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...

21 Signs That Your Partner Isn’t Into Genealogy as Much as You...

While I know of a few couples who both research their family history, I believe that most of us have non-genie partners. Putting it simply, our partners have to put up with a lot. Our excitement at finding something. Our frustration at not! Our telling the latest story about great aunt so-and-so who went to jail. The detours we make them take so we can visit a cemetery on the way … and so on. While they may not understand us, or want to do research themselves, we should be thankful for our non-genie partners as they accept us as we are. While I’m sure it’s obvious enough, here’s a list of 21 signs to show that your partner just isn’t into genealogy as much as you. They believe that your dining table is to be used as a dining table, not your genealogy storage desk For a day outing they suggest going to the zoo, where as you’d suggest going to the archives The places they suggest for a holiday include camping, resorts or theme parks, rather than ancestral towns and cemeteries They simply don’t share your excitement at finding your great great grandpa’s immigration record Or that someone has contacted you via DNA connection, which shows you have a whole new branch to explore To them an ‘old photo’ is an old photo. To you it’s a mystery to discover (the who, when, where, and why) They don’t understand your complete horror when they throw out photos and documents!! They don’t understand the phrases “download a Gedcom” or “upload raw data” For a present they give you a CD and box of chocolates, when you’ve been hanging out to get another DNA kit, and the brand new...

I’ve Got Nothing to Write About!...

Let me guess … you had an idea that it’d be great to start a genealogy blog and write stories about your family history to make sure they get recorded. But you’re not doing a lot of research, and aren’t inspired, and now you’re finding that “I have nothing to write about” and it all seems too hard! Am I right? For those of you who are at this point of genealogy blogging (or even those who are yet to start), this one is for you. Here’s a bunch of suggestions to get you back blogging, without a whole lot of effort. There’s  whole group of ‘day related’ theme posts (I’ll mention more of them later), but let me start with WORDLESS WEDNESDAY. Keep a post short and simple by starting with an old photo. Pop it on your blog, and caption it you choose, but you don’t need a whole blog post about it. That’s the whole idea of Wordless Wednesday. Short and sweet. And you’re recording a piece of history. START SMALL If you’re wanting to write about your family or ancestors, don’t aim to write entire life stories of them (well not in one post anyway). Break it down into stories. A place they used to visit, a job they did, pets they owned, when they bought a new car, a voyage they took, an heirloom of theirs you have – and what the story behind it is … and so on. So many ideas. So many great stories waiting to be told. GENEAMEMES You all know what a meme is?  Well a geneameme is a genealogy themed one, and there’s been a number that have done the rounds over the years, but anyone can pick up and do...

Get Ready for the Congress 2018 Experience...

Ok, so who’s ready for Congress 2018? – You’ve registered as a delegate – booked your accommodation – sorted our your travel to get there – got your tree all up-to-date, and on appropriate devices (just in case you get time to research, or even better, find a ‘cousin’ there) – you’ve got (and packed) your geniecards (I know you won’t forget those) – and now you are eagerly counting down the days … (there’s 118 days for those who were wondering) If you’ve done all of that, awesome! I love that you’re so organised, and so excited about it, but seriously you don’t need to read on, as this is really for those who haven’t booked and are still ‘thinking about it’. Let me tell you that Congress is not “just an event”. Personally I would call it more of an experience. I have been to RootsTech in the US (the world’s biggest genie event), and that for sure is experience, not that Congress is on the same scale, but still. There’s far more to it than just going to some talks. There’s the whole social aspect of it, either as organised ones or spontaneous catchups with a few people. Expect to meet a heap of new people, all who whole LOVE genealogy as much as you do. So trust me you’ll make a heap of new friends. And if you’ve been doing genealogy a while, you’ll catch up with others you’ve met before, or maybe just on social media. You can also check out what’s for sale from the bunch of vendors who will be there, and of course you’ll be learning from many of the world’s best speakers. You will be on a high the whole...

A to Z – A Few Words from the Past...

