Thursday, May 19, 2022

Seated at the Cemetery

On the last day of our recent holiday we had about 8 hours to explore Broome. We grabbed a little rental car and off we went.

Our Hot Wheels

Mr Geniaus encouraged me the visit some local cemeteries. I really didn't need any encouragement and we managed to visit three.

The first cemetery we visited was the Chinese cemetery which as well as having historic graves is still used today for current burials. We found a well-maintained, tidy cemetery with splashes of colour provided by those graves decorated with artificial flowers and other ornaments. 

I noticed something here that I haven't noticed in any other cemetery I have visited. There are seats placed at the foot of several of the graves, due to their placement I presume they are installed by the families of the deceased. I thought this was a wonderful idea for those I wish to visit, say a little prayer,  contemplate on past memories with their loved ones or have a chat with their ancestors. 

I wonder if they are placed on common property or if the families of the deceased resting in those graves pay a fee to place them there. Sadly in many of our crowded cemeteries it would not be possible to allow such fixtures to be added. 

While at the cemetery I took photos of several headstones which I am currently uploading to FindaGrave. I regret not taking more as when I checked on FG this morning there were only six memorials recorded and photographed. I have since more than doubled that number plus added some extra photos to the Cemetery page.

Do you often stray into cemeteries when on holiday?

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

18th May - A Birthday Remembered

When I looked at my calendar this morning I thought of my grandmother, Mary Tierney, who was born on this day 135 years ago. Mary was known to me as Nana Curry as she had taken my grandfather's name when they married in 1918.

Rather than reinventing the wheel I am reposting an excerpt from a post written in 2013. The full post can be read here

Mary Tierney 1887-1987

Mary Tierney was born in the town of Dungog to John D'Arcy Tierney, a carpenter, builder and sometime undertaker, and his Irish wife, Mary Kealy. Nana had two sisters, Jane and Eliza, and a brother, Patrick.

Nana was a gentle lady with snowy white hair that she wore in a bun and she seemed terribly old to me when she was about the age I am now. She was a devout Catholic who was proud of her Irish heritage, I remember kneeling beside her bed and reciting my prayers with her when I went to stay with her. We would always include this prayer:

There are four corners on my bed,
There are four angels at my head.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
Bless the bed I lay upon.

Nana loved feeding me egg flips that she believed to be very healthy, these drinks were made from milk, a raw egg and vanilla essence and after a shake and stir of the ingredients nutmeg was sprinkled on top. I remember them as quite sweet and delicious. Nana used often give me sweets to take home, they were always the same caramels. I sometimes wished for a bit of variety.

Nana, who lived to the ripe old age of 89 spent the last few years of her life in a nursing home. She had an enormous impact on my life.

Nana and I on my wedding day 1970

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Dead Man's Penny

I knew about the Dead Man's Penny  which was issued after the First World War to the next-of-kin of all British Empire service personnel who were killed as a result of the war.

I had never sighted one until we visited a museum in a country town today.

This image shows two of these medallions in the Museum collection one of which had been encased in a wooden frame. I was surprised to see how large they are.

Lest We Forget

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Facebook Memories

Most days I look at my Facebook memories and share a few as posts on my personal blog. I date these posts retrospectively on the day they happened. This is my way of leaving a record of my antics for those descendants in the future who may want to know about my life.

I thought that this memory which popped up today was more appropriate for this genealogy focused blog.


21 April 2016

My geneassistant is hard at work in the geneacave.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

A Side by Side View of my DNA

As an only child I don't have any sibling with whom I can compare my DNA....but I am fortunate in having a double first cousin who shares my four grandparents. Our fathers are brothers and our mothers are sisters.

Currently lots of genies are sharing their results from Ancestry's new SideView tool that shows which ethnicities we inherited from which parent. Of course I am joining the party. Below on the left are Jane's results and on the right are mine. Our fathers' ethnicity is on the left of the diagrams and our mothers' on the right.


