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!

Dec 162015

Today marks thirty years of employment with the Department of Health as a public health microbiologist.

Hard to believe I started on a two week Christmas vacation fill-in. Only two of us wanted to do the two week placement when offered it during our exams. The others all wanted a break. Finished the exams on the Friday and went into the job on the Monday. 

Had a good time and they apparently liked me as at the end of the two weeks they said to come back the next Monday!

I went for an actual interview in April the following year and got a permanent position. 

Suddenly in the July they realised that I had not had my medical so I rock off to that and now I have to confess a guilty secret.

I have lied on a government form.

They measured me and told me I was five foot tall. Being an honest person I said “No I am 4 foot 10 and a quarter inches (hey that quarter is important!)”

“No you are five foot”

“No I’m not”

“Look do you want the job or not?”

“Yes I do”

“Then you are five foot tall now sign this form”

And I did. In the 1980s the Queensland Health Department still had a height restriction. Females had to be five foot plus to be employed. 

So my thirty years might not have happened for the sake of  an inch and three quarters.

How many of your ancestors worked thirty years for the same employer? 

I have a few who have worked for the railway and some government departments. Many others have worked in the same occupation such as being agricultural labourers, granite quarrymen, shoemakers etc.

Dec 082015

The below press release is from MyHeritage

Huge Free Collection of Digitized Books Now Available on MyHeritage!

We’ve just added an exciting new collection to MyHeritage SuperSearchâ„¢, containing over 37 million pages in 150,000 books relevant to family history!
Search Compilation of Published Sources now
The new collection includes tens of thousands of digitized historical books, with actual images of the books’ pages, and all their text extracted using Optical Character Recognition. The books span the last four centuries and include family, local and military histories, city and county directories, school and university yearbooks, church and congregational minutes and much more. A vast amount of rich data from diverse publications makes this collection a fantastic source of rare genealogical gems, providing insight into the lives of our ancestors and relatives.
We’ve added this collection using a new process that adds approximately 250 million pages to SuperSearchâ„¢ per year, utilizing a team of 40 curators. The curators examine each digitized book for relevance to family history research, and enhance its meta data if they decide to include it. The collection is sourced from various published texts that are copyright-free, and will be updated from now on several times each year.
The Compilation of Published Sources collection is located in SuperSearchâ„¢ under Books & Publications and is free to access. Easily search the collection by any of the following: first name, last name, publication title, publication date, publication place, or keywords.
Our unique and powerful Record Matching technology is now matching this new collection automatically to all family trees on MyHeritage, and users are alerted if Record Matches are found for individuals in their family tree. Correct matches can be confirmed and source citations can be extracted directly to your family tree, using the extract information feature.

Nov 302015

Latest announcement from Trove.

Good to see so many and even some Queensland ones.

Trove’s latest newspapers

Trove is pleased to announce that the following newspapers, digitised by the National Library through the Australian Newspaper Plan program, have been recently added to Digitised newspapers and more on Trove. Many of these newspapers are currently being added to Trove and further issues will become available shortly.

New South Wales
The Australian Workman (Sydney, NSW : 1890 – 1897)
The Bird O’ Freedom (Sydney, NSW : 1891 – 1896)
The Dead Bird (Sydney, NSW : 1889 – 1891)
The Workers’ Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1923 – 1939)

Brisbane Telegraph (Qld. : 1948 – 1954)
The Daily Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1903 – 1926)
The Evening Advocate (Innisfail, Qld. : 1941 – 1954)
The Evening Telegraph (Charters Towers, Qld. : 1901 – 1921)
Johnstone River Advocate and Innisfail News (Qld. : 1928 – 1941)
The Toowoomba Chronicle and Queensland Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1875)

South Australia
Border Chronicle (Bordertown, SA : 1908 – 1950)
Critic (Adelaide, SA : 1897-1924)
The Express (Adelaide, SA : 1922 – 1923)
The Pennant (Penola, SA : 1946 – 1954)
The Terowie Enterprise (SA : 1884 – 1891)

The Derwent Star and Van Diemen’s Land Intelligencer (Hobart, Tas. : 1810 – 1812)
King Island News (Currie, King Island : 1912 – 1954)
The North Coast Standard (Latrobe, Tas. : 1890 – 1894)

The Colonial Mining Journal, Railway and Share Gazette (Vic. : 1858 – 1859)
The Colonial Mining Journal, Railway and Share Gazette and Illustrated Record (Melbourne, Vic. : 1859 – 1861)

