Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Library Love

This post isn't about how Mr GeniAus courted me when I was a young librarian - it's about another love of mine.

A friend of ours in Canberra has been experiencing some serious health issues so Mr GeniAus and I took a spin down the freeway to spend Sunday afternoon with him. Rather than doing the 600km round trip in the day we decided to stay the night in a hotel so on Monday I could visit another love of mine, The National Library of Australia.

Entrance to the library
It's over a year since I visited the Library and, at that time, I enthused about the facelift given to some of the areas. I discovered yet more changes on my visit yesterday. The cloakroom that was on the right hand side of the entrance to the Main Reading Room has disappeared so that the entrance now seems less cluttered. I didn't notice any other changes in the Reading Room.

By 1:00pm I was ready for a comfort break and sustenance. It was when I went down to the Lower Ground Floor to grab some lunch that I noticed more changes.
The Paperplate Cafe has had a makeover (shame that there was only one sandwich left)
The casual eating/chatting area has been expanded
There are lots of power outlets and a recharging station

There is a new free locker area.
with a new water bubbler and bottle filling station
When I went back upstairs to the Family History/Newspaper area I noticed that all of the microfilm storage drawers and newspaper racks had shmick new labelling. On my last visit, the day the area opened, there were some finishing touches needed.

Storage for current newspapers with schmick labelling
On my way out of the library I heard commentary of a cricket match. There was in an area near the Main Reading area some comfortable seating and a large screen TV playing the cricket.

Anyone for cricket?
After a productive six hours of ancestor chasing it was time to head home.

I wonder what changes I will find on my next visit.

Looking out into the foyer from the Reading Room entrance

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trove Tuesday - Ancestry

For today's post I did a simple search "trace ancestry"and was rewarded with the following post that was published in several Australian newspapers in 1911. I chose this one to share because it was the clearest image of those I viewed.

Although written over 100 years ago much of  the content in this article rings true today.

1911 'HOW TO TRACE YOUR ANCESTRY.', Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), 7 October, p. 5. , viewed 29 Nov 2016,

Monday, November 28, 2016

Calling home

 28 November 2016

Currently researching in The National Library of Australia

I had to pinch myself - it feels like I am in Salt Lake City. I have counted 7 young LDS (Mormon) missionaries making use of free technology in the Reading Room here. Apparently today is the weekday on which the missionaries are allowed to contact their families. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Christmas Chronicle

As November draws to a close Mr GeniAus asked me what I am going to do about Christmas cards and the annual epistle this year. I thought that I'd prune down the Christmas card list and forget about accompanying letter.

Then my son who is a doctor called me. He is very serious about respecting the confidentiality of his patients but, if the patient says to say hello to your parents, then he tells us. And so the phone call went "Guess who I saw today?" and my response was "I don't know". The next clue was that it was a lady who loves getting our annual Christmas letter. Another clue and I said "Was it Barbara?".

This elderly friend of my late mother-in-law told my son how much she enjoyed getting our newsletter and keeping up with the news of my husband (whom she has known for 50+ years) and his family. Other recipients of our letters over the years have expressed similar sentiments.

So the answer is "Yes Barbara, there is a Santa Letter". I just have to write it

A search of my blog archives reveals that I have written on this subject several times. I am resharing two of those posts 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 into 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?

Friday, November 25, 2016

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 25 November 2016

Just a month to go until December 25th - isn't that scary. I'm feeling organised this morning as I have scheduled a couple of blog posts to cover the Christmas period when I will be holidaying with the family. One of these is my annual Accentuate the Positive Geneameme, please look out for the 2016 edition on Boxing Day. (Here's the 2015 challenge)

Now let's dive into Evernote to see what Gems I have saved this week.

1. Although we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia Alona has taken time to reflect,

3. Melissa's tips for reeling in the relos.

5. Janine shares another title for our reading lists.

9. I'm pleased that times have changed.

10. A trip down memory lane for those of us who were around in 1956.

12. This isn't a post bout my daughter, Elizabeth Anne Ball.


Lilian at Lilian's Tree

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Second Cousin for Mr GeniAus

A few weeks ago we got a copy of a family history written in 2005 that included members of Mr GeniAus' Parkinson line. The common ancestors are William Henry Parkinson and Martha Jane Midgley. On reading the document we discovered that some of Mr GeniAus' previously unknown second cousins had emigrated to Australia from England in the seventies.

