Friday, July 13, 2018

MIA - The Australian Genealogists Daily

For a few weeks I have been wondering what happened to my daily editions of The Australian Genealogists Daily Paper. Recently I hadn't seen announcements for it on Twitter so this morning decided to investigate.

When I logged in to my page and looked for recent archived editions I couldn't find any recent ones. I haven't yet ascertained how many editions have been missing. What I did find when I went to my content settings was that the content I had been sharing had disappeared and this section was blank, As there was no content to share didn't post any notifications to share.

I have now reinstated the content I share which is from the content that is sourced from the 143 members of my Australian Genealogists List on Twitter. While I was at it I also added my Youtube Channel as a content source. I will add some blog URLs from prominent Australian bloggers when I get a chance.

If you have been following The Australian Genealogists Daily notifications should appear in your Twitter feed soon. If you don't like Twitter you can create a account and Subscribe to your favourite papers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Trove Tuesday - Birth Certificates

 I came across an article on birth certificates when researching a completely different topic on Trove. That took me off on a tangent where I did a simple search for "Birth Certificates". I was rewarded with many hits some of which discussed issues like illegitimacy and  inaccurate enlistment ages  that affected my family.

1898 'WALKING BIRTH CERTIFICATES.', The Clarence River Advocate (NSW : 1898 - 1949), 8 April, p. 4. , viewed 05 Jul 2018, 

1918 'BIRTH CERTIFICATES DEMANDED.', Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954), 13 May, p. 5. , viewed 05 Jul 2018,


1925 'LOANED BIRTH CERTIFICATES.', North West Champion (Moree, NSW : 1915 - 1954), 3 August, p. 2. , viewed 05 Jul 2018,

1934 'FREE BIRTH CERTIFICATES', The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), 27 November, p. 12. (FINAL EXTRA), viewed 05 Jul 2018, 
1944 'Birth certificates were shockers', The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), 22 October, p. 4. (SUPPLEMENT TO THE MAGAZINE), viewed 05 Jul 2018,

1938 'Father was a Female.', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 10 November, p. 7. , viewed 05 Jul 2018,

Friday, June 29, 2018

A Gentle Man

James William Ball
I remember a kind, gentle and happy man whose family meant the world to him. My father-in-law James William BALL was born 100 years ago today.

I could not let this day go past without remembering Jim and recording some details of his life. As posts from this blog are archived by Pandora, a service of the National Library of Australia, Jim’s story will be preserved on that site for years to come. This story is that of an ordinary Australian, who in the eyes of his family was an extraordinary father and grandfather. I thank my husband for allowing me to use an article he wrote about his family as a basis for this post.

James William BALL or Jim, as he was known, the only child of English Migrants James BALL (1890-1931) and Harriet PARKINSON (1879-1940), was born on 29 June 1918 at a property belonging to his paternal grandmother Emily Ball (nee Royds) in Terminus Street, Liverpool, NSW.

Jim had fond memories of his early years spent living at the Circular Quay Fire Station in George Street, Sydney where his father, a fireman, was stationed. In 1922 when Jim was five and his father was stationed at Kogarah the family moved to that area.

He attended a local Catholic school and then Kogarah Boys’ High School where his English teacher was the great Australian cricketer Bill O’Reilly. Jim left school after completing his Intermediate Certificate. Although his formal education was minimal Jim had a thirst for learning. He was a lifelong learner and reader who enjoyed entering into discussions on a broad range of topics.

At the age of 13 Jim’s childhood came to an abrupt end when he found his father deceased, whilst his mother was in hospital. Jim was very devoted to his mother, who was partially crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. He cared for her lovingly at their home in 22 Hampton Court Road, Kogarah. Jim's sensitive and caring nature was evident to all who came in contact with him. Jim very soon became fond of gardening to ensure that his mother was always surrounded by flowers. Right through his life Jim maintained his interest in gardening as he tended his colourful manicured garden and immaculate weed free lawn.

As times were tough Jim took a couple of jobs which involved night work so he could care for his mother in their home. As night work was too worrying for his mother he accepted a position as a garage assistant in St Peters and later a sales representative at White Signet Sweet Manufacturers. His duties brought him in contact with Daphne Williamena Edith Gillespie who was charmed by his telephone manner. He became a regular visitor to her home, often taking flowers from the garden in a suitcase to Daphne’s mother and very soon Daph and he were in love.

