Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Trove Tuesday - A New Fad

 Looks like this new fad from 1896 has endured!

1896 'The Family Tree Fad.', The Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central-Western Districts (Barcaldine, Qld. : 1892 - 1922), 4 February, p. 16. , viewed 29 Dec 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article79763036

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2020

For most of us 2020 was very different from normal as we faced the challenges served up by Covid19. I am back again asking you to take some time to reflect on the past year and focus on the positives that you experienced in spite of or because of the Corona Virus.

I nearly forgot to post the challenge but was alerted when geneablogger Lilian Magill wrote a response before I sent out a reminder. Thanks Lilian.

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2020

I invite you to take part in this activity by responding to the following statements/questions in a blog post. Write as much or as little as you want and complete as many statements as you wish. If you wish to take part and don't have a blog email me your responses and I will post them here on the GeniAus blog.

Once you have done so please share your post's link in a comment on this post or to me via email to jillballau@gmail.com. I will, 
later in January January, compile a list of links to your contributions here on this blog.

Remember to Accentuate the Positive 
(Please delete the items that are not relevant to your situation.)

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was

2.  A great newspaper article I found was

3.  A geneajourney I planned but didn't take was 

4.  I located an important record

5.  A newly found family member shared

6.  A geneasurprise I received was

7.   My 2020 social media post that I was particularly proud of was

8.   I made a new genimate who

9.  A new piece of technology or skill I mastered was

10. I joined

11. A genealogy education session or event from which I learnt something new was

A blog post that taught me something new was

13. A DNA discovery I made was

14. I taught a genimate how to

15. A brick wall I demolished was 

16. A great site I visited was

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was

18. Zoom gave me an opportunity to

19. I am excited for 2021 because

20. Another positive I would like to share is ...

Monday, December 28, 2020

DNA Bounty

Back in 2016 in a post titled Giggle and Scrape I related the story of a luncheon with two of my first cousins and the fun we had when I produced DNA kits from my handbag.

The cousins willingly agreed to take an FTDNA test for me. At the time Ancestry DNA was the new kid on the block and experts were suggesting FTDNA as the place to test. I also uploaded these results to Gedmatch. The number of matches we have received from these matches is rather disappointing. 

Meanwhile in June 2015 I had tested with Ancestry (that new kid on the block) which due to clever and aggressive marketing now has the largest database and is the place suggested by experts as the first choice when diving into DNA testing. I have found at least ten times more good matches on Ancestry than on FTDNA. I have also tested with MyHeritage which is providing some good matches. I have had little joy from 23andMe and Living DNA.

Both Jane (Cousin Number 1 that tested for me in 2016) and me are only children whose parents and all our aunts and uncles are deceased. The good news is that we are double first cousins so all of Jane's matches will be related to me and vice versa. Jane's three daughters who have all tested recently with Ancestry have many shared matches with me. It was a no brainer that Jane needed to spit for Ancestry.

When Jane and the girls visited in October I produced an Ancestry kit and with lots of giggling and encouragement from her daughters Jane dutifully managed to find some saliva. 

The results of Jane's test came in a few days before Christmas.  Even though I have had limited time to examine Jane's results I am thrilled with what I have already found, I am so grateful to Jane for generously submitting to another test. 

Jane's big spit

What I have learnt so far is that Jane and her daughters are my closest matches after my daughter.

Already Jane's matches have provided me with keys to identify and confirm more cousins. In time I hope they will help to bring more of our ancestors out of hiding.

There are many instances where matches are unique to Jane or me, the first of these occurs at the predicted 4th cousin level where Jane has a 75cm match to someone I have been able to identify on our maternal line.

There are also several instances where I have a very small match of 10-20cm but Jane has much higher matches with these persons. Confirmation that my small matches are valid is comforting.

Jane's percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Island ethnicity is higher than mine

To avoid confusion I have used the same Ancestry dotting schema for Jane's test as for mine. As someone who isn't too deeply into DNA I use a spreadsheet to track my matches, I had already used this for Jane's FTDNA and Gedmatch results and will add the Ancestry matches there too.

I am so thrilled with Jane's results that I will produce an Ancestry kit next time I catch up with Cousin 2 (1st cousin - paternal line) from 2016. I saw her at a function prior to Christmas but didn't have a kit with me, I won't be caught short next event.

I'm hoping that January will provide me with some time to go through all of Jane's matches down to around 15centimorgans.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

From the Archives - A Christmas Geneameme

 I posted this back in 2012. Some things have changed - my mother has passed away, the grandchild count has gone up and we have moved to a different location. I may need to revisit the meme. 

If YOU have time how about copying the questions and sharing your responses on your blog?

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Bring a Shared Plate - Seriously!

I am nervous about going out in public during this pandemic and trust that those places I visit take a responsible approach to our safety during the pandemic. I steer clear of sites that don't appear to be CovidSafe.

