15 Reasons That Genealogy is Like Gardening...

I am what I call a “potter” gardener. I don’t mind getting out there on a nice day, and just pottering around, doing a big of weeding, pruning, planting new plants, finding others that I don’t remember planting and so on. And it was while I spent some time outside doing some gardening recently and getting some important vitamin D in as well … it occurred to me that gardening is rather like genealogy,  and not just because they both involve trees. So here’s what I came up with … Like gardening, your tree is NEVER finished Both involve LOTS of digging Like gardening, from time to time you do have to prune branches off your tree There’s no doubt about it … both gardening ad family tree-ing take time Like weeding, every little you can do helps you see results Like gardening, it’s super exciting when you discover something new – something you didn’t know existed Not sure about you, but I love colour, both in my garden, and in my family history. And as researchers we love those colourful characters don’t we! Like gardening, from little things big things grow (well that’s the theory, and it sometimes works)! Start with a name or two … and in time you’ll have a family tree Like actual trees, some family trees are spread wide, while others are narrow but tall (more direct line type trees) When gardening you’ll come across different soil types. Some nice and soft, others like clay hard or with lots of rocks. Obviously when planting there, they take more effort and more time to nurture what grows there. This reminds me of brickwall. it’s do-able, but they take a lot more time and effort. There...

Genimates at Congress 2018...

One of the big pluses for me attending a genealogy conference is that I get to catch up with my genimates. Australia is a big country, and we don’t have many ‘national’ (big genie events), so therefore we don’t see each other often. But Congress brought people from interstate, and even some from overseas as well, and it was great to catch up with them all, and meet some others as well. Some who I’ve known through social media, and others I know of by name. As I was an exhibitor at Congress and didn’t get to any of the talks, I can’t write any report on those for you… but based on what the other geneabloggers have written they were awesome. GeniAus (Jill Ball) is collating a list of all Congress related blog posts, and you can check them out here. So for me when I wasn’t at my stand, I was off chatting to other exhibitors and asking them if they’d be kind enough to sign my autograph book (yes, I did take it with me), and also catching others for a quick pic when they were nearby. So my post here is simply pics of some of the genimates that I caught up with there. So Congress came, and Congress went. It was a busy 4 days. It was a fun 4 days. And let’s hope that a group takes on Congress for 2021, and then we’ll see you all again in 3 years...

Congress 2018 – It Begins...

Three long years after we were all in Canberra, and an even longer week this week (don’t ask, it’s a long story) … Congress (Australia’s big genealogy event) is finally here. It’s no RootsTech by any means. But then again NOTHING is like RootsTech other than RootsTech. But Congress is THE BIG genie conference for Australia. It’s the event that brings people from all across the nation, and even across the ditch, together to, as Mr Lonetester says, “geek out on genealogy” for 4 whole days. The conference began on Friday, so I arrived Thursday afternoon, which was timely as I was able to have a very lovely afternoon tea with my roommates (Helen Smith and Judy Russell), and then headed out to dinner with a bunch of others for a pre-Congress get together. It was great to catch up friends who I’ve not seen for ages, and make some new ones too. There was laughs, there was photos, and there was ribbons, beads and geniecards. Friday started early for me, as an exhibitor we had to get in early to set up! And even at that time of day (just on “light-o-clock”) the International Convention Centre (ICC) was packed. Was this a heap of eager genies? Well yes … but not that many. It turned out that there were a number of other events being held at the ICC on that day as well … an aromatherapy conference, a tattoo expo, an orthodontic conference and more. So yes, there were literally thousands of people around for a while, till all the events started. So after 2hrs of lugging boxes in, and setting up the our stand, the exhibition opened at 9am, and for a change we (the Gould...

#NotAtRootsTech, But I Want to Be...

The world’s biggest genealogy event, RootsTech, has just begun, but I’m not there. To say I’m missing it, and my friends is an understatement. Why am I not there? Well I did go in 2017, and there is a lot of sea between Australia and the US, so it takes time to save dollars for those big plane trips … not to mention that Congress (the big Australian genealogy event, but not even in the same league as RootsTech), is on the next week in Sydney … and I’ll be going to that. So I look at my Faceboook feed and see so many friends who are there enjoying the sights, sounds and catch-ups of it all. Sigh … next year! I will get there next year! Anyway, so what makes RootsTech THE. MUST. ATTEND. genealogy event for so many from around the world? For me it is the socialising. The breakfasts, the dinners, even lunch if you’re lucky enough to get some (yes, it gets that crazy). Even the drinks after the day has finished. It’s the time where you get to catch up with friends (and make new ones) from all around the world. It’s the time where you’re not racing from one talk to the next, or trying to make your way around the expo hall … but the times when you can just sit and chat to someone one-on-one or just a small group of people. I have made great friendships from meeting at RootsTech. Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many awesome talks, and SO much to learn from the awesome speakers. And the Expo hall is something like you wouldn’t believe. It’s a place that seriously takes days to work your way around it all,...

