Friday, August 30, 2013

Hanging Out

If there's one thing I've been wanting to do it is to utilise Google Hangouts to connect with other genealogists around the globe. Sadly because of the dodgy internet connection I had at home my attempts to talk to people like DearMyrtle in the US, Ben Mercer from Inside History Magazine, FionaTelleson in Australia and Julie Goucher from the UK have failed dismally.

Earlier this week the Geniaus family changed internet service providers from TPG to BigPond. I had been loathe to give up my unlimited bandwidth account with TPG but as, on some days, we were unable to connect at all between the hours of 4 and 10 PM this account became unattractive.

Surprise, surprise! When we moved over to BigPond on Monday I had not expected our internet connection to improve much but it has quite significantly. Now I am limited to 500 GB a month but I can access the internet at all hours; I hope that the 500 GB will be sufficient.

I thank Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest for making yet another date to connect with me via a Google Hangout this week. It was a great success, my connection did not drop out and I was able to have a lovely chat with fellow genealogist on the other side of the world.

Now that I have confidence in my ISP I am looking forward to hanging out with many of you. I just need to hone my hanging out skills. I hope in the near future to record a few interviews with fellow genealogists to add to my YouTube Channel.

Please let me know if you'd like to hang out some time.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Bloggers' Geneameme - Geniaus' Response

Half a dozen geneabloggers have already responded to my latest geneameme. It is time that I got cracking and joined them in this reflective exercise. So here goes:

What are the titles and URLs of your genealogy blog/s? 
Android Genealogy :, Geniaus: There are also a couple of defunct ones. 

Do you have a wonderful "Cousin Bait" blog story? A link to a previous blog post might answer this question. 
Quite a few cousins have contacted me as a result of blog posts or from finding an ancestor on my family website, Geniaus Family site. I have received copies of certificates and photos, details of further dates and places and have gratefully accepted corrections to (mis)information I have posted. As far as family history goes I think that If you've got it you should flaunt it.

Why did you start blogging? Is there someone who inspired you to start blogging?
I started a blog, TLNewsau, for Teacher Librarians in Australia in 2003. I started blogging because I found a niche to fill; by writing this blog I was able to help fellow professionals especially those who were isolated.No one inspired  me it was just the lure of using the blogging platform, a new exciting tool for collaboration. 

When I retired I wanted to keep blogging and get stuck into my family history research. It was obvious that genealogy should be the topic for my continued blogging.

How did you decide on your blog/s title/s?
I wanted something short and snappy so I played around with the words genealogy and Australia and came up with GeniAus, a genealogist from Australia. Android Genealogy was not taken at blogspot and as it described the content of that blog that's what I called it.

Do you ever blog from mobile devices? What are they?
I sometimes blog from my Samsung Galaxy's: a camera, a phone and a tablet. I find the android blogger app clunky and limiting so I tend to only use mobile devices for blogging when I am travelling. If, however, an idea comes to me when I am out and about I will post a draft on my mobile device that I will expand on at later date.

How do you let others know when you have published a new post?
I usually just post a notice on Google+ but if I really want to get a message out I also tweet a link to the post. sometimes I might post a link to a relevant article of mine in the comments section of someone else's blog, for example with Sepia Saturday posts. It annoys me when people put links to their posts all over the place. I think we should all have a personal social media policy that we adhere to; our readers will get to know how we announce the publishing of a new post.

How long have you been blogging?
I am a veteran in the blogging world having been at it for 10 years. I have been geneablogging for close to 5 years

What widgets or elements do you consider essential on a genealogy blog? 
I like a nice clean interface. I don't like to see sidebars that are overladen with widgets but yet it's important to see some. Widget selection depends on the blog's purpose and what is appropriate for it. An about me paragraph is essential to let one's readers know a little bit about the author, a search  widget is important so that readers can interrogate your blog, information on how to subscribe to the blog needs to be visible. Static pages with extra information about the blogger and his/her activities add value to a blog, a page detailing the ancestors being researched may reel in new cousins. blogs must allow for commenting, blogging is a two way street, a collaborative exercise. Those who blog without having a facility for reader comments misunderstand the blogging platform.

