Saturday, July 22, 2017

#NFHM Blogging Challenge Week 1 - Poor Man's Orange

It's week 1 of the National Family History Month Blogging Challenge.  

Take what you will from the title of Ruth Park's novel Poor Man's Orange published in 1949. 

The novel was set in Surry Hills, Sydney about a Catholic Irish Family.  

Perhaps there were Irish Catholics in your family. 

Perhaps your ancestors lived in Surry Hills or Sydney.  

Have you got a tale of making do? Or a tale of working class ancestors?

The book caused quite a stir when it came out as you can see from the Letters to the Sydney Morning Herald in July 1949 - nearly 70 years ago.

Courtesy of the National Library of Australia, Trove
READERS' OPINIONS OF NOVEL (1949, July 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved July 22, 2017, from

Join in our challenge.  We welcome bloggers from near and far.  August is National Family History Month in Australia but you don't have to be Australian to join in.  However, we would prefer your post to be about Family History !

Friday, July 7, 2017

2017 NFHM Blogging Challenge

August is not so very far away and that means....


Who's up for a blogging challenge??  Some of us thought a literary theme might be the go given that a few of our more well known authors were born 100  years ago e.g. Ruth Park (okay she was born in NZ but we adopted her as our own), Sumner Locke Elliott, Nancy Cato and Frank Hardy.  

So this is the plan:

Week 1 - Poor Man's Orange - take what you will from this title of Ruth Park's novel published in 1949.  Poor Man's Orange was set in Surry Hills Sydney about a Catholic Irish Family.  Perhaps there were Irish Catholics in your family.  Perhaps your ancestors lived in Surry Hills or Sydney.  Have you got a tale of making do?  Take the theme as laterally as you like or ignore it altogether.  We just want to see you blogging.

Week 2 - Careful He Might Hear You - Sumner Locke Elliott wrote this haunting tale about PS and his aunts, custody battles, secrets...where will this meme take you?  Shot in the more salubrious Sydney suburbs of Darling Point and Neutral Bay than last week's meme, the 1983 movie was captivating.  Is there a story about childhood you want to tell or the Depression?  We can't wait to see what posts it inspires.

Week 3 - All the Rivers Run - Nancy Cato's saga spanned eight decades and four generations.  Your blog post doesn't have to do that but was there a matriarch in your family that inspires you?  Or maybe you want to focus on a particular river that played a part in your ancestors' lives.  Where will your imagination run to?

Week 4 - Power without Glory - Frank Hardy's novel covers a wide range of notorious characters from criminals to Archbishops and politicians, wrestlers to gamblers and everyone else in between.  One of the themes is conscription during WW1 but you can interpret the title as broadly as you like.  Were your ancestors powerful in some way? Legitimately or  not.  Did they have a stoush with the authorities or strong political beliefs? Lets hear their story.

Let's blog every Saturday if we can.  See you then.

And thanks to Canva for the great meme picture.  It reminded me of a neighbour popping their head over the fence for a chat with a kid hanging off them. And thanks to AFFHO and the lovely Shauna Hicks for organising National Family History Month so we can all have so much family history fun. 

PS You don't have to be an Aussie to participate.  We welcome one and all in this great big genealogy family.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Bloggers united! We'll never be defeated!

Or words to that effect.

There has been a bit of debate in the geneablogging community about whether our blogging days are over.

Julie Cahill Tarr's post here got the debate going, although James Tanner says he has raised this issue before and been howled down.  Thomas MacEntee announced recently that he's changing the way he's doing business on

For the affirmative, Amy Johnson Crow has weighed in and said it's not dead it's just different.  And the lovely Alona Tester has identified the pros and cons of Blogging versus the suggested villain of the piece Facebooking.

It's a very interesting and important debate and I don't begin to pretend to know the answer. What I will say is that 25 people turned up to attend a QFHS seminar this morning where we talked about how blogging your family history can maximise your research and why you might consider doing it. 

The social media landscape is a crowded one and it will probably have more players in the future.  I'm flat out maintaining my Instagram account, still trying to get my head around the value of Snapchat and monitoring Facebook, grieving the wasted hours but acknowledging that it is, by and large, my news source for both my own personal community and the world. Pinterest anyone?

And yet I still want to blog.  Why? 

Because I want to leave a legacy to my descendants and a legacy that can be found.  Have you tried searching Facebook for that post you saw, thought you didn't need and then two days later decide you need it?  Frustrating.

