Friday, December 31, 2010

Hatching a plan for 2011

The Footnote Maven's recent post "Hatching A Plan At The COG" has spurred me into action.

I know that it is time to evaluate my writing/research plan for 2010 but I have been dragging the chain as I fear that I may have failed on several fronts. As I said last year I am committed to evaluation so here goes.I will firstly produce a report card for 2010 and then formulate a plan for 2011.

2010
* Put the living before the dead - when family members visit make them the focus of my attention; I have tried to ignore the family history when the family appears - I had a big two week break when we headed to Hawaii with some of them.

* Take advantage of serendipity moments eg actively listen to the Aunts at family gatherings, take photos of family members/groups at gatherings; record notes of information shared on my smartphone, scraps of paper, serviettes - just get it down; Could do more here but have made notes and added them to TMG database with person passing on info as source.

* Use web 2.0 technologies to promote genealogy in Australia, eg GoogleWave, Twitter, GenealogyWise Australian Group; Set up Aussie group but Google Wave died. Tweeted Regularly, Tried to motivate people to use Genealogy Wise. A fair effort in this area.

* Be patient with fellow researchers who do not share my enthusiasm for technology; A challenge for me but I am learning that many genies haven't even heard of let alone use Social Media.

* Get organised; Managed to refile most papers according to a new sequence. Still an outright failure as I can barely get into my study.

* Label my Blogposts ; This is now part of regular practice and can be deleted from list.

* Post to Geniaus at least every second day; Changed to 3-4 times per week as things to blog about don't appear regularly. This is now part of regular practice and can be deleted from list.

* Go through ancestors records one by one and properly record sources for all information; Ongoing huge project. Making slow progress.

* Digitise all certificates, wills etc. in my posession; Ongoing huge project. Making slow progress.

* Scan and tag my family history photographs; Huge effort nearly completed.
 * Regularly update my website; This is now part of regular practice and can be deleted from list.

* Respond to emails from fellow genealogists in a timely manner; Need to improve in this department. Perhaps retirement in 2011 will help.

* Maintain membership of The Society of Australian Genealogists; Renewed for 2011.

* Attend Genealogy workshops/lectures. Excellent progress - have attended many lectures, have started giving talks and am booked to attend overseas conference in 2011.

Here's what I aim to do in 2011:

2011
 * Put the living before the dead - when family members visit make them the focus of my attention; 

* Take advantage of serendipity moments eg actively listen to the Aunts at family gatherings, take photos of family members/groups at gatherings; record notes of information shared on my smartphone, scraps of paper, serviettes - just get it down;

* Use web 2.0 technologies to promote genealogy in Australia, eg Blogger, Twitter, GenealogyWise Australian Group - Special emphasis on using other people's blogs for conversation.

* Be patient with fellow researchers who do not share my enthusiasm for technology;

* Get organised - Try harder

* Go through ancestors records one by one and properly record sources for all information - Ongoing.

* Digitise all certificates, wills etc. in my posession - Ongoing

* Scan and tag my family history photographs - Finish project

* Respond to emails from fellow genealogists in a timely manner;

* Become a more active member of The Society of Australian Genealogists;


* Attend and Present Genealogy workshops/lectures;

* Prepare for the 2012 National Year of Reading - Promote this event to genealogists, Read for genealogy and add to personal genealogy library.



This post was prepared for 101st EDITION OF THE Carnival Of Genealogy - My genealogy research/writing plan for 2011

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Darling Downs Biographical Pioneer Register

I read on the Family history across the seas blog this evening that a new edition of this Pioneer Register is to be published. If you have ancestors from this area you can find details here: Darling Downs Biographical Pioneer Register.

Librarything - a genealogist's friend

My post yesterday reminded me that I had not blogged about one of my favourite tools for over two years. I love Librarything the online tool that serves as my reading log, personal library catalogue, book recommendation tool and conduit to other booklovers with similar interests.

Although I use this tool for all things bookish I find that it is a wonderful tool for genealogy. As one enters books into the database one can tag them with descriptors. The tag "Genealogy" has been used 38,731 times to date to describe works in the database. The books most often tagged genealogy are:

As this list has a US bias one could search for books tagged Genealogy and Australia. I would not describe all of the books in this list as genealogy but those titles may provide infomration on,life in ancestors' countries at a particular point in time. The top titles in this list are:
Librarything also lists users who have used the term genealogy, there are over 1700 people who have used the tag "genealogy. By looking at people with similar libraries on can follow them. I follow a few people with similar interests but only one Australian genealogist " Carole Riley" who has 237 books tagged "genealogy". 
 "A free account Librarything allows you to catalog up to 200 books. A paid account allows you to catalog any number of books. Paid personal accounts cost $10 for a year or $25 for a lifetime." A $US25 investment for such a useful and powerful resource represents great value.
 

