Australia & New Zealand Genealogy Roadshow – Day Two

11 November 2010

Unlock the Past logoYesterday 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 made my day when he came up and said how much he got out of it and that he ‘had already got his money back for the day’. I was on a high for quite a while after. But of course this roadshow is not all about me and there are other great speakers.

I finally caught Dan Lynch’s Basic talk on Google and managed to learn even more pointers. Dan is the author of Google Your Family Tree and to use the same analogy of my fan from the first session, I have well and truly got value out of purchasing Dan’s book.

Marjorie Bly from the National Archives of Australia, Perth Office gave a very good overview of NAA and the records held in the WA office and I was pleased to learn that they now have indexes to those arriving by plane online for 1944-1950.

It was also my day to catch Rosemary Kopittke’s talk on Find My Past Australasia and although I had heard a lot of it before, her section on new records was good – including the Queensland school pupils index (you can even find me if you try) and New Zealand electoral rolls to mention but a few. I was also interested to learn about what is coming up as well.

Similarly I finally heard Elaine Collins talk on FindMyPast UK and the other brightsolid websites and it was really good to see some of the search strategies that Elaine demonstrated. It was also good to learn that FindMyPast UK is now available as a library subscription as I know a lot of societies are interested in having it in their libraries.

Rosemary again gave her Australasian presentation following Elaine, and as I had heard it earlier in the day, I thought I would quietly read the complimentary Western Australian Genealogical Society (WAGS) journals that were available from the Society. I was so engrossed in the journals I didn’t hear Rosemary asking me a question so I was well and truly caught out and not a little embarrassed.

I also managed to catch Karen Tregenza from WAGS talking about the benefits of belonging to a genealogical society and she outlined three Genie Gems for joining WAGS – first, their organisation is a place to go for information and help, second their volunteers are knowledgeable and experienced and third, their library is full of wonderful resources. Karen then went on to highlight some of the key books to assist researchers. I was pleased to see that she held up Family History for Beginners & Beyond, a publication by the Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra and a publication that I helped to update way back when I was living in Canberra. Of course there have been more editions since then.

The other session I managed to squeeze in was Tricia Fairweather and Leonie Hayes presentation on resources at the State Library of Western Australia and this was full of hints on how to make the most of their online catalogue and resources both online and in the library. I was particularly impressed with their Delicious tags and bookmarks and of course their online guide Dead Reckoning, a must for anyone with Western Australian ancestors.

There were a number of exhibitors that also kept attendees busy and interested during the day including Time Trackers and the Western Australian Genealogical Society who I believe signed up almost 30 new members on the day which is fantastic.

In case anyone is starting to worry that I might be working too hard, we do get a few moments here and there and before we left Adelaide, Rosemary, Dan and I managed to squeeze in a visit to the excellent South Australian Migration Museum. It has changed a lot since I first went there many years ago and it is definitely worth a visit to learn about the migration experience.

In Perth Dan and I during an evening stroll, stumbled over the historic East Perth cemetery which is surrounded by a rather formidable chain fence too high to climb over and seriously padlocked gates. We circled it like two lost children, wanting to return home – we rattled the gates, we clung to the fence straining to see some of the interesting graves. Dan even went and asked one of the neighbours how we could get in and was advised it is only open on Sundays which wasn’t going to help us. At the front gates we found out who was responsible for the cemetery, went back to the motel and googled (what else?) and came up with some contact numbers. Dan in his charming way convinced them to open up just for us and at 9.00am this morning we are having a personal tour before leaving for the airport. How good is that going to be?

Therefore I need to pack and get ready for my wonderful tour of the East Perth cemetery. Day 3 of the roadshow is in Melbourne and I’m sure it will have more exciting adventures for me and the rest of the roadshow team.


Shauna has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society. In 2009 Shauna received the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Services to Family History Award for her achievements in Queensland, Canberra and Victoria.

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