It appears that I have more of our Duncan grandfather's Scottish genes and Jane has more of his aboriginal genes. Jane is more Irish  and English than me and I have missed out on the Basque gene.

No wonder we have so many unique matches in the Ancestry database. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Chatting with the Genies at Cessnock

Yesterday I had a lovely drive of just over 30 minutes along some beautiful country roads to my face-face to face gig with the Family History Group that operates out of Cessnock Library. I didn't get lost, found a parking spot very close to the library and managed to buy some great non-fiction from the book sale in the library before I found my hosts.

On arrival I was warmly greeted by Sandy and group members. I also got to meet the Local Studies librarian, Kimberly O'Sullivan, whose passion for her work comes through in the posts she shares on the library's Facebook page. There is no doubt that the strength of the Local History collection is a result of Kimberly's energy and enthusiasm. 

I was envious when I saw the support the Group gets from Cessnock Library. Their home is in  one of the meeting rooms in a library that is well equipped with technology. The great news is that the group's resources have a home in filing cabinets and a compactus in that room. The Group has a regular weekly meeting there and can book it at other times. 

How I wish our group at Lake Macquarie had similar support from our local Council. That Council doesn't seem to recognise the value of giving a home to a family history group. A set up such as that enjoyed by our neighbours in Cessnock would be perfect.


Group's Filing Cabinets

Technology in the Meeting Room

Group's Compactus 

Some of the happy Cessnock genies

After meeting the Group members and looking at their facilities we moved to another room that was equipped with a Smartboard on which my powerpoint could be displayed. The technology worked and the library's IT support person was on hand if any difficulties arose.

My presentation

After chatting with the genies for two hours I was a little tired and thirsty but also invigorated by being able to speak in a face to face situation again.

When we returned to the meeting room there was a lovely lunch set up for those present and I was presented with a lovely bag of local delicacies. Thanks Cessnock genies for your warm welcome and amazing hosting. 

I may have had more than my share of egg and lettuce sambos. 

Monday, April 11, 2022

More Bargains

I followed up on  my great haul from the Narrabri Rotary Book Fair on Saturday with this smaller collection of books from the Cessnock library book sale today. 

Each of these titles is in perfect condition. As an old time librarian in who worked in a library that didn't throw anything out I find it amazing to see what is discarded today. 

This bundle of books cost me just $5. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Quipolly Cemetery

On one of our country drives last weekend we called in at the delightful St Chad's Anglican Church and Cemetery in Quipolly, NSW. 

While there I spent about half an hour snapping pictures of the site and headstones vowing to come back and finish the job on my next visit. I discovered that the cemetery now known as Quipolly Cemetery is still active being managed by the Liverpool Plains Council.

I had intended posting my images to FindaGrave as I didn't think anyone would have photographed that cemetery. Well I was wrong. Someone named Grace had already posted many headstone images to FindaGrave. I was able to add a few that showed the church and its sign. When we visited it had been raining so many of the headstones that are unclear in Grace's images were clearer in my images due to their recent wash. I have added a few of these and will continue to add those of mine that are easier to read. 

Here are a few of my snaps.

Friday, March 25, 2022

The Best of Rootstech 2022

As a Rootstech Influencer I found the request to share my best five presentations from the 2022 event a trifle challenging. All who attended Rootstech 2022 came with individual needs and interests so my list contains things that educated, entertained and enthused me, it will differ from the lists made by the million or so other genealogy enthusiasts who attended Rootstech. I believe that anyone with an interest in family history will find much content to satisfy their needs at the Rootstech site.

For me the Rootstech event was not a crazy carnival of genealogy but it heralded an update to a fabulous free learning library of genealogy resources from Familysearch. Prior to the event I wrote "I am not going to stress about filling my days with watching zoom sessions, mine will be a relaxed approach over many days, weeks and months. This is necessary to experience the Joynealogy of Rootstech."

