Facebook for Australian & New Zealand 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 1848 links (as at 8 June 2020). That’s 69 pages worth of Australian (and now New Zealand) history and genealogy links … just on Facebook. With this update, apart from a heap of additions to pretty much all categories, I have added a Ships & Voyages sub-category for Australia, as well as one for Special Interest Groups (SIGs). But the big new addition is that I have decided to add New Zealand to my list. While the NZ section isn’t extensive yet, I have no doubt it’ll grow, and as it does I’ll add more sub-categories as needed. 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 16,000 links. – Gail Dever’s Facebook for Canadian Genealogy list of over 1000 links is a must for everyone with Canadian...

They Closed the Borders ….. AGAIN!!...

“Victoria-NSW border to close for the first time in 100 years as Melbourne coronavirus cases hit record daily high” – this is the headline from the SBS News report, dated 7 July 2020, and it comes as Victoria is just beginning another six weeks of lockdown to try get COVID-19 under control. Anyway that headline intrigued me, as I was curious about the previous border closure … so I headed to Trove to see what I could find. And what an amazing article I found. Talk about history repeating itself … just have a read of this article from South Australian newspaper, The Register, dated 3 February 1919. You can see the original article here. Please note, the red highlight is my emphasis, not that of the original article.  —The Spanish Flu— No one desires to minimise the horrors or the epidemic which has swept over the world, nor the necessity for precautions, but it would seem that if ever fear was worse than the disease, the present is the occasion. The Federal Quarantining Department kept the disease out of the country for months. Australia has had ample warning, and advantage from the experience of other countries. The Commonwealth and State authorities met last November, and planned, a joint course of action. The Sydney doctors diagnosed their cases as the real thing; the Melbourne doctors were still using big words, and unable to make up their minds. Now both States have been declared infected, but New South Wales will not admit Victorian passengers, because Melbourne was responsible for the trouble, and Queensland, not to be out of the fuss, is asking the despised Commonwealth Government to lend it a body of Light Horse to patrol its border against New South Wales....

Crazy Month of May 2020 Meme: My Pandemic Experiences...

It’s been a while since I’ve taken part in a blog challenge, but good friend and blogger Pauleen (aka Cassmob) came up with one that I just had to take part in. It’s the “Crazy Month of May 2020 Meme: My Pandemic Experiences” She writes: “It occurred to me that perhaps we should have a meme which captures our response to the hopefully-once-in-a-lifetime May that we’ve just navigated….it might be a way to preserve the tip of our experiences. Remember that many blogs are being archived in Pandora so perhaps this is a way for our descendants to learn about our experiences during the covid-19 crisis.” So here’s my responses: What are you most grateful for during this covid-19 crisis? I would have to say I’m thankful that I still have a job when so many now don’t, but also that most people in my area are doing the right thing with social distancing, which of course helps stop the spread of coronavirus. What have you missed most during the full or partial lock-down? As an introvert I love being home, but just now and then it’s nice to randomly go out for a meal. So that is something I have missed. Has your hobby sustained you during this time? While not sure if you’d class it as a hobby, keeping an eye on my local wildlife (koalas and kangaroos) and enjoying them coming around, makes me happy, and is a stress reliever. But as for actual hobbies, I haven’t had time for them recently … What changes have you seen in your life over May 2020? Work is BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!!! I work in a family history business, and it has been non-stop crazy busy over the past few months. So...

Record History as it Happens...

With COVID-19 changing the world we live in, we are in a time of ‘history happening now’. I’m sure you’ve seen the suggestions about keeping a diary to record life and times of our ‘present normal’, and that is certainly a great idea. I mean low petrol prices, lack of toilet paper, only going out for necessities, closed restaurants, closed schools, closed gyms, closed entertainment venues, Anzac Day services around the country cancelled, all sporting events cancelled, even the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Then of course all the genealogy and history societies have been temporarily as well, with a number of them no embracing online seminars instead. But also don’t forget about self isolating and social distancing. I’m sure your kids or grandkids would love to read your thoughts on how you survived being cooped up at home for weeks. Maybe you got hooked on jigsaw puzzles, or decided to master making bread, or created your own vegie garden for the first time ever, or the family drove you crazy??! The list could go on. But I also know not everyone is a diary writer … so there are ways other than writing, that you can record and share “history as it happens” as well. So here I’m letting you know about a number of organisations that are wanting to “record history as it happens” but they need your input to do so. They are collecting your photographs, memories, and ephemera (some physical, some digital), all which will help document this incredible once-in-a-lifetime event that we’re currently living in. Canberra: National Library of Australia The National Library of Australia has been busy collecting web-based ephemera relating to COVID-19, by taking snapshots of websites and archiving them. You can view their collection...

