Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Accentuate the Positive 2013 Geneameme - Responses

The usual suspects (how I love you and the support you give to my endeavours) and a few newbies (thrilled to have you join in)  have responded to this 2013 Edition of the Accentuate the Positive Geneameme.

A theme that comes through in the meme responses is the generosity of genealogists, many of the positive things that happened during 2013 are as the result of ROAK (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.)

Thank you so much for taking time out from your festive frolics to reflect on your Geneayear.

Jill Ball  GeniAus
Fi Basile  Dance Skeletons
Pauleen Cass Family History across the Seas
Shelley Crawford  Twigs of Yore
Sherie Curran  The Genealogy Bug
Alex Daw  Family Tree Frog
Caitlin Gow  Genealogically Speaking
Rebel Hand  A Rebel Hand
Diane Hewson  Family Stories: Photographs and Memories
Shauna Hicks  Shauna Hicks History Enterprises
Vanessa Meachen  Finding Frederick
Sharon Muffett  Gathering Dust
NikiMarie  My people in History
Linda Ottery  Leafing through Linda's Tree
Alona Tester Lonetester HQ
Maureen Trotter  Exploring Family
Judy Webster Genealogy Leftovers
Sharn White  FamilyHistory4U
Kylie Willison  Kylie's Genes
Anne Young  Anne's Family History

And just in case you need an extra dose of Pollyanna positivity you could watch this GeniAUS Hangout on Air.

Accentuate the Positive 2013 - An experiment

I decided to try something different in response the Accentuate the Positive Geneameme I published last week.

Firstly I realised that my response was going to be loooong and I wasn't looking forward to typing it up, secondly I needed to respond before I posted the list of links to others' contributions and most importantly I wanted to try something new.

So here is my response recorded this afternoon as a Google Hangout on Air to which I invited no other participants..

Apologies for the dodgy sound and the patchy pictures. I looked and sounded fine as I did the recording so will blame the heavy traffic through my ISP or Google on this New Year's Eve.

Gearing up for a Geneacruise - The Second Time Around

Atrium on Voyager of the Seas
In a post on the 27th December last year I spoke about the gear I would be taking on the 3rdUnlock the Past Genealogy Cruise.

I made a few booboos with my packing so I will post parts of that earlier post below with comments on where I went right or wrong in green. There are several comments on that first post with good advice so take a look at them too.

Although I have been known to take a cruise or two for pleasure I am a novice in the Geneacruising stakes.

I should be preparing my talks for the 3rd Unlock the Past Genealogyand History Cruise but instead I am thinking about what I will pack for this learning experience on the megaliner, Voyager of the Seas.

Still haven't learnt my lesson I should be preparing my talks for the 4th cruise.

I won't be sunning myself on deck during the day so I won't need a 2 litre container of sunscreen or a cornucopia of sunhats. 

I'll add some cool weather clothes as it might be cold in Tasmania and it is definitely cool in the Conference Center in the bowels of the boat. Rainwear is essential, last cruise it rained as we left Sydney and I wanted to watch the sailout from up on deck.

I imagine that I'll be too tired at night to enjoy the shows and kick my heels up in the nightclub type bars so I can leave the sparkly cocktail type outfits at home. 

I did take a couple of sparkly outfits and am glad that I did. Most people on this boat took the formal nights seriously with many of the men wearing black tie and tux.

My order for two UTP polo shirts has been placed so I'll need some detergent to wash them and hang them in my shower to dry overnight (I hear you have to pay to use the ship's laundries).

I didn't order the polo shirts this year as I forgot to pack them for the last cruise. 
They didn't even have laundromats on this ship so be sure to pack the detergent unless you want to pay a fortune to have your gear laundered.

Sensible shoes are essential as this is a seriously big boat and I'll be doing lots of walking from place to place and standing on my feet when I deliver my presentations. The stilettos won't be joining me on this trip.

You may get frostbite if you wear sandals or slides in the Conference Center

Mr Geniaus isn't coming along on this journey so I'll be minus a baggage attendant. I need advice on geneacruising fashions that won't weigh my bag down. I would love suggestions from experienced geneacrusiers on what clothes to pack.

Did I take notice of this? No. I decided that, as I wasn't going on a plane and wouldn't have weight restrictions with my luggage, I would fill my big case to overflowing. I had so much in it that the wheels wouldn't work and I nearly had an asthma attack trying to get it to the checkin point. Smart casual is the order of the day for geneacruisers.

