Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Day of Conferencing

Rosemary Tithe Map UK Archive
After some room changes done just before the cruise began, the conference was underway with the first session today by Dr Lesley Silvester talking on the Mystery of the Standing Stones – Orkney, Lewis and Ireland followed by Government and Police Gazettes by Rosemary Kopittke  then a session talking about the Genealogist.

It is an interesting subscription site. I have been a member for a number of years and originally was very valuable to me because of their Non-Conformist record sets for which they had the exclusive licence for a number of years. This record set is now able to be seen among other providers now.

The Genealogist now has been working with the National Archives on a wonderful record set: the Tithe records. In 1836 England was mapped as part of the Tithe Commutation Act. Previous to this time one tenth of all produce was tithed.  This created a number of problems and it was decided to determine values of land and to have the tithes done in cash. Each landholder and tenant are listed, field by field. Maps were drawn (interestingly one of my Quested’s drew a number of the Tithe maps in Kent). These are large maps, this one that Rosemary is perusing is around seven plus foot square.

The Genealogist is also digitising these maps in colour and these will become available over the next twelve months.

Tithe Map
Then it was lunch time before we started the next sessions. Eileen O Duill gave a good talk on starting your Irish Genealogical research and looking at ways of determining the home place of your Irish immigrant. This is something you need to be able to research effectively especially if his name is Michael Murphy or James Ryan!

Then Lisa Louise Cooke gave a fabulous presentation on “How to Create Exciting Interactive Family History Tours with Google Earth”. You know how it often is when you mention anything to do with family history,  the relative gets either a glazed expression in the eyes or a panicked expression on their face. So finding a way to tell the story so they want to hear more is fantastic. The end result had everything , the old maps, the video, the photos, certificates and so much more but done in such a way that the recipient doesn’t realise it is the same documents you have been trying to show them all along. By making the tour interactive with items to click and see makes it in Lisa’s words “almost like playing a video game”. As every scientist/psychologist will tell you once people start interacting you definitely have their attention!Lisa

Then another break before Paul Blake took us through the joys of English probate research. Post 1858 there was the Central Probate registry which for the first time meant the Government took control of the proving of wills. prior to this time it was the various levels of Church courts and you needed to know which Church court covered which area and which level of court was likely to be used to be able to find the will. From 1792 to 1903 this was made a bit easier by the Death Duty registers which recorded the amount of money the Government was going to get, it also recorded other information which is of use to family historians. The indexes to the registers are available on Ancestry so well worth a look.

Marie Dougan then gave a presentation on “Families Moving Between Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales”. There were many reasons for this movement ranging from work to family to the lure of the cities etc. Work is a big reason and those of you with coal mining families will often find this movement occurring. The military, coastguards, government employees are all people who could end up moving around and then perhaps staying in an area far from home, even the agricultural labourer will often move from one employer to another from a hiring fair. I have a family who move along the Pennines from village to village with few of the 13 children being born  in the same parish. He was a mole catcher and moved as required. My coach builder in Kent did the same with the railways. The railways , of course allowed for easier movement as the 1800s progressed.

Then after another short break Mike Murray gave a fascinating presentation on “Crofts and Crofting – a unique way of life in the Highlands and Islands”. It is a very different way of life and I didn’t know a lot about it as not having any Scottish research of my own I had not delved before. Then the final presentation of the day was another look at a different way of life with Sean O Duill. His presentation was on Death and Burial Customs: Peasant Ireland in the 19th Century. Again a very different way of life.

Then off to dinner. It was a formal night in the main restaurant and I must admit that is not my scene so we went to dinner in the bistro which had a nice selection in a non-formal environment.


Unlock the Past 5th Cruise: On the Way

5th UTP cruise start
  Saturday 19th,  7 hours 31 minutes and 38 seconds to go before the cruise begins. So today is the day we are heading off down the M25 then on the A13 to go to Tilbury Docks  to board  the Marco Polo for the UTP cruise. 
It was a gray day (a bit different to the bright sunshine and 30 degree+ temperatures we had had for the previous couple of days). It was interesting on the drive down to see the large wind turbines in use.
We arrived at the Tilbury Docks Terminal and waited for our meeting with the Cruise Director.
Photos group on the way

The plaque above was before you went into the cruise terminal and the map was inside. There was also this banner talking of the docking of the Empire Windrush in 1948. It was beautifully made. Don’t we look bright in our Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruising shirts?

