Update on National Family History Month August 2014

June 27th, 2014

National Family History Month is is an initiative of AFFHO, the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations and started as a week in 2006 and extended to a month from 2013. It is held annually in August in Australia and New Zealand and there are just over four weeks to go.

 

Major sponsors for 2014 are AFFHO, Ancestry.com.au and FamilySearch. The National Archives of Australia have agreed to host the launch again, something they have done since 2006.

 

Prize sponsors this year include in alphabetical order: AFFHO, AFFHO Congress 2015Ancestry.com.au,  Australian Family Tree Connections, Biographical Database of Australia, FamilySearch, Findmypast.com.au, genEbooks, Gould Genealogy and History, Inside History Magazine, MyHeritage, National Institute of Genealogical Studies, NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies,  Shauna Hicks History Enterprises and Unlock the Past. There are prizes for participating genealogy and family history societies and individuals. Details of the competitions and prize draws will be announced closer to August. Visit the Sponsors page on the NFHM website for prize details.

 

There is a NFHM Facebook page and recently we reached 1000 Likes. Why not help us reach 2000 Likes!

 

Genealogy and family history societies, libraries, archives and others have been placing their events for the month in the NFHM web calendar. Visit the web calendar to see what events are being held near you. Events are still being added to the calendar and notices of new events are being advertised through the Facebook page.

 

It would be wonderful if everyone could encourage their local genealogy and family history society to do an event in August. It could be as simple as renaming the August monthly meeting to NFHM monthly meeting or having one of the library days as an open day for NFHM. Public libraries, archives, historical societies, museums and anyone interested in genealogy and family history are welcome to add their events. This year for the first time there is a category for online events. It is easy to add an event, simply click on the link and provide all the details, including time of event.

 

The NFHM 2014 flyer is available on the NFHM Home page. The flyer can be used to help promote your events and if you are stuck for ideas, have a look at the 2013 list of events which is also available from the NFHM Home page.

Please join AFFHO and our sponsors in making NFHM 2014 our biggest and most successful August ever!



National Family History Month August 2014

April 4th, 2014

Last year I was the national voluntary coordinator of National Family History Month which is held annually in August in Australia and New Zealand and I have agreed to do it again in 2014. Behind the scenes activities included liaising with sponsors, organising the launch, maintaining the website, ensuring events are added to the web calendar, liaising with event holders, answering queries and most importantly, publicity and promotion to ensure that we get as many events as possible and that everyone knows about what is happening in their own areas.

Last year I added the concept of prizes for participating genealogy societies and this year I have extended the prizes to both genealogy societies and individuals. NFHM does not have its own blog so I use my website for major updates like this and my Diary of an Australian Genealogist for brief updates and promotion. There is a NFHM Facebook page and we are currently trying to reach 1000 Likes. Why not help us out!

I have just sent off a report to AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations) on progress to date for NFHM 2014 and it is time to start our publicity campaign. NFHM is an AFFHO initiative to promote genealogy and family history in Australasia and was started in 2006 as a week and changed to a month in 2013. More information is on the NFHM website Home page.

Major sponsors for 2014 are AFFHO, Ancestry.com.au and FamilySearch and the National Archives of Australia have agreed to host the launch again, something they have done since 2006. Without our major sponsors it would be very hard to keep NFHM going and we thank them for their generosity and support.

Prize sponsors this year has expanded and we welcome NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies, MyHeritage and the National Institute of Genealogical Studies to NFHM. We also welcome previous sponsors Australian Family Tree Connections, Findmypast.com.au, genEbooks, Gould Genealogy and History, Inside History Magazine, Shauna Hicks History Enterprises and Unlock the Past.

I am also pleased to announce that our major sponsors have donated prizes too. AFFHO has allocated two conference registrations for two lucky people to attend Congress 2015 in Canberra next year. The program with the theme Generations Meeting Across Time is sensational with great speakers and talks, definitely not to be missed! Early bird registration is now open. Ancestry.com.au have donated ten individual subscriptions and FamilySearch have a tablet prize.

Details of the competitions and prize draws will be announced closer to August but for now check out the list of prizes on offer on the NFHM Sponsors and Supporters page.

It would be great if everyone could encourage their local genealogy and family history society to do an event in August. It could be as simple as renaming the August monthly meeting to NFHM monthly meeting or having one of the library days as an open day for NFHM. Public libraries, archives, historical societies, museums and anyone interested in genealogy and family history are welcome to have an event in August. This year we even have a category for online events. It is easy to add an event, simply click on the link and provide all the details, not forgetting time of event.

