Give a Little This Christmas...

Every year we spend who knows how much on ‘stuff’. Stuff for ourselves during the year, and stuff for friends and family at birthdays and Christmas time. I’m not saying this is wrong, or even useless … but maybe you could consider giving one extra gift this year. At just $25 it’s not expensive, and you can help change someone’s life. Kiva is a non-profit site that offers microloans to people. Someone might need money to help put a roof on their house, to buy a cow or chicken, or seeds so they can plant and get food, money so they can get supplies for their shop, or even just get clean water … all things we take for granted. But it means the world to people elsewhere. Your $25 goes towards what they need. I was introduced to Kiva through fellow Aussie genealogist, Judy Webster, who created the Kiva group “Genealogists for Families“. Judy has continued her father’s tradition of lending money to hard-working people who want support but not handouts. Your $25 can be loaned over and over again, and as it is repaid, it does more good than a one-time donation to charity. Judy created this group in September 2011, has since then it has continually grown. Currently the Genealogists for Families group has 351 members (made up of geneapeeps from all around the world) who have collectively supplied loans to 9455 people. Impressive isn’t it! Here’s some other impressive figures … But it’s not so much the amount lent, or even the numbers of those lent to … but rather the fact that these people have then been able to continue on with life a little easier thanks to the loan. So while you’re out and...

Trove – Eight Years of Incredible Discoveries...

Eight years ago, the way of historical and genealogical research in Australia changed forever. Trove went live. Created by the National Library of Australia, the Trove website is a portal to their absolutely incredible collection of records. By “absolutely incredible”, I’m talking millions of records. But not “just” millions. How about 554,000,000 of them? That’s right, over HALF A BILLION of them in fact! All online and all free to search. So how lucky are we? There’s no doubt that Trove is Australia’s number 1 website for research. If it’s not yours, it should be! So go and bookmark it www.trove.nla.gov.au now. If you’re not familiar with Trove, take a quick look at the videos below that give you a quick overview, of what it is, and the different facets to it. So you’ll find photos, journals and articles, archived websites, government gazettes, music, sound and video recordings, diaries and letters, maps and books, even vintage issues of the Women’s Weekly magazine. They all make up the phenomenal collection of Australian history that the National Library of Australian (NLA) looks after. For more a detailed analysis on using Trove and all it’s facets, check out Shauna Hicks’ “Trove: Discover Genealogy Treasure in the National Library of Australia“. However what most researchers (myself included) head to Trove for, is their historical newspaper collection. And why wouldn’t we, they are so fun. And with over 200 million pages of old newspaper online already – there are so many stories just waiting to be found. The blog theme “Trove Tuesday” was started back in 2012 by Amy Houston of the Branches Leaves and Pollen blog, [note, I know the link has changed, but I still wanted to give her the credit], and through its creation, has...

21 Signs That Your Partner Isn’t Into Genealogy as Much as You...

While I know of a few couples who both research their family history, I believe that most of us have non-genie partners. Putting it simply, our partners have to put up with a lot. Our excitement at finding something. Our frustration at not! Our telling the latest story about great aunt so-and-so who went to jail. The detours we make them take so we can visit a cemetery on the way … and so on. While they may not understand us, or want to do research themselves, we should be thankful for our non-genie partners as they accept us as we are. While I’m sure it’s obvious enough, here’s a list of 21 signs to show that your partner just isn’t into genealogy as much as you. They believe that your dining table is to be used as a dining table, not your genealogy storage desk For a day outing they suggest going to the zoo, where as you’d suggest going to the archives The places they suggest for a holiday include camping, resorts or theme parks, rather than ancestral towns and cemeteries They simply don’t share your excitement at finding your great great grandpa’s immigration record Or that someone has contacted you via DNA connection, which shows you have a whole new branch to explore To them an ‘old photo’ is an old photo. To you it’s a mystery to discover (the who, when, where, and why) They don’t understand your complete horror when they throw out photos and documents!! They don’t understand the phrases “download a Gedcom” or “upload raw data” For a present they give you a CD and box of chocolates, when you’ve been hanging out to get another DNA kit, and the brand new...

