Tuesday, 16 August 2016

NFHM Update & Auckland Expo - Genealogy Notes 8-16 Aug 2016

I'm now back home from attending the Auckland New Zealand Family History Fair and Expo which was fantastic. I gave five talks at the Expo and another one for Auckland Library the day after. All talks are on my website Resources page, scroll down to Presentations. It was great being a keynote presenter alongside Dick Eastman from the US. A full report to follow soon.

Seonaid Lewis, family historian at Auckland Library
welcoming attendees to the afternoon seminar
New Zealand also celebrates National Family History Month in August but there is no single website like we have for events across the country.This morning I added another six events to the Australian NFHM web calendar and entered more people into our prizes giveaway. With less than two weeks to go till the end of National Family History Month, I will be spending quite a bit of time blogging about it and encouraging people to make the most of the last weeks.

But I'm a bit ahead of myself as usual. Before I left, I gave two talks at the Caloundra Library which were well attended. Both talks are on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. Each talk was aimed at helping people look at their brick walls differently, and judging from the questions, just about everyone has a brick wall or two.

I had hoped to get Week 2 of the NFHM blogging challenge done before I left but simply ran out of time. So that's on the list for this week along with Week 3. I haven't got to my own 31 Activities for Researchers in NFHM yet but it's on the list - you can do any or all of the activities. The deadline for my regular blog and article for The In-Depth Genealogist is also looming so lots of writing coming up in the next week.

I have a new Android tablet which I took to New Zealand with me. I am slowly getting used to how it works but I keep trying to use it like my IPad. Luckily I was staying with someone from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists computer group and he helped me grasp some of the basics. I managed a few Facebook posts while at the Expo but the free Auckland wifi was a bit taxed over the weekend. Still it is a nice size for my handbag so I think it will be a frequent traveller with me.

There has been no chance to keep up with emails, enewsletters and journals through the mail. So a bit of catching up there too.

I've got two more events to attend for NFHM - a full day seminar with Genealogy Sunshine Coast where I am giving five talks and one talk at Noosaville Library to celebrate the end of NFHM. We will also be drawing the prizes giveaway at  the Library so don't forget to get your entries in. See the Sponsors page of the website for what's on offer and how to enter is in the Terms and Conditions.

The other big news is that I have decided to go to the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Organisations annual conference Cowpastures and Beyond which is in Camden in September. I will need a little mini holiday by then and it will be good to catch up with lots of geneacolleagues.

I hope everyone is enjoying National Family History Month and either attending events or spending more time on their own research. Until next time, happy searching.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

National Family History Month 2016 local talks & more - Genealogy Notes 1-7 Aug 2016

Well at the end of the first week of NFHM 2016 I am already a little weary. Events are still being added to the National Family History Month web calendar and entries for the prize giveaway are arriving daily. Remember to read the terms and conditions on the Sponsors page as they include how to enter the giveaway.
Yesterday I attended the Family Discovery day at the Forest Glen Family History Centre which is very new and a great venue to host a day of genealogy talks. There were two streams of talks throughout the day except for my session which made for a huge audience. I think there were about 120 attendees. My talks was Demolishing Brick Walls and this was the same talk I gave in Perth last weekend. You can see it on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations. I received some great feedback and lots of people went home determined to break down their brick walls.
Forest Glen Family History Centre
 The first session I went to was a demonstration on how to use FamilySearch's family tree program and attaching photos, stories and documents. I always like to see how other people organise their family history, usually experiencing some jealousy. People who have only started in 'computer times' mostly have all their research contained within their program whereas those of us who have been doing it for some decades, it seems to be a mix of paper and computer. I just need to stop doing everything else I do and even then, I'm not sure I'd have enough time.

There was a soup and fruit lunch after my talk but I was caught up with people wanting to ask me questions for the whole of the lunch break. A very nice person brought me a cup of soup and I managed to find a few pieces of orange still on the fruit plate. Why don't people like fruit with skin? I love oranges and they were so sweet. Even while I was having my soup and fruit there were still people asking me questions or talking to me. It's nice to be popular.

Somewhat fortified I caught the end of the How to use Ancestry better which was a video with Christa Cowan explaining various tips. I'm obviously not making the most of Ancestry, especially if I don't find what I'm looking for first up. Note to self - explore the Advanced search in more detail and don't forget to use those wildcards. Ironic really because I mentioned both those things in my Demolishing Brick Walls talk!

One of the lecture areas
The last session I went to was a talk by Mike England on the different calendars and how these could impact on your research if you get back to the 18th century. While I was aware of the different calendars, Mike's examples made me much more conscious of how it could be very different within the UK due to the Protestants and the Catholics having different calendars. I first met Mike in Kingaroy some 30 odd years ago so good to see him again.

