Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Genealogy Libraries - 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

Week 8 – Genealogy Libraries: Genealogy libraries (and dedicated departments in regular libraries) are true treasures in the family history community.  Tell us about your favourite genealogy library. What or who makes it special?

Well you probably know what I’m going to say already but yes, the QFHS library at Gaythorne is my favourite Genealogy library.

And yes, my experience is very narrow, I realise. 

I wish I could astound you with facts and figures about the collection but they are not at my fingertips.

Suffice it to say, that I find it pretty hard to beat.

You can find the library here.

Amongst thousands of records, researchers also have access to:

  • Ancestry (Library Edition)

  • Emerald Ancestors

  • FindMyPast – Australasia

  • FindMyPast – UK

  • FindMyPast – Ireland

  • The Genealogist

  • World Vital Records

  • You can search the catalogue here.

    The LDS Film Service is available here too.  Don't forget that you can order books etc from the LDS catalogue if they have been microfilmed.  Search the LDS Catalogue here....

    There is a Cemetery Room, a Map Room, a Computer Room and a nice big tea and meeting room.
    The noise of the trains going past the back door can be a bit of a surprise if you are not used to it but that just means it's close to public transport doesn't it? :)

    And it can get very hot in summer, if you aren’t sitting in the air-conditioned computer room.

    But they are just about the only drawbacks.

    The wonderful members, hard-working management committee and library-assistants make up for that ten-fold.   

    As do the extensive resources.  I am particularly fond of the journal collection and the books.

    To find out what's on click here.

    Check out these photos of when the library re-opened after relocating to Gaythorne from Albion nearly seven years ago.  What a happy bunch we are!

    52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

    Week 7 – Historical Documents: Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have? How did you acquire this item? What does it reveal about your ancestors?

    I’m a bit bamboozled by this challenge in that I don’t think I have any historical documents really.  Original ones that is....I have lots of copies of historical documents.

    Perhaps we need to define historical document…I’m assuming we are talking about a primary source.  My History teacher in High School Rowena Danziger hammered in the importance of primary sources as opposed to secondary sources.  My rather ham-fisted attempt to explain the difference is that a primary source would be one written at the time by someone with first hand knowledge of the event.  I guess we’re talking diaries and letters.

    But wait….I do have some….my mother’s letters. 

    And I am happy to have them.  They are a mix of handwritten and typed letters dating back to 1983.  She was an excellent correspondent.  One day, when my children are interested, the letters might give them an insight into what kind of person she was….funny, stylish and caring to name a few qualities....

    My biggest concern is that I am probably not looking after them as well as I could be.   

    There is all sorts of great advice on the net these days. Library of Congress and State Library of Queensland have preservation advice.

    So perhaps the best plan of action for me with these is to

    1. Keep them out of heat/light
    2. Store them flat
    3. Store them in acid-free file folders
    4. Scan them!

    Have you got any other suggestions?

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Family Heirlooms – 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

    Week 6 – Family Heirlooms: For which family heirloom are you most thankful? How did you acquire this treasure and what does it mean to you and your family?

    We have a few family heirlooms for which we are very grateful.  The photo above for example is of some of the Daw pioneers: namely William Doig Duncan and Rose (nee Gorrian) with their daughter Alice Cecilia Hinde (my husband's great grandmother).  

    We also have the family bible as pictured above.

    I really treasure a scrap book that my father kept of our trip overseas when I was very young as it contains beautiful pen and ink drawings of the places we visited and all the usual ephemera such as menus, napkins, and cabin baggage tickets - not to mention photos...

     Beautiful no?

    But the heirloom I treasure the most and that I can't pick up and run out the door with in the event of a fire is my mother's desk.  
    You can barely see the poor thing as it groans under the weight of all that family history!!!

    Thank you Aunty Denise for insisting that I get it put on the back of a truck and sent up from Sydney to Brisbane after my mother died.  
    You were right.  
    It is a beautiful desk which she lovingly restored herself and it comforts me every day to sit here.
    We miss her this day and every day.

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Life Experiences: 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

    Sometimes the challenges in life provide the best learning experiences. Can you find an example of this in your own family tree? Which brick wall ancestor are you most thankful for, and how did that person shape your family history experience?
    George Birrell - Sea Town 
    My first blog was called Luvvies Musings...and I have been musing long and hard about this question much so that I'm now late...terribly late and need to get on with it! The ancestor that I will posit for discussion today is not really a brick wall but she's a good example.

    My ancestor's name is Isabella Sinclair (nee Birrell).  She was my 3rd great-grandmother and came out to Melbourne, Australia with her husband Peter Sinclair in 1857 on the "Horizon" with their six children: Isabella, Margaret, Ann, James, Ellen (Helen) and Emma.  Somebody sent me a message on Ancestry this week asking me a bit more about the family and so that motivated me to have a play with ScotlandsPeople which I haven't used before.  Tick!  Another new experience ticked off the list for the New Year.

    Isabella and Peter and two of their children are listed on the 1841 Census as living in Main Street Relief, Inverary, Scotland.  This is what it looks like.....

    Inveraray, South Main Street East, Relief Land by David Dorren
    My new buddy Mary on Ancestry was trying to find out how these Sinclairs might fit in with her Sinclairs from Inverary.  Mary is doing what we call a "One Name Study".  To find out more about what a One Name Study is go here....Mary wanted to know who Peter's parents were and whether death certificates were online in Australia.  I mentioned that I had a note somewhere about Isabella's parents names but wasn't sure from whence they came - certainly no supporting documentation.  I had no information on Peter's parents though, of course, I could try and guess using Scottish naming conventions.

    I tried to find Isabella's and Peter's deaths but when I searched the indexes (NSW and VIC - NB the latter cost to search, so beware), I wasn't having much joy in terms of narrowing down possibilities.  Friend Mary tried an alternative spelling and bingo!  We had success.  Isabella died in 1891 in Fitzroy.  Her parents were listed as James Burell and ? Menzies.  I think I had tried one "R" and one "L" and a "U" instead of an "I" but with two "Rs" and two "Ls".  Searching is an art and I need to get better at it; particularly if you have to pay to search!  You might want to try out some freeware that helps think up variants for you if you have reached a brick wall in your research.  One that we use at work is Surname Suggestion List by the wonderful Matt Combs.

    So what's my point?  Well it's the one you've probably heard before which is don't expect the name you are researching to be spelled the same all the time.  Just think about your own name....Personally I had to wear the maiden name of Conner for many years which gets variously spelled as Connor, Connors, O'Connor etc.  You can imagine what I get for Daw...Door, Dore, Dawe, Daws.  But the best of all variants was Dax in a rejection letter for a job last year...."Dear Mrs Dax" began.  It was the first time I've ever laughed at a rejection letter.

    Dax is particularly catchy when combined with a nickname my friend called Loani (pronounced Low-Ah-knee) invented for me years ago.  When we first met, I found her name a bit of a challenge but I quickly learned how to say it when she threatened to call me Olix everytime I called her Leonie ! ;)

    Over and out...Olix Dax.

    PS Wouldn't it be great if I could claim some connection to the marvellous artist George Birrell?  I just discovered him today when I idly searched Birrell images....don't you love serendipity?  And great art?