The Team and the Banner

Then we went on board to have the meeting and see the set-up. Most of the other UTP cruise members were coming down by coach from Victoria and there was a hold-up with one coach which didn’t arrive until 4.30 or so.Registration

After the meeting it was time to set up for registration and to welcome the UTP cruise participants aboard. Interestingly being Australians we had to hand in our passports. Always a strange feeling giving over your passport to other people!

Then at around 5.00pm we had the mandatory Lifeboat drill. 

Not sure the life-jacket will catch on as a fashion statement.Then it was time for the Meet and Greet and then a quiet chat before dinner and bed.

Life jacket on

Thursday, 10 July 2014

So Someone Does Read My Posts!

I started writing this blog for my own personal satisfaction and as a way of sharing items I found interesting and to share information about my own family history journey.  Along the way it has been a tremendous amount of fun and I have met up with some relatives, which is always a bonus as well as making many friends.

It is hard to know at times who is reading the posts (as not many people comment) but apparently some people do indeed read them and consider them useful.

I am honoured to announce that this blog  has been selected for permanent preservation by the National Library of Australia in their Pandora web archive.

 So as their website explains:
"The name, PANDORA, is an acronym that encapsulates their mission: Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia.

The PANDORA Archive is a selective collection of web publications and websites relating to Australia and Australians. It includes materials that document the cultural, social, political life and activities of the Australian community and intellectual and expressive activities of Australians. "

I will be  good company as other blogs I know that have been archived are Judy Webster's blog, Shauna Hick's blog and also the First Families site.

The websites being archived cover a wide range of topics as can be seen below:

And a number of these topics can be broken down into further sub-topics.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Trove Tuesday: 7th Brigade 2000 Men in Camp

Looking at another treasure in large amount of papers I inherited from my Grandmother was this item. A programme for military exercises a few months prior to the start of World War Two.
I knew my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather were in the26th Battalion in the mid-1930s but having this gives more evidence that one of them was still there in the 26th in the late 1930s.

Programme Inside

So I thought I'd go hunting in our favourite place for further information Trove and this is just one of the articles I found.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Spread the Image Far and Wide!

I did the "Genealogy Happy Dance" this week.

Back in April 2009 a number of descendents of Richard and Lucy Rollason got together, many for the first time.

Lucy Rollason's album
For the day I made a Powerpoint show of information and photos from my Rollason research. It included the obvious things such as when and where they were born,
when they emigrated (Richard in 1863 aboard the Light Brigade, Lucy Evans in 1864 aboard the Young Australia), their children, house etc.

Elizabeth Runnegar & Holly (To Auntie Lucy from Lizzie 1909)
I had inherited Lucy's photo album and included photos from there.

Among the known photos there were also a number of unknown photos so I put these in the presentation hoping that someone would be able to identify them. No one was able to identify them on the day but I had made a CD of the Powerpoint and the photos for all attending.

Eleen Klumpp (Patterson) & daughter Ivy

Evelyn Lucy Klumpp daughter of Samuel Klumpp

So it is important to spread your images far and wide because you never know when or where you will find success!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Genealogical Society of Queensland Seminar 25 May 2014

The Genealogical Society of Queensland (GSQ) seminar titled "Hidden Treasures- Secrets from the Documents" was a jam-packed day with ten presentations by five well known presenters, including yours truly.
Dr Jennifer Harrison with Marg Doherty listening intently

It covered a wide range of topics as shown below:

Dr Jennifer Harrison: Convict Pardons and Ploughing through land Orders: Reaping Progenitor Rewards

Myself: Document Analysis and Computer Programs That Aid in Document Analysis

Stephanie Ryan: Biographical Detail in Unexpected Places and Gems in the Moreton Bay Records pre-1859 from the Colonial Secretary's Correspondence

Jane Wassell: School Files and First World War Connections: Names in the Archives

Shauna Hicks: Australian Joint Copy Project:Still Relevant in an Online World and Finding Ancestral Dirty Linen in Court Records.