What is the purpose of your blog/s? Who is your intended audience?
My blogs are multipurpose. Hopefully the Geniaus blog helps to educate and entertain, promote a sense of community amongst those who blog in Australia and showcase Australian genealogy to the world. Android Genealogy is a place to share news about software andhardware and their use on android devices. 

I hope that my audience is made up of people who are interested in my content and to want to enter into online conversations with those with shared interests. I love it when family members who are not into genealogy read and enjoy my ancestor stories.

Which of your posts are you particularly proud of?
I am proud that I lasted the distance in the Genealogy through the Alphabet Challenge instituted by Alona Tester. I was travelling overseas at the time and it was a real challenge to get some of those online.

How do you keep up with your blog reading?
With great difficulty. I was distressed when Google reader was discontinued. It took me a while to find another RSS reader that I was happy with; I am now using and relatively happy with this probably because it is so much like Google reader. I take every opportunity to read blog posts in the car, on the train, in the bath, in fact anywhere where I can grab a few minutes. When I am really busy I just ignore my RSS feeds.

What platform do you use for publishing your blog/s?
Because I'm a creature of habit I am still using blogger after 10 years although some of its features annoy me and the mobile app leaves a lot to be desired. I have dabbled with WordPress and last week set up a private WordPress blog where I will post my writing for Julie Goucher's My Book of Me blogging activity. I would like to be brave enough to move over to a self hosted WordPress blog.

What new features would you like to see in your blogging software?
I wish that blogger would remember the links I have referred to in my blog posts so that I do not have to retype the URLs every time I mention a site.

Which of your posts has been the most popular with readers?
The post about my grandmothers first husband, John Bertram Chatfield, has been the most popular post on my blog. It is also a post of which I am proud and one that brings tears to my eyes as I recall the challenges my grandmother must have faced as a teenage widow.

Are you a sole blogger or do you contribute to a shared blog?
I am both a sole blogger and a co-blogger. Together with Jackie of Jax Trax I maintain the blog for the Ku-ring- gai Historical Society, it is so pleasing to watch the growth of this blog and witness its acceptance by members of the Society.

How do you compose your blog posts?
Although I keep telling myself it is bad practice I compose most of my posts in the blogger application. Sometimes when I am travelling and Internet access is expensive and dodgy I compose my posts in Evernote so that they are available for editing on any device that has an Internet connection. I know this is putting a lot of faith in blogger but they have only lost a couple of my posts in 10 years.My keyboarding skills are lacking so for long posts like this I use Dragon voice recognition software on my laptop.

Do you have any blogs that are not genealogy related? If you wish please share their titles and URLs.
jillballau is the place where I record odd bits and pieces, the description on that blog "journeys, jottings, joys" sums up its content.

Have you listed your blog/s at Geneabloggers?
Sure have.

Which resources have helped you with your blogging?
The resources are mostly from outside the genealogy world. I subscribe to around 30 technology blogs and find Free Technology for Teachers and The Digital Inspiration Technology Blog most helpful. Additionally Mr Google does a pretty good job of finding free online guides and resources on a needs basis. 

What advice would you give to a new Geneablogger?
Your audience is waiting. Join the Geneablogging community by reading and making comments on genealogy blogs then get cracking. Start a blog and share your opinions, stories and thoughts. Your audience is waiting together with an amazing group of Geneabloggers who will support your geneablogging journey.
The last word: an unexpected outcome of blogging
I did not start blogging to find friends but those bloggers who comment on my posts and support my activities are now very dear to me. I get so excited when I have an opportunity to meet these people in person. This unexpected outcome is a real bonus.

Feeling the Love - Responses to The Bloggers' Geneameme

Overnight I had some responses to the geneameme I posted yesterday evening and some comments and promises from others on social media who will complete the meme in the near future.

