Friday, May 31, 2013

What cheek - using my blog for free advertising

I have been mulling over what to do about some comments that were made on a blog post of mine in which a company posted a comment that was a blatant advertisement for their genealogy product.

What annoys me is that I have purchased this product and find it inferior to other similar products; I do not want to promote it. The company in question does not have a social media presence and their website is quite tragic. I find it annoying that they don't have a company commitment to social media yet they use my little blog to promote themselves.

Would I be mean-spirited if I deleted their comment from my  post?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Q&A - A thorny question

Well I asked for it!

I invited those attending my Social Media Q&A session next week to email me any specific questions they would like me to address. One gentleman has taken up my offer by writing "I have booked in for your Social Media presentation and hope you will have time to discuss the 'Privacy Issue' of Facebook."

GRRR! One of the reasons I dislike Facebook is that they are constantly changing their rules and the way one goes about ensuring one's privacy. I'll try to give some specific guidance apart from the general guidelines I share for all social media sites.

As I was working on my presentation when the email came through I went over to my Facebook account and had a look around. I was satisfied with most of my settings but was surprised at how much was available on my Timeline. On investigation I found that all my recent posts were going out as public, I must remember to ensure that they are only targetted to my Friends before I post.

Anyway I was casting around for a Facebook privacy guide to give the people in my group next Thursday and found this useful one from the Wall Street Journal.  You may find it useful too.

I suppose that now I've shared this resource Facebook will change their rules again.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time for a mini makeover

While collecting new screenshots for a weekend presentation I am giving about Geneablogging I realised that the Geniaus blog was looking a bit tired and that it was time for a cleanup.

Firstly I tidied up the sidebar elements by moving a few badges down towards the bottom and moving more important elements such as Search, About Me and Topics towards the top. I also deleted the list of links that was taking up space. I finally changed the copyright message that appears at the end of each post from 2012 to 2013.

I didn't fiddle too much with font colours except for the header which I changed from blue to white. I replaced my blue waves background border with plain white. Maybe this is a bit ordinary but I like it for the moment. In keeping with the family trees/leaves theme I changed the header picture I had that was an image of trees on my property and replaced it with a picture of leaves that I took on my recent holiday. I need to make this a fraction wider and then I'll be satisfied.

I'll probably tire of my new clean appearance after a while but, for the moment I'm pleased with my mini makeover.

How long is it since your blog got a tidyup?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Russell Drysdale Street

This is my first Trove Tuesday post after an absence of two months.

I am setting off to the Central Coast on Saturday to address the local Central Coast Family History Society so I thought I'd take myself over to Trove to see what I could find out about Russell Drysdale Street in East Gosford where I will be heading.

A search on Trove brought back one interesting result, an image, Friendship Path Russell Drysdale Street, with a link to a larger copy of the image on Flickr. It appears that the photographer, Spike Anderson, is a Central Coast resident who enjoys photographing local scenes.

If I have time after the meeting and it is not too cold and damp I might might take a stroll down the path.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Out with the old and in with the new...

...but it doesn't seem so new. It seems as familiar as an old pair of slippers.

Since I heard about Google Reader's demise a while ago I have been in denial and have just gone about using this fave tool as if the end wasn't in sight. I have now negotiated through Kubler-Ross' stages of grief and have finally reached the final stage: Acceptance.

Google Reader had to go. I was looking for a replacement RSS Reader that had an App for Android but I didn't want something all glitzy and graphic like Feedly. Today it dawned on me that I could use The Old Reader in the browser on my Android Tablet to keep up with feeds; an Android app would be nice (and they say it's coming) but using the browser does not cause any drama for me. On the odd occasion I use my Android phone catch up on my feeds I'll just have to manage. I chose The Old Reader because it had a range of good reviews from various sites and it was like Google Reader.

The process of setting up an account and importing my Google Reader feeds didn't take too long. The Old Reader sent me an email once all of my data had been imported into their program. The only hitch is that The Old Reader shows that I have a lot of unread posts and this is not accurate. So I need to go through my folders and mark most of these as Read.

