Unlock the Past Cruise Speaker Profile: Lesley Silvester

Lesley Silvester TimeTrackers-aFor Lesley genealogy started (as it does with most of us), as a hobby. But it didn’t take long until the fascination grew, and she made it into her business. Now Lesley runs Time Trackers with her husband Mike Murray (who is also a guest presenter on the cruise – you can check out his profile here).

Lesley’s business offers far more than ”just research”. While that is the core of it, they also offer workshops, run short courses, can produce your family tree as a chart, write, edit and publish your family’s history, produce scrapbooks, create documentary videos of your family’s history and more.

With expertise in both Australian research and the UK, Lesley will be able to give you some hints for your own research if you’re stuck.

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NAME:  Dr Lesley Silvester
HOMETOWN/COUNTRY: Perth, Western Australia
DAYTIME JOB: Genealogist/historian

Q1. Think back to your childhood … now what is your favourite memory from that time?
Fishing on Sunday mornings with my father in the canal behind our house in London. Family Christmas get togethers in London.

Q2. There’s always ‘something’ that sparks an interest in genealogy/history? What was it that sparked your interest?
My husband Mike’s mother died suddenly and he and his siblings realised she was the one who knew everything but now she was gone. He decided to find out about his family and I went along for the ride, started researching my family and became ‘hooked’!

Q3. How old were you when you developed an interest in this hobby?
40

Q4. What countries across this big wide world did your ancestors come from?
England, Wales and Scotland

Q5. Is genealogy/history your main job?
Yes

Q6. Do you have a genealogy mentor or idol? Someone who has deeply influenced you in your research along the way?
When I started there was no internet and I relied on books and journals to find out what to do. An influential book was The Family Tree Detective by Colin Rogers and I couldn’t wait each month to receive my Family Tree magazine.

Q7. We all know that you family history can reveal some amazing things. Have any of your discoveries resulted in a life-changing experience?
Not really, but that is not the point of family history. Every one of my ancestors is important to me, whether they are rich or poor, whatever they have done.

Q8. What do you find most challenging about research?
Knowing when to stop!

Q9. If you had a time-machine what relative (past, present or future) would you most like to meet?
I find that difficult to choose. Possibly Caroline Amelia Paske, my GG grandmother on my father’s side. She travelled from Wales to become a servant in London around 1870. I would love to ask her what that would have been like…how did she travel? why? was it an exciting thing to do, or  something that had to be done to survive?

Q10. Still using that time machine, you’ve been propelled into the future five years, what do you see yourself doing?
The same as today.

Q11. What value do you think social media plays in genealogy these days?
It certainly helps to find connections much more quickly than in the past but I am not sure of the value of these connections, they often seems to be ephemeral. I do not use social media myself, I am yet to be convinced that it would be useful to me.

Q12. What do you do when you aren’t doing genealogy or history?
Music. Singing and playing with my husband Mike Murray.

Q13. What do you hope to get out of a genealogy cruise?
Meeting other family historians and exchanging knowledge. Although I work as a professional genealogist, there is always something new to learn.

Q14. Share with us a few (up to five) of the genealogy websites that you tend to spend the most time on?
www.ancestry.com
www.familysearch.org
www.findmypast.com
www.wags.org.au
http://trove.nla.gov.au

Q15. Do you have any wise words for those just starting out in genealogy?
Firstly, it becomes an obsession! Secondly, be sure to source everything you find and not to accept information that is not sourced. Thirdly, whenever possible (preferably always) use original documents instead of transcriptions.

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For those of you who are going on the 4th cruise, here is a list of topics that Lesley is expected to be speaking on, based on the Preliminary Program:
– Finding the poor in 17th century England
– Strangers on the shore: songs and stories from Western Australia’s dramatic maritime past

BE SURE TO CHECKOUT  LESLEY’S WEBSITE:
www.timetrackers.com.au

AND LESLEY’S SAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA …
I may be oldfashioned, but I find social media too trivial. I don’t have the time or inclination. I would be happy for someone to point out a good enough reason that I should be using social media but so far I haven’t been convinced. Maybe on the cruise someone could try to persuade me!

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