Family History Alphabet: Q is for ….guess

Family History AlphabetMy theme for the Family History through the Alphabet is the Attributes we need as family historians: the skills, experience and talents we need to bring to our research. This week’s letter is Q, an important one if we’re ever to complete our family history.

On your quest persevere, don’t quit, and keep questioning.

Q is NOT for QUITTING:  If we want to find out the story of our families, hurdle those brick walls, break down data barriers we cannot afford to quit. Remember those other attributes: determination, persistence, bravery, enthusiasm and energy? These are our personal resources we draw on when the going gets tough.

Q is for QUESTIONING: As we acquire information we need always to question its accuracy, the sources and its relative merits. Remember: discernment, gumption, knowledge, enquiring?

Q is for QUALITY: I think it’s fair to say most of us want to produce quality research and ensure we can substantiate our research claims. Remember citing, attribution, and acknowledgements?

Q is for QUEST: Like knights of old we’re on a quest to learn more about our families, find those ancient ancestors and bring them to life.

Q is for QUANTITY: I guess we all know genealogists whose sole aim is to build up a vast quantity of names on their trees without a care in the world for accuracy, privacy or turning those names into people. Give me QUALITY over quantity any day! Which leads me to….

 Q is for QUERULOUS: Crabby, cantankerous and just plain grumpy can be the less pleasant attributes we bring to our research, especially when we stand in front of that brick wall or when someone breaches our privacy without permission, or doesn’t acknowledge our work.

What other Q attributes do you think we need as family historians?

Images from Microsoft Office clip art.

August fun is drawing to a close

The Darwin Festival finished on Sunday with a performance of Dirtsong. I’ve written about it over my Tropical Territory blog if you’d like to read about it.

There’s no more Spiegeltent and no more twinkling lights in the trees. The food stalls with their delicious food have packed up and we’ll all be back to visiting the markets or getting take-away. .

The NT election is a done deal and there is a new government in place, largely due to the vote of Indigenous people in the bush.

Operation Pitch Black is over but there are still a few Top Guns buzzing the skies.

The humidity is rising daily and we are all too well aware of the coming months of the Build Up in the Top End.

The Open Gardens have another month to run and by then I’ll be only too keen to retreat behind the air-conditioning and do more family history research.

52 weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Genealogy Friends

It’s quite a while since I wrote about any of Amy Coffin’s 52 weeks of Abundant Genealogy topics but this week’s motivated me to re-awaken my efforts.

The topic for Week 35 in the series is Genealogy Friends. Amy says “Genealogy friends are wonderful people. Don’t you agree? Tell us about a genealogy friend in your life. How did you meet? Do you share any common ancestors or research interests?

Who would not agree that our genealogy friends are great people? But they’re also a wonderful support to each of us in our on-going research. The Geneabloggers community is a perfect example of how a group of virtual friends can make such a difference to our enjoyment of family history.

However today I want to wind the clock back a couple of decades. Back in those olden pre-internet days, we made contact with fellow genealogists at family history societies where we’d all be ensconced every weekend, and some evenings, pursuing our research leads and learning through tailored classes. We advertised our “Wanted” lists in the society’s magazine and if we were lucky someone eventually replied by snail mail. These days we blog and email and can make connections in minutes, if we’re lucky.

I got lucky with two of my family branches way back in those times and there are two friends who take equal billing. Both responded to my research interests which included the surnames Gavin and Sherry. One lady, Betty, lived in Sydney but was originally from Brisbane, the other, Carmel, lived in Los Angeles and was also from Queensland. Both were my mother’s contemporaries and it later transpired that they had all attended the same Catholic girls school in Brisbane of which I was also a past pupil. How strange a set of coincidences is that?

Back and forth our snail mail letters travelled as we untangled the links between families.  We collaborated on certificates, sharing the costs and swapping clues and hypotheses.

Betty and the Sherry/McSharry/McSherry family

Betty quickly enlightened me on why I wasn’t finding the McSherry family in Queensland’s migration records: they had arrived under their Irish name, Sherry, and the parents (James and Bridget) and most of the children, nearly all adults, had then changed their surname to McSharry supposedly to grab on to the coat-tails of Queensland’s famous railway company McSharry and O’Rourke.

My ancestral line, Peter the eldest son of this family, arrived a year later with his wife and two small children, one of whom was my grandfather James Joseph. The tricky bit was that this family’s surname became McSherry so Betty’s husband and my mother were 2nd cousins, but with different surnames –McSharry and McSherry.  No wonder I was confused as a novice researcher.

