Monday, June 21, 2021

Three Rabbit Holes today

My annual subscription to MyHeritage runs out today so I am madly going through the DNA matches for the accounts I manage there before my access expires. I will probably resubscribe some time in the future when there is a decent offer but I cannot justify the AU $349‎  fee to extend my subscription now.

I am able to use the MyHeritage  subs at a local library or a genealogy society to search the MyHeritage record sets from home so I can't see the value investing in a premium subscription.

My Rabbit Holes of choice today are those MyHeritage Matches, DNAPainter to paint them and the Airtable database I use to track them.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

See you at THE Genealogy Show

 It's only five days until I take to the stage at THE Genealogy Show. I am thrilled to be in the company of so many renowned speakers on THE Show program.

My first presentation, Genealogy Research with Facebook,  is scheduled for 2:00am on the 25th June in the UK but will air at the convenient time of 11am for my genimates on Australian Eastern Standard time. 

LondonUnited Kingdom*
BST (UTC +1) 
Fri, 25 Jun 2021
2:00 am
AEST (UTC +10) 
Fri, 25 Jun 2021
11:00 am


My second gig, Managing Frugally: An Alphabet Of Tips & Tools For Family Historians, is scheduled for 10pm on the 26th June in the UK and will air at 7am on Sunday the 27th August for those on Australian Eastern Standard time. 

London, United Kingdom*
BST (UTC +1) 
Sat, 26 Jun 2021
10:00 pm
AEST (UTC +10) 
Sun, 27 Jun 2021
7:00 am


Don't worry if these times aren't convenient for you as the recordings will be available on demand for the 30 days of THE Show. 

If you haven't already done so grab your tickets here:

Monday, June 14, 2021

Deadmans Lane

Browsing through some snaps of one of our last overseas holidays I cam across this image of Deadmans Lane in Rye, East Sussex.

Such a pretty image for a place with such a deadly name. This post on Flickr gives an explanation for the naming of this thoroughfare.

And why was I in Deadmans Lane? I was trying to make my way to the House with two front doors in which the fictional character, Morton Farrier, from Nathan Dylan Goodwin's series of genealogy mysteries is supposed to reside.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Following this Blog

 Until today people could sign up to follow this blog by email. Unfortunately the service that managed this function, Feedburner owned by Google will be discontinued in July. 

Feedburner advised that I download my list of subscribers and I have done so. It was surprising to see I had over 1500 subscribers but on examining the email addresses I think many of them are bots and not real people.... but there are a few real people who are ACTIVE followers.

I have added a new icon to this blog that will allow anyone who wants to keep following by email. To subscribe to the new service, , please click on the green FOLLOW Icon at the top the left hand column of the GeniAus blog.

1. Click on this icon

Having clicked on that icon you should be directed to this URL: where you will be required to enter your email address then click on Follow.

2. Enter your email address and select Follow

You will then be directed to confirm your subscription using the email account with which you subscribed.

3. Confirm your subscription.

Hopefully this process will deliver a notification to your email address whenever a new post is published on the GeniAus blog.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

An early morning zoom with Ancestry

From time to time the bods at invite groups of genealogists along to online briefing sessions. As someone who doesn't like getting up at dawn I miss most of these events. 

Today's event was repeated - one session was at 2am my time and the other 7:30am. I signed up for the 7:30am session in case I was conscious by then. Fortunately I was awake before 7am so I grabbed my laptop and earbuds from my study and crawled back under the covers.

Rearranged genealogy apps and widget
On logging in I saw several familiar faces from Australia, New Zealand and the US. The session was hosted by Crista Cowan accompanied by a team of Ancestry tech guys. I was pleased that I attended because the session focused on the Ancestry mobile apps which I had installed as soon as they were released.

