSW History & Genealogy Expo, Coffs Harbour Day 1...

The doors opened at 9.00am on 3 June for the first day of the Unlock the Past history and genealogy expo in beautiful Coffs Harbour. I can’t believe it is so warm here for winter. We have been checking it out as a possible retirement spot next year. It’s in our top 5 spots! By 9.30am there were lots of people checking out the various exhibitors which included: Archive Digital Books Australasia Clean Cruising Coffs Harbour City Library...

May 17, 2011

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Researching & Writing History

I attended the Unlock the Past Researching & Writing History Seminar in Adelaide on 13-14 May 2011. I’m starting to wonder if I attend too many genealogy seminars – why? At this seminar I caught up with people I met at the Genealogical Society of Victoria‘s Australasian Scottish Conference in Melbourne a few weeks ago and I met the husband of a friend I caught up with at the Auslib Sense of Place local studies conference in Sydney a...

Apr 18, 2011

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3rd Australasian Scottish Genealogy Conference – What I Learnt!...

At the weekend I attended the 3rd Australasian Scottish Genealogy Conference Catch The Moments Scotland 1750 to 1850: A Century of Transformation organised by the Scottish Ancestry Group of the Genealogical Society of Victoria (GSV). It is the first conference I have attended in a very long time that I was not giving a paper or working behind the scenes so all I had to do was sit back and enjoy myself along with about 140 other people...

Apr 18, 2011

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Charles Douglas Spencer – Military Medal for Bravery...

Charles Douglas Spencer This ANZAC day I want to commemorate Charles Douglas Spencer, and other Spencer family members who have all been involved in the defence services for over four generations. Charles Douglas Spencer (SX 428), or Doug as he was more commonly known, enlisted in the Australian Army in World War II on 20 October 1939 at Keswick, South Australia. He was 20 years old. We have a copy of his army dossier from the National Archives...

Apr 15, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 15 Sports...

I’m participating in the 52 weeks of personal genealogy and history challenge. I’ve missed a few weeks in this series due to my overseas genealogy cruise and catching some dreaded virus on my return to Melbourne from the tropical north. This week’s topic is sport and I don’t have a lot to talk about because as a sickly asthmatic child in primary school no one really wanted me on either the softball (summer) or basketball (winter) teams. I...

Apr 2, 2011

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Unlock The Past’s Brisbane seminar...

It was a bit strange turning up for an afternoon of genealogy talks only a few days after the Unlock the Past history and genealogy cruise. There were quite a few friendly faces from the cruise and perhaps over a 100 other attendees. It was a free half day seminar featuring interstate speakers and there was an option to stay on for a Battlefield Tours and Cruises wine and cheese information evening. I only stayed for the afternoon...

Mar 28, 2011

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Genealogy Cruising – Why I Am A Fan!...

Below is my original post – I have now discovered Day 6 and Overview blogs written by Aimee which give her final points on her experiences during the cruise. Max and I found the smoke free side of the ship early on and I don’t think either of us will go close to only gaining .5kg like Aimee! The other point that I sadly neglected to make in my original post was to thank Alan, Anthea, Alona,  Rosemary...

Mar 17, 2011

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Researching Irish Ancestors

Last year for St Patrick’s Day I wrote a blog Letters Home – My Irish Families (6 Mar 2010). It reunited me with three distant lines of my Jeffers family of Portadown, Ireland which was exciting for all of us. This year my tribute to St Patrick’s Day will be sharing some of my favourite Irish websites and resources. For anyone who is just starting their family history, I have an article How Do I Start Tracing My...

Mar 9, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 10 Disasters...

I’m participating in the 52 weeks of personal genealogy and history challenge. I’m fortunate that my immediate family have never suffered a big disaster – my mother’s family were continually flooded out when she was young and that is the reason why there are few family photos on her side of the family. The only small scale disaster I can recall as a child relates to our Christmas camping adventures on the Gold Coast in the 1960s. We used...

Mar 4, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 9 Sounds...

I’m participating in the 52 weeks of personal genealogy and history challenge. This week’s challenge is to describe sounds that take you back to your childhood. This one stumped me for a while as I couldn’t really think of any sounds that opened up memories. In fact I still only have one memory that I can write about. I now live on the outskirts of Melbourne and there is not a lot of bush around us anymore. I don’t...

Feb 27, 2011

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Scottish Genealogy & Serendipity in Victoria...

