Twile: A Different Way to Show Off Your Family Tree

Let me introduce you to Twile. This is something I’ve been playing with recently, but it has actually been around for a year or two now, so some of you may already know how fun it is.

First up let me just say that Twile is a website that allows you to display your family and milestones as a timeline … and, not only that, it is totally FREE.

As it offers timelines, don’t expect a traditional tree-type chart from them. The timelines are created by using data that you either you enter, or a gedcom file you upload. To add to this, you can also add photos, milestones, and historical events which everyone in your family can view and contribute to.

At RootsTech 2016 Twile won both the People’s Choice Award as well as the Innovator Showdown, so it’s certainly grabbed people’s attention.

And the claims that it “makes genealogy more engaging” is true. Apart from a graphical timeline of your own tree, they can create a statistics infographic based on your family. Now this is truly cool, and here’s mine …

twile infographic


To get this simply upload your gedcom (or link to an online tree) – if you hadn’t already got one there for your timeline, wait a few mins … and wallah, it’s there in your inbox!! Go ahead and try it for yourself, and if you have Irish ancestry, there’s a special green infographic for you here

twile infographic Irish

So if you’re looking for a novel way to show off your tree, or a way to get your family interested in family history, why not try Twile? It could just be the thing you’ve been looking for.

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:

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 one lists 23 links relating to Cornish genealogy.

10. Australian History: The Bits You Didn’t Know About
I had great fun doing this post, and I hope others do when they read it. As the title suggests it covers the tidbits of Australian history that you don’t normally get taught.

9. More Free Websites for South Australia Genealogy and History
This is a follow-on post from #3 (33 Free Websites for South Australian Genealogy). That one was written some time ago, and as I knew of a bunch more links, decided to group them and do another post.

8. The Importance of a Catalogue
This was another one that I was surprised that made the list. But again, very pleased that people are reading it – because it does have an important message.

7. The “When I Was Young” Geneameme
I loved creating, and doing this Geneameme. And was so pleased that others took it on as well.

6. Discovering Links: 14 Free Links for New South Wales Genealogy and History
Another Discovering Links post made the list. This one lists 14 links for those researching News South Wales genealogy.

5. Favourite Family Tree Quotes
I am a quote person. I love quotes. So I decided to compile a collection of my fav Family History related ones. And I’m pleased to say that others have found my list, and loved them too.

4. Australian Birth, Death and Marriage Records
Written some time, this is a little out of date now, but still largely correct … and it makes it easy for me to refer people to the places they can find Australian BDM records.

3. 33 Free Websites for South Australian Genealogy
This is one of my fav posts. I had fun compiling it, an I love seeing people’s reactions when I refer them to it. Man, I find didn’t know of most of these site, so I’ve just opened up new possibilities for them.

2. 27 Golden Rules of Genealogy
I wrote this about a year ago now, and it has had a lot of views over the past year, so I do hope it has helped others along the way. While this is just my collection of “rules”, be sure to read the extras that others have written in the comments.

1. 21 ANZAC Day Facts
I wrote this for ANAZC Day back in 2013, and it got a lot of exposure then. And while I’d expect peaks around Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, what has totally blown me away is just how constantly it is looked at … all year. This one post has had more views than the rest of the top 15 all put together. Anyway I hope everyone who reads it, finds it useful.

So that’s my my “most looked at” posts for 2015 … now let’s see what 2016 brings.



More Free Websites for South Australia Genealogy and History

Back in 2011 I compiled my 33 Free Websites for South Australia Genealogy post, and despite having written it almost 4 years ago, it is still one of the most looked at posts on my blog.

Since then a lot of new South Australian records and sites have gone online, so I felt it was time for an update.

Many people think that genealogy costs a lot of money, let me tell you that all of the links below are free. Personally I find that it’s often a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that.

Although I haven’t titled this “Discovering Links”, I’m putting in that series of posts since it contains a whole bunch of links. These are I have discovered, or found useful, and want to share with others. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here.

It’s not intended to be an exhaustive collection of links, but simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you may not have known about.


South Australian Historical Archaeology Database
The Historical Archaeology of Adelaide Project is based in the Department of Archaeology, Flinders University. It is a long term project to record and document archaeological data from three key site types throughout South Australia: cemeteries, standing structures (buildings), and monuments/memorials. The project data has been compiled by second and third year undergraduate archaeology students as part of their work in the topic. These databases are available as a public resource for heritage research.

History As it Happens
History is not only about things that happened long ago. It is happening here and now and we are all part of it. Sometimes history is about small things – the everyday things we take for granted. At other times it is about the big events that change communities in dramatic ways and that live on in a community’s memory for generations. History as it Happens pulls together South Australian’s responses to these tragic events. They invite you to share photos, stories, and footage through their website or Facebook page. They’re also keen to obtain artifacts as well.