We were anxious to contact the female Parkinson descendant in Australia who wrote the history but the contact details we had for her were no longer relevant. She has a relatively common married name so searching for her in the White Pages brought up too many options, we need more than initials to identify her. We planned to check the Victorian Electoral Rolls  for her next week when we visit the National Library of Australia but then .... I started thinking.

Realising that this lady had a brother whose surname was less common than hers I did a Google search, a Facebook Search and a Linkedin search for  him. Bingo - combining the clues I got from these searches and comparing them to the info I had for him in my database and the written history I thought I had found a business 'phone number for this potential second cousin.

Mr GeniAus is not as shy as I am about cold calling people so he immediately got on the 'phone and told his story to the chap who started out hesitant but, after a few minutes, became quite keen. He was quite surprised to receive a call from an unknown second cousin here in Australia. He has taken our details to give to his sister, the genealogist in the family.

So the wait is on. I do hope we hear from her soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Trove Tuesday - Mining the Government Gazettes

Recently added to Trove were the Digitised copies of the Government Gazettes for New South Wales from 1832 to 2001. As these are goldmines of genealogical data I thought I'd see what sort of information I could glean on my Pusell ancestors and cousins, It's a very simple search as I think most Pusells in Australia descend from my convict ancestor James

The examples below from 1868-1987 show how useful the Gazettes are to the family historian.

1868 'APPROVED CLAIMS FOR PRE-EMPTIVE LEASES.', New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), 15 July, p. 2095. , viewed 22 Nov 2016,

The following are links to long lists of names that include Pusell.
1885 'In the Supreme Court of New South Wales. ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION.', New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), 30 October, p. 7077. , viewed 22 Nov 2016,
1920 'IN BANKRUPTCY.', Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), 17 September, p. 5596. , viewed 22 Nov 2016,
1925 'IN BANKRUPTCY.', Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), 6 March, p. 1330. , viewed 22 Nov 2016,

1951 'Government Gazette Appointments and Employment', Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), 10 August, p. 2335. , viewed 22 Nov 2016,
1968 'NOTICE APPOINTING TRUSTEES UNDER THE COMMONS REGULATION ACT, 1898.—PROCLAMATION', Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), 26 January, p. 351. , viewed 22 Nov 2016,

The following are links to long lists of names that include Pusell.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Geneajaunts - Canberra

We have been planning a trip to Canberra to visit a friend and do a spot of research. Although the records I want from the National Archives of Australia are unavailable until July 2017 I think it's still worth hopping in the car and taking a trip to our capital.

This was reinforced when I read a post from a Canberra artist, Maryann Musarred. There is so much to see and do for genealogists visiting Canberra. Do read Maryann's post here:

There's plenty to keep me busy at The National Library of Australia
I've a list of resources to consult at The National Library of Australia so with Mr GeniAus I might be Canberra bound quite soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Geneart - Not for sale

For our Family History Group meetings our local library allows us to use their Main Meeting Room. Another function of this room is to provide an exhibition space for local artists and organisations.

This week there was an exhibition of  woolly pictures (sorry I didn't read the detailed description of the works).  As we were clearing up one of the fellow members drew our attention to one of the works which one could describe as Geneart (a new word for the Geneadictionary.

As some of the works were for sale I thought I might buy it but it was listed as Not for Sale. As I thought it was cute even kitschy I took a photo so that I could share it with you.

Do you have any pieces of Geneart?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Paul Draws a Winner

When my Rootstech Free Pass Giveaway Competition closed I needed to select a winner. I decided to put the entrants names into a hat and get Mr GeniAus to draw the winner.....but then I had a brainwave.

As yesterday was The Hornsby Shire Family History Group Meeting and our guest was Paul Parton from Familysearch I thought it would be a good idea to invite Paul to draw the winning entry. Thanks to Paul and fellow members who allowed me a couple of minutes to do this in a public forum.

Who is it Paul?

It's Lilian Magill
I was over the moon when one of my genimates names was drawn out. The lucky winner drawn by Paul was Lilian Magill, President of Bankstown Family History Group. Lilian so enjoyed her trip to Rootstech this year that she has already registered for 2017. This prize worth $US299 will lighten the load on Lilian's purse.


Contest entrants were asked :"To enter this contest you are asked to search the internet and find a link to a blog post, video or photo that shows me and someone famous or infamous I have met or interviewed at a previous Rootstech OR If you have a picture of you and me together at Rootstech you can share that in a new post."

