Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Trove Tuesday - Society of Australian Genealogists

I have spent quite a deal of time on Trove over the past few days as I prepare a workshop on Trove for The Society of Australian Genealogists. During my Trove visit my attention wandered a few times and I found myself searching for articles on the Society. Reading these has given me a bit more knowledge of the organisation's history.

These items were found in Government Gazettes and Newspapers.

1932 'SOCIETY OF GENEALOGISTS.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 30 August, p. 8. , viewed 11 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16915901
Add caption1932 'A NEW ONE.', Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 - 1954), 3 October, p. 2. , viewed 11 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article192136094

1949 'Move To Save Bronte House', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 29 August, p. 2. , viewed 11 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18126364

1954 'OLD INSCRIPTIONS SAVED', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 6 December, p. 7. , viewed 11 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18453734

1983 'EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS (STAMP DUTIES EXEMPTION) ACT, 1961', Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), 11 November, p. 5090. , viewed 11 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article231426893

Saturday, March 9, 2019

A Scrumptious Sandwich

When reflecting on my week at Rootstech I though of a sandwich, a scrumptious sandwich full of delicious ingredients. 

Image - Pexels 
The bready outer layers of my sandwich represent unofficial pre and post Rootstech activities that have become traditions for my genimates and me. The filling has been the amazing Rootstech Conference and associated events hosted by Familysearch and vendors.

Of course as with all generously filled sandwiches I found some of the ingredients more appealing than others.  Rootstech provides so much variety so that each attendee can customise his or her own sandwich. Some sandwiches were packed with a smorgasbord of ingredients while some were more manageable but from what I could see each attendee enjoyed his or her custom made Rootstech sandwich.

So you ask - how did GeniAus customise her sandwich?

The first bready bit was laid down on the Monday prior to Rootstech with  Mondays with Myrt (watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vav1ptxycz4) in the Family History Library followed by The Annual Commonwealth Dinner in the evening.

With DearMYRTLE (left) on Mondays with Myrt
There was one ingredient that many attendees added to their sandwich on Tuesday, that was registration in a far corner of the Salt Palace. This was a painless experience.

There were no queues at Registration
On Tuesday I added the Rootstech Media Dinner, a by invitation event for major sponsors, media, Rootstech Ambassadors, Familysearch employees and friends of Rootstech. One of the first people I met was DNA hero, Blaine Bettinger.

Sharn White, Blaine Bettinger and GeniAus
On the table I chatted with  Sharn White and Ruth Blair and I enjoyed catching up with Bronze Sponsor Kirsty Gray and crew from Familywise, We were entertained by one of the films from the Rootstech film fest and got advance notice of  new Familysearch initiatives. I was sitting at the lucky seat on our table so I left as the winner of a Google Home Mini.

Alex Cox from FindMyPast  (centre) was one of my tablemates
Late Tuesday night came through the news that I was selected as an Ambassador for RootstechLondon. I am excited to be joined by my good friends Fran Kitto (TravelGenee) and Sharn White as Aussie Ambassadors. As someone with 31/32 of my ancestors from the British Isles I am thrilled to be an Ambassador in the Old Country.

On my way to #RootstechLondon
The Ancestry breakfast on Wednesday morning was an interesting and informal event. I was surprised to find myself included in the small group of prominent genies gathered for the event. On the day before the breakfast we received an email outlining the initiatives that Ancestry would be announcing at Rootstech so, at the breakfast there was no need for a formal presentation giving us this news. There were some short introductions from key people and then the Ancestry team moved around chatting with their guests. It was hard to respect the embargo and not share the exciting news until 9am. Now that I have tested the tools I can say Bravo, in just a few hours I have confirmed 19 new cousins.

The Expo Hall wasn't open on Wednesday so I opted for a full day of learning. The talks I attended ranged from mediocre to magnificent. My vote for the best talk of the day goes to The Dapper Historian, Myko Clelland ,from FindMyPast for his talk on Newspapers.Watch it here https://www.rootstech.org/video/uncovering-family-stories-with-british-irish-historic-newspapers-myko-clelland).

