About Me.

A Family Tree researcher for over 30 years and a blogger since 2010, I love to share what I find. This blog has opened up a new way to contact and keep in-touch with both family and friends. It mightn't always be genealogy related and you might not agree with my point of view but I want you to comment, ask questions and look upon this blog as 'friends having a chat'.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Are You Going to Congress 2018?????

What is Congress 2018,I hear you say?

To give it it's full title, 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry. Hosted by the Society of Australian Genealogists, in 2018, it comes under the broad banner of the Australian Federation of Family History Organisations. Held every three years it is the biggest Australian Genealogy event.

When is Congress 2018?

It will be held from Friday 9 March to Monday 12 March at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour.

What is the theme?

Bridging the Past & Future.

With our iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, how could we not have it in the theme.
It is important that we do bridge the past and the future, we have to encourage the younger generations to get involved with genealogy. It is their past too.

What will be happening?

I'm not going to give to much away but will give a link to the website, at the end.

There will be Keynote speakers, with a wide range of topics.
A Welcome Function, Congress Dinner, for the social side of things.
Nearly 60 different sessions, again covering a range of topics.
Venders Hall, with displays from various groups, like The Guild of One-Name Studies, Unlock the Past.

What's in it for ME?

EVERYTHING!  If you are new to the wonderful world of genealogy, you will find something to help you. An old hand at genealogy, you can ALWAYS learn something new.

The social side of a congress is wonderful. I went to my first congress in 2015, in Canberra. I couldn't attend all four days but I still covered so much. You meet people, you are friends with on Facebook, for the first time. Catch-up with old friends. Plenty of hugs, laughter and sharing.

If you are a blogger, you might be blessed with blogger beads. A sign for all fellow bloggers that you are one of us. A talking point for others as they ask you about your beads, hence making new friends. (I carry business cards, for just this purpose. When someone asks about the beads, I explain to them what they are about and give them my card, with my blog address on it.)

My 2015 lanyard and my first ever Blogger beads.
 Website Address;
I hope to see you there.
Bye for now,

Two days at the Society of Australian Genealogists.

Thursday was my usual monthly meeting of the SAG Writers Group and I was presenting a talk on Appendixes. We have been doing several 'Back-to-Basics' talks over the past year. This is to refresh the older members and to let the newer members, hear them. As I was going over my presentation, I realised that it was April 2014 when I had last given this talk. We usually meet for lunch at CafĂ© Mio but this months starting time was 1.30pm, as the was another talk before ours.

It was a short talk and I was able to do a question and answer session, which has lead to me  being asked to do a repeat of my Copyright, Ethics and Citing your Sources talk, next year.
Suzie, waiting for my talk to begin.

Home and I checked my emails and found that I had booked for the Saturday talk, by Jennie Fairs on Don't Waste Time! Getting and staying organised with your research. It was Jennie's first talk and we meet for a coffee before hand. Her bear, Herman and my bear Suzie came as well and were very well behaved.
Waiting for their coffees.

Jennie spoke about getting your documents scanned and saved to the computer and Dropbox. How she uses different programs to help her keep things organised both with her hard copies and her digital one.

Jennie and friends before her talk started.

I am only now considering uploading files to Dropbox and have invested in one of the programs she mentioned; TreePad.  Some of its uses are Personal Information Manager, Organiser, Database, Word Processor, to name some. I purchased TreePad Plus for around $A42 and am waiting for my 'key' so I can unlock it. Once I've had a play with it, I'll do another blog.

Another one Jennie mentioned was Auto Splitter, this is for when you want to scan multiple photos and you don't want to do them one at a time. I'm going to have a look at this one and see if I would use it and if it will work with the scanner I have.

Jennie and I then went and had lunch at the Lord Nelson pun , in The Rocks and then a walk around The Rocks markets. We both bought chocolates.

The chocolates were from, www.emporiumofchocolate.com

I also purchased two books and two facts sheets, at SAG. The facts sheets are by Kerry Farmer on DNA and produced by Unlock the Past. Both will be very useful in my DNA research.