When Jim, at the age of 21, found his mother dead he was devastated. Daphne’s mother invited him into her home where he was treated as one of the family. Two years later, on 20 September 1941, Daphne and Jim were married at All Saints Church of England,Petersham. Jim and Daphne spent their first few years in a home at 22 Grantham Street, Burwood that belonged to Daphne’s Uncle. 

Jim and Daph's Wedding Day
The smoke was always in Jim’s veins after years of living in Fire Stations. Following his employment as a Confectionery Salesman he followed his father into the N.S.W. Fire Brigade on 12 September 1941. Jim resigned from the militia and since the Fire Brigade was an essential service he was exempted from service in the Second World War.

Jim Ball - Militia Member
Jim progressed through the ranks of Third, Second and First Class Fireman, Senior Fireman, Station Officer and District Officer. He was predominantly stationed at Stanmore, Headquarters (Castlereagh Street, Sydney) and Waterloo, NSW. For career progression it was necessary to undertake country service which he did at East Maitland. He was awarded the Queen’s Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. Although lacking lengthy formal education, Jim displayed considerable intellect and undertook his studies within the Fire Brigade with distinction, frequently passing at high levels. Before Daphne returned to full time work Jim supplemented his income from the Fire Brigade as a salesman selling brooms from door to door.

Daphne bore Jim two sons, James and Robert. When the boys were young the family lived in a home at 36 Middle Street, Marrickville that had been purchased from Daphne’s mother. 

Robert (Left) and James M. (Right) with Jim Ball

Daph and Jim with James M. and Robert 1989
In 1959 the family moved to a newly built house in Annette Avenue on the Moorefield Estate, a former racecourse, in Kogarah, a suburb with which Jim had an affinity. Jim lived in this home for the remainder of his life. 

10 Annette Avenue Kogarah
Daph and Jim, having experienced the deprivation of opportunities to progress academically encouraged their children, James and Robert to utilize their full capacity. Jim who was deprived of opportunity instilled high goals in his offspring. Tertiary education became a “must” and the challenge of success was paramount. Jim had a football saying which can be adopted both on the field in any code or in life in any arena: “Punt High and Follow on”. This saying echoed in James and Robert’s ears. The boys were given good leadership through guidance and example.

Jim retired from the Fire Brigade on his sixtieth birthday, 29 June 1978, after a car accident in 1977 left him with physical constraints and lower back pain. Fitness was always important for service in the Fire Brigade and in the rear yard of Stanmore Fire Station (No. 7) there was a mock-up of a wrestling ring. Jim would wrestle with others but one was a special challenge as he was a professional wrestler.

Jim on the job
Jim had always been a keen sportsman having played rugby league and rugby union with St George. Jim who was loyal to the St George Rubgy League team throughout his life relishing any opportunity he had to follow their games. He played lawn bowls as a member of the Brighton le Sands Bowling Club and was an official umpire with the Royal NSW Bowling Association. Jim’s training and a love of exercise continued in later life when he walked to and swam in Botany Bay almost every day in the warmer months of the year. As Jim usually walked down to the Bay for his swim, he was fondly known to many members of the local community with whom he chatted on his perambulations.

Jim, Daph and family 1982
In retirement Jim and Daph were active members of the local Probus Club enjoying the various outings arranged by the group. They took several holidays in Australia but didn’t venture overseas further than New Zealand. During this period Jim and Daph spent much time with their seven grandchildren. Jim was very patient with the children as they ‘helped’ him in the garden. When the children had sleepovers he loved taking them down to play and swim in Botany Bay particularly at the baths in Kyeemagh.

Jim and Daph 1985
Through eating healthy food and rarely touching an alcoholic drink Jim enjoyed good health during his life. It was therefore a shock to he and the family when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 1988. He went into surgery for this cancer but the doctors did not continue with the proposed major procedure as the cancer was too far gone. Following on this diagnosis Jim tried a diet of fruit and vegetable juices but it didn’t have the desired effect.

James William BALL died on 27 September 1990 in Calvary Hospital, Kogarah from advanced gastric carcinoma (2 years). His Funeral Service was held on 3 October 1990 in St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Waverley. A Guard of Honour was presented by members of the NSW Fire Brigade. He was cremated on 3 October 1990 in Eastern Suburbs Crematorium, Botany, NSW and his ashes were later interred with his parents in Woronora Cemetery, Sutherland, NSW.

