Showing posts from 2013

Happy New Year

Wishing all my fellow bloggers a Happy and Safe New Year.

My Jan/Feb copy of Inside History had arrived with the topic being Sports Stars. The Don is on the cover. Wonderful book reviews, a guide to what is new online and so much more. If you don't subscribe, do so it is a quality Australian magazine.

Another Google Hangout

I've just spent a lovely hour chatting with friends on Google Hangout. Tonight we focused on the positives we had in the past year, relating to out genealogical research.  Several people said that they had broken theirs or other peoples  "brick walls" down. That is always a great thing. I had success with finding the birth of my Great-Grandfather,  in Germany. I used Family Search for this and once I had found him, I went to my local LDS Family History Centre and was able to order the film it was on.

For those who haven't looked at Family Search, try it. There is so much on their site that I could easily spend hours just going through each section.

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a Merry Christmas. May your day be filled with Family and fun.


Just back from 2 days in Canberra and we spoilt  ourselves by staying at Rydges, Lakeside. Our room was on the 11the floor with beautiful views.

Looking toward the lake, we had this view of Parliament House.
Looking the other way was Black Mountain and the Science Dome
Sunday we spent time at the Australian War Memorial, with lunch in their outside café and viewing Afghanistan: the Australian story exhibition. This was very moving. The highlight of the day was the very moving Last Post ceremony, where they tell the story of one of the Diggers, whose name is on the Roll of Honour. I was asked if I would like to lay a wreath and I did so to honour 2 uncles.
Yesterday we went for a walk along the lake shore. It was lovely as it was early and very still. I stopped to take a photo of this
And found this as well.

We went to the National Library and viewed the exhibit
It was very interesting and the maps on display were amazing. It is free to view but you do need to get a ticket, so they can…

Live Chat part 2. Link


GeniAUS' Hangout on Air - Society Spotlight
 Here is the link for the chat I took part in. Thank you Jill for all your hard work in making sure we were all set up. Now I've got the hang of it I might try it myself.

Live Chat

Last night I took part in a live chat about Genealogical Societies. I don't know the correct name for the topic and Jill or Les might correct it but it was really good. I used Google hangout and found it really easy to use.

Jill raised the topic and there were eight people on the chat, with some lurkers. We talked about the societies we belong to and I was able to explain what I'm trying to do with starting one up. It was very interesting to hear about different societies that are around and I've learnt about two overseas one that I'll  have a good look at.

Griffith's Valuations

Todays talk was on Griffiths Valuations and it was good. I now have a better understanding of how to read the entries and find the maps, using the web site and selecting Griffiths Valuation.
I haven't had any luck, so far but I might have to rethink my belief that they did come from County Galway and expand my search. I'm also going to recheck their arrival paperwork and see if I've missed something, sometime a fresh look revels hidden gems.


Where did the rest of November go?

Last week my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary, with a lovey dinner out.

On Saturday, last, I went into town to SAG and attended the talk, by Kerrie Farmer on Scottish resources on-line. Kerrie's talks are always wonderful and I came away inspired to tackle my Scottish problems.

Today I have a talk on Griffiths Valuations and tomorrow, Writing Group. The Writing Group, is a newly formed group of 'budding' writers.  Most of us attend a workshop, last August/September, in at SAG, on how to write up your family story. We liked it so much that we asked if we could form a group and are now in our second month. We have the time-slot until June next year, when it will be re-assessed, so come and join us. We help each other out, with problems, ideas, support and feedback. Next year I'm presenting a talk on how to do Indexes and then one on Appendices. We email each other ideas for topics and then those with the knowledge on th…

Cyndi's List

Over the years I have used this list and found it very daunting and left it in the too hard basket.

Tonight I did a webinar through the Society of Australian Genealogists on Cyndi's List. Cyndi Ingle was the host and she gave us the background to how the list got started. She then took us on a tour of the site,  showing us how to navigate for the best results.

To quote Cyndi. " it is a categorized & cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet."

I'm now going to have fun browsing through the site and following links, to see where they lead.

Another good thing she has done is if the site is a paid site, you will see the $ sign beside the link. This is so you know, before you go to it.

Let me know your thought on Cyndi's List.

Family History Group Answer

I have been given permission to start a local Family History Group. So anyone living in the Bankstown Local area, please let me know if you are interested. Doing a small happy dance as I know I still have a long way to go.

