Aug 232014

In the Internet age we take communication for granted. 

We use email, Facebook, the phone and even at times write a letter to communicate with each other.

We share (some people rather too much information) online about what we are doing, and put up photos so the concept of not knowing people is not an easy one to consider.

Imagine you are a parent whose son is marrying a girl in another state or country.

You have never met her or her family, you only know what your son has told you and the girl’s family also don’t know you. They have had a short engagement of five months and the wedding is fast approaching. You will be attending the wedding.

You want to write a letter to her parents introducing yourself. 

What would you write to introduce yourself to the girl’s parents?

Imagine being that person in the past, in this case 53 years ago which doesn’t seem that long ago but phone calls were not something you made as a usual thing. People did not always travel much.

Below is the letter written to introduce herself by Lillian Smith, my grandmother.

Lady Gowrie Legacy House
12 Jersey Road
Strathfield, NSW
1 March 1961
Dear Mr and Mrs Busby,
I have tried many times to sit down long enough to write to you but as you will realize it isn’t easy, in a position like this. Seeing that the children will soon be married and no longer our responsibilities we will have the chance of meeting and getting acquainted, at the wedding. I had hoped David would not think of marriage for a few years but as they are of age and have prayed about it, and feel it is the real thing, there is no more to be said. I guess you feel the same. It seems strange doesn’t it to think they are old enough, we watch them grow up and think of them as children, then all at once they are adults. I do trust that all will go well for them, and that God will spare them to have many happy years together.

I don’t know if there is anything you would like to know about us, giving your daughter to a young man is not easy, I guess, especially when you don’t know his family. David’s father was a wonderful man. He broke his neck and back getting ready for the D-Day invasion. His father was a grand man also, he died 6 years before my Husband was killed.
My own Father was a Station Master on the British Railway and served 53 years unbroken service. His father was also on the Railway. We never had any money to spare but we had big home which was open to all, there were six boys and six girls in my family and we all took our friends home, my parents expected it. We had a very happy family life. I was very disappointed at having only one son, however I shall soon have a Daughter. The Lord always supplies our needs if we wait.
I ran a long splinter down my finger yesterday so my writing isn’t all it should be, please excuse it.
I do hope you are feeling better in health Mr Busby and that you are not too anxious about the choice your girl has made. David has always been a very self-reliant boy, at 3 years old he would collect his teddy and be in the dugout in record time. As the years went by after my Husband’s death he gradually became the man of the house. 

At 11 years when we moved into our first Australian home, he laid the lino with me and did repairs, helped with the garden and housework, more like a boy of 18. When he was 15 he started on the Railway and after just a few months asked for country relief, often he would be on level crossing gates 16 -20 miles from anywhere, in a small room out in the bush alone for 12 hour shifts sometimes where there were snakes and things he had never been used to. He did so well they transferred him to Metropolitan relief when I moved from Goulbourn to Manley. He made good progress there also and after getting five certificates and having to mark time for 18 months he decided to join the Military for 3 years. In some ways this may have been good, but in other ways it wasn’t so good. 

However it was his life and in June he will finish his 3 years and as far as I know go back to the Railway. I think boys go through a silly stage, and have crazy ideas about cars and making money etc but I believe it happens to most boys. It certainly did with David but I think I can safely say that he will take great care of your girl. He is so like his father in many ways and if I can help them in any way I can , you can rest assured I will do my best, as David will be on the Railway they will travel cheaply or free, so you will not be separated from her altogether.
I had better close, if there is anything you would like to know about us please ask and very soon now we will meet, I trust you are both well and feel happy bout Violet’s future.
God Bless You
Yours Sincerely
Lillian M. Smith

Busby smith wedding group 1961 001
L-R Walter and Gladys Trost, Violet Smith nee Busby, David Smith Lilian Smith Alf Garnet?
Aug 202014

Tonight was the last night of the 5th Unlock the Past cruise. 

