Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Great North Road

I must have been living under a mushroom because I didn't know that Australia's convict built  Great North Road had been included on  UNESCO's World Heritage list.

I was alerted to this by a post on this Hawkesbury Family History Group's Facebook page that announced " Old Great North Road World Heritage Listing Celebration on Sat 16 April at Wisemans Ferry Park (near Ferry crossing) Celebrations include free guided tours of Old Great North Rd, children’s activities, info stalls, actors & BBQ."

The Australian Heritage Week Page lists a similar event for 17th April  so anyone who is intending joining in the festivities should make contact with them before making the journey to The Hawkesbury.

More information on the Great North Road can be found on the website of The Convict Trail Project.
Convict Trail Project Website

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Twitter Followers - Quality or Quantity?

I am sometimes disappointed when I see messages like " Just noticed we're on 995 followers. Can we break thru the barrier?" that was posted on behalf of a government organisation that I admire this morning.  Another Australian cultural institution this morning tweeted "Hip hip hooray for our 1000th (don't try to say that out loud) follower." Another Australian organisation recently gave a prize to thier 1000th follower.

I realise that these places see Twitter as a marketing tool, and it is a valuable one, but who are they trying to reach? Everyone or those who are likely to benefit from their services via the information they post on Twitter?

I just wonder how adding more users like  Free Junk Car Removal Vcitoria Bc) or ♥MyLipsSuxUDry♥  will benefit these organisations. 

A lot of individuals who have twitter accounts also blow their trumpets when they reach milestone numbers of followers. I hope that all of my followers gain some value from my tweets but I sincerely doubt that some do and I cannot fathom why they follow me.

I get a real buzz when someone from the worlds of genealogy, education, technology or libraries follows me. When someone I respect from these fields or a family member follows it is cause for a happy dance. 

I have amongst my followers a Mobile Mechanic from New Zealand (I'm not floating my car across the Tasman for a service, The unofficial biggest Broncos fan (I detest Rugby League), Leonor Brockmann whose image is a pair of silicon enhanced mammary glands,   a price comparison service for hotels,    Deals from San Francisco and -
we have over 1,000 Egg Donors and Surrogates available now. I am flummoxed as to what value these tweeps would get from following me and, as I am not interested in them or their services, I certainly won't be following them. Perhaps they share some of my interests but I doubt it.

I could not and would not shout for joy if and when I reach 500 Twitter followers as some of them are definitely not members of my intended target group. 

I'll back Quality over Quantity any time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where have my Google alerts gone?

There has been something missing from my email box!

I have a number of Google alerts set up that inform me about happenings in the world of genealogy. I just realised this morning that I have not seen any for a couple of weeks so I investigated. It appears that when I started using Gmail's new smart labels to classify my mail that the alerts were labelled bulk and put into a folder with that label. I have a lot of folders set up and did not see that this folder had been added. The emails with other smart labels such as Notifications and Forums still appear in my inbox and I expected all emails to still appear there.

I now have 492 "bulk" emails  that have arrived since 11 March to read. These include my gogle alerts, genealogy newsletters, offers on bargain buys and confirmation of my ebay purchases. My twitter stream might be busy this afternoon if I find interesting snippets to share amongst them.

In future I must remember to read carefully about new features that I add to my  Google account so that I have a full understanding of the implications of their installation.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

We got ready and Googled

My Google account got a great workout today when I presented "Get Ready to Google" at the Society of Australian Genealogists  Richmond Villa in Sydney.

Richmond Villa
 It's always rewarding to talk to an enthusiastic group who ask lots of questions. Today's group excelled in this area. Gold stars go to Malcolm and Joan whose questions (some very curly) and comments made today's session a truly collaborative one.I was pleased that, at the end of the session, some of the attendees were going home to play with Google and apply their new learnings. One lady was worried that she might not get any sleep tonight!

Presentation Outline

A couple of the people present asked me if I would be willing to talk at their local societies. I am happy to do so. On the Presentations page of my blog I have listed some suggested topics but I can also tailor talks to suit the needs of individual audiences. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

I haven't followed anyone and it's Friday

I like to follow an Australian Family Website or a blog on Fridays as my recognition of the Follow Friday activity.

I have been so involved editing my presentation for tomorrow's talk at SAG that I have forgotten to highlight such a site. As The Society of Australian Genealogists is on my mind I am suggesting that you take a look at their site.

