Apr 212021

Ernest enlisted in Brisbane 10 December 1914.

He was a machinist (probably at the Albion sawmill) and he had previously served in the Field Artillery for 2 years and 5 months (from attestation papers). His physical description shows him to be 5’8 3/4″ tall with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. The distinguishing marks column is blank. He joined the 5th Light Horse as 2nd reinforcements and his unit embarked from Brisbane aboard the Itria 9 February 1915. 

Per his service record downloaded from the Australian National Archives and also available on Discovering Anzacs website he arrived at Anzac Cove  29 July 1915. The advantage using the Discovering Anzacs website initially is that users (both archival staff and relatives) are able to link further information. This includes the Embarkation Rolls, articles from Trove etc.
Ernest was one of the very many soldiers at Gallipoli affected by disease and was removed to the hospital ship Huntsend 6 September 1915 with dysentery. He was discharged from there to Malta, 14 September and was taken on strength again 26 September, in Egypt.

Interestingly, reading further in his file it states he had lost two fingers, the 4th and 5th digits, in an accident about 1907. Strange as I would have considered that having two fingers missing would have been a distinguishing mark, wouldn’t you? It did say that not having those fingers had no effect on him using his rifle. Well that was until he was unloading camels and apparently had an issue with them which affected the next finger! Ernest is classified as B class November 1915, although is still apparently able to use his rifle enough to remain in the Army.

Ernest stays in the Army and around various areas in Egypt. Further information about what his unit was doing can be obtained from the Unit War Diaries which have been digitised and are available for download from the Australian War Memorial until he returns to Australia 28 June 1919 aboard the Madras. 

Ernest stayed with his father William George Weeks who was the gardener/caretaker at Albert Park. He left at 6.45 to catch the 7pm train to Taringa. He was in uniform including a military overcoat. He never arrived and was reported missing. Intense searches were conducted but sadly his fully clothed body was found floating in the river two weeks later. Cause of death was drowning, date of death unknown but believed to be close to time he went missing. Military supposition was potentially a suicide though his family did not believe this to be the case. Ernest was returning to a job. Was it an accident? Falling into the river fully dressed in military uniform could have made it difficult to get out. Family lore did not mention whether Ernest could swim.

Ernest was buried with full military honours, 1 September 1919 at Toowong Cemetery.

Up until 2021, we remembered Ernest, believing this to the end of his story.

Enter historian Harold Peacock, who realised that Ernest was not discharged from the Australian Army until October 4 1919, two months after he was found deceased.  Ernest died while still serving in the Australian Army but was not listed on the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Mr Peacock sent his evidence for Trooper Weeks to be included on the Memorial, a case was written for his recommendation and presented to the Memorial’s Council.

The Honour Roll Team reviews those not listed to determine those who have who have “fallen through the cracks”. They recommended twenty names in 2020 to be included. The case was successful. Ernest’s name is now listed in the Roll of Honour database and his name will be cast in bronze on Roll of Honour walls in Canberra.

For the first time, his name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial on Saturday the 7th on August 2021 at 1:21am.

Thanks go to Mr Harold Peacock who has a blog post about Ernest here

We need to remember and thank all our men and women who served in the past, the present and the future.

Jan 242021

I have been a subscriber and used Findmypast in my research since the earliest days of them being online.

My father was born in England in 1940, with most of his family still resident there, so their English records have been fantastic. Along with so many Australians I have Irish ancestry and the increasing amount of Irish records has been wonderful.

If you have Irish research you need Findmypast! Their increasing Irish related collections help research the Irish Diaspora, with the Catholic parish registers from the USA, England helping find the emigrating cousins, the Irish Newspaper collection keeps getting better, giving news and Irish life. Findmypast’s Irish archival collections help as census substitutes

Their Australian site launched in 2010 with 35 million records which has only increased since then. I am fifth generation Australian on my mother’s side so again Findmypast has been invaluable in my Australian research and remains one of my favourite subscription sites. I also subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive. I have always loved the records and aids for my research and have often presented on Findmypast.

I am pleased to announce that I am part of the Findmypast Global Ambassador Program.

