Saturday, April 10, 2021

I is for...In search of the Pennant Hills

 I've been researching my family history for over thirty years. Along this genealogy journey I have been supported by hundreds of books, many of which I have listed on my Librarything page. 

During the 2021 #AtoZChallenge I will be writing about two of my passions, books and family history. I'll be taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting some of those books that have enriched my genealogy experience.




Published by The Pennant Hills Local Studies Group it is evident that In search of the Pennant Hills : a history of the settlements known as Pennant Hills on the Pennant Hills Range 1788 to 1906 was a labour of love for its three authors. 

I must admit that I haven't read it in full but I truly love this book that was a gift to my husband. It is a book I have caressed and examined on several occasions. This book ekes QUALITY, its overall design, the research behind the work and words that share the story are superb.

There is so much to love, when I open the book that is now 14 years old I still get a whiff of new paper from the beautiful thick, shiny paper between its covers. I like to flip the pages and drink in the design of the beautifully laid out pages which may have one, two or three columns of text. There are many maps, diagrams and photographs of people, places and realia scattered throughout the work, the majority of the page spreads feature an image. Much thought has gone into the production of this book.

It warms the cockles of an old librarian's heart to see the back section of the work that is printed on cream paper in contrast to the white used for the body of the work. These cream pages house appendices, a comprehensive index and author information. 

The only negative I have related to this hardcover work is that it is too large to hold up comfortably in bed.

Although I had no direct connection with Pennant Hills it is in the Hornsby Shire where we previously resided. As a coordinator of the local family history group there I had an interest in Pennant Hills and its people Now that a family of my descendants lives in Pennant Hills my interest has been rekindled so I am going to dive into the book once more.

If you want to examine a beautiful book then I suggest you seek this one out. You can purchase the book from Hillstory and see pages from a sample chapter on their website.

Friday, April 9, 2021

H is for ...Heraldry

 I've been researching my family history for over thirty years. Along this genealogy journey I have been supported by hundreds of books, many of which I have listed on my Librarything page. 

During the 2021 #AtoZChallenge I will be writing about two of my passions, books and family history. I'll be taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting some of those books that have enriched my genealogy experience.



When my husband wanted to learn about raising chickens he went to the children's section of the local library and borrowed books on raising chickens . The benefits of books written for youngsters are that they are written in simple, clear language with plenty of diagrams and understandable explanations of related terminology. Once he had a basic understanding of the subject my husband moved on to more specialised works written for adults.

When I wanted to learn about heraldry, a subject that is closely allied with genealogy,  I didn't consult one of the fat tomes from the reference section of  the library I grabbed a Ladybird book, Learnabout Heraldry, from our family's bookshelf. 

As I didn't want to embark on the study of heraldry this book gave me all the information I needed on the subject. 

Once upon a time I was the Children's Librarian in a public library, there I learnt the value of the children's non-fiction section for adults to embark on learning about unfamiliar subjects. I learnt that valuable lesson fifty years ago!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

G is for...Getting the Most from Family Historian 6

 I've been researching my family history for over thirty years. Along this genealogy journey I have been supported by hundreds of books, many of which I have listed on my Librarything page. 

During the 2021 #AtoZChallenge I will be writing about two of my passions, books and family history. I'll be taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting some of those books that have enriched my genealogy experience.


When I am learning a new software application I usually jump in feet first and and take a trial and error approach to learning. Using this method may lead to mistakes and could even reinforce poor practice but it's the way I like to work, I tend to use help menus when I really get stuck. I like to learn by doing.

I tend to avoid reading help manuals from cover to cover but I will turn to a manual when I can't work something out for myself. In some situations I find it helpful to have a book that contains clear instructions beside me so that I can follow step by step instructions to master a skill or task. I find it easier to follow printed instructions that are beside then following instructions in a help menu on a screen.

One such book that has helped me enormously is Getting the Most from Family Historian 6 by the program's developer Simon Orde. Although a new version of Family Historian, version 7, has recently been released most of the content in Simon's book is relevant to version 7 users. 

No matter what desktop software you use a well-written and organised guide with a detailed index written for your software will be a valuable addition to your library.

Getting the Most from Family Historian 6 is available from The Family Historian Store

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

How's your Footprint?

I was shocked to learn over the weekend of the death last month of my 3rd cousin, Michelle Gilliver-Smith. at the age of 55. Michelle was one of the first genealogists with whom I collaborated in snail mail days. We reconnected through DNA in 2017.

I had learnt of Michelle's death via the Facebook page of the Tomaree Family History Group Nelson Bay Inc. where Michelle, a longterm member, had been responsible for the website and newsletter. 

By putting her name into a Google search I found Michelle's death notice online and copied the details into my genealogy software. While at Google I found more mentions of Michelle including a comprehensive work, education and volunteering history she had entered on her LinkedIn Page, I made a note of this information. Michelle also had a summary of her career posted on a Wix site she had created. The LG Professionals page had a page long profile of Michelle in which she talked about her interest in Genealogy.

I looked at my DNA matches on Airtable where I record matches of kits I manage, I could see that Michelle had first tested with FTDNA and uploaded those results to Gedmatch, she later tested with Ancestry. On each of these sites Michelle had uploaded comprehensive family trees. Michelle was also a contributor to the Familysearch Family Tree. Geni.com and Wikitree.

Michelle was active on social media with accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. My Google search returned a comment from Michelle to Princess Cruises telling them how much she enjoyed her cruise on Diamond Princess in 2013! Also on the Google search I learnt of Michelle's donations to charity, found a couple of photos of her and some journal articles she had written.

Michelle who died at a relatively young age has, because of her commitment to her family history and use of online resources and social media sites, left a valuable footprint for future generations of our family to discover her story. As this blog is preserved in the Australian Web Archive on Trove (where there are already several mentions of Michelle) I have written this post to add to that footprint.

https://pixabay.com/photos/beach-sea-footprints-sand-water-5455896/
How's your Footprint?



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