Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2022

 One of the great supporters of my annual challenge, Bobbie Edes from Queensland, gently reminded me a few weeks about this challenge. I assured her that I would be issuing it shortly but, in the pre-Christmas busyness, I forgot. A gentle reminder from a genimate encouraged me to make it my first task this morning. 

Although my rate of blogging has slowed down this year I couldn't let a year pass without continuing this tradition. 

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 please 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, when I return from a family holiday in mid-January, share a list of links to your responses right here on the GeniAus blog.

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

I was happy to go back to ... after a Covid absence

2. In 2022 I was particularly proud of writing ...

3. A new software package or web application I embraced was ...

4.  My sledge hammer did great work on this brick wall ...

5. A new genealogy/history book that sparked my interest was ...

6. A geneasurprise I received was ....

7.  In 2022 I finally met ...

8.  Locating ... gave me great joy

9.  I am pleased the Covid situation caused me to change ...

10. I progressed my DNA research by ...

11.  An informative  journal or newspaper article I found was ...

12. I was pleased I could contribute to ...

13.  ... taught me how to ...

14. I got a thrill from opening someone's eyes to the joy of genealogy ...

15. The best value I got for my genealogy dollars was ... 

16. A DNA discovery I made was ...

17. I enjoyed my first post Covid face to face event because ...

18. A fabulous event I attended was ...

I'm happy I splashed out and purchased ...

 19. I got the most joy from ...

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

Please share this invitation far and wide in your social media channels.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Strengthening the Tree

Lately I have moved my focus from attending genealogy events to working on my tree. While I love learning from and connecting with fellow genies I realise that my research has suffered. I want to leave behind a full and well-sourced tree for future generations so I am concentrating on my research.
Since the advent of DNA I have recognised the value of building trees that not only go back in time but trees that go sideways and down to current generations. To assist in identifying matches one needs a robust DNA friendly tree. My hope is that I will eventually be able to solve many mysteries from my treeless DNA matches.

While I had a lot of distant cousins in my tree I had little information apart from their names. Recently I've been killing off and burying relatives and concentrating on finding sources for these events. In the past week I have found death and burial details from a range of sources for over 300 relatives. Of course there are some pesky people that just don't want to die. If I can't kill them off I make notes on their profiles indicating where I have searched. 

My main database is housed on an instance of Family Historian software on my laptop. From time to time, but not as often as I should, I export a gedcom to my website that uses TNG software and is hosted by Simply Hosting . I was shocked to find this evening that it is a year since I uploaded an update potentially missing out on being found by distant cousins.

Earlier today I tried to do the update and found that I was unable to log in to my web host. In a very short time Simply Hosting came to my rescue and I now my website is up to date. 

I realise that it needs a design overhaul but, as it is a workhorse not a show pony, I would rather concentrate on content. 

You can visit my website here: https://www.geniaus.net/

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Exodus and Emigration

As soon as Twitter changed hands I noticed an exodus of genealogists from Twitter. While I haven't left Twitter yet I set up an insurance policy two weeks ago. 

When I joined Mastodon I joined the @mastodon.scot instance (server) as a handful of genealogists were there and the @toot.community where most of the genies were hanging was closed to new members. After a few days @toot.community opened up to more members so I emigrated there to be with the bulk of my genealogy contacts. 

Things have been moving quickly on Mastodon as many Tweeps are joining the exodus from Twitter and emigrating to various Mastodon instances (servers). Several genealogists recognised the need for an instance just for genealogists and last week, About 10 days ago David set up @genealysis.social, "for anyone who is interested in Genealogy." see https://genealysis.social/about. I was interested but didn't emigrate immediately.


I watched and waited and observed as quite a number of  genies or Geneadons (as they are called on Mastodon) emigrated to this new server.  While there is still a reasonable number of genealogists on the @toot.community server they are just a small percentage of the total membership. Genies are to be found on many other servers as well. While genealogists can connect from many of the instances (servers) at Mastodon I like the idea of hanging out with my tribe.

This morning, as I had time on my hands and realised that I mostly post about family history matters I noted that the membership @genealysis.social was approaching 500. I decided that it was time to emigrate once again so I made the move (a painless process). I don't plan on emigrating again any time soon. I am pleased that I have found an instance for my tribe and look forward to the fellowship I enjoy with the genealogy community on other social media platforms.  

How about joining me on @genealysis.social ?

Meanwhile I am still active as @GeniAus on Twitter - it's all about insurance. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

A Sobering Visit

It was a sober day in NYC eight years ago when we visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and saw Stephen Kevin Tompsett's name on the Memorial and his photo in the Museum display. 

Stephen, an Australian victim, was my 3rd cousin. Robert and I both shed a tear or two during the visit as we heard the stories of victims and survivors of this tragedy.

Stephen's plaque

Monday, November 7, 2022


Since Twitter's recent purchase by Elon Musk I am wondering what lies ahead for that platform. Many people in the Twitterverse are predicting dark days ahead for this platform. I hope these predictions are baseless and I can keep tweeting.

I'm a believer in INSURANCE (car, health, house, travel etc.). It didn't take me too long to arrange some insurance in case I find that changes that will come to Twitter under its new ownership unpalatable.  

