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...

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...

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...

Older and Wiser: What I’d Say to My Younger Genealogical Self...

So you’ve been researching your family history for a while now, and have learnt things over the years, and I have no doubt that you’re a different researcher now than you were back then. So what would you say to your younger genealogical self? Here’s my response … Dear younger me, So I know that you grew up with family history, but you FINALLY took up doing your own. That’s AWESOME!! I know you had a good start with what dad did, but nothing beats doing your own searching, and in doing so you’ll come across people you never knew, find out amazing stories of survival, put names and faces to photographs and heirlooms and more. In essence you’ll learn about the people who helped make YOU! So what advice can I give you? Read. I know you already read, but read articles in genealogy magazines, read reviews of genealogical products and websites, read blogs on people’s research. I do all of this now, and learn a lot from them. The learning never ends. Cite your sources. I know, you’ve heard it before. As much as you believe you’ll remember where you got that tidbit of information from, trust me 5 years down the track when you’re relooking at that branch, you won’t. So CITE. YOUR. SOURCES. While it doesn’t have to be in the “official citation format” if you’re not familiar with that yet, but at least note where it came from: what person, what book, what newspaper (including the date and page number), what website etc. Afterall a tree without sources is as bad as a photograph album without names … well almost. Another thing … don’t be afraid to ask questions? Query your relatives, usually one question and one person...

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...

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...

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...

Listen and Learn With Genealogy Podcasts...

So you’re doing genealogy, and you’d like to learn more about history and family history, but you don’t have a lot of spare time, right? Have you discovered podcasts? I’m guessing a few hands went up, but most of you are saying “no” as you read this. Some of you might not even know what they are (stick with me as I’ll explain). Anyway podcasts are a fabulous way to learn – not just for genealogy, but any topic. They are simply audio recordings that you can listen to on your computer, iPad or Smartphone, and there are literally thousands of them – all history and genealogy related – and waiting for you to listen to whenever you choose. With podcasts you can listen interviews with genealogy peeps, information on coming events, reports on past events, reviews on products, and hear plenty of general genealogy news. Below are just a few of the more well-known genealogy-related podcasts. Note, they are all free to listen to. And no you don’t need a subscription. Just click on the ‘listen’ or ‘play’ button, and start listening. If you have a iPad, or iPhone, most you can download from iTunes. ——————————- Extreme Genes Extreme Genes is a weekly radio show and podcast about family history. Host Scott Fisher keeps you informed on the latest in family history research around the world, and talks to people about amazing things that have happened while they were doing family history research.   Family Tree Magazine Podcast Hear about the best genealogy tools and tips directly from Family Tree Magazine’s editors and experts! Each month you are taken behind the scenes to learn more about genealogy topics from the Family Tree magazine, books, courses and more. Each episode features interviews with genealogy...