Facebook for Australian History and Genealogy...

Since releasing my first big list of Australian history and genealogy links on Facebook in September 2016, I’ve continued to find more, and more, and periodically do updates. So what started out as a list of a few hundred links, has grown to large list of 1606 links (as at 29 December 2019). That’s 58 pages worth of Australian history and genealogy links … just on Facebook. With this update, there has been additions as well as some updated links to most categories – Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. Also additions to Norfolk Island, commercial & researchers, convicts, DNA, ethnic, families, and a few more added to genealogy bloggers, military, podcasts. DOWNLOAD HERE This is an ongoing project which will be updated periodically, so if you have any links you’d like added, please either send an email to  alona @ lonetester.com (without the spaces), or message me on my Lonetester Facebook page. ————– And I can’t mention genealogy on Facebook without making reference to two other incredible lists: – Katherine Willson’s worldwide Genealogy on Facebook list is enormous, and now has over 14,500 links. – Gail Dever’s Facebook for Canadian Genealogy list of over 1000 links is a must for everyone with Canadian...

My “Mad March” Begins Early...

Here in South Australia we have a term called Mad March, which basically means that there are so many events going on throughout the month of March around the state, that it really does get crazy, hence the term “Mad March“. In reality I avoid Adelaide city during March as it is chaos, and just too busy for me … however tempt me with genealogy and that’s another thing, and now my February and March calendar is booked up. From not having travelled much in the last year or more – suddenly I have three trips almost back-to-back over the period of about a month. I’m excited, but exhausted before it starts. But looking forward to it all. First up I’m off the the United States to ROOTSTECH. It’s been three years since I was there, and I’ll be awesome to get back there and catchup with friends, meet new ones, have a big long wander through the exhibition hall (getting everyone’s autograph of course), and going to some talks as well. It’ll be a fun, exhausting four days of conferencing. Bring it on! Shortly after I get back, I’ll be heading off on UNLOCK THE PAST’S 17TH CRUISE to Tasmania. It’ll be nice to not have to travel prior to heading off, as this one leaves from Adelaide, then goes and visits Kangaroo Island (that’ll be nice to visit there again), and then on to Tasmania and back. Cruising for 8 days with great genealogy speakers and friends on board, it’ll be a wonderful conference, and great to see the places along the way. I just hope I’m not too jet-lagged to take it all in. And then shortly after I finish that, I’m heading off to Brisbane...

“The Forensic Genealogist” – I’m a Fan...

I’ve never been one to follow the latest trend. Instead I tend to come to the party late … if at all. So it is with the latest additions to my book collection. I do love a good read. A good novel to tune out with, and I have a number of authors that I have read all their books cover to cover. And now I have a new name to that list, and that is Nathan Dylan Goodwin. I know many of you have heard of him already, and are longtime dedicated fans … like I said, I don’t follow the crowd, but I usually get there eventually. Anyway for the benefit of of the odd person who doesn’t know of him, Nathan writes fiction books with Morton Farrier as the lead character who is a forensic genealogist – yes, truly! Cool, eh? He’s written 8 books in “The Forensic Genealogist” series to date, and I’m currently partway through them, but with some long plane flights coming up, I expect to get through another one or two. I’m not going to tell you anything about the books, except that if you love a good read, lots of suspense, along with action, and genealogy – you’ll get it all (at least in those I’ve read so far). And you’ll get taken into Morton’s world of life as a researcher and see how he susses out his cases, visiting many archives and other places along the way. The titles in this series (to date are): Hiding the Past The Lost Ancestor The Orange Lilies The America Ground The Spyglass File The Missing Man The Wicked Trade & The Suffragette’s Secret The Sterling Affair Nathan even has a prequel to the...

Getting Ready for RootsTech 2020...

So the “end of year crazy season” has been and gone, added to that Australia’s insane bushfires, the Christmas that didn’t happen, as well as New Year – it’s no wonder I haven’t even bothered to think ahead to my upcoming trips until just a few days ago, and I have suddenly realised that there’s only 5 weeks till I leave for the US to go to RootsTech, and only 38 days till it starts. Seriously how did that happen?? So I actually sat down and got to work on listing what I need to do before heading off to the airport. Before I get to that, let me start off by saying that in my 30+ years of going to genealogy conferences (I started young thanks to my family’s business), this will be the VERY FIRST time I will be going as a delegate, rather than an exhibitor … and I must say it feels very, very weird! Anyway I know I’ll enjoy it, and I look forward to going to some talks, and catching up with friends. So here’s a list of some of the things I came up with (in no particular order). 1. Downoald RootsTech app This one I have just DONE! Woohoo, one thing cross off my list. 2. Look at app I have started looking at it, but I’m going to need more time to browse through the 300 or so talks, shortlist those I’m interested in, then go through the big list of exhibitors. Or I could just wing it and get to what I do!! We’ll see … 3. ESTA (immgration visa) Before I do either of the above I really should do my ESTA application, as that’s needed to allow...

Disasters: Are You Prepared?...