Anyone with an interest in genealogy in Australia will find a wealth of information on the site. One can search the library's extensive catalogue, purchase resources from the online shop, get a membership application, search databases, enrol for educational opportunities, get details of special interest groups and subscribe to a free newsletter.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Get Ready to Google

Saturday morning, March 26th, will find me at The Society of Australian Genealogists presenting a workshop "Get Ready to Google".

I have been using Google since it was publicly launched in 1998. It took me a few months to move to Google from my favourite search engine of the time, Anzwers and I have been loyal to Google since then. Each time a new search engine appears I give it a go but I return to Google for the majority of my searches. As Google has developed new tools and services I have started using those for which I have a use.

On Saturday I will be sharing, with the genealogists present, some tips for using Google in genealogy research.

Bookings for the talk can be made via the SAG website.

Who is our relative the aboriginal footballer?

Who is our relative the aboriginal footballer? a question a cousin of mine who is not into genealogy asked in an email yesterday.

Arthur Henry Beetson
I replied that Arthur Henry "Big Artie" Beetson is a second cousin of our mothers who are sisters. My mother's grandmother Harriet Magick is the sister of Artie's grandmother Bridget Ann Magick .

Over the years quite a few of the descendants of Bridget's parents, my convict ancestor James Magick and his wife Bridget Ann Hayward (who was born in the colony), have written asking me if I knew if we had aboriginal ancestry. Various older family members had been told that they had an aboriginal ancestor but no-one has any proof. Aboriginal ancestry was often swept under the carpet in years gone by.

People have written to me:
  • " I am curious to know if you know of any Aboriginality in the Magick family?" 
  • *"I have found a Robert Hayward, who had a daughter Sarah,  to Biddy Segeant. According to papers I have, Biddy is listed as a native. I thought that the Aboriginal  link may have come in here, through Bridgett Ann Haywood, who married James Magick, but it seems to me that Bridgett Ann Hayward has no direct link to Biddy Sergeant" 
  • *My great aunt, Maggie Hoy who died at age 104 years old, always said that there was Aboriginal ties through the Magicks." 
  • Can you please comment on this request? Comment re possible aboriginal ancestry of xxx and xxx

My theory is that Bridget Ann Hayward's mother was the aboriginal named Biddy Sargeant. Her father Robert Hayward, a convict, fathered a child Sarah Hayward with Biddy in 1834, Bridget was born 4 years earlier in 1830. It has been reported by various family members that the aboriginal line comes from Bridget so that makes me think that Bridget's natural mother was Biddy Sargeant.

It seems that Robert did not hook up with his future wife, Ann Blake, until around 1840. They had a son Robert who was born in 1841 and a daughter, Lenore. Ann Blake is recorded as Bridget's mother on Ann's death certificate but this could have been because Bridget had been living with her father and Ann Blake. 

When I worked on this family line many years ago I wasn't too careful about recording sources so my records on this line are patchy. I think it's time to revisit this line and record the sources for some of the information I have.

I am sure, however, that Big Artie is a relation of mine.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A bit of a fizzer - World Poetry Day 21st March - Genealogy Poetry

In my earlier post I asked genealogists to share a poem for World Poetry Day, 21 March and to let me know where it is so that I can compile a list of links.

Sadly fellow genealogists did not share my enthusiasm for World Poetry Day. I am most grateful to my virtual pals Shelley and Liz who supplied poems... I appreciate your ongoing support for my efforts. Thanks too to the person at State Records who wrote a delightful haiku.

If any other contributions come in I will add them to this post and Tweet aboout it.

Geniaus' Haiku can be found at

Geniaus alter-ego, Genimates, has posted A Prayer for Genealogists at

State Records NSW has, in a Twitter post, shared a Haiku with an archival flavour:

An historic find, 
Treasure! All covered in dust 
Makes Archivist sneeze

Shelley from TwigsofYore has posted her new poem on her blog

Liz Pidgeon - known as @infolass and @genielass on Twitter emailed her contribution to me:

I Am My Own Grandpa

by Moe Jaffe and Dwight Latham

Many, many years ago
when I was twenty-three,
I got married to a widow
who was a pretty as could be.

This widow had a grown-up daughter
who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her,
and soon the two were wed.

