Genealogy Heaven

imageIt’s hard to believe I’m already half way through my weimageek of genealogy heaven in Salt Lake City. It’s already been so much fun meeting with Aussie geneabloggers, face-to-face meetings with overseas bloggers, social events and great learning experiences.

If that all sounds like too much fun and frivolity rest assured I spent some serious time in the genealogical holy grail, the Family History Library. Given I’ve been reading microfilms in Brisbane or Darwin that wasn’t my primary focus. Instead I opted to prepare a long list of the books held in the library, many of which can’t be found in Australia and which can’t be ordered in through the local family history centre.  With a wish list a mile long I photographed relevant segments of the books which I can digest at my leisure. I was particularly pleased to be able to read Gillespie’s book on researching Irish Local History.

I did take the opportunity to read the microfilm for the Griffith Valuation Revision Books for Courtown Harbour in my pursuit of the Callaghans who I wrote about recently. I’ll post about that in due course but not until I get home.image

I had a brief fishing expedition for one of Mr Cassmob’s ancestors in County Carlow, but the time wasn’t productive and I gave it up. We tend to think (live in hope?) that the release of the digitised Irish parish registers will solve our problems. I think we may be mistaken. This one was so faint as to be totally illegible in the relevant period. I may give it another go one day but it won’t be a quick process.

On Tuesday evening we had a Commonwealth group dinner organised by GeniAus which was great fun and I was able to have a long chat with Tessa Keogh, Hilary Gadsby, Ruth Blair, and Rosemary Morgan (sorry I can’t get links to work on the iPad so see below). There is a real sense of community among the group and such a pleasure to meet in person. Just as exciting was meeting Randy Seaver and Angel Linda in the foyer of the Hilton…isn’t the virtual world an exciting place?!

Yesterday was the start of the FGS Conference and today RootsTech commenced. My schedule has been packed and I can honestly say every speaker has been excellent. More on that anon.

You can read about my genimates on these blogs:

GeniAus: http://geniaus.blogspot.com.au

Tessa Keogh: http://www.geneabloggers.com/introduce-tessa-keoug/

Hilary Gadsby: http://genemeet.blogspot.com

Rosemary Morgan: http://londonrootsresearch.blogspot.com

Ruth Blair: http://blog.familyhistorysearches.com

Randy Seaver: http://www.geneamusings.com

Would you trust this woman? A mug shot among the microfilm stacks.

Would you trust this woman? A mug shot among the microfilm stacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week 4: my kitbag of offline tools

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog, in conjunction with Geneabloggers, has kicked off 2012 with a new series of weekly blogging prompts themed as 52 Weeks of Abundant GenealogyWeek 4’s topic is Free Offline Genealogy Tools: For which free offline genealogy tool are you most grateful? How did you find this tool and how has it benefitted your genealogy? Describe to others how to access this tool and spread the genealogy love.

The (mostly) Irish migration corner of my library.

I confess that this topic confused me a little as I wavered between its meaning being a techno-tool which helped with my genealogy vs a source or repository, an equally valid interpretation. I opted to go with taking the term “tool” more literally as I’ll be addressing my offline sources and archive favourites in my Beyond the Internet series. So here is my priority offline kitbag (as you know I have trouble selecting just one):

  1.  My camera plus pen(cil) and paper.

This has been true for all the years of my research, long before digital cameras, or computers for that matter. I use my cameras (now digital) to photograph old family properties, streets where my families lived, their home towns, the cemeteries and the family’s graves, etc. In the various archives I can now mostly use my camera to photograph documents quickly and easily so I can skim-read them in situ,then transcribe and digest them at home at my leisure. I also use it to photograph images from microfilm, having been given permission to do this at the library. I truly would feel almost as bereft if I lost my camera as if I lost my computer. As to the pencil and paper, sometimes I find it easier to document information by hand – yes, regressive I know, but I do also use the laptop for specific projects.

Maps and War and a bit of Queensland

2.            My research reference library

Ever since I started family history I’ve been accumulating relevant research books (combines my love of FH + books). Since we’ve moved to Darwin this accumulation has accelerated and I now have a fairly substantial reference library of books, maps, CDs and DVDs to aid my research, not to mention my family-specific information in folders. I would be lost without having this library readily to hand when I need background to something I’m researching…but there’d be more space in my study :-)

3.                Inter-library loans

I do try to curb my enthusiasm for book-purchasing to references which I know I’ll use repeatedly or which are not available through the National Library of Australia on inter-library loan.  This is a great service and it means I can have resources sent up to Darwin from Canberra. These resources might be books but equally might be rural newspapers on microfilm which have yet to make it into Trove. Ken at the Northern Territory Library does a great job coordinating these loans at the Darwin end. (Don’t forget that if you live in Australia you can also get an NLA cardto access online resources).

Not to forget the Scots!

4.                My library and archive cards

I have a stash of these for libraries and archives from all over. Even if they have to be renewed from time to time they make for quick access when you arrive for a time-limited research trip.

5.                 Microfilms

I can’t say often enough how important microfilms from the local Family History Centre are to my research (see one post here, or search my blog). It’s not all online, so being able to research at least some parish records, shipping records, occupation documents etc is invaluable. Look at the FamilySearch catalogue for your ancestor’s home town, county or country to see which films might help your research. Order them online here, then when they arrive you’re in for tons of fun at your local family history centre, however big or small it may be.

6.                Scanners

My scanner is a vital part of my offline world. My old photos, slides, negatives and documents churn through the scanner and go into my digital records. I love the Flip-Pal for quick scanning of photos for my blog or similar. It’s the interface tool between my online and offline world. I talked about both scanners last year here.

So there you have it, some of my “can’t do without” tools.

Which tools do you use in your research and which is your favourite?