Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Honeymoon is over

When I read Tamura Jones' post on Google+ this morning about the closing down of TheOldReader I had a feeling of Deja Vu. (You can read the story at TheOldReader Blog).

I read the blog post then opened up TheOldReader in my browser, there was a message in a red banner at the top of the screen
We have disabled user registration at The Old Reader, and we might be making the website private. If we do, unfortunately your account will not be transferred to the private site, so you might want to export your subscriptions as OPML and start looking for an alternative solution. More details are in available in our blog: http://blog.theoldreader.com"

That's it, my short honeymoon with this product that I enjoyed using was over. I totally understand the reasons why the volunteers who hosted the site have made this tough decision and I thank them for their efforts.

I needed to find an alternative and quickly. I went to TheOldReader settings and downloaded an OPML file of my feeds because I have only two weeks more access. I will be following my own advice and doing this regularly from my new reader. Not wanting to let the grass grow under my feet I registered with InoReader that was recommended by a few people around the traps.

My OPML file has been imported to InoReader and it looks as though all my Folders and Feeds (and in alphabetical order too) are there. The interface looks familiar (Google reader comes to mind) and I already feel comfortable navigating the site. Although it doesn't have an Android app yet it has a mobile browser interface so I can use that on my mobile devices.

I may have missed reading a few blog posts during the migration but I can live with that.

I hope this is the beginning of a long relationship not just a short fling.

Trove Tuesday - A Pool for Dubbo

My mother's memory isn't quite what it used to be. She does, however, remember travelling by train as a child from Cobar to Dubbo for the opening of the Dubbo Swimming Pool. When pressed for more details ie How old were you? When was it? she couldn't remember.

Trove to the rescue.

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday 6 November 1935

So now I know that Mum made that trip to Dubbo in 1935 when she was 13 years old. I will be searching Trove to see what else I can find to help with Mum's memories. Thanks Trove.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rationionalising my Online Subs.

After a number of years I have said goodbye to my FindMyPast subscription. I still like the product and love the access it gives me  to British newspapers but a girl has to look after her pennies.

I had a been a FindMyPast UK subscriber since 2008 until July 2012 when I took up the bargain basement introductory offer for a World Subscription from FindMyPast.com. When I tried to log on last week I discovered my subscription had lapsed (I had been travelling overseas and missed their resubscription reminder email) and discovered that it would cost me $US199.95 to renew.

If I wouldn't have missed that reminder email "Your subscription will expire in 5 days and we're offering you the chance to renew it at the great price of just $59.99!" and resubscribed by my due date a couple of days earlier I could have had the sub for a significantly reduced rate and I would have resubscribed.  DRAT.

I checked the Australian site, findmypast.com.au,  and found a World sub there would cost me $AU249.95 (on today's exchange rates that's $US231.70). Next stop was findmypast.co.uk, a world sub there is £GB159.95 (that's $246.11 on today's exchange rates) so I guess that when and if I renew it will be with findmypast.com.

In the interim I might buy some pay as you go credits and see how far they go.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm not Harry S Truman

"All my life, whenever it comes time to make a decision, I make it and forget about it." said Harry S Truman. (http://www.worldofquotes.com/topic/choices/1/index.html)

I'm not Harry S. Truman.

When Ben from Inside History Magazine asked me to nominate this year's list of 50 blogs you need to read in 2013 I was honoured. It's always nice to get a repeat invitation because it means you must have done something right the first time.

In 2012 I tried to be objective with my choices; for this year's list I suggested to Ben that I must be more objective so I really did my homework. I read many articles on what makes a good blog, canvassed the opinions of fellow bloggers via Twitter and then set up a spreadsheet ((or assessment rubric in eduspeak)) listing the criteria against which I would assess the blogs. As this list was primarily for an audience of Australian and New Zealand  readers I favoured blogs from those areas or those foreign blogs with relevance to downunder peoples. I immediately eliminated many worthy blogs but this didn't concern me greatly because there are a number of blogging gongs in the northern hemisphere that they can earn.

My first source of blogs for consideration was from my many RSS subscriptions. I then did some Google searching for genealogy blogs from Australia and followed this by having a look at the lists of blogs that some of  my favourite bloggers follow. My list grew and I found that I had several hundred blogs to consider. Years of evaluating assessment tasks when I was an educator prepared me for the business at hand.

