Monday, May 23, 2011

Beginning Family History - Castle Hill Branch - The Hills Shire Library Service

Ian Beckett, a retired detective and Castle Hill Library volunteer, who was the presenter at this event opened his talk by posing a few questions to the audience. After which he looked at me and said "What are you doing here?"

My retort was "You can always learn something" and I did learn a few things and was reminded of others.

I will once again use the PMI format to report on this event.

Plus
* The Hills Council isoffering free events about family history/genealogy to the community.
* Eventbrite is used to organise event registration and ticketing.
* Comfortable venue with comfy chairs.
* A staff member, Tony, was on hand to direct visitors to the lecture room. He also introduced the speaker and audience.
* The talk was correctly labelled as for beginners.
* Ian used anecdotes to embellish his talk.
* Ian spoke off the cuff with some reference to a printed outline.
* Ian had handouts for the audience.
* Ian gave this sound advice:
  • Get a filing system (Ian described his personal system)
  • Start with yourself 
  • Next talk to grandparents, aunts, etc to build a picture of your relatives
  • Gather Birth, death and marriage certificates
  • Pick the male line to start with as that name should be consistent
  • Think outside the box for names you can't find
* Ian offered to assist attendees with their research.
* An evaluation form (with pencil) was provided for attendees to complete.


Minus
* The outline for the talk and points to be covered was not initially shared with the audience. 
* Apart from a very short demo of the NSW Historical BDM indexes Ian did not use any visual aids, demonstrations or artefacts in his talk. 
* Ian suggested starting with a 4 generation paper chart and then progressing to a computer program. 
* Some of the resources mentioned were incorrectly cited.

Interesting
* If we go back 21 generations we will have one million ancestors.
* That the audience was directed to other libraries eg Hornsby and Windsor to use the Ancestry Database and for the magazine "Practical Family History" to Hornsby Library. Perhaps it is time for The Hills to organise subscriptions. 
* Ian suggested we open bank account with a small balance for online purchases.
* Ian suggested using the City of Sydney Assessment Books 1845 - 1950 to find inner city residents.
* Most audience members were from the 50+ age group.
* A large proportion of the audience displayed a lack of knowledge about computers generally but a willingness to learn about using technology for genealogy.
* Used my Galaxy tablet to take notes in Google docs. - worked well.

Resources
The resources Ian suggested using were:
  • Google
  • Genuki
  • State Records of NSW
  • The Ryerson Index
  • Trove
  • Ancestry
  • IGI (Familysearch)
  • Coraweb (Websites for Genealogists)
  • Genealogy Message Boards 
  • Cyndi's List
  • Ancestral trails a book by Mark Herber
  •  (Who do you think you are?) Nick Barratt Encyclopaedia of Genealogy
Places Ian suggested visiting were:
  • Parramatta Heritage Centre
  • Cemeteries
  • LDS at North Parramatta
  • Hornsby Library
  • Windsor Library

2 comments:

Infolass said...

Thanks for the great report. Will look at the PMI approach myself in future.

Betty said...

As you said "You can always learn something". I know this report is mainly for Sydney readers, but I found it all interesting and learned about the PMI system and didn't know of the "Who do you think you are" publication.
Thanks for your always interesting posts also for your comments on my blog:)

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