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...

25 Ways You Can Present and Share Your Family History...

Let’s say for instance that you’ve started your family history. In fact, you’ve probably been doing it a while. Possibly even years. So now you’ve got all this family information … why not do something useful and creative with it? I’m sure many of you will say ” but none of my family are interested”. I know, I’ve heard that many, many times. And my answer to that, is that it is then your job to MAKE THEM interested. Don’t just tell them the facts (the names and dates) or give them a huge pile of papers, their eyes will glaze over, and you will have put them off family history forever. So it’s a case of getting creative in HOW you present your family history. There are many, many different ways of ‘presenting’ and sharing your research, and it really comes down to whatever works for you. It might be with just your immediate family, or it might be with the whole world. It’s entirely up to you as to who you share it with, and how you share it. Here are 25 ideas on different ways you can present and share your family history. 1. BLOG Blogging is one of the easiest ways to be able to share your research with the world. It’s free, you can do it when you want to, and you can do it from home. You’ve done the research, so why not tell your family (and the wider world) the stories of your ancestors. Tell them about the goldrush, the war heroes, the Depression, the struggles, life on the land, migrating or moving house, the stories of family heirlooms, family pets etc. It’s all history, and you could tell it. It’s a...

17 Websites to Find Photos for Your Blog...

From time to time I write a non-genealogy related post. One more general. This is one of those. But all of the links listed below are useful for not just regular bloggers, but they can certainly be used for those who are geneablogging as well. I have always believed that graphics in blog posts are important. And when you read the “what makes a good blog post” type articles, photographs and images always seem to get a mention, so I’m not the only one. Over the years I have been asked where do you get the images that I use on my blog, and the simple answer is I use BigStock which you do have to pay for, but it is low-cost compared to some. But there are other valuable resources out there that you can use, so I thought I’d introduce you to some of them. Many are free free stock photo sites, with a few pay stock photo sites listed as well. It kind of goes without saying that you MUST read the terms of use on each site, because each is different. Some are free without any attribution needed, some require attribution. Some allow you to alter the image, and others don’t. Some are available for personal use only, but not commercial. Others are fine for either use. So be aware, read the licence. ———————————————– BigStock – $ www.bigstockphoto.com BigStock (formerly BigStockPhoto) offers users over 35 million royalty-free photographs and images. They are available to download in various sizes and various file formats, and are available for individuals and commercial organisations. BigStock is a pay site, and you can pay per month, or buy credits. I use the credit method, and just purchase a batch of...

Cyndi’s List: The Genealogy Mega-Portal Site Turns 20...

Cyndi’s List without doubt is one of the top websites I use, but it is also one of the top ones worldwide for genealogy. While when people think of the big names in genealogy, they automatically thing of Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage and FamilySearch … right? But in my thinking, Cyndi’s List is just as important. No, it’s not a site that contains billions of records like the others, but rather a mega-portal site that can direct you places that may well have what you’re after. Having known of Cyndi for years and years, it was a true honour to meet her in person for the first time in 2013 at RootsTech, and I’ve been fortunate enough to catch up with her several times since. She is not only a dear friend both personally and in the genealogy industry, but in my opinion I believe she has changed genealogy … or more specifically I should say, her website has. In thinking about this post I was asking myself to describe in one sentence what what Cyndi’s List is, here’s just a few I came up with: – It is one the the most important genealogy websites around, and everyone should be using it – It is the mega-portal for genealogy (the stats speak for themselves) – It has provided me with places to search, that I never would have known existed, and am therefore I am indebted to it – and it has been a labour of love for the past 20 years by one women, Cyndi herself On the 4th of March 1996 Cyndi’s List was born. It started as a list of 1025 top genealogy links which she had compiled for her local genealogy society, and by the end...

My Top 15 Blog Posts for 2015...

I’d like to thank Judy G. Russell (aka The Legal Genealogist) for giving me the idea for this post. She recently wrote one titled “2015 Top Posts: Family” in which she lists her “top 10 family-related posts of the year, not by reader ranking… but by the ranking of the heart…”. While I do totally love this idea, I was also intigued to know what my “top looked at” posts for 2015 were. So to find out, I headed to Google Analytics, and now have the results … So my top 15 looked at blog posts for 2015 are: 15. EVACUATE! This is a post I wrote after having to evacuate my home at the beginning of 2015 due to a bushfire. And when faced with having to packup things in a hurry, it made me realise what really is important. 14. Discovering Links: 25 Free Links for English Genealogy and History It was June 2014 when I started my “Discovering Links” series of posts. These are a collection of links that I have found, or have found useful, and wanted to share – and I decided to group them together in themes, this one being English ones. 13. Discovering Links: Convicts, Australian Royalty Who doesn’t like convicts and convict records? This post gives readers links to 23 convict related sites. 12. 13 Tips for First Time Geneacruisers This is an old post from 2013, and I was must say I was surprised (but pleased) to see it in the list. Hopefully that means that there are more people who are (or are thinking of) taking a genealogy cruise. 11. My Favourite Cornish Genealogy Websites (and They’re Free) This was a pre-curser to my Discovering Links posts, and this...

Tips for Genealogy Bloggers...

