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Monday, November 16, 2015

Some advanced Excel magic

Warning, once you start using Excel, you may get as hooked as I am!  Here are a few more tricks and tips that may be useful when you have a lot of data to get through.

How to separate data into more than one column, remove hyperlinks, start to use filters, and get the column and rows the right size automatically; as well as how to apply these to genealogy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Have some fun with Excel!

Fun? Yes you can! I know lots of people find Microsoft Excel really scary, but trust me it's not that hard.  Last week I found a family I'm related to in Goulburn, so I used the NSW BDM Index (online and free) to find who was related to who and expanded from there.  Very hard to do without Excel, so in this post I am going to give you my top tips for using Excel to make life easier.

This post turned out quite long in the end, but it will really save you time if you use all these tricks and tips.
One of them is colour, nothing to do with sheep, but don't you love this picture - and how easy it is to see individuals?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Where are all the Newspapers?

Newspapers have certainly been on my radar of late, especially Australian ones.  In this post I am going to try to give you some resources for your Australian, U.K. and U.S.A. searches for newspapers.  I will concentrate on free resources, but keep in mind the larger genealogy companies (Ancestry, Find my Past etc) all have access to newspapers, particularly obituaries.

 For all the links to newspaper sites, click HERE to go straight to the Genealogy Boomerangs genealogy and newspapers on pinterest.
 Image result for newspapers

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A couple of quick hints.

Here are a couple of things I found useful lately - hope you do too.

First, a list of what DAY the UK Census were taken on for each year.

I've added this to the download tab so feel free to take advantage of it, or just right click the picture above.

Also a little website that is great for finding out what day a particular date is at online  

So easy to use!


Thursday, August 20, 2015's 12 month FFF challenge - My #`1 tip for using TROVE

The third  of’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds: August - How I found my Stettler family on

My grandmother's name was Lillian Gertrude Stettler before she married, and I knew the Stettler family lived in Parramatta, because two uncles are buried in the historical churchyard in Parramatta.  So recently I did a search on TROVE for "Stettler", and this is where I found the WW1 diary I recently blogged about, along with 3,573 newspaper results!  In one, I found a picture of  Private John Harold Stettler.  What a find!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Free E book - Getting the most out of Trove

TROVE  is a fantastic resource for genealogists in Australia.  It contains BILLIONS of pieces of information, and the most commonly used resource is Australian newspapers online.

One of the joys of genealogy is being able to share what you find with others.  I found Trove both easy to navigate, but also a little frustrating to try to search, and have learned a bit along the way.  This is why I have written a new E-book for you to download for free: GETTING THE MOST OUT OF TROVE .

This free E book will help you get started, give you some power searching tips and advanced searching strategies, as well as help you engage with Trove and the Trove community. 
Download your copy and get started today. 

How happy I was to find this obituary from the Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate!  (What a name)  1924.  The information about Godfrey and his family was not only very interesting, but also illuminating.   I always wondered where my father's athleticism came from, and like many obits, this one gave a lot of information about the family - that side of the tree is growing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Video Archives

It's great to understand the era that our ancestors lived in, and I just found two video archives on YouTube that might help put some context around your genealogy.

AP on YouTube

Sunday, July 19, 2015's 12 month FFF challenge - One last try

The second  of’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds: July- One last try to reunite some postcards.

I decided to try one last time to find the family of the WW1 sailor who's postcards I found in a tin I bought at a garage sale.  I wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald, as they have a section called Family Matters  that attempts to assist people looking for lost friends and family.  A month later It has been published!

SMH Sat 18/7/2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015's 12 month FFF challenge - Postcards from the front

I  never knew my Grandfather, as he died before I was born.  I heard stories about him from my mother over the years and did have a couple of photos of him in uniform and some old postcards (more about those later).  My mother did not know anything about his service in the war, and all I had about it was a postcard with 16 signatures on the back of it, and 17 soldiers on the front.  I decided to try to find out a bit about him, starting with this postcard.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Northern Ireland records on video

PRONI (Public records of Northern Ireland) have uploaded their lecture series for free.
"To help you start exploring your genealogy, PRONI ran a ten-week lecture series, exploring some of the key archival sources you can use to trace your family history."
 PRONI has a great YouTube channel, and the archives hold some very rare and valuable material.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A South Australian resource

I'm posting this here because I cannot seem to link this site on Pinterest, so we will do it this way. The site contains South Australian motor vehicle registration records from 1906 to 1927.

