Diary of a Genea-Cruise: Day 2


After the excitement of boarding and meeting people on Day 1, Day 2 was all about learning from, and listening to, the variety of presenters on the cruise. I can just see that we are going to have quite a work load when we get home following up all the tips that have come our way.

So who and what was on our learning smorgasbord for the day?

Chris Paton: British and Irish Newspapers

Chris kicked off the conference with his usual lively delivery of a topic near to our hearts – the family treats that lie hidden in newspapers. He listed various options overseas and reminded us not to forget the Gazettes for London, Edinburgh and Belfast. He also talked a little about Broadsides on the National Library of Scotland site: 1 page papers with 1 story: “sale of a wife” anyone?

Not as well known as the British Newspaper Archives are the Welsh Newspapers Online, Manx National Heritage, the Scotsman Archive and Irish Newspaper Archive.

Key message: Check which editions of the paper has been digitised or microfilmed as it will affect the content you are likely to find. This is something I discovered re Australian Women’s Weekly editions on Trove which appear to be the NSW edition, so Queenslanders won’t necessarily find their edition of social pages.

Jill Ball: Beaut Blogs –what makes one stand out from the crowd?

Jill is another dynamic and engaging speaker who relishes her topics. She shared her perspectives on what makes a great blog and showed us examples from the blogs she followed. If you’ve been ambivalent about blogging, it’s likely that Jill will persuade you. There were a few takers on lessons about setting up a blog.

Jill says “content is king” and a blog should provide unique fare, catchy post titles, an opening hook, consistently solid work and be a joy to read, informative and fascinating…not a lot to ask!

Key message: Check out  Inside History’s Top 50 Blogs Inside History’s Top 50 Blogs to see which blogs they recognise as fitting the “beaut blog” criteria.

Helen Smith: Document Analysis

Helen offers great advice on really studying every element of a document or certificate rather than jumping to the one item you were hunting for eg a maiden name. It’s so easy to just miss important elements so transcribe the document exactly as it appears then analyse it and it may reveal nuances that you didn’t at first see.

Key message:  Look, really look, at your certificates and documents. Transcribe them and study them again.

Rob Hamilton: What does Freemasonry offer genealogists?

I knew from nothing about freemasonry so I found this an interesting presentation though I suspect from a particular perspective. Rob showed how symbolism can reveal much about our relative’s involvement in a lodge. Using examples it was obvious just how much detail we can obtain from membership records. You may find the details of their Lodge on funeral notices when Lodge members were asked to attend.

Key Message: Write to the secretary of the Lodge where you ancestor was a member and ask for information.

Noeline Kyle: Forced and Voluntary emigration to Botany Bay: how to research women

Noeline’s talk focused on the earliest female immigrants and their lives. Unfortunately I have no female ancestors who fitted this timeframe but, to an extent, her messages about their lives apply to our later immigrants as well.

Key message: Noeline has a great book available through Unlock the Past, dense with information on tracing female ancestors. It’s well worth buying in book or e-book format and it’s called “Finding Florence, Maude, Matilda, Rose”

Kerry Farmer: Immigration arrivals in Australia from 1788

As if we weren’t all replete after our delicious dinners in the restaurant, Kerry served us up food for our minds at this post-dinner presentation. This was a great talk dense with information and covering the vast diversity of immigration to Australia. We were reminded, among other things, to consider that our ancestors may have fudged their ages to meet the age selection criteria to obtain government assistance.

Key message: Buy Kerry’s upcoming Unlock the Past book on Immigration. This will be a goldmine of the information we were provided with in this presentation. I know I’ll be buying one!

cabin bedGood night, sleep tight

Notebooks filled and brains overflowing with information we retired for the night with lots to think about. Melbourne in the morning and more on-the-ground research opportunities for some people.

No fancy photos today people as I didn’t even look out my cabin door today…busy, busy. Nor did I remember to photograph any speakers.

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