Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2017

The end of 2017 has arrived, and as this will be my last post for the year it’s the perfect time to take a look back over what I’ve accomplished genealogy-wise during the past 12 months.

Personally I wouldn’t say I’ve done a lot, which is why I love GeniAus (aka Jill Ball’s) Accentuate the Positive Geneameme.  Not only is it a wonderful way to review your past year of genealogy, but it’s done in way so that you don’t focus on the ‘I didn’t get to do this … or look for that’, but rather focus on what you DID do.

Previously Jill has used the following words as an intro to the Accentuate the Positive Geneameme, which explains it well:

“I feel that a lot of my geneablogging friends are too hard on themselves; several have reported on their successes this year but quite a number have lamented that they haven’t achieved as much as they set out to do or that they haven’t blogged with the frequency they envisaged.  I invite you to take part in this activity by responding to the following statements/questions in a blog post. Write as much or as little as you want. Once you have done so please share your post’s link in a comment on this post or to me via social media.”

As this applies to research that I’ve done in 2017, and life has been rather busy with little research done throughout the year, my responses are less than I’d like, but still some is better than none.

Accentuate the Positive

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was …
This would have to be my (yet-to-be-100%-proven-but-95%-sure) convict , William Cosgrove. ‘My’ William Cosgrove turns up in Adelaide, South Australia, and at age 42 married Anne McGrath in 1856, and they had 7 children. However his life prior to that he has been unknown … BUT it appears he could have been a 16 year old convict who was transported to NSW for stealing a plane, as the timeframe, ages, and even occupation fit. So it is a distinct possibility. But I’m still hoping to find one more defining piece to add to this puzzle. But it’s been exciting to track him through the convict records, Police Gazettes, newspapers and more.

3 August 1837, William Cosgrove was granted his Certificate of Freedom

2.  A great newspaper article I found was …
The one that springs to mind is finding out that my great grandpa (Horace Norman Phillips), and his dad (Samuel Phillips) who owned a fruit & veg shop. They were both arrested for bankruptcy. Horace went to jail for a few months while Samuel paid the fine. This one is a work-in-progress story, that I hope to write more about it once I’ve done some more research.

here’s the beginning of a long article on Trove about the case,
South Australian Register, 27 Jan 1923

3.  A geneajourney I took was …
FINLAND!! This really was the trip of a lifetime for me. And I had a fabulous time catching up with relatives, seeing the countryside, and was taken many family towns and cemeteries along the way. I saw the graves of my 2x great grandparents, my 3x great grandpa, and even the grave of my 4x great grandpa. How cool is that! You can find my Finland posts here.

selfie with cousins

selfie with my Finnish reli’s

Nils Winter's grave at Hämeenkoski

Nils Winter’s (my 4x great grandpa) grave at Hämeenkoski, Finland

Nils Winter's grave at Hämeenkoski

Nils Winter’s grave. He died 30 August 1864

4.  A geneasurprise I received was …
I received a parcel in the mail (with no name or return address on it) which contained Harold Roy Winter’s (or Roy Harold Winter as he was known on military records) original WW2 discharge papers and letters regarding his repat entitlements, copies of photographs. Harold is a great uncle of mine, and while he did marry, he and his wife never had any children. So who had these records, and then thought to send it on to me, I will probably never know. But it was an awesome surprise, and I guarantee they’ll be looked after. But I’d love to thank whoever did send them.

the goodies I received

5.   My 2017 blog post that I was particularly proud of was …
Interestingly my more controversial posts tend to get a more of attention, one of these being “Yes Folks, Genealogy DOES Cost Money!“. I wrote this as a response to comments I’d seen on Facebook, and I still stand by what I wrote 100%, even though I know others won’t agree.

6.  A new piece of technology I mastered was …
I would have to say MailChimp, but I wouldn’t use the word ‘mastered’, but rather ‘learning-as-I-go’. Late in 2016 I made the switch from Feedburner to MailChimp for my blog subscribers. I’ll admit I’m not the most technically minded person, but through watching various videos on YouTube, I made the switch all by myself, and even have worked out how to customise my posts. So I was kinda proud of that. Still lots to learn though.

7. A genealogy event from which I learnt something new was …
Every talk I go to I learn something. But two things come to mind. From a talk at the State Library of South Australia, it was emphasised about the need to keep digital records in an up-to-date (readable form). So store them, check them periodically, and migrate to a new form as needed. Everyone from government organistions and archives, to libraries and individuals NEED to do this.

And from Dirk Weissleder who toured Australia with Chris Paton as part of the Unlock the Past’s Researching Abroad Roadshow, he answered the question as to why many German’s are hesitant to take a DNA test … his response was as German’s are very proud of their country, they don’t want to find out how un-German they might be, which I’ll admit is something I’d not considered before. But something to certainly keep in mind.

L-R: Chris Paton, me, and Dirk Weissleder at the Adelaide for Unlock the Past’s Researching Abroad roadshow, 24 July 2017

8. A DNA discovery I made was …
There has been a question by some, over who the father of one of my great grandpa’s was. Now through DNA we can prove that he really is his father’s son. You can read about that here.

9. I taught a genimate how to …
There’s two things that spring to mind. One is the importance of writing your OWN history which is sadly overlooked in preference to searching and writing about those before us, as well as how to go about it in small blocks step-by-step rather than tackling writing as a giant book or novel.

And the other is teaching others how to use both the FamilySearch and Cyndi’s List sites. It’s exciting to see people realise the possibilities once they understand how to use these sites.

10. A brick wall I demolished was …
Going back to Number 1 … William Cosgrove’s brickwall is not “officially demolished” yet, but we’ve got the sledgehammer ready! So cross fingers for 2018.