I’ve Got Nothing to Write About!...

Let me guess … you had an idea that it’d be great to start a genealogy blog and write stories about your family history to make sure they get recorded. But you’re not doing a lot of research, and aren’t inspired, and now you’re finding that “I have nothing to write about” and it all seems too hard! Am I right? For those of you who are at this point of genealogy blogging (or even those who are yet to start), this one is for you. Here’s a bunch of suggestions to get you back blogging, without a whole lot of effort. There’s  whole group of ‘day related’ theme posts (I’ll mention more of them later), but let me start with WORDLESS WEDNESDAY. Keep a post short and simple by starting with an old photo. Pop it on your blog, and caption it you choose, but you don’t need a whole blog post about it. That’s the whole idea of Wordless Wednesday. Short and sweet. And you’re recording a piece of history. START SMALL If you’re wanting to write about your family or ancestors, don’t aim to write entire life stories of them (well not in one post anyway). Break it down into stories. A place they used to visit, a job they did, pets they owned, when they bought a new car, a voyage they took, an heirloom of theirs you have – and what the story behind it is … and so on. So many ideas. So many great stories waiting to be told. GENEAMEMES You all know what a meme is?  Well a geneameme is a genealogy themed one, and there’s been a number that have done the rounds over the years, but anyone can pick up and do...

Get Ready for the Congress 2018 Experience...

Ok, so who’s ready for Congress 2018? – You’ve registered as a delegate – booked your accommodation – sorted our your travel to get there – got your tree all up-to-date, and on appropriate devices (just in case you get time to research, or even better, find a ‘cousin’ there) – you’ve got (and packed) your geniecards (I know you won’t forget those) – and now you are eagerly counting down the days … (there’s 118 days for those who were wondering) If you’ve done all of that, awesome! I love that you’re so organised, and so excited about it, but seriously you don’t need to read on, as this is really for those who haven’t booked and are still ‘thinking about it’. Let me tell you that Congress is not “just an event”. Personally I would call it more of an experience. I have been to RootsTech in the US (the world’s biggest genie event), and that for sure is experience, not that Congress is on the same scale, but still. There’s far more to it than just going to some talks. There’s the whole social aspect of it, either as organised ones or spontaneous catchups with a few people. Expect to meet a heap of new people, all who whole LOVE genealogy as much as you do. So trust me you’ll make a heap of new friends. And if you’ve been doing genealogy a while, you’ll catch up with others you’ve met before, or maybe just on social media. You can also check out what’s for sale from the bunch of vendors who will be there, and of course you’ll be learning from many of the world’s best speakers. You will be on a high the whole...

Remembrance Day – Gumeracha’s Fallen Heroes...

“On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month we will remember them” After more than four years of continuous war, at 11am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent. From that moment the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” has attained a special significance, and has became forever associated with the remembrance of those who had died in World War 1 and subsequent wars as well. Remembrance Day (sometimes also referred to as Poppy Day) is a day that has been observed throughout the Commonwealth (Australia included) since the end of the First World War, to remember the members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty. There wouldn’t be any town in Australia that wasn’t affected by the Great War on one way or another. So many young men, more of often than not eagerly signed up to do their duty. And sadly not all came home. Gumeracha is a tiny town in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia. A typical country town, with a population of few hundred (back then), and one where everyone knows everyone. And it was a town that saw its share of tragedy and despair with a number of men who went to fight for their country, and never returned. Throughout Australia, in the cities and the country towns, the brave men and women were honoured on thousands of memorials and honour boards that were created, so as to “never forget those brave souls”. Gumeracha certainly did just that. They have honour boards for both WW1 and WW2, and even a small one for the Korean War. But their ultimate memorial is the Gumeracha District Soldiers’...

History and Wine Part 2: 19 Crimes...