Web Site

Well I did it, with a little help from a good friend, I revamped my web site. I'd wanted to make some changes but didn't know how, rang the IT company and the explained how I could do it myself (and save money). I did get stuck on one page and that's where Christine helped out and then gave me a lesson in how to change it myself. It feels good to know that I can now control what is on the site at anytime.
Have a look, I'd love some feed back     All comments welcome, just in case there is a bug I didn't find.

Family Search

I've just spent some time searching on  Family Search, with some success. Now to order the films to view.
For those who haven't used Family  Search, give it a try. It is run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is really good. They have classes you can take and heaps of other things to read through. It has been revamped and is so much easier to use (I think). I just type into the search field what I know or do a broad one and then narrow it.
here is the link    well worth a good look.
Have fun!

Doing nothing!!!

I've been lazy and haven't do much in the past week. Finished another subject in my course and have two more I'm working on. I've been knitting mittens for my grandkids, for Christmas. One likes owls and the other ducks. I found a pattern that has an owl knitted in it but haven't found a duck one. I worked out that I can knit that pair n duck colours, yellow and orange and then put eyes on them. Will post photos when they are done.

TV Show

I was channel surfing, this afternoon and came across as show called "Finding Your Roots", on SBS 1. This episode was on Kyra Sedgwick and her husband Kevin Bacon. The show jumped between both of them and also the broader history of the eras. The presenter also spoke with Kyra's Dad and Uncle.

The spiel was that "using traditional genealogy and DNA, they would find your roots". It was different and has got me curious enough to watch it next Saturday.

Anybody else watch it? What did you think?

Starting a Family History Group

I'm going to throw this out there and see if anyone has some suggestions.

The area I live in doesn't have a family history group, it has a local history group and that is all. While I'm a member of the local history group it isn't my cup of tea and I won't renew my membership. I do belong to a couple of other groups that I really enjoy.

What I'm thinking about is starting a family history group in my area and would like ideas on how to make this happen etc. It won't be until the New Year and I am going to talk to the local/family history librarian at the library as well.

Things like; How to organise speakers?  Weekly/fortnightly/ monthly? Fees? Newsletter?


Doing research into the history of my house I've contacted various archives. New South Wales Archives at Kingswood and National Archives of Australia (NAA) are the two main ones and both have been very helpful.

In July I contacted the National Archives and requested some documents be assessed and then released. NAA has a 90 day policy whereby they try to assess the request and get them items to you, for a fee. Late last month, September, I also requested the Naturalisation documents for the same people, a wait but not 90 days.  On Wednesday, 88 days into the waiting period I received an email stating that my first request couldn't be met, in the time frame, but they were working on it and would make contact, when it was done. I made a quick phone call and verified this. Back to waiting.

Yesterday I had a 'parcel' notice in my post office box and collected a large envelope from NAA. What is going on here???  I opened it and found the Naturalisation documents, that I had…

What A Phone Call!

I've been researching the history of my home and as such have been trying to find anyone who knew the previous owners. As they were Latvian I sent an email to the Latvian Society and had a reply. The person in the email knew someone and she would pass my details on, but the person was overseas. This has been ongoing now for about three months. Two weeks ago said person contacted me and let me know that she had passed the details on.

Today the phone rang and it was a lady. This lady was the little girl, who moved into the house in 1952. We talked for nearly an hour and she has expressed a wish to visit and is also going to look for old photographs. Her story is both sad and happy and I'm thrilled to now know some of it.

It was really interesting as we share some common childhood memories, even with a 12 year age difference.

Now to re-write the story I've started or at least add to what is written.


What a busy weekend! Both yesterday and today I attended Baby Showers. Yesterday was for a friends daughter and todays was for my daughter. Both girls are due around the same time and having grown up together, seeing them both pregnant is wonderful. Will let you know what they have.

I spent part of yesterday doing assignments, for my genealogy course. Now I only have the exams to do for both of them and they will be finished. More subjects to do, before I finish the course.

I did take some time today to look at roots website and renewed my subscription. It has census and census substitute records, Griffith's valuation and passenger lists, just to name some. I did find a couple of possible leads that I will have to follow through.

I'm going to head to bed and read. I have a copy of Ian Maxwell's book How to Trace your Irish Ancestors, that I'm going to browse through. Might reinforce what I've just studied in one of my subjects.