11. A great site I visited was …
Two sites I’ve been having fun with are Trove for the old Australian newspapers (I mean, who doesn’t), there’s never ending discovering waiting to be found there. And the other is the South Australian passenger lists 1849-1940 which have recently been added to FamilySearch (and YES they even have images).

one of the thousands of South Australian passenger lists now on FamilySearch

12. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was … 
I should retitle this as “A new genealogy/history book I’m looking forward to … as I haven’t read it yet, but I have a copy of “Tracing Your Ancestors Through the Equity Courts” as I want to learn more about those records.

13. It was exciting to finally meet … 
Oooh, so many people. But one that does spring to mind quickly is Amy Johnson Crow, who I am a big fan of. I got to meet her at RootsTech back in February 2017 which was very exciting.

14. I am excited for 2018 because … 
Well Congress is on in March 2018, and the next Unlock the Past cruise is the Alaska Cruise in September 2018 which I’m going on. Both will be amazing experiences, and there are so speakers spectacular for both it’ll be hard to choose what sessions to go to. But aside from those I have no-doubt there will be other genealogy adventures along the way throughout the year.

Alaska cruise

15. Another positive I would like to share is …
I did my first ever genealogy presentation to a local group. Now, I’m not a presenter, and don’t do talks, but was kind of talked into this by being told it wasn’t so much a talk, but rather a show and tell of some of my family’s heirlooms. Anyway I did it, I wasn’t too nervous, and the group seemed to enjoy it. Thankyou Jen.

And we all love present money don’t we? So with birthday money I was able to buy some more certificates (yay), and I bought a DNA kit for my grandma. So that was a present for her AND me. 🙂

And one last thing, during the year I also wrote guest posts for both the Carolina Girl Genealogy blog, and for the site which was exciting. So that’s my 2017 … what will 2018 bring?

Now roll on 2018,
here’s hoping for more genealogy excitement and discoveries

A Review of 2017 and my Top 5 Posts for the Year

As the end of 2017 draws near, I like to take a few moments to look back over what I’ve written throughout the year, and remember.

For Australia Day I wrote about one of my emigrating families, I wrote a few more Trove Tuesday posts, I took you with me to various events like RootsTech in the US, a number of events held during the South Australian History Festival, Unlock the Past’s Researching Abroad Roadshow, and even on my holiday to Finland, that was fun wasn’t it!

I’ve told you about two awesome events that are happening next year … Congress, the big genie conference in Sydney, and the next genealogy cruise, which is an Alaskan one, which will be totally incredible with the scenery, and also the conference (the speakers on it are AMAZING)!

I wrote about the amazing story of Mr Lonetester’s great grandpa for Anzac Day, and updated my list of Australian history and genealogy groups on Facebook several times, which grew exponentially over the year. I wrote about copyright, and blog tips and issues, as well as research practice, and what DNA proved for me. And I even made some confessions, including the bright shiny objects (BSOs). Remembrance Day was a post highlighting the honour boards for the men who made “the ultimate sacrifice” from my home town.

For something totally different, I wrote about the origins of the top hat, shampoo, and even barber poles. I discovered convict wine (yes, truly).

During the year I took part in some blog challenges and geneameme’s, like Genealogy Close Calls from Nutfield Genealogy, and the Five Faves Geneameme from Geniaus, and my own Ancestral Places Geneameme., and the National Family History Month blog challenge.

I was honoured to have been nominated in the Rockstar Genealogists list again, and somehow even made it into the Top 5 in the Aus/NZ list. Thank to everyone who voted.

So while I’m looking back at past posts, I thought I’d see what my top posts from the year. Note, technically the top looked at posts are ones I’ve written earlier, but I decided this list will the top looked at posts that I wrote during the year.  … I was going to do Top 5, but when I saw No. 6, I needed to include it. So here goes …

6. About Me 
Coming in at number 6 is my About Me page. Yes, really. Which proves that a lot of people do actually look at it. In fact earlier this year I wrote about how important it is to have an About Me page. You can read that here.

5. Emigration from England to South Australia in the 1800s
Number 5 give details of the rules for free emigration to South Australia. What age, what occupations, who was allowed to come? This was an eye opener.

4. Update 4: Facebook for Australian History and Genealogy
Update 4 of my Facebook for Australia History and Genealogy was popular. And anyone who is on Facebook and has Australian ancestors, should be using Facebook to advantage. There are over 1000 Facebook groups and pages just one Australian history and genealogy. And found them and put them all in an easy to find list that you can download for free.

3. Facebook vs Blogging: The Pros and Cons
Coming in at number 3, this was an interesting one as it started as idea from comments seen on other FB pages, and while it was written earlier in the year it is still a popular post.

2. 21 Signs that Your Partner Isn’t Into Genealogy As much as You
Making number 2 on the list is one of my humour posts. I need to do these every now and then. Thanks to inspiration from Mr Lonetester who was reading an article in his magazine (non-genealogy-related) which was a similar title, I adapted it, and wallah … came up with the following.

1. Are Your A Genealogist of a Family Historian
And the top looked at post that I wrote in 2017 is … Are You a Genealogist or a Family Historian? I’m rather surprised about this one, but it is another one showing my quirky humour. And while I love the post, it seems that others do too. So what type of family historian are you?

2017 has been a fun year of blogging, with a huge variety of topics covered. And I’m sure that 2018 will be just as awesome. So join me as we discover more history along the way.

2014: What Are You Thankful For?

With only a few days until we reach the end of 2014 it seems timely to do a little review.

For those who might be new readers here let me tell you that I’m not a resolution-maker. No-sir-ee. In fact I think for many people they do more harm than good by creating a burden. Think about it. If you make a list, revisit it later, and find that you’ve only done half (if that) of what you’d hoped to achieve, that would bum you out, right. And fair enough.

While that approach may work for some people, but it’s just not my style.