Because I have met so many great fellow researchers virtually and or in real life just through blogging - and some of them are even related to me.  Bonus!

Because by committing to writing stuff down AND publishing it, I am more conscientious about exploring every angle, thinking about how I go about my research and acknowledging my sources. 

Because the dialogue I have in response to the comments on my blog and on other's blogs expands my knowledge about this fascinating hobby.

At the beginning of the seminar this morning three participants told the group they had blogs. By the end of the seminar many participants expressed a desire to join them in the blogosphere. Make them welcome won't you and tell them what you love about blogging and why they should jump in.

Long live blogging! 

PS Family History Month is just around the corner.  Anyone up for another blogging challenge? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, April 21, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - R is for References, Reviews and Rights

How many of us still have encyclopedias at home?  How many times have you used them lately?

There are all sorts of references available online now through your local library.  You don't need that encyclopedia taking up all that shelf space.  If you go online you will find all sorts of things there.  Membership of Moreton Bay Region Library Service gives you access to Brittanica Library and lots of databases through SLQ.  Do you want to see if that awful vase Aunt Dot left you is worth anything?  Check out Carter's Price Guide for Antiques.  See what's on offer here or check out your own local library.

Don't know whether to buy a book or not?  Plenty of family history magazines have book reviews as do family history blogs or social media sites for readers such as Goodreads. Have you read a good book lately?  Share it with us so we can all benefit.

Not sure where you stand with regards to using those old photos...or letters....?

It might be worth investing in the Australian Copyright Council's publications e.g. Historians and Copyright or Writers and Copyright or Websites and Social Media.  

There are some information sheets here.

Right on.  Sorry couldn't resist.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - Q is for quotations and QFHS

I have spoken before about citations and mentioned a couple of books to help you with this in your work.  If you wish to quote somebody else's work in your own you will need a tool to keep track of all your quotations.

There are some tools which are freely available in case you don't wish to invest in citation software.  The Moreton Bay Region Library service (and I am sure many others) provides a link on its website to citation, bibliography and reference builders here. Just scroll to the bottom of the page to find them or you can see them on the links below:


Citation builder

Harvard Style Reference Generator

Reference Machine

Give me the letter Q and I am always going to promote the QFHS - my family history society.  

Did you know that you can search the Society's library catalogue online?

If you ever visit the library in person you will need to understand its cataloguing system which is borrowed from the one designed for SAG.  The guide to the system is here.

And here's a tip.  You may know that QFHS has a long-gunning project to index pupils in Queensland schools.  There are 6 CDs containing the names of 2,400,000 pupils in over 1200 schools.  Maybe you know which school your ancestors went to e.g. Kingaroy.  Which CD would that school be on?  Have a look at the index here.

If you are a member you can access electronic journal subscriptions online...this fortnight for example the latest issues of the Canberra HAGSOC's journal, The Cockney ancestor, Hurstville Genealogist, Orkney SIB Folk news, Sakatchewan Bulletin and West Wyalong Mallee Stump were added to the collection.  Last fortnight the Caboolture FHS Hindsight, Gladstone FHS Timeline, Ormskirk District FHS Family Historian, RHSQ Bulletin and the Sunshine Coast Kin Tracer were added.  It's not just Australian society journals....we're talking all over the world.

It's wonderful really isn't it?  Just amazing. One subscription gets you all these. I love my Society.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - P is for Periodicals, Podcasts, Preserving and Publishing

You could say that I have covered Periodicals already under J for journals.

However, while I've been compiling these posts, I have also been walking the dog every morning and listening to some Podcasts.

What podcasts do I listen to?  Anything and everything really but you might be interested in the following genealogy podcasts....

Genealogy Guys

Genies Down Under

Genealogy Gems

The National Archives

Anyways, I was listening to the Genealogy Guys and I kept hearing them mention the PERSI Index on Find My Past.  It's amazing what you don't know about tools that you use on a regular basis.  So I will mention it now for what it is worth.  You can access the PERSI index on Find My Past!!!  You can search it here. You can read about what it is here on the lovely Family Search wiki.

If you have invested in resources for your genealogy library be they books, CDs, certificates...whatever you are probably interested in Preserving them or at least looking after them for posterity.

State Library of Queensland's website has some easy to read guides here. Whether you want to know how to choose shelving, handle books, preserve your digital content or deal with an emergency, there's a guide to help you.