Betty and I wrote and phoned and even had a couple of meetings in Brisbane and Sydney, and we kept pursuing the elusive James Sherry aka McSharry, who disappeared off the face of the earth. Betty was an experienced researcher but at no point did we manage to find what happened to James though Betty’s husband had a theory or two. To this day the mystery remains unresolved.

We did manage to pin down some of the mysteries before Betty had a severe stroke, which completely incapacitated her. It was a tragic loss of a bright, vivacious and intelligent woman caught in a no-man’s-land of brain damage.

Carmel and the Gavin/Gavan family

Carmel lived in Los Angeles and it transpired that she had been part of an important research team working on the Rh negative factor when it was first discovered. Not that she told me that – imagine my surprise when I read about it in the history of our alma mater.

As our typed snail mail correspondence criss-crossed the Pacific we worked out that we were actually researching two different Gavin families.  However both families and their offshoots lived on the Darling Downs near Dalby for long periods and shared some names. Her Gavins came from Galway while mine came from Kildare and there was no connection, but of course we couldn’t just walk away from the intriguing links. I would say there’s no doubt at all that the two sets of families knew each other in those early pioneering days. And of course as I collected data on my own I also collected info on Carmel’s lot. Imagine my excitement when at Expo 88 I found the record of her great-uncle’s convict record newly available through the Irish exhibition. She shared certificates that turned out to be for my lot, I sent photographs of the gravestones she had erected on StradbrokeIsland for her great-grandparents. Along the way we broke down a few myths which would have caused her ancestors to roll in their graves.  They would however be astonished to know what amazingly clever and successful descendants they had.

It was Carmel who started me on the habit of writing narratives of my families even as I researched them, something I continue to this day.

Carmel and I, and my youngest daughter, managed to meet in Los Angeles not long before she died of cancer. It was so sad to see her struggling with her illness yet determined to meet me in her home and have her husband Larry show us around LA.

 Vale Betty McSharry and Carmel Montgomery, thank you for the wonderful collaboration and friendship we shared. I still think of you both often and miss you. What fun we’d have had together in the internet era.

Beyond the Internet: Week 34 Family History Society Libraries

Beyond the Internet

This is Week 34 in my Beyond the Internet series in which I explore the sources of information beyond our computer screens and the topic is Family History Society (FHS) Libraries.

It’s easy to assume that most genealogists/family historians are members of at least one family history society, but is that still true in this internet-driven era of research?

When I started out in my family research nearly 26 years ago family history research was the same as now, in the sense of trying to track down one’s ancestry and our families’ lives. However it was also extremely different in ways that even those of us who lived through find hard to re-imagine. Shauna Hicks posted a great story about this recently and it’s well worth a look just to see pre-internet research through the looking glass.

But anyway all that’s a diversion. Why would you bother going to a family history library today?  There are several reasons.

1.      Accessibility

You may not have a reference library close to you given their concentration in larger places, so the local FHS library may be the most convenient place for you to visit

2.     Local Reference Books

Societies which have been operating for some time will steadily accumulate a wide variety of books on their specific location, as well as a representative sample of books on other places

3.    Indexes

In the “olden” days, all manner of records were indexed by enthusiastic volunteers and mostly ended up on microfiche. While some of these have wound up on various internet pay-to-view sites, not all of them have: there may well be a nugget just waiting for you to find it. One example – the Genealogical Society of Queensland has indexed a wide array of Roman Catholic church records for Queensland. If you come from the Brisbane area, do take note when a child is baptised in Wooloowin where the home for unmarried mothers was situated, or the burial records of St Joan of Arc, Herston which was the parish providing pastoral care to Royal Brisbane Hospital. Another example – The Family History Society of North Queensland in Townsville have indexed a wide variety of resources, books etc which is invaluable if you have ancestors from the region. Some societies have published their indexes online so that’s also worth pursuing but for now we’re talking about off-line resources.

4.      Pioneer Registers

In the lead up to Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 and Queensland’s 150th celebrations in 2009, many societies published pioneer information submitted by genealogists. I may be wrong but I’m not aware of any of these available online.  I’d imagine similar pioneer databases are available for overseas researchers. I wrote about some of these here.

5.      Microfilmed records

They often have unusual records on microfilm which you won’t find elsewhere. I’ll be talking about some of these in the next few weeks so I’m not going to tip my hand now.

