Genealogy & History News Genealogy and history news and product announcements for Australians Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:50:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms (2nd Edition) Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:42:24 +0000 UTP0181aDEATH CERTIFICATES AND ARCHAIC MEDICAL TERMS (2nd Edition)
Helen V. Smith
Year: 2015
Item Code: UTP0181

Printed Book: paperback, 64 pages, AU$15.00 more information
Ebook: download, $9.95 more information

The book is also available from the following overseas resellers:
My History (England)
Maia’s Books (USA)
Global Genealogy (Canada)

Family historians ‘love’ certificates, including birth, marriage and death certificates. But sometimes they create more questions than answers.

Well-known Australian genealogy researcher, speaker and author, Helen V. Smith ‘knows’ certificates, and she knows how important the death certificates are for family historians both to ‘kill off’ our ancestors as well as helping to determine their cause of death. This is especially so for people who are interested in establishing their medical genealogy (or health history). But how many times you have had to wonder if the cause of death is in a foreign language, (and not because of the handwriting)?

‘Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms’ examines the history and evolution of death certificates. When did they start? What is on them? What were the legal requirements? What does it mean when a death is certified? Why aren’t all deaths certified?

This guide book, which is now in its 2nd edition, gives meanings to archaic terms found on death certificates such as cachexia, breakbone fever, byssinosis, coeliac passion, dipsomania, inanition and Potter’s Rot together with hundreds more.

For more of a “taster” of this book, be sure to check Helen’s post at her blog From Helen V Smith’s Keyboard where she lists 100 or so archaic medical terms. Why not test yourself, and see how many you’ve actually heard of.

1. Evolution of death certificates
– England
– Australia
– United States of America
2. Getting the most out of the death certificate or ‘buyer beware’
3. Access to death indexes and/or certificates
– Australia
– England and Wales
4. Occupational causes of death
5. Classifications of causes of death
6. Further avenues of research
– Newspapers
– Probate files
– Internet Archive
– Certificate Exchange
– Online websites
7. Glossary of Some Archaic Medical Terms

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Applications for South Australian History Grants 2015 Are Now Open Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:51:43 +0000 logo - SA Community HistoryHistory SA’s annual South Australian History Fund (SAHF) grant round has just opened.

If you or your group need some funds for your history-related project, why not apply for a grant?

History SA invites applications from:
– community groups for small project grants up to $2,000
– individuals and organisations for publication up to $3,000
– individuals and organisations for research grants up to $5,000
Applications close Monday 17 August 2015.

In addition, there are two special categories for this year:
– grants for training in historical skills or collections management, up to $200
– bursaries to attend the State History Conference in Robe 23-25 October 2015 (equivalent of a single registration fee)
For these, applications close Wednesday 29 July 2015.

Got queries?
If you have any questions regarding potential applications, or need to check your eligibility to apply or have the application forms sent to you either by post or electronically, you can call History SA on (08) 8203 9888 or email them at

To apply
– you can download the South Australian History Grant guidelines here
– and the applications for can be downloaded from here

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Millions of Criminal, Convict and Black Sheep Records Go Online Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:43:59 +0000 convict criminal line up

Call them criminals, convicts, black sheep or even “Australian Royalty” – having a criminal or convict in the family is exciting news for a researcher or genealogist. It adds a touch of excitement to the family, as well giving you some interesting stories.

Recently Findmypast uploaded almost 2 million criminal and convict records online for the first time. These records have been digitised in association with UKs National Archives, and this makes Findmypast’s collection is now the biggest online collection of criminal and crime records online, with a total of almost 3 million of them.

The records cover the period 1779-1936, with many revealing ordinary and extraordinary stories of criminals, victims and law enforcers from the criminal history books. The records include mugshots and coloured images of historical records, as well as detailed accounts of Victorian serial killers, notorious executioners, and the only assassination of a British Prime Minister.

Australian Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867
Containing nearly 27,000 records, the Australia Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867 list the details of convicts pardoned by the governor of New South Wales and date back to the earliest days of the colony. Pardons were generally handed out to convicts serving life sentences but in the earliest years of the colony the Governor had the power to grant both free and conditional pardons as rewards for good behaviour, for special skills or for carrying out special duties or tasks. Each record contains a transcript and an image of original documents. As well as listing the names of pardoned convicts, the records also include the name of the ship they arrived on, the term of the sentence they served, any additional notes, and details of their release.

New South Wales Registers of Convicts’ Applications to Marry 1825-1851
The collection of New South Wales Registers of Convicts’ Applications to Marry 1825-1851 contains over 26,000 records. Convicts in Australian penal colonies were actually encouraged to marry as Governors believed that marriage and family life were good for both morality and stability. Convicts who did obtain the Governor’s permission to marry could apply for tickets of leave or pardons as well as assistance in establishing a household. In the early years of the colonies, many convicts married even if they had wives or husbands back home. Each record contains a transcript as well as an image of the original document. Registers list the convict’s name, the name of their spouse, their profession and the length of their sentence as well as the sip they arrived on and when they were given their freedom.

FMP - Criminal Records #6

Australian Convict Ships 1786-1849
Containing over 188,000 records, Australia Convict ships 1786-1849 dates back the ships of First Fleet and include the details of some of the earliest convict settlers in New South Wales. The records are made up of five separate sets of musters and indents held by the State Records Authority of New South Wales. Indents records were used in the early settlements to keep track of the convict population while musters lists of who was on board a ship were taken at the port of embarkation. Each record contains a transcript and a black and white image of original documents. Indents can include a variety of information about individual convicts such as their native place, details of their offence and sentence, a physical description and details of their family members. Musters usually only give a name, date and place of trial and sentence. Musters were also taken after disembarkation.

Victorian Prison Registers 1855-1948
Over 7,000 records have been added to their collection of Victoria Prison Registers 1855-1948. The new additions are taken from the Central Register of Female Prisoners, held by the Public Record Office Victoria. The register kept a record of prisoners that passed through Pentridge prison in Coburg, Victoria. Pentridge was built in 1850 and was the central prison in the Melbourne region from about 1860. Each record includes a transcripts and scanned image of the original registers and many include mugshot photographs of individual’s prisoners. They list fascinating details about not only the prisoners’ offences, sentences and incarceration, but also biographical information such as their name, date of birth, country of origin and occupation. Remarks on the register may also include the name of the ship on which the prisoner arrived if they were not born in Australia.


The records include records from criminal lunatic asylums, Central Criminal Court, prison registers and the Newgate Prison calendar among many others. The release marks the beginning of Findmypast’s Crime and Punishment month: four weeks of records, guides and stories to help you discover your family’s criminal history. Full details of the records just released, and throughout the rest of the month can be found at

So if you want to find out more about your criminal and convict ancestors, or simply want to find one – head on over to Findmypast and check them out.

These records are viewable if you subscribe to, or have a world subscription through, or

logo - FMP new

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Who Do You Think You Are? US Season 7 (2015) Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:31:32 +0000 logo - WDYTYA US #2 600

After finding out who was on the latest season of UK’s Who Do You Think You Are? program a few days ago, the last thing I expected to hear was that there is that season 7 of Who Do You Think You Are? US is due to start airing (in the US) in July 2015. Afterall, their Season 6 was only on TLC a few months ago.

Anyway, this popular genealogy tv series returns to US screens on TLC with all new episodes on Sunday, 26 July 2015.

The celebrities featured in this 7th  season include:
– Bryan Cranston (actor, Breaking Bad)
– Ginnifer Goodwin (actress, Once Upon a Time)
– Tom Bergeron (host, Dancing With the Stars)
– Alfre Woodard (film, stage, and television actress, producer, and political activist)
– J.K. Rowling (author)

I’m not sure if this is all the celebrities for Season 7, as for the past 6 seasons there’s been between 6-12. But that’s all they’ve announced to date.

WDYTYA US Season 7 group

L-R: Bryan Cranston, Ginnifer Goodwin, Tom Bergeron, Alfre Woodard

And as an extra, TLC will air “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” episode from the British version of the series as well.

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling

As usual, I would expect we’ll see these episodes aired here in Australia in time. And in the meantime we can watch episodes from earlier UK seasons on SBS.
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Ryerson Index Hits 5 Million Australian Death and Obituary Records Sat, 27 Jun 2015 02:00:36 +0000  

logo - Ryerson Index 2

Anyone who has been researching Australian records for a while will know about the Ryerson Index, and just how valuable it is. After all it is the most comprehensive index to death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers.