Just the final presentation by Eileen  Ó Dúill and a cracker it was. “Mrs Fancy Tart is coming to tea: making sense of family stories” 

We all have family stories that seem OK but when you start researching them things don’t quite stack up and there are a variety of reasons for this and perhaps the one below is the most common.

We interpret or put filters on things according to our own knowledge, experience, beliefs and culture.

We do have to be aware of this when we are researching our ancestors as how things are done today can be intrinsically different to how our ancestors would do something, this can be as simple as the fact married women hold jobs now and yet this is really a comparatively recent occurrence.

The expectation that all members of a family contributed to its income, including the six year old is not part of our modern thinking but an agricultural family living in England would have had the six year old helping as he could, whether it was gleaning kindling or scaring off crows.

Eileen gave us an entertaining yet thought provoking talk for our last presentation.

Then it was time for the prize draw!

Lisa Louise Cook helped draw the prizes. 

Including a prize donated by Lisa of a year Premium membership to her podcast which was won by Paul Blake! 

 There were a number of prizes and the above is a group photo of most of the winners

The presenter on the 5th Unlock the Past Cruise

L-R: Mike Murray, Lesley Silvester, Lisa Louise Cooke, Rosemary Kopittke (behind), Helen Smith, Marie Dougan, Sean Ó Dúill, Eileen Ó Dúill, Paul Blake.

Missing from the above photo is Jackie Depelle who is shown below in her finery

Then we adjourned to the deck for a group photo. Getting a group together for the photo is always an interesting exercise and even with all our efforts not everyone managed to be in the photo but the majority were present.

Marco Polo crew who helped with the 5th Unlock the Past Cruise L-R: Tony, Julie, Katie, Marco 

This cruise was the smoothest behind the scenes conference experience of the five I have done so far and it is due in a major part to Julie Thompson and her team. Nothing was too much trouble for them and it definitely made our lives easier. I’d love to kidnap them and have them as part of the team on every cruise!

The other people who make the cruise a pleasure are the Unlock the Past conference attendees who came, heard the presentations, interacted in the Research Help Zones and shared their experiences with each other and us. The interactions, networking and genealogical sharing of information is a large part of the fun to be had as you know the person you are talking to understands your own genealogy addiction. No rolled eyes or trying to sidle away in boredom when you start talking about a new record source you have found and they get excited when you talk about demolishing that brick wall!

After the group photo we headed back inside for a cocktail party get-together as our final function. Thanks Julie for organising this, it capped the cruise perfectly! So I will leave you with some images of us enjoying ourselves at this function. Until the next cruise out of Sydney in October which unfortunately for me I am not attending but I will be on the one after that which is out of Perth in January 2015 going to Albany the leaving point for the first contingent of ANZACs. Appropriate in 2015 the 100 year commemoration of Gallipoli.

Then the next after that will be the Baltic cruise in July 2015 so just a little while to wait!

The esteemed Julie relaxing and chatting at the party.
Aug 192014

Our final tourist stop on the 5th Unlock the Past cruise was Honfleur in France. 

This has particular significance for me as one of the excursions was to a site of one of the Normandy D-Day landings at Arromanches. 

My grandfather died during World War Two as a result of a training accident in the preparation for the D-Day landings and 2014 is the 70th anniversary of those landings and of his death.

On the way to Arromanches we stopped at Ranville War Cemetery one of the many, many War Cemeteries in France. It is beautifully maintained but a sobering place with the rows and rows of graves.

There are a number of graves of soldiers in the churchyard who were the first soldiers killed. These were not moved to the War Cemetery when all the other soldiers achieved their last resting place.

Among the soldiers graves in the churchyard are also some German soldiers.

