Oh No, It’s the “L” Word!!...

We all know about the “C” word right, that’s right … copyright. Well today we’re talking about “L” word! That’s right … LOOK-UPS. Genealogy Facebook groups can be a wonderful thing, there’s no doubt about it. They’re a great place to share and ask questions. But I was dismayed and disappointed when browsing a number of them recently, simply because of the number of people asking for look-ups on various big-pay-sites. I was disappointed for two reasons: firstly for those who asked, and secondly for those who responded. Sharing information from big-pay-sites is against their rules – against their terms and conditions. Now I understand that there’s a number of reasons why people do this … I didn’t know – this is probably the most common one. And it comes as much from those asking, as those providing the information. Can I suggest going to the bottom of any big-pay-site, look for the Terms & Conditions, and have a read through. It’s always on the home page, right down the very bottom. You should always know what you can and can’t do on any site – but even more so when it comes to sharing information. It costs too much to subscribe – while I don’t agree with this statement, this is a common complaint, and if this is your reasoning, there are many libraries and societies around that have subscriptions, so why not pay them a visit. Or if you prefer to do your research at home, save up your queries, and take out a one-month subscription. Big-pay-sites need subscriptions to be able continue to acquire more records, simple as that. But I like helping out – I’m all for helping out, but as long as it’s within the...

Discovering Links: 27 FREE Links for Victorian Genealogy and History...

It’s been a while since I last did a “Discovering Links” post, so it’s way past time for one. These posts are lists of links that I’ve discovered. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list, but it is simply ones, (and generally the not-so-commonly-known ones) that I’ve come across in my research, from magazines, or from seeing mentioned on social media. No matter where I discovered them, I noted them, have been to them, and have found them interesting – so thought I’d share them with you. For this post I have a a bunch relating to Victoria  in Australia. === VICTORIAN LINKS === Ballarat Revealed Learn more about Ballarat’s historic stories, secrets and spaces via your smartphone, tablet or computer with their walking tours. Along the way you’ll learn about the history and ghost stories of the area. Boyle’s Football Photos This website is the work of two independent researchers whose objective is to share their “passion for history and provide a friendly resource for family historians, football buffs and others who have an interest in the Charles Boyles photos and more generally in football photography from the 1920’s to 1960’s”. This site has since grown to cover more than just football photos. There’s articles, as well as pages on players, grounds, teams and more. I’ve categorised this link as Victoria – though it could easily be Australia as a whole – but as it started off with Victorian clubs and players there is a dominance of those records listed. Cemeteries of South West Victoria This is an impressive collection of cemetery records from Victoria’s South West region – almost 150 of them. So if you’re looking for people from this area, check this website to see which...

14th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 6-8 Friends, Canada, Chainmail and Martinis...

Now for the last installment of my Alaska cruise reports. With squirrels, icebergs, seals, an aurora, and a whale already sighted on the trip, who knew what else was to come? Wednesday – 12 September 2018 (at Sea) Wednesday was a sea day, which means a whole day of talks scheduled. And as often happens at conference, there were some tough choices to be made as to what to go to. But the eight I made it to were: – My Ancestor was a 19th Century Goldminer: Don’t Rule it Out (Kae Lewis) – Begotten by Fornication (Helen Smith) – Caring for your Family Archives (Shauna Hicks) – Madness, Mania and Melancholia: The Mental Health of our Ancestors (Janet Few) – Seven Habits of Highly Effective Genealogists (Pat Richley-Erickson) – Beyond Just Indexes: Why We Should Check Source Records (Rosemary Kopittke) – Software Your Never Knew (Ed Thompson) – Are You Related to Royalty? (Caroline Gurney) It was a long day, and a lot to take in, and I admit that by the afternoon I wasn’t taking as many notes as I did in the morning, as weariness had set in. So I must check the speakers handouts for those. The evening began with a very special presentation by Mia Bennett who represented the Society of Genealogists (London), in presenting Cyndi Ingle with her Prince Michael of Kent Award for her contribution towards genealogy. You can read more about the award and how seriously awesome it is here. It was a fabulous presentation, and one which had Cyndi and few others shedding a few tears. As it was streamed live on Facebook, you can watch the presentation here if you wish. But I don’t think you’ll find a person...

14th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 4-5 Paw Chocolates, Icebergs, a Whale and an Aurora...

