AFFHO Congress 2015 Days Three and Four Report

1 April 2015

Generations Congress 2015This is the second part of a three post report on AFFHO Congress 2015 held in Canberra from 26-30 March 2015. Part One is here and an interim report posted during Congress is here.

Day Three started with a keynote address by Michael McKernan on war on the home front. I have heard Michael talk before and as usual he had some moving accounts to share with the audience. He pointed out that with deaths in war it is always tragic, always personal and it always has consequences.

I was disappointed to see that his paper was not in the proceedings. This discovery led me to check if the other keynotes were there and I found that Mathew Trinca’s (which I reported on in the last post) was also missing. I hate it when papers are not included (for whatever reason) as it means that you can’t read them again later, or if you missed the session and finally, you can’t refer to the points they made later.

The next session I went to was Seonaid Lewis talking about the resources of the Auckland City Libraries. They have some great online indexes for anyone who suspects there might be a Kiwi in their tree. It is really great when libraries and librarians are so enthusiastic about genealogy and family history!

This was followed by Simon Fowler outlining unusual records in English archives and it is amazing how many different record sources can be used for family history. It is the same in Australasian archives too but these kinds of records are not usually indexed or easily accessible and you need to visit the archives where the records are held.

Cora Num gave another ‘remote’ presentation, this time on mapping our families and as usual it was a terrific presentation with lots of examples and websites to visit. She finished with mind mapping to help with idea generation and family history problem solving. This was a new concept for me so I will be having a look at InfoRapid KnowledgeBase Builder and by uploading a gedcom of one of my families it will organise my thoughts and ideas into mind maps and knowledge bases. I admit to a touch of skepticism here but I am open to new ideas, after all that is why we attend conferences. I will let you know how I go.

The after lunch keynote was Grace Karskens on Men, Women, Sex and Desire: family history on Australia’s first frontier which kept everyone awake after a delicious lunch. I have often thought some of my own family history is a bit of a soap opera so it was good to know that others also have ‘interesting’ families. Plus we need to think about how it all fitted into the wider social community. Sadly, Grace’s paper is also not included in the proceedings.

My next session was Simon Fowler who according to the program was talking about writing up your family history for pleasure and profit. But in reality it was more about how to write an article for a family history magazine and get paid for it which is not why most people attended so a little disappointing. In hindsight I would have gone to Heather Garnsey‘s finding your ancestors in the genealogical haystack.

Then it was the final session for the day and again I had no choice as I was giving a talk on bringing your ancestors to life using court records. As usual, my presentation is on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. Another long and full on day. I had another catch up to attend so I missed the gathering of Kiva Genealogists for Families team members.

The last day saw David Holman give the morning keynote address on Fascinating Facts and Figures and this was entertaining and a great way to start the Congress wind down. While the paper is in the proceedings, reading it does not give you the same sense of humour as his slides did or the way he presented his findings.

Tim Sherratt from Trove was my next session and Tim outlined the many meanings of Trove and how to make the most of it. He also spoke about what was coming up and how to use QueryPic to search in different ways. His slide presentation is available through SlideShare – see it here.

Sadly this was my last session as I was off to the airport so I missed the opportunity to hear two more talks and attend the afternoon panel session on ‘family history research – why leave home to do it? Hopefully others will blog some of those sessions and of course I can read the proceedings but the panel session was a live event and no recording.

Then finally there AFFHO Congress 2018 logowas the Call to Sydney where the Society of Australian Genealogists will be hosting AFFHO Congress 2018. They are super organised and already have a website and you can register your interest in attending already. The theme and the logo already promise that it is going to be fantastic. I missed the last Sydney Congress as my son was only a baby in 1988 so I am definitely planning to attend in 2018. Some times I wish Congress was more often than every three years but it is a lot of work for all those wonderful volunteers who give up their time to make it all happen.

The next blog post will cover the meet and greet at the Australian War Memorial and the conference dinner at Parliament House. As well I will be looking at the conference satchel goodies and the exhibitors who were also a big part of the overall Congress. Stay tuned!

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  1. Thanks for the great links in your blog Shauna. It is good to know that Tim Sherratt’s presentation is available on SlideShare in particular because there was a part of his talk at the end that I missed.

    I was looking forward to meeting you at the Kiva get together, but I hope to do that now later in the year at one of the events in Qld. Hopefully you won’t mind me seeking you out. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the link to Tim Sherratt’s slideshare presentation. And for reminding me that Congresses are every 3 years – had to go back and quickly edit my post!

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