Following on from my earlier post about convict wine, now we’re on to Part 2. And we have more history, more wine, and more convicts with “19 Crimes“. This wine is what got me started me on the whole “convict wine” thing. And you know what … it was actually a Canadian friend who introduced me to it. Thankyou Ellen. I’ll admit I’m not a wine fanatic, but I am a history and family history buff … so anything with a convict on it is going to get my attention. So I’ve researching this wine to suss out the stories behind it all. So it’s made in my home state of South Australia as a brand for Treasury Wine Estates, and 19 Crimes is sold locally in Australia, and overseas as well. And it was first made in 2012, so how did I not know about this until now? So what’s so cool about 19 Crimes wine?  The Corks = The Crimes Did you know that there were 19 reasons for transportation? No, nor did I. And each of these reasons is written on a cork. So if you’re a collector like me you wan to get the whole set. But it can be a challenge as they are added randomly you never know what you’ll get. So if you buy 2 bottles of the same wine you may get different corks, or you may get the same … you’ll never know until you open it. As a collector I’ve found it fun collecting the whole set, although I did have to bend the rules a little, since the Australian version of the wine doesn’t come with corks, but rather screwtops … so I headed to ebay, and little-by-little...

A to Z – A Few Words from the Past...

Ever come across a word in an old document or article you didn’t know what it meant? I’m sure you have. Language changes. Words change. They go in and out of fashion. So I thought it would be interesting to have a look at few a few old school (aka “archiac”) words and their original meanings. There are oodles of “old word” lists online which you’ll find helpful, but for my list I decided to head to Google Books and look through “A Dictionary of the English Language” which was compiled in 1828 by Samuel Johnson, John Walker and Robert S. Jameson. You may be familiar with some of the words below, afterall some appear in the current Oxford Dictionary. But I believe that many will be as foreign to you as they were to me. A Abactor – One who drives away or steals cattle in herds Adulatress – She that flattereth Animaclue – A minute animal Antipestilential – Efficacious against the plague Arcanum – A secret Arcubalist – A crossbow B Base-Born – Born out of wedlock; of low parentage; vile Basenet – An helmet or headpiece Becloud – To dim; to obscure Belmetal – The metal of which bells are made; being a mixture of three parts copper and one of tin Black-Jack – The leathern cup of elder times C Carle – A mean, rude, rough, brutal man Carouseer – A drinker Cataphract – A horseman in complete armour D Deep-Read – Profoundly versed Demy – A term relating to the size of paper; as demy, royal or large; of which demy is the smallest Dentifrice – A powder made to scour the teeth Deuterogamist – He who enters into a second marriage Domesman –...

Vote Now for your 2017 Rockstar Genealogists...

The “Rockstar Genealogist” Awards is back again for a sixth year, but this time it’s actually back “due to popular demand”, and as always John D. Reid from the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog, (one of my fav bloggers by the way) plays host to this. So let’s start with his definition of what a Rockstar Genealogist is … Rockstar genealogists are those who give “must attend” presentations at family history conferences or as webinars, who when you see a new family history article or publication by that person, makes it a must buy, or who you follow avidly on social media. Last week he announced the 2017 Rockstar Genealogist nominees, and called for any extras to be added. There are so many on that list that I admire, through what they write be it in magazines, books, or on their blog, as well as those who I love to listen and learn from when I can. The list of those nominated is long and has people from all around the world listed (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland and Scotland. So it’s great that people from all corners of the globe getting recognition. Many I know, and totally admire for many reasons. Others I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting yet. But what I can say for sure is that the amount of knowledge between (at least those that I know) is phenomenal. And somehow my name has made it on to the list on nominees. So thankyou to whoever has nominated me. I really am flattered. But I’m still not sure I’m there, as I’m not a public speaker, and I haven’t written books, I just write on my blogs. So to be named amongst such a great group...

History and Wine Part 1: 717 Convicts...