Continuing on my report of the Unlock the Past Alaska cruise … and we’re up to day 4, and there was more exciting happenings! Monday – 10 September 2018 (Skagway, Alaska, USA) It was another super stunning weather day with blue skies all round. I heard a fellow cruiser say that they never expected to get sunburnt in Alaska … but they did! We docked at Skagway early and those on tours made their way off. Many went on long train rides which certainly was one way to see the place. I didn’t have any tour booked, so wandered ashore, then took a shuttle bus to the town for a walk around with my mum. To say that this town looks like it’s out of a western movie is an understatement. It really, truly does! You can totally imagine gun fights happening in the streets. Well I can anyway! One thing that fascinated me was the painted rocks near where we docked. They were painted with a ship name, and usually the captain and often a date. So there’s me thinking what a fabulous (but rather unusual), genealogical source they would be. Proof that your seaman captain was here at that date! Now if I could just find one that related to my seaman ancestor dating back to the early 1900s! Hmmmm. Anyway the town of Skagway was full of little shops, most selling jewellery (despite what the vintage sign outside said – obviously they were just for looks). I did find a little store selling chocolates, and each variant was a different “paw” type. I bought a few but then remembered I wasn’t meant to bring food back on board, so had to eat them quickly! As it was...

14th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 1-3 Embarking, Glaciers, a Squirrel, and a Saloon...

The Unlockthe Past Alaska cruise was one I’d been looking forward to for a long time as Alaska was a place I’d never been to (and in reality probably won’t get back to again). But everyone who’s done an Alaskan cruise said how totally fabulous it was. So it sounded a great place to visit. Add in a genealogy conference and we had 7 nights, 17 speakers, 45 talks, and great places to see along the way! Sounds awesome. This cruise started in Seattle,Washington, USA, the went up through the Inside Passage to Juneau, Alaska, then Skagway, Alaska, before heading back and sailing through the Tracy Arm Fjord, stopping at Victoria, Canada and then back to Seattle. There was certainly plenty to see, which means plenty to write about. So let me take you on the cruise … Friday – 7 September 2018 (Seattle, Washington, USA) Embarkation day, so we (note: by ‘we’ I mean the UTP organising team) got down to the port as early as we could which was good and bad. Good to be there early, but bad as it was crazy with people, as three three ships had arrived in that morning with passengers leaving, and who knows how many thousands of passengers arriving to go on them. Anyway we were onboard the “Explorer of the Seas” before lunchtime, and made our way to the Conference Room down on deck 2, and set up the registration desk for the UTP cruisers. So throughout the day people from ‘our group’ could come and collect their name tag, lanyard, program book and other bits-and-pieces. And after the compulsory lifeboat drill, the ship left at 4pm, and while it was a grey day in Seattle, the rain did hold...

A Day and a Conference in Seattle...

Tuesday the 4th of September was the longest day ever (well for me anyway). I was up at about 3am, ready for a 6am flight – and my long trip to the US for my latest adventure began. After after 3 plane flights, bad food, and no sleep, 30 or so hours later, I was at my hotel in Seattle, USA. By this time it’s Tuesday mid-afternoon and a lovely blue sky day, much to my amazement … as my only prior knowledge of Seattle (other than that’s where Nirvana were from), was that ‘it ALWAYS rains’. I must say that I’m very impressed that I was proved wrong. Anyway I was there primarily for Unlock the Past’s Alaska cruise, which I will report on in a later post, but prior to the cruise I had two days in Seattle. So in this post I’m writing about that. Wednesday 5 September 2018 This was my “free” day. A day to sleep (which I reckon I needed), or a day to tourist. I opted for a bit of both. A quiet morning at the hotel, followed  by some touristing courtesy of the hop-on-hop-off bus in the afternoon – and another perfect weather day. While the bus has 18 stops or so I want to show you just 2 places I saw – the Space Needle and the Chihuly Glass Garden and Exhibition. Both were certainly something worth seeing. While I dd take plenty of photos, I found videos of both, which shows the scale of them far better than my pics do.  If you want to see more of the Glass Garden, click here for a longer video. For more on the Space Needle, check out this link. After...

Remembering Zap (2002-2018)...

Today is one of those days that all pet owners dread. The one-way visit to the vets for a beloved pet. Sadly today was Zap’s day. Zap has been a part of the family for about 16  years. She and her two brothers (all from the same litter) were the part-moggie, part-persian kittens of a ‘friendly stray’ at my parents house, and I’m pleased to say that Mr Lonetester and I gave them all a great home. Having got Zap and her brothers (we couldn’t choose, so picked all three), at just under 4 weeks old, we got to watch them grow from teeny-tiny bouncy kittens into big fluffballs. Saying last goodbye’s is never a easy decision to make, but we know it was the right one as she wasn’t well. And after purring till the end, she left peacefully, and is now over the rainbow bridge with Gizmo and Mickey.  We are a fur-family and do have other cats in our household, but as all cat lovers will know, every cat has it’s very own personality, so the fact that Zap isn’t there, isn’t simply replaced by those that are. She’d taken to sleeping in a particular windowsill, and now it’s empty. It’s going take a while to look at that windowsill again without tears welling up. Here’s a few pics of her I’d like to share and remember her by …...

