Sunday, September 30, 2012

Full Rootstech Registration for $129

I see that other bloggers are talking about the Rootstech Earlybird registration of $149. As an Official Blogger I am able to offer you for just 12 more days a discount code that will give you an additional $20 off your registration. I am reposting my post from last week with this information.

One of the perks of being an Official Rootstech Blogger is that I get to share special offers with my readers.

The first perk I can offer you is a BIG Saving on Registration for the full Conference so, if you are considering joining a few thousand other family history enthusiasts in Salt Lake City from 21-23 March 2013 it would be wise to register now and save.

You can save $90 off a 3-day, full conference pass when you use the discount code RT129 when registering. So you will pay just $129.

This discount is available until Oct. 12, 2012 to my blog readers!

To Register go to

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, offers an opportunity unlike any other to discover the latest family
history tools and techniques, connect with experts to help you in your research and be inspired in the
pursuit of your ancestors. You will learn to use the latest technology to get started or accelerate your
efforts to find, organize, preserve, and share your family’s connections and history.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Idiot Box

My husband and grandson enjoying the television last night.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet – T is for … Ten

The obvious choice for this T post would be Trove from the National Library of Australia but I'll leave that to someone else. In a blog post yesterday James Tanner spoke about "My top ten, can't miss, websites"; and that gave me an idea for a post. I am going to highlight my Top Ten Tools for Genealogy in alphabetical order (library training reigns).

Blogger  Although I have toyed with moving over to Wordpress I find that, although it annoys me sometimes, Blogger continues to serve me well as a blogging platform that enables me to reach out to other genealogists. 

Chrome Presently my browser of choice I love Chrome because it works so well with the other Google products I use and has a fabulous collection of addons that I access from my toolbar to make my browsing experience efficient and painless.

Evernote My previous posts tell my Evernote story: Family History Through the Alphabet – E is for …Evernote, Evernote - the presenter's pal, Google Docs and Evernote

Family Historian I took a great leap of faith when I ditched my genealogy database package in favour of Family Historian. Some of my posts describe the process: Family Historian Progress, I'm on a winner with Family Historian

Familysearch As well as providing online access to many genealogical records Familysearch also publishes some useful blogs (I love Tech Tips) and the Familysearch Wiki. I have been fortunate to have early access to the new Familysearch Family Tree which is one of the most exciting initiatives for family historians in a long time.

Google Docs, I use this package daily as my Office suite and love that I can access my documents easily from all of my devices or public computers. Here is how I use it for genealogy: Google Docs and Evernote

Google+ My social network of choice where I can organise  my contacts easily into interest groups and target my posts to those who have similar interests. I have a huge circle of genealogy contacts here.

Picasa Google's free photo management tool that I use everyday to organise, edit retrieve and share my photos. It copes with my 90,000 superbly (and doesn't crash). 

Trove Our nation's treasure from the National Library of Australia has to be on my list. This site is the best thing since sliced bread.

Twitter Although I don't use Twitter as much as I did before Google+ arrived on the scene I think Twitter is the best tool for sharing news and ideas from conferences and events. By following designated hashtags from events I can vicariously attend the event or, if I am there, can contribute to such an experience for others in the Twitterverse.

As James said in his post "So there you have the top ten for today. Of course, I may change my mind anytime."

The Power of Social Media

Today I took the Bambino north for an excursion to Tuggerah Library (one of Wyong Council's libraries) where I was greeted by the bubbly Reference Librarian, Michelle Goldsmith and work experience student Sharon (who happens to be one of my Twitter pals).   I was there at the library's invitation to present a workshop on Social Media for Family History.

Michelle and Sharon made me feel most welcome and were very helpful as I set up for the gig. I saw a couple of familiar faces from the Family Historian Interest Group in the room  plus a member of the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society where I am on the Committee; I also met a fellow geneablogger, Janelle, so I felt right at home. The venue was airy, comfortable and the computer and projector worked so things augured well for the talk.

Before I got started I put out a couple of messages on Google+ and  Facebook asking my contacts to say g'day to the assembled group. Very few in the group had any experience of social media so they were most impressed when, within a few minutes, we received greetings from the US and Australia. Kylie Willison of South Australia was first off the mark , thanks Kylie.

Thank you to all of you who sent messages - you provided a great practical example of how social media works - this is more powerful than just showing a series of screenshots. See the messagaes below.

Thanks to the folk at Wyong for inviting me along. I may have bamboozled some of the group but I think most of them went away with some understanding of how social media can be used to enhance their genealogy experience. I only noticed one person nodding off so at least I kept most of them awake and that for me is an indicator of success.

