Jan 072016

Papers Past the  free website of New Zealand digitised newspapers have just announced some new additions to the site:

Latest additions to Papers Past (December 2015):

 These join the more than four million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1839 to 1948 and includes 130 publications from all regions of New Zealand.  

Remember that until the 1970s there was non-restricted travel between Australia and New Zealand  so always worth doing a search in the New Zealand papers for your family. New Zealand also had gold rushes so many people went for the gold.

Quite a number of families emigrated to New Zealand first and then some or all later traveled on to Australia.  Apart from anything else editors were always looking for news to fill their papers so it is surprising what ‘other place” news can be found in any newspaper. In fact Dave Obee the eminent Canadian researcher, author and newspaper editor always tells his Canadian classes to check out our wonderful Trove first to get the date range before looking at the Canadian papers (many of which are pay sites).

Talking about our wonderful, FREE, Trove they have just released the titles of the 100 plus forthcoming papers which should be available by June 2016 so not available yet but remember they have also released quite a number of papers over the last six months. So while you are waiting to these to arrive have you gone back and rerun all your searches in the new papers and the corrected text of previous papers. 

For a complete list of what newspapers are currently available and for what time periods look here

The National Library of Australia staff are going to be very busy!

The funding for digitising these papers came froma  variety of sources including a family History society Benalla & District Historical Society and the Sydney Myer Fund.

I am very pleased to see as many Queensland papers coming especially the Toowoomba Chronicle..

I hope the next announcement will be for the later Bundaberg papers as my George Howard Busby moved to Bundaberg in the 1940s and remained there until 1955.

Some of these are quite specialist papers such as the Seaman’s Strike, some Temperance papers and the Dutch Australian Weekly and Dutch Weekly so great to see them being digitised.

– Canberra News (1939-1940)

– The Bee of Australia (1844)

 – Cobargo Chronicle (1898-1944)
 – The Colonial Observer (1841-1844)]
– Commercial Journal and General Advertiser (1835-1840)

 – Commercial Journal, General Advertiser & Odd Fellows’ Advocate (1845-1845)
 – The Cumberland Times & Western Advertiser (1845)
 – The Dispatch (1843-1844)
 – Dutch Australian Weekly (1951-1993) 
 – Dutch Weekly (1993-2004)
 – The Examiner (1845-1845)
 – Free Press & Commercial Journal (1841-1841)
 – Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser (1874-1908)
– The Hunter River Gazette & Journal of Agriculture, Commerce, Politics, & News (1841-1842)
 – Nambucca News (1909-1911)
 – The New South Wales Examiner (1842)
 – The Omnibus & Sydney Spectator (1841-1843)
 – Parramatta Chronicle (1843-1845)
 – The Satirist & Sporting Chronicle (1843)
 – The Sentinel (1845-1848)
 – Society (29 Jan 1887)
 – The Star (1845-1876)
 – The Star & Working Man’s Guardian (1844-1845)
 – The Sun & New South Wales Independent Press (1843)
 – The Sydney Dispatch (1844)
 – Sydney Free Press (1841-1842)
 – The Sydney Mail (16 March 1932 – coloured / special Bridge edition)
 – The Sydney Record (1843-1844)
 – The Teetotaller & General Newspaper (1842)
 – The Temperance Advocate & Australasian Commercial & Agricultural Intelligencer (1840-1841); 
 – The True Sun & New South Wales Independent Press (1844)
 – The Twofold Bay Magnet (1909-1920)
 – Warialda Standard & Northern Districts’ Advertiser (1900-1954)
 – The Warialda Watchman (1899)
 – The Weekly Register of Politics, Facts & General Literature (1843-1845)

– Beaudesert Times (1908-1954)

 – Bundaberg Daily New-Mail (1940)
 – Bundaberg Daily News and Mail (1925-1940)
 – Bundaberg Mail (1917-1925)
– Bundaberg Mail and Burnett Advertiser (1892-1917)

 – Daily Record (1897-1922)
 – Dalby Herald (1910-1954)
 – Dalby Herald and Western Queensland Advertiser (1866-1879)
 – Herbert River Express (1910-1954)
 – Johnstone River Advocate (1906-1908)
 – Northern Argus (1865-1874)
 – North Queensland Register (1892-1954)
 – Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs General Advertiser (1875-1902)
 – Townsville Evening Star (1889-1940)

– The Areas’ Express (1877-1948)

