Counting Down to Geneacruising Alaska in 2018...

What’s better than a cruise? A genealogy cruise of course. Well, it is in my opinion anyway, and I’m already looking forward to my next one … Alaska. In September 2018 (7 September 2018 to be exact), Unlock the Past’s Alaska cruise will leave from the docks at Seattle, USA, and head up the coast for a 7 day cruise to Alaska and back. I have seen some amazing places on previous cruises, but I’ve not been to Alaska. But everyone who has, tells me it is absolutely incredible, so I’m looking forward to it. But then combine the amazing scenery with a phenomenal ship that has everything catered for, and a genealogy conference with world-class speakers … what’s not to love? So yes, I’m counting down! WHEN: 7-14 September 2018 ITINERARY: Seattle, USA > Inside Passage, Canada > Juneau, USA > Skagway, USA > Tracy Arm, USA > Victoria, Canada > Seattle, USA SHIP: Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas  COST: from AU$1471 (approx US$1100, GB£870) and includes all onboard accommodation, standard meals, taxes, gratuities and conference cost. PRESENTERS: Chris Paton (Scotland) Dick Eastman (USA), Dr Janet Few (England) Jan Gow (New Zealand) Caroline Gurney (England) Shauna Hicks (Australia) Cyndi Ingle (USA) Eric Kopittke (Australia) Rosemary Kopittke (Australia) Mike Murray (Australia) Mile High Transcripts (USA) Michelle Patient (New Zealand) Pat Richley-Erickson (aka Dear Myrtle) (USA) Helen Smith (Australia) … and more still the be announced! So apart from the awesome group of speakers, and meeting with a great bunch of other genealogists, there are still further benefits of genealogy cruising: – there are no meals to prepare (not even mentioning the incredible buffets on offer) – no housekeeping (your room is tidied everyday by cruise staff) – and you...

Unlock the Past’s Researching Abroad Roadshow in Adelaide...

Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to attend the Unlock the Past Researching Abroad Roadshow, with Chris Paton from Scotland and Dirk Weissleder from Germany as the key speakers. This two day seminar was designed specifically for those who are researching their British Isles (particularly Scotland and Ireland), and European (particularly German) ancestors. But first up a little disclosure: technically I went as part of the organising committee (Unlock the Past), and as an exhibitor (Gould Genealogy). But still, I got to enjoy, learn and be inspired by such great speakers … so I wasn’t complaining. Chris and Dirk, along with  others from the Unlock the Past crew have been touring Australia and New Zealand for the past 2 1/2 weeks already, with Adelaide being stop six of seven. Perth is the last one, which is on today, before they head on home. DAY 1 – Wednesday Chris kicked of the event by talking about British and Irish Newspapers, and says that if you haven’t been using newspapers as part of your research – you should be. There was a new-to-me Irish one he mentioned which was the Irish News Archive. A pay-site, they offer a 1 day, 1 month and year options, so that will be something I need to check out when I tackle my Irish lines. Also be check which edition of the newspaper you’re looking at of that day (early edition or late edition) as they can vary. Chris did three other talks throughout the day: Scottish research resources before 1800, British censuses and substitutes, and Irish family history resources online. I’ve got a bunch of notes scribbled down together with web addresses to check out … so really, I just need more time to research,...

National Family History Month – Bring it ON!...

July has all but gone, which means that August is almost here, and for family historians (at least in Australia and New Zealand), that’s good news as August is National Family History Month. YAY!! So what does this mean? It means that we (meaning ‘we’ as researchers) have an opportunity to share our knowledge with others and encourage them in their search. It also means we should take some time to self-educate ourselves … afterall, the more you learn, the better researcher you’ll be. Read a guidebook, watch a webinar, go to your local library or society to check out what they have. Grab a copy of a genie mag from your local newsagent and find out the latest news and tips from that. Revisit a website you haven’t been to for a while. Interview a relative, even just a question or two. Scan or simply file and label photos. Order a certificate. Do some transcribing. Maybe even take the plunge and start your own blog? There’s so many things you can do for NFHM, it’s not hard. Getting started …  For those that haven’t started the search, or have ‘just’ started, this is a great time for you. Just check with your local library or genealogy society to see when they’ll be open, and what they offer in relation to beginners talks, or one-on-one help.  Do yourself a favour, and get some good guidance at the beginning, it makes the world of difference and will help your search. And why not join a genealogy Facebook group (trust me there are 1000s out there). The events … The National Family History Month website is the place to check to see what organised events are on in your area. With over...

