Sunday, August 31, 2014

Best Hangout Ever

I realised a dream tonight. I had more people for the GeniAus Hangout on Air to mark the end of National Family History Month then the ten spaces on the panel.

Having so many panelists contributing to the conversation during the broadcast makes the hangout such a wonderful experience for the Hangout host. Thank you to the twelve peole who joined me to talk about their experiences in National Family Month especially Shauna Hicks, voluntary national co-ordinator for the event.  I had an incredible 60 minutes thanks to the collaboration of these generous genies.

If you missed the Hangout you can watch it right here or catch it later here.

#NFHM2014 - Party time at your house today

It's party time at your house at 5:00pm this afternoon (Sydney time). Yes, if you care to join in, you can celebrate what has been a fantastic National Family History Month.

I'm hoping for a full panel in the GeniAus Hangout on Air this afternoon. If you can tell us about a #NFHM2014 event you've attended, hosted or presented, your success with Shauna's 31 activities for researchers or societies, blog posts you may have written or new blogs you have started or brickwalls that have come tumbling down please join the live panel and share your stories.

Around 4:45pm I will send out links to join the panel to those who have responded "Yes" to my prior invitation to the Hangout. Those people who have messaged me and indicated they will be on the panel will get an even earlier link sent to them from 4:30pm. Watch the notifications bell in the top right hand corner of your Chrome browser or your email for these. We need to check your settings, video and sound before we go live.

If want to watch and comment on the dicussion you will need to be a member of the GeniAus Community on Google+, I will be around to approve more memberships between now and Hangout time.  I will be turning comments off on Youtube (if I cn work out how) so that we keep the conversation all in the one place within our community.

If you prefer to watch quietly from the sidelines you can watch the video on Youtube here:

Questions??? I'll be back online after I have a spot of lunch.

See you at the party, please feel free to dress for the occasion and have your favourite refreshment handy.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I'm a comin'

Join us at RootsTech!
RootsTech registration is now open!
RootsTech registration is now open!
Whether you’ve attended in the past or you’re thinking of coming for the first time, this fifth annual family history conference will be an experience not to be missed!
RootsTech is a global conference that celebrates families across generations where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. Whether you’re an avid genealogist or you are just getting started, RootsTech has something for everyone.
This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants globally. RootsTech 2015, hosted by FamilySearch, will draw more than 15,000 attendees to Salt Lake City during the four-day event to hear inspiring messages from keynote speakers and world-class presenters. Tens of thousands also tune in remotely from all over the world.

Get a RootsTech Three-Day Pass for a limited time discount!
When you register today or any day before September 12, get $20 off Early Bird Pricing. That’s a $239 value for only $139! Don't wait. Register now for your full RootsTech 3-day pass today and save.
See the RootsTech Schedule

Check out the RootsTech Expo Hall

See What's New on My Pioneer Page
Your three-day RootsTech pass includes the following:

Over 200 classes for all experience levels with topics ranging from the latest in DNA research to learning storytelling techniques. Click here to view the RootsTech 2015 schedule.

Access to the huge expo hall with hundreds of family history and technology exhibitors available to help you with such things as scanning photos, recording stories, building a family tree, and more.

General sessions with inspirational and nationally recognized keynote speakers and evening events, including the RootsTech closing social with the cast of Studio C from BYUtv and other popular entertainers to be announced.

RootsTech offers classes just for beginners!
Just starting your family tree? At RootsTech, the Getting Started pass offers 30+ classes to help beginners discover different ways of using everyday tools to connect families across generations.
Beginner Classes at RootsTech
Classes topics include using social media as a family history resource, developing storytelling techniques for personal and family stories, and discovering who you are and where you’re from through DNA.

Click here to see the Getting Started class schedule.