Pre-Covid I often used the Ancestry App and the AncestryDNA app on my Android phone but, while
homebound over the past 18 months, I have only used the desktop application to communicate, collaborate and research with Ancestry. I was impressed by the demos of all the new features in these apps. The functionality has improved heaps and many new features have been added, these apps now appear have most of the features of the desktop product. The tech guys online took note of the user comments in the chat and will consider points raised for further development.

I must have been sleeping under a rock because I was unaware of the Ancestry widgets (one available in Australia, one to come). I thought I'd log into my apps and follow along and install the widget while watching the presentation but I had been logged out of the apps and couldn't remember my password. 

My first job after the session ended was to grab my phone, locate my password and log in to my apps. As I wanted to install the Ancestry widget I had to move all the icons around on the screen that has my genealogy apps. With a two-three hour car ride ahead of me tomorrow I have another option to keep me amused.

Ancestry has recognised that many of us live on our mobile devices and has created a fabulous mobile option that will give us access to all our Ancestry data when we are on the move. I'm so pleased I joined in to learn about it this morning. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Trove Tuesday - Found

 I have posted this delightful photo of my mother dancing in Martin Place at the end of World War Two several times over the years and knew that it had originally appeared in a Sydney newspaper.

Mum is in the two-tone shoes.
Yesterday I had cause to find the original image and I noted that there was a typed caption pasted on it.

When I teach people how to use Trove I tell them that they can use Trove to date old newspaper clippings by pasting text into the search box. It was time to practice what I preach.

I fired up Trove, selected search in Newspapers & Gazettes category and typed these words from the caption in the search box "Typical of excited Sydney crowds were these crowds who celebrated" then narrowed the results to NSW and 1945.

SUCCESS! How easy was that!
I found the original article with a cropped image of my mother and the revellers with whom she was celebrating. 

1945 'Wild scenes as Australia celebrates surrender news; revellers throng streets', The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), 12 August, p. 3. , viewed 07 Jun 2021,

Thankyou Trove for sharing and preserving my mother's story.

Monday, June 7, 2021

In Elsie's Footsteps

 Last week we ventured into the city to attend a function where Mr GeniAus was recognized for being a member of his professional body for fifty years. The compere described my husband as "a sprightly old chap"!

Mr GeniAus (centre) with his award

As the function was held in the Fullerton Hotel in Sydney we booked our overnight accommodation there. The Heritage wing of the hotel is the former Sydney GPO where my mother, Elsie Duncan, worked as a telephoniste during the 1940s. On booking in I noticed that the hotel was offering free 90 minute tours of the GPO building so I immediately signed up. 

The Heritage GPO wing is connected to the new tower block by walkways and an atrium

Friday at 10:00am saw us join Tour Guide Alex and three other couples for the tour. We commenced with a little history lesson before venturing out into George Street to look closely at the exterior of the GPO building. Alex asked us if we had ever looked up at the carvings and statuary decorating the building, we all agreed that we looked ahead not up when walking around the city. 

Stopping on George Street we raised our eyes and saw Coats of Arms and various other carvings.

Turning into Martin Place we admired the long colonnade and glanced up once more to admire the many carvings along the facade. Above the entrance door was an impressive sculpture of Queen Victoria. 

Before turning into Pitt Street we visited an art gallery in the former public telephone area of the GPO. The ceiling in in that room is decorated with gold leaf.

Along the Pitt Street facade we saw some ghost signs, more carvings and the former vehicular entrance.

On entering the hotel we stopped to look at the atrium that covers the former courtyard of the GPO. The magnificent replica grand staircase that takes one out of the building under Queen Victoria's sculpture  dominates the northern end of this area.

On the first floor of the old building we saw the rooms where the telephonistes worked. The males on the western wing and the females on the eastern wing. These rooms are now used as function rooms. Standing in the area where my mother spent her days was spine-tingling.

Did Mum have a good view from these windows as she fiddled with the cords and plugs on the switchboards?

Last stop on our tour was the basement of the old GPO building where the horses were stabled and where the Tank Stream was encased in a concrete pipe.