This Time I’m an Ambassador...

I’ve been to many genealogy events over the years. Local South Australian ones, big Australian ones, and even bigger International ones, and while I’ve written about many of them over the years, I’ve never taken on the role of “Official Blogger”, or the more recent term of “Official Ambassador”… at least until now. Unlock the Past’s “Researching Abroad Roadshow” is coming up in August 2017, and I’m excited to say that I will be an Official Ambassador (ie. Official Blogger) for the event. I will be going to the Adelaide leg of their tour (23-24 August), and will get to hear both Chris Paton (from Scotland) and Dirk Weissleder (from Germany) speak, together with other guest presenters on DNA, as well as British Isles and European resources that are available to use locally. I have met Chris a number of times over the years, and he’s one of the funniest and easiest people to listen and learn from, and his knowledge of Irish and Scottish research and records is incredible. While I haven’t heard Dirk speak, he was a speaker at RootsTech earlier this year, so I managed to meet him there, and I look forward to catching up again, and learning how to to go about researching Mr Lonetester’s German roots. It’s always been one of those “I’ll get to it sometime” branches. Anyway going to an event is not only inspiring, and a way to learn and get totally enthused, but you also get a vibe from meeting others who love genealogy just as much as you do! So they totally understand. As an Ambassador I’ll be reporting about how it all went in due course. But why not come along anyway. The Roadshow will be visiting Auckland,...

South Australia’s History Festival 2017 in Review...

Well May came, and May went … and to say it flew by is an understatement. So that means bye, bye to South Australia’s History Festival for another year. As far as attending events, I did better this year than I have in the past, as I planned ahead and made sure I booked into things early, and I even managed to get a little time off to go to some but I had to stop looking at the program, as I was just getting annoyed at all the awesome things on, that I couldn’t get to. Anyway I promised a mini review of the events I went to, so here goes … Friday 5 May 2017 & Saturday 6 May 2017 Exploring & Writing Family & Local History seminar organised by Unlock the Past This seminar was organised by my work, so I was partly working at the event (manning the Gould Genealogy display tables). But as our tables were in the same room the talks, I got to hear them too. There was 16 talks packed into 2 days, so it was pretty full on, but the talks were great, and much was learned. There was a great turnout for the event with a number coming from country South Australia, and even a few from interstate. I’m not going to write a review of each talk, but there was many great points gained from them. House history, maps, DNA, writing your history, oral history, photos, black sheep and so much more was covered. As a bonus I got to catch up with two fellow geneabloggers, and that’s a real treat as there doesn’t seem to be too many of us in South Australia. Monday 8 May 2017 Meet...

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...

RootsTech 2017 – The People You Meet...

For me the best part of RootsTech is the people. Yes, were are many, many, MANY thousands of people who attended (around 30,000 they say), and no, I didn’t meet them all … but I did get to catch up with quite a number of friends, as well as meeting a bunch of wonderful people for the first time. This is a collection of photos of some of the people I met. Some were were taken at lunches, others at dinner, a number at RootsTech itself, and a few at after parties. Please note they’re in no particular order. Enjoy! As someone told me, “RootsTech brings us together from around the world”, and it’s true, with people from around 40 different countries attending this year. The geneablogger community, as well as the wider genealogy community is such a wonderful group to be a part of. So friendly and so welcoming. And thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. Well that’s all for RootsTech 2017 from me. But for a whole heap more reports, be sure to check out Randy Seaver’s compilation of other bloggers reports...

RootsTech 2017 – A Few Words From the Autograph Book...