Understanding Australian Military Speak by Neil C Smith, another Unlock the Pas publication. 61 pages of abbreviation, initialisms and acronyms that are found in military records. Again a useful book to have on hand.

Unlock the Past, www.unlockthepast.com.au

My splurge was Family History For Beginners & Beyond, 15th Edition, put out by Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra. With 18 main sections, each with multiple sections, within them, this book covers every state, in Australia and then covers New Zealand, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Continental Europe. I'm going to enjoy dipping in to it and discovering new websites.

Suzie and my shopping.

A busy two days but they were both very enjoyable.

Have you joined SAG? It is a really great place to start and continue your research, as well as making friends.www.sag.org.au

Bye for now,

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


I've been searching for Galbraith relations, on FreeCen, the free census website,
https://www.freecen.org.uk/  and came across some interesting occupations in the 1861 census. (This search was just for the name Galbraith.)

I found,
Pauper, formally Merchant. 
Fund Holder.
Tea Merchant Clerk.
Painter, employs 4 men, 2 boys.
Waiter, out of work.
Master Mariners Wife.
and James Galbraith, who was Curate of Cheddleton,  Staffordshire,31yrs, unmarried, born in Ireland and lived in Heath Cottage.  In 1861 there were 2,050 people living in Cheddleton and the church was St Edward the Confessor.

Then there was Christina Galbraith, an unmarried female, whose occupation was given as Bates Fishing Lines. She lived in Back Street, Campbeltown, Argyllshire, with her six year old son, Alexander Brodie, who was a scholar.

There were Ag Labs, servants, gardeners and miners as well.

Have you got any interesting occupations on your tree? Let me know.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Playing with FamilySearch Wiki

I know I have posted about FamilySearch, several times and that it is a really good and free genealogy website to use.  BUT have you looked at their Wiki?


I had heard other people mention wiki and didn't take any notice, until today.  I am starting the research for my second book and wanted information on Scotland. Thought, 'I'll give the FamilySearch Wiki a try.'  WOW!

It has heaps of information on a wide range of topics, with links to follow and detailed information. I browsed the pages, clicking on links, discovered heaps, book marked several pages, for future reference and though, 'why haven't I looked at this before?'  I use Wikipedia but will now go to FamilySearch, first as I think it will be of more use, with my genealogy.

Give it a try. Have a browse. It's FREE.

Bye for now,

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Back to Blogging.

As most of you will know I have had my husband seriously ill. He was in hospital 10 days, on IV antibiotics and them home on the same for 16 days. Two weeks ago we saw the professor and he changed the antibiotics to oral ones for a month. We now are starting to feel like we have our lives back. Paul is about 95% of his pre-illness self and this is improving. He was one very sick man.

This threw everything else out the window BUT that is changing, too.

This week was a busy one for me. I finally made the meeting of the Bankstown Family History Group,  on Tuesday, having missed the last two.  We had Peter Plowman talk about emigration to Australia, in the post WW11 years. As the president I really should be there but sometimes life happens.

Wednesday saw me a guest speaker at the Botany Bay Family History Society meeting. As I know a large number of the members it was lovely to catch-up. Paul came with me and we had dinner with friends, before hand.  I spoke on Copyright, Ethics and Citing Your Sources. Three things that I am becoming passionate about.

Copyright because there is a growing trend to 'borrow' others work and not give credit to the author.

Ethics because something's are best left in the closet and not shared with everyone.

Citing Your Sources because it gives your work a professional look. This is similar to copyright but your are acknowledging where you found the information and others can follow the trail and find it too.

                                         Myself and Suzie Bear, before I started my talk.

We have decided to have a break and re-charge our batteries and Paul said to me that, ' You can start work on your second book, while we are away.'  This was a good idea, as were we are going, we can relax and do nothing, (he is planning on reading) but it has thrown me in to a muddle. I have the basic outline, know where I want to take the book, have obtained permission to use  various documents,  made rough notes and there I've stopped.

