Thursday, October 15, 2020

From Distress to Deliverance

In Covid times The Hawkesbury Family History Group has been holding its meetings both in person and via zoom and inviting interested genealogists to attend their meetings virtually. When I lived in Sydney I attended their meetings in person but, as I have moved away from the big smoke, I have not attended recently. One of the benefits of Covid is that I can now take advantage of the Group's excellent program. Their September speaker was Heather Garnsey and in November it will be Kerry Farmer who are both excellent, established presenters.

Yesterday Stephen Gow, a descendant of a Hawkesbury convict, spoke about the new book he has written about the life and times of that ancestor, William Gow. Stephen gave a most informative and interesting presentation in which he shared some information about the Gow family and discussed the planning, writing and publishing process of his book "From Distress to Deliverance". Stephen's Powerpoint presentation was rich in relevant images and light on text, it demonstrated how a slideshow can enhance a verbal presentation. I learnt some valuable tips on producing a high quality publication from Stephen's talk.
At the conclusion of his talk Stephen indicated that, as a self-publisher, he didn't have a formal distribution network for this book. Some copies are available from the Hawkesbury Regional Museum, alternatively intending purchasers can email Stephen at to organise delivery. I immediately emailed Stephen as I wanted to ensure that I snagged one of the three hundred copies from the limited print run.

I was surprised that I got an immediate response from Stephen, who said he would be passing close to Lake Macquarie today on his way home to Armidale. He offered to deliver a copy of the book to save me postage on the item. It's just an hour since Stephen popped in to deliver the book and have a chat.

Image: Courtesy Stephen Gow

I haven't had time to read the book yet but I am already impressed. "From Distress to Deliverance" is a solid tome, weighty in both form and content. A thing of beauty, it has a hardcover and is larger than A4 size, printed on thick paper, the layout is well executed and it is overflowing with colourful and clear illustrations. What warmed the cockles of this old librarian's heart are the features that make it easy to access and understand the information within its solid covers: a contents' page, conversion tables, references at the end of each chapter, a bibliography and source list, family history pages and a detailed index. This book will be too weighty for bedtime reading, I may even have to place it on a table to read comfortably but I know that it will be a rewarding experience. 

Congratulations, Stephen, on producing such a superb work. It is a testament to your passion for family and local history.


Gail Turnham said...

I agree with your great comments. I was on the zoom presentation and enjoyed it very much. Today, I also received my copy of his beautiful book. It’s so elegant, captures remarkable history and is truly first class. This awesome book shares and protects history for future generations. What a beautiful book ... I’m so Impressed!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much Jill and Gail for your extremely kind and positive reactions to my book. All the months of hard work - research, planning and writing - become worthwhile when one receives feedback like this!

I am hoping I can reprise my talk in Windsor for the SAG membership soon.

In my closing remarks last week I mentioned how great it was that the book is now drawing the various branches of the descendant families together. This morning I had a lovely email from a cousin, previously unknown to me, in Melbourne, who is himself a PROFESSIONAL [military] historian, who had got wind of the project. He is now ordering the book and we are now looking forward to the time we can get together as part of a larger family group, and what's more he has mentioned there is an old 'trunk' in his family which may yet yield more secrets about the lives of our ancestors.

Once again thanks to you both for your interest and support.


Crissouli said...

Congratulations! Your blog has been included in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
Thank you, Chris

Sandy said...

Wow...I am a long time family historian who used to work with Stephen in Armidale and had no idea he had an interest in family history - or written a book. Great to hear about the book on here as i happened to be looking through geneabloggers sites.

I live in London now, so sad that I am unable to join in the zoom presentations.

Hello from an old friend



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...