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...

‘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...

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...

Are You a Genealogist or a Family Historian?...

Are you a genealogist or a family historian? What is the right term? What is the difference? And what is the definition? Let’s take a look a the term “genealogist” first, you’ll see that it is defined as: – A person who studies, professes or practices genealogy. (www.yourdictionary.com) – An expert in genealogy. A person with special knowledge or ability who performs skillfully. (https://www.vocabulary.com) While the term “family historian” is said to be: – A family historian is person who has the most accurate information knowledge passed down to them by one of the oldest members, a patriarch or matriarch of their particular branch of the family. (http://www.yourdictionary.com) While I could leave it at that, I realised that everyone has their own way of approaching things, and family history, just like any activity is no different. Some go gung-ho, others take the cautious step-by-step, others like to just dip their toe in. So apart from the terms genealogist and family historian, here are some others that you may have come across: The Bragger The Bragger isn’t one that actually researches their family history, but they have a family member who does. The Bragger is one who grabs hold of the juicy stories (you know the criminals, the royalty, the explorers, and the heroes), and lets everyone know that they are connected to them. The BSO (Bright Shiny Object) Researcher The BSO Researcher is one that gets easily excited, and easily distracted. They are known to be researching one line, only to be totally distracted by a new and more interesting ancestor that they’ve just discovered. The BSO Researcher does tend to have fascinating stories on their family members. The Cemetery Traipser Also sometimes known as the Grave Walker, the Cemetery Traipser...

An Aussie Genealogist’s Wish List...

Be it birthday or Christmas, what’s on your wish list? As genie-friends I’m sure you’d love a DNA kit, or an Ancestry or Findmypast subscription and a box of chocolates or two … but let’s get down to it … here’s what we REALLY want! Note: I was inspired to create this after seeing a similar (but US-orientated) one that Ancestry created an put up on Instagram, which you can view here. So what are you REALLY after this Christmas? Save Save...

Genealogy, As the World Sees It...

You know that the way we see ourselves as genealogists and the way the rest of the world does are two entirely different things. And these images depict it...

Holidaying Genealogy-Style...

The ‘Vacationing with a Genealogist’ picture has been doing the rounds of social media sites for a while now,  and I have to say that it is one of my all-time favs, which is why I wanted to share it with you. I just wish I knew who created it so I could give them the credit. Maybe part of the reason I love this pic so much is that I spent my childhood growing up next to a cemetery. And while I never saw that as scary a number of my friends did. I was the cemetery’s unoffical caretaker and was always putting flowers from mum’s garden in little vegemite jars on each of them. And it’s only since doing my family history that I found out I was related to half of them in the cemetery. 😉...

All I Want For Christmas Is A New Surname...

Dear Santa: Don’t bring me new dishes, I don’t need a new kind of game. Genealogists have peculiar wishes For Christmas I just want a surname. A new washing machine would be great, But it’s not the desire of my life. I’ve just found an ancestor’s birth date; What I need now is the name of his wife. My heart doesn’t yearn for a ring That would put a real diamond to shame. What I want is a much cheaper thing; Please give me Mary’s last name. To see my heart singing with joy, Don’t bring me a read leather suitcase, Bring me a genealogist’s toy; a surname with dates and a place. – Author unknown – Seen in the Illinois State Genealogy Society newsletter...

13 Signs You Have Genealogy OCD...

I recently came across Michael John Neill’s post on 10 Signs You Have Genealogy OCD, and laughed so much, that after sharing it with my work buddies, I just have to share it with you too. And kudos to Michael for coming up with such a great list. Please make note I have taken the liberty of non-US-fying it, but other than that, it is as Michael wrote, with a few additions of my own tacked on to the end. 1. You check FamilySearch at 8am, 12noon, 6pm, and 9pm every day for updated releases or databases. 2. You’ve grabbed a green leaf on a real TREE thinking it was on your Ancestry.com page. 3. Your family takes the long way places to AVOID cemeteries when you are in the car. 4. You have seriously thought about HIDING in a library to get locked in after it closes. 5. You spent more searching for your ancestors using old tax records than you did preparing your own 2012 tax return. 6. You know more about your spouse’s ancestors than you know about your spouse. 7. You would easily spend your entire holiday in a library [or archives, or society]. 8. You have already scheduled a day off from work for when the 1921 UK census is released. 9. The majority of pictures in your Facebook photo albums are of people who are dead. 10. You’ve recognised yourself in at least half of these signs. —————————————– And I couldn’t resist adding a few that I came up with … 11. You think the best present EVER is a subscription to a genealogy site, a new version of your genealogy software, money for more certificates or an album full of old family photographs....

The REAL Truth about Genealogy...

Thought you knew what genealogy means? Well forget the dictionary definition, let me reveal the real truth behind what the word GENEALOGY means. G – is for ‘gee that’s a great story’, which is the exact five words that get you started on your crazy trip into genealogy, and before long your are totally hooked, and can’t stop even if you tried. E – is for taking every opportunity.  Once you’ve got the bug, you will (and I do mean WILL) take every opportunity to look online, or detour when visiting a cousin or friend, just so you can checkout the cemetery of your great grandaunt to get a pic of her grave. But don’t forget the classic whipping out the pad (actually it’s more likely to be a mobile device these days) with questions at your next family gathering, you know the usual “How many kids do they have now?, Do you happen to know their names and birthdates? Didn’t he remarry again?, and Do you know if anyone in the family has photos of grandpa in the war?”. N – is for new resources. Sure you’ve looked at every possible website there is looking for records relating to your 3x great grandpa, but that was 6 months ago. And in the genealogy world that is a long time. A lot happens in 6 months, with millions of new records being added online monthly, it is always worth rechecking. E – is for email. It pays to remember that while there is undoubtedly an enormous amount of records online, there is still a massive amount that isn’t. So it pays to send an email to the Genealogy Group or Historical Society in the area when your research is,...