Monday, August 7, 2017

Genealogy Expos Coming Up

I think I'm going to be covering a few kilometers on October this year, with some great Genealogy Expos coming up.
The first takes place in Deniliquin on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th October.  The Deniliquin Family History Expo has been an annual event for a few years now - I've been to several and they just keep getting better. 
The list of exhibitors is impressive - their flyer lists over 30 - and there are a number of speakers to listen to across the two days of the expo.  They include : Jason Reeve from Ancestry, Doug Elms from Victorian GUM, Andrew Gildea from Finders Cafe, Neil Smith from Mostly Unsung, Joy Roy from the Scottish Ancestry Group, Ann Burrows from the State Library Victoria and Kaye Vernon from Teapot Genies.
The Expo takes place at the Deniliquin RSL and admission is just $10 per day.
This is quickly followed by the Colac & District Weekend of Family History on Friday 20th, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd October.
The event kicks off on the Friday afternoon with sessions on researching, writing printing and publishing your family history, lead by the wonderful Hazel Edwards.
On the Saturday is the main Family History Expo, with exhibitors, demonstrations, talks and competitions - I'll be following their website for more details about exhibitors and speakers.
The event finishes on the Sunday with cemetery tours, history walks and sessions on organising a family reunion.
Some wonderful events to look forward to - and hopefully I'll be able to fit in a little sightseeing while I'm there!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Women's Voluntary Service diaries

31,401 pages of diaries by members of the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) are available to view for the first time.  The diaries date from 1938-1942 and cover more than 1,300 different cities, towns and villages across Great Britain.
They were inscribed on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World register in 2010 as one of the most important historical documents in the UK, but have only just been digitised after RVS raised £28,000 for the project from over 700 members of the public via the website Kickstarter.
Stella Isaacs, Marchioness of Reading, founded the WVS in May 1938 and toured the country throughout 1938 and 1939, telling audiences “the greatest disservice a woman can do at the moment is consider herself useless”.  By the end of August 1939, over 300,000 women had joined the organisation and more than 1,200 WVS centres had been set up around the country.
During the war, one in ten British women was a member of the WVS. The jobs these women did were rarely glamorous, but success of the WVS was in using the skills women already had, the skills of wives and mothers; knitting, sewing, cooking, and of course compassion and diplomacy. Where new skills were needed, such as driving in the blackout, extinguishing incendiary bombs or making jumpers from dog’s hair, training was given and many stepped up to the task.
Every account is written in a different style by a different woman. Some are long, others short but all give a fascinating window on a world which is soon to be out of living memory.

Friday, July 28, 2017

London School Records

Over 60 years of London school records will be available to search on Ancestry.
The two new collections contain an index and images of school admissions and discharges from 1912-1918 and Poor Law school district registers from 1852 to 1918.
In total, they contain records of 319,000 children, and can include details such as their name, age, address, parents’ names, religion, previous schools and whether they were an orphan or illegitimate.
The Poor Law Commission, established in 1834, required each union to set up a residential school for pauper children. The 1870 Education Act introduced a national requirement for children to be educated to the age of 10, and by 1918, the school leaving age was 14.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Family History Feast at the State Library of Victoria

One again during Family History Month the State Library of Victoria is offering their Family History Feast, a wonderful day of free Family History sessions by a group of great speakers.  This year the Feast will be held on Monday 21st August, and bookings will open 9am on Monday 24th July.  While the Feast is free it is vital to book as there are only so many places and it does tend to book out.  If you do miss out, don't despair as the Feast will be filmed and broadcast live
To give you a taste of what the Feast has to offer, below is the program from the SLV's website.

Family History Feast 2017 Program

9.30am Doors open
Kate Torney, Chief Executive Officer, State Library Victoria
Exploring Koorie history and genealogyJohn Patten, Manager Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Museums Victoria
Overview of Public Record Office Victoria land records 
Charlie Farrugia, Senior Collections Advisor, Public Record Office Victoria
Care and preservation of your family history collection
Conservation staff, State Library Victoria
Farmland and manor houses to air fields and hospitals: military property acquisition during WWII
Terrie Page, Assistant Director Access and Communication, Victorian State Office, National Archives of Australia
From cattle yards to war workers: the plan collection of Bendigo Regional Archives Centre
Dr Michele Matthews, Archives Officer, Bendigo Regional Archives Centre
Family history on the map
Sarah Ryan, Coordinator Map Collection, State Library Victoria
2017 Don Grant Memorial Lecture – Families and land: land settlement and the role of families, Victoria 1870–1940
Dr Charles Fahey, Convener History Program, Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University
Introduced by Jan Parker, President, Victorian Association of Family History Organisations (VAFHO)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Family History Month Blogging Challenge

While looking through the many events listed on the National Family History Month website and asking myself if I can possibly fit anything else into August that I have not already committed to (answer - probably, but I may have to give up sleeping), I found the NFHM Blogging Challenge.

What a great idea!  I do like blogging challenges - they get me thinking and blogging about topics I wouldn't have come up with in my own - and I especially like the literary theme (I am a librarian).  I have read all four books listed - some many years ago - and I love the inclusion of All the Rivers Run, as I can remember the filming of the miniseries here in Echuca back while I was at school.

