Sunday, January 31, 2016

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 30 January 2016

I haven't promised that I will always publish GeniAus' Gems on a Friday but I usually do because it ties in with the Follow Friday Blogging Theme. On Friday this week I was winging my way to Salt Lake City for the Rootstech Conference.

It's now Saturday evening in Utah and I'm finally getting around to sharing my finds from last week. I shan't imagine that I'll have time to post next week...but we'll see.

1. Anne reminds us that there are always more than one side to a story.

2. Alona reflects on a family property.

3. Remembering my Rootstech interview with this amazing chap.
(and the interview is here

4. There have been a few family events at this place.

5. Pauleen plays with stats.

6. Jennifer reports on a True Blue event in Axedale.

7. Alex shows how to use a rich reource.

8. Kerry speaks sense with humour.

9. What happened in the goldfields when Queen Vic passed on. 

10. Geoff finds inconsistencies.

11. Uncle James' biscuit barrel.

12. Lenore discovers anothe example of  Trench Art.

New to me blogs

Shelley's Family Histories and Mysteries
Surely Sarah

And here's one I thought was in my RSS feed but it wasn't

Branches of time

It really does snow in Salt Lake City

I'm on my sixth visit to Salt Lake City, Utah, and my fifth for the  Rootstech Conference. I have seen lots of snow on the mountains around Salt Lake and plenty of snow out at Park City and other places I have visited in Utah but I have only seen a tiny little flurry fall from the sky here.

From my window this morning
I can report that snow in Salt Lake is not a myth. When I woke around 10 am I opened my curtains to a beautiful view of the Winter Wonderland (made we think of Bing).

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland

I decided that it was best not to walk the block and a half to the Family History Library for research  especially after the bellhop told me to be careful and the concierge told me to stay warm. I took the safe option and spent the afternoon indulging in some retail therapy in the City Creek Center right next to the hotel.

From the elevator lobby - I didn't have to walk far to get to the mall
City Creek is a real creek
Macy's from the sky bridge in the mall
I hadn't even reached Macy's front door when I heard an English voice shout "Jill". It was Kirsty Gray, fellow Rootstech Ambassador and head honcho of FamilyWise in the UK. She had with her an associate, Sylvia Valentine. After Kirsty (of the long arms) took a selfie we firmed up arrangements for our dinner tonight and went our separate ways.

Jill, Sylvia, Kirsty
Prior to shopping I fortified myself with a brunch of Panini from Kneaders then I visited Macy's and a few other retail establishments. 

More manageable than lst night's sandwich

Who could resist?
I got a warm welcome back to the hotel from the bellhop. On arrival back at the hotel I shed a few layers (ie woollen singlet) that I did not need inside the very warm interiors of  places visited. Can you believe that some folk were wandering around in tshirts - on a snowy day!
I didn't get lost
En route to Caffe Molise
My home for the next nine nights (taken outside Caffe Molise)
After I arrived back from dinner with Kirsty and Sylvia at Caffe Molise I settled down to compose this blog post but got a Facebook message that read "Where are you?". It was from Roger Moffat  to let me know he and Lisa were about to walk past my hotel. I've just spent an hour catching up with this beaut couple.

It's already crazy busy here so from this day forward my blog posts may just consist of photos and captions.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Trove Tuesday - Was it lamb?

In recent years Meat and Livestock Australia has run an Australia Day campaign in which Australians are exhorted to eat lamb on Australia Day.

The following video advertises the campaign:

Trove tells me that way back in 1818 when the colony of New South Wales was celebrating its 30th anniversary "Artificers and Labourers in the immediate Service of Government be exempted from Work on Monday next, in Honor of the memorable Occasion; and that each of them receive an extra Allowance of One Pound of Fresh Meat as a Donation from Government".

I wonder if that included my convict ancestors who were toiling for the government. If they received the donation I doubt that it was fresh, juicy lamb.

