Wednesday, July 6, 2011

KHS Family Group Meeting

Arriving at my second monthly meeting of The Family History Group at The Ku-Ring-Gai Historical Society last week I felt that I belonged as a number of the people I had previously met greeted me warmly. There was also waiting for me a name badge.

Jo Harris, Vice-President and Family History Leader, capably lead the morning's workshop in which she demonstrated the new resources on the Society's intranet. Made available for $5 was a multipage listing of the resources on the intranet, I declined to purchase this as it was only available in hard copy but I am sure that it will be a valuable resource for those who like to have paper-based records.

On these occasions I find that the incidental things I learn are most valuable. I learnt that Hyde Park Barracks has a database of every convict that spent a night there. One can phone and ask if  a particular convict is on this list. One can then request, for a fee, a copy of the database entry. I usually use Abebooks to find copies of old and out of print books to buy, Jo introduced me to Booksandcollectibles another online bookstore. During the lunchbreak I ate my peanut butter sandwiches in the company of Cecilia, whom I hadn't met previously. 

After lunch we had our formal meeting. I am sorry that I won't be around for the talk on Trove by Ann Manley on August 11th (visitors welcome - contact the Society) but I will be able to attend the Irish research day on 8th October. This active society already has a Mac users interest group and is soon to start up a German interest group.

Guest speaker for the afternoon was Gary Luke, a committee member of the Australian Jewish Historical Society, research advisor with the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society and a trustee of the Jewish sections at Rookwood cemetery. Gary spoke on Foreigners and Aliens giving details of Government records about non-British immigrant ancestors.  Although I have a boring British/Irish ancestry I found Gary's talk that was richly illustrated with images, quite fascinating. 

A couple of important takeaways were:
* Remember to look for records in the country that a town/village was in at the time of an event not the country the town/village is in now, there have been many changing borders over the past few centuries
* In NSW Change of Name records from 1868 to 1967 are in Land Titles office
soundex phonetic conversion
* The Applications to Marry in The Great Synagogue are a valuable and often overlooked resource.

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