Add more to your RootsTech experience!
Use the RootsTech Agenda
Reserve your seat!
Enhance your RootsTech experience by purchasing a reserved seat for activities, such as sponsored lunches orhands-on computer labs. These add-on activities are immensely popular with attendees and tend to fill up prior to the event. Don’t miss out! Select these items during theregistration process.
Two great conferences, one venue.
This year, RootsTech is teaming up with the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) to offer two great conferences in one venue. The two conferences will have combined on-site experiences, keynotes, activities, and the expo hall. Classes will be separate for each conference. If you purchase a RootsTech Three-Day Pass, you can add access to FGS classes for just $39.


There was a nice message from the US waiting for me when I woke up this morning. It was a message from blogger Jana Last telling me that a post of mine had been included in her

Follow Friday ~ Fab Finds for August 29, 2014.

What was especially gratifying was that the post she nominated was one where I strayed from my normal path and wrote about a relative who is very much alive. I can understand why this post would have appealed to Jana as she is also a very proud mother of a beautiful brood of five fine young adults.

In case you missed it here is the post Jana selected: Do as I say not Do as I do... 

Thank you Jana for scouring the internet each week and nominating such a range of interesting posts. I am honoured to be included.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ancestry Antics

Since I bloggred on Wednesday about decrapifying the hints on my Ancestry Private tree I have managaed to  prune down 45 pages of hints to just two.

In a reply to a comment on a post somewhere I said that I only had a pruned down tree on Ancestry and that was enough for me but a girl can change her mind - can't she? Having checked out those (mostly irrelevant) hints I took the easy way out, deleted my tree and replaced it with a newer bigger model. It took less than 3 minutes to accomplish this.

I guess Ancestry will serve out all those bad hints again but there will be some gems amongst the dross and I have a whole lot more "Cousin Bait" out there.

OMG - the new tree has only been uploaded for about ten minutes and there are 112 hints (different from the old ones). Here we go again!!

112 new hints

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Mr GeniAus rarely takes to the dance floor but last night found him waltzing down our hallway to pay a visit to my study. He could barely contain his excitement.

The GeniAuses last whirl round the dance floor
We've had over a week of wet weather so Mr G. hasn't been able to get out into the garden and play on his tractor. Co-incidentally he had volunteered my services to help a couple of friends solve some geneamysteries. I didn't want to be distracted so I showed him how to use Ancestry and a few other tools to help these folk out. Once he had done this I suggested that he look for articles about his grandfather  in Trove, that has kept him amused and satisfied for hours as there are lots of snippets about Ern's trotting horses. Mr GeniAus doesn't 'do' genealogy!

Last night Mr GeniAus was very quiet until he came dancing down the hall. He had been on Ancestry (I hope it's ok for there to be two concurrent users on a personal account from the same house) trying to demolish a brick wall that had been bothering us for some years. It wasn't for a close relation but it was a case of someone disappearing into thin air that had us baffled. We could find no trace of Maria Gowans, daughter of Mr GeniAus' 3xGreat Uncle John Gowans, we still can't find her on the 1920, 1930 or 1940 US Censuses.

Why the excitement? He had found this death record from North Carolina:

Name:Marie Gowans Grosvenor
Birth Date:27 Oct 1867
Birth Place:New Jersey, United States
Death Date:10 Dec 1955
Death Location:Asheville, Buncombe
Father's Name:Unobtainable
Mother's name:Unobtainable
Residence:Asheville, Buncombe, North Carolina

I tried to calm him down but he was convinced, we knew Maria was born in NYC around October 1867 but still..... Off he went down the hallway again, after a while he returned with a marriage to a Charles A Grossenor (transcription error?) from the New York Marriage Indexes and a burial record for Green-Wood Cemetery, New York where Maria's siblings are buried. I checked the grave number for Maria's burial to see if she was near her parents. 

BINGO - she is interred in the same plot. It's the grave we visited in New York last year, it is a fine grave with a substantial memorial but Maria's name is not etched upon it. We were standing at her grave and didn't know it. When we asked at the Green-Wood Office for information on the grave they would not tell us anything, we had to write in and hire a genealogist to get further info, I would have happily paid a small fee on the spot for someone to pull the record. Wouldn't have been nice if they had given some assistance to two Aussies who had travelled halfway around the world in search of their ancestors. I need to purchase the marriage certificate, find a probate record and see what I can dig up on her husband but I am fairly sure that we have found Maria. She married late in life and probably had no offspring so there are no living Gowans cousins for us to find from that branch. 