The old stables

The Tanks Stream flows through these pipes.

I hadn't thought much about the work Mum had done at the GPO until I saw some old photos of telephonistes at work in the basement audiovisual display.

The purpose of our trip to the city was for Mr GeniAus to reflect on his long and successful career, I am so proud of his achievments. The unexpected outcome of being able to walk in Mum's footsteps topped off  our excursion to the city.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

If a job's worth doing...

 ... you know the answer!

Moons ago I chatted with a fellow descendant about my 2xGreat-grandfather, Patrick Curry, and his lack of a baptismal record. I said that a task on my to do list was to go through all the digitised images of early St Mary's Cathedral Baptisms to see if I could find one for Patrick that had missed being indexed. The cousin said it had been done and there was no record for Patrick in the indexes.

As a green (and much younger) genealogist I believed this person. I thought it funny that there was no record for Patrick as his siblings had all been baptised but left it at that.

A while ago it hit me that I should really check the films for myself; they are only available in a few locations one of which is at the library of The Society of Australian Genealogists. These registers were filmed as part of the Joint Copying Project (JCP) between the Society of Australian Genealogists, National Library of Australia and the Mitchell Library.

I recently had a chance to visit Sydney so I booked into the library for a research session. The lovely librarian, Lorraine, got me set up at a reader with the correct film:

Church register of St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney and St John's, Campbelltown Roman Catholic. [microform] :)

and off I went. My winding arm and eyes got plenty of exercise as I wound through the pages checking each baptism record from 1832 (when the first child of the marriage was baptised) onwards. 

Winding and looking at SAG

After about 45 minutes I found the record at the top of a page.

I knew it was my Patrick from the date and mother's name.

I was so excited that I didn't realise, until I got home and took a good look at the record that Patrick's surname wasn't listed on the register. He was recorded as "Patrick of Patrick ? by his wife Ellen Moore". 

A visit to the NSW Birth Index and a few searches returned this record:

It was interesting to note that the baptism was not a family affair as it appears that Ellen was not accompanied to the baptism by Patrick Curry Senior. I am wondering if the sponsors John Leary and Elizabeth Lucas were known to Ellen or just some random people who happened to be nearby at the time.

Fellow genealogists will appreciate how excited I was to find this one simple record that adds more detail to an ancestor's story. 

If it's worth doing - do it yourself.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Real People at Last

 While I have enjoyed communicating and collaborating via Zoom and other online tools during Covid times I have missed interacting with real people in a face-to -face situation.

I finally had a chance to present two face-to -face workshops about the Trove newspaper collection to the members of The Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest Family History Research Group yesterday. The members of this Group are to be congratulated for their fundraising efforts in the local community which resulted in their local newspaper, NOTA, being digitised and added to Trove.  They thought it timely to host some Trove workshops and I was the lucky person who scored this gig.

I had a super day with the participants whose Trove experience ranged from experienced user to a gentleman who said "I only heard about it this week". It is so much easier to engage with people when one is together with them in person. We had two lively sessions (separated by a yummy lunch) with lots of laughter, learning and sharing of tips. I tried a different approach with my talk and, after just a few introductory slides, demonstrated application of my Trove Tips live on the Trove site. This provided a more effective learning experience as I was able to integrate participants' interests into the workshop.

While I enjoyed my time with the members it was a surprise that I received that put the icing on the cake of my day.  

I was seated beside a delightful gentleman who was recounting the story of his Christening; his name didn't ring a bell with me but when he mentioned  his wife's name, Shirley, I looked at him and said "she's my cousin". He responded with a bemused look until I said we share Elizabeth Phipps as an ancestor. We were both flabbergasted that serendipity had thrown us together in Tea Gardens. I had Shirley in my tree but I was unaware of her current whereabouts. I exchanged details with the gentleman and look forward to sharing ancestor stories soon. 

