You’re Searching. But Are You Researching?...

We’ve all done it. Jumped online, done a search for someone, and come up with nothing, zip, nada. So what’s next? Sadly that’s where many leave it. They simply go on to the next person. While a “researcher” likes to delve into the details. Finding out about the specifics of the records they were searching, such as what years were covered, what region, where the record came from, even the context of why it was compiled, and so on … and they may well find out that the area they’re after wasn’t even included. So then it’s a matter of searching further (usually offline) to search further. It’s like looking up an index, finding a name, without looking at the rest of the book for that actual information. The internet has made it easy to search, there’s no doubt about that. But is it making people forget about the actual research? Take online trees as an example. We all know that there are WAAAY too many trees online that have huge errors, and sadly these get copied on to other trees. Why, because copying is quicker than doing the research. Again, these people are searching, but not “researching”. I’m not sure if our “instant-everything” society is to blame and making people lazy, or is it that we’re not teaching these people how to research beyond the internet? It’s an interesting thought, and one that I come across often. And while I don’t have an answer for it, I just hope that some of the searchers, do in time become researchers. Besides who wouldn’t want to research further (meaning offline) when you hear that there’s only a tiny fraction of records that available are actually digitised and online. Think of all the...

Discovering Links: 25 FREE Links for Western Australian Genealogy Research...

Here’s another of my “Discovering Links” post. These posts consist of a collection of links that I have discovered, or found useful, and want to share with others. But rather than simply giving you a whole batch of random links each time, I am grouping them by Australian state, country or topic. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here. For this one I’ve decided to share my Western Australian links. It is not intended to be an exhaustive collection (not by a long shot), but they are simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you might not have known about. And while many people think that genealogy costs a lot of money, let me tell you that all of the links below are free. There’s plenty out there, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that. ======= DEAD RECKONING: A GUIDE TO FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA Produced by the Library Board of Western Australia as a book back in 1997, this publication has been updated and is now available online. If you are a novice family historian just starting out tracing your family tree or an experienced genealogy researcher looking for whatever happen to the elusive great uncle, Dead Reckoning is a great place start to learn about family history research in Western Australia. WESTERN AUSTRALIAN BICENTENNIAL INDEX (WABI) Western Australian Biographical Index is really the pre-curser to the Dictionary of Western Australia and Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians series. This is the information noted on card file, and all 85,000 of them have now been scanned, transcribed and made available through both the WA Genealogical Society...

15 April 1912 – The Day the “Titanic” Sank...

It was a disaster like no other at that time. The world’s biggest (and self-proclaimed ‘unsinkable’) ship set off from Southampton on 10 April 1912, bound for New York. It was her maiden voyage, and the crowd seeing it off was huge. Little did they know that just 5 days later all onboard would be fighting for their life, with the vast majority not making it. 2.20am, 15 April 1912, just a mere 2 hours and 40 minutes after hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean, the unthinkable happened to the unsinkable. The Titanic sank. total capacity: 3547 passengers and crew total onboard: 2206 passengers and crew total survived: 703 passengers and crew  That was 105 years ago, and it still has an impact. The movie below is from British Pathè’s collection, and is just one of the 85,000 old movies they have made freely available. Showing actual footage of the ship, the rescue ships, together with interviews of some survivors, it is chilling. There’s no doubt that the Titanic has become the stuff of legend. I remember asking my grandma about it though she wasn’t born at the time, but her older sisters were, and they remembered it, being aged 11 and 12. So I decided to see what the local South Australian newspapers wrote about it. The following was the first report of it in South Australia’s “The Advertiser”, was was dated 18 April 1912. Not too bad considering that communication back then wasn’t as instant as we have today. It didn’t make front page like it did in the US or England, but it did make a big article on page 9. The article blow is just a small portion of it. And as you would expect, every...

South Australia’s History Festival 2017 is Coming!!...

May is the month that all South Australian history-lovers look forward to, as it is South Australia’s History Festival, which really is just a month-long history-fest! To say that I was excited to get a copy of the SA History Festival program guide last weekend is an understatement. I’ll admit that I’ve already gone through it all (only once so far), and have put post-in notes on a heap of events, and even printed out a calendar for the month so I can keep track of what’s on when, and hope that not too many double up. South Australia’s History Festival is presented by the History Trust of South Australia, and it began its life as South Australia’s History Week back in 2004, and changed to a month-long event in 2011. This proved to be a good move, as it has grown in popularity every year since. And with over 600 events from 340 organisers this year, the interest continues to grow. With events held not only in Adelaide city, but also Adelaide Hills, the Barossa and rural regions of the state, even Kangaroo Island, more people are learning about the history of this beautiful state of ours. There’s an absolute overload of events on for history-lovers, and even non-history lovers. From talks and seminars, to guided walks, and bus tours. There’s workshops and exhibitions, open days at various places, and more. From making jam the old way, to walks in cemeteries and Adelaide’s old buildings. From learning how to create audio and visual presentations with oral history recordings, to learning the stories of South Australia’s pioneer settlers, seriously there is something for everyone. I have so many events I hope to get to, but unless I can take...