I believe that serendipity happens a lot in genealogy and one of the things on my to do list for 2011 is to revisit my Scottish families and find out more about them. I first researched them in the late 1970s, and ad hoc since then.  However, there are many resources available now which are more accessible and easier to use so I might make better progress. As part of my resolve I booked myself into the Genealogical...

Feb 26, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 8 Technology...

I’m participating in the 52 weeks of personal genealogy and history challenge. This week’s topic is all about what were some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood. Wow – where to start as there has been incredible change during my 50 something years. After some thinking I have come up with my top 3 technological advances that impacted me the most in hindsight. Without doubt the purchase of our first television changed our lives (and our...

Feb 20, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 7 Toys...

I’m participating in the 52 weeks of personal genealogy and history challenge. This week’s topic is all about what was your favourite childhood toy. I was always a bit of a tomboy so even though I was given the obligatory Barbie doll when she came out in 1959 (I’m a few years older than Barbie and I have great trouble accepting that Barbie is now a 50+ woman), I don’t think I ever really played with dolls.  I was...

Feb 11, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 5 – Food...

I’m participating in the 52 weeks of personal genealogy and history challenge. Surprisingly this has been a difficult blog to write as I have been unable to pick a central theme. I like all foods and cooking styles but if I focus back to my primary school years I would have to say that I always liked Friday nights. That was fish and chip night and unwrapping the newspaper and letting out all those wonderful smells is an enduring...

Feb 11, 2011

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GenealogyWise Update

I am a member of GenealogyWise and also a member of the Australian Genealogists group which is administered by Geniaus, a well known Australian blogger and tweeter. There are just over 300 members of this group (a lot more in the whole of GenealogyWise) who help each other with queries, post events, announcements and so on. If you haven’t had a look, now is a good time to see what you are missing! Below is a press release...

Feb 11, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 6 – Radio & Television...

I’m participating in the 52 weeks of personal genealogy and history challenge. This week’s topic is all about our favourite radio or television show when we were kids. I remember loving Romper Room and each time I waited for Miss Betty to say my name at the end of the program but it was always the more regular kind of kid’s names. There weren’t that many Shauna’s in the late 50s early 60s in Australia so although I watched...

Feb 3, 2011

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Those Places Thursday – Discovering Pitton & Farley, Wiltshire, England...

This is my contribution to the blogging theme Those Places Thursday and I have selected one of my English parishes as I am also interested in One Place Studies. My great grandfather Herbert William White was born in Farley, Wiltshire in 1864 and I have been researching the family since 1977. Many others are also linked into the White family as the family stayed in the same parish for generations. As an Australian it is not that easy...

Feb 2, 2011

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Waitangi Day – A New Zealand Connection...

This is my contribution to the Waitangi Day Blog Challenge – Your Earliest Known New Zealand Ancestor. While most of my ancestors were Australian based, I do have New Zealand connections like many other Australian families. In a lot of cases this is a mining connection with many people crossing the Tasman in search of their fortunes. My son’s gg grandfather John Barrow Atkinson went to New Zealand first before being attracted to the gold fields of Gympie...

Jan 28, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Week 4 – Home...

I’m participating in the 52 weeks of personal genealogy and history challenge. This week’s challenge is to describe the home we grew up in. This is much easier for me as my parents stayed in the same place for the whole of their married life. Not like their gypsy daughter! We moved there shortly after my brother was born and I was still a young child. Before that we had been living in a small place behind some...

Jan 25, 2011

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My Ancestor Approved Award

I am honoured and delighted to have been nominated for the Ancestor Approved Award by both Kerrie Farmer and Judy Webster. The Award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou to acknowledge genealogy blogs that are ‘full of tips and tricks as well as funny and heartwarming stories’. Recipients are asked to list ten surprising, humbling or enlightening aspects of their research, and to pass on the award to ten other researchers. Here are my lists. Aspects of My Research...

Jan 25, 2011

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Australia Day 2011 My Earliest Documents...

This is my contribution to the Australia Day blogging theme suggested by Twigs of Yore celebrating our earliest connections and documents in Australia. By the time my son was born, I had been tracing my own family history for ten years and I knew that my earliest ancestors arrived in the early 1860s and later. I was deeply disappointed that I didn’t have any convicts having studied early Australian history at university. That early period of our history...

