Sep 022011
Geelong Bollard

Have had a wonderful Day One at the Expo. There was a late, but fun night yesterday due to packing 680+ kits. It was good to have time to chat about family history and what had been happening in our lives while we were doing it.

Then up early this morning, ready to face the day which was chilly (well chilly to a Queenslander) but was fine and sunny. We were greeted at the venue by one of the famous Geelong Bollards by Jan Mitchell.

He was quite an elegant gentleman with his striped jacket and boater hat. He also had, like any genealogist, the camera available and ready to photograph that headstone, house or document!

All the exhibitors worked hard at getting their displays and databases ready for when the exhibition opened at 8.30. Quite a number of people came down from Melbourne via train and took advantage of a cup of coffee at  the cafe before the official opening time. The Registration staff were very busy getting everyone their name-tags, showbags and program and this busynes continued throughout the day.

Lots of people looking through the exhibition hall until the talks began..There was a  bit of confusion with  the signs which was a shame but was soon rectified.

I attended Rosemary Kopittke’s talk on Find My Past. I have heard Rosemary talk on FindMyPast before but with all the recent changes and improvements to their site, it was well worth listening again. Also today FindMyPast announced the release of one million merchant seaman records!!!

Rememebr to check back regularly to this site (and their sister sites and the new as there are so many new record releases that it is easy to miss the announcement. FindMyPast does announce  new releases on Twitter (@FindMyPast , @FindMyPastIE and @FindMyPastAU are the tags you should follow if you are on Twitter)  and Facebook and also on their blog. 

Then I managed to attend Shauna Hicks’ talk on Asylums. I have been trying to get to this one for a bit and each time have been prevented because we have  been speaking at the same time or last time  the volcano prevented Shauna’s from giving the talk in Cairns. As expected it was an excellent talk. Shauna gave a lot of information about the reasons people were admitted to asylums and the wide range of records that are available.Certainly there are restrictions on access to more modern records but considering the sensitive information these can contain, some restrictions are quite reasonable.

Some of the goodies available

Shauna emphasised the importance of reading the guides to records produced by the various Archives as they give you so much information n how the records are structured. A lot of records are becoming available and Victoria have released many of these. Shauna mentioned some great sites to start your Asylum research: Cora Num Hospital and Asylums gateway site and Judy Webster’s  Queensland page.

I dropped in and out of a number of other talks in between being on the Research Zone desk along with Kerry Farmer, Carole Riley and Rosemary Kopittke. Dr Diane Snowden’s Tasmanian talk and Paul Parton’s talks on Family Search looked very good and I heard some very positive feedback about these.

I also had some time to make a few purchases among the goodies available but did restrict myself today as there are quite a number of exhibitors I haven’t managed to see as yet.

David Evans at the Guild stand

For the regular readers of this blog you will know I am a member of the Guild of One Name Studies with the registered surname of Quested. I am also the Queensland Regional representative. Members of the Guild devote much time researching and collecting anything and everything to do with their chosen surname. This, of course, means if they are researching one of your names they could become your next best friend! I try and promote the Guild where I can as so many people don’t appear to understand the potential benefits. Today I was very happy to have David Evans who specialises in the Akehurst name manning the stand and helping a number of people.

One of the major pleasures of attending these  Expos (besides the talks and exhibitors) is meeting up with people whom I have met on Twitter, Facebook or via a blog. Today I met Brona who is the human behind the Twitter tag @AncestryComAu. Brona is the one who keeps us aware of new record releases.

If you are at an event and follow me on any of the social media sites please make yourself known as it is always nice to put a face to a name.

There was so much going on today that I would be here all night but I can’t leave without telling you about the last presentation of the day. This was a special presentation Hit the Road Digger which was about the building of the Great Ocean Road using no machinery and taking 14 years. This project was masterminded by Geelong Mayor Howard Hitchcock who had also done so much in the building of Geelong. The presentation was given in story and song and was the perfect finish to a busy but lovely day.

And what  is even better is I get to attend again tomorrow with lots more interesting talks and I still have a number of exhibitors I wish to see.

Aug 202011

Have had a great weekend giving two presentations in Coffs Harbour.

The first on Friday evening was at the Coffs Harbour City Library on Next Steps in Family History, looking at a number of sites of interest and some research methods. The Library has a nice selection of family history resources. They have set up a good gateway site on their links webpage.

Light refreshments were provided (thank you for the ginger kisses which were delightful!). The audience were great and the talk went well.

On Saturday it was the Coffs Harbour District FHS and the presentation was in a nice size room at the Botanic Gardens.This presentation was on Death Certificates, Archaic Medical Terms and Headstone Symbolism. The forty plus audience were enthused and asked interesting questions.

It was good to meet up again with people who I had initially met on the Unlock the Past Cruise and also at the Unlock the Past NSW Expo. One person whom I had helped  at the NSWExpo, with some ways on breaking down her brick wall, had followed my advice with great results. Always nice when people are successful.

Another had heard my pleas to talk to their relatives about the stories to show why they are interested in family history. She was rewarded with a pile of old books “that she might as well have, as they were of no use to them”. Among that pile was an old Birthday book from around the 1880s with birth-dates of the family listed from the 1830s onwards including some death dates and causes of death. A happy dance was done by all.

Having Judy Webster’s company and expert knowledge along on this trip has also made this a great weekend.

The next trip on my agenda is the Unlock the Past Victorian Expo in Geelong in September. Apart from the many speakers and wide range of exhibitors of interest to me, the area is particularly interesting  as three brothers of my Esther Plumridge (my great-great-great-grandmother) emigrated to Victoria.

Henry and William and their families settled in the Geelong area while Frederick and family settled in Ballarat. So while I am there I will be speaking to the Geelong Family History Group and the Geelong Heritage Centre.