So now its time to revisit the books and start thinking about how I will respond to each for the blogging challenge.  Have a look at this and the many other NFHM activities and see what is there for you.  Thanks to everyone out there who is participating - the more the merrier!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Family History Month

August is Family History Month and Campaspe Library is offering a number of free classes at all our library branches during the month.  Below is the schedule and bookings are now open via our homepage.  Check out the Family History Month website for all the wonderful events taking place around the country and see what is available in your area - there is sure to be something to interest you.

LibraryTopicDate and Time
EchucaAncestry Library EditionTuesday 1st August 2.30pm
FamilySearchTuesday 1st August 3.30pm
GermanTuesday 8th August 2.30pm
IrishTuesday 8th August 3.30pm
National Archives Aust.Friday 11th August 2.30pm
WorkhousesFriday 11th August 3.30pm
TroveTuesday 15th August 2.30pm
PROVTuesday 15th August 3.30pm
Military RecordsFriday 25th August 2.30pm
ConvictsFriday 25th August 3.30pm
Online ResourcesSunday 27th August 2.30pm
Online ResourcesTuesday 29th August 2.30pm
Organising your researchTuesday 29th August 3.30pm
KyabramAncestry Library EditionWednesday 2nd August 10.00am
ConvictsWednesday 2nd August 11.30am
National Archives Aust.Wednesday 2nd August 2.00pm
RochesterAncestry Library EditionMonday 28th August 10.00am
GermanMonday 28th August 11.30am
ConvictsMonday 28th August 2.00pm
RushworthFamilySearchWednesday 9th August 10.00am
TroveWednesday 9th August 11.30am
GermanWednesday 9th August 2.00pm
TongalaMilitaryWednesday 16th August 10.00am
PROVWednesday 16th August 11.30am
IrishWednesday 16th August 2.00pm

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Researching Abroad - Upcoming Conference

For those of you who somehow don't know, August in Australia is Family History Month.  This year, along with all the other talks, events and sessions happening around the country, the wonderful people at Unlock the Past are holding a roadshow "Researching Abroad : Finding British Isles and European Ancestors".
Check out their website for the dates and details of the roadshow, which covers Brisbane, Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth.

The two featured speakers are :
  • Chris Paton - British Isles stream
    Professional genealogist, author, international speaker and writer of The GENES Blog concerning Britain, Ireland, and their diasporas
  • Dirk Weissleder - German/European stream
    Coordinator of the German-Australian Genealogy Alliance and the International German Genealogical Partnership
I've booked my place at the Melbourne session and am looking forward to hearing these two wonderful speakers.  While I've had the pleasure of attending talks by Chris Paton before, this will be the first time I've heard Dirk Weissleder speak.  If you're attending the Melbourne session I hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Cemetery Day

In a recent post Alona of Lonetester declared June 18th to be Cemetery Day.  As I think this is a great idea (thanks Alona) I decided my goal for the day was to go through some of my records looking for gaps and see if I could track down the graves of some of my ancestors that had eluded me.  Using Billion Graves and Find a Grave as my starting points, and newspapers such as Trove and British Newspaper Archive, amongst others, I spent a lovely couple of hours tracking down graves and finding photos of family headstones.  It was quite surprising how many gaps I had in my tree and how many I was able to fill.
Headstone of my great-grandfather John Clark
So come on board with Cemetery Day and research an ancestor's grave site, visit a cemetery and take some photos, share the photos you have with your family - or start planning for Cemetery Day 2018.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Moving House and finding (more) Treasures

Well, its done.  I have sold the old family home and moved to my new house.  There are boxes everywhere and I feel like it will take me MONTHS to unpack and settle in, but I haved moved house.  Closing the door on the old family home for the last time was quite an emotional experience - I was only 2.5 years old when my family moved in, and after several years away I moved back to care for my parents in their last years, so there are a lot of memories in that house.
I've posted a few times about finding treasures in the cleanout, many hidden amongst piles of rubbish and the final packup was no different.  It was amazing finding things that had fallen behind wardrobes and bookcases years ago or were stashed in the back of a drawer or under a bed and never recovered.  Given that I have been researching the family history since I was 16 years old, and have always been interested in my parents stories of their childhood, how some of these things were never mentioned, much less produced, escapes me.  I think my parents had forgotten about many of these treasures themselves.
A couple of examples.  The first was found in a pile of other papers - many equally fascinating and unseen before by me  - hidden in the linen cupboard behind some old sheets. Apparently my dad did some running while he was a lad at school - this certificate below dates from 1935, and dad would have been 9 years old at the time.
The second was an even more unlikely find.  It was only discovered when the removalists were loading up my furniture to take it to the new house.  This colored print of my father was taken from a photograph from when he enlisted in the Air Force, during World War 2.  It is hand colored on cardboard - and has spent who-knows-how-long lying behind a wardrobe in my parents bedroom.  Neither my sister or I can recall ever seeing it, although we are both familiar with the photo from which it is taken, and how or when it was created I have no idea.
While I am grateful I have these treasures now, I would have loved to have seen them when my parents were alive.  There are so many questions I have - and obviously stories I missed out on.