1818 'GOVERNMENT AND GENERAL ORDERS.', The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), 24 January, p. 1, viewed 25 January, 2016,

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Spurred on by Randy

As I sat in bed this morning thinking about how I would spend my precious day at home I thought about doing some photo organising, writing some Tripadvisor reviews, researching my next holiday with Mr GeniAus or working on my Irish lines (a priority).

Then as I was savouring my morning coffee I came across this post from Randy SeaverRootsTech Conference and the Family History Library - a Win-Win-Win-Win For Me, and I got a wakeup call. I realised that I wasn't as organised for my forthcoming visit to Salt Lake City as I could should be. Perhaps I am becoming blase about visiting Salt Lake City and forgetting what geneatreasure it has at The Family History Library for the organised genealogist. There is the temptation when at the Family History Library to indulge in a bit of  Tangential Genealogy so I need a plan.

Here I am, closeted in my geneacave, with the aircon on cool and a bottle of icy water beside me. My first task is to go to the "To Do" list I have compiled for the Family History Library. I use the Named List Function in my Family Historian database for this purpose.

My Named  Lists in Family Historian
I use these named lists for all sorts of tasks, one being to create "to do" lists for various repositories and resources I wish to consult. In the highlighted FHL SLC list I presently have 19 tasks each of which is connected to an individual. In the middle pane at left one can see GOWANS, Catherine highlighted and in the bottom pane  I have notes or details for the task associated with Catherine. My first job this morning is to go over these 19 tasks and make sure that I have clearly referenced the resources I wish to consult. For this I am checking The Familysearch Catalog.

Once I completed this task I turned to Mr GeniAus' Gowans cousins in the United States. I am hoping to find some more info on them and would love to track down some living descendants of his ancestors from Scotland in the US. Revisiting Familysearch, Ancestry, Findmypast and the California Digital Newspaper Collection has allowed me to update my records for the US Gowans. I have added several new tasks to my FHL SLC list to further research on that line.

I'm going to upload a revised tree to my family site,, that reflects my new finds and then, as I've spent eight hours at the keyboard, I'm going to move on to some more active pursuits.

Before I head to Salt Lake City I'll  see if the library catalog has anything new on the towns and villages where my ancestors lived. I will add those that look promising to my named lists too.

Friday, January 22, 2016

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 22 January 2016

It's hot, hot hot in Sydney at the moment so the weather has kept me indoors with plenty of time for blog reading and watching tennis.

Once I subscribe to a blog in my RSS I don't delete it from my list unless the blogger lets the readers know tha the blog is either moving or being discontinued. I can highly recommend the RSS application I use, Inoreader, which is similar to the old Google Reader that many of us loved. It was pleasing to see a post pop up this week from a blogger who hadn'twritten anything for a year.

Here are my biased selections for the past week. My first two articles are from public library local history blogs... worth following if there are blogs from your areas of interest.

1. I didn't realise that Fairfield was a summertime playground

2. Several lucky escapes for Cecil

3. A library salutes an employee.

4. Super sleuthing from Lenore.

5. Lois follows some Ancestry hints.

6. A coincidence for Caitlin.

7. Janine's leafy replacement.

8. Some tips from James for travellers to Stockholm.

9. Thanks Kate but can I find time to do this?

10. James will be celebrating Australia Day.

11. Andew remembers his granadmother.

12. Shauna's latest news. (from a must follow blog)

13. Carole asks "Did your ancestors follow the gold"?

New to Me Blogs

Pauline Conolly
A Grave Interest

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Come Back to Erin

Over the green sea, Mavourneen, Mavourneen,
Long shone the white sail that bore thee away,
Riding the white waves that fair summer morn in',
Just like a Mayflower afloat on the bay.
Oh! but my heart sank when clouds came between us.
Like a gray curtain the rain falling down,
Hid from my sad eyes the path o'er the ocean.

These few lines from the popular Irish Folk Song, Come back to Erin, make me think of the ancestors I will be chasing when I visit Ireland later in the year. I imagine that my ancestors' parents' hearts also sank when they farewelled their young adult children to the land down under and far, far away.