Tonight I've made the decision that as I'm not going to publish until 2018, I don't have to have everything ready to take away. I can make sure that I have scanned copies of any documents I will need, bookmark sites I will use and have a list of things that I need to check or find and that will keep me busy enough.  So I'm going to relax, sit by the beach, research, read, take heaps of photos and sleep in.

Bye for now,

P.S. My first book has had a reprint of 20 copies, now down to 18.

Friday, 22 September 2017


Since 7 January 2013,  I have been slowly working my way through the 40 subjects for my Australian Certificate in Genealogical Studies. Yesterday I FINISHED!  To say I'm thrilled is an understatement. I still have to wait for the official word that I have passed my last two subjects and have met all the requirements, but I feel like celebrating!.

If you are thinking about further study have a look at The National Institute fro Genealogical Studies. http://www.genealogicalstudies.com/  They have a comprehensive range of courses across a wide range of areas. There are compulsory subjects in every certificate and a good choice of electives.

Now I'm finished, I've looked at other subjects that I am interested in, plus maybe another certificate. My options are open and I wont decide, just yet.

I have also been studying through UTAS, with their Diploma of Family History, http://www.utas.edu.au/courses/cale/courses/r2h-diploma-of-family-history   They offer four subjects for free and the next four at a reduced fees. I'm still thinking about finishing the next four, looking hard at that.

I have learnt a great deal, not just the research side but how to do a research plan, transcribe documents and the method behind the research. This has helped with my business.

So don't know what to do? Why not study? As well as these two place, there are other areas to look at as well. Pharos Teaching and Tutoring and the University of Strathclyde are just two that also offer courses.

Have a go.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Samuel Magill; Have I found his birth and parents?????

After over thirty years researching family history, I think that I have finally cracked how we have Hunter in the Magill names.

Family lore had two different stories as to why our surname is Magill;

The first one is that Samuel (Hunter), murdered a man called Magill and took the Magill name and high-tailed it out of Ireland.

The second one is that he took his mother’s maiden name of Magill and left Ireland because of reasons unknown.

 While both of these were interesting, I took them with a grain of salt. Samuel wasn’t above telling ‘stories.’

In February I was in Salt Lake City, home to the BIGGEST FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY in the world and have looked into Samuel’s birth. We know that he was born in County Antrim between 1844-1849. This has been gleaned from family lore and his death certificate.

Well before I arrived in Salt Lake City, I found a birth of one Samuel Magill, son of a James Magill and Mary.

 I then looked for their marriage and found this.

James Magill m Mary Ann Hunter, 1850.   This sent tingles down my spine. Could this really be the answer?


I headed to B2 and the Irish records.  Microfilm number 101313 holds the key. 

The record had some words I couldn’t decipher but the important bits were there.

 Name                             Age         Condition          Occupation     Abode           Father

James Magill                   Full          Bachelor            Mechanic      Ballymoney    James Magill

Mary Ann Hunter          Full         Spinster                  ---------         Ballymoney    William Hunter
Parish of Belfast, County of Antrim.

Presbyterian by Licence.

Both signed.

Date 29 March 1850.

Okay, this give us the names, James, William, Mary Ann and Hunter.  So are they THE ONES?

It took some searching for Samuel’s birth but this is what I found.

Samuel Magill born 27 May 1849, Ballymoney Parish, Antrim, Ireland to James Magill and Mary.

I know what you are thinking they married 1850 and he was born 1849, really?


A note at the front of the Baptism Book reads;

Parish Church of Ballymoney.

Baptisms and Births 1807 -1898.


The spelling of a Name or Parish may vary quite markedly in different records. The name was often spelt as it sounded to the writer; therefore it is advisable to note carefully variations of spelling.

Some entries do not appear to be recorded in their correct order – many entries (single & multiple) appear in the register at much later dates.


I spoke to  several other credited genealogists. All agree that with the information I have and what I have found, I can make the creditable assumption that Samuel Magill born 1849 is the son of James and Mary Magill and probably OUR Samuel.

It is also noted that in the baptism register that there is only one surname give, meaning he was legitimate. I did see births where both parent’s names were listed and the word illegitimate was used.

 So do you think  I’ve found Samuel?


Bye for now,