This made my dad my son-in-law
and changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother,
for she was my father's wife.

To complicate the matters worse,
although it brought me joy,
I soon became the father
of a bouncing baby boy.

My little baby then became
a brother-in-law to dad.
And so became my uncle,
though it made me very sad.

For if he was my uncle,
then that also made him brother
To the widow's grown up daughter who,
of course, was my step-mother

Father's wife then had a son,
who kept them on the run.
And he became my grandson,
for he was my daughter's son.

My wife is now my mother's mother
and it makes me blue,
Because, although she is my wife,
she is my grandma too.

If my wife is my grandmother,
then I am her grandchild
And every time I think of it,
it simply drives me wild.

For now I have become
the strangest case you ever saw,
As the husband of my grandmother,
I am my own grandpa!

There are some nice genealogy poems here

Regards, Liz Pidgeon

What Social Networking Sites do you use for genealogy?

Over on my other blog, Genimates, I publish profiles of genealogists from here and there. The profile questions are on a Google Form that profileees complete online. So far 13 people have completed the form online (it can be completed via email or in hard copy as well). 

An incidental result of  using the online form is that Google provides a summary of responses that includes, for questions that require a Yes/No response or multiple choice selections, some pretty charts that summarise the answers.

At the moment, because there are only 15 responses to the question "What Social Networking Sites do you use for genealogy?" the data is interesting but not particularly valuable. As the number of profiles increases  so will the value of the data contained in the graph for this question.

GeniMates Statistics

I realise that the results are skewed as those people who have responded to my invitation to be profiled are technology users. I have written to a number of others who do wonderful work in genealogy but who are not tech-heads, so far not one of these people has reaponded to my request for a profile.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Post a genealogy poem for World Poetry Day - 21st March

I just read on Twitter that it's World Poetry Day and that gave me an idea!

Let's recognise the day by posting a poem about genealogy or one that has relevance to someone in your tree to our blogs today. If you let me know via a comment on this blog or an email to of the link to where you have posted your poem I will compile a World Poetry Day hit.

If you don't have a place to post your poem just email it to me and I'll publish it for you.

Here is my Haiku ( 3 lines in a 5-7-5 syllable pattern) hastily written in a couple of minutes.

Hunting ancestors
Missing souls, vexing brickwalls
The thrill of the chase.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

View your Google Search and Web History

Although I have been retired from education for a couple of years I still follow a number of educators via their blogs and on Twitter. I learnt something new from Chris Betcher at Betchablog today that I think is worth sharing with fellow genealogists.

Chris wrote "Many people don't realise it, but if you use Google's search services while signed into your Google account (which you already have if you use Gmail) then your entire search history is automatically archived for you, along with statistics about how often you searched, for what, and when. It will track how many times a day you've Googled something, and even displays a little colour coded calendar to show you your overall search patterns. Some people may find the whole thing a little scary, a little Big Brother-ish maybe."
As I'm not too good at recording every site I visit in a genealogy research log this history will be a useful research management tool for me. As I am usually logged into Google when I use my computer it should keep an accurate record.

To find my personal search history I did a Google search for  "my google search history" and was directed to my secure personal history page that gave me information about the searches I had done today and yesterday. At the most simple level your web history is limited to searches. My searches for today are shown in the image below.

A clickable calendar on the page allows one to select any date to see what searches were done on that day.
 There is also an option on the web history page that allows one to "Expand your web history" Clicking on this takes one to a page with this information:

"All the web sites you visit, at your fingertips.

  • View your web activity. You know that great web site you saw online and now can't find? With Web History, you can.
  • Search the full text of pages you've visited. Web History allows you to search across the web pages, images, videos and news stories you've viewed.
  • Get personalized search results and more. Web History helps deliver search results based on what you've searched for and which sites you've seen."
As I love to try things out I downloaded the latest Google Toolbar that is necessary "to associate the web pages you visit with your Google Account." I then selected the "Enable Web History" option.

As a test I visited three websites and then went back to view my web history - the three sites were listed with the time I had accessed them.

I will monitor this tool over the next few weeks and, if I decide it's of no use, I will turn it off but I suspect that I will find it a useful tool.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is Mocavo all that it claims to be? ie "The best free genealogy content on the web"

Several tweeps alerted me today to Mocavo, a new search engine for genealogy  that on its home page states" The world’s largest free genealogy search engine,, provides genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web including billions of names, dates and places worldwide. seeks to index and make searchable all of the world’s free genealogy information."

