Wednesday, 27 April 2011

For a Laugh: Genealogy Taglines

"Crazy" is a relative term in my family.
A family reunion is an effective form of birth control.
After 30 days, unclaimed ancestors will be adopted.
All right! Everybody out of the gene pool!
All the really important information is on that missing page
Always willing to share my ignorance...
Any family tree produces some lemons, some nuts and a few bad apples.
Can a first cousin once removed..RETURN?
Gene-Allergy: It's a contagious disease, but I love it.
Genealogists live in the past lane     
Genealogists live in the past lane.    
Genealogy is like playing hide and seek: they hide...I seek!
Genealogy: Chasing your own tale!
Genealogy: Tracing yourself back to better  people.
Heredity: Everyone believes in it until their children act like fools!
How can one ancestor cause so much TROUBLE??
I researched my family tree... and apparently I don't exist!
I think my ancestors had several "Bad heir" days.
If only people came with pull-down menus and on-line help...
I'm always late. My ancestors arrived on the JUNEflower.
I'm not stuck, I'm ancestrally challenged.
My ancestors must be in a witness protection program!
My hobby is genealogy, I raise dust bunnies as pets.
Only a Genealogist regards a step backwards as progress.
Snobs talk as if they had begotten their own ancestors!

Monday, 25 April 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy: Pets


We have always had pets in our household, usually dogs with the occasional cat who wandered in and made itself at home. Growing up our dogs were usually bitzers given to us by friends or rescued from the pound.

The first dog I remember was Sweetheart a black spaniel cross who had a beautiful gentle nature and was with us for ten years. She came with us everywhere. After Sweetheart passed on there was Spot (yes fairly unimaginative but that was his name before he came to us). He was with us for a year before his previous owners heath had improved and they wanted him back. Then they gave us seven guinea pigs (assuring us they were all female). Hmm, one male six females equals lots of little guinea pigs! After supplying the school and neighbourhood we separated Pepper from his harem and gave him a male friend for company. Friends came to stay with us and brought their little foxy cross, Penny. She was a gorgeous little dog who loved to be with people.

Unfortunately we then moved to Melbourne 1200km away in January and Penny stayed in Brisbane. My birthday was in April and Dad had been in Brisbane on a trip and he got home late that night. There was a scratching at the door and Penny was there! She had been fretting without us and her owners agreed that she could come to us. She remained with us for the next seven years until the grand age of 21.

I had always had a love of German Shepherds. Then after Penny was gone, it seemed meant to be, when after a very big thunderstorm a friend’s mother had a small lost German Shepherd puppy wander into her yard. We tried to find the owners but when that failed she came home to us. She shadowed us everywhere  and that became her name, Shadow.

Shadow was the first of my German Shepherds and over the last 27 years I have been blessed with Shadow, Scamp, Misty, Tami and Shannon. Unfortunately Tami became ill and died on Australia Day this year leaving us Shannon who is 6 years going on 2. She enjoys agility training (on the walk right. She is still a puppy in many ways as she has never lost that sense of excitement, loves being with people and is firmly convinced she is a human.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

George Howard Busby: My ANZAC who returned



George, my great grandfather, is one of my favourite ancestors for a few reasons: first finding out about him for my mother, who had never known him, was the beginning of my family history addiction and because he was such an interesting person who keeps surprising me.

Born in Brisbane in 1884 to William and Anne, George grew up around Toowong where his father was a monumental mason. He married Nora Courtenay and had three children.

George enlisted 29 September, eight weeks after war was declared, into the 15th Battalion 4th Infantry Brigade at the Exhibition Grounds Brisbane. The personal details in his enlistment papers (available online  at the National Archives) were fantastic: 5 foot 7, fair complexion and grey eyes. Under distinctive marks: on left arm tattoo fireman’s helmet and two crossed axes (which clue led to more research) and a bullet wound (scar) over left knee (not what I was expecting).