This is the first of two posts that I’m writing about wine, history and convicts! And I must say, that this topic is my newest fascination addiction. So let me introduce you to the “717 Convicts”wine. Made by Darren and Suz Westlake of Westlake Vineyards. They run a small, family operated business in the heart of the Barossa Valley, South Australia’s wine country. And their range “717 Convicts” is one of their brands, and is a tribute to the First Fleet, and tribute to Darren’s ancestors. The story starts back in the county of Devon in England where Edward Westlake was tried for stealing 40 pounds of mutton to the value of 10/-., back in 1786. He was found guilty, and was sentenced to 7 years transportation, along with his father in law, John Mortimer and brother-in-law Noah Mortimer. All three got their “free ticket” to Australia aboard the “Charlotte”, which one of the 11 ships in the First Fleet., which left England in May 1787. You can read more about the ships (and the convicts ) here. Edward, John and Noah were just three of the 100 males, 32 females and 30 crew aboard the “Charlotte” for a total of 252 days – that’s an incredible 8 months, 1 week, and 1 day. I’ve been on cruise ships and by day 12 I tend to get stir crazy – and that’s pure luxury compared to the conditions that these ships would have been, so there is no comparison. After all they were prisoners, and were treated like it too. Anyway all three survived the voyage to New South Wales (not everyone did), and by March 1788 all three were then transferred on to Norfolk Island, as part of...

A Look Back Over 6 Years of Blogging...

October 3rd is my 6 year blogiversary. Sometimes I can’t believe that it’s gone that quick, and other times, it seems forever. Anyway 6 years on, and I’m still blogging, and I still love it. For this post, I thought I’d take a little look back at some of my favourite posts. I do write on a number of different topics, so I’ve groups them into various categories, and have chosen six from each. This post took a lot longer to compile that I expected, partly because I relooked at each and every post I’d written which was a very interesting exercise, but also because it was so hard choosing which ones to include. I would have loved that list more … FAMILY HISTORY – Anzac Day Blog Challenge: He Was Proud to be Australian – Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: P is for … Charlotte PHILLIPS – Trove Tuesday: The Saddest News of All – Diaries, and the Stories They Can Tell! – A Wedding in the Midst of War – Looking Back: Photos of My Grandmas FUNNIES – Ten, Eleven, Twelve Commandments of Genealogy – 13 Signs You Have Genealogy OCD – Favourite Family Tree Quotes – All I Want For Christmas Is A New Surname – Genealogy, As the World Sees It – Are You a Genealogist or a Family Historian? HISTORY – History Meets Street Art in Adelaide – History Under Your Feet – Australian History – the Bits You Didn’t Know About – Trove Tuesday: 1 March 1954, The Day the Earth Shook South Australia – A List of Don’ts for Women on Bicycles Circa 1895 – Australia Day, 26 January … or is it May or July? RECORDS AND RESEARCH – Australian Government Gazettes – Have You Discovered Them? – Australian Birth, Death and Marriage...

The Duel in the City of Adelaide...

A duel is something you associate with westerns. Two cowboys pacing it out on a dusty street before turning around, and drawing their guns as quick as possible. And usually the fastest one wins. So when I found out that there was a duel in my hometown city of Adelaide, South Australia naturally I was intrigued, and had to check it out further. There was no cowboys, or dusty streets, or tumbleweeds in this duel … (actually the streets may well have been dusty still at this stage), but certainly no cowboys or tumbleweeds. Instead we had politicians! The two players in this duel are Charles Cameron Kingston, Q.C. & M.P., (1850-1908) and Richard Chaffey Baker, M.L.A. (1841-1911). The scene was the Adelaide Town Hall, on King William Street, Adelaide, and the time was 1.30pm, on Friday, 23 December 1892 … and it all started over name calling! The Australian Dictionary of Biography sums up the who episode quite succinctly in the following paragraph … “The most dramatic and colorful episode in Kingston’s political career occurred in 1892. After a prominent conservative member of the Legislative Council, (Sir) Richard Baker, denounced him as a coward, a bully and a disgrace to the legal profession, Kingston responded by describing Baker as ‘false as a friend, treacherous as a colleague, mendacious as a man, and utterly untrustworthy in every relationship of public life’. Kingston did not stop there. He procured a pair of matched pistols, one of which he sent to Baker accompanied by a letter appointing the time for a duel in Victoria Square, Adelaide, on 23 December. Baker wisely informed the police who arrested Kingston shortly after he arrived, holding a loaded revolver. Amidst widespread publicity he was tried and bound over to...