Thursday, 1 October 2015

Look Two Hands - Genealogy Notes 25 Sep - 2 Oct 2015

This is my first blog post using two hands since early July. I now have the go ahead to use my right arm but it is a bit weak from no usage and aches a bit if I overdo things. But I can type ever so much faster.

During the week I did a catch up on some of the WDYTYA episodes in Australian season 7 and I think it is one of the best series so far. Also noted quite a few geneafriends helping the celebrities which was fantastic. Some great stories and even a bit teary eyed in some episodes. You can catch up online if you missed any of the episodes.

Gordon Price in Syria 1941
I am all set for the History Queensland conference this weekend and I hope people like what I have done for my keynote address. It is a bit different from what I usually do but then it is a keynote. I am also looking forward to hearing the other speakers but there are two streams outside the keynotes. One with a local history focus and the other a family history focus. As usual it would be good to be two people and go to both. I will have a blog report next week.

The tidy up of the study went well - now I have neat piles of stuff to read and file. My trouble is that while reading or filing/entering data I get bright ideas and hive off to do a spot of research which is of course more interesting than just straight filing/entering data. Some of the websites I read about in magazines or see talked about on Facebook can lead to hours of research. For example, I read in an RSL newsletter about the Rats of Tobruk Association Victoria website and as my Uncle Gordon was a Rat of Tobruk I had a quick look. There is lots of information about Tobruk and members of the Association.

Regular readers will know that at the beginning of the year I took on Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do Over challenge to relook at some of my family lines which I first started nearly 40 years ago. I was making great progress until family medical dramas overtook the year. Cycle 4 has just started and Thomas has a new workbook on the horizon. Read about the changes here.

I have to also get back to my own blog challenge 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015. I am up to Week 40 so 12 blog posts to go and only 12 weeks to the end of the year. I need to get my skates on if I want to wrap this challenge up.

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies have just asked me to do another online course for them on Australian church records which will be interesting. I give talks on this topic as I believe church records are an underutilised resource. My Unlock the Past research guide on Finding Ancestors in Church Records: a brief guide to resources highlights some of these resources. It will be good to do a much deeper look at church records for family history.

Now that I have the use of both hands again I really do want to get back into more blogging, writing up my own stories and tidying up my research. There are no more talks for the year so I can concentrate on my projects, get back my fitness after three months of little activity and tame the garden again!

Have another great genealogy week. Until next time.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Rockstars, Gems & Reviews - Genealogy Notes 15-24 Sep 2015

Still using only one hand so more reading than doing again this past week. I do like Geniaus' Gems or GAGs as she calls them - basically a weekly round up (when she has time and is not travelling) of interesting blog posts that she has read or seen in the past week or so. I usually find quite a few interest me and I might not have found them apart from Jill's round up. This link is to the GAGs post on 18 September. There should be another one soon.

A highlight has been the announcement of the 2015 Rockstar Genealogists - an annual listing by John D Reid (Canada's Anglo Celtic Connections). This year I was honoured to receive the Bronze medal for Australia and New Zealand and the top 10 for our area has an impressive list of speakers and bloggers. I was delighted to also find that I have personally heard 6 of the top 10 international Rockstar Genealogists right here in Australia. Great to see so many of them now travelling downunder. The Australia/New Zealand top 10 are here. Congratulations to everyone who made the top 10 lists and thanks to all those who appreciate the hard work that goes into giving presentations.

My review of the Port Macquarie genealogy conference is now online on my website and I have almost finalised my keynote paper for the History Queensland conference on 3-4 October in Brisbane. That will be a good catch up with all my Queensland geneamates and perhaps a few others from south of the border. Sadly it is the last conference for the year.
Family History Fair at Port Macquarie, 2015

On a brighter note I do have the 10th Unlock the Past genealogy cruise to look forward to in February 2016 which goes to New Zealand and the southern Australian capital cites ending in Fremantle, Western Australia. One of the key presenters I am looking forward to hearing is Judy G Russell (The Legal Genealogist) from the United States and also catching up again with Louis Kessler and some of the other regular UTP speakers.