The other really interesting information given in his enlistment papers was his previous military service:
2 years 1st Qld Regt (Moreton) (confirmed by Queensland Govt gazette)
1 year 3 months Cape Mounted Rifles (unable to confirm at this stage)
3 Years New Guinea Police (unable to confirm at this stage)
3 months 8th Infantry (Oxley) (Confirmed  by National Archives and also have a badge)
There is still more to be found out about his previous military service.

He was not currently serving but had previously been rejected as being unfit for His Majesty’s service because of his teeth. They were not bad enough to reject him during war time and he embarked for Melbourne. The 15th Battalion underwent further training and subsequently embarked aboard the Ceramic, arriving in Egypt in early February 1915.  When the 15th Battalion (part of the 4th Brigade) arrived in Egypt, it became part of the New Zealand and Australian Division. George and his battalion left Egypt bound for Gallipoli as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 12 April 1915.  On 25 April 1915, the 15th Battalion landed at ANZAC Cove late in the afternoon.  Precise details are a bit sketchy from this point to the 8 May when he was wounded at Quinn’s Ridge with gunshot wounds to his upper extremities . He was lucky as many of his companions were killed in the fighting on the 8-9 May. His family were notified by cable on the 12 May of his injury. He was taken by hospital ship “Dongola” and admitted to Edgbaston Hospital, Birmingham 20 May 1915.

George’s parents, William and Anne along with many Australians were fundraising for the War effort and in June on Rose Day had provided 20 dozen roses from their garden for the Toowong stand where they had their photograph taken and sent to George in hospital.  George spent five months there until returning home aboard the “Runic” leaving England  on the 7 November and coming into Sydney before he and 48 other wounded soldiers came up to Brisbane aboard a special train which arrived at platform 5 at 7.40pm Boxing Day 1915. They were welcomed by the Premier, the Minister for Railways, The Mayor of Brisbane, relatives of the wounded, military personnel and members of the public. After the speeches and a short time of reunion with their relatives  the wounded were taken slowly by motor cavalcade  down the crowded Edward and Queen Streets to the military hospital at Kangaroo Point. George was discharged as being medically unfit in March 1916. For the rest of the war he acted as a recruiting sergeant around southern Queensland.

Post the war, George was active in Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (what we know of today as the RSL). He spoke at many schools about Anzac Day and organised many Anzac Day services around the Stones Corner area.  He is commemorated on the Honour board at the Toowong and Buranda State Schools. He was also listed on the Fire Service Honour board which used to hang at the Valley Fire Station but whose current whereabouts is unknown.

George Howard Busby, my ANZAC who shall be remembered.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Back-up your Data or That Disaster will be a Disaster!

2011 so far has been a year of disasters with floods, two in Queensland and counting cyclones and bushfires across the country. This got me thinking about the repercussions this can have.

In the event of  disasters like this happening to you, have you safeguarded your years of research? What if you lost those irreplaceable photographs and documents? It doesn’t even have to be a major disaster, many people now only use a digital camera and download many census and other images from Ancestry and FindMyPast to their computer. A hard drive crash can be quite final.

It is never too early to start thinking about protecting your research.

In the old days we used floppy disks but with the large file sizes and the increasing amount of digital media available for download this doesn’t really work any longer (and most computers don’t even have a floppy drive installed and if you talk about 5 1/4 floppies you get vacant stares from most people!).

Backing up to CD or DVD does work but remember to check your backups regularly. You can also use USB drives (but ideally not for long term secure storage) These average around 8 gigabytes nowadays. A better way is to use an external drive. These have become very cheap. (I just bought a 1TB (terabyte) Western Digital drive for under $100 and i saw one in a catalogue today for $84. One terabyte is a trillion bytes (characters) which is also 1000 gigabytes, one gigabyte is 1000 megabytes).

An external hard drive is an easy solution. Many come with backup software that will copy the entire contents of your computer with just a few clicks. You can even schedule automatic backups - ensuring you won't forget to backup for a few months at a time. However because it is attached to your computer, an external hard-drive can still fall victim to the same viruses that attack your computer so it is important to keep your virus protection up to date. You are also able to network these external drives so that more than one computer is able to use it for backup and you are able to set up sharing folders for your  data files or photos.