Good hunting if you are looking for someone in South Australia !

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A different Anzac day

We have been on a trip to Hawaii, and during our time in Honolulu Anzac day, in fact commemorating 100 years since the start of WW1 was happening.  After some enquiries, we found that there was an Anzac day service being held at the Punchbowl Cemetery, so of course we decided to attend. 
Being a hot morning, with lots of sunshine it was a different Anzac ceremony to what we are used to, and the usual Anzac day biscuits I make were missing.   It started at 10.30, and I estimated that at least 2000 people attended, probably more.  Here are some of the photos we took on the day.
The program
At the beginning of the ceremony

Some of the Aussie soldiers who attended
The salute party
After the ceremony
 During the ceremony, which was a very sombre affair, the Polynesian Centre laid a wreath, and performed a haka.  It lifted the spirits of everyone there.
Haka performed by the Polynesian Centre

We laid a card next to the Australian wreath, remembering our family that served their country:

The Australian ambassadors wreath, and our card.
William Ellis
11th Kings Hussars - who fought in the Charge of the Light Brigade
William Stewart Heard
4th kings own Hussars
Frederick Walter Heard
4th Hussars Machine Gun Corp WW1 France
William Stewart Heard
Royal Army Service Corp WW1 France
William James Zealey
Royal Garrison Artillery WW1 France
Arthur James Heard
USA Army WW1
Charles Henry Ellis
Royal Fusiliers WW1
Thomas Binfield
Seargeant, Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment
Killed in action, Ypres, France, WW1
Percy Hector Clark
4th Batallin AIF WW1
Herbert Holman Clark
52nd Battalion AIF
Killed in action, France, WW1
Patrick Joseph Stettler
14th Battalion AIF WW1
John Harrold Stettler
57th Battalion AIF WW1
William Stewart Heard
13th Battalion, Royal Aust. Engineers WW2
Frederick Walter Heard
13th Battalion Royal Aust. Engineers
Killed in Action, El Alamein, WW2
Reginal Ernest Heard
11th Field Company Aust. Engineers WW2
Edward John Clark
1st Battalion, AIF
Prisoner of War WW2
Ronald Percy Clark
2/16th Battalion, AIF WW2
Kenneth Russell
43rd Dental Unit AIF WW2
James William Colyer
24th Squadron, RAAF WW2

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Australian Military Records

Continuing the "getting started" series - lets find military records for Australia.
I have found some really interesting family stories from the military records I found.  One of them was the two Stettler brothers who signed up at the same time, when one of them was shot in France, he must have told the army about his brother who enlisted underage.  He was then sent back due to his underage, back to Australia.  Fortunately both brothers survived.  It made me wonder about them, when the older brother was injured I bet he had a wake up call, and he wanted to make sure his brother survived.
Then there was my Great Uncle who nearly got shot in WW1 as a deserter but was sentenced to 10 years in goal instead, and my Uncle who died in WW2, and his brothers put wattle on his grave on Australia day.  Where did they get it from?  When I obtained my dear father's papers, I found that he had not only been shot in WW2, but was involved in hand to hand combat with the Japanese after seeing his best friend killed.
My Dad, Ron.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

You never know where your research will send you.

Some of you will know I have been trying to track down the owner of a book of postcards that form a letter to home during WW1 from the SS Gilgai.  See the two posts Digging into the Gilgai History and A peak into the past to understand the whole story.

Thanks to some links on Pinterest and via two wonderful podcasts, Genealogy Gems and Genies Downunder I have had many people look at the posts, and a few comments that might help tracking down the family.

Recently I was contacted by the  Chairman of the Gilgai Public Hall and Recreation Reserves Trust, who have produced a pamphlet about the ship and its history.