Sadly there are a number of unknown soldiers, just some of those people who will never be named.
At Ranville War Cemetery there was the entryway with this enclosure. Within this alcove there was a list of the soldiers buried within the cemetery and their location which i was perusing when Rosemary took this picture.
The sky was a bright blue which seemed quite wrong when you were walking around the cemetery, it seemed as if it should have been grey in memory of all the lives lost.
From there we went to Arromanches, one of the D-Day landing sites. Gold was the code name for this  D-Day landing beach that Allied forces used to invade German-occupied France on 6 June 1944. The primary D–Day objective there was to establish a beachhead. 
This was crucial for the deployment of the artificial Mulberry harbour which was a major engineering feat and you can read more about this  here.  Without this harbour and unloading site the Allies would not have been able to have a continued supply of equipment for the offensive.  The building of the artificial harbour was done in secret in a number of sites in England then taken across and set up. Quite amazing!
At Arromanches there was also this quite lovely carousel and thank you Rosemary for these last three images as my camera battery decided it had done enough work for the day.

We were visiting the museum which told the story of the Mulberry Harbour and the Landings.

The skies had darkened a bit by this time and we saw the first showers of the entire cruise while we were on the bus back to the ship.

Once back on the ship it was time for “Manorial Records” with Paul Blake which was another informative talk. I have used some manorial records in from Ashford in Kent which is the area where I have my earliest Quested in my One Name Study. Paul’s talk was on at the same time as Jackie Depelle’s talk on “Ideas for researching nonconformist ancestors” which was a shame as I also have a number of Non-conformists in my tree but the only way of having all the talks would be to double the length of the cruise.

Then it was time to listen to Lisa Louise Cooke on “How to reopen and work a genealogical cold case” which again took you through re-looking at your data to see how to break down those brick walls. This was opposite “Matchmaking and marriage customs in the 19th century rural Ireland” with Sean Ó Dúill which I would have liked to have heard but again a matter of choices.

Then a short break before the closing activity of the which I’ll talk about in the final post about the cruise.

Aug 152014

St Peter Port, Guernsey was our next stop and again we were  being tendered to shore. I have always had an interest in Guernsey  as it was the only part of the British Isles to be occupied during World War Two and it was a regular holiday haunt for some of my English cousins and I found out just before I went away was my boss’ wife ancestral place!

For a while I was not sure i would be going ashore as the sea had a bit of a swell and when you are not very tall, not very agile and the side of the tender boat suddenly drops three feet just as you are about to step on it gives you pause for second (and third!) thoughts. Shame there wasn’t a camera around as my face must have been a picture!

The sea, boat and I got in tune finally and I was safely on the boat.

The Guernsey sea front was quite colourful. The guide told us they had reclaimed some of the shore front and that the sea used to sea lot closer in.
We were doing a tour of the island by coach.  Guernsey is a tax haven and is business home to 70 or so international banks. This has also meant that home prices are extreme, costing million plus pounds for some fairly ordinary places with many places costing more than London prices which seemed horrific enough to us.

There were, of course, quite a number of mansions on Guernsey as you would expect for the home of more than 70 international trading banks and heavens knows how many companies head offices. I’ll never be the sort of person who has a mansion that needs a gatepost topper like this unicorn on my gate post. 

Although maybe I could make an exception and a  dragon could adorn my gate post of my humble abode as I love dragons and have collected them for years.

No maybe not.

This is the Little Chapel. It was built by Brother Déodat who started work in March 1914. His plan was to create a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France. Apparently this was his second model as it is said the first model was taken by his bishop back to France. 

It is decorated with seashells, pebbles and colourful pieces of broken china as once the Brother had built the chapel it was of a grey brown material and didn’t look that nice so he started putting on decorations. A reporter from a London paper came to Guernsey on holiday and heard of the chapel and asked him what could he do to help and then wrote a piece in the paper about the need for broken crockery to cover the chapel and surrounds. Bags and parcels of china started coming from all over England but it was still slow going. Then the Brother received a letter from the very well-known Wedgewood factory asking how much china he needed and they sent a large skip of broken china. You can see the Wedgewood patterns and there were some comments from the tourists, ‘oh I have that pattern at home!’

You can’t come to Guernsey and not at least look at the cows that along with the Jersey cow are the progenitors of so many dairy herds around the world.

