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Monday, June 30, 2014

Catch that Aussie census taker

Continuing the series of Genealogy for beginners, lets look at census records.

 Census records are some of the best records I have found when researching family history, because most census records give information about the whole family.   But not in Australia.   In this post I will try to send you in the right direction for your Australian census type research.

From 1971 to 1996 the ABS had a policy of destruction of the original census forms and their electronic representations, as well as field records. Prior to that it appears most material had been destroyed because of lack of storage facilities, and a fire.

If you think census takers have a hard time these days, take a look at one about to go on his route, which covered 600-700 square miles, in 1911.  The 1911 census was the first national census in Australia.

The Brisbane Courier 1 April 1911 (per. ABS)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thank you

Many thanks to Maria from Genies Down Under, and Lisa from Genealogy Gems for mentioning this blog, and in particular the blog post A peek into the past and a very touching story in thier wonderful podcasts.  I'm still looking for this long lost family, but am still hopeful of finding them.

If you have not listened to these great genealogy podcasts, just click on the links above and give it a go.  Getting my first I Phone, and listening to Lisa's podcast was how I first got into Genealogy and Blogging.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A great webinar

This is just a quick post about a great webinar that is available on

I have found a lot of webinars to be more about promoting someone or something, rather than helping or educating me in genealogy.  This one was very different!  It is a webinar by Liza Alzo (   called 10 ways to jumpstart your family history narrative.  I'm not a writer (knew that already?) and I have found it quite difficult to get started on a 'book' or narrative of my family.

The webinar has really easy and useful tips and is well worth watching.  Its aimed very much at people like me who are beginners. It is available only by subscription now.  You can find it at, or by clicking here.

Hope you enjoy it and have some fun, and thank you Liza for your generous help for us amateurs.

If you want to see me first attempt at a "book" take a look at: scribid .   I definitely now have to re-write this after looking at Liza's webinar.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Who owns that photo?

I just had a photo sent to me by someone saying it cannot be used without their permission.  The photo is about 100 years old.  I was a bit bemused, as I thought the owner of a photo was the person to created the photo, and I was pretty sure the copyright would have run out by now.  This led me to some investigation.  Firstly it depends upon the country you are in, so I look at Australian copyright.

Monday, June 9, 2014

I love my search function....

One of the reasons I like the Legacy program for holding all my information is the search function.
On the weekend Ancestry had the 1911 English census available for free, so here is how I used this function to narrow down who to look for.

First click on search at the top of the page

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What was that you wrote?

Continuing the series for starting out in genealogy...

Paleography, or Deciphering old handwriting, where words may be spelled differently and writing conventions are different can be quite a challenge!  Patience and persistence are often required, and from my experience, a good husband who sees things a little differently to me is a real asset.

Here is one of the documents I recently tried to work through, its the last will and testament of Edmund Charles Clark.  Quite a challenge, even though it is a very clear scan in comparison to other documents.  It was written in the late 1800's, and the script has quite a lot of flourish in it, plus some of the words are a little unfamiliar.

Here are my tips and tricks for working through these documents:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The bells are ringing

Continuing the series of Genealogy for beginners, lets look at marriage records.

Genealogists spend a lot of time searching for marriage records. They are valuable vital records — not just to prove our ancestors were legally married and that their children were legitimate, but they often provide us with the maiden name of our female ancestors. This in turn enables us to graft another branch onto the family tree.  Finding marriage records can be quite frustrating however.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What's in a name?

    When you are researching records, think laterally about the name.  Here is what I mean:

    Maris - could be Morris, Moris, Meris, Marris, Merris, or transcription errors could make it Naris!
    Creativity is required when searching online - especially when it comes to surnames.

    A very large book of names of holocaust victims.

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Finding birth records

    Continuing the series on getting started on your family history, this is quite a long post, but I hope it is useful, just give yourself some time to read it.

    Well the obvious first step in finding the date of birth for someone is to obtain their birth certificate - and how do you do that when you don't know the date of birth?  This is the dilemma many of us face when trying to track down an ancestor.

    Friday, May 9, 2014

    Barking up the wrong tree

    I so recognised myself in  Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter!

    Click here
    At some point we all will have to delete ancestors we became attached to.  Take a read of Dick's great article here.  Remember, you have been warned!

    Old occupations

    Grieve -this was the occupation of one of my ancestors, but what on earth does a grieve do?

    Old documents, including census information often include an occupation - most of which no longer exist or are called the same thing.  In my research I found a most useful site for researching old occupations many thanks to Family Tree Researcher for putting the information online.

    Another good site is Hall Genealogy  with a good list of occupations, medical terms and illnesses.
    Or check out Roots Web.  If you are researching a particular country, you may find more luck through specific research sites like Scotlands People, or try searching Google very specifically, (eg. Occupation Grieve in England 1800), or looking up Wikipedia.

     Anyway, a Grieve turns out to be a sheriff, foreman or bailiff!  Who knew?


    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

    Digging into the Gilgai's history - we stole the ship!

    If you have not read the previous post, A Peak into the Past and a Very Touching Story, do so now or this will be too confusing.
    To continue the story of the postcards ...............

    The SS  Gilgai  was a cargo steamship with quite a history -  
    5,512 gross tons. Lb: 128.1 x 16.1 metres. Steel single screw steamship built by Wigham Richardson at Low Walker as the Wildenfels for DDG Hansa, Bremen. Quadruple expansion engine. Service speed 11 knots.
    Later sold to S & E Fili Accami Genoa (Salvatore & Emanuele) and renamed Sursum Corda. 1937 sold to I.N.S.A. and renamed Manon. Sunk by torpedo from submarine near Madras 15.00N/80.30E 7th October 1942  (1)

     She became part of the Australian Commonwealth Line, which came in to existence to serve Australian needs during WW1 due to the absence of shipping to move the wheat and wool Australian had that was acquired by the British.  In fact, she was an ex-enemy ship (Or as my husband put it "So we stole the ship?").

    S.S. Gilgai

    Friday, May 2, 2014

    A peek into the past, and a very touching story

    Can you help solve this mystery?

    This is rather a long post, and in fact will take a couple of posts, but I hope it is interesting.

    A few years ago I was at a garage sale around Hurstville, NSW when I came across an old tin, inside was a book of old postcards.  I bought them for a small sum, and have only just got around to reading them.  I found photos of some of them on an auction site:

    Monday, April 21, 2014

    Get with the program - sounds easy doesn't it?

    Yes, well it does sound easy, but there is a lot to consider.  Once you have some family history information, you will want to document it, and the easiest way is to use genealogy software.  There are two ways of doing this, one using a desktop program on your own computer (or tablet), the other is to use the family tree program of a website you subscribe to.

    For a real look into the future check out the video on this page:

    Currently this is only for MAC users, but I hope one comes out for us ordinary PC users.

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    A bit about Sources (and mistakes)

    Genealogy evidence comes in many forms, from word of mouth handed down the family, to an original birth certificate.  Sourcing information is so critical to your family tree, without it you will find yourself in a soup of wrong people and misinformation.  Trust me, I've been there, I once research a whole Fisher family that was the wrong family!  Nice people from Goulburn, NSW though.