Sep 222013

I am in Canberra for the NSW ACT State Conference.

This post is just to show some of the nice things around Canberra.

Keeping the purple trend going!

Somehow it doesn’t look as fantastic during the day?

These are very pretty and there are streets of them in flower at present.

There is so much of Canberra I have not seen this time and unfortunately have to fly home today BUT I will be back for Congress in 2015 and will stay a bit longer then.

Sep 222013

The conference is being held at the Hellenic Club which has been an excellent venue with very helpful staff. Food and service have been good throughout the conference.

Well have been so busy at the conference (and posting to Facebook and Twitter) that have not really had much time to write many conference post except the one on the fantastic Trove presentation.

Fantastic Goody Bag included chocolate!

I have already mentioned the wide range of exhibitors present and yes I did buy a few books! The new Cora Num book on eRecords, a book on Florence Nightingales nurses in Sydney and “Morass to Municipality” a book on Toowoomba I didn’t have.

Friday was open free to the general public with a range of presentations and this is always a great way to get Family History out to the general population. I have been on the National Institute for Genealogical Studies stand and have been chatting to many people about the many courses available. I am currently studying the English Certificate in Genealogical Studies. The Institute “have just released a Professional Development Certificate.

The main speaking area is in the Exhibition Hall so I have also attended many sessions including “The Huguenots: the Almost Forgotten People” by Robert Nash of the Huguenot Society,  “How to Find New South Wales Court Records” by Gail Davis of the State Records Authority. Treasures in the State Library of NSW.

Karen Rogers the New South Wales regional rep for the Guild of One Name Studies gave a presentation on the Guild and how it can help family historians. I am the Queensland regional representative for the Guild and research the surname Quested anywhere, anytime.

It was lovely to meet Karen in person rather than just by email. This is a major plus of attending conferences in that you get to meet in person people you know from blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

A selection of GeneaBloggers at the Conference
Enthusiastic Genies listening

We didn’t get all the GeneaBloggers in the picture but didn’t do too bad.

Carole Riley gave her presentation on Land Records. I was able to hear this at the Queensland Family History Society seminar recently so didn’t attend and judging from the feedback received here Carole gave the same excellent presentation.

Hazel Edwards gave a workshop on “Writing a non-boring Family History” which excited many attendees.

And then we got together for the Meet and Greet which is always fun.

 Saturday was the official Opening ceremony followed by a presentation by Dr David Headon the History and heritage Advisor for the Centenary of Canberra. Yes our Capitol is having its 100th birthday this year. While the Australia colonies were in place from 1788, we became a Federation in 1901 and Canberra became established in 1913. A very interesting presentation of the machinations behind the establishment. A number of our historical figures while they may have done great things perhaps would not be the people you would want as a family member!

After a fun Family History Trivia session there was an excellent morning tea of scones, jam and cream. Then Chris Boyack gave a presentation on FamilySearch and what is happening there. One million indexed records being added each week due to the volunteer indexers around the world. I am one of those who doesn’t get to do as much indexing as I would like but I figure even if I only do 50 a week that is an extra 50 records that has been indexed.

Cora Num gave an excellent presentation on “Research Tools for the Digital Age” and this is where I have to show her closing image of multitasking!

It is always interesting to hear what tools other people use and how they make them work for them.

Cora always does a good presentation and has just released her new book on “eRecords for Family Historians” (yes that is the one I bought)

Then after lunch Martin Woods gave a presentation on “Where were they when?” which was on using maps and other geographical tools for family history research and publication. There is so much available now online at the National library of Australia who have a wonderful map collection that they have digitised. Anything that has been digitised and is available on the website is out of copyright and available to use. The National Library also has a huge map collection that is still in copyright and available at the Library for research.

There was also a Cobb and Co presentation by Barbara Hickson was in the other room.
The Land of Tomorrow: 20th Century migration records held at the National Archives of Australia was similar to one I had heard at the “Shake Your Family Tree” day held in April this year so I chose the Education Records at the State Record Office presentation. While I don’t have a  lot of research in new South Wales it was a very interesting presentation and there were some very useful tips given, many of which were put on Twitter (check out the #nswact13 feed on Twitter for many interesting Tweets from the conference).

Then the AGM and the Conference Dinner.

A great meal was had by all with early entertainment of a Harp and wooden flute playing background music.

Lots of conversations with some reports of people finding cousins. One person must have had a nudge from above as she was talking to someone and then something made her stop and look up and she suddenly saw a name tag (Thank you organisers for name-tags that were very easy to read!) that had an unusual surname that just happened to be one in her family so, of course being an avid family historian she leapt to intercept him and yes, indeed, he was related to her! (no, unfortunately this person was not me!)

