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.

Full details of the event and program can be found here.

Congress Newbies

At this Congress there was a large contingent of around 300 people who had not attended a Congress before.  We had the pleasure of having our hand held by a wonderful lady Jill Ball, who looked after us, and made sure that we got the most out of this experience.  Jill was on hand to help us with any questions we had, and introducing people to each other so no-one got left out.

On Friday night, at the end of a long tiring first day, we had a get-together of first timers, in a noisy food court just next door to the Sydney International Convention Centre where the Congress was held.

During the time there I was interviewed by Jill.

Thank you Jill for helping me have a most enjoyable experience at Congress.

(Jill’s blog is )

The 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry

From Friday March 9 to Monday March 12, I was fortunate to be able to attend the The 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, which was held in Sydney, Australia.

The Congress was organised by the Society of Australian Genealogists in conjunction with AFFHO – the Australian Federation of Family History Societies, and is held every three years in different cities.

Attendance was capped at 600, so it was not a large conference on the scale of overseas conferences such as Rootstech, or the now defunct Who Do You Think You Are Live show.

Australia does not have the population to support large shows like those held internationally, and consequently there are not the funds available to stage large scale conferences.

I have not attended any of the previous shows here in Australia, so I cannot make any comparisons.  However, I have attended Rootstech in Salt Lake City in the United States, and that is something else again.  It is gigantic!

SAG are to be commended on their hard work and limited funds for their efforts.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Congress, along with everyone else that I spoke to over the four days.  I did not hear one complaint at all.

There was something for everyone this year, and with three or four presentations in each time slot, it was very difficult to make choices as to which one to go to.  Often I was torn between two presentations I really wanted to see.

The range of speakers was superb and, along with a number of Australians, we also had some super stars from overseas including Paul Blake from the UK, and Paul Milner, Judy Russell (aka The Legal Genealogist), and Lisa Louise Cooke (Genealogy Gems) from the US.

All in all, it was an excellent Congress, and I am sure no-one went home emptied handed.  We all learnt lots of new things that will enable us to progress our research.

Welcome to my blog

I have been researching my family history for the last 36 years, and have managed to go back to the 1700’s in a couple of my family lines.  However, as my family were not gentry or related to royalty – that I know of at this point in time – it is unlikely I will get much further back.

In this blog I will share some of my adventures along the way with my research and provide other genealogical insights and items of interest.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.