Ideally when you are backing up to external media you should  use the grandfather system. This means you actually have three backups going: grandfather then father then son so that if you do have a virus that goes undetected you have at least three backups. Of course you can’t store these near your computer as if it is stolen, the thief is also likely to take any discs and if a flood or fire strikes they are at risk. Storing them off-site with a friend, relative or at work is required for safety.

All good genealogy programs have the ability to backup your family file. Usually it is a menu choice and then you choose where the file will be saved. Ideally this should not be just on the computer you regularly use.

Another option which is very useful is to use online storage. This has a number of advantages:
  1. You can access your files from any computer with an internet connection
  2. You can allow others to view some or all of your files
  3. Someone else backs those drives up on a regular basis
  4. Generally you can get up to two gigabyte free
  5. In the event of a disaster at your home your precious files are protected

I use Dropbox (http://www.dropbox.com/) where you can access 2GB for free or I pay a yearly fee and have 50GB of online storage available. For me, Dropbox is excellent as I can set up sharing folders that I allow certain people to access. This is an excellent way of collaborating with others on research and sharing large files that can be difficult to send by email. I have my family history collaborators as well as my microbiological colleagues.  There are many online storage sites available including Google.

Ideally you will have scanned or taken digital images of your documents, certificates and photographs, named and organised these files for easy retrieval. Your ‘My Documents” folder and “MyPictures” folders (for Windows users) are obvious folders that need to be backed up.  However it is not just these files but what about your Internet browser favourites folder (all those bookmarks you have saved!)? Your email archive? Perhaps where you found that useful utility program that you use all the time? In fact it is important to backup anything that you are not prepared to lose!

Any backup method is better than none. It does take time and sometimes a bit of money but planning ahead of time is definitely a million times better than suddenly wishing you had done that back up when disaster strikes!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

History and Genealogy 2011 Australia and New Zealand

I have been reading History and Genealogy 2011 Australia and New Zealand. http://www.gould.com.au/History-Genealogy-2011-Australia-NZ-p/utp1001.htm   

This is the first of a planned annual publication and is a great read with 66 articles covering a wide range of topics.  I am particularly reading the military articles as Anzac Day approaches. As a medical person I was very interested to read the article by Ron Austin on The Medical War during the Third Battle of Ypres. There were 11 000 Australian killed or died of wounds, 26 000 Australians wounded and 4000 gassed. These all needed medical aid and this article describes how that aid was given. And it is amazing that more did not die.

Another article by Lt Col Neil Smith Reflections on our Anzac Heritage strongly encourage us to collect our families military heritage, the documentation, the memorabilia and record the personal stories. It is important for all of us to learn about the conditions our ancestors endured to fight for the freedom we enjoy today and to give life to our military personnel.

Carole Riley has written an excellent article on Social Media for Family Historians which gives good information for anyone who is a bit unsure about starting to dabble in social media (I say dive in, it is great fun and there is a fantastic online community) I have recently started with Twitter @HVSresearch and have been very happy with  the wealth of information available in 140 characters. As you are restricted to 140 characters you get the gems of knowledge without the padding that often occurs in other media.

We are all time poor now and there is an excellent article by Megan Gibson on  Tips  for the Time Poor! which gives many ideas on how we can gain extra time for research.

If  you have circus ancestors you really must read the article The Story of Circus in Australia by Mark St Leon who descends from one of Australia’s earliest circus families. Other articles of particular interest to me were on Saving your Family Documents, Grain Mills and  Grain Millers in South Australia and Internet Resources for German Research. There are some great New Zealand articles with an excellent one on Immigration to New Zealand, another on New Zealand websites and much more. There are also social history articles such as Sources in Local History and The Crinoline, the Cloak and the Aboriginal Belle. There is a range of articles for the person starting their research as well as those further advanced.