I believe that "Just in time learning" is a most effective means of learning anything so, whenever I have a need for knowledge in the future, I will use the search facility on the Rootstech site to find appropriate presentations. These sessions may or may not have been in my original playlist.

I probably managed to watch about 40-50 sessions over the three days of the live event. Shortly after the event I suggested some of these as must watch sessions in a newsletter I write for my local family history group. My bias was towards sessions about DNA, Australian topics and England/Ireland/Scotland the lands of my ancestors. Here is what I suggested that genies in Lake Macquarie Family History Group should watch. 

Nick Barratt: When Harry Met Dotty - using DNA to break down brick walls
Else Churchill: From Rolled Pedigrees to Digital Data 
Myko Clelland: Series (3 talks) Birth, Marriage and Death in Scotland – going beyond the basics 
Jackie Depelle: Ideas for Researching Non-Conformist Ancestors

Roberta Estes: Associating Autosomal DNA Segments With Ancestors
Caroline Gurney: Series (3 talks) Tracing the English Ancestors – beyond the basics
Rob Hamilton: Series (3 talks) A Freemason and his records

Michelle Leonard: Top tips for identifying DNA matches
Diana Nicolson: Who was Kastian Richardson?
Cathie Sherwood: The Poor in Ireland: Workhouses and Poor Law

Oops, seems I can't count, it was hard enough pruning the list down to ten let alone five!

Modesty precluded me from adding this live session hosted by Lynn Broderick and me

Thursday, March 17, 2022

My Green Roots Roll Call

It is appropriate on St Patrick's Day that I remember my Green Roots - ie those ancestors who came from the Emerald Isle.

May I introduce my direct Irish ancestors who all arrived in New South Wales prior to 1876. They include several convicts, an Earl Gray orphan, some assisted immigrants and a couple of mysteries :

Catherine Connolly
Patrick Curry/Corry
Mary Cregan/Crigan/Criggin/Cligan/Gregson
Elizabeth/Eliza D'arcy
Mary Kealy
Margaret McKeon/McEwan
Ellen/Eleanor Moore
Catherine Jane Maxwell
Michael Molloy
Dennis Tierney

Please follow the links above to visit these ancestors at my family website.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Don't hurry - be happy at Rootstech

Rootstech is here and I am ready to learn.

With the Rootstech recorded sessions now live I decided to go through the offerings and create my playlist. There is so much on offer. I am not going to stress about filling my days with watching zoom sessions, mine will be a relaxed approach over many days, weeks and months. This is necessary to experience the Joynealogy of Rootstech.

I am working out which Live and Main Stage sessions are on at Australia  friendly times and try to watch them live as they offer the most opportunities to Connect with other genies.

Meanwhile I am spending my afternoon creating my playlist (I made sure I narrowed it to 2022 sessions) and adding selections. It's hard to decide on what I need to know and what would be nice to know! I also want to support my genimates by watching their sessions (and giving their number a nudge in the all important statistics kept by Familysearch). 

When I am satisfied that I have dealt with the content of a session (I may need to watch some things more than once) I will delete it from my playlist. When I hear what others think of what they view I will adjust my playlist accordingly.

I believe that "Just in time learning" is a most effective means of learning anything so, whenever I have a need for knowledge in the future, I will use the search facility on the Rootstech site to find appropriate sessions. These sessions may or may not have been in my original list.

I am delighted to see that so many sessions from 2021 and 2022 will be available as an online learning resource. Just yesterday I came across a session that filled a gap in my knowledge from the 2021 event. 

My approach fits in with my 2022 research goal "Have fun and find stuff" and my new theme song "Don't hurry - be happy".

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Paying it forward with travel photos

Many of our holidays are not geneajourneys but, because of my interest in dead people and cemeteries, I often take photos of cemeteries we pass. When we are cruising some of the organised tours on offer take us to historic cemeteries, I take many images including some headstone pictures during these visits.

Headstone in Broken Hill

I find these images so useful to illustrate my blog and social media posts but recently I have found another use for my pictures that may help other genies and researchers.