This afternoon I am helping the Bribie Island Historical Society set up a blog so that will be interesting. There is a basic website but I think we can do more with a regular blog to share stories of the Island's fascinating past.

The study needs a bit of a tidy up. I seem to be able to pull books down from the shelves but getting them back up is a bit more tricky. The table has piles of stuff on it - lots of new info from Trove waiting to be data entered into my genealogy program and then filed in my family history binders. But that requires two hands! When I do get the go ahead, I will have to be careful not to overdo it but ease back in gently.

Have a great genealogy week - until next time.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Port Macquarie conference & other news - Genealogy Notes 1-14 Sep 2015

Hard to believe two weeks since by last update but I have been busy notifying prize winners and sponsors of the National Family History Month prize giveaway. There have been some very excited winners and I even had the pleasure of meeting some at the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies in Port Macquarie over the weekend.

I gave a Masterclass on using Public Record Office Victoria, attended the free family history fair, collected a very nice goodies bag, enjoyed the Welcome function and dinner, and went to all sessions on both days. I will do a full review this week as I learnt lots of new things. In the meantime my presentation is on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.

As I still only have the use of one hand, everything seems to be in slow motion. Plus the piles around my desk just seem to be getting bigger and bigger, waiting for me to have two hands. I need a priority list on the to do list!

The biggest priority is my keynote address for the History Queensland conference in three weeks time. That will be the last opportunity in 2015 to catch up with geneafriends in the SE Qld area and I am looking forward to it.

I have a final blog post for NFHM to do for The In-Depth Genealogist who were one of our new prize sponsors. My report for AFFHO is also nearly complete and then it will be time to start thinking about NFHM 2016! I hope genealogy and family history societies start planning to include their events for next August. Every society usually has a monthly meeting or opens their library one or more days a month so everyone can participate without doing extra events. One society reported that they gained 60 new members during NFHM which is fantastic.

Time to get back to my arm exercises so have a great genealogy week and I'm hoping to get back to more regular Diary posts soon. Till next time.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

National Family History Month ends for 2015 - Genealogy Notes 24 - 31 Aug 2015

Time always flies when you are having fun.  August went super quick and there were hundreds of genealogy events across Australia during National Family History Month. From the feedback I have received many societies were very pleased with attendance at their events and gained new members. One society even said they had 50 new members sign up. Is that a record or can another society claim more?

The NFHM sponsors prizes giveaway was drawn on 29 August with the assistance of Genealogical Society of Queensland members as my right arm is still encased in a sling. Since then I have been busy contacting some very excited prize winners and letting sponsors know who won their donated prizes. All slow going with my left hand. To see the list of winning individuals and societies visit the Sponsors page of the NFHM website.

There is no NFHM committee, only me and amidst all the feedback there were some very nice comments about myself  which were appreciated as coordinating a voluntary project is time consuming. I would like to thank all the societies and individuals who assisted me in spreading the news about NFHM. Without the participation of the sponsors, societies, libraries, archives and others there would be NFHM for me to coordinate. We will be back again in August 2016 - mark it in your diaries now and start planning your events.

I don't like singling any one person out as so many participated but I feel that Jill Ball's 12 hour geneagala hangout deserves a special mention. Many others also helped Jill over that time and you can watch it all on Jill's You Tube channel. Judging by the YouTube view numbers lots have already watched it. Sadly I had to miss it but hopefully she will do it again in NFHM 2016!

Needless to say I haven't done too much other than NFHM but I did pick up from Facebook that John Reid's (Canada's Anglo Celtic Connections) is again conducting his search for Rockstar Genealogists. The nominations for 2015 are now open and it is great to see quite a few Australian speakers on the list already.

