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

Monday, August 12, 2019

Conference Ribbons

One of the extra-curricular activities at geneaevents in the US is the collecting of Conference Badge Ribbons. This practice has spread to Australia and the UK although it is not yet as popular as in America.

Kiwi genealogist, Roger, has a long ribbon cascade
It's certainly great fun to collect these ribbons from friends, institutions, societies and businesses but have you actually thought strategically about the wearing and placement of these ribbons?

I started collecting ribbons at an early Rootstech conference and, after a few years, joined the fun by ordering some to promote my blog and website.  For the first few years I sought and accepted ribbons and added them to my ribbon cascade as they were given to me.

One day I realised that the the Ribbon Cascade I was wearing was a walking billboard that told those who admired my colourful collection who and what was important to me and whom I supported. So from then on I didn't rush to add ribbons. I made sure that I added those ribbons that were most important and told something about me to the top of my cascade.

I began to think of the strategic placement of  ribbons on my cascade. At international events an Australia ribbon goes near the top of my cascade followed by my GeniAus ribbon and a Convict Descendant if there are some on offer. Other ribbons near the top will be for associations of which I am a member like the Virtual Genealogical Association, an event with which I am associated like The Genealogy Show and Kiva Genealogists for Families a charity I support.

As the ribbons can create a trip hazard I try to keep my cascade to a reasonable length.

Blogs I follow (especially Australian ones) get good placement. I may add ribbons for companies with which I have tested my DNA and services I use like Google, Wikitree and Familysearch. I will add funny ones like "I Haunt Cemeteries" closer to the bottom of the cascade. Once I have added all of these I may add incidental ones that people give me but if they are irrelevant I file them away for another day.

As I prepare for Rootstech London I am thinking about ribbons. Now that my Facebook page is my main platform for communication I order may some with a link to my Facebook page and some for our Downunder genies who are attending. I am also considering deconstructing some of my Ribbon Cascades from earlier events and creating something to wear in London. It's such a waste to have them sitting in a box at home.

I hope those attending Rootstech and other geneaevents consider sharing some ribbons. They are a great conversation starter and will provide excellent promotion of your sites and services.

Remember to stop and think about the ribbon you are going to wear or offer at an event. What message does it convey to other conference attendees?

Cascades from my past

Here and there in National Family History Month

Aware that it's National Family History Month and that I am actually in Australia I threw myself into #familyhistory activities last week. Surprisingly I am not giving any talks this month so I've had a bit of time to play. Mr GeniAus does wonder what I am doing in my geneacave all day!

Piling system
From time to time I tear myself away from the more palatable geneactivities to do a little bit of tidying, scanning and think about filing. I'm very good at digital filing but a failure at physical filing. I have reorganised my cupboards but my piling system is still evident.

I continued to microblog via my GeniAus Facebook page and The Hornsby Shire FHG page. I contributed to many conversations on Facebook which I fine myself using more and more since the demise of Google+.
Although I haven't written on this blog I have been blogging here and here and  here

Monday was spent experimenting with data gathering and importing into my CurryAus project see blog post above).

On Tuesday I took myself to the monthly meeting of the Newcastle Family History Society, it's only the second time I have been to one of their meetings since joining. I'll try to do better. Sitting among the small audience of members who all knew each other I once again realised how lonely it can be as the newbie in a Group. It was disappointing to see such a small attendance at a meeting of a group with such a large membership. I wasn't sure that I would enjoy the talk by Marie Hughes who talked about her family and their business, Hughes Pottery which operated in the Merewether area for over 100 years. As a newcomer to the Newcastle Region I found the talk fascinating the story of the family business was interwoven with the family's genealogy. 

Hughes Pottery at Newcastle Family History Society
Two webinars were on my program for Wednesday. Firstly I watched Fiona Brooker's webinar on New Zealand  at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. I left this early to tune into the Newspapers webinar from the National Library of Australia which you can now view on their website or Youtube. I'm sorry that I didn't stick with Fiona's webinar as there was more for me to learn there than at the newspapers session which was a basic presentation aimed at new users and beginners.

On Thursday I made a rash decision to register for The Society of Australian Genealogists' Wikitree Challenge that was scheduled for the next day, Friday. This event organised by Veronica Williams and Danielle Lautrec aimed to improve Australian content, share our research, and promote the Society's collections all in one day. 

I failed on promoting the Society's resources but managed to share second place in the Challenge. I went way beyond the finishing time of 3pm so that I could complete my personal goals. My 16 Great-grandparents and many of their descendants now have sourced entries on the Wikitree. You can visit me here on Wikitree

My mother always taught me that if had a commitment one shouldn't back out if something else came along so on Saturday I missed the dedication of a new plaque on my descendant Elizabeth Phipps' grave at Richmond. Thanks to cousin Lynn Griffiths who organised the event to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Elizabeth's death.

Meanwhile I spent the day at Hornsby Library chairing the annual Geneagala day we at Hornsby Shire Family History Group host in conjunction with the library with special guest Emily Hanna from NSW State Archives and Records. It was a splendid day. You can see some photos and a report here in a Facebook post.

Genies at Gemeagala Day at Hornsby
While August has been a quiet month for talks presented by me September is busy so I have fired up Powerpoint and worked on my webinar and in person presentations. I spend way too much time preparing for these gigs; I am a serial reviser.

I spent quite a deal of time on my DNA Matches. I have used DNA Painter to map both my and Mr GeniAus' chromosomes. In the hope of finding new cousins to map I have repeatedly visited  Family Tree DNA, Gedmatch and MyHeritage but haven't had much joy. My greatest disappointment at the moment is the lack of matches to paint. If you only have your DNA at Ancestry and want to make more connections PLEASE upload to each of these sites. I have been able to keep up with new strong matches at Ancestry as they seem to be trickling in.

Mr GeniAus is smiling because I won a free pass for him  to attend #RootstechLondon. To win the prize I had to submit an interesting word that I had come across in my family history research. My winning word was Progonoplexia (I have a bad case - how about you?)

What did your week look like?


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