Guernsey was the only part of Britain that was occupied during World War Two. Evidence remains around the island of bunkers, gun emplacements and the memories are long of the difficult times that were endured.

On the coach tour were a couple of people who had been evacuated as children and I had a nice chat with them about a book I had bought about the evacuation, living in England with strangers then coming back after a number of years to family that had almost become strangers.

Guernsey was a lovely place and one day hopefully I’ll go back for a longer visit.

There had been a number of people who had missed my Timelines talk as they had attended the other presentation in the same time-slot. I had agreed to present it again during the Research Help Zone session today so headed back to get ready for that.

Then there was the Eileen O Duill and “Dublin, 30 June 1922: did everything blow up?” and of course the answer is no, not everything was lost. Yes there was a tragic loss of some records and no, the censuses that don’t exist today were not all burnt then as some had already been destroyed by the Government previously.

We are seeing many more Irish records being digitised and available outside the Irish archives and this is wonderful. Ireland is definitely one of the places where you have to know the history, politics and legislations in plae to know what records are likely tohave been created and what could be available today. The opposing session was Marie Dougan talking on Scotlands People. I had already had my great win using Scotlands People back at Inverness where i was able to acquire so many records for my fifteen pound investment.

Then Alan Phillips gave an update on the planned future cruises and you can find out more about them and download the new cruise brochure here. As a teaser there is the Sydney cruise in October this year, the Western Australian one in January 2015 to commemorate where our boys left from to go to Gallipoli 100 years ago, the Baltic cruise cruise in the middle of 2015 and then the Transatlantic one in late 2015 and a number of others after that including the New Zealand one where the eminent lecturer the legal Genealogist Judy Russell will be the lead presenter in early 2016.

Then it was time to have dinner and chat in the lounge where there were comfortable chairs, power-points (an essential item!) and genies talking family history.

Some of the genies had been spending a bit of time at night collaboratively doing a jigsaw puzzle and they had completed it. The topic was quite appropriate in timeframe.

There was a very creative Chef aboard the Marco Polo, who had had training as a wood carver. he created some very interesting fruit/vegetable animals and displays.


Aug 142014

We stopped at the Isles of Scilly and were tendered to the shore. We were on the later tour and there  was still a bit of mist around and you couldn’t see the shore. Earlier in the day there was quite a bit of mist around so the earlier group left the ship and were in the tender and could not see the ship or the shore! There was a nice dog on the boat and I must admit I am missing my German Shepherd.

This is looking back at the Marco Polo with us on the tender, the sky stills looks a bit misty.It wasn’t a long trip to the island.

The Scilly Isles are a group of five inhabitated islands and around 140 rocky granite non-inhabited smaller islands/islets. They are 28 miles from the Land’s End on the Cornish mainland. They have their own governing county council. As the weather is very good for a fair amount of the year they have an industry growing flowers particularly daffodils.

The map on the wall of the Scilly Isles

We wandered around a bit and came across a craft fair and Rosemary found some soaps made from cold pressing the flowers and herbs and I found some very nice handcrafted silver jewellery with the artist there in person.

Scilly Isles streetscape

We wandered around and had some lunch, not the Cornish pasty  I wanted as they had run out and the new batch was in the oven but they did have a very nice sausage roll. We were doing a bus tour of the island and I knew there were two buses, a modernish one and Katie. 
I was pleased we ended up on Katie as she had a character all of her own. The driver had to stop to give he commentary as you couldn’t hear anything over Katie’s rumble and the gear changes!

Then it was time to head back to the Marco Polo and the Research Help Zone and then evening sessions. I went to Paul Blake’s interesting session on ‘The tithe: its history, records and administration’. I have used some tithe records before and Rosemary was looking at the Tithe maps at the National Archives after finding some Tithe records on the Genealogist.

By attending Paul’s session I missed Marie Dougan talking on ‘Scottish wills and testaments’ but as I don’t really have much Scottish research I figured the Tithes was the better option. Sometimes it is a shame you can’t be in two places at the same time!


