Meet the Speaker: Dr Jennifer Harrison

Jennifer-HARRISON-225x300Can you believe that it’s only 10 more sleeps until Waves in Time 2019? I hope you’re as excited about it as I am…genimates to catch up with and general family history learning and fun for three full days!!

There’s always something to inspire us at conferences with a range of topics and speakers. Today I want to introduce you to Dr Jennifer Harrison, who will be speaking on In their own words: How 1860s immigrants sailed Waves in Time to Queensland.  Migration is one of my own interests so this is a go-to topic for me personally.

I wonder if you could tell us a little about your background?  Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation?  

I am an academic historian who believes that among the elements which make up history: a time period, locations, events and people, the most important is people – although in some stories one or more of the other characteristics may also be important.  I think this is reflected in my employment as Queensland researcher for The Australian Dictionary of Biography with ANU Canberra and my long associations with a number of family history societies.  So, I guess, in answering the question, I am a family historian, a researcher, an historian and I fully support the organisations represented by History Queensland.

What do you love most about genealogy/family history/history/heraldry? 

I guess I love the fact that once I start exploring a life story, I never know where it will take me physically, mentally, geographically and in life experiences.

Have you attended a History Queensland Conference in previous years?

Yes, I have attended the two previous functions and will continue into the future because I believe the programs, opportunities to meet people and access to tools, provided by the exhibitors to be incredibly stimulating.

How do you think your topic/s will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference?

I sincerely hope that my selected topic will assist people realise that there is an end to the long sea journey and that immediate responses by incomers, officials at the destination and facing new prospects required enormous mental and physical energy and demonstrates what strength our forebears displayed in order to make such a big relocation.

Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?

I guess I try to stick by: “Never ever assume” and “Footnote (or appropriately reference) as you go” but I am not always successful – still both are excellent and essential rules.

 What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for you personally and for others attending?

The opportunity to seek new solutions, learn new methodologies and make friends in a holiday atmosphere.  Find out new sources, what is available and who is involved – absorb, learn and enjoy.  It is not funding issues that thwart me – time, time, time but I am doing my best.

If you could pick one new project to do, what would it be? (Assuming no funding issues)

Currently it would be to continue with my British soldiers at Moreton Bay project.  Not new?  Then a detailed outline of migration to Queensland during the nineteenth century.

Disclaimer: As a Waves in Time Ambassador I receive a free registration in return for promoting the conference in various social media forums and on my blog.

 

 

Meet the Speaker: Dr Anna Shnukal

Anna-SHNUKAL-1-225x300In the coming weeks Ambassadors for the Waves in Time 2019 conference will be introducing you to the speakers. You’ll get to learn a little about them, their expertise and what they will be sharing at the conference.

Today’s featured speaker is Dr Anna Shnukal.

I wonder if you could tell us a little about your background?  Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation? 

I am a retired sociolinguist with an interest in the genealogy and history of Torres Strait. I have found that it is not possible to understand Islander society and culture without knowledge of both.

 

What do you love most about genealogy/family history/history/heraldry?

The challenge of the jigsaw and the thrill of discovery.

 

Have you attended a History Queensland Conference in previous years?

Unfortunately not but I am looking forward to it.

 

How do you think your topic/s will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference?

I hope that my presentation will provoke discussion about my general conclusions on the pitfalls and false trails of compiling Indigenous Australian family trees.

 

Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?

Question everything — including your prior assumptions.

 

What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for you personally and for others attending?

It is a chance to meet with people of similar interests, learn from their research and exchange ideas.

 

If you could pick one new project to do, what would it be? (Assuming no funding issues)

I would like rather to complete my long-avoided history of the Pacific Islanders and their descendants in Torres Strait from the 1860s to the present.
Thanks Anna for these insights. I think this presentation will educate anyone who attends and be very useful for those with Indigenous ancestry. I especially like Anna’s advice to question assumptions, including our own.
Disclaimer: As a Waves in Time Ambassador I receive a free registration in return for promoting the conference in various social media forums and on my blog.