Ever come across a word in an old document or article you didn’t know what it meant? I’m sure you have. Language changes. Words change. They go in and out of fashion. So I thought it would be interesting to have a look at few a few old school (aka “archiac”) words and their original meanings. There are oodles of “old word” lists online which you’ll find helpful, but for my list I decided to head to Google Books and look through “A Dictionary of the English Language” which was compiled in 1828 by Samuel Johnson, John Walker and Robert S. Jameson. You may be familiar with some of the words below, afterall some appear in the current Oxford Dictionary. But I believe that many will be as foreign to you as they were to me. A Abactor – One who drives away or steals cattle in herds Adulatress – She that flattereth Animaclue – A minute animal Antipestilential – Efficacious against the plague Arcanum – A secret Arcubalist – A crossbow B Base-Born – Born out of wedlock; of low parentage; vile Basenet – An helmet or headpiece Becloud – To dim; to obscure Belmetal – The metal of which bells are made; being a mixture of three parts copper and one of tin Black-Jack – The leathern cup of elder times C Carle – A mean, rude, rough, brutal man Carouseer – A drinker Cataphract – A horseman in complete armour D Deep-Read – Profoundly versed Demy – A term relating to the size of paper; as demy, royal or large; of which demy is the smallest Dentifrice – A powder made to scour the teeth Deuterogamist – He who enters into a second marriage Domesman –...

Vote Now for your 2017 Rockstar Genealogists...

The “Rockstar Genealogist” Awards is back again for a sixth year, but this time it’s actually back “due to popular demand”, and as always John D. Reid from the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog, (one of my fav bloggers by the way) plays host to this. So let’s start with his definition of what a Rockstar Genealogist is … Rockstar genealogists are those who give “must attend” presentations at family history conferences or as webinars, who when you see a new family history article or publication by that person, makes it a must buy, or who you follow avidly on social media. Last week he announced the 2017 Rockstar Genealogist nominees, and called for any extras to be added. There are so many on that list that I admire, through what they write be it in magazines, books, or on their blog, as well as those who I love to listen and learn from when I can. The list of those nominated is long and has people from all around the world listed (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland and Scotland. So it’s great that people from all corners of the globe getting recognition. Many I know, and totally admire for many reasons. Others I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting yet. But what I can say for sure is that the amount of knowledge between (at least those that I know) is phenomenal. And somehow my name has made it on to the list on nominees. So thankyou to whoever has nominated me. I really am flattered. But I’m still not sure I’m there, as I’m not a public speaker, and I haven’t written books, I just write on my blogs. So to be named amongst such a great group...

A Look Back Over 6 Years of Blogging...

October 3rd is my 6 year blogiversary. Sometimes I can’t believe that it’s gone that quick, and other times, it seems forever. Anyway 6 years on, and I’m still blogging, and I still love it. For this post, I thought I’d take a little look back at some of my favourite posts. I do write on a number of different topics, so I’ve groups them into various categories, and have chosen six from each. This post took a lot longer to compile that I expected, partly because I relooked at each and every post I’d written which was a very interesting exercise, but also because it was so hard choosing which ones to include. I would have loved that list more … FAMILY HISTORY – Anzac Day Blog Challenge: He Was Proud to be Australian – Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: P is for … Charlotte PHILLIPS – Trove Tuesday: The Saddest News of All – Diaries, and the Stories They Can Tell! – A Wedding in the Midst of War – Looking Back: Photos of My Grandmas FUNNIES – Ten, Eleven, Twelve Commandments of Genealogy – 13 Signs You Have Genealogy OCD – Favourite Family Tree Quotes – All I Want For Christmas Is A New Surname – Genealogy, As the World Sees It – Are You a Genealogist or a Family Historian? HISTORY – History Meets Street Art in Adelaide – History Under Your Feet – Australian History – the Bits You Didn’t Know About – Trove Tuesday: 1 March 1954, The Day the Earth Shook South Australia – A List of Don’ts for Women on Bicycles Circa 1895 – Australia Day, 26 January … or is it May or July? RECORDS AND RESEARCH – Australian Government Gazettes – Have You Discovered Them? – Australian Birth, Death and Marriage...