Lisa Louise Cooke helping in the Research  Help Zone

Then it was time to listen to Jackie Depelle talking on  ‘Reading the original: hints and tips for deciphering old documents’. Reading old handwriting is an essential skill for family historians so I am always interested in anything which can enhance my skills.

I am lucky in a way as I have had the perfect apprenticeship having to read doctors handwriting for 27 years!

The alternate program was ‘Online newspapers’ with Rosemary Kopittke which hopefully I will hear at another time.

Aug 042014

Today it is Dublin. A city of so much history! 

Also a city of Guinness as evidenced by these tankers on the wharf opposite where we berthed.

On the way in we saw this bridge which I call the Harp Bridge (along with lots of other people!) but it’s official name is the Samuel Beckett Bridge. It was opened in 2009.



A number of the Unlock the Past cruisers were going to the National Library of Ireland to attend a presentation by    Carmel McBride of Eneclann kindly organised by Eileen O Duill.  

After the presentation Alona and I left the researchers researching (I have previously researched at the NLI for my Michael Courtenay and Rosina McAtavey whose son Michael emigrated to Queensland in 1846 with little success) while we went to find internet, and then the Book of Kells and Trinity College Library. 

I have seen the Book of Kells before but you can never see it too many times!

First we found internet as a byproduct of morning tea and we did stay there for a while catching up on work emails (internet had been  patchy and our Vodafone wi-fi hotspots didn’t work around much of Scotland or in Dublin, possibly in Dublin because they were protecting us from foreign country fees).

Then it was onto Trinity College. 

Of course, to protect the Book of Kells you cannot take photographs but you can download an app for the iPad in iTunes. it is A$14.99 but worth it to see the amazing details. 

The exhibition also has descriptions and background information on how the Book was created and also its traveling history after being looted from one place to another. It is a miracle that any of these treasures survive and it is one of the great shames of the world that so many treasures are lost in war and continue to be lost in battles today. Many treasures are being lost in the Middle East, the Russian areas as surviving has to take precedence but when you destroy a cultures treasures you destroy part of the people’s lives and some of their future.

There are so many books. You get the ‘book smell’ as soon as you walk in. We were allowed to take photographs here but not to use the flash.

I was pleased to see that the books were still being used as there was some librarians there taking some out and boxing them up and there were gaps in some of the shelves and the usage conditions can be found here. Scholars from other institutions are able to use the resources if they can show it is only available here.

Alona says that a number of the books scanned for the Archive CD Books Ireland came from the Trinity College Library.

There were a number of displays in the centre which were not allowed to be photographed but these included Hebrew books, a commemorative display of a World War One author and more.

The Library began with the founding of Trinity College in 1592 and it is the largest library in Ireland and is the Legal Deposit library, the only one in Ireland for the United Kingdom and it has held this role since 1801.

The Long Room by Alona Tester

The Long Room, (picture taken by Alona as hers came out so much better than mine!) is 65 metres (213feet) long and is the main chamber of the Old library. 

Built between 1712 and 1732, it contains over 200 000 of the Library’s oldest books and when you realise the Bishop of Armagh when he died in 1656 left his library of several thousand volumes and the Book of Kells was given to the library in 1661 there are very many old treasures housed here.

A problem for all of us in the future is the money needed to maintain these treasures as they should be and if money is not spent the generations of the future will not be able to see and use these books. Quite a number of the books I saw had deteriorating covers and conservation work is never cheap. 

We oohed and aahed for quite a while then realised we had better get back to the ship as it had taken quite a while to travel the 5km to town when we came in that morning. It was a much faster run home.

We got back and I helped some people in the Research Help Zone along with a number of the other speakers and then it was time for the evening presentations. 

My iPad getting ready to take notes

I went to Lisa Louise Cooke’s ‘Genealogy on the go with the iPad/tablets’ and as usual she was an excellent speaker. I was pleased to see that a fair number of the apps she recommended I had installed on my iPad and actually used. I do have Evernote installed but as I have previously mentioned I do have to spend some time with it so I can use it instinctively. 