Blogging is a two-way street

The blog is a social medium; a collaborative tool that enables people to communicate and share information; it gives  consumers/readers an opportunity to communicate back through the 'Comments' feature that is enabled on most blogs. Blogging is a tool not just for communication but for conversation.

The genealogy blogging world is full of generous souls who believe that "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). These people blog because they have something to share and they don't want anything in return. People use blogging software because it provides an easy mechanism for online publishing.

As a blogger I try to blog 3-5 times per week whenever I have something that I think is worthy of sharing, that I want to record for posterity for the family or to take part in online festivals etc. If I didn't ever get a comment I would still blog.

I get a buzz whenever someone makes a comment on my posts - I am human and love a bit of reinforcement be it positive or negative. I wonder if other bloggers feel the same?  

Last night I received an email from an old mate, Carolyn, who said " I was elated to find such a wealth of information on the Geniaus Site with quick links to my favourite sites. I read today’s blog about your Christmas loot and note that Perry McIntyre is related to me...I will follow your blogs and wealth of info to see what I can do to pin down the John and Caroline xxx family." Getting this email that also gave me information about Carolyn's research was a welcome belated Christmas present. 

My blog statistics tell me that I have several hundred visits each week  but yet I may only get one or  two comments. It could be that my posts are not relevant to others. I think, however, it is that  many people miss the point about blogging being a social or collaborative tool. Maybe bloggers see it as a publishing tool and  their consumers treat it in the same way as they treat a magazine article or ebook as something to be consumed fullstop. I have looked at the blogs of some top bloggers and have noticed that, most of them too, don't seem to get many comments from their huge readerships.

As a consumer I subscribe to numerous blogs via RSS and read them religiously each day.  As I believe that "Blogging is a two-way street" I regularly comment on other bloggers posts. This morning I posted a comment on Dear Myrtle's post"Ancestor Approved - Thank-you"    and Shelley's "Twigs of Yore" post "In genealogy, the smallest discoveries can make your day". I found one post quirky and interesting and I agreed with the content of the other - so I told the writers.

As part of my genealogy resolutions for 2011 I am going to recognise that "Blogging is a two-way street" and commit myself to using the comments boxes on genealogy blogs for conversation.

How about joining some conversations in 2011?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Loot

Among the goodies that came my way this Christmas were two books on a similar theme that should, once I read them, enhance my knowledge of Ireland - the homeland of more than half my ancestors.

The first book that I purchased for myself online from The Book Depository came a couple of days before Christmas and I have only had time to read the first couple of chapters. It appears to be a well sourced  and researched tome. Written by Australian academic and genealogist, Perry McIntyre, "Free Passage" is about the reunion of Irish convicts and their families in Australia from 1788 to 1852. As I have yet to read the book I cannot yet comment on its content. Th price of this book was very favourable as The Book Depository offer free shipping to Australia.

The second book is one my husband bought for me when we were browsing in QBD boooks in Hornsby on Christmas Eve. "The scenery and antiquities of Ireland" by J Stirling Coyne is a new edition of a classic work first published in 1842.Enhanced with detailed engravings it describes the regions of Ireland as they appeared at the time of the author's travels - about the same time my ancestors were pulling up roots and heading to Australia. This book was a bargain at only $10 and would be a fine addition to the library of any genealogist with Irish roots.

I have added both of these books to my account on Librarything about which I first blogged two years ago. Once I have read the books I will add comments to my entries there.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Generous souls - Gordon Beach

The world of genealogy is full of generous souls who create useful resources that assist others in their research. From time to time I am going to highlight the work of one of these people.

One such site Australian BDM Certificates, hosted and maintained by Gordon Beach, provides Free Copies of Australian BDM Certificates . "The data base contains mainly Australian Certificates and/or Transcriptions, predominantly from Victoria and New South Wales, although all other States are represented, along with English & Scottish Records."

People are asked to submit copies of their own certificates to be added to the data base.These are then indexed and added to the database. Last month there were over 400 new entries making a total of 18550.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

LDS Granite Mountain

As I am off to the Rootstech Conference in Salt Lake City in February I am keen to learn as much as I can about the LDS Family History facilities and services.

