Saturday, June 30, 2012

More from Parramatta

Yesterday I posted a couple of photos of Audrey Collins in action at the Parramatta Unlock the Past Roadshow. Around 100 family history enthusiasts came along to hear Audrey, Carole Riley, Carol Baxter and Rosemary Kopittke speak.  Also along to add a bit of colour to the show was Heather Garnsey from SAG, the two Vickis from Findmypast, members of the Gould Genealogy team, Allan Murrin and Heather Clarey from the organising committee for this year's NSW State Genealogy Conference and yours truly providing demonstrations on the Flip-Pal mobile scanner.

As it was in my hometown, Sydney, I saw a few familiar faces from the genealogy scene plus I met up with Wendy who I knew when I lived in the Eastern Suburbs and whom I hadn't seen for around 20 years, Annette who I worked with at Waverley Library too long ago to mention and Pat who I knew from my days working in school libraries. It was pleasing to see members from The Hawkesbury Family History Group and The Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, two genealogy societies of which I am a member, in attendance at the event.

I was pleased to be able to hear two of Audrey's talks at this event. I was most interested in the first talk about records for Irish research in the National Archives in Kew. I now have a lot of leads to follow when next I visit there.

Following are a few more snaps from the event.

Carole Riley demystifies Land Records

Carole dispenses advice

Non-Conformist Religions from Audrey
Time for a chat

Anthea from Gould makes a sale

Carol Baxter explains how to write Interesting Family Histories
Lots of Notetaking

Deadline approaching....

This blog post will be short because a reminder email from the Rootstech Organisers tells me "  that the deadline for submitting presentations for the RootsTech 2013 Conference is this Saturday, June 30. The RootsTech 2013 Conference is shaping up to be more exciting than ever. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to share your knowledge with thousands of people who share your love for genealogy and technology."

I will therefore be spending the next few hours tidying up and submitting my ideas for presentations at the 2013 Conference.  The RootsTech 2013 Committee wrote "If you have not yet submitted your proposals, don’t procrastinate. In order to meet our scheduling deadlines, we will not be able to accept proposals after Jun 30*. Don’t miss your chance to present at this exciting conference. Go to to submit your proposals by Saturday, June 30, 2012."

Hopefully the Rootstech website that I have not been able to access this afternoon will be back up before the deadline passes. ;-((

I won't be missing my chance to participate in the program at this super event. Will you?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Audrey Collins in Sydney

As part of her Australian Unlock the Past Tour Audrey is performing at Parramatta RSL today. If you miss her today you can catch her in Canberra and Melbourne.

Raring to go

Sharing Irish secrets from The National Archives, Kew

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Geneabloggers Downunder

One of the added bonuses of attending genealogy events is meeting in person the friends one has made via social media.

The Unlock the Past Brisbane Expo I am presently attending has given me an opportunity meet my blogging mates Pauleen Cass of Family History Across the Seas, Tanya Honey of My Genealogy Adventure, and Fi Basile of Dance Skeletons for the first time. Additionally I was able to renew aquaintances with some of my other blogging mates.

Following are photos of some of the Geneabloggers at The Expo.

Aussie Geneabloggers: (Back) Geniaus, Shauna Hicks, Sharn White, Pauleen Cass, Alona Tester, Fi Basile, who gathered behind the Research Help Zone workers (Front)  Helen Smith and Carole Riley

Geniaus and Tanya Honey meet at last

Aussie Geneabloggers: (L-R) Sharn White, Alona Tester, Tanya Honey, Geniaus, Carole Riley, Kerry Farmer, Helen Smith, Judy Webster

Apologies to Australian Cassie Mercer our English visitor, Audrey Collins who were otherwise engaged at the times we grabbed these snaps.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Smiles all round

The rain may be pelting down in Queensland, The Sunshine State, but there are smiles on the faces of many of the people at The Unlock the Past Queensland Expo in Brisbane.

Alona Tester, Carole Riley, Audrey Collins
Helen V Smith in the Research Help Zone

They travelled up NSW
GSQ Volunteers

Genealogy Apps - 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

Week 26: Genealogy Apps: Which genealogy app has made your family history experience easier? Who makes the app and what does it do? Share with others the details so they can learn about the app, too.