Myko mesmerised a full house
In the opening keynote at 4:30pm there was exciting news announced for the African-American Community. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a donation of  2 Million Dollars to the International African American Museum Center for Family History. Following the announcement a surprise guest, Martin Luther King III came to the stage. I tweeted "Martin Luther King III on stage at #RootsTech speaking powerfully of his father's vision of a fully integrated society. A world in which all men will live together as brothers."

Martin Luther King III at Rootstech
After the keynote the Expo Hall was declared open so strolled over to the Media Hub to connect with my genimates and see if there were any interview opportunities. Mr King was not giving an interview but as he walked by with his minders he stopped and chatted with me for a few minutes, I was so dumbfounded that I didn't take a picture of the meeting.

Dianna Fulton from Ontario Ancestors in the Expo Hall
As I had to stay in the Expo Hall until 8pm for a photo shoot with other Board Members of THE Genealogy Show I took the opportunity to visit some of the stands and chat with the exhibitors. I could have given my Amex card a good workout but I exercised restraint. I was tired so I decided to dine solo in the Marriott restaurant, I was thrilled when old friends Pat Richley-Erickson and her husband Gordon joined me. Shortly afterwards fellow Australian genie, Michelle Patient joined us.

It was an early start on Friday for the MyHeritage breakfast at the Marriott. Thankfully it was only a short elevator ride from my room in the Marriott to the function room. I had a very interesting conversation with Tabea Naeder from the customer support team. I was so impressed with what Tabea had to say that I sought her out for a video interview which will appear on my Youtube Rootstech Collection in the coming days.

Since I interviewed him at Rootstech 2018 (see below) I have followed Jonny Perl with interest. I attended Jonny's talk on Chromosome matching and was most impressed with his performance, my husband who knew nothing about chromosome mapping came away with a good understanding. I tweeted " reSuch a balanced presentation from @jonnyperl @RootsTechConf . He is showing a whole range of #DNA tools and not just focusing on his brilliant #DNAPainter tool #genealogy . Such a refreshing approach."


Lunchtime Friday my geneablogging mates gathered for our annual group photo. Thanks to Mr GeniAus for risking life and limb on a very high stool to take the photo for us.

Geneabloggers at Rootstech 2019
Having read his book and seen Lion, the movie of his story, I was so looking forward to Friday's keynote with Australian Saroo Brierley.  I could hardly contain my excitement. I was bursting with pride as this young Aussie told his story to a spellbound audience. But that's not all. The wonderful Familysearch team of Paul Nauta and Tyler Stahle arranged for me to have a private backstage interview with Saroo. I invited fellow Australian Ambassador Sharn White along and took Mr GeniAus as my cameraman. As we were chatting there was so much noise from the sessions that were in progress that the audio on the recording is of poor quality. My next job is to transcribe the recording and share Saroo's words in a blog post. I could have packed up and gone home after this experience it was so good.

Backstage with Saroo
All this excitement was too much for an old girl. There was no way I had the energy to walk the couple of blocks downhill to meet up with fellow members of the Virtual Genealogy Association. Our relationship will have to stay virtual until another date. Instead I joined a few of my Commonwealth friends including The Novel Guys, Nathan Dylan Goodwin and Robert Bristow at a venue closer to my hotel, thanks to Kirsty Gray for organising this relaxing repast.

After the excitement of Friday I gave myself a sleepin on Saturday and spent the best part of the day in the Media Hub until it closed at 2pm. I have several interviews recorded there that I must process and upload to my Youtube Rootstech Collection. I took time out to hear the day's keynote with Jake Shimabukuro. It was fellow Aussie Ambassador Sharn's day to be excited, as a ukelele player Sharn was keen to hear Jake. I loved Jake's three rules for life:  "Be humble. Be grateful. Be kind."

Jake responding to Sharn's question in the Media interview
Christine Woodcock's presentation on Brickwall Busters for Scottish Genealogy was an excellent talk to finish off a hectic week. I've heard several Scottish experts talk on Scottish subjects and Christine is one of the best. She demonstrated the depth of her knowledge when answering questions from the audience. There was no question that had her stumped. I appreciated Christine giving permission to the audience to take photos of her slides, I was able to engage more fully on her talk as I did not need to take notes.