So a range of very interesting topics!

Shauna Hicks has written a very nice wrap-up of the day with a lot of links to the resources mentioned so I won't repeat that here.

The seminar is always a good day both for the talks and for meeting up with people, face to face! I stay in contact with many people via Facebook, Twitter and my blogs but getting together in person is still very special.

I met up with Lyn McMillan, an ex-workmate who had attended a lunchtime seminar I put on a number of years ago at work (yes we scientists can have fun lunchtimes too!) and she told me she has been doing some research ever since but  much more now she has retired. Lovely to know the effect a presentation you gave can have, and now she is as addicted as the rest of us.

A special event on the day was the announcement of the winner of the Joan Reese Memorial Shorty Story Competition Award.

Joan Reese Memorial Award
Joan Reese was a tireless indexer and had been voluntarily indexing many New South Wales  historical records since the late 1980s. She left a huge legacy to modern researchers as without her many indexes access to these gems in these records was fairly difficult. Joan was recognised posthumously in 2009 in the Queen's Birthday Honours List being awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia "for service to the study of early Australian history and genealogy through research and indexing".

Each year GSQ offers this award and as 2014 is the centenary of the beginning of World War One this year the topic was "A World War 1 Experience" 

Dr Jennifer Harrison, GSQ Patron presented the award to this year's recipient Sue Bell.

Sue's story will be published in the GSQ journal Generation.

Dr Jennifer Harrison presenting Sue Bell with the Award
All of the attendees were very well looked after as far as catering was concerned with morning and afternoon teas and lunch. A massive thank you to those volunteers!

The day went well with good timekeeping. It was interesting to try the short sessions but perhaps too many short sessions covering diverse topics maybe a better mix might have been a mix of short and long sessions or all the short sessions around a much tighter theme.

It was still a fantastic day and people certainly went away with a head full of things to try and new websites to check!

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Unlock the Past Writing Seminar with Carol Baxter

Carol Baxter

  As genealogists we research  our family history and accumulate pages of facts and notes, some photos maybe some letters if we are lucky.
  Then it comes time to want to share your research, to produce it so it is available for the future generations, to tell their story, to bring them to life.
  So you sit down at the computer and try and start.
  But how to write it in a way that someone will actually read it?
  We have all read (well at least scanned to see if our names are mentioned) the family history books that read like a "who begot whom" saga.  The problem is no-one actually sits and reads them because they are a bunch of dates and places with no personality and definitely don't bring our ancestors to life.
  So what do you do? How to write it so someone actually will read and know the people you have spent your time researching?
I have just attended the two day Unlock the Past Writing Seminar in Adelaide and would definitely recommend it for anyone who writes.

There were eight presentations given by Carol Baxter of History Detective fame. 
Carol has an impressive pedigree as she started her genealogical research at school and been involved in genealogy for more than thirty years. She is a Fellow of the Society of Australian Genealogists and an adjunct lecturer at the University of New England, and is now a full-time writer and speaker.

She has used her historical research skills to write and publish ‘popular history’ and is the author of four ‘true-crime thrillers’ . Three have been published by Allen & Unwin: An Irresistible Temptation: the true story of Jane New and a Colonial Scandal (2006), Breaking the Bank: An Extraordinary Colonial Robbery (2008), and Captain Thunderbolt and his Lady: the true story of bushrangers Frederick Ward and Mary Ann Bugg (2011), while The Lucretia Borgia of Botany Bay will be published in 2015. Also recently released was the "The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable" which I was able to get Carol to autograph for me.

So Carol was an ideal person to teach this seminar and this was very much shown to be true during the two days

We started Day One with a series of three seminars
How to become a skilled historical detective
Help! Which information is correct? Strategies for determining historical truth.
Solving the ‘unsolvable’

Carol's easy interactive presentation style made it a pleasure to listen and learn. Her use of examples throughout gave not only the theory but also the practical applications and reinforced the messages.

