Wednesday, December 31, 2008

99 Things Meme

This has nothing to do with genealogy but it will tell readers something about me. Found on Stephen's Lighthouse, Blog with this invitation "It's harder and causes more reflection than you'd think. Play if you like. Stephen"


Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog. (a few too many times)
2. Slept under the stars. (no thanks - I'm lucky to have a roof over my head)
3. Played in a band. (does infants school count?)
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world. (yes, I'm a kid at heart)
8. Climbed a mountain. (yes, on a cogwheel railway)
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped. (I value the few brain cells I have)
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.(it wasn't the accompanying alcohol)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. (I held the bags while hubby took the children up)
18. Grown your own vegetables. (can see vegie patch from my window)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.(lots of ancestors so lots of places)
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person. (climbed this one - friend minded bags)
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted. (by the grandkids)
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person. (it was closed on the day I tried to visit0
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (as far as allowed)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling. (Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii, Fiji)
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies. (what are girl scout cookies?)
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. (sobering experience that I wanted kids to share)
67. Bounced a cheque.
68. Flown in a helicopter. (not until I was 50)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar. (not impressed)
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square. (stayed in hotel right on Times Square)
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House. (had to stand in line for two hours in the rain)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox. (as an adult - not funny)
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone. (the first one wa s a brick)
99. Been stung by a bee.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Carnival of Genealogy - 63rd Edition New Year's Resolutions!

Geniaus' New Year's Resolutions for Family History.

By taking part in this Carnival I am forcing myself to reflect on the haphazard way in which I approach my genealogy hobby. I am retiring from fulltime employment this month so I should have more time to devote to my search for ancestors and distant cousins.

In 2009 I will endeavour to:

* Get organised;
* Label my archive of Blogposts and all new posts;
* Post to Geniaus every second day;
* Go through ancestors records one by one and properly record sources for all information;
* Move my paper files into one sequence and out of their family-based folders;
* Digitise all certificates, wills etc. in my posession;
* Scan and tag my family history photographs;
* Update and redesign my website;
* Respond to emails from fellow genealogists in a timely manner;
* Rejoin The Society of Australian Genealogists.

Thanks to Genea-Bloggers for organising this Carnival.

Facebook for Genealogists

One of my favourite social networking applications, Facebook , offers a number of opportunities for genealogists to connect with family members and others with an interest in family history.

By signing up for a Facebook account one can communicate with friends and family and easily share photos and videos of family members and events. I use my Facebook account to follow the activities of family members in different continents, countries, states and cities. Facebook enables one to keep up with family history as it is being created.

Facebook Groups Facebook members can join and create up to 200 groups. Groups can be based around shared interests, activities etc. For genealogists there are groups for bloggers, those with particular name interests, individual families, users of genealogy software applications and geographical interests. To date I have joined The Master Genealogist, Society of Australian Genealogists, Genea-Bloggers, and British Genealogy as these groups fit my particular interests. Unfortunately these groups with the exception of Genea-Bloggers are not particularly active. Hopefully, as more genealogists embrace Facebook, other groups will become more active.

Facebook Applications I have not added any of these third party applications to my Facebook account but there is a number of add-on applications of interest to family historians.
Family Tree By Familybuilder with 606,593 monthly active users, that enables one to build a family tree and include relatives both on and off Facebook appears to be the most popular of these applications.

Create a Facebook Page Individuals, groups and organisations can create a Facebook page to promote a product, event or service. The Genealogy Gems Podcast Page is an example of a page that may interest genealogists.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ancestry Tours of Scotland

Ancestry Tours of Scotland is the blog of Scotsman, Sandy Stevenson, who organises tours for people with Scottish ancestry.

The blog states " Scots have emigrated to almost every country in the world, to Australia, to Canada, to New Zealand to the USA. Many of their descendants visit Scotland to trace their Scottish ancestry, some of them have detailed, or not so detailed, information, about their roots in Scotland. I organize Scottish ancestry tours of Scotland where there is an emphasis on Scottish genealogy and Scottish family history, showing tour guests the places where their ancestors lived, and worked, in Scotland."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

New Facebook Group for Aussies

The Society of Australian Genealogists has created a Facebook group for members. Although I am not presently financial (will rectify in January) I was able to join the group. It is pleasing to see this organisation embraacing web2.0 applications.

