A GoONS Weekend. Part One.

The Guild held its Surname Retreat at Juniors on Hawkesbury, Lower Portland, NSW, this past weekend and it was great. I'm relatively new to the guild and wasn't sure that this was for me. Wrong! Everyone was welcoming and I learnt heaps. Have a look at their website www.one-name.org

Friday in Sydney was windy, I'm talking about 100km+ winds in some areas, plane flights cancelled or delayed and the airport closed for a time, so it was windy. I don't like driving in wind, especially to somewhere new but of I set. Now Lower Portland is near Windsor, approximately 90mins from my place. Lower Portland is approximately 30mins from Windsor, not a short drive. I was fine until I got to the turn off and from there was frightened. A narrow, windy road, strong winds and then the road turned to gravel, not a good mix but I made it.

                                                                    Our view.

Friday's talk was from Paul Featherstone, in England and he took us on a tour of the website. I found this interesting as I am still discovering things on the site and it helped to know what they were. Some free time followed and there were lots of interesting discussions going on. This happened all of the weekend, through all of our meals and breaks, everyone was included and I found it very informative.

Woken, early by the laughter of kookaburras, I got up to film sunrise. Firstly from the room we were using for the conference, then from outside. Beautiful was the only way to describe it and for those of you, who read this regularly, you know I love sunrise.
My alarm clock! Well one of them.

Goodnight moon.

Just a hit of light.

                                                            We have sunrise!

Saturday was a full day but with the talks well spaced and plenty of time for questions, it was great. Martyn  Killion from NSW State Archives https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/ was first and he spoke on what the archives hold, how we can access them and interesting record sets. I use the site, frequently but still learnt something new, from Martyn's talk.

Heather Garnsey from the Society of Australian Genealogists,  https://www.sag.org.au/was next and she spoke on how to locate records, documents etc. in the SAG library and MIDAS collections. I should do this for my studies. I have heard Heather speak, three times, this week and have come away with something new each time.

After lunch, Jason Reeve from Ancestry spoke on how to use Ancestry, to make our searching better. I have a subscription and often get frustrated with how many search results I get, Jason explained how to search smarter, something I will try.

We then had an open forum where we talked about our study, introduced ourselves and asked questions and received advice. Some members have an amazing amount of information and I am admire them.

A decision was made to move the Skype session, down stairs and use the TV as a screen, this worked well and we ended up staying downstairs for the rest of the time.

Dr Maurice Gleeson spoke on Y-DNA and how to use it in our studies. He also explained about matches and different studies. I found it interesting, as did many others and this lead to a re-arrangement of the Sunday talks.


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