The Ryerson Index is an index of death notices appearing in current Australian newspapers, it also includes some funeral notices, probate notices and obituaries. What started as one person’s passion for collecting the death notices out the newspaper, has now grown to encompass death notices from 281 Australian newspapers, and currently has over 5 million entries online (actually 5,017,457 entries to be exact).

5 million Ryerson Index

5 million is a phenomenal effort. And while sadly Joyce Ryerson, the person who started it all, passed away in 2012, aged 95, however her legacy and Index well and truly live on. Each and every volunteer should be proud of their contribution in making this happen.

To give you a little background …  it all started in May 1999 with Joyce offering to give “some” Sydney Morning Herald death notices to the Sydney Dead Persons Society,  which she had saved so that they could index them. The “some” turned out to be an almost complete run from 1986 to 1999.

Although the Ryerson Index traditionally focussed on newspapers from New South Wales, it now covers much of Australia. A typical search will provide the last name, given name(s), type of notice (death notice, probate notice), date of death, age of person at death, newspaper, publication date and a reference to the town/city where the person last lived.

Today with the help of volunteers around the country, the Ryerson Index continues to grow, and has become a truly Australia-wide collection of death notices. Access is free. This is a great resource for anyone with Australian ancestors.

Is your local paper currently included in Ryerson Index? Check the coverage list on the website. If not, then why not take on the task of indexing the notices for the Index? Do you have access to a library or other repository which has microfilm copies of newspapers available? They are always always in need of people who can copy notices for us to index. They do prefer indexers who have access to the printed paper, as indexing from most websites can be unreliable.

To keep up to date with the latest happenings and uploads from the Ryerson Index team, you can follow them on Facebook.

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Old Letters Tell of Pioneering Life at Lake Macquarie Fri, 26 Jun 2015 07:25:27 +0000 Fennell LettersOld letters are a valuable resource for historical information. Afterall they were the way people communicated about life, love, and general happenings of the day – so there’s usually lots of details just waiting to be found the in them.

An exciting discovery has let to a valuable collection of historical letters that were written between various family members of the Fennell family who were early settlers in the Lake Macquarie region of New South Wales.

The following is an annoucement from the Lake Macquarie City Council Libraries about their new collection …

Earlier in June, Lake Macquarie City Council Libraries had the pleasure of making a valuable, and previously unpublished, historical resource available to the public – a series of 25 letters written between 1846 and 1874 by Richard Fennell, his wife Louisa, and his brother Nathaniel Thomas (Tom) Fennell.

The Fennell’s were early settlers of the western side of Lake Macquarie and gave their name to the suburb of Fennell Bay. The brothers, who pen the vast majority of the letters, were from Yorkshire, England and lived a relatively comfortable life, working in a family business, before making the journey to Australia for reasons unknown. Richard arrived in 1833 and his brother Tom followed 14 years later in 1847. They were both excellent writers and wrote many letters back home detailing life on the land.

From the early isolation of the lake, (“I am situated in a little nook of land jutting unto an inland lake connected with the main waters by a very narrow entrance, too shallow for any but flat bottomed boat to enter”), to the severe flooding which decimated NSW in 1867 (“You will see by the papers I have sent you that we have just experienced the most dreadful visitation of flood and hurricane ever known since the colony has been formed”), and the gold fever gripping the country in the late 1850s (“people of every grade … are leaving good situations and occupations in which they are doing well for an uncertainty, all leaving their wives and families to look for that gold [sic]”), the letters give voice to the struggles of early pioneers and were as essential to sustaining life in those formative years as food and water. As Richard so aptly puts it in one of his letters, “Like an Oasis in the Wilderness, Like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land was the sight of your much-loved handwriting to me [sic]”.

By great fortune, the letters were kept by the family back in Wakefield, Yorkshire for more than 125 years and only came to light in 1976 when Fos Strudwick, a descendent of Richard Fennell, made contact with one of his British relatives, Reggie Fennell. Much to Fos’ delight and amazement the letters were gifted to him. Fos and his wife Olive then worked on transcribing the letters, many of which were written in cross-hatched handwriting, a technique by which two separate sets of writing are included on the same page – one written over the other at right-angles. It is testament to the Strudwick’s tenacity that this was completed before the days of digitisation and computers, using only magnifying glasses to help decipher the written word.

A chance encounter with local resident and Fennell descendent Maree Bullock brought the letters to the attention of Lake Macquarie Libraries’ Community History staff, who were able to gain permission from the family to digitise and transcribe the correspondence and make it available to the public for the first time via the Lake Macquarie History Online website,

The language of the letters is very poetic and the sentiments expressed very heartfelt, making them an interesting read. We expect the resource to be of wide interest to researchers, as the Fennell’s lived in a number of Hunter Valley locations and the letters describe the landscape and conditions, giving an insight into the life of early settlers in Lake Macquarie and beyond.

Each letter has been scanned at high-res, so can be enlarged for viewing if required, and transcribed as well. Which wasn’t an easy task, when you look at the crosshatch writing. But by doing so they have not only ensured that this collection is preserved, but is also available to everyone by making it freely available for people to view on the Lake Macquarie Community History website for free.

You can VIEW THE LETTERS HERE (click on the tabs on the righthand side for the letters)

[many thanks to Angie from the Lake Macquarie City Council for details of this collection]

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Who Do You Think You Are? UK Season 12 (2015) Tue, 23 Jun 2015 11:25:55 +0000 WDYTYA UK logo

The world’s most popular genealogy tv program, Who Do You Think You Are? (the UK version) is back for a 12th season in 2015, and stars from the world of film and TV, theatre, music, cookery, modelling, and news all feature in this new series.

Season 12 features:
– Paul Hollywood (Great British Bake off presenter)
– Jerry Hall (modelling legend)
– Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid (Last Tango In Halifax stars)
– Jane Seymour (actress)
– Gareth Malone (choirmaster and broadcaster)
– Frances de la Tour (stage and television actress)
– Frank Gardner (news reporter)
– Mark Gatiss (actor and writer)
– Anita Rani (television presenter)

Spanning almost a thousand years of history and crossing four continents, the new series follows ten well-know celebrities as they investigate the secrets of their family trees. Travelling from the Tower of London to the Highlands of Scotland, from Tunisia to Tasmania, from the Punjab in India to the Wild West of America, each embark on a journey of discovery as they dig deep into their family ancestry, uncovering a host of hidden pasts and shocking revelations. Full of heartbreak, laughter, intrigue and surprise, each film captures every step of our celebrity’s mission to learn more about their ancestors’ lives.

From new-born babies spirited away under cover of darkness to convicts transported to the other side of the world; from sisters separated by the Holocaust to the battlefields of North Africa; from laudanum-addicted socialites to paying the ultimate price for treason in Tudor England; from music halls to tales of vampires, the latest series of Who Do You Think You Are? reveals the rich and extraordinary stories of our celebrities’ families and their history.

The series will see model and actress Jerry Hall trace her ancestry from the cotton mills of Oldham to the plains of Texas as she discovers her family’s pioneering past, blazing the trail west across America.

Derek Jacobi’s story is one of equal contrasts, from humble roots in Walthamstow to the court of Louis XIV of France. But the family tree hides a dangerous secret – his ancestor is leading a double life and flees to England where there’s another surprise in store – an unlikely connection to royalty on this side of the Channel.

Season 12 of Who Do You Think You Are? (UK) is scheduled to air in summertime in the UK.

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56 Historical Australian Newspapers Added to Trove! Sun, 21 Jun 2015 08:59:28 +0000 Trove - Devon Herald, 1877Every three months the National Library of Australia updates readers with the latest additions to the the historical newspapers collection on Trove. Below is a list of 56 titles that have bee digitised in the past three months and have gone online, or are due to shortly. It’s great to see not only titles from most Australian states, but also that they include a number of regional titles as well.

