Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Bloggers on the 4th Unlock the Past cruise

Remember I mentioned there were a number of bloggers aboard?

Well,  Alona Tester (thanks Alona!) has put together this list of the Geneabloggers and their blogs which will give you a chance to catch up on what is happening on the cruise:

Jill Ball – http://geniaus.blogspot.com.au/
Pauleen Cass – http://cassmob.wordpress.com/
Maggie Clarke – http://picturethisscrapbooking.wordpress.com/
Kerry Farmer – http://famresearch.wordpress.com/
Kirsty Gray – http://family-wise.co.uk/blog/
Victoria Green – http://campaspegenealogy.blogspot.com.au/
Lee-Ann Hamilton – http://xmastree2.blogspot.com.au/
Shauna Hicks – http://www.shaunahicks.com.au/category/blog/
Tiggy Johnson – http://www.tiggyjohnson.com/
Noeline Kyle – http://familyhistorywrite.blogspot.com.au/
Thomas MacEntee – http://geneabloggers.com/
Maria Northcote – http://geniesdownunder.blogspot.com.au/
Chris Paton – http://britishgenes.blogspot.com.au/
Helen Smith – http://helenvsmithresearch.blogspot.com.au/
Alona Tester – http://www.lonetester.com/
Maureen Trotter – http://www.exploringfamily.com/
Sharn White – http://sharnsgenealogyhints.blogspot.com.au/
Jackie van Bergen – http://jackievanbergen.blogspot.com/

Day 3 and 4: 4th Unlock the Past cruise

Day 3 we arrived in Melbourne and it was a shore day. I went off to the onshore seminar. There was a slight change of plan as Thomas was ill and unable to do his talks so I gave my Document Analysis talk and Kirsty Gray gave her West country Ancestors talk which was nice for me as I had missed it the night before.

Melbourne was sunny and warm but the highlight of the seminar was meeting Elizabeth Piper a "Young and Savvy" Genealogist pictured here with another Young and Savvy Genealogist Alona Tester. Elizabeth has been researching since she was 14 and even managed to do her Year 12 work experience program at the Genealogical Society of Victoria. How cool is that!

There are a lot of younger researchers who do good research and it is important that we all encourage them as they are the ones who will continue things in the future and who can bring new ideas and abilities to our societies (if we create a friendly environment). I started researching when I was 22 and there were a number of people back then who told me I was in the wrong place when I went to research. Obviously I ignored them and kept going back <G>

It was good to meet up again with my cousin Melissa Hallyburton. Melissa is descended from one of those Plumridge brothers that went to Victoria in the 1850s while my line went to Brisbane in 1882.

Then back to the Voyager of the Seas where the evening session was a panel discussion chaired by Thomas MacEntee on the "Future of Genealogy" There have been many changes to what is accessible and how it is accessible and it is interesting and amazing to think of what is to come and what new uses can be made of computing ideas and accessories for genealogy.

Then a late cocktail before bed.

Kirsty Gray started the day with a talk on the Guild of One Name Studies. I am a member and regular readers know that  I research the name Quested anywhere, anytime and also am the Queensland Regional Rep for the Guild and there are 20 guild members in Queensland.

Then I gave my Using Timelines for Family History presentation.
Alan Phillips working hard!
Apart from the joys of chronological listings showing what you have found, showing the gaps in the research and further research opportunities you can use timelines to showcase your research in different ways. They say a "picture can save a 1000 words" and this is very true but a pictorial representation can also stop a family member from running screaming in the opposite direction when you start talking about the family history. It is much better if you can subliminally work to get your family member to ask further  questions about the family and their life rather than try to force them to listen to you.

Shauna Hicks then gave a presentation on "Mapping Ancestors in Australia" which I attended but it meant that I missed Pauleen Cass talking on "Becoming a fan of FANs: let your family's friends, associates and neighbours reveal more of your family's history" and also missed Thomas MacEntee talking on "Celebrating a Life: keeping life stories sharable and organised using Saving Memories"  Saving Memories won the Innovators Award at this year's RootsTech conference that just finished in Salt Lake City.

