Unlock the Past logoIt 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 and went home to pack in the evening as we were flying back to Melbourne the next morning.

First speaker was Rosemary Kopittke on Connecting With Family Lines Online and this was one of the talks I missed on the cruise as it was in the Captains Lounge so I was happy to finally be able to listen to it. Rosemary mentioned all the usual suspects and a few I haven’t looked at – so that added a few more things to my ‘must follow up list’ post cruise.

The second speaker was Paul Parton talking about FamilySearch including New FamilySearch and I have heard Paul on previous occasions. I had expected from the title of his talk that he would be demonstrating how to use/search New FamilySearch but he didn’t and only pointed out the Feedback button if we didn’t like the new site. However he did talk about some of the new features such as the Research Wiki, the online 1851 England Jurisdiction maps, learning resources and tutorials and so on.

Alan Phillips gave a brief talk on the War Comes to Australia seminar and NT Tour in 2012 and more details are on the Unlock the Past site.

The third speaker was myself talking on Researching Military Ancestors in Australia and while I covered the usual suspects I also tried to highlight online resources attendees might not be familiar with. It pays to advertise your research interests and in my talks I tend to mention my own military ancestors. Someone doing a PhD on a Queensland regiment in the Boer War is interested in the exploits of my William Price. We are now swapping information which is exciting.

The final speaker was Mat McLachlan on Australia at War: A Brief Overview which was more about his battlefield tours and their increasing popularity. He had some very moving video footage from the Western Front and as one of my family members died there it was especially relevant.

Post seminar I was left with the feeling that I should do something this coming ANZAC Day on all my military ancestors – not sure what yet but last year I told the story of Tasman Jarvis who died at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. I’d like to do something similar on all of them but won’t have time.

There were also exhibitors – Clean Cruising, FamilySearch, Friends of Toowong Cemetery Association, Genealogical Society of Queensland, Gould Genealogy & History, Queensland Family History Society, Unlock the Past and the State Library of Queensland who had some of their brief guides on a range of topics.

I picked up the eye catching brochure for the UTP history & genealogy Irish & Scottish Theme Cruise leaving 21 November 2011 for 14 nights around New Zealand and coming back via Burnie, Melbourne and Sydney. Not sure that you can say that a cruise is ‘relaxing’ – the last one was full on from start to finish, although it was all pleasure with no cooking, cleaning or other housework!

Also picked up the brochure for the Gallipoli Cruise 2015 which will commemorate the 100th anniversary 1915-2015. It looks like a great trip (36 days) with entertainers John Williamson, Ross Wilson, Normie Rowe and Daryl Braithwaite and visiting Fremantle, Albany, Cocos Island, Colombo, Luxor, Cairo, Kusadasi, Gallipoli, Istanbul, Santorini, Athens, Palermo, Naples and Rome.

It was a great afternoon and I saw the other attendees writing down notes, collecting handouts or buying books from the various exhibitors. I’m sure they all thought it was worthwhile and I have new leads to follow up in my own research – all I need to do is stop travelling around so much and get back into my own family research!