Activities for the Genealogist While Self-Isolating...

Are you currently in lockdown, quarantined or self-isolating at home? Looking for some ideas to fill the day? I know that I could simply write “research” here and you’d all be happy (I would be), but for those of you who may need a break from just “research” on occasions, or don’t have the longer spurts of time required for researching, there’s plenty of useful genealogy-related activities that you can still do. Here’s a few ideas… ————————– WATCH – Webinars & Videos Webinars and videos are a fantastic way to learn in your own time, and from the comfort of your own home. There literally thousands available to watch, and that’s without going to YouTube and searching for more, and most of them are free. – Ancestry Academy – Short tutorial videos, covering Ancestry, DNA, methodology and more. – FamilySearch Webinars – Watch webinars on researching in different countries, as well a numerous general topics (organisation, DNA etc.), as well as how to master the FamilySearch website. – Legacy Family Tree Webinars – This one is a pay site, but at less than US$50/year, and access to over 1000 tutorial videos, it is SOOO worth it. But just so you know all newly added videos are free for 7 days, before they then go behind the paywall, and you will then need to pay or subscribe. – MyHeritage Education – There are a heap of webinars available covering how to use the MyHeritage website to advantage, as well as how to build a family tree, general research basics, well as DNA and health tutorials. – The National Archives (UK) – From using Discovery, to workhouse records, emigration, musters and militia, King Henry VIII, and a whole heap more. – National Library of Australia – Watch videos...

The Day the World Changed...

There has been numerous key dates over the years (or decades, and in reality centuries) which have been defining, and have changed the course of history, or life as people know it. … wars, fires, plagues, assassinations, accidents, deaths and so on. Everyone has their own “key dates” for various reasons. But for me, 14 March 2020 is that day. Why this date? Well I was on a cruise ship with a whole bunch of geniemates, on the way to Tasmania as part of the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise. But, again why? Well, it was the day that the captain of the Pacific Aria ship advised passengers, that 3 days into our 8 day cruise, we would not be going to Tasmania as planned, but instead heading straight back to Adelaide (where the ship came from). This was due to all P&O cruise ships “pausing” their operations as a precautionary measure in regards to the Coronavirus. Of course I’d heard of the Coronavirus before then, it had been in the news. But it wasn’t BIG news. But with each passing day, it certainly became so. While it began in China back in December 2019, it had reached Australia. The numbers of those infected kept rising. The deaths started happening. So the cruise ships stopped. The planes cut flights. State borders were closed. Mandatory 14 day quarantine was introduced. Pubs, clubs, gyms, even playgrounds were closed and so on. The world HAD changed … all just within a few days. “Self isolation” and “social distancing” became the new key words. Pretty much every country in the world is faced with this pandemic. But when it gets to your own country, your own area, it really hits home. Prior to leaving...

The Genealogy Community

Genealogy, for the most part, is a solitary hobby. You sit at a computer and look for ‘your’ family online. You head off to the library, cemetery or archive for a day of research to find ‘your’ family. You correspond with others largely by email – so you get my point. It is usually a hobby that is yours … something YOU do. But as with everything, there are exceptions, and you might be lucky enough to have a friend of family member to hang out with and help you along the way, but most of us don’t. But that doesn’t mean that genealogy is a lonesome hobby. NOT AT ALL. In fact, quite the opposite. While we might do our research alone, there is this wonderful thing called the “genealogy community”. This is an amazing group of people who are there to share in your excitement, and frustrations, offer advice, and generally just be there for you when you need (genealogy related or otherwise). For those who haven’t get seen or experienced the “genealogy community” you can find them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and so on). Follow them, learn from them, comment on their posts, share them and encourage them. How do you find people to follow? Do you read genealogy books or magazines? If so, who are the authors? They are all on social media, so why not start by following them? Do you watch genealogy on YouTube, or webinars or listen to podcasts? What about your local genealogy society? Go and find them on social media, and follow. Want more … use the hashtags #genealogy or #familyhistory and see what comes up. I guarantee you’ll find more people to follow … but also don’t...

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)....