Helen Smith

Oct 172017

My maternal Grandmother would have been 100 today.

Myrtle Doris was born at home, 77 Cochrane Street Red Hill, Brisbane, the second daughter

of Rupert George Weeks and Violet nee Rollason, 17 October 1917. (1)

      Myrtle Doris Weeks aged about 15 years


Sadly her father, Rupert, died 29 July 1921, at home, of acute phthisis (TB). (2)  Violet, her mother never remarried.

Myrtle met her future husband, William George Busby, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints meeting house in 1930 when she was 13.

They were married at Myrtle’s home,  by Elder Archibald Campbell, 11 September 1939. (3) Only a few weeks later William was in the Army due to World War Two.


           William George Busby, 19th Battalion


They were blessed by the birth of my mother, Violet Noreen Busby, 7 January 1940, their only child. (4)

Due to the war, Myrtle and Violet remained living at 77 Cochrane Street with Myrtle’s mother. In 1946, William returned from the war,

but due to the housing shortage, the young family remained at 77 Cochrane Street.

                      77 Cochrane Street Red Hill


    William, Myrtle and Violet Busby 1946



(1) Queensland birth certificate for Myrtle Doris Weeks,  17 October 1917, citing 1917/C13087, Queensland Registry Births Marriages Deaths, Brisbane. (Interesting to see that 77 Cochrane Street, Red Hill only 3.7km from the Brisbane General Post Office was considered to be Country in 1917).

(2) Queensland, death certificate for Rupert George Weeks, 29 July 1921, citing 1921/B35015, Queensland Registry Births Marriages Deaths, Brisbane. (Only four years later 77 Cochrane Street Red Hill was considered to be Brisbane and not country).

(3) Queensland marriage certificate for William George Busby and Myrtle Doris Weeks, citing 1939/B36545, Queensland Registry Births Marriages Deaths, Brisbane.

(4) Queensland birth certificate for Violet Noreen Busby,  7 January 1940, citing 1940/B82576, Queensland Registry Births Marriages Deaths, Brisbane.

Oct 142017

The Top 10 theme is running around recently so thought I’d share my Queensland go-to sites. I am not going to number them as that may imply one is better than another.

Queensland Registrar of Births,marriages and Deaths
Queensland registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages is an obvious site although the year only is given (unless you get creative with your searching) in the indexes. And yes, I know you can’t get married after you have died, but for some reason in Australia we always seem to say Births, Deaths and Marriages rather than Births, Marriages and Deaths!

Currently (as of 30 November 2016) the available indexes are:

Births         1829-1916
Marriages  1829-1941
Deaths       1829-1986

Queensland did not separate form New South Wales until 1859 so the entries prior to this are from New South Wales Registry and the entries prior to the New South Wales civil registration are church records of events that occurred in what became Queensland.

The Registrar is in the process of digitising the actual notification documents of marriages and births and I have previously blogged about this on the Genealogical Society of Queensland site

Queensland State Archives
Queensland State Archives is another fantastic resource and their website has increasingly more indexes becoming available. 

Did you know that you can download their indexes as PDFs and some as csv files? 

Then click through to each category to find the link to the indexes . Below is the click through from the Court Category:

Their immigration indexes are also an amazing resource as they are hyperlinked to a PDF copy of the digitised passenger list and so allow you to download the passenger list for your voyage. Their catalogue is good and increasingly there are items down to name level. Realistically the items that are down to name level are only a very small percentage of their over 50+ kilometres of records on the shelves but great when you find one. They have made their research guides available on their website so you can learn about the records and how to access them before your next visit.

Text Queensland
Another great site for Queensland research is Text Queensland

When they say it is Queensland’s past online they are understating the truth. With copies of the Government Gazette, Pugh’s Almanac, copies of various books published by University of Queensland Press, various Journals and, my personal favourite, copies of various theses that University of Queensland scholars have researched for their higher degrees all downloadable as PDFs. 

A true treasure trove!

Judy Webster
You also have to look at Judy Webster’s Pages if you do any Queensland research. Judy is a well known genealogist and professional researcher who has specialised in Queensland Archives research for many years. She has also done a huge amount of indexing over those years and shares many of those indexes with us on her pages There are more than 135 pages of indexes and information freely available for you. 