Mr GeniAus at the Gowans grave April 2013

Back to the dance floor, I think that Mr GeniAus now understands why we genies get so excited when break down a brick wall. He certainly enjoyed his first Genealogy Happy Dance.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Green Leaves

Decrapifying is my present household activity. I am trying to clean up and clear out some of the stuff we have accululated in over 40 years of marriage so that, in the not too distant future, we can relocate to a more modest residence.

Of course I can't do this all the time so I am doing some decrapifying in my genealogy space. I have been a member of Ancestry since the olden days and I can't remember when they introduced those shaky green leaves but I know that I have never taken any notice of them. So my first decrapyfying geneatask has been to get rid of those leaves - an interesting exercise.

The leaves seem to multiply overnight so that I am making very slow progress.
 So many of the hints are for events that are already in my Ancestry private tree (a pruned down version of Dera Ancestry, I'd rather have fewer hints that lead me to new information.

 I can't understand why Ancestry throws up hints from foreign countries for people who were totally BMDed in Australia or England.

 Over the years I have generously shared gedcom files with other people. I get all excited when a green leaf leads me to an ancestor on a shared tree and then get annoyed (with myself for  prior sharing) when I find my info posted on someone's public tree. I keep my info up to date and correct my errors when I find them - these people don't!

 I was pleased when one genie I contacted after being directed to her tree removed the misinformation there but she told me she had copied it from another tree........Deep breath.

  In spite of my frustrations I have found some good leads to check out. Probably 1/25 of the leaves bear fruit for me. So I will attack my next 35 pages of hints tonight.  I wonder how many I'll have in the morning.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trove Tuesday - On the Street Where I Live

I live on the main road that goes connects our village of Galston to the Sydney suburb of Hornsby. In 1895 Galston Road travelled through bush that was described as presenting "glimpses that remind one strongly of the road which lies between Lake Taupo and Napier in New Zealand".  I travel this picturesque route through what is now the Berowra Valley National Park when I need to access more services or catch a train to the city from Hornsby.

I found this description and drawings while playing in Trove today, one of the bridges in the illustration is still there today while the longer one has been replaced by a modern concrete structure.

Mr GeniAus' Great-great-grandmother, Margaret Gillespie (nee Munro), was an orchardist in the district in the 1890s. I wonder if she sent her fruit to the railway at Hornsby or Parramatta?

1895 'The Galston-Hornsby Road.', Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), 2 March, p. 27, viewed 26 August, 2014,

I am privileged to live in such a beautiful area which a local bumper sticker describes as "The Place where Country meets City".

The bridge today

#NFHM2014 Report Card

My #NFHM2014 Report Card

Shauna Hicks drew up this list of 31 Activities for researchers to attempt during National Family History Month. How did I score?

1 Visit the NFHM sponsors page and consider entering the prize draw for
I entered the competitions for individuals. Fingers crossed.

2 Apply for a National Library of Australia e-resources card and explore
genealogy resources online at home if you have not done so before
A great fan of The National Library I have had my card for some years now and regularly use it to access online resources.

3 Visit your State library and see what genealogical information they hold.
If distant, do a virtual visit. If you do not already have a State library card,
apply so that you can use their e-resources at home.
Also a fan of The State Library of NSW I have had a card for several years and used it during #NFHM2014 to access databases. Did you know that the Library has a family history blog at

4 Check out all the new resources on Ancestry and
enter the prize draw to win a year's subscription - major sponsor and
prize sponsor
I use Ancestry regularly. Having an annual sub is a luxury I appreciate as it allow me to access the resources wheneve. I'ver I wish. During #NFHM2014 I spent some time checking out the hints on the shaky leaves.