As part of that program Findmypast grants me an Australian Pro subscription.

Now I can’t get everyone a subscription but Findmypast has agreed to let new subscribers have a 20% discount on the Australian Pro subscription using this code FOFMPHS21

Over the last couple of months I have done some Facebook Live sessions with Findmypast: one on Australian Migration https://www.facebook.com/findmypast/videos/migration-to-australia/782081105948124/ and another on Researching Australian Military ancestors https://www.facebook.com/findmypast/videos/australian-military-ancestors/407415703621550/

Findmypast does regular Facebook Live sessions with their own experts and experts from around the world.


Apr 122019

Dr Jonathan Richards  will be presenting “Lost records Hurt Historians” Saturday 4.55-5.40pm

Could you please tell us a little about your background?

I am a professional historian.

How has genealogy/family history/history/heraldry improved or changed your life?

Archive research has changed my life completely

What do you love most about history?

The search, and possible discovery, of key records that tell us about past lives

Have you attended the State Conference in previous years?

Yes, attended the Gold Coast conference

What are your key topics for the Waves in Time Conference?

History can be enhanced by finding records; conversely finding out that records have been lost, stolen or not survived can frustrate historians

How do you think your topics will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference 2019?

Reminding historians that perseverance furthers but may ultimately be fruitless

What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for you personally and for others attending?

Spending time with people from a range of backgrounds often helps gain new perspectives

Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?

Lucky dip, or serendipity, sometimes reveals surprises


Jonathan is the author of ‘The Secret War’ (2005), the first comprehensive study of Queensland’s notorious Native Police force’.

Apr 122019


Meet Waves In Time Speaker: Louise Coakley

Louise will be presenting

The Almighty DNA Tree Saturday 1.50-2.50pm

The Next DNA Wave- Testing Family Relics Sunday 9.30-10.15am

Could you please tell us a little about your background?

My background is in business and information technology.  I’ve been researching family history for more than 20 years, and I now specialise in genetic genealogy and spreading awareness of the use of DNA testing as a part of researching your family history.

How has genealogy/family history/history/heraldry improved or changed your life?

Genealogy and DNA has connected me with interesting people all around the world – both new friends and relatives.  It has been enriching to explore the lives, stories and challenges of ancestors that I was previously oblivious to, and I’ve enjoyed helping others connect to their families.

What do you love most about genealogy/family history/history/heraldry?

Like solving a complex puzzle, I love searching for clues and pieces of evidence and linking them together to form a conclusion about a family mystery or a research goal.  DNA evidence adds even more clues to help solve relationship puzzles and build family trees.

Have you attended the State Conference in previous years?

No, this will be my first time, so I am very much looking forward to it!

What are your key topics for the Waves in Time Conference?

DNA testing for family history, and the huge impact it has had on genealogical research.

How do you think your topics will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference 2019?

For conference attendees new to family history or new to DNA testing, my topics will bring a whole new awareness as to what is possible in genealogy today, and a glimpse into the future.

What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for you personally and for others attending?

The chance to meet and chat with other like-minded attendees and speakers, as well learning more new tips and tricks and new resources to explore.  Attendees often discover local groups and resources they were previously unaware of, which is great for both the groups and the attendees!

Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?

When reviewing your DNA results, look for and click on the Help and Information links and buttons you see on the pages… they invariably lead to educational, instructional and helpful tips that will improve your understanding and experience.  Also follow suggested links in emails from the testing companies, as they may lead to pages explaining your results.  Most people read the instructions when they buy a new appliance or device, so do try to read the instructions that come with your DNA results!


Louise’s website



Louise’s blog https://www.genie1.com.au/blog


Feb 042019

The British Medical Journal archive  http://www.bmj.com/archive is a great resource for finding out more about historical health aspects, as the letters and case reports were very detailed. (You may need to access it at an institutional library).
Often in-depth descriptions were given of living and working conditions. You can find lists of infectious disease outbreaks around the country and later most hospital published regular reports.
However it is not the place most would expect to be of direct genealogical  value but you would be mistaken. 
“Oh,  you mean it has information about Doctors but I don’t have any of them in my family.”