Then I listened to Chris Paton talking on the "Godly Commonwealth: discover Scottish Church records" a clear explanation of a very confused joining, breakaways and basically a spaghetti mess of different church formations over the time period and very good reasons why you may not be able to find that Scottish baptism on ScotlandsPeople!

The Family Historian users have been attending workshop sessions throughout the conference presented by Jane Taubman, a person with intimate knowledge of the program and a top level user from the UK.

Mel Hulbert gave a presentation at this time on "Restoring Family Photographs" of which I have heard good reports.

It is a terrible shame I can't clone myself as it would be lovely if you could split yourself in three and attend all the presentations (and later after the conference send one of the clones to work, one to do the housework and the other could do research 24/7!

Neil Smith gave a presentation on "Tracing Australia's British Redcoat Garrisons" (a topic on which he has also recently published a book with Unlock the Past. One I have ordered as I am tracking a Quested gentleman who was in Queensland pre-separation (as I found him giving evidence in a trial of a convict who had stolen some grain) then he went off to fight in India).

Then I did a MyHeritage presentation then dd a Research help Zone on Queensland research and after that was dinner before coming back to listen to Shauna Hicks talking on "Newspapers Online" and Trove was only a part of this so if you don't know of the others you are really missing out!

Remember to look at the other bloggers such as Pauleen Cass, Jill BallAlona Tester,  to hear their thoughts as that way you will get to hear about pretty much all the presentations.  (There are other bloggers on board as well so worth doing a Google search of blogs  for 4th Unlock the Past cruise)

Looking down from the 11th Floor outside the Windjammer Cafe

Looking back from our balcony

Cruising Day 1 and 2

Sorry everyone for not blogging more frequently but have been too busy listening to the presenters.

We left Sydney on a gray day but at least it stopped raining.

We got ourselves on board and did a quick look around before catching up with friends.

We did the required lifeboat drill and then had dinner before heading up to Cleopatra's Needle for the Meet and Greet of 245+ genealogists from the USA, Scotland, England, South Africa, New Zealand and from all over Australia.

These are the Geneabloggers with Mr Genea-Blogger Thomas MacEntee hiding in the back. Jill Ball handed out the blogging beads which have been worn by the bloggers in a variety of  creative ways including on name-tags, as bracelets, necklaces etc.

Thomas MacEntee kindly also provided some nice add-on tags (Australia and Geneabloggers)

Then off to set up my Internet. Only drawback for me for genealogy conference cruising is the cost of using ship's internet.

It  has been a great conference with a very vary program. Computers, Scotland, Ireland, a fantastic military stream with Neil Smith, Family Historian workshops, scrap-booking talks, poetry and how to showcase your family history  in a different way, iPad workshops even two nights of observing the Southern skies.

There have been up to three streams of talks which, has at times meant being torn in multiple directions as to which talk to attend.

Chris Paton gave a talk on British and Irish Newspapers of which there are a number of ways to access including having a Commonwealth library card and also a State library card plus a Council library card as some are offered through these, a useful way of spending your tax dollars!

Remember the subscription sites and the online free sites as so much context can be found as well as all the gossipy bits, scandal, murder and mayhem.

Shauna Hicks did a new presentation on following your gold mining ancestors. This was very interesting and amazing how many people got the call and hoped to make their fortune. Even some of mine left  Brisbane to try their luck at the Gympie Goldfields (they also came back totally broke!). many of the gold miners followed the gold around Australia and some had even followed it in a number of countries such as the USA , New Zealand and then through the Australian colonies. Judy Webster has done some indexing of the Croyden Hospital admissions and there are people from many, many countries. So worth thinking about gold and where the current gold strikes were occurring if you have lost somebody. Shauna has a new book on Mining Ancestors which has been published by Unlock the Past.

I did my Document Analysis talk which was well received. It is interesting how many brickwalls can be totally demolished if you go back and thoroughly analyse each of your documents and extract every last clue.