Meet the Speaker: Shannon Sutton

Shannon-SUTTON-225x300In the coming weeks Ambassadors for the Waves in Time 2019 conference will be introducing you to the speakers. You’ll get to learn a little about them, their expertise and what they will be sharing at the conference.

Today’s featured speaker is Shannon Sutton from the National Library of Australia.

I wonder if you could tell us a little about your background? Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation?

I’ve worked at the National Library of Australia as part of the Newspapers and family history team since 2014. Before coming to the Library, I was an archaeologist working mostly in Victoria but also the Pilbara, New South Wales, the Torres Strait, all over Australia really.
Much like genealogists, archaeologists don’t necessarily discover anything new – they are
more in the business of uncovering bits of information that people have forgotten over the years.
I’m delighted to be a guest presenter at the Waves in Time conference, where I’ll be
speaking about Trove and a few of the other newspaper databases you can access (for free!) with a National Library of Australia library card.

What do you love most about genealogy/family history/history/heraldry?

I’ve always been interested in the past and family history is just a different way of ‘digging’ into it. I’m a great lover of stories (many told to me by my grandparents); so researching my family history has given me a way to verify a lot of what I’ve been told. My favourite thing about family history is finding ancestors who my immediate family don’t seem to know much or anything about…and then pondering why this is so.

Have you attended a History Queensland Conference in previous years?

I certainly have. I delivered a presentation at the Footsteps in Time conference that was a
comedy of errors. I solemnly swear to do a much better job of it at the Waves in Time
conference.

How do you think your topic/s will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference?

If you have ever used Trove’s newspapers to research your family history, hopefully my talk will have some tips and tricks you’ve not yet heard of. If you haven’t used Trove, or if you’re just starting out on your Trove adventure, you will soon be a Trove addict!
Newspapers offer us a fascinating, and sometimes scandalous, glimpse into the lives of our ancestors. And Trove is a resource unlike any other – it provides free access to digitised Australian newspapers from 1803 onwards (with coverage of most titles ending in 1954 due to copyright).

Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with
conference attendees?
The National Library has recently started creating online learning videos (webinars), which highlight resources such as Trove, government gazettes, newspapers, how to research the history of your house – and much more. You can get alerts for upcoming webinars by subscribing to our eNews letter (https://www.nla.gov.au/news/enews). You can also view all of our past webinars on our YouTube channel: https://www.nla.gov.au/content/past-webinar-recordings.
What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for
you personally and for others attending?

It is a great chance to meet like-minded researchers and discover new and exciting avenues for exploring your family history. And, as a whole, family historians tend to be a lovely group of people. At the last conference I met some incredibly friendly and knowledgeable ladies from the Central Queensland Family History Association in Rockhampton (which has an excellent Facebook page – go like it now!).

If you could pick one new project to do, what would it be? (Assuming no funding issues)

I’d really love to digitise more of our Pacific collections – starting with the Indian emigration passes to Fiji. The emigration passes are an amazingly rich source of family history information for descendants of Indians who entered Fiji under the British indentured labour system between 1879-1916. The emigration passes are one of a few collections in the Library that are on the UNESCO Memory of the World Heritage Register. You can read more about the significance of this collection in the National Library’s magazine: https://www.nla.gov.au/unbound/a-thumbprint-stamped-in-ink

Thanks Shannon for sharing your story with us. Who doesn’t love Trove whether they’re genealogists or not? It is definitely a world leader – and it’s free!! Thanks also for the tips so I’m going to check those out too. However are we going to choose which presentation to attend. Maybe we all need to find a genimate and swap information about the sessions.

Disclaimer: As a Waves in Time Ambassador I receive a free registration in return for promoting the conference in various social media forums and on my blog.

Meet the Speaker: Dr Richard Reid

Richard-REID-225x300In the coming weeks Ambassadors for the Waves in Time 2019 conference will be introducing you to the speakers. You’ll get to learn a little about them, their expertise and what they will be sharing at the conference.

Today we have keynote speaker, Dr Richard Reid, who is an expert in Irish and military research.