This morning when going through my Facebook stream I saw an announcement decorated with Christmassy symbols from a local historical society giving details of their General Meeting this coming week. 

When I read some of the text in the announcement I was flabbergasted and fuming. Members attending were exhorted to "Bring a share plate of Christmas cheer"! I could not believe I was reading this in the light of the new outbreak of Covid19 in our State. When planning events we need to ensure the safety of all who are attending. Perhaps the people at xxx Historical Society have a Covidsafe food handling plan in place, perhaps they don't. I'd like to know.

I thought long and hard and tried to be kind when I left this comment on their post "Sorry to be a party pooper but I just have to comment. Let's encourage our communities to embrace CovidSafe practices and discourage shared plates."

This advice comes from "Gathering Safely" on our NSW Health website:
"Think about how you share food. Rather than having common platters, give each person an individual portion." I notice that this is how the Newcastle Family History Society managed their afternoon teas responsibly last week.

We had a similar event at Lake Macquarie Family History Group which was our first face to face event since March. Prior to the event we circulated our CovidSafe plan to members and asked them to BYO food and drink. 

I am aware that we are living in a pandemic and  while knowing  that we reside in a safe area away from Sydney I recognise that people in our area travel to Sydney and conversely people from our area travel to Sydney. There is no place for complacency. Those of us who hold positions of responsibility in community organisations must lead the way and provide a safe environment for any event we host. 

I decided not to name and shame the  local Group in the hope that they see my comment and amend their plans. I am hopeful that they will do so.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Two or more birds with one stone

 If I was asked to list my interests apart from genealogy and living family I would nominate reading, travel and photography. I love to share my enthusiasm for these pursuits in person, print and online.

I revel in those times when I can kill two or more birds with one stone and undertake activities that allow me to indulge in more than one of these interests. 

During these Covid times I've had a regular date at 4pm on a Friday with a cup of coffee and members of The Society of Australian Genealogists. Each week members of this group from all over Australia hang out together online via Zoom to discuss a genealogy related topic. I have to admit that while some of the discussions are interesting I have relished the opportunity to put names to faces and communicate with fellow members of the Society. These events have added a human dimension to the Society's educational program and have given a platform for members to share some of their stories and associated brickwalls.

This afternoon I am thrilled that I will be hosting the final SAG Hang Out for 2020. The topic "Summer Reading" will give me an opportunity to have a bookish chat with fellow family historians. How great is that? It will be difficult to curb my enthusiasm and remember that, as I am wearing the host hat, my role is to encourage attendees to share their recommendations for must-read books both old and new. 

If you are coming along please bring details of your fave books to share.

PS Apologies to the gentleman on an Hawaiian beach who was so absorbed in his reading that he didn't notice me taking his photo (I have quite a collection of snaps from all over the world of  readers with their heads buried in books).

Monday, December 7, 2020


19 December 2020 Update: I will continue to add to this list as I read more books and remember more previously read.

The topic for ANZAncestryTime this week is Migration across the seas.

This theme prompted me to reflect on some of the books I had read about immigrants or refugees who travelled to make a new life in Australia, some came by sea and some by air.  I went scurrying back to my reading log on Librarything to jog my memory for those titles.

Following is a list of some of the books I enjoyed.

Almost like home : living in Bradfield Park, Michael Hogan

The Arrival, Shaun Tan (Picture book - suggested by Carmel Galvin).

Benedictine pioneers in Australia, Henry Norbert Birt

The Boat by Nam Le  (Suggested by Carmel Galvin)

Chinese whispers : in search of ivy : a gold rush story told by generations of an Australian-Chinese family, Alison Choy Flannigan

Convict women, Kay Daniels

Cop This Lot, Nino Culotta

Esther : the extraordinary true story of the First Fleet girl who became first lady of the colony by Jessica North

Fair Game, Elizabeth Rushen

Farewell my children : Irish emigration to Australia 1848-1870,  Richard Reid

The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and Its Cargo of Female Convicts, Sian Rees

Free Passage, Perry McIntyre

Freedom's land, Anna Jacobs

From Distress to Deliverance : the life and times of william gow, convict, schoolmaster and farmer, Stephen Gow

The Happiest Refugee, Anh Do

The glory garage : growing up Lebanese Muslim in Australia, Nadia Jamal

The happiest man on Earth, Eddie Jaku

Hell ship, Michael Veitch  (Suggested by Jennifer Jones)

I Kept on Dancing: A Life's Journey from Nazi Germany to the Lucky Country, Olga Geddes

Inheritance of secrets, Sonya Bates

Into the Suburbs : A Migrant's Story, Christopher Raja

The Italian girl, Rebecca Huntley

Joyful strains : making Australia home, Kent MacCarter


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