Sudden Death at the Railway Station...

Some days just don’t go as planned, and 22 June 1869 was certainly one of those day for the Elphick family of Adelaide. There’s certain words when researching that grab a researchers attention. One being the phrase ‘sudden death’ with another being ‘inquest’. Both of these we terms I came across in the newspapers on Trove, when looking for info on Mr Lonetester’s 3x great grandpa, William Kennard Elphick. I imagine that Tuesday the 22nd of June 1869 started out as a fairly standard day for the Elphick family of Adelaide. William Kennard Elphick was out and about, and made his way to the Adelaide Railway Station on North Terrace by late afternoon, either to head out or head home. However that’s when tragedy struck. While walking down the stairs William collapsed, and died … INQUEST ON MR W.K. ELPHICK On Wednesday, Mr. T. Ward, J.P., held an inquest at the Adelaide Hospital, for the purpose of ascertaining the cause of the death of William Kennard Elphick. A Jury of 13 having been empanelled, and Mr. J. M. Dowie chosen foreman, the following evidence was taken, after the body had been viewed:— James March Stacy, bootmaker, said yesterday afternoon about 4.20 he was at the Railway Station. Saw a crowd assembled carrying the deceased, whose body he had just seen in the dead-house. Recognised it as that of W. K. Elphick, late of the Burra Mine. Some females bathed his head with cold water. Felt his pulse, and found only one pulsation. Then placed his hand on the heart, which had ceased to beat. Dr. Phillips then came in. Left the deceased in charge of the police, and afterwards communicated with his friends. By a Juror—The cold water was applied whilst he was feeling the pulse of the deceased. James Phillips, surgeon, said he had made a...

Twile: A Different Way to Show Off Your Family Tree...

Let me introduce you to Twile. This is something I’ve been playing with recently, but it has actually been around for a year or two now, so some of you may already know how fun it is. First up let me just say that Twile is a website that allows you to display your family and milestones as a timeline … and, not only that, it is totally FREE. As it offers timelines, don’t expect a traditional tree-type chart from them. The timelines are created by using data that you either you enter, or a gedcom file you upload. To add to this, you can also add photos, milestones, and historical events which everyone in your family can view and contribute to. At RootsTech 2016 Twile won both the People’s Choice Award as well as the Innovator Showdown, so it’s certainly grabbed people’s attention. And the claims that it “makes genealogy more engaging” is true. Apart from a graphical timeline of your own tree, they can create a statistics infographic based on your family. Now this is truly cool, and here’s mine …   To get this simply upload your gedcom (or link to an online tree) – if you hadn’t already got one there for your timeline, wait a few mins … and wallah, it’s there in your inbox!! Go ahead and try it for yourself http://ww.twile.com/numbers, and if you have Irish ancestry, there’s a special green infographic for you here https://twile.com/numbers/irish. So if you’re looking for a novel way to show off your tree, or a way to get your family interested in family history, why not try Twile? It could just be the thing you’ve been looking...

What’s on Your Genealogy Bucket List?...

Every year about this time, I am reminded of one thing that’s on my ‘genealogy bucket list’ that I haven’t done, and that’s go to Who Do You Think You Are? Live in England. It does claim to be the world’s biggest genealogy event, however that title now goes to RootsTech. But still at over 10,000 attendees, it’s a giant event that is deserving of second-place. And one that I do hope to get to someday. So while I was thinking about genealogy bucket lists, I came across “The Bucket List GeneaMeme” created by Jill Ball back in 2012. I am always up for a good geneameme, but for whatever reason I didn’t take part in this back then, so I’m playing along now. 1. The genealogy conference I would most like to attend is … PARTLY DONE. RootsTech was always top of this list, which I have been to three times now. But Who Do You Think You Are? Live is a close second, which I’m still to do. So that one’s still on the “bucket list”. 2. The genealogy speaker I would most like to hear and see is … PARTLY DONE. This is a tough one, as I have seen and heard so many great speakers, though I know there would be so many more that I haven’t heard yet. So my answer is more along the lines of those I know, that I’d love to sit and listen to all day: Judy G. Russell, Paul Milner, Thomas MacEntee, Helen V. Smith, Shauna Hicks, Chris Paton. I have heard from others that Blaine Bettinger and David Rencher are also incredibly great speakers and very inspiring. So hopefully one day I’ll get to hear them in person....