Dick Eastman said "I suggest you remember this web site: I bet you are going to hear a lot about it in the next few weeks and months. In fact, I'd suggest you try it right now. I've been using the site for a while during its testing and have been very impressed. This thing actually works! Today, went public and is now available to everyone."

Dick's seal of approval indicates that the resource must be pretty good so I thought I'd give it a whirl by searching for a few of my families. I then did comparison searches on Google.  Here is what I found:

Search 1. Pusell Australia - anyone with the name Pusell in Australia is related to me so I  entered these terms hoping to find something new.
Mocavo returned thirty-six results from  sites
That it returned such a small number of results was disappointing. Some of the information on the Kemp Family Site is in need of updating to reflect recent events. There are no other links to family websites with information on the Pusells.
On the other hand a Google search for Pusell Australia ~genealogy (to narrow down to relevant information) returned many more links including:    and the list goes on...

I did other searches on Tierney Dungog, Curry Camden and Tooze Australia with similar results. Searching for Headlam Tasmania brought no results from Mocavo but  a wealth of good hits from Google.

Search 2  Nelson Piddlehinton - I next tried a search for a branch of the family from a small village in Dorset - Piddlehinton.
Movaco returned 3 results from 
The information on the family treemaker site has not been updated since 2005 and is not as complete as can be found on other sites.

Relevant results from Google came from these sites:     and the list goes on....
Need I say more?

I also tried some other searches for the UK:, Gowans Hawick and Ball Spotland to discover that Google returned more relevant results than Mocavo.

Search 3. Thinking that Mocavo might have a North American bias I decided to search for  "John Gowans" "New York" Mocavo returned two results that were not for my John from 
Google also returned results not related to my John Gowans but amongst them were some relevant links from sites including:
My little test of Mocavo is not at all scientific or comprehensive but when a company makes a statement like ", provides genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web" I just have to see for myself. Mocavo might grow into a great resource but, for the moment, it is just one of a number of free resources available to genealogists.
Mocavo needs to amend the claims it makes on its home page, meanwhile I'll stay Google.

More thoughts on Rootstech

Rootstech Conference Chair, Anne Roach, in her blog The TechnoGenealogist today wrote a post RootsTech: A Replacement for Genealogy Conferences? in which she posed a few questions. 

I am posting the rather lengthy response that I wrote here for the interest of my readers.

"There is no way I would have travelled from Australia to the US for a regular genealogy conference, I can satisfy my appetite for these nearer to home.

Rootstech, with its mix of tech and genie sessions, suited my particular interests. The range of topics was also of appeal to an international audience. The content of some other educational events you have mentioned is often UScentric.

Rootstech can provide both the skills training for beginners interested in technology and challenges for the tech-savvy who wish to further embrace the application of new tools in genealogy.

One downside of Rootstech 2011 was that the sessions were not clearly designated as to content level. I went to a couple of excellent classes where I learnt nothing as they were directed at beginners (you did provide classes for techie beginners). I felt cheated at these because I could have been elsewhere learning something and not just enjoying myself. There was one speaker I heard who should not have had a place at the conference. She was demonstrating software that belonged in the 20th century and the poor beginners in the class were drinking in her every word. I felt like standing up and shouting out "Don't listen,this is so old hat and counter-productive."

I enjoyed the roundtable sessions that discussed issues rather than promoting new products or demonstrating skills. The opportunity to discuss issues and ways to apply technology is invaluable.

I would have enjoyed an opportunity to complete a more comprehensive feedback document than the one that was used. I know many people don't share my enthusiasm for evaluative instruments but perhaps you could offer attendees the opportunity of completing either a short or more comprehensive evaluation.

The conference was superbly organised. You have already recognised some of the areas that need improvement. Rootstech 2012 should be awesome.

The opportunity Rootstech provided for me to meet and network with like-minded individuals was the highlight of the conference for me. I was honoured to be an official blogger (and Tweeter).

I hope to return for Rootstech 2012"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My social media dilemma resolved - Thanks for the feedback

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my social media dilemma Where do you comment? 

The consensus from those who posted comments was to comment on the blog. I copy the comments below for those who didn't subscribe to them.


