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 over also 1450 links (as at 15 June 2019). That’s 53 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, there’s a HUGE lot of additions to the families category, a few more added to genealogy bloggers, and military. And we have a new category … 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 13,200 links. – Gail Dever’s Facebook for Canadian Genealogy extensive list is a must for everyone with Canadian...

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...

Win Your Way to DNA Down Under...

By now you’ve probably already heard that the legend of genetic genealogy, Blaine Bettinger (yes THE one and only, the one who is the author of the insanely popular “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy’), is coming down under to Australia in August 2019, to teach us all about DNA and genealogy, and everything relating to it. In fact he is one of a team of genetic genealogists that will be touring Australia to give everyone from the “I’ve not even tested yet, why should I?” through to the advanced users who already understand what ‘haplotype’ and ‘phasing’ mean. The presenters will not only be explaining just how useful DNA is for genealogy, but also how to understand and make the most of the results. There’s also talks on ethics, using DNA to solve 18th/19th Century secrets, and using third party DNA tools, and how to get the most from your results from the various DNA testing companies. If that sounds like your cup of tea (or coffee), then keep on reading …. The tour covers day-long seminars in 5 Australian cities (Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra), and ends with a 3-day DNA-fest in Sydney. As the Sydney topics are largely different to the other states, quite a number are doing “DNA to the Max”  which is 1 day in your own state + 3 days in Sydney, which really is the UL-TI-MATE!!! This is actually what I’m doing (Adelaide + Sydney), and while I reckon my head will be swimming after day 2  (let alone day 4), I know I’ll learn a lot. The whole tour goes for 2 1/2 weeks, starting in Brisbane on 14th August 2019, and ends in Sydney, so here’s...

Remembering Boo (2002-2019)...

Yesterday is one of those days that all pet owners dread. The visit to the vet for a beloved pet, only they don’t go home. Sadly that was yesterday for my boy, Boo. He had been a part of the family for 16 1/2 years. Boo was one of three kittens all from the same litter that Mr Lonetester and I adopted. Part-moggie, part-persian, they were kittens of a ‘friendly stray’ at my parents house, and I’m pleased to say that we gave them all a wonderful home. Having got Boo and his siblings at just under 4 weeks old, we got to watch them grow from teeny-tiny bouncy kittens into big fluffballs. Saying goodbye is never an easy decision to make, but we know it was the right one as it wouldn’t have been an easy life for him going forwards. Although not himself for the past week, having lost weight and quite weak, he was still smoochy, and purring until the end … and he is now over the rainbow bridge with his sister Zap, who left us last year.  We are a fur-kid family, and just like kids, each one has their own likes and dislikes and personality. Boo has always been a Mummy’s boy, so I’m missing him like crazy. He’s simply not there – on the bed – where he always is. It really was his favourite place. He’s not there to ‘talk’ on the phone when I’m talking, and he’s not there to be first to the food. He was our chatty boy, and you could have a whole conversation with him, and he liked me to take him for a walk, which was me holding him over my shoulder and walking up and...

My Roundup of South Australia’s History Festival...

May came, and what a insane, crazy month it was. But it’s over, and while we’re disappointed that the South Australian History Festival is over for another year, we can all now take a little rest. Admittedly I didn’t get to as many as I had hoped, but with birthdays, work, interstate visitors and hospital visits added into May as well … I didn’t do to bad, as I managed to get to 10 events. Anyway I promised you a mini-review of the activities I got up to during history month, so here goes …   ———————————- BOOK LAUNCH The Secret Art of Poisoning: The True Crimes of Martha Needle the Richmond Poisoner (by Samantha Battams) My history month began with book launch. Held at the spectacular Carclew House in North Adelaide, Author, Samantha Battams gave the very packed room a great introduction on “The Secret Art of Poisoning” with some background on how this book evolved, and why this story needed to be told. One woman, four murders (plus another attempted one), and rat poison. It’s a fascinating (and sad) but true story that happened in the late 1890s Australia. And one that I’m looking forward to reading soon. “How did a serial killer from the 19th century almost get away with murder? And what were the circumstances that led to two infamous poisoners in one family?” For more on this book, check your local bookstore, or visit Samantha’s own website. ———————————- TOUR SANFL History Centre Tour (by the SANFL History Centre) Did you know that the SANFL (South Australian National Football League,) had a history centre? No, nor did I until I saw it in the history month event program. Anyway, I saw they were having a tour of the...

The Stories of the 19 Crimes Convicts...

19 Crimes. You’ve heard of the wine. Seen it in the bottle shops, and possibly even enjoyed a bottle (or two). And maybe even read my earlier blog posts about them. So what is it you like about the 19 Crimes wine that you like? Is it the corks (or lids for the bottles that are available in Australia), each which lists a transportable crime? Is it the wine itself? Or is it the convicts? For me it was the convicts. But hey, I’m a genealogist, with a love of history and convicts, so OF COURSE I was going to love these!! But, do you know the stories of those that feature on the 19 Crimes wine labels? No? They were real people, each who had their lives changed by being transported to Australia for their crime. So let me tell you a little of their stories. —————————————————— Hugh Brophy (1829-1919) (Cabernet Sauvignon) Crime: treason and felony Sentence: 10 years Ship & Departure date: 10 October 1867, Hougoumont Sent to: Fremantle Prison, Fremantle, Western Australia Hugh Brophy was a leading Fenian and staunch supporter of Irish independence. He was convicted for his part in a plot to overthrow the perceived tyranny of the British and was sentenced to penal servitude, however this changed to transportation for life to Australia. Despite many of the Fenians having received long sentences in exile, there was a huge outcry in England, Ireland, and also in Western Australia about imprisoning and transporting them. So much so, that Queen Victoria decreed some of the Fenians should be pardoned. Instructions dated 26th March 1869 were sent from England, and granted 34 civilian Fenians the benefit of the royal clemency “without delay”. “They were assembled as soon as...