Yes, it is true there is a lot of biographical information about doctors in the  British Medical Journal (and the Medical Journals of other countries). It has information about where they trained, where they practised and this might be anywhere in the world. Often there are entries of births, marriages and deaths as well as lists  of promotions particularly during war time. Note: this is true of many professional or trade journals so well worth a look.

The privacy concerns of today were not in evidence in the past regarding patients. Many case (patient) reports in the past gave the full name, age and town of residence! Be prepared for some fairly blunt descriptions of the patients as well. 

BMJ 20 March 1841 Guy’s Hospital
John Goss, a well proportioned man of intemperate habits about 33 late Captain of the Wynot, which a fortnight since returned from Lisbon laden with oranges was admitted into Guy’s Hospital on the Monday march 1 1841. He had been staying at the Anchor and Castle tavern in Tooley Street and had been under the influence of spirituous liquor.
BMJ 27 March 1841 Guys Hospital
Samuel Harlow about 18, short in stature, but well proportioned having dark curling hair and dark complexion was admitted to Guy’s Hospital due to progressing mortification of the right hand. He states that during the last seven or eight years his health has been very good. (had injury to hand necessitated amputation, three pages of daily medical reports. He survived.
BMJ 25 September 1841 Royal Berkshire Hospital
Rachel Pembroke a pale delicate looking girl about 24 was brought to the hospital in the evening of the 24thof October (?1840) having received an injury to the shoulder through a heavy piece of chalk falling on it from a considerable height while she was engaged in filling baskets at the bottom of a well nearly ninety feet deep. Was treated and movement was restored. (Nov 5 she was discharged from hospital in consequence of her being found to be pregnant) Dec 4 She has been using stimulating liniments and can use the joint except that of raising the limb into the elevated position.
BMJ 26 June 1841 Royal Berkshire Hospital

Samuel Farley about 28, a healthy, muscular man guard to a night train on the Great Western Railroad. Admitted May 19th due to dislocation of radius and ulna caused by his having fallen from a truck and pitching with great force on his hand the train at the time being in rapid motion. Discharged June 1 . June 7 back at work and arm working well. .

Dec 082017

I take great pleasure in announcing the winner of the Rootstech pass selected by the Random Number Generator.  Thank you to everyone who entered, sadly I couldn’t give more than one prize .

The pass   include the registration fee for over 300+ classes, Keynote General Sessions, Innovation Showcase, Expo Hall, and evening events (but does NOT include airfare, accommodation meals)

Such great value and the winner is Steve Connor from Oklahoma.

Steve really wants to attend the Mapping sessions as it will help him in his research and in his work.

Steve is someone who has given so much to the genealogical community over many years.   One of the reasons he really wanted to attend the mapping classes was :

“It is my goal to map out deeds and bounty land for the Russell County KyGenWeb of which I have been a volunteer county coordinator for the last 17 years”

Thank you Steve for all you have done and congratulations on your win!



Dec 012017


RootsTech 2018 is being held February 28 – March 3, 2018 in the Salt Palace Convention Centre in Salt Lake City, Utah.


I am really sad this year that I am not going to be able to be there in person but really pleased that as a Rootstech Ambassador I can give away a registration (that does NOT include airfare, accommodation meals) but DOES include  the registration fee for over 300+ classes, Keynote General Sessions, Innovation Showcase, Expo Hall, and evening events so that YOU have a chance to attend.

Yep just to restate this registration does not include travel, hotel, meals, labs or any other compensation. The Getting Started and free Family Discovery Day Pass are not included, and must be added on separately.

It is a fantastic conference with over 300 classes, so many wonderful classes.

Fantastic Keynote speakers

Keynote speakers such as Scott Hamilton an Olympic champion, cancer survivor, television broadcaster, motivational speaker, author, husband/father, and eternal optimist!


The Expo Hall  

Such a fantastic place over 400 exhibitors from all over the world giving help, showing the latest innovations and having lots of genealogical goodies for you and your loved ones


And the people all those other genealogists from around the country and the world who are also going to listen, learn and share their experiences!


The Family History Library that wonderful Treasure Trove is just up the road a little and will be open for research. Their new Discovery Centre is a must see activity while you are there.