I visited all of these blogs until I had a list of 80+ blogs to consider seriously. It took me a few days to look at these blogs, measure them against my criteria and consider my gut instinct (the subjective element of the process) and come up with a list for Inside History Magazine. I sent them my Excel worksheet with 50 suggestions, additional strong maybes and the definitely don't bothersInside History Magazine had the final word, they scratched some of my choices, added a couple that were unknown to me and replaced a couple of others. When they sent me the final draft I only objected to one of their replacements and they changed that.

I am happy to stand behind my choices because I went through a thorough process to find and evaluate blogs but I'm not Harry Truman.

I keep searching for and thinking about potential blogs for the list. After we settled on the final list I said to Ben that I had just found some new blogs that looked promising but it was too late to consider them.

New blogs worth a look are:
Carr Family Search (New blogger Ed Carr is a member of my local historical society) http://ecarr357.blogspot.com.au/
Genealogically speaking from young blogger, Caitie G. http://genealogically-speaking.tumblr.com/
GenXalogy http://genxalogy.blogspot.com.au/
Hawkesbury Heritage & Happenings from Michele Nicholls (whose husband Jonathan Auld has a blog on the list) http://hawkesburyheritage.blogspot.com.au/
KK Genealogy Blog http://kkgenealogy.com/blog-2/
TNG Blog (love that software) http://tngsitebuilding.com/blog/

Just in case Inside History Magazine is going to repeat this exercise in 2014 (and invite me to be involved) I want to be prepared. If you come across any new blogs that should be considered for the list please let me know. I am especially interested in blogs from genealogy and historical societies where there is a dearth of good blogs. My RSS list expands daily but there is plenty of room for growth, please send me your links.

I'm interested in hearing what you think makes a great blog.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Do you back up your RSS feeds list?

Before the demise of Google Reader I moved over to The Old Reader and I have been very happy with that product.

Earlier this week I became concerned when The Old Reader went down and stayed that way for a few days. It is now up and running again. During this time they honestly reported about their problems and kept users informed via their blog.

They had  experienced some disastrous hardware issue when migrating to new servers. While I was fairly sure that the people behind The Old Reader would get things going again I was concerned until the site was finally online again.

What if I lost my list of feeds?

My collection of feeds is dynamic, it changes constantly as I add and delete from the list. If necessary I could import an old .opml file into another product but the last one I have is when I moved from Google and this is very out of date. I could not rely on my poor old memory to reconstruct the list.

So now I have added another task to my backup regime. I will regularly export an .opml file of my RSS subscriptions from The Old Reader so that if some further drama occurs I will have a reasonably accurate file of those subscriptions. The Old Reader issue this week was a real wakeup call for me.

Do you regularly backup your RSS subscriptions?

Reminiscing - New Shoes

A little rhyme from my childhood just came into my head.

New shoes, new shoes,
Red and pink and blue shoes,
Tell me which would you choose
If they let us buy.

And why, you ask, was I thinking about shoe selection today?
Because a little two year old lady in my life had her wish for a pair of sparkly shoes granted.
I put some of those words into Google to see if I could find the poem online and I discovered that I only knew the first verse of the poem by Frida Wolfe that I found at http://www.scrapbook.com/poems/doc/629/354.html

"Choosing Shoes"

by Frida Wolfe
New shoes, new shoes,
Red and pink and blue shoes.
Tell me, what would you choose,
If they'd let us buy?
Buckle shoes, bow shoes,
Pretty pointy-toe shoes,
Strappy, cappy low shoes;
Let's have some to try.
Bright shoes, white shoes,
Dandy-dance-by-night shoes,
Perhaps-a-little-tight shoes,
Like some? So would I.
Flat shoes, fat shoes,
Stump-along-like-that shoes,
Wipe-them-on-the-mat shoes,
That's the sort they'll buy.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Getting Organised

Alan Phillips of Unlock the Past has sent out the provisional program for the 4th Unlock the Past History and Genealogy Cruise.

I see that Alan has me down for five timeslots; this is half the number I presented on the last cruise butas there are more presenters on this cruise there will be more variety for the cruisers.

In the timeslots I am scheduled I will discuss:
Free Australian genealogy websites I love
Before it's too late: interviewing oldies
Librarything for genealogy
Evernote for genealogists
Geneareaders circle - this is a collaborative session that I will moderate

Apparently this is a provisional program so I might yet have a chance to talk about blogging.

As a couple of these are new topics I am starting to put these presentations together by creating notebooks for each of these in my Evernote Projects Stack. Another organisation has already asked me to present one of these talks in the coming months so I had better get started with that one.