I started of the year with good intentions joining this challenge and making contributions in the first few weeks of the year then I set off for the US and Rootstech and travelled around for a while. Back home in Australia we took a couple more trips. This morning I said to my husband "Guess what? We are going to be home for three weeks when I get back from Brisbane" (where I'm headed tomorrow). Hopefully I'll be able to find time to contribute more posts duirng that time.

The application I have chosen hasn't made my experience easier YET because I am a novice user but I can see that, as I become more proficient, it will do so. I was given a copy of The Family Historian about 6 weeks ago for Mother's Day and have been playing with it since then.  Family Historian v5 is a genealogy database management program from the UK; it has quite a new nifty features that appealed to me:

* It's bias is towards the UK - the land of my ancestors
Flexible and can cater for beginners to professionals
* Great multimedia features including facial recognition
—* User interface very natural in its style of dialog boxes
* Files are in native gedcom - export without errors
* Wizards to create family tree websites (no need to purchase a third party product)
* Lots of support from provided manual and User Group
* Display a tree diagram, and access individual records by clicking on a diagram. With one click view ancestors, or descendants, or both
* Great for getting an overall view of your tree
* —Fantastic charts
* Spreadsheet view can be customised and sorted by column 
* 31 included standard report formats plus facility to create custom reports
* —Outstanding queries feature - get the most from your data

* Very easy export to TNG the program I use to publish my data on the web
* Simple synching of data on two devices using Dropbox
* Free plugins extend usability of product
Family Historian appears to be in active development with regular updates.  
Some people think I am crazy to have ditched a perfectly good program in favour of another but after 15 years it felt like time for a change;  I believe it is a good idea to check the market occasionally to see what alternatives are around  - otherwise I'd still be using Internet Explorer for web browsing! 

If you are feeling adventurous download a free 30 Day trial of Family Historian. I can't guarantee that it will make your genealogy experience easier in just a month but it will give you an opportunity to look at your data with fresh eyes.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Is the joining of small images into one big image really as good as stated?

In a comment on my  Family History Through the Alphabet – F is for …Greedy  post where I sang the praises of Flip-Pal mobile scanners Sharon  asked "Is the joining of small images into one big image really as good as stated?"

Sharon, I wasn't sure that the stitching would be as good as the people from Flip-Pal stated so had to check it out. The results speak for themselves.

This was my very first stitching effort in which I stitched my early scans 0015 to 0018 together. It was a large photo (too big for an album). I am wondering if the kids will use it in a slideshow at my wake. 

Image 1 Old girl, Poor dolphin

I scanned and stitched this deteriorating old photo as a demo for a lady at The Shoalhaven Family History Fair last weekend. With a bit of tweaking in photo imaging software it should look pretty schmick. The lady bought a Flip-Pal on the spot.

Image 2 - Old photo
 Just in case the stitches previously done were flukes I grabbed the copy of Inside History Magazine that was in my laptop bag and scanned it just now.

Image 3 Inside History Magazine
You will note the raggy edges on Images 1 and 3, these are visible because I haven't cropped the images to get rid of the of the background on which the items were placed for scanning. On my Image 3 the baby's waving hand is out of focus as it is on the magazine cover.

Pretty Impressive!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad

Thinking of my Dad, Allan John Curry 1919-2001, who would have been 93 today.

Young Allan doesn't look too happy in this photo. The white tie suggests it might have been his First Communion Day - he never was fond of going to Church.

Allan John Curry

Three One Day Old Children

My son recently put a little guessing game on Facebook. Following the birth of his third child he posted these pictures, taken when each of the bubs was just one day old. He asked his friends to identify them; I don't know if there is a prize for correctly answering this guessing game.

What it does show is there is a strong family resemblance in the babies this family. I particularly like this quote from a Facebook friend "My son Luke walked past and said "Are they triplets?"

Friday, June 22, 2012

Three more sleeps

Wonders will never cease! I'm a usually bit of a last minute Lil when it comes to getting organised. If I don't have a deadline I don't get it done...but give me a deadline and a task will be completed.

Tonight I have surprised myself. I have actually finished off my powerpoint presentations for The Unlock the Past Brisbane Expo and I have two more days before I leave. All I need to do now is save the presentations as .pdf files so the attendees can download them as notes.

