Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Aussies at Rootstech London

One of the Rootstech Organisers told me there were 50+ Australians registered for Rootstech London while another told me there were 60. I think I managed to hook up with about 40 of them prior to or at the event. I was told that the Australians were the second largest group of overseas registrants after genies from the USA at the event.

Some of the Aussies at Rootstech gathered for a photo
Whatever the number it was a vast improvement on the the numbers that travel to Salt Lake City each year for the annual Rootstech conference there. In my interviews and chats with the Australians in London all agreed that for the many Australians who have British, Irish and European ancestry London is a more attractive venue because it can be combined with visits to ancestral cities and towns and associated national, regional and local archives.

Cathie Sherwood, Kerry Farmer and Brad Argent represented Australia on the Rootstech London program while Fran Kitto, Sharn White, Jenny Joyce and I  acted as Ambassadors. We Ambassadors were very busy tweeting throughout the event. I also posted quite a few photos of the event on my Facebook Page here.

Prior to the event we had an active Facebook Group with lots of discussion and friendly advice being shared. We organised meetups in Sydney and London prior to the event so that we would all know some familiar faces when we got tothe Excel Centre for Rootstech London. All members of that group met new genies who became their genimates. I was especially pleased that my third cousin Regina, whom I had only met on one previous occasion was at the event. Having a fellow descendant of our convict Elizabeth Phipps from London with me there was very special.

Cousin Regina and I
I managed to interview a few Australian genies while at Rootstech London. I just wish I would have had time to chat with more. If you are considering a visit to Rootstech if it is staged again in London  then listen to what these genies had to say in our interviews and as Fran Kitto said "Start saving your pennies".

Friday, October 25, 2019

Going walkabout at Rootstech London

Mr GeniAus accompanied me to the first Rootstech London, As an Ambassador I am finding it very helpful to have his support at the event. When not attending talks he has been busy taking photos and recording interviews for me.

Yesterday I asked him to go walkabout and take some photos of the exhibitors at the event. The photos below show the diverse range of exhibitors in attendanceat Rootstech London. There is something to interest all family historians. Anyone can visit the exhibit hall for free during the event.

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Conference Checklist - Rootstech London

When I usually attend a Rootstech event it is a shorter trip from Australia to Salt Lake City followed by a spot of touristing in the USA. This time Rootstech London comes at the beginning of an eight week holiday that takes us to the US, South America and Antarctica so getting ready is a real challenge as I need clothes and gear for so many climates. I also need space for my two day shopping spree in Miami.

I had my hair cut very short but will it last the distance? Now I need to look at the checklist I did for the last geneaconference, THE Genealogy Show 2019, that I attended in England  and modify it. 

If you are looking for me at Rootstech just seek out the little old lady with the distinctive bag.

