Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Female ancestors, NFHM 2017 & Other News - Genealogy Notes 15 - 21 Mar 2017

Dorcas White nee Trevaskis
March is Women's History Month and I was going to write a blog post on my great grandmothers. But as I started thinking about what to write, it felt very familiar. You know that feeling - I've done this before. On my website I have a page for My Families and under that all the family names I am researching. It is here that I link my blog posts to my family names to keep track of what I have written about. Searching under my grandmothers' names I couldn't find the post yet I was sure that I had done something similar at some point.

When in doubt, Google. I found it by searching for my own name and 'my grandmothers'. Obviously I forgot to put links to the post on My Families pages. What's even worse I only wrote it 12 months ago so my memory is also going! Read Women's History Month - My Four Great Grandmothers and I have added 'check blog post links' to my 'to do' list.

Recently a friend also commented that she had started doing reminder notes to herself and she is only a year older than me. We lead such busy lives with lots going on that you almost need them for everything, not just shopping lists. When I revisit a family that I haven't looked at for a while, I like to see that I have left a note about what needs to be done next. Or sometimes it is good to relook at everything. I do that all the time with Trove and last time I turned up some interesting snippets on distant cousins. Everything from car accidents to petty court appearances - not just births, deaths and marriages.

I'm happy to say that we seem to have the National Family History Month web calendar working again so it is now open for anyone to add their events for August 2017. The Genealogical Society of Queensland were first off the mark and I hope lots of other societies, libraries and archives add their events to the calendar. The major sponsors this year are Ancestry, Momento and MyHeritage as well as our Prize Sponsors and our major sponsors are also offering prizes.

Heading to Queensland State Archives tomorrow to do some research and hoping that no one asks me if I like their new website. I don't and it took ages for me to find what I wanted. There are some records relating to my great grandparents Thomas and Elizabeth Price that I really want to find - but it is correspondence in a top number system so only hope that I can track it through and that the correspondence is at the end of the search. A few other bits and pieces on microfilm to occupy me while I wait for records to be retrieved and I must remember to take some food with me this time. You can drive up to the shops for lunch but that all takes time and I try to maximise my time with the records.

My brother and I many moons ago!
Easter is fast approaching and it will be Mum's 83rd birthday. Seems like only yesterday we had the 80th birthday party and I did my Powerpoint presentation on Mum's life. It will be a chance to catch up with all of the family again so I'm thinking about putting together another slide show of early family photos as the kids (really all adults now) love seeing their parents as youngsters!

There is not much on my agenda next week now that I have sorted out NFHM so perhaps I will get to do some family history research. Time to blog a few more family stories too. Until next time, have a great geneaweek.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

St Patrick's Day, NZ conference & Other News - Genealogy Notes 8-14 Mar 2017

Well it was another week of geneaenvy when I discovered via Facebook that quite a few geneamates are heading for Auckland for the New Zealand Society of Genealogists conference in June. I have been to quite a few of their conferences and expos over the years and they are always good value. Dick Eastman is again on the program, he must like going to New Zealand and who wouldn't, and Judy Russell who I first met in person on an Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. You could easily sit and listen to Judy talk all day. There are other speakers and some great topics so check the program out here. I'm seriously tempted to go but I already have one geneaconference on the Gold Coast in May, plus the geneacruise to Papua New Guinea in July and lots of talks lined up in August for National Family History Month. So lots of exciting things already in my calendar.

With regard to National Family History Month we are still trying to fix the bug in our events calendar so it is a slow start to promoting it this year. But I can't really ask for events when last year's are still showing as current. Hopefully we will work out a solution soon. In the meantime I now have 8 talks during August and this will probably increase as I still need to find an event for the drawing of the sponsor's prizes at the end of the month. Stay tuned.

Another exciting event is Chris Paton (British and Irish research) returning to our shores in August and he will be touring with Dirk Weissleder (German research) as part of an Unlock the Past tour. Check out the tour dates here. They will be visiting Brisbane, Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth so lots of people will get the chance to see them. The issue for me is that the Brisbane event is the day after I get home from the Papua New Guinea cruise. Can I zip off again after returning home for only one day?

My great grandmother, Mary Finn
daughter of John Finn and Sarah Fegan
St Patrick's Day is coming up on 17 March so I will be celebrating my Irish ancestry - two great great grandparents, John Finn and Sarah Fegan from County Wicklow. My St Patrick's day blog post last year was about them and rereading it I'm surprised at how much more I have learnt about the family in a year. I recently saw a photograph of Sarah Fegan for the first time and I'm eagerly waiting for my cousin to send a copy. So until I get that, I won't update the blog post. Read how I traced my Finn and Fegan families in County Wicklow here.