Unlock the Past in Seattle Live … and Livestream...

If you’re lucky enough to live in (or near) Seattle, Washington, USA, and are totally into genealogy you probably already know about this event, and already have your tickets. But for the sake of those who don’t, please bear with me. Australia’s Unlock the Past are heading to Seattle for their Alaska genealogy cruise shortly, but before they board, they’re holding a one day genealogy seminar in Seattle with four of the world’s best genealogy speakers: – Blaine Bettinger (USA) – Cyndi Ingle (USA) – Maurice Gleeson (England) – Wayne Shepheard (Canada) The conference is divided into two streams with a total of 10 talks on throughout the day. There will be DNA, Irish and General topics, and Wayne Shepheard, author of “Surviving Mother Nature’s Tests: The Effects Climate Change and Other Natural Phenomena have had on the Lives of our Ancestors” will be talking about the “Genealogy and the Little Ice Age ” You can view the full program here. Now obviously, not everyone can get to Seattle, but you can pretend you are, as Unlock the Past have just announced that they will be LIVESTREAMING the conference, so you and everyone else around the world can tune in live (or at a later time) to watch the talks. And as they will be available to watch for a while after the event, for those in Australia you don’t have to stay up to stupid o’clock to watch. As I am going on the Alaska cruise, I will be at the Seattle conference, so will write about it in due course. But I hope that some of you take the opportunity to tune in and hear these world-class speakers as well. ATTEND IN PERSON: Cost: US$45 Date: Thursday, 6 September 2018...

A Thankyou to the Captain...

As an avid Trovite, I love reading the old newspapers (as so many of us do). And yet, I am still amazed at the very cool stuff you can find in the old newspapers. Take for instance one of my recent finds. A friend asked me to see what I could find on the “Lord Raglan” 1854 voyage to South Australia. So after some general Googling to find out the basic details (the ship left Plymouth, Devon 16 July 1854, and arrived in Port Adelaide, South Australia on 23 October 1854), I found a copy of the original passenger list on the State Library of South Australia website. I also found references to it on the Passengers in History site, and The Ships List. Anyway so then I headed off to Trove , and I came up with a thankyou message that the passengers had written to the Captain of the Lord Raglan ship, and they put it publicly in the the newspaper. How cool is that? It’s great to know that Captain Flanagan and his crew looked after their passengers on the long voyage to a new life. Another newspaper entry I found relating to the Lord Raglan, quotes the following … The fine new ship Lord Raglan, 923 tons register, Captain Flanagan, for Adelaide, and the Appoline, of 500 tons, for Melbourne, having embarked their respective complements of emigrants from the Government dept, at Plymouth, sailed on Sunday. The Lord Raglan belongs to Messrs. W. Nicholson and Sons, of Sunderland, and has been fitted up on a most excellent plan, the result of the experience of Captain Lean, R.N., the Government emigration officer in London. Among other advantages, one-third of each bed can be turned up from the sides of the ship, so as to admit of a free passage two feet...

31 Ways to Make the Most of National Family History Month...

August is here, which means Australia and New Zealand’s National Family History Month is here. The launch has happened, the events are underway, and you may well have attended a talk or two already. While there’s over 200 events scheduled, unfortunately not everyone is able to attend onsite events for various reasons, but even so there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate and be involved with National Family History Month. First up I do have to give big a shout-out to my good geniefriend Shauna Hicks, who originally came up with this idea of having a 31 ideas list few years ago for National Family History Month. And I must say I loved it. I even printed out the list, and ticked them off as I did them. This list is not a copy of Shauna’s but rather one that I’ve made up, but click on her name above for even more suggestions. Have a read through the list, see what you’d like to achieve, and count what you’ve done at the end of the month. You might be surprised. Contact a genealogy, family history or historial society near you Visit your local State Archives or library Write your life story (or at least begin it!) (click here for some topic suggestions) Interview a relative about their life story Hold a family reunion (it doesn’t have to be a big one, even a catchup with a reli or two) Attend a family or local history talk, seminar or information session Label some family photos Scan some of your photos Most genies I know have “piles of paperwork” (myself included). So filing is a must. However filing is never a fun job, but do it in small doses, and it’s...