The GeniAus bag

Here is my list. Highlighted is what else I must still do
  • Airport transfer - Booked. After a 23+ hour flight we want our transfer to the hotel to be stress free. 
  • Books - A couple of unread books that I can swap on our cruise ship once read. Have also download a few eBooks from the local library onto my phone.
  • Purchase and pack breakfast bars, liquid breakfasts and healthy snacks for quick meals.
  • Pack Clothes - always a challenge
  • Deliver Paddy to his second home where he loves playing with his mate Freddo.
  • Empty the Frig and Pantry - In Progress - they already resemble Mother Hubbard's Cupboard.
  • Flights - Booked, Seats are allocated so no need to book in online.
  • Foreign Currency - Task delegated to Mr GeniAus. Have GBP and USD.
  • Hotel Accommodation - All booked.
  • Luggage - Two small suitcases are easier than one large one for an old girl to manage, I take one small carryon for the plane basically because I can't pack batteries and laptop in luggage for the hold. I can't understand why so many people carry such large bags on board - they must pack the kitchen sink. I could make do with a large handbag.
  • Maps - will rely on Google maps on my phone and 
  • Mobile Phone and Battery Pack - We have a plan that gives us international roaming and a small data allowance. It is handy to be able to phone Mr GeniAus when I lose him in a cemetery or shopping mall. I had a dinosaur battery pack that is so heavy. Now have a lighter new one that give two charges.
  • A Notebook - I lose loose bits of paper.
  • Oyster Card for travel on London network
  • Passport and ESTA (for the US) - Already in travel handbag with sleeping pills for the plane.
  • Pegs and Laundry Soap -  No need to buy expensive "travel" products. 
  • Pencil Case - a few pens and pencils and a small ruler that has a magnifying window(Handy for reading small print or old handwriting).
Nifty ruler with magnifying window 
  • Phone the Banks and Amex:  Need to let them know we are travelling, helps them monitor for fraud - Done.
  • Pills and potions - All sorted, have packed an emergency 'just in case' kit of favourites. A few days supply in handbag in case we part company with our bags.
  • Rental Car - another job for Mr GeniAus, done months ago. 
  • Compile list of research tasks for The National Archives - In progress in my Family Historian Database.
  • Clean off all my SD cards - have backed up all photos on them to two hard drives.
Storage for my SD Cards
  • Technology: Digital camera and charger, Laptop, Portable 4 TB HDD Drive ( I download and tag my photos religiously most days), Chargers, Universal Adapters. Most of this stuff lives in a purpose designed case that doesn't get unpacked between trips.  Of course my mouse will be travelling with me, I can't get by without my mouse.
  • Scan Travel Docs - Include copies of prescriptions for drugs and glasses, health report from GP, Passport, Credit cards, Driver's Licence. Save onto phone, hard drive, Google Drive and computer. Mr GeniAus carries a hard copy of files as well.
  • Should I take a Selfie Stick? I have a cheap, light one and a quality reliable one that is heavy.
  • Travel insurance - Renewed.
  • Walking stick - needed for cities with cobblestone and uneven paths.
  • Water bottle - Can fill once I have passed through security at airports.
My Travel Tech setup 
Specifically for Rootstech
  • Find out names of Aussies who are travelling to Rootstech London -- have set up a Facebook Group and organised a pre-conference dinner 
  • Blogger Beads - which ones will I wear?
  • Follow fellow Show attendees on Twitter - added a few new genimates to my feed already.
  • Conference Registration - Pass downloaded and printed
  • A light day bag for conference - Packed
  • GeniAus Business Cards 
  • GeniAus Ribbons 
  • A Notebook - I find writing notes helps me to reinforce my learning
  • Rootstech App - Downloaded
  • Schedule - Have put everything into my Google Calendar. Needs to be accessible on my phone.
  • Technology - I take a few extra toys when attending a conference as I may want to blog, vlog or interview genimates includes A dual headed microphone for interviewing with my phone. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Trove Tuesday - Sydney to London

This time next week I will be arriving at Gatwick as a bleary eyed traveller who has survived the 23hours 45 minutes flight (if there are no hiccups along the way) from Sydney to London. While we moan and complain about our long haul flights we need to remember our ancestors whose journeys took way longer than ours do now.

A search of Trove gives us an insight into our ancestors' journeys.

1926 'FUTURE OF AIR TRAVEL.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 11 November, p. 11. , viewed 15 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202209834
You can continue reading this lengthy article from the link above.

1936 'REDUCED FARES FOR AIR TRAVEL TO LONDON', The Evening News (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1924 - 1941), 15 August, p. 1. , viewed 15 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202476116

1935 'AIR TRAVEL', The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), 13 June, p. 6. , viewed 15 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article30090881

1946 'CHEAP AIR TRAVEL PLAN TO AUSTRALIA', The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 31 January, p. 1. , viewed 15 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2662022
The Measuring Worth website tells me that 220 Australian pounds in 1946 would have been worth $AUD14,246.00. in 2018. The Webjet website tells me that tomorrow I could fly Return Economy to London for  $1146 and on Qantas for $1522. A Business Class return fare is available for $5431. 

In comparison my Business Class flight next week looks like good value and I am sure it will be more comfortable than a 1946 flight. I know it will be faster than a flight in 1946.

By 1957 flight times were reduced to a mere 28 hours, much closer to what we have to endure today.

1957 'Sydney-London Air Travel Time To Be Reduced', The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 3 January, p. 3. , viewed 15 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91231060

Just Seven Days to go - Rootstech London

This time next week I will be arriving at Gatwick for Rootstech London as a bleary eyed traveller who has survived the 23hours 45 minutes flight (if there are no hiccups along the way) from Sydney to London.