Family Health History - Creating a Medical Family Tree

From Family Health History - Creating a Medical Family Tree

"Learn how to get started creating your own medical family tree to help determine your genetic predisposition to certain diseases, genetic traits and more."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Seasons' Greetings

I send Best Wishes from Australia for the Festive Season to fellow family history sleuths and anyone else who happens upon this blog. On Christmas Day in Sydney we hope to be enjoying mild sunny weather with a temperature of 25-27 c.

Blog posts on Geniaus will be minimal as, at this special time of year, Geniaus will be concentrating on the living members of her family and with them creating family history for future generations.

May some of the items in this poem from Genealogy Humour appear under your tree.


On the Twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me,
Twelve census searches,
Eleven Printer ribbons,
Ten e-mail contacts,
Nine headstone rubbings,
Eight birth and death dates,
Seven town clerks sighing,
Six second cousins,
Five coats of arms,
Four GEDCOM files,
Three old wills,
And a branch in my family tree.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

30+ Great Resources for Blogger Templates

30+ Great Resources for Blogger Templates

Great post on Mashable for those genealogists who use Blogger to write and host their blogs. Watch out for a slick new Geniaus look after Christmas.

Geniaus has more than just blog posts.

As the busyness of the festive season nears time to write blog posts is at a premium. However, this blog has changing content when there are no posts.

** The Twitter Updates Box on the left of the page records URLs of genealogy sites I have recently explored.

** The next box "Geniaus' new links on Delicious" provides a list of the genealogy links most recently added to my Delicious account.

** Further down in the left hand column "Geniaus' shared items" provides links to articles that I have recently read through my RSS feeds and consider of interest to other Australian genealogists.

I encourage visitors to my blog (now numbering around 200) to browse thes boxes and take a look at the links found therein.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Digital camera paid off during research trip

I enjoy reading Stefani Evans' articles in the Las Vegas Sun. The latest "Digital camera paid off during research trip" affirms my practice of always having a digital camaera in my handbag.

Making history personal

The Master Genealogist (TMG) developer, Bob Velke, is featued in a story,Making history personal, in the Baltimore Sun. TMG is the software I use for recording my family history.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Contribute to Picture Australia

Do you have photos of your ancestors and family at work or play? Do you have photographs of events or locations that you would like to share with others? By contributing your photos to Picture Australia, the National Library of Australia's collection, you can help to establish a collective memory of Australian people, places and events.

The collection is searchable through Picture Australia. By sharing and appropriately describing your images you can make your interests more visible to other genealogists. I notice that Sydney genealogist, Carole Riley, has posted a set of old photos of people that appear to be her ancestors.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quick Start Tips For New Skype Users

Shortly after blogging about Skype I read this post in my RSS feeds.

Although written for educators this blog post, Quick Start Tips For New Skype Users, by Sue Waters provides a succinct and easy to follow guide to installing and using Skype.

Skype those Cousins

Has your genealogy research located distant cousins in farflung corners of the globe? You probably communicate with these new relations by email. Being able to hear and see people adds an extra dimension to communication.

Consider setting up a Skype account and (if your computer doesn't have an inbulilt one) purchasing a webcam and encouraging your cousins to do so. You don't need a sophisticated setup; my simple EeePC is perfect for the task. With Skype software you can make free video calls over the internet to other people on Skype for as long as you like, to wherever you like. It is free to download. If you add your Skype Identity to your email signature you will let fellow researchers know that you are willing to be contacted.

With a wireless internet connection Skype gives genealogists who visit family sites the opportunity to make live connections with those with shared interests enabling them to virtually share in the site visit. When we have family celebrations we set up a laptop runnng Skype in the room so family members in Canada are able to share in the proceedings in Australia and become virtual partygoers.

