Saturday, June 27, 2020

A Decade of Digging

My poster girl moment at The National Library of Australia's digital launch (watch the full launch here) of the revamped Trove Australia lasted for 24 seconds as a video of me declaring my love for our national treasure was played. 

I was honoured to receive an invitation from a PR company inviting me to participate in the launch. They wrote several weeks ago  "We're looking to gather short 20 second vox pops from a range of Trove users giving a quick snapshot of why they love Trove and what they use it for.....The library recommended that we get in touch with you to see if you'd be keen to participate." As am not shy about sharing my love for Trove I replied YES immediately. I don't know why I got a chance to be part of this event but I was absolutely thrilled to be asked. I was chuffed to represent the army of amateur genealogists whose daily activities include digging on Trove.

In my clip I mentioned fishing for ancestors on Trove and getting a small bite or a big haul of ancestor stories to add to my personal history. To suppport that analogy I selected, as a background for my clip, Lake Macquarie which is known for its many great fishing spots. In conclusion I said that my reason for loving Trove was because it breathes life into my ancestors. 

My Clip recorded at  Lake Macquarie

My relationship with Trove goes back to before its birth in 2009 when I would use the Picture Australia and historic newspaper collections from The National Library of Australia. The first instance I can find of myself promoting Trove was in a blog post in February 2010 when I said "I am a regular user of this site, the information found there adds some flavour to the rather dry facts in my family tree. I have found birth and death notices, sickly sweet in memoriams, saucy divorce proceedings and articles that give places and times to ancestors." I followed that with "I exhort those who use Trove to consider adding to the treasure there by correcting lines of text in articles you read."

From ten years of digging in Trove I have 190 blog posts in which I have mentioned Trove, I have given many presentations to genealogy groups and at conferences in which I sing Trove's praises. I have created many lists and tagged articles but my record at correcting text is not outstanding. When I am not travelling I am a regular Trove user.

As I have only scratched the surface of the treasure there I look forward to many more years of Digging on Trove.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Value from our Vaults

Image by kalhh from Pixabay
Many longterm geneabloggers have a huge vault of interesting and valuable past posts. The value of these is, that if someone is searching on Google for a particular person, place or topic mentioned in our posts, the posts will be found. We all get rather excited when we reel in a contact with our "Cousin Bait". Are you getting more value from your posts?

Instead of leaving our posts to languish on some distant server and relying on Google to attract new readers for us we should be proactive in focusing attention on our earlier writing.  This was brought home to me this week when I read and enjoyed old posts from two of our fellow geneabloggers who have used other social media platforms to share links to their posts.

I had not previously read the Milo post posted on The Dusty Box blog by Jess in 2016, I somehow missed reading it until I saw her recent tweet with the post's link on Twitter. As I was captivated by this story about an Australian icon I shared Jess's post on my Facebook Page and was pleased that it initiated a conversation about Milo. 

Canadian Geneablogger, Lorine, today posted a link on Facebook to the first in a series of four posts she wrote mentioning her Australian links (You can see all 4 posts here I had read these posts back when they were posted in 2009 or when Lorine posted them again in 2016 but I am sure that many Australian genies who would have been interested in their content may not have been reading blogs or even interested in their family history then. 

Lorine and Jess have this week demonstrated how easy it is to get more value from the blog posts in our vaults. 

How about going through your past posts, updating them if necessary and sharing links to them on your social media channels? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Trove Tuesday - Maided

It's not too often that I find a term for The Geneadictionary in Trove. This morning  when I was looking for something else I came across the past tense of a verb "Maided" so off I went on a tangent to see if I could find other instances of the word being used in a similar context....and I did.

The clippings that follow illustrate the meaning of Maided.

1928 'WEDDING.', Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954), 29 October, p. 8. , viewed 16 Jun 2020,

1949 'WEDDING BELLS', Maryborough Chronicle (Qld. : 1947 - 1954), 26 February, p. 6. , viewed 16 Jun 2020, 

1927 'WEDDING', Northern Standard (Darwin, NT : 1921 - 1955), 8 March, p. 3. , viewed 16 Jun 2020,

1931 'Pars and Paragraphs.', Pingelly-Brookton Leader (WA : 1925 - 1954), 26 November, p. 3. , viewed 16 Jun 2020,

Monday, June 15, 2020

Monday's Mailbox

After a weekend in which I was finally able to meet up with living family I am answering those emails that required more than just a short answer via my smartphone.  I took a break from my computer after I hosted a Zoom meeting for our FHG on Saturday and read a book then on Sunday we travelled down to Sydney to celebrate a birthday with one of our grandsons.

First job this morning was to post a photo in the "Proud Momma" meme on Facebook. Trawling through my collection to find ten photos for this activity has given me much pleasure as I relive so many happy moments. The photos (see below) I posted today were of four of my proudest Momma moments.

I then needed to answer some emails. The first was a request from a colleague who had some questions about my experiences hosting Zoom meetings. I replied about some of my limited experience and referred her to some genimates with more experience than me.

