Sunday, 26 June 2011

Unlock the Past Queensland Expo

The Queensland Expo was held in the Brothers Club in sunny Cairns. Definitely a history time there as even the replica 'HM Bark Endeavour'  decided to visit Cairns this week.

Despite the issues caused by the Chilean volcano and that ever circulating cloud of ash the Expo went ahead, regrettably without  Shauna Hicks, who was a casualty of the large number of  cancelled flights.

Cairns and District Family History Society were well represented and  provided wonderful volunteer assistance throughout the Expo.

The Expo had a full program, despite the ash cloud, with two streams. Carole Riley's Social Media presentation was well received. Carole then set up  Cairns and District's FHS new Facebook page showing how easy it was to do and it will keep members informed and promote the society to new members.

Stephanie Ryan from State library Queensland gave an excellent talk on State Library resources which had participants talking about the wide range of resources available.My Newspapers talk got people thinking about how to add life to their family history by putting their family in context of events around them from something as simple as checking the weather on the day of your great-grandparents marriage to community attitudes to national events to what was the cost of bread or rent at that time.

Rosemary's FindMyPast.co.uk presentation had many eager people wanting to rush to the FindMyPast stand in the exhibitor's area to check out the 500 000 recently added .Militia records (Yippee! I even found some Quested entries!) among the many other treasures mentioned.

The FamilySearch and Google Your family tree presentations were very well attended with many people coming out saying "I didn't know you could do that!"

I had a ball in the research Zone answering people's questions on a wide range of topics and my Internet connection kept pace with the variety of sites I trawled in search of answers. It is always fun doing this as every question is different (and now I know something about Western Samoa!)

Dinner that night was at Brothers and a number of exhibitors, speakers and attendees wound down while still talking family history at a great pace in between serving ourselves from an extensive buffet.
  
Day Two  rolled around with a number of early-bird attendees eager and waiting. Stephanie Ryan did four talks in quick succession with the talk on Trove gaining a large audience. So much is happening on this site that there is always more to  learn.

Mark Cryle did two presentations: Wild Colonial Boys, Eureka, the Fenians, Ned Kelly and others and the Bound for Botany Bay: The Irish in Australia in story and song. I would definitely recommend that if you ever get the chance to hear Mark that you make every attempt to do so.

Kerry Farmer's Convict talk was well illustrated showing the wide range of documents that can be used to gain more information about your convict from the start of their conviction to their eventual freedom.

After some more Research Zone I went off to do my Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms talk and then all too soon the Expo was officially over. The attendees left talking about what they had seen and heard. One comment I heard was, " I can pick up takeaway on the way home as a treat which will give me time tonight to research."

All in all a great Expo.