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 1350 links (as at 28 December 2018). That’s 49 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, each of the states, commercial & researchers, convicts, ethnic, families, genealogy bloggers, and military. 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...

Anzac Day: A Message from the Battlefield...

For Anzac Day this year I’m focussing on Ypres, a city in Belgium that’s on the French border. A prosperous place that in 1914 had a population of around 18,000 people. Just for reference, Ypres is the Belgian version of the name, while the Australian Diggers knew it as as “Wipers”. And nowadays it is often known by it’s Dutch version, “Ieper”, which is pronounced as “ee-per”. From November 1914 through until November 1917 Ypres was devastated by war and as you would expect, deserted by its inhabitants. Over that 4 year period, there were over 38,000 Australians who were killed or wounded in the Ypres battles, while the total number of casualties for all sides climbed into the many hundreds of thousands. Captain Frank Hurley was an Australian official military photographer who was in Ypres during 1918 and captured many unforgettable images of the destruction and the lives of the Australian soldiers during the Third Battle of Ypres (also known as the Battle of Passchendaele). The photograph at the top of this post is one of his very well-known ones. The State Library of New South Wales has a large collection of his war photographs (and diaries) online, so if you’re interested feel free to click here to view them. Anyway this year I’m remembering my great grandpa, Otto Rafael Winter. I have written about him before, including his service with the Australian military, but this time I’m highlighting a family heirloom. The postcard pictured below is one of the very few heirlooms that exist from my Winter family, and it’s a postcard that Otto sent from Ypres, Belgium (one of the places he was deployed to) to his parents-in-law, John and Margaret Daley, in South Australia. The postcard itself...

DNA Down Under is Coming!!...

Have you taken a DNA test, and apart from seeing your ethnicity estimates, you wonder what’s next? Have you tried to get in contact with a ‘DNA match’ and not got a response? Have you found ‘surprise matches’ and are unsure what to do about that. Or maybe you haven’t even taken a test, and wonder what all the fuss is about? Or you’ve heard about DNA tests being used by authorities to catch criminals and it’s made you wary. All of these aspects and plenty more will covered at Unlock the Past’s upcoming event “DNA Down Under“. Blaine Bettinger, author of the best selling book “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy”, heads a lineup of world-class genetic genealogists, who are touring Australia during August 2019, holding 1-day seminars in most cities, and culminating in a 3-day DNA-fest in Sydney. The dates: Brisbane – Wed 14 Aug Perth – Sat 17 Aug Adelaide – Tue 20 Aug Melbourne – Fri 23 Aug Canberra – Mon 26 Aug Sydney – Thu-Sat 29-31 Aug The speakers: These speakers will take your understanding of DNA to the next level, no matter what level you’re currently at. The team brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in family history and in particular DNA and its usefulness as yet another tool to help you in your research: – Brad Argent – Blaine Bettinger – Fiona Brooker – Louise Coakley – Gail Edwards – Kerry Farmer – Mike Murray – Michelle Patient – Jason Reeve – Helen Smith For more on the speakers, click here. The options: Book for a 1-day event in your own city, or head to Sydney for a 3-day DNA-fest. … OR do ‘DNA to the MAX and book...

Women Who Changed the World...

While much of the world is seen as a ‘man’s world’, there’s no doubt that women have had a huge influence in just every field in history, you just don’t tend to hear about it. I could have written about queens, warriors, suffragettes, and other well-known females who did make an influence on the world, however for this article I have opted for female inventors – most of who you won’t have heard of before – but whose inventions are largely everyday items, and in doing so have helped change the world we live in. __________________________ Caller ID and Call Waiting Can’t say I’d thought about someone ‘inventing’ caller ID and caller waiting, but obviously someone did, and that was Dr Shirley Ann Jackson. It was her research from the 1970s that was responsible for it, and her breakthroughs in telecommunications also enabled others to invent the portable fax, fibre optic cables and solar cells. Car Heater In 1893 Margaret A. Wilcox invented the first car heater, which directed air from over the engine to warm the chilly toes of the upper class 19th century motorists. You’ll now think of this every time you turn on the car heater, while also being incredibly thankful as you thaw out on those cold mornings. Central Heating Back in 1919, Alice Parker invented a system of gas-powered central heating. While her design was never built, it was the first time an inventor had conceived of using natural gas to heat a home, and inspired the future central heating systems. Chocolate Chip Cookies Ruth Wakefield and her husband bought an old toll house outside of Boston with her husband. They converted the toll house into an inn with a restaurant. One day in 1930,...