Shauna said...
What an excellent question - I often feel the same & end up repeating myself all over. My preference for comments would be on my blog rather than say Facebook or Twitter but then more people probably see the last two rather than my blog. To me a blog is a more 'permanent' feature and more searchable, I think, by Google.
Sharon Brennan said...
I'd rather see comments on my blog also. The comment is then linked directly to the post.
Ramona said...
I like comments on my blog. Even though I do occasionally post to my facebook pages or twitter. I think it is of more use and interest to other readers.
Carole Riley said...
I agree that the best place to comment is the blog. That's where the content is, and everywhere else is just a link to it. Comments on the blog are visible to everyone who reads afterwards. Having said that I'm happy for comments wherever they are, and I often get them on Facebook instead.
lkessler said...
It gets even worse when you are trying to provide customer support. People ask questions on your blog, on your forum, on Twitter, on Facebook, through email, the phone, fax and direct contact. You have to answer and support them all. The "marketing" answer to this is that everyone has their preferred mediums. Some people may not see the comment on your blog, but may read your Tweets. So unfortunately, we have to choose whether to satisfy them all, or choose the media and thus type of people who we are able to handle. Maybe one day this will all converge again into a single info flow - at least we can hope.
Joan Miller (Luxegen) said...
Good question. I prefer to have the comments on my blog for all the reasons Carole mentions but appreciate feedback from any source. One of the issues today is information overload. There has never been so much great content and value given away and freely shared as is happening today. The problem is keeping up with it all. I truly appreciate bloggers like Randy Seaver and others who do "Best of" posts. I also appreciate the content wikis that are appearing. Keeping up with it all is a challenge.

Relive Rootstech Online

News release received from Familysearch this morning

Popular Conference Makes Select Presentations Available for Free Online
11 March 2011
SALT LAKE CITY—If you missed the popular inaugural RootsTech 2011 conference, you can now at least get a sampling of what all the excitement was about. The wildly popular new technology and family history conference held last month in Salt Lake City, Utah, made its keynote addresses and a few other popular presentations available online today free of charge. The six free presentations can be viewed at
“The scope of the RootsTech conference was unique. We wanted to try to fulfill a need to bring technology users (family history buffs and anyone interested in genealogy) and technology creators (developers, programmers, engineers) together in a unique, fun environment to collaborate and move the genealogy industry forward through technology,” said Anne Roach, RootsTech conference chair. And bring them together it did.
The inaugural conference, hosted by FamilySearch, was a runaway success. With over 3,000 in-person attendees and another 4,500 attending remotely over the Internet, it was arguably one of the largest genealogy-related conferences ever held in the country. In-person attendees hailed from 42 states and 15 countries. Some came from as far away as China, New Zealand, Australia, Namibia, and Israel.
Paul Nauta, RootsTech public relations chair, reported that there were over 40 bloggers in attendance. “Between online articles, blog posts, and nonstop tweets, the online community was buzzing 24 hours a day during the conference and for weeks following—and amazingly, articles and tweets are still going strong,” noted Nauta.
The new conference was pulled together quickly by industry standards—in about 6 months. “The fact that we were able to attract as many conference goers as we did in such a short amount of time testifies to the interest there is in technology and family history,” said Roach. “And we’ve put the videos of the keynotes and other presentations online for free to give others a chance to share in the RootsTech experience; to give them a taste of what they can expect for 2012,” added Roach.
A highlight of the conference was the extensive community networking—community zone (exhibit hall), collaboration stations, and unconferencing sessions. These integrated features produced an open conference atmosphere that seemed to be ideal to introduce technology creators to genealogy technology users and to foster discussions, learning, collaboration, and future industry developments.
Unconferencing sessions—impromptu, participant-driven discussion forums that promote brainstorming, the sharing of ideas, and innovation—were totally new to genealogy attendees, but were more familiar to the technologists. Attendees took advantage of unconferencing sessions to discuss user needs with technology developers and to brainstorm new ideas and solutions. “People emerged from these [unconferencing sessions] with eyes sparkling, and I overheard several people describing conversations between developers and genealogists that left both feeling validated and motivated,” said Polly FitzGerald Kimitt, an attendee and author of Pollyblog.
The RootsTech 2012 conference is scheduled for February 2–4 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In addition to the six video presentations mentioned above, video interviews of other conference speakers and developers can be watched at Genealogy Gems YouTube.

