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Showing posts from April, 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.

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

It might be worth investing in the Aust…

#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:


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'…

#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 Libra…

#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…

#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 a…

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

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


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

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 …

Sepia Saturday 363: 15 April 2017

Today I'm taking a quick break from the #AtoZChallenge to participate in good old Sepia Saturday. Yes I know it's Sunday here in Orstralia but in some parts of the world, it is still Saturday soon as I saw this picture I knew which one from my collection I wanted to use.  Here it is...

It's a bit of a crappy old dirty picture isn't it?  But there's some writing on the back which I think must be my mother's writing....except for the bit in darker ink down the bottom which is mine.


This ain't no master-piece but its not bad, considering, is it?  I mean, I didn't have the proper equipment. I vos very surprised and pleased.  Doesn't the chair look good?  Looks like a ????  I had it on about 20 books to get the height.  Dad would have corpsed.

And then my words are Flat at Summer Hill (Arthur Mee's).  I think my words were written maybe 20 years ago after my mother died.  I was showing some photos to my godmother and asking her wh…

#AtoZChallenge - L is for Local Histories, Library of Congress and Librarything

Part of the joy of being a family historian (as opposed to a genealogist) is that you have a broader view of your ancestry.  You look at them in the context of the place and time they lived.  

Local history is very important to family historians and some even go to the extent of creating one place studies e.g. the lovely Pauleen Cass who has set up one for Dorfprotzelten in Bavaria and East Clare in Ireland.  What a great idea.

Many family historians have spoken of the joy they have felt being able to visit the land of their ancestors.  As part of a short course recently delivered through the University of Tasmania, I completed an exercise in mapping my ancestor's land in a crafty kind of way.  It was a great exercise and you can read about it here if you like.  I haven't been able to visit Taemas yet but I feel like I know the place better now for having studied newspaper articles, joined the local history society and read local histories.

My family history library contains a fe…

#AtoZChallenge - K is for Keepsakes

Chances are, if you are a family historian, you might also be a bit of a hoarder.  The first tooth, the first shoes, jewelry, retirement gifts, christening gowns, communion certificates, ration books, tapestries and home movies.  You name it. I've got it.

Have I mentioned I live in a sub-tropical climate?  

Being the keeper of family stories, I know that my aunt's home went up in flames in the early 60s and that my parents lost many of their wedding gifts.  They were living overseas at the time and much of their stuff was "in storage" at Hazel's place.  Australia is famous for its fires....and its floods.  Post-tropical cyclone Debbie made a bit of an impact on the Queensland coast recently in case you missed the news.  

How do we protect our keepsakes and preserve them for future generations?  

Shauna Hicks recently published for the Unlock the Past series a booklet called Your Family History Archives: a brief introduction.You might just want to check it out.

If you …

#AtoZChallenge - J is for Journals

Journals.  I have a few.  And I am always running out of magazine boxes in which to store them.  I have all my copies of the Queensland Family Historianwhich is my Society's journal.  The Society is encouraging its members to switch to an e-version to better use funds for resources and equipment replacement. I haven't done that yet.  Can I make the leap?

I have also indulged in purchases of various magazines ranging from Who Do You Think You Are? andHistory Todayto Family Tree Magazine and the very beautiful but shortly to become defunct Inside History.   The Australian War Memorial puts out a good quarterly publication called Wartime.And of course Australian Family Tree Connections.  Not to mention the magazines of any other societies of which I am a member.  Yass and District Historical Society Inc publishes Boongaroon and the Central Scotland Family History Society has its own Newsletter.

There are perhaps too many good magazines.  

I watched a Legacy webinar recently (50 webs…

#AtoZChallenge - I is for Images

Images.  They are so important to family history and half my fun on this blog at least is trying to decipher old family photos.  Of course I need to look after them too.  I fear I am not doing a good job of this at the moment but will be vastly aided by having recently won a beautiful Albox Archival Album.  Thank you Gould Genealogy and History.  But I digress.