It is these stories that convince us that some of our ancestors do indeed want to be found!

We were on Table 8. As you can see all the tables were beautifully decorated.

Tables of ten do make it difficult to talk across the table to all attendees but some conversation was managed.

Enough to determine for a couple of the “football nuts” on the table that one person there was an ex-Australian football coach, Terrance Fearnley which was pretty amazing!

Further entertainment was provided by four amazing singers and the gentleman on keyboard. Some slight problems with the sound system but they coped magnificently with the problems and gave us a musical evening.

Today is the last day.

Angela Phippen’s presentation  on “Royal Commissions and Legislative Council Select Committees” Government committees and enquiries may send a little boring but it amazing how many of our ancestors were called to give evidence. And you will generally read their exact words as given to the enquiry. Maybe a bit more formal language than your ancestor would use in day to day conversation but still great to read! 

A Royal Commission was held when something went wrong so you can get very detailed information on conditions in institutions, employment and things about which people were concerned such as living near the “noxious trades” such as tanneries, piggeries, wool-scours etc.

The Australian War Memorial gave a presentation on the joys in store for us with their digitisation program and bid to make their records more accessible for all. 

I have spent time at their research archives looking at a diary written by someone aboard the “Ceramic” the ship my great-grandfather went to World War One and Gallipoli!

Now it is morning tea and then “Working with Findmypast” and then “Women in Records”

The organisers are to be congratulated on a fantastic conference!Always a shame when a conference has to end but we all have so many ideas for further research so perhaps just as well.

Sep 202013

Thomas MacEntee poses this question as part of Open Thread Thursday

Are we any better people delving into and then documenting the minutiae of our ancestor’s lives than the nosy-parker next door neighbour who twitches the curtains when she/he sees you come home at 1am, who takes a prurient interest in counting the days between the wedding and the birth and then takes pleasure in spreading that information through the community?

Does it make it better or “more right” because the people we are investigating are deceased a generation or more ago?

Is it the difference of the matter of intent? Finding the truth versus the gossipy negativeness?

Is it a matter that we aim to have a personal set of ethics where we find the facts, look at what has occurred without applying filters and aim to do no harm to any living person?

Who determines what constitutes harm?

An action that you or I may perceive to not be a problem may seriously offend someone else.

I would imagine that many if not all of us have some information documented in our databases that is not for release at this current time because it may bring discomfort to someone we know.

Do I have definitive answers to this question? 

No I don’t.  

Thank you Thomas, for being willing to air this question. I do believe that the fact that people are willing to discuss this question is a positive thing as I believe it is the unwillingness to discuss things that may make you uncomfortable is what leads to many of societies issues . 

I do my best in life to “do no harm” to others, to believe that everyone has the right to live as they wish as long as they do no harm to anyone but themselves. 

Will I continue to research? Yes I will. 

Will I continue to restrict some information from publication at this time? Yes I will.

Is that the right answer for everyone? Probably not, but I don’t have the right to make an answer for everyone.

Sep 202013

Now I am not saying this in a bid to make you panic but as a gentle reminder that it is not too soon to start to plan your special genealogy Christmas gifts and the Genealogy Guerrilla action you are planning for this year.

There are many options for genealogy gifts and I gave some ideas in this post a couple of years ago. All of these are still great options for getting the family involved. If your family’s eyes glaze over with fear when they see you coming with that “Genealogical Fervor” in your eyes you will need to work out ways of sneaking Genealogy into your Christmas.

The family calendar of ancestral photographs, the lovely coffee table photo book of old photos with information about the photo, the Powerpoint show playing in the background, the family memento casually left on the table are all ways of getting the family hooked.

There are many more creative people than me around and I met with some at the New Zealand Family History Fair a month or so ago.The two creative lovely ladies, Fiona Brooker and Lauren Bavin from Memories in Time had some great ideas of what you could do such as this very tactile one.

A close-up of one of the Ancestor envelopes above

I really liked this because few people could resist pulling on the tag to see what the tag said. You could have an Ancestor Chain linked on your mantle or even as separate tags on the Christmas Tree. Maybe even have them as  gift tags on the presents?

Ancestral magnets on the fridge?  Ancestral Place-cards? To which ancestor do you bear the most resemblance?

What Genealogy Guerrilla actions have you planned for this Christmas?

