Five Faves Geneameme

It was a few weeks ago that Jill Ball (aka GeniAus) put the word out on her latest genealogy blog challenge, the “Five Faves Geneameme“.

She writes …

“To participate in this meme simply pen a blog post sharing details of five books written by others you have found most useful in your geneactivities. Use the above graphic to decorate your post if you wish. Please let me know via a comment on this post or via another form of social media when your post is done and I will add it to a compilation that I will publish on this blog in early June.”  

May was a busy month for me, so it didn’t happen. But I’ve decided to take up the challenge, albeit a little late. But better late than never.

I am a booklover. I love books and I love libraries, not to mention secondhand bookshops too. And I will confess I’ve never got into the whole ebook thing. I much prefer a paper book to read.

Anyway others who’ve already taken up the challenge found narrowing it down to “just” five titles is really hard. While I don’ t have 1000s of books like some do, my collection would be in the 100s, and they range from reference books (reading old handwriting, lists of old diseases etc), battalion histories, family histories, histories of towns and counties, books with transcripts, royalty, heraldry, placename books, books of old maps and more … including diaries!

So thinking about those that I use the most … here’s my list:

Compiled by the South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society

BISA sample entries

sample entries from the “BISA”

Anyone who is researching ancestors in South Australia prior to 1885 NEEDS to use this title. The information you can find in the BISA includes: Surname, name/s, date and place of birth, parents, ship and year of immigration, occupation, religion, death date, residence/s, spouse/s, year and place of marriage, spouse’s parents, children. The information was compiled by the South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society (SAGHS), from information submitted to them. So it is an index. And while there are known errors in it, it is still an incredible resource and one to use to check the information further.

Originally released as a 4 volume set for SA’s Bicentenary in 1988, an additional 2 volumes were released in 1990. All printed volumes are long out of print, but they have been digitised and are available on CD.


NOTORIOUS STRUMPETS AND DANGEROUS GIRLS: Convict Women in Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1829
Notorious Strumpets #1
Compiled by Phillip Tardif
This enormous volume (over 1800 pages) has been useful in helping with information on Mr Lonetester’s convicts. Detailing biographical information on 1675 female convicts sent to VDL between the years 1803-1829 it’s a great reference book.

The cover says …

“… It details not only the strange and tragic, but the everyday events that comprised a convicts life, revealing each woman’s crime, her trade, origins, physical appearance, colonial misdemeanors and punishments, marriage, and the date and agency by which she gained her freedom – if indeed, she did.

It was a popular book when it was released, but sadly was never reprinted. So it’s long been out of print. But I was fortunate to pick up a secondhand copy a few years ago.

sample entry from Notorious Strumpets

sample entry from Notorious Strumpets

Compiled by C.J. Smee and the Pioneer Association

the Pioneer Register series

the Pioneer Register series

It took a while to complete my collection of all six volumes in this series, but slowly, slowly I obtained each of them through secondhand shops. Each volume contains “genealogical details of 500 pioneers, their children and grandchildren”.

One annoying thing (apart from not having an index), is that there aren’t any page numbers in these volumes. But at least the “pioneers” themselves are in alphabetical order. This is purely a reference work, and as there’s no indication where the information was obtained from, all information needs to be verified. But I find that they are a useful source.

portion of a page from the Pioneer Register

portion of a page from the Pioneer Register


the 1978 edition of Gumeracha 1839-1939

the 1978 edition of Gumeracha 1839-1939

GUMERACHA 1839-1939
Edited by J.E. Monfries
My Randell ancestors founded the town of Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills, which those who’ve followed a while will have read about, so naturally I have a fascination with this town, apart from the fact that it is my hometown too.

This book was written in 1939 for the town’s centenary, and details the early families, the businesses, hospitals, schools and sporting clubs, and it is a must for anyone interested in the history of the town.

The original 1939 volume is long out of print, as is the 1978 edition which is pictured here. There is however, a CD edition of the title still available.




Compiled by Oliver Mason

Bartholomew's Gazetteer of Britain

Bartholomew’s Gazetteer of Britain

Every researcher needs a gazetteer. A gazetteer is a reference book to help you locate places, and as places change name or disappear, generally the older the gazetteer the better. This one is one that I have for Britain and it lists counties, towns, villages, parish, boroughs, lakes, hills and so on. Arranged in alphabetical order, each place then provided details of the county, a grid reference map (to maps in the book) and details of where to find it.