5 Have a look at some of the great genealogy cruises coming up with
Unlock the Past - prize sponsor
Geneacruising is one of my favourite ways to learn. My schedulae for 2015 is pretty full but some of the 2016 cruises are tempting.

6 Visit your State Archives and see what resources they hold
and look at their fact sheets and guides. If distant, do a virtual visit.
This is another repository I love. I visited in person last month and have visited virtually several times this month.
Remember to check out the National Archives of Australia - NFHM launch sponsor
Several virtual visits undertaken this month.

7 Plan to attend a NFHM event in your area.  If none, suggest to your local
society or public library that they participate next year
I've gone overboard in this area having presented and attended online and in person events.

8 Attend one of the online events in the NFHM web calendar
Enjoyed hosting online events and have attended others. Love connecting and learning from the comfort of home.

9 Explore your surname in the MyHeritage Last Name Directory - major sponsor and prize
Missed the boat on the free access period but hope to investigate later.

10 Visit your local genealogy/family history society and see what resources
they hold. If you are not a member, think about joining or perhaps join a
society near where your ancestors lived
Have visited two local societies I belong to this month.

11 Visit the NFHM Facebook page for updates throughout August
Have you Liked our page yet?
Certainly have.

12 Did any family members fight in WW1? Participate in the National
Archives of Australia new beta website Discovering Anzacs
Have visited but have not yet contributed any material. On the gunna list.

13 Download the free August genealogy ebook from genEbooks - prize sponsor
Thanks for the reminder. Downloading now, one never knows when it will come in handy. Need to add it to my Librarything so I know I have it.

14 Check out Twitter to see the latest genealogy news -
use the hash tags #genealogy or #familyhistory and remember to also use
I've overdone this one as well.

15 Why not do a photo book on a person or family? Momento have some
great ideas - prize sponsor
I fall down on this one, not organised enough for photobooks.

16 Attend/listen to a webinar or Google + hangout  - why not join Google +
and see what other Aussie genealogists are doing?
Hosted Hangouts, attended webinars - thanks for the freebie MyHeritage.

17 Early NSW ancestors? - have a look at the Biographical Database of
Australia - prize sponsor
Have a sub to this one. Must check back to see if there's anything new.

18 Read a family history blog or start your own genealogy blog writing
stories about individual ancestors or families.
I am a blogaholic. I read and write them. I started a new fun one in #NFHM2014. Check it out at

19 Have another look at that brick wall - construct a time line of known facts
and relook at everything. I'm offering a prize to assist in brick wall
demolitions if I can. See NFHM sponsors page.
I'm looking.

20 Visit your local library and explore the genealogy and local history
sections. Or visit your local historical society or a virtual visit to an
historical society near where your ancestors lived
Attended a talk at the local library.

21 Enrol in one of the free online genealogy courses offered by the National
Institute of Genealogical Studies - prize
sponsor (details of three courses offered are on NFHM sponsors page)
Great offer which I am declining because I never seem to get around to completing these once I enrol.

22 Make a start on scanning all your old photographs. Remember to identify
and file the images as you go.
I get a gold star here. Have nearly 100,000 photos scanned and tagged with the help of Picasa. I need to weed out duplicates.

23 Visit your local newsagent and see what genealogy and family history
magazines they have. Australian Family Tree Connections and Inside History Magazine - both prize sponsors
I always make sure that Inside History is visible in our local's display.

24 Findmypast may be available at a local council
library or genealogy/family history society library - book a session time
and see what you can discover - prize sponsor
I'm lucky to have an annual world sub. It's part of the toolbox at my fingertips.

25 Check out the Gould Genealogy & History online
catalogue and be ready when the family ask what you want for
Christmas/birthday etc - prize sponsor
If only the family would take note of my hints.

26 Explore FamilySearch and perhaps do one of
their online tutorials. Major sponsor
I find their wiki a useful resource. Have visited this month to do some indexing.

27 Join Trove and correct newspaper text after you
make that exciting family discovery! Why not add tags or make a list of
your discoveries?
I'm a Troveite so this month I have shared the joys of Trove with Mr Geniaus who is now hooked.