Sadly I forgot to grab a photo with the gentleman before he left but one of the Group members sent me a copy of one that I have cropped, it's a bit fuzzy but captures the moment of our surprise.

ASerendipitous Meeting for GeniAus

Sunday, May 23, 2021

From the archives: The Earliest Social Network Ever Discovered

I first published this post on 23rd May 2011. Even more pertinent today now there are more free image sharing options available. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

From the Archives - Where do you put them? Conference Papers

 From time to time I go through my blog archive and select an old post to repost in my From the Archives series. 

I still follow this practice that I outlined in a post ten years ago although the files have moved every few years as I upgrade my external hard drive. It is pleasing to note that ten years down the track many of the notes I file arrive in digital format.

Friday, May 14, 2021

An Irish Jig

 When genealogists find some new amazing fact relating to a family member they often break into a "Genealogy Happy Dance".

This morning I had cause to perform, as my version of a Happy Dance, an Irish Jig.

While cataloguing the books for my local Family History Group and uploading them to the Group's Librarything account I came across this title : With hearts and hands and voices : the centenary history of the Sacred Heart Parish, Hamilton 1884-1984

I knew that my Irish 3x Great-Uncle Michael Harrington Ryan had been involved with that parish in Australia but not in the years mentioned in the book's title. I still had a browse and found that there was a section on the early history of the Catholic Church in Newcastle so I consulted the index and then found mentions of Michael in the text.

With hearts and hands and voices

I have been researching this chap for quite a number of years and built up a collection of data but the only image I had of him was a fuzzy one I found on Trove in a large group of reverend gentlemen.

When I reached page 67 I realised that I needed to grab my dancing shoes for there on the page was a  photo of Michael. While the photo is fuzzy it's a close up that gives me a good idea of Michael's appearance, I'm delighted to have this at last.

The author of this book that includes many photos, has acknowledged the collections from which he gathered the photos but he does not indicate to which collection the individual images belong. I'm now inspired to search for a clearer copy of the image.

Friday, April 30, 2021

2021 #AtoZChallenge Z is for ...Zap the Grandma Gap

  I've been researching my family history for over thirty years. Along this genealogy journey I have been supported by hundreds of books, many of which I have listed on my Librarything page. 

During the 2021 #AtoZChallenge I will be writing about two of my passions, books and family history. I'll be taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting some of those books that have enriched my genealogy experience.

This 190 page paperback contains many ideas for adults to enthuse younger family members about their family history and also advice for the oldies on how to preserve their family history and artifacts. Although it has much good advice I found the design and presentation too busy and the lack of an index a challenge. The cover image of the Grandma superhero just doesn't gel with me.

On this important topic I much prefer Janet Few's Harnessing the Facebook generation ideas for involving young people in family history and heritage, but, this Zappy book fulfilled my requirement for a Z title. 

We all need to think about what will happen to our precious research when we turn up our toes, these two books may just provide the bait that will hook a younger family member. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

2021 #AtoZChallenge Y is for ...Your ancestors in their social context

  I've been researching my family history for over thirty years. Along this genealogy journey I have been supported by hundreds of books, many of which I have listed on my Librarything page. 

During the 2021 #AtoZChallenge I will be writing about two of my passions, books and family history. I'll be taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting some of those books that have enriched my genealogy experience.

I must admit that I haven't picked up, Your ancestors in their social context : proceedings of the 13th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, Adelaide 2012, for around nine years.

This 590 page paperback contains the papers from the AFFHO Congress, the first I attended, in Adelaide in 2012. It is an example of a genre that today is often delivered as a .pdf download online or on a CD or USB drive. 

This particular publication is more useful than some similar works as it has a decent index. As many of the articles are well referenced it provides a good springboard to further reading on the topics covered. While some of the articles are dated, especially those referring to technology,  there are many that are still relevant to today's researchers. 