From Facebook
From Google+


Earlybirds at Wyong Library waiting for my talk on Social Media.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm on a winner with Family Historian

I received this press release by email this morning. I am not into publishing Press Releases  that are going to appear on lots of blogs, This one is important to me as it further validates my decision to move to Family Historian software from Calico Pie.

I am pleased that developer, Simon Orde, has made this move as it ensures that we, Family Historian users, will have a product that meets shared international standards.


Calico Pie Limited leads the UK as a Founding Member of FHISO
London (United Kingdom) and Gilbert, AZ (USA) — September 23, 2012 — Calico Pie Limited and Family History Information Standards Organisation, Inc. (FHISO) announced today that Calico Pie has finalised its plans to become a founding member of the organisation. As part of this process, Calico Pie has designated its founder, Simon Orde, to be an organisational member representative. Simon will participate with other FHISO members from the global genealogical community in the development of standards for the digital representation and sharing of family history and genealogical information.
“Open standards make possible products and applications that even the creators of the standards themselves could never have imagined. Family Historian was built around one standard GEDCOM that has been hugely important for genealogy.  We look forward to the opportunities and possibilities that future standards will bring. The emergence of FHISO is exactly what the genealogy world needs, and we are delighted and excited to be part of it”, said Calico Pie’s managing director, Simon Orde.
“Developing international standards requires a supporting network of vendors and users that extends across the globe. Thanks to the leadership of Calico Pie and Simon Orde, our world community became better connected today in a big way. This announcement is good news forFamily Historian users and genealogists everywhere”, said FHISO Organiser, Tony Proctor (UK and Ireland).
Simon Orde founded London-based Calico Pie Limited in 1995. Its award-winning product, Family Historian, is the United Kingdom's leading genealogy software program. Ease of use, integrated visuals and graphics, emphasis on getting the most out of the data and bringing a balance to pre-configured and user-customisable features are just some of the goals and philosophy behind the development effort. In January 2012, Family Historian 4 was honored with the “Best Buy” award from Which? Computing. To learn more about Calico Pie and Family Historian or to take the latest release, Family Historian 5, on a test drive, visit the company website,
FHISO is a standards-developing organisation bringing the international family history and genealogical community together in a transparent, self-governing forum for the purpose of developing information standards to solve today’s interoperability issues. To learn more about FHISO, visit
Please join us in welcoming Calico Pie and its founder, Simon Orde, to FHISO!

Calico Pie / Family Historian,
FHISO General Enquiries,; Membership enquiries,; FHISO MediaRelations, Anthony C. Proctor(

Have I got a deal for you....

One of the perks of being an Official Rootstech Blogger is that I get to share special offers with my readers.

The first perk I can offer you is a BIG Saving on Registration for the full Conference so, if you are considering joining a few thousand other family history enthusiasts in Salt Lake City from 21-23 March 2013 it would be wise to register now and save.

You can save $90 off a 3-day, full conference pass when you use the discount code RT129 when registering. So you will pay just $129.

This discount is available until Oct. 12, 2012 to my blog readers!

To Register go to

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, offers an opportunity unlike any other to discover the latest family
history tools and techniques, connect with experts to help you in your research and be inspired in the
pursuit of your ancestors. You will learn to use the latest technology to get started or accelerate your
efforts to find, organize, preserve, and share your family’s connections and history.

Trove Tuesday - War Memorial Hospital

I was born at The War Memorial Hospital, Waverley, NSW. It was a popular Eastern Suburbs Maternity Hospital in the 1940s and 1950s; many of my friends and aquaintances were born there. It was still operating as a maternity hospital when some of my friends were having babies in the 1970s but by the time my father was elderly in the 1990s it was a rehabiltation hospital and a place where the elderly could spend a few weeks to give respite to their at home carers.

I was hoping that I could find something about the history of my birthplace on Trove and was excited to find a link to an online book at the National Library

Sadly, when I selected the View Online option on the record I got this message "Item not found
The item you have requested is not currently available online or does not exist."

I did find mention of another book "To minister : the story of War Memorial Hospital, Waverley, 1918-1988 /​ Betty Green" with links to the twelve libraries that hold it some of which are in Sydney.

As I lived and worked in Waverley for quite a number of years I thought it would be nice to own this book so I have purchased a copy from Abe Books that I hope will appear on my doorstep some time this week.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Orange is not my colour

The Exciting news that I foreshadowed a few days ago is that I have been invited to be an Official Blogger for Rootstech 2013.