28 Plan to attend the next AFFHO congress in Canberra in March 2015 -
Major sponsor and prize sponsor
Barring some major catastrophe I'll be there.

29 Make sure all your photos are identified (both print copies and online)
and explore Picasa's facial recognition capability
See answer to question 22.

30 Why not plan to attend the NSW/ACT conference in Wollongong in
September - prize sponsor
Considered this long and hard, I love to catch up with my genimates but as the program this year doesn't light my fire I'll be staying home.

31 NSW ancestors - why not look at transcriptions as an alternative to
certificates with Joy Murrin transcription agent -
prize sponsor
Compiling a list for when I have more pennies to spare.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Do as I say not Do as I do...

...was something I said in a workshop I gave last Saturday.

One of the attendees asked about blogging about living persons. My advice was to stick to dead people or blog privately. I am about to ignore my own advice and blog about a family member who is very much alive:

1. Because, as this blog is archived by The National Library of Australia at the  Pandora Archive, this story should remain around for future generations to see.

2. Because I am proud of the achievements of this family member.

Last night on 60 Minutes there was a story about a young footballer, Curtis Landers, who had an injury that was likely to leave him in a wheelchair for life. Sixty Minutes said in their promo:

"Curtis Landers is about as lucky, and as unlucky, as they come. Back in May, the 15-year-old was a rising footy star when a routine tackle went terribly wrong.

Badly dislocating his spine, Curtis was initially diagnosed a complete quadriplegic. His parents were told their boy would never walk again, and even struggle to breathe on his own. The outlook could not have been more bleak.
But there's always hope, and Curtis has defied the odds. On 60 Minutes, it's the feel good story of the year, as Curtis walks out of hospital and back onto the football field to kick a ball with his mates."
Dr Ball at work
Featured on the program was Sydney Neurosurgeon, Dr Jonathon Ball, who is Head of the Neurosurgery Department at Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH), it was Dr Ball who operated on Curtis after he was airlifted to the Spinal Unit at RNSH from a country hospital. I know that Dr Ball is knowledgeable, skilled, hardworking, conscientious and modest, what sets him apart is that he is a super kind and caring surgeon who has exceptional empathy with and interest in his patients. 
Dr Ball is interviewed on 60 Minutes
Does that sound like a Mum talking? It is. 

I may be biased but from the comments that have been flyng around on Facebook and Twiitter since the program aired last night I realise that I am not alone in my opinion. Half of Australia must watch 60 Minutes as many folk we know or have known caught this show and have communicated that to us.

During the interview Jonathon said that Curtis was an inspiration - "among the handful of patients who keep you doing what you do".
A Big Hug for Curtis and Jonathon when they meet up after Curtis' rehab
We also think that Jonathon is an inspiration.
For those who missed this story of a young boy's courage and determination it can be viewed here:

Next talk at the local....

My mate Neil Chippendale from Hornsby Library has emailed with details of next month's family history talk at the library.

I haven't previously come across David Michel so I am keen to attend, it is always interesting to hear a new person's experiences in the field of family history.

Bookings can be made online from the link here:

I have already booked and was most impressed that Hornsby Library is now using an online booking and payment system with Trybooking

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hoarse and High

Yesterday evening found me hoarse and on a high. Why, you ask?

Firstly because I delivered a full day seminar/workshop/, Family History in the Modern Era, at Wyong Family History Group. I don't think I have done so much talking since I was a teacher. Last night I thought I was in for a cold but this morning my throat is all better so it was as a result of yesterday's gabfest.

My drug of choice must be "talking with a group of committed and enthusiastic learners" because I was just elated when I got home yesterday. The twenty odd or so people who put up with me for the whole day were just inspirational, they were so interested in the topics and shared a thirst for learning.

At the beginning of the day I posted some guidelines for behaviour so that we had a mutual understanding of how the day would proceed.