Sep 202013

This was an excellent class.  Given by the Trove Team extraordinaire! 

Most of whom are in this picture2013-09-20 10.27.12. They gave a great presentation of the treasures available 
on Trove.

Take note of the lovely mugs displayed on the table in front of the amazing Trove Team. I really, really wanted one of these mugs!

(The mugs were given to audience members who had a hand-drawn cow on their feedback forms and I thought this was a great way of determining who would get the mug. I was even happier to find that I had a hand-drawn cow on my feedback form so am now the proud owner of a Trove Mug!)

But back to the great information  provided by the trove Team.

The range of small museum collections such as these:  Flinders Shire historical photos:  or the Tasmania Maritime Museum

Some of the  toolsmentioned:

One tool is QueryPic which provides a simple visualisation of a set of search results. Try it for yourself!

Another is Lists.  Lists are a great way of showcasing research items, such as Mr Mares, weatherman Lists in Trove are valuable resources and can be public of private.

Photos, newspaper articles & more from Trove can be put in lists and you can also put webpages into your lists

Want to create your own list? Watch this screencast made by Trove to find out more about making Lists. There are many public lists made by Trove users including believe it or not lists about mowers! 

2013-09-20 10.51.57
This Wordle image presented in the talk by the trove Team of the top terms in lists has as you would expect Family as one of the key words, also the ever popular names William, John and in the corner the term mower!

The Trove Team is continuing to work to improve the trove experience for all its users and there will be some changes happening soon, to in their words “de-clutter the screen”

There are so many things to explore on the Trove site so head on over to Trove and have fun researching!

Sep 192013


The 29th Annual Conference of the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies is in Canberra and the  Friday Family History Fair is open to all so tomorrow the Hellenic Club will be a mass of exhibitors waiting to help you with your family history.

It is being held at the Hellenic club from 10am until 4pm on Friday 20th September. It is free to all and there will be trade and information tables, free talks and help with your family history research.

There will be a  wide range of exhibitors available to help with your Research:,, Inside History, Unlock the Past Cruises & Publications, Gould Genealogy & History, Finding Your Ancestors, Joy Murrin Family History Services, NSW Family History Transcriptions,

Family History Societies
The Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra, Blue Mountains Family History Society Inc, Camden Area Family History Society Inc, Central Coast Family History Society, Coffs Harbour District Family History Society Inc., Friends of Mays Hill Cemetery, Guild of One Name Studies, Holroyd Local History Research, Huguenot Society 

I will be there at the National Institute of Genealogical Studies booth talking about the wide range of genealogy course available.
These are only a selection of the exhibitors who will  be there. For a full listing see this list
Lots of help available and also a range of prizes available, so hopefully we will see you there!

Sep 172013

William BusbyThis is the only photo I have of William Busby. The date is unknown but believed to be either in 1904 for the marriage of his son George Howard Busby or possibly in 1912 for the marriage of his daughter Kate Rosamund Busby as I also have one of his wife Ann with the same background.

We know he was born in Coombe Oxfordshire (also known as Long Combe) in 1851 and that he married Ann Howard in 1872 in Oxford. Their eldest child Ann was born May 1879 and died 13 months later.  

Their son William was born April 1881 and tragically died 22 Sept 1882 aboard the Mhari Bhan when the family emigrated to Brisbane. 

They had a further two children in Brisbane George Howard Busby  born 1884 and Kate Rosamund Busby in 1892.

William looks an elegant gentleman with a pretty decent beard and  moustache combination but you don’t get much of an idea about his personality.

This is where Trove and its fantastic range of digitised papers is invaluable.

I found that William had written a letter to the editor of the Brisbane Courier in 1884.

A transcript follows for easier reading:

Letter to Editor Nov 1884THE WOODEN PAVEMENTS.
SIR,-Having read a letter in your issue of Friday last signed “Forward,” on the subject   of wooden pavements, I was very much surprised at the dastardly way in which your correspondent attacked the workmen employed in putting down the same. I admit Birmingham is a noted place for wood-paved streets, and it is also a noted place for people who are ashamed of their own names. This, perhaps, accounts for the way in which “Forward” attacks the workmen and then signs himself ” Forward ” Why does he condemn the way the work is done without pointing out the faults? Any simpleton can say a piece of work  is a “miserable specimen” and stop there, without proving anything except his forwardness, I think that “Forward” in saying the Queen street crossings are a ” wretched exhibition of bad workmanship,” and omitting to define the faults, gave a wretched exhibition of his conceit in thus rushing into print to condemn work that has been well and faithfully done.
Trusting you will favour me by inserting this,
I am, sir, &,c ,      
Mason and Paver.
Lang Farm, Toowong, 15th November.