Last weekend I attended the GSQ's seminar It Doesn't Rain in the Cloud with three speakers - Geoff Doherty provided an introduction to the Cloud and what you can do in the Cloud, Judy Lofthouse explored genealogy sites within YouTube and my talk was on Apps and Blogs. As usual my talk is on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations and look for Are You Appy & Bloggy: If Not, Why Not? I think everyone went home to check out the Cloud!

I also did a very successful session at Caloundra Library on Family History on the Cheap. It was the biggest audience I have ever seen for a single talk so the Library must have a very good publicity machine. My NFHM talks for Moreton Bay Region Libraries are now finished and all these presentations are also on the Resources page of my website.

Now my thoughts are turning to the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies annual conference at Port Macquarie next week. I am presenting a Master Class on Public Record Office Victoria and I have almost finished the presentation, just a bit more tweaking here and there. Then in October there is the History Queensland Conference where I will be giving one of the keynote presentations.

My arm will be in a sling for another 4 weeks but I hope to get back to some more regular blogging now that NFHM is over. I miss the writing plus I have lots of notes to write up from the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise and the GSQ seminar mentioned above. Not to mention getting back to my 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2015 - at this rate it will be 2016 before I finish!

Have another great week genealogy searching. Until next time.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Last week National Family History Month - Genealogy Notes 7-23 Aug 2015

In between my medical appointments and my National Family History Month talks for Moreton libraries, I have mainly been adding last minute events to the NFHM web calendar and encouraging people to enter the NFHM sponsors prizes giveaway via Facebook and other social media.

Normally I would have been blogging my 31 Activities for genealogists in NFHM but with only one hand that is not going to happen this year. However I do hope people have had a look at the suggested activities and perhaps tried a few.

As an incentive to get genealogy societies to place their events in the web calendar before 30 June, we offered a gift certificate from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies for one free course per society to either use as a raffle/door prize or to reward a volunteer or member. As the month is nearly over I am starting to receive the names of the lucky winners or recipients from the 53 societies who took up the offer.

As well I am getting feedback on successful events, new memberships and it seems that everyone has been enjoying NFHM 2015. Sometimes I pick up information on events or newspaper articles and where possible I have been adding them to NFHM Pinterest. If you know of any other feedback please let me know.

In September I will be doing a full report for AFFHO on how successful it has been this year, despite my one handedness and being out of action at key times. Part of this success is also due to my many social media friends who have also promoted NFHM, genealogy societies, libraries and archives who have hosted events and of course our sponsors have also helped to spread the word.

The sponsors prizes giveaway closes on 27 August and late entries are not accepted. The giveaway takes place on 29 August and I will be placing the lucky winners names on the NFHM website shortly thereafter.

The wonderful display at Arana Hills Library to promote my talk for NFHM - thanks Alexandra Daw 
Hard to believe that NFHM is almost over for another year. I have three more talks for Moreton libraries, one for Sunshine Coast Libraries and a seminar at the Genealogical Society of Queensland. Then I hope to get back to some blogging as at the moment I simply don't have time to type one handed when I am out every day of the week as well.

Make the most of the last week of NFHM and have lots of genealogy finds. Until next time.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

National Family History Month and other news - Genealogy Notes 1- 6 Aug 2015

Since last Diary I have been operated on, spent a few days in hospital, come home and started the rehabilitation process on my right arm. Last Friday the 30 staples came out and the wound is healing nicely. But I still can't use the right arm except to do my exercises. On the plus side my left hand is doing better than I ever imagined.

All the outstanding events have been entered on to the National Family History Month web calendar and I have set up the individual sponsors prizes giveaway. For an update on NFHM see my report here.

If you can't get to an event near you, remember that there are some online activities to do at home and there is always my 31 Activities for Individuals. There are some new prize sponsors this year so have a look at the Sponsors page too.

I would like to thank Australian Family Tree Connections for their August 2015 issue which quite clearly lets everyone know that August is National Family History Month. I hope within a few years everyone will automatically associate NFHM with August and add their events to our web calendar.