James William Ball 1918-1990

Saturday, June 23, 2018

This boy loved birthday cake

He was a Type 1 diabetic who stuck to a rigid diet and never ate cake but my Dad, Allan John Curry, loved marking the occasion of his birthday each year with a Birthday Cake. He was even more impressed when the cake was accompanied by a party with his extended family.
Celebrating with the extended family June 1984 - Allan is 65

Allan John Curry 23 June 1988
Today, June 23, would have been Dad's 99th birthday. Now that Mum is in heaven with him I hope they are partying today. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Trove Tuesday - 40th Brthday

This week one of the GeniAus offspring celebrated his 40th birthday. The celebrations lasted all day with a trip to the movies, a Mexican lunch, a game of ten pin bowls, a two hour karaoke session, a Thai dinner, then back to his home for cake, coffee and chat. We oldies settled for the karaoke, Thai and cake.

I wondered how other Australians celebrated their 40th birthdays so turned to Trove.
"JUDGE ON 40th BIRTHDAY" The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) 21 March 1952: 2. Web. 18 Jun 2018 .

"HASSETT HAS 40th BIRTHDAY" Narandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser (NSW : 1893 - 1953) 3 September 1953: 4. Web. 18 Jun 2018 .
"JOINED ON 40th BIRTHDAY" The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954) 24 July 1917: 12. Web. 18 Jun 2018 .
"Chaplin's 40th Birthday." Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954) 18 April 1929: 2. Web. 18 Jun 2018 .

Monday, June 18, 2018

Closed Access

I am a member of four local genealogy/family history groups that provide access to print and digital resources for their members. The cost of purchasing, housing and maintaining these collections is high so it is important that members who provide the $$$ for these collections should be able to access them easily.

Two of these groups work with and are supported by their local libraries. Their family history resources are shelved in open access in the local libraries and are available to group members, the local community and visitors to the library during the hours the libraries are open seven days a week.

Family History Resources at a local library
The other two groups have their collections housed in rooms leased from local authorities. One group provides access to resources for sixteen hours per week during the middle of the day. The other group only  provides access on one weekday and one weekend day totalling about ten hours per month. For the remainder of the time the resources of these groups are locked away and not accessible by users.

One problem is that those societies who house their own resources rely on volunteers to open the rooms to fellow members and volunteers are thin on the ground. Sadly some groups don't want to share resources purchased with membership dollars with outsiders.

It makes me so sad to see these valuable collections locked away. Invariably I am otherwise engaged when the doors to these collections are unlocked so I miss out on gaining access.

If I find myself in the area where the collection stored at the local library and find myself with half an hour up my sleeve I can pop in for a quick spot of research.

I wish more genie groups would approach their local authorities and work on ways to make their resources more accessible. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trove Tuesday - A Modern Kitchen

Today the GeniAus family is having a new kitchen installed. While some of the finishes in the new kitchen are different many of the features are similar to those in this Modern 1940 kitchen.
1940 'MODERN KITCHEN', Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954), 24 April, p. 10. , viewed 08 Jun 2018,


To keep the kitchen spotless has always entailed endless
work for the average housewife. In the kitchen there are
many acids and corrosives which are a danger to the ordinary
enamel fittings, such as sinks, drainers, stoves, etc.

The kitchen illustrated provides a solution to the home builder
who desires comfort and utility in his kitchen.The sink is of stain-
less steel cast in one piece with a continuous draining board, while
the end benches with cupboards under have stainless steel tops of
mirror finish.

The fronts of sinks and cupboards are faced with acid resisting
sheet porcelain enamel, with doors flushed face to match. The elec-
tric stove is recessed in the wall and has its own electric exhaust
ing fan for fumes and gas exhaust and is carried out in porcelain
to match cupboards.

Walls round sinks and stove are tiled in deep cream tiles with
jade green inlay bands, whilst the floor is covered with strip jade
green rubber covering. Elevated cupboards over drainers allow space
for crockery storage with flush faced fronts, and all fittings, in-
cluding refrigerator, are so placed to allow of good circulation and
a minimum amount of walking during the working of the kitchen.