As this is a great honour in the geneablogging world I RSVP'd without haste. Having booked my aeroplane ride to the US and a post Rootstech recovery cruise several months ago I have been committed to attend for some time. Actually I was committed when Mr Geniaus (a supportive non-genealogist) who travelled with me to Rootstech this year commented just after the Conference "We'll do ...... when we come next year".

You see Mr Geniaus, who has no interest in research but loves family stories, was able to appreciate the value of this conference to a little old Australian Granny who loves technology and genealogy. Although research is not his thing he was infused with the excitement that is part of this event. He enjoyed meeting some of my online geneapals like Thomas MacEntee, Footnote Maven, Audrey Collins, Amy Coffin, Banai Feldstein, James Tanner, Randy Seaver, Dear Myrtle and Lisa Alzo and was able to see why I enjoyed meeting up with them in person. He realised that they are not a bunch of weirdos but a passionate and intelligent  group of enthusiasts with a shared interest. In other words he approved.

I am excited, as the Antipodean Official Blogger, that a couple of my Australian Genimates will be travelling to Rootstech for the first time next year and I know of two others who have applied for financial support to attend. I look forward to introducing members of the Aussie contingent to my mates in Salt Lake City. I will try to report on the conference happenings for those who can't make the journey although, once the proceedings get underway, these posts may just consist of photos snapped along the way.

I believe that there will be a big update to the Rootstech site in the next day or so (I am timezone challenged so am not sure exactly when this will occur) and that earlybird registrations will then open. So please watch the Rootstech site.  As it is already the 24th September in Australia (when I am allowed to share the news) I will schedule this post for early morning Salt Lake City time.

Thanks also to the Rootstech organisers for offering Official Blogger Badges in a range of colours other than Orange.

Evernote - The Presenter's Pal

I have previously written how I use both Evernote and Google Docs in an effort to be an organised genealogist. As I add to my repertoire of topics for my speaking engagements I am finding that  Evernote  is the perfect tool for gathering articles, book titles, websites, cartoons and images around the topics I am or may be preparing.

Although I have been using Evernote for this purpose for a while I only realised the value of this practice when I was speaking to Alan Phillips from Unlock the Past last week. We were chatting about the topics for my talks on the 3rd Unlock the Past History & Genealogy Cruise in February next year when Alan said "Are you right to talk about xxx?"  I replied "Yes, since we mooted that topic I have been gathering resources in  Evernote  so, if you need me to speak on it I can put together a presentation."  Similarly when I submitted some proposals for Rootstech 2013 I made a concerted effort to collect resources around those topics.

If you, like me, read lots of articles each day you will find that Evernote provides a great means of organising your stuff for easy retrieval. You will always be prepared when you get an invitation to share your knowledge with others.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

US or Australian time?

I've received an exciting invitation relating to my geneablogging activities but have to sit on the news until 24th September.

My quandary (as the invitation comes from overseas) is do I share the news on the 24th, Sydney time, or should I wait until it is the 24th in the US many hours later?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Family Historian User Group

There is something special about learning and solving problems together.

I have spent the last two hours in a room at Wyong Family History Group learning more about my genealogy software package, Family Historian,  under the tutelage of enthusiast, John Owen. Each month John prepares a lesson on one of the features or functions of the package.

I am now blogging on the train home!

What I like about these sessions is that John demonstrates and then encourages us to practise our new skills on our own databases and laptops that we have with us  for the session. John is always willing to answer our questions on a needs basis. This makes for effective learning.

Today we learnt about Named Lists and Flags. While I had an understanding of Flags the Named Lists feature was a revelation to me. Having someone demonstrate practical applications of the feature has shown me enormous possibilities for its use. My first task is to replace my Google Spreadsheet research tasks list with named lists in  Family Historian . As well as saving me many keystrokes it will mean that I can consolidate my work in one place.

Each month when I visit Wyong and learn some more my decision to  move to  Family Historian  software is once again validated.

Six months to go

Watching this short video from Rootstech 2012 reminds me of why I am heading for Salt Lake City for this extraordinary event which will be held from 21 to 23 March 2013.

Will I see you in Salt Lake City?

NSW Historical BDM Indexes Offline

If you were going to look for NSW BDMs on the weekend you may have to change your mind.

This notice has been posted on The NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages website -

"Break in service :- Computer system maintenance is planned from midnight Friday 21:09:12 to 7:00am Monday 24:09:12 AEST. Please accept our apologies during this time for a break in service to the entire website, including Family History online."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet – S is for … Coincidence

Each week I agonise over what my topic will be for the letter of the week. S has been no exception; I have been sitting here dithering and multitasking being distracted from the task at hand while the answer has been staring me in the face in the form of a nearly completed powerpoint presentation that is open on my task bar.

