Exploring family & local history – Melbourne 2018

On the 19th and 20th of April, I attended this event which was organised by Unlock the Past, aka Gould Genealogy from Adelaide.  It is one of a series they are hosting around Australia this year.

Quite an interesting two days.  My main reason for going was three sessions on German genealogy given by Eric Kopittke.  I gained some really good insights from these sessions, and now have renewed enthusiasm to get back to researching my German ancestors on my maternal grandfather’s side of the family.  It is one area of my research I kept putting to one side as all too hard.

Eric’s wife Rosemary was also one of the presenters, and she gave some interesting sessions.  One was on using the online newspaper sites, such as Trove and the British Newspaper Library, to flesh out the stories of our ancestors.  Another session reminded us that we should be looking beyond just indexes, and going back to source records to find the true stories.  This is particularly important given that the online transcriptions of records can be riddled with errors.  She entertained us with a story about the “Forward” family, in particular “Carried” and “Brought.” Transcribers had taken the comments “brought forward” and “carried forward” at the top and bottom of census enumerators returns as another family!!  Who said family history couldn’t be fun?

Remaining sessions included a couple on researching our military ancestors in WW1 and WW2, and others on midwives and nurses, convict ancestors in Victoria, Freemasons, and DNA third party tools like Gedmatch etc.

A varied program and something to suit everyone.  Like all conferences and seminars there seem to be sessions on things that you feel you will have no interest in, but in the end, they all turn out to be quite fascinating.  No knowledge is ever wasted.  One day something will come up, and we will remember what we have learnt to help us move forward.

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