In a post on the TMG Sydney Yahoo list yesterday Bruce Fairhall posted a link to a video about the LDS Granite Mountain archive facility. A message on the site states "This video is unlisted. Only those with the link can see it." The video is most informative and worth watching as are the other Family Search Videos which can be accesses via the link above.

Should you have five minutes to watch the video right now I am embedding it in this post. Thanks, Bruce for sharing the link.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas poem for other 'old' girls

Yesterday I received some Christmas Cheer in the form of a poem sent along by an old friend. 

Although it is off topic for this blog I thought that the sentiments expressed in the poem would resonate with many of my readers who I suspect, like me, have a few miles on the clock.  

Thanks, Carolyn, for the poem.




Merry Christmas To You.

If I were ol' Santa, you know what I'd do
I'd dump silly gifts that are given to you
And deliver some things just inside your front door
Things you have lost, but treasured before.

I'd give you back all your maidenly vigor,
And to go along with it, a neat tiny figure.
Then restore the old colour that once graced your hair
Before rinses and bleaches took residence there.

I'd bring back the shape with which you were gifted
So things now suspended need not be uplifted.
I'd draw in your tummy and smooth down your back
Till you'd be a dream in those tight fitting slacks.

I'd remove all your wrinkles and leave only one chin
So you wouldn't spend hours rubbing grease on your skin.
You'd never have flashes or queer dizzy spells,
And you wouldn't hear noises like ringing of bells.

No sore aching feet and no corns on your toes,
No searching for spectacles when they're right on your nose.
Not a shot would you take in your arm, hip or
tummy,
From a doctor who thinks you're a nervous old granny.

You'd never have a headache, so no pills would you take.
And no heating pad needed since your muscles won't ache.
Yes, if I were Santa, you'd never look stupid,
You'd be a cute little chick with the romance of Cupid.

I'd give a lift to your heart when those wolves start to whistle,
And the joys of your heart would be light as a thistle.
But alas! I'm not Santa. I'm just simply me,
The matronliest of matrons you ever did see.

I wish I could tell you all the symptoms I've got,
But I'm due at my doctor's for an oestrogen shot.
Even though we've grown older, this wish is sincere,
Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 - December 21 - Christmas Music





"It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas".  I worked till 6:30 pm tonight and then spent a couple more hours Christmas shopping.With only three more shopping days I realise that I had better put my skates on or I might have some disappointed family members on Christmas morning.


As time is precious and I want to share some Aussie Christmas music I am going green - ie I am recycling a post I submitted for Blog Caroling with The Footnote Maven.

My post, copied below, was titled "Blog Caroling - Downunder Style".

In Australia where Christmas falls in our hot and humid summer we sing traditional carols and Christmas songs about snow and mistletoe and open fires with gusto.

My favourite carols are those that are written with our Australian conditions in mind. I recently blogged about Six White Boomers - one of my favourite fun Christmas songs. Another favourite is Aussie Jingle Bells in a Rusty Holden Ute.

We also have some beautiful  Christmas carols. One of my favourites, because it conjures up memories of a solo sung by my angelic. blonde six year old son surrounded by classmates in his school's Christmas concert many years ago, is The Silver Stars are in the Sky. There a a few versions of this carol on Youtube, I am posting one by The Phoenix Singers:



In case you feel like singing along here are the lyrics:

The Silver Stars are in the Sky
Words: John Wheeler.  Music William G James

The silver stars are in the sky,
The red-gold moon goes riding high,
O, sleep my little one sleep!
  Once long ago, against her breast,
A mother rocked her child to rest,
Who was the Prince of Heav'n above,
The Lord of happiness and love.
O, sleep, my little one sleep!
  The boobook calls across the night,
The brown moths flutter in the light,
O, sleep, my little one sleep!
  In Bethlehem long, long ago,
When roads and paddocks gleam'd with snow;
On this same night, that mother mild,
Lull'd into dreams her royal child.
So, sleep, my little one, sleep!

Another favourite that conjures up images of our red, dusty plains is "The North Wind is  Tossing the Leaves". This Youtube version is by Bucko and Champs who have posted a great collection of Australian Christmas Music on Youtube.