Australian Capital Territory
– Good Neighbour (ACT: 1950-1969)

New South Wales
– The Armidale Chronicle (NSW: 1894-1929)
– The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser (NSW: 1856-1861; 1863-1889; 1891-1954)
– Blackheath Beacon (Katoomba, NSW: 1930-1931)
– The Blackheath Bulletin (Katoomba, NSW: 1929-1931)
– The Blue Mountain Star (Katoomba, NSW: 1929-1931)
– The Blue Mountains Advertiser (Katoomba, NSW: 1940-1954)
– Blue Mountains Daily (Katoomba, NSW : 1939)
– Blue Mountains Gazette (Katoomba, NSW: 1903-1904)
– The Blue Mountains Times (Katoomba, NSW: 1931-1937)
– The Chronicle (Katoomba, NSW: 1929)
– Coffs Harbour Advocate (NSW: 1907-1942; 1946-1954)
– Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW: 1915-1954)
– The Hospital Saturday News (Katoomba, NSW: 1930)
– The Independent (Katoomba, NSW: 1930-1931)
– The Inverell Times (NSW: 1899-1954)
– The Katoomba Daily (NSW: 1920-1939)
– Katoomba Times (NSW: 1889-1894)
– Manilla Express (NSW: 1899-1954)
– The Mountain Daily (Katoomba, NSW: 1919-1920)
– The Mountaineer (Katoomba, NSW: 1894-1908)
– Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, NSW: 1914-1949)
– The Uralla News (NSW: 1904-1907)
– The Walcha News (NSW: 1932-1935)
– The Walcha News and Southern New England Advocate (NSW: 1904-1907; 1927)
– The Walcha Witness (NSW: 1895-1906)

– Cloncurry Advocate (Qld: 1931-1953)
– Daily Standard (Brisbane, Qld: 1912-1936)
– Darling Downs Gazette (Qld: 1881-1922)
– Warwick Daily News (Qld: 1919-1954)
– The Week (Brisbane, Qld: 1876-1934)

South Australia
– The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA: 1907-1951)
– The Laura Standard (SA: 1889-1917)
– Laura Standard and Crystal Brook Courier (SA: 1917-1948)
– Pinnaroo and Border Times (SA: 1911-1954)
– Pinnaroo Country News (Lameroo, SA: 1908-1922)

– Critic (Hobart, Tas: 1892-1893)
– Devon Herald (Latrobe, Tas: 1877-1889)
– Land (Hobart, Tas: 1924-1925)
– Trumpeter General (Hobart, Tas: 1833-1834)
– World (Hobart, Tas: 1918-1924)

– The Banner (Melbourne, Vic: 1853-1854)
– Champion (Melbourne, Vic: 1895-1897)
– The Farmer’s Journal and Gardener’s Chronicle (Melbourne, Vic: 1862-1864)
– Free Lance (Melbourne, Vic: 1896)
– Melbourne Punch (Vic: 1856-1900)
– Sporting Globe (Melbourne, Vic: 1922-1954)
– The Victorian Farmers Journal and Gardeners Chronicle (Melbourne, Vic: 1860-1862)
– Woman Voter (Melbourne, Vic: 1911-1919)

Western Australia
– The All British (Perth, WA: 1916)
– Collie Mail (Perth, WA: 1914-1918)
– The Eastern Recorder (Kellerberrin, WA: 1914-1918)
– Harvey Chronicle (Pinjarra, WA: 1915-1916)
– The Labor Vanguard (Perth, WA : 1911; 1916)
– Nor-West Echo (Broome, WA: 1914-1918)
– Sparks’ Fortnightly (Perth, WA: 1916-1919)

A HUGE thank you to the historical newspapers team at the National Library of Australia. We all really, really appreciate your efforts in making these old newspapers freely available to everyone.

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National Archives of Australia to Digitise WW1 Veterans Affairs Records Fri, 19 Jun 2015 11:49:31 +0000 Claude Stanley Wilson - National Archives of Australia

Claude Stanley Wilson – National Archives of Australia

There’s no doubt that the centenary of the World War One, and the landing of Gallipoli has created immense interest in people wanting to know more about the lives and military history of their ancestors.

For so many who made it home, life after the war was never the same, as they needed ongoing care and treatment – both physical and mental. This was provided for by the Repatriation Department which is now known as the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) holds around 600,000 WW1 repat records which they have begun digitising in a new project. These will be available to view online for free on their website.

Director-General of the Archives, David Fricker said they documented the medical care, welfare services and pensions provided by the Repatriation Department, and very few of the files had been viewed since their official use.

The official press release says the following:

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) has begun a $3.4 million project to mark the centenary of World War I, describing and digitizing many of the Anzacs’ repatriation records, ensuring greater public access. Director-General of the Archives, David Fricker said the details were preserved in more than 600,000 World War I repatriation records, held by the NAA.

The government records contain information about Australians and New Zealanders in World War I and the Boer War. The personal stories provide information about service men and women through original archival records. Information in these records includes medical care, welfare services and pensions provided by the Repatriation Department, now known as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Very few of the files had been viewed since their official use.

You can read more in the Discovering Anzacs website.

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“Introduction to Family History” Online with UTAS Tue, 16 Jun 2015 06:21:58 +0000 UTAS Study Family History Online

Back in November 2014, the University of Tasmania (UTAS) offered a free online “Introduction to Family History” course, which was over the (southern hemisphere) Summer. This was a huge success, and it seems they are doing it again, as they have sent me the following message:

Hello Gould Genealogy, I thought your followers might be interested in a unit on family history from the University of Tasmania: Full scholarships are available for all Australian students. If you would like to share this on your page that would be fantastic!

However, rather than just share on our Facebook page, I thought I’d write a short blog post instead.

Using the same format as the earlier course, this fully-online course, is available for anyone in Australia, and you also get one months free access to Library edition when you sign up for the course.

The course runs from 13 July 2015 to 16 October 2015, and does require approx. 4-5 hours of study a week. Applications need to be in by 6 July 2015.

The key to good research is getting a good foundation, and courses are a great way to learn about important records, skills, and methods early on in your research. So if you are a family history beginner and you can squeeze in a few hours of study into your week, what are you waiting for? You should do this course. And if you are an experienced researcher, it has been said numerous times that often going back and reviewing the basics is a good thing, so I have no doubt that you’d find this course useful too.

On successful completion of this unit you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of family history principles and planning
  • Locate and use major family history repositories and records
  • Critically evaluate sources for accuracy and reliability
  • Identify and discuss genealogical problems and develop plans for solving them
  • Present your genealogical work in a manner that is ethical, clearly written and referenced according to the unit guidelines

For more about this family history course, and to sign up you can find all the details here. And be sure to check the FAQ section, as that has answers to many questions you might have.

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Join Crestleaf’s “12 Months of Fascinating Family Discoveries” Blog Challenge Thu, 11 Jun 2015 07:49:14 +0000 Calling all geneabloggers! Who’s up for a blog challenge? Trust me you’ll totally LOVE this one as it goes without saying that as genealogists we love researching, and discovering the facts and facsinating stories that make up our family! And as geneabloggers we love to write about the cool stories we find out about them!

So’s “12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds” blog challenge is simply made for geneabloggers.


The Challenge
They put it to you that each month for one year, you’ll take part in the’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds where you share one blog post each month detailing exciting, interesting, fascinating, unique or strange discoveries from your research.

Participation and Submission Rules
– Publish a new blog post mentioning your fascinating family find once a month on any date of the month beginning in June 2015.
– Be sure your blog title states, “’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds: [insert name of month].”
– In the body of each fascinating finds blog post, add our’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds badge and link back to this blog post, so others can learn how to start their 12-month challenge.

Want your blog post featured in our monthly recap?
Simply email the link to your post to: “” with the subject line: “Fascinating Family Find Entry.”

Sharing your post on your social media profiles?
See what other geneabloggers fascinating finds are, by staying in touch with other participants and Crestleaf by using this hashtag #12FamilyFinds

More information
– for more details on the blog challenge click here
– for more information on Crestleaf, check out their website
– to keeup up with the latest news from Crestleaf you can find them on Facebook and Twitter

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Australia Gets Ready for More Big Genealogy Events Sun, 07 Jun 2015 10:35:40 +0000 map - AustraliaIf you think that because Congress is over, there’s no other genie events to go to in Australia this year – think again. There’s still a number of fabulous genealogy events coming to various parts of the country over the next few months.

So mark your calendars, and clear your schedule, because you don’t want to miss these opportunities.

