Friday, December 31, 2021
Thursday, December 30, 2021
A clearer view
Among the surprises I received at Christmas was a new tech toy that promises to enhance my participation in online events. I have set up and had a couple of test runs with my Facebook Portal Go.
|What's in the Box?|
|The device, a charger, power cord and minimal instructions came in the box|
|The device which is heavy for its size is covered in fabric and has a carrying handle built into the back|
|It was easy to set up and the battery didn't take too long to charge|
My Facebook Portal Go appears to have all the features of my the Google Nest mini I won at Rootstech a few years ago and so much more. I need to spend some time getting to know it. As it doesn't have a keyboard I won't be using it to write and publish blog posts but I can use the keyboard on its touchscreen for simple internet browsing.
I will mostly use the Portal, which connects via my home wifi to to the world, for Zoom and Facebook live sessions but one can also use it on other similar platforms. The inbuilt video camera which is angled to give a positive view of one's face is far superior to my external webcam and that in my laptop. It sent a very clear image to those I connected with. Those connections tell me that the inbuilt microphone picked up my voice well and that I came through clearly.
Testing out the browser I found it was quite easy to connect and view some sessions from The Genealogy Show on the device.
Friday, December 24, 2021
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2021
I invite you to take part in this activity by responding to the following statements/questions, several of which are new, 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.
(Please delete the items that are not relevant to your situation.)
1. I got the most joy from
11. A great journal or newspaper article I found was
16. A DNA discovery I made was
17. A newly found family member shared
18. I finally found ......... six feet under
19. I splashed out and purchased
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
From the Archives - 21st Century Christmas Greetings
First posted on this blog on 21 December 2011. Definitely worth sharing again.
The Digital Story of the Nativity
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Thanks to genimate Nathan Dylan Goodwin on Twitter for alerting me to this list.https://blog.feedspot.com/genealogy_blogs/
I was thrilled to find that among the Australian blogs on the list is this GeniAus blog which has scraped into the list at position 59 in spite of a dearth of posts in recent times.
Saturday, December 18, 2021
Learning not Doing
Earlier this year I came to the realisation that my focus should change from Learning about family history to actually Doing family history research. In a post, Genialogy, I outlined a few steps I had taken to realign my focus but I didn't discuss my own learning.
As I am in my eighth decade here on earth and I'm not sure if I will see my ninth or tenth I value every minute that presents itself. In his poem "Stopping by woods on a snowy evening" Robert Frost penned these words:
The promises I must keep are to my ancestors, I should be devoting my time to exploring the woods of the past to document their histories and tell their stories. I have many miles ahead on my path.
|My Great-great grandparents Richard Aspinall and Mary Homer|
Being at home for nearly two years during the pandemic gifted me with an opportunity to indulge my interest in family history but, Alas, I fear I got the balance wrong and squandered that opportunity.
I always learn something from the many (mostly online) events I attend but oftentimes these are just little things that are "nice to know" not things that I "need to know". Some of the events I have attended are educative and entertaining and some have been dull and boring. How does one quantify the value of hours of zooming? Were the lectures and presentations worth the time I devoted to them?
If I had applied myself to practical research and the incidental learning that comes from that activity my learning may have been more appropriate to my needs. I remember from my days as an educator that the most effective learning is that which is timely or at the point of need. I can only recall one such instance during the past two years that fits that criteria for me, it was the engaging and challenging Chromosome Analysis course presented for the SAG by Veronica Williams.
As I reflect on my needs I realise that when I have a need for information or guidance I usually find it myself, either, on the internet in a recorded webinar, blog post or Youtube video, in a journal or a book or by asking someone who knows more than I. As a result, in recent months I have cut down on attending events that present topics that are "nice to know" and directed my focus to learning about things I "need to know" to progress my research.
How have you allocated the genealogy time that you were gifted by the Covid situation?
Saturday, December 4, 2021
A New Toy for GeniAus
I ummed and aahed when the Black Friday sales offers appeared in my social media feeds.
Did I need a new phone? No. Would it be nice to have a new phone? Yes.
My Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has given excellent service for four and a half years without missing a beat but the option of a phone with more storage and superior cameras was tempting. How much longer would the Note 7 last?
Mr GeniAus didn't seem too perturbed about my investment in a new gadget so just prior to the offer for a Samsung S21 Ultra 5G 256GB closing on 29 November I placed an order. Realising that the one to two week delay quoted by the seller would probably be around Christmas I thought it would be a nice gift for myself.
Lo and behold a parcel containing my new toy was delivered on Wednesday this week, just two days after placing my order.
Using the Samsung app Smartswitch made the transfer of all my apps, documents and photos from my old phone a breeze.
I had an issue with a few older apps for which I couldn't remember my login details or which defunct email address I had used to register with them. I had a panic when my photos didn't appear to be in the Gallery on the new phone but, on investigation, found they were in an archived folder - phew!