Judy has provided a search facility so you can see if your ancestor is mentioned among the more than 53 000 names indexed on her pages. Judy also writes some blogs and her posts on her Queensland Genealogy blog are a must read as she highlights interesting and unusual sources she has found. 

Trove of course is well known to us all and many happy hours have been spent looking at the site from newspapers, photos, maps, theses, diaries and so much more. Do you go back and redo searches for your names? You should! With newspaper additions and the all the wonderful people doing corrections of the OCR (optical character recognition while good does have many mistakes so a search may not find find your person’s name as the text was incorrectly recognised by the computer)

New papers are being digitised and often one paper might report something and give a little more information that another. Shauna Hicks, another well known genealogist, has had great success with this as she found a sketch of one of her ancestors in the newspaper. The person was appearing in court. Now this paper has not yet been digitised. 

It is important to remember that although a number of papers have been digitised not all are available online. Many are available however at the State library on microfilm or in hardcopy; there are also some specialist papers that are only available in hard-copy so it is important to look at the State Library catalogue. The State Library also has a number of online resources available too so make sure you explore their website and not just the catalogue!

Remember papers past the 1954 copyright time frame for digistisation will be available at the Queensland State Library in hard copy or microfilm. They may also be held at other State Libraries and University Libraries.

These were the Queensland papers added in March this year to join the many other digitised Queensland newspapers.  A list current as of 30 November 2016 is here

Q150 Celebrations
 In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations the government released some  files which are wonderful for family historians for some social context.

You can download the file as a complete Excel file or as individual files.

From these statistics we can see that a male born in Queensland in 1881 had a life expectancy of 41.3 years while if born in 2005 he would have a life expectancy of 78.9 years. Certainly there were some people who lived to a good age in the 1880s but as there was high child mortality it skews the figures and decreases the average life expectancy.
In 1876 there were 1000 liquor licenses in Queensland and this equates to 54.9 licenses per 1000 head of population. Interestingly in 2007-08 there were 6958 licenses which equates to 16.5 licenses per 1000 head of population. While this could be interpreted to say people are drinking less today I suspect it actually has a lot more to do with the ease of transport today and the increasing consumption in the home in comparison to 1876. 

The population by country/region of birth 1861 – 2006 also makes interesting reading. At least they did do something with the data of all those censuses they destroyed!

It is a great time to be doing Queensland research and there are so many other wonderful resources both online and offline.

Why not leave a message and share with us a fantastic Queensland resource that you have found?

Oct 142017

The FamilySearch Indexing Party is being held 20-22 October 2017

In 2016, over 100, 000 people came and they indexed over TEN MILLION names! Remember every name indexed is a person able to be found when you do that search on FamilySearch.

As you know Family Search have been digitising their microfilms from the Granite Vault. They expect to have digitised all they have permission to digitise by around 2020!

This huge effort along with the very many camera digitisation teams around the world who only use digital cameras, means that there are millions of records that have been digitised that are NOT name searchable as they have not been indexed.

If each of us indexed just a few records, can you imagine what we could achieve?

You can also do this indexing using a tablet or computer as Web Indexing is now available.

To find out more and sign up go here

Why not get a few people in your family history society, your friends to join you? Let us see what we can achieve in 72 hours working together. Currently in 2017, 24 000 have already signed up.

I’m in, how about you?

Oct 142017

The new trial started 12 October 2017 of PDF copies of digitised historical birth and death records. The trial is scheduled to run for three months minimum at this stage.

Applications for each PDF cost £6, must be made online, and include a GRO index reference. At £6 instead of the usual £9.25 a definite saving and would make a good Christmas present or three.

Only births and deaths are available in the trial (The Dove Digitisiation project sadly was stopped before marriages or the rest of the certificates could be done sob, sob)

England and Wales records which are available as PDFs in this extended pilot include:

Births: 1837 –1916
Deaths: 1837 –1957

This is a continuation of the trial run a while ago.

The certificates have to be ordered from the GRO site using their indexes.

You should really go and look at these indexes anyway even if you are not planning on ordering any certificates because the GRO re-indexed the certificates as part of the digitisation project.

