I designed this challenge to help others think about what they might do during National Family History Month. Also as voluntary coordinator of NFHM, it is my job to help promote NFHM and the fantastic sponsors who support it and allow it to continue in August each year. See the list of 31 Activities for Researchers and 31 Activities for Societies on the Resources page of my website.
Here are my responses to my first 15 of 31 challenges for August 2014
No 1 Visit the NFHM sponsors page and consider entering the prize draw for individuals – Well as the person organising the prizes giveaway, I can’t actually enter the competition. What I have been doing is trying to promote it on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and mailing list servs as much as possible. Two reasons – one to help promote the NFHM sponsors and the other to try and encourage as many people as possible to enter the giveaway and win some of those fantastic prizes.
No 2 – Apply for a National Library of Australia eResources card and explore genealogy resources online at home if you have not done so before – I already have a card but I must confess it is simply ages since I last used it. I have not had much time to do research this year but I am promising myself more ‘my research time’ after the end of August.
No 3 – Visit your State library and see what genealogical information they hold. If distant, do a virtual visit. If you do not already have a State library card, apply so that you can use their e-resources at home – Again I have a State Library of Queensland eResources card but have not used it very much this year but I do visit the Library’s website a lot as I have been working on a few Queensland talks. Also I had the opportunity of a white gloves tour of the John Oxley Library at the SLQ last month and it was my first look at the new State Library building since my return to Queensland. I am determined to make a few trips down there soonish.
No 4 – Check out all the new resources on Ancestry.com.au and enter the prize draw to win a year’s subscription – major sponsor and prize sponsor – For the reason given in No 1 no prize draw for me but with 10 prizes on offer, you really need to be in it to win it. I recently put my families into Ancestry and have received quite a few contact emails which will be answered in September when life is not so hectic. I subscribe to their newsletter too so that I can find out easily what has been added to the database.
No 5 – Have a look at some of the great genealogy cruises coming up with Unlock the Past Cruises – prize sponsor – I am a genealogy cruise addict but I cannot go on every cruise so I missed the last one to the British Isles. Now suffering cruise envy as I read Helen Smith and Alona Tester‘s blogs on the cruise and all the fun they had. However I have booked for the three night cruise out of Sydney in October and we are also going to the Norfolk Island conference which is straight after the cruise. Looking forward to going back to Norfolk to see if we can find out anymore on Max’s ancestors who were part of the First Settlement and I also think the rest of the genealogy conference will be interesting. Plus I love sightseeing on Norfolk Island and who can resist duty free shopping.
No 6 – Visit your State Archives and see what resources they hold and look at their fact sheets and guides. If distant, do a virtual visit. Remember to check out the National Archives of Australia – NFHM launch sponsor – A visit to Queensland State Archives is on my list of must dos but I find that I also use their website a lot as well especially the online indexes and digitised passenger lists. Also useful when I am working on Queensland talks. I was at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra for the launch of NFHM and whenever I visit I take the opportunity to look at their exhibitions and permanent display areas. Plus their website is one that I visit all the time for research and preparing talks.
No 7 – Plan to attend a NFHM event in your area. If none, suggest to your local society or public library that they participate next year – This one is not difficult as I am giving 11 talks for Moreton Bay Region Libraries during NFHM so I have to attend the events. I also went to the launch, see my blog post on the launch here and I was also talked into giving a webinar for MyHeritage, one of the major sponsors of NFHM. This is something I have not done before so I am a little nervous as I prepare for that.
No 8 – Attend one of the online events in the NFHM web calendar online-event – well as per the last activity I will be attending the MyHeritage webinar but I am also hoping to attend the Queensland State Archives webinar as it has changed a lot since I last researched there. The PROV sale, Gould Genealogy & History discount and the National Institute of Genealogical Studies free course all attract me too. I have not had much success with Google Hangouts but I will be trying to attend the Geniaus hangout at the end of NFHM.
No 9 – Explore your surname in the MyHeritage Last Name Directory – major sponsor and prize sponsor – I have had a basic membership of MyHeritage for years but have never really done much with it although it did connect me up with long lost cousins in Ireland, so it does pay to advertise your family names everywhere. For NFHM I have been looking at some of the other things on the website and find the Last Names section fascinating. My GG Grandfather was Cornish and his surname has always intrigued me. This is the snippet on Trevaskis in MyHeritage. I was surprised to see 34% for Australia.
No 10 – Visit your local genealogy/family history society and see what resources they hold. If you are not a member, think about joining or perhaps join a society near where your ancestors lived – Another one of those things on my list to do when I visit Brisbane and have some days free. I need to plan a few days visit and just have a mega research blitz. I am a member of both GSQ and QFHS in Brisbane and their libraries are on that research wish list. On the plus side I am always visiting societies online if they are in the areas where my ancestors lived. There can be some great resources and links on these websites so if you cannot physically travel than online is the next best thing.
No 11 – Visit the NFHM Facebook page for updates throughout August Have you Liked our page yet? – Well this is something that I do most days as I am still putting up some new events plus promoting the sponsors prizes giveaway and any other NFHM news. Since early June I have also been doing a small promotional advertisement on NFHM which has seen the No of Likes grow from 656 to 1796 as of a few seconds ago. That is an extra 1140 people who Like the NFHM Facebook page! So please keep spreading the word.
No 12 – Did any family members fight in WW1? Participate in the National Archives of Australia new beta website Discovering Anzacs – Like most people I have been remembering my WW1 ancestors this year marking the centenary of the start of WW1. I was lucky to see a demonstration of the beta version of the Discovering Anzacs website at the launch of NFHM and I am planning to add some of our stories and photographs as well as doing the transcriptions of our family dossiers. If everyone does their families it will make it all so much easier to access and find connections.
No 13 – Download the free August genealogy ebook from genEbooks – prize sponsor – This is something that I try to do on a regular basis as genEbooks usually have a free book each month. However this was a prompt to remind me that I had not done August yet. That was quick, I just logged into my account, saw that it was George Fife Angas: Father and Pioneer of South Australia and hit the order button and proceeded to checkout. Both Max and I have South Australian ancestors so that should be interesting.
No 14 – Check out Twitter to see the latest genealogy news – use the hash tags #genealogy or #familyhistory and remember to also use #NFHM2014 – I use Twitter all the time and a quick way of picking up the NFHM news is to simply search on the hash tag #NFHM2014.
No 15 – Why not do a photo book on a person or family? Momento have some great ideas – prize sponsor – I was speaking at Woodford Library the other week and one of the ladies attending the talk brought along her family history, all done as a photo book. We were incredibly impressed as so much work had gone into it with text, charts, old and new photos and she had done three copies, one for herself and also one each for her two daughters to have. What a great idea so that has to be a project for post NFHM 2014.
Looking over my list of activities there are lots of things for me to do between now and NFHM 2015 and every time I go out and give talks, someone else gives me some new tips and bright ideas. Just as well I am hooked on genealogy and never find it boring. There are just so many things we can do and different ways to research that no one should be stuck for something to do this August. Stay tuned for Activities Nos 16-31 and happy NFHM.