Ready to read with The Old Reader
I've been playing around today and found using this tool so easy because it is familiar. I've deleted subscriptions, added a few new ones and dragged and dropped items just like in Google Reader.

One thing I am missing is that I don't have any followers so I don't know how the Social functions of this program work. You can connect with me on The Old Reader with my user name - GeniAus.

Will I be seeing you there?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Volunteer learns a few lessons

I spent a pleasant few hours at my historical society last week learning how to use their photo database software. As I did so I handled some amazing images of people and places from the local area.

What struck me was the huge number of images that the society holds and that are searchable through this database. I think that presently the society has around 10,000 images digitised and catalogued in this collection that is only available in the society rooms.

This set me to thinking what I might be able to find if I visited local historical societies in the areas where my ancestors lived. I tend to visit genealogy societies when I am on the road but I should include historical societies.

So what did I learn at my society last week?

* That the society has an impressive photo collection
* Skills with a new software application
* That there are photo collections not available on the web via Flickr
* That I should remember to visit historical societies when I undertake a genealogy jaunt.

Have you checked out the photo collections in relevant historical societies?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

One of my aims is to update my family tree data on my Geniaus family site,,  every two or three weeks or more often if I make significant changes or additions to the database.
As I have been travelling for a couple of months this has not been done since February. Although I have a lot more data to enter I have uploaded an updated file this morning. I had promised the new cousins who have found me on the web and shared info while I was travelling that I would do so on my return.

Thank you those those new folk who have shared their data with me, your collaboration is making my family site a richer resource for those who share our ancestry. If I have not added your extra information yet please bear with me. I am in catchup mode and will do so soon.

I cannot overestimate the value of publishing one's data on the internet via a family sites, blog posts or other media. Sharing leads to valuable connections.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Final Rootstech Interview - in which the tables are turned

With the Sistas in Zion at Rootstech
It seems like eons ago that I was in Salt Lake City for the Rootstech Conference. While I was there I had an opportunity to interview, in a proper television studio, people from the world of genealogy. I posted most of these videos on my Youtube Channel as I was travelling. Then I boarded a cruise ship where the connection was not good enough to allow  me to post the last interview. Now I am home after an eight week holiday I am posting that last interview.

This  is quite different from the rest  of my Rootstech interviews as in it I take on the role of interviewee and am questioned by the delightful and lively Sistas in Zion, Sista Beehive and Sista Laurel.

Special on NSW BDM Transcriptions

Sydney Transcription Agent, Marilyn Rowan, has forwarded this notice announcing discounted BDM transcriptions tomorrow, 25th May.

May 2013


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Back in the saddle

All set for a whitewater rafting expedition in Mexico
After a wonderful eight weeks travelling around Bermuda, The Bahamas, North and Central America with a transit of the Panama Canal thrown in I have come down to earth (there are a few reports of this on the jillballau blog). The bags are unpacked, the clothes have been washed and put away and I have settled back into my domestic routine.

Although it was mostly a holiday I had a few family history moments. Firstly there was the Rootstech Conference in Salt Lake City where we had a ball meeting up with many of my online pals. Being able to use the Familysearch facilities to record a series of interviews with people at the conference was a great learning experience. I am sad that I won't be at Rootstech next year because I had made a commitment to speak on the 4th Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise.

In Chicago we were treated royally by genealogist Paul Milner and his wife Carol. I was in seventh heaven when Paul invited me to his basement - it is a real treasure trove that contains Paul's comprehensive genealogy library; I could have spent days there. In Boston Heather Rojo and her husband Vincent took us out and about. Being in the company of Heather, a Mayflower and Civil War descendant, as we toured around historic sites north of Boston made our excursion more meaningful. Heather wrote a delightful report, Familiar sights through foreign eyes, of our visit.

Our next stop was New York City where we got on the trail of Mr Geniaus' 3x Great Uncle, John Gowans. We were able to find his house in NYC and final resting place (together with several family members) in Green-wood Cemetery and the probate papers for Anna Regina Bouton, John's widow. These gave us names of more family members and further clues to follow up.

