Catch a Genealogy Wave in Queensland

It may be winter but it’s sunny and warm-ish in South-East Queensland right now – and it’s also less than a year until the Waves in Time 2019 Conference being held on the glorious Sunshine Coast from 24 to 26 May 2019.

Behind the scenes a lot has been happening to ensure you have a great time with your genealogy surfing at the conference.


WiT-Page-Regional-DelegatesThanks to the generous support of History Queensland, regional attendees beyond South-East Queensland may wish to apply for one of the two “grants” of $500 on offer. Recognising that more remote genealogists may find it financially difficult to travel and attend, these will be offered competitively based on the following conditions:

To apply for regional support

  • You must be a resident of Queensland.
  • You must belong to an organisation that is a member of History Queensland (HQ)[ii].
  • Your application must be endorsed by that organisation.
  • If you are successful, you must do a presentation to your society after the conference and write a short piece to go in HQ News about the conference.
  • You must be a resident of a local council area outside south-east Queensland. That is, outside all the following local council areas:

City of Brisbane, Gold Coast City, City of Ipswich, Logan City, Lockyer Valley Region, Moreton Bay Region, Noosa Shire, Redland City, Scenic Rim Region, Somerset Region, Sunshine Coast Region

If you wish to apply for support, download the Support for Regional Delegates PDF Application Form[iii], scan/copy/photograph, complete the form, and email the completed form to Alternatively post to Waves in Time 2019 Conference, P0 Box 968, Caloundra QLD 4551 to reach the committee before the closing date – 14 September 2018.

The Committee will consider all applications and make a decision on 15 October 2018.

Successful applicants will be advised by 18 October 2019. In addition to the

The Committee’s decision regarding the successful applicants will be final. Further enquiries can be made through


  • Time is ticking for those who wish to submit Speaker Proposals for Waves in Time.
  • The Call for Speakers closes on 31 August 2018 and all proposals received will be acknowledged.
  • The decision on speakers will be made by 31 October 2018 by the Conference Committee.
  • Successful speakers will be advised by 12 November 2018 and will be entitled to a free conference registration.

You can learn more about the Call for Speakers here[iv]. Don’t forget to consider your topic in the context of the Waves in Time concept.


The Conference organisers have negotiated special rates from the closes accommodation providers to the conference: Best Western Plus Lake Kawana Hotel and the Aquarius Kawana Apartments. You can check these out on the Waves in Time website here[v]. (You will need to check the arrangements for booking on this site).

Of course there are many options further afield on the coast if you want to explore other choices[vi] or you may already have a favourite you visit on holidays.


waves in time ambassadorJoin us at

Twitter at Hashtag #wavesintime2019

The Social Media Ambassadors for the conference will be well known to many of you:

Pauleen Cass blogging here and on Twitter @cassmob

Caitlin Gow blogging here and on Twitter @caitieamanda

Shauna Hicks blogging here and on Twitter @HicksShauna

Fran Kitto blogging here and on Twitter @travelgenee

Helen V Smith blogging here and on Twitter @DragonGenealogy

You’ll be hearing more from each and all of us as the conference draws closer. Don’t forget you can use the Waves in Time 2019 Facebook group to ask questions about the conference or the Sunshine Coast from your fellow genimates and the locals who live here.


Apart from the joys of learning new skills to help with your genealogy/family history, geneaconferences are great places to spend time with fellow genimates, meet new (and “old”) friends, and talk about your research. It’s going to be FUN!!








C is for Certificates, Collateral Research & Census Data


Depending on where you live, and the timeframe in which you’re searching, certificates can be both critical and extremely useful.

Australian certificates are so excellent that almost anyone else’s, except the Scots’, (from my own experience) pale into insignificance. Fully completed, our certificates can launch your family tree on to new levels. The downside is that with so many immigrant families, the person completing the details on a death certificate may never have met their grandparents and get the facts completely incorrect.

This is why marriage certificates can be so helpful – the information comes from each person in the couple. There may be anomalies if they want to fudge their age (if one is older/younger) or if they just put the area they come from (Mary O’Brien from Co Clare, Ireland, God bless her!).

As with all genealogical research you are looking for as many sources as available to provide the information and cross-compare for validity. It’s also why Collateral Research can be so important.


Are your ancestors hiding behind their FANs?



What exactly is Collateral Research?

Alternatively called cluster genealogy or FANs (Friends, Associates or Neighbours) – a concept articulated by American expert Elizabeth Shawn Mills, though used by others without naming it. Collateral research encourages you to look at your ancestor’s siblings in particular to perhaps knock down a research brick wall. Just as we are part of a wider community so were our ancestral families who, as new immigrants, truly relied on friends and neighbours in lieu of traditional family networks.

You can read a couple of my stories about how collateral research has helped my research breach those walls:East Clare Research and Trove does it again.

My good friend Sharn has also recently completed a post which highlights how she used collateral research. It’s called Making Mary Mine.

C is for CENSUS

We’ve all done them, and hopefully we’ve completed them accurately and clearly, as they will ultimately provide a glimpse into the past. Australia has traditionally not retained its census data apart from some very early information, though that is currently changing, which will ultimately help our descendants.

In other countries, census records are an essential part of genealogical research. In the absence of extensive and informative certificates, the family structures spelt out in the census forms, helps to clarify that we have the right person/family and follow their movements over time.