An unexpected bonus is that I discovered a new to me Australian blog, Anne's family history, that I have now added to my RSS feed reader. I am impressed that I already have responses from England and Canada. Julie from England got an idea while completing the exercise and is proposing a Global Genealogy blog that you can read about here. THANK YOU ALL.

Whenever I set a challenge like a geneameme I have moments of self-doubt. Will anyone respond to my meme? Will people think that the idea is silly? Do the questions appear shallow? In addition to satisfying my curiosity about others who blog the purpose behind this Geneameme is to give bloggers an opportunity to indulge in a spot of reflection. I hope that this meme encourages them to stop and reflect on their geneablogging activities.

Perhaps my idea is silly and the questions shallow but, this morning, I have been buoyed by the responses and comments from members of the Geneabloggers community. Following is a list of those who have responded to the geneameme. I will continue to add links as I am notified so please come back to this post again (and again).

Jill Ball Geniaus
Boobook  Backtracking
Pauleen Cass  Cassmob
Janelle Collins Janelle's Family Tree Addiction
Jason W Crews  Genealogy Sphere
Alex Daw Family Tree Frog
Daniel Dillman Indiana Dillmans
Sue Donaldson Family History Fun
Erin Know their Stories
Sharon F Strong Foundations
Frances A Rebel Hand
Julie Goucher Angler's Rest
Caitlin Gow Genealogically Speaking
Sara Greenleaf  My Mouse is Broken
Karin Hadden The Art of Genealogy
Charles Hansen Mikkel's Hus
Shauna Hicks  SHHE Genie Rambles
Julie Family Tree of the Silverstein and Waters Family
Louis Kessler Louis Kessler's Behold Blog
Emily Kowalski-Bellan The Spiralling Chains: The Kowalski Bellan Family Trees
Elizabeth LaPointe Genealogy Canada responded by email. Have sought permission to share her answers.
Melody Lasalle The Research Journal
Celia Lewis Twigs and Trees
Sharon Muffett  Gathering Dust
Kathleen Scarlett O'Hara Naylor  You are where you came from
Merron Riddiford My Western District Families
Delbert Ritchard Del's Genealogy Ramblings
Randy Seaver GeneaMusings
Eileen A. Souza Old Bones
Alona Tester Lonetester HQ
Jackie van Bergen Jax Trax
Bill West West in New England
Sharn White  Family History 4U
Anne Young Anne's Family History

And a Food Blogger took the meme and adapted it for Food Bloggers
Jenny Cookbook Fetish

If I have missed any geneameme responses please let me know ( and I will add them to this list. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Bloggers' Geneameme

The Bloggers' Geneameme

t's NationaI Family History Month here in Australia and I have been procrastinating about hosting an online activity to mark the event. 

I am very interested in hearing about the practices and thoughts of fellow Geneabloggers so thought I'd dream up a little geneameme on the topic. You are invited to respond to the questions in this short geneameme via a post on your blog. I'd love to hear from people in the Northern Hemisphere as well as those downunder.

Please write as little or as much as you like and don't feel obliged to answer all the questions. Once you have posted your response please share your link on the comments section at the bottom of this post or send the link to bibliaugrapher@gmail.comOnce I have a few replies I will compile a hit of responses on this blog .

  1. What are the titles and URLs of your genealogy blog/s?
  2. Do you have a wonderful "Cousin Bait" blog story? A link to a previous blog post might answer this question. 
  3. Why did you start blogging? Is there someone who inspired you to start blogging?
  4. How did you decide on your blog/s title/s?
  5. Do you ever blog from mobile devices? What are they?
  6. How do you let others know when you have published a new post?
  7. How long have you been blogging?
  8. What widgets or elements do you consider essential on a genealogy blog? 
  9. What is the purpose of your blog/s? Who is your intended audience?
  10. Which of your posts are you particularly proud of?
  11. How do you keep up with your blog reading?
  12. What platform do you use for publishing your blog/s?
  13. What new features would you like to see in your blogging sosftware?
  14. Which of your posts has been the most popular with readers?
  15. Are you a sole blogger or do you contribute to a shared blog?
  16. How do you compose your blog posts?
  17. Do you have any blogs that are not genealogy related? If you wish please share their titles and URLs.
  18. Have you listed your blog/s at Geneabloggers?
  19. Which resources have helped you with your blogging?
  20. What advice would you give to a new Geneablogger?
Please feel free to add an extra paragraph or two with extra comments.

