My National Family History Month Activities for 2014

National Family History Month has been and gone already. And I got the feeling that it was gathering momentum as the month went one, with more events added throughout the course of the month. So I do hope that continues as a trend for next year, making 2015 even bigger and better.

Anyway Shauna Hicks compiled a list of 31 things to do for National Family History Month, but rather than follow her’s, not that there was anything wrong with it – I simply wanted to compile details of my OWN list of Family History Month activities.

I admit that some of these things I would probably have done anyway (National Family History Month or not) – others not. But as they all occurred during August 2014 (aka NFHM) I have noted there here. While I was aiming for 31 things during the month – I feel I didn’t do too badly.


1. Visit a family-related town
After the recent 5th Unlock the Past cruise which cruised around the UK, I had a few days travelling around England before coming home. This was spent travelling to a number of ancestral towns. Lancaster in Lancashire; Kenton, Berry Pomeroy and Rattery in Devon; as well as Lamorran in Cornwall.

the sign for Kenton, Devon

the sign for Kenton, Devon

2. Visit an ancestral churchyard
Well duh. As I went to the ancestral towns, of course I went to the local churches to check out the ancestors headstones.

transcribing Randle headstone details at Berry Pomeroy, Devon

transcribing Randle headstone details at Berry Pomeroy, Devon

3. Visit a genealogy society
Although I’m a member of four societies (three in Australia and one overseas), I had the opportunity to visit two while in England. The Devon Family History Society as well as the Cornwall Family History Society.

Devon Family History Society

Devon Family History Society

4. Join a genealogy society
When I visited the Cornwall Family History Society I resubscribed, as apparently my membership has recently lapsed.

Cornwall Family History Society

Cornwall Family History Society

5. Renewed my subscription to two genealogy websites
I renewed my subscription to both findmypast and The Genealogist websites. The findmypast one I always have, but TheGenealogist I had had, but had let lapse as I just didn’t use it enough to warrant the cost. However I was prompted to resubscribe after sitting in on a talk by Rosemary Kopittke about it on the recent cruise, and seeing just how different it is to both FMP and Ancestry, and how it searches differently, it felt it was worth the extra. And it’s proved useful already!

logo - TheGenealogist

6. I introduced someone to Trove
Actually I introduced TWO people to Trove. Many of you would know that I work in a genealogy business, so I am around genealogy every day, but for this post I have chosen to detail things that I have done for my own genealogy that aren’t work-related … that is, except for this one. Many who come into our shop are after advice on where they can look for further information, and I do love it when I introduce them to a website that they didn’t know about. You can see the excitement on their face, together with the realisation of a whole new resource to explore. And yes this has happened a number of times to me in regards to Trove (yes, apparently not everyone in the entire world knows about it yet, but I’m trying) – so I now there are some new Trove converts.

Old Newspapers

7. Started researching a new branch of my tree
If your anything like me, you have some branches which you’ve spent quite a lot of time on over the years, and others that you’re yet to even touch. Well, my Hayhurst line fell into the latter category. My 2x great grandma was a Margaret Florence Hayhurst from Lancaster, Lancashire. And as a result of recently visiting Lancaster recently it’s sparked me into following that side of the tree.

8. Played on the British Newspaper Archive
I saw an offer from the British Newspaper Archive which allowed you to subscribe to the site for one month for £1, which was a good bargain, as it’s normally £9.95/month). As I’ve just not done much research of my own family recently at all, I simply hadn’t needed to subscribe. However the offer was good, and it prompted me to go an play. And just as we love Trove, you have to love The British Newspaper Archive too. All those stories that you just don’t get details of anywhere else. It’s gold.

British Newspaper Archive screenshot

9. Ordered a certificate
It’s been quite some time since I ordered a certificate, particularly a UK one for my family history. But after finding the relevant info on TheGenealogist, a certificate is warranted, so was ordered. Now I’m impatiently waiting for it’s arrival.

A traditional metal mailbox with letter flying out of it

10. I have a new favourite genealogy quote
For my regular readers you’d have seen my post about this one. I saw a quote from Megan Smolenyak recently and just had to tell you all about it. You can see the quote here.

11. Booked to go on a genealogy cruise
Unlock the Past have oodles of genealogy cruises coming up over the next 2 years – and I won’t be going on them all. I’m already booked in for the 8th cruise, the one to the Baltic which is on in July 2015, and I have just confirmed that I’ll be going on the 11th cruise (NZ to Australia) in ‘February 2016.

the ship we're going on for the 8th Cruise (Baltic) - the Celebrity Eclipse

the ship we’re going on for the 8th Cruise (Baltic) – the Celebrity Eclipse

12. Read a genealogy magazine
Actually I read a few – but not cover-to-cover. On my various plane flights recently I was reading Your Family History Magazine, Internet Genealogy and Inside History Magazine.

