Sunday, August 25, 2019

Like a Sponge

It seems as though some of my genimates who are going to DNADownunder in Sydney later this week are beating themselves up as they indulge in a frenzy of activities related to their DNA matches.

I was on this merry-go-round until a few days ago but I decided to dismount. I really don't think that identifying a few more of my matches, writing to more prospective cousins or updating my files will have much of an impact on my learning at the event. I am going to take time out from DNA for the next few days and go along to DNADownunder with a clear head.

The things I most want to happen like getting Ancestry DNA matches to upload their data to another site so I can paint them in DNAPainter or getting responses from many of the matches I have messaged is just not going to happen quickly. I have no control over these issues but maybe I will pick up a few tips at the conference.

I am going be a sponge and sit back, relax and learn from the experts at the event, I read somewhere that "learning by osmosis" occurs when one is exposed to and immersed in something.  
DNADownunder will provide that DNA exposure and immersion.

 The sponge inside my head is ready to absorb
I may not attend a talk in every time slot (except for Blaine's) because I won't want my new learning to leak out of the sponge. I may use those times to reflect and reinforce my new learning and I may pull out my laptop and play while the learning is fresh in my mind. Three full days of learning is exhausting at events like this; we need to factor in some time to refresh, relax and reconnect (with genimates and vendors at the event).

If you have been daunted at the prospect of all the learning at this event do come along and be a sponge like me, you will definitely have a beaut time. (If you haven't booked you can buy tickets at the door.)

I'm a DNA Dabbler so while being educated at DNADownunder is my main focus I am also going along to be entertained, enthused and energised. It's the Australian geneagathering of the year.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Familysearch at the Lake

Several months ago members of the Lake Macquarie Family History Group (LMFHG) told me that they had discussed with a local library a suggestion for the library to become a about Familysearch Affiliate Library. What a brilliant idea!

The Familysearch site states that "Affiliate libraries (whether public, special, or university) have access to FamilySearch’s digital genealogical collections that are otherwise accessible only through a FamilySearch family history center. FamilySearch also provides its affiliates with the latest tools and tips for genealogy reference librarians."

Having affiliate status allows libraries to provide access to additional digital records not available outside a family history centre or an affiliate library. Affiliate libraries have access to around 400 million original records in digital format. These records provide images and indexes that assist family historians to identify ancestors to add to their family trees. Having access to these resources in areas distant from The Family History Centers run by The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints is of great benefit to family historians.

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City
Last week I was speaking with a member of  LMFHG who told me that the local library's application for Familysearch Affiliate status had been successful and the it was now available through the Speers Point Branch of Lake Macquarie Libraries

I was keen to check this out as I have a list of Familysearch resources I cannot view from home but can access in an affiliate library. I had a look on the library's website and could find no mention of this news, I looked in the library catalogue and on their family history page and their ecollections page but could not find mention of this important new resource.

As I was in the vicinity of the Speers Point Library yesterday I dropped in and discovered this framed certificate sitting by the computers.

In speaking with a member of library staff I found that the busy Council's IT department has not yet had time to add the Familysearch link to the page of family history databases on the library computers but that the service has been extensively tested and members of the public are available to access it during library opening hours. 

While it is disappointing that the library has not yet promoted the resource it was good to hear that this is in the pipeline. 

The best news for family historians in the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle area is that the Speers Point Library is now a  Familysearch Affiliate Library.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Going Local

When I woke on Saturday morning little did I know how my day would unfold.

While I was enjoying my morning coffee I had a phone call from members of my local Family History Group at Lake Macquarie who had gathered early for the monthly and annual general meetings. The purpose of that call was to ask me if I would accept a nomination as the President of the Group. I was both flattered and flabbergasted as consideration of this role was not on my radar. After a short discussion I said that I would give it some thought and talk about it further when I got to the venue for the meeting.

I had reservations because I am a relatively new member of the Group and have only been a resident of Lake Macquarie for two years. I also have the travel bug and was concerned that my absences would adversely impact on the role of President. On the positive side I have a commitment to grassroots genealogy and I have observed that The Lake Macquarie Family History Group runs like a well-oiled machine. I am keen to become an active member of the local community. This offer was difficult to refuse.

When I arrived at the venue I chatted with most of the current Committee members who offered me their support and encouraged me to stand. I signed the nomination form and was duly elected. 

I was honoured and humbled to be invited to lead the Group and I will endeavour to conscientiously fulfil the role entrusted upon me. I am fortunate to inherit a dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable group of committee members and volunteers who run the group so efficiently.

I am hoping that some of my genimates will make the trip to Lake Macquarie to meet the members of the group up here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Virtual Genealogical Association - Free Conference Registration Competition

I have been an enthusiastic member of this online genealogy society since its inception in April 2018. The Association was founded by Katherine R. Willson, Christine Woodcock, Terri O’Connell, Tami Mize  and Lisa Alzo and now has an impressive membership list that reads like a who's who in the genealogy world.  

The Virtual Genealogical Society is a global organisation for the 21st century that fulfils the needs of family historians:

  • whose circumstances make it difficult to attend local genealogical society meetings
  • who prefer online presentations, special interest groups (SIGs), conferences, and socializing
  • with an interest in connecting, networking, and mentoring with global genealogists.

The Association has announced its VGA virtual conference to be held from November 1-3, 2019! 

Speakers include Judy G Russell and Blaine Bettinger from the US,  Fiona Brooker from New Zealand, Ursula Krause from Germany, Audrey Collins from the UK and Helen Smith from Australia. 

Australians who may be sleeping while the live sessions are broadcast will not miss out on any of the sessions. Attendees will have access to recordings & handouts for all sessions for 6 months following the event - watch any time, any place, on any device

Closed captioning via will be added to all sessions and made available to attendees within 7 days of the event. 

Cost is reasonable at $US59 for VGA members & $US79 for non-members. 

You have a chance to win a Free Registration to this event. 
As the Convenor of the New South Wales Chapter of of the Association I have a FREE Registration Code to share with one of my genimates.

* This competition is open to both members and non-members of the Association
* Entries are restricted to one per person 
* The prize is not redeemable for cash
* The winner will be contacted by email and subsequently announced here on the Geniaus blog
* All entries must be received by Midnight (AEST) on Sunday 15 September
* The judges decision is final

To enter the competition you must:

* 1. Share this blog post with a comment in a public post on either your Twitter account, on Facebook or in a blog post. I must be able to access and share your posts.

* 2. Using the subject line "VGA Competition" Email with a link to your social media post.

Good Luck


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