My next task is to start contacting key organisations for genealogy and family history societies, libraries, archives, historical societies and museums for assistance in sending out the NFHM 2014 flyer which is also available from the NFHM Home page. The flyer can be used to help promote your events and if you are stuck for ideas, have a look at the 2013 list of events which is also available from the NFHM Home page.

Please join me and AFFHO in making NFHM 2014 our biggest and most successful August ever!


Genealogy Aspirations 2014

December 23rd, 2013

This year has gone incredibly fast! It has been busy with settling into our new home on Bribie Island and doing some travel as usual. Regular readers will know that I like to review my genealogy goals at the end of a year and to set myself some new genealogy goals for the coming year. So how did I go with my Genealogy Aspirations 2013?

The five aspirations (in brief) were:

1. As I unpack to identify and list tasks to help keep my goal of scanning and rehousing photographs and family heirlooms progressing. I’m happy to say that I did manage to do some scanning and rehousing but it always takes longer to do than you think.

2. The Burstow one name study – to get organised so that I can answer any queries from others interested in the name and to set up my profile on the Guild of One-Name Studies (GOONS) website. I managed to set up some spreadsheets for the UK census and some other miscellaneous records in Australia and I received one query on the name via the GOONS website.

3. My Norwegian ancestors (the Gunderson line goes back to 1688) – researching more about their culture and where they came from. Sadly, this was the aspiration that got away!

4. As we now live on Bribie Island across from where my Scottish ancestors (Carnegie) were oyster farmers in Pumicestone Passage, to re-look at their files. I have been re-looking at this family and discovered new information. I’ve been asked to speak about the family’s history at the March 2014 meeting of the Bribie Island Historical Society so that will definitely focus my thoughts as I prepare for the talk.


5. Finally to get back to blogging on a more regular basis – both my SHHE Genie Rambles blog and my Diary of an Australian Genealogist were a bit haphazard in 2012. Again I was not as active here as I would have liked but I really did achieve this goal during National Family History Month (NFHM). I was the new voluntary national co-ordinator and I suspect that is where a lot of my spare time went this year. One big plus here was that Diary of an Australian Genealogist was selected by the National Library of Australia to be archived into Pandora, accessed via the archived web sites section of Trove which was a thrill and an honour.


As usual there were other genealogy related things that arose during the year to capture my attention. Perhaps the most time consuming (outside of NFHM) were two new research guides for Unlock the Past which are due out in January 2014, just in time for the fourth UTP genealogy cruise. I also attended a number of meetings in Canberra of the National Archives of Australia‘s advisory committee for the centenary of World War One and it has been really interesting being part of that committee and I am looking forward to the 2014 meetings.


Now to my Genealogy Aspirations for 2014


1. I have to keep the scanning of photographs and documents at the top of the list (I am very much an out of sight out of mind person). Now that we live in Paradise and all its distractions, I do not want to be tied down to any fixed timetable but perhaps three hours  a week, which would be 156 hours for the year. That might even finish the job!


2. My Burstow one name study will continue (one name studies are actually never ending) but one thing I do want to try this coming year is to do some family reconstructions if I can. It is not an essential part of a one name study but one that intrigues me, especially for the name here in Australia.


3. Each year I try and focus on at least one of my families so in 2014 it will be my Irish families (Finn and Fegan from Wicklow; Jeffers from Armagh and Johnston from Cavan). There are lots of new resources for Ireland so maybe I can finally push these lines further back or at least learn more about the families they left behind when they came to Australia.


4. As well as new resources, there are new ways of doing genealogy and catching up with long lost relatives. My friend Geniaus has started having Google+ hangouts but so far I’ve been hesitant to join in as I’m not that techy but like all new things it is just a matter of learning how to do them! Often easier said than done. So 2014 will be my year to try (and probably like) some of these new social media events.


5. I am not sure if organising National Family History Month on a voluntary basis is a personal aspiration but it will take up my time and I do want to make it even more successful than 2013, so I have included it here. Although it is only during the month of August, there is lots of planning and organising through out the year. Plus it is a great chance to work with my genealogy friends and colleagues to help spread the word about the joys of chasing your ancestors!


My 2014 genealogy aspirations are listed – wish me luck!





NSW & ACT Conference Sessions Canberra Sep 2013

September 24th, 2013

This is part of a series of blogs following my attendance at the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies annual conference – this year hosted by the Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra (HAGSOC) in Canberra. My report on the Family History Fair can be read here and the social activities and other news can be read in the various entries on my blog Diary of an Australian Genealogist.

