Leaving Comments on a Blogger Blog...

Has anyone else had issues leaving comments on someone’s Blogger blog, or is just me? I’m of the opinion that blogging is a two way thing. Someone writes something cool and interesting, you read it, and if you like you should leave a comment acknowledging it, or share it on social media.  So when I read blogs, I do like to comment. However some people who use Blogger have theirs set up differently, so that unfortunately won’t allow me to do so. As these bloggers probably aren’t aware that they’re missing out on potential comments, I thought I would highlight it here. Example 1. This seems to be the standard set of options which it allows you to sign into to leave a comment. However I don’t use LiveJournal, TypePad or OpenID. I have no idea what AIM is, but it doesn’t seem to be anything I can use. And yes, I do have a WordPress blog, but I have a WordPress.org not a WordPress.com one, so I don’t have a WordPress account. So none of these options work for me. I will admit that on rare occasions I have used ‘Unknown’ and just typed my name in as part of the comment, but it’s not ideal by any means. Example 2. This is actually a different issue I have with some Blogger blogs. you’ll see that there is no dropdown list, but rather simply a box to type. However comments based on your Google+ account. Now I manage four Google+ accounts, and it seems to be permanently preferrenced to my work ones. As yet I haven’t yet figured out how to change it, although I’m familiar enough with swapping between accounts themselves on Google+. So again, I don’t...

The Intriguing Story Behind Barber Poles...

It’s become universal. A red, white and blue striped pole means barber shop. But why and when did it become a thing? Let’s me start by saying I work in a shop that has a barber shop next door. Being a good barber (and a Greek one at that), he loves to talk, so it was only natural that one day we got on to the topic of barber poles, and significance of the stripes. So I gave him a little history lesson! Way back … and we’re talking back in medieval times here, barber’s didn’t just cut hair and offer shaves. No, no, no. They were also the local dentist, doctor and surgeon as well, and they were known as barber-surgeons. Elizabeth Roberts writes it well … “Up until the 19th century barbers were generally referred to as barber-surgeons, and they were called upon to perform a wide variety of tasks. They treated and extracted teeth, branded slaves, created ritual tattoos or scars, cut out gallstones and hangnails, set fractures, gave enemas, and lanced abscesses. Whereas physicians of their age examined urine or studied the stars to determine a patient’s diagnosis, barber-surgeons experienced their patients up close and personal. Many patients would go to their local barber for semi-annual bloodletting, much like you take your car in for a periodic oil change.” Just to clarify things, physicians were the academics, who tended to work in universities, and mostly dealt with patients as an observer or a consultant, and considered surgery to be beneath them. I sure can’t imagine my shop neighbour doing anything of the like. In fact I think he’d faint at the sight of blood. Anyway back to the significance of the barber poles. Dr Lindsey Fitzharris,...

Well, That Was Disappointing: The Value of “Negative Evidence”...

We’ve all been there. We’ve done searches looking for an ancestor, and simply came up with nothing. We’ve tried numerous alternate spellings. Eliminated the date. And even omitted the parents names. And still Zip. Zilch. Nada. In fact the name you were searching doesn’t even appear. Or anything even remotely like it. So what now? Some would say that they’ve wasted time, effort and money, but in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. What you’ve done is find “negative evidence”. In effect you are eliminating sources. So then narrowing down your search list. Negative Evidence is far more valuable that most give credit for, so don’t ever discard this information. Record it in a research log, noting down your search term, what (book, website, journal, archive etc) you searched, what you found (or not), and the date. If is is a website, you might want to note to recheck it later, as we all know new records do get added online regularly. An added bonus with a Research Log is that you can see exactly what you found (or didn’t find) when. So when you pick up that line a couple of years later, you don’t have to repeat all the same searches (unless they’re websites of course). And if you don’t have a Research Log as yet, you’ll find some great Research Log Templates over on Cyndi’s List which you can download and printout for free. So while it’s not as exciting as finding your ancestor, NEGATIVE EVIDENCE really is a GOOD thing. Try it. You’ll be amazed at how much time it can actually save...

The Top Hat, the Riot, and the £500 Fine...