(I am not sure whether William is commenting as someone who was involved with the paving work in this instance and feels aggrieved or as an observer who was familiar with the work involved in paving.)

You don’t get that from a photo!

William does a talk in Toowong at a community meeting about drainage in that area. Later William obtains a job with the Metropolitan Council as an Inspector of Works and in 1887 there is a report in the paper about the men in the Works Department having an Athletics Day reported in the Brisbane Courier in 1887.

The test of which is of particular interest i have highlighted in bold:
The running contests, of the employees of the corporation, which came off at New Farm on Saturday last under the auspices of his worship the Mayor, were continued and brought to a satisfactory conclusion yesterday morning.
CM 1887 Works raceThe runners and the contractors of Saturday last, not feeling quite satisfied with their handicaps, met by mutual agreement at the Town Hall at 10 o’clock yesterday morning, and proceeded to the old racecourse, New Farm, to decide their pedestrian speeds, under milder or more reasonable handicaps than fixed for the Saturday’s programme. The following is the result :- 
100 Yards Handicap Flat Race between   Kirk, city engineer, and Price, overseer of works, the latter receiving 3 yards start, resulted, after a close contest, in Kirk winning by a yard and a-half.
The next event to decide was between Horan, contractor, and Busby, overseer of works, 150 yards flat race, both from scratch. A good race was the result, Busby winning by 8 yards. There was lively betting on this match.
The next match was between Hart, contractor, and Davies, city engineer’s staff, the latter (Davies) conceding 10 yards to Hurt in a 250-yards race. Considerable betting and interest was centered in this result, both men being old pedestrians and athletes of much fame, especially Davies, who is still an all- round athlete not timid to meet any of our young aspirants in all-round contests. The race was won by Davies easily, winning by 6 yards.
150 yards between Kirk, city engineer, and Donovan, contractor, both men to start, from scratch. Donovan failing or fearing to run, the race wits decided in favour of Kirk.
The next race was between Busby and Price, both corporation employees, a 150 yards match, Busby giving Price 20 yards start, and winning a closely-contested race by 1 and a 1/2 yards; won in the last 10 yards.
In the race, Contractors v, Manufacturers, Connor ran with Fencon, pipe and tile manufacturer, 100 yards, Connor receiving 7 yards start from Fencon. This was termed the mackintosh race, being run in mackintoshes, rain falling heavily, and bringing an abrupt termination to a most enjoyable morning’s sport. 
Considerable interest was manifested in the  result of all the above contests, and they may lead to similar competitions later on.

Now would you have thought the dignified gentleman in the photo would have been involved in foot-races and winning? (admittedly at the time of the race William would have been 36 years old rather than the probable 50 to 60 of the photo)

There have been a number of other reports of interest about William in the papers but that will be a post for another day…….

Sep 152013

Cyndi’s List has been with us for seventeen years plus now. 

Time to stop and think “What is Cyndi’s List ?

I’m going to take some words direct from Cyndi’s site to explain:

What exactly is Cyndi’s List? 

  • A categorized & cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet
  • A list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online
  • free jumping-off point for you to use in your online research
  • A “card catalog” to the genealogical collection in the immense library that is the Internet
  • Your genealogical research portal onto the Internet

And it is true the site is all of that with its 328, 240 links.  

328, 240 links! Stop for a moment and think about that number. If you went to each link and spent just one hour of your research life there you would need 38.41 years of your life, 24 hours a day just to go through every link on her site!

However I can tell you right now that you would never be able to live long enough to go through every link as Cyndi is constantly updating and adding links, sorting into categories.

There is a wide range of categories from the usual suspects such as by country, DNA, scanners, to Evernote for Every Genealogist, Video and Audio, Podcasts and so, so much more!

I was privileged enough to meet Cyndi this year while I was at RootsTech. She is Genealogical  Royalty to me and I was a bit overawed but a more lovely lady you would never meet. 

Helen with Cyndi and Alona Tester at RootsTech 2013

Thank you Cyndi for all you have done and continue to do!

It is interesting to think that there is a whole genealogical generation who have never known a time without Cyndi’s List, the portal to Genealogy Magic!

Sep 012013

My Father is no longer with us but he is remembered.

Smith Vi David Warren 1962 29 Aug 001
New Dad David holding his son with his wife Violet 1962

Here David is with his new son in 1962 with my Mother Violet looking on.