Ready for Rootstech
My Dance Card is filling up. I need to keep track of my movements and communicate with genimates whilst in London. I will be using the Rootstech App on my phone to keep in touch with Rootstech news and announcements and follow the speaker program. I will be keeping in contact with Aussies at Rootstech and Rootstech Ambassadors in Facebook Groups and employing Facebook Messenger for messaging. My mobile phone plan allows me to make calls to and from 70 countries so I can also use that.

Twitter will be the tool I use to share news and thoughts during the conference - I just don't have time to blog. Of course I will be grabbing folk for interviews too.

I will be using my Google calendar as my main scheduling  tool. This is for a few reasons:
  • I have a shared calendar with Mr GeniAus who is travelling with me so it makes sense for us both to use the same app that we can access on all of our devices. 
  • The Rootstech app only allows one to schedule events within the Rootstech time frame whereas the Google calendar option gives me a platform I can use for all of my 8 days in London.
  • After the event it's easy for me to download my Google calendar into my digital diary that I keep on Excel (read about it here: http://geniaus.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-book-of-me-prompt-6-journals-and.html).
I have a pre-conference checklist that I use and modify each year (the latest was for THE Genealogy Show in Birmingham - I need to take a look at that plus look at the Rootstech London sessions that are must attends for me. Watch out for my next Rootstech London blog post.

Announcing the winner - VGA Virtual Conference free registration


The Virtual Genealogical Association is a global organisation for the 21st century that fulfils the needs of family historians:

  • whose circumstances make it difficult to attend local genealogical society meetings
  • who prefer online presentations, special interest groups (SIGs), conferences, and socializing
  • with an interest in connecting, networking, and mentoring with global genealogists.

The Association's virtual conference will be held from November 1-3, 2019! 

As the Convenor of the New South Wales Chapter of of the Association I had a FREE Registration Code for the conference to share with one of my genimates.

I randomly chose a winner from those folk who had entered my competition and was pleased to see that a fellow Australian, Michelle Nichols was the winner. Congratulations to Michelle; when I asked her if she would accept the prize she said "Yes please!!!! Very pleased to hear this news."

If you still wish to be a winner then you can register for this event. See below

Speakers include Judy G Russell and Blaine Bettinger from the US,  Fiona Brooker from New Zealand, Ursula Krause from Germany, Audrey Collins from the UK and Helen Smith from Australia. 

Australians who may be sleeping while the live sessions are broadcast will not miss out on any of the sessions. Attendees will have access to recordings & handouts for all sessions for 6 months following the event - watch any time, any place, on any device

Closed captioning via Rev.com will be added to all sessions and made available to attendees within 7 days of the event. 

Cost is reasonable at $US59 for VGA members & $US79 for non-members. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

VGA Virtual Conference - Six months access

I registered for the VGA Virtual Conference today even though I will not be able to attend in real time. I will be somewhere off the coast of Miami on a cruise ship heading towards Buenos Aires on that day.

There is no way I want to miss hearing from the speakers who are presenting so I am pleased that I will be able to access recordings of the talks for six months after the conference. Thos of you in Australia will be able to watch the talks in your leisure at a downunder family time.

Just take a look at the picture below, you will recognise some of the international geneastars who are in the conference lineup. You will recognise some of our favourite foreign presenters like Judy G Russell and Blaine Bettinger. Other speakers in the lineup that I have particularly enjoyed are Ursula Krause from Germany, Denise Levenick and Bernice Bennett from the US and Christine Woodcock, a Scots born Canadian who is one of the best presenters on Scotland around.

Registration is only $US59 for VGA members and $US79 for nonmembers (you may as well join so you can access the Association's regular program of webinars).

This is amazing value for three full days of geneaelearning but you had better hurry - registrations close on Friday 18 October. Scroll to the bottom of this page to register  https://virtualgenealogy.org/2019-vga-conference/

Friday, October 4, 2019

Number 10 - the New Arrival

Various Scottish directories and census records told us that Mr GeniAus' ancestors James Gowans and his son James Gowans were clockmakers. Another son, John Gowans,who emigrated to the US, was also a clock and watchmaker in New York. The youngest son, William Gowans, was apprenticed as a watchmaker but left that profession to become a doctor. 