The North Wind
 Words: John Wheeler.  Music William G James

The north wind is tossing the leaves
the red dust is over the town
The sparrows are under the eaves
And the grass in the paddock is brown
As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ child the heavenly king.
The tree ferns in green gullies sway
the cool stream flows silently by
the joy bells are greeting the day
And the chimes are adrift in the sky
As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ child the heavenly king.


This post was prepared for Blog Caroling with The Footnote Maven

Parramatta Female Factory

One of my convict ancestors, Ellen/Eleanor Moore, spent time in the Parramatta Female Factory. She was sent  for punishment at least seven times for various indiscretions. OnMay 27, 1828 she was sent for "two years in the Third class in the factory to be kept to hard labour for countenancing Mr. McGuire in exposing himself indecently and using unnatural habits before Mr. Dunn's children."

As it was the 'home' of one of my ancestors I am most interested in fate of the Female Factory.

In an email today on aus-nsw-hills-hawkesbury-hunter-valley rootsweb list Michelle Nicholls posted this message:

"For those of you interested in checking out the blog and petition to support the Female Factory Precinct Action Group, with the aim to have the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct returned to the people of Australia. This Precinct includes the Parramatta Female  Factory, Catholic Orphan School and Girls Industrial School see http://femalefactoryprecinctactiongroup.wordpress.com/ and http://petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savethefemalefactory "

I encourage all with an interest in Australian heritage sites (not just people like me with errant 3rd great-grandmothers) to sign the petition to save the female factory.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blayney Pioneer Register now available

Just noticed on a listserv that the new Blayney Pioneer Register "Settlement to Federation" is now availble. 

It was compiled by members of the Blayney Shire Local and Family History Group Inc. it was launched on December 15th. This book covers the period from the settlement of the district in the 1830s to 1901 and many of the district families are mentioned.  There are over 800 entries in this publication, with 16 pages of photos.

It  is available from the Blayney Library and the Cottage both in Adelaide Street Blayney.

SNGF - Dear Genea-Santa

Santa,

This is the first time I have joined in on Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. I have previously blogged my Christmas wishlist but will repeat it here:

Hearing "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" and "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" being played in shopping centres has prompted me to think about suitable gifts for the genealogist or family historian. Family members complain that I am hard to buy for; I think that it is easy to find a gift for me.

I am wondering what is on the gift list of other genealogists this year and am hoping that some of you will share, via your blogs, the top six items on your wishlist.

My top six are:

* An Android tablet (just hope that the Dell model comes to Australia before Christmas)
* A large supply of  acidfree A4 plastic sleeves in which to store my documents
* Clear copies of birth, baptismal and marriage certificates from family members
* Labelled copies of any old family photos that relations have stashed away in boxes
* Subscriptions to genealogy magazines from England, Scotland and Australia
* A scanner with a sheet feeder so that I can make short work of scanning all of  my documents

Santa, I am really writing to you to thank you for my  early Christmas present that I wrote about the other day. Thank you so much for the return Qantas airfares to Salt Lake City in February to attend the Rootstech Conference. I can't wait to get there and join my genie pals. I couldn't wish for a better present.

Well, to be honest, there is something else I would like. I was honoured to find my blog on the shortlist for The Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs, I think that I am the only Australian whose blog has been nominated .  I would love s few more votes (vote here) to get my Geniaus blog to the final five in the Heritage category. It would be fantastic to see an Aussie blog make the list.


I know this sounds greedy when I am blessed with such a beautiful family and life here in Australia but I am so proud of Australia that I would like to see it represented in the 40 Best Genealogy Blogs. I don't know that I have been particularly good this year but I have tries very hard. Some people say I am very trying!


Thank you once again, Santa, for my wonderful gift.  I will share the joy in February by blogging about my experiences in Salt Lake City.


Warm Regards, 


Geniaus



Friday, December 17, 2010

Follow Friday - Australian FamilySites - The Penhall Family

The Penhall Family site is another Australian Family Site that appears to use blogging software as a platform. I feel that this site may use Wordpress.

The site uses an attractive template and is well-organised  with a series of pages that are accessible from a top menu bar. Navigation is enhanced by dropdown menus and a site search.

The information on the site consists of a series of narratives about various branches of the author's tree. There is a family photo gallery. A "Resources" page lists resources "that will help you find more information about your ancestors" providing they are from Australia or Britain.

This site, like the Hornsby Family site the was subject of another Follow Friday post, demonstrates that one does not need to place a traditional family tree on the internet to give one's family an online presence.