Stories of homecoming: The incredible journey

Interesting article on Scottish emigrants to Australia and New Zealand in the Scotsman newspaper (17/12/2008). The article details the story of Bob McGregor from Sydney's North Shore.

New Website from our National Library

National Library's December eNews will be of interest to genealogists.:

Search for Maps

Search for Maps

The National Library has released a new website 'Maps of Australia' which enables a geospatial search of catalogue records for over 100 000 maps of Australia held in Australia's libraries, from the earliest mapping to the present.

Search Maps of Australia

The newsletter details many items of interest to family historian. Click here for details on newsletter subscription

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Recent Family History - VHS Videos

On my must do list is the task of format shifting (copying of information from one form of storage to another) the many hours of video that I took of the family as the children as they were growing up. In order to preserve these memories for future generations they must be moved from tape to a form of digital storage.

In the Sydney Morning Herald today I found a review of a new device,
Video to DVD Maker. This device that connects directly to a PC, looks as though it would be easy to use. I am going to investigate this further before my cache of videotapes disintegrates.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

News from FamilySearch

"FamilySearch Digital Preservation Initiative Hits a Milestone

Salt Lake City, Utah—FamilySearch International reached a milestone today with the digitization of its 25,000th publication online. It began the initiative in 2007 and is ramping up to do even more—and faster. The effort targets published family, society, county, and town histories, as well as numerous other historical publications that are digitally preserved and made accessible for free online. The digital publications can be searched at (Go to, then click Search Records, then click Historical Books).

The 25,000th digitized publication was A History of Lewis County, in the State of New York, from the Beginning of Its Settlement to the Present Time by Franklin B. Hough. The book was published in 1860. The lengths of titles digitized to date vary in length, but the average is about 350 pages. There are even publications in Spanish, German, French, and Russian.

FamilySearch has nearly a million publications in its famous Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and there are millions of similar publications elsewhere in the United States. “The problem with the collection [of out-of-print titles] is limited access,” said Ransom Love, FamilySearch senior vice president of Strategic Relations. “To view the publications, patrons have to travel to Salt Lake City or one of FamilySearch’s affiliate libraries. If you are lucky, you might be able to order a microfilm copy, but then you have to wait for it to arrive at your local family history center. And there’s the inconvenience of having to read it on a film reader,” added Love.

FamilySearch aims to change all of that. Working with volunteers and select affiliate libraries, it plans to create the largest digital collection of published histories on the Web. It is targeting a wide range of historical publications—for example, users might be pleasantly surprised to find digital copies of Hawaii Sugar Planters Association Filipino Laborer files (1909-1949), medieval family history resource titles, and oral history abstracts (mostly from Hawaii), and numerous gazetteers.

“These are publications that were usually limited in the number originally printed and therefore only accessible in a few libraries or special collections worldwide. Yet there can be some great information of genealogical significance in the publications that only a few people would have access to prior to now,” said Love.

Through its Records Access Program, FamilySearch is digitally preserving a copy of the publications and making them available online for the masses. Once digitized, the collections have "every word" search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other fields across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication.

FamilySearch is not stopping with its own collection either. Over the past year, it announced that it is also helping to digitize and publish collections from the Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University—Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library, Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Houston Public Library, in Houston, Texas, and Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri. When all is said and done, there will be over a million publications in the digital collection online. It will be the largest free resource of its kind."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

National Trust Names

Do you know where your surname comes from, or how many people you share it with?

The National Trust Names site enables users to search the database and to trace the geography and history of their family names from the United Kingdom. As the site only records names with at least 100 people on the Electoral Register for 1998 it is not comprehensive. I was unable to find listings for Pusell or Magick. The site promises to add more names in he future.

Best ISP for Aussie Genealogists?