Wherever I went during RootsTech 2017 (and even the few days prior), I made sure I had my autograph book with me. Putting it simply you just never know who you’ll meet, where. And that proved very true. I tried to make the most of my opportunities. I had such fun meeting people and asking if they’d like to sign my book. And surprisingly not a single person refused. All up I had 95 people from 11 different countries sign my book (Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Israel, Norway, France, Germany and Poland) which is awesome. And there’s so many beautiful comments that people have written, I wanted to share a few of them with you. Note for privacy reasons I have chosen not to include the names of those who wrote them. Thankyou for your wonderful friendship. Hope you are enjoying America and Utah. have fun hunting for your ancestors. Thrilled to have a visitor from so far. Thanks for making our day brighter. I always enjoy spending time with you, so this is a bonus. Have a wonderful RootsTech. Do you know the difference between inlaws and outlaws? Outlaws are wanted! We live as long as long as we are remembered – keep on remembering those ancestors! We’ll have to stop meeting like this – people will talk! Alona, so great to meet you. Looking forward to many more fun adventures here @ RootsTech 2017. To my genimate, Alona. So thrilled to be sharing the RootsTech experience with you once more. Happy ancestor hunting. I wish you the very best in your genealogy work – you’re quite the beautiful, energetic, friendly & vivacious personality. It’s so great that RootsTech brings us together from all over the...

RootsTech 2017 – An Overview...

RootsTech came, and RootsTech went. And that’s it for another year. It kind of reminds me of Christmas. There is so much excitement and buildup to it, then the crazyness of it all while it’s on, and suddenly it’s all over, and everyone heads on home, back to their own part of the world. And then the post-RootsTech blues set in. So while I can’t convey the whole vibe that RootsTech has, I’ll do my best by sharing a few pictures with you of my experience there. I’ll be honest I can’t give you any report on the keynote sessions, or even a single talk as I didn’t get to any. My RootsTech experience was in the Expo Hall. Since I went as an exhibitor, that’s where I hung out. Everything about RootsTech is BIG. Actually it would be more technically correct to GIANT. The venue (the Salt Palace Convention Centre) itself is massive. The banners were massive, the room the keynote talks were in is big enough to hold 10,000 people. The Expo Hall is the size of several football fields, with hundreds of exhibitors. It’s a massive event, unlike any other genealogy event in the world … and I know I’ve said it before, but if you EVER get the opportunity to go, DO IT! This quote did the rounds on Twitter, and it most certainly is true. “RootsTech is Disneyland for Genealogists!” The Expo hall not only had hundreds of exhibitors, big and small, there were also places to get one-on-one research, the comfy lounge chair area for the demo theatre, numerous mini-theatres within stands to learn more about something specific. You could get heirlooms valued, tell a family story in the ‘story booth’, get photos...

RootsTech 2017 – Behind the Scenes Set-up...

For most who attend RootsTech, they arrive, go to talks, and wander around the Expo Hall, but they may not realise just HOW MUCH effort goes into the event. As I work for a company that does organise genealogy events, I know that months of planning is required to make it happen. I also know that our events are not even comparable in any sense of the word to RootsTech, so I imagine that years of planning is what’s required for even just one of these. Just setting up the RootsTech Expo Hall is a mammoth task. With hundreds of exhibitors, there were probably over a thousand people who were busy for several days getting set up. And as an exhibitor (this time with Unlock the Past/Unlock the Past Cruises), this is a sight I’m familiar with, but figured most wouldn’t be, so I thought I’d share a few pics of the set-up. You’ll see crates, cases and pallets of supplies delivered, as well as forklifts, cherrypickers, and giant ladders everywhere. Not to mention the big team of people from the convention centre itself who have been busy laying carpet and making sure each booth has the right tables and chairs, as well as power. That’s an incredible job in itself! So for those who attend RootsTech, or even those who see photos of it from afar, you’ll see how lovely they all look (and they really do). Just take a moment to think of the exhausting amount of work that went into the set up, even before the exhibition opened! Next up three crazy days of...