Being written up on the Familysearch blog was a lovely surprise that preceded a nasty one came in the form of a blog post by a blogger not chosen to be an Official Blogger at Rootstech. This blogger criticised myself and the other bloggers chosen by Rootstech to act as their Official Bloggers, this attack was unwarranted and hurt not just me but others maligned in the post. Dear Myrtle's response to this person sums up my feelings. I am bouyed by Maria from Australia's comment on Amy Coffins blog post "If someone treats you like s*!t, just remember that there is something wrong with them, not you. Normal people don't go around destroying other human beings". Thanks, Maria.
Karaoke Queen

After our New York excursion we indulged ourselves in holiday activities but these did include a Terry Bishop in which our scant knowledge of history was expanded in an entertaining and informative way.
series of lectures on board Seven Seas Navigator.

So what's on the agenda for Geniaus? I have a couple of talks to give this month and a few planned for the future. I need to indulge in a bit more CGD by enrolling for a few webinars and attending some talks; I have a book to write before the end of the year and a journal article due in tomorrow; I am working on two projects at my local historical society that should keep me busy for eons; and,  when I have time, I might even do some personal research and tidy my study.

I do realise that life must have balance so I will be having a short holiday in Europe at the end of next month where I will watch my granddaughter perform and create future family history in The New Prague Dance Festival.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ralph Hawkins at Hornsby

I recently attended a most entertaining talk, Blackmailing the Governor - Australia's First Strike, by Ralph Hawkins.

I was pleased to hear from Neil Chippendale, Local Studies Co-ordinator  at Hornsby Library, that Ralph will be presenting this talk at Hornsby Library, 28-44, George Street, Hornsby, on Thursday June 13th at 6:30 pm. The cost for this event is $5.00

If you would like to hear Ralph discuss his latest research you can book by 'phoning 02 9847-6614.
For further information phone Hornsby Local Studies: 9847 6807

Sunday, May 19, 2013

World War 1 Project

As you may know I am a member of the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society. My duties include maintaining the Society Blog and Facebook page and serving on the Society Committee. As a relatively new member I am still learning the ropes and finding ways in which I can help out. I have recently joined up with a small group of enthusiastic volunteers who are working to put together a publication commemorating the centenary of WWI.

Do you have a Ku-ring-gai WWI ancestor?

The focus at the moment is on researching soldiers whose names are listed on Ku-ring-gai memorials. We are interested in seeking families of Ku-ring-gai military and also in gathering any WWI photos or other Ku-ring-gai related memorabilia that may be available.

If you think you can assist us please contact Kathie Rieth from the WWI Project Group through KHS at 02 9499 4568 or via the Society email

Monday, May 13, 2013

William Cox Festival

Two of my convicts, James Westbrook and William Madgwick worked on the building of the road over the Blue Mountains by William Cox.

I was interested to read that the Nepean District Historical Society is hosting a mini William Cox Festival at the Arms of Australia Inn on Sunday 26th May.

The William Cox Festival will celebrate the building of a road across the Blue Mountains. Construction
started on July 7, 1814 at Emu Plains and finished on January 14,1815.  The road opened
up inland New South Wales to European settlement. As a result of their work on this road my two convicts received their Conditional Pardons.

Details of this event can be found in the Society newsletter that is published online at

Sunday, May 5, 2013

At sea with Family Historian

I am taking advantage of a day at sea to set up my genealogy software, Family Historian, on my new
 travel laptop that I purchased a few weeks ago in New York at the tech toy lovers mecca, B&H Photographics (note to Aussies - you can order online from this company).

When I was in Salt Lake City and New York recently I learnt more about Mr Geniaus' Gowans ancestors and I am anxious to add the information to my database. I have been neglecting my genealogy lately as I have been immersing in my latest travel adventure but I must get on track and get organised before I take off for a few days research in London at the end of next month.

Another catalyst for downloading the software is that I have heard from sources in the UK and my Family Historian User group in Australia that Family Historian guru, Jane Taubman, will be speaking on the next Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise around Australia. Poor Jane may have to hide for me as I will be first in the queue to enlist her help.

While I have been writing this post the software has downloaded and is ready to be installed so I must away.

Postscript 10 mins later - software successfully downloaded, data imported, synched with big computer at home via Dropbox.  How easy was that?


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