 – Australische Zeitung (1875-1916)
 – Blyth Agriculturist (1908-1954)
 – Christian Colonist (1878-1894)
 – Express & Telegraph War Edition (1916-1917)
– Eyre’s Peninsula Tribune (1910-1950)
 – Frearson’s Monthly Illustrated Adelaide News (1880-1884)
 – Glenelg Guardian (1914-1954)
 – Harp and Southern Cross (1873-1875)
 – The Illustrated Adelaide News (1875-1880)
 – The Irish Harp and Farmers’ Herald (1869-1873)
 – The Pictorial Australian (1885-1895)
 – Sport (1911-1948)
 – Yorke’s Peninsula Advertiser (1878-1922)
 – Yorke’s Peninsula Advertiser and Miners’ and Farmers’ Journal (1875-1878)
 – Yorke’s Peninsula Advertiser and Miners’ News (1872-1874)

– The Britannia and Trades’ Advocate (1846-1851)

 – The Coastal News and North Western Advertiser (1890-1891)
– Deloraine – Westbury Advocate (1893-1894)
 – The North Western Chronicle (1887-1888)
 – The Teetotal Advocate (1843)
 – Telegraph (Launceston, 1881-1883)
 – The Tasmanian Colonist (1851-1855)
 – The Van Diemen’s Land Gazette and General Advertiser (1814)
 – Voice (1931-1953)

– Benalla Standard (1921-1925)

 – The Bendigo Independent (1902-1918)
 – Countryman (1924-1929)
 – Farmers’ Advocate: Official Organ of the Victorian Farmers Union (1917-1924)
 – Goulburn Valley Stock and Property Journal (1916-1942)
 – Illustrated Australian Mail (1861-1862)
 – Kerang New Times (1901-1913)
 – Kerang Times (1889-1901)
 – The Melbourne Advertiser (1838)
 – The Melbourne Courier (1845-1846)
 – The Melbourne Daily News (1848-1851)
 – The Melbourne Daily News and Port Phillip Patriot (1848)
 – Melbourne Punch (Dec 10, 1925)
 – Melbourne Times (1842-1843)
 – The Melbourne Weekly Courier (1844-1845)
 – Port Philip Gazette (1838-1845)
 – Port Philip Gazette (1851)
 – The Port Phillip Gazette & Settler’s Journal (1845-1850)
 – The Port Phillip Patriot and Morning Advertiser (Melbourne) (1845-1848)
– The Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser (1839-1842)

 – Seamen’s Strike Bulletin (Aug 1919)
 – Sportsman (Melbourne, 1882-1904)
 – Weekly Times (Melbourne, 1869-1913; 1919-1954)

– The Avon Gazette & Kellerberrin News (1914-1916)

 – Coolgardie Miner (1894-1911; 1913-1954)

Jan 032016

It can be a murky game comparing photos visually to see if there are resemblances. 

The results are open to individual interpretation and this can be coloured by the wishes and hopes of the person doing the reviewing. Add in to the mix images taken over different time frames such as fifty years apart  for an individual (where  the bone structure should be the the same) and comparing photos of people from different generations in the hope of seeing a resemblance.

In some families there can be a lot of resemblance but there are also many families where if you were not aware of the family structure and just looked for resemblances you would swear they could not be siblings at all. Also be careful of the “Humphrey nose’ “Smith ears” as they could also be seen in other people.

To do a facial comparison you need to look at a minimum of the:

Shape of the face: round, square, oval etc
Eyes: their shape, colour (often we don’t have that information) size, distance between them, position
Nose: shape , size position
Nostrils: shape, size position 
Moles: placement (in modern times often removed)
Teeth: only seen if smiling. In times of bad dental care teeth may also be false or decayed

Remember you also need to being aware of changes due to weight gain/loss and age complications such as losing teeth.

If you can get the images the same size and orientation (and unfortunately we can’t go back in history and ask the person to stand facing the camera please!) using Photoshop or other imaging software you can make one image transparent then overlay it on the other which can be useful for an individual at different ages.

Other software such as Picasa claim to do photo recognition and yes with modern photos I have seen a number of photos identified correctly BUT I have also seen many mis-identifications including a man identified as a woman (an unrelated one at that), different individuals being called the same person etc. The more known photos of that person at different ages helps increase the success rate of identifying other photos but it is not 100% or even 80%.
Even the software used by governments using complex mathematical algorithms on a minimum of eighty points is not 100% perfect. There is an interesting document on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation site which goes into the history of facial recognition and the development of standards and ongoing work to improve facial recognition.

There is more photo matching software becoming available. Lisa Louise-Cooke recently mentioned this one which a Microsoft one listed as  more of a game: Twins or Not so I thought I’d give it a try. You upload two photos to compare.

So I picked one of my mother and myself at around a similar age.