I'll be taking my Pacsafe handbag and purse with me in case there are any pickpockets on the high seas or in the ports we visit.

The Pacsafe bags will be having another trip. Remember also to have a light bag to carry the things you need during the day. the ship is huge and some cabins are miles from the Conference Center

The other issue is, of course, gadgets. I'm taking my laptop, a couple of cameras, my mobile phone, a portable hard drive, a voice recorder, a thumb drive, some blank DVDs and power adaptors for the US outlets on the ship. I might even take pens, pencils and some paper. I'll throw in a bundle of business cards as well.

I'll take even more tech this year. Last year I was caught out when the shipThe most important thing will be my 3G USB wireless dongle so that I can access the internet at a reasonable cost while in port. The internet charges on the ship are exhorbitant and the speed is snail's pace.

Definitely get some cards with your contact details and research interests printed on them from a cheap as chips place like Vistaprint. 

What else will I take?

Earplugs. One of our group had the next door neighbours from hell and had interrupted sleeps for the entire cruise. Hopefully there won't be too many young people running in the corridors at night when the genealogists are trying to get thier beauty sleep.but it is better to be prepared.

Water  I'll be taking a few bottles of water on board as the cost of drinking water on board is also exhorbitant. If you like a tipple don't be tempted to take alcohol on board. It is likely to be confiscated on boarding and returned at the end of the trip. That being said I know some people who have put gin or vodka into a 2 litre water bottle and taken it on board.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Where was Grandfather on NYE?

1949 'NIGHT TROTS AT CANOWINDRA.', The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate (NSW : 1892 - 1954), 22 December, p. 6, viewed 30 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article131361047
I would wager that my Grandfather, Thomas William Curry, a man who appreciated a good bit of horse flesh joined his mates in Canowindra, NSW at The Trotting Carnival held there on New Year's Eve in 1949.


My mate DearMYRTLE posted today that she was going AFK. Curious soul that I am I wondered what AFK was so I asked mt friend Google.

Urban Dictionary gave me an answer "Away From Keyboard." 

I  have been mostly AFK while indulging in Christmas activities: sleeping, shopping and most importantly spending time with the living. Now that the pots, pans and plates have been cleared away and sheets, towels and tablecloths washed I am once again ready to resume genealogical activities.

I had a short break from family last Friday evening when I hosted another GeniAUS Hangout on Air in which I was joined by several of my online friends.

Thanks to Chris Wright, Brenda Wheeler, Les Tobin, Fiona Tellesson, Linda Ottery, Lilian Magill, Karen Hughes and Pauleen Cass for coming online and sharing stories of your geneatriumphs from 2013. Thanaks also to those loyal supporters who watched the Hangout live online.Congratulations to first timers Linda and Karen on their Hangout debuts. I hope that I didn't frighten you away and that you will join me again.

The topic for this hangout was Happy Dances in which genealogists were asked to share stories of brickwalls knocked down, cousins found, events attended, places visited, resources discovered and your CGD (Continuing Genealogical Development) during the year.

With my happy hat on I also reissued the Accentuate the Positive Geneameme in which I asked genealogists to reflect on the good things that happened during the year. To date three of my geneablogging mates have responded and I hope that more (including me) will participate in the coming days. I will collate a list of responses to the geneameme shortly for your reading pleasure.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Accentuate the Positive 2013 Geneameme

Twelve months ago I published this geneameme and received several responses plus positive feedback about the activity so I am challenging you to take stock of the current year and share your good news once again. Here is what I posted last year.


At this time of year many geneabloggers take stock of what they have achieved or not achieved in the previous twelve months and set themselves goals for the coming year. I have been reading several of these posts this week.

I feel that a lot of my geneablogging friends are too hard on themselves; several have reported on their successes this year but quite a number have lamented that they haven't achieved as much as they set out to do or that they haven't blogged with the frequency they envisaged.

You are a bunch of highly motivated people who have made great strides in the genealogy sphere. Let's share the good news.

Accentuate the Positive 2013 Geneameme

On a whim this morning I decided to throw together a Geneameme in which you can share the positive results of your Genea Activities in 2012.

I invite you to take part in this activity by responding to the following statements/questions in a blog post. Write as much or as little as you want. Once you have done so please share your post's link in a comment on this post or to me via social media. I will, in due course post a list of links to your contributions on this blog.

Remember to accentuate the positive - please delete the statements that are not relevant to your situation.