Library of Congress has the most beautiful bookmarks to remind you how to preserve your family treasures here.

I have, of course, invested in some books as well.  I think I have already mentioned Shauna Hicks Your Family History Archives.  And I also have a copy of Stopping the rot: a handbook of preventive conservation for local studies collections by Helen Price.

This could as easily come under W for Writing but I think it is worth mentioning that at some stage you might also be interested in writing and publishing your own family history. Whether you choose to self-publish online through a blog or in a hard copy there are many publications to help you.  We've probably all got some books on writing/publishing on our shelves.  I have Peter Donovan's - So, You Want to Write History ? and Joanna Beaumont's How to Write and Publish your Family history.  Noeline Kyle is also very popular in this area. I have recently invested in Blogging for Dummies, just to make sure I've got the basics covered and I am very impressed with Ros Petelin's How Writing works: a field guide to effective writing which I think I am going to have to purchase.

Have you any pronouncements or pearls of wisdom you would like to share with the family history community in this regard ?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - O is for Organizing, Oral History and Online Catalogues

Oh my goodness.  Here we are...the difficult bit.  No, not really.

You want to arrange your collection so that it looks more professional and things are easier to find. 

It's much easier to do so than it used to be with an online service like Librarything. 

First of all decide how are you going to organize your library.

Dewey Decimal?

Library of Congress?

Librarything can sort your books for you according to LCC or Dewey. You can also tag your books in Librarything according to whatever description you want to give them.  You can give them lots of tags, not just one.

If you wanted to arrange your books as per the Society of Australian Genealogists or QFHS classification scheme then that might take a bit more time.  You would need to add the call number as a separate field of information but would then still be able to sort it by that column once you had exported it as an XML file.

Some people have left comments on this blog recommending Calibre for an electronic collection.  I haven't got my head around Calibre yet but I thank them for sharing this with us.  Don't forget when you don't know how to do something, there will always be a YouTube video somewhere to help!

Why don't use tinycat and make your collection searchable online?  That way you won't have to worry about buying duplicates.  Read more about it here.

Most importantly you should organise to interview elderly relatives as soon as possible.  You will need to be organised when you do this and there are many great publications to help you in this task.  

I have a book called Once Upon a Memory: Your Family Tales and Treasures by Jean Alessi....but there are hundreds of sites online to guide you through the process with suggested questions.  Oral History Australia's website is here.

O what a beautiful morning! O what a beautiful day! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

#AtoZChallenge N is for NLA, Nonbooks, Num and Newspapers

Libraries aren't just about books, librarians are fond of saying.  I remember being shocked when I first saw my children's school library and it was full of computers.  It wasn't even called a library - it was called a Resource Centre. 

But it was run by a fantastic librarian with an unpronouncable name and boy did my kids learn about technology. By Grade 3 they were creating PowerPoint presentations.  I was amazed.  This was obviously well before I was a librarian.  I was a library lover but I didn't know much about what went into libraries or how access to information was managed.  

By now you're probably beginning to appreciate that you won't be able to have everything you want in your own personal genealogy library (nor would you want to)....there just isn't enough room.  But it is possible to gain access to the vast resources of other libraries to complement your own collection.

So I have highlighted the National Library of Australia to remind you about access to its e-Resources.  Most people think of Trove when they think of the NLA but it is so much more than Newspapers (although I can't imagine life without Trove now can you?).  

If you haven't got a library card yet for the NLA you need to get hopping. You can sign up for one here.


You can tell I was desperate using this word can't you?  I confess I've been using a dictionary of library terms to help me with this  A to Z challenge and this one stuck out. 

We've already spoken about maps and images but don't forget all the other things that could conceivably be in your genealogy library - CDs, slides, movies, audio recordings, pamphlets, files.  

I have CDs such as Extracts from Portsmouth Records 1891 and Queensland Passports Index 1915-25, not to mention the giveaway CDs that come with magazines.

Gould Genealogy offers a whole bunch of resources through Archive Digital Books Australasia and gen-ebooks often at quite substantial discounts in comparison to the hard copy e.g. to purchase Shauna Hicks Your Family History Archives book is only $3.95 in the soft copy or on PDF but $8.25 in hard copy.  So you're saving money as well as saving space.

I will talk about the preservation of items like these in a future post but you do need to start cataloguing or recording and/or digitizing what you have so when you down-size or that wretched bus comes around the corner, your family know what's what.