Jan 24, 2011

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Online Genealogy Courses

Last year while on the Unlock the Past history and genealogy roadshow I met and got to know Louise St Denis, Director of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS). On the New Zealand part of the trip I also met up with Kerrie Farmer, the new Director, Australian Studies (NIGS). As part of the roadshow, attendees were able to sign up for a free course on Methodology and mine starts in February. I am really looking forward...

Jan 19, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Week 3 Cars...

This week’s topic is one that I do have clear memories of. As a teenager I wasn’t all that fussed on getting a driver’s license and in fact, I was in my early 20s before I obtained my first driver’s license. By then I was married and my husband had a blue volkswagen but we replaced it shortly after I got my license with a Honda Civic which I really loved. However that marriage didn’t last and sadly...

Jan 12, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Week 2 Winter...

Like Week 1 in this series 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, I am finding it hard to remember things from my childhood. I simply cannot remember winter in Queensland although I was there for over 40 years which seems unbelievable. However I think I didn’t really appreciate winter and the other seasons of the year until I went to live in Canberra in 1999. Canberra is a city where you do experience all the seasons and...

Jan 10, 2011

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My 2011 Genealogy Aspirations

It has taken me a little while to finally decide on what I want to focus on in 2011. My review of my 2010 aspirations made me realise I was really trying to  do too much in too many areas. The five key areas I have decided on are: 1. Write up my mother’s Price family history, including photographs and other illustrations in time for her 77th birthday 2. Learn more about DNA from a genealogy perspective and...

Jan 3, 2011

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52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Week 1 New Year’s Day...

Well I have just signed up for another 52 weeks of improving my genealogy skills with Geneabloggers. Last year’s theme was Better Genealogy and this year the theme is Personal Genealogy & History. The first week is looking at New Year’s Day traditions in the family and sad to say I can’t remember any times we celebrated new year but we must have. I know every year my parents and younger brother and I used to go down...

Dec 31, 2010

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My 2010 Genealogy Aspirations Review

On 28 December 2009 I posted my New Year Genie Aspirations for 2010 and on 9 July 2010 I did a mid year review of those resolutions where I found that I was not keeping up with my ambitions for the year. After July my year was even busier so it is interesting to review my aspirations again at year’s end. Maintain my health and fitness program so that I will have the energy and strength to do...

Dec 22, 2010

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Reading For Genealogy – Archives Annual Reports...

This is a continuation of my last blog What Are You Reading For Genealogy? Government publications might seem a strange choice and some might think my working in government for 35 years has coloured my choice of reading material, especially for genealogy. But I hope to show in this blog that you can discover new tips and information by looking at annual reports published by archives. The 2009-10 annual report of the National Archives of Australia is a...

Dec 8, 2010

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What Are You Reading For Genealogy?

On the recent Unlock The Past history and genealogy roadshow, I gave a presentation on Where Else Can I Look, It’s Not All On The Internet which looked at a range of ideas. The handout for that talk, and the others I gave, is on the Resources page of my website (just scroll down). This post is an extension of that talk in that I am looking at publications by individuals, an idea I didn’t include in the...

Dec 3, 2010

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Australia and New Zealand History & Genealogy Roadshow Overview...

Well it is now  a week since I returned home after the 20 day trip around Australia and New Zealand on the Unlock The Past History & Genealogy roadshow. The eleven days of the roadshow were blogged daily and I was surprised at the following the daily blog attracted with many people coming up to me and commenting on my adventures. Statistics show that there were 1800 visits with 1000 unique visitors which is simply amazing. Many people...

Nov 24, 2010

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Australia and New Zealand History and Genealogy Roadshow Day Eleven...

Well the final roadshow from Unlock The Past took place today at the Ellerslie Centre in Auckland. While I am a little sad it is over, I am more tired than anything. It has been a hectic pace throughout but even more so here in New Zealand where we fly in first thing in the morning and then start the roadshow in the early afternoon going through into the evening. Today’s program had the usual two streams of...

Nov 23, 2010

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Australia and New Zealand History & Genealogy Roadshow Day Ten...

I seem to have a sixth sense when travelling as I woke up 15 minutes before the alarm went off at 6.00am so that I would be ready for the 8.00am departure from our Christchurch hotel. Today I gave myself time to get some breakfast and a final walk around Cathedral Square. After a slight delay at the airport we were on our way to Wellington and the tenth day of the Unlock The Past history and genealogy...