South Australian Health Museum
South Australian Health Museum is a virtual (online) museum showcases objects and biographies from the collections of: Royal Adelaide Hospital Heritage Office; Calvary Hospital; The Queen Elizabeth Hospital; South Australian Dental Historical Society and St John Ambulance Museum. There’s amazing collections of items to view, from equipment , to dental copper amalgam, an operating table, prosthetic limbs, medical booklets, and numerous old photographs. Note, this sites does not contain any individual’s medical records.

Adelaide City Heritage
Adelaide City Heritage is a website dedicated to “discovering, exploring, celebrating and protecting the heritage of the City of Adelaide”.

Learn about the history of Adelaide, through Adelaidia. It is an interactive way of engaging with the history of this city. The site is full of stories of the city’s people, places and events, the city streets and the buildings and monuments that line them, and the events that enliven them. Share your stories of the city, your favorite images and your responses. This site is a work in progress and continues to grow over time and aims to become a comprehensive and multifacteted history that truly reflects Adelaide’s history.

Manning’s Place Names of South Australia Index
Geoff Manning and has dedicated a large portion of his life pursuing his passion for finding and recording the origins of South Australian places. His various printed editions of “Manning’s Place Names of South Australia” grew incredibly with each printing. Now the State Library of SA has much of this information on their website.

SA Memory
SA Memory is an online gateway to South Australian culture and heritage, past and present. This multimedia website focuses on the South Australian experience – what makes South Australia different from other places. SA Memory illustrates and interprets themes highlighting South Australia’s people, places, issues and events from the colony’s beginnings to now: South Australia’s ‘memory’. SA Memory showcases a wide range of archival and published materials and allows users to read original documents and transcripts; view images – photographs, posters, art works, interactive maps, and more; listen to sound recordings, including oral histories; and watch historic film footage. Many of these materials have previously only been accessible to visitors at various archives. Search by name, by place, or by theme – there’s plenty to view on this website.

Location SA Map Viewer
Have you ever wanted to know where your nearest shipwreck is, or every earthquake location in SA since 1836? You can check all of these things and more from the Location SA Map Viewer. Government spatial data has been combined on a single website, allowing easy access to everything from public transport to planning development zones and Marine Parks in one view.

A World Away – South Australia’s War
HistorySA is behind this fabulous site. When war broke out a world away in Europe, South Australians could not have imagined how it would impact their lives. ‘A World Away’ documents the experiences of South Australians in their own words – through diaries, letters and newspapers – and in real time, 100 years after the events. Come on a journey, month by month, as HistorySA delves into the lives of  South Australians on the front lines and the home front during the First World War.

South Australian Red Cross 1916-1919
This website allows users to search the records of the South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau held in the collection of the State Library of South Australia (SLSA). From 1916 until 1919, the South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau (SARCIB) performed the service of undertaking research into 8,033 enquiries from family and friends of missing Australian Imperial Force (AIF) personnel fighting in World War 1. Documentation produced and received in the process of making these enquiries is included in the ‘packets’ of records that can be searched and viewed on this website.

South Australians of World War 1
Flickr is the place that the State Library of South Australia (SLSA) has uploaded over 1700 photographs of WW1 soliders. If you have an ancestor from South Australia who was in WW1, be sure to check their collection.

Map of Adelaide 1849
Plan Of Country Sections &c In The Immediate Vicinity Of The City Of Adelaide In The Province Of South Australia 1849. Scanned at high-res you can view this map in full, or zoom in to see the detail.

South Australian Railways (SAR) Maps 
If you’re interested in South Australian railway history, you’ll be interested in these maps on Johnny’s Pages. A railway enthusiast, he has high-res images of South Australian railway maps which you can click for high-res images.

Port Adelaide / Enfield Local History Photos
The Port Adelaide Enfield Local History Group have collected over 3000 historical photographs and have put them up on Flickr. People, buildings and other things relevant to the area are shown.

South Australian Directories and Almanacs 1864-1973
The State Library of South Australia have digitised over 100 years of South Australian Directories and Almanacs, making them freely available to everyone through their website. From the first, the directories included mercantile, ecclesiastical, legal, and other occupational and trade listings. Like modern telephone books, this eventually developed into a comprehensive ‘trades and professions’ section.