So I hear you say how to enter to win one FREE RootsTech pass plus Innovator Summit 2018 4-day pass ($279 value)?

Just tell me two classes you want to attend using the contact form and how you feel they will help in your family history research. Then on the 5th December I will use a Random Number generator to select the winner.  The only requirement from you as a winner is after you have been  please tell me what you enjoyed the most along with a photo of you at Rootstech so I  can share with everybody the fun you had (and it will make me feel a little better that I can’t go!)


And the winner has been drawn! Congratulations to Steve!

Nov 262017

While I am very fond of chocolate and as a child loved the little calendars that you opened each day and gained a piece of chocolate, for a number of years now I have done a different type of Advent calendar.

It is a “Paying Forward Genealogical Kindness” Calendar.

So much of our research has been made easier because of the very many volunteers in the past who have indexed and transcribed records for us.

Over the years I have tried to give back whenever I could but because of study and work, generally could not often do it in person onsite somewhere, so looked for ways I could do it at home (or anywhere else I might be) using a computer.
Below is my 2017 Advent Calendar. Some of these will take a few minutes, some a few hours but each of them shares just a little kindness and there can never be too much kindness in this world.

December 2017

1 & 18: Kiva donation part of Genealogists for Families team

2, 6, 16, 20 & 24: Index a batch for FamilySearch

3, 8, 11 & 23: Transcribe for National Archives for Australia

4,7,12,15, 17, 19 & 21: Correct for Trove

5, 13 & 22: Put up a family photo with story online

9: Write article for my Family History Society

10: Fulfill Billion Graves Photo Request

14 & 23: Transcribe  for State Library of Queensland

‘Genealogists for Families’ Project

Small micro-loans given to help people help themselves. A fantastic initiative started by Judy Webster in honour of her father. Currently there are 350 genealogist members from all over the world who since 2011 have made over 9390 loans totalling  $248, 275. Each loan by an individual is $25 (the loan amount for a project varies) and then the person pays back the loan which allows you to relend that money again and again. So over my time as a member I have donated $1507 which because of the relending has meant that $4325 in 178 loans have been made.

Find out more here


The wonderful free website of the National Library of Australia that has digitised newspapers and now also the New South Wales Government Gazette that have been OCR’d (Optical character recognition read by a computer and interpreted). The OCR quality can be variable depending on a range of reasons including typeface so by correcting the text you make the record searchable and available for all.

I have been correcting for Trove for since August 2008 and in that time have corrected 83, 039 lines of text (which is way behind Trove’s top corrector JohnWarren who has corrected 4,738, 702 lines of text!


National Archives of Australia

Transcribing records to make them more findable and able to be listed online.  Thanks to transcribers 248 250 record descriptions have been added to RecordSearch. This makes resources available to the community as they are able to be found by a name search.


State Library of Queensland



So many transcription opportunities around the world depending on your interests and experience. Just a few of the ones I have done some work with in the last couple of years are listed below:

Measuring the ANZACs


Transcribing early modern recipes


Virtual Volunteering Australia


US National Archives


Smithsonian Digital Volunteer


Atlas of Living Australia: Digitising Field Diaries Australia (Museum Victoria)


World Memory Project

Project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has a very large collection of documents. In partnership with Ancestry.com they have created the World Memory Project which has volunteers at home indexing the records so they are name searchable. This will create a free database.


Welsh History


Distributed Proofreaders


Checking and correcting  OCR to allow out of copyright books (Public Domain) books to become ebooks.

What’s On the Menu?

Project of the New York Public library transcribing historical restaurant menus.


What other projects do your family history society, local museum, state archives, etc have that you could give back a little? There are so many ways of “Paying Forward”

There are many projects around the world, in many languages. Conference Keeper also has lists of volunteer opportunities they have found and are also willing to promote your Society’s Archives etc volunteer indexing transcribing projects http://conferencekeeper.org/volunteer/

Remember every name indexed is one more person found for future researchers.

PS (and yes there might also be some chocolate as a reward each day in dark chocolate from my favourite chocolate shop!)


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?