Previously Mother’s Maiden name only occurred in the index for births after 1911 whereas now using the GRO indexes they are available back to the 1 July 1837. Age at death is also now listed back to 1 July 1837 with a couple of caveats. There is no distinction as to whether it is 11 days, 11 months or 11 years old, so need to be aware. Both of these are a definite aid when looking for those common names when you need to distinguish between have a number of people in the  same quarter, with same name and in the same registration district!

You do need to register on the site (it is free to register) and you will need to pay by credit card. The certificates will be emailed  to you as a PDF. Last time the trial ran they took about ten days to arrive by email.

I am hoping they will be faster this time. Now off to make a list!


Mar 182017

Ancestry recently published a paper in Nature Communications (freely available here to download):

—“Clustering of 770 thousand genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America”
By utilising the now very large amount of data available, with 3 million plus people tested, has allowed Ancestry with large amounts of computer power to analyse results and have been able to map DNA in specific locations and follow that DNA. 
This can only get better and more detailed as more people in specific communities around the world test.
My father was born in England, my mother is a fourth generation Australian of English, Irish and Welsh origin so I would expect to have  a good chance with an English community.

 This is a chart I made of the birthplaces of my ancestors (J. Paul Hawthorne set social media alight with this awhile ago now) so as you can see Kent is very heavily represented.
   So looking at the ethnicity you can see there is a new information. 
   One Genetic Community and when you click on the “View your Genetic Ancestry”

This is very promising and can only be expected to get much better as more people from these areas test. Interestingly I actually end up with two genetic communities:
Southern English and  English in the South East and they do separate out some of my matches. Some do end up in both groups.
Ancestry has separated the major communities so far into Europe, North America and South and Central America then each of these has sub-groups: (I would expect this to also develop further in the future).
 We live in interesting times and with the advent of analysis of big data sets, enhanced bioinformatics and the use of major computing power we are going to see some amazing things in the future.  Potentially this will even be in the not so distant future.
Even with all the caveats of ancestral markers and the way they are inherited and also potentially incorrect trees (the big data aspect  hopefully will even that out) I can this could provide some very interesting clues for adoptees and for genealogists in general.
Genetic communities is a feature that will become available to all Ancestry DNA members within the next month or so (I had heard a date of 28 March but can’t guarantee that all three million users will have access by then).
Jan 112017

Ancestry in a recent media release announced they have now passed the THREE MILLIONTH  autosomal DNA test.

Last year (22 June 2016) Ancestry announced they had just passed the two million people tested mark. Eleven months prior to that it was one million.

They also announced that they had sold 1.4 million tests in the last three months of 2016 and to put this in perspective they sold 390 000 more tests in the last three months of 2016 than they had sold in 2015. There has been mass advertising in a number of countries along with some pretty decent discounts so not a surprise for the good sales. 

The expansion of Ancestry DNA test kit sales early last year into 29 new countries will have also had an impact on those new kits being sold and hopefully new cousins being found.

It is unknown how many of those tests are still to come back for testing but it would not be any surprise if the four million autosomal mark was passed well before June.

This can only be a positive thing for all of us looking for those new cousins. 

With three million tests for comparison Ancestry is a pool you should be fishing in to find your cousins.  Have you tested yet?