Monday, April 10, 2017

English Police records added to Ancestry

Was your ancestor a policeman?  Nearly 70,000 Metropolitan Police pension records have been added to Ancestry in a new collection which spans 1852-1932 and features scans of original records held by The National Archives.

Generally the registers will reveal information about the officer's length of service, whether he retired or was discharged, his pension amount and who his next of kin were. Other details may include place of birth, marital status and parents, and from 1923 birth and marriage details of the spouse are also included.

Among the papers are entries for notable detectives, including some of the senior members of the Jack the Ripper investigation unit. Frederick Abberline, chief inspector on the case, resigned in 1892 aged 49 with an annual pension of £206, 13 shillings and four pence.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Australian Copyright Laws Amended

Big news for Australian genealogists came on the 22nd of March 2017 when the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill was introduced to the Australian Parliament.
The Bill ends antiquated provisions in the Australian Copyright Act that provide perpetual copyright for unpublished materials, no matter how old they are. As a result millions of historical manuscripts such as letters and diaries held in our National and State/Territory libraries and archives, and thousands of theses at our universities, will be freed into the public domain on the 1st of January 2019.  This will include all those old letters sent to government departments or shared between family and friends decades ago that have until now been restricted by the old copyright laws.  See the media release from the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee.
With the boom in digitising and making available online so many collections of old documents, these amendments will allow researchers to access a huge amount of material that has been restricted and clear up a lot of the confusion that surrounded the use of unpublished material.
Roll on January 2019!

Friday, March 24, 2017

State Library of New South Wales

The State Library of New South Wales has announced their program of free webinars. Each webinar will focus on the resources of the State archives collection and how to access them.
You can register to attend a webinar live - this will generate an email with a link that you click on at the appointed time to attend the webinar.  If you are unable to attend live, don't worry - the Library will also be recording the webinars so you will be able to view it at a time convenient to you simply by selecting the recorded webinar of your choice.
Currently the library has listed two upcoming webinars :

Using the NSW State Archives website
Date: Wednesday, 29 Mar 2017 10am - 11am
Tracing NSW Convicts
Date: Wednesday, 31 May 2017 10am - 11am

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Trove has a wonderful new addition, with the Commonwealth of Australia Government Gazette from 1901-1957 now available online and fully text searchable.
The Office of Parliamentary Counsel (OPC) has supplied the content and the National Library of Australia has digitised and made these records machine-readable. Users can correct, tag and annotate the contents just as they can with digitised newspaper articles.  It is anticipated that more issues will be added in the future.
The very first issue of the Gazette, published on 1 January 1901, shows the proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia by Queen Victoria. There were also instructions on a range of protocols, such as directions for appointing the judiciary, what should happen were the Governor-General to become incapacitated, and who would form Her Majesty’s first government.
Each Gazette documents the day-to-day business of governing and administering the Commonwealth. Usually published weekly, they were the principal source of public information on current legislation, and contained notices required by law on decisions made by the various departments and courts.
The subject matter of the Gazette ranges across all kinds of services and authorities, including defence, postal and telegraphic services, taxation and other forms of revenue, immigration, citizenship, trade and foreign affairs, national infrastructure and many others.
Some examples of what you may find in the Gazettes include:
  • notices about people becoming naturalised as citizens
  • results of public service exams
  • details of military service, commissioning, and decorations
  • post office and military tenders
  • despatches from the Secretary of State for the Colonies
  • patent and treasury statements
  • statements of receipt and expenditure for Territories

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New on Ancestry in 2017

Ancestry has been busy adding records to their database, and below are the records already added this year.  Some are completely new datasets, while others have been updated and expanded.  I always enjoy having a look through what has been added, especially when I find new datasets that might contain something relevant to my research.

Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912
Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
Ireland, City and Regional Directories, 1850-1946
Surrey, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1987
Lithuania, Catholic Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1603-1921 (in Lithuanian)
Eastern Prussian Provinces, Germany [Poland], Selected Civil Vitals, 1874-1945 (in German)
South Africa, Biographical Index, 1825-2005
Claremont, New Hampshire, Vital Records, 1887-1946
New York, Episcopal Diocese of New York Church Records, 1767 - 1970
Magdeburg, Germany, Cemetery Lists, 1849-1874 (in German)
Hamilton County, Indiana, Compiled Records From Hamilton East Public Library, 1891-1962
Tennessee, State Marriages, 1780-2002
Quebec, Canada, Notarial Records, 1626-1935
U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
Connecticut, Marriage Index, 1959-2012
UK, City and County Directories, 1766 - 1946
Germany, World War I Casualty Lists, 1914-1919 (in German)
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915
Germany, Navy Casualty Lists, 1914-1919 (in German)
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985
San Diego, California, Compiled Records From San Diego Genealogical Society, 1913 -1919
American Protective League Correspondence, 1917-1919
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1940
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
DeKalb, Georgia, Compiled Records from DeKalb History Center