You’ll note I used the word ‘big’ in the title of this post. I have chosen to limit those listed here to statewide or national events. But if you go local, trust me there are hundreds of events that groups, societies, libraries and other organisations have on –  so be sure to check them too.

AUGUST (National)
1-31 August 2015 – National Family History Month
August is Australia and New Zealand’s National Family History Month. So there’s a whole heap of activities that people are organising for this. In 2014 there were a total of 349 events held during NFHM, and I wonder if we can top that this year? Hopefully! To see what’s scheduled for your state, just check the calendar on the NFHM website. New events are still be added regularly.

SEPTEMBER (New South Wales)
11-13 September 2015 – NSW & ACT Family History Conference and
The NSW & ACT Family History Association is an umbrella organisation for member societies from NSW & ACT (currently listing 53 of them). The location of the yearly Conference changes the each year, with the 2015 will being held at Port Macquarie (NSW). The program for their 2 1/2 day conference features 15 guest presenters, great exhibitors (including a heap of genealogy societies), and a door prizes galore. Take this opportunity to immerse yourself in genealogy! Early bird pricing for this event ends on 3rd July.

OCTOBER (Queensland)
3-4 October 2015 – In Time and Place: Local History, Family History, Social History
The In Time and Place event is being organised by History Queensland, Genealogical Society of Queensland, and Queensland Family History Society. These societies represent family and local historians and their societies across Queensland. The day and a half program features 17 guest presenters, with 3 keynote presentations. The range of topics on offer means that there is really something for everyone. And apart from the talks, you will get to take in the exhibition, as well as the Expert Table where you can bring your brickwall queries to. Early bird registration for this event closes July 31st.

OCTOBER (Victoria)
18-25 October 2015 – Victoria’s History Week
Victoria’s History Week is THE time to travel back in time, by exploring the State’s fascinating past. With hundreds of events planned around the state, this is one not to miss, so mark in your diary!

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Free Research Guides from Ancestry Fri, 05 Jun 2015 10:51:24 +0000 3D man on couchSometimes all you need to get you on the right track, is a little guidance. And that’s what Ancestry gives you with their research guides.

These are short, useful research guides that cover a specific topic or country, and they are FREE to download.

While I see that a number of these are dated 2014, I will admit that I have only just found out about Ancestry’s Research Guides, so thankyou to Gail Denver of the Genealogy a la Carte blog for alerting me to them.

There are currently 32 different research guides that cover everything from DNA, and Black Sheep, to Creating TImelines, to Starting Your Tree on Ancestry, German research, Swedish research, Things You Needs to Know About Passenger Lists, and State Research Guides (US of course), and a heap of others.

Saved in PDF format, they are readable on anything. So go and check them out, and download them from the Ancestry website. Every little bit of learning helps.

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Australia’s Aldine Histories: A Key Resource Mon, 01 Jun 2015 12:03:09 +0000 The “Aldine histories” AU1103-2 Australia Aldine Histories Setare an essential reference work if your are researching history or genealogy in Queensland, New South Wales or South Australia. Authoritative, not only in the narrative history, but containing many thousands of biographies of early personalities and noted identities for each region – including those in regional areas. They also include beautiful photographs and sketches of scenes and buildings illustrating life and places as they were in the past.

William Frederic Morrison, the man who wrote these volumes back in the 1880s, had an intention to produce volumes for each Australian state. Sadly that dream didn’t come to fruition, as subsequent legal issues left him bankrupt.

Still, W. Frederic Morrison left his legacy in the books that he did produce: New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

To give you an idea of what is in each volume, I have a small description of each, together with a few sample pages.


New South Wales – 2 volumes, 1365 pages
The first volume comprises the history of New South Wales, and includes topics such as the early explorers, geography, aborigines, flora and fauna, governors of New South Wales as well as the Constitution. Volume two has another four chapters which complete the history section. The fascinating part of this set of books (apart from the hundreds of superb illustrations throughout), is the large biographical section which consists of nearly half of the whole set. The biographies of noted identities cover not only those from Sydney city, but also from the suburbs and regional areas. Each are grouped by town and have at least a paragraph on each person, though some are quite extensive. Includes all known variant editions.

sample pages from the Aldine History of New South Wales Click for a larger image

sample pages from the Aldine History of New South Wales
Click for a larger image


Queensland – 2 volumes, 1083 pages (sample file)
Written as a ‘celebration of the centennial year of the settlement of Australia’ it includes chapters on Australian and Queensland history from the exploration of Australia through to the different districts of the colony of Queensland in 1888. It contains information on the different governors, the national constitution, interior exploration, resources, religious work, education, recreation, and a large biographical section. It also includes over 500 illustrations of people and places along with several maps. The really fascinating part of this set of books (apart from the gorgeous illustrations throughout), is the large Appendix section which consists of over 320 pages of biographies and photographs of Queensland’s noted people. The biographies have been grouped by towns. Includes two of the three known editions.

sample pages from the Aldine History of Queensland Click for a larger image

sample pages from the Aldine History of Queensland
Click for a larger image


South Australia – 2 volumes, 1089 pages
The first volume is divided into thirty-two chapters and covers topics including the early explorers, geography, aborigines, flora and fauna, education, religion, recreation, as well as primary and secondary resources, governors of South Australia and the Constitution. Volume two has one more chapter which concludes the history section. This is then followed by about 400 pages of biographies of early South Australians. These include biographies of many in Adelaide as well as 71 country regions around the state. There are 143 illustrations, many in colour of people and scenes around South Australia. The biographies often include information such as name, year born, place born, if and when they emigrated, and usually their working life, and other interesting tidbits.

sample pages from the Aldine History of South Australia  Click for a larger image

sample pages from the Aldine History of South Australia
Click for a larger image


Each of these Aldine histories are are now on fully-searchable CD-ROM, which means that accessing the valuable information contained in them has never been so easy. The history and illustrations are a wonderful record, and the biographies are an invaluable source of information.

Each state is available as a separate CD, or if you’re interested in all three, we have them together as a Aldine History set.

For further information, or to purchase any of these titles, here are the links:
Aldine Centennial History of New South Wales 1888
Aldine History of Queensland 1888
Aldine History of South Australia 1890

Australian Aldine Histories Set: New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia

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Inspiring Genealogy Blogs – April & May 2015 Fri, 29 May 2015 11:28:43 +0000 Inspiring Blogs 300The end of May is closing in with June just around the corner, so it is time for the next edition of my Inspiring Blog Posts, and since I didn’t get one out for April – we have a two month batch here, covering those I’ve read in April and May.

In this edition of Inspiring Genealogy Blog posts we have posts that cover: copyright, modern photos, common surnames, lack of paper trail, indexing, education, oral history, genealogy societies, genealogy conferences, going local, disaster planning … and a whole heap more!

Get yourself a coffee, and get comfy and enjoy some great reads.

As I mention every time, I find that reading blog posts helps me keep up with the latest news, products as well as what’s happening in general in the world of genealogy. And if you happen to already follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and to some extent Google+, you already know that I like to share with you the interesting things I read.

I Have a Complaint Concerning Many Genealogists
Dick Eastman shares his opinion of people who complain about freely available records being added to pay-sites, then having to pay for them. Using water as an analogy, he puts forward an argument, that few could argue with. Read the full article …

3 Ways to Find Ancestors Who Didn’t Leave a Paper Trail: What to Do When There are No Records
As researchers we do tend to rely on the paper trail. But what do you do when there is no paper trail? Where do you look then? Will Moneymaker from tells us that just because there are no records, doesn’t mean you can’t find out more about your ancestor and his or her life and family. You simply have to get creative. In this post he shares three proven methods that will help you find them. Read the full article …

Can I Legally Use Online Photos in my Family History?
Kimberley Powell tackles the important question of photographs, and copyright. She says that “Genealogists love images—photos of their ancestors, historical maps, digitised documents, historic photos of places and events… But can we legally use the fabulous photos that we find online in a published family history? A genealogy blog? A research report? What if we only plan to distribute the document that we are creating to a few family members, or are not planning to publish for profit? Does that make a difference?” Read the full article …

Genealogy Unplugged: Getting a Local Perspective
Lisa reminds us the real value of unplugging, and actual visiting by sharing a story that gave her information that she never ever would have found online or in a book! Read the full article …