I will have to ask Alan Phillips if he would mind making a couple of adjustments to his program so that I can attend a couple of the talks I really want to see but that clash with mine. These are:

What does Freemasonry offer the genealogist - Rob Hamilton
Taking better photographs, an introduction to composition - Jane Taubman

There are so many other talks I am looking forward to, more about those later.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Biting off an ear

I was rather shocked to read about the activities of my Great-grandfather, James Pusell, in this article in the Saturday 25 July 1896 issue of The Goulburn Penny Post.

What more can I say?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sepia Saturday 186 : 20 July 2013 - Fancy Dress

Time is marching on and I am a little late for Sepia Saturday but I just remembered I had some Fancy Dress pictures from my Mother's album that are most suitable for this week's theme.

My Mother, it seems, has always been prone to dressing up.

Aunty Eileen Duncan and Mum, Elsie Duncan c 1937
Mum, Elsie Duncan and friend c 1940
Mum, Elsie Duncan (3rd from left) and friends c 1947
Mum and two of my children, 1978
Mum, Elsie Duncan, with my Son and Grandson 2007.

One of my fave speakers coming to Hornsby

As someone who likes to attend lectures I have heard speakers who range from woeful to wonderful. Neil Chippendale, Local Studies Librarian at my Local Library at Hornsby has sent me through details of the next talk in the Library's Family History series.

I'll definitely be going along to hear Dr Carol Liston who is on the wonderful end of my speakers scale. Carol, an academic at The University of Western Sydney is a great communicator and entertaining speaker. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Tattoo for you?

A good zoom lens on a camera is very useful when one spots something of interest to fellow genealogy enthusiasts.

Sitting in a London Pub with a view of Big Ben this week I noticed that this young lady had a tattoo so I took a quick snap to share with you.

As I squinted to see this masterpiece of body art I realised that many of you would like to see it in more detail so I swiftly changed cameras and captured this second image. I though this may be useful for those of you who wish to tell the world about your obsession passion for family history.

I resisted approaching the young lady to ask if she was into genealogy. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thomas is a busy boy

American genealogist, Thomas MacEntee, who will be a speaker on the 4th Unlock the Past History and Genealogy Cruise in February 2013 forwarded this press release this week. Space on the cruise is filling fast. If you would like to meet Thomas in person it would be wiae to book now.


Repurposing today's technology for tomorrow's genealogy
17 July 2013 – Chicago, IL. Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee announces the debut of Hack Genealogy, a new resource for the genealogy industry and the growing community of genealogy and family history enthusiasts.
Hack Genealogy is about “repurposing today's technology for tomorrow's genealogy” and a little bit more. Hack Genealogy is more than just a list of resources: It provides information on emerging technology inside and outside the genealogy industry.
Hack Genealogy is not merely about surviving the overwhelming presence of new and emerging technologies . . . Hack Genealogy is about genealogy and technology success in its many facets.
What Will You Find at Hack Genealogy?
Here are the features to be offered at Hack Genealogy over the coming months:
·       Cool GenStuff: Each day we’ll provide a curated list of the latest information about genealogy that deserve your attention.
·       Discussions and Issues: We’ll discuss issues important to the genealogy community including education, self-publishing, sharing research and more.
·       Education and E-Guides: Through the use of webinars, e-guides, Google+ hangouts and other innovative educational technologies, Hack Genealogy seeks to educate genealogists on the latest technologies.
·       GenBiz Buzz: Learn how others have succeeded with their genealogy and family history-related business and the tools they used to succeed.
·       Interviews: We’ll ask a variety of players in the genealogy landscape this question: How Do You Hack Genealogy? to learn more about how technology is being repurposed to expand the family history experience.
·       Product Reviews: Reviews of the latest products and services including software, mobile apps and more.
·       Resources: A listing of the best tools for every aspect of genealogy from research to sharing photos to writing and publishing your family history.
How Hack Genealogy Got Started
Hack Genealogy takes its inspiration from the Technology and Genealogy group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/techgen/) started by Susan Petersen in late 2012. As an administrator of the group, Thomas MacEntee – creator ofGeneaBloggers and High-Definition Genealogy – realized that the questions asked by group members and the great content shared was reaching only the Facebook audience. Hack Genealogy is a way to get more genealogists and family historians to discuss the use of technology in a non-threatening, easy-to-understand environment.
We hope you’ll travel along with us on this journey of discovery in the genealogy and technology fields.
About Hack Genealogy
Hack Genealogy (http://hackgenealogy.com) is a technology resource for the genealogy community with a focus on“repurposing today's technology for tomorrow's genealogy.” Thomas MacEntee is the driving force between Hack Genealogy whose goal is to provide information on emerging technology inside and outside the genealogy industry.
About Thomas MacEntee
Thomas MacEntee is a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogy research and as a way to connect with others in the family history community. When he’s not busy writing blog posts, organizing the 3,000+ members of GeneaBloggers, teaching online genealogy webinars and more, Thomas MacEntee is busy in his role as “genealogy ninja.” Stealth is not easy, but he manages to get the inside track on emerging technologies and vendors as they relate to the genealogy industry. After being laid off from a 25-year career in the tech industry in 2008, Thomas has been able to “repurpose” his skill set for the genealogy community and loves to see other genealogists succeed, whether it is with their own research or building their own careers in the field.