On this day 220 years ago, 15 January 1797, something lifechanging happened. The world of fashion changed on that day. Top hats were created. Yes, that right. The fashion icon of the upperclass and gentry in the Edwardian and Victorian eras, and a must have accessory for anyone who’s into Steampunk style, was created. But not all went smoothly for the creator John Hetherington, as his newly designed head attire caused a riot. The condensed version of story is as follows … The first Top Hat was worn by haberdasher John Hetherington on 15 January 1797, in London, England. When Heatherington stepped from his shop at 11am wearing his unusual headgear, a crowd quickly gathered to stare. The gathering soon turned into a crowd crush as people pushed and shoved against each other, resulting in a broken arm for one person there. As a result, Hetherington was summoned to appear in court before the Lord Mayor and fined £500 for breaching the peace. He was also charged with appearing “on the public highway wearing a tall structure of shining lustre and calculated to terrify people, frighten horses and disturb the balance of society”. However, within a month, he was overwhelmed with orders for the new headwear. Trove has many articles detailing the “origin of the Top Hat”. Here’s a few of the longer versions of the story if you wish to check them out. – How the First Silk Hat Startled London, Launceston Examiner, 17 February 1899 – The First Silk Hat, Evening News Sydney, 25 February 1899 – The First Top Hat, Canberra Times, 10 June 1927 Personally I’m totally thankful to John Hetherington, as I’m a lover of the Victorian era style, and really LOVE top hats,...

10 Inspiring Genealogists From 2016...

The year is almost over and as I’m not one for resolutions I’m not going to write about what I plan to do in 2017. And I’m also not going to write about what I ‘should’ have done this year either, but rather I’m writing about those who inspire me. Everyone has people they look up to and admire. Those whose talks you enjoy listening to, articles you read, or who give great advice,  and in essence – inspire you. So as the year comes to a close I’m taking a moment to look back and see who from the genealogy-world who inspired me throughout the year. Amy Johnson Crow – Amy Johnson Crow I’m a newbie follower of Amy’s, but I’m a total convert. Her blog posts are a pure learning experience, both in terms of content and in the presentation style. With her 31 Days to Better Genealogy, along with Top Tips, and 5 Sources… and so on, take a moment to check out her blog and see what you can learn from it. Cyndi Ingle – Cyndi’s List I am a regular user of Cyndi’s List, and as such I am always amazed at what I find on there, and that simply due to the hard work of Cyndi Ingle, who without her, Cyndi’s List wouldn’t even exist. Her dedication to keeping her site up to date with new links, and fixing broken ones, has made Cyndi’s List one of the top tools for any researcher around the world. And is a credit to her and her character. Helen V. Smith – From Helen V. Smith’s Keyboard With Helen’s knowledge and enthusiasm, how could anyone not be inspired? Despite being a fellow Aussie, I haven’t had...

Genealogists Are “My Tribe”...

I recently saw a reference where a person was saying that they were part of a tribe. Not in the traditional sense of the the meaning tribe, but rather that they had an affiliation with a group of people with a common interest. Well if that’s the case, genealogists are “my tribe”. So what makes me say this? For one thing geniepeeps understand why we do what we do. Those in my tribe understand that you can get up (or still be up) at 2am and finally get that breakthrough with a record that you’ve been searching for for the past seven years. But of course you can’t wake the non-genies in the house to share your excitement, but you can shout it out loud on social media to your geniefriends around the world, and THEY TOTALLY UNDERSTAND. Fellow genealogists understand that a day out for a drive usually involves visiting a cemetery or two along the way. And that a holiday is normally planned around ancestral places you’d like to visit, or archives that may hold vital records relevant to your research. They understand the excitement that a certificate brings, and they understand when you get a day (or week) off, that that is RESEARCH TIME. Who cares about the housework, filing, getting the car serviced and so on, research comes first. But mostly I claim them as “my tribe” because they are my friends and mentors, who are helpful, inspiring and a very welcoming bunch of people. Wikipedia’s definition of tribe states: “A tribe is viewed, developmentally or historically, as a social group existing before the development of, or outside, states. A tribe is a group of distinct people, dependent on their land for their livelihood, who...

What Got You Started?