Sample entry: EASTRY – Kent 12 H2 vil 3m/4km SW of Sandwich. TR 3154

Bartholomew’s is one of the well known names for English gazetteers, with Lewis’ being the other. This books is long out of print, but check around online and you’ll find gazetteer to download, or buy on CD.


So that’s just five of my fave genealogy-related books. What are yours?

What’s on Your Genealogy Bucket List?

Every year about this time, I am reminded of one thing that’s on my ‘genealogy bucket list’ that I haven’t done, and that’s go to Who Do You Think You Are? Live in England.

It does claim to be the world’s biggest genealogy event, however that title now goes to RootsTech. But still at over 10,000 attendees, it’s a giant event that is deserving of second-place. And one that I do hope to get to someday.

So while I was thinking about genealogy bucket lists, I came across “The Bucket List GeneaMeme” created by Jill Ball back in 2012. I am always up for a good geneameme, but for whatever reason I didn’t take part in this back then, so I’m playing along now.

1. The genealogy conference I would most like to attend is …
PARTLY DONE. RootsTech was always top of this list, which I have been to three times now. But Who Do You Think You Are? Live is a close second, which I’m still to do. So that one’s still on the “bucket list”.

2. The genealogy speaker I would most like to hear and see is …
PARTLY DONE. This is a tough one, as I have seen and heard so many great speakers, though I know there would be so many more that I haven’t heard yet. So my answer is more along the lines of those I know, that I’d love to sit and listen to all day: Judy G. Russell, Paul Milner, Thomas MacEntee, Helen V. Smith, Shauna Hicks, Chris Paton. I have heard from others that Blaine Bettinger and David Rencher are also incredibly great speakers and very inspiring. So hopefully one day I’ll get to hear them in person.

3. The geneablogger I would most like to meet in person is …
DONE. I remember being hyper-excited to meet Thomas MacEntee (of GeneaBloggers), Cyndi Ingle (of Cyndis List), and Dick Eastman (of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter). It was a true honour to meet each of them. And while I’ve noted this as ‘done’, we know that always so many more wonderful genie people to meet. So I’m looking forward to meeting more.

the geneablogger group photo from RootsTech 2017

the geneablogger group photo from RootsTech 2017

4. The genealogy writer I would most like to have dinner with is …
STILL ON BUCKET LIST. I’ve had dinner with a number of fabulous genealogy peeps, who happen to be writers. But I’ve chosen to note this one as “still on the bucket list” because I would have dinner with any of them, anytime.

5. The genealogy lecture I would most like to present is …
IRRELEVANT. As I’m not into public speaking, I’m going to ignore this one.

6. I would like to go on a genealogy cruise that visits …
DONE. Personally I’d go anywhere where there’s sunshine and has great genealogy speakers aboard! But I will say that Unlock the Past’s 8th Cruise, which went to the Baltic region, did stop at Finland for a day, and I got to meet some of my Finnish reli’s and had a fabulous day together. More on that here.

7. The photo I would most like to find is …
STILL ON BUCKET LIST. This one is easy … 4x great grandma Charlotte Trewartha (nee Phillips). I have a photo of her Candy shop, and her obituary, but have never seen a photo of her. More on her here.

8. The repository in a foreign land I would most like to visit is …
PARTLY DONE. At this moment the one I want to visit is the National Archives of Finland, as I’ll be going there soon and hope to find some info on my great grandpa’s family. But one that was on the list that I have done, is to research at the Family History Centre in Salt Lake City, which is five storey’s of pure research heaven!

the National Archives of Finland, Helsinki

the National Archives of Finland, Helsinki

9. The place of worship I would most like to visit is …
10. The cemetery I would most like to visit is …
DONE. To me the cemetery and church go together so I’m answering this as one. I’ll say ‘done for now’, as I’m not avidly following any lines that I’d need to visit a church or cemetery at the moment. But I did get the chance when in Devon and Cornwall to  check out some which was awesome.

