Tuesday, October 6, 2015

SAG Website updates

The Society Of Australian Genealogists (SAG) has recently upgraded its website. They now have a new Event Registration system, which allows you view all upcoming events, search for an event, book for an event and pay online. The shop software has also been upgraded, providing secure payment system. This is one website worth a visit for their services, information and activities.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Family Trees on Genealogy Databases

Many Genealogical Databases now offer the facilities to upload your family trees to their database, allowing other family history researchers the option to view and use your research. If you do use someone else's information, please double check that it is correct. You cannot assume that the person uploading the family tree has it right. In one search recently we were looking for information on Jane Chadwick. When her name was entered in Ancestry.com we found 12,013 family trees containing that name. In checking the first page, where 20 family trees were displayed - 18 referred to our Jane Chadwick and the other 2 were clearly a different Jane. Just using those 18 references, Jane's birth year varied from 1811, 1814 to 1817. The spouse varied from John Belcher & John Whaley to John Whealey and others. Not all gave their sources, but some thankfully did and also added other records. By going through all those trees and viewing all the records referenced, we were able to compare them to the information we already had and draw our own conclusions. We have been unable to find any record of her birth, but the 1828 census gives her age as 14 - making her birth year 1814. In 1828, John Belcher, a convict, applied to marry an underage 15 year old Jane Chadwick, so perhaps she was born in 1813, but still 14 at the time of the census, or she lied about her age. This marriage never took place and John Belcher later died in 1835. In 1832 and subsequent years, she had children to John Whaley and she eventually married him in 1846. John Whaley had been in trouble with the law and had several aliases - Whalan & Whealey are just two. She died in 1880, drowning after a falling from Manly Pier. The inquest gave her age as 63, leading to the birth year of 1817. Jane led a very hard and colourful life in a rough rural setting, with little female influence. From the documents available we can piece together some facts about her life, but the rest is conjecture.

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Monday, July 27, 2015


Associated Press together with British Movietone are uploading 550,000 old movies to YouTube. These clips document the most momentous and historic events of the last 120 years. It is a fabulous resource for getting details of social history - the look, the era, the happenings of the time, the fashion and so on. British Movietone os arguably the world's greatest newsreel archive, spanning the period 1895 to 1986. Their newsreel archive contains many of the world's enduring images and is rich in coverage of news events, celebrities, sports, music, social history, science and lifestyle. Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent news gathering covering global news and entertainment video stories also dating back to 1895. People who want to use the clips in their own videos will still need to license them through AP or British Movietone, but they are a wonderful resource to help us understand our ancestors.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

The Surname Society

Launched in November 2014, is a website dedicated to researching surnames. It has been set up by The Surname Society, which is a not-for-profit group founded by a team of genealogists from around the world. It focuses on single surname studies, with a vision to connect like-minded people by providing facilities which enable members to share knowledge, data and good practice with others. The society allows members to register both worldwide and is entirely online. Maybe it is just the group you have been looking for. Worth looking up. You can follow their news at http://surname-society.org/category/news/ , read study stories or join in the forum discussion.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Heaven Address

A new service offered by funeral directors at present is to list the deceased on the website Heaven Address. The website lists recent deaths and funeral services. Family members are then able to add memorials and obituaries. Some include photographs and you can search by name. Links to final resting places, i.e. cemeteries or memorial wall at crematoriums can also be created. HeavenAddress claims to be a respectful online memorial community to honour and celebrate the lives of our loved ones, keeping memoires alive by creating personalised pages for the deceased family member.


A Death in the Family

On the Thursday evening before Good Friday, we had a death in the family. It was my husband's mother, who passed away after a long illness at the age of 91. We then spent Easter organising her funeral, but it was some of the questions we were asked for information to be included on the death certificate that really stumped us. What was your mother's mother's maiden name? i.e. grandmother's maiden name. What was your mother's father's occupation? When did she come to Australia? 
My mother-in-law was born in England in 1923, served in the RAF at Mount Batten, Plymouth, where she met her future husband, an Australian stationed there, and came out to Australia to join her husband in 1946. The only member of her family that we had met was her younger sister, now 87 and living in England. We really didn't know much at all, and had neglected to ask the relevant questions when we could. We knew she had come to Australia in 1946, but not the actual date. We were told that if we just put 1946, the date would automatically adjust to 1/1/1946, and we thought that would be misleading for future generations.
Firstly we went through all paperwork we could find, and found not only my mother-in-law's birth certificate, but also her marriage certificate and a copy of her parent's marriage certificate. From these we found her mother's maiden name - Gillard. (So we could be related to Julia - she came from England as well). Her father was a grave digger, but we could find nothing about when she arrived in Australia. So we turned to FindMyPast.com.au and found her on Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960, but to get the information we needed credits or a subscription. So off we went to our local library, where we could access the information for free, and found the name of the ship she came out on and that it left London on 31 October 1946. [A note about searching, when using her full name we got fewer results, but when we just searched using surname and an initial, we found the information we were after.] Once we had the name of the ship, we checked Trove for shipping arrivals and found she arrived in Sydney on 4th December 1946. So with some family history detective work we were able to provide all the information required and ensure it was the correct information for future family historians.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

1901 Irish Census

Following on from my last post – Findmypast has announced that it has added the 1901 Irish Census to their records. This is the earliest surviving complete Irish census. You are able to search all variations of a name and narrow your results by date of birth. You can also search for two members of the same household at the same time. Don't forget that you can access Findmypast free of charge at Manly Library and most public libraries.

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