Who Have you Told?
You just never know when that serendipity moment will happen for you. Someone might overhear you talking about your family, and realise that the names sound familiar – and in fact turn out to be connected to their family. It happens!! Just read Helen’s article on how she finally found a convict ancestor! Read the full article …

The Most Photographed Generation Will Have No Pictures in 10 Years!
This post comes from a photography blog, and he’d being in the photography business Mike Yost would be a person who would know a thing or two about photos. He writes that “it’s been estimated that in the past 5 years, more photos have been taken than all the prior years combined. So what will become of all the pictures that are being taken today?” It is a sad fact that only 1 out of every 100,000 are likely to be printed out. Digital images are no longer important enough to most people to actually keep them in printed form! Read the full article …

Five Dangers of Only Doing Genealogy Online
We all know that “we can’t do it all online”, but did know that doing it all online can is also dangerous for your health? Yes, truly. That is number one in this list of five dangers mentioned in this post of wise words. Read the full article …

How Indexing Can Make You a Better Genealogist
Courtney tells us indexing can make you a better researcher. Not only do “inexperienced genealogists skip over great records all the time, indexing is a fast and fun way to learn about genealogical records. The little things you learn while you’re indexing can be worth years of experience”. She give readers tips on how to make the most out of indexing. Read the full article …

Shhh! A Secret List of Reasons to Attend Your Local Genealogy Conference
In this post Heather has compiled a list of reasons that she used as reasons to NOT attend local genie conferences. You know, one like it’s too far away, I can do everything online, I’m disabled, I don’t have vacation time and a whole heap more. She’s not alone in thinking these are reasons to not attended, however she’s realised that none of these are valid reasons, and tells us why you SHOULD attend your local genie conferences. Read the full article …

The Dead Can be Very Fattening
I had to read this post based on the title … wouldn’t you? In it Nancy writes that she needs to make some fat “disappear from the waistline” of her family tree. She says it needs “to lose weight; become more lanky and taller instead of wider.” But that might be easier said than done. Read the full article …

What Part Must We Play in Our Genealogy?
Pat Richley-Erickson writes an excellent post on the need for educating ourselves. She write how we cannot rely on the helpers at the archive officer to help with our specific need in understanding a particular record. They are there to retrieve records, so we need to educate ourselves – it is our responsibility. She gives readers plenty of links to ways and places they can further their genie education. Read the full article …

Never Assume! Always Confirm!
The title of this pretty much speaks for itself. Sharon writes about an instance of updating her tree, and finding that over 20 trees on Ancestry had the wrong immigration details for an ancestor … and how she found the right one. Read the full article …

Some Thoughts on Oral History
James Tanner relooks at oral history, and all things related. While browsing around online he found that more “guides to oral history” were so out of date, they just weren’t useful. He tells you what he uses for recorded interviews, and gives a number of links that he says are worth checking out for oral history. Read the full article …

Sharing is Caring: Introducing Your Ancestors on Social Media
This article starts off with “If you’ve ever tried – and failed – to hook your family on family history, now is the time to introduce your ancestors on social media.” Melanie suggests sharing “bite-size” pieces of family history – a vintage photograph, a newspaper article, an anecdote and so on. All of these things will help to stir interest in family history for your relatives. She gives readers a number of great suggestions. Read the full article …

An Open Letter to Genealogy Societies
In this post written by Susan Petersen, I believe that she expresses what many feel in that they have been long-time members of various genealogy groups, but has found that they really aren’t getting anything out of certain ones, so choose not to renew their membership. She gives a number of reasons as to where societies fall down by not ‘supporting’ members. This is a worthwhile read for everyone. Read the full article …

All Papers Are Not Created Equal
The Library and Archives Canada blog writes about archival papers in this post. They as the titles suggests, tell us that not all papers are equal (even archival ones). So if you are wanting something to last, it does pay to get good quality, acid free, archival paper. Read the full article …

Copyright Issues Raise Their Ugly Head Again
Copyright seems to be topic that’s been raised for the past few months, and Lorine from the Olive Tree Genealogy blog writes about it here, and what you should do if you find someone copying your blog posts. Read the full article …

Will Genealogy Societies Always Just be There? Not Necessarily
I love this article written by David Pike who is President of a genealogy society in Canada. He writes that “genealogists are well aware that family history and genealogical societies are valuable sources of information and expertise that we can draw upon while pursuing our own individual research. Unfortunately it is also often the case that people are not well acquainted with the struggles faced by genealogical societies. Occasionally accompanying this situation is that some people seem to assume that these societies will always just be there, not necessarily realising that the societies rely upon the generosity of members and donors merely to exist, let alone to thrive.” I recommend that everyone should read this article, as it puts the whole society issue into a new light. Read the full article …

If They Wrote it, Why Don’t All Genealogists Read it? Helping Ourselves
Paula writes about indexes, and collections … and how more than likely some of our ancestors are in various indexes, but how are likely to know if they are or not? Putting it simply … by reading, by attending meetings, by communicating and educating ourselves. Read the full article …

Any Tips for Tracing an Ancestor With a Common Name
”I would like to know if you have any advice on how to trace one’s family with a common surname such as Smith or Jones. Any help is greatly appreciated.” This is the question that was asked, which sparked this blog post. Henry Louis Gates Jr comes up with a great list of ways to tackle this issue. Read the full article …

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Linda wrote this post in response to seeing a number of posts about genealogy being much better in the “old days”. She believes that there is the good, the bad and the ugly to be considered. Read the full article …

If You Thought Genealogy Was Boring …
Lisa nails it with the scenarios which make genealogy so compelling that it’s addictive. And you ask any researcher – they will tell you that real life is far more interesting than any tv show or movie!! Read the full article …

Plan Ahead: Protect Your Genealogy From Disaster
It goes without saying that everyone should have a disaster plan for their genealogy. If you have minutes (if that) to up and leave will you lose your genealogy in the process? Josh Taylor writes about how to safeguard your home, how to backup, safeguarding family heirlooms, what to do when disaster strikes, and to plan ahead All very wise words, and one that everyone should read and take heed of. Read the full article …

Happy reading 😉

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History of “Tea Tree Gully District Football Club” Book Launched Fri, 22 May 2015 02:23:35 +0000 TTG Football Club book #1The history of the Tea Tree Gully District Football Club, in the North East suburbs of Adelaide is one that has been 150 years in the making.

The club was formed in 1862, and (along with the neighbouring football club at Modbury) is the oldest surviving football club in South Australia, and one that has survived, and continues to this day.

Having been around for so long, means that thousands of people have been associated with the club over the years. And the newly launched “The Story of Tea Tree Gully District Football Club” reflects that in it’s size.

Launched last week, this hardcover book contains 536 pages of history relating to the club. It begins with facts about how football started in Australia, South Australia and in Tea Tree Gully, and then gives information and records of the Tea Tree Gully District Football Club from every decade since the 1860s.

The book also includes a brief history on other local football clubs at Hope Valley, Houghton, Modbury and  Golden Grove, as well as information on defunct local football clubs at Highbury and Glenroy.

For anyone with a connection to the club and an interest in its history, there is no book that comes close to this one. In 40 chapters, this book contains:
– details of every TTGDFC Life Member and many of the club VIPs
– stats and records of TTGDFC and the honour board
– team photo of every TTGDFC junior side in 2014
– 650 photos, 250 newspaper articles
– over 3,300 names in the index

Available for AU$80.00 plus AU$15.00 postage within Australia (if applicable). Payment can be made by EFT or cash or cheque.

Orders can be placed by phoining David Crisanti on 0408 864 123 or emailing:

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Help Save Waverley Cemetery Sat, 16 May 2015 08:18:27 +0000 Photograph from Wikipedia. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons. Attribution: Winston Yang

Photograph of Waverley Cemetery from Wikipedia, this work is licensed under the Creative Commons.
Attribution: Winston Yang

Waverley Cemetery in Sydney is one that has been acknowledged as “one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world“, and it’s easy to see why. Sitting on the cliffs at Bronte, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, overlooking the sea, the sight of the thousands of Victorian and Edwardian monuments is simply spectacular.

This cemetery opened in 1877, and has managed to be a self-sustaining not-for-profit operation for over 120 years, ploughing whatever surpluses it can achieve back into site maintenance and improvement.