The links to responses can be found at :

Love a Society with a sense of humour...

How's this for a journal title?

Well done Coffs Harbour District Family History Society Inc.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Trove Tuesday - In which the holy man is shelved

Having written about my wayward ancestors in previous Trove Tuesday posts I thought I should write something about an ancestor who was an upstanding member of the community. The Rev Michael Harrington Ryan, one of the first priests ordained in Australia, was a good candidate for such a post.

I entered the search term, Michael Harrington Ryan, into the Trove search box and was rewarded with some results that I had not previously seen. One of these was an obituary for a Mrs Mary Ellen Mallon who was unknown to me; I read through this long article with interest until I got to this sentence "At the suggestion of her uncle (Rev. Father Michael Harrington Ryan), then resident priest at Carcoar, she was sent as a boarder to Carcoar Convent...". This stopped me in my tracks, if the lady who was the subject of this obituary was Father Ryan's niece then she would have to be related to me. I did a quick check of my database and found no one by the name of Mallon there and only one person with Mary Ellen's maiden name of Rigney.

I had intended on having an early night but I just had to find out how Mary Ellen fitted in to my family. Using the resources I have on hand including the New South Wales BDM indexes, Trove (where I found a raft of obits for this upstanding Catholic family),Ancestry (The Carcoar Cemetery Index was especially useful) and Find My Past I started sleuthing. I will have to buy a couple of certificates to confirm this but I am fairly confident that Mary Ellen is a descendant of my Irish ancestors Thomas Ryan and Ellen Harrington from Westmeath whose daughter, Bridget Ryan, is my 2x Great-Grandmother. So Mary Ellen Mallon (nee Rigney) is the daughter of Bridget's sibling, Annie Ryan whose existence I was unaware of until last night. Mary Ellen RIGNEY is my 1st cousin 3 times removed.

I found so much information last night and so many potential cousins that, when I got to bed I just couldn't sleep. This Ryan mob, who I have been researching for 25 years, have been so hard to track down and just one small sentence in The Freeman's Journal on Trove opened a door for me.

And what of the Rev Michael Harrington Ryan? I have shelved his story for another day.

Mary Ellen's obituary can be found here: 1931 'Obituary.', Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), 19 November, p. 33, viewed 27 August, 2013,

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sepia Saturday 191 : 24 August 2013

 Rob From Amersfoort wonders if the subjects in the prompt image for this week are a man with his two wives. This idea resonated with me and sent me scurrying to my online images to find a picture that told us that Mr Geniaus' ancestor, James Ball, had two wives. 

It was on a visit to Rochdale Cemetery during our first genealogy holiday in the Mother Country about twelve years ago that we found James' grave in that Cemetery and learnt that James had had two wives and that the threesome were resting together for eternity.  After this find we raced around to the Local Records Office and bolstered the British economy by buying more BDM certificates.

The photo is of very low resolution, I hope that I can find the original or we may have to return to Rochdale to take another picture but next time it won't be in January.

In Search of Emily

I don't know why I have never gone looking for Mr Geniaus' Great-Grandmother's grave but I hadn't until yesterday.

Emily's plot
Before we motored home from our trip to Wagga Wagga I checked my database to see if there were any country cemeteries I needed to visit but there were none within 50km of the motorway. We were approaching the southern outskirts of Sydney when I thought of Emily Ball (nee Royds), Mr Geniaus' Great-Grandmother, so I suggested we take a detour via Liverpool Cemetery to find Emily's grave.

