Happy New Year and news

Happy New YearHappy New Year to all my readers. I hope 2014 brings you lots of genea-discoveries, good health and happiness in your life. May we all have lots of blogs to enjoy with inspiring ideas and great stories.

And the winners are....
And the winners are….

Mr Cassmob has just kindly drawn the 4th Blogiversary gifts and it seems the luck of the Irish is at work as the two recipients are Crissouli (1st book – Great Houses..) and Robyn McNamara (A Nation….). Ladies if you let me know your home addresses I will send you the book in the next few days. (My email is on the contact me page)

I have a bit of exciting New Year news too as I can now tell you that I will be one of the presenters on the Unlock the Past 4th Cruise. My topic is: “Becoming a fan of FANs: let your family’s friends, associates and neighbours reveal more of your family’s history.”  

It’s not just our families who shape our history and share our stories but also their friends, associates and neighbours (FANs). FANs can reveal more nuances in our families’ lives and may turn up completely different information or confirm family anecdotes. Whether your brick wall comes tumbling down or not, researching FANs will certainly add texture to your story. I include wider family networks under this heading too, as the temptation is to focus only our direct ancestors.

Are your ancestors hiding behind their FANs?
Are your ancestors hiding behind their FANs?


As you know I’ve had my own FANs success this week with the discovery (I think) of my Mary O’Brien Kunkel’s arrival in Australia on the Florentia in April 1853. If I hadn’t been chasing her sister, it’s unlikely I’d have ever found this gem.

So now I can also look forward to another exciting aspect of the 2014 Cruise. The barque Florentia’s first landfall in Australia was Hobart Town, so as we sail into Hobart on 10th February Mary O’Brien will be very much on my mind. Our experiences couldn’t be more different: I will be arriving on a luxury cruise ship with all mod cons and a huge passenger complement. Mary arrived on a barque carrying a total passenger+crew load of approximately 300, about 10% of the Voyager of the Seas’. Mary had been at sea nearly six months, I will only have been at sea for six days. The gathering of genealogists on this cruise will be 245 genea-fans, exactly the same as the number of immigrants on the Florentia!!  Something tells me that I was meant to take this voyage.

You can see an image of the Florentia here –the ship specifications clarify that the barque used to bring out convicts in the 1820s and 1830s is that same ship on which Mary and Bridget O’Brien sailed[i]. You can check out ship’s specs in the Lloyd’s Registers which have now been digitised.


Why not have a look at the list of presentations which are going to be on offer during the cruise? I’m wondering how I’ll even manage to sneak in a swim let alone test whether I have any ice-skating ability left. There are a number of bloggers who’ll be reporting on their discoveries during the cruise so why not keep an eye out for them.

Meanwhile I’ve a new family history blog which others might find interesting. It’s called Finding Charlie Ross and the author, Rosslyn, has another blog called The Blossom Collector –I particularly like the caption explaining the blog.


[i] The image comes from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich so I’ve written asking for permission to use the image.


13 thoughts on “Happy New Year and news

  1. Well, now, thank you…especially Mr. Cassmob… for drawing out my name. What a treat, I am a bit partial to books, a great way to start a New Year… and I get to read your always interesting blogs as well!


  2. Books… I’m with Pauleen and Chris there. Congratulations to the winners!
    Exciting news about the Unlock the Past cruise, Pauleen. I love the parallels you draw with your discovery of Mary’s voyage. And thanks for the link to Lloyd’s List.
    Since there’s an Irish theme today – athbhliain faoi mhaise dhaoibh!


  3. Ooooh thank you, thank you!! What a great way to start off the year! I know you can read books on the internet but nothing beats snuggling down with a good read. It’s definitely going to a good home.


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