I've just got home after a lovely lunch with a girlfriend and her family and it is just so HOT! My car thermometer registered 37degrees and the verandah on 35degrees. The wind has started to pick up and the humidity is down to 12. I hope that there are no fires.

Lunch was lovely and Lorraine and Emma had made  Baby Bundle for my daughter. It is a doughnut filled with washers, singlets, wraps, toys and that is what I can see. Such a lovely thought.

I've been doing assignments and not really touching my family stuff. Ever get times like that? I am learning lots of useful information but have to find the time to apply it.  I did do a quick bit, yesterday before I sent of a bundle of family group sheets, to a cousin but that is the first in awhile.

Hope you are cool, where ever you are.

New Magazine

There has been a discussion on Facebook about a new Australian family tree magazine, called Family Tree Tracker. It is a glossy magazine, of 114 pages, along the lines of some of the UK ones but with Australian content.  It is divided into 7 Chapters and each chapter as a wide range of topics in it.

Genealogy 101 includes Starting Points, Join a Society and Getting Organised.

The Software section has reviews of 21 different family tree programs.

Real Life takes a look at the Australian version of "Who Do You Think You Are?"

 Detective Work had me interested with such headings as 10 Clues and Secrets and Lies. Well worth a read, before you ask those awkward questions.

 Past, Present, Future has an interesting article called "Aussie Snapshot 21st Century, Who are Aussies Today?" It takes you through the different generations and what defines them. It also includes an A to Z of How to speak "Stralyan".

 Archival Survival takes a look at photo restoration …


I have been researching the history of my house, trying to find someone who knew the family or even a family member. Well to day, in my emails was a reply from a third party. She has given me, with permission, both a phone number and an email address  of the girl, who grew up in the house. Excited and nervous as I work out how to contact her.


I'm sitting at my computer, knowing I have heaps to do but I'm in such a funk that I can't start anything. I was feeling good yesterday but having someone use the house for target practice, with eggs, isn't funny.
What I really need is to log into Ancestry or something similar and make a really interesting discovery!

Well now to do my assignments.

Goodie Bag

This is the bag we were given upon registration, on Friday and a selection of the goodies that were in it. Loved the fact that the tissues were from a local funeral home!


When I opened my curtains, at the hotel, on Saturday I was greeted by these. I love watching them and will one day have a ride. It was a good start to a great day!

Day 2 of the conference was for those registered only and there was a lot for us to do. The keynote address, by Dr David Headon,  was on how the design of Canberra came about. Really informative.

Morning tea, scones, jam & cream, were next, followed by Family History Trivia. What does John Farnham's song, Age of Reason have to do with family history?  What is the first life event mentioned in the song? (answer below)

Chris Boyack talked about how to construct your family tree, using FamilySearch. I like using FamilySearch and have had some good results.

Cora Num gave a talk about Research tools for the Digital Age.  Different ways to collect and store information. She stressed several times the importance of doing back-ups.

After lunch there were four different talks, with your choice of two. I picked Martin Wood…

Books I bought

I heard all three ladies speak at the conference and had to get their books.

Joy Murrin's on NSW, BDM's  was hot of the press, only released on Friday and I bought the first one. This gives lots of useful tips on searching the indexes for a record.

Carole Riley's on lands backs up what she gave her talk on, maybe this time the information will stick.  Carole's passion is land records and in this book she shares her knowledge with us. Well worth buying.

Cora Num's eRecords was also a new book out this year and blended in with the talk she gave.  Cora has a fantastic website that is well worth a visit. Google Cora Num and you will find the site.

In the goodie bag we all got at registration were magazines like Inside History, AFTC and a copy of the HAGSOC journal, The Ancestral Searcher. Heaps of reading to do.

Watch this space!

I'm  to tired, tonight to add any more, hence watch this space. More comments, more photos to come

Conference 2013, "From Limestone Plains to Marble Halls"

I have had four fantastic days in Canberra, 3 1/2 at the conference and Thursday, wondering around several places in Canberra.
This was my first conference and I found it very informative. A diverse range of stalls,  wonderful speakers, excellent sessions and fantastic people.

Friday was the Fair and was open to the public and there were  11 different speakers, throughout the day. Topics ranged from Early Church Records,  Treasures from State Archives, FlipPal Scanner to one I missed, DNA found my Grandfather. 

I did a work shop, Writing a non-boring family history, by Hazel Edwards. Some of you might know of Hazel from her 'Hippopotamus' books series. Hazel had us do several short exercises in either pairs or threes. In one we had to become our main character and the rest of the group had to ask us questions and  stay in character.  Hints, tips, wonderful advice and lots of encouragement made this  a wonderful workshop.

