4th Unlock the Past Cruise: Day Two, 5 February 2014

Day two of the cruise was the first day of seminars. And as it was a ‘sea day’ it was a full-on day, and I made the most of it, going to a bunch of talks.

Rather than just tell you a list of the talks I went to, I’ll try to give you some useful tid-bits that I wrote in my notes from each of them.

the beginning to day 2 ... a bit grey, but the sun was trying to get through

the beginning of day 2 … a bit grey, but the sun was trying to get through

Conference Center on the Voyager of the Seas

Conference Center on the Voyager of the Seas

British and Irish Newspapers – Chris Paton
The first talk of day (and the whole conference) was Chris Paton’s “British and Irish Newspapers” which if there is a limit to the number of people who are allowed in the conference room, probably broke the record as it was rather squishy – but as you can imagine it was a great talk, with lots learnt. So here’s just a few bits from my pages of notes:
– be sure to check for weeks after a death or burial, as family sometimes put thankyou notices in newspapers afterwards
– if there are different sources for the same newspaper, check them all. As they may be different editions (early edition, late edition). And different editions do contain different information
– use the British Newspaper Archives. They currently have over 7 million pages digitised, and Australians can access them for free by obtaining a National Library of Australia eResources card.
– don’t just look in your immediate are of interest, as the same story might appear in other newspapers, but with more detail

Beaut Blogs: What Makes a Blog Stand Out From the Crowd? – Jill Ball
Of course I went to this talk, it’s about blogs. While I do love to blog, there’s always more to learn … and as expected I did.
– blogs need to have passion, opinions and a voice
– content is key! It is what makes people come to your blog
– it’s ideal these days to have your blog optimised for mobile devices

Building a Genealogy Research Toolbox – Thomas MacEntee
I wasn’t 100% what this one was going to entail, but knew I’d learn something. And I was right! It was a fabulous talk about all those websites that you end up on, and then want to find your way back to, but can’t remember was it was called.
– He talks about not just bookmarking websites, but creating lists of them, and making them accessible wherever you are.
– About using Word or Excel to do these lists
– About using the cloud to access the list
– And to recheck weblinks periodically, as something you bookmarked two years ago may no longer be valid, so there’s no point in keeping it in your Toolbox, unless you can find a new link for it

Thomas MacEntee on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise

Thomas MacEntee on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise

Document Analysis – Helen V. Smith
Ask yourself when you receive a certificate in the mail (or email these days), how much information do you glean from it? Really? There could well be a number of things that you’re missing.
– In this talk Helen talked about the validity of information on a document
– identifying if it was an ‘original’ record, or one that has already been copied onto another document
–  how to transcribe “every” single piece of information on a record, meaning the original typed words, and well as those handwritten (and to define between the two)
– when you are having troubles reading handwriting, get a photocopy and enlarge it, or put it on a computer screen and do the same, working out letter by letter

Helen V. Smith on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise

Helen V. Smith on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise

What Does Freemasonry Offer Genealogists? – Rob Hamilton
This one I decided to go to, as I know nothing at all about Freemasonry, but probably do have some in the family. So figured I’d see what kind of records etc. Freemasonry can offer.
– Freemasonry is not a religion, but is a group for men only
– 50% of all men in the US were Freemasons up to the 1940s
– Check death or funeral notices on Trove, as that is a great source for giving clues as to if your family member was a Freemason. It may also include a Lodge number.
– If you have a Freemason in your family, get in touch with the Grand Lodge in the state they were likely to have been as they should be able to tell if you about any records
– Names are taken at every meeting and are written in a book (Attendance Book), there’s also Name, Occupation and Other Lodges that the attendee has been at
– NSW and ACT Freemason records are available on FamilySearch

Immigration: Arrivals in Australia – Kerry Farmer
This talk was well attended as you’d expect. Everyone has some “they-must-have-swum” relis, so any help with immigration is welcome. I didn’t write a whole lot of notes as Kerry did cover a lot, and I got behind with writing it all down. But here’s two important questions for you:

How did they get here?
– Convict
– Assisted/Unassisted
– Crew
– Mlitary

Who can you find?
– You can get the most records from the UK is they were convict or assisted immigrants
– Less for those who paid their way
– travel between Australasia


So that was my day two – six talks, a lot of going up and down various floors, great food, oh yes, and I can’t forget the visit to the Cupcake Cupboard shop onboard as well!

cupcakes from the Cupcake Cupboard onboard the ship

cupcakes from the Cupcake Cupboard onboard the ship

2 Responses to “4th Unlock the Past Cruise: Day Two, 5 February 2014”

  1. Sharon says:

    This is a great summary Alona. I was very interested in your tip on Freemasons as I have a couple in the family.

  2. Wasn’t it a beaut day. My standouts were the Masons talk from Rob because I learnt so much and Kerry’s Farmer’s fact-filled talk on immigration.

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