While I was writing this post, I had a feeling that I had written something similar some time ago. And sure enough back in 2013, I wrote “Tips for Geneablogger Readers and Writers“. In rereading that list, I still find all of those points are 100% valid, so won’t repeat the whole thing, but rather have summarised them below, and now I want to add a couple of extras. Summary list …  1. Allow comments on your blog 2. If you use photographs on your blog, label them 3. Put share buttons on your blog 4. Have a search function on your blog 5. Use images, there’s plenty you can get for free 6. If you a blog post and you liked it, leave a comment Now for my extras … 1. Include details By this I mean if you are writing about an ancestor be specific. Include names, dates and places as Google indexes these, and people search for them will end up on your blog. It’s pure cousin-bait. 2. Use your own voice Write in your own voice, your own style. You don’t have to be a novelist or author to be a blogger. Just simply write like you talk. As the title says “use your own voice”, and it will sound natural to people. And natural helps connect with people. So in essence, make your blog look good, people like pictures. And make it easy for people to share, and find their way around your blog. That’s just my suggestions, and I’m no pro-blogger by far. But these are things I’ve just picked up over the years of reading and writing blogs, so hopefully someone will find them useful. And by the way, these apply any blogger...

27 Golden Rules of Genealogy...

Genealogy has rules. There are Do’s and there are Don’ts. There are Rights and Wrongs. Commandments to follow. And it pays to know and follow these rules from the beginning of your research. So let me share some Golden rules of genealogy with you … Let’s start with some Don’ts … Don’t expect to find your whole tree online. In fact if you find information online, don’t assume it is accurate. Don’t show living people in your online tree unless you have it hidden and Private. Don’t take information or photographs from others and not give anything back. Don’t expect that you can do it ALL for free. Don’t be a name-collector. Look for the stories that MAKE the people. Don’t believe everything on a Birth, Marriage or Death certificate. Don’t give up if you hit a brickwall. Take a look at it from a different direction. Don’t write on a chart in pen until you are 100% sure of the details. Don’t assume that if you can’t find the data you’re looking for on a website, that it doesn’t exist. Especially if that website infers that it would be there. Not everything is indexed or digitised yet. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of people willing to guide you on your genealogy journey. Don’t forget to write your OWN history. Afterall you know your own life history better than anyone else.   Now for the Do’s … Always start from yourself and work backwards. Get organised: both on your computer and your paperwork. Join a genealogy group or society. The more you mingle with other researchers the more you’ll learn. Do your homework and learn the social history of the area your ancestors came...

Discovering Links: Victorian Sites...

A few months ago I started a new theme of posts, ones that I have termed “Discovering Links”. These are posts that lists links that I’ve discovered. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list, but it is simply ones, generally the not-so-commonly-known ones that I’ve come across in my research, from magazines, or from seeing mentioned on social media. No matter where I discovered them, I noted them, have been to them, and have found them interesting – so thought I’d share them with you. For this post I have a few relating to Victoria  in Australia. === VICTORIAN LINKS === Picture Victoria Similar to what PictureAustralia was, PictureVictoria is a portal site for libraries in Victoria to upload photos to, so they can be all searched from a single site. While the Trove photograph collection is good, if you have Victorian interests, you may wish to check this out as well just in case they have something different. Geelong and District Family History Group I don’t expect to generally list genealogy groups and societies, but this one is worth mentioning. The volunteers at the Geelong and District Family History Group are to be commended for their indexing efforts. So far their database has over 1.5 million entries. So for anyone with connections to this region of Victoria, their site is a must. Victorian Government Gazettes 1836-1997 The State Library of Victoria have digitised the Victorian (and very early New South Wales) Government Gazettes, and have made over 160 years of them available online. Free. You can view images of individual gazette pages by browsing through, or you can search the index. Eurekapedia As the name suggests, this is pretty much the site to go to for anything and everything...

Megan Smolenyak Tells It Like It Is!...

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (yes, that is her name), is one of those well-known names in the genealogy-world. Self-described as a “genealogy adventurer” she’s a genealogist having worked on many celebrity family trees, is a regular guest presenter at genealogy events, worked on multiple genealogy TV shows and is a author of a number of books and numerous articles. All in all, she’s loves finding dead people. While reading her latest Honouring Our Ancestors newsletter she included a picture that I just HAD to share with  you, because this quote has now become my all-time-new-favourite quote.  Why? Well, simply because it is plainly true! Like I said, she tells it like it is! Awesome,...

Discovering Links: A Bunch of “General” Sites...

What do vintage adverts, old maps, stock photos, military acronyms and rescued heirlooms have in common? They have made it on to my second “Discovering Links” post. It is these “General” links that I’ve decided to share with you. Why “General” you may ask? Well, simply because they are either about a topic as opposed to a place, or they don’t fit into any ‘one’ specific country category … so they get filed into general (well in my world they do anyway). I hope you find the following links of interest.  === GENERAL LINKS === Military Acronyms #1 and Military Acronyms #2 When I was doing some research for my Anzac Day post and reading through a bunch of military records, I needed some help with the military acronyms. Afterall they pretty much write in acronym, so to make sens of anything you need to decode what they’re on about. Anyway I found the above two sites of use, so noted them, and though I’d share them with you. Letters From the Past This is one seriously fascinating site. If you love history and have a spare day (or even just an afternoon), log on to Letters from the Past and have a read of the fascinating letters that people from history has written. The earliest letter in this collection is dated 1660, with the last being the late 1800s. Each letter has been scanned, as well as transcribed. There are details of holidays, of court cases, family details, and anything else you can think of that would be written in letters. There’s over 160 of them listed so far, with more being added regularly. Like I said, you’ll find it fascinating reading. Vintage Ad Browser Do you love...