What got you started? This is a question I have heard a lot, and it’s also one that I have asked many people. And I still find it interesting to hear the varying answers. It is also one that Amy Johnson Crow recently asked. [By the way, if you don’t follow her blog yet, take a few minutes to at least check it out … it’s really is one you should be reading!!] Anyway back to the question … for some it is to help out their parents or grandparents. For others their interest was sparked with the discovery of an old document, photos or letters. Other love the hunt – piecing the family jigsaw together. Or it might be simply proving (or disproving) a family story, while for some the interest in history has always there. For me … I would have to say while the hunt is a factor, I would also say that I’m in that latter category in that the ‘interest’ was there, but having grown up in the family history scene I knew how addictive this hobby disease could be – I’d seen it with my own eyes from a very young age, so I was forewarned. And because of that I procrastinated. Then one day I woke up and decided that enough was enough … what was I waiting for? Ok, in reality I was waiting for more time (aren’t we all) … but I still have family living, so I NEEDED to start. NOW! And so I did. Going back to when I was about 10 or so, I do have a very vivid recollection of my dad telling me that we were related to the Kelly’s  … which of course to...

2014: What Are You Thankful For?...

With only a few days until we reach the end of 2014 it seems timely to do a little review. For those who might be new readers here let me tell you that I’m not a resolution-maker. No-sir-ee. In fact I think for many people they do more harm than good by creating a burden. Think about it. If you make a list, revisit it later, and find that you’ve only done half (if that) of what you’d hoped to achieve, that would bum you out, right. And fair enough. While that approach may work for some people, but it’s just not my style. Instead I prefer the approach that Jill Ball took with a geneameme she made in 2012 titled “Accentuate the Positive”, which as you guessed it, focusses on highlighting what you had achieved throughout the year. And another favourite was Judy G. Russell’s Thanksgiving post on “Giving Thanks in 2014” as well. Judy not only writes really well in her posts, but she has a knack of putting things into perspective, which in today’s crazy world can be something we forget. So my aim for this post is the take a look back over the past year, and note what I am thankful for … – I am thankful for my wonderful family: Mr Lonetester who has been with me many years, and is still my best friend. My parents and brother who I work with each day, and we still mostly get along. And my fur-family of cats, who I miss every time I  go away. Life is just not the same without cats. – I am thankful for my job. I really do love my job, afterall I am surrounded by genealogy stuff all...

It Was Time For a Change...

There comes a time with most things when it is time for a change. Clothes wear out, appliances give up, websites can look tired, and sometimes it’s just nice to “spruce” things up. I’ve felt that way for a while now about my blog, and I did actually change it about 3 months ago, though I’m sure none of you saw it, as it only lasted all of a day. The reason was that I missed the old look, as well as not being able to customise it as I had expected. So the need for a change was there. So what do you do on a quiet at-home Saturday night (particularly one when Trove is down)? Well, I’m not sure about you, but I spent it browsing blog template themes. I tend to use those on the Elegant Themes site for mine. Anyway  I found one that looked neat, was readable, and still bold – all features I consider important. So I took the plunge, downloaded the theme, and uploaded it to my blog. Then I spent last night tweaking it – and I must say that I’m still happy with this one, so I expect it to stay. In making the change, I have also update my categories a bit. Afterall, with over 200 posts, things can get a little out of hand if you don’t keep your categories in check – but they’re all tidy now. So subject to this template working as I expect (and hope) it will, I’ll stick with...

Doing a Whole Lot of Dancing!...

Monday last week was a crazy (weird crazy) day. It started off with a call from a guy about some heirlooms another person discovered, and I’ve been traced as being the “nearest relative who is interested in them (and who won’t sell them off)” – but all of that is a story in itself, so I’ll save all of that for another day. But as any genienut knows heirlooms are awesome, so as you can imagine I was on a bit of a high, and yes, felt like dancing. Then I got the mail at work, and I finally got my copy of Inside History Magazine’s September/October 2014 Issue (No. 24). I’m still a paper copy magazine type gal so had to wait impatiently for Australia Post to deliver it. While I’m into some techy-stuff, magazines and books, the old school paper-ones do it for me. Anyway while I’d been waiting for my copy to arrive, I’d seen a number of comments on social media from those that got the digital copy so was really excited, as this issue had their annual Top 50 Genealogy Blogs list in it which I knew about thanks to Jill Ball announcing that it was coming in her 50 blogs you need to read post. Anyway I love these lists, as there’s always blogs I discover from them. And as Jill says … “There you will find example of blogs that are challenging, charming, chatty, classy and clever. There is something for everyone.” Compiled by Australian queen of geneablogging, Jill Ball primarily known for her Geniaus blog, but also author of Android Genealogy and GeneaDictionary to name a few of her other blogs. Inside History Magazine’s now annual “top 50 genealogy blogs” list...