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...

Discovering Links: 17 Links for London 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 simply want to share with others. But rather than just giving you a whole batch of random links each time, I am grouping them by Australian state, country, county or topic. And you can see my previous Discovering Links posts here. For this one I’ve decided to share my London links. As will all my Discovering Links posts, it is not intended to be an exhaustive collection of links, but they are simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you hadn’t previously 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. Personally I find that it’s often a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that. Now an important tip to remember when researching London, is to remember that there are three London’s: London city, London county as well as Greater London – with each covers different areas, as well as different areas over time as boundaries changed. When documents just say ‘London’ it does make it hard to know which, but you do need to keep that in mind – particularly as Greater London incorporates areas from neighbouring counties. === LONDON === AIM25 Archives in London and the M25 Area “is a major project to provide electronic access to collection level descriptions of the archives of over fifty higher education institutions and learned societies within the greater London area.” A work in progress, AIM25 provides online access to collection level descriptions from the archives of...

Lost in the Genealogy Wilderness...

Ever have that feeling where you don’t know where you are, or which direction to turn? Or even what to do next? I’m sure some of you have, while others have never experienced that feeling. Of course I’m talking about this in relation to your genealogy research. And that is where unfortunately, (and unexpectedly), I’ve found myself at. I’m not a professional researcher, and I don’t claim to be, but I have been researching for a number of years. However my research these days tends to consist of me seeing new sets  records released, so I’ll go check for so-and-so … or hear a tidbit from another relative about this other person, or something they did, so I’ll go see what I can find. In otherwords it’s very piecemeal. Very unfocussed, very unstructured, and without an exact goal in mind. More like dabbling if you like. So now when I find that I have a free weekend (not that it happens often, but it’s nice when it does), and I want to settle in to doing some research – I am unable to just get into it, as I have no idea which line or person to get going on. So I’m rather lost in the genealogy wilderness, and I really just need to set myself some research goals and FOLLOW them … Or even better, get entering the piles of stuff I have collected that I “STILL” haven’t entered.  (Is anyone else like that? You love finding stuff, but hate entering it, or is it just me?) Actually I really, REALLY should do that entering stuff first. Sort out what I have, note it, file it … then get back the fun part of the searching! So while I’m...

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...

Everything is Instant

We live in an instant world. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement. Our food is instant, our communication is instant, our coffee is instant, and entertainment is too. But from time to time I am reminded about how much we rely on power and automation to make our life what it is. And I’m thinking that maybe I don’t think quite like everyone else, as I like to think about what it was like ‘back in the day’. Back in the era of my grandparents, or even great grandparents. So even just getting up and ready for school or work would have been an entirely different routine to those in today’s era. Just think about it these days: – you can flick a switch, at the lights go on, or when the power is out we have torches (none of this lighting candles just to move from room to room) – and we can turn the knob on the stove, and it heats up – push some buttons on the microwave, and tea is ready in a few minutes – open the fridge or freezer door and you have nicely cold food and drinks – if you’re cold, just pop the heater on – or if you’re hot put the airconditoner or fan on – the washing machine just needs a few buttons pushed, and wallah, it’s all washed for you – and the same goes the dryer – want hot water? No problem. Just turn the tap. None of this having to heat up water in the kettle or copper – want toast for breakfast … just pop a slice in. You don’t have to have a fire to get doing, to then toast the bread – and...