However the cemetery’s financial future is now very uncertain, simply because the demand for traditional burials is dropping in Australia, so the Cemetery can no longer expect to be able to rely entirely on sales of grave plots. Meanwhile the demand for undercover funerals and different ash interment options is increasing.

So to survive, Waverley Cemetery needs to change the way it does business. It needs to diversify its services

The “Save Waverley Cemetery” campaigners are wanting to put a request to the local council, asking for a few things which will improve the cemetery, and its financial sustainability. So to help with this, they are asking for your help to sign a petition

Please Note: I acknowledge that this isn’t a ‘new’ campaign, but rather one that I have only just found out about. I do apologise for the ‘late’ news on this, and I’m not sure why I missed it earlier. However I hope mentioning it here will get the word out a little further, and help the cause.

You can sign the petition here
View the Save Waverley Cemetery website
And be sure to follow the Save Waverley Cemetery campaign on Facebook

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Expand Your Genealogy Knowledge with Ancestry Academy Thu, 14 May 2015 04:08:31 +0000 If you are wanting to expand your genealogy knowledge, and to do it from home – there’s another option available to you now, and that is Ancestry Academy.

Ancestry Academy is an educational website that offers exclusive, high-quality video courses taught by genealogy and family history experts. The courses that Ancestry Academy offer cover a wide range of relevant family history topics and offer something for genealogists of all levels – and you can learn at your own pace.

Having launched only a few weeks ago, they already have 14 courses up, with 4 of those being free, with another 8 listed as coming soon.

Ancestry Academy homepage

Learn at your own pace
Ancestry Academy’s in-depth courses are broken into a series of short lessons that let you learn when you want and how you want. Watch a course all the way through or pick and choose the lessons most interesting to you.

Test your know-how
Try out your skills and take optional tests to make sure you’re getting the most out of every course.

Learn on-the-go (coming soon!)
Learn at home or on-the-go with the free Ancestry Academy app, available for iOS and Android devices an a couple of months.

New courses added monthly
Continue strengthening your family history expertise with new courses added every month.

Free courses
Some courses are offered for free. Simply log in with your Ancestry account or create a new account to start learning.

The cost
You can get unlimited access to all Ancestry Academy courses for just US$11.99/month, or US$99.99/year, or as part of your Ancestry World Explorer Plus subscription.

And much more
Ancestry Academy courses are loaded with other helpful tools like closed captions, digital handouts, course placeholders, and more.

Here’s a list of the courses that are currently available:
Finding Your Military Veterans on Fold3 Free
DNA 101: An Insider’s Scoop on AncestryDNA Testing
Getting the Most Out of Family Tree Maker
Digging for Answers with Find A Grave

Who is That Tick Mark? Using Early Census Records
Exploring Pension Application Files
Brother vs. Brother: Exploring Civil War Ancestors
Finding Ethnic Origins and Passenger Arrival Records

Public Libraries: Mining Untapped Genealogy Resources
Street Smarts: Finding Your Ancestor in the Big City
Cousin Bait: Make Social Media Work for You
Your Family History Online: Laying the Foundation

The Buckeye State: Researching Your Ohio Ancestors
Native American Ancestry? Steps to Learn More

Start learning now …

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South Australian Land Records – Online AND Free! Wed, 13 May 2015 11:09:06 +0000 SAILIS SA Land Records #2Some big news for those researching South Australian ancestors and history is that the South Australian land records are now online … AND free (well, at least their historical records anyway).

The South Australian Integrated Land Information System (SAILIS) website, created by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, allows users to search South Australian land records online from 1858.

The information available from SAILIS includes:

  • Integrated textual and spatial information for an individual property
  • Certificates of Title
  • Survey plans
  • Registered Dealings
  • Property Interest Reports
  • Valuation and Titling information
  • Historical Searches

These include original images that you can view online, download and save.

Rather than me telling you how to work your way around their website, I suggest taking 5 minutes to watch this tutorial video.

If you want to explore their website more, check out the other tutorial videos SAILIS have on their YouTube Channel.

Now I know you’re all excited about these South Australian land records, so off you go, and get searching!


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Inside History Magazine – Issue 28 (May-Jun 2015) is Out Now Wed, 13 May 2015 04:18:53 +0000 Inside History Magazine - 2015-05Issue 28 of Australia’s premier genealogy and history magazine, Inside History Magazine has hit the newsagent shelves and the letterboxes of subscribers, and it is another issue of cover-to-cover reading.

In this one Inside History Magazine chatted to Sir Tony Robinson while he was in Australia for his “Tour of Duty” discovering Australia’s hidden wartime stories around the country. We learn about what life was really like in an English workhouse – beyond the stereotype. Stephen Orr explores the iconic Tea and Sugar train of yesteryear and its cross-country rides across the Nullarbor which was a lifeline to settlers in the outback.

Carole Riley looks at why land title documents are such an invaluable resource for family historians, and Shauna Hicks not only helps readers decode asylum records, she explains how to use them and and access those closed to the public!

The reading continues with 5 must-do historical walks around Australia, and the “What’s New Online” section contains a whopping 95 new genealogy resources which will have you racing to your computer to check them all out!!

And if that isn’t enough, you’ll even find out about …
– The mammoth project to document our surviving World War II veterans
– Where to find the newly digitised collections of 14 leading museums from around Australia
– How you can help map the past with geo-referencing projects underway
– Why Victoria’s education system is historically significant

You can buy the printed copies of the magazine from Inside History directly, and a number of societies and newsagents around Australia stock it as well (Click here to see a list of stockists).  For a sneak peek of this issue, and past issues check out Issuu.

So if you love Australian history and genealogy, and reading, you really can’t go past Inside History Magazine!



Copies of the current issue (and back issues) can be bought from the Inside History website. Or you can subscribe to the magazine
AUD$9.95 / NZ$10.95 per issue
AUD$25.00 / NZ$45.00 6 mth subscription (3 issues)
AUD$50.00 / NZ$90.00 1 year subscription (6 issues)
AUD$85.00 / NZ$125.00 2 year subscription (12 issues)
AUD$125.00 / NZ$165.00 3 year subscription (18 issues)

iPad edition (available from the iTunes Store)
Android & Desktop edition (available from Zinio)

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World War 1 Centenary Projects #4 Mon, 11 May 2015 04:07:57 +0000 anzac 180World War 1 Centenary Projects are well underway, with more being announced all the time. The aim with this (and my earlier) World War 1 Centenary Projects posts, is to list a few of them, so others know what is going on.

To see those I’ve mentioned earlier, please take a moment to check them out:
World War 1 Centenary Projects #1
World War 1 Centenary Projects #2
World War 1 Centenary Projects #3

And if you have any World War 1 project that you or any organisation are involved with, that you’d like mentioned here, please send an email to Alona at

For those with Australian WW1 Projects, I highly recommend that you should also consider listing your project on the World War One Link website.


Over the past two years, the 5000 Poppies project has worked towards the goal of “planting” a field of more than 5000 handmade crocheted, knitted, felted or sewn poppies in Federation Square Melbourne as a stunning visual tribute to Australian servicemen and women for more than a century of service in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations during Anzac Day 2015. The project took off, and they had over 200,000 poppies

Federation Square, Melbourne, Anzac Day 2015

Federation Square, Melbourne, Anzac Day 2015


The Department of Veteran Affairs have created the comprehensive website: 100 Years of Anzac: The Spirit Lives 2014-2018, which is packed full of information as well as including details of grants available. As an addition to that, they have created a website app that allows you to upload your Anzac Centenary photos. So upload and tag your own Anzac Centenary photos, and you can browse through all those that have been submitted, seeing what how others have captured ‘moments’ relating to the Anzac centenary.


The Queensland Government wants to make sure the proud legacy of our Anzacs is preserved for future generations.There were 57,705 Queenslanders who served their country in the First World War from 1914 to 1918. One hundred years has passed providing us with an opportunity to encourage people of all ages to learn about Queensland’s role in the First World War and its impact on our nation. The Queensland Government is asking everyone to get involved in the Anzac Centenary by attending a commemorative event, visiting an exhibition, or simply sharing stories and photos with family, friends or local community.

They have committed almost $50 million to help preserve and share the stories of our servicemen and women and honour their memories through numerous projects, as well as offering grants for others in Queensland doing their own WW1 project.