Nov 22, 2010

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Australia and New Zealand History & Genealogy Roadshow Day Nine...

After the final sessions of the Unlock the Past roadshow in Australia, Rosemary, Louise and I went in to the historic Rocks area of Sydney where we met up with Elaine. We then explored the various streets around the Rocks ending up in a Chinese restaurant on the waterfront for dinner (a shared Peking duck for the foodies reading this). We were even treated to a display of fireworks over the Sydney Opera House and the old sailing...

Nov 20, 2010

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Australia & New Zealand History and Genealogy Roadshow Day Eight...

Well the Australian section of the  Unlock The Past history and genealogy roadshow is now over. It was another great day in Sydney where I found myself making lots of notes of things I want to follow up. The first session I went to was Heather Garnsay from the Society of Australian Genealogists talking about the wonderful treasures in the Society’s Library and how to access them. I was so inspired that I am now trying to work...

Nov 19, 2010

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Australia History and Genealogy Roadshow Day Seven...

Today the Roadshow was in Sydney and not quite the same without Unlock The Past‘s efficient organiser Aimee staffing the registration desk. Sadly other commitments meant that she couldn’t be with us for the last part of the Roadshow and we are missing her already. On a brighter note we do have long time colleague Carole  Riley (of Carole’s Canvas fame) helping us out. Before I get into today’s sessions, I really must confess to last night’s activities....

Nov 18, 2010

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Australia History and Genealogy Roadshow Day Six...

Today’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...

Nov 16, 2010

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Australia History and Genealogy Roadshow Day Five...

Day 5 of the Unlock The Past history and genealogy Roadshow saw a big turn out of Canberrans for another excellent program of speakers and talks. There seemed to be a higher ratio of males to females at this venue than at others which was interesting. Must be the dynamics of Canberra’s population. As I have seen all the international speakers’ talks now  I only attended those in the local stream. Starting the day was Cora Num‘s excellent...

Nov 13, 2010

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Australia History and Genealogy Roadshow Day Four...

Well Day 4 of the Roadshow is over and I am now wondering if I will make it to Day 11 (it is actually 20 days counting the travel days) – I feel incredibly weary yet my brain is buzzing with so much new information. Also great today to catch up with a lot of my Melbourne friends and colleagues. We rearranged the lectern this morning and I was pleased with my presentation Archives You May Not Know...

Nov 12, 2010

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Australia History and Genealogy Roadshow Day Three...

Day three of the History and Genealogy Roadshow in Australia was in Melbourne and as usual I was the first speaker in the alternate stream. Sometimes it’s not good to be the first speaker because if things are going to go wrong, it is during the first talk. Just before I started I realised there was no water and glasses for the speakers. Rosemary kindly got me a glass but then we realised there was no where to...

Nov 11, 2010

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Australia & New Zealand Genealogy Roadshow – Day Two...

Yesterday was Day 2 of the Unlock The Past history and genealogy roadshow in Perth, Western Australia and it was another great day. Started at 8.30am and finished at 9.30pm so there were a few tired but pleased exhibitors at the end of the day. I was again the first speaker in the second stream of talks and my presentation was on the Treasures of the National Library of Australia which was very well received and one gentleman...

Nov 9, 2010

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Australia & New Zealand Genealogy Roadshow – Day One...

Well the first day of the Roadshow from my perspective was a great success because I have a notebook bulging with new ideas to follow up. The trouble is that I probably won’t get to do that until I return home at the end of November – just hope I still understand what I have written! I was busy giving three of my own talks, all of which were new, so I was really interested in seeing how...

Nov 2, 2010

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Using Twitter For Genealogy Brickwalls...

Yesterday I had a spare 30 minutes while dinner was cooking so I thought I would do a quick UK census search as I have been having quite a lot of success finding families that I couldn’t find years ago while searching through microfilms. My gg grandmother was Harriet Judge who was born in Brackley, Northamptonshire in 1840 and she married George Gardiner in 1860 in London. A quick search found them in Tottenham, Middlesex with a daughter...

Oct 5, 2010

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Family Gatherings

On 30 September 2010 I attended a morning tea to celebrate the 100th birthday of my partner’s aunt Mavis Rogers nee Eldridge. The preceding few days were spent visiting and catching up with various cousins he hadn’t seen in over 4o years and yet they could all remember the last time they had seen each other. There was lots of discussion on what had occurred in everyone’s lives since then. At the morning tea it was really good...

