The Genealogy Community

Genealogy, for the most part, is a solitary hobby. You sit at a computer and look for ‘your’ family online. You head off to the library, cemetery or archive for a day of research to find ‘your’ family. You correspond with others largely by email – so you get my point. It is usually a hobby that is yours … something YOU do. But as with everything, there are exceptions, and you might be lucky enough to have a friend of family member to hang out with and help you along the way, but most of us don’t. But that doesn’t mean that genealogy is a lonesome hobby. NOT AT ALL. In fact, quite the opposite. While we might do our research alone, there is this wonderful thing called the “genealogy community”. This is an amazing group of people who are there to share in your excitement, and frustrations, offer advice, and generally just be there for you when you need (genealogy related or otherwise). For those who haven’t get seen or experienced the “genealogy community” you can find them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and so on). Follow them, learn from them, comment on their posts, share them and encourage them. How do you find people to follow? Do you read genealogy books or magazines? If so, who are the authors? They are all on social media, so why not start by following them? Do you watch genealogy on YouTube, or webinars or listen to podcasts? What about your local genealogy society? Go and find them on social media, and follow. Want more … use the hashtags #genealogy or #familyhistory and see what comes up. I guarantee you’ll find more people to follow … but also don’t...

My “Mad March” Begins Early...

Here in South Australia we have a term called Mad March, which basically means that there are so many events going on throughout the month of March around the state, that it really does get crazy, hence the term “Mad March“. In reality I avoid Adelaide city during March as it is chaos, and just too busy for me … however tempt me with genealogy and that’s another thing, and now my February and March calendar is booked up. From not having travelled much in the last year or more – suddenly I have three trips almost back-to-back over the period of about a month. I’m excited, but exhausted before it starts. But looking forward to it all. First up I’m off the the United States to ROOTSTECH. It’s been three years since I was there, and I’ll be awesome to get back there and catchup with friends, meet new ones, have a big long wander through the exhibition hall (getting everyone’s autograph of course), and going to some talks as well. It’ll be a fun, exhausting four days of conferencing. Bring it on! Shortly after I get back, I’ll be heading off on UNLOCK THE PAST’S 17TH CRUISE to Tasmania. It’ll be nice to not have to travel prior to heading off, as this one leaves from Adelaide, then goes and visits Kangaroo Island (that’ll be nice to visit there again), and then on to Tasmania and back. Cruising for 8 days with great genealogy speakers and friends on board, it’ll be a wonderful conference, and great to see the places along the way. I just hope I’m not too jet-lagged to take it all in. And then shortly after I finish that, I’m heading off to Brisbane...

“The Forensic Genealogist” – I’m a Fan...

I’ve never been one to follow the latest trend. Instead I tend to come to the party late … if at all. So it is with the latest additions to my book collection. I do love a good read. A good novel to tune out with, and I have a number of authors that I have read all their books cover to cover. And now I have a new name to that list, and that is Nathan Dylan Goodwin. I know many of you have heard of him already, and are longtime dedicated fans … like I said, I don’t follow the crowd, but I usually get there eventually. Anyway for the benefit of of the odd person who doesn’t know of him, Nathan writes fiction books with Morton Farrier as the lead character who is a forensic genealogist – yes, truly! Cool, eh? He’s written 8 books in “The Forensic Genealogist” series to date, and I’m currently partway through them, but with some long plane flights coming up, I expect to get through another one or two. I’m not going to tell you anything about the books, except that if you love a good read, lots of suspense, along with action, and genealogy – you’ll get it all (at least in those I’ve read so far). And you’ll get taken into Morton’s world of life as a researcher and see how he susses out his cases, visiting many archives and other places along the way. The titles in this series (to date are): Hiding the Past The Lost Ancestor The Orange Lilies The America Ground The Spyglass File The Missing Man The Wicked Trade & The Suffragette’s Secret The Sterling Affair Nathan even has a prequel to the...

Getting Ready for RootsTech 2020...