One of the problems I find is that there are many apps and programs that can help you work more effectively but no-one gives you the time you need to devote to learning them so they will help you and save your time. I suppose I just need to calendar some time as i am finding if it isn’t in the diary it doesn’t happen and just learn it.

Lisa has written a book on getting the most out of the iPad and other Tablets for genealogy and it is available as an eBook (Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse)and I would recommend it if you want to use your tablet for more than emails, Facebook, Twitter, G+ and as a eBook reader.

By going to Lisa’s talk I missed Mike Murray talking on ‘How to make your online searching more effective’ which was well received by those who went.

Aug 032014
Colourful Buildings of Tobermory

This was the day we were going to Tobermory, Isle of Mull and from there an excursion to Iona.

Again the weather was lovely (really! I am not sure who had the inside line to the weather gods but we had brilliant weather, just look at that sky). 

Tobermory was a pretty harbour with its coloured houses.

Church on the hill at Tobermory

Lots of trees here which was a stark contrast to the islands we have visited in the last few days.

As Rosemary and I had booked on the tour to Iona we went straight onto the coach so didn’t have time to meander around Tobermory. Those that did said it was lovely and there were great places to eat lovely seafood.

We had a nice guide (although she managed to confuse herself a bit with Australian history) 

Highland Cattle

Lachlan MacQuarie was born on the island of Ulva in 1762 just off the coast off Mull and is buried on Mull. He was the fifth Governor of the colony of New South Wales being appointed in 1809 and officially in residence ass Governor from 1 January 1810 to 1822. He died in 1824 not being as long-lived as his father who reportedly lived to be 103.

We did see Highland cattle although we did have to wonder if the guide had an arrangement with the farmer to have the cattle in a certain paddock as she no sooner started talking about them than we rounded the corner and there they were!

The drive to the ferry terminal for Iona was round two hours and then we and the other couple of coaches arrived. The ferry was also for the general public and the cargo transport to Iona which is just across the way but is a 25 minute ferry round trip. The ferry needed to transport a truck which had some sort of cargo which had a requirement for not many people to be on board so we had to wait a trip or so.

Weather vane

I saw this weather vane while I was waiting and thought it very cute. Looks like the dog got his dinner and the fellow misses out.

The sky and water was very blue and there were a number of people paddling on the beach both this side and the other.

Iona is about two kilometres off the coast of Mull and the main settlement, located at St. Ronan’s Bay on the eastern side of the island. A nice village with hotels, shops and the ruins of the Nunnery. I often wonder why the Nunnery is a distance from the church while the monastery is usually right near it. I know the monks went to Mass between midnight and dawn so I assume the nuns did too?

Ruins of the Nunnery

Anyway St Columba came ashore on Iona and Iona became established as a religious area. It is believed the Book of Kells was written (written is such an anemic word for the artistry of this book) here in the 800s. The Abbey was sacked by the Norse on a number of occasions.

It used to have around 25 Celtic crosses but now only a couple of original ones are left including the one below which is Crois Mhicilleathain (Maclean’s Cross).

Crois Mhicilleathain (Maclean’s Cross)

Then we came to the Parish Church where we spent some time wandering the cemetery (we are family historians! Of course we were going to wander the cemetery!)

Rosemary Kopittke at the Parish Church

And saw a number of very interesting headstones but I’ll save that for another post but also saw a number of headstones of unknown sailors generally merchant marine who had washed ashore during the Second World War. Sad when you think none of their families know where their sons,fathers,uncles lie in rest.


Then onto the Abbey.

The small building just behind the Celtic Cross is St Columba’s church. The Abbey has a long, long history and is what it is today due to being restored.

It is a peaceful church inside and worshippers still come and retreats are often held on the island.

Inside the church there were the ornamental tombs of George Douglas the Duke of Argyll and his wife.

George Douglas Duke of Argyll and his wife

We had to be back at the terminus so left in plenty of time to wander down. On the way we stopped for an ice-cream at the Low House. It had a sign warning people to duck their head as it was a very low doorway. Yes I fitted perfectly! Rosemary has a picture which I’ll have to get off her.