Lilian blogged this image of some cold Aussies at Rootstech 2016.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Trove Tuesday - Edited by Bev G.

As I was selecting an article for a Trove Tuesday post for my Family History Group I found that someone had added a bit of extra text "Edited by Bev G" into the article's transcription.

1898 'BOATING NATALITY AT BROOKLYN.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 11 November, p. 5. , viewed 14 Nov 2016,
From time to time I have found typos in Trove newspaper articles but I have religiously transcribed from the original.

While it is tempting to change or add to the transcribed text this is contrary to the Trove correction guidelines (
If you discover corrections that are clearly not part of the original text feel free to correct them back to the original text. If the corrections contain links, swearing, or occupy significant amounts of the article please report using the Contact us page and these will be rolled back (rolling back corrections removes them from the correction history as well as reverting the corrections to an earlier stage)."
While the "Edited by Bev G" addition to the above article is not abuse or malicious it shouldn't be there so I have corrected it. The transcribed text must accurately reflect the original.

Friday, November 11, 2016

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 11 November 2016

As I'm going out on the town tomorrow I am preparing this post early  and as a result it won't include any posts published after 4pm Thursday.

Many of the post I share appeal to me because they remind me of places I visited as a child.

1. I remember swimming here.

2. And we had many family picnics here.

3. Our convict ancestors enjoyed this menu!

4. You can explore this collection on your device.

5. These adjectives may enhance your writing.

6. Use copyrighted images at your peril.

7. Kerryn's ancestor didn't swim.

8. Nana and Pop's story discovered.

9. Fran joined the Genealogy Photo a Day Challenge

As it's Remembrance Day here are a couple of military themed posts

10. Canada Bay Memorials.

11. A film to view.

12. An Irish Airman forsees his death.

Remembering Local Soldiers

On this Remembrance Day November 11 I am sharing a link to a work,  commonly known as The Argus War Book, that was published shortly after World War 1. I have known of the existence of the work for many years but had never handled or seen a copy.

As I was indulging in a bit of tangential research last week I came across a blog post (Please read it all) from Parramatta Heritage Centre that talked about the history of  "The Argus War Book: Parramatta and District Soldiers who Fought in the Great War" and mentioned the areas included in the book. 

I was surprised to find that all these places were included: "Parramatta, Granville and Clyde, Auburn, Lidcombe the book continues to include Liverpool, Marsden Park, Ingleburn, Hoxton Park, Cecil Park, Cabramatta, Canley Vale, St. John’s Park, Smithfield, Fairfield, Wetherill Park, Bossley Park, Guildford, Merrylands, Westmead, Wentworthville, Toongabbie, Seven Hills, Blacktown, Prospect, Plumpton, Schofield’s Siding, Sackvllle, Eastern Creek, Rouse Hill, Arcadia, Baulkham Hills. Castle Hill, Dural, Galston, Glenhaven, Glenorie, Kellyville, Kenthurst, Carlingford, Dundas, Ermington and Rydalmere, Waitara, Hornsby, Normanhurst, Thornlelgh, Pennant Hills, Beecroft, Cheltenham, Epping, Eastwood, Ryde, Meadowbank and Gladesville." Both Mr GeniAus and I have ancestors in one or some of these areas.

Great-Grandfather John James Ball
The exciting news conveyed in the blog post was that the publication has been digitised and it may be viewed from this link. I was finally able to get my (virtual) hands on this 271 page book which contains photographs and concise biographical information on military men and nurses from the district.

 I was particularly interested in  the Liverpool soldiers because I have been researching Mr GeniAus' Ball ancestors who were not mentioned in the recent Liverpool publication "Our Liverpool Boys". 

What I discovered were mentions and photos of  Great-Grandfather John James Ball,  Grandfather James Ball, Great Uncle Fred Ball and several cousins. Until we came across this digitised publication we had never  seen a photo of John James

Today as I reflect on the sacrifices made by our military ancestors I commend the people at Parramatta who have provided access to this valuable resource for local families.

We Will Remember Them

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Blogiversary Confusion

I was delighted this morning to receive blogiversary wishes on Facebook from Geneabloggers and some genimates but when I looked at the date quoted it didn't quite gel.  I thought my blog was a tad older than that post suggested.