The Dr Rex Stubbs OAM Memorial Annual Scholarship

I snipped this from the latest eNewsletter of The Royal Australian Historical Society. I'm wondering if I should apply.


Entries are now open for the Dr Rex Stubbs OAM Memorial Annual Scholarship. To enter, write why you would like to attend the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) state conference and gain a two year membership to RAHS. Using any media, express why the history of the Hawkesbury is important to you, or why an aspect of Hawkesbury¹s history is of interest to you. This may be done in writing, by an artwork or in a digital presentation. Entries close on Saturday, 31 August 2013.

The Royal Australian Historical Society state conference will be held at Katoomba during 2-3 November 2013. The theme of the conference is ³The Great Divide: Getting there from here², examining place and landscape; museum collections; new family history resources; and commemorating the past. The scholarship is available to residents of the Hawkesbury Local Government Area (LGA), members of historical groups from within the LGA as well as Council¹s Cultural Services (Museum, Gallery and Library) volunteers. Further details and an entry form can be downloaded from Council¹s website here.

Alternatively, brochures with all details and an entry form may be picked up from Council¹s Administration Building; Hawkesbury Central Library, Windsor; Richmond Branch Library; Hawkesbury Regional Museum; Hawkesbury Regional Gallery or the Hawkesbury Visitor Information Centre. Please contact Hawkesbury Central Library on (02) 4560 4460 if you wish to have a brochure posted or emailed to you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Most genealogists have a love affair with books and often have a favourite bookshop.

The Australian Booksellers Association is presently having a competition to find Australia's favourite bookstore. Those who complete the online survey at  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RVV8NBX will have a chance to win $500  to spend in their favourite shop.

Which will I nominate as my fave? Will you be entering?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Another family member is blogging

I have written before about creating future family history and have found that my nephew, his wife and family are doing just that as they blog their way around Australia.

If you would lke to follow their adventures and learn about this vast land of ours you can visit their blog, All having a Ball,  at http://allhavingaball.wordpress.com.

All having a ball blog
The blog will be a wonderful resource for their children and future generations and in the meantime I can vicariously enjoy their adventures.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Quiet Time

I've been a quiet lately as I am having another holiday and watching family history being made. I travelled to Prague in the Czech Republic to see my granddaughter dance in The New Prague Dance Festival.

Classical Group
Over the past four days I have watched young people from many countries give amazing performances of many types of dance. Tonight was the Gala Performance and presentation of awards. While the major award went to a Taiwan University Group I am proud to add that my granddaughter's group from Sydney, Australia gained third place in both the Folklore (Character) and Competition.

Character Dance

The Group at the Awards Ceremony

I'm a proud old Grandmother tonight.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

If you're not family don't bother

I have just spent half an hour going through the list of people who have asked for access to my family website www.geniaus.net. I am genuinely excited when a new cousin contacts me.

What gets up my nose is the number of people who ask for access without telling me how they are related. I have details of living people in the database and will not give access to any Tom Dick or Harriet.

When hear from someone who leaves a message like this I grant them access.

"Hi there!!
I'm a descendant of xxx and xxx and would like to find out more about my ancestors. My maternal grandmother was the daughter of the above, but has no listing in your tree. Also missing is her sister xxx; twin to xxx".

I email those who give no details asking what their relationship is to people in the database and guess what? I usually don't hear from them again.

Through publishing my tree on the internet I have made some very valuable connections and helped quite a number of distant cousins fill in the gaps in their family history.  The benefits definitely outweigh the disadvantages but sometimes I just need to have a rant.


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