Site URL

http://www.penhall.id.au/

Site Name

The Penhall Family
Author

Cherie Saunders, South Australian

Author's Contact Details

Contact form on webpage

Last Updated

October 9, 2010

Age of Site

August 2010

Software Used Appears to be a blog template

Persons in Database Not relevant
Index of names

Not evident

Prominent Surnames

Mayo, Penhall, Blackwood, Lindstrom, Saunders, Stolz, Mullins

Password Protected Yes

Details of Living Persons Supressed

"There will be no personal information published about the living family unless permission has been given by the family."

Data Sourced

Not evident

Search Facility

Yes appeaars on header on all pages

Photos/Documents

Photo Gallery page

Geodata

Not evident

Navigation

Excellent

Design

Newspaper style, appears to use a blog template with consistent look and feel to all pages.

Extras

Option to subscribe to family newsletter
Option to send articles from blog as a .pdf to a nominated email address
Tag cloud on home page
RSS Feed button





Whither shall I wander? or Rootstech here I come

Previously I have blogged about genealogy cruising options and wondered where I should spend my genealogy travel budget this year.

I am so excited because, this morning, I have decided to go to Salt Lake City for the Rootstech Conference. I cannot wait to hop on The Flying Kangaroo and make my way to Salt Lake City all by myself. I've booked a return flight to San Francisco and have registered for the conference. I just need connecting flights and a bed for a few nights.

10 Reasons why have I chosen this event

1. I am interested in the application of technology to genealogy and this conference will satisfy my needs. I cannot even understand what some of the topics are so there is lots of scope for learning.
2. The program has been published well ahead of time so I knew what was on offer before I made my booking.
3. Many of my geneablogging mates including Thomas MacEntee and Dear Myrtle will be at this conference and,having been their virtual mate for a couple of years, I will relish the opportunity to see them in the flesh.
4. The conference represents excellent value for money. I have only invested around $AU150 for three full days of sessions and two lunches, coupled with a cheap airfare and single accommodation in a Radisson Hotelat around $AU90 it's great value.
5. I am within cooee of The Family History Library and its resources and can stay on for an extra few days to use their facilities.
6. I'll get to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir again.
7. My boss is going overseas at this time so my absence won't disrupt his business too much.
8. My husband is having problems buying me a Christmas present so I offered him the option of sending me to Salt Lake City.
9. I might be able to buy an Android tablet computer to bring home at a reasonable price.
10. I can have a day and night in San Francisco on the way home and help the US economy through visits to my favourite haunts Macys and Ross Stores.

Watch out, in February there'll be lots of blog posts and tweets from Geniaus, the connected granny from downunder.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Don't leave it too late.

We recently had a cousin from the UK, who we found through internet research, visit us in Australia. We dragged him all over New South Wales to meet other cousins and down to Melbourne to visit a clock made by an ancestor.

I took our visitor on an excurison to a city outside Sydney to visit with an older cousin. My husband made arrangements by phone with the cousin and his daughter and he seemd pleased that we were going to visit him. I had been meaning to revisit this gentleman for quite a while as he previously shared some wonderful families stories with us. I was anxious to see him again and our English cousin's visit provided that opportunity.

After we had a quick tour of the sights and a leisurely lunch we proceeded to the elder relation's home. We rang the doorbell, no answer. We phoned him and could hear it ringing in the house, no-one home! We waited a while and as I phoned my husbnd to vent my spleen  a car pulled into the driveway. Eureka!

The elderly cousin alighted from the car and exclaimed "Who are you?" I introduced the cousin from England.

"Lovely, lovely" was the response "Give me a hug!" The elderly cousin's carer left him with us with a few instructions and took off. This dear old gentleman took us into his home and showed us the family photos on the wall and pulled out a few albums. Sadly he didn't have a clue who we were and was unable to recount any of the stories he had previously shared. We stayed a while, talked to him and gave a few hugs.

Our visit made an old man very happy but, unfortunately, it was too late to hear and record his stories of our ancestors for future generations.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 - December 15 - The Holiday Happenings!

With the madness of current Holiday Happenings I haven't had time for an Advent Calendar post for a few days. I didn't just want to just write about the  preparations and functions we attend today but wanted something  from the past that typifies what we do in Australia over the holidays. Fortuitously a link to a pertinent video arrived on my RSS feeds this morning.