Findmypast are making their entire Irish collection free until midnight 17 March (GMT) so that is a fantastic chance for people to look for any Irish ancestors. Read more about the offer here. Don't miss out.

There is so much happening in the genealogy world that it is hard to keep up with all the news,even spending time on social media only scratches the surface. To help myself keep up to date I have offered to do an advance class on family history at the local U3A in Term 2. They have been running a beginners course for years and students want to progress to beyond the basics. It should be challenging but with a smaller group you can focus on what people want to know about. Plus I will be able to learn from them too.

Finally one of my favourite authors, Nathan Dylan Goodwin has published another novella in his forensic genealogist series, The Missing Man again starring the fictional Morton Farrier. I have loved all the previous books, very hard to put down once you start, so I am looking forward to reading this latest adventure.

This coming week will be mainly finishing some research enquiries, attending the local history class at  U3A and catching up on my journal reading, both paper and e-journal. The paper ones are piled up on the floor and quite visible while the e-journals are out of sight which is not a good thing for me. I need to set a dedicated time to read everything that comes in, at least once a week.

Have another good week of genealogy researching and if you can attend any of those genealogy events listed above, enter the dates in your calendar now. Personal networking with others is one of the best ways to learn and have geneafun.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Presentations, heritage walks & other news - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Mar 2017

February is always a short month and hard to  believe that we are now in autumn.  Still some high temperatures here, blue skies and no rain so it still feels very much like summer.

Last Saturday's seminar with the Queensland Family History Society on Family History on the Cheap was very successful. There has been some wonderful feedback on the three presentations I gave with most people saying that they had not realised there were so many websites to research. Because I cover so much in my talks I have again placed the presentations on my website so that attendees can go through them at leisure. I find that it is just too hard to write down URLs and listen/watch a presentation. I also find that just having the URLs in a handout is not quite the same as having a visual image of what the speaker was talking about. Attendees seem to appreciate that they can see the talks again. To see the presentations go to the Resources page of my website and scroll down to Presentations.

My GGG grandmother's bible
A distant cousin was also at the seminar and she had found my research on the family by using Google and discovering my blog posts. Blogging really is cousin bait. We met up a while back and she came along this time with a photograph of my GGG grandmother Sarah Fegan from Glasnarget, County Wicklow, Ireland.

It was fantastic to see the original photo in its original frame and I am now looking forward to receiving a copy of the photograph. It is the same distant cousin who shared Sarah's bible with me. Now I know what she looked like as well as handwriting. It definitely pays to contact distant relatives because you just never know what has survived in families.

One of the changes while I was away was that both Queensland State Archives and Public Record Office Victoria have changed their websites. Although they both say their websites are now easier to use, I can't seem to find anything anymore, even reading the new instructions. I am still having difficulty with the New South Wales State Archives & Records website which changed last year so I'm not overly happy. I'm not sure what testing they do but it can't be with regular users because I'm not the only one grumbling.

Unlock the Past and MyHeritage have just announced a tour and genealogy conference in Israel which sounds interesting. They have even set up a website for Holy Land 2017 Tour & Genealogy Conference in late October. Two of my favourite speakers, Caroline Gurney from the UK and Judy Russell from the US are keynotes so I'm tempted but I've got the  Unlock the Past Papua New Guinea genealogy cruise coming up in July. As I keep telling myself, you can't go to everything!

Last week I said that I would be making changes to the National Family History Month website for 2017.  This is where I discovered that there is a bug in the events calendar and I have been trying to find a way to resolve it. I've made some text changes to the site but ignore any events as they are all 2016 even though they are showing as 2017. I manually changed some but can't do that for all 2016 events so I am still looking for a quicker way or a solution to the bug. Stay tuned!

Deception Bay heritage walk
I did a heritage walk at Deception Bay with the local U3A Bribie local history group. I thought it was only going to be a couple of hours and it ended up over four hours with a break for refreshments. The local council have put heritage plaques along the walk but we were lucky to have two long term residents with us and they told us lots of other stories as we did the walk.

They were so knowledgeable and such good story tellers the time went quickly but it was incredibly hot and humid with not a lot of shade. Local history really does complement family history. Also nice to see that Moreton Bay Regional Council has put all its heritage walks online.

This coming week will include a couple of research requests, working on my Inside History Magazine article and continuing with my new research guide. Lots of writing and research if I don't get distracted with look ups on my own family names as I go.

Until next week, happy researching.