Num (Cora)

I hope you aren't going numb with boredom.  We're more than half way through this challenge and we're on the downhill run.  

When I first started making notes about what I could use for each letter, I thought about authors or authorities in the family history area that I should mention.  Cora Num came to mind.  I have a few of her publications:

eRecords for Family History

Irish research on the internet


Internet Family History

I was lucky enough to see Cora Num speak at the 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Canberra - albeit virtually.  You can read my summing up of her sessions on this post.

Her books on shipping and migration are on my wish-list.

If you haven't visited her wonderful gateway website, hop to it now.

Why don't you start with her Newspaper gateway?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - M is for Microform, Maps, Military and Mylar

I'm probably going a bit overboard here but's my blog, I can do what I like yes? So first up some demystification of some library terminology.


This term covers microfiche and microfilm.  

I'm always amazed when people don't know what microfiche is.  But then I am getting on a bit and technology has raced ahead so why am I surprised?  

Microfiche look a bit like transparent bits of blue pastic with tiny tiny writing on them.  They are about 4 x 6 inches and often come in nice paper pockets to protect them.  

They look like this

Liseuse de microfiches Micron 355
image from Frederic Bisson on Flicker Liseuse de microfiches Micron 355

Here are the readers at QFHS - my family history society.

It's a great way of getting a lot of information into a small space. To read the microfiche you pop them in a microfiche reader which - wait for it - has a magnifying lens so that you can enlarge the images (often indexes in family history) to read them.

Microfilm is pretty much the same, except it is on a reel usually in a nice little box sitting on a shelf or in a filing cabinet drawer.  You look at it on a microfilm reader after you've loader the film as in this photo.  

How I Spend Free Time
from Dale Winling - How I spend free time on flicker

I spent a lot of my youth at Mitchell Library scouring newspapers like this before Trove came along.  Now I search all sorts of stuff on microfilm at archives e.g. wills and land records.  Here is an example of a land record for one of my husband's ancestors that I took with my phone camera.

It is unlikely that you would have microfiche or microfilm at home but I thought I would mention them in case you are starting out and read about them or see them in a research facility but don't know what the heck they are.  


Over the years I have bought a couple of maps when I have been trying to get a handle on where my ancestors lived.  Gould Genealogy has been my supplier but I am keen to hear where else family historians purchase maps.  Of course The Australian War Memorial has some good ones of battlefields et al.  


Speaking of war, maybe your ancestor served in one of the forces: army, navy or airforce. It can be difficult to get you head around all the military speak, the organisation of forces and how to go about looking for records and where they might be kept.

I have the following volumes in my library but hanker for more:

How to trace your military ancestors in Australia and New Zealand by R H Montague

Tracing Your Naval Ancestors by Simon Fowler

That elusive digger: tracing your military ancestor Neil C Smith

AIF Unit Histories of the Great War of 1914-1918 Ron Austin

Beautiful books to look at are published by Osprey which have great illustrations of uniforms and regalia e.g. Anzac Infantrymen

Digging for Diggers by Gareme Hosken is a great resource and I can't recommend it highly enough. That and Understanding Australian military speak  by Neil C Smith are on my wishlist.

Of course if you are researching WWI ancestors you should read CEW Bean's official history of WWI.

This has been a very Australian focused list.  It would be remiss of me if I didn't mention Pen & Sword Publishing which publish a phenomenal amount on military.


If you wish to protect your maps and or other keepsakes from fingerprints, dust, creepy crawlies et al, then you probably want to invest in some Mylar.  I first heard about Mylar when I joined Libraryland.  I had to keep asking the name of it because I kept really this is more of an aide-memoir for me tee hee might be interested in it too.  Mylar is actually the name of the brand rather than the product (a bit like biro or kleenex).  It is in fact plastic polyethylene terephthalate..yeah...easier to remember Mylar I think.  If you want to see what it looks like go to this website here.

Right - that's More than enough from Me. Over to you.

Sepia Saturday 363: 15 April 2017

Today I'm taking a quick break from the #AtoZChallenge to participate in good old Sepia Saturday. Yes I know it's Sunday here in Orstralia but in some parts of the world, it is still Saturday soon as I saw this picture I knew which one from my collection I wanted to use.  Here it is...

Flat at Summer Hill in Nowranie Street

It's a bit of a crappy old dirty picture isn't it?  But there's some writing on the back which I think must be my mother's writing....except for the bit in darker ink down the bottom which is mine.