Carol led us through the process and gave many essential clues on how to proceed:
"How do you start the massive job of writing your family history book : just like the elephant, one bite at a time!
"Communication is the essence of writing"

"Think of your audience before you start writing. Time spent planning now will produce a significantly enhanced end result"

"Personification a great tool for bringing your writing to life: rambunctious tug, lazy river, sleepy town"

"Timelines a writer's friend for research and also when writing as you can put the timeline in the appendix therefore leaving out of the main test long lists of just dates and places".


Then we moved onto  Structuring a family history or other work of non-fiction

This seminar focused on basic structuring techniques for writers. It included a general overview of structural necessities as well as guidelines for those writing family histories.

On the Friday we also heard from from Rachel Kuchel from the Lutheran Archives on their holdings and after hearing about the wide range of records from around Australia it really made me wish I had Lutheran ancestors!
Then Dr Karen George talking on Oral history for family and local historians, another very interesting topic.  South Australia allows people to borrow the recording equipment and they will archive a copy of the recording (which can be allowed to be on open or closed access depending on the wishes of the participants). Definitely worth finding out if your State library has a similar program happening. Recording using great equipment is the ideal but obviously even a not so great recording has to be better than no recording.

Tamara Wenham and Nicholas Gleghorn gave a presentation on "Finding stories inside the Commonwealth, State and Local Government archives" This was particularly interesting as it showed the range of records, particularly images that were available.
And that completed Day One!
Day Two we were all there early eagerly waiting for what the day would bring and chatting to the exhibitors and each other before the presentations began. 
Today's first three workshops were about refining our work and understanding writing fundamentals.

  • Crafting a good book
    This workshop covered some of the tools found in a writer’s toolbox including authorial voice, narrative voice, style, tone, person and story-telling. 
  • Gripping writing
    This workshop showed how to use historical context, action, dramatic tension, dialogue and description to engage their readers. 
  • Sensory writing

This workshop showed writers how to engage their readers by drawing upon all of our senses, and burrows down to the individual word level.

  • Here we all are having a go!
We had opportunities in each of these for practical hands-on tries at doing what we had learned then hearing what some of us had written and this was a very valuable part of the workshop. I find that having a go while it is very fresh in your mind helps to cement the concepts.
The last of Carol's presentations covered all the facets of publishing, taking us through the process of the mainstream publishers (I don't believe that very many family historians will ever go this route) then onto the independent publishers, much more likely for family historians and the other ways of being published (niche, independent and self-publishing and then journals, newsletters and websites including blogs).

So many family history writers forget their family history journals as a place to publish their writings. 99% of the editors of these journals would love you for evermore if you submitted your articles and it is a good way to get experience. Also you have the extra benefit that you are telling people about your research and giving them the opportunity  to contact you with questions and additional information (remember to have a genealogy email with Google ie a GMail address that will stay constant regardless of what home internet service provider you may use). I have had responses many years after my article was published because I was able to be contacted.

We also had a presentation by the well known Shauna Hicks on "Newspapers: Finding Online Family & Local History News!

Shauna showed the range of resources that can be used and this fitted in very well with what Carol had been telling us as Carol has made wonderful use of newspaper, court and police reports in her research to get some of the specific details of what had occurred. 

Often inquests, divorces, murders, accidents are reported in the papers in much detail often down to the "he said, she said" stuff. All valuable detail that can be used in your writing to provide wonderful life to those dates and place facts and still do it in a historically accurate manner.

Marie Maddocks gave us a presentation on "Exploring people’s lives @ The State Library of South Australia", another wonderful resource for South Australian research and remember each State Library has similar resource collections so if you haven't had a check of their catalogues recently you should definitely add it to your to-do list.

I am very pleased that I flew down from Brisbane for this two day workshop. I found it very valuable and would very much recommend this workshop with Carol Baxter to anyone who is interested in writing history whether it be family, local, business or any type of historical writing.