S is for coincidence - the topic of the Powerpoint is "Social Media for Family Historians" - a presentation I am preparing for a gig at Wyong Library next week. So my topic for this week has to be Social Media.

In my talk I'll be covering these points:

¡What is Social Media?
¡What does one need to engage via Social Media?
¡Social Media Categories
¡How can Social Media help my genealogy/family history research?
¡A closer look at Blogs, Facebook, Google+, Twitter
¡How does one get started in Social Media?
¡How does one manage Social Media? 

Like any good presenter I am defining my topic before launching into my spiel. These are the definitions I will share:

¡SEO Zodiac – Social Media is simply people having conversations online
¡Online Schools – Social media is technically a means for social interaction through the web
¡ – The online forms of communicating to the masses, which include blogs, microblogs, social networking sites and podcasts

¡Webopedia – A term used to describe a variety of Web-based platforms, applications and technologies that enable people to socially interact with one another onlinebe covering these 

And these are the categories of Social Media I will highlight:

¡Blogging - Blogger, Posterous, Weebly, Wordpress

¡Bookmarking - Delicious, Evernote, Pinterest , 
¡Commerical sites - Ancestry, Geni, MyHeritage, etc.

¡Genealogy Community Projects - Genealogists for Families Kiva Project
¡Genealogy Networking Sites  - GenealogyWise
¡Microblogging - Tumblr, Twitter - (140 characters on Twitter)

¡Office packages with online collaborative functionality  -  Google Docs

¡Photo Sharing BillionGraves, Find a Grave, Flickr, Instagram, Picasa

¡Professional Networking Sites Linkedin 

¡Sharing Sites for Books, Documents, Presentations - Librarything, Scribd, Slideshare 

¡ Social Networking Sites - Facebook, Google+, Second Life 

¡Video sharing   Vimeo, Youtube 

¡Wikis - Familypedia, Familysearch Wiki

If I was to continue with this post I would just be preaching to the converted as you, dear readers, have demonstrated your commitment to Social Media by reading this post. 

Hopefully by next Wednesday afternoon there will be a group of family historians from Wyong who share our passion for Social Media.

During the course of this blog series I have mentioned Social Media in these earlier posts:

Family History Through the Alphabet – B is for …Billion Graves
Family History Through the Alphabet – E is for …Evernot
Family History Through the Alphabet – K is for …reaching out 
Family History Through the Alphabet - R is for  ... Online (Reading that is)

Who was it?

Someone  at last weekend's conference asked me about an alternative for iGoogle. Although I had read of a few alternative solutions I couldn't immediately recall remember what they were.

Hopefully that person reads my blog where I am providing  a link to a relevant
post from one of my fave Edtech bloggers. - Another iGoogle Alternative

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Conference Wrap-up

As I didn't work on a stand on the 3rd day of the Annual NSW & ACT Family History Conference I was able to watch (instead of just listen) to the speakers on the program. 

After meeting up for breakfast at Tradies with a mate from The Ku-ring-gai Historical Society I settled myself in a front row seat for the performances and found myself sitting beside her.The morning's program with its varied range of topics was interesting and educative. All speaker notes and links can be found on the Conference website.

The Conference Committee, under the stewardship of Allan Murrin, organised a superb conference that appeared to go without a hitch. Thank you to all the members of Botany Bay Family History Society for  looking after us so well. My special thanks go to Heather Clarey who looked after the speakers for her care and consideration in the months leading up to the event.

Following are a few snaps I caught on Sunday morning.

Conference Committee

Mr Rowan - Conference MC

Brad Manera from the ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park  

Dr Lisa Murray - City of Sydney Historian
Lisa's Opening Slide
Cassie and Ben from Inside History Magazine
Kerry from Parramatta - Hadn't seen her since the 1980s
Jonathan Auld - a mate from Hawkesbury Family History Group 
Geniaus (L) with Michelle Nichols - Hawkesbury Local Studies Librarian
Paul Parton from Familysearch shares the news about the new Familysearch  Family Tree

I added Ellen Moore (my 3x Greatgrandmother) to the Parramatta Female Factory's list of inmates
Some Cemeteries were represented
The Kari Group had an excellent handout and great advice
Last Lecture was from Paul Brunton - The State Library of NSW

Trove Tuesday - On the nose?

1851 'Local Intelligence.', Bathurst Free Press (NSW : 1849 - 1851), 29 March, p. 3, viewed 12 September, 2012,
As a bit of light relief Vicki Eldridge showed us this article from Trove when she was presenting a workshop on education. I quite enjoyed this article so, when I got home, I searched for it on Trove.