The next reply was to a member of our local Group. In our Zoom meeting on the weekend I shared the spreadsheet I use to keep track of DNA matches, this lady was interested so I offered her a copy of my  spreadsheet template.

The third email I had to chase up has kept me busy on and off all day. It was from a second cousin's daughter making contact because she had found my website and wanted to talk about our ancestors. My cousin bait has reeled in a good match.

We managed to connect on Facebook after I changed my strict privacy settings (now changed back). This lovely young woman has sent me copies of some photos and clippings that her grandmother had. I was able to identify some of the people in them and even found one with myself, another with my son and another with my daughter. It has been so much fun messaging back and forth. 

Meanwhile I was supposed to be writing the newsletter for our local family history group. Somehow I nearly managed to get it finished. I'll fill the remaining half column in the morning and send it off for proofreading (most necessary with my lack of keyboarding skills).

How was your Monday?

Friday, June 5, 2020

The Crazy month of May 2020 meme: pandemic experiences

My Genimate, Pauleen, of the Cassmob Blog recently invited fellow bloggers to join her in a meme. She wrote:

"It occurred to me that perhaps we should have a meme which captures our response to the hopefully-once-in-a-lifetime May that we’ve just navigated….it might be a way to preserve the tip of our experiences. Remember that many blogs are being archived in Pandora so perhaps this is a way for our descendants to learn about our experiences during the covid-19 crisis.

If you’re so inclined, why not join me in completing this meme. Be as brief or lengthy as you like and feel free to add more than one response to a question."

Here are my responses to: 

The Crazy month of May 2020 meme: pandemic experiences

My view as I sit in bed and read

What are you most grateful for during this covid-19 crisis? 
Three H's, my husband, my home, my health. While I enjoy my own company I have been so grateful that I have my husband around to keep me company and support me through this time. My health is generally good but I have a few underlying issues that make it sensible for me to isolate. Robert has been my link with the outside world as he has done all those messages that could not be accomplished online. 

One of the neighbours sunning on our jetty

Our comfortable home is our haven, we are lucky to live on beautiful Lake Macquarie which provides us with beautiful vistas and a passing parade of watercraft and wildlife. We are independent retirees rely on income investments ans superannuation, some of our investments have taken a hit but we are still able to live well. 

I am also grateful for social media and technology which allows me to keep in touch with family and friends near and far and for our free library systems which provide me with access to eBooks and online databases for my education and amusement.

Australia is known as The Lucky Country, I can think of nowhere I would rather be at this time. 

Life is good.

What have you missed most during the full or partial lock-down?  
Three F's, Family, Freedom and Friends. I have missed the freedom of being able to hop in the car and go anywhere I please at any time I wish.  I have also missed being able to go out to restaurants for a quick meal. While I have been in contact with family and friends I have missed the large gatherings we have to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions. 

Celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary in isolation was a bitter pill to swallow as we had planned a family weekend at the Taronga Zoo Hotel with our extended family.

Our Anniversary Portrait was a selfie

Has your hobby sustained you during this time? 

New Tablet - Reading for reading

Most definitely. Genealogy, photography and reading have filled my days. It's been very hard but I been concentrating on organising my genealogy and photography files. Initially I gave into temptation and did new research on my Phipps/Westbrook and Pusell lines but I haven't strayed down new paths for over a week. I am going through my old notebooks spanning 30+ years to make sure that all relevant information is stored in my database or digital files. I certainly did a lot of manual transcription in the old days.

My collection of photographs is HUGE - several Terabytes. I am coming to realise that I don't need to save every image I take so have found myself hitting the delete button as I go through and organise my collections. Fifty dark images of a lava flow hitting the water at night is a bit excessive!

My reading habit which had fallen off the rails over the last few years has been resurrected. Although I still prefer physical books I have taken advantage of the ebook collections available free through public libraries. My reading tally for this year so far is a healthy 55. I had been reading these books on my phone but several weeks ago decided to buy a small Android tablet to use as an ebook reader....but alas I couldn't find any stock in Australia. 

I have been revisiting Google every few days to see if any stock had become available and yesterday I found that several local suppliers had stock. I made a couple of phone calls before sending Mr GeniAus out to purchase a Samsung Galaxy Note A 8inch tablet. It won't set the world on fire with its specs but is more than adequate for its intended purpose. My next mission is to add the ebooks I have stored on my portable hard drive to the tablet. 

What changes have you seen in your life over May 2020? 
None in May but I had ankle surgery in January that severely curtailed my activities. I am still recovering from this procedure but the surgeon assures me it will be better after 12 months. So, if we had to have a 

Paddy and friend
pandemic, this time while my mobility is compromised, is convenient for me. 

That we have been at home for six consecutive months is a change for us as we love to travel. We have cancelled the 18 weeks of travel we had so far planned for this year.

Paddy the dog has enjoyed our company but he has also turned into a bit of a sook who jumps on a lap or snuggles up at every opportunity. 