Dec 152016

My grandmother’s dinner service originally consisted of an eight place setting: large dinner plate (8 ½ inches), sandwich plate (5 ¾ inches), bowl (5 ¾ inches), tea cup and saucer (4 ¾ inches). It also had a milk jug, sugar bowl, two gravy/sauce pitchers, two oval platters (14 inches) and a soup tureen with lid (11 inches). They have an ivory background colour with a pink rose transfer pattern and gilt edging. (see Fig.1)
Figure 1 Cup and saucer in Luxor Vellum rose pattern
They were made by Swinnertons Staffordshire England as per underside markings (see Fig 2).  Swinnertons registered their design number 837606 and this design was registered in 1940. [i] British potteries had been registering their patterns since 1842 with the Board of Trade. They are kept in numerical order by date registered with the original registrations kept at The National Archives Kew England. [ii] (see Fig. 2)
Figure 2 Potter  mark underside of items
 Swinnertons were a company formed in 1906. They were based in Hanley, one of the six towns that are now Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire. They specialised in earthenware, rather than the much more expensive fine bone china, aiming their product at middle class households. Earthenware has more plasticity and is more easily able to be shaped but is more porous and needs to be glazed for use. The earthenware formulation is 25% kaolin, 25% ball clay, 35% quartz and 15% feldspar and are fired to 12500C. [iii] By the 1940s they had purchased five other factories, three of whom made teapots.[iv]
     Figure 3 Luxor Vellum)
I was unable to determine the price of the set from contemporary resources in England but an indication may be seen from a 1949 advertisement in the Broken Hill, New South Wales paper Barrier Miner which has a 40 piece Swinnertons Luxor Vellum set at £6/19/6. [v]  This 1949 advertisement from the Beaudesert Times showed you were also able to buy single replacement pieces. [vi] (see Fig 3)       
My grandmother Lilian Maud Philpott married Leslie Smith 10 September 1938 in St Stephens Tonbridge Kent England.[vii] Family story was that due to financial issues the traditional dinner service was not able to be given by the parents at the time of marriage.  The Second World War meant full employment and Lilian’s parents found the money and the dinner service was instead given on the occasion of their son, David’s birth 16 February 1940. Lilian and Leslie were living at 45 Burnham Crescent, Crayford at the time of the birth and Leslie was working at the Vickers Armstrong factory as a carpenter and munition worker. [viii]
The dinner service suffered its first casualties in November 1940 when a high explosive bomb exploded one street over and knocked two cups from the dresser.[ix]  Lilian packed the dinner service away for safe keeping and although more than 50 further bombs were dropped around their home in Crayford no further damage was done to the service during the war.
Sadly Leslie Smith was injured on military exercises in 1944, becoming a quadriplegic and dying of his injuries at Edenhall Hospital, Inveresk, Scotland, 14 December 1944. [x]
Lilian, as a single mother, then worked as a cook/housekeeper for a number of years and the dinner service remained packed away.
In May 1949, the dinner service accompanied Lilian and David aboard the Asturias as they emigrated to Sydney Australia arriving first in Fremantle, before their final destination of Sydney. [xi] At this time in Australia there was an acute housing shortage and Lilian was unable to establish a home on arrival, getting work at the Peoples’ Palace in Sydney while David entered the Salvation Army Orphanage in Goulburn. Finally in 1952 Lilian was able to rent a home in Goulburn and they were reunited and the dinner service was unpacked with another cup as a casualty, broken sometime over those years.
The service traveled with Lilian in a number of further moves over the years, being used only for special occasions, until her death in 1976 when it joined David in his home. Then it went from Brisbane to Melbourne in 1978 and then back to Brisbane in 1983, quite well packed as there were no further casualties. My parents and the dinner service moved in with me in 1986 and the service has followed us on some further moves until 2001. Since 2001, it has had pride of place in the china cabinet in Pallara, as a well loved, and well traveled family item.

[i] Pottery pattern registration number http://www.thepotteries.org/mark/reg.htm#NUMBERS
[ii]National Archives Kew England http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/registered-designs-1839-1991/#6-the-classification-tables
[iii]Wikipedia  Earthenware https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthenware
[v]Advertising (1949, August 4). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954), p. 9. Retrieved 20 August, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48598459
[vi]Advertising (1949, November 25). The Beaudesert Times (Qld. : 1908 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved 20 August, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article216183183
[vii]Marriage Certificate England and Wales 1938 Sep Q Tonbridge 2a 3720 (10 September 1938) PHILPOTT Lilian Maud and SMITH Leslie
[viii]Birth Certificate England and Wales 1940 Mar Q 2a 2143 (16 February 1940) SMITH David
[ix]Personal communication from my grandmother Lilian Maud Smith
[x]Death Certificate Scotland 14 December 1944 SMITH Leslie
[xi]National Archives of Australia; Queen Victoria Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600.; Inward passenger manifests for ships and aircraft arriving at Fremantle, Perth Airport and Western Australian outports from 1897-1963; Series Number: K 269; Reel Number: 103
Nov 302016

Queensland Newspapers digitised on Trove as of 30 November 2016

Remember that fuller runs of these and going past 1954 and other Queensland papers will be at the Queensland State Library and at least some at other libraries including University libraries around the country.