This smallish cemetery has a rather modern office, lots of new mausoleums, some older graves and a computerised grave locating kiosk. We quickly found that Emily was buried in Anglican Section B, Row 5, Grave 79. Finding the grave was another matter; the cemetery office gave us a paper diagram that gave the location of various sections in the cemetery but no further details; there is no signage to help one decide which section or row is which.

We identified a few possibilities for Row 5, Grave 79 and none of them had a headstone or marker. By a process of elimination (to identify the rows we noted names on adjoining plots, drove back to the office and entered them in the kiosk) we found Emily's unmarked plot. It's such a disappointment when one finds an unmarked grave; one feels sort of cheated.

I had thought that Emily was buried with a male that I couldn't link to the family. When I got home I checked my files for the reference to that information. In

Emily's entry in The Liverpool General Cemetery Index from Liverpool & District Family History Society

  • It just goes to show that one mustn't rely on one source. 

We had better luck finding the grave of Emily's daughter, Emily Deadman (nee Ball) and her husband, Eric Gladstone Deadman. It had a headstone that we were unable to clean as we were not equipped for a cemetery trip. 

I am also sorry that my devices were running low on power and I was unable to use them to photograph some graves for BillionGraves.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When one isn't enough...

Lovely little light laptop
While Mr Geniaus is out working I am taking advantage of our trip to the country to have a writing day
but I am a little frustrated.

I am working on two projects, a World War 1 Writing Project for a local historical society and a book on another topic. You see I don't like printing off the papers I need to refer to as I write. I am using Dropbox for the World War 1 project bits and pieces and a combination of Evernote and Google Drive for the book.

When I do work like this at home I work with two computers; the big one for reading the resources I have gathered and the small one for writing. I can bring up my reference documents on the research computer and craft my articles on the writing one, when I need to do a bit of copying and pasting I can look up the odd thing on my writing computer. I find that I rarely need to print out a document. When next I sport myself a new tech toy it will be a giant monitor that will allow me to view multiple documents all at once.

The book writing process is progressing okay as I have a outline of what I am writing and I don't have to refer to other sources too often but for the more urgent task of the biographies I need to constantly refer to the resources in different formats that I have gathered in Dropbox for the dates and facts I need to include. Jumping around to view these bits on my little Windows 8 laptop is giving me a headache. If I had access to a printer in this motel I would be hotfooting it downstairs to print off all the stuff in Dropbox and help kill off a few trees.

I tried to travel light but one little laptop just isn't enough for me.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lord Sydney

I was disappointed that I was unable to attend Andrew Tink's recent talk at Ku-ring-gai Historical Society so I was pleased to hear from Neil Chippendale from Hornsby Library that Andrew will be speaking there in September.

Andrew's talk "Lord Sydney: the life and times of Tommy Townshend" is part of NSW History Week celebrations.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

SAG Anniversary Seminar

Thanks to The Society of Australian Genealogists for hosting the anniversary seminar at State Records NSW in Kingswood yesterday. Dynamic duo, Heather Garnsey, Executive Officer and Martyn Killion, Vice President, did an amazing job of hosting, preparing morning and afternoon teas, presenting,  and selling SAG's wares.

The atmosphere was relaxed as we listened to five presentations and chatted amiably with new and old friend in the sunshine during breaks. I also enjoyed being able to attend an event that was free (for SAG members), that was away from the CBD and where I could park within 100 metres of the entrance.

It's getting late on Sunday evening here but I just wanted to put his quick post up and say thanks to Emily, Heather and Martyn for creating such a wonderful event for us yesterday. If I get some time during the coming week I will share a few of the things I learnt (but National Family History Month is keeping me very occupied).

Heather setting up shop
Emily Hanna from State Records was the first speaker
Martyn did a super job of arranging the goodies
There were plenty of customers for Heather
There were some useful tips in Heather's Basics talk
Martyn gave a polished presentation
I learnt a few things I didn't know about Ancestry
Apologies for washed out photos but I didn't use the flash.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dragging out the Dragon

My copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software, version 11, is now nearly two years old. I haven't used Dragon much since I last reported on it because I basically forgot about it but I should reacquaint myself as I have a book to write and my keyboarding skills are not improving.

