Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Genealogy cruising, NFHM talks & other news - Genealogy Notes 1-14 Aug 2017

It is really good to be home and sitting at my desk and watching the birds outside my window while I ponder what to write.

The last two weeks have been very hectic. First I was away on the Unlock the Past military and genealogy cruise to Papua New Guinea which was fantastic. It was really good seeing Rabaul and Milne Bay where we had family members during World War 1 and 2.  There were also port stops at some of the really scenic islands so there was something for everyone. Blog post to follow this week on the genealogy and military talks. I have already booked into the next genealogy cruise to Alaska.
Got home to some domestic issues which needed to be sorted which meant that I had to miss the Researching Abroad Unlock the Past roadshow in Brisbane the day after we got back. Thankfully some genimates were also there and have blogged the event. See Pauleen Cass' blog posts on Day 1 and Day 2

For the next three days I gave six talks in six different towns in South East Queensland, which might be some kind of record. It was really good to give talks for both Sunshine Coast Libraries in Caloundra, Nambour, Maleny and Beerwah and Moreton Region Libraries in Albany Creek and North Lakes. All of the Sunshine Coast sessions were fully booked and attendees were enthusiastic about National Family History Month too.

Today I gave another talk on starting family history research - this time at Noosaville Library so I am really getting to see south east Queensland's most iconic tourist spots. And the winter weather has been almost like summer. I really loved the brochure the Noosa Library service did to promote NFHM 2017 with four speakers and some fantastic talks.

All my presentations are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.
I had to miss this year's launch of National Family History Month but thanks to Jill Ball there is a blog post A Long Drive to Chester Hill about how smoothly the event went. Even in my absence people were keen to enter the prize giveaway so I've been busy processing all the entries so far. I also need to do a blog post thanking all of our wonderful sponsors for helping to promote NFHM. 

My 31 Activities for Researchers during NFHM is an online event and there are other online events so remember to look at that category of events as well as your local state.

Coming up at the end of this week is a tour of the Woodford Museum with the local Woodford Historical Society. I always love visiting these places as often so much of what they hold is not digitised, catalogued or online and therefore you really do need to visit and see what resources are held for research.

I keep getting notifications of DNA matches so I am just going to have to set aside some time and really study them to see where the connections are. This will probably have to wait until after NFHM as organising that does take up quite a bit of time. 

Time to start writing up my cruise blog so enjoy the 3rd week of NFHM in Australia and remember to enter the prize giveaway - click on the Terms & Conditions to see how to enter and it's only open to Australian entries. Until next time, have a fantastic week of research.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Family memorabilia, DNA results & Other News - Genealogy Notes 12 -31 Jul 2017

The last few weeks have been a blur with the clearing out of Mum's house. Just when I thought I had discovered all Mum's secrets (and regular readers will know that Mum kept some amazing family facts from me) I find yet another family treasure where you would least think to look. What was hidden behind the kitchen drawer with all the cooking bits and pieces?

Mum's 1947 pocket diary
It was a 1947 (used in 1948) pocket diary with a picture of Perry Como pasted on the front cover. I knew instantly it was Mum's as she had a thing for him as a teenage girl. Sure enough inside was her name and address and it starts off with "Saturday 20 December 1947 Mervyn kissed me for the first time". Now I know when my parents first kissed although I already knew that they started going out when they were 13 years old.

I wonder what other secrets will be revealed if I continue past the first page! The handwriting is not the best and a bit small at times but I will save it for when I have more time. Why was it in the kitchen drawer and not with her photo albums or even in a bedroom drawer? Seems an odd place to put it and once I have scanned it, the diary can go with my other family memorabilia.

Mum's DNA results are back and I managed a quick look comparing people who match closely to me and it turns out they are not related to my mother. Which means they must be related through Dad's side and so far no common names so perhaps that means on my unknown grandfather's side. Unfortunately no time to really sort results at the moment so something to do in August during NFHM in between my speaking engagements.

In my spare time I finished my five talks for the Unlock the Past cruise to Papua New Guinea which departs tomorrow. National Family History Month also took up some time as I approved events and made changes for various people. Last minute details for the launch were finalised and it looks like being a fantastic August. Remember the prize giveaway opens on 1 August and no entries before that date will be accepted. I'm giving 13 talks in various places in south east Queensland - to find out where see the Events page of my website.

Thanks to Chris Paton for pointing out the National Archives UK online guide to digital microfilm - these types of guides for any archives or library are a fantastic way to quickly see what is available on particular topics. Remember that Chris is touring Australia during NFHM - see dates and venues here.  I'm looking forward to his talks in Brisbane.

The next five weeks for me are almost non stop genealogy events and as usual I will be doing blog posts about each event that I attend. My presentations will be on the Resources page of my website (after the event) and I hope to progress my DNA results as my NFHM activity. With so much on the time will go quickly.

I've taken this blog post up to the end of July as I won't have regular internet. The next post will be after I return from the genealogy cruise.

Have a great start to National Family History Month and remember there are online events too if you can't get to anything close by. Until next time, happy searching.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Masonic archives, NFHM 2017, & other news - Genealogy Notes 2-11 Jul 2017

Another week taken up with family issues but we have finally managed to get Mum into aged care and here on Bribie Island. That will certainly cut  travel time with no more trips down the highway to Brisbane. We have also spent lots of time going through Mum's things and deciding what to keep, donate or toss. So many memories are in a home and furnishings. At least Mum is still with us to explain when and how something came into her possession.

For example, the crystal duchess set was an engagement present to her from her mother, my grandmother. How many of us have captured that kind of background information on our own possessions?

Provincial Grand Masters Regalia
RW Bro Thomas S Burstow
Brisbane Masonic Memorial Centre
Jul 2017
While in Brisbane I took some time out to visit the Masonic Memorial Centre where an old friend has taken on the job of voluntary archivist. It is always good catching up with friends but it is even better being able to have a behind the scenes look at an archive.

Many organisations save their old records but quite often they don't know what to do with them so the records are stock piled around an organisation. It is a huge job and I'm looking forward to her progress reports.

I also came away with some information on two Masons in the family. Seeing something that was once worn by an ancestor is amazing and it gives you a greater insight into their lives and what occupied their time.

Read more about my visit here and find out what I discovered.

There is an AFFHO meeting tonight where I will be giving an update on National Family History Month for 2017. There are 157 events so far in every state and territory with the exception of the Northern Territory.

There are even some online events including a blogging challenge and no doubt more events will be added between now and 1 August when the fun begins. So far 31 genealogy/family history societies have added events along with archives and libraries. It will be another great month.

Lost Cousins newsletter for this week had some interesting pieces, especially around DNA. I felt better when the editor said "I've still got thousands of matches to analyse". I'm not alone!

I feel a bit inundated at the moment with DNA matches, smart matches and record matches and possibly my own fault as I have posted my family information on a number of sites. Some connections are really distant but good if you are wanting to find every descendant of an ancestor in Australia. Others are more recent and might be good to meet up with and some I can't work out what the connection is in the first place. It is really time consuming but perhaps things will be less hectic once I get NFHM over for another year.

This coming week I have to finalise my five talks for the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise to Papua New Guinea coming up in two weeks. I also have to work on my talks for National Family History Month as I start giving talks as soon as we get back from Papua New Guinea. Although I am taking time out to go to Brisbane for the Unlock the Past two day seminar on Researching Abroad: Finding British Isles and European Ancestors. August is full on and to see all the places I am speaking go to the Events page of my website.

Have a great genealogy week and start planning what you will be doing for NFHM2017. Until next time, happy searching.