Hazel's book that is full of useful information on …


I have a deadline to get a draft story done and while I spent most of  yesterday on the computer, the story is still half done. I had so many emails to reply to, forms to change and orders to process that by 5.00pm I had had enough of the computer. Going to make an effort to put fingers to keyboard, (doesn't sound the same as, pen to paper) and finish it today. Will keep you posted.

My Week, Computer Problems and Writing Class

I wrote last weekend about the photo restoration class I attended and asked for your advice. Thank you. I did download a 'free' program and it caused all sorts of problems to my computer. The program attached a Trojan to my internet homepage and as a result my computer has been at the 'computer dr' this week. All better now
I decided to go with Photoshop Elements as the one I will use. I've just started a 30 trial and so far so good. I was too tired, last night to do anything other than remove some scratches but it works well.
The writing class has finished but most of us are going to continue to meet and are working out the logistics of doing that. We feel that we can encourage each other in our writing journey. Will keep you posted.
Better finish as I have to hang the washing and then go to a committee meeting, this morning. My husband was going to paint but we have had thunderstorms and rain, so I don't think that will happen.
Enjoy your weekend.

Photo restoring. What to use????

I attended a talk on photo restoration and the person giving the talk uses Photoshop Elements. It looks really easy to use, so I'm thinking about that. I tried to do some restoring in the program that came with my camera but it doing really weird things. The program with the scanner is so old. Any suggestions are most welcome. Any good free ones that I can try?

Writing Course

I'm doing a three day course on writing and publishing your family history. Very interesting and informative but my brain is in information overload! I've had some articles published and am in the process of finishing another one. Anyone else going to or have written their family story? How did you go about it?


Sydney is experiencing a warm end to winter and the start of spring. Wonderful time to be out in the garden. My veggie patch is growing great with peas, carrots, spinach, cauliflower and basil planted and growing. The Spider Magnolia is in bloom, the Wisteria is in bud and the Weeping Cherry is also in bud. How is your garden going?

NSW State Records Open Day

I had a great time, yesterday, at the NSW State Records Open Day.  There were talks, tours, displays, workshops and stalls. I went to 2 workshops and found them both to be very interesting. One was on Digital Recordkeeping and the other was on Conservation of our documents etc. The talk I attended was called Sentenced Beyond the Seas and highlighted the Convict records held by the repository. The Behind the Scenes tour was fascinating as we were taken into the stacks, conservation room and other areas that the public don't get to see. I came home with information overload but it was well worth going too.

Ancestry and Electoral Rolls

I've just searched through the Electoral Rolls on Ancestry and found myself. Does anyone else find it a bit strange that they have released the rolls up to 1980? While it doesn't give addresses it gives enough information to be found. While I know people can search the White Pages, I'm not listed, have the rolls out there is uncomfortable.

Old Handwriting and the Laundry

Well the Laundry is done! I've moved everything back into it and have cleaned my sewing room/study. Now to get stuck into more research.
I did find, on Ancestry a Palaeography guide to help with the documents I want to transcribe. I also picked up a copy of  "Cracking the code of old handwriting" by Graham Jaunay. It is published by Unlock the Past and I got mine through Gould Genealogy. It will a really useful tool.

This week

Well the work on the laundry happened, Wednesday (1/2 a day), then Thursday and Friday but I still don't have a light. That is tomorrow and the machine taps leak!
I have spent time gardening, reading and doing assignments.

Old Handwriting

In the course I'm studying, we are transcribing old documents and sometimes the handwriting is hard to understand. Does anyone know of a good site that has tips etc for working out old handwriting?

Joshua Taylor

I spent this morning at Parramatta RSL listening to Joshua Taylor speak on  Successful Searching Online; Making the Most of Your Time Online  and after a short break, Beyond the Names and Dates; Records to Expand Your Family Tree. Joshua is associated with the family tree site Find My Past.
His talks were great and even though I've been 'doing' my family tree for nearly 30 years I came away with ideas and hints on how to make research easier.
He talked of keeping a Log of what you search, be it a book or a web site. He also recommended keeping a note of exactly what you searched for, so you don't repeat yourself. Joshua also suggested that you keep a 'to do' list so that you know what you want to do be it when you sit at the computer, visit a repository or a library.
In the second talk he said that we should develop a Historical Context of the time our Ancestors lived. I do this, sometimes as it helps to know what was going on at certain times.
I had a really …

Margaret Towers

Has anyone got a Margaret Towers on their tree, who married a Samuel Magill in 1868?  Margaret is proving elusive. On her death certificate her parents are listed as James and Catherine but her marriage certificate doesn't show parents. I have tried all sorts of variations on spelling and surname and keep drawing a blank.