Inside History Magazine - JulAug 2014

cover of the Jul/Aug 2014 issue of Inside History Magazine

13. Participated in a Genealogy Challenge
When I read about Denise Levenick’s Genealogy World Photo  Day Challenge I knew I’d be in on it. You can see my contribution to this here.

14. Considering courses at the National Institute of Genealogical Studies
While I was compiling a recent blog post (ok, yes that one was work-related) I was reading through all the courses that the National Institute has starting shortly, and was reading up on a few of the courses. Now I’m considering a few, but we’ll see what happens.

15. Downloaded Evernote
Actually I had downloaded Evernote on to my main computer and laptop prior to going on the cruise as I wanted to get a feel for it before going to Lisa Louise Cooke’s talks on the topic. However I didn’t get to downloading in on to my ipod at the time. So the time came and I downloaded it, only for it to come up with a big error message telling me that “Evernote requires IOS7, and you have IOS6, so has not installed” … so there goes that idea, until I upgrade. I did try though.


16. Started playing with Pic Scanner App
Something new that I did download and start playing with though was Pic Scanner. It’s an app for your iPad, iPod or iPhone and is designed to take the effort out of scanning. If you’d like to find out more about it, check out the video below.

17. Listened to a podcast
After seeing that Jill Ball (aka Geniaus) listened to a podcast from The National Archives titled “Did she kill him? Addiction, adultery and arsenic in Victorian Britain” which was really fascinating. To listen to this podcast, click here. For more podcasts that TNA offers, check them out here.

TNA Podcast - did she kill him

18. I joined LinkedIn
After asking my Facebook friends out the value of LinkedIn I decided to join. While this isn’t exactly a genealogy activity, because most of my contacts will be genealogy-related, it is.

19. Photographed some headstones for a friend
While I was in England I saw some headstones with a surname that I know one of my friends in researching, so naturally photographed them, and sent them to her.

20. I bought a new book
Ok, so buying new books isn’t exactly new for me, as I am a book person. My 3x great grandfather William Hayhurst worked at Lancaster Castle, so while I was in Lancaster I got to do a tour of the castle (that’s a whole story for another day). But one of the rooms in the castle was full of family crests of local sheriffs, constables and sovereigns from Lancaster, which included some Hayhursts, and I just found that the Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society has a book relating to them, so I bought it. And even better, it was on sale! You can see details of this book here.

21. Renewed my National Library of Australia eResources Card
You’ve all heard about the National Library of Australia’s ecard right? If not, check it out here. Anyway I’ve had a NLA ecard for a while now, but it was only recently I discovered that you need to renew it every two years. So I did that and now renewed.


22. I shared a bit of history with a non-genie friend
I was catching up on the backlog of genie magazine reading, and one article I found fascinating was in the June 2014 issue of Your Family History magazine, and was all about Barber Surgeons. As the shop I work at is next door to a barber, I had to copy the article and give it to him – which he also found fascinating. Sharing a bit of history with a non-genie! For more on barber surgeon’s either grab yourself a copy of the magazine, or check out Wikipedia.

barber surgeons

23. Added some names to my family tree database
It’s been quite some time since I’ve added any names  to my tree, partly because I don’t get a whole lot of time to do my own research, but also because I prefer the search to the recording. I know, I know, the recording is just as important as the research, and I need to do both, but with limited time, the search tends to take precendence. But opened up my genie program, and actually entered some names and other details. Finally! Now to make more of an effort to do a whole lot more of that.

24.  Booked to go to a genealogy conference
Ok, I would have done this even if NFHM wasn’t on, and that is that I booked to go to the FGS and RootsTech conferences in 2015. As registrations for that opened yesterday, I headed on on over to the FGS website today, and was able to book both through that. As as I did it early I got the Super Early Bird Special price $$$.

logo - RootsTech 2015

25. Checking out the Catalogue of a Local County Archive
Local archives are awesome for records. And I always advise getting in touch with those near where your family lived to see what records they hold. As I’ve just started researching my Hayhurst family from Lancaster, Lancashire – this is a new county to me. So I’ve been checking out the Lancashire City Council website, and have been making my way through the 665 entries that come up when I entered “Hayhurst” in the search box. This is stuff that doesn’t come up in Google. So take note, check the LOCAL archives.

screenshot of the LANCAT results screen

screenshot of the LANCAT results screen


So that brings me to the end of August, and the end of my National Family History Month happenings. I hope it was a great month for you, and I found it was for me. I’m looking forward to continuing my Hayhurst research now that I’ve started it, and wish you all the best with your continued research as well.

Bye Bye National Family History Month 2014. I’m pleased that I was able to take part.

2 Responses to “My National Family History Month Activities for 2014”

  1. Jill Ball says:

    What an interesting and bumper month for you. Thanks for telling us all about it Alona.

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