Lamorran Parish Church, Lamorra, Cornwall - taken August 2014

Lamorran Parish Church, Lamorran, Cornwall – taken August 2014

Lamorran Church Cemetery, Lamorran, Cornwall - taken August 2014

Lamorran Church Cemetery, Lamorran, Cornwall – taken August 2014

11. The ancestral town or village I would most like to visit is …
PARTLY DONE. Ever since I was about 18 and found out I had Finnish reli’s, I’ve wanted to go to Finland. And apart from my 1 day visit there a few years ago during a cruise, where I saw a little of Helsinki I know nothing about the place, so am really looking forward to my trip in a few months, where I’ll get to catch up with my reli’s and see a whole lot more of Finland. Also I was fortunate to visit Lancaster Castle in Lancashire, which is where my 3x great grandpa worked there as a gatekeeper (more on that here), that was cool!

12. The brick wall I most want to smash is …
STILL ON BUCKET LIST. Not brickwall as such, but I would love to find Samuel Trewartha’s emigration record from England to the US (or maybe Canada). I would also like to know where he is buried. I have him in England, and I have him in New Jersey … but I don’t have details of when and how he got there. One day I’ll find it. But at this stage it’s on the bucket list.

13. The piece of software I most want to buy is …
STILL ON BUCKET LIST. There’s actually two programs I’m interested in but haven’t got around to getting yet. One is TreeView and the other is Charting Companion. I’ll get to getting them sometime, but both require some time to play, and I’m too busy with other things at present, but will get to it sometime.

14. The tech toy I want to purchase next is …
STILL ON BUCKET LIST. I’m not really looking for anything new, but I probably need another 1TB or 2TB portable harddrive soon, to keep copies of all the photos I scan. You can never have too many backups of them!

15. The expensive book I would most like to buy is …
DONE. I’m a sucker for books, and tend to buy what I want/need. And the fact that I would rather buy books than shoes speaks for itself. But there’s nothing I’m hanging out for at present.

16. The library I would most like to visit is …
PARTLY DONE. The one that was on my bucket list for years was Trinity Library in Dublin. But I was lucky enough to get there in 2015, and it is as spectacular as it looks. So now the next one I’d like to get to is the Helsinki Public Library in Finland. And although the books will mean nothing to me, as no doubt they’ll mostly be in Finnish or Swedish, it’s the library and atmosphere I want to go for.

Trinity College Library, Dublin

Trinity College Library, Dublin

17. The genealogy related book I would most like to write is …
IRRELEVANT. At this stage I have no intention of writing any books (family history or guide book type thing) but who knows. However if I was to ever write a family history on my Winter family from Finland, I already have the title worked out. It would be called “A World of Winters”.

18. The genealogy blog I would most like to start would be about …
DONE. Well, I started my Lonetester blog in 2011, and my Memorabilia House blog in 2013. These keep me happy, with discovering, writing and recording family stories and heirlooms.

19. The journal article I would most like to write would be about …
IRRELEVANT. No plans at this stage. I’m a casual blog writer, not an article or book writer.

20. The ancestor I most want to meet in the afterlife is …
STILL ON BUCKET LIST. Hmm, how many can I choose? 

So while I’m on the topic of bucket lists, Lynn Palermo of The Armchair Genealogist blog, also wrote a post on the Genealogists Bucket List. Her’s is a little different, and includes suggestions of things to do like going to a National conference, to read a great genealogy book, and to discover some living relatives you didn’t know you had and so on. All fabulous suggestions, and written in a totally different way to Jill’s.

So what’s on your bucket list? Research trips, visiting relatives, getting some to do DNA tests, writing your history, starting a blog, research on a particular line, cataloguing what you have in a methodical way (note to self: I must do this)?

There’s always things to add to the bucket list, but so you don’t get overwhelmed, don’t forget to have a look back and see what you’ve already achieved as well. That’s important as well.

Now here’s hoping we all get to cross at least one thing off our genealogy bucket list this year.

So. Much. More. Research. To. Do!

start with a printout

start with a printout

It is said that ‘genealogy never ends’. You get one generation back, then you suddenly double the number of people to research on the following one. Not to mention following the the siblings, and the side branches as well. So it’s true … it doesn’t.

And anyone who says it does, should take part in this “Ancestor Tally” or “Ancestor Tracking” geneameme which I’ve seen on a few blogs now (Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches, and Michael Dyer’s Family Sleuther), so I thought I’d play along and see what my 15 or so years of on-off research shows.