This ain't no master-piece but its not bad, considering, is it?  I mean, I didn't have the proper equipment. I vos very surprised and pleased.  Doesn't the chair look good?  Looks like a ????  I had it on about 20 books to get the height.  Dad would have corpsed.

And then my words are Flat at Summer Hill (Arthur Mee's).  I think my words were written maybe 20 years ago after my mother died.  I was showing some photos to my godmother and asking her where this was taken.

If anyone can interpret that word which looks like Janui to me, I'd be very grateful.

What's weird is I don't ever remember my mother saying "corpsed".  My grandfather would have been cross about her putting a chair on top of his precious books.

Here he is reading a book...another crap...but

Tom McLoughlin doing what he loved best

Here's a picture of 5 Nowranie Street taken by Google in September 2016.  I wonder how long those flats will stay there.

Friday, April 14, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - L is for Local Histories, Library of Congress and Librarything

Part of the joy of being a family historian (as opposed to a genealogist) is that you have a broader view of your ancestry.  You look at them in the context of the place and time they lived.  

Local history is very important to family historians and some even go to the extent of creating one place studies e.g. the lovely Pauleen Cass who has set up one for Dorfprotzelten in Bavaria and East Clare in Ireland.  What a great idea.

Many family historians have spoken of the joy they have felt being able to visit the land of their ancestors.  As part of a short course recently delivered through the University of Tasmania, I completed an exercise in mapping my ancestor's land in a crafty kind of way.  It was a great exercise and you can read about it here if you like.  I haven't been able to visit Taemas yet but I feel like I know the place better now for having studied newspaper articles, joined the local history society and read local histories.

My family history library contains a few Local Histories - particularly about Portsmouth where my Conners come from and Bannockburn where the Forfars come from.  I also have some of the Our Heritage in Focus series that was published by the State Library of Queensland Foundation in the 1990s - Brisbane's Inner City, Brisbane's Western suburbs and the Gold Coast.  Their usefulness has probably been taken over by the fabulous Picture Queensland website now but I still enjoy flicking through them. A similarly devastating series that I haven't been able to resist is the Kingsclear Books which profile the suburbs of Sydney generally but also have pictorial histories of regional areas such as Canberra, the Southern Highlands and the Blue Mountains.  

Rural Pennsylvania / Katherine Milhous.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Library of Congress

I thought I would just flag the Library of Congress again as a resource for someone trying to build a family history library or looking for advice.  The library has more than 50,000 genealogies and 100,000 local histories according to their website.  It also, of course, provides an organisational system or classification system for libraries.  It is, in fact, another A to Z!  You may have come across it in an academic library or want to use the system for your own library.  There's a cheat sheet here on Wikipedia.   Genealogy comes under CS in the LCC classification system. Australian History comes under Oceania or DU.  Local History of the US, British, Dutch, French and Latin America comes under F.  Here's another cheat sheet on Wikipedia that gives you the numbers depending on which state, province or country you are seeking. Why don't you browse their profile page on local history and genealogy? There are a host of Bibliographies and Guides. American Memory is a digital library program which endeavours to digitize American history collections. Don't forget to read the FAQs.


I can't quite remember how I ever discovered Librarything.  I think it may have been a link from my local library's website or my lovely friend Loani who might have sent me a link saying "You like books.  You might like this." Yes, I'm a member of Goodreads too but Librarything will always be my first love. I am nowhere near finished adding my husband's and my collection to it but it is a wonderful tool and I commend it to you.  

As you add books to your collection on Libraryting you will build up statistics and memes which are quite useful.  For example, if we ever have to move, I can tell you that, of the books I have recorded, we have 109.7 cubic feet or 3.11 cubic meters and that I would need 120 U-Haul boxes.  Our books weigh 1.476 kilos or 168 adult badgers.  If I wanted to buy some bookcases to house them, well I would need 27.59 IKEA Billy bookcases.  See!  I told you it was a great site.

I joined in September 2008 and record all my purchases/gifts here.  When I joined I was a bit new to the notion of avatars and the like so my user name is super easy to find - alexdaw.  Can't get much simpler than that.  If you want to follow my most recent reads, you're better off following me on Goodreads but Librarything is where I record my collection. You don't need to be a librarian to use it.  You just click the button "Add books" and depending on the sources that you use e.g. Library of Congress, British Library, National Library of Australia, it will pull the catalogue record information from that source and supply that information for your record.  Great huh?