The home my great-grandmother, Mary Kealy, left behind in Ballyfoyle, Kilkenny
My two DNA tests confirm that I am more then half Irish - Dad's side is all Irish while Mum has a famine orphan and a convict from County Down.

As I prepare for my pilgrimage I am concentrating my clean-up/do-over efforts on the Irish branches of my tree that have been sadly neglected and relegated to the too-hard basket. This is a time consuming task as, years ago, I was not to so particular about recording my sources and now I am paying the price. So I am spending my days finding those sources and checking out new resources that have come online. I have been able to find several records in the National Library of Ireland's Catholic Parish Registers but scrolling through these is very hard on the eyes.

I only have ten days in Ireland which Mr GeniAus has agreed can be totally focused on family history. Working out an itinerary that fits in with the repositories I want to visit is proving to be quite a challenge. I also want to revisit ancestral towns and villages, wander through a few cemeteries and find some living cousins. That's a tall order for ten days!

Meanwhile I'll go back to cleaning up the files I have on my Irish immigrant ancestors:

Catherine Connolly, Mary Cregan, Patrick Curry, Eliza D'Arcy, Mary Kealy, Catherine Maxwell, Michael Molloy, Ellen Moore, Bridget Ryan, Denis Tierney.

I'll need the Luck of the Irish to sort this lot out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Rootstech - Commonwealth Cousins get together

Following on the success of our dinners in 2013 and 2015 I have invited a few Aussie friends plus Kirsty Gray from the UK and NZ expat Roger Moffat to a pre Rootstech get together in Salt Lake City at The California Pizza Kitchen in The Gateway Center on Tuesday February 2  prior to Rootstech. We'll be there from 6:30pm (it gets cold at night in SLC) and will try to order by (The California Pizza Kitchen is still showing up as being in the Gateway Center but I will confirm this on my arrival in SLC and also warn them of an impending invasion.)

We members of the British Commonwealth are greatly outnumbered at Rootstech so it's nice to get to know a few people before the big event. 

I am hoping that Commonwealth Cousins from Canada, NZ, the UK, South Africa and other Commonwealth nations who would like to meet up with some people from downunder will drop in and say G'day.  If you are able to join us please drop me an email so I can get an approximate idea of numbers.

The Gateway Center is just a brisk walk down from the Salt Palace and Family History Library or a couple of stops on the free Trax light rail. California Pizza Kitchen (which serves more than just pizza) is number 14 on the Gateway Mall Map below

Gateway Center Map
Walk or ride from the Marriott and other central hotels to CPK

CPK's address is 
156 South 400 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
One Block South of the Delta Center
(801) 456-0075

Trove Tuesday - Tidy Tuesday?

I'm having a scan and shred and general tidy up in my geneacave today but I am easily distracted . As I can't neglect Trove Tuesday I have just dropped by to see what advice I can gather on "Tidying Up". Of course I was able to find some pertinent pars.

1940 'TIDYING UP!.', Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954), 19 June, p. 6 Edition: LAST EDITION, 5.30 A.M., Supplement: The Examiner WOMEN'S SUPPLEMENT, viewed 19 January, 2016,
1925 'OF INTEREST TO WOMEN,.', Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), 17 January, p. 53, viewed 19 January, 2016,
1923 'Tidy Hints.', Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), 24 November, p. 43, viewed 19 January, 2016,
1911 'TIDY UP AS YOU GO ALONG.', Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic. : 1855 -1918), 15 July, p. 5, viewed 19 January, 2016,
I may just continue to live in a "Chronic State of Disorder".

Friday, January 15, 2016

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 15 January 2016

WARNING:  GeniAus' Gems are subject to my personal biases  and I make no apology for that. I have a distinctly Australian bias and most of my selections relate to family history but I hope that in these sometimes weekly posts you find some worthy Gems.

