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...

17 Reasons Why Family History is Good for You...

If you’re a die-hard family historian, this post isn’t for you. Why? Because you already know how awesome researching is, and in reality you’re probably like me, and can’t understand why everyone isn’t in to it. Alas, they aren’t so. So for everyone else, let me give you some reasons (my own personal ones at that), as to WHY I believe family history is good for you. But feel free to chip in with others if you have more. THE SKILLS You’ll become the king or queen of organisation (well, that’s the theory anyway). As researchers we acquire so much information (often in paper form as well as electronic form), all of which needs a good filing system to keep it retrievable. So over time you WILL learn to become organised. You have to. Geography. Yes, seriously. I promise you you will get a whole lot better at geography (at least in the areas your ancestors came from) And history. You will learn history. After all you have to know what happened where in the world to put your family history in context If your family is from a foreign (non-English speaking) country, you will amaze yourself by learning enough of the language to be able to read genealogical documents. And for other words and phrases we always have Google Translate and Babel Fish to help if needed After spending weeks scrolling through census, parish records and wills, you’ll be 100% proficient at reading anyone’s handwriting! After all those census enumerators and parish priests certainly gave us a challenge You’ll learn new words like “taphophilia“, “centimorgan” and “ahnentafel“ Not to mention understanding the “ye olde” language, medical and occupational terms that were used back in the day. (Thank goodness for...

2 Months Until Alaska … Are you Ready?...

The months are flying by, and there’s now just two months until we set sail on Unlock the Past’s 14th cruise to Alaska.  61 days allowing for the timezone changes. If you need proof … check my countdown app … So after flying to Seattle, Washington, USA and having a full-on genealogy seminar the day before … we’ll be boarding on the 7th of September. Myself and all the other geneacruisers then get 7 fun-filled days of genealogy learning combined with seeing the incredible sights that Alaska has to offer. Don’t you think that’s an awesome combination? The itinerary takes us from Seattle, to the Inside Passage, to Juneau, Skagway, and Tracy Arm, then to Victoria, Canada before we head back to Seattle. The ship we’re cruising on is the magnificent Explorer of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. Great ship, and great conference room facilities. So we have a great ship, great itinerary, and trust me it’ll be a great conference as the range of conference presenters is incredible. THE PRESENTERS Susan Brook (USA) – Chasing Your Ancestors Dick Eastman (USA) – Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter Dr Janet Few (England) – The History Interpreter Dr Maurice Gleeson (England) – DNA and Family Tree Research Jan Gow (New Zealand) – Hooked on Genealogy Tours Caroline Gurney (England) – Historical Research Services Shauna Hicks (Australia) – Shauna Hicks History Enterprises Cyndi Ingle (USA) – Cyndi’s List Eric Kopittke (Australia) – German Family Matters Rosemary Kopittke (Australia) – Rosemary Kopittke Genealogy Kae Lewis (USA / New Zealand) – Goldrush Online Mike Murray (Australia) – Time Trackers Michelle Patient (New Zealand) – The Patient Genie Pat Richley-Erickson (USA) – Dear Myrtle Teri Schaller (USA) – History Speaks, a division of Mile High Transcripts...

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...