Cream Venetian blinds cover the long low window and complete
a scheme of which the housewife should be proud.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Frugal Genealogy

Way back in March I was interviewed at  Rootstech  by Andy from Family History Fanatics. Andy Lee and his wife Devon had done their homework prior to interviewing me as they had discovered that the week after Rootstech I would be back in Australia presenting at Congress, The  15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry. They knew that one of my topics would be "Managing Frugally:Free Tools for Genies and Family History Groups" so when they interviewed me they focussed on frugality.

Andy conducted quite a few interviews at Rootstech which Family History Fanatics are posting on their Youtube Channel progressively throughout the year. This week it was my turn. Thanks Andy and team for giving me a chance to chat with you.

Perhaps my fellow genies may gather a few tips from our chat.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A New Convert

Just a couple of years ago an old friend, let's call her Margaret, whom I had known for 60+ years said "I'm adopted you know". When I replied that I had known for years she asked why hadn't mentioned it to her. I hadn't said anything as I didn't know if she knew (and when my mother told me she made me promise not to tell).

At that time her elderly father was still alive and well and Margaret said that she didn't want to know about her biological family.

Schooldays for Margaret and Jill
Margaret, an only child, cared for her father who lived to a very ripe old age. I caught up with Margaret last year, two years after her father died and she informed me that she was going to delve into her biological family's history. She has recently procured a copy of her original birth certificate from which she learnt that she was born in Sydney and that her biological mother was from a country town. As often happened on the 40s and 50s single girls who found themselves in the family way moved to the city for a while.

When we met up last week Margaret said she had done a bit of research on Trove and asked for my help as she wondered if she had identified the right maternal family in the country town. We had a long chat and I think I convinced Margaret to take an Ancestry DNA test to see if she could discover something of her paternal ancestry. We discussed all the issues and Margaret realises that what she might find out may be confronting.

I jumped at the opportunity to help Margaret with her maternal line but didn't want to push her too far as it has taken her a long time to become curious about her biological family. I emailed her offering a few options: "Do you want me to send you a list of the ancestors, just the names of her parents or nothing at all? I don't want to spoil your fun but with a few clues you may be able to find some more stories on Trove."

Her response came quickly."Please if it's not too much trouble anything to sate my curiosity would be great." I have had an issue with bursitis that has prevented me from doing a lot of keyboarding but I have become adept at left handed mousing and that's all I need to hunt down people.  I was off and running.

It's the first time in years that I have started building a person's tree from scratch and it was so much easier than when I started out 30 years ago. That Margaret's maternal ancestors had been in the one country town for around 150 years made my hunt a little easier.

To keep track of things I started a new project in my Family Historian software (again so much easier to manage than when I started out using old library catalogue cards and paper charts to record info) and recorded facts as I found them. I was lucky to find Margaret's ancestors in some Ancestry trees, these hints sent me searching for sources to confirm them. I tried to work back one generation at a time. Every so often I created a fan chart to check my progress and make sure I wasn't neglecting any branches.

Last night I produced a Ancestors' report and a fan chart for Margaret from Family Historian. I emailed these together with a couple of documents I found online including a copy of the naturalisation document for her German ancestor (I had never seen one of these before). I found ancestors back to the mid 18th century from England, Germany and Ireland. I hope Margaret takes a DNA test so we can see what other genes she may have.

"I've just looked and find it all soo amazing that you could find so much info - you really are "Sherlock!" was the response I received by email this morning. This was followed a couple of hours later, after Margaret had digested the report I had sent her, by a phone call thanking me profusely for what I had done and exclaiming that I was a magician to have created the fan chart. I did fess up and say that my software Family Historian created that. Margaret also learnt that she had been researching the wrong family line on Trove but I reminded her that, as the name is not a common one, the families may indeed be related some generations back and on coming to Australia have chosen to settle in the same district. This was the case with my Irish ancestors.

Margaret is an intelligent and curious woman who will have so much fun researching her biological mother's family on Trove. I have had a peek and there is lots there to find. I know she will go beyond Trove and check out the online sources I have outlined in her Ancestors' report. I'll be on hand to answer any questions she may have a long the way.

I am confident that we have a New Convert to Family History in Margaret.

Monday, June 4, 2018

It's not a Genealogy Blog

This week I stumbled across a blog from a chap I worked with eons ago at a school in Burwood. I didn't know that he was a blogger who has been at it since 2013.