James Gowans Senior worked in Linton and Galashiels whilst James Junior worked in Hawick. Just one of the clocks, Number 8, was made in Hawick

It was not until we met and visited a new cousin in England in 2006 that we sighted a "Gowans" longcase clock. Once Mr GeniAus knew that there was a possibility of owning such an heirloom the hunt was on. He contacted several clock specialists in England and subscribed to a number of auction sites. Over the past 13 years we have learnt of 10 clocks made by one of the two James. (The numbered list below gives links to details and blog posts about these ten clocks).

 Last month there was much excitement when Clock Number 10, made in Linton, was delivered to our door. This clock will eventually be going to live with our elder daughter. 

Art, a restorer from Virginia,USA, who had bought clock 10 at an estate sale emailed me in July: 

"Jill--I was searching for information on James Gowans after purchasing one of his clocks at a local estate sale recently.  It is very close in appearance to the one you posted some time ago.  It is mahogany and the painted dial is very similar to the one in your pictures.  Right now I am in the process of restoring the movement (I am a clock restoration person, so it is good hands.)"

I passed Art's message on to Mr GeniAus and they corresponded back and forth. Of course, Mr GeniAus had to have the clock! Art accepted his offer and began to work on the restoration. During this time and up until the days after delivery Art was an excellent and caring communicator who sent along many progress reports and photos. I was outside with my camera when the delivery truck appeared with its precious cargo. We must commend DHL for the efficient handling and delivery of our cargo.

The delivery chaps had never delivered a heavy coffin shaped parcel before

Mr GeniAus smiling like a Cheshire cat as he prepared for the grand opening

Phew - there wasn't a body n the box

Such a pretty face

A Family Heirloom - over 150 years old and standing proud 

 Ten Gowans Clocks

1. In Clocks Magazine http://geniaus.blogspot.com/2010/02/james-clock.html

2. Cousin's House now with us

3. Museum Melbourne.
https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/405410 Visited November 2010

4. Our first Purchase  now with our younger son. http://geniaus.blogspot.com/2010/05/tick-tock-we-think-weve-found-gowans.html Arrived November 2010.

5. Elder son's Clock http://geniaus.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-4x-great-grandfather-clock.html

6. Drew in Omaha Nebraska bought his clock at an Estate Sale and restored it himself. Emailed August 2014

7. Mr GeniAus bid for a Gowans Regulator Clock at an online auction

8. Georg in Germany found me via this blog and wrote about his clock. "My father bought it in 1975 in an antiquesstore in Nordhorn, in northern Germany."  Email February 2017

9. Cousin's new clock was purchased at auction in England around 2017.

10. Our new clock was bought by a restorer in Virginia, USA at an Estate Sale. The restorer contacted me by email after reading my blog.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Trove Tuesday - Change of name

This week a genimate changed the name of her blog. I applauded her decision because she changed it from a general title to a title that could refer to any genealogy blog to something that is unique to her.

As that set me thinking. I thought about name changes that may put barriers in the way of our research so as it is Trove Tuesday I went to Trove in search of some examples. Reading these articles gives us an indication of why the name changes were effected.

Did these name changers realise the impact that their actions would have on family historians of the future?

1902 'A Change of Name.', Wagga Wagga Advertiser (NSW : 1875 - 1910), 14 June, p. 6. , viewed 01 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104063538
1938 'CHANGE OF NAME.', Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), 18 November, p. 4467. , viewed 01 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225068920
1942 'CHANGE OF NAME OF DEPARTMENT.', Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973), 19 October, p. 2490. , viewed 01 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article232678464
1905 'CHANGE OF NAME.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 30 March, p. 8. , viewed 01 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article192239467
1917 'A CHANGE OF NAME.', Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette (Qld. : 1868 - 1919), 14 July, p. 7. , viewed 01 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article188170479
1949 'CHANGE OF NAME', The Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 - 1954), 7 November, p. 3. , viewed 01 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70514043
1937 'HOTEL CHANGE OF NAME', National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 - 1954), 29 June, p. 2. , viewed 01 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160568469

1911 'CHANGE OF NAME.', Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (Sydney, NSW : 1891 - 1954), 3 April, p. 4. , viewed 01 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158548306
1947 'TO CHANGE NAME OF KING IS. SCHOOL', Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), 29 November, p. 7. , viewed 01 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69033680

The tip that comes from reading these articles is that if you hit a brick wall Search for a name change.


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