The main difference I have noticed with the new phone is the quality of the images I snap - they are so clear, a bonus when recording family events.
Saturday, November 27, 2021
Three Aussie Genies on The Program
Together with my Genimates Shauna Hicks and Sharn White I will be taking to the stage at THE Genealogy Show - Winter Event next weekend.
We are thrilled to be bringing an Australian perspective to this international event once again after the success of the last event held earlier this year in June.
We hope to see many of our Aussie friends at THE Show which also features a cast of speakers from the UK, Europe and The Americas. The event will open in the early hours on Friday 3rd December in the UK which I guestimate to be 11am Sydney time and runs continuously for 48 hours. You will then be able to access the recordings for a month after the event.
Earlybird registrations at £15 (less then $30AUD) close on the 30th November; closer to the show the cost is still reasonable at £20. Similar events in Australia cost much more than this. Buy your tickets here: https://www.thegenealogyshowlive.com/plans/show-tickets/
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
|In the early 1800s the Balls lived at Wolstenholme Fold near Rochdale|
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
|Lake Macquarie FHG Profile at Librarything|
Saturday, November 6, 2021
2008-2021: Posts from the Past
Thirteen years ago on this day I wrote the following here" http://geniaus.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-add-yet-another-blog-to-crowded.html.
Why add yet another blog to the crowded blogosphere?
I've been researching the family on and off for the last 20 years and, with retirement looming, hope to finally get organised and solve some of my mysteries.
|The header image is missing from this capture. If I remember correctly it included a photo of a family wedding.|
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
I missed the party
I missed a party on the Australian geneacalendar last night.
Twelve months ago my genimates Fran, Pauleen and Sharn launched their Australian Genealogy weekly Twitter chat, #ANZAncestryTime. I was flattered to be invited to be a host so merrily joined the team even though I had found my earlier forays into Twitter chats quite stressful.
I soon found the fast paced Australian sessions similarly stressful. I soldiered on in the team for a few months but decided to pull the plug on my involvement as I found the format was all a bit too fast for this old girl who is hampered by a lack of keyboarding skills and who likes to mull over things before jumping in. I now enjoy looking through the #ANZAncestryTime posts at my leisure on the morning after the chats and follow up on anything that sparks my interest. I adhere to the old adage that there are horses for courses and I just wasn't the right jockey for this venture.
I congratulate Fran, Pauleen and Sharn for their commitment and perseverance to this venture and wish them many happy years of geneatweeting.
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
In Defence of Rabbit Holes and BSOs
|Bright Shiny Objects|
In response to Question 4 on the chat "Q4: How do we avoid bright shiny objects (BSO's) when researching? " I responded " Why avoid BSO's? Most of the world's greatest discoveries came as a result of someone following a BSO or going down a rabbit hole. Let's not give in to #geneasnobbery and deride those whose goal is simply one of discovery and enlightenment."
|Let's go burrowing|
Sunday, September 26, 2021
From the Archives - Into the 21st Century with SAG
In the ten years since I penned the post below I have hosted and presented several webinars in the Society of Australian Genealogists Education Program.
From one session a month in 2011 the Society now hosts several sessions each week, some are presented on the GotoWebinar platform while many are now presented on Zoom which allows for easier interactive participation by attendees.
For five years I have been a proud member of the SAG Education Committee which assists and advises the staff of the Society with program delivery and development. We regularly host international expert presenters from overseas which provide our members access to learn from geneastars without having to grab a passport and hop on a plane. Recently the SAG opened up attendance at these sessions to non-members so genies anywhere in Australia and overseas can learn from home.
Since the Covid19 pandemic hit in March 2020 all SAG events have been delivered online giving members in regional and remote areas opportunities to receive high quality education. The popular Members' Hangouts during the pandemic have given members an opportunity to socialise and chat while absorbing online tips and shared stories from fellow researchers. I know more SAG members now than I ever did during my many years of membership.
You can access the SAG Education Program here on their website, https://www.sag.org.au/events.
Following is my report of the very first hangout in 2011. Thanks to Heather Garney and Martyn Killion for their vision in launching this impressive program.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Into the 21st Century with SAG
|Thanks Heather for permission to post this image|
I salute Heather on her competent management of the GoToWebinar software that is used for delivery. She did a great job drivng it while presenting her talk. As SAG are charging $10 for the webinar and, as they should be getting the software for a song (hope Aussie organisations get the great deals available to non-profit organisations in the US), perhaps they could afford to have another person online to support the presenter.
NSW Shipping Records Online was the topic for Heather's talk. Although introductory in nature I learnt a few new tricks from the talk that concentrated on online records at Ancestry.com.au and State Records of NSW. Added to my todo list is to take a look at these records for the ancestors whose immigration details I found years ago - I should be able to find more details to flesh their profiles. After her formal presentation Heather responded to attendees questions.