The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trues (GMCT) in Melbourne, Victoria is encouraging families to renew their links to their family members, particularly those who enlisted in the Great War, and to urge them to place a permanent record of their service on their gravesite. Many graves have been forgotten by families over the years and have become neglected. Younger family members may be unaware that their ancestors served at all unless their family memories and history are strong. The Centenary Poppy Tile is a decorative packed kit that contains two small, highly glazed Australian-made white porcelain tiles with a striking red Flanders Poppy printed onto the surface in a slightly raised finish.


A Facebook page has been created for the relatives of the 29 soldiers that appeared on the Mount Hicks Roll of Honor from 1918 It is also for the relatives of the two soldiers who were meant to be added to the roll at a later time. This page allows relatives to share photos and other information about these soldiers and establish new contacts.


On the 9th November 2014 (Remembrance Sunday), the Dublin History Group was involved with the planting of 22 trees in the Dublin Institute Grounds in memory of the local soldiers who did not return from serving their country during WW1. They had plaques made for each soldier and descendants of those named were contacted, with a number attendeding the ceremony. For further information about the commemoration trees you can contact the Secretary of the Dublin History Group on (08) 8529 2028.

Th Echo - December 2014

Th Echo – December 2014



Lenore Frost is the driving force behind the local project in the Essendon and Flemington region of Victoria. She has created a wiki to detail the WW1 volunteers from the region, together with a blog to provide further information. The wiki includes access to a publication of Melbourne Teachers College which details WW1 service and biographical details of graduates.



‘In Times of War’ was an exhibition that was being organised and held by the Cairns Historical Society during April 2015. Unfortunately I’m writing this too late to inform people that it’s on to go visit, however I still wanted to make mention of it, so they are aware that the Society is a place to visit for local information including military


A committee has been formed to re-enact the ‘snowball’ recruiting drive which started at Inverell on 12 January 1916.  Known as The Kurrajongs, 114 men departed Inverell by train for the Narrabri camp, gathering more recruits at Warialda and Moree. They were followed by another 50 men on 29 February 1916. More than 1200 men and women enlisted from the Inverell district and the march re-enactment, to be held on Sunday 10 January 2016, will be the catalyst to remember all those from the District who served during WW1.  The Re-enactment committee would particularly like to hear from relatives of the Kurrajong men and for them to participate in this exciting event.  Relatives of other servicemen and women are also welcome to join in or be present on the day to remember and honour our district’s contribution World War 1. For further details phone President, Kim Blomfield 0429 883 362 or Vice President, Ann Hodgens 0427 211 485 or email

Kurrajong banner


Listen to guest panelists Lieutenant-General Mark Evans (retired) AO, DSC, Chair of the Queensland Advisory Committee for theCommemoration of the ANZAC Centenary (2014-2018), and Kate Walton, PhD candidate at The University of Queensland specialising in Australian Prisoners of War in Turkey, in conversation with Dr Kate Evans as they discuss the impact of World War One on Queenslanders and its enduring legacy.This event was part of A Night in the JOL monthly talks series where we delve into Queensland’s rich and diverse history.


The State Library of Queensland blog features numerous posts about Queensland people, artifacts and memorabilia that relate to World War 1.


The Serving Our Country Project has been created to research and detail the thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers who fought for Australia from the Boer War through until 2000. There were more than 1000 Aboriginal men who fought in WW1, defying laws preventing them from enlisting. Sadly the effort and impacts of the Indigenous solders has largely gone unrecognised. This website aims to remedy that by giving these remarkable men the recognition they deserve.

WW1 - Serving Our Country


Michelle Watson has created this blog which will “chronicle the work I’m doing on my book about the community of Stockton (in New South Wales) and World War One.” The book will be in two parts. The first part will look at the impact of the war on the close knit community of Stockton and how the community responded to the massive disruption the war brought. While the second part will be biographies of the nearly 300 men and women who served in a variety of military roles during the war. If you have any information on history and people of Stockton, you can contact Michelle at


Several years ago, the Stockton Historical Society Inc was presented with a large frame, containing the images of 18 World War One servicemen. Unfortunately, none of the men were identified. Over the last two years, the Society had the frame and photos cleaned and conserved. During this process, we were able to gain access to the back of the photos. However, only one man was kind enough to supply us with name, rank and serial number!! Can you assist us in giving names to the men who have sat behind the glass for 100 years? We believe the frame was put together by a Mrs Gwendoline Evans of Hunter Street, Stockton. Her name was found inside the frame during conservation. She was also named as the Executrix of one of the men we have identified, Private Alfred Penn (originally from Potter’s Bar, Middlesex, England). We would love to know more about Mrs Evans as well. The photos can be viewed at the link above. If you can help out, please email Michelle at

WW1 - Stockton Historical Society


Cheryl has started a project to record those from the Surf Coast Shire region in Victoria who were involved in WW1. Using both a blog and Facebook page she is sharing information about WW1 Honour Boards and Memorials on the Surf Coast and identifying the service men and women listed on them.

WW1 - Surf Coast Memorials


Created by Beth Page, this website contains details of over 2500 Australian soldiers and nurses who are buried in the UK. They are sorted alphabetically by parish, but this site does have a search box which might make it easier for you.


The Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London has arrived at the Melbourne Museum for a WW1 Exhibition. And after a spectacular opening in April 2015 this amazing display is open to visitors until August 2015. This is the most significant exhibition from the IWM to ever leave Great Britain.




Canada’s Great War Album website was launched late in 2014. It is based on the book of the same name. The book is a collection of Canadian photographs, memorabilia, and stories of the war, and the website follows suit with sections, About the Great War, Key Battles, Video, Submit Your Story, and, of course, Buy the Book. Readers will find many soldiers profiles throughout the website and the book.

ww1 - Canada's Great War Album 


THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918
Created by this is a big website, with a lot of information on it. The tabs have divided the website into easy categories: Faces of War, Home Front, Battlefront, After the War, Memory Project. Photos, videos, audio, memorabilia and more are what this site gives you. The Memory Project allows you to share your own Canadian military history history by sharing stories, artifacts or photos to help create a virtual museum of Canadian souvenirs from that conflict.


Online searchable database contains the digitised War Diaries of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) units. Archived online from Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothque et Archives Canada.




Louise has an interest in the men mentioned on the WW1 memorial in her home town of Chesterfield in Derbyshire. So much so, that she is researching all 85 of them, and is progressively recording their history on her blog.


OPERATION WAR DIARY (A Crowdsourcing Project)
This massive project from the UKs National Archives has seen them digitise about 1.5 million pages of British war diaries. These tell the story of the British Army on the Western Front during the First World War in their own words. Now they are digitised they are asking for your help. As a crowdsourcing project they are asking for volunteers to transcribe the information by tagging details such as a person, place or activity mentioned in these pages.

ww1 proejcts - Operation War Diary

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Legacy Family Tree: I Didn’t Know It Could Do That! [VIDEO] Wed, 06 May 2015 07:47:11 +0000 Legacy Family Tree header


Are you a Legacy Family Tree user? If you are, you’re one of the thousands around the world who use the program. You may even have the lastest version (Legacy Family Tree version 8, either the Australian or the US versions). No doubt you’ve mastered in some form or another, the getting names, dates and places into your program, and you may even have got some photographs, and sources in as well. Excellent work! But still .. there is so much more that Legacy can do, that you probably haven’t yet discovered.

Through a series of QuickTips Videos that Legacy Family Tree have produced, you get exactly what it says – quick tips.They are short, to the point videos on how to do a particular function of the program.

I have chosen 6 videos from Legacy Family Tree’s YouTube channel to share with you here.

By watching these videos you’ll learn how to unlink a person (and haven’t we’ve all needed to do that at some stage), how to use the Origins Report, how to customise your Family View, what Legacy’s Calendar Tool is, how using the Legacy Timelines can help your research, and how to view more in the Index View.

They have plenty more videos on their channel, but I chosen these ones specifically, because they cover features of the program that many won’t have used, either because they didn’t know how, or didn’t even know they could.

Do yourself a favour, spend some time learning the program, and you will get more out of it!!

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Family Tree Maker User Groups in Australia Mon, 04 May 2015 03:49:19 +0000 FTM leavesFamily Tree Maker is one of the world’s most popular genealogy software programs, and does have a large following of users in Australia.

