Unlock the Past’s Australian History & Genealogy Expo 2016...

Unlock the Past’s Australian History & Genealogy Expo 2016 is coming and it’s big … ok, it’s not to the size of RootsTech or Who Do You Think You Are? Live! … but it’s big by Australian genealogy conference standards. In fact, it’s the biggest we’ve had. For anyone who’s into genealogy particularly those in Australia (or anyone who wishes to visit from overseas, you’re more than welcome to come and visit my beautiful home city of Adelaide), this really is something you won’t want to miss. The Expo is being organised by Unlock the Past, who along with being one of Australia’s leaders in promoting history and genealogy, have organised Expo’s and other events around Australia and as well as held genealogy cruises over the past few years. Firstly a few numbers and details Let’s start with a few stats – held over 2 days – 100+ exhibitors (with many coming from interstate or overseas) – 90 talks – 35+ speakers There will be workshops, getting started talks, advanced talks and one-on-one Research Help Zone sessions with experts, and a large Expo hall. The Where: Immanuel College, 32 Morphett Road, Novar Gardens, South Australia The When: 7-8 October 2016 The Time: Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 9am-4pm The Admission Cost: $15/1 day; $20/2 days, 18 and under free The Speakers The speakers are coming from all around Australia with a few from overseas too: – Dr Tom Lewis (author and military historian) – Philip Payton (well-known authority on Cornish history, and Australia in WW1) – Brad Argent (Ancestry UK) – Jeremy Austin (Australian DNA Database Project) – John Donaldson (Family Tree Maker specialist) – Greg Drew (South Australian mining history) – Andrew Gildea (from Finders Cafe) – Jan Gow (well-known...

10th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 15-19 Koalas, Dolphins and a Helicopter...

The last few days of the cruise involved a stop at Adelaide, followed by three full days of talks as we sailed to Fremantle. So lets get into it … Day 15 – Adelaide (Sunday 28 February 2016) Our stop in Adelaide, which is my hometown, was one of touristing. Mr Lonetester picked myself, Judy Russell and Helen Smith up from the port and we went off for the day. After driving through the city of Adelaide to show Judy why Adelaide is called “the city of Churches” we headed for the hills, and went to the Gorge Wildlife Park at Cudlee Creek. It’s a small wildlife park, but there is still so much to see (and photograph). Before leaving there I did have to make sure that Judy hadn’t put either the adorable baby wallaby or koala in her backpack. I know she desperately wanted to!! Our second stop was lunch at Billy Baxter’s which had great food and was conveniently located in the same shopping centre as Haigh’s Chocolates – which was a MUST VISIT place for Helen. And since she’s deprived of Haigh’s stores in Queensland, she stocked up. As Judy is missing her kitty’s, we did a quick stop at my house as I have four furbabies. Two of them reluctantly decided to show their face, and Judy got to pat them, so she was happy. The last stop of our whistlestop outing was a quick visit to my shop (Gould Genealogy & History). Afterall how could you be a genealogist, come to South Oz, and not visit our store? Lovely weather. Lovely company. It was a great day out. And the day finished with Louis Kessler giving us a beginners guide to Jewish genealogy. As this wasn’t...

10th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 12-14 Genealogy, Friends and More Genealogy...

In case you haven’t gathered from my previous posts, geneacruising (aka genealogy conferencing onboard a cruise ship) is a whole lot of fun. You get to see great places, you get to make wonderful new friends, and you get to do a whole lot of learning – to the point where no some are already wanting to go home and restart researching, they’re so enthused. And that’s without mentioning that the food is there for you, your room is tidied twice a day, and the laundry service (although expensive) is invaluable. So let me continue with my reporting on the 10th cruise for you … Day 12 – at Sea (Thursday 25 February 2016) The second half of Day 12 for me was spent in the Conference room. After walking out on lunch at the Silk Harvest Restaurant, I grabbed a snack and headed straight for the Conference room, and sat in on the next six talks that were scheduled for the rest of the day: – Document analysis workshop part 1 (Helen Smith) – Document analysis workshop part 2 (Helen Smith) – DNA and the golden rule: the law and ethics of genetic genealogy (Judy G. Russell) – Online trends in family history (Shauna Hicks) – Future Unlock the Past cruises (Alan Phillips) – Asylum records: a place to look for missing ancestors (Shauna Hicks) Louis Kessler was scheduled to do two talks today, but due to feeling unwell, so they were rescheduled and will be heard later on the cruise. Helen’s talks on document analysis went indepth showing all the information that you can (and should be) gleaning from various records. Too often people simply looks for the names in the middle, and miss the many other...

10th Unlock the Past Cruise: Day 12 Behind the Scenes...