In short it shows that I need to spend a whole lot more time researching!

So the idea is to count up the number of direct line ancestors you can identify going back10 generations (starting from yourself). So I sat down, printed out a 10 generation ancestral  chart (4 pages so it wasn’t too bad), counted them up generation by generation … and wallah … I have the numbers, which I then also converted to percentages.

As you can see from the numbers I’m not doing too bad till I reach my the 7th generations (4x great grandparents). Part of that is probably due to the fact that I just haven’t entered some info (I really find the search more interesting than the entering, do others find that too?), but it does also highlight that a LOT more research is still to be done.

It’ll happen bit-by-bit. Another name here, another date there, or something verified so I can add it in. We all know it’s a slow process. That’s just the way of proper genealogy.

[table “3” not found /]







My Life in Five Photos

Can you show your life in five photos? I’m not sure if I can, but I’m going to try.

I have taken this idea from a Facebook friend who participated in a “five photos of me, over five days” challenge. But true to my usual self, I decided to give it a little twist.

The original rule of this Challenge was to post “5 five photos, 1 per day, on Facebook that were photos of yourself that are more than 15 years old.” I have ignored the 15 years old bit, and have decided for “My Life in Five Photos”, that they can be “of me, or showing something about me” and I’ve decided to do them all as a single post.

And obviously it’s not going to show you “ALL” of my life, but rather just a few different aspects of it. I haven’t called this a geneameme, but I would love for others to take up the idea, and share a few photos of their life.

1. Apple Orchard – 1975
My grandpa had an apple orchard in the Adelaide Hills, and as my mum worked there, the orchard was my playground prior to starting primary school at age 5. So getting completely dirty was just part of my daily routine. And yes, that is dirt all over me and my clothes!

Alona in the apple orchard - March 1975 edited


2. Broken Arm and Cemetery – 1976
I love this photo for various reasons. Firstly because I was getting my photo taken (hence the big grin), secondly it’s the only photo I have of me when I had a broken arm, and thirdly (and favourite reason) is that this photo was taken on the front lawn of my family’s house at Cudlee Creek, showing the Cudlee Creek cemetery in the background. I was a an unofficial groundskeeper for this cemetery, so my love affair with cemeteries started young. I used to pick flowers from mum’s garden and put on those graves, and pick up the flower jars that had fallen over and so on. It was only later that I found out half of those buried there are actually my relis!

Alona Phillips, 1976 with broken arm edited


3. Ash Wednesday – 1983
I think anyone that has been though any major disaster has it etched in their mind, and it will something that they NEVER ever forget. That is what Ash Wednesday is like for me. This is a photo of my family’s house on Ash Wednesday. While it doesn’t actually have me in it, it does have my mum and brother there, but I was there (even though I didn’t want to be). And yes, the sky really was that colour, the air was full of smoke, and the sun was blood red.

Ash Wednesday 1


4. Genealogy Expo – 2010
As part of my job at Gould Genealogy & History, we have organised a number of genealogy events including History & Genealogy Expo’s. Apart from organising them, we also exhibit there … and usually have stand for both our Gould Genealogy & History and Unlock the Past companies. The photo below was taken at the History & Genealogy Expo that we organised in Sydney 2010, with my mum and I manning the stand.

UTP Expo October 2010 - Alona & Anthea


5. Lamorran Cemetery – 2014
Cemetery walking, that’s what I call it, though some call it cemetery traipsing, either way, visiting the cemeteries of your ancestors is something that I was able to do on a trip to England in July 2014. The rain wasn’t going to stop me checking out the cemetery at Lamorran, in Devon looking for my ancestors. Afterall cemeteries are the places that genealogist would prefer to go, rather that the standard tourist attractions, right?

Lamorran Cemetery, Devon - July 2014


Now I know I missed a heap of things, including my school years and my wedding, and a hundred others things. But limiting this post to just five photos was hard. REALLY REALLY HARD! And I will admit that I was very tempted to make it “My Life in Ten Photos”, but I resisted, and have left it at the five.

So there you go. There’s my life in five photos, or more specifically five moments of my life in five photos! So now who else is interested in sharing theirs?