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 –...

Lost in the Genealogy Wilderness...

Ever have that feeling where you don’t know where you are, or which direction to turn? Or even what to do next? I’m sure some of you have, while others have never experienced that feeling. Of course I’m talking about this in relation to your genealogy research. And that is where unfortunately, (and unexpectedly), I’ve found myself at. I’m not a professional researcher, and I don’t claim to be, but I have been researching for a number of years. However my research these days tends to consist of me seeing new sets  records released, so I’ll go check for so-and-so … or hear a tidbit from another relative about this other person, or something they did, so I’ll go see what I can find. In otherwords it’s very piecemeal. Very unfocussed, very unstructured, and without an exact goal in mind. More like dabbling if you like. So now when I find that I have a free weekend (not that it happens often, but it’s nice when it does), and I want to settle in to doing some research – I am unable to just get into it, as I have no idea which line or person to get going on. So I’m rather lost in the genealogy wilderness, and I really just need to set myself some research goals and FOLLOW them … Or even better, get entering the piles of stuff I have collected that I “STILL” haven’t entered.  (Is anyone else like that? You love finding stuff, but hate entering it, or is it just me?) Actually I really, REALLY should do that entering stuff first. Sort out what I have, note it, file it … then get back the fun part of the searching! So while I’m...

The Origins of Shampoo

You know, every time I’ve been in my bathroom over the past few weeks the same question pops into my head “I wonder when shampoo was invented?”. This was always followed by “I wonder what did they use before?” So I decided to find out. Let’s start by saying that I’m talking about the liquid shampoo that comes in a bottle. I need to state that because when I was looking around, I found many earlier references to shampoo, but that was for “soap” shampoo and even ‘”powder” shampoo. So yes, prior to liquid shampoo being available, soap was what was mostly used. My 96 year old grandma even remembers using soap for shampoo as a young child. Anyway so I headed to Wikipedia for some info  … So firstly the word, “shampoo” …. The word shampoo entered the English language from India during the colonial era. It dates to 1762, and is derived from Hindi chāmpo itself derived from the Sanskrit root chapayati (which means to press, knead, soothe). But what about liquid shampoo? For that we fast forward 165 years … In 1927, liquid shampoo was invented by German inventor Hans Schwarzkopf in Berlin, whose name created a shampoo brand sold in Europe. Originally, soap and shampoo were very similar products; both containing the same naturally derived surfactants, a type of detergent. So we all know the brand Schwartzkopf, right? Well it seems Hans Schwartzkopf wasn’t ‘just’ a name in the hair care industry, he was the actual inventor of liquid shampoo, and in doing so revolutionised hair care. The Schwartzkopf website even has a timeline history which is a fascinating read, and you can check that out here. So to Mr Schwartzkopf and those that followed and continued...

Phonetically Speaking

For those of you who have been reading my blog for at least the last couple of weeks, you’ll know that I recently visited Finland for a holiday to meet family and see the places where my ancestors came from. One thing I found when being with my relatives, was that all the names and places I knew from correspondence with family and various Finnish archives, I had been pronouncing very wrong. I had simply seen them written down, and gave them my own Australian-version of the pronunciation as best as I knew without ever hearing it. Now that I’ve heard the names and places said in Finnish, it’s made me realise how easy someone simply listening to it said could give a whole different spelling. One thing I did while I was in Finland was create a listing of names and places with both the proper Finnish spelling, and then I wrote each with the pronunciation as it sounds in Australian-English, which was quite often VERY different. An example of this is one of my family names, BACKBERG. It seems simple enough, Back (as in the back of something), and Berg (like an iceberg). But when it’s said in Finnish it is actually pronounced BACH-BERRY. Now had I simply ‘heard’ the name, I would have had no idea that is actually spelt Backberg. And the same goes for place names too. Add into the mix all of those who emigrated to another country, and you have foreign names and places, said with an accent and you have the perfect recipe for some very creative spelling. It’s not news for researchers to find alternate spellings on documents. In fact it would be far more unusual if you didn’t. But...

