Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Genealogy cruising and NFHM 2016 - Genealogy Notes 5-11 Feb 2016

Well I will start with the good news. From tomorrow I will be winging my way to Auckland where I will be joining Unlock the Past for its 10th genealogy cruise. I have already seen Facebook posts re Judy Russell (aka The Legal Genealogist) arrival and touring around SE Queensland and meeting other geneabloggers. Judy is one of the key presenters on the cruise and I am really looking forward to meeting her and listening to her sessions.

Paul Blake from the UK is another key presenter and Louis Kessler from Canada who I have met on an earlier UTP genealogy cruise. Plus quite a few of our leading Australian and New Zealand speakers which is just as well as it is an 18 night cruise with 8 full days at sea with presentations from 9am to 8pm. For days when we are in ports, there are after dinner presentations. All up 72 topics in a single stream so no gut wrenching decisions on whose talk to miss out on. Plus there will be 4 Research Help Zone periods for one on one questions, or maybe even small groups.

I'm giving 8 talks, 3 of which are after dinner so I hope I can stay awake. I remember on the first cruise saying that after a long day of touring or talks people would not turn up for evening sessions. On the cruises I have been on, the evening sessions are always well attended so I totally underestimated people's passion for genealogy! Which is a bit silly in hindsight as I am one of those who usually turns up!

For those of you not doing the cruise, there are shore sessions in the various ports in New Zealand (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin) and Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane post cruise). Both Judy and Paul plus some other speakers will be doing sessions - check here to see places, dates and programs.

We will probably do another trip on the
Wellington Cable Car, New Zealand's only funicular railway. 
During the voyage I might get a blog or two written (finding time is the hard part plus internet access is not cheap on board) but once back in Australian ports I should be able to use my wifi. There will be an overall cruise report at the end but with an 18 night cruise I will need to break up the detailed reports into smaller posts. Plus I am looking forward to seeing those New Zealand cities again as it has been a few years since we were last there.

Now for the not so good news. I had really hoped to unveil the new National Family History Month website before I left. It looks really good and I love the new logo and colours. Those of you who know me will already have an idea what the colour is! However I haven't really had a chance to test it all out, enter a few events not to mention learn how to do all the behind the scenes stuff. Rather than go away and hope it will all be ok, I would rather wait until I am back in a position to deal with any last minute hiccups, if any. So March looks like an exciting month and probably another steep learning curve for me.

The week has been busy doing text for the new NFHM web pages, writing my April article and blog for The In-Depth Genealogist and generally tidying up before I leave. The one bit of exciting news that I picked up via Facebook is that Trove 7 will launch on 25 Feb 2016. To do the changeover Trove will be unavailable from 5pm on 22 Feb so that is 2-3 days of no Trove.

I'm glad I will be at sea with no internet as I find that most days at home I am jumping onto Trove to look something up. I won't be impacted by being Troveless for a few days but if you are a Trove addict, plan something else for those few days.

Have a great time researching while I am away and look out for some geneacruise blogs either here or on my SHHE Genie Rambles blog. Until next time.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Rootstech from afar & other genealogy news - 29 Jan to 4 Feb 2016

Well who has been following Rootstech on social media? I know quite a few of the this year's Aussie contingent plus a few from the UK and the USA. I have been following tweets and Facebook updates and it really is quite staggering. Some Aussie friends are also listening in via live streaming of some sessions.

Apparently there are over 26,000 attendees with 7,000 under the age of 18 and from 37 countries all gathered together for a 4 day genealogy conference in Salt Lake City with its snow and minus temperatures. With the live streaming of sessions who knows how many people are 'attending' this conference.

Our own AFFHO Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry every 3 years probably gets about 500 people on average with some from overseas countries, although they are mostly speakers. We probably have over 250,000 people who are members of genealogy and family history societies in Australia and then there are all those people who do not join societies. Yet we can't get anywhere near the size of an American genealogy conference.

A venue is probably an issue plus the sheer size of our country but it is only once every 3 years. Our next Congress is Bridging the Past and the Future in Sydney in 2018, two years away so perhaps we should all start planning to get there for our own fantastic genealogy conference downunder. Put it in your calendars now!