Once again, census forms are subject to some limitations eg the householder may be illiterate and have an accent which the census taker doesn’t understand so you may find anomalies and some creative searching may be required. It’s also intriguing how often someone will age less than 10 years between decennial censuses. Some census records have been lost over the centuries eg the loss and destruction of early Irish records. However, in many other countries the census forms provide the structure of genealogical research.

D is for …I wonder?



A is for Ancestors and Archives

AWelcome to my A to Z journey through family history. If you’ve ever been curious about your own family’s story perhaps this will tempt you to get started – or frighten you off entirely.


The starting point about doing family history is to learn who our ancestors were, their names and where they came from.

Quite often oral family history breaks down over only a few generations so that some people may not know the names of grandparents who perhaps died young, and few will know the names of their great-grandparents.

Many of us start out wanting to know more about these shadowy figures from whom we descend. As many of us descend from immigrant families, we are often curious about the countries of origin for our immigrant ancestors.

Tree and ladder shutterstock_56502106

Be sure you’re searching in the right tree. Image from

Contrary to a popular advertisement, you do need to have some sense of what you’re looking for, otherwise you might well have your ancestral ladder propped up against the wrong tree.Traditional genealogy trains us to follow backwards in a line from ourselves to our parents, their parents and their parents in turn, confirming each linkage based on the evidence we discover rather than simply plucking suggested leaves from others’ trees or program suggestions.

Building a genealogy is like building the foundations of a house – get it right and you’ll wind up with a solid ancestral line. However, there’s more to each of us than simply our dates of birth, marriage and death. There are innumerable sources we can investigate to explore the lives of our families: where they lived, what were their social circumstances, how did they earn their daily bread etc. This is what we refer to as putting “flesh on the bones” of your ancestry. I call it exploring your family history.


Genie magic carpet shutterstock_63777541

image from

These oft-neglected gems are an Aladdin’s cave of riches for family historians. Having moved beyond the basic biographical data, this is where you’re most likely to find all sorts of delights to reveal more of your ancestor’s lives. Don’t let anyone tell you this is all online already – I can’t imagine that ever happening despite the exponential growth of online records in recent years.Nor will a genie appear offering you an instant solution to your search.


Archives can be challenging, mysterious and downright frustrating, but like a lot of our research, there’s nothing like adding some more shading to the family stories. Fortunately they are now more responsive to family historians and often have guides, flow charts and other handy tools as well as the google of archives –  the archivists themselves.

Come along on the journey with me for the next month as we explore how we track down our ancestors and their stories. Feel free to ask questions as we go along, either in general or in relation to a specific topic.

If you’re interested in taking on this ancestral journey it comes with two warnings:

  1. You never know what you’ll discover so be prepared to be tolerant of what you discover
  2. This hobby obsession is addictive – many of us start on the journey little realising that years later we’ll still be sleuthing away looking to solve one more mystery or find one more detail.

Let’s get social @AFFHO2015

Congress 2015Some of you may be bewildered by all the references to AFFHO in relation to the Canberra Congress 2015. It’s simple really as AFFHO is the umbrella organisation overarching all the triennial genealogy congresses Down Under. The acronym stands for the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations Inc. You’ll be hearing lots more about Congress 2015 in the coming months and if you’re on social media you’ll find news about Congress under the hashtag #AFFHO.


Other useful links to follow on Twitter are:

Congress 2015                  @AFFHO2015

Jill Ball (GeniAus)             @Geniaus (official blogger)

Shauna Hicks                    @HicksShauna (official blogger)

Pauleen Cass                     @cassmob (official blogger)

You’ll also find each of the official bloggers on Google+ under their names and using the hashtag #AFFHO.

There are two other ways you can check out what’s happening in regard to Congress via the official Facebook page, which includes tips for tag-along partners, and also on Geniaus’s dedicated blog page AFFHO which is collating all the #AFFHO tweets.

I’m assuming you’ve already signed up for the Congress 2015 newsletter which are also available online.

Last week I launched my first foray into a newsletter published using I called it the AFFHO Congress 2015 Weekly and it will be published each week on Friday evening. All going well it will draw together all stories relating to Congress but also general news and stories from the Congress sponsors and the speakers. If you have any tips on how to make it more relevant do please let me know via email (on the contact page) or in a comment.


people funWith all our chatter about blogs and social media it’s important not to forget that one of the big attractions of Congress is the chance to meet with fellow genealogists, just get to know them, and also to learn tips and tricks about how they do their research. Oh the joy in days of nothing but genealogy!

The geneabloggers will have little trouble recognising their genimates having been reading each other’s posts for ages, not to mention that we’ll be wearing the blogger beads promised by Geniaus. Judging on my experience on the Unlock the Past cruise earlier this year, the problem there will be keeping us quiet!

However, others don’t have a semi-automatic entrée to the formal and informal social gatherings at Congress. People may be members of family history societies and yet for various reasons not know many other members, or in fact their mates may not be attending congress (gasp!)group people

So it’s up to us to make others welcome in our groups, introduce ourselves and those we’re chatting with, which will help make new people comfortable entering our chatter-groups. This is a win-win for everyone as we expand our networks by being inclusive, and seriously if you’ve ever been a wallflower at a function or a dance, wouldn’t you want to ensure others enjoy Congress as much as you do? “Adopt a friend” sounds patronising but it’s really about genea-kindness and being welcoming. So let’s all go into Congress committing to meeting others, inviting them into our groups and generally spreading the joy of genealogy.

Here’s to a great Congress 2015, meeting old friends and making new ones!