Western Australia
The Avon Gazette and Kellerberrin News (WA : 1914 – 1916)
The Australian (Perth, WA : 1917 – 1923)
The Avon Gazette and York Times (WA : 1916 – 1930)
The Blackwood Times (Bunbury, WA : 1905 – 1920; 1945 – 1954)
The Leonora Miner (WA : 1910 – 1928)
Narrogin Observer (WA : 1952 – 1954)
The Northam Advertiser (WA : 1895 – 1918; 1948 – 1954)
The Pingelly Leader (WA : 1906 – 1925)
Pingelly-Brookton Leader (WA : 1925 – 1926)
The Southern Districts Advocate (Katanning, WA : 1913 – 1936)
The Sun (Kalgoorlie, WA : 1898 – 1919)
The W.A. Record (Perth, WA : 1888 – 1922)
Yilgarn Merredin Times (Southern Cross, WA : 1921 – 1923)

Oct 262015
The Museum of Brisbane have put out the call for images of soldiers or nurses in uniform from World War One.The individual can be from anywhere in Australia.

They need to be original photos. The Museum has had a scanning weekend but you are still able to send your photos for the planned exhibition: 

Facing WW1: Stories of loyalty, loss and love

part of our upcoming exhibition, Facing WW1: Stories of loyalty, loss and love – See more at: http://www.museumofbrisbane.com.au/whats-on/ww1-portrait-hunt/#sthash.h7L6dfCE.dpuf
part of our upcoming exhibition, Facing WW1: Stories of loyalty, loss and love. – See more at: http://www.museumofbrisbane.com.au/whats-on/ww1-portrait-hunt/#sthash.h7L6dfCE.dpuf
part of our upcoming exhibition, Facing WW1: Stories of loyalty, loss and love. – See more at: http://www.museumofbrisbane.com.au/whats-on/ww1-portrait-hunt/#sthash.h7L6dfCE.dpuf
part of our upcoming exhibition, Facing WW1: Stories of loyalty, loss and love. – See more at: http://www.museumofbrisbane.com.au/whats-on/ww1-portrait-hunt/#sthash.h7L6dfCE.dpuf

Images must be scanned at a minimum 600 dpi and jpeg format. The deadline for emailing images is 30 November and should be emailed to facingWW1@museumofbrisbane.com.au
Please call Curator Phillip Manning on 07 3339 0827 if you have any queries.
For more information visit http://www.museumofbrisbane.com.au/whats-on/ww1-portrait-hunt/
Ernest William Weeks 5th Light Horse
Oct 122015

Last weekend (3 & 4th October) I attended the In Time and Place conference . It was ably organised by History Queensland, Genealogical Society of Queensland and Queensland Family History Society.

The State Library of Queensland had provided some free registrations for non-metropolitan people who wished to attend.

It had two streams: one local history and the other family history.

There were also a number of exhibitors and they were stationed around the eating area. Unlike the NSW-ACT State Conference they did not do an open day the day prior to the conference.

Guild of One Name Studies/Society for One Place Studies table

Exhibitors included Ancestry, Boolarong Press, Brisbane City Council Archives, Finders cafe, Findmypast, Genealogical Society of Queensland, Gould Genealogy and History, History Queensland, Guild of One Name Studies, Moreton chapter of the fellowship of First Fleeters, Nepean Family History Society, Oral History Queensland, Queensland Family History Society, Queensland State Archives, Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Royal Historical Society of Queensland, Ryerson Index, Sean Murphy Books Toowoomba, State Library of Queensland, Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society and Unlock the Past. 

So as you can see a lot of information providers and places to spend some genealogical dollars!

The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages made an exciting announcement at the  conference which I have already written about on the Genealogical Society of Queensland blog which was that they have been digitising the marriage source documents so we will be able to get copies of marriage documents that contains our ancestors signatures rather than the copy of a copy we currently are able to purchase. Six to eight weeks for the first release so hopefully a Christmas present for Queensland researchers.

The conference was held at the Riverglen conference centre at Indooroopilly. I got there early as I was also an exhibitor for the Society of One Name Studies and also the Society for One Place Studies. Janice Cooper was also on the stand for the Society of One Place Studies although her conference duties kept her very busy.

Geoff Doherty and his sash

There were a number of very helpful people to answer questions who could be distinguished by their sashes which made it easy to find them.

I am only going to talk about a few of the presentations as there have been a number of bloggers who have already posted. See  Shauna Hick’s post where she lists a number of other posts.