Highlighting this resource has reminded me that the collection of Conference Proceedings I have on my shelves or hard drive could  have answers to some of the questions for which I need answers. I must remember to refer to them occasionally!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

2021 #AtoZChallenge X is for ... Xinran

I've been researching my family history for over thirty years. Along this genealogy journey I have been supported by hundreds of books, many of which I have listed on my Librarything page. 

During the 2021 #AtoZChallenge I will be writing about two of my passions, books and family history. I'll be taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting some of those books that have enriched my genealogy experience.

Xinran is a British-Chinese author and journalist who has been resident in the UK since 1997. I read her best-selling book, The Good Women of China, not long after it was published in 2002. 

My memory of the book is rather foggy but I remember that it made an impression on me. I turned to an entry in  Wikipedia to refresh my memory:

 "The Good Women of China is primarily composed of interviews Xinran conducted during her time as a radio broadcaster in China in the 1980s. However, she also details some of her own experiences as a woman in China. The interviews usually focus on the embedded cultural perceptions in China about women's rights, roles, and suffering. Many of these interviews were drawn from the call-in portion of Xinran' widely popular radio program, Words on the Night Breeze. She also interviewed other women, whom she sought out for their experiences as Chinese women or opinions about the status of Chinese women."

Although this work didn't impact on my personal geneajourney it gave me an insight into another culture and the plights and successes of women in that culture. When reading about family history it is important that we don't restrict our reading to our own culture, we need to broaden our horizons and enrich our understandings  by reading accounts of life in other cultures. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

2021 #AtoZChallenge W is for ...The White Star Line

 I've been researching my family history for over thirty years. Along this genealogy journey I have been supported by hundreds of books, many of which I have listed on my Librarything page. 

During the 2021 #AtoZChallenge I will be writing about two of my passions, books and family history. I'll be taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting some of those books that have enriched my genealogy experience.

I came across, The White Star Line : an illustrated history 1870-1934 by Paul Louden-Brown, on a visit to The Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool England where, after looking at the excellent displays, I spent some time doing research in their Archives Centre.  

The Archives Centre at the Merseyside Maritime Museum

The book contained many images of postcards of ships of the White Star Line accompanied by detailed  explanatory text, in addition there were several colour illustrations. It wasn't hard to flip through the book to find illustrations relevant to ships on which Mr GeniAus' ancestors travelled to Australia. 

As well as consulting The White Star Line : an illustrated history 1870-1934  while at the Museum I was able to grab some photos of relevant immigrant ships and dip into a few other books.

One of the other books I perused at the Merseyside Museum

I am so grateful that Mr GeniAus is happy to join me in visits to local archives and libraries when we travel around. Although he says he doesn't do family history I think he may be a closet genealogist.

Monday, April 26, 2021

2021 #AtoZChallenge V is for ...Vinnies

  I've been researching my family history for over thirty years. Along this genealogy journey I have been supported by hundreds of books, many of which I have listed on my Librarything page. 

During the 2021 #AtoZChallenge I will be writing about two of my passions, books and family history. I'll be taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting some of those books that have enriched my genealogy experience.

Students and staff at my Alma Mater, St Vincent's College, called our school Vinnies. It is now a secondary school but, in my day, students could commence in kindergarten and complete their educational journey at this institution. When we were at school we were told that the school was the oldest Catholic Girls' School in Australia and a bit about Mother Mary Aikenhead, the founder of the Sisters of Charity, but we didn't learn much more about its history.

I was delighted when with the members of the Leaving Certificate Class of 1965 I returned to the College for our 50 year reunion. We were all given a gift, St Vincent's College Potts Point 1858-2008 : 150 years of catholic education. It is a cherished gift.

Fifty years after leaving Vinnies and several years after being a staff member at that institution, this beautifully produced coffee table type book by former student, Samantha Frappell, taught me all about the history and characters of the school I loved.

Reading this book gave me a deeper understanding of the place that had such an influence on my personal history. 


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