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.

Nov 272016

As an Ambassador Family Search gave me a Rootstech pass to give away. I asked the entrants to chose a session they really wanted to attend at RootsTech and tell me why that session appealed to them.

There are so many wonderful sessions on such a range of topics. These are just a few of the range of topics picked by entrants and for a range of reasons:

Presentation: ‘Using Autosomal DNA to Help Extend a Linage’ – Friday 11am session. Why? DNA is becoming a widely accepted method for tracing family lines, proving and in some cases disproving relationships. I would like to know how to get more from my results and in doing so be able to share this with others so they do can get more from their results.

Presentation: RT1490 Kitty Cooper on Triangulating DNA since I continue to be befuddled.

Presentation: “The Scottish Poor Law: a source for genealogists”. This is of interest as it’s something I haven’t tapped into yet, and heavens knows many of my Scottish ancestors were poor.

Presentation: RT1337  Thomas MacEntee “Can I Use That In My Genealogy? A Copyright Primer”

Thomas MacEntee is a very interesting well researched speaker and while a lot of the copyright information he presents would be US specific the principles would apply in Australia with the relevant legislation.

Presentation: “Using Evernote for Capturing Notes and Ideas” by Drew Smith would most certainly be beneficial for me. I’m still struggling with Evernote, so I have no doubt I’d learn oodles.

Presentation: Handwritten Text Recognition Technology, Eric Pfarl, Qidenus

I’m very interested in this class. Some of the toughest research problems arise in transcribing and translating handwritten records.  I’m volunteer at a local Family History Center and often researchers come in a brickwall that involves the misinterpretation of a handwritten record.
Presentation: Family Storytelling – High Touch and High Tech. In the past, there have only been a few of my family members who were interested in family history research, and only slightly more who were a vaguely willing to listen to our latest finds or answer questions. 

Then out of the blue a few years ago, my sister produced a New Testament that had belonged to her mother. We had begged to see that book ever since us younger ones learned of its existence, but she had never been willing to get it out for us. Two years ago our family reunion was held at her home. Not only did she produce her mom’s New Testament, but she came up with a couple of things that she didn’t even know she had – including a crocheted bookmark with our grandfather’s initials in the pattern. (I can guess that my mother probably made it and Grandpa obviously never received it. Mom never met him since he lived on the other side of the country. Did she make it and learn of his death before she could mail it to him?). I suspect that there was a story there, but we will never know. At that reunion, I passed out a questionnaire about our family – just from Dad and both wives (not polygamist!) and their descendants. That got everyone’s attention. Even those who refused to fill one out got involved with helping their kids, nephews, nieces, grandkids or by just listening. Everyone insisted that I provide the answers and discussion and stories flowed! But the neatest things were that each one, even the genealogists in the group, learned things about the younger generations and there was a unanimous request for family history to become a regular part of our reunions from now on!!!!

While I wished I could have given every entrant this amazing prize valued at US$299, with the aid of an online random number generator I am pleased to announce that Roger Moffatt of Michigan is the winner!

Note as a Rootstech Speaker I have been given a free personal registration to Rootstech. I would also have been given a free registration as a Rootstech Ambassador. 

Nov 262016

Today I heard voices of my family never heard before. Most of whom have long since passed on.

There is a special feeling hearing voices of your family from the past.

This is why I have never heard them before. They were on these reel to reel tapes. I have been carrying them with me from move to move, too precious to discard but also too precious to waste. I had heard many horror stories of people over the years giving their precious tapes to someone to digitise and having oh so many problems.

I recently attended the Unlock the Past Adelaide Expo which was fantastic.

One of the exhibitors I particularly wanted to speak with was Big Egg Media who do all sorts of tape/film conversions to digital and also photo scanning and restoration.

I have been listening to the Extreme Genes radio show with Scott Fisher as a podcast for quite a while now and a regular presenter has been Tom Perry, a digital preservation expert from TMCPlace  This meant I knew the types of questions I needed to ask to make sure my precious tapes would be in the right hands.

I spent around twenty minutes asking questions of Anthony and then handed the tapes over to be processed. He told me it would be a couple of weeks before they could start on them and I was happy with that, after all  a few extra weeks wouldn’t matter added to the time I had already waited.

My Grandmother was born in England and one of 13. She emigrated to Australia in 1949 with my father who was aged nine. The tape in the white box is “Christmas Greetings from the Family 1968” which is from the English family to my grandmother while the second is from my Grandmother in 1970 when she was a housekeeper on a sheep property. 

My Grandmother used to write letters regularly to her family in the UK and also record tapes for them. So you can see these really were very precious irreplaceable in fact.

I picked them up from the Post Office as the parcel needed a signature and got home and listened. They had done a marvelous job. They had told me they needed to rectify the tape as it was flaking so they needed to bake it back on.

I am very happy with the result and it was totally worth the money paid. This type of work needs to be done by the professionals  and they do come at a cost but they have given me something precious.

Have you precious tapes, films deteriorating away that needs digitising? Don’t leave them too long, there is a point of no return.

Photos that need restoration? Big Egg Media also do gift cards.