Sep 20, 2010

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Report on Bomaderry ACT/NSW Genealogy Conference 2010...

It was a beautiful weekend in Shoalhaven with blue skies and warm weather. The conference, with a theme ‘A Most Suitable Place’ was a great opportunity for me to catch up with friends from all over New South Wales, Canberra and even one person from Queensland. It is an annual event of the NSW/ACT Association of Family History Societies. The venue was great and the catering was simply terrific. I think it will be hard for any future...

Sep 16, 2010

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Education Records for Genealogy

While working at Queensland State Archives back in the 1980s, I became a fan of school admission registers when one of the projects I was involved in was the preparation of the registers for microfilming. This meant that I had to look at every register then in custody to ensure that conservation needs were met and appropriate heading sheets were prepared for each register. Admission registers for areas where my ancestors lived were obviously more interesting and flicking...

Aug 30, 2010

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Discovering Maritime Museums for Genealogy...

In my last blog I wrote about Discovering Immigration Museums for Genealogy. Closely related are Maritime Museums and Australia has quite a few and some with excellent online resources. The Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) is one that I frequently refer to in my talks on immigration because it has Vaughan Evans’ indexes searchable online for free. These can be found under Collections and Research, then Pictures of Ships in the Australian Trade and are for the following...

Aug 17, 2010

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Discovering Immigration Museums For Genealogy...

When we want to find out about our ancestors immigration details we usually go to archives and libraries to research. An often overlooked resource are immigration museums or migration centres and we have some excellent examples in Australia. The Immigration Museum in Melbourne always has both permanent and temporary exhibitions on display and currently there is Station Pier: Gateway to a New Life and Australia’s Muslim Cameleers to mention just two. These exhibitions highlight various aspects of Victoria’s...

Aug 9, 2010

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Turbo Charging My Irish Genealogy

To celebrate the end of another great National Family History Week, I attended the Irish seminar organised by the Genealogy Society of Victoria’s Irish Special Interest Group. Key speaker was Gregory O’Connor the higher archivist at the National Archives of Ireland and he gave two talks. The first was on An Overview of Genealogical Sources at the National Archives of Ireland and a very useful handout summarised these while Gregory showed illustrations highlighting the usefulness of the sources....

Aug 3, 2010

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Genealogy Booming in Australasia

Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Family History Fair in New Zealand, the inaugural Adelaide History and Genealogy Expo in South Australia and the annual Family History Feast in Melbourne, Victoria. All three events were extremely well attended and the majority of talk sessions were booked out. I now have three ‘showbags’ bulging with information and I have lots of new leads to follow up. I also made new friends and contacts and...

Jul 23, 2010

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Can You Do Genealogy Without Technology?...

Can you do genealogy without using technology today is a question that I have been mulling over for some time. In just about every talk I do, there are at least one or more people who claim not to use a computer, quite a few that don’t use mailing lists, most don’t read blogs or use Twitter, although Facebook seems to have a following. On my recent genealogy trip to New Zealand, instead of going through the process...

Jul 9, 2010

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Mid Year Review of Genealogy Resolutions...

On 28 December 2009 I wrote my Genealogy Resolutions for 2010. Now that we are into July I thought it was time for a review to see how I am going. – Maintain my health and fitness program so that I will have the energy and strength to do the next 9 items. Not too bad but still not as regular as I would like. Tends to be driven by what else is happening and gets neglected in...

Jun 24, 2010

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Using Twitter for Genealogy

I give a lot of talks to genealogy and family history groups and I always ask the question – Who uses Twitter? Invariably people laugh and very few, if any, admit that they are on Twitter. I go on to say that I think Twitter is one of the best genealogy resources today and that I have learnt more from Twitter in the last twelve months than I have in years. This usually makes peoples eyebrows go up...

Jun 2, 2010

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Finding Families in Cemeteries

I am still participating in the 52 Weeks To Better Genealogy program and Challenge 22 was to spend time at Find-a-Grave. This doesn’t have a lot of relevance for Australian researchers, although there are 164 people listed in the Australian section, so I am looking at my favourite cemetery sites for Australia. A quick and easy site is Australian Cemeteries which covers all States and Territories and it includes links to online data for either tombstones or burial...

May 18, 2010

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Advertising Your Genealogy Research Online...

