Monday, January 11, 2016

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2015 - GeniAus reflects

The least I can do when I challenge my genimates to take part in an activity is to participate myself. Although I can't remember much of what happened in 2015 I know it was a great year personally and genealogically.  I'm going to reflect on my year for the next half hour or so and I'm sure I'll be able to conjure up responses to my prompts.

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was - I seriously can't recall any direct ones but I have added many on collateral lines.

2.  A precious family photo I found was : It was actually Mr GeniAus' find. We are starved of photos of his Ball ancestors because his father was an only child and his grandfather died at an early age. The family photos must have vaporised. Mr GeniAus has caught the genealogy bug (that's a big positive) and has been following up on my Ball research. Both his father and grandfather were members of The NSW Fire Brigade so Mr GeniAus went on an excursion to the Museum of Fire where he found a very helpful archivist. She was able to hunt down a photo of Grandfather James Ball who was coach of a Fire Brigade Football Team. This clear picture has enabled us to compare and identify a couple of other photos from our meagre collection.
1921 Soccer Team. James Ball, Top Left

As the picture had been scanned at a high resolution I was able to crop it to get this head and shoulders image of James.
James Ball, 1921 - Age 31
3.  An ancestor's grave I found was - the most important find wasn't a grave but a name on a War Memorial in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.
War Memorial, Wellingborough
Bert Chatfield aka John Williams name on memorial

4.  An important vital record I found was by accident as I was looking at someone else's tree on Ancestry I discovered that they had shared copies of several vital records (even though they shouldn't as the images are subject to copyright) so I was able to glean information from them.

5.  A newly found family member shared details of his line after we had a match on Ancestry DNA.

6.  A geneasurprise I received was to be named as Australia's Gold Medal Genealogy Superstar Rockstar for 2015. I was stunned and humbled - Thanks to John D Reid for organising this and to all who voted for me.

7.   My 2015 blog post that I was particularly proud of was not a post but a new website/blog I maintain for the Hornsby Shire Family History Group. It was so exciting to receive an Encouragement Award at The NSW State Conference for this site.

8.   My 2015 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments were my Rootstech posts - my stats spike at Rootstech time.

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was Canva thanks to Carmel GalvinCanva is a beaut tool for creating graphics.

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy were Wordpress and Blogger. I just love blogging.

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was... I always learn something new to a lesser or greater degree. 

  • Cyndi Ingle's talk on Genealogy Society websites at FGS/Rootstech provided timely guidance as I was setting up the Hornsby Shire Family History Group Blog and Website.
  • Young Australian Tan Le's Keynote at Rootstech was inspirational - there was not a dry eye in the house.

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at Congress 2015 in Canberra. It was a huge honour to be invited to chair a panel in the company of esteemed genealogists for the closing session of the conference.

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was. It's actually a regular column, GeniAus' Gens, in The Surname Society newsletter, The Surname Scribbler. I was thrilled to be asked to  write this column which provides some light relief to the more serious and educative articles published in the newsletter.

14. I taught a friend how to - probably use a social media tool. I'm always championing the benefits of social media for genealogy.

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was The Family Historian Enquires Within by Janet Few. Whenever I want to know the meaning of a word or phrase this is my first stop.I blogged about it here

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was The British Library where I had a bonzer time handling 100 year old newspapers. I thought I had blogged about my experience but I cannot locate the post. Let's just say it was a Geneadream come true. 

I had to stand up to read The Wellingborough News.

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was purchased with a gift card I received for my birthday. Lost Reflections: fortunes of my family in Australia's Golden Age by Professor Graeme Davison is a non-boring family history. I would recommend as a good example of family history writing to anyone contemplating writing up their family history.

18. It was exciting to finally meet online friends in person at geneavents. I am not going to single any one out - I love youse all.

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was a World War 1 Western Front Tour. The tour was well organised by Mat McLachlan tours but the guide we had was very ordinary; his lack of knowledge of Australian WW1 history was evident. I did not however let this guide detract from my enjoyment of the experience.

It was an emotional experience
20. Another positive I would like to share is the feeling of Euphoria I had when I signed off after The 12 Hour Geneagala Hangout on Air I hosted for National Family History Month. Thanks to my genimates from all over the globe who joined me to make it such a successful event. If you have the stamina and 12 hours to spare you can watch the recordings here:

I wonder what 2016 will bring! Hopefully a few demolished walls in the Emerald Isle.


Linda Stufflebean said...

Hi Jill, I will be there and will keep an eye out for you. I'd love to meet and say hello.

Jill Ball said...

I'll be hanging around the media hub Linda.

Alex Daw said...

Such a great year for you. Well done! You shared the joy a hundredfold and enthused us all.

Jana Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a great weekend!

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

You've had a huge year in 2015 Jill with so many geneadiscoveries! Your genimates appreciate all you do both in your blogs and social media but especially in being such a generous lynchpin for us all...introducing us to new people, greeting us like great friends. You have a generous heart! May the luck of the Irish be with you in 2016.

Jill Ball said...

Hoping to find a four leaf clover, Pauleen.


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