Nail Your Irish Genealogy Research With These Sources...

St Patrick’s Day. It’s always a day to make you think of all things Irish, wear green wigs, drink green beer and for those who research your family history, a day to think of the Irish ancestors. This year I’m giving you tips on where to look for the ultimate advice and links for Irish research. CYNDI’S LIST – free www.cyndislist.com/uk/irl Cyndi’s List is one of the ultimate research sites. However it’s not a place to type in name and see what comes up, as it is a website of websites. Think of it as a giant yellow pages of genealogy websites – every country, and every topic to do with genealogy, all nicely categorised. For Ireland there’s almost 4300 links, making it the ultimate portal for Irish genealogy links. And they are nicely divided into topics and counties, making your search a whole lot easier. FAMILYSEARCH – free www.familysearch.org While there’s not a whole lot of Irish records on FamilySearch itself, the site is still incredibly useful, as they have a number of tutorial videos to watch – all free. From introducing key websites, to highlighting various records. it’s  great way to learn about Irish genealogy and the records involved. GENUKI – free www.genuki.org.uk This is a site that I find not many people know about, yet it has a HUGE amount of information. Again, it’s not a ‘type-a-name-in’ website, but one with a lot of information and links giving you further places to look. FINDMYPAST IRELAND – $$ www.findmypast.ie Findmypast Ireland is a pay site, but it also the online data site with the most Irish records – over 195 million of them! From directories to BDM records, from military to catholic records, from family histories to...

25 Ways to Take Part in “Genealogy Day”...

Saturday the 9th of March 2019 is an important day for us genies. Why? Because it is GENEALOGY DAY. No I did not make it up. There really, really is an official “Genealogy Day” and it’s held on the second Saturday of March each year! Don’t believe me? Well, here you go … Genealogy Day was created in 2013, by Christ Church, United Presbyterian and Methodist in Limerick, Ireland to help celebrate the church’s 200th anniversary. For this day, Christ Church brought together local family history records not only from its own combined churches, but also from the area’s Church of Ireland parishes, including the Religious Society if Friends in Ireland (Quaker) and the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon). The people in attendance could then use the amassed marriage and baptism records dating back to the early 1800s, such as Limerick Methodist Registers and Limerick Presbyterian Registers, to find out about their great-great-grandparents. The idea proved so popular that the day was repeated for the next two consecutive years and has inspired many people to take a look into their family tree to find out a bit more about where they come from. It is no secret that genealogy or family history, is one of the fastest growing hobbies around. Everyone knows someone who’s doing it, if they aren’t themselves. With the massof genealogy records going online, combined with DNA testing and genealogy on TV, doing your family history has finally become an accepted hobby. Dare I say, it’s even becoming cool!! So it is nice to see it recognised with it’s own actual “Day“. But what are some suggestions for Genealogy Day? Well for me it’s not a case where do I start, but rather where do I stop. I’ve...

Women’s History Month Blog Challenge...

March is Women’s History Month in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. So fellow genealogists, historians and bloggers, join with me in participating in Women’s History Month by highlighting some of the incredible women from history. You may like to choose an ancestor or two to write about. Or maybe a female who has made an impact in your local area, or maybe even any of the inspiring women from history around the globe. The choice is yours, take your pick. One thing does seem to be a recurring trait – and that is that women’s history doesn’t get written about nearly enough. They were often the backbone of not only a family, but society itself. They lived, they worked, they got into trouble, they struggled, they triumphed, they were inspirational. Every woman has a story. They helped make history! So let’s do what we can to recount some of their stories and make sure they are not forgotten. For more about Women’s History Month, be sure to check out their website, and also Wikipedia. #WomensHistoryMonth...

RootsTech 2019 From Home – #NotAtRootsTech...