My Christmas and New Year, like so many other Australians this year was almost a non-event. With half of Australia burning, no-one felt like celebrating. As it is, I’m writing this through tears after seeing so many heartbreaking images of our beautiful country go up in flames. So many people now no longer have a home, a business, or a farm that until just a week or two ago, did. Over 100,000 people have been displaced from Victoria, with many 1000s more from New South Wales. There are many thousands of people from right across the country that have dropped everything to go fight these ‘unstoppable’ fires, not to mention others who have come from overseas. The pets, native animals, wildlife and stock loss is staggering – 500,000,000 (half a billion) – and the numbers keep rising as the fires continue to burn. I have family and friends that were impacted by the recent Cudlee Creek fires in the Adelaide Hills … and while that fire covered a fair portion of the Adelaide Hills, it is small in comparison to those in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. I’ve been to Kangaroo Island and seen it’s incredible beauty, and now over the period of two days, about half the island has been turned to ash. I’m not going to get political here – this is not the place. But rather I want to say – how prepared are you? If you saw the “watch and act” or the “emergency warning” message come in to your inbox, or heard the evacuate siren sound from your local fire station – just how ready are you? What would you do? Having been through this scenario five years ago with the Sampson Flat...

The Poppy Umbrella

If you’re in need of a new umbrella, or even if you aren’t, but like to put your money to a good cause … buy a Poppy umbrella. I first saw these poppy umbrellas at the Families and Friends of the First AIF stand at Congress in Sydney in 2018, and bought one there, and since then I’ve bought a few more and given them as gifts. The poppy of course is a symbol of remembrance of the First World War, that is strongly linked with Armistice Day (11 November), but the poppy’s origin as a popular symbol of remembrance lies in the battlefields of the First World War, where poppies were a common sight, especially on the Western Front. These umbrellas not only look fabulous with a giant red poppy graphic, but as mentioned before, the funds go to a good cause … Here’s a few paragraphs from the FFFAIF website which gives information about the umbrella, and what the funds go to … The Poppy Umbrella, resembling a Flanders poppy when open, is manufactured for Rembrella by Fultons, the largest supplier of quality umbrellas in the UK. They are only available for sale through registered charities of ex-Service and welfare organisations, or military and heritage museums, or educational associations and not-for-profit organisations, and in 2009 Rembrella appointed Families and Friends of the First AIF (FFAIF) as its Australian importer. Sales of the umbrellas enables FFFAIF to contribute funding to Commemorations in Sydney for Fromelles Day and the Battles of 3rd Ypres as well towards the costs of headstones on unmarked graves of returned Diggers. The Poppy umbrellas are available in three different styles: Telescopic (small and compact), Standard (tall with a wooden curved handle) and Golf Umbrella (large)....

Discovering Links: 17 FREE Links for Queensland Genealogy Research...

Here’s another post in my “Discovering Links” series. These 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. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here. So Queensland is the topic for this one. It’s not intended to be an exhaustive collection of links, but simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you may not have 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. === QUEENSLAND === Renamed Places in Queensland While I’ve seen ‘renamed towns’ lists for other places, I’ve never seen one as extensive as this Queensland one. Going way beyond just listing towns and suburbs that have been renamed, this one even includes street, cemeteries and buildings. Grouped into: Shires & Local Government; Electorates; Towns, suburbs & localities; Post offices; Railway Stations; Schools; Streets; Churches; Cemeteries; Buildings: Houses, Hotels, Theatres, Properties & Other Man-Made Things; Geographical Features: Mountains, Rivers etc.; Shire & Local and more! Queensland Family Trees This website contains names of over 42,000 individuals, and over 2000 photos and other media, which are linked to the relevant individuals that have a connection to Queensland. Easy to use it has a simple search box on the home page. Queensland Residents Pre-1859 Griffith University is documenting the lives and experiences of “people, groups and organisations that have not been the subject...

7 Traits that Make a Good Genealogist...

If you don’t like the idea of wandering a cemetery for hours, or spending a day in the archives, or if you hate the smell of old books … let me tell you that family history just isn’t for you. So can I suggest you take up photography, hiking, woodwork, scapbooking or knitting instead. However for those that think the above is a perfect day out … welcome to “the tribe”. You are a fellow totally obsessed genealogist, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. We feel at ease with fellow genies, as they are part of our ‘tribe’. They ‘get’ us, and don’t eyeroll like the other family members. But what brings us together is our similarity in certain traits. Here’s just a collection of 7 main ones. HAVE PATIENCE – Sitting in a library or archive and scrolling through microfiche, or paging through old record books is not for everyone. But a good researcher will know that you might be there for a day or two (or more), before your find who you’re looking for. That one person you’ve been hunting for years. And some days you don’t find them at all. Family history IS NOT a quick hobby. I know many people who have been been researching for 20, 30, 40 or more years. You may spend days, weeks or years looking for one person … and of course frustration sets in, but when you find them you’re on cloud 9 for a year!! Your patience finally paid off. GET ORGANISED – This is a great trait to have, but it’s not one that comes naturally to many of us. When you start researching you will experience what is known as the “paperwork snowball”. Paperwork...

