Friday, May 12, 2017

Bloggers united! We'll never be defeated!

Or words to that effect.

There has been a bit of debate in the geneablogging community about whether our blogging days are over.

Julie Cahill Tarr's post here got the debate going, although James Tanner says he has raised this issue before and been howled down.  Thomas MacEntee announced recently that he's changing the way he's doing business on Geneabloggers.com.

For the affirmative, Amy Johnson Crow has weighed in and said it's not dead it's just different.  And the lovely Alona Tester has identified the pros and cons of Blogging versus the suggested villain of the piece Facebooking.

It's a very interesting and important debate and I don't begin to pretend to know the answer. What I will say is that 25 people turned up to attend a QFHS seminar this morning where we talked about how blogging your family history can maximise your research and why you might consider doing it. 

The social media landscape is a crowded one and it will probably have more players in the future.  I'm flat out maintaining my Instagram account, still trying to get my head around the value of Snapchat and monitoring Facebook, grieving the wasted hours but acknowledging that it is, by and large, my news source for both my own personal community and the world. Pinterest anyone?

And yet I still want to blog.  Why? 

Because I want to leave a legacy to my descendants and a legacy that can be found.  Have you tried searching Facebook for that post you saw, thought you didn't need and then two days later decide you need it?  Frustrating.

Because I have met so many great fellow researchers virtually and or in real life just through blogging - and some of them are even related to me.  Bonus!

Because by committing to writing stuff down AND publishing it, I am more conscientious about exploring every angle, thinking about how I go about my research and acknowledging my sources. 

Because the dialogue I have in response to the comments on my blog and on other's blogs expands my knowledge about this fascinating hobby.

At the beginning of the seminar this morning three participants told the group they had blogs. By the end of the seminar many participants expressed a desire to join them in the blogosphere. Make them welcome won't you and tell them what you love about blogging and why they should jump in.

Long live blogging! 

PS Family History Month is just around the corner.  Anyone up for another blogging challenge? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, April 21, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - R is for References, Reviews and Rights


How many of us still have encyclopedias at home?  How many times have you used them lately?

There are all sorts of references available online now through your local library.  You don't need that encyclopedia taking up all that shelf space.  If you go online you will find all sorts of things there.  Membership of Moreton Bay Region Library Service gives you access to Brittanica Library and lots of databases through SLQ.  Do you want to see if that awful vase Aunt Dot left you is worth anything?  Check out Carter's Price Guide for Antiques.  See what's on offer here or check out your own local library.

Don't know whether to buy a book or not?  Plenty of family history magazines have book reviews as do family history blogs or social media sites for readers such as Goodreads. Have you read a good book lately?  Share it with us so we can all benefit.

Rights 
Not sure where you stand with regards to using those old photos...or letters....?

It might be worth investing in the Australian Copyright Council's publications e.g. Historians and Copyright or Writers and Copyright or Websites and Social Media.  

There are some information sheets here.

Right on.  Sorry couldn't resist.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - Q is for quotations and QFHS


I have spoken before about citations and mentioned a couple of books to help you with this in your work.  If you wish to quote somebody else's work in your own you will need a tool to keep track of all your quotations.

There are some tools which are freely available in case you don't wish to invest in citation software.  The Moreton Bay Region Library service (and I am sure many others) provides a link on its website to citation, bibliography and reference builders here. Just scroll to the bottom of the page to find them or you can see them on the links below:

Bibme

Citation builder

Harvard Style Reference Generator

Reference Machine

Give me the letter Q and I am always going to promote the QFHS - my family history society.  

Did you know that you can search the Society's library catalogue online?

If you ever visit the library in person you will need to understand its cataloguing system which is borrowed from the one designed for SAG.  The guide to the system is here.

And here's a tip.  You may know that QFHS has a long-gunning project to index pupils in Queensland schools.  There are 6 CDs containing the names of 2,400,000 pupils in over 1200 schools.  Maybe you know which school your ancestors went to e.g. Kingaroy.  Which CD would that school be on?  Have a look at the index here.

If you are a member you can access electronic journal subscriptions online...this fortnight for example the latest issues of the Canberra HAGSOC's journal, The Cockney ancestor, Hurstville Genealogist, Orkney SIB Folk news, Sakatchewan Bulletin and West Wyalong Mallee Stump were added to the collection.  Last fortnight the Caboolture FHS Hindsight, Gladstone FHS Timeline, Ormskirk District FHS Family Historian, RHSQ Bulletin and the Sunshine Coast Kin Tracer were added.  It's not just Australian society journals....we're talking all over the world.

It's wonderful really isn't it?  Just amazing. One subscription gets you all these. I love my Society.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - P is for Periodicals, Podcasts, Preserving and Publishing


You could say that I have covered Periodicals already under J for journals.