The final bready bit that sealed the sandwich was the annual Rootstech after party for friends of DearMYRTLE at her and her husband Gordon L. Erickson's home near Salt Lake City. It was lovely being able to kick ones's shoes off, curl up in a comfy chair and share Rootstech tales with fellow geneabloggers plus new and old friends made at previous Rootstech conferences.

Rootstech after party at the Ericksons
Rootstech 2019 delivered a scrumptious sandwichWe now have to plan for RootstechLondon and the different but splendid sandwich awaiting us there.

Rootstech London Ambassadors

On World Genealogy Day....

I am sitting with my grandson and telling him about some famous Aussies he is related to.

I think he is more impressed with being the 3rd cousin once removed of Darren Middleton from Powderfinger than being 2nd cousin three times removed of Football legend Arthur Beetson. Unfortunately I could only think of these two famous people. I didn't want to bore the grandson lest I turn him off so I only shared one more ancestor story, that of his 3xGreat-Grandfater, James Pusell, who bit off a chap's ear in a drunken brawl.

1896 'Biting off an Ear.', Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 - 1940), 25 July, p. 4. , viewed 09 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98568791
As my Grandson was strumming his guitar earlier I showed him the video of Jake Shimabukuru at Rootstech, I thought he would enjoy this maestro's skill with the ukelele. The Grandson thought Jake was "awesome".

We also watched a Facebook live video I made at Rootstech and worked out a way to download it in MP4 format. These techie things come so naturally to 12 year old boys.

Talking about family history with a young descendant is a satisfying way to celebrate World Genealogy Day.

Friday, March 1, 2019

I got to shake his hand...

and we had a short chat ...  he told me had had a friend who was going to Australia this week.

Everyone loves a surprise and we were dealt a huge one when Martin Luther King III came on stage during the opening session of the 2019 Rootstech Conference. He had such a presence as he spoke about the International African American Museum and shared some of the words of  his late father, Martin Luther King Junior.

I posted this on Twitter "Martin Luther King III on stage at speaking powerfully of his father's vision of a fully integrated society. A world in which all men will live together as brothers."

Martin Luther King III on stage at Rootstecg
Some time after the session Mr King walked through the Media Hub with his minders but he stopped to shake my hand and have a chat. I was gobsmacked to be in the company of such a lovely, humble human being.

Thanks to the Rootstech organisers for giving us the opportunity to hear Mr King.

Rootstech Week 2019 - Commonwealth Dinner

I was thrilled when 31 folk from 7 (British) Commonwealth countries (including a few ringins) gathered in Salt Lake City for the Annual Commonwealth Dinner on Monday evening.

We Commonwealth chaps are a minority group at Rootstech so this gathering gives us a chance to reconnect with genimates and introduce first-timers to new friends before the madness that is Rootstech begins. From the number of conversations I witnessed and the feedback received I know that this was a very successful event. Thank you to all who joined us.

Following are some photos I snapped of those present. On reviewing the photos I realise that I missed taking pics of everyone present including yours truly. Take a look at the photos below to see how many of the genies you recognise, there are some BIG names in the group.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

ExCeL here I come

I just received some exciting news from the people at Rootstech. I have been selected as an Ambassador for Rootstech London.

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as an Ambassador for eight Rootstech conferences in Salt Lake City there is something special about taking on this role in the land of my ancestors.

Each time I hop off the plane in Heathrow I feel immediately at home and as I travel around the British Isles on my geneajourneys  visiting ancestral sites I experience so many spinetingling moments.

This conference in London will give many Australian genies opportunities an opportunity to combine research in UK repositories, geneajourneys to ancestral sites and a major family history conference. What a trifecta!

As one of the old guard of Rootstech Ambassadors I hope that I can support those who are attending Rootstech for the first time. I look forward to seeing a strong contingent from downunder at the London.