I wonder if you could tell us a little about your background?  Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation?

If I’m anything I’m an ‘historian’, Level 2. I say that because there are so many brilliant academics and historical writers around that I certainly don’t see myself as at Level 1, although over the years I’ve added my tuppence worth. My background since I began participating in the ‘history game’ has been as a high school English/History teacher, museum educator, museum historian, museum curator and as the historical public face for a federal government department, Veterans’ Affairs. If I had to classify myself I’d say I have worked mainly as something called a ‘public historian’, in my case someone who has always been on the public purse and producing, in the main, material for a general rather than an academic audience.    

What do you love most about genealogy/family history/history/heraldry?

What is a ‘family historian’? Not sure I’m primarily one of those although I certainly admire people who’ve spent a great deal of time uncovering the documentary evidence for the experiences of their family over, in some instances, hundreds of years.  I have learnt a huge amount from family historians about the past and I’m very grateful for that. I am interested in the history of my own family where I can sense it intersecting with broader historical events and movements in society, and I’m fortunate that my father put together a small collection of family material way back in the 1940s which I’m now getting a great deal of fun out of cataloguing and interpreting.

Have you attended a History Queensland Conference in previous years?

To be honest I can’t remember but I feel sure I have!

How do you think your topic/s will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference?

Very hard to answer a question like that. Years ago, one of my university lecturers stressed to me that you can always learn ‘something’ even from the most boring and banal of presenters. So, I hope my audience on the day manage to pick up one or two relevant thoughts or facts from what I’m talking about.

Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?

Not really. I’m someone who enjoys serendipitous meanderings in historical collections. Over the years I’ve managed to learn more from the question ‘what have you got about vast topic ‘A’ and let me wander through it’ than specific questions about specific events. Rather than looking for the needle in the haystack I would rather play around in the haystack, and I’ve uncovered all sorts of interesting stuff that way. Sometimes it has even related, quite by chance, to my own family! That’s not particularly good advice to a family historian who wants a far more specific reason to spend time with a particular collection, but it has served me well.

What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for you personally and for others attending?

Back to what I said earlier … you can always learn something even from the most unlikely individual. Moreover, family historians often know a great deal more about great sources of material than historians who spend a lot of time weighing up and discussing interpretations and questions. That’s not a criticism of the academics. It’s horses for courses and at conferences like this I’ve met people who have assisted me greatly in my own research. It’s also a good feeling to know that people find some value in what you have to say and the way in which you say it. Age and increasing irrelevance stare us all in the face and it’s nice to be asked to present.

If you could pick one new project to do, what would it be? (Assuming no funding issues)

That is a tough one as I’ve already got a lot of ideas for books/articles on topics which I know, given my age, I’ll never complete. So, you have to become increasing ruthless with your time simply to get something written. That said, if I had unlimited funds, and could step away from everything else after my current writing project, I think I’d love to do the definitive book on transportation from Ireland to Australia 1788 to 1868. There is still a mountain of fantastic archival material back in Ireland to process and evaluate before we can really say more comprehensively what Irish transportation was about, who was liable to be transported, how typical these unfortunates were of what might be called the Irish criminal class (we still delight to see them more as ‘victims’ than ‘criminals’ and  we need to decide who were indeed ‘victims’), how the Irish legal system actually operated in relation to transportation, who had a sentence commuted as a result of a petition against being transported and why, how typical transportees where of those who went through the courts in Ireland … and a hundred other questions.

As you can see from Richard’s responses, he will provide a different approach to our research and challenge us to think critically about what we find…his talks certainly won’t be “boring or banal”. I’m definitely looking forward to it. Thanks Richard for sharing your story.

If you haven’t already registered for Waves in Time 2019, remember the clock is ticking. Even if you can’t join us for the whole conference perhaps you’d like to learn more by visiting the Friday fare. Check the program out here, and register here.

Disclaimer: As a Waves in Time Ambassador I receive a free registration in return for promoting the conference in various social media forums and on my blog.

Waves rego close