This blog is all about the conference sessions over the two days. After the Welcome to Country it was straight into the John Vincent Crowe Memorial Address. This year presented by Dr David Headon with a really interesting presentation titled Magic to Stir Blood: the Canberra Grand Narrative We Should All Know. I lived in Canberra for a few years a decade or so ago so I’m reasonably familiar with its history but I had never considered all the philosophical ideas from leading thinkers of the day had played such a big part in how it was developed. A great opening to the conference.

After morning tea there was a trivia quiz on family history and everyone had their own entry form. It was a lighthearted bit of fun and I don’t think I was alone in finding some of the questions ‘hard’. Then it was back to the presenters with Chris Boyack from FamilySearch next. His talk was on the new FamilySearch and how you can construct family trees and connect with researchers. I have to say I like their new logo and the idea of using photo frames as part of the family tree.

Next was Cora Num on Research Tools for the Digital Age and as usual Cora did a brilliant talk. I always think I put too much into my talks but Cora seems to put even more. It’s amazing how much information she can share and how fast she talks. The good thing is that she does have an e-handout on her website so you just have to listen and not worry about notes. She also has a new book on this topic and of course, I just had to buy eRecords for Family History.

Then it was lunch time and there was lots of food, talk and people browsing the exhibitors area. I finally gave in to temptation and went back and bought the books I didn’t buy yesterday!

After lunch there were two streams and the tricky bit of deciding which one to go to when they were all interesting. I went to the Where Were They When? which was a great talk by Martin Woods, the map curator at the National Library of Australia. I hadn’t realised just how many maps they have now digitised plus he gave links to State library digitisation projects too. When using Trove we tend to just head for the digitised newspapers, but really we should be exploring some of those other categories too! I missed out on Barbara Hickson’s talk on Cobb & Co Reflections on a Bygone Era.

The next session was easier for me to choose as I had heard Kerri Ward talking about 20th century immigration records at the National Archives of Australia (NAA). In fact I used to work with Kerri when I worked at NAA in the collections access area before I moved on to the Prime Ministers project in late 2000. Gail Davis from State Records NSW gave a wide ranging talk on education records looking at pupil admission registers, teacher records and correspondence records. As usual Gail’s talk was well received and left people with lots of ideas to follow up.

Following afternoon tea there was the AGM of the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies which I attended as a visitor. They kindly allowed me a few minutes to talk about National Family History Month 2014 and I briefly mentioned some of the changes and invited them all to participate next year. They have about 50 member societies so it would be fantastic if they all joined in and helped spread the word about NFHM.

The conference dinner was in the evening but I will talk about that in Diary of an Australian Genealogist as this blog is dedicated to all of the presentations.

Angela Phippen set the pace with a great talk on Royal Commissions and Legislative Council Select Committees (some of my favourite records) which can help to put context around your ancestors lives and if you are really lucky, they may even be mentioned by name. Then there was another family history trivia quiz and although the questions were supposed to be easier, I still didn’t too that well.

Next was a sneak peak at the Australian War Memorial‘s new website (due to be released in December 2013) presented by Robyn Van-Dyk. This looks fantastic and I can’t wait to have a little play with some of the new online collections as well as explore the website’s new features. Roll on December.

Rosemary Kopittke followed after morning tea with a presentation on making the most of searching in Findmypast.com.au and there were lots of useful tips to make sure you don’t miss anything. I’m always surprised by all the new collections and even the older ones that I’ve forgotten about or weren’t originally relevant to me. Last session of the conference was a Women in Records panel with Cora Num, Angela Phippen and Megan Gibson.

Cora did an amazing presentation on women in shipping records and she covered so much in her 15 minutes that I was almost out of breath too. As usual there is a e-handout on her website. Angela focused her 15 minutes on divorce records which was a good summary of what the divorce laws were at various times and what records you can find. I couldn’t quite hear Megan’s talk and she had no slides but she is the author of Family Tree Time so I think she was talking about making more time to do research ourselves.

Then there was the call to Illawarra Family History Group who are hosting next year’s conference (details not yet up). I’m not sure what I’m doing next year but I’ve put the dates in my diary just in case! The raffles were drawn and then it was all over for another year.

I’m covering the social aspects of the conference in Diary of an Australian Genealogist but from my perspective it was a great conference and I’ve got lots of tips to follow up and possibly blog about. The networking with new and old friends is also fantastic and the ability to see so many exhibitors at the one time is really good. I’d go to a conference every week if I could but they take a lot of organising and hard work so I would like to finish up by thanking the HAGSOC team and their supporters. Well done.

HAGSOC are also hosting the AFFHO 2015 Congress and that is a must attend event. Visit their website and put your name down for the news updates between now and then. I heard one of the committee say that they were expecting about twice the number of attendees for Congress as they did for the conference, so that will be mega and not to be missed!





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