However, while I've been compiling these posts, I have also been walking the dog every morning and listening to some Podcasts.

What podcasts do I listen to?  Anything and everything really but you might be interested in the following genealogy podcasts....

Genealogy Guys

Genies Down Under

Genealogy Gems

The National Archives

Anyways, I was listening to the Genealogy Guys and I kept hearing them mention the PERSI Index on Find My Past.  It's amazing what you don't know about tools that you use on a regular basis.  So I will mention it now for what it is worth.  You can access the PERSI index on Find My Past!!!  You can search it here. You can read about what it is here on the lovely Family Search wiki.

If you have invested in resources for your genealogy library be they books, CDs, certificates...whatever you are probably interested in Preserving them or at least looking after them for posterity.

State Library of Queensland's website has some easy to read guides here. Whether you want to know how to choose shelving, handle books, preserve your digital content or deal with an emergency, there's a guide to help you.

Library of Congress has the most beautiful bookmarks to remind you how to preserve your family treasures here.

I have, of course, invested in some books as well.  I think I have already mentioned Shauna Hicks Your Family History Archives.  And I also have a copy of Stopping the rot: a handbook of preventive conservation for local studies collections by Helen Price.

Publishing 
This could as easily come under W for Writing but I think it is worth mentioning that at some stage you might also be interested in writing and publishing your own family history. Whether you choose to self-publish online through a blog or in a hard copy there are many publications to help you.  We've probably all got some books on writing/publishing on our shelves.  I have Peter Donovan's - So, You Want to Write History ? and Joanna Beaumont's How to Write and Publish your Family history.  Noeline Kyle is also very popular in this area. I have recently invested in Blogging for Dummies, just to make sure I've got the basics covered and I am very impressed with Ros Petelin's How Writing works: a field guide to effective writing which I think I am going to have to purchase.

Have you any pronouncements or pearls of wisdom you would like to share with the family history community in this regard ?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - O is for Organizing, Oral History and Online Catalogues


Oh my goodness.  Here we are...the difficult bit.  No, not really.

You want to arrange your collection so that it looks more professional and things are easier to find. 

It's much easier to do so than it used to be with an online service like Librarything. 

First of all decide how are you going to organize your library.

Dewey Decimal?

Library of Congress?

Librarything can sort your books for you according to LCC or Dewey. You can also tag your books in Librarything according to whatever description you want to give them.  You can give them lots of tags, not just one.

If you wanted to arrange your books as per the Society of Australian Genealogists or QFHS classification scheme then that might take a bit more time.  You would need to add the call number as a separate field of information but would then still be able to sort it by that column once you had exported it as an XML file.

Some people have left comments on this blog recommending Calibre for an electronic collection.  I haven't got my head around Calibre yet but I thank them for sharing this with us.  Don't forget when you don't know how to do something, there will always be a YouTube video somewhere to help!

Why don't use tinycat and make your collection searchable online?  That way you won't have to worry about buying duplicates.  Read more about it here.

Most importantly you should organise to interview elderly relatives as soon as possible.  You will need to be organised when you do this and there are many great publications to help you in this task.  

I have a book called Once Upon a Memory: Your Family Tales and Treasures by Jean Alessi....but there are hundreds of sites online to guide you through the process with suggested questions.  Oral History Australia's website is here.

O what a beautiful morning! O what a beautiful day! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

#AtoZChallenge N is for NLA, Nonbooks, Num and Newspapers


Libraries aren't just about books, librarians are fond of saying.  I remember being shocked when I first saw my children's school library and it was full of computers.  It wasn't even called a library - it was called a Resource Centre. 

But it was run by a fantastic librarian with an unpronouncable name and boy did my kids learn about technology. By Grade 3 they were creating PowerPoint presentations.  I was amazed.  This was obviously well before I was a librarian.  I was a library lover but I didn't know much about what went into libraries or how access to information was managed.  

By now you're probably beginning to appreciate that you won't be able to have everything you want in your own personal genealogy library (nor would you want to)....there just isn't enough room.  But it is possible to gain access to the vast resources of other libraries to complement your own collection.

So I have highlighted the National Library of Australia to remind you about access to its e-Resources.  Most people think of Trove when they think of the NLA but it is so much more than Newspapers (although I can't imagine life without Trove now can you?).  

If you haven't got a library card yet for the NLA you need to get hopping. You can sign up for one here.

Nonbooks

You can tell I was desperate using this word can't you?  I confess I've been using a dictionary of library terms to help me with this  A to Z challenge and this one stuck out. 

We've already spoken about maps and images but don't forget all the other things that could conceivably be in your genealogy library - CDs, slides, movies, audio recordings, pamphlets, files.  