I use Librarything when I am out and about to make sure I am not doubling up on books in my collection.  I use it as a tool at work when people ask me tricky questions about interminable series - e.g. is the 24th book in the vague vampires series? Librarything introduced me to the notion of tagging.  I have made many virtual friends on Librarything e.g. Virago Modern Classics .  It's just a community of people who love books. I hope you like it as much as I do.

It's National Library week in the US and the folk on Librarything have written about their favourite libraries on their blog here.  What is your favourite library and why?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - K is for Keepsakes

Chances are, if you are a family historian, you might also be a bit of a hoarder.  The first tooth, the first shoes, jewelry, retirement gifts, christening gowns, communion certificates, ration books, tapestries and home movies.  You name it. I've got it.

Have I mentioned I live in a sub-tropical climate?  

Being the keeper of family stories, I know that my aunt's home went up in flames in the early 60s and that my parents lost many of their wedding gifts.  They were living overseas at the time and much of their stuff was "in storage" at Hazel's place.  Australia is famous for its fires....and its floods.  Post-tropical cyclone Debbie made a bit of an impact on the Queensland coast recently in case you missed the news.  

How do we protect our keepsakes and preserve them for future generations?  

Shauna Hicks recently published for the Unlock the Past series a booklet called Your Family History Archives: a brief introduction. You might just want to check it out.

If you can't get hold of the book, the Library of Congress has some wonderful advice here under their Preservation FAQs section. And look at this marvellous list of links from Harvard Uni.  And of course our very own National Archives of Australia also have a page about Looking After Your Family Archive.

Remember! Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. 

I'd better take my own advice and do a bit of preservation and digitization over the Easter weekend. 

How about you?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - J is for Journals

Journals.  I have a few.  And I am always running out of magazine boxes in which to store them.  I have all my copies of the Queensland Family Historian which is my Society's journal.  The Society is encouraging its members to switch to an e-version to better use funds for resources and equipment replacement. I haven't done that yet.  Can I make the leap?

I have also indulged in purchases of various magazines ranging from Who Do You Think You Are?  and History Today to Family Tree Magazine and the very beautiful but shortly to become defunct Inside History.   The Australian War Memorial puts out a good quarterly publication called Wartime.  And of course Australian Family Tree Connections.  Not to mention the magazines of any other societies of which I am a member.  Yass and District Historical Society Inc publishes Boongaroon and the Central Scotland Family History Society has its own Newsletter.

There are perhaps too many good magazines.  

I watched a Legacy webinar recently (50 websites every genealogist should know by Gena Philbert-Ortega and got "sucked-in" as we like to say in Australia to buying yet another magazine called Discover your Ancestors.  This is a really beautiful glossy publication which comes out once a year. Perhaps that's the sort of frequency I can handle. It has articles by Jayne Shrimpton, Chris Paton and Ruth A Symes to name a few highly regarded authorities.  It came with what seems to be the obligatory DVD on the front containing free software and collections and a temporary subscription to The Genealogist. Not to be sneezed at to be sure. But do I have the time to even load it in my machine and check out all the offers?

To the publishers credit there is an index at the back of the magazine which groups over 550 articles under subject headings for your reference e.g. DNA, Research Resources, Photography, Names, Military, Occupations, Costume, Countries, Religion, Education.  Now that's really useful.

Do I ever refer to these journals?  Not really.  I suspect they are dust gatherers and I would be better off giving them the big heave-ho. Does anyone else suffer from a similar malaise?

Is it a case of poor time management, short attention spans or are we getting our information in a different way these days?

I shall be covering this later in the alphabet under W for Weeding and Wondering.

What do you think?  Are journals worth keeping?  Do you refer to them in your research?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - I is for Images

Images.  They are so important to family history and half my fun on this blog at least is trying to decipher old family photos.  Of course I need to look after them too.  I fear I am not doing a good job of this at the moment but will be vastly aided by having recently won a beautiful Albox Archival Album.  Thank you Gould Genealogy and History.  But I digress.

Books that have helped me enormously in the deciphering and curation of family photos are:

Dating Family Photos 1850-1920 by Lenore Frost - published in Victoria in 1991 the first part of the books looks at dating by type of photo and the second part dating by costume with sections broken into men, women, children, weddings, riding habits, working clothes and mourning clothes.  There is an excellent glossary (what is a paletot?) and bibliography.  This book is out of print now but you may be able to pick up a 2nd hand copy somewhere.