My presentations are all short (25 min) free sessions - so if you are coming to the Expo and are on a budget you can join me in the small theatre. As a teaser I will share some snaps of my presentation slides below.

I can't wait to meet up with genealogists from The Sunshine State (and soak up some of your golden rays) as well as my blogging mates.

If you are at the Expo please say G'day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet – G is For …Shameless Self Promotion

GeniAus was the identity I adopted in my early days on social networking sites. Like many other early adopters of Web 2.0 applications I was nervous about revealing my identity to the world.

After using sites such as Blogger and Twitter for a couple of years I realised that it was safe to come out of the closet and use my real name, Jill Ball. As long as one is sensible and remains aware of the dangers of sharing too much information on social sites I feel that one does not need to hide behind the anonymity of a pseudonym.... There are, however, the benefits to having a unique, short and snappy ID that describes one.

GeniAus, a genealogist from Australia, is how I am known in some genealogy circles and I continue to use GeniAus as my username in many online forums. I can be found in several places as GeniAus except for You Tube where someone else grabbed the name before me, if ever they delete that account I'll be ready to nab it.

There are benefits to having a unique identity; I have several genealogy contacts called Carol, a few named Kerry and a couple of Joans. I sometimes am confused as to whom I am communicating with, however when Cassmob and Dance Skeletons communicate I know exactly who they are.

GeniAus by Emily
On Social networking sites, instead of a real photograph,  I have continued to use a little pencil portrait of me done by my granddaughter about six years ago . I have considered replacing it with a photo but the portrait is such an important part of my online identity that I keep it. When I was considering changing a genealogy contact said to me that it is easy to find my photo on the Internet if one needs to know what I look like and that is precisely what people have done when we have arranged face-to-face meetings for the first time. The little portrait is an important part of my branding (especially good if I was breakfast cereal or washing powder). I have even put this image on my new business card!

The previous couple of paragraphs have been tangential to the original purpose of this post which was to tell you a bit about GeniAus ie indulge in Shameless Self Promotion.  I like the way this post has developed so will let modesty reign and omit the glowing advertisement for GeniAus

I'm dancing!

My waltz around the kitchen this morning is not the result of knocking down some genealogical brick wall but due to a comment on a Google+ post of mine.

This is why I'm dancing
I have blogged ad nauseam about my move to  Family Historian  software to manage my family database and my blog posts have resulted in some comments. This Google+ comment, however, was one that alerted me to something I really need at the moment. John Owen, one of my Aussie G+ genealogy contacts, mentioned that he is a Family Historian user and that the family history society at Wyong to which he belongs has a Family Historian User Group. John also directed me to a video he has produced about some functions in  Family Historian .

The good news is that I only live one hour's drive from Wyong. I have already marked the date of the next meeting in my calendar and look forward to pointing the Bambino in the direction of Wyong. Family Historian has excellent online support through its website, mailing lists and forums however the opportunity to meet face-to-face with fellow users is an unexpected bonus. 

The lesson to be learnt from this is that one needs to use multiple social media platforms to let others know of one's interests. If I had just relied on my blog post I probably would not have heard from John and would not know about the existence of this local user group

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet – F is for …Greedy

When I joined this challenge I decided that my theme for this alphabet series would be technology and its relationship to genealogy because that is what I love. I also decided that I would highlight each week just one of the Apps, Blogs, Connections, Devices, Etc that help me negotiate my genealogical journey.

To date I have managed to do just that but I was Flummoxed when I got to F because there were a Few Favourites that I just couldn't ignore so, in this post, I will look at more than one thing. Hence F is for Greedy. In true old Librarian Fashion I will list these in alphabetical order:

Family Historian is my newest challenge. I blogged recently about my decision to change my genealogy database software from The Master Genealogist to Family Historian and thus I have reverted from confident user status to that of a beginner. I do not regret my decision at all as each day I find some element of the program that supports my decision to make the change. I am one happy old learner. If you would like to give Family Historian a test run you can download a free 30 day trial from here

Familysearch What can I say? Like many genealogists I owe so much to the Familysearch organisation for the work they do in digitising, preserving and sharing  birth, marriage, death, probate and other records. The Familysearch Centers and Libraries around the world are staffed by experts and volunteers who welcome and encourage genealogists to use their facilities at no charge. I am in awe of the great work done by Familysearch.

Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner I love this little gadget that I have had for the past eighteen months. By bringing it out in repositories and showing it around at events I have developed a group of envious genealogists who have to date been unable to get their hands on one of these little workhorses in Australia. I purchased mine in the US. The good news is that Flip-Pals are now available in Australia through Gould Genealogy

I must disclose that I have helped Gould by demonstrating the Flip-Pal at a couple of recent genealogy events and have more dates to do so. As a beginner in the salesperson stakes I am on a winner - I don't have to sell these gadgets - once people know what they do they buy them without any pressure exerted on my part.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jindalee Queensland

A few months ago I hadn't heard of Jindalee in Queensland but, as it is the venue for the Unlock the Past Queensland Expo, the word Jindalee has entered my vocabulary.

As I was reading my RSS feed this evening I came across a post from The John Oxley Library in Queensland that commenced:

"The Brisbane suburb of Jindalee was predominantly developed from land originally owned by the Sinnamon family, who were early settlers and pioneers.  Subsequently, with the spread of Brisbane’s suburbs and the need for residential land, this area became part of the large Centenary Estates Development from which six new suburbs were developed." Read the rest of the post here:

Whether this was by co-incidence or design ( as a librarian from the State Library of Queensland is on the program for the Expo) I appreciated the information in the John Oxley post as I now have some knowledge about the area I will be visiting next week. 


I love prizes....

....and I won 14th prize in the Raffle at the Shoalhaven Family History Fair on the weekend. It was made up of three books and two free family passes to The Lady Denman Museum.

After that recent success I am all fired up and on the lookout for prizes. As I am attending the Unlock the Past Expo in Brisbane next week I took a look to see if there are nay prizes on offer at that event and here is what I found.

It's worth going just to have a chance at winning the prizes

  • 4 - Archive Digital Books Australia CDs
          - Picturesque Atlas of Australasia 1886-88 - value $59.50
          - Australian Handbook 1900 - value $27.50
          - Pugh's Almanac and Queensland Directory 19th Century Set 1859-1900 - value $460
          - Fox's History of Queensland - value $79.50
  • Baptist Heritage Queensland      - Queensland Baptist 1903-1913 (CD) - value $47.50
          - Queensland Baptist Association Year Books 1921-1930 (CD) - value $34.50
          - So! Your ancestor was a Baptist in Queensland AND Fortitude: Dr Lang's Vision for Queensland - value $13
  • Clean Cruising
          - A $100 Cruise Travel voucher
  • 2 - Family Photo Book vouchers - value $20 each
  • Findmypast subscriptions
          - 1 12 month subscription
          - 1 12 month subscription
          - 1 12 month subscription
          - also running a lucky draw to win a new World Subscription (at the findmypast exhibitor area)
  • Flip-Pal mobile book scanner - Creative Suite - value $249.50
  • FotoMasters -  gift voucher for a FotoRama 9 - value $285
  • Friends of Toowong Cemetery      - 2 Toowong Cemetery 140th Anniversary DVDs - value $25 each
  • Genealogical Society of Queensland
          - 1 year's membership of GSQ - value $71.50
          - Free attendance at Annual Seminar 25 August Across the seas they came 19th & early 20th century migrants -
    value $60 non-members, $50 members
          - Free CD of choice from GSQ's Funeral Directors series - value $55
          - Queensland Muster Part 1 - CD of selected pioneers living in Queensland between 1859 and 1901
            and a copy of the book Queensland Pioneers 1859-1901 - total value $63.95
          - 6 free passes to GSQ's Saturday morning education sessions - range in topics and presenters - total value $78 for
  • Genealogical Society of Queensland Convict Connections CD
          - Index to NSW Colonial Secretary's Office Copies of Letters Sent to Sheriffs 5 Jul 1828 - 31 Dec 1850 - value $50.00
  • 2 - Gould Genealogy & History vouchers - details to be advised
  • Inside History 12 month subscriptions - details to be advised
  • 1 - National Institute for Genealogical Studies 9 course package - value approx $850. The package includes 4 Methodology courses (Getting Started, Getting Organized, The Internet, FamilySearch), and an Analysis & Skills Mentoring course and 4 record courses in a country stream of the winner's choice (choose from American, Australian, Canadian, English, Irish, Scottish and German).
  • Queensland Family History Society
          - 1 year's membership of QFHS ($73 which includes the joining fee)
          - 2 vouchers which allow the winner to select a QFHS CD to the value of $49.50
          - 1 voucher which allows the winner to select a CD from the Queensland School Pupils Series (value $49.50)
          - 1 voucher which allows the winner to select a CD from the Commonwealth Electoral Roll (Queensland) Series
            (value $49.50)
          - 1 Queensland Founding Families book set ($110.00)
  • Queensland Prison & Penal Historical Association
          - 2 double passes of a day OR moonlight tour of St Helena Island
            (donated by Brisbane Bay Tours and Queensland Prison & Penal Historical Association)
          - 2 signed copies of award winning St Helena Island, Moreton Bay - An historical account - value $49.95 each 
  • 2 - Unlock the Past History & Genealogy: Australia & New Zealand 2011