6.      Classes, Interest Groups, and Collegiality

Many active societies will have classes targeted at specific genealogy interests. They are a great way to learn more from an experienced presenter.

Similarly societies will usually have Specific Interest Groups eg Scottish, Irish, IT etc. Once again you will learn a lot but you’ll also have help to brainstorm your problems. But do also pursue your own research – with the best intentions even the experts can give you incorrect information. For example, years ago I was resoundingly told there were no Catholic Germans who came to Queensland and none from Bavaria. The person was an expert, but had an unstated bias towards Lutheran research and was completely incorrect on the topic of Catholic German immigrants.

Which societies should you join? You can look at this a number of ways.

If you want to do the face-to-face research and get assistance, then the society near you is likeliest to be the most helpful. It may also be helpful to be a member of a society in the area where your ancestors lived. If you have options you may wish to check out their online presence and see just what they offer to members before choosing where to spend your money and time.

Also consider what reciprocal memberships they offer. You want to ensure you get maximum “bang for your buck”.

What are your thoughts on family history societies and how have they been valuable to your research?

Family History Alphabet: A Plethora of P attributes

My theme for the Family History through the Alphabet is the Attributes we need as family historians: the skills, experience and talents we need to bring to our research. We’re powering through the alphabet and Week 16 brings us a plethora of “P” characteristics.

P is for Privacy: No, not our own, though that they may also come into it as we happily write our stories on our blogs. Equally importantly we need to respect the privacy of living family members and not post their online willy-nilly, or in a printed publication without their Permission.  I don’t advocate strict privacy for those in the distant past, as their records are usually already in the public domain. However it’s worth remembering to treat their stories with respect, tell the truth but don’t sensationalise it.

Mindful of the privacy of others.

P is for Permissions: we need to be mindful that we must get permissions from our relatives before sharing their information.  Another privacy issue is the golden rule of not sharing someone else’s emails or addresses without their permission.

P is for Perspective:  Social values change over time so we need to assess our families’ actions within the Prism of their era and historical context.

P is for Patience:  Despite what we see on genealogy shows like WDYTYA, this obsessionhobby takes time. There’s no professional genealogist there to hand us the very document we’re looking for, no archivists waiting to greet us at the door and respond to our particular research questions. We need a vast amount of patience to work our way steadily back through time.

Persistence and patience pay off.

P is for Persistence: The corollary to patience if we’re going to find those missing clues.  Sometimes I think it’s the family members who make us work the hardest to find them, that we appreciate the most.

P is for Perspicacity: Well yes, I know this is the same as D for Discernment, but how could I resist?

P is for Possessive:I don’t know about you but sometimes I get just a teeny weeny bit possessive of my families

P is for Plenty: Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how much we have to be grateful for along this quest: the plentiful resources and the plentiful generosity of others.

Do you have other P words to add to our suite of attributes?

Images from Office Clip Art (except for the FH Alphabet).

Library Loot: Migration experiences and learning Gaelic

Once again I’m following in the footsteps of Julie from Angler’s Rest and reporting in on my recent Library Loot.

When I pick books up from the library I’m less selective than when I’m splashing my own cash: I figure that I can try something new and even if I’m not rapt in it, then it doesn’t really matter. On the other hand sometimes I get lucky and discover something that really appeals to me.

Two books from the Palmerston Library which I’ve read recently  might be of some interest to my readers and fellow family history junkies.

Titanic Lives

Titanic Lives may seem like it will be yet another beat-up about the well-known sinking of the Titanic, but it actually offers a much deeper perspective.  The author, Richard Davenport-Hines, is an historian and biographer and his skills shine through as he writes about how the passengers on Titanic, and their lives, were a microcosm of, and reflection of, life in the era. He also documents the sources behind his story. What I most liked about the book is that it personalises the saved and the lost: they become real people not just “steerage” or “rich”. I wasn’t especially interested in the wealthy Astors, Wideners or Guggenheims but there were riches indeed in the stories of those in 2nd class or steerage/3rd class passengers.

If your ancestors emigrated in this time frame (early 20th century) there is much in this book to illuminate your ancestor’s travel and migration experience as well as the challenges of gaining entry to the USA through Ellis Island. The author also devotes a chapter to the crew of the Titanic, providing great insights into the working lives, and safety hazards, of the merchant seaman. As I have several of these in my family this chapter was very interesting on the responsibilities of stewards and firemen. Admittedly my ancestors were working on rather less glamorous ships than the Titanic but nonetheless there’s useful information there.  I found this book very interesting and learnt a good deal from it. This is not just another reiteration of the story of a major tragedy.