Webinars are a wonderful way to present educational and information sessions via the web. I attend on average one per week, this week I have tuned into three. A list of webinars available to genealogists can be found at the Geneawebinars calendar. The SAG webinars are not listed on this site
|Future SAG Webinars|
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Science Mirroring the Traditional
Thursday, September 9, 2021
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Housework time at Geniaus.net
I remember somewhere, sometime saying that I intended to update my website GeniAus Family Site every month or so. It seems that my good intentions flew out the window. I just checked to see when I had last updated the site and it was back in February.
|GeniAus Family Site|
Ever since we went into our latest Covid lockdown a website update has been on my gunna list but I keep saying I'll do it tomorrow. During the lockdown I have been hatching, matching, and dispatching many ancestors. I hadn't looked at some of my research from last century since last century and, in that period, many new records have come online and several elderly cousins have left this mortal earth.
When I did my early research I was grateful to find one source for each event but I have learnt that is not enough. Events need to be corroborated by multiple sources of quality. Lockdown has given me time to go back, update records and seek new sources.
Each day I think I'll update the website now but then I say "I'll just check a few more records and upload tomorrow." I could have gone on like this until Christmas. When I wanted to share a link to the record of a family member who had recently passed away I realised that I needed to upload a gedcom containing the death date of that person to make the record appear on the GeniAus Family website. (Records of living people are not in the public domain on my site.) All of a sudden I had a pressing need for an immediate upload.
So today, 7 months since my last update, I have spent a few minutes exporting a gedcom from my Family Historian software and uploading it to my website ( TNG software hosted by Simply Hosting). If I had remembered where I had saved my login details for the site this should only take around five minutes! Sadly it took me much longer to retrieve those details. Once I was at the host's site I also made a full backup of my website that I will store on an external hard drive.
|A few statistics from the GeniAus Family site today.|
I am constantly making edits and additions to my Family Historian database so I will try to remember a monthly website upload (reminder now in calendar). I wonder if I will manage.
Sunday, September 5, 2021
Norma Jean Ball 1931-2021
We were saddened to hear of the death yesterday of Norma Jean Ball, my Father-in-Law's first cousin. Norma was the youngest daughter of Fred Ball and Nellie Irene Whiteford.
We had not known of Norma until I came across her name and interests on a genealogy bulletin board in the late 1990s when I was researching the Ball line. I tried to contact Norma but my emails bounced back. It took us several years to find her but finally Mr GeniAus managed to make contact in 2011.
|Norma's Bulletin Board Message|
We first visited Norma at her home in Wingham in May 2011. We discovered that she had a keen interest in family history having done research at The Society of Australian Genealogists in the 1990s. Unfortunately, as her sight had failed her, Norma was no longer able to use a computer or email. We had a wonderful discussion about family history and our trips to Rochdale, Lancashire, in search of the Balls. Norma generously shared her research, family photos and stories with us.
|Norma Jean Ball- Army Portrait 1952|
Since that first meeting we have visited Norma on several occasions at the care facility where she moved when her eyesight declined. Norma was a delightful character who was mentally as sharp as a tack when we last visited her earlier this year. We enjoyed sitting with Norma and hearing stories of family members and of Norma's career in the Australian Army. She always showed a keen interest in my research and enthusiastically consented to take a DNA test on our last visit.
We are pleased that we were able to get to know Norma and are most grateful for her contributions to the Ball story. We send our condolences to her nieces and nephews as they mourn the loss of a beloved aunt.
Thursday, September 2, 2021
Jottings, Journeys, Joy - A Big Footprint
I run hot and cold with my personal blog jillballau: Jottings, Journeys, Joy.
This morning I had to enlist the help of that blog's archive on Trove to find out when I had actually written my first post. Over the years, I have added some predated posts to the blog and integrated the posts from another earlier Men at Work blog into it.
After a a bit of digging I found my first post was on 4th July 2012. Here is what I said:
When I am travelling I publish a few photos and updates to Facebook and when something tickles my fancy I write about it there too. Aggregating these Facebook items in one stream is not easy.
Recently I have been following and enjoying Jackie van Bergen's new blog, Jax Trax. As a genealogist I see the value of leaving a personal blog like Jackie's as a resource for future generations. Jackie's blog has been the catalyst for my decision to pollute the blogisphere with yet another blog.
The current Covid lockdown has given me time to evaluate jillballau which is not very popular in the blogisphere. Firstly I thought about my purpose, I have realised that, while the visits and comments from friends and strangers may massage my ego, my purpose was stated succinctly in that first post where I said "I see the value of leaving a personal blog like Jackie's as a resource for future generations".
