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 …...

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...

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...

The Ultimate Checklist: 79 Places to Look for Family History Information...

So you’ve embarked on the super-exciting journey of family history … the journey where you discover not only who your family is and was, but in many instances yourself as well. You’ve started off by writing down all the information that you currently know about yourself, your spouse, your children, your siblings and your parents (names, dates, places etc). The next step is to look for items that are likely to help you with more information. Everyone knows about the birth, death and marriage certificates as a source of information. But had you thought of looking in your baby book, on x-rays, or your drivers licence … all of these have valuable information about the person they relate to, and therefore all are sources. So if you thought you had looked EVERYWHERE … think again. I guarantee that this checklist has at lease a few possibilities you hadn’t considered before. Birth ___ Adoption Record ___ Baby Book ___ Birth Certificate Marriage ___ Anniversary Announcement ___ Marriage Certificate ___ Wedding Announcement ___ Wedding Book Divorce ___ Papers Death ___ Death Certificate ___ Funeral Book ___ Memorial Cards ___ Obituary ___ Will Education ___ Awards ___ Graduation ___ Honour Roll ___ Report Cards ___ Year Books Employment ___ Achievement Awards ___ Apprenticeship Records ___ Business Cards ___ Income Tax Records ___ Membership Records ___ Resume ___ Severance Records ___ Retirement Records Everyday Life ___ Address Books ___ Autograph Album ___ Bills ___ Birthday Book ___ Biography ___ Diary ___ Letters ___ Newspaper Clippings ___ Passport ___ Photographs ___ Scrapbooks ___ Telephone Books Family ___ Bible ___ Bulletins/Newsletters ___ Coat of Arms ___ Genealogies ___ Histories Health ___ Hospital Records ___ Immunisation Records ___ Insurance Papers ___ Medical Records ___ X-rays Household Items ___ Dishes ___ Engraved...

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...