Oct 132014

Have had a great day at the “Angling for Ancestors” conference run by the Gold Coast Family History Society. I was invited to be the Mistress of Ceremonies for the day  which is always fun.

Helen and Tanya Honey

More than a 120 people came today to listen to Jan Gow from New Zealand and Graham Jaunay from South Australia give three presentations each.

I was very happy to finally be able to meet Tanya Honey in person for the first time. We have been online friends for quite a while.

Jan Gow

Jan Gow:
Ten Ways to Research Your Family History – with and without a computer
Delving Deep into FamilySearch -learn how to find your treasure in the treasure that is Familysearch.org
Saint Serendipity on Duty: a case study using UK records doing in 30 minutes what used to take 30 years

Jan gave ways of researching with or without a computer. Many of the ways we do things may have changed but the underlying idea of what we do has remained constant. 

We still need to contact relatives, whether we do this by writing a letter, putting it into an envelope and posting it or by writing an email we still need to contact our relatives, near and far.

We still need to be organised in our research and with our results, whether this is with a filing cabinet, Jan’s favourite computer program TreePad or some other way with our computer, the computer is just a tool we use as researchers.

We are the important item as researchers, our determination, drive, analysis.

Jan’s talk on the many facets of FamilySearch reminded everyone that FamilySearch is not just a place to type a name to see a return from an index. The Learning Centre, the Wiki, the mapping, the digitised books and so much more including the family tree. There is so much going on behind the scenes. 

There are many, many non-indexed images on the site with all the teams using digital cameras around the world. There is a large community around the world who are working to index these images so they are searchable for all. The indexers have achieved one million indexed entries in a day but new indexers are always welcome. It is very easy and the images are divided into levels of difficulty. There are also a range of images from other countries so if you know another language there are sure to be some for you too. I have been indexing for a few years and enjoy giving back.

Graham Jaunay

Graham Jaunay:
Research in England Prior to Civil Registration in 1837
Researching the Maternal Line – researching women is uniquely challenging and has its roots in the social position of women in society
Identifying and Dating 19th Century Family Photos

Graham showed some of the treasures contained within the parish chest as well as the documents that can help so much with our research including wills and deeds.

His talk on researching women covered the range of records in which we can find women remembering that due to the limited legal status a married women had, prior to the Married Woman’s Act in 1872 where they had no legal authority, were not allowed to sign a contract or leave a will can make it difficult. They literally became their husband’s property on marriage including all possessions and even the clothes in which they stood. You need to branch out to find mention of them. Wills are particularly useful and not just direct relative wills but wills of sideways relatives. Once they became a widow they gained legal status again (and can be a reason why some women “lived in sin” once they became a widow rather than lose those rights.)

Convict Connections and those bonnets!

Graham’s last talk was on identifying and dating old photographs. This talk involved a lot of detail and I was pleased I had his book from Unlock the Past (also available as an ebook) as it saved me taking notes.

Exhibitors were Gold Coast Family History Society Inc., Unlock the Past Cruises, Gould Genealogy, Queensland Family History Society, Guild of One Name Studies, Convict Connections group of the Genealogical Society of Queensland, Queensland State Archives, National Archives of Australia, Tales from the Past and the Ryerson Index. 

Convict Connections was there and you can always find them as the lovely ladies wear the convict bonnets!

In between MC duties I was on the Guild stall
The QFHS Display board of their CD indexes available


My haul


I love books as you all know and it was great to see some pre-loved books for sale. I even managed to find some I did not have which was nice to add to my library.

After the conference around 40-50 of us went out to dinner where we continued to talk family history and a great time was had by all before Eric, Rosemary and I headed back to Brisbane as we had commitments there on the Sunday. Many of the others stayed on to participate in the visit to the Light Horse museum.

The Gold Coast Family History Society are to be congratulated on a well run conference. The organisation was superb as was the catering! I hope this will continue as an annual event.

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