As our weather is hot and the long school holidays coincide with Christmas many Australian families flock to the beach for annual holidays. I have previously blogged about our journeys to Ettalong, NSW. As a teenager I lived a afew hundred yards from Coogee Beach in Sydney, I spent most of my school holidays swimming and surfing with friends and getting burnt to a crisp.

The delightful video, Summertime, that I can't seem to embed in this post has been prepared from a series of glass plate negatives and set to music. The photos tell a story of summer on Coogee Beach around 1900. Although the imaages are old, the buidings have disappeared and the beachfront promenade has been updated the people enjoying the beach today still engage in the same activities that people did over 100 years ago.

Please watch  Summertime.

Blog Caroling - Downunder Style

In Australia where Christmas falls in our hot and humid summer we sing traditional carols and Christmas songs about snow and mistletoe and open fires with gusto.

My favourite carols are those that are written with our Australian conditions in mind. I recently blogged about Six White Boomers - one of my favourite fun Christmas songs. Another favourite is Aussie Jingle Bells in a Rusty Holden Ute.

We also have some beautiful  Christmas carols. One of my favourites, because it conjures up memories of a solo sung by my angelic. blonde six year old son surrounded by classmates in his school's Christmas concert many years ago, is The Silver Stars are in the Sky. There a a few versions of this carol on Youtube, I am posting one by The Phoenix Singers:



In case you feel like singing along here are the lyrics:

The Silver Stars are in the Sky
Words: John Wheeler.  Music William G James

The silver stars are in the sky,
The red-gold moon goes riding high,
O, sleep my little one sleep!
  Once long ago, against her breast,
A mother rocked her child to rest,
Who was the Prince of Heav'n above,
The Lord of happiness and love.
O, sleep, my little one sleep!
  The boobook calls across the night,
The brown moths flutter in the light,
O, sleep, my little one sleep!
  In Bethlehem long, long ago,
When roads and paddocks gleam'd with snow;
On this same night, that mother mild,
Lull'd into dreams her royal child.
So, sleep, my little one, sleep!

Another favourite that conjures up images of our red, dusty plains is "The North Wind is  Tossing the Leaves". This Youtube version is by Bucko and Champs who have posted a great collection of Australian Christmas Music on Youtube.



The North Wind
 Words: John Wheeler.  Music William G James

The north wind is tossing the leaves
the red dust is over the town
The sparrows are under the eaves
And the grass in the paddock is brown
As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ child the heavenly king.
The tree ferns in green gullies sway
the cool stream flows silently by
the joy bells are greeting the day
And the chimes are adrift in the sky
As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ child the heavenly king.


This post was prepared for Blog Caroling with The Footnote Maven

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Will I make the Top 40?

I was thrilled this morning to discover that this blog, Geniaus, has been nominated for the Family Tree Magazine 40 2011 Top Genealogy Blogs. Thanks to those people who nominated my blog - I am humbled to be on a shortlist in such august company.

As I have been at work all day I haven't been able to share my excitement through the blog and on Facebook until now (I did manage to send out a few tweets during the day).



I am a very proud Australian as I don't think there are any other Australian blogs on the list. Wouldn't it be fantastic if Geniaus could represent our nation in the Top 40 for 2011. As most of the blogs on the shortlist are from countries with huge populations and voter bases it will take some sort of miracle for my efforts to make the 40.

I need help to put Australia on the genealogy blogging map. Please cast a vote more than once and spread the word by whatever means you can to garner the support of the Australian genealogy community.

Geniaus blog is listed in The Heritage category. I don't think you have to vote in all categories.

To vote please click on the logo below or go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ft40-2011voting

Monday, December 13, 2010

Family treasure found on eBay

A couple of days ago I received an comment on my website that read  "Comments: Hi, just thought you or another family member might be interested in the following item re: "William John Magick" now up for auction on e-Bay".

Although not a direct ancestor William John Magick (also known as William Phipps), my second great-great uncle, is an interesting character in my tree.  That the son of two convicts had such a flash funeral card demonstrates that with perseverance and hard work those who had a compulsory free passage to our land could climb the social ladder.

I quickly logged into eBay and added the item to my watchlist. It was described as:1899 Australia Death Memorial Postcard - Nice item, nice social history 

I wanted that card for the family; I didn't want it to go to a card collector. 