Back on 4 December 2009 I wrote a blog titled Serendipity or Advertising Your Ancestors which described how various ‘relatives’ had contacted me after reading something that I had written. This is a follow up to that blog and it confirms that it pays to advertise your genealogy research interests. Since then I have written many blogs on a range of topics using my own families to either tell their stories or to highlight how I have found...

Apr 30, 2010

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Australian Genealogy Sources

The title of this blog is actually the title of a publication by Ralph Reid in association with Gould Genealogy and published in 2006. Despite the broad ranging title, it only looks at three genealogy resources which formed a sub-title to Reid’s original publication. These three sources are: Pioneer registers Biographical dictionaries Bibliographies Given our tendency these days to Google everything, check library catalogues online, look at Wikipedia, it is not often that I find myself sitting down...

Apr 24, 2010

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Tasman Jarvis – An Original ANZAC...

As tomorrow is ANZAC Day, my thoughts this week have been around those family members who have fought in various wars. While there are many individuals I could focus on, the one that comes most prominently to mind on ANZAC Day is Tasman Jarvis. I can still remember the day we found his parents grave in Richmond Cemetery, Tasmania. I was noting all the details on the headstone and right at the bottom was an entry for their...

Apr 16, 2010

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Finding Ancestors in Church Publications...

Since December 2009 I have been writing a monthly article on Finding Ancestors in Church Publications for Australian Family Tree Connections (AFTC). Parts 1-3 are now available online on Unlock the Past to make the articles more accessible. Church publications include regular newsletters, newspapers, journals, histories, directories, biographies and so on. They don’t include original records such as parish registers as these are not usually published. Although I mostly talk about published material, I do sometimes refer to...

Apr 13, 2010

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Using Cyndi’s List for Australian Genealogy...

This is another instalment of the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy challenge. Challenge 13 was to explore Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet and discover some new websites of use to my research. I have used Cyndi’s List for years and always go there when I am not sure what might be available for a place. I will confess that I rarely use it for Australia instead relying on my own existing knowledge or going to...

Mar 29, 2010

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Mapping Your Ancestors

Weeks 7 and 8 of the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy were all about online map collections with the first exercise looking at Google Maps. Although I have briefly looked at Google Maps online, I have not really taken the time to explore it from a family history perspective. I started by putting in my own address here in Melbourne and up came a street directory map but by switching to a satellite image I was able to...

Mar 20, 2010

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Why You Should Attend Genealogy Expos and Seminars...

The past week has been very busy with three genealogy events and while I do feel a bit weary, it was a worthwhile experience going to all three. The first was the Second Australian Jewish Genealogy conference in Melbourne where I was giving a talk on Caring For Your Family Records. I have never had any involvement with Jewish genealogy before so listening to the other speakers was extremely interesting. I had thought tracing my Norwegian ancestors was...

Mar 16, 2010

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52 weeks to Better Genealogy – Challenge 6 Online databases...

Challenge 6 in the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy challenge is about using online databases at your local library. I never seem to get time to go to the library much less spend time there doing research. The best time of the day for me to research is between 4-6am and libraries aren’t open then. At that time of day, the family is still asleep, the house is quiet, I can simply please myself, so it is the...

Mar 12, 2010

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Caring for your Family Records

My presentation on Caring for your Family Records at the Second National Australian Jewish Genealogy Conference in Melbourne last weekend was very well received. I had intended to spend the whole day at the conference but we experienced some minor roof damage from the previous nights’ storm and minor flooding in the lounge room which delayed us a bit. We arrived just in time for the two talks before lunch, and my talk was one of three concurrent...

Mar 6, 2010

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Letters Home – My Irish Families...

This week’s blog is my contribution to the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture, 18th edition With four gg grandparents born in Ireland it is no wonder that I am interested in Irish heritage and culture. Of the four it is only my gg grandmother Maria Jeffers who gives me any real insight into her life back in Ireland. However, I will also outline the other Irish gg grandparents just in case someone else is interested in those...

Feb 28, 2010

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52 weeks to better genealogy – my WorldCat.org challenge...

Amazing how quick the weeks go by when you are enrolled in the 52 weeks to better genealogy challenge. I love doing the challenges, but I am not so good on writing up the results. Challenge 4 was exploring a library’s inter library loan (ILL) policy and how you can use ILL’s for genealogy research. As a librarian I was aware of this and have used it on many occasions in the past. However I looked through some...

Feb 21, 2010

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Finding My Long Lost Jeffers Cousins Online...