1. Sally returns to the blogisphere with a big splash in 2016.

2. Willie's connection with water is not such a happy one.

3. A mystery solved for the male members of Berowra.

4. Jenny is into solving mysteries too.

5. A drinking song from Moya.

6. A brilliant blogging prompt from Alona.

7. Chris, an Irishman in Scotland, has links to Australia.

8. Margaret outlines her research process.

9. Unique relationships unravelled by Lauren

10. Victoria finds treasure in the shed.

11. Alex and Lilian put their geneacaves on show.

12. Welcome back to the land of the blog Helen. 

New to me blogs

Family Matters

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Must-Do Diversion from Rootstech

As I sit at my computer editing and writing I am being entertained by a Christmas CD from The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and their friends The Muppets that came as a surprise in the mail this week.
Whenever I have attended Rootstech I make time to attend a rehearsal or episode of Music and the Spoken Word with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra in The Salt Lake Tabernacle at Temple Square. As well as making beautiful music there is an atmosphere of calm created in their performance space, a nice antidote to the craziness that is Rootstech.

One of the highlights of Rootstech 2013 was a special performance given  for attendees by the Choir. I was privileged on this evening to take part in a special "Behind the Scenes" tour of the Choir's practice areas and dressing rooms, it was one of the best tours I have ever undertaken (and I've done a bit of travel).

Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform at Rootstech 2013
If you are a first-timer at Rootstech or a veteran who hasn't yet seen the Choir perform you must take time out from your schedule to experience the music and environment.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Trove Tuesday - A Caustic Wit

As I was reviewing the Trove articles I had tagged as Denis Tierney I reread this article about my 2x Great Grandfather, which is truly Trove Treasure.

What makes this article stand apart is that it is not just a list of facts  and positive traits but an honest  description of the character that gives us an insight into the person, of Denis Tierney.

I have clipped the first lines of this article and am pasting below that a typed transcript of the full article.

1894 'The Late Mr. D. Tierney.', Dungog Chronicle : Durham and Gloucester Advertiser (NSW : 1894 - 1954), 23 February, p. 2, viewed 11 January, 2016,