I don't know if it's because I have a new Logitech H390 USB headset but the Dragon behaved spectacularly well last night when I used it for My Big Day Out blog post. After the great results I got I will persevere as I am sure that with the Dragon's help my writing task will be made easier.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Big Day Out

There were three genealogy related events in my day yesterday and I traversed quite a bit of the northern part of Sydney to attend them.
My day started with a 9:15 departure from my home in Galston (E on map) to Hawkesbury Library (B on map) for 10:00am, then I drove for about 50 mins to my next destination, Ku-ring-gai Historical Society (C on map) after spending a few hours there I set out for Hornsby Library (D on map) where I arrived at 6:00pm. I finally reached home around 8:00pm. Google maps estimate that I drove around 98 km. and it was worth every centimeter.

So how did I amuse myself?

Siobhan and her book
At Hawkesbury Library  I attended the monthly meeting of the Hawkesbury Family History Group. The guest speaker was Dr Siobhan Lavelle whose talk was about the 1813 crossing of the Blue Mountains. The content of the talk was different from what I expected but was fascinating; I had expected to hear a straight history of the crossing by Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson but Siobhan put a different slant on her talk. She discussed the various celebrations that have been held to mark anniversaries of the crossing and demonstrated, with references to books, newspaper articles, pictures and other resources, the influences that society and members of the explorers' families at various periods had on shaping those celebrations. I was most impressed by Siobhan's presentation; she was a lucid and entertaining speaker with a dry and irreverent sense of humour.

I purchased and look forward to reading a copy of Siobhan's book, 1813 a tale that grew in the telling, that is available from the Royal Australian Historical Society and bookshops in the Blue Mountains.

After chatting with a few fellow group members and Michelle Nichols, the local studies librarian, I popped into my Bambino and headed for Ku-ring-gai Historical Society where I spent a pleasant few hours scanning historical photographs and adding them to the Society database. I also managed to have a chinwag with members of the Preservation Group who were beavering away at various tasks.

Because at talks I habitually sit behind tall gentlemen who block my view of slides on the screens I like to arrive early to snag  a seat near the front of lecture rooms. I arrived 30 minutes early for the talk at Hornsby Library and was able to catch up with Peter Booth, Kim and his wife from Ku-ring-gai Historical Society and Neil Chippendale the local studies librarian. Guest speaker at the Hornsby talk was one of my favourite speakers, Dr Carol Liston, whose topic was "The Links between Local and Family History". Carol was in fine form and gave a great talk.

What I found interesting in Carol's talk was that she covered some of the same themes that Joshua Taylor had addressed in his talk last Saturday particularly the importance of Place in family history research.

Thanks to  Michelle and Neil, two of my local history heroes, for organising these great Family History Month events.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trove Tuesday

There are just too many tweets on Twitter for me to see all that is posted to my stream. This morning I thought I'd see what is happening in the world of genealogy so I searched the hashtag #genealogy to see what was doing.

A tweet from my genimate, Deb Ruth, caught my eye:

After following the link in the Tweet , I retweeted Deb's tweeet.

The article was about Trove and the newspapers from the Bega region that have been digitised and are now available for searching. So what's so unusual about this?   Deb is a genealogist from the United States; I thought it ironic that I was learning about an Australian resource via a connection in the US. 

Ahh! The power of social media.

Also interesting is that the lady pictured in the article is named Margaret Sly. I wonder if she is a distant cousin as I have quite a few Sly people in my database and some of them come from Bega!

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Soft Sell from

I was a little disappointed to see that the venue at Parramatta RSL was not overflowing for D. Joshua Taylor s presentation on Saturday afternoon. While there was a reasonable crowd there was room for more attendees. I find it hard to believe that more genealogists did not take advantage of this event hosted by to hear D. Joshua Taylor give two presentations. I had heard Joshua speak at two Rootstech Conferences and he was an engaging, energetic and passionate presenter so there was no way I was going to miss out this opportunity just half an hour from home.

