Sunday, 22 September 2013

NSW ACT State Conference



The conference is being held at the Hellenic Club which has been an excellent venue with very helpful staff. Food and service have been good throughout the conference.


Well have been so busy at the conference (and posting to Facebook and Twitter) that have not really had much time to write many conference post except the one on the fantastic Trove presentation.




Fantastic Goody Bag included chocolate!


I have already mentioned the wide range of exhibitors present and yes I did buy a few books! The new Cora Num book on eRecords, a book on Florence Nightingales nurses in Sydney and "Morass to Municipality" a book on Toowoomba I didn't have.

Friday was open free to the general public with a range of presentations and this is always a great way to get Family History out to the general population. I have been on the National Institute for Genealogical Studies stand and have been chatting to many people about the many courses available. I am currently studying the English Certificate in Genealogical Studies. The Institute "have just released a Professional Development Certificate.

The main speaking area is in the Exhibition Hall so I have also attended many sessions including "The Huguenots: the Almost Forgotten People" by Robert Nash of the Huguenot Society,  "How to Find New South Wales Court Records" by Gail Davis of the State Records Authority. Treasures in the State Library of NSW.

Karen Rogers the New South Wales regional rep for the Guild of One Name Studies gave a presentation on the Guild and how it can help family historians. I am the Queensland regional representative for the Guild and research the surname Quested anywhere, anytime.

It was lovely to meet Karen in person rather than just by email. This is a major plus of attending conferences in that you get to meet in person people you know from blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

A selection of GeneaBloggers at the Conference

Enthusiastic Genies listening
We didn't get all the GeneaBloggers in the picture but didn't do too bad.

Carole Riley gave her presentation on Land Records. I was able to hear this at the Queensland Family History Society seminar recently so didn't attend and judging from the feedback received here Carole gave the same excellent presentation.

Hazel Edwards gave a workshop on "Writing a non-boring Family History" which excited many attendees.

And then we got together for the Meet and Greet which is always fun.

 Saturday was the official Opening ceremony followed by a presentation by Dr David Headon the History and heritage Advisor for the Centenary of Canberra. Yes our Capitol is having its 100th birthday this year. While the Australia colonies were in place from 1788, we became a Federation in 1901 and Canberra became established in 1913. A very interesting presentation of the machinations behind the establishment. A number of our historical figures while they may have done great things perhaps would not be the people you would want as a family member!

After a fun Family History Trivia session there was an excellent morning tea of scones, jam and cream. Then Chris Boyack gave a presentation on FamilySearch and what is happening there. One million indexed records being added each week due to the volunteer indexers around the world. I am one of those who doesn't get to do as much indexing as I would like but I figure even if I only do 50 a week that is an extra 50 records that has been indexed.

Cora Num gave an excellent presentation on "Research Tools for the Digital Age" and this is where I have to show her closing image of multitasking!

It is always interesting to hear what tools other people use and how they make them work for them.

Cora always does a good presentation and has just released her new book on "eRecords for Family Historians" (yes that is the one I bought)


Then after lunch Martin Woods gave a presentation on "Where were they when?" which was on using maps and other geographical tools for family history research and publication. There is so much available now online at the National library of Australia who have a wonderful map collection that they have digitised. Anything that has been digitised and is available on the website is out of copyright and available to use. The National Library also has a huge map collection that is still in copyright and available at the Library for research.

There was also a Cobb and Co presentation by Barbara Hickson was in the other room.
The Land of Tomorrow: 20th Century migration records held at the National Archives of Australia was similar to one I had heard at the "Shake Your Family Tree" day held in April this year so I chose the Education Records at the State Record Office presentation. While I don't have a  lot of research in new South Wales it was a very interesting presentation and there were some very useful tips given, many of which were put on Twitter (check out the #nswact13 feed on Twitter for many interesting Tweets from the conference).

Then the AGM and the Conference Dinner.

A great meal was had by all with early entertainment of a Harp and wooden flute playing background music.

Lots of conversations with some reports of people finding cousins. One person must have had a nudge from above as she was talking to someone and then something made her stop and look up and she suddenly saw a name tag (Thank you organisers for name-tags that were very easy to read!) that had an unusual surname that just happened to be one in her family so, of course being an avid family historian she leapt to intercept him and yes, indeed, he was related to her! (no, unfortunately this person was not me!)

It is these stories that convince us that some of our ancestors do indeed want to be found!


We were on Table 8. As you can see all the tables were beautifully decorated.

Tables of ten do make it difficult to talk across the table to all attendees but some conversation was managed.


Enough to determine for a couple of the "football nuts" on the table that one person there was an ex-Australian football coach, Terrance Fearnley which was pretty amazing!

Further entertainment was provided by four amazing singers and the gentleman on keyboard. Some slight problems with the sound system but they coped magnificently with the problems and gave us a musical evening.









Today is the last day.

Angela Phippen's presentation  on "Royal Commissions and Legislative Council Select Committees" Government committees and enquiries may send a little boring but it amazing how many of our ancestors were called to give evidence. And you will generally read their exact words as given to the enquiry. Maybe a bit more formal language than your ancestor would use in day to day conversation but still great to read! 

A Royal Commission was held when something went wrong so you can get very detailed information on conditions in institutions, employment and things about which people were concerned such as living near the "noxious trades" such as tanneries, piggeries, wool-scours etc.

The Australian War Memorial gave a presentation on the joys in store for us with their digitisation program and bid to make their records more accessible for all. 

I have spent time at their research archives looking at a diary written by someone aboard the "Ceramic" the ship my great-grandfather went to World War One and Gallipoli!

Now it is morning tea and then "Working with Findmypast" and then "Women in Records"


The organisers are to be congratulated on a fantastic conference!Always a shame when a conference has to end but we all have so many ideas for further research so perhaps just as well.