The Mechanical Eye - A History of Australian Photography by Con Tanre - gives a history of photography generally and Australia specifically as well as providing a valuable list of Australian photographic studios from 1842-1860 and Photographic Studios in Sydney from 1860-1900. Also out of print but maybe available 2nd hand.

Where can you find images to make your blog more appealing?

The Met Museum

NYPL Digital Collections

Picture Queensland


Photographer Henry William Mobsby, Barcaldine, ca. 1905
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland 

Want to get a feel of what life was like in old London?  Visit Collage or Spitalfields Life.

Don't know your Daguerrotype from your Collodion...check out the George Eastman Photographic Processes series on YouTube here.

Need help digitizing, editing, organizing and sharing your family images ?  You'd be hard-pressed to go past Geoffrey D. Rasmussen's Digital Imaging Essentials: Techniques and Tips for Genealogists and Family Historians.

I have read many of Jayne Shrimpton's articles in Family History magazines over the years and just borrowed her book from the new swanky Chermside Library today....Tracing Your Ancestors through Family Photographs: A Complete Guide for Family and Local Historians. It's going straight on my birthday/Xmas wish list.  What a beautiful book.

Looking for something more local and more abbreviated?  Graham Jaunay"s Solving riddles in 19th century albums might be just the ticket. Jaunay covers all you need to know about conservation and preservation, the history of photography and dating photographs as well as dress. There are plenty of images, examples and tables to help you identify types of photographs and date costumes.

I must acknowledge the enormous camaraderie and support that I receive from fellow contributors to Sepia Saturday - a blogging meme which encourages bloggers to post photographs from their archives on a weekly basis to match a meme.  Fellow bloggers have informed me about all sorts of websites and resources which have informed my analysis of family photos and helped make my blog more meaningful, attractive and informed.

Do you use images in your blog? What are your sources? 

Monday, April 10, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - H is for Handbooks, Handwriting, Historical Fiction and Hathi Trust Digital Library

We all have our favourite handbooks I am sure when it comes to genealogy and family history.  Whilst some of the information may be out of date (organisations change their names, physical street addresses and URL addresses) I still refer to Nick Vine-Hall's Tracing Your Family History in Australia because it is set out so logically: state by state, then subjects e.g. immigration, religion and then location of records and record types and then territories.  What a godsend that book has been.

On a different topic, to be sure, but similar in its lovely logical layout is Tracing Your Irish Ancestors by John Grenham.

Have you got a favourite handbook?  

Handwriting - when I first started out in this hobby I quickly became aware that I would need to learn a thing or two about Reading old handwriting.  Eve McLaughlin's little guide is full of great information and tips and images to set you on the right path. Eve is the Secretary and Editor of the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.  I don't know what I would have done without her lovely little guides over the years.  They are usually slim little volumes (this one is 20 pages) but it comes with a Bibliography and chatty observations of interest probably only to family historians e.g. 

"The problem capitals are S and L which look remarkably similar, causing readers to claim a Lawyer as ancestor when he was a Sawyer" (p.3)

Of course nowadays there are fabulous online tutorials to guide you as well such as this TNA palaeography tutorial here.

Addendum: and this great link  via Crissouli's blog today.

Historical Fiction - sometimes we need a break from all the facts and want to let our mind wander and imagine what it might have been like for our ancestors.  What better way than some historical fiction.  Looking for your next great historical fiction read?  With your library card you can access some great databases to help you find your next book. The library service I work for has a page here with some suggested resources.  Books and Authors is a great database where you can search by genre and then historical era e.g. Regency or War of 1812.  Daniel S Burt has written a great article on this site about historical fiction which is worth reading.  At the end of the article, Daniel recommends some great reference guides for historical fiction and some great websites such as the Historical Novel Society and Of Ages Past .  Who else writes like?  is another great database.

Hathi Trust Digital Library 

This is a partnership of research libraries from around the world including such institutions as the New York Public Library, Library of Congress, Princeton University, Standford University and University of Queensland offering a collection of digitized titles.  You can search the collection here either by full text or catalogue.  You can search user-created collections and yes, there is one created by sarokin called Ancestry and Genealogy.  It was last updated in 2011 so I'm thinking you would find many more additional titles to the 2760 that sarokin found. You can find a user's guide to the Hathi Trust Digital Library here.

Hallelujah!  That's H done.  Hit me with your handy hints for setting up a terrific genealogy library.