"The Late Mr. D. Tierney.
In the death of Mr D. Tierney. re- corded in your issue of the 6th inst., just received, Dungog loses one of its most characteristic members. At once one of the oldest residents and a man of pronounced individuality, the late Mr Tierney commanded much atten- tion on the part of his fellow towns- folk and might be said to have occupied  a privileged position among them. He had for years past the undisputed right to criticise the sayings and doings of all Dungog and district, and dearly did the old gentleman love to exercise this right. Few have escaped his censure, and that pronounced in the most vigorous and explicit terms, but com- ing from Tierney it was always taken calmly, or at least with the best grace possible. For one reason, perhaps, the old man possessed a caustic wit that it was just as well not to provoke, though in nine cases out of ten I honestly believe no harm was meant, and the criticism merely resulted from the very pleasure of exercising his pri- vileges and creating amusement. Many amusing stories might be related of Tierney's onslaughts on those who dif- fered from him in politics or religion,traceable, as we all know, not to any inherent bigotry in the man, but purely and simply to the feeling and dispos- tion just mentioned. It not unfre- quently happened, in fact, that those he "tackled" (to use his own expres-     sion) the oftenest, he valued very highly, and never missed an oppor- tunity of rendering them a service. Typically Irish as he was in his appre- ciation of humor, he was none the less so in his warm-heartedness and whole- souled generosity. Tierney's house and property were well known to be parish institutions, available to all,without class or distinction, who chose to make use of them. Everyone un-derstood him, and to understand him was to appreciate him. I venture to say, further, that those he so often "tackled" on Home Rule and kindred   topics will feel his loss and miss his familiar figure quite as much as his immediate friends. Nor do I think I exaggerate if I state my conviction that the old man will be missed as much by one and all for his harmless vanity and other little foibles as for his originality, his wit, his candor, and his many other merits. Who will not remember kindly his claims to be an Irishman of uncommon mould, and the only local authority on time and time pieces ? Or who will evev forget the pride with which he exhibited his in- comparable blackthorns, and related their history, as the gifts of distin- tinguished admirers, in one as being the very stick that Daniel O'Connell pointed out with scorn in opening his famous encounter with Biddy Mori- arty ? Above all, what visitor to his domicile will ever lose recollection of the supreme satisfaction it gave him to show his "patriotic art gallery" as  he proudly termed it, where hung in state (the room being consecrated thereto) large sized portraits of Grat- tan, Emmett, O'Connell, etc., ranged as he stoutly maintained against all-comers in the true order of their merit? So much for the humorous side of the old man's character. Turning to what was practical in him, he enjoyed the reputation in his younger days of being a skilful tradesman, and one who brought a good deal of ingenuity to bear upon whatever he undertook to do. Of late years, however, he was unequal to the strain of continuous labor, and worked very little at his trade. Like many other of the old pioneers of the district, he may not have been very successful, but per- haps, as it is said of a fellow-country- man, "his heart and hospitality had   much to do with that." After all, the measure of a man's success is not al- ways the measure of his worth in this luck-influenced world. But, as a sportsman, few will deny his claims to rank among the very first in the dis- trict in which he spent more than half a century of his existence. In days gone by it might almost be said that horse racing, at least, was impossible without Tierney's guidance and assis- tance. Even to the last he was no mean judge of horseflesh. It was only a couple of years ago that, as he and I were standing together on the Dun- gog course, he tipped the first and se- cond horses as they cantered by, and all have heard him tell how he did the same thing at Randwick on a particular occasion. As a marksman also, he owned few equals in the Williams River district. His William Tell-like performances with the rifle well-known to all Dungogites, how he put a bullet   through a bucket of water carried on the head of one man, to that individual's   great discomfiture, and broke a bottle by the same means on the stump- protected cranium of another, for I think a five-pound wager. All his actions in those days proclaim him to have been a man of nerve and vigor,and one of a class fast dying out. Nor in milder forms of pastime was he lessproficient, being for one thing a draught- player of the very toughest order, asthose who have encountered him in a game will readily admit. His exten- sive taste also included a turn for mathematics, at which he was originally no mean hand. Well do I remember him putting his "posers" from the old     Irish mathematicians to groups of us boys coining home from school, and the strictures passed upon us and our teachers when, as often happened, we were obliged to own ourselves "licked." His talented daughter, Jane, inherited this mathematical bent from him, as well as other intellectual gifts the old man possessed. But like her, and his wife, and other relatives, he has now been laid to rest in Hanley's Flat— that peaceful spot in which he has himself laid so many. Yet he shall not be soon forgotten, and I for one will feel, when I visit Dungog again, that it possesses for me one charm the less, and one sad memory the more."
As it happens I have in my possesion one of those treasured Blackthorns or Shillelaghs  that was presented to Denis by Mr Mackay, Mayor of Dungog. I wish I knew that heirloom.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2015 - Responses

When this post from Copper Leaf Genealogy  turned up in my RSS feed I realised that I hadn't challenged my mates to participate in an Accentuate the Positive Geneameme reflecting on 2015. So I set the challenge here. Thanks to those who have already responded - it's never too late if you have time for a spot of reflection. Having just done my response I can vouch for it being a enlightening exercise.

Following are links to responses:

Alex - Green Tree Frog Copper Leaf Genealogy
Jill - GeniAus
Linda - Empty Branches on the Family Tree
Maria - Wishful Linking

Pam - My Maine Ancestry
Sharon - Strong Foundations
Sherie -  The Genealogy Bug
Victoria - Campaspe Genealogy

Please let me know of any additions or omissions.

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2015 - GeniAus reflects

The least I can do when I challenge my genimates to take part in an activity is to participate myself. Although I can't remember much of what happened in 2015 I know it was a great year personally and genealogically.  I'm going to reflect on my year for the next half hour or so and I'm sure I'll be able to conjure up responses to my prompts.

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was - I seriously can't recall any direct ones but I have added many on collateral lines.

