Report on GSQ annual genealogy seminar day 26 May 2014

29 May 2014

This is an annual event hosted by the Genealogical Society of Queensland (GSQ) that I have had the privilege of speaking at over the years, much easier now that I am living closer to Brisbane. Even if I was not speaking, I would still attend as the speakers are usually good with topics that interest me. This year was no different. Speakers included Dr Jennifer Harrison, Helen Smith, Stephanie Ryan from State Library of Queensland (SLQ), Jane Wassall from Queensland State Archives (QSA)and myself. Each speaker gave two talks. So ten talks in a day which reminded me a little of being on an Unlock the Past cruise. A little bit of brain overload at the end of the day but most speakers had handouts and my two talks are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

It is a bit like a one day conference as you register and collect your name tag and show bag at the front desk on arrival. Inside the show bag were the usual flyers, pencils, bookmarks etc but also a copy of GSQ’s journal Generation and a copy of their Queenslanders Pioneer Families 1859-1901 which is a 159 page book with lots of mini family biographies. I already had one so it will make a nice present for someone. During the day lucky door prizes provided by sponsors were drawn at all breaks. So great value before the talks even started!

First was Dr Jennifer Harrison talking about convict records and in particular explaining the different pardons, tickets of leave and certificates of freedom. Next was Helen Smith on document analysis which I had heard on the UTP cruise in February but it is always good to hear talks again as you absorb more information or it means more to you as you understand the topic more. After an excellent morning tea (how can you go past scones, cream and jam) Stephanie Ryan spoke about the biographical information you can find from persons called before government committees and the SLQ has an online index and guide to those resources here. I was next looking at the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) and what is now indexed, digitised and online but a lot of those 10,000 reels of microfilm are still in microfilm format! Last talk before lunch was Jane Wassall on school files at the QSA which was a trip down memory lane for me as they were some of my favourite records when I worked there. The QSA Brief Guide 18 on School Records is an excellent way of learning what is held for schools and how to find it.

Lunch was a selection of sandwiches and hot savouries which were popular and filling. As first speaker after lunch I was worried that a few might nod off. Also during lunch the winner of the Joan Reese Memorial Short Story Writing competition was announced. Then it was my turn again with a talk on what you can find on your ancestors in court of petty session and other court records. Copies of both my talks are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. Next was Jenny on land orders and immigration schemes and meeting the criteria of the schemes probably explains why our ancestors ages went up and down! Helen Smith followed with part two of her document analysis talk this time illustrating how software programs such as Clooz and Evidentia can help us with our research and analysing documents.

After another yummy afternoon tea (jam drops and other biscuits) it was time for the final two talks. Stephanie spoke about the pre 1859 NSW Colonial Secretary’s correspondence which relates to Queensland. I remember using this on microfilm when I worked at the John Oxley Library so it is really good to see that they have been indexing it and starting to put the index online. Great if you have early pre separation Queenslanders and the online guide and index is here. Final talk was Jane talking about a variety of records held at QSA with World War One connections. It really is amazing what you can find at the archives.

Sponsors for the day were Ancestry.com.au, Findmypast.com.au, Gould Genealogy & History, National Archives of Australia, Queensland State Archives and State Library of Queensland. GSQ, QSA, SLQ, Boolarong Press and Guild of One Name Studies all had display tables and I saw quite a few  people buying books. I took the opportunity to renew my subscription to History Queensland a magazine all about Queensland published by Boolarong which I obviously forgot to renew during our big move last year.

When the GSQ President had finished thanking all the sponsors, volunteers who did a marvelous job with the set up and catering and the speakers I slipped quietly out as I wanted to drive back to Bribie Island before it got dark.  I am happy to say Brisbane traffic was not too bad and I managed to find my way into and out of the tunnel under the Brisbane River and made it home just on 5.30pm and the setting sun. Great day and already looking forward to next year’s seminar.

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