I have written before about why it pays to advertise your family research interests online and this is another example with my Jeffers family from Portadown, County Armagh Ireland. I placed a query about the family on an Ancestry.com message board in November 1998 and my first direct reply was in October 2001, almost three years later. Unfortunately that person never wrote back after establishing we were interested in the same family. Now in February 2010 over eight years...

Feb 13, 2010

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Why You Should Still Use Family History Bibliographies...

In the age of Google we sometimes think that everything is online but we really know that it isn’t. Some of the family history resources and tools of the past tend to be forgotten because it takes a little extra effort to use them and most times we can’t use them at home. One example is the published bibliography of family histories and in Australia we have an excellent series published by Ralph Reid, with individual volumes for...

Feb 5, 2010

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Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory – why you should use a local society!...

This week’s blog is coming from Darwin in the Northern Territory where I have spent a fascinating week. I was also privileged to visit the Library of the Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory (GSNT) where June Tomlinson gave me the tour. Just because a Society is located in one particular place, does not mean that it only has records for that place. GSNT have a very impressive Library with an extensive collection of resources for just about...

Feb 1, 2010

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Your Family History – Recording Here and Now...

Last week’s blog was Recording Your Own Life, this week’s blog is on that same theme and it is a few days late because we are in Darwin playing grandma and grandpa. We haven’t seen the 3 youngest grandkids of our eldest son since the family all moved from Adelaide a few years ago. Time was spent admiring how much they have grown and although we have seen photos, it is not quite the same as seeing them in...

Jan 23, 2010

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Recording Your Own Life

I have spent this week thinking about my own life. Why? I am enrolled in the 52 weeks to Better Genealogy program and week 3 is reflecting on our own lives and how we have recorded them. We document our ancestors and living family members but do we take the time to record our own lives. My answer is both yes and no. As an archivist I have always been aware of the need for recordkeeping and one...

Jan 15, 2010

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52 Weeks to Better Genealogy – My Progress So Far!...

I have accepted a challenge from Genea-Bloggers to participate in a 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy workshop. We are at the end of Week 2 and I honestly don’t know where the last two weeks went. I have done both challenges and as they are related I thought I would combine them into a single blog report. One of the nice things about the workshop is that it is supposed to be fun and you don’t have to...

Jan 8, 2010

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Is My Family Already On The Internet?...

Not too many years ago, most genealogists and family historians used to submit their names and research interests to society journals or genealogical research directories (GRD’s), either local, national and/or international. We would then sit back and hopefully someone would contact us and there would be a connection and an exchange of information. Originally this was by snail mail and then email. I made a few connections that way but not as many as I have made since...

Dec 28, 2009

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New Year Genie Aspirations – In 2010 I Will...

Maintain my health and fitness program so that I will have the energy and strength to do the next 9 items. It is too easy to get mesmerised by the computer or the fascination of the library, book or whatever. Without regular breaks my back starts to ache, my joints stiffen up and my brain overloads and I start to dither. If I don’t make the effort to leave the house or telephone someone, I find myself telling...

Dec 23, 2009

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50 Australian Websites For Family History...

Christmas Greetings! There are numerous ‘best of’ lists but rarely do they include Australian websites. This list reflects my own interests but I would welcome suggestions and would love to make it a Top 100 list. Some websites fitted more than one category, especially the State archives and libraries as some of them have very active access and digitisation programs. However I have only included them in one category so be sure to explore the whole site and...

Dec 17, 2009

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No Time For Family History

Many years ago I bought a slim Federation of Family History Societies publication by Eve McLaughlin entitled No Time For Family History? and this was largely in the pre personal computer days. Back then we were busy people and we squeezed the family history in by not doing the housework or forgetting to feed the pets or worse still, the family. Now in these computer driven days, I am finding I have even less time because when I...

Dec 11, 2009

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Living Relatives – Don’t Waste Opportunity...

This week’s blog sees me back in Brisbane at my mother’s. Over the last few months I seem to have spent more time in Brisbane than I have in years. Mum’s illness also means that I have spent more time with her than I have in decades and at a time when she is not able to do things herself. This has meant that I have had to get involved with her finances, what is kept where in...

Dec 4, 2009

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Serendipity or Advertising Your Ancestors...