I think I will also put Rootstech 2017 in my calendar too - 8-11 Feb 2017 - it would be really something to see and experience it for myself. Not to mention popping in to the FamilySearch Library while I am there. That's on my bucket list so two birds, one flight!

John Finn born 1856 Ballygannon
Findmypast's Friday news was the release of nearly 5 million Norfolk parish records. Sadly I don't have any Norfolk family but it really is incredible how much is now being put online for easier searching. One of the big announcements from Rootstech this week was that Findmypast are adding 10 million Irish Catholic parish register records. Now that is something I will be getting excited about as my Catholic Irish family hasn't gone backwards in the almost 40 years I have been researching. I am hoping for big things with my John Finn born 1856 in Ballygannon, Wicklow.

My big drama for the week was realising that my National Library of Australia library card had expired. Why is it that you only become aware of expiry dates when you really want to use something. But thanks to the Library's wonderful efficiency it was simply a matter of hitting the renewal button, updating my details and within seconds my card was renewed. They even had logged me into the site.Wonderful eResources.

Otherwise it was a busy week checking talks for the Unlock the Past cruise in a week's time, finishing off my March blog and article for Going In-Depth and an expert query for Inside History Magazine.

As I will be away I also need to do the April blog and article for Going In-Depth before I leave and I would like to do another Trove Tuesday blog post to keep to my at least once a month schedule. Packing might take some thought as we will be in possibly colder climes and perhaps some hotter ones depending on February's weather which seems a bit all over the place at the moment.

This time next week I will be in Auckland, New Zealand but there will be a Diary update before I leave and perhaps one or two while I am away. It will depend on how fun I'm having on the genealogy cruise! Until next time, happy searching.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Celebrating Australia Day & Other News - Genealogy Notes 22 - 28 Jan 2016

Sunshine Coast Antique Car Club on Bribie for Australia Day
Having a guest for the Australia Day weekend was good but it did mean that my laptop was in rest mode for a lot of the time. On Bribie there is always a full day of activities and we went along to check out the market stalls, watch the lamington eating contest, admire the vintage cars and generally observe everyone having fun in the park and on the beach. The only dampener (no real pun intended) was that there was an extremely heavy shower mid morning which did see a few people pack up and go home.

During the rain the cafes and shops seemed to do lots of business and with no available tables out of the rain, we purchased our lamingtons and retreated home for coffee and cake. After drying out, my friend had a look at the new National Family History Month website which is a work in progress. Lots of good suggestions have been passed on to the designer and I am really looking forward to the new look for 2016.

My Australia Day blog tribute was to my maternal great grandfather Herbert William White from Farley in Wiltshire - read his story here. The reason he was my choice was the family story is that he had red hair and that is why some of his descendants have red hair, me included.
Herbert William White is on the far left in this family photo.

My writing  this week has mainly been focused on a piece for Inside History Magazine and my regular blog and article for Going In-Depth for The In-Depth Genealogist.

On Facebook I have been quietly watched geneamates from all over the world make their way to Rootstech 2016. I will be looking out for their tweets and Facebook posts as it always seems to be a great event. One day I will get there myself.

The Findmypast Fridays are always interesting as they release new records but last Friday's was really relevant to anyone with Queensland connections. They have added over 39,000 more Queensland funeral records as well as over three million New Zealand births, deaths and marriages. Plus other UK records and more newspapers. I should set Fridays aside to explore any new records instead of making a list of what to check when I have more time.

The amount of material coming online now is really quite exciting. Don't forget to also look at UK county archives as only this morning I checked to see what was online for Gloucestershire. The Gloucestershire Archives catalogue is online and there are individual names to be found. I was researching for a query and even though I have no Gloucestershire interest myself, I still found it fascinating to browse.

In two weeks time I will be in Auckland waiting to board the Celebrity Solstice for the next Unlock the Past genealogy cruise around New Zealand and southern Australia. I have started to gather all the bits and pieces I want to take and my eight talks are finished so that is one less job to do.

The coming week sees a return of the Bribie Island Historical Society committee meetings, and the following week the Society starts up its monthly evening meetings. So 2016 is well and truly happening. Follow Rootstech on social media over the next few days and be prepared to be amazed with new genealogical developments. Until next time.