Kerry Farmer gave a talk on immigration which was very well received. There were a number of differences in schemes between the various colonies at various times. It was not uncommon for someone to have a relative in another colony. My Anne Busby emigrated with her husband to Brisbane in 1882. In the 1850s three of her uncles and their families emigrated to the Geelong region in Victoria. Queensland was looking for stonemasons and offering free passage. Victoria at that time was not so I am a Queenslander!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Cruising! Soon we will be leaving!

Hoping that everybody had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends and wishing everybody a fantastic, happy and healthy 2014 and now the time of festivities is over, it is time to start thinking about the cruise.

The 4th February is just around the corner so now is the time to think about the cruise. I wrote about getting genealogically ready for the cruise in October, post found here so I am guessing your preparations for that is well underway and you are accumulating questions and copies of your documentary evidence to ask the presenters in the Research Help Zones.

So what else to consider?

Have you put your surnames or any special interests you are researching on the Unlock the Past site? You just never know who might be researching your names. There have been a number of genealogy Happy Dances occurring on past cruises!

Now is the time to get some business cards printed with your name, contact details, blog address and names that you are researching. Vistaprint and other online sites have cheap cards that you will be able to distribute among the conference attendees.

Now is also the time to learn how to use the new camera you received for Christmas as you would not want to miss getting those pictures! Or iPad etc as when you need to use them is not the time to suddenly find out you can't!

You will have received the email from Clean Cruising about putting in your details so the tickets can be sent. If you like soft drink it is also worth considering pre-purchasing  a soda package as a code will be printed on your ID tag and you can just show that to the stewards and a soft drink will appear. Soft drinks are not freely provided on board and there is a charge.

Thoughts about packing should also be starting to arise. Alona did a great post about the notebooks she has ordered as well as other things she is doing to get ready.

On my spare bed I have started putting some things among which are the US double adaptors. On board it is USA electrical outlets so you will need the adaptors. On the last cruise a number of power boards that people had brought were confiscated but I had no trouble with my USA double adaptors. I am going to have a look-see as recently I saw online some Belkin adaptors that also have USB ports and that could be very useful by the time you count a laptop, iPad, camera, phone etc all waiting to be charged.

Electronics, don't forget chargers for each of your items. There were a few unhappy people last time who had left a cord behind.

Internet charges on board are not cheap so if you have a USB internet dongle I'd recommend taking it too and then when we are in port you will have cheap access to the Net. If you don't have a dongle and were going to write blog posts during the cruise I'd strongly recommend writing it offline and then publishing and downloading emails and then answering them offline. That way you will keep your Internet costs down. I am a heavy Internet user and always budget to buy a package which works out the cheapest way if you are using the ship's internet. (or you could always visit McDonald's!)

Also waiting to be packed is a pair of binoculars and small torch as on this cruise we are going to be privileged to have Melissa Hulbert who is an astronomer at the Sydney Observatory who, if the weather is kind, will give us a "getting to know the Southern Sky" tour. 

I have my carry bag so I can bring my book/iPad, notebook, sunscreen, camera etc easily. It is a big ship and there will always be some things you want with you while you are either listening to the speakers, relaxing by the pool etc.

I also have a shower-proof jacket to allow for the  possibility of "four seasons in a day" weather that can be found in Melbourne, also a light cardigan/shawl to use in the conference room as the air-conditioning can be cool.

I have my good walking shoes as it is a big ship and you will walk a fair number of steps (so a pedometer might be an additional interesting thing to carry). 

There is also a nice walking track around the top of the ship which I plan to use again. You do get a nice view from there.  If you are very energetic there is also the rock climbing wall but that is not for me!

There is no passenger laundry on board so you may want to bring a little liquid detergent (although I find that shampoo works very well). I would not suggest washing jeans out but lighter clothes will dry OK. You can get clothes washed by the ship's laundry for a price.

Talking of clothes, there are generally two formal dinner evenings where you can dress up to your heart's content and there are photo opportunities available so you can remember your evening. The dining room is pretty special and does really suit formal dressing with those chandeliers!

I must admit I am not into formal dressing so tend to take those nights out as a casual dining option in one of the other dining venues. Generally otherwise, dress is quite casual and I would tend to think of layers just in case cooler weather hits in Melbourne and Hobart.

