Saturday, 16 February 2013

Days 5 & 6 Unlock the Past Cruise

As we  remained in Noumea due to the electrical fault it was decided to switch the program around so Thursday became Friday as Friday was when we were meant to have a shore day in Fiji. Royal Caribbean has stated they will give a reduction in the cost of people's next cruise to make up for missing Fiji. (40% of the cost what was paid for the current cruise will be discounted from the next Royal Caribbean cruise).

Anyway the Friday program meant a free day with people needing to be back on board by 3.30pm ready for departure at 4pm. The talks started at four with Jill Ball speaking on the Flip Pal scanner. This is a neat scanner as it is about the size of a trade paperback book that has a reasonable depth of field that will allow you to scan coins, medals, photos behind glass (as long as it is not too deep), fabrics such as quilts and of course photos and documents. You are able to scan large documents by doing multiple scans and then using the stitching software to join the images together. Large newspaper pages, certificates, quilts are able to be scanned using this method. 

Jill also spoke on using Picassa for organising your photos.

Paul Milner spoke on Finding your Welsh Ancestors, which unfortunately I missed but luckily Paul has put a handout on his website. Paul has put handouts to all the presentations he is giving which is fantastic as he gives a very detailed presentation with lots of really good information. It would be a major shame to miss a key point because you were trying to scribble down notes.

The Unlock the Past website will have handouts from many of the presenters or links to the presenters' notes on their pages after the cruise (just allow a little time please before you chase us for our notes!)



Then onto dinner where I splurged and had lobster!

And yes, it was very nice thank you.








After dinner Paul gave us a talk on Irish Land Records. Paul's talks have been very good for reminding people that Irish research while different to English, Welsh and Scottish research is not impossible. Yes it is difficult and as Paul says you may spend more time determining what records survive for you to use in your research than you actually do, doing the research!

Then with our heads all a-spin with all the information Paul had given us we went off to bed.

Then we started the Thursday program Friday morning.  First up was a case of mistaken identity with Stephen Dando-Collins. It was an interesting talk. People forget that people went from the Australian colonies to the San Francisco gold rush as well as from America to t he Australian and New Zealand gold rushes.

Paul Milner then spoke on Finding your Ancestors in Ireland that ran very well off the talk from the night before, I am very pleased that he has provided some notes to act as memory joggers for his presentations. Just reading the notes will not give you all the information but will help you to recall the wonderful examples he gives during his presentations.

Then I gave my talk on Friendly Societies and their impact on our Ancestors. Depending on area around 50% of our ancestors were direct members or were family members of a Friendly Society. I had good feedback which is always good to hear.

After lunch Shauna Hicks gave her presentation on Behind Bars: convicts and criminals. I really wanted to hear this presentation but decided I would have more chance of hearing it in the future than  being able to hear Bob Velke show me how to customise reports in The Master Genealogist so I attended his presentation instead.

Jan Gow was also speaking at this time on Tracking Sibling's footprints in New Zealand . At times you really want to be able to clone yourself!

Then Alan Phillips showed a webinar given by Geoff Rasmussen on Digital Imaging Essentials. I have heard this before and have a copy of his Geoff;'s book so attended Diane Foster talking on "Preserve or Perish". Diane worked for many years in libraries and archives and has a strong involvement in preservation.It was good to her about the materials you can use and what happens if you don't to those precious records.

Bob Velke then gave his final workshop on customising charts and forms in The Mast Genealogist. I really need a few months now to go through everything he has shown me!

Louis Kessler helping someone with their research
I was not able to attend Geoff Doherty's presentation on 'The Disappearing Dunnes' but he is speaking at the Southern Suburbs Branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland in April so I will be able to hear him present there (not totoally sure what he is presnting on but as Geoff is a Queenslander I should be able to catch up on the talk I missed.





Alan Phillips speaking with Natalya from Clean Cruising ensuring the smooth running of the cruise


















Rosemary Kopittke gave a presentation on the Findmypast World collection. There is so much happening with the constant addition of new records. Findmypast are in the process of instituting a new search process for text in digital images and it looks good. I need to spend some time to see if I can find some of my missing people with the new searches.

There has been lots to absorb and people's head are feeling a bit full but there is always room for a bit more family history!

Paul then gave us the tour of English Probate Records and how to find the wills of our ancestors pre and post 1858. 1858 was the year that England introduced a national probate system. Prior to that the Church of England were responsible for the probating of wills. To find your ancestor's will you need to know the church court in which it was probated. The level of court depended on what jurisdiction your ancestor owned property. Was it proved in the local courts, the Bishops' court, Prerogative Court of York or Canterbury?

A number of county record offices have indexed their probate records and this has made it easier to find the wills. The Death Duty registers are also a great help in determining the court as a tax was paid but the court where the will was proved is listed in the index and you can then find the will.

We had a free evening as it had been kept spare to allow people to see the Ice Show on the ship.  This was well worth seeing. I have loved Ice dancing since the days of Torvill and Dean and their amazing dances at the Olympics and World titles.

The ship is pretty amazing and much care is taken to make it an experience for all aboard.







Aren't these an amazing use of watermelon? I am not artistic and have great admiration for anyone who is creative.


I am on level two which is just around the corner from the Conference Centre. It is very convenient! It is a nice room and the porthole, which from the outside on the shore looked quite tiny is actually quite large when you look out.

The ship is very large, how large, you don't appreciate until you see it in context.

It is amazing that although there are many people on board, around 3000 passengers and over 1000 staff , you don't feel crowded. What is even more amazing is how quiet it is. There is very good sound-proofing around the conference centre.





There are a number of quiet lounges around the ship. The one above is in the Champagne Bar where I was sitting last night drinking lemon lime and bitters with some friends talking about the cruise and the cruise in 2014 which is going around the southern capitals again on this ship and the proposed Baltic cruise leaving from Southampton in 2015.That is my holidays for the next two years sorted!

Then it was off to bed at 11.30pm so we could let the information we had been given settle into our brains and be assimilated so we could wake up and  be ready for another day of talks and more information.