Next week the genealogy world converges on Salt Lake City, Utah in preparation for the world’s biggest genealogy conference, RootsTech 2019, which runs from Wednesday 27 February through until Saturday 2 March 2019. With an expected attendance of around 25,000 people coming from 37 different countries, there’s 300 classes on offer, and over 200 exhibitors to check out – RootsTech really is something else, and nothing I’ve been to compares. Sadly, I’m not going this year. I did make it in 2013, 2015 and 2017 (you can read about them here), and considering my first time was a “once-in-a-lifetime-bucket-list-thing”, I can’t believe I’ve made it there three times already. Anyway, this year I’ll be a part of the #NotAtRootsTech crowd. And while I know it won’t be the same, I’m determined to still make the most of it, and ‘participate’ from home. At least when I’m not working anyway. So how can I (and you) participate in RootsTech when we’re not at RootsTech? There are a few options. WATCH THE LIVESTREAM LIVE Firstly, you can watch the Livestream Live. There’s 22 presentations being livestreamed, but if you’re on Australia, you;’ll need to be dedicated as due to the time difference the streams start at 3.30am (Sydney time) and go through till around lunchtime. Here’s a link to the list of livestream talks with both the US time, and the Australian time for each, and click here for more details on each of the talks. It is expected (although not 100% guaranteed as I can’t find it written anywhere) that these talks will all be available to watch later in the video archive. WATCH RECORDED CLASSES The RootsTech website lists the following classes as being recorded (but not live streamed). they say...

1 February 1895 – The Day Time Stood Still in South Australia...

At midnight on 1 February 1895, clocks were stopped, and time stood still in South Australia so as to bring the State (or colony as it was then) into line with international standard times. Actually this was an Australia-wide change as up to this time, each colony had followed their own time set at a local observatory in their capital city. A long article in the  South Australian Register, Thursday 31 January 1895, starts off with the following: “To-night the process of marking that period which Hamlet calls ‘the very witching time of night’ will be exceptionally puzzling throughout the greater part of Australia. By the provisions of the Standard Time Act the Legislatures of five colonies have taken the liberty of declaring that an hour shall not be sixty minutes in duration, but something else, varying in different localities with the ‘ hour-zone’ in which those localities happen to lie. Thus, in South Australia the space from 11 o’clock till 12 p.m. of this 31st of January will be seventy four minutes twenty and two fifth seconds. In other words all clocks and watches, in order that they may indicate the correct time to-morrow, must be put back fourteen minutes twenty and two-fifth seconds.” So as far as South Australia was concerned the clocks stopped at midnight for 14 minutes and 20 seconds, bringing it in line with the 135th meridian, and adopting Central Standard Time. The article continues … “In this colony we have to put our clocks back, and therefore we gain time; but in Victoria, as in New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania, the people are to lose time and the Victorians in particular do not appear to relish the idea, although, of course, it is a nominal loss and nothing more … “ The eastern states actually only lost 5 minutes, bringing it in line with the 150th meridian. “The main fact...

Genealogy Selfie Day

Today is February the 1st, which is also Genealogy Selfie Day (or as it is technically written #GenealogySelfie Day). The aim is to have some fun, share a little of our genealogy and see pics of our genealogy friends. As Conference Keeper (the organisers) wrote: Genealogists are a friendly and social bunch. We share knowledge, information, documents, research triumphs and struggles, joys, sorrows – even pictures of cats. So why not selfies? Chances are good that if you’re on Facebook or Twitter (or even Instagram), you have many ‘genealogy’ friends that you probably have never met in person, but regularly Like, Share, and Comment on one another’s posts. Genealogist Selfie Day is an opportunity for social genealogists to snap a picture of themselves and share it on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #genealogyselfie. It will be fun to put faces to names, and increase our chances of recognising one another at the next event! Then Jill Ball of the GeniAus blog, suggested we blog about #GenealogySelfie Day. So here are the pics I put up on social media for #GenealogySelfe Day, with little explanations of each. First up is my folders. This is in my office at home, and this shows just a few of my ‘family’ folders. Essentially any family that I’m doing any research on gets a folder! Next up is my photo wall. This is definitely not a flattering photo, but it does show the wall. Then it was off to work at the genealogy shop!! Love my job! This fabulous picture is my Great Grandpa (Horace Norman Phillips) and is in our shop. Stay tuned for more on him, but I need to get to State Records of SA to check some info...