Monument in Old Drift Cemetery, Zambia 

Ever since a presentation by Marion Burk Wood at the last THE Genealogy Show event I have taken a renewed interest in FindaGrave. As my photo collection is indexed with lots of keywords I can easily access images of cemeteries and headstones using those terms. 

It has given me great pleasure to add to FindaGrave headstone images not related to my close family from cemeteries in Australia, France, Ireland, The Phillipines, UK, US and Zambia and I have yet more to add. Hopefully some of the relatives of these people will benefit from seeing images of their loved ones final resting places.

Headstone from Tyne Cot, Belgium

I've also been able to add general photos of several cemeteries to the Cemetery Entries on FindaGrave.

Perhaps you have been doing this already but I only recently thought of it. It's another way we genies can "Pay it Forward" for all the value we have received from the work of other volunteers.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Joynealogy in Action

 Sunday was a great day of Joynealogy for me (and I hope the genies at Wyong Family History Group).

Way back during Covid times my 3rd cousin, Regina, asked me to present a seminar at her local family history group. Covid caused a few hiccups with scheduling a face-to-face event but, after a false start or two, we finally agreed on Sunday 20th April. If Covid reared its ugly head again we decided we could go virtual.

The gods shone on us and the seminar went ahead as a face-to-face event at The Wyong Golf Club last Sunday. My day of joy started with a voice (from genimate Janelle) in the carpark calling out "Jill" as I alighted from my car.

It's two years since I caught up with these genimates

My joy continued right through the day from when I gathered with the earlybirds on the steps of the Club waiting for opening time until the end of the day when I sat down and had a gossip with some genimates whom had I hadn't seen in the flesh for two years.

There were a number of my genimates and so many familiar faces at the event who all politely laughed at my "Mum" jokes. I hope they also learnt some new tip or tool to take away. The joy of the occasion, Wyong Family History Group's first seminar in quite a long time, was not so much in the learning it was in the camaraderie and mateship of those who attended the event. It was so refreshing to talk with real people rather than talking heads on a screen.

I presented three talks selected by the Wyong genies under the banner of 21st Century Genealogy : using old and new tools to connect and communicate - Social Media for Genealogy, Frugal Family History and Cousin Bait. I love gabbing on about my favourite tools.

I was captured in action by Regina

Regina and I were both smiling like Cheshire Cats when another of her cousins captured this happy snap at the end of a successful day. Oh, such Joy.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Interview with the Big Boss at Rootstech

I was blown away when an invitation to interview Jen Allen, Director of Events for Familysearch appeared in my email box last week. I hear that just five Rootstech supporters from around the world were offered such an opportunity.

I was incredibly nervous when I logged onto zoom and chatted with Andrew Parker from Rootstech prior to Jen's arrival. The good news was that I had a good connection from Narrabri in country, New South Wales to Jen in Salt Lake City, Utah. That the technology was cooperating was a good omen.

Immediately she came online Jen made me feel comfortable before Andrew hit the Record button for us. We had what I hope sounded like a conversation rather than a formal interview. Jen with her bright and bubbly personality certainly made my job so easy. She graciously answered all the points I raised and I went away extremely satisfied and more knowledgeable about Rootstech 2022 and future Familysearch events.

Andrew promptly sent me the interview recording via WeTransfer (what a nifty free tool). On reviewing the video I realise that I forgot to formally introduce Jen, oops. I also spent a bit of time looking down at my list of dot points to cover (I don't prepare formal questions). On the whole I am quite pleased with the result and send my sincere thanks to Jen and the folk at Familysearch for the invitation. 

If you'd like to see what we had to say you can watch the video below.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Genearosity at Lightning Ridge

I've been enjoying a sojourn in Narrabri with Mr GeniAus. On our weekends we have explored neighbouring towns and historic sites.