In his blog "So this weekend we..." John shares some photos from the outings he and his wife take each weekend. John explains why on this page: "This little project, to do something together each week, came about when we realised just how busy our lives are and how we could go for more than a week at a time without really doing anything together. So we decided to do something together each week under the umbrella of a theme, and that theme would change each year."

John's theme for 2018 is particularly relevant to we ancestor chasers, John and Robyn are  remembering members of their family both living and deceased by visiting Sydney streets bearing their first names. You can see the posts in this category here: We Genies could borrow this category for a blogging theme!

As well as introducing us to their family John's posts have showcased Sydney as he and Robyn walk, cycle or travel to all corners of the city.

John probably isn't into genealogy but. through this blog. he is creating a legacy for his future descendants who may want to know about the lives of their ancestors.

So this weekend we... is enhanced by a slick design and fab photos. Why don't you drop in and take a look. Tell John that Jill sent you.

Friday, May 25, 2018


Each Friday the organisers of The Genealogy Show 2019 share some news about the event. So far we have heard that genealogy megastars Judy G Russell , the Legal Genealogist, and Blaine Bettinger, DNA Guru, will be headliners at the event. I am so excited to be seeing these genies at the show in June 2019.

Today's announcement is another cracker , it's someone from a different field of family history. I was so impressed when I met and interviewed this chap at Rootstech, I was already a fan as I have read and enjoyed all of his books. It's Nathan Dylan Goodwin, Genealogy Mystery Author, another of my geneaheroes. Take a look at my video interview with Nathan to get a flavour of what he may share at the Show.

What impresses me about the content so far announced for the Show is the diversity of the speakers and their content. I can't wait to see who they roll out next week. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Located in Scotland

Mr GeniAus' mother had a photo of a handsome Victorian stone house in her collection which she believed was the home of her Gowans Grandparents in Hawick in the Borders area of Scotland.

We knew from the censuses that the Gowans lived at 1 High Street, Hawick so in 2004, on our first visit to the town, we headed to High Street where we found, at number one, a shop and residence that bore no resemblance to the handsome home in our photo. We then surmised that the family may have lived away from the watch and clockmaking and confectionery businesses that they conducted at 1 High Street (even though the censuses recorded the family as living at the High Street premises).

1 High Street, Hawick - 2004
We left a copy of a photo of the handsome house with the folk in the local Heritage Centre in Hawick and they promised to ask around to see if any of the locals could identify it. A few weeks later we got a response that no-one recognised the house and that the locals felt that it was not a Hawick building.

Several years later Mr GeniAus realised that his ancestor James Gowans lived with family members in and around Glasgow in his old age. Mr GeniAus thought perhaps James' daughter's residence, Overwood House in Glasgow Road, Paisley may be the subject of the picture. He consulted Google Maps and after looking at properties in the vicinity thought this likely as buildings in the area were of a similar style and age.

The Handsome House

Notes on the back of the photo
High on Mr GeniAus' list for our forthcoming visit to Scotland was tracking down the house so last week he decided to delve a little further.  He contacted a Paisley Group where a lovely lady called Mags MacGee took an interest in the case. She posted our photo of the house on a Facebook Group  and several members chimed in with comments.

We learnt that Overwood House had been demolished. One smart chap did something we hadn't thought to do. He blew the photo up to look for clues and deduced that, on the gatepost, there was a number and a name starting with Cop. As our copy of the photo is of a higher resolution I then took a look and saw the number 279 and worked out that the house name was Copshaw which is a village near Hawick. Ah, I thought the house must be in the vicinity of Hawick.

Zoomed in on the Gatepos
I popped 279 and Copshaw into my Google search box and was rewarded with two hits that listed a house named Copshaw at 279 Nithsdale Road, Glasgow

The resident listed was William Fairley Smith whom I immediately recognised as the husband of another daughter of James, Isabella Purves Gowans. On the back of the photo is a reference to Kathleen's bedroom, William and Isabella had a daughter by that name! We now presume that Isabella had sent this postcard to her brother, Mr GeniAus' Great-Grandfather William Purves Gowans, who was living in Australia.

When we logged back onto Google Maps Streetview we were pleased to discover that 279 Nithsdale Road is still standing and from comparing the stonework and decorations on the building we know we have solved a 30 year old mystery.

We have sent a copy of our photo to the owners of the house alerting them that we will be driving up and down their road to look at their house when we visit in the next few months.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mary Tierney 1887-1977

Remembering my Nanna Mary Curry (nee Tierney) whose was born on May 18, 1887.

