Thursday, August 13, 2009


My updated status on Facebook this morning is "gardening = growing, tidying and pruning the family tree". I should also have added digging.

When I first started growing the family tree 20 odd years ago I was just dabbling I didn't realise that my then hobby would become a passion so I wasn't too careful about noting the sources of my information. As a result my large tree is rather patchy in spots with lots of unreferenced events recorded. As I have taken the step of republishing my data and making it freely available at my new family website: I realised that I must reference that data and acknowledge the generosity of those kind folk who, over a long period, have shared the fruits of their labour with me.

It is going to take me some time to redress the sloppiness of my earlier enthusiastic research. I therefore apologise to those who have shared information with me and whom I have not properly acknowledged - please let me know of any issues you have with my data and I will rectify.
As genealogy is a leisure pursuit I am not being bogged down by using a complex genealogical standard for referencing. Many years as a librarian and teacher have taught me that the most important thing in referencing is to reference an item so that another person can find it..... so that is my standard for referencing. If I was compiling my family history for an academic award then different standards may need to apply.

The proliferation of online databases and indexes has also enabled me to tidy the tree. Since I began using the NSWBDMs on microfiche the historical indexes have appeared online with the addition of 33 more years of death notices and 13 years of marriages. This has been a boon for tracking down my parents' cousins. The Ryerson Index, compiled by a group of volunteers, has grown enormously and has allowed me to add death dates for many of these kin. It has also given me a very long task list of Death Notices to check on the Sydney Morning Herald Microfilms on my next visit to The State Library.

Volunteers have also been busy indexing Australian cemeteries. A simple surname search of some of my surnames on The Australian Cemeteries Index yesterday netted burial details for many second and third cousins. Every couple of days I am able to upload a new updated gedcom to

Exploiting the features of TNG, the software that powers my website, is keeping me busy. I have had to brush up on my very basic html skills to personalsie the site. I need to choose which photos and documents to upload and share. Geocoding the thousands of placenames in my tree is a bit boring but brings great results with personalised GoogleMaps for all in the tree. I force myself to do this in a couple of fifteen minutes bouts per day.

The recent digitisation of newspapers by the National Library and Google has allowed me to find news articles about some of the more colourful folk in my tree. I have gone back to my subscriptions to Ancestry and FindMyPast and found new documents relating to the ancestors and taken advantage of a trial of WorldVitalRecords to download snippets from the NSW Police Gazette relating to my convict ancestors. PictureAustralia has netted a few photos for the album.

My indoor gardening over the past week
has been guiltfree as I have been housebound on crutches. I do need to go out to libraries etc to check some records but my digging, growing, tidying and pruning the family tree from home has borne fruit. I have few more weeks of leg resting ahead so my garden should be pretty spiffy by the time spring arrives.

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