Home with Alice: A Journey in Gaelic Ireland

This book might be of interest to my readers who are keen Irish researchers with its exploration of Gaelic-speaking Ireland and the role, and threats to long-term survival, of the language.

When I picked the book up at the library I thought it might be another version of Brigid by Australian author, Jill Blee, which I had enjoyed for its focus on Co Clare. In fact this story had little in common with Brigid, despite the nominal role of the author’s aunt Alice in his journeying to Ireland’s Gaeltacht districts. I personally found Alice’s interventions contrived and unnecessary other than to explain the author’s initial decision to learn Irish.

Author Steve Fallon is a journalist and, inter alia, a travel writer for Lonely Planet, and at times the book takes on the tenor of a guide book. However I enjoyed learning more about the challenges of Irish as a language, especially as at one point I’d thought of learning it myself.  If anything the book convinced me this was a delusional aspiration due to the language’s complexity. I learnt that there were differences between the various dialects within the Gaeltacht regions, the new acceptance of Irish as a fashionable language with the rise of the Celtic Tiger, and the invasiveness of English into the Gaelic expressions.

It’s always a pleasure, too, reading a book which describes places you may have visited so that you can visualise where he’s talking about, whether Connemara, Kerry or Donegal. The impact of Gaelic television and radio also reminded me of the significance of Australia’s own ethnic broadcaster, SBS.

I do find the Irish-American tendency to identify as “Irish” a bit strange. While I too have an Irish passport like the author, and have many branches of Irish ancestry as well as a love of Ireland, my mongrel Australian ancestry means I feel it would be inaccurate and presumptuous to call myself Irish. Apart from the significance of the Catholic church to Irish emigrants in both countries, the experience of being a descendant of Irish emigrants in Australia seems to me to be quite different from that in “America”.

Beyond the Internet: Week 33 Local History adds value to family history

Beyond the Internet

This is Week 33 in my Beyond the Internet series in which I explore the sources of information beyond our computer screens and the topic is Local History:  Centres, Libraries and Local Histories. This is part of the Archives and Libraries section of the series.

Local History Centres/Heritage Centres

Local History centres aka Heritage Centres can be gold mines for family history research. Of course not all centres are created equal, as much depends on the resources available and the enthusiasm and expertise of the centre teams, often volunteers.  Nevertheless there are nuggets of information to be gleaned. This is where you are likely to find old newspapers (perhaps not a full run) which may not yet have made it on Trove. You may also find that there are old-timers who have personal knowledge relating to the history of the place when your family lived there. The local history group may even have indexed the burials in the local cemetery.

The story relayed by Granny Gavin cannot be accurate given the age difference between the couple but it’s interesting that’s how she told their story.

As an example, back in the late 1980s I visited the Crows Nest Folk Museum on the Darling Downs. Thanks to the hard work of their volunteers I got an obituary from a small newspaper for my 2xgreat grandfather Denis Gavin; saw a war memorial board with his grandsons’ names; and was given an oral history about Denis’s second wife. While his wife’s story of their meeting has been disproved by further research, it was nevertheless an interesting story given to a small boy many decades before. (Remember that D for discernment attribute?)

A 1987 letter from the Crows Nest Historical Society re my 2x great grandfather, Denis Gavin.

Also on the centre’s shelves is likely to be a collection of books on the local history. Especially with older publications these may have had only a small print run and may be difficult to find elsewhere. In the Gatton Historical Centre I found a small book which told of a corroboree at Murphy’s Creek in the railway-building days when my ancestors were there. So far I’ve not located any other reference to it.

Similarly there may be a collection of local photographs which are not available online or in other libraries as local families donate images to the Centre’s collection.

But it’s not just paper documentation that can be helpful with your research. Some centres have old farming implements and kitchenware, that will illuminate your family’s pioneering days, and in some cases bring memories flooding back.

There is a local history section in the adjacent building to the Waltzing Mathilda Centre in Winton.

Driving from Darwin to Brisbane and Canberra through western towns, the mushrooming of these local heritage centres is evident. Whether it’s a reflection of the boom in our interest in Australian history or a strategy to bring life back to the country towns, it’s definitely a boon to our research.  Nor is this kind of heritage centre only available in Australia: there are similar places throughout the world. You can use this link to identify Aussie centres.