Denver Beanland opened the conference for the180 or so attendees.Then time for the first keynote Dave Obee, a well known Canadian genealogist, editor and writer talking about A sense of time and place: putting ancestors in context and showing the closeness between Australia and Canada. Dave was an informed and entertaining speaker. He loves our Trove (as of course we all do too!) and talks often about in Canada as newspapers all over the world fill their paper with news. So he suggests to his Canadians they should check out Trove to see  what Canadian news has been mentioned then check out the microfilms of the Canadian papers having an approximate idea of time frame.

Dave Obee

This is very true and in my own research I had found out about a grave robbing in Kent from a South Australian paper. It had not been reported in the Kent paper due to a very important person’s death taking prominence.

Then we had a dual session and I went to Duncan Richardson talking on “Beyond distinguished gentleman” which was on using letters, diaries and anything you could to hear the real people and not just the formal things written down for posterity. people say it is just letters or diaries so not important to keep for posterity but if we don’t keep these we never find out the emotions and thoughts behind what has been written for history.

Janis Wilton spoke on Connections: talking local and family history Oral history is a true marker as you are hearing people speak and remember in their own words what has happened, how they felt, their impressions and knowledge and reactions to events. Certainly memory of the past can be influenced by further knowledge gained after the event but  oral histories add so much colour and knowledge. Literally colour in one example, as when Janis spoke to a relative about the photo of the house the person said the colour the house was painted when she was a child (which was the time frame of the photo) rather than the white it was painted when Janis knew the house.

Take the time to capture your family or local community while you still can. 

Rosemary Kopittke spoke on Suffrage in Queensland and it is important to realise it is suffrage for men as well as women as women as there were requirements for men to have the right to vote. The knowledge of who has the right to vote at which time in which areas allows us to know in which records we can find our people.

Lots of food was available at the various meal breaks and a number of us met up at the buffet dinner. It was nice to get together in person rather than just online.

Sunday the first keynote was Shauna Hicks and if you ever get a chance to hear this presentation run don’t walk to it! Shauna kept us all enthralled!

It was a fantastic interweaving of time, place, history utilising a wide range of records and using context. You can’t work out why without the context.

Dave Obee gave a presentation on Mythbusters: challenging some common beliefs. A good presentation. You could hear the audience sighing and agreeing with each of the myths as they arose.

I was last on the day speaking on The Words of the People: treasures within government inquiries This fit in very well with a number of other talks as it was about hearing the words of the people from the past. These inquiries are in an inquisitorial format where a person is asked a question and they answer and the words are transcribed as spoken without being “interpreted” for posterity. Examples of the types of inquiries are Royal Commissions, inquests, some trials, etc.

One of the examples I used was from the 1842 Royal Commission on Employment in Mines in England. For those of you who have miners in your family you should read these accounts.

Then it was time for the closing session and the all important announcement who had won the many raffle prizes (I didn’t win any but many people I knew were lucky). The big gift basket prize was won by Janis Wilton who asked for it to be redrawn as taking it on the plane home wasn’t really possible

All in all an excellent conference and kudos to all the people involved in the organisation as I know how much work has gone on behind the scenes in the lead up to the conference.

Hopefully another society will take up the gauntlet and host the next conference in two years time.


Sep 142015

Rock Star 
 This year over 151 people were nominated and voting has now closed with results being announced very soon. It is an honour to be nominated by your fellow genealogists and I was honoured this year to be one of the nominees.

John D. Reid of Anglo-Celtic Connections blog runs a Rockstar Genealogist Award each year. 

These nominees are people who in John D. Reid’s words are:

“Rockstar genealogists are those who give “must attend” presentations at family history conferences or as webinars. Who, when you see a new family history article or publication by that person, makes it a must buy. Who you hang on their every word on a blog, podcast or newsgroup, or follow avidly on Facebook or Twitter?”

Regardless of who wins the actual awards it is YOU the genealogists who actually win.

This list shows you 151 genealogists that share information that other genealogists consider worthy of nomination. 

Now it is time for you to go and seek out these nominees. 

Some are the powerhouses such as Judy G. Russell, the Legal Genealogist who is a must see anytime you have a chance who lectures and who also manages to blog pretty much every day. Her blog The Legal Genealogist should be on everyone’s reading list. Don’t think because Judy is in the US that the law information is not relevant to people in the UK, Australia, New Zealand or Canada because we all started with law systems based on English Law. Many of Judy’s posts show ways of evaluating evidence. Judy also writes on DNA.

