Monday, June 18, 2018

Closed Access

I am a member of four local genealogy/family history groups that provide access to print and digital resources for their members. The cost of purchasing, housing and maintaining these collections is high so it is important that members who provide the $$$ for these collections should be able to access them easily.

Two of these groups work with and are supported by their local libraries. Their family history resources are shelved in open access in the local libraries and are available to group members, the local community and visitors to the library during the hours the libraries are open seven days a week.

Family History Resources at a local library
The other two groups have their collections housed in rooms leased from local authorities. One group provides access to resources for sixteen hours per week during the middle of the day. The other group only  provides access on one weekday and one weekend day totalling about ten hours per month. For the remainder of the time the resources of these groups are locked away and not accessible by users.

One problem is that those societies who house their own resources rely on volunteers to open the rooms to fellow members and volunteers are thin on the ground. Sadly some groups don't want to share resources purchased with membership dollars with outsiders.

It makes me so sad to see these valuable collections locked away. Invariably I am otherwise engaged when the doors to these collections are unlocked so I miss out on gaining access.

If I find myself in the area where the collection stored at the local library and find myself with half an hour up my sleeve I can pop in for a quick spot of research.

I wish more genie groups would approach their local authorities and work on ways to make their resources more accessible. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trove Tuesday - A Modern Kitchen

Today the GeniAus family is having a new kitchen installed. While some of the finishes in the new kitchen are different many of the features are similar to those in this Modern 1940 kitchen.
1940 'MODERN KITCHEN', Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954), 24 April, p. 10. , viewed 08 Jun 2018,


To keep the kitchen spotless has always entailed endless
work for the average housewife. In the kitchen there are
many acids and corrosives which are a danger to the ordinary
enamel fittings, such as sinks, drainers, stoves, etc.

The kitchen illustrated provides a solution to the home builder
who desires comfort and utility in his kitchen.The sink is of stain-
less steel cast in one piece with a continuous draining board, while
the end benches with cupboards under have stainless steel tops of
mirror finish.

The fronts of sinks and cupboards are faced with acid resisting
sheet porcelain enamel, with doors flushed face to match. The elec-
tric stove is recessed in the wall and has its own electric exhaust
ing fan for fumes and gas exhaust and is carried out in porcelain
to match cupboards.

Walls round sinks and stove are tiled in deep cream tiles with
jade green inlay bands, whilst the floor is covered with strip jade
green rubber covering. Elevated cupboards over drainers allow space
for crockery storage with flush faced fronts, and all fittings, in-
cluding refrigerator, are so placed to allow of good circulation and
a minimum amount of walking during the working of the kitchen.

Cream Venetian blinds cover the long low window and complete
a scheme of which the housewife should be proud.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Frugal Genealogy

Way back in March I was interviewed at  Rootstech  by Andy from Family History Fanatics. Andy Lee and his wife Devon had done their homework prior to interviewing me as they had discovered that the week after Rootstech I would be back in Australia presenting at Congress, The  15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry. They knew that one of my topics would be "Managing Frugally:Free Tools for Genies and Family History Groups" so when they interviewed me they focussed on frugality.

Andy conducted quite a few interviews at Rootstech which Family History Fanatics are posting on their Youtube Channel progressively throughout the year. This week it was my turn. Thanks Andy and team for giving me a chance to chat with you.

Perhaps my fellow genies may gather a few tips from our chat.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A New Convert

Just a couple of years ago an old friend, let's call her Margaret, whom I had known for 60+ years said "I'm adopted you know". When I replied that I had known for years she asked why hadn't mentioned it to her. I hadn't said anything as I didn't know if she knew (and when my mother told me she made me promise not to tell).

At that time her elderly father was still alive and well and Margaret said that she didn't want to know about her biological family.

Schooldays for Margaret and Jill
Margaret, an only child, cared for her father who lived to a very ripe old age. I caught up with Margaret last year, two years after her father died and she informed me that she was going to delve into her biological family's history. She has recently procured a copy of her original birth certificate from which she learnt that she was born in Sydney and that her biological mother was from a country town. As often happened on the 40s and 50s single girls who found themselves in the family way moved to the city for a while.

When we met up last week Margaret said she had done a bit of research on Trove and asked for my help as she wondered if she had identified the right maternal family in the country town. We had a long chat and I think I convinced Margaret to take an Ancestry DNA test to see if she could discover something of her paternal ancestry. We discussed all the issues and Margaret realises that what she might find out may be confronting.

I jumped at the opportunity to help Margaret with her maternal line but didn't want to push her too far as it has taken her a long time to become curious about her biological family. I emailed her offering a few options: "Do you want me to send you a list of the ancestors, just the names of her parents or nothing at all? I don't want to spoil your fun but with a few clues you may be able to find some more stories on Trove."

Her response came quickly."Please if it's not too much trouble anything to sate my curiosity would be great." I have had an issue with bursitis that has prevented me from doing a lot of keyboarding but I have become adept at left handed mousing and that's all I need to hunt down people.  I was off and running.

It's the first time in years that I have started building a person's tree from scratch and it was so much easier than when I started out 30 years ago. That Margaret's maternal ancestors had been in the one country town for around 150 years made my hunt a little easier.

To keep track of things I started a new project in my Family Historian software (again so much easier to manage than when I started out using old library catalogue cards and paper charts to record info) and recorded facts as I found them. I was lucky to find Margaret's ancestors in some Ancestry trees, these hints sent me searching for sources to confirm them. I tried to work back one generation at a time. Every so often I created a fan chart to check my progress and make sure I wasn't neglecting any branches.

Last night I produced a Ancestors' report and a fan chart for Margaret from Family Historian. I emailed these together with a couple of documents I found online including a copy of the naturalisation document for her German ancestor (I had never seen one of these before). I found ancestors back to the mid 18th century from England, Germany and Ireland. I hope Margaret takes a DNA test so we can see what other genes she may have.

"I've just looked and find it all soo amazing that you could find so much info - you really are "Sherlock!" was the response I received by email this morning. This was followed a couple of hours later, after Margaret had digested the report I had sent her, by a phone call thanking me profusely for what I had done and exclaiming that I was a magician to have created the fan chart. I did fess up and say that my software Family Historian created that. Margaret also learnt that she had been researching the wrong family line on Trove but I reminded her that, as the name is not a common one, the families may indeed be related some generations back and on coming to Australia have chosen to settle in the same district. This was the case with my Irish ancestors.

Margaret is an intelligent and curious woman who will have so much fun researching her biological mother's family on Trove. I have had a peek and there is lots there to find. I know she will go beyond Trove and check out the online sources I have outlined in her Ancestors' report. I'll be on hand to answer any questions she may have a long the way.

I am confident that we have a New Convert to Family History in Margaret.


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