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was

2.  A precious family photo I found was

3.  An ancestor's grave I found was

4.  An important vital record I found was

5.  A newly found family member who shared

6.  A geneasurprise I received was

7.   My 2013 blog post that I was particularly proud of was

8.   My 2013 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at/to

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was

14. I taught a friend how to

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was

18. It was exciting to finally meet

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was

20. Another positive I would like to share is

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Greetings

Greetings to all my friends in GeneaLand 
for a 
Happy Festive Season

GeniAus and Santa 1953

Wishing you Good Health 
Many GeneaDiscoveries in 2014

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Christmas Eve

This week I had a trawl on Trove to find out what had happened in my suburb, Galston, on Christmas Eve in days gone by.

When driving through Galston Gorge this week I have been admiring the splendid display of Christmas Bush on the sides of the Gorge. It is now an offence to remove Christmas Bush from this protected area that is part of The Berowra Valley National Park so hapless citizens should not find themselves in a similar predicament to Mr McAuley.

1926 'FALL OVER CLIFF.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 24 December, p. 10, viewed 16 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16342740
For those unfamiliar with this stunning plant please read my Christmas Bush post.

Monday, December 23, 2013


My mate FootnoteMaven has once again issued this call:

"Yes, Geneabloggers it's time for fM's favorite Christmas tradition. From the comfort of my blog, with Hot Toddy in hand, my flannel jammies and furry slippers on, I will blog my favorite Christmas Carol on Sunday, December 21. (I sing so much better online than in person!)

So my fellow GeneaBloggers, I challenge each of you to blog your favorite Christmas Carol - Blog Caroling. We'll all sing along! (Blog Caroling is posting the lyrics, youtube video, etc. of your favorite Christmas carol on your blog.)" 

This year I have selected a traditional Australian carol "The Three Drovers" (1948, Words by John Wheeler  and Music by William G James) performed by The Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir. I love this carol because it relates to Christmas in our Australian environment and is set to beautiful, joyous music.


Across the plains one Christmas night
Three drovers riding blithe and gay,
Looked up and saw a starry light
More radiant than the Milky Way;
And on their hearts such wonder fell,
They sang with joy. 'Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel!'

The air was dry with summer heat,
And smoke was on the yellow moon;
But from the heavens, faint and sweet,
Came floating down a wond'rous turn;
And as they heard, they sang full well
Those drovers three. 'Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel!'

The black swans flew across the sky,
The wild dog called across the plain,
The starry lustre blazed on high,
Still echoed on the heavenly strain;
And still they sang, 'Noel! Noel!'
Those drovers three. 'Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel!'

Here are links to my  posts from previous years::

2010  http://geniaus.blogspot.com.au/2010/12/blog-caroling-downunder-style.html
2012 http://geniaus.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/blog-carolling-with-fm.html

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Who and What is in your PLN?

personal learning network  is an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment. In a PLN, a person makes a connection with another person with the specific intent that some type of learning will occur because of that connection. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_learning_network)

PLNs are commonly referred to in the education and library circles I inhabit but I have not heard my genealogy friends discuss who and what are in their PLNs. 

In the 20th Century our PLNs probably consisted of those people we met at meetings, chatted up in libraries and encountered on bulletin boards plus the authors of the journals and books we read. In the 21st Century the internet and the emergence of social networks have enabled us to broaden the number of people with whom we share information and resources. We can connect with like-minded people all over the world.

I still learn from fellow members of my Societies and those whose lectures I attend at home and at conferences but my network now crosses borders and my communication is both synchronous and asynchronous.

My Personal Learning Network is an important element of my Lifelong Learning.

Who and What is in my PLN?

I just had a quick personal brainstorm and came up with this Wordle. I'll probably think of more things to add tomorrow but this is a good starting point.

Do you have a PLN? Have you given consideration to who and what is in your PLN?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Gossip Girls

Yesterday I had a great outing with two of my first cousins. Although I see them regularly it is always at family gatherings or when we meet up with our extended families for lunch at some venue or other around Sydney. We never seem to get a chance for a real good gossip.

At the last family gathering, a 21st for one cousin's daughter, we decided that it would be nice to just have a get together for the three of us. As we each live on the different outer edges of Sydney we chose the CBD as our venue. Although it was a stinking hot day outside we holed up in The Cortile at The Sydney Intercontinental Hotel for High Coffee and there we stayed for over four hours.