Then I found another  of Mum where she was smiling and made her head a similar size to mine to see if it would be called differently.

Now I admit Mum and I have many similarities but 100%?

So what about me aged differently?

Apparently I didn’t age that well. I suspect the glasses have influenced the results. (Changing the order of the upload didn’t change the result)

Then how about Mum and older me?

Interesting result.

I am not saying you shouldn’t look at photographs but I am suggesting strongly that you should interpret with caution especially solely on visual comparisons or even computer comparisons (unless you have access to the FBI, Interpol or other law enforcement software) and even then there are caveats on the results.

Jan 022016

2016 came in with a bang (neighbours had fireworks).

I spent New Year’s Eve day working and then came home to dinner. 

Then a night at the computer working on my presentations for the Unlock the Past cruise which less than six weeks away and also naming some digital files I had scanned.

There is an old saying that what you do on the first day of the year will reflect the year so I am set for 2016.

I have mixed feelings when I see posts from people saying “I didn’t achieve everything I had planned for x year” and they list what they said they wanted to achieve and whether they did so or not as I feel this is only part of the story. 

They often beat themselves up for not getting it all done as if their life was only a planned To-Do List but what I don’t see them doing is listing everything they had achieved for the year whether planned or not.

I think we all spend too much time regretting what we have not as yet completed (those to do lists can be negative things at times) without taking some time at regular intervals to see and reflect on what we have done. 

Life is not a always a straight road, there are lots of turns, detours and even U turns. 

Sometimes opportunities arise that were not expected or part of a plan. 

Those opportunities are still achievements and should be counted and celebrated.

 So along with working full time, I am happy with the 58 presentations I gave last year ranging from RootsTech, three Unlock the Past cruises, Australasian Congress, New Zealand Family History Fair, Western Australian Guild of One Name Studies seminar and to a variety of family history societies in Australia.

My continued education is well on track. While I didn’t quite complete the National Institute’s English certificate (have two subjects to go) I did complete the Basic level and a number of subjects in the Intermediate and Advanced parts of the Professional Development Certificate, the  Basic and Intermediate levels of the Librarian certificate, the Basic and a few subjects in the Intermediate levels of the Australian certificate. I completed the Introduction to Family History at the University of Tasmania and am halfway through the Introduction to Writing Your Family History at the same institution. And I attended a number of conferences and learnt lots from the excellent presenters.

I have watched a number of the webinars in the Legacy Family Tree Webinar. My subscription to this is a must have as it means I can watch and re-watch seminars of interest (and have the handouts) and there are many of interest by the headline presenters of  our genealogy world. Legacy also has seminars available for free for seven days from publication for non-subscribers, subscribers also have access to some extra seminars. 

Then there are all the journals, the Facebook groups, the blogs, and mail-lists so many opportunities to further my knowledge. The joy of the Internet is that even if you are unable to go to a conference due to family commitments, finances or other reasons there is no reason why you can’t continue your education.

Then there are all the wonderful people I have met in person and online, some relatives by blood, some  genealogical family due to shared interests. We live in a world which can be scary at times but I firmly believe that while people are talking to each other and helping each other around the world it will be a better place. 

I am a member of the Kiva group Genealogists for Families where we make microloans of $25 to help other achieve their dreams. 311 genealogists have made over 6000 loans (when the $25 is repaid it can either be taken out or re-loaned to someone else).

I, ably assisted by Geoff Doherty, started a DNA Special interest group at the Genealogical Society of Queensland. I also had success in getting some people to DNA test and have found some linkages to other people who had tested via Ancestry and FTDNA. Still working on some matches in Gedmatch.

I finally was able to finish and publish the second edition of my “Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms” book and was asked to write a chapter on the 1919 Influenza Pandemic in Brisbane for a book being published in 2016 (this was one of those turns in the road not expected but welcome).

I even managed to add some names to my tree and add more life and colour to people already on my tree. 

So looking back although those To-Do Lists are still present and have many entries I did achieve a lot and did have a great 2015.

I don’t do resolutions but I do make goals and my goals are to continue in 2016 as I have is 2015, to be a good, helpful member of online forums, to continue my genealogy education (just because I have been doing it for thirty years does not mean there are still not things to learn and skills to perfect) to continue to share via presentations, articles, blog posts and hopefully some new books.

I’ll be speaking on two Unlock the Past cruises this year, the Auckland to Fremantle one and  then the Barrier Reef, a number of family history societies and I will also see a number of you at the Federation for Genealogical Societies conference in September.

So I am ready with my goals, prepared to travel whatever road the year may bring and I want to have another wonderful year with all of you in 2016!