Those BSOs Make it Hard to Focus...

As researchers we want to find out everything possibly can, about every member of our family. Right? I’m sure I’m close anyway. While family might say we’re nosy, we tend to prefer the term detective or record keepers. Tracing your family history is a good thing, however you DO NEED TO BE FOCUSSED. Because when you’re not and want to find EVERYTHING at once, it becomes so overwhelming. I know, I’ve been there, so I can truthfully speak from experience. And despite me knowing this, I can feel myself edging towards it again. Why, because of BSOs (yes, those bright shiny objects). You know the ones that distract you, and your suddenly are off chasing someone else. Needless to say that I have a few of these at the moment. I haven’t actually been doing any real solid research for a couple of years, instead I tend to pick up a branch, family, or ancestor and follow them for a bit. I have done that with Charlotte Phillips (one of my fav’s), and also my great grandpa, Otto Winter. However a new and “reasonably-likely-but-yet-to-be-proven” convict has taken my attention recently (you’ll probably read about him in due course), and last week Trove had the most incredible article on my great grandpa going to prison (a family story that wasn’t passed down, well not to me anyway). Again that’s another story, but it needs a little more research first before I share it with the world. And did I mention that I’m completely fascinated by the Adelaide Arcade now? I did a ghost tour there recently, and I am totally in love with that place, and have big long post planned. But seriously the history in that building is phenomenal....

Blogger Recognition Award...

I got a huge surprise when I found out that Barb from the Decluttering The Stuff blog had nominated me for a Blogger Recognition Award. To say I was blow away is an understatement. Thankyou Barb, I’m truly honoured. So to accept the Award, there are some ‘Rules’: – I must thank the Blogger who nominated me and provide a link to their blog. – I must write a post to show the award. – I must write a brief story on how my blog started. – I must give two pieces of advice to new bloggers. – I must select 15 bloggers to pass this award on to. – I must comment on each of their blogs to let them know they have been nominated for this award and provide a link to this post. So a brief history of how I started … well I started genealogy blogging for work back in 2009, but was finding I was wanting to write more about my own family, and experiences in genealogy, and having my own works far better than mixing it with my work one. So in 2011 Lonetester HQ was born, and I’ve been writing ever since. Two pieces of advice … hmm narrowing it down to two, that’s hard, so I’m going to make it five. – Write in your own “voice”, then it sound like you. – Have share buttons. Never underestimate the usefulness of them. If someone can’t share your post easily, they won’t. – Photos. They are important as people do like graphics (ie. Instagram, Pinterest and a decent portion of Facebook). – Have categories. As your blog grows add categories, and file them into them, because it’s ridiculously hard to find something on someone’s blog if it’s just one l-o-n-g...

Yes Folks, Genealogy DOES Cost Money!...

The commercialisation of genealogy, and genealogy costing money is not a new topic, as it’s one that seems to pop-up every now and then. This post is one that stems from comments I saw on Facebook from someone who is convenor of a genealogy-related Facebook Group who said she wouldn’t share any post (no matter how relevant or useful) if the blog had adverts on it, simply because they didn’t wish to promote commercial genealogy. This led to numerous comments asking why. Personally I don’t agree with this woman, as we should do all we can to help preserve our records and history, commercial or otherwise. MY DISCLAIMER Before I go on let me just state up front, that yes I do work in a genealogy bookshop, Gould Genealogy & History (www.gould.com.au). Yes, it is a commercial business, and currently lists about 7000 products on our website. No, it doesn’t make bundles of money, but we do have wonderful customers who have kept our little family business going for over 40 years. Would the fact that I work in the genealogy industry influence my opinion? I doubt it. Or maybe it has, as I see the work that goes into caring, restoring, archiving, housing and digitising records, and I know that it ALL costs money, so I have no objection when paying my subscription fees to various online websites, or to a number of societies and so on. THERE IS FREE STUFF For sure you can do a lot for free, and I do not condemn that in any way. In fact, I promote the use of free sites (just check my list of Discovering Links posts, and Facebook Links). But during your genealogical journey there comes a time...