Hoon, and You’ll be Fined … Even in the 1840s...

Same thing. Different century. And still boys will be boys! These days it’s reckless driving, back then it was reckless riding … Furious riding and driving are daily witnessed in Sydney to the extreme annoyance and danger of all persons who may happen to be in the street. People, whether drunk or sober, seem equally careless of the consequence to be apprehended from such wanton conduct, and we often wonder that children and others are not more frequently rendered the objects of accidents; For the middle of the streets are seldom empty, and indeed the contempt of danger of those on foot seems quite equal to the absence of caution on the part of riders and drivers. On Monday a youth on horse-back rode at a quick rate, nearly at full speed, through the street, and knocked down a young girl, the mother of a child, with the child in her arms, and occasioned in her very serious injury. A complaint was made at the Police Office, and the offender was committed to the Sessions for the assault. – The Australian Sydney, NSW, 14 February 1827, pg2 Back in the 1840s a law was passed in South Australia to fine those who were “furious riding or driving”. In otherwords, speeding or ‘hooning’ on your horse, as opposed to speeding or ‘hooning’ in a car as it is these days. Furious Riding or Driving By the provisions of the New Police Act, furious riding or driving is punishable by a fine of from Two to Ten pounds. It will be seen by our police report that a penalty of the lowest amount was enforced yesterday against a person for galloping in Hindley street. He pleaded ignorance of the Act (an excuse not likely long to be available), which was apparently the occasion...

Another Copyright Issue

Copyright. Yes, it’s that word again. The word few like the hear. The word that gets me kicked out of Facebook groups. But the word copyright is an important one. Copyright is there for a reason. Copyight is a law that is there to protect the work of the author or compiler. But before I get into that, let me just say that there’s no doubt that genealogists for the most part, are a wonderful bunch of generous people who love to help each other out. Be it on research advice, cemetery visits, or lookups. Research advice, fine. Cemetery visits, transcriptions or headstone photos fine. But lookups can be an issue. The issue of doing lookups from big-pay-sites has been mentioned before, and you can read all about that here, as has the general copyright issue before which you can read here. But another copyright issue has come up that needs to be addressed, and that is offering lookups from books. In theory doing a lookup from a book sounds fine. You have a book, you offer to do lookups, and respond back to those who ask with details of yes/no they’re in there. But this is the digital age, and what I saw on Facebook was someone offering to do lookups from a number of books (probably all out of print, but all still in copyright). But to help out fellow researchers, the person had kindly photographed the entire index of each book and pasted it online. Like it or not, that breaches copyright law. Several in fact. But not only that, the person then posted photographs of EVERY page that anyone was interested in. Again. That breaches copyright. Copyright is there for a reason. It is to protect...

1 Name. 61 Variants

Anyone who’s been researching been researching for longer than a week will know that name variants play a big HUGE part in research. Both with first names, and surnames. Figuring out how names were potentially spelt (or ‘spelled’ for my North American readers) can be the difference between finding them or not. I’m not going to go into the in’s and out’s of name variants, but rather I wanted to highlight two particular surnames, and all the variants that I’ve found for them so far. There’s 61 of them for one, and 31 for the other. And truth is, I really wouldn’t be surprised if more show up. So let’s start with ELLIOT. This is one of Mr Lonetester’s branches, while ELLIOTT (with two “Ts”) is one of mine, with no connection that I know of between them at this stage. We all know that there are numerous variants of Elliott: one “L”, two “Ls”, one “T”, two “Ts”, but what I didn’t realise is just how many more there really are. One thing I like to do when beginning searching a new surname is to note down all the variants. That way when I’m searching, be it a website, a book or records, I can look for them all, and see what I come up with. Mr Lonetester’s ELLIOT family possibly came from Sussex (that’s still to be verified), but I headed (online) to the Sussex Family History Society to browse around and see what they had. Now they have the coolest thing on their website, and that’s the Sussex People Index.  In their words … The Sussex People Index consists of any names that anyone can submit from anywhere – the only condition is that the event reported must...