Mary Tierney c1887
Aren't I lucky to have a baby photo of my Grandmother!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Trove Tuesday - Undertakers in the family

I have written before about my great-grandfather John D'Arcy Tierney and his father Denis Tierney.

I remember asking my Dad if he knew that they were undertakers In Dungog. Dad, who had spent many holidays in Dungog with his grandparents had no idea. I had found some references in directories that listed these ancestors as undertakers. Today as I was trawling through Trove I wondered if I could find any references that mentioned these chaps were undertakers.

The first mention I found was for John.
1923 'Early Recollections of Dungog.', Dungog Chronicle : Durham and Gloucester Advertiser (NSW : 1894 - 1954), 19 October, p. 5. , viewed 15 May 2018,
Denis would be the person referred to in this next article:
1954 'LOCAL SURVEY OF DUNGOG', Dungog Chronicle : Durham and Gloucester Advertiser (NSW : 1894 - 1954), 15 September, p. 2. , viewed 15 May 2018,
His undertaking activities were mentioned in Denis' obituary.
1894 'Local and General.', Dungog Chronicle : Durham and Gloucester Advertiser (NSW : 1894 - 1954), 6 February, p. 2. , viewed 15 May 2018,
In another obituary Hanley's Flat (Dungog Cemetery) "where he has laid so many" is mentioned.

1894 'The Late Mr. D. Tierney.', Dungog Chronicle : Durham and Gloucester Advertiser (NSW : 1894 - 1954), 23 February, p. 2. , viewed 15 May 2018,

Another more mentions of John:
1900 'Local and General.', Dungog Chronicle : Durham and Gloucester Advertiser (NSW : 1894 - 1954), 9 January, p. 2. , viewed 15 May 2018,
1895 'Death.', Dungog Chronicle : Durham and Gloucester Advertiser (NSW : 1894 - 1954), 11 June, p. 2. , viewed 15 May 2018,
Thanks Trove for providing more evidence to support my research on the Tierneys' undertaking role.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Judy's coming to my neck of the woods

Judy Webster (photo Jill Ball)
I was excited to learn that Judy Webster, a generous and very experienced professional genealogist and geneablogger from Queensland will be speaking at The Lake Macquarie Family History Group next Saturday.

Judy is also the founder of Genealogists for Families, a Kiva Group, that has 364 members supporting families in third world countries. (Join the group via this link).

Although I can't find mention of this talk on the Lake Macquarie Group's website Judy has posted details on her website plus Facebook page and I read of the event in the Lake Macquarie FH Group newsletter.

Knowing that Judy doesn't cross the border to come south too often  (I last saw her at Congress2018) and that she is a speaker of renown I thought that I'd let my readers know of this opportunity to hear Judy speak on "Look Beyond the Border! Archival records with data for interstate and overseas folk.".

Visitors are welcome at Lake Macquarie FHG so, if you would like to hear Judy speak it would be an idea to let the people at The Lake Macquarie Family History Group know that you are coming.

In Good Company at Rootstech

While at Rootstech earlier this year I was interviewed by The Family History Fanatics. They asked me a series of questions about my genealogy practices.

They must have asked similar questions of some of the other genealogists they interviewed. Four of us have been featured in this video posted on Youtube by The Family History Fanatics last week. I was chuffed to be included on the same video as these three prominent genies.

How would you answer the question "What genea-tech can you not live without?

Saturday, May 12, 2018

News from Darrin

Some of you will know that I use TNG (The Next Generation of Sitebuilding) which I highly recommend for my online tree. I have been using this platform for 9 years and have experienced no hiccups. When there is a problem the developer, Darrin Lythgoe, is just an email away.

GeniAus TNG site
Darrin sent me an announcement about a new upgrade to the package. I'll get on to upgrading real soon as it promises "significant upgrades to the DNA Testing Feature".

Press Release: TNG version 12
May 8, 2018
Contact: Darrin Lythgoe (

SANDY, UT: A major upgrade for The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (or “TNG”), is now available from Next Generation Software. TNG 12 includes many enhancements and new
features, plus security and user access improvements. Existing users can purchase the upgrade
at a discount by returning to their previous download page.