While for most Family Tree Maker is an easy program to get into, interacting with a User Group will enable you learn more about the program, including new ways of doing things from interaction with others. There are always lots of tips and tricks to pick up and you will learn creative ways of using Family Tree Maker. If you are new to Family Tree Maker (or new to a newer version), attending a User Group meeting will help you get started, both in finding out what you can do in Family Tree Maker, and how to how to use it efficiently.

Australian Capital Territory – Canberra
2nd Tuesday of each month
HAGSOC, Unit 7, 41 Templeton Street, Cook, ACT
Barbara Board
Organised by the Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra

New South Wales – Botany Bay
Meetings: 3 times a year, on a Thursday night
Where: Port Hacking Community Centre, 184 Gannons Road (south), Caringbah
When: 7.00pm-8.30pm
Cost: $3.00 for members, $5.00 for non-members
Contact: Web Email:

New South Wales – Sydney
once a quarter
Where: 120 Kent Street, Sydney
When: need to check the SAG website for details
Cost: $8.00 for members, $12.00 for non-members
Organised by the Society of Australian Genealogists, they also have an online forum for FTM Users

Queensland – Brisbane
1st Friday of every month, and the last Sat of each even numbered month
Where: 58 Bellevue Avenue, Gaythorne
When: starts 10.00am
Cost: free (and non-members are welcome)
Contact: Kerri Kleidon or
Organised by the Queensland Family History Society

Queensland – East Brisbane
Meetings: 2nd Sunday of odd months of the year
Where:  38 Fisher Street, East Brisbane
When:  10:30am to 12:00pm
Contact:  The Genealogical Society of Queensland on (07) 3891 5085 or at

Queensland – Redland
Meetings: 3rd Wednesday each month
Where: 6 Ackworth Place, Alexandra Hills
Starts: 1.30pm
Cost: free (and non-members are welcome)
Organised by the Redland Genealogical Society to assist both new and experienced users.

South Australia – Salisbury
3rd Saturday of each month
Where: Salisbury TAFE Heritage Centre, 3 Ann Street, Salisbury
When: from 1.30pm-3.30pm
Organised by Adelaide Family Tree Maker User Group, in association with the Adelaide Northern Districts Family History Group

South Australia – South East
no meetings
The South East Family History Group don’t hold regular Family Tree Maker User Group meetings, but they do have an online forum where you can post queries. Their Membership Page has information about how to do so.

Victoria – Geelong
2 nd Monday of each month
Where: South Barwon Cummunity Centre, Mount Pleasant Road, Belmont
When: 5.30pm-7.00pm
Contact: Cathy Carman
held in association with VicGUM or on Facebook :

Victoria – Melbourne (night)
3rd Monday of each month (not December or January)
Where: Wadham House, 52 Wadham Parade, Mount Waverley
When: doors open 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start
Cost: $2.00
held in association with VicGUM or on Facebook :

Victoria – Melbourne (day)
1st Friday of each month
Where: Wadham House, 52 Wadham Parade, Mount Waverley
When: doors open 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start
Cost: $2.00
held in association with VicGUM or on Facebook :


Other useful FTM tools

Family Tree Maker User blog
Russ Worthington had lots of great tips here for users.

Ancestry’s YouTube Channel
Ancestry has lots of helpful videos on different aspects of FTM.

Ancestry’s Tech Support
If you need further help with your program, you can call Ancestry’s Tech Support number: 1800 251 838 (for those in Australia)


If you have details of further FTM User Groups in Australia, or changes to those already listed, please feel free to send me an email, and I shall get it updated. (

FTM2014 all as a set #2

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Wednesday 8th July 2015 is the Date!! Thu, 30 Apr 2015 04:45:21 +0000 July 2015  CalendarWednesday 8th July 2015

Wednesday the 8th of July 2015 is the date you need to write on your calendar – especially if you have Irish ancestry, as that is the date the National Library of Ireland are going to launch their Catholic Parish Registers online.

Actually for us in Australia, depending on what time they’re uploaded, it could quite well be the 9th of July.

I first mentioned this mega-digitisation project back in December 2014 (you can read that here), and it seems that the team behind it are working phenomenally to be able to provide users with access to almost 400,000 images of original Irish Catholic parish register records by the nominated date … 8th of July 2015!

A portion of the Press Release from the National Library of Ireland says the following …

Irish Catholic Parish Registers

The entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland (NLI) will be made available online – for free – from 8th July 2015 onwards. On that date, a dedicated website will go live, with over 390,000 digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish registers are recorded.

The NLI has been working to digitise the microfilms for over three years under its most ambitious digitisation programme to date. The parish register records are considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census. Dating from the 1740s to the 1880s, they cover 1,091 parishes throughout the island of Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records.

“This is the most significant ever genealogy project in the history of the NLI. The microfilms have been available to visitors to the NLI since the 1970s. However, their digitisation means that, for the first time, anyone who likes will be able to access these registers without having to travel to Dublin.”

Typically, the parish registers include information such as the dates of baptisms and marriages, and the names of the key people involved, including godparents or witnesses. The digital images of the registers will be searchable by parish location only, and will not be transcribed or indexed by the NLI.

“The images will be in black and white, and will be of the microfilms of the original registers,” explained Ms. Kerrigan.

“There will not be transcripts or indexes for the images. However, the nationwide network of local family history centres holds indexes and transcripts of parish registers for their local areas. So those who access our new online resource will be able to cross-reference the information they uncover, and identify wider links and connections to their ancestral community by also liaising with the relevant local family history centre.”

So for Irish researchers around the world … the wait is almost over! Are you ready??

logo - nli

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How Do I Start My Family History? Thu, 30 Apr 2015 01:33:34 +0000 mazeI’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves this question, way back when we started … and have heard many others ask the “How do I start my family history?” or “Where do I start?” questions along the way.

Having worked in the genealogy industry for many years, it is a question I have been asked many times. And I feel that anyone who gets asked this question should be honoured, as they are then potentially helping this person get started on the journey of discovering their family tree. One key thing I have found is to keep it simple, so as to not overwhelm and put them off.

So I wanted to share with you my suggestions for first-time-researchers.

1. a pedigree chart and family group sheet
2. a couple of key genealogy websites
3. and I suggest they buy a copy of “Where Do I Start?” by Shauna Hicks

So going each of these steps in a little more detail … firstly I introduce the potential-new-researcher to what a pedigree chart and family group chart are, and show them how to fill them in starting from themself  and working backwards, and explain how they need to fill in as much information as they know before asking other family members to see if they can fill in any gaps. For some great genealogy and family tree forms that you can download for free, checkout both Family Tree Magazine, and Misbach.

Together with this I tell them about looking for sources around the home, and explain to them the types of things to look for. To get an idea of the types of records you might find at home, here’s a checklist of 77 things to look for.

While everyone’s research varies from person-to-person, from country-to-country, two websites that I say to everyone that they should use and bookmark are Cyndi’s List, and FamilySearch, as both cover worldwide resources, and they are free. Because both of these websites are vast in content it is easy to be overwhelmed, and get lost on them. So I show the potential-new-researcher how to use them, the various ways of finding what you need, and navitating around.

UTP0010The third thing on my beginners’ list is Shauna Hicks’ book “Where Do I Start?“. It certainly can be overwhelming beginning your family history, but Shauna who is well-known throughout the genealogy community in Australia and New Zealand has broken down the beginning steps into 10 weeks, focussing on a different aspect each week. These steps allow the potential-new-researcher to work through things in a orderly fashion.

This beginner’s guide is written for those researching their Australian and New Zealand roots, but the concepts would apply to researchers worldwide.

To give you an idea of what is covered, here’s the chapter listing from the book:
Week 1 Look for home sources and stay tuned
Week 2 Build strong foundations – certificates, history and geography
Week 3 Has your family been researched by othrs?
Week 4 Flesh out the family using archives
Week 5 Flesh out the family using libraries
Week 6 Get help from genealogy and family history societies
Week 7 Discover more family stories
Week 8 Use social media to discover more relatives
Week 9 Write your family stories and learn more
Week 10 Overseas research

Sound good? It’s available in both printed book form, and as an ebook download.

While I’m sure many others have different ideas on what should be taught to a first-timer, this is simply my list that I wanted to share with you.

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