Love Australian History? Get “Traces”...

If you love Australian history and/or genealogy, let me introduce you to “Traces“. Traces is a brand spanking new Australian genealogy and history magazine. It is exciting to have a new magazine available, because we’ve seen far too many disappear over the past few years, which no doubt is a sign of the times. Anyway call me old fashioned, but I’m a physical paper magazine lover, and I still get excited when a new issue arrives in the mail. As for what it’s about, the magazine states that … “Traces magazine is for anyone interested in this country’s history, from ancient Indigenous heritage to European settlement, local history, artefacts and family genealogy. Launched in December 2017, Traces is the only quarterly printed magazine dedicated to providing its readers with insight into the latest historical research, news, events and heritage projects taking place around Australia. The expert voices of historians, researchers, heritage professionals, genealogists and journalists uncover the fascinating characters and stories of our past.” Anyway Issue 1 (or Volume 1 as they actually call it) of Traces magazine is an awesome read. As with most of the genie mags I get, I’ve read it from cover to cover. Basically you’ll find 64 pages of interesting, well-written articles. Some of the topics covered in Issue 1 are … – Getting started on your family tree – the wrecking of the ‘Batavia’ – Indigenous convicts – the Brennan & Geraghty’s Store Museum which really is ‘a store that time forgot’ – discover the history of Silverton, New South Wales – Caring for your precious textiles – learn how to date old photos through fashion – read all about ‘the masher’ – info on the Historic Houses Association of Australia – discover...

The Ultimate Checklist: 79 Places to Look for Family History Information...

So you’ve embarked on the super-exciting journey of family history … the journey where you discover not only who your family is and was, but in many instances yourself as well. You’ve started off by writing down all the information that you currently know about yourself, your spouse, your children, your siblings and your parents (names, dates, places etc). The next step is to look for items that are likely to help you with more information. Everyone knows about the birth, death and marriage certificates as a source of information. But had you thought of looking in your baby book, on x-rays, or your drivers licence … all of these have valuable information about the person they relate to, and therefore all are sources. So if you thought you had looked EVERYWHERE … think again. I guarantee that this checklist has at lease a few possibilities you hadn’t considered before. Birth ___ Adoption Record ___ Baby Book ___ Birth Certificate Marriage ___ Anniversary Announcement ___ Marriage Certificate ___ Wedding Announcement ___ Wedding Book Divorce ___ Papers Death ___ Death Certificate ___ Funeral Book ___ Memorial Cards ___ Obituary ___ Will Education ___ Awards ___ Graduation ___ Honour Roll ___ Report Cards ___ Year Books Employment ___ Achievement Awards ___ Apprenticeship Records ___ Business Cards ___ Income Tax Records ___ Membership Records ___ Resume ___ Severance Records ___ Retirement Records Everyday Life ___ Address Books ___ Autograph Album ___ Bills ___ Birthday Book ___ Biography ___ Diary ___ Letters ___ Newspaper Clippings ___ Passport ___ Photographs ___ Scrapbooks ___ Telephone Books Family ___ Bible ___ Bulletins/Newsletters ___ Coat of Arms ___ Genealogies ___ Histories Health ___ Hospital Records ___ Immunisation Records ___ Insurance Papers ___ Medical Records ___ X-rays Household Items ___ Dishes ___ Engraved...

14th Unlock the Past Cruise: Alaska – 8 Months Away...

I’ll admit it. I’m a genealogy cruise fan (aka geneacruiser). I’ve been on 5 already with Unlock the Past cruises, and have cruised around Australia, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Scandinavia and the Baltic, and the UK. Not only have I seen some amazing places along the way, I’ve also learnt so much from the speakers onboard, and made many new friends as well. All in all, they are a whole lot of fun. Anyway this year I’m off to Alaska on what is Unlock the Past’s 14th cruise. And I’m just a little bit excited? Can you tell? I’ve even got a countdown app on my phone … and it tells me that as of today, there’s just 8 months to go. So what’s a genealogy cruise? Or more to the point I should say what’s an Unlock the Past genealogy cruise? Well, essentially it’s a genealogy conference on board a cruise ship. So just like a regular cruise you get your comfy room, meals included, entertainment onboard, and you get to sightsee along the way, but with a genealogy cruise, during the seas days you can attend a genealogy conference onboard, which sounds perfect to me. They have a whole schedule of talks planned, and you simply pick and choose any you’re interested in, and you can read, swim (ok, maybe not swim on a Winter-time Alaska cruise), chitchat over coffee with friends or whatever else the rest of the time. No pressure. And if you are travelling with non-genie family or friends, there is plenty of ships activities that can keep them amused while you’re busy conferencing with many of the world’s best. So the details …  WHEN: 7-14 September 2018 ITINERARY: Seattle, USA > Inside...

