4th cruise - Jill BallJill is no stranger to cruising having been on many. But more recently she has taken to geneacruising as well, having joined the Unlock the Past team as a guest speaker on the 3rd Unlock the Past Cruise earlier this year, and she’ll be back for the next one as well.

With a passion for genealogy and technology, and an enthusiam to share her knowledge with everyone, Jill is most certainly an engaging speaker to learn from. As one of the leading Australian geneabloggers, Jill has been an inspiration for many, myself included.

So make a note to attend at least one of her talks or catch up with Jill in the Research Help Zone while onboard.


NAME: Jill Ball
DAYTIME JOB:  Wife, mother and grandmother with lots of time to devote to family history matters like ancestor hunting, blogging, lecturing, volunteering and writing.

Q1. Think back to your childhood … now what is your favourite memory from that time?
My childhood is one big happy memory.

Q2. There’s always ‘something’ that sparks an interest in genealogy/history? What was it that sparked your interest?
During the Bicentenary in 1988 history was a focus in the community. The Bicentenary was the catalyst that got me thinking about my personal history and so I embarked on my genealogy journey.

Q3. How old were you when you developed an interest in this hobby?
Too old. I wish I would have started earlier so that I could have recorded the memories and stories of my grandparents.

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

Q5. Is genealogy/history your main job?
I am retired but genealogy devours more time than a fulltime job.

Q6. Do you have a genealogy mentor or idol? Someone who has deeply influenced you in your research along the way?
Initially my research was a solo pursuit without a mentor. Since the evolution of social media I have found mentors via my social media contacts. These generous people empathise with my frustrations, share my triumphs and provide help and support. I am in awe of all the knowledgeable volunteers I meet who work tirelessly in local societies.

Q7. We all know that you family history can reveal some amazing things. Have any of your discoveries resulted in a life-changing experience?
There have been no life changing experiences for me just lots of little discoveries about ancestors that, when compared with my experiences, have made me realise that I live a charmed life.

Q8. What do you find most challenging about research?
Lack of time is a constant frustration.

Q9. If you had a time-machine what relative (past, present or future) would you most like to meet?
When I get to heaven I’ll be throwing a party and inviting them all. In the interim I’ll choose my convict ancestor, Elizabeth Phipps, I’d love to know which one of her male companions is my ancestor.

Q10. Still using that time machine, you’ve been propelled into the future five years, what do you see yourself doing?
If I’m not pushing up daisies I hope that I will have only a couple of brickwalls left to demolish.

Q11. What value do you think social media plays in genealogy these days?
I love social media. It has enabled genealogists to form  a borderless community through which they can communicate and collaborate.   The friends I have made through social media educate and support me, they understand my frustrations and rejoice in my triumphs. Social Media has enriched my genealogy experience.

Q12.  What do you do when you aren’t doing genealogy or history?
Babysit, read and travel.

Q13. What do you hope to get out of a genealogy cruise?
I don’t hope for the extra 5kg that will come my way from being fed and watered without any effort on my part. I hope to gain new knowledge and skills that will enhance my genealogical practices. I know that I will have a wonderful time meeting and chatting with fellow enthusiasts.

Q14. Share with us a few (up to five) of the genealogy websites that you tend to spend the most time on?
Only five? I’ll just include free ones here.
Familysearch http://familysearch.org/
NSW Historical BDM Indexes http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/bdm_fh.html
The Ryerson Index http://www.ryersonindex.org/
State Records NSW http:// www.records.nsw.gov.au/
Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au

Q15. Do you have any wise words for those just starting out in genealogy?
Sorry, I don’t have any wise words but I do have some advice – marry a millionaire or rob a bank – genealogy is a money hungry habit.


For those of you who are going on the 4th cruise, here is a list of topics that Jill is expected to be speaking on, based on the current Program:
– Free Austraqlian genealogy website’s I love
– Before it’s too late: Interviewing oldies
– Librarything for genealogy
– Everynote for genealogists
– Geneareaders circle

Geniaus’ Family Pages – http://www.geniaus.net

Android Genealogy –  http://androidgenealogy.blogspot.com
GeniAus – http://geniaus.blogspot.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/geniaus
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/2/101979581086303288372/posts
LinkedIn – http://au.linkedin.com/pub/jill-ball/18/663/352
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/geniaus/
Librarything – http://www.librarything.com/profile/bibliaugrapher

Any last comments?
I hope to meet you on the high seas – you can be assured of a rewarding experience.