Yes … I’m a Collector...

For some reason this kinda feels like a confession. “Hi, my name is Alona, and I’m a collector”. So just when does an interest in something suddenly turn into collector status? I figure if you have 1 or 2 items in your collection, it is an interest. Item 3-5 … there’s twinges of a collector starting, 5 and after … admit it, you are a collector. And after 10, you’re a die-hard. Some people seem to have more of an affinity for collecting, others probably start because of a certain something. Me … well I’ve sort of been a collector for a long time. The Cambridge Dictionary defines a collection as: “a group of objects of one type that have been collected by one person or in one place” I guess my parents encouraged it by buying me Mr Men books and Smurfs when I was little, so I had quite a collection of both back in the day. I remember that back in primary school I used to collect stickers, and I had a whole book with them stuck in. There was brand stickers, places I’d visited stickers, slogan stickers and so on. I was proud of my sticker collection, and yet I have no idea what happened to it. Then I had a rubber collection (note: that’s erasers for my US readers). It was quite a collection, as I had probably over 50 of them. And I had pretty much every novelty one that you could get. Again, I don’t remember what happened to that. But I do remember the excitement of going to the city, and going to my favourite shop and looking for more. Another thing I collected was sew-on badges. You know the ones you...

Facebook vs Blogging: The Pros and Cons...

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen a few geneabloggers writing about the topic of “is genealogy blogging dying” (see the links at the end), which are suggesting that there are far less active genealogy blogs and/or bloggers, now than there were a few years ago, and that people are turning to social media (namely Facebook) instead. They may well be, but I’m not going into that. Personally I can see that there is a case for both, but it purely depends on what the reason behind you doing it is. So I thought I’d just run through a few of the key features of both a blog and Facebook for you, to highlight the differences. FACEBOOK Let me start of by saying that there are different types of Facebook accounts. There is your own personal account, there are pages, and there are groups, and all of them have a different purpose. The Pros – it’s free – the amount of people there … Facebook states that they have over one billion active Facebook users – you can have a private group on Facebook (so you can have your own non-public family group, so you can get your cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces together on Facebook to chat and share family memories and/or photos) – you can have a group for Descendants of … to keep in touch with the wider family The Cons – not everyone is (or wants to be) on Facebook – it’s not indexed by Google – a photo or story that is put up, is essentially seen once, then lost in the feed – not everything shows up in Facebook, so many posts simply don’t get seen BLOGGING Please note some blogs...

You’re Searching. But Are You Researching?...

We’ve all done it. Jumped online, done a search for someone, and come up with nothing, zip, nada. So what’s next? Sadly that’s where many leave it. They simply go on to the next person. While a “researcher” likes to delve into the details. Finding out about the specifics of the records they were searching, such as what years were covered, what region, where the record came from, even the context of why it was compiled, and so on … and they may well find out that the area they’re after wasn’t even included. So then it’s a matter of searching further (usually offline) to search further. It’s like looking up an index, finding a name, without looking at the rest of the book for that actual information. The internet has made it easy to search, there’s no doubt about that. But is it making people forget about the actual research? Take online trees as an example. We all know that there are WAAAY too many trees online that have huge errors, and sadly these get copied on to other trees. Why, because copying is quicker than doing the research. Again, these people are searching, but not “researching”. I’m not sure if our “instant-everything” society is to blame and making people lazy, or is it that we’re not teaching these people how to research beyond the internet? It’s an interesting thought, and one that I come across often. And while I don’t have an answer for it, I just hope that some of the searchers, do in time become researchers. Besides who wouldn’t want to research further (meaning offline) when you hear that there’s only a tiny fraction of records that available are actually digitised and online. Think of all the...