As a genie I love to detour past the local cemetery in any towns we visit. When we pulled up in Lightning Ridge we were surprised to see that so many of the plots had simple white wooden grave markers which appeared to be made by the same hand. On closer inspection we noticed that these simple crosses were all the same and the details on them appeared to be inscribed in the same hand. These inscriptions give names and birth and death dates of the deceased. 

Graves with unknown occupants also have markers

I was unable to discover who was responsible for this local project, which is a great example of genearosity. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Airtable and GDAT

 Genimate Sharon left this comment on a recent post of mine.


Do you prefer Airtable to the Genealogical DNA Analysis Tool for managing your DNA kits? Or do they have different purposes? What are your other uses for Airtable?

I realised that it would probably be better to respond here in a post where I can share images than to write a lengthy comment on my earlier post

Firstly I need to point out that although I have been using DNA as a genealogy research tool for around 9 years I still class myself as a basic user. I am not particularly interested in the science behind my DNA matches, my focus is on making connections.

My uses of Airtable and GDAT are for different purposes.

I use Airtable to maintain records of the DNA matches for all the kits I manage and GDAT for chromosome analysis of matches. It's taking me a while to get my head around GDAT, I am currently using it just for my matches and (if I ever get competent) will use it for the other kits I manage.

I had previously used spreadsheets to keep track of all my matches but, after seeing two demonstrations of Airtable at Rootstech 2021: and, I went exploring. 

I realised that I could link various sheets together and this would mean that I could remove some data from my Excel spreadsheets (tables on Airtable) to secondary sheets (tables) linked back to primary sheet (table). On Airtable one can have Workspaces that store Bases which can contain multiple Tables.

The following image shows what my homepage looks like on Airtable. One can have multiple Workspaces - I just have one.

The Bases in my Airtable Workspace

In my DNA Management - JPC Base I track matches for the seven kits I manage that share my ancestors. Within this base I have four tables that are related to the primary table.

The Fields I have on JPC Matches are: Kit Name, Surname, Forename, Kit Manager, Line (4 grandparents), DNA Painted, GDAT, Test Site, Columns for each match, % of Aboriginalty, Relationship to me, Match line. this next image shows part of the setup.

Further fields to the right of this image are match location, notes, and a link to the Match Details table.

You will note plenty of empty spaces as each cell is not pertinent to each tester. This is a work in progress where I add every match I find for those seven people. Each test one person does has a separate record.

I love that I can set up Multiple Select Fields for easy data entry which I use for Line, Testing Company, DNA Painted and GDAT.

Multiple select fields save typing

The possibilities for use of this program are endless. setup is easy, data entry uncomplicated and there are so many means of sorting, sifting and analysing data. There are many templates available in the Airtable community that one can use and modify to a situation.

Another way I use Airtable is to keep track of my genimates. Over the years I have met so many folk in person and online. It's good to be able to quickly find their details when my poor old memory fails. 

My Genimates base has these tables.

Genimates has details of the people I have met, Terms manages my Geneadictionary entries (which links back to Genimates), Blogs has details of various blogs (links to Genimates and Societies), Websites has details of various websites (links to Genimates and Societies), Societies/Hosts (links to Blogs, Websites and Presentations) and Presentations manages my gigs and links back to Societies/Hosts.

After playing around with Airtable for a couple of months I took out a subscription because some of my bases grew to be too large (more than 1200 records) to be covered by a free account. I also wanted the flexibility to create more bases than allowed in a free account. I have read of other genies (watch the two videos from Rootstech) who use a free Airtable account successfully for their projects.

I plan on using GDAT for chromosome analysis. The GDAT website says "Genealogical DNA Analysis Tool (GDAT) is an app that utilizes autosomal DNA to aid in the research of family trees. The app houses a database of the autosomal data downloaded from various testing companies and provides analysis tools for family history research." 

While it's a challenge for this old girl I understand that GDAT is the gold standard for chromosome analysis. I have managed to download my matches from several other sites to GDAT and am slowly getting to know the product. I would love to have someone to hold my hand on this journey. 


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