Day 12 – at Sea (Thursday 25 February 2016) Our cruise continues, and this post is part 1 of my report of Day 12 of the 10th Unlock the Past cruise. I spent the whole morning of this day exploring the ship. And I don’t mean the regular public areas (any of the 16 decks), even though there are areas of this ship I haven’t seen yet. But in this case I’m meaning the areas that passengers normally don’t get to see. I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in a “Behind the Scenes” tour of the ship. The rest of Day 12s happenings will follow in a separate post. The day was sea day, so it was a full day of talks, but I skipped the morning ones to take part in the tour and to say it was fascinating is an understatement. We were taken to the bridge and met the captain, the stage and costume area, the mooring station (where the ropes and anchors are) – they are beyond HUGE, the recycling area (they recycle nearly everything), the food storage and freezer areas, the wine and beer storage room, the engineering room, one of the nine or so galley (food preparation areas), the crew “mess hall” meal area, the crew bar and their shop, the main hall way (highway I95). Two places that I was hoping to see, that wasn’t on this tour was the laundry and printing areas – they are fascinating. Oh well. The tour was followed by a special lunch at the Silk Harvest Restaurant (the asian specialty restaurant onboard), however I didn’t stay for that, as I needed to get back to the conference. Anyway I wanted to share...

10th Unlock the Past Cruise: Day 11 Hummer, Didgeridoos, Sunshine...

Day 11 – Sydney (Wednesday 24 February 2016) Day 11 of the 10th Unlock the Past cruise, and we made it back to Australian land with Sydney being our first of four stops. And the beautiful weather that we ordered most certainly delivered. It was a magnificent “blue-sky-not-a-cloud-in-the-sky-warm-day”. In other words a perfect day to walk around Sydney. And also after New Zealand’s cooler weather it was so nice to feel the sun again. While the rest of the UTP team went ashore for a shore seminar held at the Society of Australian Genealogists, I went ashore and wandered around for a few hours. As there was a big ship docked in Circular Quay, our ship had to moor out in the harbour, and were ferried ashore. I walked around Circular Quay, so of course I saw the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. But I also went to the Botanic Gardens which is lovely, though did seem to have a high number of joggers I had to get out of the way of. But other things I saw on my walking travels was a stretch Hummer (as you’d expect, eh?), a number of buskers including an Aboriginal didgeridoo player. That awesome sound was certainly got the attention of the tourists. I also saw a gent dressed up as Captain Cook, not to mention the primary school kids dressed as convicts. After several hours of walking (and apparently getting a touch sunburnt), I decided to head back to the ship to spend the afternoon blogging. As our ship didn’t leave Sydney until 10pm, I headed ashore again to catch up with a bunch of genie friends from Sydney for dinner. A big thankyou to Jill Ball, Kerry Farmer,...

10th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 7-10 Chocolate, Bagpipes, Mountains and Talks Galore...

It’s hard to believe that a week on the 10th Unlock the Past cruise has passed by already. But what’s harder to believe is how many more days are still left. So the adventures continue with the ship stopping at Dunedin and Fiordland where we saw Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound (ok, technically it didn’t stop, but we gently sailed through them) and then it was time to leave New Zealand and head for Australia. Day 7 – Dunedin (Saturday 20 February 2016) While I have visited New Zealand previously, I hadn’t been to the South Island at all, so everything there was new to me, including Dunedin. This was also the next stop for shore seminars for the Unlock the Past team, but for me it was a day to explore again. We docked at the freight yard and were bused into Dunedin city. The city map I was given showed that there was a Cadbury Chocolate Factory in the city centre, so being the chocoholic that I am, that’s where I headed first. Not only do they have a shop with “Cadbury” everything, but I was able to do tour of the factory, getting samples along the way … of course. After exploring a few more streets and shops I headed back to the port, after which I then decided to walk up a big hill that overlooked the harbour the dockyards. Why I still don’t know – but  I did. And the view was spectacular, which was just as well, after all that effort. The ship left Dunedin at 5pm and headed for The Sounds, but at around 7pm we were turning around and the Captain advised that there had been a medical emergency...

10th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 4-6 Genealogy, Crazy Wind and Step Record...

The 10th Unlock the Past cruise continues. And the days continue to fly by faster than I can write posts with slow internet. Anyway here is a summary of days 4-6 happenings for you. Day 4 – At Sea (Wednesday 17 February 2016) Wednesday was our first proper conference day, with seven talks scheduled throughout the day, and as is the case with all Unlock the Past cruises, you simply pick and choose what you want to go to. I sat in on four of them. –    How to improve research with source-based genealogy (Louis Kessler) –    In their own words: using government enquiries (Helen Smith) –    The common poor: transported, indentured, enslaved (Judy Russell) –    Love, sex and damn lies (Shauna Hicks) Louis discussed the way of using sources to create a tree, rather than having a name and then finding the sources afterwards. Helen spoke about finding records that are written in your ancestors “own words”. Apart from diaries and letters, there are a number of records like newspapers, criminal records (eg. Old Bailey contains transcripts of the court proceedings) – these are people’s “own words”. Judy’s talk the common poor opened everyone’s eye to the many records that are available for the poor. Shauna’s talk was one that suggested that if you have a person “disappear” there’s a good chance of a family skeleton.  It was a great day of learning, and we had our first Research Help Zone session, in which Judy gave me great tips for researching my Trewartha line in New Jersey. I’m looking forward to getting home and following up possible new leads. Day 5 – Wellington (Thursday 18 February 2016) Thursday was a day at Wellington, and while the rest of...