About RootsTech
RootsTech is a new conference designed to bring technologists together with genealogists to learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges faced in family history research today. The conference’s activities and offerings are focused on content that will help genealogists and family historians discover exciting new research tools while enabling technology creators to learn the latest development techniques from industry leaders and pioneers.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Be careful what you do or it might come back to bite you on the b*m... something we often say in Australia.

A few weeks  ago I received an email from Ken Brock, when I looked at it I thought "I know that name".  The message contained in the email stunned me.For over twenty years of my working life I worked in school libraries around Sydney and for a time was a member of The Australian School Library Association (NSW). I served in various roles on the committee and as a NSW representative on the national body, I was the Association President in 2005. When I moved to working solely in Information Technology I resigned from the Association.

Ken's email came as a bolt from the blue it said:

"At the last meeting of the committee of ASLA (NSW) I asked the committee
to confer upon you the honour of Life Member of ASLA (NSW).

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that the committee approved
this honour unanimously.

The committee would be pleased if you could attend the award ceremony at
the State Library on Saturday 12th March 2011.

I would be very pleased if you accept the honour and can attend the
ceremony at the State Library."

Six years have passed since I have been active in the sphere of teacher librarianship and I have moved on to do different things. I was therefore thrilled to hear from ASLA (NSW) and responded that I would be delighted to accept the award.

Walking into the State Library today I was immediately enveloped in a cloak of friendship, I was greeted warmly with hugs and kisses from a number of people I had known from my time in the association. I  recalled what a wonderful and caring group of professionals teacher librarians are.After I received my certificate from President, Ken Brock, I said a few unprepared words. I hope that I did not appear flippant as I accepted this award that means so much to me.

This post is a bit off the topic of genealogy but today's event is one of the high spots in my life and I want to record it for the future,

Thank you most sincerely to the members, committee and President of ASLA (NSW) for according me this honour of being the eighth life member of the association. In accepting it I recognise that I have made an ongoing commitment to support the association and the profession. I will discuss the ways in which I might fulfil this responsibility with you.

The bite on the b*m was a welcome surprise.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Follow Friday - Blogs - Springwood Historians

SPRINGWOOD HISTORIANS - established in 2000, are a non-profit making group of independent researchers with a special interest in the social history of the Springwood district – its people, their activities and achievements, their homes, occupations and their place in the history of the wider world.

Springwood, NSW
 I became aware of their blog ( shortly after it was launched in January 2011."The aim of the blog is to disseminate (as well as gather) information to anyone interested in public history...."

Although I only have vague connections with the Springwood area I am enjoying the articles posted on this blog.  Anyone with connections in the Lower Blue Mountains should be reading this blog.

There is a variety of illustrated and well constructed articles on topics such as:

To date there have only been 32 articles posted. As more are added this blog will become an extremely useful resource for  genealogists with roots in the area. If other Australian historical and genealogical societies followed the lead of SPRINGWOOD HISTORIANS and published similar blogs we could have a wealth of  knowledge about our country's history in the public domain.

The blog is visually appealing and uncluttered, I do hope the cloudy background is an image from the Springwood area. I like the positioning of the Google search bar that has been placed prominently just below the header so that visitors can quickly gain access to pertinent articles. The articles are tagged with relevant labels, it would be helpful, however, if those articles that are part of a series could have a tag describing the series eg Early Residents, World War Two.

I congratulate Springwood Historians on this resource and commend it to all with an interest in the Springwood area or with a curiousity for Australian history.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Over 1000 Viewings of New Baby

She's just over a month old, has had nearly 1200 views, been nominated for an award and has had her share of positive comments. So I guess my new blog, GeniMates, is progressing steadily.

25 people have visited and liked Genimates Facebook Page, I would be thrilled if this number could double in the next month.

I have invited around 30 people to submit profiles for the blog and have only had around a dozen responses so I need to invite more people before I run out of profiles to post. I have tried to target a few people who aren't active in the blogasphere and I wonder if, when they get my invitation to take part, they think that I am some spurious character who is trying to get them to divulge their personal information.
I am also trying to have a mix of nationalities and both hobbyists and professionsals but, as I can't control the order in which responses arrive, this is proving difficult. Until the blog becomes more recognised  and I build up a bank of profiles to post the mix will be haphazard.