Back at the terminus there was  again a wait for the ferry and we didn’t get on the first or second one and there was some concern as we were running a bit later than planned.

Jackie Depelle who was one of the first speakers in the afternoon session had a paddle and we all enjoyed the sunshine as there was nothing we could do. The joys of 150 extra people arriving in an area on a beautiful summers day.

Bright blue sky and sea

We eventually got back over the straight and onto the coaches knowing we would be arriving back after the time we were told the Marco Polo would be sailing!

We knew they would not sail without us as we were on a ship organised excursion  but we were concerned as we knew Jackie Depelle was in the coach and we would be back after the start of her talk.

Marco Polo waiting for us

So we got back and there were some sighs of relief from others when they saw the ship.

Back onboard 20 minutes into the first session which meant I did not get to hear Geraldine O’Reilly’s talk on Portrait of a Parish: with a focus on place names. Jackie’s talk was postponed.

I sat down in the Captain’s Lounge, our hangout for this cruise (it had power points, comfortable chairs, friendly waitstaff who would bring coffees, what more could one ask (except internet but that is another story!) and started helping some people with some research queries. 

This meant I missed Sean Ó Dúill talking on Country cures from Irish folklore which was a session open to all the ship’s passengers and also Lesly Silvester talking on What were the Quarter Sessions?

Then time for the scheduled Research Help Zone before it was time for me to give my next presentation ‘Timelines as a research tool’. At the same time as mine was scheduled ‘Family History sources before 1837’ by Jackie Depelle and we had a number of unhappy people who had wanted to hear both presentations. this can be a difficulty sometimes when a dual program is being run. I was able to alleviate their distress by promising to do the timelines talk again a few days later which I did and had nearly the same number in the audience.

I even had Lisa Louise Cooke in the audience and I am very much looking forward to seeing her creative timelines. I am a good researcher and scientist  but don’t have a creative bone in my body so I really admire creative people!

I then started my next talk which was on ‘Understanding the context: why social history is important in your research’, showing examples of how knowing the cultural, political, social, environmental aspects of your ancestors lives can make such a difference to your research. 

This meant I missed Mike Murray’s  talk on ‘Highland Clearances: where did they go?’ which was a shame after seeing some of Scotland and seeing the conditions and understanding a little better (even though I have no research in these areas) about what occurred.

Then it was time for dinner. The ship has started during the early sessions on its way to Dublin our next stop.

Aug 022014

Back on shore and again with internet so blogging and apologies for the delay in writing.

We stopped at Stornoway today. Stornoway is a town on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. We went for a tour and interestingly also went to the Isle of Harris which actually isn’t an island at all but is the southern end of the same island. The scenery was absolutely spectacular but I couldn’t help but think of the hardships of trying to feed your families here.

Rosemary Kopittke and me

Tarbert, Isle of Harris

The coach went down to Isle of Harris and saw Harris Tweed being made. Harris Tweed is a protected brand now and has to be made on a non-mechanised loom in a cottage. You definitely would not need to go to a gym for exercise if you had been a weaver! The weaver used here legs to power the loom.

The weather was again beautiful and warm around the mid to high 20s (Celsius) while we were there and it was a bit amusing to hear the locals complaining about the weather and the heat!

And because of the weather the flowers were beautiful.

Then touring over it was back to the Marco Polo for the evening presentations and as I was first up on Document Analysis, it was just as well I got back! As it was on at the same time as my talk I missed Jackie Depelle talking on Digital Photography: basic ideas , hints and tips for family historians. 

Then I listened to Marie Dougan talking on Records and Resources at the National Archives of Scotland. I found the talk very interesting and there are a number of things I need to look at for the Quested’s  in my One Name Study that ended up in Scotland.  I missed Lesley Sylvester talking on  Lesser Known London records but had heard this one before, thankfully, so felt that Scotland won out over England.