I found the article (above) that Vicki cited and several other references to similar stories:
1900 'GIRLS WITH TWO LOVERS.', Burra Record (SA : 1878 - 1954), 10 January, p. 3, viewed 12 September, 2012,
1857 'THE ADELAIDE AND GAWLER RAILWAY.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 13 February, p. 3, viewed 12 September, 2012,
1851 'THE LATEST INTELLIGENCE.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), 10 March, p. 4, viewed 12 September, 2012,
1870 'Miscellanious.', Warwick Examiner and Times (St. Lucia, Qld. : 1867 - 1919), 30 July, p. 4, viewed 12 September, 2012,
1909 'WIT AND HUMOR.', West Gippsland Gazette (Warragul, Vic. : 1898 - 1930) , 12 October, p. 5 Edition: MORNING., viewed 12 September, 2012,

and the list goes on!

Was this a forerunner of the Urban Myth?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Few Snaps

'Twas another busy day at the NSW Family History Confeerence today where I managed to catch a few snaps. Hopefully I'll grab some more photos this evening at the Conference Dinner.

Scrambled Eggs - Tradies Style
Smiles all round at Registration
NZ President, Michelle Patient was assisted by Jean Smith
Canberra - venue for the 2013 Conference
Nepean Belles
Jan Gow and Alan Phillips
Noeline Kyle

Friday, September 14, 2012

Where are the photos?

When I am at a conference I usually run around snapping photos to pop into blog posts. Today, however, I have let the side down so, dear readers, you will have to make do with a couple of snaps and a slab of text.

Trade Fair this morning

For those not in the loop I am attending  the 28th Annual Conference of the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies hosted by The Botany Bay Family History Society at Tradies in the southern Sydney suburb of Gymea. Today was a Genealogy Expo day with the conference proper kicking off tomorrow for two days.

First impressions stick and mine was good as the venue has a large adjacent carpark and I was able to get a convenient spot when I arrived for the day (and when I returned for the Meet and Greet this evening). A very friendly doorman greeted me as I arrived and directed me to the expo area on the lower ground floor. There was no way I could have got lost as there were volunteers from the host Society at every turn to direct visitors to the conference area.

As I was working on one of the trade stands demonstrating the Flip-Pal for Gould Genealogy I did not get a chance to wander around the area but I can report that there was a lot of shopping and socialising taking place. I enjoy showing off the Flip-Pal as it gives me a chance to sit down for most of the day and an opportunity to meet many new and interesting people that I would not otherwise meet. 

I had a break from the Flip-Pal in the middle of the day when I presented a workshop on my of my favourite topics, geneablogging. I hope that I was able to demonstrate the value of blogs for genealogy to those who came along. This old teacher loves having a chance to tread the boards; thanks to the Conference Committee for including me in your program.   Thanks also to Michelle Nichols, Jonathan Auld and my two new Twitter mates Charlotte and Kelly for tweeting about my session. 

Having spoken nonstop for over three hours I enjoyed catching up with some old mates for lunch in the Club Brasserie where I had a yummy steak sandwich and a very long drink of  mineral water. After a couple more hours of Flip-Palling I set out to find my motel. It is close to the venue, the sheets and pillows are clean but my room reeks of cigarette smoke (no wonder the windows I can't reach are wide open and letting in an Arctic breeze). Before I set out for the meet and greet I cranked up the aircon and left it running but this hasn't done a lot for the aroma in the room.

I carpooled to Tradies for the Meet and Greet with some of my motel neighbours from the ACT. The atmosphere at Tradies where we were greeted by ball and chain decorations and Botany Bay people in period dress was a great improvement on the motel room. Special mention must go the the sartorially splendid Conference Chair, Allan Murrin, in his powdered wig, white hose, gold-buckled shoes and knee length britches. As someone who loathes standup functions I appreciated having a chair to sit on during the meal and proceedings.

Congratulations to The Botany Bay Family History Society  for your friendly welcome, your superb organisation and an entertaining Meet and Greet function. I look forward to tomorrow's proceedings where I will endeavour to take a few photos.

This episodic post sounds a bit like a 6th grade essay on "My holidays" but I hope it will convey some information about the Conference to those who could not be with us today.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Busy as but just have to mention...

... the talk I attended at The Hawkesbury Family History Group yesterday.

Vicki Eldridge gave an excellent talk on the resources available to research Schools & Teachers in NSW. It was a practical presentation that offered lots of hints, resources and guidance for researchers.

If you get a chance to hear this talk grab it.


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