2.  A precious family photo I found was : It was actually Mr GeniAus' find. We are starved of photos of his Ball ancestors because his father was an only child and his grandfather died at an early age. The family photos must have vaporised. Mr GeniAus has caught the genealogy bug (that's a big positive) and has been following up on my Ball research. Both his father and grandfather were members of The NSW Fire Brigade so Mr GeniAus went on an excursion to the Museum of Fire where he found a very helpful archivist. She was able to hunt down a photo of Grandfather James Ball who was coach of a Fire Brigade Football Team. This clear picture has enabled us to compare and identify a couple of other photos from our meagre collection.
1921 Soccer Team. James Ball, Top Left

As the picture had been scanned at a high resolution I was able to crop it to get this head and shoulders image of James.
James Ball, 1921 - Age 31
3.  An ancestor's grave I found was - the most important find wasn't a grave but a name on a War Memorial in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.
War Memorial, Wellingborough
Bert Chatfield aka John Williams name on memorial

4.  An important vital record I found was by accident as I was looking at someone else's tree on Ancestry I discovered that they had shared copies of several vital records (even though they shouldn't as the images are subject to copyright) so I was able to glean information from them.

5.  A newly found family member shared details of his line after we had a match on Ancestry DNA.

6.  A geneasurprise I received was to be named as Australia's Gold Medal Genealogy Superstar Rockstar for 2015. I was stunned and humbled - Thanks to John D Reid for organising this and to all who voted for me.

7.   My 2015 blog post that I was particularly proud of was not a post but a new website/blog I maintain for the Hornsby Shire Family History Group. It was so exciting to receive an Encouragement Award at The NSW State Conference for this site.

8.   My 2015 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments were my Rootstech posts - my stats spike at Rootstech time.

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was Canva thanks to Carmel GalvinCanva is a beaut tool for creating graphics.

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy were Wordpress and Blogger. I just love blogging.

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was... I always learn something new to a lesser or greater degree. 

  • Cyndi Ingle's talk on Genealogy Society websites at FGS/Rootstech provided timely guidance as I was setting up the Hornsby Shire Family History Group Blog and Website.
  • Young Australian Tan Le's Keynote at Rootstech was inspirational - there was not a dry eye in the house.

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at Congress 2015 in Canberra. It was a huge honour to be invited to chair a panel in the company of esteemed genealogists for the closing session of the conference.

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was. It's actually a regular column, GeniAus' Gens, in The Surname Society newsletter, The Surname Scribbler. I was thrilled to be asked to  write this column which provides some light relief to the more serious and educative articles published in the newsletter.

14. I taught a friend how to - probably use a social media tool. I'm always championing the benefits of social media for genealogy.

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was The Family Historian Enquires Within by Janet Few. Whenever I want to know the meaning of a word or phrase this is my first stop.I blogged about it here

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was The British Library where I had a bonzer time handling 100 year old newspapers. I thought I had blogged about my experience but I cannot locate the post. Let's just say it was a Geneadream come true. 

I had to stand up to read The Wellingborough News.

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was purchased with a gift card I received for my birthday. Lost Reflections: fortunes of my family in Australia's Golden Age by Professor Graeme Davison is a non-boring family history. I would recommend as a good example of family history writing to anyone contemplating writing up their family history.

18. It was exciting to finally meet online friends in person at geneavents. I am not going to single any one out - I love youse all.

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was a World War 1 Western Front Tour. The tour was well organised by Mat McLachlan tours but the guide we had was very ordinary; his lack of knowledge of Australian WW1 history was evident. I did not however let this guide detract from my enjoyment of the experience.

It was an emotional experience
20. Another positive I would like to share is the feeling of Euphoria I had when I signed off after The 12 Hour Geneagala Hangout on Air I hosted for National Family History Month. Thanks to my genimates from all over the globe who joined me to make it such a successful event. If you have the stamina and 12 hours to spare you can watch the recordings here:

I wonder what 2016 will bring! Hopefully a few demolished walls in the Emerald Isle.


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