So the “end of year crazy season” has been and gone, added to that Australia’s insane bushfires, the Christmas that didn’t happen, as well as New Year – it’s no wonder I haven’t even bothered to think ahead to my upcoming trips until just a few days ago, and I have suddenly realised that there’s only 5 weeks till I leave for the US to go to RootsTech, and only 38 days till it starts. Seriously how did that happen?? So I actually sat down and got to work on listing what I need to do before heading off to the airport. Before I get to that, let me start off by saying that in my 30+ years of going to genealogy conferences (I started young thanks to my family’s business), this will be the VERY FIRST time I will be going as a delegate, rather than an exhibitor … and I must say it feels very, very weird! Anyway I know I’ll enjoy it, and I look forward to going to some talks, and catching up with friends. So here’s a list of some of the things I came up with (in no particular order). 1. Downoald RootsTech app This one I have just DONE! Woohoo, one thing cross off my list. 2. Look at app I have started looking at it, but I’m going to need more time to browse through the 300 or so talks, shortlist those I’m interested in, then go through the big list of exhibitors. Or I could just wing it and get to what I do!! We’ll see … 3. ESTA (immgration visa) Before I do either of the above I really should do my ESTA application, as that’s needed to allow...

7 Traits that Make a Good Genealogist...

If you don’t like the idea of wandering a cemetery for hours, or spending a day in the archives, or if you hate the smell of old books … let me tell you that family history just isn’t for you. So can I suggest you take up photography, hiking, woodwork, scapbooking or knitting instead. However for those that think the above is a perfect day out … welcome to “the tribe”. You are a fellow totally obsessed genealogist, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. We feel at ease with fellow genies, as they are part of our ‘tribe’. They ‘get’ us, and don’t eyeroll like the other family members. But what brings us together is our similarity in certain traits. Here’s just a collection of 7 main ones. HAVE PATIENCE – Sitting in a library or archive and scrolling through microfiche, or paging through old record books is not for everyone. But a good researcher will know that you might be there for a day or two (or more), before your find who you’re looking for. That one person you’ve been hunting for years. And some days you don’t find them at all. Family history IS NOT a quick hobby. I know many people who have been been researching for 20, 30, 40 or more years. You may spend days, weeks or years looking for one person … and of course frustration sets in, but when you find them you’re on cloud 9 for a year!! Your patience finally paid off. GET ORGANISED – This is a great trait to have, but it’s not one that comes naturally to many of us. When you start researching you will experience what is known as the “paperwork snowball”. Paperwork...

It’s OK to Take a Break!...

I’ve been blogging for a number of years now, and I’ve not been one to ever ‘set a schedule’ for posts, but rather I just tend to blog when the mood and time allows. In saying that, I do follow a number of bloggers who do post regularly (ie. every day, or every week), and while I envy them for having the time to do so, it’s just not for me. For those who’ve followed me for a while, yes, I have been very quiet for the past few months as it’s been chaotic to say the least, and during that time blogging was something that pretty much dropped off the radar for sanity reasons. However, hopefully life is getting back to some form of normality, and that includes getting back to blogging. I know of other bloggers who have had blogging breaks for various reasons, and don’t beat yourself up about it, it is OK to have a break. Life does take over, or sometimes the enthusiasm isn’t there, or the time to even do family history. So just like a holiday, take a break. Take some time to chill, recharge, and come back when you’re ready.  ...

DNA Down Under … an Event Like No Other!!...

August has been a big month for me. As part of the organising team for Unlock the Past’s DNA Down Under roadshow, myself along with the others have been busy with the preparation and attending these events. DNA Down Under truly was an event like no other in Australia. For a start it was an event that went to 6 Australian cities, 5 of which were full one-day events (Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Melboourne), and Sydney which was a non-stop 3-day event. It was also the first ‘DNA only’ genealogy conference to be held, and from the reaction, attendace, and comments – this is just what Australia needed. It catered to everyone from the “I haven’t even tested yet, what will DNA show me?” through to the very advanced genetic genealogy topics. I made it to three venues: Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney – so I know it all, right? Ha … I’ll admit I didn’t get to a whole lot of talks even over the three venues, which is the downside of being an organiser and exhibitor. Still I did manage to get to some. Anyway there’s no doubt about it, there was a vibe to DNA Down Under that I haven’t noticed with other Australian conferences apart from the last Congress. People were so excited, they were counting down the days – and I don’t believe that they were disappointed. UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS Blaine Bettinger (aka The Genetic Genealogist), speaker, author, Facebook group convenor, DNA guru, and all round great guy – Blaine has an incredible knack to be able to teach everyone in a room the basics of DNA without losing them with scientific jargon. Not an easy task. There’s no doubt that DNA is a big topic, and I have...