Although I buy a few bits of furniture on eBay I have never had so many stomach butterflies as I did as the time for the bidding to close came about. There was only one bid of @US8.00 when I submitted my first bid about ten minutes out, eBay recorded that bid as $8.50 although my maximum bid was greater.. I stared at the screen wondering if someone else would place a bid as the clock counted down the seconds. My husband didn't help the nerves as he hovered in the background saying "you must get it, put in another bid." With one minute to go and with no other bids recorded I put in a ridiculous bid that would hopefully preclude any other bidders from winning the item. 
William John Magick Funeral Postcard

That last 60 seconds seemed like an eternity. I won the card for $US8.50 plus postage. I didn't have this item on my Christmas list but it is a perfect present for a family historian like me. Its tiny price is in contrast to the enormous pleasure I will gain from owning this family artefact.


Let's hope the postman comes soon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Another Saturday at SAG

It's a bit of a lifelong learning overload for me at the moment. Last Saturday I attended the "From Ireland to here" at SAG and today I returned for two more educational sessions.

The Society of Australian Genealogists offers an excellent program of talks, meetings and seminars for both members and non-members in Sydney. I commend their program to anyone who lives within cooee of Sydney. I have been a fairly inactive member of the Society for a number of years but recently decided that my commitment to lifelong learning would be enhanced by attendance at some of their events.

This morning I attended "Sussex Online and Online Parish Clerks" a talk by SAG member, Linda Bishop. It was Linda's first presentation for SAG and she was understandably nervous when she started. However, once she got into her topic she relaxed and impressed the audience with her knowledge of resources pertinent to Sussex. Initially Linda discussed her work as a voluntary OPC (Online Parish Clerk) for Shipley in Sussex. Linda gave an indepth tour of the Shipley pages and pointed out that by "clicking on everything" one might stumble across resources relevant to one's research. She exhorted us to consider helping the OPC project by either becoming Online Parish Clerks or submitting transcriptions of records to the appropriate parishes on the OPC sites.

Linda provided a wonderful handout of online resources some of which were pertinent to Sussex and some of which, such as Vision of Britain,  have information on many counties. I now need time to research my few Sussex ancestors on the sites Linda suggested. Linda, who has a great depth of knowledge about Sussex, generously offers lookups in her personal library to those who contact her via the Shipley page.

After Linda's talk those who were attending the TMG Sydney User Group meeting repaired to the cafe on the corner for lunch. The group is led by Kerry Farmer who initially welcomed new members and  then led a discussion that planned the agendas for the groups meetings in 2011. There was not a formal program for today's meeting; it was a BYOL (Bring your own laptop) day. After identifiying a number of issues that group members wanted to discuss we split up into groups and, under the tutelage of  experienced users of the package, discussed ways in which various features of the TMG  program could be applied. I was in Carole Riley's group that discussed focus groups, flags and accents and ways to record census data and emigration and immigration. I have been using this program for many years and am still a beginner; by attending user group meetings I am able to see how others customise the program for their particular situations and learn how I can use the program for my situation.

Thanks to SAG, Linda and the TMG Sydney User Group for providing me with rich learning experiences today.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 - December 10 - Christmas Gifts



I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth! The pre-Christmas craziness is in full swing and I haven't had time to scratch myself.

I have, however, started my Christmas shopping this week. I am dragging out of cupboards those things I have bought through the year from sales and on two trips to the US where the shopping is so reasonable and bargains abound. I just love Macys and Ross Stores.

I bought some goodies online at Big W this week and my daughter offloaded a few things for her kids on to me today.  I just need a few days without visitors to spread out all the goodies so I can work out what I have and for whom.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 - December 8 - Christmas Cookies


Christmas cookies are missing from the list of seasonal food I serve at Christmas time.


Cooking and Catering
A  biscuity item I bake each year is "Scotch shortbread" . The recipe comes via my husband's step-grandmother, Isabella Scott, and was published in "Cooking and Catering" compiled by the Arcadia Methodist Ladies sometime in the 1950s.

As a young bride I was given a copy of this book by Isa who religiously baked shortbread for the extended family each year. When Isa moved from the family home at Arcadia to a retirement village I started baking multiple batches of  shortbread for the family and continue to do so each year.

Isa's recipe was a little short on instructions so I annotated her recipe in the book with cooking instructions dictated to me by Isa.

The book contains many recipes that are still useful in today's climate. I have reproduced another of my favourites below.
A Favourite Recipe
Until I started writing this post I hadn't thought much about the little cookbook that features quite a number of Isa's recipes. I am now going to copy the little book and store the original with my genealogy files as it is a printed resource that gives information about Isa and her activities.

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