Sunglasses are a must if you plan to be outside much as is sunscreen as reflected sunlight off the sea can be very bright. A hat would also be useful although there are a lot of shady places on board where you can lounge and read.

Remember your medications. There is a medical centre on board and a limited shop but I would not depend on these for medications. As we are doing regular Australian stops you always have the options of  buying stuff on shore but why waste potential research or tourist time?

So time to start planning your packing as it is a month today and we will be cruising!

52 Weeks: 52 Ancestors #1 Violet Noreeen Busby and the Heat Wave

I have decided to take up the challenge of "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" proposed by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small blog

Violet was born 7 January 1940 at the Royal Brisbane Hospital the daughter of Myrtle and William Busby.

Violet was Myrtle's first child and her husband was away fighting in World War Two and that would have been difficult enough for any new mum but there was more to come.

She had only been home a few days when the heatwave struck.

Brisbane Courier Mail Jan 26 1940
 Seeing information that 50 plus people had died so far from the heatwave and all the warnings for the very young and the elderly must have been a very worrying time for Myrtle.

Relief was promised in a few days but even though there were some storms the heatwave did not finish at the weekend as suggested.
The temperatures seen during the heatwave

Although there had been some storms they left behind  very high  humidity ranging from 65-90% and as the Chief Meteorologist put it " conditions were many degrees beyond the realm of comfort".

Finally February 5th there was another major storm system causing flooding which broke the heatwave and also caused a lot of damage.

Violet in the laundry basket 1940
Finally Myrtle could enjoy her time with her new baby.

It is interesting as our ancestors coped with heat-waves with very little help unlike today when we have fans, air-conditioners etc.

Currently Brisbane is having another few very warm days, in fact likely to break records only beaten by the record temperatures mentioned above in 1940.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Canada here I come!

I am very pleased to announce I will be speaking at the biennial “Harvest Your Family Tree” Conference 2014 (September 26-28) with the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society in British Columbia. I have not been to British Columbia preciously so am very much looking forward to the conference as the pictures of the area look great.

It will cap an interesting year of speaking as I am also speaking on the 4th Unlock the Past cruise in early February (along with other wonderful presenters such as Thomas MacEntee, Chris Paton , Shauna Hicks and more), then jetting off to speak at Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in London. 

Then home again doing local presentations until July when I head back to England to speak on the 5th Unlock the Past cruise circumnavigating England.

More great speakers on this one with Paul Blake, Jackie Depelle, Marie Dougan, Jayne Shrimpton  from the UK, Lisa Louise Cooke from the US, Rosemary Kopittke, Mike Murray, Lesley Silvester and myself from Australia.

Then back home again for more Australian presentations until I go to Canada!

I am also working on a potential visit to New Zealand in 2014 to speak again at the Auckland Library. 

To see where I will be speaking  check out this page

A great year ahead!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Dental Floss: a Genealogist’s Friend

Apart from the obvious health benefits of regular flossing there is another way we can use dental floss.

Many of us have inherited the old magnetic photo albums which were popular in the 1970’s and 80s. They have glue strips on the page and a plastic sheet that folds over the page to protect the picture. At the time they seemed a good idea but we have all come to know that the glue was acidic and can cause long term damage to your precious image.

Initially the photos were able to be removed easily but after a long  period of time the photos are firmly attached to the pages.

This is where the trusty dental floss comes into its own.  Take a piece that is at least six inches (15cm) longer than the photo you want to remove as you will want to wind the floss around your fingers. Gently lift one corner of the photo and then work the floss in a gentle sawing motion back and forth under the photo. It doesn’t really matter if you work away from yourself or towards yourself and I have found it sometimes depends on where the photo is placed as to which is easier to do.

2013-11-28 09.20.12
    2013-11-28 09.20.40    2013-11-28 09.21.26
Continue until the photo is released from the page.

2013-11-28 09.13.15 2013-11-28 09.13.32 What is even better is by doing this carefully you will be able to see any writing that was on the back of the photos!