My cousins aren't into family history but they love family gossip and sharing stories. As the oldest of the three I was able to share memories of our grandmother who was a robust, calm and gentle devout Catholic fiercely proud of her Irish heritage. The youngest cousin only remembered here as a little old lady with dementia while we older girls had memories of a proud, upright lady.

For years I had wondered why this grandmother had moved from her home town of Dungog away from her family to Canowindra. My middle cousin piped up "I know that". A mystery solved! Nanna suffered from asthma and took medical advice to move from the humidity of Dungog to the drier climate in Canowindra. Second cousin then added "Is that who I should blame for my asthma?". She didn't know that her grandmother had suffered with chest problems. As we talked about our parents, their early lives and shared stories they had passed down we learnt more about our family history and relationships.

Grandmother, Mary Curry (nee Tierney) 1936
The girls got a giggle when I told them of a couple of shotgun marriages that occurred in the family prior to 1920. The cause of death of another relative brought a smile to their faces as they had always thought the reason given to them for his death was implausible. Pooling our knowledge from snippets shared by our parents we worked out that another relative had given birth to three children and had put them up for adoption. There must have been a few ears burning in heaven and on earth yesterday as we shared stories of various family members. As a result of our conversations I will be adding a few private notes to my family database.

We three had such a wonderful time together. Two of us are only children and the other has only one sibling who lives overseas so we are starved of the close relationships those with many siblings enjoy.

Jill (right) withe her paternal first cousins 1980.
I can highly recommend sitting down with your cousins and sharing stories. Those cousins might just have a piece to complete a puzzle that has been baffling you.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A bit of family History from the US

My eldest grandchild is presently on a Music tour of the United States with her school orchestra. I am embedding this unlisted Youtube video of a nnippet of their performance at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library here on my blog so that I have a reminder of her excursion.

Emily is the small, dark-haired viola player in the centre of the screen between the clarinets or oboes (hard to identify what they are).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Team Effort - A Successful Hangout

Thanks to five kind souls who joined me in the GeniAUS Hangout on Air this morning I think we have pooled our experience to give some useful advice to Foreigneres and First timerw who are attending the 4th Rootstech Conference in Salt Lake City.

Hilary Gadsby from Wales, Jane Haldeman from Chicago, Illinois, Jenny Joyce from Sydney, Australia, Brenda Wheeler from Queensland, Australia and Russ Worthington from the US i appreciate the support you gave during this Hangout on Air.

I do apologise for saying umm so many times and for the instances when I did not have the camera on the person who was speaking. Perhaps I should learn to sit still and not laugh so much as well. I am learning a little more about the process each time I host a Hangout!

Those who wish to view the recording of the Hangout can do so via this link on Youtube: http://youtu.be/ztarTg14_qk or you can watch the video embedded below. Please add any comments you may have about the Hangout to its Youtube page.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Christmas Shopping

Although I found several images from a search for "Christmas Shopping" on Trove most of them had copyright restrictions that prevented me from sharing them on this blog.

The image I have chosen is oneof the many from the Australian War Memorial's collection that comes with these Terms of Use "You do not have to seek permission to use the Memorial's images for your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organisation. You must seek permission to use the Memorial's images for commercial publication."


Mr GeniAus can empathise with this serviceman. Times never change!

Thanks to The Australian War Memorial for allowing members of the public to share their photos.

Monday, December 16, 2013

High Societies

In the recent GeniAUS Hangout on Air we shared details and showed screenshots of our genealogy groups' activities. We gave precedence to Aussie societies but also mentioned those overseas or international organisations that we have joined.

Following is the list of Societies mentioned by the on air panelists and those who were following the event on Youtube.

Anne Young (off air) The Genealogical Society of Victoria GSV.org.au which has a terrific online index for members, the Genealogical Index of Names, a great magazine, a library in the centre of Melbourne on Collins Street, and a very friendly research service for members who don't live in Melbourne.

The Avoca and District Historical societyhttp://home.vicnet.net.au/~adhs/ADHSMain.htm which has very extensive card indexes of people who lived in the district compiled from all sorts of records, schools, vaccinations, the undertaker who was also a furniture maker, newspapers, letter collections. My husband's family came from the area and I found the group very helpful for researching his family.

The Ballarat and District Genealogical societyhttp://www.ballaratgenealogy.org.au which actively researches locally. It's library is combined with the local library which is terrific as it means extended visiting hours as well as the co-location of two great resources.