A Review of 2017 and my Top 5 Posts for the Year...

As the end of 2017 draws near, I like to take a few moments to look back over what I’ve written throughout the year, and remember. For Australia Day I wrote about one of my emigrating families, I wrote a few more Trove Tuesday posts, I took you with me to various events like RootsTech in the US, a number of events held during the South Australian History Festival, Unlock the Past’s Researching Abroad Roadshow, and even on my holiday to Finland, that was fun wasn’t it! I’ve told you about two awesome events that are happening next year … Congress, the big genie conference in Sydney, and the next genealogy cruise, which is an Alaskan one, which will be totally incredible with the scenery, and also the conference (the speakers on it are AMAZING)! I wrote about the amazing story of Mr Lonetester’s great grandpa for Anzac Day, and updated my list of Australian history and genealogy groups on Facebook several times, which grew exponentially over the year. I wrote about copyright, and blog tips and issues, as well as research practice, and what DNA proved for me. And I even made some confessions, including the bright shiny objects (BSOs). Remembrance Day was a post highlighting the honour boards for the men who made “the ultimate sacrifice” from my home town. For something totally different, I wrote about the origins of the top hat, shampoo, and even barber poles. I discovered convict wine (yes, truly). During the year I took part in some blog challenges and geneameme’s, like Genealogy Close Calls from Nutfield Genealogy, and the Five Faves Geneameme from Geniaus, and my own Ancestral Places Geneameme., and the National Family History Month blog challenge. I was honoured to have been nominated in the...

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Genealogy-Style...

The items on a genealogists Christmas wishlist tend to be a little different to everyone else’s, and this is reflected in a number of variants of the “Twas the Night Before Christmas poem, and a few other genealogy-related Christmas poems. Enjoy! A GENEALOGIST’S CHRISTMAS EVE (Author Unknown) ‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse. The dining room table with clutter was spread With pedigree charts and with letters which said: “Too bad about the data for which you wrote. It sank in a storm on an ill-fated boat.” Stacks of old copies of wills and of such Were proof that my work had become much too much. Our children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads. And I at my table was ready to drop From work on my album with photos to crop. Christmas was here, and of such was my lot That presents and goodies and toys I’d forgot. Had I not been so busy with grandparents’ wills, I’d not have forgotten to shop for such thrills. While others had bought gifts that would bring Christmas cheer, I’d spent time researching those birthdates and years. While I was thus musing about my sad plight, A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a fright. Away to the window I flew in a flash, Tore open the drapes and I yanked up the sash. When what to my nearsighted eyes should appear, But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer. Up to the housetop the reindeer they flew With a sleigh full of toys, and ol’ Santa Claus, too. And then in a twinkling, I heard on...

Give a Little This Christmas...

Every year we spend who knows how much on ‘stuff’. Stuff for ourselves during the year, and stuff for friends and family at birthdays and Christmas time. I’m not saying this is wrong, or even useless … but maybe you could consider giving one extra gift this year. At just $25 it’s not expensive, and you can help change someone’s life. Kiva is a non-profit site that offers microloans to people. Someone might need money to help put a roof on their house, to buy a cow or chicken, or seeds so they can plant and get food, money so they can get supplies for their shop, or even just get clean water … all things we take for granted. But it means the world to people elsewhere. Your $25 goes towards what they need. I was introduced to Kiva through fellow Aussie genealogist, Judy Webster, who created the Kiva group “Genealogists for Families“. Judy has continued her father’s tradition of lending money to hard-working people who want support but not handouts. Your $25 can be loaned over and over again, and as it is repaid, it does more good than a one-time donation to charity. Judy created this group in September 2011, has since then it has continually grown. Currently the Genealogists for Families group has 351 members (made up of geneapeeps from all around the world) who have collectively supplied loans to 9455 people. Impressive isn’t it! Here’s some other impressive figures … But it’s not so much the amount lent, or even the numbers of those lent to … but rather the fact that these people have then been able to continue on with life a little easier thanks to the loan. So while you’re out and...