Rules for the day
The attendees really took the first point to heart, they commented, questioned and shared right through the day. I didn't add "Have fun" to that list but that wasn't needed as there was lots of laughter and bonhomie in the air. A couple of times I had to ring the Society's little bell to restore order and get back on track. We covered most of what I had prepared but went off on a few tangents to clarify questions. One of the popular requests was for a demonstration of creating a blog so this I did although it wasn't planned. I wouldn't be surprised if a few ladies (there was only one male in the audience) from Wyong become geneabloggers very soon.

Session 1
Having quite a decent period of time allowed me to play around with my planned schedule, it was also great that the attendees (who were all seated early) agreed to start early and shorten lunch and afternoon tea breaks so that we could have more time on the job.

Session 2
Thanks go to all the attentive attendees, Wyong FHG President Kerrie Metcalfe, Trish who was appointed to be my minder and IT Guy and sausage sizzle chef Roger for their assistance. The  slice girls deserve congratulations for the sweet treats served, I'd love to have the recipe of that slice based on rice bubbles that was so delicious. The lovely gift you gave me as a memento of the day is most appreciated.

Session 3
 I was thrilled to be invited to present this seminar for Wyong Family History Group in National Family History Month 2014.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pack of Thieves.

I just got around to reading this book I bought for a song at a remainders bookstore in Chatswood Chase last year.

Pack of Thieves by Hamish Maxwell-Stewart & Susan Hood relates the stories of 52 convicts who served time at the Port Arthur penal settlement in Tasmania. While it is well written I found it a bit boring and repetitive after I had read the stories of twenty or so convicts. If one of them had been an ancestor of mine I would have been enthralled.

Pack of Thieves
What makes this book valuable is its excellent glossary and bibliography.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Week of Webinars

All webinared out
In the past seven days I have watched four webinars from different providers in Australia and the US.

1. Evernote for Genealogy, Cyndi Ingle for The Society of Australian Genealogists $10

2. Golden Genealogy Rules, Shauna Hicks for MyHeritage FREE

3. Getting started with Research, Joanne for Queensland State Archives FREE

4. Staying Safe Using Social Media, Thomas MacEntee for Georgia Genealogical Society  FREE

I learnt a little from each presentation and a lot from the Queensland State Archives as I was not at all familiar with that institution amd its holdings. I learnt about presentation techniques from Thomas, he is an excellent and experienced presenter who speaks slowly and clearly with lots of humour (although having known Thomas for a while I have heard some of those oneliners before). He does not rely solely on slides but gives live demonstrations showing how things work on his computer. He engages with attendees during his talk by naming some of them, we realise he can't do a full roll call.

Three of the presentations used the GoToWebinar platform while the Queensland State Archives used another that I much preferred as it showed a video stream of the speaker as well as her slides, this webinar was recorded in front of a live audience and the moderator did a great job of involving the online attendees in the event. I did not realise that one could show a livestream of a presenter on GoToWebinar but Thomas came on screen at the beginning and end of his talk giving it a more personal touch.

This was Shauna's first webinar, she commented on her blog afterwards " I found it a bit strange just sitting in my study talking to my laptop knowing that there were about 120 people out there listening to me."  Shauna and Joanne were first time presneters and did an awesome job in their debuts. 

Having become used to Google Hangouts on Air, where there is video of presenters and panel and more interaction,  I find that, although I learn from them, some webinars are real "chalk and talk" formal lecture sessions. I fear that the moderators do not realise that they are using social media tools and that they have a role to make presenters feel comfortable and to interrupt presenters occasionally to ask questions and pass on comments from attendees.

While my $10 for the The Society of Australian Genealogists wasn't too expensive there were empty seats in the room (webinar lingo) I can't understand why SAG don't offer seats to non-members. This could be done as a last-minute offer via social media once members have had a reasonable time to enrol. I know my mates in country Queensland and the Northern Territory would be happy to add to SAG's coffers if they had a chance to attend the webinars.