A Wife for Sale

Now there’s a title that I bet got your attention. I know it got mine when I was browsing through the old newspapers on Trove and saw the headline “A WIFE FOR SALE”. On further searching, I found that there are actually quite a heap of articles titled “A Wife for Sale”. But today I’m going to share two with you. In our modern day, western world society, the whole concept of “selling a wife” is horrifying, but these two articles might just give you a different view of it … They both come from Queensland newspapers, but are reporting news from overseas.   ARTICLE 1 comes from the Brisbane Telegraph, Wednesday 31 July 1912, page 4 (click for a link to the original article) and is a mutally agreed sale between the husband and wife. “A WIFE FOR SALE.” It was long a popular belief among the ignorant in England (says the “New York “Herald”) that if a man sold his wife at public auction such a sale had all the legality of a regular divorce. The latest case of the kind occurred in 1832. John Thompson, a farmer, had been married for three years, and he and his wife agreed to separate. Thompson brought his wife into the town of Carlisle, and by the bellman announced he was about to sell her. At 12 o’clock Thompson placed his wife on a large oak chair with a rope or halter of straw about her neck. He then made (his announcement “Gentlemen, “I have to offer to your notice my wife, Mary Anne Thompson, otherwise Williams, whom I mean to sell to the highest and fairest bidder. It is her wish as well as mine to part for ever. She...

It’s OK to Take a Break!...

I’ve been blogging for a number of years now, and I’ve not been one to ever ‘set a schedule’ for posts, but rather I just tend to blog when the mood and time allows. In saying that, I do follow a number of bloggers who do post regularly (ie. every day, or every week), and while I envy them for having the time to do so, it’s just not for me. For those who’ve followed me for a while, yes, I have been very quiet for the past few months as it’s been chaotic to say the least, and during that time blogging was something that pretty much dropped off the radar for sanity reasons. However, hopefully life is getting back to some form of normality, and that includes getting back to blogging. I know of other bloggers who have had blogging breaks for various reasons, and don’t beat yourself up about it, it is OK to have a break. Life does take over, or sometimes the enthusiasm isn’t there, or the time to even do family history. So just like a holiday, take a break. Take some time to chill, recharge, and come back when you’re ready.  ...

DNA Down Under … an Event Like No Other!!...

August has been a big month for me. As part of the organising team for Unlock the Past’s DNA Down Under roadshow, myself along with the others have been busy with the preparation and attending these events. DNA Down Under truly was an event like no other in Australia. For a start it was an event that went to 6 Australian cities, 5 of which were full one-day events (Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Melboourne), and Sydney which was a non-stop 3-day event. It was also the first ‘DNA only’ genealogy conference to be held, and from the reaction, attendace, and comments – this is just what Australia needed. It catered to everyone from the “I haven’t even tested yet, what will DNA show me?” through to the very advanced genetic genealogy topics. I made it to three venues: Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney – so I know it all, right? Ha … I’ll admit I didn’t get to a whole lot of talks even over the three venues, which is the downside of being an organiser and exhibitor. Still I did manage to get to some. Anyway there’s no doubt about it, there was a vibe to DNA Down Under that I haven’t noticed with other Australian conferences apart from the last Congress. People were so excited, they were counting down the days – and I don’t believe that they were disappointed. UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS Blaine Bettinger (aka The Genetic Genealogist), speaker, author, Facebook group convenor, DNA guru, and all round great guy – Blaine has an incredible knack to be able to teach everyone in a room the basics of DNA without losing them with scientific jargon. Not an easy task. There’s no doubt that DNA is a big topic, and I have...

Counting Down to DNA!

I know I’ve been rather quiet on the blogging front for a while now, but for a good reason. As part of the organising team behind the DNA Down Under roadshow, that has taken up a lot of time (day and evening). But the beginning of the event is almost here, so my organising part is almost done. Starting next week, Australia is having it’s biggest ever DNA specific genealogy conference. Held over 2 1/2 weeks, this roadshow features the guru of everything genealogy DNA, Blaine Bettinger, also known as “The Genetic Genealogist“. While he is the keynote speaker, he is joined by a whole host of Australia’s top genetic genealogists such as Louise Coakley, Helen Smith, Michelle Patient, Kerry Farmer and a stack more!! It’s truly the ultimate DNA fest … and it’s for total beginners through to advanced level, so there’s something for everyone. I saw a comment on Facebook saying “where else can you get 8 hours of DNA learning from the so many of the best in the world at one event!”, and another comment saying this is her “once in a lifetime event”. It’s so exciting to hear that others are just as excited. The roadshow kicks off in Brisbane on Wednesday 14 August, and heads around the country to Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and finishes in Sydney with 3-day in-depth conference. To give you an idea of what you’re in for (excluding Sydney), here’s some of talk titles: – Introduction to DNA – Using Autosomal DNA for 18th & 19th century mysteries – Genetic genealogy: standards, ethics, risks, limitations – Using GEDmatch & DNA Painter to analyse your DNA – Myth Busting Ancestry – Finding Australian matches – Limitations of cousin matching – Getting the most from your FTDNA results...