Books that have helped me enormously in the deciphering and curation of family photos are:

Dating Family Photos 1850-1920 by Lenore Frost - published in Victoria in 1991 the first part of the books looks at dating by type of photo and the second part dating by costume with sections broken into men, women, children, weddings, riding habits, working clothes and mourning clothes.  There is an excellent glossary (what is a paletot?) and bibliography.  This book is out of print now but you may be able to pick up a 2nd hand copy somewhere.

The Mechanical Eye - A History of Australian Photography by Con Tanre - gives a history of photogr…

#AtoZChallenge - H is for Handbooks, Handwriting, Historical Fiction and Hathi Trust Digital Library

We all have our favourite handbooks I am sure when it comes to genealogy and family history.  Whilst some of the information may be out of date (organisations change their names, physical street addresses and URL addresses) I still refer to Nick Vine-Hall's Tracing Your Family History in Australia because it is set out so logically: state by state, then subjects e.g. immigration, religion and then location of records and record types and then territories.  What a godsend that book has been.

On a different topic, to be sure, but similar in its lovely logical layout is Tracing Your Irish Ancestors by John Grenham.

Have you got a favourite handbook?  

Handwriting - when I first started out in this hobby I quickly became aware that I would need to learn a thing or two aboutReading old handwriting.  Eve McLaughlin's little guide is full of great information and tips and images to set you on the right path. Eve is the Secretary and Editor of the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.  I…

#AtoZChallenge - G is for Google, Gateways, GRDs and Gibson Guides

I won't pretend I don't love Google. I must use it a dozen times a least..and then some.  

But are you using it properly and is there more to the web than google?  Wanna brush up on your internet searching skills? Here are some online lessons. Or here. Or here. Or here. See if your public library membership card allows you acess to courses on Lynda as well. If it does there's another course here.

If you want to take your searching the web to the next level I can recommend you read Maureen Henninger's The Hidden Web. She'll introduce you to directories, portals, vortals and gateways.  Well worth reading.

Other books to guide you on the internet are:

The Genealogist's Internetby Peter Christian ...

and Cora Num's three guides Internet Family History, Irish Research on the Internet and eRecords for Family History. 

I have to confess that I still have GRDs or Genealogical Research Directories still on my shelves although they can now be searched electronical…

#AtoZChallenge - F is for Family Search, Finding Aids, FAQs, FFHS and Free Sites

It's Friday and very appropriately the letter of the day is "F".
This won't be the last time I bang on about Family Search.
But really - you should check it out.  And I guess I'm really talking about the Wiki and the catalogue and the books.
Maybe you want to print out and read Finding Aids or Fact Sheets from various Archives.
Australian War Memorial Finding Aids are here.
AIATSIS Finding Aids are here.
NAA Fact sheets for Family HIstory are here.
SLQ's website is fantastic too with lots of guides to help you along the way and here are some FAQs. NLA's FAQs are here.
Federation of Family History Society publishes books.  You can find out about them here. They also have a fantastic link on their site to free websites.  
What is your favourite thing beginning with F in a library devoted to genealogy?

#AtoZChallenge - E is for eResources, Encyclopedias and Evidence

Libraries are as much about digital resources these days as physical 3D items.

If you haven't already availed yourself of membership of your local public library card, you are missing out.

Make sure you have a library card for your state library and the national library too.  All of them have access to different eResources and it would be a shame to not use them. Check out some of the offerings here,here and here.

Looking for a genealogical encyclopedia?  Look no further than Eastman's.  But if you want to hold something in your hands and flick through it then the Who Do You Think You Are: the encylopedia of genealogy : the definitive reference guide to tracing your family history by Nick Barrett isn't bad either.

"There is nothing like first-hand evidence" A Study in Scarlet Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
What books/references do you need to make sure that you are citing things properly or that you're showing the Evidence for your research?

Evidence Explained by Elizabeth …