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Real Teacher

When one attends a genealogy conference in the United States the sessions are called "classes" and the presenters "teach" those classes. The use of these words from the field of education implies that the presenters have a set of skills beyond that of presenting a topic in a lecture. From my observations at the genealogy events I attend both in Australia and overseas only a small number of presenters demonstrate these skills at a high level. They may have great subject knowledge and be engaging and entertaining presenters who get their messages across but good teachers do a bit more than that. There are many great lecturers in the genealogy world but not so many great teachers.

Carol Liston at Hawkesbury
Good teachers are aware of the people in their classes; they are patient with those who do not catch on at first; they have a sort of sixth sense that allows them to adjust their lesson to suit the needs of the individuals in their classes; they are aware when someone in the class loses attention or cannot understand a concept; they respond to questions from the class as they go; they stop and emphasize or explain a point when necessary; they are willing to be interrupted: they will go off on a tangent and exploit any teachable moment that arises.

I do not expect all genealogy presenters to be good teachers but I am mightily impressed when I come across one who is as I did last week at The Hawkesbury Family History Group meeting.

Dr Carol Liston, an academic from the University of Western Sydney, spoke to our group about Accessing Land Titles records. This is a tricky subject that I have heard presented on a few occasions. Carol's presentation was excellent; she explained the topic well in simple language giving emphasis and further explanation when required. Having heard Carol's talk I think I finally get land records in NSW. The first thought I had after this event was that I had experienced good teaching at a genealogy event.

Carol is Associate Professor in History at the University of Western Sydney.  She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Sydney. Her research and teaching cover early colonial history in New South Wales, with interests in people (convict, colonial born and free immigrant), local history, heritage and the built environment. Her particular interest is the colonial development of the County of Cumberland and the use of land records to investigate its history.

Should you have a chance to hear Carol present (teach) I recommend that you make an effort to attend. I note that Carol will be presenting the John Crowe Memorial Address and speaking about how new technology has led to the digitisation of NSW Land Title Records at  the 28th Annual Conference of the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies in September - this could be your chance to hear her.

Have you encountered any Good Teachers at Genealogy events?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fair Business in Nowra

A dinner at A Wing and a Pear Cafe in Nowra with local society members, exhibitors and visitors to the  Shoalhaven Family, Local & Cultural History Fair was a fabulous way to finish off the first day of the Fair. Gratified after a three course meal I made my way back to the Parkhaven Motor Lodge that I had chosen on the strength of TripAdvisor reviews. It was a great little motel with newly refurbished rooms, a comfy bed and large bath towels (better than those in some 5 star hotels I have stayed in).

Refreshed and satisfied I was ready for my second day at the Fair. The photos that follow show some of the people and things I found at the fair.

Heather Garnsey from SAG ready for action before opening time
Another earlybird was Christine Yeats from NSW State Records

My favourite genealogy mag, Inside History 
My little corner where I showed off the Flip-Pal scanner
Eye Candy - I spent two days sitting beside a Camellia Display from a Local group

Brad Argent from Ancestry was dishing out advice

Unlock the Past publications
It was great to meet some under 60s at the Fair (they were a reare sight)
We need more enthusiastic genealogists like this young Mum, I loved chatting with her
After eyeing off the Raffle Prizes for two days I managed to win one


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