I will be proudly displaying this badge on my blogs.

Smooth Process

Registering for Rootstech 2018 was a nightmare that caused many attendees to complain to the organisers.

It was with trepidation and a preparedness to wait in a long line that I ventured to the Salt Palace to register for Rootstech 2019. I was in for a big surprise, the process this year was streamlined and stress free. Thanks to the organisers who listened to last year's feedback and organised a new setup for registration. Firstly they mailed out badges to people in the US who took this option so they only had to deal with overseas folk who opted out of the mailing and late registrations in person. This worked well.

There was lots of signage directing delegates to the registration area.

 All one had to do to activate one's registration was to type an email address into one of the many  terminals available.


The next step was to go to a print station to collect one's badge from the friendly volunteer. That's Mr GeniAus marching towards the print station.

The Help Desk was set up next to the collection point for Rootstech merchandise. We were in and out in less than five minutes. What a contrast to the 2018 experience. 

Thanks Rootstech organisers. Our Rootstech experience has started off on a positive note.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Capital Punishment Database

As I was scouting around searching for details to add to persons in my CurryAus surname project I came across a new to me database, The NSW Capital Convictions Database.

While it was not intended as a genealogical database it contains the sort of information that we  family historians love to find. The database contains searchable particulars on prisoner, victim, conviction, and execution. So if your ancestor was a perpetrator or victim of crime in NSW you may find some interesting facts to add to their stories.

Of the two Currys I found in the database one was executed while one was found to be Not guilty.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Church on the Hawkesbury River

We've had this painting of a "Church on the Hawkesbury River" hanging on our walls since the early 1980s when we bought it from the artist, Marge Curson, who worked at Una Voce at Lower Portland where we used to holiday with the family.

Since that time I have learnt that my ancestors lived in the Hawkesbury area and I wonder if the church was significant in our family. I realise that because of artistic licence the painting may not accurately portray an actual church but I am posting a photo of the painting in the hope that someone recognises the building.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Why didn't I think of that?

As I wrestled with linking my Six Feet under Downunder Google sheets to play nicely with my new Wix website I took some time off to read my email.

My clever genimate Carmel asked me why I was using Wix when a Google site would be "Easy for a Googly girl". I don't know why but I hadn't given Google a thought. Why didn't I think of that?

It's a long time since I made a Google site but with the help of Carmel's marvellous "How to create a family site" I was up and away.  I found the process a bit frustrating as the Google site does not have the flexibility of Wix but I don't need something with too many bells and whistles. I just needed something that would play nicely with my spreadsheets. A bit of tweaking is needed especially with the Header but for the moment I am more than satisfied.

I'm putting my Wix site to bed and will continue on with my new Six Feet Under Downunder Google Site which does a sterling job of sharing my spreadsheets.

Thanks to the wonderful Robbie Stockfeld I have lots of  links to indexes from Victoria and elsewhere to add to this site.

Going six feet under

Update 9/2/2019

Because of technical difficulties I could not resolve I have unpublished the Wix site mentioned below and replaced it with a Google Site Six Feet under Downunder. Please visit  https://sites.google.com/view/6feetunderdownunder/ and email me links to your favourite indexes.

I just can't help myself.

While preparing for my Six Feet Under Downunder webinar over the past few days I realised that there was no one site that lists all the wonderful resources in Australia that index the names of deceased resting in cemeteries and crematoria around Australia. It would have helped me no end in my preparation if there was a meta site that links to such resources.
Of course I decided to fill the gap with a Six Feet Under Downunder Website. I must be mad but I hope that the many generous genies around Australia who know of such indexes of  cremations, headstones and burial sites will share them with me so they can be loaded on the site. I will link to free indexes big and small that are available online.

Please bear with me as I set the site up and add data, it is my first attempt at creating a website with Wix so I'm on a steep learning curve. The site is live but have only added a little data until I get the structure right and work out how to add hyperlinks from the spreadsheets I am sharing on the pages. I will start wiht the sites I shared in the webinar and then add those shared by webinar attendees in the chat log. Feel free to take a look. 
I need your HELP. If you know of a list not on this site please email me the details and I will add it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Attendees teach presenter

Before I signed out from the Six Feet Under Downunder webinar this afternoon I took host Geoff Rasmussen's advice and downloaded the Chat Log and Questions Log from the event. I have just sat down and read through all the comments made and questions asked.