Yesterday Daniel Loftus in Ireland was recommending  Mastodon as a viable Twitter alternative in his Twitter feed. As I know Daniel is a cluey chap who is on top of tech issues I joined up to one of the Mastodon servers. I discovered that several of my genimates had already joined the #TwitterExodus or put a contingency plan in place by setting up an  account on Mastodon

My Profile needs some more editing

It didn't take long for me to join up and get the hang of this new-to-me platform, I've still a lot to learn but I think I'm going to like it. I have been working on my laptop with the desktop app but last night I also installed the Android app on my phone. 

By this morning I had built up a small list of interesting folk to follow. Once I found some people that I knew on Mastodon I checked their lists of followers/following to add people to my list - easy. 

If you join up to any Mastodon server you can follow me via this link : @JillBallAu@toot.community

If you are on Twitter and need an Insurance Policy how about Tooting with me?

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Tonale Military Memorial

Driving through Italy we passed through the Tonale Pass. Apparently in winter this place is buzzing with the snow lovers who flock to the area  to participate in snow sports. When we visited in autumn the place was deserted, there was a chill in the air but not a snowflake in sight.

We made a stop there for a refreshment break and more importantly to pay our respects to those Italian military from the First World War memorialised at the Sacrario militare del Tonale. It was a sobering visit as we reflected on the loss of lives in all countries affected by war.

The building is right on the highway

The remains of many men rest inside the building

Perhaps occasional services are held in the building

A niche in the external wall

Information was displayed in English

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Sarcophagi at Side

I was able to indulge my interest in taphophilia when we visited the ancient city of Side in Turkey tis week. 

The museum at the site had an impressive collection of very old sarcophagi. I used Canva to create a postcard of just a few. 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Grateful Grandson

Same grandson perusing the family tree back in 2016
 We spent a lovely few hours with three grandchildren and their parents today. It's always great to catch up on their news.

The fifteen year old filled me in on his latest history assignment researching and preparing a Powerpoint on a serviceman. 

Grandson told me that some of his mates were having difficulty finding information but he had no trouble. Knowing where he could find information he selected, as his subject, an ancestor about whom I written on my blog. I got a big thankyou for my research that he can use in his presentation

This young chap has always shown an interest in family history, stories and heirlooms and he reads my blog - how good is that?

No wonder I came home with a big smile on my face. 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Loud and clear

I didn't join the weekly SAG hangout yesterday afternoon because my headset is on its last legs.

While I'm not a "gamer" earlier this week I made a purchase of a piece of gaming technology from Amazon AU. I was hoping that it would be delivered by 4pm so I could join my genimates at The SAG but it didn't arrive until way after dark. 

This morning I plugged the new device in and fired up a zoom session to give it a test run. If you listen to the zoom recording below you'll see that the new tech works.

FYI My purchase was a Logitech G432 Gaming Headset. It was only $AU85 and came with free delivery. 

When I plugged it in it was immediately detected by my computer, it's reasonably light and comfortable and appears to work. I'm pleased with my purchase.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Still Chasing Rev. Ryan

The highlight of our Norfolk Island visit has been finding sites related to our GGGU ncle, Michael Harrington Ryan, Catholic Chaplain from 1848-1852 in the second convict settlement.

The Catholic Clergyman's Residence where Michael would have lived can be found at 10 Quality Row in the World Heritage Area. 

I was also fortunate to find some more biographical information on Michael in the Island's Research Centre. I am fascinated by this man and am always on the hunt for more stories of his life.

The Catholic Clergyman's Residence is being restored

If only I could travel back in time and visit Michael here

View from the lookout

The Catholic Chapel (now demolished) where Michael would have worked and worshipped 

Site of the Catholic Chapel near the gaol

This could be a scene from 1850

Monday, July 18, 2022

20 Something Snaps - Open Day

On our recent cruise I asked one of the guest presenters, Celia Heritage, from Ancestry Pro Genealogists for suggestions on an interesting cemetery to visit in London. Celia suggested Brompton Cemetery.

It just so happened that Brompton Cemetery's Open Day was scheduled during our post-cruise days in London. We were definitely meant to visit that cemetery! On  Sunday 17th July, a hot day in London, a bus from near our hotel in Kensington dropped us at the cemetery gates. 

As we had theatre tickets for a 3pm matinee in the West End we didn't have time to dawdle around the cemetery or do the tour of the catacombs but we managed to spend a few hours wandering around this historic site. Of course we took many photos. You may recognise the cemetery from the Rowan Atkinson film "Johnny English"

Organised by Friends of the Cemetery

Impressive Entrance

Crucifixes were in abundance

While the plots around the main avenues were visible those in many areas were covered in weeds/natural vegetation. Apparently they receive annual maintenance. 

Catacombs in background

A Simple Grave

Military Man's Grave

Grave of John Jackson, Prize Fighter

Newer graves. Burial spaces are still available on this 39 acre site

Vintage hearse on display

There are many magnificent monuments

Locals are encouraged to use the cemetery for recreation but are warned "Please do not feed the birds and animals, it causes more harm than good."

Grave of Frederick Leyland, Ship Owner

A peek inside  the catacombs

The Dome of the Chapel. Unfortunately there was an art exhibition in the chapel so we couldn't appreciate the architecture.

Commonwealth War Graves area is mown. Thanks to CWGC?

There is a number of impressive mausoleums scattered through the cemetery grounds

A unique memorial

Headstones among the trees

Stalls along the majestic Central Avenue detracted from the atmosphere


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