When I was in Canberra I belonged to HAGSOC. I really appreciated their great library, monthly talks, and when I was beginning genealogy their excellent beginners course. http://www.hagsoc.org.au 

Chris Wright  
Central Queensland Family History Association  http://cqfamilyhistory.org.au/
Bundaberg Genealogical Society Inc.  http://www.bga.org.au/
The Queensland Family History Society  http://www.qfhs.org.au/

Brenda Wheeler 
Hervey Bay Family History Association  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~qldhbfha/
National Genealogical Society http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/
National Institute for Genealogical Studies  www.genealogicalstudies.com

Michelle Watson  
Stockton Historical Society  http://stocktonhistoricalsociety.blogspot.com.au/

Maureen Trotter (off Air)
Port Phillip Pioneers - a group for people whose ancestors arrived before Victoria became a separate state  http://www.portphillippioneersgroup.org.au

VicGum - lots of help with software and computer problems via the Gumnet mailing list, lots of workshops and a great newsletter  http://www.vicgum.asn.au

Emerald U3A Genealogy group - a small self-help group

Cornish Association of Victoria - very welcoming to new members, good library resources. I have only just joined this group. http://www.cornishvic.org.au

Les Tobin 
Society of Australian Genealogists  http://www.sag.org.au

Lilian Magill
New Banksown Family History Group  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1418043615094041/?fref=ts
John Nichols Family Society  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~johnnichols/
Familysearch Mortdale Family History Centre  https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Mortdale_New_South_Wales_Family_History_Centre

Marg Doherty
Genealogical Society of Queensland  https://www.gsq.org.au/

Pauleen Cass  
Toowoomba & Darling Downs Family History Society http://tddfhs.org.au/
Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory http://www.gsnt.org.au/node/19
Sunshine Coast Genealogical Society genealogysunshinecoastinc

Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies http://www.aigs.org.au/
The Family HIstory Association of North Queensland  http://www.fhanq.org/ausnqnamesnplaces.html

Jill Ball  
Hawkesbury Family History Group  www.hawkesbury.net.au/community/hfhg/
Ku-ring-gai Historical Society  http://www.khs.org.au
Society of Genealogists http://www.sog.org.uk

Thank you once again to the generous genies who joined in with our event.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fresh Bait

I've been a little quiet on the blogging front this weekend. I've had a visits to the theatre, movies and the ballet in the past few days that I really enjoyed but I should space these out rather than have them all bunched together.

Today Mr Geniaus volunteered to help me do our Christmas cards and I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to have some assistance, we had done the overseas ones earlier in the week but I was dragging the chain with the local ones. His cousins, friends and former colleagues will get a surprise this year when they see his handwriting on the cards and envelopes.

After completing that task I rewarded myself with some research time. I wasn't doing anything too involved, I was just going though my Curry (my maiden name) cousins, looking for obituaries and newspaper articles on Trove, attaching some missing sources and seeing if I could find any new connections on Ancestry. I found a couple of potential cousins, some clues that helped solve some questions and also a host of inaccuracies.

After spending a few hours on this task I uploaded a gedcom to my family site, http://www.geniaus.net.

Import Completed 

 Hopefully the fresh bait extra names and details I have added will reel in some new cousins.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A New Role

I am thrilled to announce that, in addition to hosting my GeniAus Hangouts on Air, I will be working with Unlock the Past as a host/moderator on Unlock the Past Hangouts, a new venture in 2014.

I have been discussing this move with Alan Phillips from Gould Genealogy and Unlock the Past for quite some time. Alan has a long list of topics for the Unlock the Past Hangouts that promise to have something of interest for all family historians. I won't steal his thunder by sharing details of what he proposes but it is fantastic.

I will continue to host GeniAUS Hangouts on Air which differ in flavour from the UTP Hangouts. The GeniAUS Hangouts are more informal in nature and will complement the Unlock the Past program.

I am pleased to be partnering with a firm that gives so much to the Genealogy Community, many individuals attending live events have benefitted from the generous prizes and giveaways Gould Genealogy/Unlock the Past offer.

Alan Phillips is investing quite a deal of time and energy to provide these free Unlock the Past Hangouts to the genealogy community. These events will give people in remote areas of Australia and those who cannot attend genealogy conferences and events in person an opportunity to hear a range of speakers from Australia and abroad speak on a diverse range of topics. Unlock the Past is to be commended for providing this service that no family history society in Australia has yet attempted.

Hangouts on Air are video conferences that one can join as a panelist or watch live from a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Those who watch live can ask questions of the panelists via the Unlock the Past Hangouts Community. To join the Community you will need a Google account  then go to this link https://plus.google.com/communities/111698461607562622872 and select Join.