Have you been exercising more or less?
Less as I am limited not by Covid19 but by the length of time needed for recovery from my surgery

Has the refrigerator been your friend or foe?
As we have not been able to travel and live the high life we have been away from temptation and eating sensibly. My recent blood tests were in the healthy range.

Have you been participating in virtual gatherings with friends or family?
Yes. I am amazed at the ease with which the under tens can initiate online meetings.

Have you taken up new hobbies during the lockdowns? 
The ones I have are more than enough to sustain me. It's not a new hobby but  I have been teaching myself to use more of the features of two software packages, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate and Family Historian.

Are you cooking or gardening more? 
I'm not cooking at all. Mr GeniAus discovered cooking as I was recovering from my surgery and has continued to prepare all our meals - a welcome change for me after 50 years of being the chief cook. 

My gardening activities are of a supervisory nature. We inherited a beautiful garden when we bought this house, I continue to suggest changes and additions to Mr GeniAus. I do appreciate our garden which I guess I take for granted.

Have you found the changes and experience stressful/anxious/worrying? 
I have worried for those of my children work in face to face situations in the medical area. Thankfully two of the offspring have been able to work from home. 

I have enjoyed the opportunity the pandemic has given me to devote to my hobbies. 

How have the closures affected your local community? 
Having rarely left our home I cannot comment on the closures. Our local lakeside shopping area has several restaurants and cafes, I don't know how many of these will survive. Our poor travel agent has closd some of his offices and has been kept very busy dealing with cancellations.

Have in-person meetings been replaced with virtual meetings via Zoom, Skype etc? 
As President of our local family history group I made a unilateral decision to offer Zoom meetings to our members. I have been bowled over by the enthusiasm of those who have taken part. As many of our members are elderly (over 70) like me I am nervous about returning to face to face meetings too soon.

I have enjoyed the Friday afternoon hang outs for members of SAG. As I live outside Sydney these are a benefit for country dwellers like me.

Do you enjoy the virtual meeting format? 
I like those formats where people are able to share their screens so that I can see their faces and expressions. When presenting online I miss being able to see and interact with my audience. I prefer to use the Zoom platform to GoToWebinar for these events. 

Are you working from home instead of in your usual place of work? 
I don't work, I play. 

Have your habits changed over the past months? 
Definitely, there is a sameness about our days and we have fallen into a routine. We stay in bed quite late in the mornings as we watch NewsBreakfast on the ABC and catch up on social media. There is no need to jump up at the crack of dawn. We are also burning the midnight oil, while I retire early I read for a couple of hours each evening. I have watched very little tv.

Have you had to cancel travel plans for pleasure or family? 
As mentioned above. Some companies have been very good about refunds or future credits. Air New Zealand has been the most inflexible to deal with, we cancelled an expensive end of cruise flight home from Tahiti and all they will give us is a credit for the same route which we will never need to travel again, Emirates kept a hefty deposit. In contrast Qantas have been most generous with refunds.

As for other travel only Scenic with whom we were to travel to Russia on a river cruise have been super slow. In contrast Backroads were most responsive and quickly organised a future credit for us. 

Do you think you’ll be able to travel in 2020? 
We hope to be able to hop in the car for a few road trips later in the year. Australia is a big country so there is lots more to see.

Our next planned overseas trip is now in late July 2021. I am praying there will be a Covid-19 vaccine by then. In the interim I wouldn't mind doing a small ship cruise in the Kimberleys or somewhere else in Australian waters when these start up again.

Have you/others been wearing masks when out and about in your area? 
The only mask I have seen was on the radiographer who took some images of me last week.

Will you change your lifestyle after this experience? 
I don't have a crystal ball, it's a wait and see situation for me at the moment. Meanwhile I'm happy to stay at home and watch the sunsets from our balcony.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Trove Tuesday - June 2nd

As I sit at my desk looking out the window on this dismal day I am wondering what sort of weather my ancestors were experiencing on this day one hundred years ago.

My dismal outlook

My maternal grandparents, newlyweds Frank and Ethel Duncan were in Cobar, NSW. As Frank was a farmer at his property, Elsinore, he would have welcomed this rain as Cobar is regularly drought stricken. 

1920 'USEFUL RAIN. WESTERN AREAS BENEFIT.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 2 June, p. 11. , viewed 02 Jun 2020,

My paternal Grandparents, Thomas and Mary Curry, who lived on the farm Tom managed were parents of two young boys. Tom cared for a property which grew crops and raised sheep on the river flats of the Belabula River outside Canowindra.

I wasn't surprised when my searches could find a weather report for Canowindra but was concerned when I couldn't find one for the close larger town of  Cowra. I returned to the article that mentioned Cobar and saw that it listed  many country areas so I read through the post and found details for  Cowra. They could not be found because the OCR had read them as  and COWR *. I then took the time to correct the text for all places in the article that the OCR had incorrectly read.

1920 'USEFUL RAIN. WESTERN AREAS BENEFIT.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 2 June, p. 11. , viewed 02 Jun 2020,

No doubt my four grandparents would have been pleased with the dismal weather facing them.


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