I have recommitted to that purpose. It is important to me that I leave a big footprint behind for the generations of the future. I am honoured that jillballau is preserved in The Australian Web Archive on Trove so I know what I post will be preserved.
Back in June I wrote a post Unloved in which I promised to give my neglected blog some attention. I have been plugging away over the past few weeks giving it some much needed attention.
Among the things I have done is modify the static pages on the blog by adding pages for my travel map and books read which had previously been in widgets in the sidebar. I have renamed all the sexist "Men at Work" tags to "Workers". I have changed and added many other tags and selected some popular tags, that reflect the main themes of the blog, for a Topics widget on the home page. I have gone back through my 4 Terabytes of photos and found many of the folders of resized photos previously shared on FaceBook which I am cheekily sharing in predated posts to preserve the chronological nature of the blog.
The blog is rich in images with many posts having 20+ images and few words, my pictures tell many stories. I have tried various tweaks to get the posts to load faster without success. Hopefully with better internet speeds in the future this will be fixed.
I apologise to the ancestors and DNA matches who I have been ignoring but, as my biological clock is ticking away, I am taking some time to focus on my story. Reliving my jottings and journeys has given me much joy during this lockdown.
Sunday, August 29, 2021
From the Archives - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. What sort of genealogist am I?
Ten years ago on this day in 2011 I penned the following post which I am resahring here. I don't think I have changed much.
In this humourous post Bart Brenner categorises genealogists. I had a few chuckles as I read through the post and worked out where I and my GeniMates belonged. I encourage other genies to read, enjoy and reflect on this post.
The categories Bart listed were:
1) Albert Einstein model (the academician)
2) Marian the Librarian model (the archivist)
3) Indiana Jones model (the archaeologist)
4) Margaret Mead model (the cultural anthropologist)
5) Frank Buck model (the hunter and tamer)
6) Amelia Earhart model (the test pilot)
7) Ambrose Monk model (the hoarder)
8) Cinderella model (the fairy princess)
9) Steve Jobs model (the technogeek)
I imagine that others would share the difficulty I had in filing myself neatly into one of Bart's boxes. I am affected by the environment and my moods so my approach on a particular day will vary according to these influences.
I am significantly a Steve Jobs model with a big touch of Margaret Mead. My messy overcrowded house indicates I have a strong dose of Ambrose Monk in my makeup.
How about you?
Genealife in lockdown - Robbed
This is my fifth and final post for the challenge.
In last week's post I wrote that I was both physically and emotionally grounded, I neglected to say that I am frustrated. I am angry with Covid19 that has robbed me of nearly two precious years of my life. I have a lot of mileage on my clock and I want to make full use of the time I have left. Covid19 has robbed me of many opportunities to share in the lives of those near and dear to me and to fully enjoy my twilight years with my dear husband.
|Angry and Frustrated|
|Pleased my prison is more Hilton than the Hanoi Hilton (pictured)|
|We managed a 2021 Easter Hunt in between Lockdowns|
|My ugly tourist sandals want to come out of retirement|
|Ready for takeoff|
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
From the Archives - Between the covers
This post first appeared on the GeniAus blog on 25 August 2011. We have subsequently visited the cousin on several trips to the UK, whenever we visit he usually gives us an item or two from his Gowans collection. That's Genearosity.
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Genealife in Lockdown - Grounded
See what Alex has to say about the challenge here:
Thursday, August 19, 2021
Patience pays off
My subscription to MyHeritage ran out a couple of months ago. I usually cancel the automatic renewal of subscription option because I don't want to pay the full price to renew. Within a couple of days I was phoned by a pushy marketer from Israel offering me a piddly discount off the full price of the $AU349 to renew. This has been followed up over the intervening weeks with several emails offering other smallish discounts. On the last occasion my renewal was due I hung out for a discount of around 50% before I renewed. I renew when the price represents reasonable value to me.
I only use MyHeritage for DNA Matches and Searching for Records. I totally ignore the other features like photo enhancement and others' online trees. Without a subscription I can still see my DNA matches and access from home the subscriptions from a genealogy society and public library to which I belong to explore the records on MyHeritage.
A full subscription of MyHeritage is not worth $AU349 to me. It is a nice to have but not a must have subscription. Recently there was a discount of around 50% offered to Rootsmagic users which I was going to take up but I missed the closing date. Currently there is a discount offer of around 50% through the Family History Federation which I have been considering.
I like to have a basic tree on MyHeritage to make it easy for DNA matches to work out how we might relate but one of the emails I received from MyHeritage recently told me my tree was too large and I would have to renew to keep my tree in the site. I also received an offer on 12th August to renew at up to 49% discount. I ignored that offer and put in a request for my tree to be removed and received confirmation that this would happen in the next few days.
You'll never guess what was in my email box this morning.