Missing certificate

I've misplaced a death certificate and am annoyed! I know that I have it as I enter certificates onto a spread sheet, number it and then file it in a folder and its not there.
Margaret Towers married Samuel Magill in 1868. I have the marriage, his death, kids info but can't find her death certificate. I suppose that it gives me an incentive to go through my filing cabinet and do some culling, the problem there is that most of my laundry in in my study. Tradie comes next week for that. Well back I go to look for it.

Laundry Part 2

Well I'm still without my laundry! Two tradies have been and promised us quotes. Both have said that they emailed it to me, one did arrive but doesn't cover what we want done. The other well...
I will start looking for another tradie this week. It is strange that I miss the tub so much but where else could I wash the gardening dirt off, without having to clean the bathroom sink.


Yesterday I attended a lecture, by Joy Murrin at the Society of Australian Genealogists. Joy is a transcription agent and she spoke on how to get the most out of the NSW Birth, Death and Marriages Index. Her tips and examples were great and I learnt heaps. Yesterday was my third Saturday, in a row that I had attended a lecture and all were fantastic. The one on how to write for publication was interesting because of they way articles have to be set out etc. I also attended one on education, a topic I enjoy, as my Grandmother was a teacher.
 I really recommend attending lectures, talks etc. about genealogy as you come away with very useful information. Most  societies structure the pricing so that members pay one fee and non-members a slightly higher one. Better yet, join a society and enjoy all the benefits of membership.
The magazine Australian Family Tree Connections lists "What's On" in all states, so have a look.

More on the ship Anna Salen

Well I have found out that the ship only went to Fremantle and that all the passengers were sent to Northam. I found a web site that has wonderful information about the camp;

Reading it has given me insights into what life was like there,

Ship, Anna Salen

I'm doing the history of my house and I know that the original owners arrived on this ship on 24 August 1949. It arrived in Fremantle and some 1,566 were put on trains to Northam. any help in finding out how many were on the ship and how my 'family' got to Sydney? They bought the house in 1953, so they can't have been to long in WA. I do have them at Mulgoa just before they got the house.


Well I'm without a laundry, as such. We have been talking about redoing it for the last 38 years, (that is how long we have been here) and on Sunday my darling did just that. He removed the tub, part of the wall and a cupboard. It might not seem like much but as the plumbing has to go into the wall cavity, it's a lot. I've still go access to the taps for the machine, so I can do the washing. I hope the tradie is able to do that job soon. Will keep you posted.

This and That

Cold, my fingers are  freezing, which makes it interesting to type.

My genealogy studies are going well and I'm loving the topics. I've done some research for family and uncovered wonderful information.  Still working on my tree, an ongoing exercise! I've spent time at the NSW State Archives looking at old documents and gleaning information from them. Had a Eureka moment when I found a great-great grandfathers birth in Germany and was then able  to view a copy of the original document.

We also treated ourselves to eight days in Singapore and come home exhausted. I had been to Singapore in 2007 and wanted to go back and see more, well we did.  The zoo, bird park and Raffles were on our 'to-do' list and they were great.

I've also been knitting and quilting. Just the thing for cold days and nights!


I've done two online exams, this morning and am now looking at the next two subjects; Immigration Records, Free settlers and Methodology, Part 2. Why did your ancestors come to Australia or were they sent here? I've a mix of both, convict and free.
Enjoy the weekend.

Online Family Trees

In my study we have had to look at online family trees, other than on Do you use or something similar? If you do, how do you find it and can you remove all of your tree at anytime? I still have part of a tree on ancestry but I'm cautious about adding to it.

Have a great day

Catch up

It has been awhile since I posted but lots have happened in my life. A death, a family move interstate and a wedding. I am now studying genealogy and loving it. Still researching the family tree and have success on some branches and brick wall on others, don't we all!
Looking for anyone researching Abberton, Galbraith, Chasmar, Magill, Torpy/Torphy and Sigrist, to name a few.