Thank you to those three organisations who used their webinars as outreach or marketing tools, I appreciate being able to use your services. Getting a freebie leaves me with a good impression of your organisations.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


In recent weeks there has been a lot of discussion around spreadsheets with DearMyrtle hosting a couple of Hangouts on the subject and other bloggers writing posts.

I am a bit of a spreadsheetaholic and use either Excel or a Google Sheets every day to organise my personal life and for some genealogy applications. I was however surprised when I saw some people using spreadsheets for things that my genealogy program does.

One of the main views on Family Historian, the genealogy software database I use,  looks just like a spreadsheet with data displayed in colums each one of which one can sort. One is able to add or remove columns from this display to suit one's needs, any field in the database can be added as a column.

At present these are the colums I have in my display:
Name, Record ID, Sex, Living, Dates, Birth Place, Death Date, Burial Place, Relationship to Root (me), Updated.

If I want to see who is buried in a particular cemetery prior to a geneajourney I just sort by that column by clicking on the column header. To see those entries I haven't updated for a while I can sort on the Updated column. Sorting by the Relationship to Root Column allows me to cluster all my closest relatives together.

 I often add or delete columns when I am after particular information. If I wanted to find all the School teachers or Plumbers in my list I could add an occupation column and osrt on that, If I wanted to find all the Methodists I could add the Religion column and sort by that.

This display is also very useful for identifying where gaps appear in one's data, white spaces (and I have lots of them) indicate that work needs to be done.

So because of this feature in Family Historian I don't need to use external spreadsheets as much as I would if I was using another software package.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Makeover Madness

Last week I wrote that I was Tarting up the Template for this blog. Following on from that Alex Daw in her post, Pimp your blog this weekend, suggested that geneabloggers as a #NFHM2104 activity seek feedback from other geneabloggers on how they could improve their blogs.

She suggested "we could say one thing (or more of course) we really like about each other's blog and then maybe one thing that we think the blogger could lose or improve."  About half a dozen brave bloggers signed up, I think we and our blogs all benefitted from others' suggestions. I fiddled and faddled over a few days and think that the GeniAus blog has a cleaner, less cluttered appearance.

Thanks Alex for setting the challenge and to those brave souls who offered their blogs up for evaluation and politely made suggestons for improvement.

Co-incidentally today I was updating a presentation I had given around 18 months ago in which I showed screenshots of several blogs. I had to do new screenshots of most of the blogs as they had nearly all undergone some sort of facelift. In all cases the newer designs were an improvement on the old.

Do you continually update your blog/s layout and design? Do you set aside a few hours every so often for this task?  Have you made no changes and kept the original layout and design?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Running in the Family

Some weeks ago I finished reading a book that I had picked up from the swap section in a cruise ship's library. When I travel I take a bundle of op shop purchases away with me and dispose of or swap them along the way but I could not bear to part with this one so it travelled with me over many days and through a dozen countries. It has now been reposing on my desk waiting for me to tell you about it

On our trip we visited Sri Lanka and that was what made me select this book that recounted the author's return to his native land of Sri Lanka. I imagine that the fellow traveller who had ditched the book purchased it for local knowledge. I did not realise until I reread the blurb that it was actually a family history book.

In Running in the Family Michael Ondaatje (first publishedin 1982 - my edition was published by Vinatge Books) tells in a series of short vignettes tales of his parents, ancestors and families. As he travelled around Sri Lanka Ondaatje met and interviewed family members, friends and work colleagues of his parents. There emerged stories of  love, passion and divorce, drunkenness, wild parties and hair-raising car and train rides. For me the stories didn't flow so well from one to the other but the writing was superb. After reading a few ordinary crime novels it was a treat to read this small book and savour the stunning use of language, the prose was delectable.

If you ever contemplate writing a family history book take a peek between the pages of this tome to see how beautifully you can telll your family tales.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cyndi's Other List

Most genealogists should have heard of Cyndi's List, a huge directory of genealogy resources on the internet. I have been lucky enough to have met Cyndi Ingle in person at Rootstech.