10th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 1-3 Embarking, Roses and Glow-worms...

The 10th Unlock the Past cruise is well underway, but due to a combination of meetings, slow internet and touristing, this is my first chance to report on the goings-on so far. So bear with me while I review the past few days. Day 1 – Auckland, Embarkation (Sunday 14 February 2016) The day went smooth enough after (eventually) getting breakfast at a cafe near our hotel. Don’t you just love it when your table gets forgotten? Anyway we got a couple of taxis from the hotel to the port squeezing seven of us and all of our luggage in (and I mean squeezing). Once there Paul Blake, Judy Russell and Helen Smith decided to explore Auckland some more prior to boarding, while the rest of the Unlock the Past team boarded, sussed out the Conference Room, and were having lunch by around 1pm. We set up the Registration desk so those who booked for the genealogy cruise could come and get their name tags and goodies throughout the arvo prior to the Lifeboat Drill. Dinner was in the formal dining room (which by the way, is way too fancy for me), but a very nice touch was that every female was given a red rose for Valentines Day, an after that we had a Meet and Greet session, introducing all of the guest speakers and welcoming the geneacruisers to the 10th Unlock the Past cruise. The evening was then spent getting settled into our room. Day 2 – Bay of Islands (Monday 15 February 2016) The trip from Auckland up to the Bay of Islands overnight a little rocky at times due to a cyclone that was near Fiji. Anyway all was good, and we docked early morning...

Counting Down to the 10th Unlock the Past Cruise...

I last wrote about the 10th Unlock the Past Cruise 4 months ago, and time (as expected), has simply flown since then. But with holidays, Christmas and New Year in between, it’s not surprising that we’re now about one month away, as confirmed by my countdown app. In my last post I wrote about the where this awesome ship was going (Auckland > various stops on New Zealand North Island > various stops on New Zealand South Island > Sydney > Melbourne> Adelaide > Fremantle). I wrote about the awesome speakers on it (including Judy Russell, Louis Kessler, Paul Blake, and a heap of others I’m looking forward to hearing). What I didn’t write about was the 72 talks that are going to held during the 18 day cruise. Yes you read right … SEVENTY TWO of them! Just how much of that I’ll soak up, I dunno. But I’ll certainly do my best. I’m not going to list all of the topics of the talks here, but rather I’ll give you just a taster. As per usual with all Unlock the Past cruises, there is an incredible range of topics, so there really is something for everyone. Genealogists, historians, beginners and advanced. – Fair use and fair dealing: copyright law for genealogists – Using British probate records to discover the origins of your emigrant ancestors – How to improve research with source-based genealogy – The common poor: transported, indentured, enslaved – Love, sex and damn lies – Health of the ANZACs in the Great War – Gadget Janet: 12 devices or programs that will turn your computer into a friend instead of a foe! – Of public wrongs: our common scoundrels – Using life events and ages to solve genealogy...

4 Months ’til we Geneacruise!!...

The year continues to march on with the days and weeks flying by. And with each day, the next geneacruise I’m going on, gets a day closer, and is now only 4 months away. (Christmas obviously comes before that, but no-one likes to be reminded of that, so I won’t mention it). While the 9th Unlock the Past Cruise (a short Brisbane cruise in December 2015) is Unlock the Past’s next geneacruise, the 10th Unlock the Past Cruise is the next one that I’m going on, so that’s the one I’m writing about here. The 10th Cruise will be leaving from Auckland, New Zealand and over the period of 18 days, travels down the coast of New Zealand, and across the bottom of Australia, right across to Fremantle, Western Australia. 10TH UNLOCK THE PAST CRUISE ITINERARY Day 1 – Sun 14 Feb – Auckland, New Zealand – depart 8 pm Day 2 – Mon 15 Feb – Bay of Islands, New Zealand – arrive 7 am, depart 6 pm (tendered) Day 3 – Tue 16 Feb – Tauranga, New Zealand – arrive 8 am, depart 6 pm Day 4 – Wed 17 Feb – at sea Day 5 – Thu 18 Feb – Wellington, New Zealand – arrive 8 am, depart 6 pm (tendered) Day 6 – Fri 19 Feb – Akaroa, New Zealand – arrive 8 am, depart 6 pm (tendered) Day 7 – Sat 20 Feb – Dunedin, New Zealand – arrive 7 am, depart 5 pm Day 8 – Sun 21 Feb – Dusky Sound – cruising 8 am to 9 am (cruising) Day 8 – Sun 21 Feb – Doubtful Sound – cruising 11.30 am to 1 pm (cruising) Day 8 – Sun 21 Feb –...