I have CDs such as Extracts from Portsmouth Records 1891 and Queensland Passports Index 1915-25, not to mention the giveaway CDs that come with magazines.

Gould Genealogy offers a whole bunch of resources through Archive Digital Books Australasia and gen-ebooks often at quite substantial discounts in comparison to the hard copy e.g. to purchase Shauna Hicks Your Family History Archives book is only $3.95 in the soft copy or on PDF but $8.25 in hard copy.  So you're saving money as well as saving space.

I will talk about the preservation of items like these in a future post but you do need to start cataloguing or recording and/or digitizing what you have so when you down-size or that wretched bus comes around the corner, your family know what's what.

Num (Cora)

I hope you aren't going numb with boredom.  We're more than half way through this challenge and we're on the downhill run.  

When I first started making notes about what I could use for each letter, I thought about authors or authorities in the family history area that I should mention.  Cora Num came to mind.  I have a few of her publications:

eRecords for Family History

Irish research on the internet

and

Internet Family History

I was lucky enough to see Cora Num speak at the 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Canberra - albeit virtually.  You can read my summing up of her sessions on this post.

Her books on shipping and migration are on my wish-list.

If you haven't visited her wonderful gateway website, hop to it now.

Why don't you start with her Newspaper gateway?


Sunday, April 16, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - M is for Microform, Maps, Military and Mylar


I'm probably going a bit overboard here but heck...it's my blog, I can do what I like yes? So first up some demystification of some library terminology.

Microform

This term covers microfiche and microfilm.  

I'm always amazed when people don't know what microfiche is.  But then I am getting on a bit and technology has raced ahead so why am I surprised?  

Microfiche look a bit like transparent bits of blue pastic with tiny tiny writing on them.  They are about 4 x 6 inches and often come in nice paper pockets to protect them.  

They look like this


Liseuse de microfiches Micron 355
image from Frederic Bisson on Flicker Liseuse de microfiches Micron 355



Here are the readers at QFHS - my family history society.



It's a great way of getting a lot of information into a small space. To read the microfiche you pop them in a microfiche reader which - wait for it - has a magnifying lens so that you can enlarge the images (often indexes in family history) to read them.

Microfilm is pretty much the same, except it is on a reel usually in a nice little box sitting on a shelf or in a filing cabinet drawer.  You look at it on a microfilm reader after you've loader the film as in this photo.  


How I Spend Free Time
from Dale Winling - How I spend free time on flicker


I spent a lot of my youth at Mitchell Library scouring newspapers like this before Trove came along.  Now I search all sorts of stuff on microfilm at archives e.g. wills and land records.  Here is an example of a land record for one of my husband's ancestors that I took with my phone camera.



It is unlikely that you would have microfiche or microfilm at home but I thought I would mention them in case you are starting out and read about them or see them in a research facility but don't know what the heck they are.  

Maps

Over the years I have bought a couple of maps when I have been trying to get a handle on where my ancestors lived.  Gould Genealogy has been my supplier but I am keen to hear where else family historians purchase maps.  Of course The Australian War Memorial has some good ones of battlefields et al.  


Military

Speaking of war, maybe your ancestor served in one of the forces: army, navy or airforce. It can be difficult to get you head around all the military speak, the organisation of forces and how to go about looking for records and where they might be kept.

I have the following volumes in my library but hanker for more:

How to trace your military ancestors in Australia and New Zealand by R H Montague

Tracing Your Naval Ancestors by Simon Fowler

That elusive digger: tracing your military ancestor Neil C Smith

AIF Unit Histories of the Great War of 1914-1918 Ron Austin

Beautiful books to look at are published by Osprey which have great illustrations of uniforms and regalia e.g. Anzac Infantrymen

Digging for Diggers by Gareme Hosken is a great resource and I can't recommend it highly enough. That and Understanding Australian military speak  by Neil C Smith are on my wishlist.

Of course if you are researching WWI ancestors you should read CEW Bean's official history of WWI.

This has been a very Australian focused list.  It would be remiss of me if I didn't mention Pen & Sword Publishing which publish a phenomenal amount on military.


Mylar

If you wish to protect your maps and or other keepsakes from fingerprints, dust, creepy crawlies et al, then you probably want to invest in some Mylar.  I first heard about Mylar when I joined Libraryland.  I had to keep asking the name of it because I kept forgetting...so really this is more of an aide-memoir for me tee hee but...you might be interested in it too.  Mylar is actually the name of the brand rather than the product (a bit like biro or kleenex).  It is in fact plastic polyethylene terephthalate..yeah...easier to remember Mylar I think.  If you want to see what it looks like go to this website here.

Right - that's More than enough from Me. Over to you.