That's one of the nice things about attending genealogy events, there is usually someone you know and I met up with quite a few people from the Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Kingaroy. Wonderful to see that people did travel for this event.

There's no rest for the wicked (not that the voluntary national coordinator of NFHM is wicked) but I'm off to give two talks at Caloundra Library this week before flying off to Auckland, New Zealand for their family history expo with Dick Eastman and others on the program. I'm giving six talks over there before heading home. There will be a full report on the expo when I get back so stay tuned.

It's not all talking for NFHM, I have also agreed to take the Alex's NFHM blog challenge which is an online event. Week 1 was on the Census and my contribution was simply called Census Night. I wrote about my discovery in the 1901 Irish census. The Australian History Bloggers now have a Facebook Fan page and you can read more NFHM blogs there and Alex will be bringing all the challenge blogs together at the end.

It's another busy week coming up and then there will be the last two weeks of NFHM which are usually busy too, not just with talks but also managing the prizes giveaway. I hope that people don't leave it all too the end as that just makes it harder for me. The prize draw is after my final NFHM talk at Noosaville library on 31 August and I expect to be seriously exhausted by then. So my treat will be a nice night at one of my favourite spots (Mooloolaba) going to one of my favourite restaurants and simply chilling out with fine food and wine.

Continue to enjoy NFHM 2016 and my 31 Activities for Researchers is there for anyone stuck for ideas. Until next time, happy searching.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Perth Western Australia & the start of National Family History Month 2016 - Genealogy Notes 24 -31 Jul 2016

It's been a huge week. Last minute things for National Family History Month which starts on 1 August and we now have events in every state and territory. Fantastic. Most of Thursday was taken up with travelling - first to Brisbane and the airport then the long flight across Australia to the west coast and Perth. Usually when I fly over the view out the window is of a dry, barren country with lots of salt pans and sand dunes. This time for quite a good part of the way there seemed to be lots of green and even some waterholes and creeks. Must be all that winter rain that Queensland has been getting.

It was lovely being met at Perth airport by Lorraine from Swan Genealogy who kindly boarded me during my stay in the west. This meant I didn't have to worry about how to get to venues, just simply sit in Lorraine's car. I hadn't realised how spread out Perth was but it seems to have a very interconnected freeway system.

L-R Shauna Hicks, Shannon Lovelady and Lorraine Clarke
Friday morning I managed to catch up with two archival colleagues and we had coffee and then lunch while we discussed what is happening in archives and libraries today as well as reminiscing about the good old days. One of my friends suggested we should do it more than once every 10 years - has it really been that long since I had seen them?

The afternoon was dedicated to the launch of NFHM at the Perth Office of the National Archives of Australia. I'm glad Lorraine knew the way as it is a little out of the city. Here it was good to catch up with old work colleagues from my time working for the NAA. I also met up with other launch attendees and one of NFHM's major sponsors Finders Cafe. The Perth Office Director of NAA gave a brief talk on Project Albany and the keynote speaker was Shannon Lovelady talking about the Western Australian Gallipoli and Western Front Dead. Then there was a delicious afternoon tea and time to chat and peruse some of the NAA treasures. My full report is a blog post on my website and you can read it here.

One half of the audience at the WAGS seminar
Saturday was another full on day with the Making History seminar with the Western Australian Genealogical Society at the City of Perth Library. There was a presentation by Finders Cafe and I gave three talks - Love Sex and Damn Lies, Demolishing Brickwalls and It's Not All Online. Copies of my presentations can be seen on the Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.
From the verbal feedback I think everyone had a great day and then it was time to relax.

A pineapple sling
A small group of us went to the historic Treasury building where I enjoyed a lovely cocktail, complete with purple straw and violets. Then it was on to a wonderful Chinese banquet with some of the WAGS committee. I slept very soundly that night.

A mint hot chocolate and truffle
Sunday was a day of rest and although a bit cold and wet we headed out to the Margaret River area where I enjoyed the delights of the Margaret River Chocolate Factory and other foodie places. We had lunch at the historic Guildford Hotel which has been restored since a disastrous fire last year. There was even opportunity to taste some of those wonderful Western Australian wines.

Today I start the long trek home and with luck will be arriving just in time to go to bed. I'm not even sure what is coming up this week but I will regroup tomorrow. I know there are more talks coming up  and I really should blog some of my 31 Activities for NFHM plus a meeting of the Bribie Island Historical Society committee first thing tomorrow so perhaps one day at a time during this busy time might be best.

I hope everyone has a chance to do something during National Family History Month 2016. Until next time, happy researching.