South East Collection of Records
I did include this link in my earlier list, however the list of records has grown since then, so is worth a re-look if you haven’t recently. Also I wanted to mention that the SEFHG holds records relating to the following towns in South Australia: Allendale, Beachport, Canunda, Caroline, Carpenter Rocks, Cape Jaffa, Compton, Donovans, Drop Drop, Glenburnie, Glencoe, Gran Gran, Harris Range, Hatherleigh, Kalangadoo, Kangaroo Inn, Kingston, Kongorong, Lucindale, McGrath Flat, Mil Lel, Millicent, Moorak, Mount Burr, Mount McIntyre, Mount Gambier, Mount Muirhead, Mount Schank, Mundulla, Murrimbum, Nangula, Nangwarry, Naracoorte, Narrung, OB Flat, Penguin Island, Port MacDonnell, Penola, Rendelsham, Robe, Sebastapol, Snuggery, South End, Suttontown, Tantanoola, Tarpeena, Tintinara, Tatiara, Wandilo, Wyrie, and Yahl.

Australian Medical Pioneers Index (AMPI)
This is an Australia-wide site, but it does list some from South Australia, so is a useful resource for researchers if you had doctors or others in the medical profession prior to 1875. AMPI provides biographical data on over 4500 doctors who lived in Australia (or visited Australian shores in a medical capacity) in colonial days.

South Australian Land Records from 1858
It was big news when it was announced that the South Australian Integrated Land Information System (SAILIS) website had South Australian land records online AND free (the historical records anyway). This website allows users to search South Australian land records online from 1858. Look for the “Historical Searches” tab, and follow the links from there. I do suggest watching the short YouTube tutorial first, so you’ll understand how to search.

Adelaide City Council Assessment Books 1846-1870
I have to attribute this link to a customer at work who told me about this. And what a fabulous collection it really is. The Adelaide City Council have digitised their historical rate assessment books and they are viewable online. The books are in table format, and the columns list: No. of Assessment, Name of Occupier, Lessor or Landlord, Name of Owner, Description of Property Assessed, No. of Acre, Situation or Name or Street, Net Annual Value after deductions, Amount of rate chargeable for 12 month, Arrears, Remarks. A valuable resource for those who had family who lived or owned property in the city during this period.

South Australian Photographers 1845-1915
This 337 page book written by R.J. “Bob” Noye, and published in 1997. Containing an extensive A-Z listing South Australian photographers, with biographical details of each, this will be useful for anyone wanting help dating photographs.

South Australian Adoption Records
Monash University have an extensive list that details various collections relating to South Australian adoptions and where you can find them.

Find and Connect
Find and Connect is an Australia-wide site that contains history and information on children’s homes, orphanages, and other institutions. It brings together  historical resources relating to institutional ‘care’ in Australia. You can use it to read information about and view images of children’s homes, get help to find records about your childhood in ‘care’, and connect with support groups and services in your state/territory. Please note, it does not contain private records.

Log of Logs Volumes 1, 2 and 3
Not strictly South Australian, but rather Australia-wide, the three volumes of Log of Logs were released in printed book for during the 1990s, and were very popular. Afterall they are essentially a catalogue of logs, journals, shipboard diaries, letters and all forms of voyage narratives from 1788 to 1998, for Australia and New Zealand, as well as the surrounding oceans. And who doesn’t want to know if references and records for their ancestors’ voyage survived? The volumes are now available to read online or download for free.

Immigrants to South Australia, (UK, assisted passage) 1847-1886
I have listed The Ships List on my earlier post, and this is one of the collections that you’ll find on this amazing site. This is an ongoing project detailing immigrants arriving in South Australia, mostly under UK assisted passage schemes from 1847 through to 1886. These lists have been transcribed from the original passenger lists, and where available, extracts regarding a particular ship have been included, from the Sydney Shipping Gazette and the South Australian Register. The South Australian Government Gazette (return showing deaths on board Emigrant ships 1849 to 5th June 1865) has also been consulted.

Bound For South Australia
The precise number of people who travelled to South Australia in 1836 intending to settle will probably never be known with certainty. Available sources include inconsistencies, and all were subject to last minute changes, as additional passengers embarked, or expected passengers changed their minds.  A few left the ships en route, some were born and others died. This website contains passenger lists for the Duke of York, John Pirie, Cygnet, Lady Mary Pelham, Emma, Rapid, Africaine voyages during 1836.

South Australia Genealogy Facebook Group
If you are a Facebooker, and are researching family in South Australia, be sure to join this group, as you can post your queries here.

Cousin Connect South Australia
If a forums is more your thing, Cousin Connect has a specifically South Australian section for you to post your queries to.

RootsChat – Australia
RootsChat is another forum, a place for you to put your query out there, and while RootsChat doesn’t have a specific South Australia category, you can find many queries relating to SA on it.

RootsWeb – South Australia
RootsWeb is the original genealogy mailing list, and it’s the largest with about 36,000 different mailiang lists. And they have a category specific for South Australian genealogy and queries. If you sign up to their mailing list you not only get copies of each South Australia query, but it allows you to send your own query so everyone else who is subscribed will get your query, and will hopefully be able to answer. The good thing about a mailing list as opposed to message board or Facebook is that Google indexes them – so people can still find your query years later!!


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.