I am a huge fan of Evernote who is always looking for further ways to further use the product. When I heard that Cyndi was presenting a webinar for SAG members about Evernote for genealogy in National Family History Month I signed up and joined 74 other members and moderator, Heather Garnsey, online for the gig.

If one thinks of Evernote as list of things then this presentation could have been called Cyndi's Other List. Cyndi packed a lot into the allocated time talking at a rate of knots to get through her topic, thankfully she speaks clearly and well. She quickly outlined the structure of Evernote before launching into live demonstrations using her Evernote account.

It was interesting to see the way Cyndi uses Evernote in her genealogy. She uses it heavily for tracking her research and saving resources. I picked up a couple of tips from Cyndi that I will find useful.  I like the way she sets up a folder and saves related stuff into it when she is doing freebie research for friends and that she can then share the bits in that folder to the friend via a link.
I hadn't used the Table of Contents feature and will find that useful for one notebook I have. I was also reminded that one can save notes to different formats - something to explore.

Having grown used to Google Hangouts on Air I found it strange going back to the Goto Webinar platform, I missed the interactivity and video components of Hangouts. The webinar felt like a formal lecture, a "chalk and talk" activity. There was time for five minutes of questions at the end of the lecture, I wish this could have been extended to allow for more discussion. I was lucky to have had a couple of questions answered but I should have asked if Cyndi uses Evernote as an organisational tool for Cyndi's List.

Thanks Cyndi for sharing how you use Evernote and for the handy handout you prepared for us. It was great to catch up with you from downunder.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Irish Eyes were Smiling

Guess who I heard speak on Wednesday?

HINT - she was the star turn at the Hawkesbury Family History Group meeting for National Family History Month.

1. She has a wicked, dry sense of humour.
2. She knows her topic inside out.
3. She is a non-boring academic type.
4. She is obsessed with her topic.
5. Perhaps she should have been named Colleen.
6. She is the Chair of the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee (GIFCC) which is actively seeking information about Earl Grey’s Irish Workhouse Immigrant women. 

I have heard Dr Perry McIntyre speak on a number of occasions and was privileged to hear her again on Wednesday morning. Perry's topic was "Single female emigration in the 1830s & 1840s". As examples to illustrate her presentation Perry cited Irish examples. Now that was right up my alley as I have a couple of troublesome Irish girls in my tree including my Great-great-grandmother Bridget (Did she swim?) Ryan.

Perry's opening slide
Perry explained the options, criteria and processes for single Irish girls who wanted to come to the colonies and illustrated her talk with images of contemporary newspaper ads, paintings and photos. She then explained what happened to the girls from when they came off the boats until they got hitched. The stories and photos she shared of several Earl Grey girls were interesting.  I wish I could find a picture of my girl, Mary Cregan/Cligan/Creigan/Gregson

As Chair of the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee (GIFCC) Perry is actively seeking information about Earl Grey’s Irish Workhouse Immigrant women; as requested I will be emailing Perry with the scant information I have on Mary Cregan/Cligan/Creigan/Gregson, another of my Great-Great-Grandmothers.

Perry suggested the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine as a useful resource for background information on the famine. She neglected to say that one needs to be a weightlifter to lift this weighty tome!

My revelation for the day came when I asked Perry about how I could access a resource in PRONI that refers to my girl Mary. Apparently our friends at Familysearch have filmed the records and I could order it in to a local centre but I will wait until I go to Salt Lake City for Rootstech in Febraury. It will be something to look forward to.

Should you wish to hear Perry speak on a similar topic she will be talking at The Quarantine Station at North Head later this month. Details here.

Thanks to Jonathan for the happy snap. Perry (left) and me
My super morning was topped off when I had a cup of coffee and nice chat with Jonathan Auld and Michelle Nichols in a nearby cafe. Thanks to Michelle for organising another great talk at Hawkesbury and to Michelle and Jonathan who, knowing about my fetish for geneabling, brought me back a badge from the London "Who do you think you are live" event they attended.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...