Even if there’s no heritage centre for your town of interest, do search for any local histories which may have been published. They are absolutely gold. I learnt so much from the local histories of Dorfprozelten am Main in Bavaria. You can set up a Google alert to let you know when one becomes available or you just search the internet from time to time. I’ve picked up a few local histories this way, as someone clears out their bookshelves of out-of-print books.

Local Studies in Libraries

You can see from all the tags how much info I’ve got from these two books.

While I’ve mainly focused on the local heritage centre or similar, don’t forget that there may be a dedicated local history section in the regional library: definitely worth exploring for different information.  An overseas example is the local history/local studies section of the Limerick Library, Co Limerick or the East Clare Heritage magazine. You just never know where you might find what you’re looking for, or just another family clue or snippet to flesh out your story.  I found a bundle of great photos from Chinchilla Library for the family of one of my Dorfprozelten Germans.

Overseas where would I be without CLASPand the Clare County Library’s local history collections in Ennis or the discoveries we made with the assistance of the librarians in Retford, Notthinghamshire?

Blogging about Local History successes

The world is your family tree oyster with blogging. Edited image from Office Clip Art.

Sharing your discoveries on your blog.

Here are a couple of links to recent blog posts about the discoveries made from local history research. There have been others over the months but these will give you the idea.

Roots’n’Leaves: Joan talks about her family discoveries in Bentley, Alberta, Canada.

My Genealogy Adventure: Tanya talks about the Richmond District Historical Centre.

Family History 4U: Sharn writes about the value of local history and her discoveries about Seventeen Mile Rocks in Brisbane and also Pomona. Her other post about Pomona discoveries is here.

Give it a go

Hopefully these stories will give you the impetus to use local history and heritage centres in your research whether in Australia or overseas. There is just so much you might discover, and don’t forget not to focus entirely on your own family name: the experience of others living in the same place will have many overlaps.

If you have had great discoveries in heritage centres or local history libraries, why not share them in a comment or in your own blog post.

Even though I’m on the downhill slope of this 52 week series, with the remaining topics mapped out (though occasionally re-sequenced), it’s feeling like a long haul. Any cheer squad support from my geneablogger buddies would be much appreciated. I think I can, I think I can. Well I know I will, but some weeks the energy and enthusiasm wane.

Family History Alphabet: O is Optimistic and Obsessive

Family History AlphabetMy theme for the Family History through the Alphabet is the Attributes we need as family historians: the skills, experience and talents we need to bring to our research. We’re galloping through the alphabet now and Week 15 brings us to the “O” attributes. What are they going to be?

O is for Optimistic: no matter how often we hit an Obstacle in our research, we somehow keep believing it will all turn out Okay and we’ll find that missing clue/picture/story.

O is for Observant: we’ll have a lot better chance of knocking down the brick wall if we remain observant to all the nuances in whatever we’re reading: the names of friends, neighbours and witnesses; some clue in the newspaper story; the lie of the land when we visit a family property, etc. A tiny example: one day I was cutting out a story on one of “my” Dorfprozelten Germans from the A3 page I’d printed off the microfilm (this was pre-Trove). As my scissors travelled up the page, my sub-conscious noticed a completely different small story about my George Kunkel’s claim for damages. Because of OCR issues it doesn’t turn up on Trove if I search by his name, so luck and observation gave me yet another snippet for my family history.

Obsessive, Opportunistic, Optimistic, Observant: all needed to pursue yet another clue. Image from Office ClipArt

O is for Opportunistic, a word that has a pejorative connotation, but really it just means we need to take the opportunities that come our way: the chance to visit a cemetery, the invitation to share our family history experience in some way, the opportunity to talk to elderly relatives.

O is for Obsessive: well this one is a no-brainer isn’t it? We’re nearly all totally obsessed with our family research and our quest to turn up new clues. How many times have you been asked “Haven’t you finished that yet?” But no, there’s always one more clue, one more bit of research, another cemetery to visit.

Don’t you just love this family history quest we’re all on?!

Darwin Fun in the Dry: Photos, Stories and a Laugh

It’s the Dry Season in the Top End and as usual Darwin has been humming with activities, but this month it reaches a crescendo of activity with the Darwin Festival.

August in Darwin is filled with such amazing opportunities: Indigenous singers and performers, international artists, the Aboriginal Art Festival, the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award and exhibition, plus free concerts, cultural displays and markets. Throw in the fighter jets in a multi-nation Operation Pitch Black 12 and the associated Open Day on the RAAF base for all the aircraft junkies in our midst (count me in!).  And for some outdoor fun, a visit to the new waterpark at Palmerston with its huge water slide (scary…eeek!).

