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.