Going back through the GeniAus blog archive I discovered that my blog actually turned 8 on November 5th. Here is what I said in my first post on that day:

 A crowded blogosphere? I must have been wearing blinkers - there were very few genealogy blogs in existence when I got started and only a handful from downunder. Geneablogs now number in the thousands. I have seen many come and go while a few oldies continue to flourish. Notable among these are Olive Tree Genealogy, Genea-Musings and Genealogy's Star. In 2008 Geneablogging downunder was a lonely pursuit. Pauleen's Family History across the Seas launched in December 2009 is one blog that has weathered the storm. The authors of these four geneablogs have become friends along the way.

I have been retired (from paid work) for nearly eight years and find myself busier than ever. Geneablogging has enriched my life in retirement. It has delivered friendships, put me in contact with distant relatives, informed and taught me, given me opportunities to teach others and, through my role as a Rootstech Ambassador, encouraged me to travel to distant lands and opened doors to places and experiences that I had only dreamt about.

Although I primarily blog for myself, my family and future generations I am most grateful for those who come along for the ride. Many of these readers are unknown to me. I got such a buzz at the Society of Australian Genealogists event last Saturday when one of my readers sought me out to tell me how much she enjoyed my blog. Thank you to that lady and the other readers my stats tell me I have.

I am still not organised and have more mysteries than ever to solve but I am having a beaut time. I'm not too concerned about my messy geneacave and piles of files - as long as I am progressing and sharing my research and knowledge I am content.

I hope to be blogging eight years from now.

Monday, November 7, 2016

View from my Desk

New view from my desk
I enjoy a beautiful view from my desk out through a window to the garden but now I also have a new view straight ahead of me through an internal door. Until last Wednesday I could only see a blank wall but due to Mr GeniAus' obsession I have a pretty sight to see.

On several occasions I have blogged about Mr GeniAus' clockmaking ancestor, James Gowans (1806-1886), and our mission to find clocks made by James. We affectionately call this old chap "James the Clock". I wrote in February 2010 about James' clocks and expressed a wish that one day we would own a clock made by James.

Over the years I have devoted several posts to the  "James the Clock" saga. If you have a spare few hours you can read them, otherwise just skip over the links.

If you have read all the posts you will know that the cousin we met through social media had a Gowans clock with provenance; his clock has been passed down through the Gowans family. On our last visit to England in June the cousin told us that it was time for us to take the clock home. He has no offspring and decided on one of our earlier visits that, as we have four offspring and a tribe of grandchildren, the clock had a better chance of staying in the family than if it remained with him. We were thrilled that he was ready to say goodbye to the clock, we had not wanted to rush him.  On arriving home in Australia we contacted shipping agents and with the assistance of the cousin organised for the clock to join us at home.

Another plus is that the clock is a completely different style from the one that is is our living room.

Although the clock arrived on the wharf in Sydney nearly two months ago it spent some time with customs and agents and was released to make the hour's journey to our home last week. Our cousin was relieved when we told him that it had finally been delivered but wasn't so excited when I said it was in our kitchen. I reminded him that it was a very nice kitchen.

I was out when the clock arrived but Mr GeniAus unpacked it and put it together and it was ticking away beautifully by the time I got home. It bongs loudly (one couldn't call it a chime) on the half hour and hour with the midday and midnight performances being quite long. I don't mind the noise because it is such a pretty piece and lovely to look at. Take a look for yourself.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A New Genealogy Mystery

My genimate, Lorine MCGinnis Schulze from Canada, proudly announced this week on Facebook the publication of her first genealogy mystery. As I follow Lorine's blog I knew that this book was in the pipeline.

Lorine has subsequently shared the news on her Olive Tree Genealogy blog.

As I love this genre I wanted to purchase the title in ebook format but sadly it was only available in hard copy from and I was loathe to purchase that format due to postage costs to Australia. I asked Lorine if it was available as an ebook and she said that it would be coming soon. It was only a day or so when Lorine let me know that the book was now available in ebook format on Amazon and Amazon Canada. When I couldn't purchase it from I tried the Amazon Australia site and the ebook was available there.

The book is now installed on my phone but I must finish what I am currently reading before I dive into Lorine's book - something to look forward to.

Friday, November 4, 2016

GeniAus' Rootstech Free Pass Giveaway

If you are considering a trip to RootsTech in Salt Lake City from February 8-11, 2017 you might like to save on Registration. As a RootsTech Ambassador I have a complimentary RootsTech plus Innovator Summit 2017 4-day pass, valued at $299 to give away.