  • Balonne Beacon (St. George, Qld. : 1909 – 1954)

  • The Beaudesert Times (Qld. : 1908 – 1954)

  • The Border Star (Coolangatta, Qld. : 1929 – 1942)

  • Bowen Independent (Qld. : 1911 – 1954)

  • The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933)

  • Brisbane Telegraph (Qld. : 1948 – 1954)

  • Bundaberg Mail (Qld. : 1917 – 1925)

  • Bundaberg Mail and Burnett Advertiser (Qld. : 1892 – 1917)

  • Cairns Morning Post (Qld. : 1907 – 1909)

  • Cairns Post (Qld. : 1884 – 1893)

  • Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 – 1954)

  • The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 – 1929)

  • The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1930 – 1956)

  • The Charleville Courier (Qld. : 1896 – 1898)

  • The Charleville Times (Brisbane, Qld. : 1896 – 1954)

  • Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser (Qld. : 1903 – 1922)

  • Cloncurry Advocate (Qld. : 1931 – 1953)

  • The Coolangatta Chronicle (Qld. : 1926)

  • The Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1861 – 1864)

  • The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954)

  • The Daily Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1903 – 1926)

  • Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 – 1954)

  • The Daily Northern Argus (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 – 1896)

  • Daily Standard (Brisbane, Qld. : 1912 – 1936)

  • The Dalby Herald (Qld. : 1910 – 1954)

  • Dalby Herald and Western Queensland Advertiser (Qld. : 1866 – 1879)

  • Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 – 1922)

  • The Darling Downs Gazette and General Advertiser (Toowoomba, Qld. : 1858 – 1880)

  • Dayboro Times and Moreton Mail (Qld. : 1937 – 1940; 1945 – 1954)

  • The Evening Advocate (Innisfail, Qld. : 1941 – 1954)

  • The Evening News (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1924 – 1941)

  • The Evening Telegraph (Charters Towers, Qld. : 1901 – 1921)

  • Geraldton Advocate and Johnstone River Guardian (Qld. : 1895 – 1896)

  • Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette (Qld. : 1868 – 1919)

  • Humpybong Weekly and Advertiser (Redcliffe, Qld. : 1927 – 1932)

  • Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861)

  • Johnstone River Advocate (Geraldton, Qld. : 1906 – 1908)

  • Johnstone River Advocate and Innisfail News (Qld. : 1928 – 1941)

  • The Leader (Brisbane, Qld. : 1918 – 1919)

  • Logan Witness (Beenleigh, Qld. : 1878 – 1893)

  • Logan and Albert Advocate (Qld. : 1893 – 1900)

  • Logan and Albert Bulletin (Southport, Qld. : 1896 – 1901; 1909; 1921; 1922; 1928)

  • The Longreach Leader (Qld. : 1923 – 1954)

  • Mackay Mercury (Qld. : 1887 – 1905)

  • Mackay Mercury and South Kennedy Advertiser (Qld. : 1867 – 1887)

  • Maryborough Chronicle (Qld. : 1947 – 1954)

  • Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser (Qld. : 1860 – 1947)

  • The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 – 1861)

  • Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 – 1954)

  • Morning Post (Cairns, Qld. : 1897 – 1907)

  • Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser (Qld. : 1922 – 1954)

  • Nashville Times, Gympie and Mary River Mining Gazette (Qld. : 1868)

  • National Leader (Brisbane, Qld. : 1916 – 1918)

  • The North Australian (Brisbane, Qld. : 1863 – 1865)

  • North Australian and Queensland General Advertiser (Ipswich, Qld. : 1862 – 1863)

  • The North Australian, Ipswich and General Advertiser (Ipswich, Qld. : 1856 – 1862)

  • The North Queensland Register (Townsville, Qld. : 1892 – 1905)

  • Northern Argus (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1865 – 1874)

  • The Northern Herald (Cairns, Qld. : 1913 – 1939)

  • The Northern Miner (Charters Towers, Qld. : 1874 – 1954)

  • The Northern Mining Register (Charters Towers, Qld. : 1891 – 1892)

  • The Northern Sportsman (Innisfail, Qld. : 1928)

  • Pittsworth Sentinel (Qld. : 1919 – 1954)

  • The Proserpine Guardian (Qld. : 1935 – 1954)

  • Queensland Country Life (Qld. : 1900 – 1954)

  • Queensland Figaro (Brisbane, Qld. : 1883 – 1885)

  • Queensland Figaro (Brisbane, Qld. : 1901 – 1936)