D. Joshua Taylor
I'm so pleased I went along. While I did not learn heaps from Joshua's talks I learnt enough to make my journey worthwhile and I saw a polished professional presenter in action. As someone who presents around the traps I learn so much from observing people like Joshua. I am so impressed with his style; the fluent way in which he presents indicates a deep knowledge of his subject, he has touches of humour and the mentions of his Grandma portray him as a real family guy. I particularly enjoyed the story of Joshua's Australian connection.

Arriving early I snagged myself a front row seat. I mentioned to the FindMyPast ladies that I wanted a photo of Joshua for this blog so they directed me to the coffee shop where he was having (until I arrived) a quiet lunch; thank you Josh for graciously posing for my camera.  I used the time before the talks to catch up with some of my genealogy mates including Jean from Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Allan Phillips from Unlock the Past and Allan and Joy Murrin.

Alan Phillips, Unlock the Past and in the green jumper Allan Murrin
Then it was on with the show, after a very short intro from Vicki Davidson of FindMyPast Joshua took to the lectern.  Clutching my Galaxy Tablet in one hand  I took notes in Google Drive (Tick - Josh suggested using Google Drive) and Tweeted and, with my Galaxy camera strung over a wrist, I took photos of Josh in action during his performances (sorry the pix are fuzzy but I didn't use a flash). They were great talks but I think that Joshua probably challenged many of the people in the audience with the concepts he was demonstrating.
Joshua's First Presentation

Busy Note takers 

During the breaks I met up with Annette, a former work colleague from Waverley Library, Carole Riley, Geneablogger Janelle Collins and Australian Geneapodcast Guru Maria Northcote. I'm excited that Maria will be presenting on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise in February.

Janelle Collins and Maria Northcote

Joshua's Second Presentation

I applaud the people from Find My Past Australia for enabling Joshua to present on general topics and not engaging in a hard sell of their products. Joshua gave two one hour talks and then a twenty minute presentation on FindMyPast and the new and exciting things it has in store for users. FindMyPast offered a door prize of a year's subscription that was won by one lucky gentleman. I think they missed a marketing opportunity by not offering a discount on subscriptions to those present. If this would have been the case I would have been tempted to renew my World sub that recently lapsed.

Thank  you Josh for travelling downunder to share your knowledge and passion with us and thank you to Find My Past Australia for making this happen.

A few of Joshua's wise words:

  • Use a research log
  • Use the cloud to keep track of documents so you can access from anywhere
  • Not all indexes to records are created equal
  • Collateral lines give lots of information
  • "Or" is the most powerful Boolean search tool
  • Save search strings into a word document and paste into Google
  • Joshua's favourite search engine is .It saves him hours and hours of time

Sorry Find My Past Australia I just found your flyer offering 10% discount. As I do with bits of advertising bumph I was just about to toss it in the bin but glanced and saw your offer. Other potential customers might also have done this too. We wouldn't have minded  a little intro spiel about FMP and verbal notification of the discount. 13/8/2013


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Australia’s Community Heritage

Of interest to family historians and genealogy and historical societies will be this new website recently launched by The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Water.

Australia’s Community Heritage –

Without the support of individuals and organisations to input data and stories to the site it has the potential to be a big flop. On the other hand it could also be an amazing resource for the community. To see how you can assist this project please take a look at the Get Invloved page.

I have registered as an individual and my Screen Name is GeniAus. I am not sure how much I will share as I am rather put off by this condition that as a user I... 

grant to the Commonwealth of Australia represented by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (or any successor agency) (the Department) a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, non-exclusive licence (including a right of sublicense) to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, communicate, publish, broadcast and exploit your contribution to the Website for any non-commercial purpose.

I can see that one could use the site to post a truncated story about a person with a link to a more comprehensive story on one's own blog, in a magazine, book or on a website so that one is not giving over all one's work to The Commonwealth of Australia. 

I will certainly use the site to list the presentations I am giving at various places around the traps. 