It includes:
  • Innovator Summit 
  • Over 200 classes
  • Keynotes
  • General sessions
  • RootsTech sessions
  • Getting Started classes
  • Expo hall
  • Evening events
If you are one of the organised folk who has already registered for RootsTech you can still enter as, if you are the winner, you will receive a refund of your registration fee from the organisers.

This contest is only for a complimentary registration to the full four-day conference ($299 value) - you are responsible for all other associated costs.

Entering my contest is easy: 
 For me one of the most exciting parts of Rootstech is networking with fellow genies and presenters

1) To enter this contest you are asked to search the internet and find a link to a blog post, video or photo that shows me and someone famous or infamous I have met or interviewed at a previous Rootstech OR If you have a picture of you and me together at Rootstech you can share that in a new post.

2) Please share your link on Social Media with the phrase GeniAus with [persons's name] at Rootstech [year] and let me know of it in an email to with the subject 2017 Rootstech Giveaway.

3) The winner is also invited to find me in the Media Hub so that we can meet in person and have a happy snap together.

4) The Judges's decision is final.

All entries must be received by Midnight (GMT) on Monday 14 November and I will try to notify the winner by email before Midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 16 November. I will subsequently announce the winner in a blog post on the GeniAus blog.

An Example Post: GeniAus with Jenny, Hilary and Pauleen at Rootstech 2015
Disclosure: I am an RootsTech 2017 Ambassador and one of the advantages is being given this free registration. I have also received a complimentary registration to RootsTech 2017 but I will have to outlay several thousand of my own dollars to make the trip to Rootstech.

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 4 November 2016

From time to time I see articles about the demise of blogging but judging from the contents of my RSS feeds each week there's still a lot of blogging going on. Certainly blogs and bloggers come and go but there is a steady stream of interesting posts waiting for me each time I open my Inoreader account. Nearly each week I discover by some other social media channel a blog or two that were previously unknown to me.

Now it's time for me to delve into my saved selections and select a dozen or so to share with you.

1. My genteel self would like some of these.

2. Shelley has been further exploring her Ancestry hints.

3. When I visit a library I love to browse the shelves. Joan's browsing turned up this treasure.

4. We definitely need to borrow Otsukaresamadesu from the Japanese language.

5. Meet Pauleen - the Irish radio star.

6. Norman's place is always on the itinerary when we have overseas visitors

7. A comprehensive report from Debbie.

8. Congratulations to Tiphanee.

9. There are a lot of rabbits at our house. Maybe we need some cats.

10. So many of my genimates are also bibliophiles like Alex who has been playing Bingo.

11. Just like big institutions we have to plan for obsolescence.

12. And we can't ignore the First Tuesday in November.

New to Me

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Free Family History Library Classes/Webinars for November 2016

Free Family History Library Classes/Webinars for November 2016: These classes and workshops are designed to help individuals and families find their ancestors and teach others family history techniques.

November 3 
  • 1:00 P.M. British Case Studies Webinar
November 5
  • 1:00 P.M. Reading Spanish Handwriting Webinar
November 8
  • 11:00 A.M. Ask Your United States Research Question Webinar
  • 1:00 P.M.   Lessons on English Life: A Fun Look at English Parish Registers
November 9
  • 10:00 A.M. Italian Language Indexing Webinar (1½ hours)
November 10
  • 1:00 A.M. Descendancy Research Webinar
November 14
  • 1:00 P.M. Reivers and Relatives: Ancestors Along the Anglo-Scottish Border Webinar
November 15
  • 2:00 P.M. Exploring Danish Census Records Online Webinar
November 16
  • 10:00 A.M. French Language Indexing Webinar (1½ hours)
  • 10:00 A.M. GENTEAM.AT—A Necessity When Doing Czech and Austrian Research Webinar
  •   1:00 P.M. Lost in London: Tracing Elusive Ancestry in England’s Largest City Webinar
November 17
  • 11:00 A.M. Learn How to Use the Online, Searchable Meyer’s German Gazetteer Webinar
  •   1:00 P.M. Your British Questions Answered Webinar
November 19
  • 10:00 A.M. Boy Scout Genealogy Merit Badge (1½ hours) Note: To register, call 1-801-240-4673 at least 1 week before the workshop to find out which requirements should be completed before attending.
  • 1:00 P.M. Preguntas frequentes de Árbol Familiar Webinar
November 22
  • 1:00 P.M. Using Digital Libraries for German Family History Research Webinar
November 30
  • 10:00 A.M. Dutch Language Indexing Webinar (1½ hours)


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