A useful website to compare Internet Service Providers is

Enter your ADSL phone number into the search box and you will be provided with a list of possible providers. You can specify speeds, data allowances, service type, pricing etc.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Genes Reunited Facelift

I just logged in to Genes Reunited to reply to some messages. As the page was loading I thought that I'd made a mistake with the URL as it looked different. Since I last logged in the site has had a facelift, gone is the crisp white background to be replaced by a dull blue wallpaper. Apart from cosmetic changes the only thing I noticed that was different was the loss of the ability to sort Hot Matches by date.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hawkesbury Genealogy

In a recent post on the listserv Michelle Nichols asks:

"Is their anyone out there that has a family story they would like to circulate and publish?

As the editor of the Hawkesbury Family History Group journal which is published quarterly, I am always looking for short stories, snippets, articles to publish about Hawkesbury families. It is a good way to get your family research into the news, as the journal is distributed to over 200 organisations and members. Items about reunions and also queries are also welcome. Material can be sent via an attachment or in the body of an email to Free copy of the journal is provided to contributors. The journal is published March, June, September and December and articles are required the month before."

I am scratching my head for something to write about.

This morning's mail

The latest issue of Rootsweb Review appeared in my inbox this morning. This monthly publication claims to provide "the latest news about changes and additions to (new databases, mailing lists, and websites), tipshas on using our site, plus articles of interest to family historians around the world".

Although it has a astrong North American bias this publication has many items of interest to Australian genealogists. To view an archive of past issues or sign up for the online newsletter go to:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Public Libraries - a Treasure Trove for Genealogists

Up front I have to admit that, 30 odd years ago, I was a Public Librarian at Waverley and Randwick Libraries.

As a family history sleuth I have visited a number of Public Libraries in Australia and The UK trying to find clues to our ancestry. Through Public Libraries we have found details of cousins, graves, homes, articles in newspapers and maps to show us 'where to go'. Obviously some residents of Colac in rural Victoria share my belief in the value of Public Libraries to a community. Take a minute to view the video they have posted on Youtube when The Council announced plans to close the library:

Carnival of Genealogy - 62nd Edition - 3 Wishes

Dear Genea-Santa,

Thank you for allowing me to make three wishes. A couple of the items are large and cumbersome so I will understand if you cannot satisfy all of my requests. I have chosen items that were important in the lives of my ancestors; these either contributed to their livelihood or impacated on their life's journey.

1. I would love to have the bundle of goods that were stolen by my 3rd great-grandmother, Elizabeth Phipps, and caused her to be sentenced to transportation to the colony of New South Wales.

2. I am interested in owning the plough that my 3rd great grandfather, Patrick Curry, used to till the soil at Camden Park where he was a tenant farmer.

3. I'd like to have a ride in the truck belonging to my grandfather, Frank Duncan, from which he sold drinks, ice-creams and snacks in Cobar, NSW.

Thanks, Santa, for giving an old girl an opportunity to make three wishes.

Post written for the 62nd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene

An Introduction to Google Analytics

Yesterday I suggested that Google Analytics is a valuable tool for family historians. A slideshow Google Analytics at Slideshare gives a detailed explanation of this tool.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New Victorian Database Online

The Victorian Public Records Office has released for testing - a searchable online version of the Victorian Probate Index for 1841 to 1925 ...
The Pre-Release Index to Wills, Probate and Administration Records 1841-1925
can be found at :

A month down the track

It's just over a month since I created this blog and made the first post. I wondered then if the content would have relevance to others and if anyone would read my musings. On November 17th I added Google Analytics code to the blog as a means of counting hits and tracking users.

Since 17/11/2008 the blog has had over 50 visitors and around 100 hits; some of these have stumbled on the blog accidentally through search engine keyword searches and some have been referred from other sites. A couple of people have visited five times and some only once. Most of the visits are from Australia and the US but there have been hits from the UK, Canada, Greece, Italy, Jamaica, New Zealand and The Netherlands. An interesting statistic to emerge is that most visitors to the blog use the Firefox browser.

Like most people I love a bit of positive reinforcement; the small number of visitors returning to my blog have given me that and encouraged me to continue blogging. So publishing of Geniaus, the genealogy blog with an Australian flavour, will continue for the present.