  • Queensland Figaro and Punch (Brisbane, Qld. : 1885 – 1889)

  • Queensland Times (Ipswich) (Qld. : 1909 – 1954)

  • Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908)

  • The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939)

  • Rockhampton Bulletin (Qld. : 1871 – 1878)

  • Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1871)

  • South Coast Bulletin (Southport, Qld. : 1929 – 1954)

  • The South Coast Express (Surfers Paradise, Qld. : 1949 – 1951)

  • South Coast News (Southport, Qld. : 1952 – 1954)

  • Southern Queensland Bulletin (Southport, Qld. : 1888 – 1891)

  • Southport and Nerang Bulletin (Qld. : 1893)

  • The St. George Standard and Balonne Advertiser (Qld. : 1878 – 1879; 1902 – 1904)

  • Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (Qld. : 1926 – 1954)

  • The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 – 1947)

  • Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs General Advertiser (Qld. : 1875 – 1902)

  • The Toowoomba Chronicle and Queensland Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1875)

  • Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 – 1954)

  • Truth (Brisbane, Qld. : 1900 – 1954)

  • Warwick Argus (Qld. : 1879 – 1901)

  • Warwick Argus and Tenterfield Chronicle (Qld. : 1866 – 1879)

  • Warwick Daily News (Qld. : 1919 -1954)

  • Warwick Examiner and Times (Qld. : 1867 – 1919)

  • The Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 – 1934)

  • The Western Champion (Barcaldine, Qld. : 1922 – 1937)

  • The Western Champion (Blackall/Barcaldine, Qld. : 1879 – 1891)

  • The Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central-Western Districts (Barcaldine, Qld. : 1892 – 1922)

  • Western Star (Roma) (Toowoomba, Qld. : 1948 – 1954)

  • Western Star and Roma Advertiser (Toowoomba, Qld. : 1875 – 1948)

  • Worker (Brisbane, Qld. : 1890 – 1955)
Nov 282016

It is that time of year again when the non-genealogist in the family is wondering what to get the
genealogist in their life (assuming said genealogist has not been leaving hints all over the place!)

Here are some suggestions:

1. A subscription to Legacy Family Tree Webinars 
US$49.95 annual subscription   

As of November 2016 over 443 webinars are available on demand 24/7 – over 616 hours of  instruction with handouts (in fact more than 2000 pages of handouts!)

Classes for all skill levels as can be seen in the image showing the categories including the Board for Certification of Genealogists, skill building webinars now available.

Guaranteed to keep them out of mischief for quite a while especially as there are new webinars added at very regular intervals!

2. Subscription to a pay data site such as Ancestry, Findmypast, The Genealogist, GenealogyBank, Fold3, MyHeritage etc. If you haven’t already had a hint as to which one they would prefer (or already have), you may need to give a promissory note as depending on their area of research, they will likely have a preference.

3. Subscription to a Family History Society: 

  • their local one where they could attend meetings  do research and generally these societies will also have subscription to the paysites,  
  • a national Family History Society 
  • one in their ancestral area of interest.

4. Agree to do a DNA test for them (would be even nicer if you also agreed to pay for it). 

There are different types of tests (at different costs). For the autosomal test Ancestry in Australia is A$149 plus postage (US $99 plus postage) Family Tree DNA is US$79 plus postage.

Both have sales at regular intervals. (check prices in your country). As of 28 November 2016, FTDNA has a sale at US$59 for the autosomal test. It is not known how long this sale will last.

Most important thing is that the test is done with a company that has a genealogical database. For the autosomal test Ancestry currently has a database with over 2.5 million tests and steadily increasing and Family Tree DNA also has a large database (they also do other types of tests: Y-DNA and mtDNA).

5. A copy of Blaine Bettinger’s book The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy. This is an excellent book for anyone who is interested in DNA testing for genealogical purposes as Blaine writes in a clear and easy to understand way. Able to be ordered from all good book stores. it is also available as an ebook on Kindle.

He and Debbie Parker Wayne have also written  Genetic Genealogy in Practice. A workbook in areas of Y-DNA, mtDNA, X-DNA, atDNA, the Genealogical Proof Standard, ethics, and more.

This workbook shows how DNA testing is used in real genealogical examples. It shows what can be done and what can’t be done using the new tool for genealogists:DNA. 