Talking of DNA there were a number of Genetic Genealogists on this years list:

Judy G. Russell
Roberta Estes DNA Explained
Blaine Bettinger The Genetic Genealogist
Bennett Greenspan
CeCe Moore Your Genetic Genealogist to name but a few.

DNA is a research area with its own language and requirement for study to understand the “records” and results and these genealogists are there helping people enter this brave new world.

Others may have other specialist topics but all willingly share their knowledge.

Find their blogs, follow them on Twitter, see if they are lecturing at a conference near you, look online at the Legacy Webinars or other webinars and see if they are giving one, look at the new Ancestry Academy series of lectures.There are so many opportunities now is the time to take advantage.

The future of genealogy is looking good when so many are nominated.

Sep 062015
Leslie & David abt 1943

Remembering today my father David Smith, who would have been 75 this year 16th February, but who was taken too soon, 26 November 2003.

He was born 16 February 1940, Dartford, Kent, England to Lilian and Leslie Smith. Both Lilian and Leslie were staunch Salvationists.

Lilian, Leslie and baby David 1940
Leslie was sadly killed in the Second World War and Lilian and David emigrated to Australia arriving aboard the Asturias 4 June 1949. Leslie’s brother Frank had emigrated to Australia arriving aboard the Largs Bay in 1934.It had been Leslie’s dream to visit his brother and Lilian decided to do so in search of a better life in Australia after the rigors of a post-war England. Life was still difficult in Australia and David was placed in the Salvation Army home in Goulburn while Lilian worked at the People’s Palace in Sydney. She was able to eventually find work in Goulburn.
Housing was difficult to find in the post-war period in Australia and it took quite a while as evidenced by the newspaper report in the Goulburn Evening Post May 1951 where she is making application for a home that had been left to the Salvation Army, a Returned Serviceman was also applying for the home. She had found work there but not a home where they could be reunited. Lilian was successful in her application to rent a home that had been deeded to the Salvation Army in Goulburn and they were able to be reunited.

They dug up the large back garden and planted vegetables and carnations plus had a productive hen house. When the crops were ready Lilian would take a string bag into work and sell the produce and eggs. Dad would talk sometimes about making the special warm mash for the chickens so they stayed laying through the cold Goulburn winters.
Originally they sold the flowers to the market until David decided to talk to the local restaurants and then he established a flower run along with his newspaper run. 
He also earned money by collecting beer bottles and handing them into the bottle depot. The bakery behind their home still used horses at that time to deliver the bread daily and his other job after school each day was to muck out the stables, some of which went to fertilise their garden.
Unfortunately later some of the money he earned went to support the smoking habit which he started in 1953.
Christmas Day 1953 Lilian’s father Robert Henry Philpott died and in 1954 Lilian and David travelled back to England to visit with family.

David with his dog before they went back to England 1953

After the year with the family they returned to Australia. David joined the New South Railways as a porter and gradually worked his way up to shunter. He had wanted to be called up for National Service and when this didn’t happen he joined the Army instead in 1958 and gets transferred to Brisbane

David Smith 1960 3RAR Enoggera Qld

He met Violet Busby at a church picnic and spent some time with her on the drive home as she had gotten travel sick on the bus. He drove her home and they started dating and in March 1961 they married.

David Smith & Violet Noreen Busby March 1961

From there they would start their new life.

Today Father’s Day in Australia, remembering my father David Smith lost too soon.

Jul 122015

Today I had to say goodbye to my beloved Shannon. I am on the other side of the world when she left me, but thankfully two dear friends were there so she was not alone.

What is this little thing then?

Shannon joined the household in December 2004 as an eight week old puppy. Tami my older German Shepherd was not impressed as can be seen here.

You can see Tami wondering what on earth this little invader was all about.

Shannon settled in, much to Tami’s disgust.

Shannon loved her car rides!

After ten and a half years today I said goodbye. As you go over the Rainbow Bridge to a place of no thunder or noisy plover birds and as many Smacko treats and lots of pats, know I will miss you so much.

Jul 112015

We are here prior to boarding the Celebrity Eclipse for the 8th Unlock the Past cruise and I had some time to look around Southampton. I like looking at old buildings as I have stonemasons in my family and England is a joy for this!

This building is being converted into a number of one and two bedroom flats. This reuse of buildings is important as you are then able to retain the character of an area.

It is an elegant building with its columns and stonework.

It is when you look closer at it you see the stonemasons’ work with these stone faces, each with its own face and personality.