When presenting one needs to concentrate on the job at hand so there is no time to monitor the conversation that is taking place concurrently. Thanks to Geoff, a marvellous moderator, who replied to your comments online and provided links and information.

Sometimes one's activities have unintended outcomes, today's webinar certainly did. Firstly I was surprised that so many people tuned in to hear an Aussie grandma spruiking online, I was pleased to hear that people from 18 countries logged on. THANKS to you all. My curiosity is piqued because to me the attendees are anonymous, I wonder who it was that was online from Augsburg, Germany and down the road from me in Newcastle, Australia. There was a good representation from various states in the US, I think all Australian States were represented and our cousins across the ditch in New Zealand had a fair representation. A big G"Day to you all.

Many of the attendees who made comments taught me things I didn't know so the webinar was a learning experience for me.  Thanks to those who provided answers about the content on Tasmanian death certificates that I was unable to answer:


Prior to 1897 particulars recorded were:
Name of deceased.
Date and place of death.
Age at death.
Cause of death.

In 1897 the birthplace of deceased was added.

In 1914 age at marriage and number of issue were added.

I was interested to learn this about Deaths at sea: "When ex-Navy people are buried, the location (GPS / Lat-Long) of the position at which the ashes were scattered is recorded.  Should be able to ask for these through defence records also." and "Queensland death cert for burial at sea of infant ancestor who died while rellies were immigrating to Aus late 1800s include longtitude/latitude so can pinpoint with accuracy location of this sea burial."

I'll take a look at the unanswered questions and will try to answer them in a future blog post.

Thanks to those who provided me with links to online cemetery records. I will add these to my new blog/site Six Feet Under Downunder once I finish setting it up. I'll let you know when it goes live.

You can view the webinar online here for a limited time.

Friday, February 1, 2019

#GenealogySelfie Day - Reflecting

It took me most of the day to snap my #GenealogySelfie.

Reflecting on #GenealogySelfie Day
As the weather was cool Mr GeniAus spent most of his time out in our neglected garden so I had lots of time to spend on two favourite activities genealogy and thinking/reflecting.

I saw a notice for the SAG Genealogy Certificate and thought about whether I should attempt a formal course of study as family history is for me a hobby/passion. Would studying take the fun element out of it for me?

Elizabeth O'Neal's entry, Finding where we belong, in the Rootstech Video competition had me reflecting on my motivation to do family history.  Like me Elizabeth is an only child so the content of her video resonated. Do take a couple of minutes to watch the video.

Lilian Magill's blog post about some of the books in her genealibrary made me examine my collection for similar titles and evaluate my collection policy.

I thought about my involvement as an Ambassador the Rootstech Conference so I planned an event for people from the (Former) British Commonwealth to meet up prior to Rootstech. As I thought about these dinners that have become a Rootstech tradition I realised that through them I have made some great genimates in other Commonwealth countries.

I accepted a new invitation to speak at a Family History Group that is close to my heart but far from my home. I don't actively seek opportunities to speak but a few invites have come my way this month. I have several speaking gigs lined up but I pondered on whether I should keep up this activity. I love sharing my experiences and enthusiasm with fellow genies but preparing these talks takes such a lot of time that I could devote to chasing up my own ancestors.

On my mind all through the day were dead people in Australia and their final resting places. It took me ages to get around to what I should have been doing .... that was polishing up my webinar presentation for Legacy Family Tree Webinars' Australian series next week. I have heard from Geoff at Legacy that there is a healthy amount of interest in my Six Feet Under Downunder presentation. I am so impressed with the professionalism of the Legacy mob and hope that I can uphold their standards.

After my relaxing day of reflection I need to put my nose to the grindstone and finish off my 4 page handout for the webinar.


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