As well as the wide range of articles you also get a directory of Archives, Record Offices, Family History Societies, Historical Societies,  Museums and Professional researchers. As an extra bonus you also get a list of Australian genealogy and history blogs you can access from the Unlock the Past website http://www.unlockthepast.com.au/australian-genealogy-history-blogs . There is also a list of New Zealand blogs.

There is also a range of discount vouchers available in the book and this makes the already quite reasonable price an even better bargain.

In my view this is a book that should be on every researcher’s bookshelf and I look forward to having this resource as an annual publication.

(Disclosure Statement: I am an Unlock the Past speaker and have had a book published by Unlock the Past, the publishers of the above book. Two of my articles are also published in this book. No payment was received for the writing of these articles. This association has not influenced my opinion on the quality of this publication)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Week 16 - Restaurants

As a child we never went to restaurants as such, partially this was because money was fairly tight and also three young children in the restaurants of yesterday weren't a great idea.(We did do a formal dinner once a month at home with the five courses so we learnt what the various forks were for etc. Dad considered this an important part of growing up). We also did a meal once a week using chopsticks, this was not always a Chinese meal so could get quite interesting but you definitely learnt to use chopsticks!

When my grandmother took us out, we did occasionally as a special treat (usually we took sandwiches) go to the Coles restaurant in town (Brisbane). It was a cafeteria and Grandma would sit us at the table, take one of us as a special reward to help with the tray and then would go and get the meals, fish and chips, a ham pastie (only place I have ever seen these and they were scrumptious!) with salad and usually jelly for desert. This stopped when Grandma died in 1976.

In 1978 we moved to Melbourne where we had bought a business (Lord & Kingston, an umbrella shop) and this is where we started going to restaurants, mainly those in Chinatown, the Supper Inn particularly.

Since that time eating out has become more usual although even today I don't eat out that often, more for celebratory occasions. So some of the childhood excitement lives on.

Friday, 15 April 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Sport

Hmm as the short person who wore glasses I was never much of  a sportsperson. I much preferred being left alone to read! I am also one of those odd ones who don't watch football (in fact I subscribe to the belief that you should give each member a ball then there would be no fights!)

I do remember one occasion where in sheer desperation the softball team roped me in to make up the numbers. I was given a bit of a lecture of how they didn't really expect much of me but without me they couldn't play. I was given strict instructions as to what to do. They had me up with two out. I am not sure who was more surprised, them or me, when I actually managed to hit the ball AND managed to get to third base. Then the next batter up hit the ball and ran to first while I ran to the home plate, losing my glasses along the way. Unfortunately the other batter was run out just before I got home. Then the  fielder managed to stand on my glasses and that was the end of that!

Back to my books for me.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Brisbane Dead Person's Society

I attended the Brisbane Unlock the Past seminar last Tuesday (for  great write-up see Shauna Hicks 

I had a great time and what made it even more special was meeting up again with Karen Hughes. Karen along with Greg Carlill, Ailsa Corlett, Peter Dunn, myself Tom and Susan Perrett and Alwyn Smith from SoftTech were  all original members of the Brisbane Dead Person's Society. This is back in the days before the Internet (Yes Virginia there were people on computers around before the Internet!). they were great days.

It did however make me feel old when Karen said her baby which we met at the last gathering of the DPS is now a strapping, tall young man of fifteen!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Spring

Spring in Brisbane Australia is one of mu favourite times of year. While it is welcomed by everybody after the cooler weather we call winter (which my Great -Aunts from England called "a very pleasant summer" and wandered the beach in thin cotton dresses while we had layer upon layer of clothing and were shivering!).

While not here  the sudden emergence of flowers from the snow (strange white stuff seen in places with a real winter!) spring was still  a time I waited for the flowers and also for the lovely days in short sleeves while the nights still had a bit of chill to the air so you could snuggle under the blankets. The sun gets up earlier and the day light hours increase , getting up in daylight and taking the dog for a walk and smelling the perfume of the gardens.

Spring a perfect time of year!