Counting Down to DNA!

I know I’ve been rather quiet on the blogging front for a while now, but for a good reason. As part of the organising team behind the DNA Down Under roadshow, that has taken up a lot of time (day and evening). But the beginning of the event is almost here, so my organising part is almost done. Starting next week, Australia is having it’s biggest ever DNA specific genealogy conference. Held over 2 1/2 weeks, this roadshow features the guru of everything genealogy DNA, Blaine Bettinger, also known as “The Genetic Genealogist“. While he is the keynote speaker, he is joined by a whole host of Australia’s top genetic genealogists such as Louise Coakley, Helen Smith, Michelle Patient, Kerry Farmer and a stack more!! It’s truly the ultimate DNA fest … and it’s for total beginners through to advanced level, so there’s something for everyone. I saw a comment on Facebook saying “where else can you get 8 hours of DNA learning from the so many of the best in the world at one event!”, and another comment saying this is her “once in a lifetime event”. It’s so exciting to hear that others are just as excited. The roadshow kicks off in Brisbane on Wednesday 14 August, and heads around the country to Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and finishes in Sydney with 3-day in-depth conference. To give you an idea of what you’re in for (excluding Sydney), here’s some of talk titles: – Introduction to DNA – Using Autosomal DNA for 18th & 19th century mysteries – Genetic genealogy: standards, ethics, risks, limitations – Using GEDmatch & DNA Painter to analyse your DNA – Myth Busting Ancestry – Finding Australian matches – Limitations of cousin matching – Getting the most from your FTDNA results...

Win Your Way to DNA Down Under...

By now you’ve probably already heard that the legend of genetic genealogy, Blaine Bettinger (yes THE one and only, the one who is the author of the insanely popular “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy’), is coming down under to Australia in August 2019, to teach us all about DNA and genealogy, and everything relating to it. In fact he is one of a team of genetic genealogists that will be touring Australia to give everyone from the “I’ve not even tested yet, why should I?” through to the advanced users who already understand what ‘haplotype’ and ‘phasing’ mean. The presenters will not only be explaining just how useful DNA is for genealogy, but also how to understand and make the most of the results. There’s also talks on ethics, using DNA to solve 18th/19th Century secrets, and using third party DNA tools, and how to get the most from your results from the various DNA testing companies. If that sounds like your cup of tea (or coffee), then keep on reading …. The tour covers day-long seminars in 5 Australian cities (Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra), and ends with a 3-day DNA-fest in Sydney. As the Sydney topics are largely different to the other states, quite a number are doing “DNA to the Max”  which is 1 day in your own state + 3 days in Sydney, which really is the UL-TI-MATE!!! This is actually what I’m doing (Adelaide + Sydney), and while I reckon my head will be swimming after day 2  (let alone day 4), I know I’ll learn a lot. The whole tour goes for 2 1/2 weeks, starting in Brisbane on 14th August 2019, and ends in Sydney, so here’s...

Remembering Boo (2002-2019)...

Yesterday is one of those days that all pet owners dread. The visit to the vet for a beloved pet, only they don’t go home. Sadly that was yesterday for my boy, Boo. He had been a part of the family for 16 1/2 years. Boo was one of three kittens all from the same litter that Mr Lonetester and I adopted. Part-moggie, part-persian, they were kittens of a ‘friendly stray’ at my parents house, and I’m pleased to say that we gave them all a wonderful home. Having got Boo and his siblings at just under 4 weeks old, we got to watch them grow from teeny-tiny bouncy kittens into big fluffballs. Saying goodbye is never an easy decision to make, but we know it was the right one as it wouldn’t have been an easy life for him going forwards. Although not himself for the past week, having lost weight and quite weak, he was still smoochy, and purring until the end … and he is now over the rainbow bridge with his sister Zap, who left us last year.  We are a fur-kid family, and just like kids, each one has their own likes and dislikes and personality. Boo has always been a Mummy’s boy, so I’m missing him like crazy. He’s simply not there – on the bed – where he always is. It really was his favourite place. He’s not there to ‘talk’ on the phone when I’m talking, and he’s not there to be first to the food. He was our chatty boy, and you could have a whole conversation with him, and he liked me to take him for a walk, which was me holding him over my shoulder and walking up and...