We’ve had an excellent few days over the weekend with a flying visit from our daughter  who now lives in Kenya and the fun we’ve packed in as a family having all sorts of “adventures” around town.  It’s great to have all the kids and grandchildren in one place even for a short time. So much excitement in a few days that I was plumb tuckered out last night.

If you’re interested in any/all of the fun and games, why not pop over to my photo blog Tropical Territory and see what’s going on.

And for today’s laugh I share with you a quote from this morning’s world-class (hah!!) newspaper, the NT News: Beyond the quest for gold, silver and blondes in the final days of the Olympics…“.

I kid you not! Well it was in the sports pages, but even so…The story’s theme was the craze for athletes to get Olympic tattoos to celebrate their participation. Aussie swimmer Ryan Napoleon was warning about the need for caution as he’d seen one tatt that said “Oylmpics”. I reckon “I won an Oylmpic blonde” would go one better!

Beyond the Internet: Week 32 Journals

Beyond the Internet

This is Week 32 in my Beyond the Internet series in which I explore the sources of information beyond our computer screens and the topic is Journals. This is part of the Archives and Libraries section of the series and follows on from the discussion of university and reference libraries in Week 29 and books in Week 30. Please do join in and write comments or posts on your experiences with these.

What Journals?

My main focus here is the academic journals published by various academic societies. These include short articles written by academic experts in a particular field. In most cases, their articles will only be published if they pass a process of peer-review. This involves the journal editors seeking an assessment by other academics with similar expertise to ascertain the rigour of the research and the merits of the argument.  Once published, the article will be subject to sometimes vigorous critiquing by their world-wide peers.  In short, this is cutting-edge information in any particular field.

What’s it got to do with Family History?

Well as we advance further into our family history we usually decide we want to know more about the general regional and world influences on their lives. We also want to know whether our families’ experiences fit a norm eg was their migration experience typical. This is where academic journals can be of great help. Yes, you can also learn much from published books, academic or more general, but remember journals represent research almost as it’s happening whereas books do take time to publish.  Like theses, journal articles may never make it into book form (though the pressure on academics to publish does increase the chances).

In my own reference library I have innumerable copies of articles on migration with a focus on Irish migration. What about articles on how typical Scottish illegitimacy was in the time your great-grandmother had her illegitimate child? No, they’re not “sexy” and sometimes they can be hard work, but you may be surprised by how readable these articles can be, especially those written by historians.

I also use Economics journals as reference sources because so much of life is affected by financial considerations and the state of the economy.

Where do you find them?

Follow the research trail to link historical information with your family story. Image from Office Clip Art.

Based on what I’ve already said, it’s reasonably obvious that the first place to look is in a university library near you. This worked well when all journals were received in paper form as you could just go and take them off the shelves to review, having first trawled the library catalogue for relevant articles. However many are now being published in electronic form. This makes it challenging as you usually can’t read them, even in situ, without some form of university library card.

Nevertheless help is at hand for all of us without valid access to university journals. Assuming you have already got your library card from the National Library of Australia, you can access many of the same journals through the NLA’s electronic resources. Once you’ve logged in using your card number and name, you’ll see an alphabet option across the top. Click on J and choose JSTOR. This is your gateway to those same journal articles. You will soon have a long list of topics to choose from. Let your inner researcher loose and have fun exploring!  One that’s just caught my eye is Archivum Hibernicum. I can feel a detour coming on.

Overseas researchers probably have access via a similar facility. I’d suggest checking with your national library or a key reference library.

Other journals

On a more prosaic note, there are other journals we can profitably use. They are the journals published by the various family or local history societies. I’m probably as guilty as many others of not paying enough attention to these.  The content of each journal is quite variable and it’s worth searching widely as a story relevant to your region of interest may be published in a society journal far from that region.

For example in the Toowoomba and Darling Downs FHS journal, there has been a series on London churches and another on some early properties on the Downs which are of interest to me. Ances-tree, the journal of the Burwood & District FHS, has a superb series on German migration, mainly written by Jenny Paterson.  These go back over many years so do trawl back through them if you have an interest in this topic.

Other journals which are useful to family historians are those published by the state and national historical societies. These also contain informative and reliable articles by eminent historical researchers. Your regional reference library is likely to have a copy so keep an eye out when you visit.

I hope I’ve managed to convince you that journals can be far from boring. They can really give you an historical and economic structure on which you can hang your family’s story and make it all the richer.