This release also includes three new template designs, plus added functionality for several
others, and a new language is supported (Chinese). Several media handling functions have
been improved, and two privacy-related tools have been introduced. Significant upgrades have
also been made to the DNA testing feature and the Mod Manager, which allows users to easily
install or remove add-ons.

Several of the third-party libraries used in TNG (like jQuery and PHP Mailer) have also been
upgraded, and many updates have been made to keep TNG compatible with the latest versions
of PHP and MySQL.

A more detailed summary of the version 12 changes can be found on the TNG blog at feature-preview, and
a complete list is available at

For those already running TNG, upgrading to the new version should be fairly easy and should
take less than 15 minutes. Helpful videos are also available to walk users through the process
and to highlight new features and other processes, but an option also exists to pay someone to
install the upgrade for them.

TNG makes it easy to put your genealogy on your web site in dynamic fashion. It uses a
database to store your information, so the pages are created at the time they';re requested.
When you want to make a change, you only need to upload your GEDCOM file again, or enter
the new facts directly online. TNG also allows you to link photos and other media to the people
in your tree. You're in total control, so you can update your information or customize the look
and feel any time you want.

TNG is commercial software ($32.99 USD one-time license fee). In order to run TNG, your web
site must support PHP (a programming language) and MySQL (the database). Existing users
may upgrade to the latest version online starting at $15.99. The first version of TNG was
published by Darrin Lythgoe in 2001.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Mother's Day Gift

My mtDNA results at FTDNA have me flummoxed. 

I really don't understand them at all so I have ignored them since my first match came through in May 2016.  Of the 118 matches on the site not one of them appears to have a connection to me. 85 of these matches share my K1a10a haplogroup but not one of the names on the list of matches looks vaguely familiar. Of the Earliest Known Ancestors nominated by my matches not one rings a bell. 

A map shows me that my mtDNA HVR2 matches number 41 I've clicked on each of those red pins and am none the wiser.  

My mtDNA HVR2 matches
It seems as though I need to upgrade to the Full Sequence test to get more meaningful results....look what appeared on my FTDNA page. Just what I needed!!

Of course I signed up - I am saving $US99 on this Mother's Day offer. When the results come in I'll let you know if this was money down the drain or if I have been enlightened!

440 New or Updated Entries

Sometimes I despair that I don't have enough time to devote to my own family's research.

After uploading the latest version of my database (which I store in Family Historian on my laptop) to my family site I did a quick calculation on the number of records I have updated since my last upload and it appears that 440 records have been updated. Some of these are completely new records while some existing records had dates and sources added and in a few cases some inaccuracies were corrected. I didn't realise that the half an hour here and there I devote to my database could realise such a good result.

My Family Site
I am keen on adding as many distant cousins as I can to my database as I find having this information available helps me when I am trying to work out where my new DNA matches fit into my tree. So often these matches will know the names of their grandparents or great-grandparents but haven't a clue about earlier generations. 

I find that if I can put forward names of some potential ancestors in my communications with DNA matches I am more likely to get a response like "XX is my Mother" or "XX and XX were my parents. Good Luck." or "XX is my Father. XX was my Grandmother".  For this to happen I need lots of names in my database.

Once I get these responses I can write back and give the new DNA Cousins information on the earlier generations of their family and the ancestors we share thus adding to their family stories. These connections are usually over the moon when they receive this help.

Now that I have penned this post my despair has disappeared.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Found while planning the next adventure...

Our next holiday will be to the UK. Although our main focus is touristing, as we will be in ancestral territory, we will have to spend some time ancestor hunting.

Gowans Headstone
On a previous visit to Scotland in 2004 (was it that long ago?) we visited Haddington in East Lothian, Scotland. The local history and genealogy collection was housed in a cramped little gallery area upstairs in a library. The staff were amazing and so helpful and gave us some very useful leads. We were so impressed that Mr GeniAus wrote to the local authority to compliment the staff and comment on the poor conditions in which they were working and the records were housed. 

While in Haddington we were able to add several leaves to the Gowans tree when we found several family members resting in St Mary's Church Graveyard. 

Today I was doing some planning for our next jaunt which includes a few days in Scotland after an organised tour from London to Scotland. I'll visit General Register House in Edinburgh, The Heritage Hub in Hawick and return to Haddington. 

I discovered that Haddington now has The John Gray Centre "The John Gray Centre brings together East Lothian Council’s ArchaeologyMuseumArchive and Local History Services, alongside Haddington’s branch library." Wow! Did they listen to Mr GeniAus?

