Early Birds Catch the Worm: Congress 2015

Congress 2015

The shops are enthusiastically reminding us that Christmas is coming upon us in great haste.

However, another exciting event is also speeding towards us and that’s Congress 2015, the triennial Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, to be held in Canberra between 26-30 March 2015.

The theme for the 14th congress is Generations Meeting Across Time, a great topic as surely that’s what we’re all aiming for with our family history or genealogy research.

It seems to me that our research goal is to reach out to those generations who’ve gone before us, learn more about their stories, and try to get a handle on the sort of person they were.

So why attend Congress 2015?

P1020406Congress 2015 has to be a prime contender for your travel and conference dollars. Its greatest strength is its focus on Australasian research with a good dollop of talks on the home countries of our ancestors.

To name just a few, Kate Bagnall is talking Chinese Australian ancestry, John Blackwood on Scottish separation and divorce, and Roger Kershaw and Paul Milner will present on British research topics. Of course with lots of Irish ancestry I’m looking forward to listening to Richard Reid’s keynote address as well as Perry McIntyre and Cheryl Mongan on our Irish immigrants.

Attendees from New Zealand are ably represented by Seonaid Lewis and Michelle Patient.

I’m quite intrigued by the Keynote to be presented by Grace Karskens: Men, women, sex and desire: family history on Australia’s first frontier. It sounds like a 50 Shades of Grey for family historians.

I’ve only dipped into the many offerings throughout the Congress but you’ll be hearing more about them in due course. You can see the full speaker list and their topics here.

What else is happening?

Many of us go to conferences, not just for the talks, even though they are the main course of the event. The dessert is meeting people we chat to on social media, have heard all about as speakers, connect with other genies and share our questions and enthusiasm. Just think, four days when no one will roll their eyes if you talk about nothing other than genealogy!

The Venue: Canberra – Australia’s capital

The Australian War Memorial, P Cass, 2010

The Australian War Memorial, P Cass, 2010. The walls document all the people killed or missing in Australia’s wars.

If there’s one city in the country where we can all do some of our own research, it’s Canberra. I feel sure there’d be research opportunities for the New Zealanders there as well. Just think of the great repositories we can access:

That’s just a sample of them so there’s bound to be lots of opportunities for us to bridge the generations with new information.

What’s Canberra like?

Canberra is a planned city with Lake Burley Griffin as its hub.

Canberra fall treesIn late March the weather should be pleasant and the leaves on the deciduous trees may be just beginning to turn, which is a novelty for some of us.

Although overseas visitors often expect to see kangaroos hopping down our streets, Canberra is one of the best places to see our native wildlife. You don’t have to get far beyond the city boundaries to get a sense of the Australian landscape’s expansiveness and to see a few kangaroos or wallabies.

Did I mention that Canberra also has great food and wine opportunities? I particularly like the Capital Region Farmers’ Market which is held every Saturday..perhaps dispatch your other half to hunt and gather for you, while you enjoy the presentations.

As a bonus it’s pretty central for people travelling from around Australia (except perhaps Darwin and Perth, but we’re used to that!) as well as for our friends from New Zealand. And what a great opportunity for a visit Down Under for overseas genealogists, as Jill Ball has shown in her Worldwide Genealogy blog post.

Official bloggersCongress blogger

Along with my genimates, Jill Ball (Geniaus) and Shauna Hicks, I have been invited to be an official blogger for the Congress. You’ll be hearing lots more to tempt you to join us at Congress over the coming weeks.

Congress 2015 Social Media

The Congress 2015 website is comprehensive and it will give you in-depth information on what’s happening.

Congress if on Twitter as @AFFHO2015 and also on Facebook here.

An early bird catches the worm

Early bird registration of $495 closes on 31 October 2014 and will save you $55.

Don’t forget to consider signing up for the social events as well.

Wouldn’t this make a great Christmas present from all your family? The gift that keeps on giving.

Are you going to join us?

It’s Good News Week

Will you be going to Canberra?

Will you be going to Canberra?

I was excited to see the other day that the program for the 2015 Australasian Congress of Genealogy and Heraldry has been released. I already knew that my proposals for presentations had been accepted, but the cat is now officially out of the bag.

My topics probably won’t be a great surprise to regular readers of my blogs:

The marriage of local and family history: a bridge to the past. Use the combined skills of local and family history to draw past communities from the shadows.

From Dorfprozelten to Australia: how social media reunited the emigrants’ descendants across time. From cousin bait to match making: blogging isn’t just self-indulgence.

One of the memorial walls at the Australian War Memorial.

One of the memorial walls at the Australian War Memorial.

It’s exciting to see all the topics, and even more so, the presenters. My geneabuddies, Helen Smith, Kerry Farmer, Shauna Hicks and Carole Riley are among the speakers with topics ranging from migration schemes to land records. I’m also really looking forwarding to hear talks by Richard Reid, Perry McIntyre and Cheryl Mongan who are mates from Shamrock in the Bush conferences and Irish history gurus, and in Richard’s case also military experts.The icing on the cake is a bunch of speakers who I’ve never yet had the chance to hear present. What a treat it will all be!

I do hope I get to meet some more of my virtual friends in the nation’s capital, Canberra, between 26 and 30 March 2015. Just think of all the temptations – Congress, the Australian War Memorial, the National Library, the National Archives of Australia and all the museums and galleries. Time to start drawing up a running sheet for the “to do” list. Meanwhile I’ve got some homework to do.

Fun times ahead!