I finished last week’s blog  by saying that Serendipity would guide this week’s  entry. Fortunately Serendipity was kind to me and I can report that it does pay to advertise your ancestors in publications, on websites and on social networking sites like Facebook. In the December issue of Australian Family Tree Connections I had an article on finding your ancestors in church publications. As always I use examples from my own family history. The magazine has only been...

Nov 29, 2009

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Online BDMs Demolish Brick Walls

My last two blogs have been about preparing for my talk on Convicts and Criminals and accompanying  Handout at Mulwala Family History Expo  and all the wonderful  information I discovered on my families because of new online resources. The talk went very well and I received some lovely feedback. One woman said she could listen to me all day which might have been a slight exaggeration. But the more exciting thing was the discovery of my gg grandmother...

Nov 19, 2009

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Using Police Gazettes

In some ways this is a continuation of last week’s entry in that it relates to my talk on Convicts & Criminals this Saturday at the Mulwala Family History Expo. I had finished my presentation and was doing a final run through to see that it worked and realised I had forgotten Police Gazettes. When I was doing all my criminal research in Queensland back in the 80s, Police Gazettes were actually closed to public access and one...

Nov 12, 2009

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Using Online Newspapers: the good and the bad...

I have been working on a talk Convicts & Criminals for the Mulwala Family History expo on 21 November and part of the talk is about the advantages of having Australian Newspapers online. The really exciting bit is that I have found new information on one of my convicts, Richard Walker who arrived on the Somersetshire in 1814. There was an inquest into his death which I never found when looking for death and funeral notices on microfilm...

Nov 5, 2009

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Mining and Criminal Records in Queensland...

In 1992 I successfully completed the Diploma in Historical Studies at the Society of Australian Genealogists. It was the end of an annus horribilus year, my son turned five, my then husband had major cancer surgery followed by chemotherapy, I was working full time at the John Oxley Library while nursing my husband at home and for relaxation I thought I would do the Diploma. Looking back I can almost laugh but at the time the Diploma kept...

Nov 3, 2009

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Radio interview in Mount Gambier, South Australia...

On Monday 2 Nov 2009 I was interviewed by Stan Thomson during his Mornings program on ABC SE South Australia on my visit to Mount Gambier and my talk to the Mount Gambier History Group on Discovering Military Ancestors Online . I was a bit surprised to find that Stan also wanted to know about my own family and how I became interested in researching the past. A copy of the interview is available here. The talk was...

Oct 21, 2009

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Mining Ancestors

In an earlier blog, This Week in History, I mentioned how the Gympie gold rush led to my Victorian families moving up to Queensland. I have a wide interest in mining with various ancestors involved in tin, copper, gold and coal mining in all states of Australia except the Northern Territory and Tasmania. I have even travelled to all of the places my families lived. Today I  started a discussion forum on Genealogy Wise for those with Australian...

Oct 13, 2009

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This Week In History

It is interesting to reflect on events that may have impacted on our ancestors lives. On 12 Oct 1838 the first Lutherans arrived in South Australia, led by Augustus Kavel having left Prussia because of religious repression. On 13 Oct 1933 the first traffic lights switched on in Sydney and on 14 Oct 1889 Melbourne’s first electric tram service began between Box Hill and Doncaster.On 15 Oct 1810 Australia’s first horse race meeting took place in Hyde Park...

Oct 8, 2009

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Why is there a crimp on Cornish pasties?...

At the weekend I went to the Central Highlands Family History Expo in Ballarat and the Cornish Association of Victoria, Ballarat Branch had a really interesting display and lots of useful books and other finding aids to help people with Cornish ancestors. My mother’s grandmother was Cornish so I have an interest in Cornwall and a fondness for Cornish pasties. One of the things I picked up at their stall was a recipe for authentic pasties and there...

Sep 30, 2009

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Graeme Davison 2007 talk on podcast

Graeme Davison’s talk on speed relating and the internet revolution in genealogical research in 2007 is available as a podcast on the State Library of Victoria website. It is the last talk and listed under the Don Grant lecture. Listening to this may be an option if you don’t have easy access to reading his article in the latest issue of History...

Sep 29, 2009

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Family History Online

The August 2009 issue of History Australia has a fascinating article by Graeme Davison on Speed-Relating: Family History in a Digital Age. Professor Davison talked on this topic when he gave the annual Don Grant lecture for the Victorian Association of  Family History Organisations in 2007. I found that a stimulating talk and it generated much discussion afterwards. It is good to now see something in print and I look forward to reading it. I hope it leads...