Hangouts on Air are recorded and saved on Youtube so even if you are unable to watch a live event you can watch it at your leisure in your own time.

You are invited to join the Unlock the Past Hangouts Community.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Newsletters

Goaded on by Mr GeniAus I have completed our family Christmas letter for 2013. This reminded me of two of my posts from 2010 and 2011 which I am resharing below.


Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 - December 4 - Christmas Cards

Enclosed with my Christmas cards for the last ten years or so has been a family Christmas letter in which I summarise the hatches, matches, dispatches, trials and triumphs of immediate family members. I have heard people scoff at these annual epistles by calling them "brag bulletins" and other derogatory names. To these people I say "Bah, Humbug".

When I look back at my collection of Christmas Letters I find that I have a neat summary of important family events for the last decade. If I continue the practice for another couple of decades I will have a rich resource to pass on to future generations who may not be simply interested in the dry Birth, Death and Marriage facts in my family tree but in our activities.

I must admit to not fully reading some of the Christmas letters I get as they are just too long. I love hearing of the doings of other families but prefer an "executive summary" rather than a novel. I edit, edit and edit again and make sure that my letter is no more than an A4 page in a font size that is readable.

As it's now 4th December I must away, reflect on the past year and write my Christmas Chronicle".

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories


Christmas Newsletters - Trash or Treasure?

As we will be overseas before Christmas I am thinking of what I can do so that when I return, on December 23rd, I will be prepared for the Yuletide festivities. I write an annual Christmas letter (never more than one A4 page) so I can make a start on that. Elderly aunts and old neighbours tell me that they enjoy reading it each year

I just spotted this post in an online forum "Does anybody get those annoying Christmas letters EVERY YEAR EVERY DETAIL of the families history???...I dont even read them anymore I just trash them."

Trash them? As the writer unwittingly said they contain details of a family's history.They are precious resources for future generations Sure people brag about how clever their kids are but they also convey news of hatches, matches and dispatches and other family milestones. There is no way I would trash these epistles that give a potted (but often skewed towards the positive) history of a family's events during that year.

For those newsletters that come from  family I record the details of births, deaths and marriages that I glean from them in my genealogy database. I then file them in my family history files in the author's file. I have over ten years of newsletters from one cousin's family that when read sequentially tell a beautiful story, warts and all. She is not into genealogy but one day her descendants may be; there may be nowhere else that this story is recorded for these youngsters. I am pleased that I can curate this collection for the future.

Do you send out a Christmas letter? Do you enjoy reading them? Are they trash or treasure?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Society Spotlight

Thanks to contributions from the team of panelists who joined me online last night we had a super GeniAUS Hangout on Air.

I will be posting a list of links to the Societies they nominated. In the interim you may wish to view the Youtube video of the event.

The panelists were: Chris Wright, Brenda WheelerMichelle WatsonLes Tobin,  Lilian MagillMarg Doherty, Pauleen Cass. This group of switched on Australian genealogists are worthy of following on Google+.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Book of Me, Written By You – Prompt 12: The Year You Were Born

This week Julie Goucher of Angler's Rest asked us to respond to the following prompt in The  Book  of Me, Written by You activity

This week’s prompt is The year you were born 

What happened:
  • Historical
  • Films
  • Music
  • Books
  • Television
Or use any other historical (well known or otherwise) event.

For this post, for which I am rather late, I turned to the Australian resource Trove found a few images from the year I was born and from them created a collage. In the process I learnt a little about how to use GIMP.

What year do you think it was?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

New Society Website

I can't understand societies that pay little attention to their websites. In the 21st Century a group's website or blog provides the world with a window into a society and its activities and resources. A daggy, outdated and old-fashioned website gives the message that a group or its members are daggy, outdated and old-fashioned.

I was frustrated earlier this year when I tried to access the website of The Central Coast Family History Society to get details of their Family History Fair and found that it was down while a new site was being built. I was delighted this week to discover that their new website is up and running at http://www.centralcoastfhs.org.au/home-top.

Home page of new CCFHS Website
Whilst there are a few things I would change (but that's personal opinion) a perusal of this site tells me that the Society is a vibrant group with a wide range of  activities for members and that it is actively publishing materials of local interest. 

The new website is an attractive showcase for the Society, Congratulations to The Central Coast Family History Society.

How does your Society's web presence measure up?


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