HOW TO: Use Google Reader Like A Rockstar

HOW TO: Use Google Reader Like A Rockstar

Wonderful tips on how to use Google reader efficiently. Extremely relevant to genaelogists who subscribe to multiple RSS feeds and blogs

Scotland calls on descendents to go back for a visit

Read the Article in Sunday's Courier-Mail

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I recently read this article that was published earlier in The Age:Summon up your gene genie.

It brought back memories of some of the best holidays my husband anad I have shared. On our first trip to Cobar, NSW we were able to visit family graves (and discover people we didn't know about) and take photos of my mother's childhood homes. We found a photo of Great Aunt, Gertie Pusell, a turn of the century roller skater in the local museum.

Another trip to Bathurst,Burraga, Canowindra, Cowra, Carcoar, Dubbo and Denisontown netted more information from cemeteries and libraries and gave us an insight into the lives of ancestors who were early settlers in these areas. A visit to Melbourne and the State Library gave us clues on the Elms/Nelson branch and pointed us to their former residences and final resting places.

For our first overseas 'family history' trip we planned a few days in London to visit St. Catherine's House and The National Archives at Kew. We got a map of the UK and marked on it the places from which our ancestors had come, we simply joined the dots on this map and it became the itinerary we followed in our rental car. It is difficult to identify a highlight from this trip. Was it standing in Paisley Abbey where ancestors had been baptised, married and farewelled? Was it reading entries about my convict ancestor, Patrick Curry, in the Hooghley surgeon's journal in the National Archives? Was it walking on crunchy white snow in Hawick to find ancestors graves in the Wellogate Cemetery? Was it drinking Irish whisky in the Ballyfoyle farmhouse in which my Kealy gggrandfather lived while sitting
with some distant cousins at a table he had built?

On a trip to Scotland we journeyed to Islay off the west coast from where my husband's Gillespie cousins originated. My husband had a real affinity with this isolated isle and had a tear in his eye as our ferry left after a four day stay. On another trip to England we visited a distant cousin who has the Gowans family bible and a clock made by ancestor, James Gowans.

We have been fortunate to travel to a number of stunning regions around the world but the trips we have made to ancestral haunts have a special place in our heart; these family connections give our travel a purpose. I heartily recommend family history jaunts.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Finding Blogs on any subject

This February post Comparing Six Ways to Identify Top Blogs in Any Niche from ReadWriteWeb has some good tips pertinent to genealogists who may wish to identify Blogs to read or subscribe to through RSS feeds.

This Commoncraft video provides a simple explanation of RSS.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Find My Past - Success

I took out a year's sub to Find My Past in February because I was enticed by the Shipping Records available there. Through these I was able to discover when my husband's Ball ancestors left the UK for Australia.

As this resource duplicates the information available on some of my other subs I have considered renewal.. Tonight I had time to investigate the recently adde4d Parish Records Collection. and to my delight found details for births and baptisms of my husband's Elms ancestors in thee London Docklands area. If Find My Past continues to add new databases that are not available elsewhere I will certainly renew my sub. All I need now is time to search for more ancestors in this new database.

Organising those photos

I've read a few posts from various genealogists suggesting use of online sites such as Flickr and Picasa to store and organise photo collections. These free tools provide one means of organising images, however, some people would rather keep their photos on their own systems and not store them

I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 to store and manage my growing collection (presently 52,000) of digital photos on a portable hard drive. After editing images it is an easy matter to place them in albums and tag them with details such as name, date, location, activity or any custom tag. These tags can be written as metadata to the images so that when the images are shared the tags are also shared. Custom searches of the collection are very fast enabling one to locate desired images within seconds. Once I have loaded, edited and tagged my images I back them up to DVD and store them away from the external hard drive housing the main collection.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Tribute to, Australian, Keith Wilson

Dick Eastman, in his newsletter, has alerted genealogists of the death of Australian genealogy software developer, Keith Wilson. Keith was the creator of iFamily for Leopard. The MacGenealogist has posted a tribute to Keith.


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