City to Surf Repost

It's another beautiful day in Sydney, the day on which the City to Surf race is held. My blog stats tell me that people have been reading my post from City to Surf day last year. I am reposting that here so that others may read about my involvement in the race.

City to Surf

The Annual City to Surf race was held today in Sydney. The race from the CBD in Sydney to Bondi Beach has been held each year since 1971 and attracts thousands of fun runners as well as serious athletes.  I was prompted to share a few family snaps from races last century by a post my daughter just put on Facebook.

I have never donned my running shoes to take part in the race but have watched the finish from the comfort of the VIP stand at the finish line. I think I watched around ten of the races from there between 1980 and 1990. I know that 3/4 of the Geniaus offspring have taken part in the race, not sure about the youngest one but I only have photos of the elder two.

Miss and Master Geniaus with NSW Premier Barrie Unsworth and his Missus (baby unknown)  1987
Miss Geniaus nears the finish line 1987
Fun runners nearly there - 1988
Miss Geniaus  (Centre - Dark tshirt) heads for the finish 1988

Friday, August 9, 2013

Air Miles for the Heaven Bound

I've been researching a branch of the family who emigrated to Canada from Scotland and came across the Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby, British Columbia where Mr Geniaus' Great-great Aunt, Joanna Nelson Gowans,  is buried.

I found it rather funny that they offer Air Miles to those who prebook their funerals. Does this mean that if Eagles' Wings fail one can use Air Miles to catch a ride to Heaven?

Monday, August 5, 2013

World War 1 Projects

Over at Ku-ring-gai Historical Society we have an enthusiastic group that is working on a project to commemorate those from the area who served in World War 1.

It was with interest that I recently read this post from Inside History Magazine on Facebook:

I know of several other groups who are working on World War 1 projects including the Somerset and Dorset FHS in the UK (ANZACS in Weymouth). 

The site that will be developed by Inside History Magazine is a wonderful initiative that will draw together information on the many projects that are being developed to honour our ANZACs.

You can register your project at

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hanging Out

When Google Hangouts on Air were announced I knew that I just had to use this service to connect with other genealogists. Because I have spent more than half of the past year travelling I haven't had much time to explore this service. I have dabbled in Hangouts with mixed success, sometimes I see a picture, sometimes I see a black screen and sometimes my connection drops out over and over again.

Ready to hangout
I took part in my first Hangout on Air with Dear Myrtle in Salt Lake City in March. I have since Inside History Magazine and by myself. Hopefully I've ironed out a few bugs; I have purchased a new USB headset and have tried connecting via my wireless modem which seems to give a better connection than my ADSL service. This morning tried to connect with Fiona Tellesson's planned Hangout. Due to technical issues Fiona couldn't go ahead at the advertised time but so has rescheduled for next Saturday. I hope to join her then.
been practising with Ben from

I have a couple of people lined up for interviews using the Google Hangouts on Air service; I keep getting positive feedback about the interviews I did at Rootstech 2013 and would like to add to the collection I have on Youtube; Hangouts seem to be a perfect medium for this. Hopefully I can get these going. If you would like to Hangout with me please let me know and I will make a time to speak with you.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Worked out what I can do...

It's National Family History Month here in Australia and there are lots of celebrations hosted by institutions and organisations happening all around the Nation.

I have been pondering what I, as an individual, could do to recognise National Family History Month. I was looking at Twitter this morning before I went out  and it came to me; it had to be something related to Social Media. I could add a widget that shows all the tweets posted using the hashtag #NHFM13 to the sidebar of my blog for the month of August.

As well as keeping me informed about what people have to say about the month and from the events they attend it will highlight the celebration to people who read my blog (most of them are from North America). Readers closer to home might also take a look Twitter feed when they visit my blog.

I did it and it was a piece of cake using the Widgets tool in Twitter. Please remember to use the hashtag #NFHM13 when you talk about National Family History Month on Social Media.

My Twitter Widget tool

If this is not your thing you can find a list of 31 Activities for Researchers & Societies on Shauna Hicks' blog.

What are you doing to recognise National Family History Month?


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