Summertime Memories

While the temperature has been near record levels in my little corner of the world (in South Australia), recently, it’s made me, and probably everyone else in the state seriously appreciate our air conditioners. I have no idea how ancestors coped with 40C+ days without air conditioners? Serious kudos to them. They did it tough and they survived, and it reminds me of one of my all-time favourite genealogy quotes … But also I’ve been thinking about Summertime and what we did when I was young. How many of these can you relate to? ————— Firstly sprinklers were used to not only water the lawn, but were also a great way to keep kids occupied and cool, as they played in the water. But along with that there was plenty of clover and bees – which of course also resulted in beestings. There was the slip’n’slide, do you remember that? That was cool, at least until too much dirt grit got on it, then grazed you as you slid down. There was the little kiddy pool. That was well used, and when my bother and I got older my family got a bigger above ground pool. Summertime as a kid was pretty much spent in the pool! And who remembers the black innertube rubber tyres? They were the best in the pool. There was none of the fancy plastic blow-up ones that are available these days. Cordial or juice icy poles. You know the ones that were frozen in the tupperware iceblock moulds. If you’ve forgotten when they looked like, you can check them out here. The days were filled with outdoor life. Bike riding to friends houses, playing in nearby creeks, or getting dropped at a friend or...

“Don’t Scratch a Match on the Seat of Your Bloomers” and 46 Other Rules for Women Cyclists...

The humble bicycle played an important part in women’s history, helping to redefine conventions of femininity during the women’s rights movements of the late 19th century. “As women learned to ride bicycles they not only gained physical mobility that broadened their horizons beyond the neighborhoods in which they lived, they discovered a new-found sense of freedom of movement, a freedom previously circumscribed by the cumbersome fashions of the Victorian era as well as by Victorian sensibilities.” But who would have thought that bike riding was such a drama for a woman back in the day!! An article published in the Newark Daily Advocate, dated 21 July 1895, gives a list of 41 Dont’s for Women Riders, and it really has to be read to be believed! Here’s a transcription of the list: Don’t be a fright. Don’t faint on the road. Don’t wear a man’s cap. Don’t wear tight garters. Don’t forget your toolbag Don’t attempt a “century.” Don’t coast. It is dangerous. Don’t criticise people’s “legs.” Don’t boast of your long rides. Don’t wear loud hued leggings. Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face.” Don’t refuse assistance up a hill. Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit. Don’t “talk bicycle” at the table. Don’t neglect a “light’s out” cry. Don’t wear jewelry while on a tour. Don’t race. Leave that to the scorchers. Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you. Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume. Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome. Don’t keep your mouth open on dirty roads. Don’t converse while in a scorching position. Don;t go out after dark without a male escort. Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars. Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers. Don’t wear white kid gloves. Silk is...

Australia’s Biggest Ever Gold Robbery...

1862. 8 Bushrangers. 77kg of Gold! The incredible true story of Australia’s Biggest Steal. Did that get your attention? It sure got mine. ‘Australian Heist‘ is the title of a brand new book written by James Phelps, who is quoted as being Australia’s #1 bestselling true-crime writer. I’ll admit it’s not a name I was familiar with, but I sure am now!! Written as well as any good fiction book, it really is a non-stop-page-turner, with fascinating characters, and twists all the way through. And yet this is Australian history. It really happened. And it happened in what was our ancestors era. This isn’t an official book review, and I’m not going to spoil the book for you, but I will give you the speil … On 15 June 1862, a gang of bushrangers held up a gold escort at Eugowra, just east of Forbes in new South Wales. They escaped with a pile of cash and 77 kilograms of gold, worth about $10 million today. It remains the largest gold robbery in Australian history. In this riveting re-creation of the events, James Phelps finally tells the full story of how Frank Gardiner, Ben Hall, John O’Meally, Johnny Gilbert, Henry Manns, Alexander Fordyce, John Bow and Dan Charters planned and executed the robbery – and what happened to all that gold. And the map! ‘Australian Heist’ is a thrilling, fast-paced and thoroughly modern take on one of the most extraordinary episodes in the nation’s history. Anyway here’s all the relevant book details for you: Title: Australian Heist Author: James Phelps Format: hardcover Pages: 368 pages Published: 2018 ISBN: 9781460756232 Publisher: HarperCollins Australia Buy the printed book Buy the ebook To give you full disclosure. Yes, I do work in...