What was even better was that I was able to consult their online catalogue where I found numerous references to Mr GeniAus Gowans ancestors. The industrious folk at East Lothian have indexed newspapers and local archives and records. We'll be having a busy and fruitful day in Haddington when we visit the John Gray Centre to access all those references I found today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Trove Tuesday - 8 May 1970

May the 8th 1970 sticks in my memory because it was the day Mr GeniAus and I were wed in downtown Sydney. That auspicious event didn't make the newspapers of the day as it was overshadowed by something much bigger which hindered our wedding cars' progress and caused our reception to start late.

I had a look at Trove to see if I could find any contemporary reports of that huge event which is outside the dates covered by most newspapers digitised on Trove.

News of the Moratorium was on the front page of The Canberra Times. You can read a clear copy here

1970 'Thousands join in Moratorium, few incidents', The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 9 May, p. 1. , viewed 08 May 2018,
The article continues here on page 3 of the newspaper. 

The Pictures, photos, objects  search returned a a good number of links to photographs, badges and posters which I dare not share here as I may infringe copyright.

On Pandora I found several web pages but access to some articles was restricted to 70 years after the event. This one from South Australia was available:

Celebrating South Australia  8 May 1970 Vietnam Moratorium March

In the People and organisations results I found references to several individuals and bodies who were involved in the campaign. There were also several links in the Music, Sound and Video results.

Although there were few newspaper reports the Vietnam Moratorium has a decent coverage in Trove

Monday, May 7, 2018

Grumpy Old Genie

Grumpy Old Genie
This morning I was wondering if I would blog today....then I looked at my RSS feeds.

I read quite a number of posts and shared a couple to my GeniAus Facebook page . Something I saw annoyed this Grumpy Old Girl. One blogger who has three blogs had posted exactly the same article to those three blogs. Each of these blogs is targetted at a different family group so I guess the blogger thought the message important enough to share to the three different audiences...but what of people like me who follow all three blogs?

The purpose of each of those blogs appears to be to share and record stories from a branch of the bloggers family. The blogger struck a problem when she had something general to say.

Was it really necessary to post the same article in those three placesWould it be a better strategy to use other social media channels to share the message widely?

That blogger could have one blog for all posts and label and categorize them carefully so that her different audiences could find articles of interest to them. This could even bring more readers to the blog as readers would be exposed to articles outside their area of interest. Such a blog could have a broader purpose - ie to share the stories of my ancestors, connect with cousins and discuss issues in genealogy.

Another alternative would be to have multiple blogs - one for each family line plus a general general genealogy blog for discussion of news, issues, resources etc. This would benefit those readers who are only interested in hearing stories of one family line.

Another approach is to have a general blog and then other blogs for niche subjects. Prominent Australian bloggers who take this approach are Alona Tester and Pauleen Cass.

So what I am really thinking about today is recognising your audience and having a clear purpose for your blog/s.

Which approach do you take?

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Ancestry Bug

I hear that Ancestry now have over 7 Million samples in their DNA database and after travelling around for several weeks I am not surprised.

So often at dinner on our cruise the conversation would turn to DNA and I would announce that I had taken 5 DNA tests and uploaded my results to some other sites - on hearing this some of my fellow diners' views labelled me as either an expert or a nutcase. Most of the affluent retirees had taken Ancestry DNA tests (and it was always Ancestry - good marketing at work there) but were clueless about the DNA matching side of things, they were all focussed on the ethnicity results and that is all they wanted to know about. They did the tests because it is an in thing to do. I did mention that these could be inaccurate due to the reference groups used to make these predictions but my fellow diners just wanted to know where their ancestors came from and don't question the results.

I learn lots of lessons when I travel. These conversations have reminded me not to expect everyone on my lists of matches to share my enthusiasm for hunting down cousins and to accept that others have valid reasons for taking DNA tests.

Reflecting on this has made me revisit my four Ethnicity results (still waiting on Living DNA to come back). There are no major surprises but I am pleased that all tests seem to confirm my aboriginal ancestry as Melanesian, Oceania, Melanesia and Oceania. I am kicking myself that I didn't take screenshots of the results when I first tested so that I could monitor changes over time.

Following are my results as at 4 May 2018.

23andme Results

FTDNA Results
Ancestry Results

My Heritage Results


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