I strongly recommend both books. The workbook takes the theory and by doing the exercises enhances the learning. 
Published by the National Genealogical Society it is available in hard copy and also as an ebook with Kindle. The ebook does not have the same page numbers as the hard copy but does have hyperlinks from the test to the figures and tables and also to external web sites (if you have an Internet connection)

Both books are recent publications (2016).


6. A subscription to a genealogical magazine/journal of their choice.

7. Road Trip! 

Go on holiday to an ancestral place of interest with the understanding that they may have x days to do research in the archives, museum cemetery etc. (or offer to look after things at home so they can do the trip on their own or with a genealogical friend)

8. If in Australia, get them a registration to the Footsteps in Time conference being held May 2017 on the lovely Gold Coast Queensland. Sure to be plenty you could do there as a tourist while they were at the conference. Early bird registration is now open. Or the Australasian Congress which will be held in Sydney in 2018.

If not in Australia, registration at a genealogy seminar or conference of interest to them such as Rootstech in February 2017 in Salt Lake City, National Genealogical Society conference, Federation of Genealogical Societies, in England Who Do You Think You Are? Live.

There are so many confernces, seminars and local meetings available.

9. Promissory note for x number of certificates (birth, marriage or death) of their choice.

10. Gift certificate from Gould Genealogy the company in Australia that has been supplying the needs of genealogists for 40 years!

11. A subscription to Genealogy Gems Premium with Lisa Louise Cooke US$29.95 gives you access to her Premium podcast and a number of classes including her Evernote series and Google series. (Lisa also does a monthly free podcast available on iTunes)

12. Technology always goes well. A good headset microphone combination is the Microsoft Lifechat LX-3000 (then they will be able to listed to those webinars without disturbing anyone else)

13. Every genealogist needs to back up their research so an external drive is always an appreciated gift. External storage is now very cheap I recently bought a Seagate 4TB portable drive for A$268.

14. Cloud back up services are also an appreciated gift as “many copies keep it safe” Sadly computer drive will fail. It is just a matter of when. Cloud back up services like BackBlaze or Carbonite  automate the backup for you (there is a yearly subscription).

15. Even more technology, most genealogists use a computer so maybe a new laptop or an iPad. 

16. A family history program that stores your family information on your own computer. There are many programs around and this is where the person should probably choose the one they like.Programs like Legacy, Rootsmagic, Family Historian, FamilyTree Maker are all family history programs. Some have free versions that do 90%+ of the full product while others have a trial version so you can “try before you buy“.

There are also other programs of value to family historians such as Evidentia, Map My Family Tree, Clooz, Charting Companion, Genelines (all available from here), Custodian 4

17. Gift certificate for office supplies. I have never come across a genealogist yet that didn’t like office supplies!

18. Archival supplies. Genealogist have treasured family papers and these should be stored in archival protective materials. Gould Genealogy in Australia have a range of archival supplies or overseas do a search for archival suppliers.

19. Scanner to scan all those photos and documents. Many people have the all in one printers now that can also scan photos and documents or you can get a stand alone scanner.

20. Slide/negative scanner Most genealogists have a collection (horde) of 35mm slides and negatives that need to be scanned. This site has a review of a number of slide/negative scanners.

21. It is not just photos, slides and negatives that genealogists have. They also have family heirlooms that they should be recording for the future. One way of doing this is using Shotbox which has it own lighting system which makes for much better images and you can use a smartphone. Also useful for photographing craft items or items for sale on eBay.

22. Not every gift for your genealogist needs to cost money. Perhaps you could write a blank cheque for a day a month where you will look after things at home and they can visit an archives or library. Or maybe a blank cheque for an evening at home where the genealogist has research time in their study.

23. If the genealogist in your life does not have a dedicated “genealogy area”  in the house are you able to create one for them?

24. Are you a computer whiz who is good at using Photoshop or a graphics program that could digitally restore a photograph for them? Every genealogist has photos that need restoring.

25. Maybe you could write that blank cheque for x hours talking about your childhood, school days, or the time before you were together. 

Perhaps find some of the photos of your life or family  and write the story of the photo. It is so much easier than it sounds.

You get the photo and then:

When was it taken and who took it?
Where was it taken?
Why was it taken?
Who is in it?
What was your memory of the occasion?

This will be valued by the genealogist in your life.