I wold love to hear of suggestions for people to profile, particularly those who don't have a strong online presence. It could be an office bearer of a local  society, a volunteer at the local library or someone who is doing a great job indexing records. It would be great to recognise some quiet achievers. I have developed an online form in Google Docs that I ask profilees to complete but can send a hard copy along to anyone who is not comfortable filling in a form online.

In addition to the GeniMates profiles I will, from time to time, do short posts on people I come across at genealogy conferences and events.

It's early days yet but I am pleased to report that the baby is making steady progress.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm not Robinson Crusoe after all

When I wrote my "Sometimes less is more" post about Follow Friday tweets a couple of days ago I wondered what kind of a reaction I would get. It seems as though a number of my readers agree with what I had to say.

Before another Friday rolls around and our Twitter accounts overflow with lots of Follow Fiday posts I thought I would share the comments that had been made on that post.


Judy Webster said...
Good to know that I have some support! I agree with your comment about 'Follow Friday posts that resemble shopping lists and are produced by some automated service.' I'm pleased that Shauna singled you out with her 'one #FF recommendation'. You deserve it.
Geniaus said...
Judy, Good to know I am not Robinson Crusoe!
Joan Miller (Luxegen) said...
Thank goodness you wrote about this! I've been thinking the same thing, especially when it came to bot type programs to help people do the #FF! The way it was going with me was I'd see mentions of myself in #FF, then I'd feel guilty I hadn't reciprocated and would fire off a few. Then I'd think this is ridiculous - why am I doing this? I should have clued in there were others feeling the same way. What I have started doing instead is promoting folks that are giving talks or have books or great blog post contributions for the better of genealogy. I think that is more valuable than #FF. And I can do that ANY day of the week :) Thanks again for bringing it up!
Alex said...
Viva la revolution! I've always been baffled by mass #FF myself. Like everyone I only have a limited amount of time, so I only follow people who add something worthwhile to my day - if you want to know who those people are, anyone can click on my Following list and see for themselves! Alex aka @wychwoodnz and @oneplacestudies
Aillin said...
feeling a little sheepish...that would be my Twitter account Judy replied to in that screenshot you showed...I had been sort of using the #FollowFriday to show whose tweets I found most interesting that week, whose tweets I retweeted etc. The ffhelper program wasn't exactly automated, it gave lists showing who you had retweeted or mentioned recently in your tweets and you could chose whom to include in a FF post. That said though, I will certainly be using the 'less is more' option from now on. Useful lesson learned. Thanks :)
Tanya Honey said...
I was also very happy to see your's and Judy's comments about #FF. Whilst it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling when you see your own twitter name (rarely for me I might add!), it did clog up Friday's tweeting. Posting one #FF will be a lot more interesting.
Shauna said...
I was also feeling a bit overwhelmed by #FF but then found it very hard to try and choose just one of the many great people that I follow. As someone said to me, it will take me years to get round everyone! That said, I still think it is a better way to go than the mass tweets we were seeing.
Judy Webster said...
To give credit where it is due... It was Carole Riley who started the ball rolling with this.
Carole Riley said...
I'm just now catching up on blogs and had no idea of what I'd started! I'd been feeling guilty about not returning the #FFs for ages, but then when I followed someone's link to an automated thing that found all my re-tweeters I used it and thought 'what am I doing????'. Never again! So when I saw that post I thought it was worth putting it out there.
Shelley said...
As above. What they said. :-)

Thanks, Brett

I was recently contacted by Brett from Our Bowman and McPhee Story, an Australian Familysite. Brett had discovered that I have Headlams from Tasmania in my tree at Geniaus Family Site.

After I replied to his initial contact  Brett used the comments facility on my site to send me extra information on this line although it is not strictly my family line.  I am tackling the trees of my grandchildren as well as those of Mr Geniaus and I as I want the kids to know, not just about our side of their family, but about all of their ancestors.  The Headlams are ancestors of my youngest grandchild.

Thanks, Brett and all those folk who contact me with amendments and additions to my site. Your input is greatly valued.

Take a look at Brett's site that has been created with The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding  (and updated today) by Darrin Lythgoe. You too could find some connections there!

Our Bowman and McPhee Story


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