Over the next two weeks I have 11 talks to give as part of NFHM speaking at Moreton and Sunshine Coast Libraries. My final talk will be at a Genealogical Society of Queensland seminar where we will also be doing the sponsors prizes draw for societies and individuals to wrap up NFHM for another year. It always goes so quick. Details of my talks are on the Events page of my website.

While I haven't done too much the last fortnight, I could not resist checking out all the Staffordshire updates to Findmypast. While the National Burial Index had given me burial dates for some of my ancestors I had not seen the actual registers from Staffordshire which are now digitised and available through Findmypast.

We should always check original documents in case there is more information than what is included in a transcript or index and this piece of advice proved itself yet again. My GGG grandfather Henry Price died in 1840 the year before the 1841 census and I have never been able to get any further back. I still can't, but at least now I know that he was accidentally killed as the burial register states 'died in a coal pit'.

This statement sent me off to look at British Newspapers also in Findmypast (or the British Newspaper Archive) but absolutely no luck in finding a reference to Henry's accident or an inquest into his death. The Coal Mining History Resource Centre seemed to have references to every other death except Henry's and as I don't know which coal pit he died in, I can't search by place, although it would have been close to West Bromwich. More searching required!

I have a stack of reading to do but every time I sit (or lie down) to read I fall asleep, must be something to do with the medication I am on as genealogy type reading never puts me to sleep. If anything it motivates me to get up and do something! There are lots of new titles from Unlock the Past and some from the speakers on the last genealogy cruise to the Baltic. I still have two reviews for Carol Baxter's new books and the Reviews Editor of the Australian Society of Archivists has asked me to review Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage edited by Donald Hawkins.

At the Bribie Island Historical Society AGM I was elected to the committee so I am looking forward to getting involved with the Society's historical projects. Sadly I missed the unveiling of the plaque celebrating local involvement in WW1 (including my GG grandmother's nephew Alexander Thomas Davis) but there was a nice write up in the local Bribie Weekly. I will have to visit once I am up and about again.

I am not sure what will excite me more - being able to type with two hands again or being able to drive. Then again feeding and dressing myself would be good - but each week things are improving and it could always have been worse. All the good wishes via Facebook and emails has also helped to keep me cheery and in touch with everyone.

Enjoy the remaining two weeks of NFHM and I hope you all have some exciting genealogy discoveries. Until next time.

Friday, 31 July 2015

I'm Back (sort of) and National Family History Month 2015 - Genealogy Notes 8-31 Jul 2015

What a difference three weeks make! I have returned from my Unlock the Past genealogy cruise with my right arm in a back slab from fingers to shoulder. My fractured elbow will be operated on on Monday with a few nights in hospital to follow. Using my left hand has been a real learning experience and there will be a delay on cruise and travel blogs as everything is taking longer.

My priority has been getting new events up on the National Family History Month website and so far I have added over 100 events with my left hand. More will be added as they are submitted with time out while I am in hospital. It looks like being a great month.

The NFHM launch was yesterday in Adelaide and sadly I missed it. There will be reports and photos so stay tuned. 

Now finalising my 12 talks in August and luckily I did a lot of preparation before leaving on holidays. I have only had to reschedule one talk which clashes with a post surgery follow up. I'm happy to say that I look better now than just after my accident. My poor face took a bit of a battering on the cobble stones but fortunately nothing serious. Helen Smith's photo shows my determination that the show must go on, but I think in hindsight I was in a bit of denial!

The day after my fall in Germany, photo courtesy Helen Smith
Details of where I am speaking during NFHM are on the Events page of my website. My cruise presentations are on the Resources page, scroll down to Presentations.

My 31 Activities for Individuals and 31 Activities for Societies to do in NFHM are on the Resources page of my website. If you are stuck for ideas on how to make the most of NFHM 2015 in August check out my suggestions.

Remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, #NFHM2015.

Time for a little rest - everyone have a great time in NFHM and I will be bringing more news post my surgery.